tangled.

lines. strings. beat.

entwined, stretched, cutting the circulation, can’t breathe.

smile. no, stop. don’t do that.

you kill me. you’re beautiful.

intoxicating. i’m drowning. don’t save me.

i don’t need you to save me.

you did this.

i got this.

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I’ve always been impulsive.

Well, it sure has been a minute hasn’t it? Happy New Year (almost a month later).  A lot has been happening this year already. I’ve taken confidence to a whole new level.  I named 2012: “The Year of the Why-The-Fuck-Not?” Every opportunity that is handed to me, be it in love, school or work, I take.  Whenever I find myself able to do something that scares me, I do it.  Own my feelings, hold my head high, smile, encourage others to shake their sadness and CHOOSE to be happy.  Choose to be confident.  Look in the mirror and love every single thing that is staring back at me.  Why the FUCK not?  On an unrelated note, there shouldn’t be such a taboo on that word, I’ve decided.

I’ve always been impulsive.  I do like to plan, but there’s something about the split second decision, with little to no time to back out, that “no time to be a chicken, must move forward” attitude that I loved so much about myself.  I’ve gotten three tattoos on the fly, oops, sorry mom and dad, on the bright side they’re inconspicuous.  I’ve picked up and gone to the city with no plan, just to shoot…shoot what?  Anything.  Everything.  Hopped a train to wait in line and hopefully snag tickets to a Devil’s game the day of.  No plans, just ideas and a why the fuck not attitude.

I’ve stopped being impulsive.  Maybe it came with a little bit more age.  I know, I know, I’m 21.  But I don’t feel 21, that’s just the number my driver’s license and birth certificate say that I am.  “With age comes responsibility,” they say.  But I don’t think age, responsibility and impulse should clash, why can’t the coexist harmoniously?  Maybe not so much impulse as spontaneity.

This will be a year full of impulse. This will be a year full of spontaneity, confidence, creativity.  I will prosper.  I will thrive.

 

As always, Sincerely, the new and improved version of myself, Rebecca, who didn’t care to force this post to follow a single thought process.

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Why is it

That when you finally work up the courage to give up on something, a thought or a feeling, when you finally decide its time to stop dwelling on it and move forward that it decides it’s ready to make the move you’d been waiting for? How do you know how to respond? How to handle a situation that presents itself so carefully, pleasantly, non-threateningly but makes you sick for all intents and purposes?

I wrote a bit today. I need to start writing again.

As always, I’m still RJ, and this week, today especially, has been…ugh.

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The more you complain, the harder it seems.

First and foremost, let us get the that’s what she said joke out of our systems…okay okay, out of my system, alright I’m good, and clearly I will never change.  Actually, change is kind of what this post is about.  It’s October, the leaves are changing, the weather is changing…sort of…and as for me, I’m trying to change some things about my life.  I’ve been trying to run more, and I’ll say, it hurts.  It’s hurts in my legs, and it hurts in my chest.  My muscles strain to do things they haven’t attempted in years, isn’t that pathetic? 21 years old.  But I’m working on it.  I’ve done this before.  I’ve gotten excited about exercising for a few months at a time and then I always let life get in the way.  But this time it feels different.  The exercise thing…it’s becoming a part of my life, a big one.  I think about it all day, everyday.  If I’m not running or swimming, I want to be.  I sometimes hate my life while I’m huffing and puffing along, embarrassed that I allowed myself to get this way…repeatedly.  But here’s the thing: I keep going back for more.  It hurts, but I like it.  I’m terrified of running, but I do it.  And maybe to some this will sound corny, but: today I had a breakthrough.

Today I went running with a friend.  I haven’t known her terribly long, but I feel like you wouldn’t catch on to that if you ever hung out with us.  Ever since we started working out together, she’s been motivating me, and even more than that, helping me motivate myself, whether she knows it or not.  I am grateful that she puts up with my whining and complaining, especially today when those were arguably at their worst.  Today I had the bright idea that we should run outside.  We had once before and I enjoyed it more than the treadmill, so I figured it was a no brainer.  We started off together, and as usual, everything hurt and I let her know it.  At some point we broke apart as we each found our own pace.  I was alone in my head, a place I find intimidating and overwhelming when I exercise or right before bed.  At these times, my thoughts have the tendency to race, and they can sometimes be overpowering.  I set myself up for failure before I even let myself try.  But like I said, something happened today that I’m not sure I can even explain.  For those that do not know, I have a teeny, tiny, inconspicuous heart-shaped tattoo on my left wrist.  I got it for my grandfather, Dante, because when I was in high school I would always pray to him and ask him to run on my left.  If you ever workout with me, take note of which side you are on.  I sometimes slip up, but I always try to leave the left side open for him, just in case.  Today my racing thoughts slowed as I ran and held an audible conversation with my grandfather.  I was answering questions no one was asking, I couldn’t breathe, but I kept going, asking him to stay with me.  And the best part of it all, is that I know he was there.  I’m not the only one in my family to experience this phenomenon, so you, reader, can think I’m crazy, but I know I’m not.  I asked him to help me, to take the pain away because I wanted to do this, and in no way am I kidding when I say, no sooner did I ask, was it received.  I cried because I didn’t understand, and it became harder to breathe but I didn’t care.  Finally I was done as I met my friend back at our cars.  Exhausted both emotionally and physically, I explained that I was crying like an idiot because I missed my grandfather.  Without missing a beat she said that she’d bet I was talking to him while I ran, mind you, we were so far apart on this last part of our run that there would have been no way for her to know that.  “Cancers are intuitive,” she told me.

Maybe it was just me letting go of the thought that there is no possible way I could ever be a runner.  Maybe I let go of the mental pain and the physical followed.  Maybe I really did experience some kind of spiritual phenomenon that helped me change my mind about myself and my goals.  Whatever it was, it sparked something.  It sparked something and now I’m running away with that spark and never looking back.

 

As always, I am RJ, and I am proud of myself.

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“What do you want to be when you grow up?”

That’s the question they asked me in preschool right before my graduation so they could put it on my diploma. Without hesitation I proudly said, “I want to be an artist.” Seventeen years later, I am studying to be a photographer, a visual artist, if you will. I’ve been through hell and back to figure out that this is what I want to do and now that I’m finally here, I’ve never felt more in the right.

Initially, I was a Psychology major who adored everything Psych related. I love sleep and dreams, I love the brain, I love Freudian theories, Pavlov, Maslow and his hierarchy of needs, Erikson’s stages of development. I knew more about ole’ Siggy Freud, his family and home life than any one person would ever care to know. I love it all, but as much as I wish it could be, the passion just isn’t there. I could talk about nature vs. nurture for hours, but where is my creative stimulation? I would sit in my dorm room with my books spread out in front of me and I would think about my future in the field of Psychology and know in the pit of my stomach that something big was missing.

“Writing,” I said, “that’s what’s missing. Writing.” I’d blog to release my pent up creative energy, with RJtalks as my outlet. But it wasn’t enough. I knew I had to break away from the only thing I had ever fought for and try something new. So I went for it, and Public Relations and Journalism with a double minor in Psych and Creative writing was where I ended up. “I LOVE this! I love my professors, I love my classes, I love writing all the time! This is perfect.” Wrong. Being forced to write on a deadline killed me, I was miserable and my GPA reflected that. “Is this how it is going to be all the time?” That’s my problem, I love writing, I’m so passionate about it that it becomes this touchy subject where I all of a sudden turn into this overprotective mother, and beware to all those who try to pick apart my child.

Another minor switch came around (literally) when I dropped creative writing and picked up Photography as a minor. One photo class was all it took. I was hooked and it was obvious. My mind would reel with thoughts of photo project ideas and proposals. If I wasn’t in photo class, I was thinking about photo class. All writing ceased as I let photo hit me in waves, taking me under the surface, and like someone with a death wish, I did absolutely nothing to pull myself back up. Photography makes me sick. It makes me sick in the most incredible way. You know that feeling you get when you look at the person you love? That feeling of butterflies in your stomach, the nervous excitement, always on your mind and able to brighten up your darkest days? Yea, that’s what photo does for me. I knew I needed to know more about photo the moment I began learning about it. So after some begging and pleading in vain, I took it upon myself to just do it. I was told it was going to add possibly a whole year’s worth of studying to my schooling, my parents were not at all thrilled at first but I didn’t care. I took a leap of faith into the most subjective but freeing and creative major I’ve ever encountered and kept myself grounded with the Psych minor.

One of my friends recently said to another, “You know what you want to do, it’s just a matter of actually doing it.” I supported her claim by mentioning that I somehow knew what I wanted to do with my life from the time I was 4 years old, but by the time I was an adult, it seemed like such a fantasy. But maybe our farfetched, fantastic childhood job ideas aren’t so farfetched. Maybe it’s fear that’s holding us back from actually achieving our goals. Fear of failing. Fear of criticism. Fear of someone always being better, smarter, more creative. But we need to stop fearing and start achieving. Parents need to start embracing their kids’ fantastic ideas. If your kid says to you, “mommy, I want to be an astronaut.” Buy that kid a model rocket ship and a book on the stars. They say, “daddy, I want to be a doctor.” Break out the stethoscope and the tongue depressors. If you’re steering them in a different direction from what they are telling you they want to do because you want to protect them from rejection, I promise you, you’re doing them more harm than good in the long run. Eventually your kid is going to grow up and know for a fact what he or she wants to do, wouldn’t you love to know that you supported them in their decision from the very first moment the idea was born?

As always I am RJ, and I am thankful for my incredibly supportive parents.

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Dear Dante,

It is currently 12:22 am on September 13th, 2011, the day AFTER your birthday. I realized very late in the day what the date was, and maybe that was a good thing, because thinking of you only hurts my heart. I’m laying in bed in my new house wishing I could hug you and tell you all about my days and all of the things I’ve been doing for the past six and a half years. I feel like you know about most of them because I try to keep you as up to date as I can, but then I have moments where I am a terrible granddaughter and I get so caught up in what I’m doing that I don’t take the time out of my day to pray to you. But I know that you know how much you mean to me, how incredibly special you are and how highly I always have and always will think of you. I think of you every single time I pick up my camera and every single time I look at my wrist, you are the heart that has found it’s home there, and I know you are with me always. You, sir, are the heartbreak that will never heal. I miss you more with each passing day and I would give anything to talk to you again, to hear your laugh, see your smile…I can’t even stop the tears, poppy. Please continue to watch over us, and maybe in your way let me know how you’ve been, by the way, forgot to ask, did you see the photograph I made about you hanging in the student show this past spring? You, Dana and I were all on the wall, a real family affair. I hope I make you proud, lord knows I try.

We love you and we miss you always. Happy Belated Birthday,

Rebecca Jean.

I wasn’t going to include my usual line, but as always, I am RJ and I’m obsessed with my family.

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“That’s so gay”…”Is it though?”

Rarely do I make posts whilst standing on my soapbox, first and foremost because it’s uncomfortable what with there being no table top attachment to rest my computer on, and second because soapboxes are somewhat unsafe as far as platforms go. Anyway, here I am, standing (or rather sitting) tall to discuss the misuse of the word “gay” in it’s common everyday use. Let me start by saying that if you are already thinking up excuses for why I should lighten up and shut up about this topic, I need you to do something for me: if you’re a PC user: look at the top righthand corner of your computer screen, see the “x”? Go ahead and click it, Mac users, refer to your lefthand corner. Okay, now that we’ve gotten rid of them, let’s get back to this super gay post.

According to Merriam-Webster’s definition, the word gay refers to: “being merry, or happily excited, keenly alive and exuberant, brilliant in color,” and finally “of, relating to, or used by homosexuals.” So to be frank, when someone describes any displeasing event or situation as “gay”: 1. you only sound ignorant and 2. you’re clearly in need of a dictionary, thus making you sound, well, like a total idiot. Even if you don’t mean to use this word in a manner in which it is offensive to the gay community, you are still not making sense, because the word “gay” at it’s very core, bears a positive connotation.

As of late, the slang meaning for the word gay really HAS in fact come to mean “something stupid or unfortunate. originating from homophobia,” according to Urban Dictionary. I hear the phrase “that’s so gay” used everyday without fail. Sometimes it is accompanied by a laugh and the follow up, “not your kind of gay though!” While I appreciate the fact that the people around me are consciously aware of their misuse of the word and why it is offensive to me, I appreciate it even more when they take the time to think a bit more carefully about the message they are really trying to convey and when they replace the word with one such as: stupid, lame, or unfortunate. Please bear in mind that the word that should never be used as a substitution is “retarded”, but that is another post in and of itself.

I have to admit (and here is my INCREDIBLY unpopular opinion) I am honestly hard pressed to find people who are not members of the gay community who are not even ever so slightly judgmental of those of us who are. Now, if you’re sitting there saying, “this girl doesn’t know what she is talking about, I am NOT, how dare she make a blanket statement like that.” Ask yourself this: Who are you trying to convince right now? Me? The world? Or yourself? If you honestly hold no judgment your actions and the way you speak or present an argument are the tell tale signs and you have to convince no one. I can not, I repeat NOT, blame anyone for being judgmental as they have no idea what it means to be gay, or live day to day with the knowledge that they are. But you can ask questions, and you can learn about what it means to be gay.

I have found that the misuse of the word gay is incredibly generational, as I rarely, if ever, hear people over the age of 30 using it incorrectly. It begs the questions, “is that approximately the age where we reach a turning point in our lives? Is that when we decide it’s time to expand our vocabularies and grow up a bit?” One could only hope.

As always, I am RJ and if you haven’t already guessed or were never introduced to this fact directly, I am a lesbian.

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