Two wheels.

There’s moments in our lives that change everything that will come after that moment. And that’s all it is, a moment. But yet the ripple effect that it leaves on our lives changes everything. One second everything is one way, and the next second it’s completely different and altered the world that is your universe leaving you feeling uneasy, and not all to sure of how to move forward or where to go next.

When I was six I was hit by a car. I’ve been saying that sentence to a select few for over seventeen years, and it’s seldom that I really go into the details of exactly what that means. When I was six, I was riding my bike and eating a popsicle and not wearing my helmet. I don’t really know what happened. My guess is I lost control of my bike and ended up in the street. And a car hit me. When I was a kid, the neighbors would tell me how they say me go up in the air. Others tell me it was the scariest day of their lives. I never know what to say. Should I comfort them and apologize or let them feel pity for me? When I was hit by a car, I was a left handed kid. However. The car hit the right side of my brain shaking things up a bit, and thus, paralyzing the left side of my body. There was something in there about a seizure, I’m not exactly sure how long all that lasted.  I broke both the bones in my lower left leg, cracked my skull, and had a collapsed lung. I see six year old kids now, and can’t even imagine what I must have looked like. The doctors told my mother at one point, that they weren’t all too sure if I’d ever wake up. I did though. But all in all I was left with a traumatic brain injury. And when I relearned everything, I did it with my right side.

I had to relearn everything. How to talk. How to eat. Who people were. The alphabet. I even remember when I was finally able to walk by myself again, taking unsteady steps at first. But in all the things I had to relearn, I never exactly got around to relearning how to ride a bike. And I’m sure you can imagine why. Even now, I can still count on two hands the number of times I’ve ridden a bike since all of that happened.

We’re raised knowing certain things. Knowing things that form who we are, and what we do. I grew up knowing I can’t ride a bike. And I never really let it bother me, I mean it’s just a bike. No big deal. But everything else I’ve never been able to do has been centered around the event that left me not able to ride a bike. I’m not coordinated. Not so good with sports. I suck at math. My memory seems to suck the older I get. The list goes on. But still I’ve spent my whole life letting my bike wreck define who I am. As I’m getting older I’m starting to realize that there’s a lot of people who are not coordinated, have crappy memory, are really bad at math, and not athletic, that have never even had a head injury.

And once upon a time a family member challenged me to do a half marathon. Honest to god. In the back of my head, never really thought it would happen. I mean I’m not athletic. Athletic people do half marathons. Yet fast forward a few months, and I’d done a half marathon. It got me thinking. What else can I do that I thought I’d never be able to? And thus I started looking at bicycling. Now I wasn’t looking at it with my direct vision, but kind of out of the corner of my eye. Acknowledging that it was there.

I had a friend loan me a bike not too long ago. I got the tires changed, and tuned it up a bit. I didn’t want to invest too much into something that might be a total flop. But finally it was ready to go, and I hopped on. I was nervous to see what would happen. I put the feet on the pedals and began to move them, and what do you know. I didn’t fall. I mean I was a little wobbly at first. But I didn’t fall. The world didn’t end. And even though my mother tells me I’m being overly dramatic, I felt a huge release. Everything insecurity I’d ever had about not being able to ride a bike was gone. I could ride a bike.

I honestly don’t think anyone will ever be able to understand how freeing it was. It wasn’t even a matter of being on the bike. I mean I have a car. And I don’t mind walking places. But it was me proving that I really could do anything I wanted. I just had to get out of my own way. And for the first time I honestly feel like something that happened such a very long time ago, no longer has such a tight grip on the life that I’m living now.

Too early to make sense…

I went to bed early last night. In my weeks of being jobless, my sleep pattern has been less than desirable. Go to bed when I’m tired, getting up… whenever. Which usually comes down to going to bed around three or four in the morning, and getting up any time between 10:45, and 12:00. There’s nothing worse than not only feeling like a slacker, but waking up at noon to prove you right. Not the case last night though. See I’m working as a secretary today at some place. It was done through a temp agency. And honestly I’m thankful. I need the cash. But back to my point. I went to bed early, so I could get up early. The early that I was greeted with this morning, was not what I had in mind though. 4:30. Now forgive me if I believe that is a time to go to bed, but no time to be getting up. Just the same though, I lay in bed, and try not to force myself into sleep.

I catch up on everything I missed over night. Nothing too exciting on facebook, tumblr is essentially just as I left it. Finally the clock reaches 6 am, an hour before my alarm is set to go off. Finally I make it out of bed. I turn on the lights, open my computer, and alas, here we are.

The mornings are a funny thing for a person who is ever so naturally a night person. In the night there’s noise, and the day that had fallen before it. There’s the worry that is life, the constant movement, and jumbled up thoughts that live within my head. The social norms that I’ve confined myself to live by that are  also what I’ve trained my thoughts by. And each night, I bid my life farewell for my needed eight hours of a break. Then each morning I wake up, knowing many other people have already beaten me to it. To the morning.

Today though. When I was laying in bed. Everything seemed so calm and quiet. My day hasn’t been ruined by the world yet. My thoughts of mediocrity haven’t plagued my existence. I mean how can it, if the universe is expecting me to still be sleeping for hours more. Thoughts flow into my head in a poetic stream that only seems to come from the quiet calmness that is the early morning. My mouth– that seems to let out words almost as fast as they can, in fear of nothing getting everything out—is silent. My lips say nothing while my head is saying everything. My lips say nothing in fear of what will actually come out. In fear, that whatever it is that finally comes out, won’t be words that are my own. But instead words of something that has been fed to me.

It’s a funny thing. Being quiet. Especially this early, when words and noise is not required. I let the screaming of my tea kettle fill my need to tell the world that breakfast is almost ready. I let the slamming of keys on a key board pour out the words that are currently in my head. The longer I physically say nothing, the more anxious I become to see what my first word will be today. Will it be something profound and meaningful “I know what I want to do with my life…” or something simple and meaningless such as “I’m on my way to work” I wonder if other people think about the first sound that comes out of their mouth… or maybe it’s just me.

This feeling is almost enough to make me want to get up every morning with the hope that each day I can feel this hopeful about life. Each day knowing that regardless of what I do, that it’s going to be okay. Let’s be honest though. Not every day is like this. Hell. Most days aren’t like this. Most days, getting up is just something I do, only to be followed by doing not much else. But today is different. Today my head feels hopeful, my soul feels busy, and I feel like maybe, just maybe something is starting to turn around.

Oh. And I’m still waiting to see what my first word is going to be today. I’ll let you know.

EDIT: “I’m so excited for you” it was the first thing I said today. I was chatting with a friend and I whispered the words out loud as I typed them. Didn’t even realize it till it was already out.

Seriously?!?

Has the job market ever been easy? Every show I watch seems to have a character that is in a pinch, yet they find a job somehow. In weeds, the crazy mom got a job as a maid, while making hash in the Hotel washer. In Dawson’s Creek Jack found a job at the Potter Ice House as a bus boy. In Sex and the City, Carrie found a job working at Vogue. Just like that. No application filling out, no nervous interview. Just a casual conversation, and just like that, the hard and out character now has a job to help them out. Now where in the hell is that job in the sitcom of my life?

I’ve been searching the internet for a job for two whole months. Now believe you me. I know I’m still early in the game compared to some other people. Some people have been jobless for years, with nothing. But I’m not some people, I’m me. I have to find a job. Somewhere. Doing something. I bitched and moaned my way through college to get a degree so that I could actually have a better chance with a good job. Yet here I am.

So this morning I had a job interview. I wasn’t psyched about the job in and of itself, but at this point I’m willing to do just about anything aside from anything that involves me taking my clothes off. The job I was being interviewed for was telephone fundraising for the reelection of Barack Obama. My mother was appalled at the idea of me taking such a job (she’s really not a big Obama fan), and made me promise I wouldn’t tell anyone if I got the job… it would be embarrassing. It had been mentioned by a close family member that it would probably be less embarrassing for the rest of the family if I worked at a strip club… so yeah, there’s their views on all that.

To me though it was a job. And it was money I didn’t have, but needed. I had been instructed on the phone to dress business casual, that it was a very relaxed business environment and I should be comfortable. Just the same, I wore my grey Calvin Klein pencil skirt, with a cute dry clean only blue top, and alas my not so very high pumps. I looked good. I knew it. I knew this was a job that I could nail. I’d already started planning out how long I would need to work before I could pay for the things I need (new O2 sensor on my car to make it pass inspection, new titles, etc to have title on my car that is now expired, rent, insurance, so on and so forth) and I was excited knowing I’d be paying for my own things.  I’d also been told when the interview for this job was scheduled that I would find out the day of whether or not I got the job. So I knew I’d be going home with a job. These people needed me and there was no way I wouldn’t get the job.

Yet during the interview I was taken aback by the man’s appearance who was interviewing me. His appearance was less than business casual, I’m not even sure I’d consider it casual. It was more I just woke up, its Saturday morning, I’m hungover and this is what I’m wearing today. I handed him my resume and smiled. I sat there as he went on about coming in tomorrow for a training session where I would be paid for two hours. I was excited. I’d be getting paid. Then he handed me a sheet and asked me to read it out loud. I did as he asked. And then just like that the interview was over. The man explained that there were so many applicants and he just didn’t feel like I was a good fit. But maybe something would come up in a few weeks.

I was furious. I didn’t get the job. I stood up, thanked him and walked out. I’m not proud of this, but I was on the verge of tears. This was a job I was certain I’d had in the bag and thought it would temporarily solve all my problems. I was so defeated. I still had no job.

To top it all off. I’d been denied a job by a guy wearing a Tom Waits tee shirt, and cargo camo pants. What the fuck?

I have to wonder. Has it ever been easy to get a job? In 2006 (before the economy went to hell) was getting a job so much easier than it is now? Or has getting a job always been something that’s hard.

In the mess of it all

I spend so much of my life worrying if what I’m doing is the right thing. And even if it’s not, will it ultimately help me get what I want. If I do X & Y, will it help me get Z? I’ve never really known what I wanted to do with my life. I mean maybe when I was a kid, I knew I wanted to be a writer. But other than that, I never really knew what I wanted to do. I never had one college major in mind. I honestly think I changed majors three times my first semester in college. I never could have known then that it didn’t really matter. It always left me kind of feeling like I was either really lost, or going with the wind.

I did a year of film school in college, and actually got a diploma from that. I thought that if I could dedicate myself to one thing, maybe I’d like it and it would work out to be something I could live with. And so far film is really one of the few things in my life that I keep trying to get away from, and it keeps finding its way back to me.

When I was living in North Carolina, I had my whole life planned out. The next two years would go exactly as I planned. I had several intricate steps planned out to perfect timing. Each step would help me succeed in what I wanted to do. Regardless of whether or not I even knew what that was. I was going to go to Mexico for five weeks. And if I got back in Raleigh at this time, and then I had my friend pick me up before 1 am, we’d get back to Wilmington by 4 or 5 am, I’d have enough time to change clothes, stop by my apartment, and eat breakfast, before the last mandatory transfer orientation at 8. Then at 3 after the orientation I would go to the DMV to get my suspended license back. Then the next day I would start class. Taking 15 hours, so I could graduate after 4 semesters at the University. It was all planned out so perfectly. It would all happen. Now if only I’d planned on things not going exactly as I’d planned them. Funny how that thought had never entered into my head. It was only after I’d made so many exact plans that the rug was pulled from under my feet. I hadn’t gotten into the University. For days, I was stuck with this question of “Now what” and I honestly had no clue. My mother wanted me to stay in North Carolina and work until I got into school. I wanted to move somewhere new and work. But I also knew I wanted a college degree. And I felt like the two options I was seeing couldn’t give me anything that would make me happy.

So out of simple curiosity I called the University back home that I’d started at. And they said they’d be glad to have me back, just have my transcripts sent over, and I could apply for classes the day they got my transcripts. It sounded so easy. And it really was. All I would have to do is pack everything I had into a truck and move it home. Except it wasn’t that easy. I’d built an entire life that I was just going to leave behind. But I was doing it because I knew a college degree would make me happy. And I knew I wanted a college degree, sooner rather than later.

Even being back home, I wasn’t happy. And I hated school. I hated that I was there. More often than not it was hard to remember that I’d chosen to go back there. But I did finish. And the feeling I did have when I FINALLY graduated was happiness. I’d done it.

Now I’m in Austin, looking for a job. I know that having money coming in will make me happy. I also know that I’m a writer. Lastly, I know writers don’t always make much. So do I write? Or do I get a real job? I know people say you can do both, but I have my reservations. I think to really do something; you need to dedicate your entire being to it. Easier said than done.

I’ve been feeling kinda crappy lately. No job. Not a lot going on. I spend a lot of time bored. But last night, on a whim. I hit downtown Austin, I drank margaritas in the company of people. And even did a shot or two of tequila. Tricky little devil that drink is, but just the same it was good. It was nice to spend a few moments not worrying about whether or not me being downtown was a good idea. Or whether or not my shirt was too low cut. What would the people thing? Not worrying about any of it, made everything so much easier. I think I just need to stop worrying about what’s going to happen to me. I mean I really can only do so much to change a current situation and that’s the only thing I can do. Focus on me now. What am I doing now and do I enjoy whatever it is that I’m doing.

Write(r)

I grew up understanding that there were years between the moment I was currently in, and who I wanted to be. There was always things stopping me. I had school. I was too young. I still needed to… I could list a million different reasons that I always had to comfort me from really following my dreams. Maybe someday I’d… well, in a moment I hadn’t expected I realized that my someday has become today, yesterday, maybe even a little tomorrow. The last few days I’ve been sitting in my apartment freaking out about the money that is no longer flowing into my bank account. I’m afraid of uncertainty. What do I do? How do people get by when they don’t have a job? Am I making a mistake? Will all of this really work out? These are just a few doubts I have on a daily basis.

For so long, people have asked me what I wanted to do. And I’d roll my eyes, let out a nervous laugh, and then say something like “whatever pays the bills” or, if I was being remotely honest, I would say “I’m still figuring that out”. Lately though, I’ve been stepping up to the plate. Slowly I am fessing up to who I am. I’m confessing to who I’ve always been, at the very core of me. A writer. I tell stories. It’s what I’ve always done. And honest to god, I expect it’s probably what I’ll always do. One way or another I’ll figure it out, and tell the stories of all the places I’ve seen. And the things I can only imagine.

I met someone today who struck me as something they turned out not to be. At first glance of this person I saw someone not all that different from a lot of people I know. Attractive, confident, borderline flirty, outgoing, so on and so forth. Yet as I talked to them I realized they were nothing like they seemed. This person looked at me and challenged me as a writer. Broad sholders and all they challenged me to rise up to who I know I really am. Without saying the words, they made me want to put paper to pen. They made me want to do what I know I need to do. They made me want to write. To put my words poeticly on paper. To prove a point through something that comes to me so effortlessly.

Q: “What kind of writer are you?”

A: “A good writer” 🙂

Fantastic

My first week in Austin I found myself among a group of Austinite hipstirs. I wasn’t sure that I fit in their group, but for the night I was down for a little company, someone to chat with as apposed to simply sitting, starting off into space. They asked me about myself, and why I came to Austin, so on and so forth. I mentioned film. And one of the girls told me I would be smart to check out this thing called Fantastic Fest (http://fantasticfest.com/). So I did.

I was quick to send out an email and offer myself as a volunteer. After having worked as a volunteer at other fests I knew that usually a free pass is involved. It officially starts today, but I was scheduled yesterday to help hand out badges. I already know that I can’t wait to actually go to this thing. Everyone, as far as I can tell is so amazingly friendly and I am certain that the films in the festival will be just as the name suggests, Fantastic.

I worked in film for a bit in North Carolina, and eventually I realized that it stopped being fun. So I sort of walked away. And I wasn’t sure that I’d ever really get back into it. I mean it’s so exhausting. And maybe this was just a dream I needed to put out to pasture.

Two weekends ago though, I stepped on a set (and independent one but still…) and I couldn’t help but smile. I hated that I’d spent the last year hiding from something so great. I’d doubted film and all it could be. But just being around it again, I couldn’t help but smile and be surprised by how amazingly natural and good it felt. Why would I deny myself something that feels this good. It’s like I’d been seeing dull shades of color and suddenly everything is alive and vibrant.

And this week will be no different. I get to hang out and network with film people. I get to be around that “scene” and find my way into it. I get to shake hands and socialize. I get to be around people who are crazy about film in the same way I am. All of this. Because of a festival that just happens to be fantastic.