Monday, November 17, 2014

<<<<<< love letters to san francisco >>>>>>

Since the time change, I've found myself seeking out sunsets and sunrises, or I've ended up in the middle of them, much more frequently. This is the best part about daylight savings, unless you talk to my goth boyfriend, who I think wishes the sun literally did not exist .... 


San Francisco is beautiful. I love it. Here it is, as seen on my wanders lately, at dusk. 

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Who knows, right?

I decided a few weeks ago, before my return to blogging more regularly, that the reason I hadn't been blogging is because I didn't feel like cluttering up the internet with meaningless posts or content. Sure, I could post every day, but I don't have things I want to talk about every day. I wish I did, but I just don't. I'm not at a place in my life where I feel comfortable discussing the everyday minutiae anymore, and beyond that, I don't feel like rambling about my day is particularly good content.

I really like having targeted posts, but the inspiration isn't there a lot of the time. I also suffer from "never finished post syndrome" and have tons of drafts sitting there without specific content. I have posts in my head, but I don't feel like writing them yet, etc. I'm sure many people who blog are familiar with this stuff. Previously, I'd put a lot of imaginary pressure on myself to blog as much as possible, but perhaps obviously, quality > quantity.

But I'm also not a full time blogger who has a ton of time to go out and immaculately document my weird hobbies and share them with the world. I wish I could fit all that stuff into the day, but I'd rather be out there living life. But then again, I do love documenting my life. Of course this blog is for me, but it's out there for a reason -- so other people come across it. I just think it's kind of lame to post a picture of me with my gourds (above) and then not tell some award-winning story to tell about it that weaves in the themes of both the gourds and my crazy socks. Right?

I know. I'm overthinking this. But I've been sitting here for 2 days unable to weave a Pulitzer-winning blog post about my really quite mundane life. Here's what it would probably involve, if it's based off of the last few days:

  • Not sleeping enough/being a hot mess every day 
  • Accidentally buying music with my work credit card (UGH thanks Amazon!) 
  • Missing a step while taking out the trash and really aggravating my still-injured hip tonight
  • Wishing everybody would just get off my lawn
  • Finishing Stargate: Universe and not even crying 
  • Shooting long-distance daggers at my mom/friends in OR because it's going to snow and I'm going to miss it again
  • The thrilling tale of how I folded all of Gabe's t-shirts last night 
  • Hours spent watching online puppy cams
  • One minute: so happy about holidays Next minute: holiday denier 
  • That time I read the entire Taylor Swift Wikipedia page & became a trivia expert 
  • Various Gemini Problems
I mean ... you know? 

Anyway, stay tuned, because there are real posts about music and movies and books coming. 

Monday, November 10, 2014

Dream Big

I've always had big dreams in my life. Even as an adult, when we tend to realize that we can't possibly accomplish all of our dreams and tend to pare them down to a realistic bunch, I've found it very difficult to stop dreaming big, to stop believing that anything is possible. I mean, obviously I'm not going to be an astronaut or something, but that makes sense, because I really don't want to be an astronaut (I'm afraid of heights, flying, enclosed spaces ... so... yeah). But for those dreams I still want to achieve -- I have a hard time, even in my 30s, telling myself to give up on them.


And this really is my Achilles' heel: at the same time I'm typing things like the paragraph above, at the same time I refuse to give up hope that I can accomplish my dreams, I'm telling myself every single day that they're not really possible. I'm starting from a place in my mind where I'm too old to accomplish anything. That I should just give up. It's too hard. That my life won't allow for actually making things happen. My life has already been decided. The path in front of me does not allow for flights of fancy, says my head. It's done. You've lost all your chances.

I need to make that voice shut up. It's killing my spirit.

I want to live in Europe for a year.

I want to get a masters degree in something.

I want to visit all 50 states.

I want to spend a summer in Europe roaming around photographing music festivals.

I want to visit as many countries as possible during my lifetime.

I want to grow all of my own vegetables in a backyard/front yard garden.

I mean, that list -- it's just of things. That isn't really the point. 

I am so tired of telling myself I can't do anything. Why am I so into disempowering myself? Shouldn't I be over this by now? Don't people usually learn the art of self-empowerment in their early 20s? These don't seem hard for most people to accomplish -- these specific things, I know many people who have accomplished them already. Who knows if I'd even enjoy some of these (maybe I'm actually going to be a terrible gardener, you never know!) and maybe I would hate living in a foreign country and maybe I wouldn't feel like getting a masters degree was worth my time, in the end (in fact, that's the one I waffle on the most these days). I'm just so tired of telling myself I can't have what I want just because it seems unlikely, or because "at my age" I should just accept my lot in life and give up on the things that sound wild or crazy, or because "I just shouldn't."

Why the heck not? And how did this mindset get into my head in the first place?
So frustrating.

But, a caveat. This really does not mean I'm not happy with what I do have in my life.
It's a completely separate thing. And that's important to note.

I have a really good life. I'm extremely privileged and I'm not denying that. My everyday life is that of a privileged person who has accomplished a fair amount, all things considered. If anything I have an embarrassing amount of love and material items and opportunities in my life right now, and I don't take that for granted. I just really want to start learning how to finally take my life by the horns, and learn how to take advantage of all of the great stuff around me and available to me in life. So many of you reading this are the people who inspire me to be the best Amber I can be, because it sure seems like you're being your best selves. You're doing cool stuff and have seemingly unflappable confidence in areas where I'm still learning to walk.

I don't know that this is really the way I thought this blog post would go, but here it is.
I've been having all these realizations recently that I've built a cage around myself, and it's all fake, none of it is real. I've spent so much of my life believing that the universe is preventing me from doing the things I want to do, when in fact, it's an illusion inside my head. I want to do something about this so passionately. I have been trying so hard every day these last few months to catch myself when I'm making up reasons why I can't do something, or putting myself back in that box where I have no free will for no reason. I think about it all the time. I really feel like it's the key to moving beyond so many of the issues I've been struggling to work through these last few years.

It's a bit scary to put any of my real issues out there on the internet, of course because I fear being misconstrued or judged, and maybe I won't even publish this. I don't know.

Actually, I have decided to publish this. Because who cares? They're just my thoughts. And also, it's not like I'm the first person who has ever felt this way.

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

The Unpopular Opinion: Electoral Dysfunction

Today is another election day. Oh, how I loathe election days. It's really amazing how my adult life, and the mountains of political bullshit that have happened during my adult life, have changed me. I used to be so into politics, and now I hate politics with a fiery fervor. I also hate how stupid and generally lazy Americans tend to be when going (or NOT going) to the polls.

It's made me so angry today, seeing what my peers in SF are saying about the election. There is a very special kind of Crazy that exists in bay area politics, and it really grates on me sometimes. Just because I consider myself a moderate (particularly on fiscal issues), I'm branded an "Idiot Republican" by people close to me, as well as by strangers. Debating politics in San Francisco is a fool's errand. I stopped talking about politics online years ago, and I mostly stopped talking about politics in person, too, because the attacks? They are all personal. And it sucks. An open dialog about politics is not really welcomed in SF. The way things go can be summed up like this: "We're really tolerant, as long as you agree with us." News flash: that isn't tolerance.

My beliefs and my opinions are valid, but it's not worth it to me to push my personal "agenda" while living in the bay area. Nobody wants to hear it. And I hate arguing with people who are unwilling to engage alternative points of view. So I'll keep my fairly socially liberal, pretty fiscally conservative, always skeptical viewpoints to myself. And you're welcome to yours. In fact, I really want you to have your viewpoints. Your well reasoned viewpoints. Not what you read in the Bay Guardian's election endorsements, because then you're just toeing the line, being lazy. No respect there. I encourage everyone to form their own educated opinions on issues.

Good thing I have the freedom to vote my conscience. I love voting and I take it very seriously, even though I know most things won't go the way I wish they would. At least, by taking an informed position, and voting in every election, I know I've contributed. And that's what's most important.

On a related note: if you're someone who doesn't vote because you think you're making some kind of moral stand, that you refuse to vote on any of the propositions because they aren't written well and are meant to trick you -- I have news for you: you are part of the problem. If you don't vote NO on these propositions (and oh, I do), then you're going to be pretty unhappy when all the people who go in without doing their research and vote yes on everything that sounds vaguely appealing, pass all those poorly worded, manipulative laws on your behalf. Voting no is so important. It blows my mind that people think not voting on ballot measures, particularly in always high-stakes California, is the better option.

I know that so many other places (including many other states in the US!) have actual bipartisan systems and contentious elections and some are trying to prevent people of color from voting today, passing racist voter ID laws and trying to intimidate people at their polling places. These are real, frightening problems. I think this is what upsets me the most about bay area politics: ours aren't, or at least shouldn't be, actual problems. They're nothing like what's been going on in Virginia and Texas and I'm sure other places today. People here have such a sense of entitlement and self-importance, as if being intolerant and exclusive is our birthright. Just shut your mouth, do your research, go vote, and realize how damn lucky you are to be able to do so. Don't take it for granted. Don't focus on the wrong things. See beyond your personal worldview. We'll all be much better for it.


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