This experience is not a costumed run-through for some well-polished performance of Life.

This is it. The real thing. All we get. Right now.

This is life, it is short, and we are using it up more quickly than we realize. Our ultimate non-renewable resource.

The seconds, the hours, the weeks, the years. Every moment of every day, humans are providedopportunity. We need to stop waking up in the morning and giving that opportunity to someone else. We need to stop worrying about judgement, or repercussions. The future always seems so far away until it’s the past– then all we want to do is hold it closely, whispering of all the ways we could have done it differently. Foregoing our “right now” for another glimpse at yesterday. Reveling in a bittersweet nostalgia while more opportunity slips away. Slips away. Slips away.

From where I am standing, that is my biggest fear. Regret. Remorse. A perfect view in hindsight of a life I could have had.

Somewhere along the way, it was planted in my fertile little mind that I could be anything I wanted to be. After 24 years of going through the motions, I’m realizing that it’s no longer a matter of “what do I want to be *when* I grow up;” the question is now “what do I want to be *since* I’m grown up?” And it’s a pretty legitimate question, no matter what walk of life you are in. Are you who you want to be?

In a world where comfortable survival were guaranteed, monetary pressures were irrelevant, and society passed no judgement on you: what would you do?

In my mind, whatever answer you provide to that question is what you truly, deeply desire for your life. In asking others this question, I’ve noticed several things. Firstly, many people cannot even fathom existence without money as their motivator. In contemporary culture, money = survival.

Another observation is that many people turn, then, to procreation. They would, in a simple world, expend reallocated energy on family. This led me to conclude (perhaps obviously) that our species understands survival. Without the concern over making it another day, I think many would feel a sense of purpose-less-ness.

Which brings me to my second point– that feeling of purpose-less-ness is what I experience every day. Money motivates me only insofar as doing what I’m “supposed to do” is concerned. It keeps the collectors from calling my mom to pick up my tab, it keeps my dog fed, and having a job gives me something to talk about at social functions. I went through the education system, the higher education system, and now I’m working in an office. It’s all very linear and logical. I get a gold star on my chart, cultural approval, and I get to pat myself on the back every other Thursday, while standing in line at the bank.

As far as breeding, it just doesn’t feel right for me. It has never felt as though a family could be my “purpose,” nor has it ever been my desire. Perhaps some women *can* do it all– the career, the kids, the social life– but I don’t think I want to try the balancing act. I am not a jack-of-all type of girl; I’m something of a perfectionist, and feel disappointed in myself if results are anything short of praise-worthy. I get anxiety over starting something I don’t have confidence in my finishing well, and raising kids is a complex objective art. Time-consuming, to say the least.

In a world without any necessity for labor, I would travel and write. This has been my answer for as long as I can remember. I would see the world, learning as much as possible, then synthesize and regurgitate this information with others. Words thrill me. They always have. Thrilling others with my words– bringing them to a time and place where  I stood, and trying to share a feeling– that is the greatest gratification I find in life.

I’m realizing that I am my own biggest roadblock. I have created the wall of “what if(s)” and “but I could never(s)” that separates me from the life I want to live. I adopt a defeatist attitude before I even enter the ring and face my opponent. I am excusing away my opportunities, as though the ship set sail long ago. No more.

It’s time for me to take action on a number of things. First and foremost, giving myself credit where it’s due. I am living one version of my dream. In little bits and bites. In fragments every time I post a blog, and x-number of people intentionally digest the contents of my mind. I am a published author; even if it’s one tiny corner of a vast sea of information. I started something from nothing, and I am getting back what I put in. It may not be the most monumental “something” of our time, but I’m not finished yet. And I AM learning about the world. Every single day, I encounter a new person, place, or bit of information.

So what more do I want?

That has become, for me, the most essential inquisitive. Who do I want to be? That’s step one to getting there.

Something spectacular. That’s my answer; the only thing I will settle for. I have this whole life to get there, and not starting today is inexcusable. More and better tomorrow. More and better the next day. The only thing holding me back from possibility is myself– pride, ego, and fear. In the end, I am realizing, it is better to have a long track record of phenomenal failures than to have taken no risks at all.

Only Speak in Pantomimes

September 9, 2010

All too often, I open my mouth and, instead of expressing the poignant conjecture which had only moments before occupied my brain, I find myself stranded in the Gobi Desert of sentences. I awkwardly twist, attempt at backtracking, and tangentially grab hold of any remaining shred of logic before I realize that my foot is now too far down my throat to say anything else.

In this way, I frequently embarrass myself, and have been known to confuse, berate, or offend others. I don’t intend to, quite the opposite, actually. My brand of honesty is just a little too honest. Like an obnoxious game show contestant, I share too much of the process and not enough well-developed thought. My emotions take charge of the rhetoric while my rational mind follows thisclose behind screaming “Stop talking! SHUT! UP!”

This is why I’m best in black and white. Letters, spaces, and punctuation. Structured sentences and fully-formed theses. My mental processes require stringent editing– I need to be cut, deleted, and re-evaluated before I can be taken seriously. And, even then,  my intentions come across botched, at best.

Language is our species’ blessing and curse. It helps us understand, and just as often misunderstand, one another. it can be literal or ambiguous, sarcastic or dead serious. Unlike much of the animal kingdom, our “language” is not based soley in brain chemicals, hormones, or singly interpretive waves. Our methodology is so convoluted, even “yes” and “no”  become interchangeable.

People crave communication. Contact with others keeps our reality consistent. We find comfort in shared experience: if the sky appeared crimson to you, basic instinct would be to seek a second opinion. We just want to be sure we’re all on the same page, or at least still in the same book.

In my human scramble to ensure a cohesive reality, I find myself sharing thoughts that aren’t quite thoughts at all. I express my perception of things as facts when, in reality, I can be rather presumptuous; occasionally all-together wrong.

Knowing this about myself, I will sometimes go so far as to rehearse even a minor monologue aloud before it’s delivery. But in the end, without fail, I say too much. I elaborate some trivial detail; drive home some irrelevant or questionably related point. I see my proverbial foot heading toward my mouth, recognize that I am about to make a fool of myself, and then proceed to either continue making things awkward or flail about wildly making conclusions that sound more like accusations.

I have a fear of the things people find “between the lines” during dialogue, so I fill that space with nonsense. I’m discovering, however, that there is truly greater value in conversational minimalism. Something about the mystery.

This is what I find most encouraging about the writing trades: they allow mediocre people who are patient and industrious to revise their stupidity, to edit themselves into something like intelligence. They also allow lunatics to seem saner than sane. [[WampetersFomaAndGranfalloons.KurtVonnegut]]

Make Your Own Luck

September 1, 2010

Confession: I have never been to Las Vegas. In fact, I’ve never even been to a casino.

Never have I pulled the lever on a slot machine; never have I tossed a set of dice on to a felt-covered table; and never have I lost track of the time in the bowels of a glitzy neon establishment, fueled by recycled air and free well-drinks.

Not for lack of proximity, au contraire, there are several casinos within mere hours of where I live. It’s just that I can’t bring myself to gamble with money. I don’t play cards for money, I don’t spin wheels for money, I don’t buy raffle tickets, and I don’t take anyones bets for anything, regardless of my certainty on the outcome. Neither of my parents were “gambling addicts,” nor are they in any way against it. It’s just a weird mental block I have. Deep in my psyche there is a voice that staunchly, and without compromise, prevents me from taking any of those definitive risks with my cash. I don’t even have a dime in the stock market. I just can’t do it.

Now, it could be argued that any time you spend your money, you are taking a risk. And that much is true to an extent, but when a transaction occurs and goods exchanged there is a level of tangibility. Even with online goods. Even with movie rentals, or concerts– which you don’t get to keep. I don’t think twice about spending $8 on a monster burrito, or the extra $2 to get organic foods. Rarely do I hesitate to purchase a $.99 app, or drop a dollar for a busker. In my mind, there is a reward for each of these scenarios, I am receiving a good or service (quality aside). With gambling, there is no guarantee– could be double or nothing.

I believe my aversion to financial risk-taking is rooted in my abhorrence of math and money in general. I just don’t understand it, none of it has ever made any sense. It bounces around my brain wildly, only to be regurgitated in a jumble of incorrect calculation and questionable logistics.

All I do know is that to live comfortably in capitalized America, I need money. To get money, I have to work. And working is not party time, even if it’s not treachery. Simply put, earning money is work.

Another word for gambling is “gaming.” A game is something you play. Gambling is, by definition, playing with money; winning means being awarded more money, losing means having your money taken away.

I know this all sounds incredibly redundant, but when I break it down to the basics, I can still find no appeal to gambling. I don’t even play carnival games, or the claw machine at the supermarket. When I invest, I want at least some type of guaranteed return– even if it’s just karmic. With gambling I don’t see most people leaving winners, otherwise casinos would probably be out of business, no?  I don’t imagine anyone there getting warm-fuzzies from knowing their cash is going to some noble cause. People just walk in, turn their government issued tender into plastic pieces with silly cartoons and fun colors, and toss it around as though it’s no longer the hour spent at their desk on Tuesday afternoon.

Gambling is about winning, if you are not winning, you are losing. In most sports, etc, it’s arguably “about playing the game,” but with gambling winning is the game. Spending money to sit in a chair spending money is not entertaining to me, and it seems a very strange attitude for a culture that laments a $.07 hike in gas prices.

Or, maybe I have this perspective because I am a loser.  I’m not trying to get down on myself here, I am simply speaking the truth.

While many find lady luck seductive, I find her management of my finances even worse than my own. You hire a landscaper for landscaping, not for accounting advice. I play games to have fun, laugh with my friends, and forget about responsibility– not lose my money (ie: time and effort). My luck has never come in the form of financial windfall, and I believe it’s best to accept this about myself than to fight it. My brand of luck is the sort that comes from contributing to the cosmic energy pool, not the financial one. My luck comes in strange coincidence and fortunate occurrences.

There is the guy who wins the lottery twice, then there is the guy who gets struck by lightning twice, and lives. I am more likely to be in that latter category, but as long as I don’t have to place any bets first, I’ll take luck however I can get it!

Time Turns Elastic

July 23, 2010

I struggle daily with what I believe. It changes by the week, with the stars, and typically without warning.  It is not so much my fundamental or moral beliefs as it is general perspective. It’s as though I can have a whole new outlook in the blink of an eye.

This leads me to believe I am a fickle example of humanity; which is sort of upsetting, although I can’t really seem to pinpoint why.

The tides of time impact everyone differently. I believe some level of personal conflict is derived from my unstable perspective on the passage of time. For me, time is a confusing combination of math and memory. I have difficulty addressing past events in a very accurate sequence unless I write them down. Some seconds feel like decades. Some days like weeks. Some years feel like months.

I often wake up 3 months ahead of myself, convinced I’ve just put in a 9 day work week. Many times, my hour has 83 minutes and my nights last whole lunar cycles. Some days seem to end without starting; and the years shuffle convincingly, like a magician’s well-worn deck of cards.

With the time/ space continuum perpetually in flux, it becomes hard for me to manage reality and my emotions about it. As a result I really try to address things as they happen, and like to resolve things before I blink my eye and discover several years have gone by. When I leave things unfinished, I have a tendency to not come back to them. I need immediate answers. Conclusions help me complete a scenario so I can file it away. The longer situational paperwork sits on my mental desk, the less likely it is to ever find it’s proper drawer.

In some cases, my brain gets stuck in a bermuda triangle. An infinite loop. Time keeps moving but I can’t move with it…

I know only that I am gaining knowledge and that I look differently than I did last decade. These are my primary indicators of progress. Where dates and times seem extremely important to some, I just can’t get them to all stand in line. Some days the numbers on the clock seem to enslave me. Others, they send me into a nostalgic swirl of self-evaluation where I lose my present to the past.

And nobody promises the future.

Defer no time, delays have dangerous ends.                                    [[HenryTheVI.WilliamShakespeare]]

The Crabby Archer

June 16, 2010

Usually, I try to remain somewhat esoteric and removed here. It’s not so much a privacy concern as it is just the way I write. My college degrees are in Journalism and Anthropology– I embody the third person on a practically subconscious level. I remove myself, and the faces and places around me, from reality when I write, and sometimes when I think. Everything becomes conceptual; the old “makes sense on paper” trick.

That said, I am going to talk about me. On my blog. Right now. Because I need to think.

I believe in the stars. I believe in the universe as something much, much larger than myself. I believe I am a tiny part of a massive machine– a speck on the face of all that is. My faith lies in the heavenly bodies: the push and pull of forces well beyond human control. As the moon moves the ocean tides, so too do I believe the alignment of the mammoth planetary and gaseous bodies in our universe, and perhaps the entirety of the cosmos, affect my measly life on earth.

Of course, I do not gobble Astrology as fact, any more than I gobble the Bible stories as fact.  I take a lot of faith with a grain of salt: people want more than anything to believe. In something. Often so much that logic and reason take back seat to miracle and hope. This is an endearingly human trait.

Anyhow, in an attempt to make sense of my world, I look to the sky.

Sagittarius is known as the nomad of the zodiac. Always seeking something more, something bigger, something else. Perpetually on the hunt for connections and greater wisdom, Sagittarius looks incessantly for some truth between the most well-composed lines. The archer is a mutable fire sign; burning with a near-desperate philosophical passion; feeding the flames with an ever evolving setting and cast of characters. There is never a dull moment because dull moments simply don’t exist.

In many ways, I am a Sagittarius through and through.

In my life, I am forever walking the world in someone else’s shoes, while simultaneously trying to remember that others aren’t always doing the same. I find myself often compromising large parts of myself in hopes of “getting” someone else’s process. Never believing there are only two sides to a story, I find myself at a nearly pathetic loss for words when attempting to describe the big picture as I see it. As the communicator of the zodiac, I desire, more than anything, understanding. Universal cohesion.

These traits are what makes me both weak and strong. Wise and naive. Simple, yet novelly complicated. My inability to deal with events outside the context of the bigger picture often leads to wildly dramatic confrontations, passionate outbursts, and some seriously stretched, but seemingly (to me anyways) logical conclusions.

My ascending sign is in Cancer. An ascending sign is the zodiac sign which was rising on the horizon at the time of our birth. This sign influences the “face” we put on– it’s more the way people perceive us than the way we feel or act. Cancers are notoriously among the most emotional of the zodiac, as a cardinal water sign. Cardinal signs are of the take-action sort, while water signs are heavily entrenched in feelings and nurturing.

Where this leaves Cancer is fiercely emotional and illogically indifferent to that fact. Cancer is, to some degree, emotionally insatiable. With Cancer as my rising sign, I see a lot of these traits surface in relationships and general human interaction.

I tend to live with my heads in the clouds, helplessly optimistic, and, more often than not, fall flat on my face in the end. And it is always to extreme disappointment, which I do not handle well. At all. Enter emotional disaster.

I could go on analyzing and over analyzing my star chart, but so what?

What does this all mean, why does it matter?

I suppose it doesn’t. Ultimately, this is probably just my Sagittarian desire to further complete the jigsaw puzzle of life. I just need it all to make sense. Understand that, no matter how much I know, how much I rationalize, how much I attempt to use logic brain all the time, there is something bigger at work.

That who I am is much more than a mass of rapidly replicating DNA cells transporting water from one large body of it to another on this blue ball floating in a space full of other balls and burning gasses. That something of it all was predetermined, out of my hands.

I need to know that Kat was created, in many ways, before she was capable of conscious self-realization. That Kat is controlled by forces so massive, yet so subtle, people deny their existence at all. That the good days, and the bad days, and the sporadic doses of insanity are, in fact, very real, and out of our mortal earthly control. Something in me needs to know that the full moon, the alignment of our solar system, and the death of supernovas millions of lightyears away all touch me somehow. The vastness of it all is dwarfing, and comprehension of such intangible concepts brings me to tears.

I’m not really sure where this is going.

And usually, this gets deleted. I hate it. It was a waste of time.

But this time, here it is. Because it doesn’t make any sense.

Here it is because this is– in so many ways, and on so many levels– me.

Welcome to my brain. This train doesn’t make stops.