I Struggle With Coldplay
Yes, the band. The music.
They use to be one of my favorites, and they still are… but it’s tough for me to listen to them. With the exception of “Fix You,” a song too personal and intimate to be categorized as anything other than a part of me, their music brings back too many memories of the hot summer sun, the crash of the ocean waves, late night drives to nowhere places, the dewey smell of a cooling evening under the stars, and prattling conversation that eventually transforms into a deep held confession. Coldplay was the promise that love could happen; that my young heart could reach out and connect with another.
But time happens. We grow, we change, and we move on. And so Coldplay became overwhelming nostalgia, a sadness of losing what I wanted, an unfortunate “could have been,” and the reality that we don’t always get what we long for. Life can be a destroyer as much as it grants us opportunity. Therefore I took the music I loved and wished to write on my arms for the world and I boxed it up and put it away, knowing it’d never be my love song. I carried an internal sickness that made me bitter, lethargic, and hateful. It was like mucus in the mind that clouded my judgement and convinced me I would always feel the need for the Green trees of the forest or the longing for the tune of a Red guitar. Coldplay was the sound of myself trying to figure herself out.
And then I heard “Midnight.”
There’s something so aching about it. It’s simple, soft, gentle, like an ending…and as the song continues, the sound begins to blossom. And i don’t hear a memory, I hear birth. After all, midnight is the start of the next day, the quiet, dark hours of a morning untouched yet by the sun. And when I think about where I am and how different I’ve become over the past few years, I do feel that I’ve passed another midnight. It’s now a new day and a new chance to experience other parts of life. I no longer fit with the melodies they once produced; songs that remind me of a better time, because things are far better.
So I hear this Coldplay song and I feel the California breeze on my skin. I see the weight of the west on my choices, and I know that it’s good. This song reminds me of the buzz of my potential being turned into my reality. I hear the beautiful laughter of new faces that support me and want to share in my triumphs the way I want to celebrate their own. And in its symphony, I see love walking along the parallel sidewalk just seconds before it crosses the road to meet me.
I think I’ll pull down the box and graciously accept the band as a part of my past. I’ll listen fondly to their former music and remember how many tears, lonely battles, miles crossed, and goodbyes it’s taken for me to pass midnight and start this new day. I do believe that their frequency is once again in sync with my own.
Coldplay, we can be friends again.
Keep me on Country
Country music is saving me right now.
I couldn’t tell you why, but if I keep playing country music when I’m doing my work, cleaning, working out, etc…I don’t feel sad.
Country music is light, happy, and it makes me feel like I’m free. It is the summer breeze rattling the trees; the smoky barbeque smell as evening falls. It’s the ocean waves touching your toes on a hot day in July. It’s like the first beer of a fun night where you know you’ll find love and it’ll love you back. Normally I like acoustic, indie, rock, r&b…anything else. But I can’t listen to anything but country music. Maybe it’s because I spent so much time this past summer talking about the South, barbeque, traveling, drinking, and young love, that the country songs I’m favoring feel like a conversation I’ve previously had.
Being back in Philadelphia is a bit weird. So much has changed and so much is exactly as I left it. I’m older and wiser and I’ve swam in both the Pacific and the Atlantic in the same month, but I forget these people haven’t. This life hasn’t been seen in a year, and I’ve got to dust it off some more. I’ve grown in different directions and as I round out my last year, I find myself remembering home. Yeah, I’m certainly clinging to it some, but not the same way I did when I initially left for my freshman year. This is the year that I’ll choose people I want with me for years to come. No pressure though, really.
I’m going through a tricky time right now, I think. There’s so much going on and I miss people, places, and situations much more than I thought I would. I guess this is nothing new. I’m never quite satisfied and I think I’m designed like this so that I never settle. It makes me feel better to call it ambition. That way if I step on the hopes and dreams of those around me it doesn’t make me feel quite so terrible.
But country music is consistent. It values the same wants, experiences, and expectations Billboard chart after Billboard chart. The banjo is the same, there’s always a snare drum involved, we’ll definitely hear someone harmonizing about escaping town in a pickup truck and never turning back….but they’ll still wake up in their hometown the next morning and smile about it. I appreciate the simple beauty this music celebrates. It feels like love. I miss love.
Some of my friends are giving me a hard time about it. I think it is a little funny. Here comes a kick boxer dressed in black and wearing skeletons around her wrist, and she’s singing at the top of her lungs to Florida Georgia Line, Keith Urban, and Sam Hunt. Oh well. Life is beautiful when you surround yourself with what makes you happy. If it’s skulls and country music, I’m alright with that.
I spent my morning thinking about the breeze coming through the window. It’s the last breath of August and as September rolls in, the distraction and carefree escape of summer dies as the leaves begin to fall. I don’t think it matters how old we become, the beginning of autumn is bittersweet. Sure it’s beautiful and things like football, pumpkin spice lattes, and comfy sweaters are reintroduced into our lives, but we are reminded of the responsibilities and battles we must return to. We can run and avoid our responsibilities when it’s light for hours, but the days will unquestionably become shorter. We will all return to a routine and a life we put on hold.
I’m sitting in a Starbucks in Albany, NY, drinking a pumpkin spiced iced coffee (Hah), preparing for the football game I’m going to later (Hah), and I’m thinking about battles. Mine, my friends, my family’s…we’re all fighting them. Do they ever really change? Do we face a variety of challenges as we age and grow? Or do the demons that plague us shape shift; different appearance, same repetitive issue. Maybe it depends on the person. And then I wonder, what if the problem we think we have is actually a disguise for a deeper, more meaningful issue that is unknown to us but blatantly obvious with some patience and observation.
My friend is currently going through a breakup with her boyfriend of 5 years. She’s devastated. She keeps telling me how she can’t stop crying and how she wants him back. I really do understand how she feels. She genuinely feels like she’s never going to find someone to love ever again. 5 years is a long time. It’s not just the loss of a person, it’s the loss of time spent and emotions shared. Right now she can only think about the good times and how it’s never going to happen again. She is a great friend. She’s new to my life, but has already done things for me that some friends of a few years have never done. And I mean no disrespect to her when I say this, but I remember just a few weeks ago when we were having girl time over a long walk where she was saying how she didn’t feel like she was in the relationship and how she wanted to do new things. When she traveled to Florida for vacation she told me how relieved she was to not have to go to his house every night. She longed for a more social relationship because he never displayed the desire. She’s also been seeing someone on the side the same way her boyfriend, now ex, is leaving her for another girl. But now that the ties have been severed, she wants him back because she loves him. Maybe it’s true. When I look at the circumstances surrounding her life, I don’t think the true battle is that they’ve broken up…I think it’s the loss of her routine. She was comfortable and now her world is flipped upside-down. Her universe is small. She works, exercises, and socializes within a 10 mile radius. She’s never really taken any major risks in her life, so she’s not accustomed to facing adversity. She’s in real pain right now…I understand that. I know she’s going to be okay eventually, but she thinks that life is over. It is, in the way that she knew it, but she needs more stimulation. I hope she doesn’t go back to him. I hope she looks for a job in Florida, like she was telling me she was, and moves. But it’s her battle to fight. I’ll support her war strategy the best way I can.
Tonight I watch another person fight a battle. He’s also new to my life and while I’m still learning about him and how he operates as a person, I’m very aware of this particular issue. Once upon a time, 4 years ago, a young and arrogant athlete took to the field of a football all-star game. It was June of 2011. He was the best in the state. He won medals and awards and attention because he was good. Like, seriously good. And come that fall, he would be attending college on an athletic scholarship. The way he recalls it to me, it was his best game to date. And with one snap, breakaway lineman, and hard tackle, his world quite literally snapped in two. Not only did the bone in his left leg separate…so did life as he knew it. From the that very moment in time he would be faced with countless obstacles that would make anyone in their right mind want to give up. For the past few years, the only thing he seemed to feel was rejection, loss, and pain. Tonight he’ll finally be given the opportunity to be the starter he should have been 4 years ago. At this point, it’s more than football to him, it’s being able to say that he made it through. Now he’s a cryptic person and I’m certainly not the one he’ll confess to, but according to him he’s afraid of missing and being kicked off the team and re-breaking his leg. These are all rational fears and I’m sure that these things honestly scare him. But I think what scares him most is the idea that his body and his mind will fail him. He is afraid that his next screw up, challenge, obstacle…whatever you want to call it…will be the one that does him in for good. I don’t think he remembers his arrogant, confident self because that person died so long ago along with his former demons of being out performed by someone better than him. I believe that his battle now is the one he’ll fight for the rest of his life; the expectation that the worst will happen to him and that he will not be able to recover. I think about the emotions he’ll be facing tonight and I realize I understand only the surface of his experience. I really can’t say I understand the pressure and anxiety he will be feeling. There is no comfort or advice that I can offer to him because it would be given with empty reassurance. How he chooses to fight is the right way. He’s the only one who has been there every step, every kick, of the way.
I wonder if anyone thinks about me in this way. I’ve got my issues of course. Some are very apparent to me, and others I don’t understand. I haven’t figured out where they come from. Sometimes I think it’s the breakup I’m currently coping with or the realization that my friends aren’t always 100% accepting of the way I operate. Perhaps I’ve developed my demons over time, through repetitive negativity and the constant belief that I’m internally ugly. There’s a tricky balance between too much assessment and not enough reflection, and I teeter back and forth between these extremes. I’m willing to bet you that someone I associate with could accurately describe my ongoing internal demon. It’s some super obvious detail that I’m missing to connect the dots, and others are able to see in seconds. But I don’t know who knows, if there is anyone at all. I still wouldn’t be able to see it.
We’re all harboring broken hearts. We’re all fighting a battle of some sort. Inside all of us are devilish monsters that feed off our fear, doubt, and anxiety. It can confuse use and make us bitter to those doing a better job of fending them off. Will we ever win against them? Probably not, but we can control them in the best way we think we know how.
It is not in my nature to fight. It is not my interest to argue or not care or confront someone over petty issues. Anger brings feelings of discomfort and I just don’t enjoy the tension.
I think that’s why I love to fight and learn the martial art of Muay Thai. It feels good to be something, to act in a way that is against what feels natural to me. How many times are you told to back off or step down or ignore a problem when it comes to you? I think it’s especially true when it comes to being girl. We’re not supposed to fight back. I mean yes, historically we’re designed to be submissive and complacent and agreeable…and so I think perhaps it’s bled into what we as a society subconsciously teach girls. Guys can roughhouse and get physically aggressive and no one thinks anything of it. They’re just being guys and a black eye or so later they’re all friends again. Girls…not so much. When I was a kid on the playground, fights between the other kids would be stopped. It’d result in a scolding on how discussion and “talking it out” was the way to fix the problem, and a punishment of sorts. Missing out on recess. A call home to mom and dad. Don’t hit back.
Hitting back won’t always be the solution. I side with diplomacy. Except I don’t think we should be ashamed to speak with a fist. I think there are instances where you need to physically make your point. It’s a massive statement to tell someone, “I’m not going to stand for that,” and it can be even more powerful when using body language. Everyone will understand your point. Words can be misleading and shady and double meaning. A fist to the face means one thing, “No.” We should know how to say, “no,” in every language.
I like the girl who looks back at me in the window of my fight gym. She is strong. She is calm. She isn’t anxious and doubtful of her decisions. She’s less inclined to cry when frustrated because she knows how to breathe through it. I wish for everyone to feel this type of control. Maybe it’s sports or other hobbies, but whatever brings you happiness and the feeling that you can do anything is something you should keep a priority in your life. For me, muay thai provides me the time where I cannot think of anything else other than muay thai. I promise you that being 100% in the moment, mind off of work, school, relationships, and other matters, will do amazing things to your life. I am an angry, bitter, jealous person who takes things much too personally, but fighting releases that through sweat, through tears, through blood, and through energy. There have been periods of time when my life was pulling me in so many directions, yet when fighting I submitted myself totally to my instructor. Your body can take more pain, pressure, and stress that you realize. It’s the mind that needs a workout. The greatest exercise, and lesson, that muay thai fighting has taught me is to keep going, keep pushing, and keep fighting, even after being hit. It’s about how much you can get hit and keep moving forward (thank you Rocky).
I respect those who fight. I’m sure we all know someone who says they work or stand for something, but they’ll roll over when they start being hit. But if you are a fighter, someone who keeps going and pushing through pain and obstacles, you are my inspiration.
(from the 4 months I lived in Los Angeles, CA)
Being in the land of show business, you have to expect that the lifestyle here can loosely reflect the industry. What’s “new”, “interesting”, and “entertaining” are some of the most common adjectives that are thrown around this flashy town and as a community member, you must also adhere to the standard. So don’t be surprised when people begin to ask you about your “story,” also known as the moment when you knew you didn’t want to be a doctor, a lawyer, or a stuffy old businessman. Because most of the Los Angeles is very oriented around the creation and production of entertainment, it’s very easy to assume that whomever you’re talking to is either or aspiring to be an actor, a writer, a producer, a director, or some other talent figure. Therefore when I’m asked about my personal story, I find myself feeling somewhat out of place as I’m not exactly in one of those categories.
My interests lie with the “business of the business” also known as the advertising industry. Perhaps it’s only my impression that people scoff and scorn the aspiring mad men, but I’ve noticed that I don’t really get much feedback when I share my current career ideals for these reasons: 1) I’m not looking to go into the art department, therefore the public looses interest and 2) advertising isn’t regarded as legitimate form of entertainment unless it’s Super Bowl Sunday. You’ll have to excuse my lack of design ability. Sometimes it seems like you’re only worth as much as your Photoshop Skills. So even though eyes may not brighten and shimmer when I tell someone, “Oh, yes I’d like to work as an account manager for an advertising agency,” I can usually get someone to understand my position after I give them a little background.
My favorite line to use is, “I grew up as a fine artist” because it’s the honest to goodness truth. Throughout my childhood and teenage years, I was very involved with the arts and I was known as the girl who could draw. I love being swept up in my graphite pencils, oil pastels, and acrylic paints. Paper was mine to manipulate, and I was received some attention for my craft. Not only did I enjoy the fine arts but also the theater. At a young age I was involved in a professional children’s theater and from there I continued to perform in company and high school performances. So when I was touring schools and thinking about what I wanted to do with the rest of my life, I looked for programs that encompassed the creative, the entertaining, and the realistic. The art schools didn’t provide the right fight; I didn’t get the sense I would be doing all the things I loved to do. I needed to feel like I was actively contributing to a process that I would see from start to finish. And what would be the largest scale possible for me to create and showcase my hard work?
There was no “ah-ha” moment when I decided I wanted to be in advertising, but I’ve come to adore the industry because it’s a blend of all the things I have ever truly loved. It’s art, production, entertainment, and attention seeking all at the same time. Sure it’s only advertising, and who really wants to see another commercial, but advertising provides a unique opportunity to be highly creative in small media spaces. Good ad work speaks and interacts directly with the public. And honestly, I feel that it’s important Advertising has such a huge influence on American culture even in the most subtle of ways. To be a part of a culture or a movement would be very humbling.
So yes, I want to be a mad man. The next “Don Draper,” but I’m a girl, so we can call me Donna instead. Essentially, this industry contains many parts of the entertainment community that is so relevant to Los Angeles. I guess if you’re someone who doesn’t know who or what to be, advertising gives you the chance to wear many different hats. And I must say, I really love the idea of being able to contribute to dinner discussions of funny E-Trade or Doritos commercials….even if it’s not directly my idea being flashed across the television screen. What is most satisfying to me is knowing how I was able to execute the process.
I’m totally in love with juicing and the idea of Raw Foodism. My new juicer makes me so happy! Juicing fruits and veggies really cleans you out, give you energy, and makes you feel phenomenal. I’d really like to incorporate more vegan and raw meals into my diet.
And I’m like the happiest creature in the world when I’m in Whole Foods. I want to go there all the time haha. It’s too bad that I’m a little farther from the closest store. Or maybe it’s good. I’d spend all my money there.
To anyone looking for a delicious, healthy meal….I got this recipe from FullyRawKristina’s youtube channel. She’s awesome so check her out! You chop up and mix together apple and banana, sprinkle cinnamon on it, then top it off with almond butter. Seriously, try it. Even if you’re not vegetarian, vegan, a raw foodist, or whatever you identify as you should give this a shot. I don’t identify as any of those things and I want to eat this all day long.
Is it so weird to want to eat natural foods? That I don’t want to eat something that has been made in a laboratory or that will preserve other foods for like 10 years. It seems creepy. I feel like i have to come out to my family and friends about this because they don’t know that i feel this way. I can hear the comments now..ugh.
Out of the closet…for dietary preferences. That’s a good one
Disappointment is a funny thing. It plagues me, much like the sun taunts the flowers on a cloudy day. Being disappointed is such an overwhelming feeling that sends me into a panic.
“I wanted this; I worked for it, but not enough was done. I was unsuccessful.”
Who knows what could have happened if I had that opportunity on the line? I don’t know and I’ll never know again. However I won’t let my desire to know what could have been overcome what is happening. If my life was a joust, I’d root for the underdog to dismount the other…even if it takes time for the rider to properly knock down his opponent.
I must confess this to myself: I don’t know everything and I’m not better than anyone else. Who am I to have a chip on my shoulder just because I’ve found some easy, simple success? I’m nobody.
I’ve got the rest if my life to be successful and to make more mistakes. The only way to waste potential is to e dismounted and never get back in your saddle: to never raise your spear and take another aim. Disappointment is going to be a very common companion and I’ve just got to learn how to live with it. I’ve got plenty of time to make something out of myself. I think I just need to keep reminding myself that it’s never over.
The Human Element
Do you want to know what’s really hard about working in pharmaceuticals or healthcare? It’s the people and the community. I spend most of my day digging through the internet as I research health activists, conditions, and various other healthcare community related stuff. So it can be really easy to zone out and forget that you’re looking at someone’s life. Sometimes the person is dull, boring, socially (via the internet) inactive, and/or you just don’t connect with them. It’s just a name on the computer with a few images and a condition, and all I’m doing is piecing together information. But then there are times where you’re researching someone and it hits you right in the gut. Maybe it’s something they wrote, a picture they posted, a condition they have, something they like, a past time hobby that you do too…anything, big or small. And then you realize that you’re looking at a person. Their whole life is sprawled out for you in words, photos, relationships, and events, across various spaces of the internet and for whatever reason, you know realize this person is out there somewhere in the universe. You recognize that they’re consciously walking around, breathing, and being someone with a life completely outside of yours. Maybe they’re happily going about their life. Maybe they’re suffering and trudging through the pain. Maybe they’re dying. It could be any of these and sometimes they’re simultaneous.
I came across a woman a few days ago suffers from depression and anxiety. But she really wanted to be pregnant and have a family so she gradually weaned herself off of her medications. Over the course of two years, thousands of dollars spent on fertility treatments/in-vitro fertilization, and a miscarriage later, she finally has her baby. And not even 6 months later she is diagnosed with stage IV colon cancer. She has a ¼ chance of survival if she is eligible for a particular type of surgery. The likelihood that she can see her daughter go to kindergarten is slim. It hit me that she was actually out there in the world when she began talking about she wasn’t done with her baby, her marriage, or her life. She very sadly wrote about how her daughter may never remember her. This woman who had suffered with stigma for mental health issues, the side effects of her medications, the struggle of being a lesbian and not being able to marry, the difficulty of conceiving and miscarriage…she finally has the beautiful, happy life that she wanted, and now it’s going to be taken away from her before she’s had the chance to enjoy it. It’s heartbreaking.
I’m currently reading about a man who was a very active cyclist throughout his life and then one day noticed that there was blood in his urine. After some tests, he was diagnosed with advanced prostate cancer with a life expectance of 5-7 years at the age of 46. When he was first diagnosed, he decided to raise awareness for prostate cancer by cycling across Canada. He’s been battling with his cancer for some time now and has just undergone a new round of chemo. It was 10 weeks of radiation and drugs and pain. He wrote about how intensely uncomfortable he was, so much so that he was taking pain medication every 4 hours. Because he typically deals with pain well, he would set an alarm so that he would remember, thus being proactive, but he never forgot about the alarm. He said that he was always ready to take his pain medication, it was that bad. When I saw more recent photos of him with his family and his new grandchild, my heart dropped. He was totally bald, his skin was bloated, and he just looked sick. His cancer has taken away his youth and his active lifestyle…you can just tell that he’s dying. I think what was hard for me to see was this photo of this cheerfully sick man with cancer surrounded by all his happy family, and when he dies they will be missing such a crucial part of their unit.
My job is to try and unify communities within the healthcare and pharma industry through social media, health activists, and other content based driven campaigns. It’s easy in the sense that I will write small tweets motivating someone to visit a particular article or encouraging people to participate in an informational chat. It’s tough in the sense that being verbally creative in a small space with (sometimes) regulated guidelines is mentally challenging. I find myself stumped and frustrated because I can’t think of another way to write it in a way that may resonate with somebody, but I get hung up on that. I’m trying to be as human as possible even though I’m not recognizing my audience, my human. When I make these internal and personal connections to the community, I remember that the content I produce is being consumed by real, living (if hardly) people. It’s humbling, though it’s hard to remember that people are sick and suffering. I suppose this exposure is a good thing. I only hope that it will make my writing better because I am ever so slightly more connected to a particular community I know nothing about.
Part of me wonders if the people who I have researched and felt connected to have seen my own small contributions to their world. Maybe they wonder about the person who wrote it too.
Who am I? I ask myself often as I have no idea how I can answer it. I suppose I won’t be that last one to ever as the question. I certainly wasn’t the first. Doesn’t mean I won’t wonder.
I could never quite fix my personality. I wanted to be everything, to make something of myself, to change the world, to impress people with my talent and knowledge and smarts. It’s then when I realized that I would only get one shot, which meant I actually had to make a choice and instead fell victim to the overwhelming weight that is growing up. But I noticed this consistent inner indecisiveness that would not permit me to be one thing, to become stagnant, to be overlooked yet again.
See I found I had this quirk where I couldn’t make up my own ideas. Give me freedom and I’m scared of the possibilities. I feel that when I speak my words are empty, uninspiring, and unoriginal. But give me constraints, state your opinions, draw out the boundaries. Tell me what I cannot do… and I will do.
Why? It’s because am a performer. There’s this love for the stage, for an audience, for the glory of someone being fixated on me. Listen to me, watch me, love me. Haha, remember that one time I was an artist? I mean, an actual artist. It was about colors, shading, contrast. It was my natural talent.
“Let me entertain you, let me see you smile.” Bet you’ve heard that one before.
At heart, I am an entertainer. It’s quite a dizzying dream that tells me if I’m not entertaining someone in some way, then clearly I’m failing myself. The unsatisfactory feeling of almost, but not quite.
Maybe one day I’ll look back and realize that I was just a shell, just a void who never accomplished something for herself. Who simply spread others ideas, convincing people to believe in something close to real, but who simplified it to it’s bones; who painted it to be more beautiful and perfect than its reality. An expert in manipulation. A geisha of sorts, who lives to entertain and please those that surround her…except my song, grace, dance is a whole lot of bull shit being stated in a different way. I’m something to amuse your time by dancing around so you cannot see the truth. I guess in the end, I’m setting myself up to be disappointed.
I could never decide what I wanted to be. So I chose to be everything. So who am I? Because I could be anything depending on the day. It’s about what you want. You tell me. What shall I be to the world today?
I have thoughts. I have ideas. I have questions. Sometimes I think too much and my brain explodes and I need to get some of this energy out. It’s consuming and debilitating. We all need an outlet. I used to be a fine artist and could visually explain these emotions, but that was a lifetime ago. I still ache for my pencils and the contrast of black on white. Shadows tell the most interesting story. But, it’s much easier and cheaper and quicker to express myself from the confines of my work desk. I look like I’m working…but am i really?
I think words are beautiful things and we should be as artful with them as possible. I love adjectives and synonyms and different ways to say the same idea. The human experience is very similar between person to person…but I feel like we become so one track minded to our own routine, life, and experience that we forget. If I feel love and loss I may jump to assume that no one else has ever felt the same way. Take a minute, look around, and see that everyone is nursing a broken heart. We just come about it in different ways.
The internet provides a quiet, anonymous place to share ideas and concepts. It’s been a silent friend when I’ve felt like no one else will listen. It holds many secrets, quiet curiosities, and creative geniuses. I may just be another voice in the digital sea, and I like that it’s vastness provides me flexibility to say and share whatever, whenever, and however I like. It’s freedom. But I do like feeling that someone may process my thoughts into their own accord.