A Song For You

 I’ve been so many places in my life and time; I’ve sung a lot of songs, I made some bad rhymes. I acted out my life in stages with ten thousand people watching, but we are alone now and I’m singing this song to you.

I love music. Before books became my link to reality, music was my escape. Give me a good beat, a great rhythm, a helpless crooner, a haunting melody and you have me hook, line, and sinker. The thing that ties me and music together is our determination. Music, no matter what genre, is created to attract, inspire, motivate, encourage, and enlighten. Have you ever listened to the words? Looked up the lyrics? Sought out all the works of the same artist/ writer? Whether you download, buy, bootleg, or scan the radio, music is earnest and purposeful.

I live my life with the same persistence that music used to bewitch me. I went to college after turning 16. I came there with a four-year plan drafted in ink and color coded. I think I even laminated it… It didn’t matter that I went to four different high schools, I still graduated in three years. It didn’t matter that the guidance counselor in high school told me that I would never get into Georgetown. It didn’t matter that the undergraduate advisor never approved my plan, I was determined.  I graduated at 20, after spending a year in Niger and four months in Russia; it took me almost 5 years to finish my degree. People said it couldn’t be done. The money was never there. The encouraging words were few and far between. The love of my family was all I needed. And I graduated, with honors in Russian.

The problem was and still is the after graduation plan. I knew I wanted to work abroad, and since I thought I left my heart in Niger (more on that later), I was determined to return. Too bad life isn’t this picture perfect production put on by MGM studios. No one wanted to hire me. Not enough work experience in my field (umm hello I lived abroad!); Not enough language skill (see afore-mentioned comment).  Too many unreturned phone calls and emails. I sent out my resume like a lost child on a milk carton. No response and no family nest egg to settle back on.

I conceded to the never-ending stack of bills and the dogged calls by Sallie Mae. 9-5 here I come, dreams on the back burner. Am I satisfied? Not in the least. I can’t even be slightly contented because this is not what I slaved away to accomplish.  I gotta find peace of mind, I’ve gotta find peace of mind. He says it’s impossible, but I know its possible (Lauryn Hill).   “Oh honey you still have time!”, “Oh but you’re still so young!” I know people mean well when they say this, but time doesn’t stand still. Life isn’t guaranteed. If I don’t start now I’ll forever be the hopeless dreamer, living in the fantasy of my songs; acting out my life in stages with thousands of people watching my wasted potential. In 2009, so many amazing people lost their lives, from celebrities to personal acquaintances. As I mourn their loss, I also realize that life is precious and I can continue living paycheck to paycheck or I can take a chance.

It is so easy to get caught  up in the routine and watch life pass you by, resigning yourself to the fact that life is nothing more than the present. But I want a future. I want the American Dream, Manifest Destiny, the rags to riches story with my name in the byline. I have a few ideas about what I want to do: travel journalist, international social worker, entrepreneur (hostels/ bed & breakfasteer), bee keeper, journalist… who knows?

 Now I’m so much better, and if my words don’t come together listen to the melody because my *future* is in there hiding.


Auld Lang Syne

My first (and only) New Year’s resolution for 2010 was to start a blog. So in the midst of procrastinating, I’m starting my blog at 2:48 am Tokyo time, on January 2nd. All signs have pointed North, dear readers, for the formation of this blog. You could even say that I’m jumping on the band-wagon, a late bloomer of sorts. How many of my peers have started blogs? How many have actually maintained them? How many have I actually read? Do I even plan to be different?

Honestly the only answer that I have for these questions is that I am doing this for me. It’s my first step in self-discovery. I’ve spent too many of years of my life under a rock, hidden amidst the shadows, doubting the very speck of my existence. So I sit here now using a communal computer with a foreign keyboard that constantly changes from English to some form of Japanese script, hoping the time doesn’t run out on my internet service as I switch between Wikipedia, Dictionary.com, and WordPress. Top 40 US jams blare over the loud-speaker, none of the songs resembling the one in my head Auld Lang Syne.

Many years I’ve sung this song at midnight while kissing the cheeks of my companions, drinking sparkling cider (and more recently Champagne), and laughing over the stupid mistakes of the prior year. I’ve resolved to finally take the song to heart. After reading the book Good in Bed by Jennifer Weiner I realized that her words couldn’t be more true or coincide any sharper than with that of the song.  “I learned that things don’t always turn out the way you planned, or the way you think they should. And I’ve learned that there are things that go wrong that don’t always get fixed or get put back together the way they were before. I’ve learned that some broken things stay broken, and I’ve learned that you can get through bad times and keep looking for better ones, as long as you have people who love you” (p. 369-70).  Auld Lang Syne  (the poem and the song), examines the fact that life happens. But you’re reaction to the curve-balls of life are your own. Whether it be love, family drama, self-discovery, work, society, etc we all have issues.

I am the poster child for issues, some that I didn’t even know I had, some that keep popping out of the snow like forlorn daisies. I feel like one of those Xanex commercials: Do you have abandonment issues? (check) Can you sometimes not stand your family? (check), Do you wish the world catered to your ego instead of bruised it constantly? (check, check) Are you secretly afraid you have no purpose and your life has no meaning? (PLEASE give me a prescription!) I’m not alone in having a turbulent childhood/adolescence, but it’s time to get over it. It’s time to realize my potential. In truth, it’s time to let go, which essentially is the purpose of this blog.

I kissed and hugged gorgeous people at midnight, half-way across the world, on a tiny island where I only knew my cousin. As we passed the 2nd or 3rd glass of champagne, I woke up. I counted my blessings, and I realized that I’m amazing (and for the first time I actually believed). For the next 364 days I am going to be me: good, bad, flirtatious, lonely, outgoing, generous, mean-spirited, sad, funny, random ME!  For auld lang syne, my dear, for auld lang syne, we’ll take a cup of kindness yet, for auld lang syne.