We’ve Got Blog Layout!

Yeah, it’s true. I didn’t create this from scratch, but it is new and improved, and probably a big up from the last layout. So…everybody wins!

Except I’ve been informed of some visual issues. Which I’ll get fixin’. If you have your own issues, you know, tell me. Preferably in a poetic manner. It helps, for whatever reason.

No More Blogging Under The Influence Of Jazz

Here are more updates. More updates. MORE UPDATES.

Here is one notable thing: I have started that damn 365 Days Flickr Group project again. I know I posted a while back with some past photos and said “I’ma DO THIS!” but them I hemmed and hawed over the complete ridiculousness that is taking a self-portrait of oneself every day for a year, and the seeming narcissism that goes along with that and the fact that oh wait I have NO CONFIDENCE in my appearance or ability to be in a photograph but oh WAIT maybe this will help that but hold on what if other people just see me as a narcissistic and hey SHUT UP SELF it doesn’t matter what other people think anyway and hey think of what a great learning opportunity this will be for working a camera and some editing software hey but wait, what if I just slack and everything I do sucks and OH MY GOD I HAVE TO STOP LISTENING TO MEDESKI MARTIN AND WOOD WHILE I BLOG.

In the end I decided to go for it. I guess I want to just do this, and not really care too much or worry that each photo turn out perfect, and perhaps gain some more knowledge of Photoshop in the process (which is not something I have on my computer anymore..hmm), because while I love and adore Lightroom, I really still don’t use Photoshop much for…photos. Blah blah. Here is Day One.

001/365

I don’t feel this is all that awesome. Or well-edited. Or flattering. But that’s not the point.

So…I’ll shut up now. And try not to be too annoyed or self-contradicting about this project of NARCISSISM GAAAAH.

Sleep Delays My Life

Oookay, I’m still bad blogging about things in a timely fashion. So let’s rewind a couple nights.

Thursday was an extremely frazzling and hectic day in our household. We went to visit my Dad in the hospital in the afternoon, as we’d done every day since he had his hip replacement surgery last Monday. And then it turned out when we got there that — hey!! He’s about to be dispatched! So you came just in time! Of course “just in time” really translated to “holy shit we have not finished working on this chair or de-crappifying the house!” and some silent freaking out. But in the end all was well and we brought my Dad home in my car, which is the most hip-replacement-friendly car amidst our car menagerie. And it was just…hectic. Like. Hectic. It was the sheer embodiment of hectic. It was also hellishly hot and humid outside, which never helps anything.

We were all totally exhausted by the time evening rolled around. I passed out somewhere around maybe 12:15. Only to wake up 45 minutes later by a *bang* and a *thump* and some very prominent scraping noises coming from just outside my bedroom.

My room…it is over the porch, meaning that there is roof below and to either side of my window, enough-so that I remember my sister used to climb out on the roof and sit over the porch when exciting things like Corvette shows would occur on our street (true story). Good times. But it does mean that from our Red bud tree that sits in front of our house, animals can climb up onto the roof. I’ve heard scraping and thumping before, and even looked out my bedroom window to find myself face-to-face with a raccoon. But these noises emanating from just outside my bedroom that night were beyond loud. I was truly convinced it couldn’t be any normal “animal.” My first thought was that there were people on the roof — people who were either going to try to break in through the windows and rob us, or people who were going to break in through the windows and commit heinous acts of bio-terrorism (I blame Fringe).

The noises stopped after about 15 minutes, after experiencing them extremely loudly from the Southeastern-most part of my room, and then moderately loudly to the North wall of my room. I barely slept the rest of the night, just because of weird adrenalin and paranoia and noises from downstairs that were just my parents also unable to sleep.

The next morning, I inform my mother of this late-night absurdity, she pretty much goes “oh crap” and then we both go outside to see THIS:

Raccoon Damage

Nobody was pleased about this. My parents had just had roofers come not even a year ago to fix some already-damaged siding and put new shingles on our roof. Also…how the hell could a raccoon even get to that first spot?! It either had a whole team of raccoon help or it climbed up onto that higher tier of the roof.

We also put some chicken wire at the base of the Red bud tree in hopes that our roof will be less critter-accessible for the time being.

What else is new? I ate the best falafel I’ve ever had, right here in Central Illinois, only outdone by that falafel sandwich I had at The Med in Boulder, CO. I finished the 2nd season of Fringe and have been having some fangirl hardships ever since. I secured anywhere from 7-15 cello students for the fall in the course of one email. I went out on a lightning-chase drive. I saw Inception, which was pretty great (I must say it was sooo nice to see Joseph Gordon Levitt and Ellen Page in non-Indie-twee roles). Other things. That’s what’s new.

Bloggin’!

Let’s get bloggin’!

Here are extreme super-important things you ought to know.

1. I can’t stop listening to Dungen. No, seriously. They are all I will listen to. Why would I even want to listen to anything else? Dungen has everything I could possibly need right now, sonically speaking.

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When I was younger, starting around probably age 5 and up, I would listen to music (of the orchestral variety that I listened to while I was youngish) and once in a while be very much struck by some musical quality, to the point where I might experience some crazy involuntary shiver go down my spine and through my body. This usually happened at a very specific moment during a piece or song, when a new key was reached or a notable chord struck or something, SOMETHING neat and grabbing occurred.

While I know this reaction probably has something to do with the brain and whatever part of the brain that deals with music and isn’t really the music spirits or gods or whatever trying to tell me something important, it made for a pretty cool and impact-having listening experience, especially at that young age. I remember trying to tell people about this shivery-tingly feeling through grades probably 7-12 and having them stare at me like I was crazy (…which is fair, since that part is true!), but my friend Rob said he experienced the same thing and we would occasionally make each other listen to things and go “right there! shivery feelings!” at each other. We appeared TOTALLY sane to onlookers, I am sure.

I still like to think that I deal with music in that exploratory “what do I FEEEEL,” manner, but I’m also pretty sure the sheer amount of music I listen to and play has probably tripled or quadrupled since I ran off to college. I blame the internet. I guess also playing the cello. I definitely don’t have these full-body music reactions as often as I once did.

But this song?! Full-body involuntary shivers down my spine?!? Check! Check check check!

I think it has something to do with rolling, unexpected harmonic changes, because those are the types of things I’m drawn to. A lot of my favorite songs have something to the effect. But the chorus of this song — with the strings and the turning harmonies…d-dang.

Also, that bad-ass instrumental rock-out in the second half of the song.

Basically, I find this song to be sublime. Man. I could have just said that, right??! Anyway. Please listen!

2. I can’t stop watching Fringe. Good thing I will pretty much be all caught up with Fringe in time for the season premier of Mad Man this Sunday ASD;FLKJ. But that is another story for another time. Yeah. Fringe is really good. Lots of people from The Wire seem to guest-star (or star). Pacey is on the show and totally awesome (I never watched Dawson’s Creek, but I still call him “Pacey” in my head). I know it’s been compared to the X-Files a lot, and while I don’t think it totally lives up to The X-Files, there are some fantastic things going on. Plus all of the viscerally horrifying bio-terror mishaps. Can’t go wrong with those. And so I recommend Fringe!

3. There is no three.

Update Schmupdate

Whimper whimper hate cover letters sob.

It’s the most humbling experience in the universe to have my mom proofread things that I’ve written. She’s a word machine, man. Or maybe an “anti-word” machine. Either way, it’s most helpful to have an extremely meticulous human being look over something that important people are going to read and point out that you have typed the same word twice in a row — a mistake I never ever ever catch unless the grammar angels are watching over me.

We won’t talk about the things I’m applying for because, why? I’d rather not until I have confirmation of thing-getting or thing-not-getting. Because isn’t it more exciting when there are actual things to talk about as opposed to just vague glimmers of hope and idealism? See, that’s what I thought.

In other news, my Dad just yesterday morning had hip replacement surgery, so that’s kind of what’s going on in our house — preparing for his return home from the hospital. We bought a really cool-though-unfinished chair a couple nights back. I have the designated task of sanding, staining and finishing the chair before Thursday, and boy is it a lot of sanding. It’s hopefully going to turn out well.

Also, my Dad is doing just fine! Hooray!

I’m going to try to blog more. Sometimes I just need some blogospace. HAH. GET IT? Like…blogosphere? Yeah. A new layout might also help. We’ll get it moving.

Spontaneity, Indeed.

Things that I do infrequently enough that they scare the shit out of me but often enough that it’s still really annoying: accidentally pressing the “alarm” button on my remote car keys while I’m putting my cello in the car.

My dumb self will never learn.

Yeah, Yeah, I Know

I haven’t really been blogging.

However! You readers haven’t really been reading! So it’s all good.

What’s new? In honor of La Bastille, I ate frogs-legs for the first time tonight. It was also kind of in honor of Anthony Bourdain, whose disdain for things in general makes me happy.

I also accomplished something, just a little ‘ol something, that I had set my mind to accomplish nearly two years ago. Fricking go me and my non-specification and cryptic vagueness. BE WARY, READERS.

I’m also using all-caps in excess. I apologize.

Also, gotta say, it feels pretty fricking awesome to be home.

*edit*

Right. I cannot f’n stop listening to this song, Rill Rill by Sleigh Bells. And sadly I have to agree with Jeph Jacques that, damn, if every song on the album were this good, it would be one hell of an album. But ALAS.

Please Observe My Tired Rambling

Whoa. Sometimes when I want to blog and am tired, I’ll log into Blogger. And start typing. And then go “wha–” and log into WordPress and continue typing there. And if I’m especially tired I will then blog about the entire experience.

Today I ran into a friend from elementary school who I sometimes see and who sometimes reads this blog (hiiiiiiiiii Kathy). And we both agreed that our town is really not all that bad a place to live in, whether it is for an interim period of some kind or even for a good while. So there you are.

That was supposed to be some kind of introduction to the part of the entry where I talk about the Arts Festival in downtown Normal that I walked around for nearly three hours this morning. It was awesome. Lots and lots of people come from all over the Midwest to share and sell things, and if you’re me, you see a lot of people you know or you just recognize and can’t quite place because holy crap everybody I ever met while I lived in Normal comes to this thing. And there is a crap-ton of art. And some of it is, you know. Whatever. And other bits of it are just COOL and inspiring. Things like glass and jewelry and photos and paintings and prints and, you know, ART. And these booths take about a quarter of a mile of the newly redone downtown Normal streets. I was pleasantly surprised to discover that I know TWO ENTIRE PEOPLE who have booths this year, and that they both had fantastic work out for show. The friend I went to this festival with does a lot of photography but also loves animals more than I can say most people I know do. And she knows that I’ve recently gone a little camera crazy, and has suggested that we can together become a prime source of pet photography in our region if we market ourselves right. Not studio photography, no, I’m talking pet photo-journalism. She also thinks we could definitely have some kind of booth for ourselves at a future downtown Arts Festival. I know that much of this is crazy idealistic thinking, and that a true plan has yet to even approach fruition, but damn, dogs are fun to photograph. Please observe:

DSC_0185

That’s my aunt and uncle’s new French Brittany (they think), Poppy.

So I did that today.

And did you know that there are two Columbus replica ships touring around the country?! These replicas of the Nina and the Pinta are supposedly the most accurate replicas of these ships ever to be built, and I went to see them in Peoria today, on the Illinois River.

I mean. They’re boats. But they’re awesome boats, and shit, they are so much smaller than I had ever imagined that type of Atlantic-crossing ship to be. I mean, you always know that sort of journey is going to suck in so many ways, but it’s all the more real when you step onto a replica of one of the ships that actually did it. It was pretty neat. I will also say that even stepping on a boat reminds so well of how I am in no way a sea-faring person. I like dirt and rocks and plants, and I prefer my bodies of water in the form of maybe rivers. Lakes if I’m feeling especially good about life.

So that was my day, in a nut-shell. Throw in some 7:30am running and plus another three miles of walking and you have a perfectly exhausted Talia.

And yeah. This area of Illinois ain’t so bad. If you can get used to a complete lack of elevation-change, it’s a totally lovely place. Also, if you ever get used to a place this flat, the novelty of hills and mountains will never wear off, especially if you drive a car with a manual transmission, heh heh.

Let In The Folksy Pychedelic Swedes

In yet another edition of “songs that have been playing on repeat in my car for a number of weeks now,” I can’t seem to not listen to Dungen anymore, and in particular this song.

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download me

Oh man. So folksy. So psychedelic. I’m kind of pissed that they’re playing in Buffalo this September and I no longer live anywhere near there. That always happens to me. EMPHATIC SIGH.

What What!

I would try to write some kind of intelligible introduction to the following, but ASDF:LKJ. Maybe I should pick my jaw up off the floor before I try to do anything else. Okay!

My parents didn’t say much to me about their week-long visit to Los Angeles before they left — just that they had a lot of frequent flyer miles available and that they wanted to get a bit of a vacation in before my Dad has a hip surgery later this month. My Dad grew up in L.A., after all, and I know that he still has some friends and family out there. But I didn’t realize that a very specific reason for my parents going out to L.A. was to see relatives. And not just like, say, a handful or relatives. It was more like several handfuls of relatives — no, BUCKETS of relatives.

I’ve never known much about my Dad’s side of the family, probably just because not much about it ever came up and we live so far away from California. My grandmother on that side passed away in 2004 at the age of 94, and my grandfather died of a heart-attack before even my sister was born. I think I’ve taken a total of five trips out to L.A. since birth in which I got to see my grandmother. I also remember meeting my Dad’s great aunt once, who is now 94 and sharp as a tack, apparently. But aside from that, my Dad was an only child and there just didn’t seem to be a whole lot of family to have contact with.

But apparently I have more great uncles and aunts, and removed and second-cousins galore. And apparently, many of them are CRAZY. I don’t want to get into too many details, especially because I don’t think I’ve heard the complete stories, but just imagine something along the lines of television shows of the drama genre that include affairs and abuse and possibly drugs, and that seems to be about right.

I will share one specific piece of information, though, because I find it crazy and fascinating: my great-grandfather hung himself in the bathroom of a restaurant he worked in in Atlantic City, NJ on the very same day that Will Rogers and Wiley Post were killed in an aviation accident in 1935. What.

It goes without saying that I’m floored to learn so many insane things about people in my family. It’s true that some of the things I heard could have been exaggerated or maybe changed over time from person-to-person, but all the same it sheds some light on a family history I had almost no knowledge of before today.

Something that my Dad said was that he had always had really not-good feelings about a lot of his family members, and never thought much of the fact that he didn’t do a great job of trying to keep in touch. But apparently learning these things about his family members confirmed suspicions and explained those feelings. It sounds like with the exception of a few really warm and hospitable people, many of the members on that side of the family were unpleasant, self-destructive, and in some instances outright mean.

In contrast, my Mom’s side of the family, all fifty-five THOUSAND of them (slight exaggeration, but holy god are there are a lot of Polish people in Upstate New York that I am related to in some way or other), all seem to be perfectly warm and lovely people. Not surprisingly, those are the family members that we try to see at every possible opportunity. My Dad commented on this, saying that it must be those Catholics or something, and inside my head I kind of went “uuuuummmmmm” but said nothing.

I’m glad to learn more about my family’s history. I think there’s still more floating around out there that wants very much to be learned about. All in good time, I suppose.

Remix Monday

Well I do believe that today is Monday. And you know, cover songs are awesome — no, fantastic. But not to be ignored are remixes.

I’m not sure what a normal person typically thinks of when it comes to remixes…if I imagine myself thinking with a “normal” person’s brain, I would think of pop hits being reworked into some kind of a techno/electronica psuedo nightmare, though maybe that sounds a bit dramatic. Maybe that’s why I don’t try to think like a normal person all that often (it explains much!) I don’t see remixes that way at all, but maybe that’s because of the weird fortune I had that some of the first non-R.E.M. CDs that I bought for myself as a curious fourteen-year-old feeling very naked and alone in a world of non-classical music were remix albums.

I’ll admit, I had made some really absurd and huge music discoveries before this point, pretty much only being Björk and Pizzicato Five. And so it was Björk and Pizzicato Five’s remix albums that ended up in my hands. As a fourteen-year-old I at least knew to stay with what I knew!

And I enjoyed these albums then — both were so electronic and quirky and have clearly shaped a lot of how I hear things and what I appreciate currently — but I enjoy these albums even more now. Aside from the fact that I was making some really big musical connections during that youthful, weird period in life and discovering new artists who have turned out to be some of my favorites down the line (Stereolab, The High Llamas, Cornelius, Towa Tei, yadda yadda), I was seeing in these albums the power of musical collaboration firsthand, and I’m pretty sure collaboration is one of the most compelling and meaningful things to me when it comes to any kind of music. Because what else is music besides a series of collaborations — collaboration of composer and artist, collaboration of one chamber musician to another, collaboration of musician and instrument…I think this idea of interplay keeps me from going off the deep end when I feel I’m about to suffocate in what I do (or suffocate in a sea of indie pop crap that all sounds THE SAME AGGGH).

Back to popular music, I like the idea that one artist with a strong point of view will hand a work off to another artist with a completely different point of view, and from that they forge something new.

There’s more to remixing than just that. Some of my favorite remixes come from the same artist who is responsible for the original. Shiina Ringo does this almost too much, but I have to say that I’m in love with the different ways in which she fashions her own songs, especially considering how her aesthetic has changed over a lengthy period of time. The woman has gone from being a pop master to being more odd and electronicized and then right off the deep end of Sinatra. And for that matter, it’s also pretty great to think of live songs as being remixed in their own way. Adding musicians and changing instrumentation and even the spontaneity of live performance is a good opportunity for remixing of all sorts.

Perhaps I will start where I began and share one of the first remixed songs that I became highly fanatical about — Björk’s Hyperballad from the album Post (1995). Here is the video of the original song:

The remix was released on Björk’s remix album, Telegram (1997), and it features the Brodsky String Quartet, with who Björk later played many of her songs live at a Union Chapel. I think I read somewhere that she arranged the string quartet versions of her song, which is…awesome?! I don’t think my use of words is apt enough to describe quite what is so amazing or how strongly I feel about this track, so….please listen and enjoy.

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Need To Get My Obsession With Lists In Order

AMIRIGHT?!

‘Cause…lists? Order? Get it?!

Aw man, I feel bad. As though I have been a real complain-o-tron for the last several weeks — which I have! It is in no way my intention to come off that way here in my blog, and perhaps other people don’t even see this as whining/complaining/etc., but it is still causing me a bit of push-button publishing remorse. So let’s move forth! Into the world of mirth and delight! …Or something!

Here is a list of things.

1. I visited an Alpaca Farm with my friend Miriam. It was awesome. Alpacas are so fuzzy and ridiculous and weird. The farm owner that was showing us around led us into the pen and spent a good deal of time explaining things about their herding habits and foibles, their medical needs, and all that jazz and all the while every move we made would be noted by the Alpacas, who would follow us everywhere as a herd with keen interest in their eyes, kind of like they knew something we didn’t? It was borderline creepy. I think Alpacas might be plotting something against humans.

This farm also contained I think half-a-dozen Guinea Hens, which are some seriously cool birds. They are some of the best pest control that you could have for your farm/garden. My aunt was actually considering getting a few for her massive garden, but thought better of it due to extreme cold temperatures in her region.

This entire adventure is kind of inspiring me to get in touch with the people whose horse farm I used to work on, because I totally miss mucking stalls and chasing goats and leading miniature horses around. So…I oughter do that.

2. Gardening. Weeding. Holy crap. There is nothing that could delight a slight OCD person’s tendencies like pulling up HUNDREDS of freaking maple saplings that somehow ended up scattered through our yard. They pull right out of the ground if they’re not too big. It’s a very satisfying plant to weed.

Aside from that, my parents had a new garage put in last year as well as a hired landscaper to do cool things in our yard, one of those cool things being a raised garden. The raised garden is nice, but my poor parents and their ridiculous schedule has really kept them from doing much with it, other than letting a bunch of weeds and grasses take over. There are some nicely planted things in the garden so far, like some basil, mint, parsley, cilantro, tomatoes and strawberries, but those plants take up about 1/4 of the garden, while the other 3/4 are weeds. So I have my work cut out for me, do I ever. I think the neighbors must think I’m really intense about weeding, considering how much time I spent out there.

3. I have possibly been recruited to be in charge of keyboards/samplers in a metal band. OH BOY.

4. New Macbook Pro aaaiiiieeeeeeeeee. It’s so shiny. And functional. And I think OS 10.6 has outsmarted me a couple times already, hmm.

5. I will start going photo-crazy soon. I need to update my photo-editing software. And back photos up onto my external HD in an organized manner.

6. Um….new layout sometime? Yeah, yeah, I know. It’s just that…as proud as I am for taking the time to understand the tedious inner workings of WordPress layouts, this layout is still not doing it for me. I think I need more simplicity. And more aesthetic ease. And I’ve had sort of the same layout for like…five years? I think it’s time to move forward.

Hlurghbhrlugh

Hello I am sitting here watching Tennis and PLAYING WITH MY NEW 13″ MACBOOK PRO.

I don’t know. There should be some word that encompasses all the feelings and sensations one experiences with the purchase of a new Mac. It’s a pretty superb feeling.

Now I just need to transfer things from my old computer.

And continue to lose my MIND.

That is all.

Here’s The Catharsis!

Turns out I do need to get this off my chest.

So…those two weeks in Madison. It was an interesting experience with some nice moments of connection and discovery and I’m truly happy to say that I went and that I stuck it out through the weird and the anxious without compulsively bailing and leaving Madison. But honestly? When it comes down to it, those were not-fun times.

I guess I have to ask myself…what about this experience or this particular time in my life caused me to pump up the anxiety?

I am not sure. A bunch of things, not all of which can even be quantified with words. We can start with:

A. I am a pretty sensitive human being. Maybe “reactive” is a better word, but whatever it is, it clearly has a strong connection to the anxiety I experience in life. I can’t help but notice and be effected by everything around me, from the way people react to me, to what I eat, down to the aesthetics of my surroundings. When new things hit me all at once it can be a bit of a struggle to keep it real. I also think that if I am stressed out or I’m not in the most comfortable setting or even if I just don’t have anywhere to go to escape from the stimulating things in the universe, I can lose control and kind of…you know. Go crazy? That’s when I’m no longer just sensitive, but traumatized. That’s right, the crushing force of the universe traumatizes me! Which is interesting to think about now, because I recall a few years back, my parents were talking about my sister and asked me quite directly why it was that Erica always seemed to be traumatized by everything. And I kind of shrugged my shoulders and went “no idea” before I realized that, wait. That happens to me, too. And then I had a panic attack in Orchestra Hall and when my sister came and found me afterward the concert, she hugged me and said “but YOU were supposed to be the mentally sound one in the family.” NO DICE, OLDER SIBLING.

And so it does make sense that I would end up going a little crazy for those two or so weeks in Madison. There I was in complete location limbo, having just moved from Rochester and spending a rather discombobulating four days in Normal trying to navigate through boxes and piles of things and sleeping in a room that didn’t really resemble a room and then I have to collect as much of my things as I can accurately locate and go to live in a freaking BRO APARTMENT for two weeks in a town I’ve only played a wedding in and gotten hopelessly lost in before, trying to take part in intensive and serious cello and musical THINGS when really what I need is probably to get away from that for a while. And maybe it’s ridiculous and needy for me to say that I had a hard time dealing with those crazy and weird circumstances for a measly two week period, but I evidently I had an extremely difficult time with it. And then there’s this whole thing with location and surroundings being a pretty big thing for me (which any long-time readers of my blog might recall from any other time I’ve had to move to/from a place — ESPECIALLY to/from Iowa City, Ye Gods, the freaking out), and…well…why do I even have to say more than that?

And then there’s B: People.

Holy crap on mom’s shoes, where do I even begin with people? The universe already knows how much I struggle with people as an introvert — I really don’t LIKE people all the time, but I NEED them, and so a balance must be struck. It’s always been particularly difficult for me in summer festival/program settings, because how on earth is it possible to find any semblance of balance in a situation where large groups of new people are foisted upon a person all at once? Oddly enough, considering how often I call myself socially inept, I’m really good at actually meeting new people and striking up conversations and getting a feel for initial personalities. I’m pretty friendly, after all. It’s following through and maintaining where I hit walls. What happens is that I arrive someplace new, all fresh-faced and excited and eager to get interacting, but I slowly become overwhelmed and skittish and have no place to hide or even regroup. And so I become detached and reserved which I realize must confuse the hell out of all the people I just charmed the pants off of with my outgoing-ness.

The other thing is that it takes time for me to settle with the people around me, socially. I have to ease myself into knowing the people around me, and especially when those people exist in groups. Because groups of people? EEEEEE. I guess what I’m trying to say is that it takes some time for me to really open up. I can’t just jump into a group of people I don’t really know and feel comfortable, especially not in a short period of time like two weeks. There have been summers where I’ve gotten lucky — the first day of a summer festival I will form a bond with someone who is a truly kindred spirit in some sense or other, and then neither of us has to WORK to find connections with people around us who we may not communicate with so easily. It happened at Madeline Island and the Heifetz Institute, and oddly enough those were the two most rewarding summer experiences for me, socially.

And so I have to admit…watching my friends from Eastman dive right in to new groups was a little isolating. It made me feel like there was something wrong with me for not being able to do the same, and as though the huge leap I had taken in the past year to get to know new people and be open to new situations on my own terms meant nothing, that I was back to square one. Which I tried to rationalize was fine and just how I roll, but there were moments were it just hit me how out-of-the-loop it left me feeling.

Another thing is that I was simply not ready to be amongst so many people so soon after having a panic attack that was in some way or other caused by people. I needed space and air in order to find my feet, but had so little of that in the first place. It took me a good week to identify that my body had been working overtime for at least five or six days after having that panic attack, and it was keeping me from being able to do things like sleep. It was so odd how physically unsafe I felt no matter where I was, and how much I wanted to just motor out of there and go anyplace else. This was obviously not the greatest way to be existing, especially with all the new people and these thoughts in the back of my head about how I SHOULD be opening up and becoming more friendly over time instead of shying away and feeling panicky. I started to feel bad about the fact that I couldn’t be “normal” around people. I felt like a miser. A social crutch. I wanted so badly to go it alone and just detach from everyone around me entirely, but at the same time there was a part of me that was crying out for someone to connect with.

Then there was also the C. Feldenkrais we were doing, which I’m pretty sure not only opened up my body, but also my mind and my emotions. I definitely felt that as the two weeks progressed, I gradually become even more reactive and emotional, and I suspect there is at least a slight bit of connection to anxiety there, as well. It was kind of hilariously timed that I decided the day before I had a panic attack that anxiety is a big enough part of my life that it’s time for me to accept it rather than fight so much with myself. Hurr hurr, so hilarious.

So….stuff and things.

Sure, you just got an earful of the suck. But now that I’ve had some time and space and much of this is more retrospective, I’m beginning to see that this was a really important time for me to learn things about myself and to go inside myself and ask — why is this hard? And what is there that I can do completely for myself in order to be happier and more in the moment? And how can I learn how to let go? I’m not sure if all the things I’ve learned have completely come to the surface yet, but if anything it has left me a lot to think about and to consider in the future when I find myself in a situation that drains my reserves or throws me into a state of imbalance.

And not to sound like the only good things were self-learned and inside of me. That would be selling those two weeks short, by far. In those rare moments when I was able to let go of my worries and the anxiety, I connected and had a lot of fun with some pretty excellent people. I think that if I hadn’t been having such extreme downs, the ups wouldn’t have been nearly as rewarding.

There are more good things and lessons learned from those two weeks, but I think I’m going to save those for another time.

In the meantime, I’m pretty sure I deserve to own this shirt. JUST SAYING.