Long time, no post. My apologies. Typical range of excuses naturally, finals and SAT IIs. Blah. Blah. Blah. You really don’t care and I really don’t care to type it so let’s skip all these apologies.

But first and most importantly is the public service announcement: It’s summer! Glorious endless days of strong sun that fries the skin off our bones. And the delerious nights of staying out too late, sleeping too little, living too much. I think of freckles and shorter skirts and the brilliance of white, white teeth in a tan face. I think of airplanes and road trips. I think of the way that the sun falls across my face when I wake in the morning, bright and penetrating through the blinds.

I think of all these things, but so far I have felt none of them. The whole rush and relief of summer hasn’t quite hit me just yet. Don’t get me wrong. I’m having an absolutely excellent time. It just doesn’t feel like summer. It’s a silly thing to complain about but it just doesn’t feel right. Perhaps, it is not simply that it doesn’t feel like summer, but that I feel that I have lost summer completely. I’ve changed so much over the course of the year that those definitions and memories that I’ve held dear to me as what summer should and should not be are no longer true. Maybe it is simply time to let go and let this summer redefine those outdated ideals, to allow the summer to unfold naturally instead of forcing it into a mold that I have outgrown. It’s scary to walk untethered into this but I have a feeling that great things will come out of it.

In the small freedoms that the brief period of summer I experienced between my SATs and starting summer school today, I saw the beginning of something that could be wonderful. I went garage sale hunting and found two fabulous vintage cameras, a sorely-needed bookcase, and some used books. I now have the complete works of Edgar Allen Poe. I finished reading Cat’s Cradle and began to read a collection of short stories by Truman Capote. (I love “The Headless Hawk” and “Miriam”. Read them. Now.) I watched a lecture given by a neurobiology professor at Stanford about the evolution behind religious beliefs (http://www.boingboing.net/2009/06/06/evolution-religion-s.html). I’m in the middle of a documentary about the history of anarchism. I’m doing so many things that I love and it makes me so very happy. I have the insatiable desire to immerse myself deeply in everything. I want to be a metaphorical sponge and soak up the world. I feel like there is an unlimited number of possibilities before me, like the universe is expanding at my fingertips and I want the opportunity to dig into all of it. There is no other way to say it, but I want everything.

I look at the rapid succession of my activities in the past few days and I think, not this is who I am, but this is who I could be. And that makes me happy.

Really?

Signed,

Katie

If you didn’t already know this. Proposition 8 passed. Again. The California Supreme Court had the opportunity to vote on the legality of Proposition 8 and they let the precious chance for equality slip through their fingers. The only bright side to this entire nightmare is that they did recognize the 18,000 same sex couples married in 2008.

That’s the part that frustrates me in the time between the legalization of same sex marriage and Proposition 8 18,000 people decided to get married and I know that was just the tip of the iceberg. Think of the thousands more who felt hope. Think of the thousands more who believed that they were going to be treated equally. Think of thousands ofpeople who wantd to get married, planned to get married, and then had that dream taken away from them. It makes me so angry and sad to know that there are all of these people who are now living with a dream deferred because someone out there is ignorant enough to believe that 18,000people are wrong and they believe they have a right to rule over everyone else who disagrees. Yes, I’m being hasty and judgemental myself but I cannot stand to think of all of these people who have just been spit in the face by the California government. Not once, but twice. They have been told that they are undeserving and unequal by the government and this is just rubbing that decision in every GLBT person’s face nationwide.

This whole debacle brings me back to the first time Proposition 8 had been voted on. I must admit that I was rather taken with the Presidental election to give it much attention. I honestly assumed that it would pass. I mean, honestly, it’s freaking California, capital of the bleeding heart liberals. It was virtually incomprehensible to me that it wouldn’t.

But I remember when I discovered the news. I was sitting in history class, discussing the monumental occasion of Obama’s election with friends when someone brought up what a shame it was that Proposition 8 didn’t pass. I remember feeling truly heartbroken, crushed. I remember sitting there, tears welling up in my eyes, trying to keep a straight face in front of all of my straight friends. Without even realizing it, I had placed so much hope in California. Not in California in a place, but California as an idea. It was the first victory I’d really counted on in gay rights and it was the first loss I ever felt as a bisexual individual. It was the first time I’d ever really hoped that one day I would one day would fall in love and get married and have an open, honest home. And then I saw that all fall to pieces before me. It was heartbreaking to watch Google fill with hits of the GLBT failures of that day. In California and nationwide. And the overwhelming irony that so much equality could be achieved with the election of our first black president, yet so much could be lost for another minority.

And that’s why I’m so sad again. To see the loss happen again. To have the wounds ripped open fresh.

As I write this I feel like I’m shouting in a vacuum. Who am I? I am an invisible voice crying out into the vast vacancies of the cyberspace. I am young. I am powerless. And most of all, I am afraid.

1. My ‘e’ key.

2. Some of my best friends.

3. My physics worksheets

4. A school library book, which may or may not keep me from taking finals (no loss there, right?)

5. A sense of direction

6. This gorgeous 1908 typewriter:

and while we’re at it…

and

15288616_02_d

*Swoon* Sorry… back to the list

7. A passable system of organization

8. Enough shelf space for all of my books

9. The mailing about how to get two free symphony tickets

10. A good breakfast

At least I can fix number 10! Breakfast is calling my name. Have a nice Memorial Day all.

I only slept about three hours last night. I’m not saying that out of self pity or out of pride, just the facts. I only slept about three hours last night and I had the best day because of it.

I know I am not alone when I say that my mind can be a prison. It is never quiet, always filled with restless, endless thoughts. At best, my mind is a imaginative playground for me, weird but wonderful. I can get lost within my own words, fixated on the perfect way to capture an emotion, a realization, or a moment. At worst, my mind is my own personalized nightmare. An inescapable storm of criticisms and insecurities taunt me.

Either way my mind can be distracting to say the least. My father lovingly refers to me as the mad professor type, so wrapped up in my own world that I can forget basic things. Sometimes it’s great, but most of the time my scattered-brain antics lead to trouble. Just last weekend, I left my car in a parking lot, lights on, engine running, keys in the ignition for over an hour because of my carelessness. It was only by some miracle that it was still there (and running) when I returned.

But today was wonderful because for the first time in a long time, my brain was put on hold. There’s a strange hollow feeling in my head, a vast emptiness and a blessed quietness. In the moments when my thoughts would normally clamor to be heard, there is nothing. There is space.

Time has taken on a loose, fluid quality. I am aware of it passing, but it slides around me, leaving me untouched. Was that two minutes ago or two hours? I cannot tell. The world seems to move by in fits and starts as my awareness of it flickers in and out with the rising and falling waves of exhaustion.

Perhaps most beautiful of all was the moments today when I felt a sort of uninterrupted happiness. It was the upward swell of “Everything is great” and “You are okay!” Without the rigorous self-scrutiny, I was allowed to freely laugh and talk. I had one of those sparkling conversations in which the words are coming faster than they can be said and you are saying words for the sake of hearing them fill the air. It was beautifully reminiscent of a time when I didn’t guard my tongue and check my words.

Moral of the story: I should get less sleep more often. It makes life so much easier.

I walked into the quiet room, my socks still wet from stepping in puddles in the kitchen, my feet slipping into the thick carpet. And the music in my iPod crashed in my ears and I danced amid those dusky blues as you can dance only when you are alone, in wide sweeping circles with arms flung out and head thrown back. And as I fell onto the floor, night fell, stealing the last of the light from the blinds.

I’ve been away for a while, haven’t I? Well, what can I say? APs swallow your life and spit it back out to you in pieces. (This is actually a lie, but it’s my lie, so I’m sticking to it).

But while I was routinely ignoring and then freaking out over my APs, people in high places were doing very important things. Just last week, Maine passed legislation that allows same-sex marriage. New Hampshire should be voting about similar laws this week (and according to most sources, it looks good). New York finally has finally got their shit together after what seems like months of dilly-dallying over the issue. They are voting in their Senate, literally as I write this. Washington D.C. ruled that they would recognize same sex marriage from other states. Then of course, you already have Vermont, Iowa, Massachusetts, and Connecticut. I’m thrilled to see that if all these laws go through that we will have seven states, nearly an entire region (with an exception of Rhode Island) where marriage equality has triumphed.

Yes, I’ll admit, I may be prematurely excited. California’s Proposition 8 was a big loss (and learning experience). Maine already has a similar fight as California beginning as anti-gay groups have already lobbied for its repeal through referendum. And the small victory in Washington D.C. can easily be reversed through Congress action, as it has in the past, although Nancy Pelosi has said that Congress wouldn’t interfere.

Regardless of the setbacks that the movement is facing, change is happening and that in itself is enough to thrill me. Every victory made is a victory for me. It may be incredibly selfish to minimize an entire movement into a means for achieving my happiness, but I cannot really help it. I want to fall in love, not fight for love. I’m not entirely sure I want to be married, but I want the option to marry and I want the option to marry whomever I want. Male or female. I want the choice to be mine. Not any government, not any religion, but mine and mine alone. I’ve been open here that I’m bisexual, so the possibility – and the probability – that I will love someone of my own sex is high. And I do not want anyone to take that right to love away from me.

And honestly, the fight for marriage equality isn’t just about being able to marry. Just at the fight for women’s suffrage wasn’t just about being able to vote. The freedom of marriage has much larger implications for the GLBT community. It’s a matter of equality in all aspects of our lives. It’s the right to live without fear or shame. If there is one thing that I would love to change for future generations of young GLBT people, it is the feeling of shame that is imposed upon people because of their sexuality. Although I know full and well that it was never a concious decision to be gay or bi or straight, I still feel the years of control and constraint haunting me. Years of being told that I’m wrong and sinful have sunk under my skin and forever skewed my viewpoint of myself. Although I do not believe this anymore, it is something that I will never be able to escape and that deeply saddens me. No one should be forced to hate themselves for something they cannot control. No one.

I just finished watching a documentary on Harvey Milk’s life (http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZNGpB9A2js&feature=PlayList&p=87D068331ADA3F0E&playnext=1&playnext_from=PL&index=6) and was touched by some of the beautiful speeches he made, including the Hope Speech and the “That’s What America Is” speech. Read the words he said:

“On the Statue of Liberty it says: “Give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses yearning to be free…” In the Declaration of Independence it is written: “All men are created equal and they are endowed with certain inalienable rights…” and in our national anthem it says: “Oh, say does that Star-Spangled Banner yet wave o’er the Land of the Free.”

For Mr. Briggs and Mrs. Bryant and Mr. Starr and all the bigots out there: That’s what America is. No matter how hard you try, you cannot erase those words from the Declaration of Independence. No matter how hard you try, you cannot chip those words from off the base of the Statue of Liberty. And no matter how hard you try, you cannot sing the “Star Spangled Banner” without those words.

That’s what America is. Love it or Leave it.”

So I was asked over lunch a few days ago about what I would regret the most if I dropped dead. Not what I would do if I was given a week to live but if I was looking back over my life as it is at this exact moment. And I’ve been thinking over it. What would I regret?

I wish the answer could be nothing but that’s never the case. If someone tells you they have no regrets they are probably (a) lying or (b) extremely uncomplicated. I imagine that living without regrets is not living at all. You would be constantly tiptoeing within careful drawn boundaries, trying so hard to not mess up that you cannot try anything at all, doomed to tread to the same safe path in the same repetitive circles. I say this because I feel like I’ve been on that path. Too afraid of failure to do anything more complicated than breathe. And maybe I’m still on that path. My life always feels so safe to me. Maybe it is because my life is my own (and don’t we all bore ourselves?) or maybe it is because I’m a quiet, anxious person who longs for a larger-than-life intensity that I can’t have.

But I’ve decided that I would regret the things I haven’t done more than those I have. It’s not that I don’t regret my mistakes. I just want to do more than I want to undo. If I died right now, I would regret not experiencing the following:

1. Love 

I feel that every relationship I’ve ever been in, romantic or platonic, has been uneven. It’s painful to care for someone more than you know they care for you. And it may be even worse to hold onto the selfish knowledge that you matter more to the other person than they matter to you. I want to be in a relationship where I can love someone with every last part of me and have it be returned with that same intensity.

2. Lust

My apologies for the prudes out there. But it would be a shame to die without good sex.

3. Honesty

I have never been completely honest with myself and with others. I want to reach a point before I die that I can turn myself inside out and show the world how and why I tick. I want to be completely vulnerable. Even thinking about it frightens me more than I can say, but I want it too.

4. Travel

Cliche, completely, but I have left this country twice in my life. I need to see the world more before I leave it. How can I trust my own views on life if I have only seen my own backyard?

5. Brilliance

Brilliance is my everything. I will not die without it.

So that’s my five and for the moment, I stand by them. But as for tomorrow, who knows what I will believe?

In other news, music.

Both Hands – Ani DiFranco

http://libba-bray.livejournal.com/47657.html

I have myself a little worried that one day I will fall into fiction and will never come back. I have a habit of retreating into a world of books and daydreams when my life becomes difficult. These little pockets of fantasy have become so comforting as reality seems to grow harsher and more overbearing by the second.

 But Katie, I hear you protest, this is perfectly normal! People need to relax. People need to escape from their daily life. Otherwise the vacation markets would fail, people would be out of jobs, entire third world economies would collapse, and packs of angry travel agents would rove the streets like wolves. Learn to chillax.

Well first off, patronizing voice in the back of my head, I hate the word chillax. There are ingenious combinations of words like Slanket (Sleeves & Blanket) and then there are combination like chillax that are born of lazy indecision. Should I chill or should I relax? Oh the decisions the chronically bored must make!

But with all seriousness, I am beginning to worry myself.

The obligations are piling up around me. The AP and SAT Subject books line my bed. I cannot walk around my room without tripping over stacks of books for my English paper. My math grade continues to dip dangerously low. I am supposed to be running a protest movement at my school. I am supposed to be unstoppable, unflappable, and untouchable. I am supposed to be able to go through hell and back again with my shiny 4.0 intact. I am supposed to be a busy bee with a smile and Puritan work ethic, a good Catholic school girl.

But the books are going unopened, emails unanswered, homework unfinished. Why? Because I’m reading. Because I’m daydreaming. Because I’m taking every last train to LaLaLand without a single reason to buy a ticket. Because I’m checking out of this world in favor of an easier, glossier dream.

I’ve found myself reading more than I should. Don’t get me wrong. I love to read. I read with that kind of desperate necessity that most people reserve for food and oxygen. But I don’t like to read how people overeat or hyperventilate, trying to replace words, sentences, pages for my anxiety. And my daydreaming has grown rapidly out of hand. I find myself staring off into space for hours. I lie on the kitchen floor, I sit on the edge of my bed, I pause pen still in hand, and I think. My mind spins out these beautiful tales for me, airing out dusty dreams in sunlit corners of my mind or dredging up terrors from the dark, storm-tossed depths of my mind, but either way they swallow me. They swallow my time.

I had a mesmerizing daydream a few nights ago. I went to Paris for an hour. I imagined myself there, backpacking through cobblestone streets. Developing my photographs in hotel bathrooms. Taking drags on strangers’ cigarettes. The silhouettes of elegant women in black in smoky cafes. The dusky shadows that stretch and grow as the sun sets. The glow of street lamps on summer nights.  I fell into this seductive, sepia-toned world and it was so difficult to leave.

And when the consequences hit, they knock me off my feet, to my knees. I find myself studying always at the last minute. Trying to yank out fistfuls of my hair. Agitatedly tapping my feet or twitching. My mind exploding like a firecracker. A rapid firing of jagged criticisms with machine-gun accuracy. To be short, the anxiety gets to me.

And that anxiety scares me in itself, but perhaps the most frightening thing of all is how much I want to give in. I want to just think. I don’t want to get out bed in the morning. I want to stay there and daydream my days away. I want to follow my mind to where it wanders and let it take me places. I want to imagine myself into a romanticized future of cobblestone streets or elaborate schemes. I want to want without having reality say no.

I know what is real. I know what is fictional. But I also know how much I prefer the latter. And it scares me how easily I could disappear and never come back.

Sometimes I think I enjoy things like PostSecret (http://postsecret.blogspot.com/) or Found (http://www.foundmagazine.com/) because I like to see that there are people out there with better secrets than me.

It makes me feel normal.

But I still have the strange urge to write my own secrets down on little slips of paper and hide them away in nooks and crannies of my school, tuck them in the school’s libray book, slip them into stranger’s lockers. I want to write down my dreams and fears and leave them for other people to find. I could brush past someone in the hallway who holds a tiny bit of me unknowingly. And the smallest chance that the words “I love you” or “I hate you” would find their way into the right hands is tantalizing.

But I’m afraid that my secrets aren’t worth telling. That I bite my tongue and hold them back, not because they’re secrets at all, but because no one would care about them anyways. I have been known to be narcisstic and histronic. I write my life in inflated terms to make it feel like more than it is as if I have something to prove. Maybe I need to prove something because if I didn’t there would be nothing. Maybe I hold on to secrets because I’m proving to myself that I have complexities and depth that make me misunderstood. Maybe I hold onto secrets because I know that if I didn’t have them I would be exactly the same as everyone else and being normal is more frightening than being silent. Maybe. Maybe. Maybe.

But why does anyone have secrets? Because we know what others would say. Because we don’t know what others would say. Because we fear finding out that we aren’t alone. Because we fear finding out that we are alone.  Because they make us superior. Because they make us inferior. Because we like fitting in. Because we like standing out. Because we want to be a mystery. Because we want to be a contradiction.  

Because we are human.

I’m lying on my bedroom floor, staring up, watching the fan going round and round. My eyes are itching, twitching with lack of sleep. My mind is churning, turning with the things I should have done but didn’t. And outside the rain comes down, in great mad torrents, just buckets and buckets of endless water from the heavens.

I want to sleep. But more, I want to stay awake. I want to sit on my comforter in the dark and let the storm wash over me. This storm that wants to drown our world, with its peals of thunder that shake my windows and flashes of lightening that illuminate my entire room. I want to stay awake and absorb this madness. To take in and become this storm, with its beautiful chaos and intense impracticality.  

I’ve always said that storms would be beautiful people. The people we would admire from afar. Dramatic, captivating, spontaneous, passionate, selfish people. We know these people, or maybe we know the cliches. But we know of these whirlwinds of creativity and madness. And do we not idolize them? The great, the terrible, and the beautiful.

I sit alone in darkness. The power has failed. The storm has overtaken reason. My dog sits beside me shaking, the alarm beeps in the hallway, my father has left my house. I cannot help but swallow back fear. Perhaps I should be more careful in what I wish for.