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Stages

Obviously, there are life stages. Teen years, puberty, middle age, and so on. However, I submit to the jury that there are several smaller stages that fit arbitrarily within these stages, regardless of age. Perhaps most prominent and widespread is the stage where you wore black and listened to metal and were mad that your mother wouldn’t let you dye your hair.

In my experience, many people go through an “atheist” stage. It makes sense to question one’s beliefs now and then, but that’s not what I mean. I’m not talking about a healthy time spent in philosophical thought, I’m talking about those three or four months when people turn into super atheists.

I went through it, as did many of my friends. Thankfully, I grew out of it, and even retracted many of my atheistic ideas, settling on a firm stance of “I don’t know.” Now, I like to learn about and explore all types of religion, but in my atheist stage I couldn’t stand it.

There’s also, for the younger generation especially, the Social Justice stage. This one has always been around, but it’s especially spread with the advent of social media. Whether they’re called social justice warriors or tumblerinas or whatever, many people go through a time where political correctness and open mindedness are their top priority.

Are people who are like this bad? No. Can these things be stages? Absolutely. I went through both. The best part about these stages is that you tend to get highly invested in them, and then they fade away, leaving only a small mark on you. I’m glad my stages happened, because now I have a wider lens with which to look at the world.

They’re not bad things at all. I had a healthy eating stage, and a reality tv stage. I had a Buddhism stage, an anti-Kindle stage followed by an e-book stage, an all-natural stage, a gym rat stage, a musical stage, and numerous stages where I questioned my political standing, sexuality, job goals, relationships, and general future. And all of these stages, these short-lived obsessions, affected me positively afterward in one way or another.

I love when I can recognize someone in a stage that I had already passed through. Oh, you’re in the stage where you think any song released after 1970 is crap. Been there. And look, that’s the stage where wearing sweatpants every day didn’t feel gross. I…kind of wish I was still in that one.

It’s sometimes said that people can’t change. How wrong that is. Stages are proof that people change. We try on different hats to see which fits best. We get to choose different facets of our personality and change how we are seen by the world. That’s amazing!

It’s hard, when you’re in a stage, to tell if it’s a stage or not. Is blogging a stage, for me? Is sign language, is biking? I suppose any new interest could be a stage. Alternately, it could become a permanent part of you. The best part of life is its uncertainty. Embrace uncertainty, and embrace your stages with reckless enthusiasm.

Better to have several hats you don’t wear anymore than no hats at all.

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This too shall pass

I told someone last night that because yesterday was such a good day, today would likely be terrible. I was right.

Maybe today is only bad because I expected it to be, like when you assume a new food will taste bad and it does, but the things that have gone poorly since I woke up about five hours ago are so many and so monumental that I would have a hard time accepting it was all placebo.

Beyond having several things go poorly at work and during the drive in, I also found out someone very close to me in my personal life had been lying and hiding something from me for over a year and a half.

It’s times like these that I ponder what makes the universe tick. Is life truly all a random smattering of events, strung together loosely and caused by nothing but atoms bumping into one another? Or is some higher power pulling the strings, throwing this or that at us in strategic ways?

Sometimes I feel like a science experiment. What happens if we give her one extremely busy week followed by a week doing next-to-nothing? What happens if we make everything go right for twelve hours and then make everything fall apart?

Maybe it’s karma, or some other balancing force that operates on rules I’m not accustomed to. The problem with the theories of higher power or experimenters or cosmic forces is that I feel too unimportant for them to care about me. What would an all-powerful force want with me, anyway? An introverted blogger who spends too much time in front of a computer writing about herself is hardly an interesting subject.

I don’t know. I’m having a hard time focusing. When I’m feeling down I always write these deep, existential blog posts about what the meaning of it all is. Like the one about how there’s never a happy ending, life just keeps happening. Or the ones about how I feel overwhelmed and anxious so often.

I guess what I have to keep in mind is that this too shall pass.

No one ever uses that phrase on happy days, do they? Happy graduation…this too shall pass. Congratulations…this too shall pass. But it’s no less true. Everything passes. Things happen, and then they end. Nothing is forever, which is both comforting and terrifying.

This too shall pass.

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Full flavored faces are gone.

Wrong.//Shark attacks lasting a week

Long//Children are growing up tall,

Strong//Lullabies turned to a work

Song//Grass stains on knees ice cream in

Hand//Careers fighting fire are half

Planned// Strapped to a chair once you can

Stand//Plucked from clouds sewn to the

Land//

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Undissected

I have a terrible habit of picking at my cuticles. I often do it without thinking, when I’m meant to be writing or listening in class. I get lost in my thoughts and suddenly I’m bleeding out my fingertips.

I think I’ve always had this habit, or one like it. I’ve had times when I’ve bitten my nails instead or cracked my knuckles incessantly, but it’s always something to do with my hands. I think part of it is instinct—perhaps removing the imperfections in my fingers is brought on by some deep drive to pick out bugs. Since there’s no bugs, I transferred that drive to my cuticles.

However, I’m willing to bet that it’s closer to my strive for perfection. I always try to make things perfect, especially when I’m writing (which is when a large percentage of this picking occurs). If my hands aren’t perfectly smooth, maybe that subconsciously tells me that my writing isn’t perfect either. Of course, the ultimate poetic irony is that I strive so hard for perfection I end up hurting myself instead. I bite my nails to the beds, I nip at the cuticles until they’re raw, I crack and recrack my knuckles until I can’t even feel what’s making the sound. I also do this in my writing. I rewrite and rewrite until I lose all confidence.

Then again, maybe it’s just a habit. A way to procrastinate. Writing this, I’ve been hyper-aware of the amount of times I break writing in the middle of a sentence (or word) to scratch my face or examine my nail beds. I do it without thinking or even making the conscious action to do so, but before I realize it there I am, staring at my hands.

Maybe it’s a way I deal with stress. Maybe it’s a way I cause myself stress.

Mostly, it’s making me wonder what else I do without realizing it. Do I miss important things? Do I put myself on autopilot too much? When I trust myself to work without 100% mental capacity, my body ends up slouching, I end up biting my fingers, I end up daydreaming and bouncing my knee and browsing YouTube when I should be being productive.

Is this me knowing when I need a break to be healthy, or is it me just taking a break to be lazy? What is this autopilot, anyway?

Well, it doesn’t matter much. This whole post was a bigger procrastination than any nail-biting could be! Maybe some things are best left undissected.

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Berlin, England: Conversation starters

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I get compliments on my bag all the time, which is funny because it’s crap. I mean, I like how it looks too—that’s why I bought it. But it was $25 from a street vendor in New York City, made of fake leather that is already falling apart at just a year old.

Its leather isn’t the only thing that’s cheaply made. As you can see from the photo, it’s a map of the world in nice earth tones and fancy calligraphy. It looks great from a distance! But then I’m sitting on a New York subway, admiring my new purchase, and I notice something…

Every single country is spelled wrong.

At first I think, cool! Every country must be in its native language…or something? Or, maybe it’s supposed to be old English? I look closer. The calligraphy is hard to read, but it seems to suggest “Palaka” is Poland. Well, I suppose that could be true. But, “Dalaka” for Germany?palaka.jpeg

“Tuikiye” for Turkey?

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I get more suspicious when I see the Mediterranean is labeled “Madilseeanean,” and Algeria is “Algeica.”meditalgeca.jpeg

Again, I tell myself, maybe it’s old English. But then, the other shoe drops:

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London is labeled as “Berlin.”

Well, that settles it. Somehow, for some reason, everything on this bag is wrong! Could they not get the rights for the world? Do you NEED to get rights for the world?

I don’t mind my terribly-spelled bag. After all, it’s still adorable, and it’s a great conversation piece. People love spending time poring over every misspelling, wondering if it’s this language or that until I point out Berlin, England (or the “United Hingdom,” according to the bag). Then they throw their hands in the air and laugh, deeming the bag a mystery.

I too wonder how and why this bag ended up this way. I can only imagine it’s a knock off of a designer bag, and misspelling/labeling countries somehow got around copyright. But whatever the reason, I don’t mind. It’s a small-talk I don’t mind having, since it doesn’t focus on me. It’s a fun game to play when I don’t have anything else to do. It’s a centerpiece of a love of all things ironic, the love of ridiculous things that are so bad they’re good.

It’s the little things like Berlin, England that make life wonderful. While it’s unlikely you have a bag like this, a piece of jewelry or a shirt with a story behind it are great conversation starters in a pinch! You get to share a story, get a few compliments, and get out of the spotlight as people try to top your story. Good luck:)

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Mama needs a new pair of shoes

…but I would have preferred to keep my old pair, because my new shoes are far too small.

I hate shoe shopping. I end up going through the whole store: this pair isn’t in my size, this pair feels weird, this pair has too high a heel, this pair is the wrong shade of brown…and so on. Maybe this is why I wear my shoes until they wear out.

My favorite pair of boots, ones that fit perfectly and went with everything, recently kicked the bucket like only shoes can. One shoe was fine, but the other fell apart and refused to be put back together. I tried boot glue, krazy glue, even sewing with a needle and thread. Nope. The sole of the shoe hung off like a slacking jaw. Then the zipper broke, and I decided that was it for that.

My second favorite pair of boots died the same week, with one too many holes. No longer waterproof, I decided it was time when sidewalk dirt began to seep in through the holes.

Now, I could handle the boot scenario fine—it’s spring, soon boots will be too hot anyway—if my summer shoes weren’t ready to go as well. I’ve already sewed one pair of canvas shoes back together, and another pair is beginning to get a hole as well. What gives?!

So, new shoes. I have no problem finding cute high heels, but thing is I never get to wear them and, honestly, the pain isn’t worth it. But I did find one pair that looked pretty cute and very versatile. They fit, they didn’t fall off, and they were just a little tight. I’d have to wear them in, but I couldn’t leave the store without buying them. After all, it was so rare that a shoe would fit all my criteria.

And so I sit at the office, alternating between flexing my feet in all crazy ways to break these suckers in to taking them off entirely to let the blood flow back to my toes. It’s okay though. I’ve had much worse.

There was the time I was late to a job interview and had to run in new heels that were already giving me blisters. The interviewer then decided to give me a tour of the (huge) building, during which I tried my darndest not to limp. I would have walked home barefoot, but I had to take the subway, and…ew. So I made the blisters even worse by wearing them all the way home.

Then there were the few years of pointe ballet I took in middle school. The shoes were made of solid wood and nails and who knows what else, and one had to balance on those torture contraptions with weightless arms and a graceful smile.

There were the few weeks when I started working at Chipotle over a year ago, before my work shoes came in. I had to run around the kitchen in Crocs three sizes too big for me because they wouldn’t let me wear non-company mandated sneakers.

Shoes. How could something so simple have so many problems? I suppose it’s a lesson in taking things for granted. I never appreciated my good shoes, or even gave them a second thought, until they broke on me.

As my internship winds to a close and I prepare to train my replacement, I wonder if she will fit the Globe like a new pair of shoes. I wonder how I will fit my new job. There will surely be a need to break in a bit, to get used to routine, but after awhile there won’t be any more blisters and it will all be second nature. Or, alternately, it may just be a bad fit. No matter what though, we won’t find out until we try them out for a few days.