Friday, February 19, 2010

I see the girls in the club, they gettin' wild for me

It is time for a grand re-entrance.

So I'm blasting "Welcome Back" by Mase*, eating a fresh and hot bagel, and getting down to business. My cats are excited. Seriously. I just made a YouTube video about this very topic.

So anyway, you may be asking yourself, "Why did your blog disappear in the first place? What happened to you?" I ask myself this same question fairly regularly, World. Let me tell you the three reasons for my brief and unannounced hiatus:
  1. I thought that my blog was getting a little bit gossipy. I think that's what comes with finally making friends in a place, and knowing that there are people out there who regularly read what you write. Once I had a friend in college who admitted that he would open my LiveJournal and do a Cntrl + F for his name, so he could read anything I wrote about him without having to toil through lots of meaningless garbage. I became very aware of my (tiny) readership, I suppose is what I'm saying. Once I knew who was possibly reading my blog, I would try to mention those people more often than other people, so they would feel rewarded in their reading and would continue to follow my overly extensive ramblings in hopes that they might be mentioned again. And as someone who wants to someday be a journalist,˚ that made me feel dirty.
  2. I started wondering if "fun" was really what I most wanted to be. I like feeling like a fun person, don't get me wrong. But I started paying attention to the merits of getting enough sleep, feeling healthy, being empathetic and kind, listening to other people when they talk, and being honest with everyone around me. All of that is kind of woo woo, and doesn't make for the best blogging material. Since I all-out quit smoking, drinking, driving a car when I didn't have to, and eating any sort of animal products, I have found my emphasis less on "fun" and more on "sane." I guess, dear Blogosphere, that's OK. I am aiming now more for "joy" than "fun," I think. If this means that my blog is no longer meaningful to you, kindly locate your nearest New Age health spa and alert them of my presence. I just know they'll be super-interested in my quest for inner peace.
  3. Lesson plans are hard and take a really long time. Or, moreover, my workday is 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., every day. It sucks everything out of me! I come home, cook, eat, go running, read, and go to bed. I turned 35 before I meant to, I think. My life got a lot boringer, I guess, but I'm okay with that.
And following Mardi Gras '10 and Who Dat Saints fever, I'm worn down, exhausted, and anxious to start over. I want... adventure. I want to explore and poke at things I've never noticed before. I want to create, and to go on long journeys and to document all of that. Just because I am a teacher doesn't mean that I can't take a little time every once in a while to seek the kind of fresh, non-work-related joy I am desperately lacking these days. I have a few immediate adventures I'd like to have, and then I think I just want to spend a lot of time riding my bike around the city and stopping whenever anything is interesting to me. I will need to buy more wool socks, because I am always getting sick and feeling cold. But really, I live in the deep South. I should not be such a wuss. And after all, I live in the best city in the world∫, and I haven't yet gotten inside every possible corner of it! A sin.

So. I want to do these things, in general:
  • Stop and smell more flowers, talk to more people, explore more holes in walls, eat more bread and drink more foreign coffee. Keep my iPod off and my eyes open.
  • Go to every bookstore in New Orleans. The fact that I haven't done this yet seems like a gregarious injustice to me.
  • Walk for miles and miles and miles, alone.
  • Build a swing in an unlikely place.
I'll chronicle these four small goals as the year unfolds into spring (it's doing this now!), and I take some space from my wonderful school and the most amazing seven-year-olds there are in the whole entire world≈, and I'll find my own corner of this tiny, incredible city.

Since you and I last spoke: Ari has departed the Crescent City for the Emerald City (two nicknames which don't really fit, don't you think?), which was a sad thing, but not an ending in my mind. She is one of the strongest, most beautiful hearts I have ever known. Having her here allowed me to see the cracks in the cement in a new way, and it let me be OK with the version of myself who didn't drink or go out late or fake it at big parties. But now she's opening up a whole new life for herself, and I feel weirdly proud of her, and excited for all the things she is going to do. But you should ask her about it. We have a new roommate, too: his name is Allie and he makes moldings for movie sets seven days a week, which he describes as "long, tiring, interesting, absurdly funny, dusty, unromantic, and demoralizing." He's extraordinary. Sam was here for Mardi Gras, and I can't believe how fast the holiday passed. We took in Muses, Krewe de'Tat, and Endymion. We also made a King Cake, so I felt I had met the bare minimum, at least, of my Mardi Gras requirements, which is impressive because I have a bad cold (turns out you get sick a lot when you work with little kids. Who knew?). Lots of good visits. My parents, too, came to New Orleans recently. I felt like a grown up. And then, two weeks later, my little sister turned twenty-one. I visited her in Colorado to see what it looked like to turn twenty-one (because heaven knows I didn't do it correctly -- I just bemoaned my ungraceful departure from childhood and watched a lot of Disney Channel in a state of miserable denial), and to celebrate her existence. I can't believe she's an adult. I guess she always sort of was, but now there's an official number to put on it. My sister is the most extraordinary person I know. How did we get so big so fast? I don't feel like I have changed much. Then again, I could write two separate biographies for the person I was just a year ago and the person I am now. Life is a paradox like that, I guess.

I am looking forward to the adventures.

* I recently sang this at a karaoke/ sushi bar in Metarie and was told that I really wasn't cut out to be a rapper. I have to admit that this was a bit discouraging. I would be lying if I told you I hadn't considered a possible future that included a primary income of six figures due to rap stardom.

˚ Don't ask me what I mean by "journalist." She is definitely a dying breed these days, as Gawker continually, pathetically, and aptly points out. But it's been my stubborn dream since I was about three years old, so I'm not giving up now just because the "newspaper" is "going extinct." Pish posh.

∫ One of them. Portland is pretty staggeringly wonderful, with its insanely black coffee and never-ending bookstores and my mom's bird feeders all choked with sparrows and waxwings and HUMMINGBIRDS. And lately I've missed Chicago a lot too, for all its sprawling neighborhoods, and the rambling El Trains and the magnificent limestone rocks on the big Lake Michigan.

≈ That my students are the greatest living human beings on the planet, I am absolutely certain. Every moment I spend with them I become a better person. I can't describe the brilliance each and every one of them brings to my life, but to cite a total cliche, just imagine you have stared your entire life at black-and-white, grainy photographs, and then someone suddenly puts a bright, color, high-definition, flat-screen television in front of you, playing clips of flowers blossoming as created by high-tech speed-capture cameras. It's kind of like that.