A Poem About Grad School

I call this one, “I Didn’t Get Accepted”

I didn’t get accepted to grad school & they never gave me a reason, but they took that $150 application fee & told me try again next season.

I didn’t get accepted to grad school & it’s probably the best thing that’s ever happened to me, because now I don’t owe a fake institution $40,000 for a piece of paper that tells others I may be worthy.

I see how the crippling debt affects my friends, choosing jobs they don’t want, to pay for degrees they didn’t really need, but no one told us that. They told us it was guaranteed, go to college, get a degree, get a job, eventually live debt free.

BUT. WHAT. ABOUT. THAT.

“Eventually…”

Live in borrowed time, so you can borrow money & eventually you’ll be caught up.

BUT. WHAT. ABOUT. THAT.

“House I want to raise my kids in, the car to drive us around? Then the bills they really pile up because…”

I didn’t get accepted to grad school & I’m okay with that because now I don’t have to listen to pseudo-intellectuals tell me their vapid thoughts about what life is, as if I must be brain dead because god forbid I have a humor and I can think too. They must know better than me though, because -they got accepted after all.

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February : an Important Juncture in Time

I’ve been thinking about this for a long time now. February is like a gateway to the rest of the year. It’s the slowest and dullest month and it always seems to drag. I started thinking in the last week that every important juncture in my life has occurred in February.

This year I am on a break from my job at the art museum for the whole month. As I live in another transition, I reflect on the others:

2017: Left for LA to see my art at the group show//art auction before flying to Colombia + Peru for a month

2016: Road trip with Shane that ended with him ghosting me as soon as I flew back home from Arizona

2014: Time in Aracaju was coming to an end, Projeto Talk ended, began trip to Recife//Olinda for Carnaval before moving to Rio de Janeiro for the next two months

2013: Flew to London to begin 2.5 month journey across Europe

2012: Found out I got a  job as an electoral organizer in Eugene, Oregon

2011: Quit my job as Communications Director in student government

Hmm… Now thinking about it, maybe I mostly just quit jobs in February and travel.

Champagne

champagne

Oh to be 24 again
Rolling through those front streets, back seats, coasting highways cost the coastal byways
Smell of sea salt on the ocean stained hair
A fresh piercing, indigo child wild head scarf and a hot pink sweater from that downtown San Francisco H&M
We’d find our treasure island on a heaping load of trash off the exit of the bay bridge and I swear it’s the greenest coastal ridge I’ve ever seen
9.5 hours through I-5 corridor terrain: cascading mountain ranges and sweet mount whatever, orange groves and fresh berries, California sunshine and NorCal farming, 100 mph over my favourite bridge because the cops on the other side of traffic can’t stop me now, and in a year we’ll do the same only Christian will be spilling out the side with a bottle of champagne

Happy 70th Birthday Daddy

I’ve been avoiding writing this post for a few days now. I think it’s why my heart has been hurting so much today, because I’m avoiding facing the truth that my dad has been dead for 10 years. It’s something I’ve been avoiding admitting for some time. I shoved it as far deep in my belly as I could so I wouldn’t have to face the truth. After he died, I remained strong for my family, I went to work to keep my mind off of things, I kept living my life to avoid the fact that he was gone. Maybe when he died that’s when all this avoidant behavior began, avoiding people that hurt me so that I couldn’t be left ever again, always leaving first and making sure I wasn’t left. A false sense of control in a world that took mine away.

I’d love to share a beautiful story about my dad though: his final wish.

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I arrived early at the hospital because my math class got out earlier than usual. They were in the middle of decorating his hospital room when I came in. They dressed my dad in normal clothes and he sat in the chair waiting patiently. I asked what was going on. They told me to pick out a song on the CD’s and they would explain. The main woman that had been working with my dad through his kemo treatments asked him what his last wishes were since all of his organs started failing him. First he said a turkey sandwich. She laughed and said he was easy to please. Then he said, “The last time I danced with my daughter was at my niece’s wedding. I won’t be able to dance with her at her own wedding, so I’d like to dance with her one last time.”

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They informed me that the room was being set up for our daddy daughter dance. They hung Christmas lights around the whole room. A woman went out to buy me roses and came back to hold them like a bouquet in my hands. Then I chose our song that we would dance to, “Edelweiss” from The Sound of Music. It wasn’t my top song choice, but of the music selection they had, it would have to do. I wanted that one country music song that Becca Gass said she wanted to dance to at her wedding because it was such a perfect song.

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The music started and my daddy took my hand and we slowly cascaded across the linoleum ballroom floor, with twinkly lights overhead. We hugged each other close and bawled our eyes out knowing it would be the last time.

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To one of my best friends, my daddy, Raymond A. Olbrantz, October 6, 1947 – May 26, 2007.

Your Own Story

Sometimes we are so busy distracting ourselves with other people’s stories, thinking about how amazing they are, we forget about our own unique story. I didn’t realize how interesting my own personal story is until I moved here and started telling people it.

I think there is something important in adoring your own story. It is a form of love for oneself to say, “I have lived and I have lived well.” It’s important to love your story because it makes it easier to love and appreciate others.

Life is, after all, one giant journey of experiences.

There is a Cat Next Door

There is a cat next door that keeps meowing at my window. She stares at me as tho she knows me. There is a cat next door with olive green eyes. The same eyes I’ve only seen in Egypt. There is a cat next door which I’m pretty sure knows me. A friend from Egypt told me, “It is custom to our culture, that if a cat or dog hangs around you, it is because they know you from a previous life.” I could say the same about people. There is a cat next door that comes and goes as she pleases, but always returns to that which she belongs. She reminds me that everything I do and everywhere I am is exactly where I belong.

Moving On

I write a lot about letting go, but what about moving on? Some might say they’re one and the same, but I beg to differ. One to me symbolizes dropping things and the other, to me, symbolizes the act of finally walking away.

A new cycle has started in my life. Something inside me finally felt ready and called to move on from all the heaviness of my past, to let it all go, to quit floating and get to work. An old friend helped me get my resume together, wrote a cover letter for me and applied to three jobs to get me started on my new path. The rest was up to me.

I got a call back from the Art museum in the city I was born and raised in. I was so ecstatic. My mama took me shopping for interview clothes and she told me, “I can tell you’re serious about it this time because you’re buying new clothes just for the job.”

Then I went in for my interview. I was so nervous and when it was over they told me I was great. A week later they told me I got the job and that they loved me. A couple days later I was looking for places to live. Another friend put me through her program that gave me a whole new working wardrobe of all clothes from second hand stores.

I found a place to live and started my job in the same week. It was nerve wracking, it was exciting and it kept me on my toes because finally I am moving on in the direction of my dreams.

This experience has taught me that your friends, the ones who really care about you, they’re not always who you think it’ll be, but they want to see you succeed as much as you want to. They are going to help you and they are going to push you, but when you finally make the decision to move on, the whole universe is going to create a net when you decide to take that leap of faith.

Subjective Reality

There comes a time at the end of each journey where I realize, much of what I was experiencing was a narrative I played out in my head. A narrative that quickly dies once I realize nothing that I’m thinking is even reflecting what’s happening. I know I’m not the only one that does this, I watch plenty of my friends lie to themselves about what is actually going on in their lives too, whether we use it as a coping mechanism, some sort of denial, a way to make our lives seem more grandiose than they are, I don’t know, you can choose your flavour of the week depending on which pill you prefer to swallow.

I have dated men that didn’t want to admit the relationship was over when it was and men have dated me when I didn’t want to admit the relationship was over when it was. I have moved and traveled to places and loved it, I have moved and traveled to places and hated it. I have worked jobs that pay me $5.25/hour, I have worked jobs that pay me $25,000/year. I have paid $50 for plane tickets, I have paid $700 for plane tickets. I have traveled rich, I have traveled poor. There are two sides to every coin and if you’re lucky enough in this life you get to experience both sides so you have a more well-rounded perspective of all lives and all that life offers.

In the end life becomes whatever you take away from it, whether you see the good or the bad in any given situation, that’s exactly what you get. Personally, I am trying to get to a place where duality no longer exists, so that subjectivity can die along with it and all that exists is the objective, all encompassing dot.

Girls and the Boys that Like Them

A strange occurrence happened on my way back home. I passed a house that said Private Property. The front door was open and through the screen I could see the floor plan, the man inside. Then I stopped and gazed in awe and amazement because this was the house. A house I’d never been sure where it existed, a house I sat and explored with a neighbour boy I locked lips with.

Then I flashed back to where it all began, the middle of the street, a tempestuous flirtation, “she bit me!” How he liked it, how we walked hand in hand down that stretch of railroad track land.

I thought about all the boys I kissed with girlfriends who did the same. I felt bad for a brief second and let it go, because I realized we’re all just trying to figure it out.

The Celtic Knot

On my way home I passed these bushes, a well-groomed front yard; excavation supreme for this business front on 5th Street. A thought suddenly popped into my head, “throw the ring.” I kept going, unable to let go of my past. I kept walking, thinking about how this ring has been on every single journey since its discovery on the back lawns of the UO campus, that summer 2012. I kept walking, thinking about how I had a free reiki session last summer and the woman asked me if something was going on with my left hand, how the only thing going on with my left hand was that ring. I kept walking, thinking about how this sparked the idea inside of me that I have to return the ring on this trip, that maybe the ring is the cause of all these trips, that maybe I’m carrying someone else’s karma around with me and it’s time to let it go.

Suddenly it surged up from inside of me, I turned back and threw the fucking ring. I don’t know where the thought came from, I don’t know where women’s intuition sparks from either, and maybe I don’t want to carry anyone else’s karma around with me anymore, but the Celtic knot ring is gone.