My Thoughts

5 Days Till Tonic

5 Days Till Tonic 150 150 Akharla Mova

Sunset Buttercups by Joni N

Women are well-accustomed

to walking on eggshells,

bombshells treading heavy

on glass-shards;

nails driven deep into their heels;

to the marrow,

splintering.

Straps don’t cushion the blow,

and neither do the chandeliers

hanging from your lobes.

They drag down both hemispheres

into this sad, open

vulnerable

watermelon, going bad on hot cement.

All the kids that wanted it

scrunch up their noses.

What good is a melon

gone bad?

3 Days Till Tree

3 Days Till Tree 150 150 Akharla Mova

Mint, lime,

coconut.

Squeeze, time,

collapse.

Island, mime,

book.

Drink, sleep,

slap.

Hello, 23

Hello, 23 150 150 Akharla Mova

Let it forever be known that the night before my 23rd birthday, I ordered a Macbook Pro from my mother’s credit card, had my own credit card defrauded, and watched The Bachelor starring Jesse Palmer with my 4-month-old, incredibly itchy and unbearably cute little pup (although I would have much preferred to cuddle up to this former professional football player lovely, charming man – he’s just my type with the mesmerizing smile and alluring physique. The true bachelor, eh?).

I am surprisingly okay with this, with my impending joblessness (unemployment), and with my upcoming free time during the summer. I am okay with being an overachiever and a little overworked. I am really, really okay with my life. I am happy here, despite wanting so much, because I know how lucky I really am.

I know how to be grateful for things, and I think by 23, that can be considered an achievement, albeit a small one.

What do I think 23 will involve?

Lots of change. I can read all the Thought Catalog articles I want on “being in your 20s”, but I have barely scraped the surface of this decade I’ve been inhabiting for 3 years already. I’ve finished university and pursued job opportunities, sure. I’ve also visited Europe, which, let’s face it, is a “thing you do in your 20′s”. I’ve bought a dog and made peace with my insane family (most of the time anyway). I have learned how to step away from things, although stepping away from 7 seasons of a TV show still proves to be a struggle. But I’ve learned how to manage my money and earn it; I’ve learned how to say no when people are pushing me too far, and I’ve learned to say yes when people are willing to actually come to the party.

I’ve learned a lot of things, but I think I’m still learning to enjoy the moment. To ride the wave and really be amazed in the instant of the fact that I’m gliding on water.

This year will probably involve moving out, being adult-ish, getting a “real job”, and all sorts of boring things like figuring out who I am and what I’m really capable of as a person. I’m excited. It will be a fun challenge. It’ll be so terrifying that I’m sure I’ll come home certain days and just cry into my dog’s stomach, further dirtying her fur with my snot, but I also hope there will be days that I just dance into my favourite pair of underwear and get dressed like the Queen herself is visiting me (although, hey, I don’t really dig monarchies, but I’d make an exception, I guess).

I will try to keep track of everything, although, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t really figured out (STILL. STILL. My frustration knows no end.) what I want this blog to be. Maybe instead of making it something, I’ll just write and ramble about whatever the hell I want and see what turns out. It works in cooking!

Sometimes.

Let’s hope this is one of those times.

Denial is a River Flowing Through My Brain

Denial is a River Flowing Through My Brain 150 150 Akharla Mova

Up until this Monday, the 10th of June, 2013, I’ve written, read, and discussed a lot of stories about Generation Y.

Reading through these articles, I’ve grandly nodded my head at the sweeping generalizations, whether accusatory or pitying, about my age group. Of course you need more than a university education to succeed in the job market. Of course you’ll be working as a barista for a little bit, however sad that fact is. Of course there are no jobs.

I nodded, complained to friends in similar situations, and sat seething in a jealous pit while other friends found opportunities in more technical or practical fields like technology or healthcare. And yet, I was never a slacker, having held down as many as 3 jobs and volunteer activities simultaneously for most of my 4 full-time years at university. Not only that, but I was always willing to learn more, work harder, and network with more people than others in my classes. But this was done mainly to finish university with an actual hope of attaining employment. Those who did nothing but study, I’m afraid, will be facing much dimmer hopes. As Adam Kingsmith writes,

“Most of Generation Y simply wants what our parents had. A graduation met with impending job prospects, a steady source of engaging employment, health benefits and a retirement plan, a partner, homeownership, a family, and a two-car garage.”

I wrote articles, too, about how the trades are desperate for fresh blood but young people are  ignorant to the great benefits, and opportunities available in these fields because their parents wanted them to get university degrees (for better future opportunities, they said). I wrote articles about how to score jobs through networking, how to job hunt online, and how much opportunity there is in healthcare. All sorts of things targeted to my generation and the job hunt, the job market, our potential future troubles. I know quite a bit about our situation, our current society, and the socioeconomic situation that is making us all sweat.

I discussed all of these things with close and not-so-close friends, coworkers and bosses and strangers on the bus. But recently, I’ve made some big decisions that have resulted in every person asking me the same inane question, and it’s starting to drive me completely insane:

So, do you have a job yet?

And I finally realized on Monday, when I graduated along with 600 other BA holders in the 1st of 5 ceremonies from York University’s Liberal Arts & Professional Studies Faculty (which will graduate more than 3,600 students this year), that I am truly, depressingly, inescapably Generation Y. I’ve never really felt like I fit anywhere, but, as all of the internet seems to screaming, I belong here, with everyone else on that stage, with the lights making us sweat in the robes we had to pay to rent for 4 hours, hopeless and hopeful, angry and determined, willing and discouraged. I am the proud and tired owner of a piece of paper that says that I spent 5 years on an Honours Bachelor of Arts in English and Professional Writing.

Knowing all this, I was still in denial about how dreadful it would be after graduation until I sat in that hot seat in front of thousands of happy family members.

I was in denial because I thought I was the exception to the rule. That if I worked hard enough, cobbled together enough experience and made enough connections, I would be the exception to the hordes of BA holders working in coffee shops and retail outlets. In my heart, I still believe this is the case, mainly because I have an ego the size and strength of a cement construction of modern architecture.

But in reality, and after signing a 1-year lease with my boyfriend of 5 years, I’m terrified. I’m terrified that on July 2, 2014, a year after moving into my “future life”, I’ll be working at a coffee shop down the street from our fancy new condo. I’m terrified that the moving fees, hydro fees, home insurance, pet insurance, pet food, food, cell phone bills, internet bills and life in general will be paid for by the dull creation of lattes and cappuccinos.

If I had to live the past 5 years of my life thinking that I’d have to live with my parents until I’m 30, I would probably have given up. I’d just apply to Starbucks over and over again until every grain of hope seeped out of my resume and my skills became so outdated that I would become economically useless.

But I still have a little bit of hope left in myself because, hey, I have worked hard, and I write pretty hilarious and effective cover letters from time to time. People have liked that in the past, and here’s hoping they’ll like that now, when I’m actually in need of opportunities to grow as a person and devote my energies to an exciting team.

What’s strange, but telling of my bullheadedness, is that while I was so entrenched in the discussions of my generation, I very obviously separated myself from the troubles everyone else around me was having. Because I’ve been such a hard worker (it’s in my nature; idle hands are my worst enemy), I’ve always fallen into certain jobs, whether they were bartending or tutoring. Eventually, I even started getting paid to write. That was an amazing day for me while I was living at home and not paying rent, but now I am looking forward to the day that my writing can earn me an entire living. That is the crux of this whole post.

Will that day ever come? Or will I have to resort to paying thousands more dollars to upgrade and specify my skills in a college program? Will the past 5 years of hard effing work ever be worth a living wage?

I guess we’ll find out. Moving day is July 2nd, and I have savings *and familial loans* enough for a few months of unemployment. After that, who knows. Maybe lattes, maybe communication.

I’m hopeful for now, and leaving hopeless for later.

State of (Moving) Affairs

State of (Moving) Affairs 150 150 Akharla Mova

Things I should be doing now:

  • packing.

Things I shouldn’t be doing now:

  • trying to prove the worth of feminism in 140 characters or less,
  • catching up on my YouTube,
  • exploring options for Summerlicious.TO,
  • thinking about how I’m not sure whether I’ll every be able to afford even Summerlicious.TO ever again,
  • having mini anxiety attacks,
  • drinking tea,
  • trying to listen to the Canada Day festival/concert happening in the park next to my house,
  • wondering how much I could sell my old school books for,
  • killing bugs,
  • thinking about food.

Small Thoughts, Big Ideas

Small Thoughts, Big Ideas 150 150 Akharla Mova

People stop noticing and doing these things when they get older, but

that moment when a kid grips your hand really tight when they see something new and overwhelming and scarily exciting,

that moment when a pup lays their head wherever and however closer they can to your body, their lip tugging on the material of your jeans, their teeth lazily exposed, their paw warming a circular area on your thigh,

that moment your little sister defers to your opinion,

that moment your computer screen is covered in licks,

that moment that you realize despite the 3 jobs, 4 rejections, and 1500 options, you are a person whose little things matter, and whose big things will either get solved, pass, or be traded in for smaller (bigger) things.

To Be In One’s 20s Is To Be Living In A Conundrum

To Be In One’s 20s Is To Be Living In A Conundrum 150 150 Akharla Mova

There’s a post I read on ThoughtCatalog that I haven’t been able to get out of my head for -literally- the past few days. It’s by Ryan O’Connell: the big pumba of TC.
The one paragraph that I had noticed has resonated with my very current life in severe and striking new ways:

“It’s possible to think that you’re the best, that you’re owed great things because you’re funny, smart and went to a good college, while also totally hating yourself and wondering what the hell you’re doing all the time. This duality of self-loathing and hubris will be your major tension. It will inform and tear at most of the decisions you make.”

I feel this tension constantly. Yesterday was bad for me: I felt tired, overwhelmed and underused. Today, I got 2 articles from TalentEgg published in Metro Toronto and accomplished great assignments at work. My boss gifted me some edible arrangements, for which I was so thankful I started tearing up.

What I’ve learned on my month-long stint (thus far) in corporate Canada is that if you work with people who believe in you and in your talents, you can accomplish anything. This relates strongly to my current boss, as well as to my editor at TalentEgg that has coached and guided me in so many life-defining ways.

What’s interesting is that you get to choose your influencers each day. If you choose your influencer to be your negativity, your day will inevitably turn out sour. If your influencer is greatness, your day will accomplish greatness, even in the little bits and pieces that are needed to wake up the next day and enjoy the moment of waking.

Some days, this means you wake up and the only thing you want to know intensely is the underside of your comforter and a box of popcorn. Others cause you to jump from bed as an Olympian would. These days are not hormonal; in fact, they seem to be quite natural.

I don’t feel like I know a lot about myself as a person at this point. The only thing I know is who I want to become and more-or-less what I look like (act like) in comparison to the person I want to be. This is enough of a generality to push me in the right direction, but enough of a specificity to keep me focused on one more-or-less clear path. I am a writer, I am funny (disputable fact), I am extremely hard-working. So far, so good.

And it’s because I don’t know this whole lot of solid things about myself that I keep wavering between these extremes:

  • Am I working hard enough? Or am I working too hard?
  • Have I achieved enough? Have I achieved anything important at all?
  • Do I deserve this position? Am I disgustingly under-qualified for this job?
  • What am I willing to compromise for work? What am I willing to compromise for life? What am I willing to compromise for balance?
  • What will make me happy? What do I pour my energy into?

And for me, the answer has always been (and will always be, despite my anxious nature and ridiculous worries) that I will pour energy into what I love and into good people. And if I can get closer to making a living from what I love, I will consider myself to be successful. I will consider myself to still be on the right path.

Because working everyday on something you love is an act that requires the sort of self-love that will inevitably turn you into a better version of yourself. There’s no escaping it.

Poem

I miss Berlin like I would miss the womb of another woman;
(if I could imagine) the unraveling reality of it.
I miss its close society:
the pre-war closets and graffiti’d walls
the secrets kept wide open on the kitchen tables
and the wine that made these strangers all fast friends.
I miss Berlin
much like I missed the idea of me being born Spanish
or Costa Rican
or Turkish
and having taken in the afternoon chais and middlenoon siestas and post-night/pre-morning
dancing until dawn,
amid giant boulders and thin alleys and tree-laden rooftops.
I miss Berlin like I miss the sliding door
I could have (might have) missed
on a platform asking for passengers,
trains travelling in all directions one-by-one
all through the post-night dregs of early morning.
Directionfull, and me, directionless.
I miss its small cafes and unabashed mothers
its vintage shops and Russian discos
its factories and rivers
its musical revolutions and historical resolutions
its efficacy and cacophony
its hindered beauty and its rushed development
its emptiness and fullness
my desire and
its desire
for being awake through tidal waves
through sun beams and broken beams and
fires in their opalescent collective souls.

Something I found in the draft archives! Enjoy. A.

Verified Rule #19: Courage is tantamount to every miracle.

Verified Rule #19: Courage is tantamount to every miracle. 150 150 Akharla Mova

Nobody except Lois Lane and Spiderman kiss in the rain, no matter how hard Taylor Swift peddles her romantic fantastical bullshit (even if it is catchy and makes me want to live as a white man in 1920′s Louisiana) (a lá Louis CK). Life is not about fantasy. It is realism. It is ugly and terrifying and saddening to its core. But it is also beautiful.

Correct me if I’m wrong, but I think that perhaps writers are more sensitive to the overwhelming sadness of people’s stories. However, they are also more apt at finding the beauty in irony and unfinished business and unfairness. Because no protagonist ever gets a fair deal, and we are all our own protagonists, all the center of our own society of thoughts. It is the protagonist’s passion for life and for dealing with their specific box of bullshit that inspires the writer to write beauty in pain, and to see the beauty of it in the first place. It is also, I believe, what helps people find inspiration for their own lives. It is Atlas’s burden, shrugged off.

But whether or not it is writers who see this, the thing to remember is that magic exists, and is as real as all the shit that magic has to fix. Maybe it doesn’t have to be called magic, which sounds too fairy-like, but it is something magical. It is good karma or faith or God or family or love. Perseverance and grace under pressure and courage is tantamount to any miracle.

I was reminded by someone today (not overtly) about my old LiveJournal. Going back to read the daily thoughts of my 13-to-16-year-old-self makes me want to punch myself in the face. I was so whiny. I still am whiny. I should probably just punch myself in the face now.

But I am my own protagonist. And as much as I can and try to empathize with other people’s problems, I live in my own head and live life for my own needs. Those needs sometimes include helping others, but not always. I will put on my own oxygen mask first before I put on yours. And I don’t think that makes me an egotist. I think it makes me a human full of natural instinct.
What I’ve been doing, I think, for the past 3 years at my college is not instinctual to me, and thanks to that I’ve alienated deep parts of myself that are now aching and in pain. That is my current suffering, and it extends to multiple areas of my life that are, to me, equally heartbreaking. My main suffering is that I have stopped writing poetry and I have stopped giving myself time to write. Even though I’ve gotten published. Even though I believe the pieces and articles I have written are still great accomplishments and might, in the end, help me achieve my personal balance, and improve my writing skills. I have ignored and pushed down the hungers of my soul and my sanity in lieu of practicality.

No more. I’m sure if I looked into my archives (or you feel the desire to), you would see that I write something along these lines every year. I don’t know. Maybe I haven’t. But I feel like my creativity is drowning, and I’ve been holding it under water in the hopes that something will be reborn that will change me or my natural inclinations to something that is more “useful”. I have always touted the flag of creativity and following your own path. But I am and have been a hypocrite for a while now. I don’t want to be a hypocrite, but I was and I am and I will continue to be until I follow my hands to a pen or a keyboard and “just bleed”.

I don’t know what influenced me to simultaneously feel like I was making a right choice for myself by enrolling in a writing program and then, on the side, giving up personal writing. When I was at my first university, I studied history while writing poetry on the side and taking creative writing electives. Even my physics courses there added something to my writing. It expanded my metaphorical base. It led my mind down paths I didn’t know existed. It allowed me to understand the world in different—if frustratingly so—ways.
When I came to my second university, I became so focused on jobs jobs jobs. I became so concerned getting ahead and getting practical experience and getting a foothold into a world and a job market that is nothing if not literally unkind to artists. And yes, I will not deny that this is still something that plagues me with worry. It is a brand of our generation. I was born into it, I think, as were many of you. It is the way we are taught to think about achievement.

But I am fucking tired of it. I was tired of it in high school, but my impression of the real world after university terrified me stiff. So, I gave in. A little. To assuage myself. Then, a little more. I picked up a boring ass job, like so many writers do to “pay the bills”, except that in my very privileged situation, I barely had any. I did it more for freedom, which is not to be vilified either, I think, but it ended up chewing on my dreams like tobacco packets and spitting them to the side of the road.

If I can do it, I will not let go of my dreams. I will try to be graceful under the great societal pressure of “this is what you need to do if you don’t want to be a worthless piece of shit”. I will be courageous by continuing my education, whether that means through travel or through literal academia. I do not have to hop into a grave and start digging. I do not have to bow down to the great god of “getting ahead”. I do not have to give up my poetry. I am my own protagonist. And every writer knows that once a character is fully fleshed, they have their own lives. They create their own futures. Sometimes, the author has very little say in where they go or what they do. They take over.

I am my own protagonist, and I am redirecting my story out of conventionality. It will be worth it because I will have been courageous, and that will have been an achievement even if I fail at everything else. It will be something to be proud of; the trying.

It is easy to stay in a comfortable place for the rest of your life. It is simple. And I am not thwarting all of the advantages that my parents worked hard to give me by ignoring the “good life” or the safe job.

The choice to redirect my story is my privilege, given to me by my family. And I am not going to ignore my family’s hard work by spitting on the incredible freedom I have to follow my heart.
I am going to take advantage of it by finding courage to follow my true story to wherever it will lead me.

August is to Change as Cake is to Gym

August is to Change as Cake is to Gym 1920 1280 Akharla Mova

What that title means, my friends, is that the Lady Rambler (moi) is going to be making some changes come school year/end of summer. I’m not sure if that’s the right relationship of words, as I have never taken the SATs, nor do I ever wish to endeavor to, but it sounded right to me at this moment, and so I’m LEAVING IT. Cause I’m an instinctual creature.

Anyway.

I’m looking to hire a web designer to fancify this here website (once I obtain my VERY.OWN.DOMAIN.NAME. Pause for audience screams.) And start thricely per week updating the blog.
I’ve come up with 3 general varieties of posts that I would like to try my hand at doing weekly. And one hidden type that might or might not show up here (but it’s in my brain, so that’s all that matters.) (Secrets! OoOoOohhh).

  1. What I’ve Read & Rambled About a la A Literal Girl
  2. Anecdotes and Stories from the Life of the Lady Rambler
  3. Essays on Possibly-Inconsequential-Yet-Life-Altering Things

I’m going to be trying to stretch my writing muscles so that I’m actually writing about things that matter and are important to me. Hopefully, that’ll appeal to you. Currently, it really appeals to me. And it appeals to what I want to do in the future. So I feel like it will be a raging success (or just me raging).

I’ll be moving at a snail’s pace until the end of the summer (job life and whatnot), but I’ll announce the full revamp come September 10-ish.

Wish me luck, and come visit and read!

Let it forever be known that the night before my 23rd birthday, I ordered a Macbook Pro from my mother’s credit card, had my own credit card defrauded, and watched Bones with my 4-month-old, incredibly itchy and unbearably cute little pup. I kicked back and relaxed in my puppy’s favorite sleeping spot – my super cozy reclining sofa that I can’t get enough of every evening. I must confess, it is my favorite sleeping spot too – sometimes I just sleep there when I’ve had a particularly draining day, it just feels so comfortable and takes me back to childhood, being out cold during a sweet nap after a long day of playing on a very similar sofa at my grandmother’s.

I am surprisingly okay with this, with my impending joblessness (unemployment), and with my upcoming free time during the summer. I am okay with being an overachiever and a little overworked. I am really, really okay with my life. I am happy here, despite wanting so much, because I know how lucky I really am.

I know how to be grateful for things, and I think by 23, that can be considered an achievement, albeit a small one.

What do I think 23 will involve?

Lots of change. I can read all the Thought Catalog articles I want on “being in your 20s”, but I have barely scraped the surface of this decade I’ve been inhabiting for 3 years already. I’ve finished university and pursued job opportunities, sure. I’ve also visited Europe, which, let’s face it, is a “thing you do in your 20′s”. I’ve bought a dog and made peace with my insane family (most of the time anyway). I have learned how to step away from things, although stepping away from 7 seasons of a TV show still proves to be a struggle. But I’ve learned how to manage my money and earn it; I’ve learned how to say no when people are pushing me too far, and I’ve learned to say yes when people are willing to actually come to the party.

I’ve learned a lot of things, but I think I’m still learning to enjoy the moment. To ride the wave and really be amazed in the instant of the fact that I’m gliding on water.

This year will probably involve moving out, being adult-ish, getting a “real job”, and all sorts of boring things like figuring out who I am and what I’m really capable of as a person. I’m excited. It will be a fun challenge. It’ll be so terrifying that I’m sure I’ll come home certain days and just cry into my dog’s stomach, further dirtying her fur with my snot, but I also hope there will be days that I just dance into my favourite pair of underwear and get dressed like the Queen herself is visiting me (although, hey, I don’t really dig monarchies, but I’d make an exception, I guess).

I will try to keep track of everything, although, as I’m sure you’ve noticed, I haven’t really figured out (STILL. STILL. My frustration knows no end.) what I want this blog to be. Maybe instead of making it something, I’ll just write and ramble about whatever the hell I want and see what turns out. It works in cooking!

Sometimes.

Let’s hope this is one of those times.