Destraction Pack-tion (what's your fraction??)

Tonight I am loading up my belongings into boxes for what feels like the fortieth time in my college life. You kind of hope this sort of thing will end when you graduate, and I suppose it does for some people. As someone who likes to move (in theory) and certainly sees a life for herself beyond the confines of U-District Seattle, however, I'm going to have to resign myself to the inevitable truth that my relationship with cardboard boxes and packing tape is an "in-too-deep" sort of deal.

When I see my bathroom, bedroom, closet, and kitchen "necessities" piled up near the doorway, ready to be heaved into some appeasing friend or family member's vehicle, it always makes me think the same thing: I have way too much stuff. And from there I always come to the same question: How the hell did I get so much stuff? I can name three things that are as hard for me to give away as they are easy for me to acquire and those are papers, books, and clothes. My passion for writing has driven me to save everything from in-class doodles to horrible horrible poems to champion essays that I'll never forget took me 10 hours to complete. I've gotten much better: I used to save all of it. Now I remind myself that Google's not going any place and that if I don't remember how the cool the phrase "militant milieu" sounds, no one's going to suffer...even me. Especially me.

Here's how a night of packing usually goes for me: I begin in my bedroom. "Man, my stuff's really decreased from last time I packed!" I always think at this point. This period of room-haul is fraught with metaphorical pats-on-the-back and excited anticipation of seeing what a minimalist I've become when everything's all put away. Sooner or later I get to my office stuff and think "Now would be a really great time to go through my papers..." That either results in my sitting down and sorting into yes-maybe-no piles or my bypassing the thinning altogether by chucking it all in a bin and saying, "I know! I'll do it when I unpack." Ha.

Office supplies always make boxes way too heavy; you have to attack the closet at this point so you can offset the bulk with light things like scarves and socks. This is to ensure that the people helping you move don't fix you with how-the-f*ck-do-you-expect-me-to-pick-this-sh*t-up grimaces as they waddle out the door under 60 lbs of boxed guilt. The closet always stresses me out, though (like I said, too many clothes), so I pack about half of it, feeling sheepish as I layer my one-and-only designer-brand skirt (I wore it once this year! That means I get to keep it, right?) atop my favorite high school thrift store vest that I've never yet (but may someday) feel hip enough to pull off.

It's time to bake.

The kitchen begins in wariness, middles out in celebratory abandon, and culminates in total horror. I feel like kitchen stuff is more excusable than my journals and skirts, cause everybody's gotta eat, and it's nice to be able to do so with the right supplies. This is part's always slow-going, cause stuff's gotta be wrapped so you don't arrive to your new home with rainbow shreds of Crate&Barrel ceramic. Then comes the excitement of fitting all the gadgets and bowls into little Tetris formations in my assigned boxes. That lasts a solid hour or so until I open a cabinet I'd forgotten about and realize NO ONE NEEDS THIS MUCH PYREX TO COOK A MEAL EVER. I turn to half-full bags of brown sugar and walnuts I've unearthed at the back of my shelves, and suddenly baking sounds like a really great idea.

Who cares that I don't have time to clean these dishes -- that I really don't have time to be baking at all? What does it matter that I only have 3/4 the amount of butter? Am I going to complain about having to unpack half of what I've already Tetris-ed when the end cause is dessert?

The dessert always ALWAYS turns out terrible. I'm not paying attention (because by now I'm back in my bedroom looking at old letters from friends I haven't talked to in ages and creating a "Packing Playlist" on iTunes), or I was too lazy to dig out my Cuisinart to mix things properly, or the recipe really did need that much butter... and now I have to find something else to eat. At least I have less flour and sugar to carry.

How about the bathroom? That's easy! Toothbrush, toothpaste, floss, brush, hairties, bobby pins, face cream, soap, shampoo, razor, tampons, band-aids, face cloths...tweezer....nail polish.....Noxema......Soft Scrub........makeup samples?!?! OKAY HOLD ON. How did this happen in here?? Am I just some kind of, like, human hamster? I must be mixing my stuff up with my roommate's -- there's no way I bought three kinds of face washes and forgot to use them all.

Around the midnight mark I find myself in a maze of boxes -- it's past the point of no return. Tomorrow I will be judged. I will make excuses and apologies as I pray everything will fit in the car. I will start sacrificing extra notebooks and the clothes I was once-upon-a-delusion going to nobly carry to Goodwill instead of throwing into the dumpster. I will unload everything in my new room and stare around at the boxes in this new environment, thinking "That didn't take so long. Maybe I don't have too much stuff after all..."

And someday, before I know it, I'll be discovering the vest and plates and the poems and the 20 shades of nail polish and asking myself who I am and what all this stuff is doing here -- and putting them into boxes again.


Not-so-sweet Dreams

Something I haven't spent any time writing about on this blog is dreams. I find them continually fascinating -- I used to like to recount the ones I could remember at great detail in my journal, and for about a year I would turn every dream I had into a poem. Gone are the days I have time for things like that, but every now and again, when I dream something particularly weird or amazing, I take a look at this website to see what it's all about:

It's alright if you think this is bullshit -- I'm looking at you E.G.B! -- but whether there's any science behind it or not, I find it's often thrillingly correct. Carl Jung explored the idea of the Archetypes of the Collective Unconscious, which in layman's terms is a series of characters supposedly present in the minds of all people. These seven characters (of course there's seven, as there's seven of everything), the Animus/Anima, Mother, Father, Wise Man, Child, Shadow, and Trickster, interact with a Persona/Protagonist figure in stories spanning across different cultures, climates, and times in history, lending them the term "collective." Consider how the Coyote, a common Trickster character in Native American stories, still seems in our eyes to be dangerous or mischievous despite his small stature. Or how the tale of Cinderella has found its way into countless cultures' folktales, from Germans to Egyptians. I've been taught to distrust anything declared "universal" in anthropology & psychology -- especially by old white guys -- but in this case I think it's more fun to take everything with a grain of salt and draw your own conclusion by using these interpretations as a general guide.

The great old white guy himself.

So, on to my dream. In my waking hours I'm currently working with a realtor on locating properties and comparing them to the ones she's trying to sell, so I've been living and breathing apartment complexes lately. To no surprise, the primary setting of my dream was in one of those complexes. First I was in an empty unit by myself. I went outside to see the backyard and found it well-furnished, bright beneath an overcast sky, with a nice lawn and spacious spread. I took notes on all this, as if I was just dreaming my normal job, when suddenly my mind switched jobs on me and I was on the set of a film, acting in something like The Great Gatsby meets Seven meets Speak (which I just watched recently.) I was wrestling with this man whose face I can't recall (a tell-tale feature of Jung's Shadow figure) -- I couldn't tell what his motive was, but I thought he wanted to hurt me. Suddenly he was coming at me with a long knife -- it looked to be a gigantic butter knife, but it was absolutely sharper than one -- and attempting to pin me to the ground. Something told me I was going to be raped (thank you, Speak...) and I started punching him and grabbing at his hair. (Luckily in this dream I had a voice -- oftentimes I do not.) I somehow wrestled the knife away from him and then I was stabbing and slashing around his face, trying to get him off me before he could do any damage. Someone yelled "cut," and I remember thinking of the terrible irony of that word in this situation. It didn't feel like I was on a movie set, even after the command. Everything seemed too crazy to be fictional, dreamwise or moviewise.

I went off set to speak to my fellow cast mates, my face bloody and in need of attendance. As someone dressed my wounds a girl told me I'd lacerated Leonardo DiCaprio, and that he might never be able to act again. After that I felt horrible, even though he'd treated me so violently, and suddenly stupid cause it was "just a movie, anyway." An interesting fun-fact about real life me: I used to joke that I would get a sex change and become Leonardo DiCaprio; as he was getting his second wind with Shutter Island and Inception he suddenly gained a level of coolness than I never would've granted him in 1997. So, if I'm fighting off a shadow figure who happens to be Leo, who in my unconscious sort of equals me, what does it all MEAN?

The "Attack" dream is cited on the Inspired By Dreams website as such:
     "As frightening as it seems, the chase dream is a common dream theme for the 20 something crowd entering the work force. When we are young, we are uncertain about the ‘code of conduct’ or the behaviors that are required of us. The fast pace at which we may be forced to adopt new identities in the work place, brings a past way of being in opposition with a new way of being....This dream also happens frequently when we are moving, divorcing or making significant changes to our identity.
     Being pursued or attacked is the ‘internal drama’ of one side of you questioning your behavior as you enter new situations. Like the voice of the parents, who taught you about what you should or shouldn’t do, these tapes continue to play as dream characters that emerge each time a new situation calls you to become something you may not be comfortable with."

"Shadow" explicates further:

     "The Shadow embodies the rejected or repressed aspects of your more natural expression that was sent underground. At some point, you may have decided (or were told) that some part of you was unacceptable because it suggested weakness, fear of fitting in with the group, and can create unresolved anger. In actuality, these aspects become the power of your untapped potential. It appears frightening because you do not understand it."

Isn't that fascinating? They've hit the nail right on the head. This week I'm adjusting to a new job as I end my old one and beginning the transition to my new abode. Last night I was working out ways to debulk and revamp my wardrobe, in search of a more mature identity, rather than the teenager who belongs in most of my clothes. A lot of changes are happening, and I'm definitely feeling all those things -- what's "required" of me, what my parents believe I should be doing, what I think I should be doing vs. what my heart has told me to do for ages... My identity's shifting left and right, and even though on the surface I feel pretty jazzed about all the changes, I guess this is my dream-self hashing out some of the stress I've been refusing to acknowledge as I push ever-forward on this road called Life. On a more flattering note, if my "untapped potential" is anywhere close to Leonardo DiCaprio (minus the icky rape stuff), I'm going to get straight to work on setting that free!

Okay, that's enough dreamlore for now. I encourage you, reader, whoever you are to dream a little dream of your own and research some of the symbols that come up. You might discover things you didn't even know you were thinking. It's all there, spinning a weird web in our unconscious.

Or maybe it's just "a succession of images." Or maybe nothing at all. ;)

Good to be back -- thanks for reading!


Free Association: Summerthoughts

Summer gives me shivers, hot and cold; hot in the day, cold in the evening before I lie down before the screen window beneath my sheets, with my ears toward the crickets. There are no crickets here.

Just the smell of heat baking asphalt, melting tar spills and wooden porches, releasing plantlife fumes into the air, takes me back through so many years -- some that I can remember all the time, some that only come back to me with this, the smell of heat.

running barefoot through a backyard I could still trace for you on my skin if you liked -- from abandoned dog house to lavender bush, playing pandas, no-one-wants me runaways, scarecrows over-the-rainbow...

pitchy hands on tree bark that's beginning to rub, leaving blisters; feeling like a boy and feeling cool for that; looking down, way down, at a pineneedle path

lying nervous in the underbrush of a tunnel in a park and feeling my heart pulse a nervous clockwork

vinyl (or was it leather?) interior of a white four-door car, with wind blowing through its windows and 60s summer music pounding through its stereo

textured shingles underneath my thighs, feeling the loneliest I've ever felt, waiting for my best friend to return because she's really the only one who sort of understands it, even if it's only a little bit

a sunset in a living room (or was it a bedroom or a park) hanging heavy with goodbye on the insistence of I-love-you; two bodies pressed close, knowing with the next fading of these rays they too will be a washed memory on each other's retinas (or was it hearts or only dreams)


I'm coming back. I've missed this blog too much.