8/31/2015 1 Comment
Request a poem by mail
I've been getting a lot of requests for poems from people all over the country. I had planned on setting up a way to interact with people on my blog but have bee procrastinating. Instead of trying to get everyone's email address and topic through comments on Instagram, I set up a page on my "Contact" tab to make it easier on everyone.
In person, I accept whatever donation seems reasonable. I don't want to have an obligatory charge and sense of ownership to the process. I want each individual exchange to be free and based on gratitude and excitement.
Think about a topic or a conversation you would like to engage in with me and tell me about it. You can simply type, "hamster earrings on mummy's" into the comment box, or you can use it as a place to explore the topic and why you want to create something out of it.
You can send a poem to someone else as a gift...or an apology.
If you would like your poem to be featured on the site, or if you just want to spread the love, snap a picture once received, post to Instagram or Facebook and tag Poem_by_Becca.
My body is tingling just writing about it! I'm excited to start creating for everyone!
8/27/2015 2 Comments
T-minus five days and counting
This is what I woke up to this morning.
Needless to say, I was late for work. I sincerely contemplated putting my car into 4-wheel drive and busting through the barrier like a locked gate in a thriller movie. Instead, I woke Naomi and tried to sound pitiful so she would save the day. She rolled out of bed, grabbed the chainsaw (that is literally in her room) and marched out towards the fallen tree, Loki trotting alongside her. It all seemed surreal. She looked like a superhero. I contacted my coworker and told her Naomi was chainsawing me a path out of my property and she simply responded with, "Good luck."
I must just be full of excitement, because I kept thinking of how i'll miss all of Alaska's inconveniences. I'll miss having to run outside and start my car every 30 min in -40 degree weather . I'll miss those mornings that I'm running late and have no time to warm my car up and must therefore drive using only the 5 inches of clear glass at the base of the windshield. I'll miss getting stuck in snow or running out of gas and having to walk two miles in -36 to find help. I'll miss Naomi coming to my rescue like she always does. I've been so spoiled by having her in my life.
Today, I have been overwhelmed by gratitude for all the beautiful things and people I take for granted. I am counting down the days until I depart, and I've also been dolling out large sums of cash for some last big expenses, but I've never felt happier handing over my debit card. I've been working towards this, saving my money, researching, seeking out help. It's amazing how my mental attitude effects how easy problems or tasks appear to be.
My car is the biggest issue, or at least it was, until I found Rick..
Rick comes through College CoffeeHut almost every day. I've served him coffee for over a year now. I knew a little bit of what he did. But, when you work in a drive-through espresso stand, conversations don't last long. So, I didn't really know him too well.
I could tell my car was acting weird. It wasn't driving right, and it was getting worse. The steering wheel would pull to the right, it shook, it felt like my shocks were out somewhere. I intended on taking my car into a mechanic before I left, but felt nervous about not knowing anything about my car, which common sense told me had some issues. I hadn't had any work done to it, other than oil changes since I bought it last February. Turns out, neither did the last guy. Rick offered to take a look at it before I took it to a mechanic so I would be knowledgeable of my car's issues. I brought it to his shop after work two nights ago and my fears were confirmed. At some points, during his inspection, I could hear Rick's voice bellowing out from under the hood, "Oh god! Oh man!" It sounded like he was watching scenes from Saw under there.
I would need new front tire rods, wheel hub bearings and lower ball joints, on both front tires. To anyone who doesn't know, this is a huge and expensive repair. He warned me that it was dangerous even to be driving it. I would have been lucky to make it to Canada. I just sat there, cringing at the bad news.
While Rick was working on my car, we got along great. We joked around and talked the entire time. I could tell he loves to teach people things and I love to learn, so it was the perfect combination. By the end, I was under the hood, helping him and learning all the intricate details and physics of my car. I felt like I was scoring a free college class under the table.
We discussed the numbers and my options and then Rick offered to do the work. We drove to the auto parts store and I bought $115 worth of parts and planned on buying $80 more later. I took Rick out for a beer and dinner to thank him. Throughout dinner, I kept getting the feeling like I had found the secret cheat in Mario Bros. Rick was saving me thousands of dollars and single-handedly, making my dream a reality. I hope that I will continue to come across people like Rick. I hope I can be a Rick one day. That's a sentence I never thought I would say.
Today, I brought him a coffee and burrito and we got right down to it again. I was posted up on the seat next to the car and he proceeded to take apart my tire right in front of me. He explained every minute detail along the way. He seemed genuinely happy to be doing what he was doing and to have company. I learned the names of all the tools used, how to clean the parts, how they work and how they differ from car to car. I felt like crying I was so overwhelmed by gratitude. He is an amazing mechanic and it is funny watching him work because he is so different than me, always going back and making sure everything is done correctly. I forget to put the oil cap back on and end up driving around with it sitting on top of my engine for three weeks. I call him the double checker.
I needed to get some work done on the computer, so I brought my bike and rode it to the local comic shop a few blocks over. My roommate, Naomi manages the store. Yes, I have two roommates both named Naomi. This one we call little Naomi. She is like 90 pounds and so cute I am constantly fighting the urge to squeeze her cheeks. She set me up in the "Gaming Room" and I'm currently sharing a space with 30 young males playing a diverse assortment of card games, from Star Wars to Magic. I'm trying to blend in.
Tomorrow, I'm taking Monty to the vet to get some shots and his health certificate, so that I can take him through Canada. I'm guessing it's going to cost at least $100, but hey! I'm invincible!
I'll also be having an assortment of friends over for dinner and to go through the last of my things. I hope I will have some quality time with them all. I just keep imagining me as Michael Scott from The Office on the episode Goodbye Michael. I want to make time for each individual person, but I will probably end up doing what he did, leaving a day early in secret and snatching the unfinished mittens out of Phyllis' hands.
In the theme of being thankful and positive in the face of change and stress, here is a video created out of an interview with a 6-year-old, by a filmmaker named Bianca Giaever (pronounced Gay-ver). It will make your day. If you like it, follow the link to her website to find more of her work.
I haven’t felt like writing in a while.
I used to have so much energy. I was always doing things that made me happy, things that fulfilled me. Even as I write this, I just want to stop. What is the point? What do I even want to say? And to whom? I spent so many years studying at a wonderful university, and sometimes I make grammar mistakes that I don’t know how to fix. I misspell the word grammar as I type this. Sometimes people ask me who my favorite author is or if i’ve read so and so and I am paralyzed by insecurity. No I haven’t read Mark Doty’s newest chapbook. No I don’t know the meaning of laconic at hand, (which is an adjective, expressing much in a few words; concise). I have found myself increasingly paralyzed by my own insecurity over the last few years. What makes it difficult to talk about is that I’m not sure why. I refuse to believe it is just part of getting older. I refuse to believe I have a slow-growing and debilitating mental illness that will eventually lead me to become a bag lady on the streets of NYC. I also refuse to believe that I have to live this way, forever.
People told me not too long ago that I had such a positive outlook and that they were encouraged by my personality. Lately, as I complain about my perceived fears and worries, those same people tell me that “It will be okay,” and “Try not to let it get to you.” I’m tired of my only contribution to conversations being stories of what I used to do or vents about my romantic troubles. When I am at my best, I often tell stories of awkward encounters and things that happen to me. I have been hiding behind my humor and storytelling. I’ve been hiding a very insecure and damaged psyche. A four-year-long love affair is finally burned apart. My parents are growing older. My brother is increasingly unavailable and successful. Most days, I cannot think of a reason as to why I should get out of bed. I have been refusing to admit for a while that I suffer from depression. But, I want to say now, that it’s okay. I will be okay. I want to believe myself.
When you don’t know how to fix things, sometimes you can decide to change your surroundings and to force yourself to get out of the stagnancy of your familiar bed, couch, friends, food. I have always been good at doing this. This has always been my savior. When I can’t possibly take myself anymore, I take myself away. Some would call this running away but it has always worked well for me. Sometimes I have to be without the things I love to love them. Summer and Winter breaks from school have always worked in my favor in this regard. I usually only have to be functional for 4-5 months before I can go somewhere.
I’ve been in Alaska for eight months now, the longest ever. But I am about to leave for good. It will be the first time that I don’t have somewhere to go home to. I’ll have only what I can fit in my car. This includes my cat, and his litter box. I have minuscule plans, mostly ideas. My car is old and there is a definite possibility that it will break down and I will have to give the remainder of my belongings away. When people ask me my plans, the same insecurities pop up and I have to say sheepishly, “I don’t know.” I hate that answer, but I am learning that it’s okay to say it. I don’t know how I’m going to live, make money or keep Monty from running off into the woods somewhere outside of Whitehorse Canada.
Why am I even doing this? Why do I feel like I’m running away and why do I feel like I’m in a nightmare in which I’m naked and everyone is staring?
Perhaps i’m trying to re-enact the trip I made to Alaska. I had no belongings and no fear, and no plan. I made it work, and rather well I might add. Now, I’m five years older, and with more baggage, literally and figuratively. My deepest desire is to shed that baggage (the figurative kind), leave the destructive comfort of my bed behind for good and never lay back down. I don’t want to forget, I want to learn how to remember in a healthy way. I want to write, even if I don’t want to write, because it makes me happy, disgustingly, juicy happy. The kind of happy that seeps out of my skin and hardens protectively. I want to write poetry because I’m good at it and I want to be better. I want to meet strangers that ask questions like, “Why are you doing this?” and “Who’s your favorite author?”. I want to eat those questions like a good dinner and not answer them in ways that I think will make me look smart, or mature, but in ways that lead into new questions and new answers that I didn’t know I knew.
I’ve never had a public writing platform before. I’ve never treated myself like a business. I have always watched and admired, but never done. I used to believe I was just waiting until I was ready, wiser. But eventually, I stopped believing that I could. I stopped believing that I could do anything. I became so self-hating, I couldn’t even believe it was worth trying.
I’ll never been 24, going on 25 again. That line reads like a voice-over for a movie with a strong female lead. But hell, maybe I am a strong female lead! and maybe this is my movie. The one I’ve always wanted to make. If I don’t force myself to start using the skills I know and re-learning the ones I have forgot, I never will. I’ve learned so many things over the last four years in Alaska. I want to put myself in the scary position of having to use them. Another scary question that usually ends in “I don’t know” is about my degree in English. Am I going to teach? I don’t know. “What are you going to do with that?” I don’t know. But I’m going to figure it out by doing it, if that makes any sense.
The biggest thing I want to learn is how to be okay with judgement, specifically, how to accept rejection. One of my closest friends has developed the super power of loving rejection. He thrives off of it. He has learned to turn it into fuel for his own passion, instead of letting it burn him down. I have begun to recognize myself as my own rejector, my own critic. I have developed this terrible habit of pouring fuel onto my own body and watching helplessly as I burn. And I even developed the even nastier habit of doing the same thing to those I love.
My biggest failure is in my love life. My insecurity scarred someone so badly, they might never heal. That is a painful thought. Perhaps, a bit dramatic, but HEY! that is what we can do to people when we don’t know how to love. The ability to accept that I’m not ready to love someone else is harder than it sounds, because I want to so badly. I do and have always wanted a family, a partner - someone to love. So, it is painful for me to admit that I am unable at the moment.
What does this journey mean to me? Difficult question number one. It means being alone with the evil half of me. The half that asks those questions with a snicker and then clouds my brain as I struggle to answer. This journey means being alone with her and kicking her ass. This journey is about overpowering the self-destructive part of me like I’m in a high-school wrestling match. Growing up, I was scared that I was possessed by a demon. When I grew up, I realized:
A. Yes. We all are. B. You have the tools to kill it. C. If you don’t. It will kill you.
Let me state for the record so there's no confusion:
I’m not driving off into the sunset. I’m locking myself up with the demon and only one of us is coming out alive.
This blog is about more than sharing my poems and travel stories. It’s going to be the place where I embarrassingly share with the world, much like I am doing now, what this journey means to me, as I live it. Aside from the massive personal task it is fulfilling, I hope that what I am doing touches someone that perhaps struggles with the same things as me, or has had similar thoughts, or is coming to terms with their own personal demon. At the very least, I hope someone enjoys reading what I write, for whatever reason. I even hope someone judges and rejects me, openly, like in the comment section. I’m ready.