Sunday, April 10

Stress Factor 8

I got a buzzcut with a mohawk last week. The majority of my hair is only 1/8", with a narrow strip just on the top of my head that's about 1.5". It's the lest amount of hair I've ever had since I was born.

On the Tuesday after I got it cut, I was sitting in my Fabric Design class, using class time to surf the internet because the network was down at my apartment, when I heard the professor talking to another of the students about haircuts. The other woman was talking about how her daughter had just had a haircut - went from "No, I never want to cut my hair ever!" to "Can we cut it off?" And I heard my professor say, "You know, getting a haircut all of a sudden can be a sign of stress."

And I turned to them and said, "I am very stressed right now."

But as soon as I said that, I realized that, even though I should be absolutely stressed out of my mind, had been all of the week before, I wasn't at that moment.

Oh, I was still behind in my major's classes, was barely getting by in my academics, was miraculously doing fine in my drawing class, but I didn't feel all of that pressure anymore.

All this past week, even knowing how much work I have to do to pass my classes, worrying about finances and being able to eat, finding time to actually talk to my friends, I have been remarkably relaxed. I've nearly finished a book, made a lot of progress on my latest self-imposed ebook project, got my housing for next year mostly squared away.

Then again, sitting here and describing all of it has made me considerably more stressed than I was this morning, lounging in bed, pretending I had nothing to do for the rest of my life except lay around in bed.

Oh well.

Thursday, September 16

the seamstress

She stared at her fingers.

Shiny orange metal stared back at her.

The copper bits mocked her, taunted her, shouted her fears.

The silence of her workroom was suddenly thick and oppressive. For the first time she wished she had bought that old radio when she saw it in the shops last month, wished she had something to take her mind off of her 'healed' hands.

She turned off the lamp and left the room, hoping to forget all about the life she just lost.

Her fingers smelled sharp and tangy, a burning reminder of her disability.

Most days she managed to suppress her dreams, her desire to sit at her worktable and carefully stitch fine beads to a bodice, the drawn out shing of her shears through rich muslin and smooth silk, the quiet ache of her neck after being bent over the pattern papers for hours. She had closed that door and locked it, choosing instead to nurse her still-recovering joints with slow weaving.

She paid the neighbor-girl to wind the warp and thread the heddles for her and sat about with the window open, slowly working the treadles and moving from a loose cotton gauze carefully up to a plain linen, a fine silk, a thick brocade. And though the work was familiar, she found herself longing for the new metal bits in her fingers to wear down enough that she could at least begin a simple tapestry.

But the joints were still stiff, the metal too foreign for the flesh left between to properly grasp a needle of any size.

The day she sold her finest brocade for only a little under her old prices was the day her index finger had finally bent enough to properly grip a thick tapestry needle.

She used the money to pay for her shears to be sharpened, and bought a small cake at the local bakery in celebration.

The next day she managed to embroider a simple tree silhouette on a bit of linen.

She cut apart a few strings of beads and restrung them, just to prove she could.

That night she polished the metal bits to a high shine.

And as she laid down to sleep, she finally allowed the dreams she had kept at bay to creep in, trickle in, flood in.

She fell asleep smiling.

parts of a floor loom

Saturday, May 22

Hazy: 1

The first time I smoked anything was in early November 2009.

It was a rather chilly night in DC. Yasha and I were hunkered down against the wall of 9:30 Club, waiting for the doors for a Wolfmother show. At the time, Yasha was a smoker, and he had brought a couple Camels to smoke while we waited in the cold. He had handed me one, which I stuck in my back pocket while we went from the car to the line with our whole roast chicken dinner, and I promptly broke it when I sat down.

After we ate he lit the remaining cigarette with my lighter, because apparently his didn't work very well. He smoked most of it, and we talked. When it got down to almost the filter he offered the last of it to me. I've never been very good at resisting things, so it was with very little persuasion that I took it.

The first drag I didn't really inhale, just kept the smoke in my mouth.

The second one sent me reeling. I coughed the smoke back out for almost ten minutes, and remained rather light-headed for a while after.

I ended up walking a few blocks to Starbucks and getting a hot chocolate and to clear my lungs out. It took longer than I expected, and when I was on my way back Yasha met me. He was worried when I didn't come back.

That concert remains my most violent one. I rode an early Greyhound bus back to Richmond for my 10am Biology lab, and came in bruised and sore and exhausted. It was still incredibly fun.


I've started a short series of all the 'exciting' things I've started doing. This one isn't very excitingthough, probably because I skipped the concert and the actual smoking part was short and boring. Upcoming parts will deal with things that are illegal for me, due to my age and country of residence. They were still fun though.

Saturday, May 1

that missing week

The skipped week, because I forgot.

day 12: whatever tickles your fancy
Gosh, I love tea.

day 13: a fictional book
"Fool Moon" Jim Butcher, Book 2 of the Dresden Files

day 14: a nonfictional book
"Napoleon's Privates: 2500 Years of History Unzipped" Tony Perrottet
(I haven't read this yet, but I certainly hope to. I'll probably wait for the paperback...)

day 15: a fanfic
"Trials" semebay
fandom: Axis Powers Hetalia
summary: After an argument, Matthew goes missing. Plagued by nightmares of being trapped in darkness, Alfred realizes he was the victim of a serial killer and sets out to find him.
(I just made that summary up, because for some reason bay managed to either delete the thing or set it to 'friends only' or something. But it really is fantastic.)

day 16: a song that makes you cry (or nearly)
"And So It Goes" Billy Joel
(And that's because it was part of a very good original yaoi story I read a couple years ago, and the double meaning of the song itself and it's meaning within the story gets me crying every time)

day 17: an art piece
Dave Chihuly

Bike Rides

day 18: whatever tickles your fancy: riding my bike

It was 9:12am when she put her poor wheezing laptop to sleep and mentally sorted through her drawers for what to wear. She quickly got dressed, selecting her old beat-up and doodled on all stars. A quick pass of makeup to hide her lack of sleep, a stop by the sink to refill her water bottle, and she was out the back door.

As usual, it was warmer than she expected. Mentally shrugging, deciding the wind would make her light sweater useful, she shuffled back through her awkward key ring for her bike key. She slid the U-lock out from the heavy chain on the deck post, locked it again, and dropped it over the handlebars for transport. She heaved the bike around to the stairs, propping it against her hip, balanced on two steps, and re-gripped it for control as she let gravity take it down the stairs.

Wheeling it out the yard and to the back drive, she mounted, checked for wily cars, and pushed off down the slight slope to the gravel drive. She briefly contemplated reaching back to click on the red tail light stuck in a pocket of her backpack, but just as quickly dismissed it. Instead she focused on avoiding the potholes in the gravel. She gently gripped the rear brake, then the front one, slowing down enough to glance for cars on Gilmer before turning down it, pausing briefly where it crossed Clay, and continuing up. She clicked up one gear, paused at Marshall. She allowed a moment to enjoy the clear morning.

She came to a stop at Broad. While waiting for traffic to clear for a straight shot to Laurel, she put one foot on the curb and shuffled the opposite pedal around backwards to almost the apex of it's cycle. Resting that foot on it in preparation for the moment of movement, she looked around again. Pedestrians turned the corner next to her. Cars lined up at the light, but she couldn't get through. She glanced at her watch: 9:22. She had time.

At last traffic cleared enough for her to shoot out onto the main drag. That morning, it seemed, the cosmos was in alignment and she didn't have to stop in the middle of the intersection. Angling her body into the turn, she rounded the corner onto Laurel, standing up a bit to make it up the slight hill. At every such turn she smiled to herself, remembering the rushing wind, the screaming fun and edge of terror to riding behind her parents on their motorcycles.

She inhaled deeply as she passed the Panera, catching a slight hint of baking before remembering to pay attention before she accidentally went careening through the next street and possibly into a car. The light at Grace was red so she slowed, keeping to the curb, glancing around for cars. She came close to a stop as a car went down Grace, looked around again, behind for any cars looking to pass her, and pushed off again. It always seemed to be Laurel that was the most fraught with peril, rather than the busy Broad.

She hugged the curb as she glided through the Franklin light, passing her old dorm and the handfuls of other students on their way to classes. Glancing behind again, she swerved around an inconveniently parked SUV and slowed again as she came to the cathedral and the strange light configuration in front of it.

Avoiding a couple other students, she leaned through the turn onto the little drive that led to the Compass, wind whipping the ends of her sweater around her sides. She shook her head to clear the bits of hair from her face and slowed down for the home stretch. She clicked back down a gear and jumped the curb to the bike racks. Spotting an free space, she slowed to a stop and awkwardly dismounted. She was suddenly winded, panting hard. She tried to control it as she swung her bike around and locked it up.

Her mood damped slightly by the prospect of English, she entered the library and descended the stairs to her basement classroom.

She couldn't wait for the bike ride back.


yeah, i'd completely forgotten about these. so i skipped a week. and yes, this is exactly my bike route from my house to my morning class.

Friday, April 23

days 7-11:photos

rather than attempt drabbles about photos, i'm just going to put all 5 of them here.

day 07: a photo that makes you happy: a Mark Jenkins street installation

day 08: a photo that makes you sad/angry: the suicide of Evelyn McHale by Robert Wiles

day 09: a photo you took: from my 90s birthday party

day 10: a photo taken of you over 10 years ago
: no such thing exists on the internet. sorry...

day 11: a photo taken of you recently: from a trip to Belle Isle a couple weeks ago, by Emily S

Monday, April 19

day 06: whatever tickles your fancy: the future

She was kind of terrified by the prospect of her future.

This stemmed, at least partially, from her lack of life goals.

In high school, her greatest ambition had been to turn an old VW Microbus into a traveling darkroom. Her photography teacher had told her about one year on a field trip to Washington DC, the photo students had set up a tiny portable darkroom on the Mall. It was a refrigerator box with red cellophane over a hole in the top. They developed small pinhole pictures.

In college, she abandoned that idea - or at least the darkroom part, she still wanted the bus. She changed focuses, from photography in high school to textiles in college. And she realized that she had even less of a guarantee for a job after graduation. She developed a somewhat pessimistic - realistic, to her - idea that she would be working at a coffee shop or other similar food venue, while attempting to sell her craft online. She even finally registered on Etsy, though she hadn't even thought about putting anything up for sale.

She worried about everything. Her teeth kept getting cavities, what was she going to do about a dentist? Where would she live? Who would her doctor be? Would she even get a doctor? Who would hire her? Would it pay enough for some tiny hole-in-the-wall apartment? Would she even be happy? What about insurance? Would she ever afford a car?

Surprisingly, she never thought about any possible relationship, as nearly everyone she knew must be. She had come to terms with her unique situation, even if she hadn't actually told anyone about it. She kept meaning to tell her best friend one of these days, but had a feeling she would be too nervous to tell him. Somehow, it was different from letting slip casually that, yeah, she had a girlfriend. But her summer fling had added a new perspective, and things made more sense. She didn't even want to think about what her parents might say.

For the moment, though, she was focusing on the next two years. After she graduated, or perhaps the semester before, she would take the time to figure out her life beyond school. Because she certainly wasn't going to stick around for four more years.


this got away from me a bit, so i had to end it...