Wednesday, April 30, 2014

Nostalgic and delighted

Looking through my old posts in social media has always left me feeling nostalgic, abashed, and annoyed at the same time. But this time, I found a new feeling- delight. Some of these old works are so old that reading through them feels like reading someone else's story. It feels like discovering the writer I was.

This one's my favorite:

I watch mother and father with a relish, they’re so in love. Or they were so in love. The fact that I’m in my childhood home in Connecticut with my happily-married-and-very-much-in-love parents in what looks like the year 1989(even though I am a 30-year old struggling journalist) doesn’t worry me as much as the dilemma of whether I should be talking as if this were the past or the present.
        Am I in the past? Since my previous experiences with time-travel are nil, I wouldn’t know. This is probably a hallucination; one I’m going to enjoy. Who doesn’t miss their childhood?
        “Did you hear the door open?” mom looked suspicious.
"I don’t know. Do you think it was the serial killer?" dad laughed and kissed her ever so lightly.
         I looked on guiltily from the doorway, it was I who had walked into the house so inconsiderately; but they didn’t even look that worried. Who were these people?
        As their light kisses and sideways smiles turned into a passionate makeout (I must admit that even if these were my parents, I was gushing. I’m a sucker for cute things), I headed up the stairs looking for the young Jo. What did she look like? Was she anything like I remembered her? (To avoid any confusion. I’m Big Jo, and she’s little Jo. Though, we’re technically the same person).
 Look away, baby, look away.
 Don’t look at me
I don’t want you to see me this way.
                    The lyrics floated into my head, and they gave me the much needed feeling of being in my comfort zone. This is literally my favorite song. Ever. Humming along, I strolled into the room like it was the most natural thing in the world. 
I don’t know what I was trying to achieve. Why would I have walked into a teenage girl’s room without introducing myself to her first? Why?
What I encountered when I walked into that room wasn’t just any ol’ monster you find under a bed, it was on a whole other level. 
                     ”Umm.. Jo? Hi,” I said to the remarkably skinny girl rocking out in front of the mirror. As I watched her dab ineffectually at her swinging hair, I felt a deeply strong desire to grab at my hair and pull it off. Seems like I still hadn’t forgiven my teenage hair.
                  “Who. Are. You?" she demanded rudely; strangely it felt like she was speaking in italics.
"I’m sorry; I shouldn’t have just walked in but-"
                   ”You’re right about that," she interrupted before I could finish. What really annoyed me was that she wouldn’t turn off her music. Chicago sang on and on; it seems like his tape was on repeat.
                  “I am,” I paused and gave her a peculiar look. Couldn’t she recognize me? ”you. In 20 years.”
She stared at me suspiciously for a full ten seconds (yes, I counted) before she opened her mouth.
               I knew what was coming next and shushed her immediately. I couldn’t have mom coming up here!
"No really. I’m not messing with, I swear," I say hurriedly lifting my now-long and intensely worked on hair to reveal the birth mark on my neck.
              She opened her mouth, then shut it. No one can argue that our London Eye birthmark was one of a kind.
       ”What the-” she began restlessly, and finally turned down the music “who are you? What do you want?”  
        “Nothing,” I said simply, “I just wanted to-” I hesitated.
I don’t know why I’m here. I don’t know how I got here. I don’t even know if  I got here. Is this a hallucination? I look into the deep green eyes which I’m so accustomed to seeing in the mirror and start.
          “It’s just a way for me to find myself,” I finish with a smile.
She looked doubtful, “so you have time-travel in the future?”
          Her confused look brought back memories; that was the same confused look I’d seen in my mothers big sunglasses as she’d told me that “mummy and daddy aren’t going to be together anymore.”
          “No actually,” I smiled at her and watched the distrust practically wash off of her face.
"You smile like me," she said, her voice was filled with wonder.
          I looked at her, and at the house around her. Everything has changed since I was 15 years old. Everything. I realize that only a few months from now my parents are going to break my -her- world apart.
Then suddenly my eyes open (metaphorically, they were open all this time), I know why I’m here! It’s all so clear now. I need to warn her, this poor creature who’s going to spend the rest of her life having daddy-issues. I need to make her strong today.
           ”Jo…listen,” I say urgently, now that I know what to say, I can’t say it fast enough, “Mum and dad are getting a divorce. They’re going to split up.”
           This time there was no vulnerable confused look on her face, she looked positively repulsed.
That’s when Mom walks in, and taking no notice of me whatsoever, she walked up to little Jo; she hadn’t even taken off her sunglasses.
          “Jo, baby, Mummy and Daddy aren’t going to be together anymore,” Mom spoke in a slow patronizing voice. Like I (she?) was a 5 years old. So I hadn't had a few months; I'd had a few minutes. 
         This time the look on both our faces wasn’t confusion but a different kind of pain. A kind of pain that troubles you even if you know what it can and cannot do to you. It’s the kind of pain you can control, but you just won’t.

Saturday, April 26, 2014

The Story of a Song

Since all I've done this week is listen to one song on repeat, it's really apt that my post this week is about the song haha.
           Almost everything that I did this week was based on the song (which I realize haven't named even one in this post yet- it's the Bastille Cover of What would You Do? by City High): I had an hour long discussion about in math class <- that is proof enough that this is a pretty compelling song. I mean if my math class can listen to me talk about it, then it has to be pretty interesting.

Here's how I imagined the story of this song :)
It's the story of the stripper (from the song) and the effect she has on different people..
"What would you do?" her eyes bore into me defiantly.
              That tripped me up. I felt shame rush through me. But I wasn't in a stripper costume outside a party full of people I went to high school with.
           "What would you do?" she repeated, less forcefully, "if your son was at home, crying all alone on the bedroom floor because he's hungry. And the only way to feed him was to sleep with a man for a little bit of money." Her voice was almost mechanical, but I saw tears on her thickened eyelashes.
           I thought about what the standard answer to this question would be; I thought about what my mom would say: "Stop making tired excuses," she'd say. Was a hungry baby boy a tired excuse?
            "Londi..." I began, calling out her name, but she was already headed back inside.

What would I do? 
I stare at the door she'd slammed ten minutes ago, feeling my heart beating with the music from the party. 
Her last words resounded in my ears as I jammed my hands into my shapeless jacket with a shiver.
         "I don't need your pity," she'd said, "C'est la vie."
I do what I've got to do; she does what she's got to do. The more I think about it, the less fair life seems. I stare at the door for a little while longer, and walk away, but my heart never stopped beating to the rhythm of that music. 

I'm blindly watching the coffee swirl in my cup when I hear the sharp click of high heels on the tiled floor. Who could possibly be wearing heels at a suburban coffee shop on a Sunday morning?

         "Just coffee...umm plain coffee...a small. please," her voice was soft but harsh; it very much lived up to her achingly short shorts. 

I go back to staring at the fascinating movement of the cream in my coffee cup as she walked past me to sit at a table. Could she be any more disrespectful? There are children here!
              I slowly feel the anger rise up inside of me; this woman, she could be from anywhere...she could have done anything last night. I raise my eyes up once in disgust, but I could never look at her again.
              What looked back at me when I'd stared was a person. A person with worries, with troubles. A person whose troubles could be seen in her eyes. 

I dropped my gaze and whiled away my time until I heard her heels clicking on the floor again. Then I slowly walked up the the counter to get some more coffee.
"Was that a stripper?" I asked with a relish.


"Morning Mum," Summer murmured sleepily as I set down my tea to give her a hug.
           "Good morning, sleepyhead," I said into her springy brown hair, "we have a big day ahead of us,"
"I know," she said excitedly pulling away from me, "Shopping!"
            I reluctantly let her go. I loved good morning hugs.

"This is so exciting," Summer stated in a loud voice, "I absolutely love this store."
           I chuckled; she was in the italics phase now, and held her hand as we walked in.

"Honey we've tried on tonnes of clothes," I said patiently, "what if they run out of clothes to give you? At least pick one that you like so far..." Maybe this shopping trip wasn't such a good idea after all. Summer is only ten years old.

"Mom..I want to look like her," my lovely girl was pointing at a woman standing about 3 feet away in the shortest possible skirt she could wear. She turned to wave, and I was horrified to see Summer respond enthusiastically.

I will have to talk to her about who is a respectable person, and who is not.


I look at myself in the mirror sometimes and wonder what people think of me. Do they know?
Of course they know. How could they not?
                Sometimes I look in the mirror and wonder if anyone would find out if I hid what I am. Would they find out just by looking at my face?
                 Sometimes I look in the mirror and see a girl who's haunted by society. I see a girl who doesn't know who she is.

I am Londi Micheals. I'm a stripper, yes. I have a crappy job; I have crappy pay. But I have a little boy who's going to be happy one day because of all the money I'm getting for him. I may have nothing, but I'll give every piece of my nothing to my son's happiness.

I'm Londi Micheals, a proud mom.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

Spring Break, Satire, and other odds and ends

            It's spring break; the sun's shining, and the air is filled with the laughs of giggly teenage girls in bikinis and the sigh of a particular teenager whose room is alit by the white light of her laptop screen as she types furiously.
            Okay, maybe I'm not that reclusive, there is natural lighting in this room; plus, anyone who's reading Dante's The Divine Comedy has a free pass to be a buzzkill (apparently not only can you not judge a book by it's cover but also not by it's title.. I can't believe comedy didn't mean funny during Dante's time).
            Speaking of comedy, I tried my hand at Onion-type satire...

I really do admire the likes of Oscar Wilde, comedy comes to them naturally. I do realize that I'm anything but natural, but I'm working on it!

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Quote of The Day ~ Dan Brown

                  I've been reading a little more than normal recently, and most of my books have been pretty thought-provoking in a literary sense; they've all told beautiful stories with beautiful underlying messages. However (I feel really formal now haha), these books have been provoking thoughts of appreciation and reflection, but they haven't been provoking thoughts of change.
                Change is really cool. I like it. Everything needs to be changed, because humans have this impeccable ability to ruin everything (I lie somewhere between a cynic and a pessimist); examples would be the environment, the economy (which, I admit, is man-made), and the church (which used to be something so pure, and so loved, but is now hated).
               Before I start rambling about the how everything in the world is bad and we're all probably going to die because of an economic bubble burst and global warming and the collapse of culture and yadda yadda yadda, I should introduce my quote.

              It's one of Dan Brown's accusatory quotes, and it's the most direct way of making one think.

            When I thought about it, I realized that it was true. Every scientific breakthrough has been used in a wrong way. We could do so many good things with them, but we decide to do bad things instead. 
I'm pretty obviously talking about the likes of Nuclear Energy.
            Nuclear power plants have the potential to crush our energy crisis while also cleaning up nature, but instead, we use it to threaten to kill each other. The disasters of Hiroshima and Nagasaki eclipse the fact that countries like France and Germany derive more than 75% of their electricity from Nuclear Power Plants and they haven't had any accidents. 
          Biotechnology, which is used to help us cure diseases, is better known for bioweapon creations.

All these new discoveries have deadly sides as well as good sides, but does that actually mean anything?
Do we stop using these technologies? Do we stop discovering new things?
I mean new technologies do mean new ways to destroy the world and its people...

        The whole theme of ethics, is this good or bad, is really important for science. Should we be destroying atoms and playing with someones God-given DNA? Is that even right?
             Is it ethical to be changing the natural? Are these "groundbreaking" new technologies being weaponized because they are unnatural and quite unnecessary?

           Yes, Technologies can be abused, and they can be used for bad things, but they're also the next step for our evolution, the next step to survive. If we want to keep living in a world where we are inquisitive humans, we're going to have to start changing what we think are ethics.
                      Fire is an interesting analogy. I'm pretty sure the Neolithic cavemen thought that fire was unnatural and unnecessary; I'm pretty sure it went against their ethics, but eventually they(we?) realized that it's not-so-bad and started using it a lot.
           To us, whatever is not considered "natural" is unethical; however, "natural" is constantly changing as our society, and our world evolves. As we change for the better, as we evolve our "natural" changes and our "ethical" changes.
             Ethics always keep us from change, they try to preserve the old, but old is not always great. Especially when we're looking to evolve for the better.
         So new technologies have benefits that far outweigh their harmfulness, and are also necessary for us to continue the process of evolution.