“Such beauty. Surely you are one of God’s own creations and not a descendant of those dark creatures who found no refuge on the Ark. Such beauty. Yet deadly.” – Philip Swift in On Stranger Tides
Across the beautiful stretch of sea, blue and glittering with sunlight, my eyes caught her. With hair cascading in strides of white, tracing the waves in its glory, her dive split the world in half. Mesmerized, I slipped and fell into emerald eyes, set deep in her perfect skull like visions of eternal health and riches. I landed at the bottom of the ocean, folding beneath dreams of her embrace. Pearls of oxygen escaped between my lips, dancing with water-spliced sun rays as they raced to break the surface. But the dissolution of my concerns with the material blended with burning desire and I felt myself reemerge as an immaterial being of singular purpose.
Suddenly I could feel panic rising in my chest as I lost all reason for living aside from her company. What cause for living remained in her absence? Could my eyes not see only to behold her fantastic allure? Would not my skin repel at any other touch? To be reborn in this magic sea and bathe in her light was accepting death in every dulling sense. I released my final breath as my recognizable self the moment her image struck my eyes. Irreversibly after, I was transcended into a universe that was, in every way, a construction of her.
Her movement became the secret code inlaid in my perception of reality. Her features defining the way my mind translated color, her voice the measure of music, her scent trapping me within her trail. Beneath her spell, I could not extend my world farther than her governed corner of my mind. I had no desire to free myself from her confinement. I’d swallow the key that tore me from her grasp. If death were the gateway to her smile, I’d sink my own ship and swim toward darkness until my lungs burst to find her again.
Pain exists solely for the purpose of creative, genius expression. I do not let these sharp moments go to waste. I hope you enjoy my poetry, despite it’s lack of consistency. I don’t follow the rules most of the time, and I think that’s what makes poetry so beautiful and imperfect. There never was a more perfect metaphor than broken, flawed poetry.
“Even a good decision if made for the wrong reasons can be a wrong decision.”- Governor Weatherby Swann in Pirates of the Caribbean The Curse of the Black Pearl
I was given an interesting assignment in my Interpersonal Communications class. We were told to choose a love song and analyze the relationship between the singer and who the song was hypothetically written for. My favorite artist just came out with an E.P. of four songs that I am very inspired by, so I was excited to deep dive into his new material and explore the possible interpretations.
The reason I love Hozier so much is because I care greatly about the lyrics. A well written song is what makes it exceptional. Mix that with his level of soul, emotion, and raw talent, and I am obsessively impressed. His music is pure poetry to my ears. It is beautiful, there are layers upon layers of meaning in every lyric. He writes not just to express emotion, but to convey it. The listener doesn’t just rely on the sounds of his songs to feel emotion, they can dig into the lyrics to truly understand his meaning. But, as poetry so beautifully allows, the words are hardly limited to one interpretation. Everyone can draw something different from his words. To show you exactly what I mean, I am going to share this assignment with you, adjusted to a more blog-friendly format.
I chose to analyze the song Shrike. I learned so much about this song, about songwriting, and about love in my exploration of these lyrics. Of course, I highly recommend giving it a listen before and after. I am sure you will love it as much as I do, especially once you’ve applied a deep personal meaning to them.
Right away we hear these lyrics:
This tells us the singer harbors regret for taking his love for granted, having been unable to express his feelings when she needed to know them, despite their lingering power over him.
In the expiry of these wasted opportunities, his loss becomes all consuming. I personally think she is dying, which would explain the implied permanent loss of their love and the deep sadness the lyrics expressed on both ends of the relationship throughout the song.
Now he is desperate to tear down his walls and expose the rawness of his love to earn back her heart. Unless he has done some further damage to the relationship that we don’t hear about in the song, his err in withholding emotion seems forgivable, so I think this further validates the theory that she is dying, in which case he knows it is too late but wants her to die knowing the intensity of his passion for her
Here he hints at loyalty abused, that he allowed her to use him even though it pained him deeply, as though it was a sacrifice he made to be with her. Although he is taking most of the responsibility, we see hints that she has wounded him as well. I liked this part of the song because many love songs embellish the romance of the relationship, but he seems to represent it honestly.
He still feels connected to her, despite the eradication of their bond. It seems he had a small self image, amplified self doubt, and no moral foundation to fall back on, so he lived on the foundation of her love. Now that he find his soul again void of this crutch, he finds the best parts of him becoming a casualty of their relationship.
The lyrics articulate his suffering in grieving a relationship he feels responsible for killing. We can feel the weight he bears under the heavy, slow, and careful tones of the music.
These lyrics are very dark. He writes the song around the symbolism of a shrike (a carnivorous bird) and a thorn, a shrike’s weapon used to impale their prey, where they hang them to die before eating them, a warped sort of crucifixion. Because of this, they tend to make their nests in very thorny bushes, which can be identified by the several mounted bodies of small mice and lizards. He must be in a dark place since the relationship has dissolved.
If she is dying, I hope that she would absolve him of what weighs so heavily on his heart. I hope that she would return his love if she could.
If she is not dying, I would assume he has done something unforgivable that she cannot live with. She would probably feel pain in his words while having inflicted pain of her own to deal with.
He seems to think that his life’s meaning and purpose leaves with her, that he needs her and isn’t sure how to move forward in her absence.
He is handling the situation poorly, drowning himself in his own sins, living in the love of the past and the pain of the present.
He does not want to accept the finality of their relationship. In the chorus he promises to find her in their next lives and be the shrike to her thorn. This can be interpreted in several ways, but that way I look at it, a shrike relies on it’s thorns to kill their prey to survive. In this way we can make the connection that the singer is vowing to dedicate his life to her, rely on her, and depend on her in his next life. And since they also make their nests there, a line can be drawn here that he wants to make her his home. He swears not to repeat his fatal mistake.
Today is the day you will always remember as the day this blog was posted without a Pirates of the Caribbean quote.
But don’t worry! This is an exciting moment for the blog! Today I am posting a poem no one has ever seen before (which is also true for all of my poems, with the exception of my parents). So, I hope you enjoy!
My tremendous intuitive sense of the female creature informs me that you are troubled.”- Captain Jack Sparrow in Dead Man’s Chest
It has become increasingly clear that my goal to write on this blog every day was a little too ambitious, if there is such a thing, as finals week approaches. Trust me, I have been writing everyday. I considered posting some short essays here but decided against it. I write here to be creative, and I do hope to reach people. I don’t think I’d gain an audience with my school work.
I’m sure college has taught me a myriad of things, but the only lesson I can take away at this time, as my hard and unrelenting work merits sub-par grades, is that I am not as smart as I thought. In high school I could get straight A’s, passing classes with flying colors even when they were weaknesses. All I had to do was put in a couple hours extra work and I’d get top grade! But I wasn’t an adult then. And apparently high school is easy.
It’s as though my self perception has changed entirely, and in a negative way. I used to think of myself as organized, intelligent, above average, go-getting, driven, and that I could accomplish anything if I put my mind to it. I could ace any test, I could be on the honor roll. Either this was delusion, or I am deluded now, but both cannot be false. Now I think of myself as lazy, unmotivated, slow, dumb, ordinary, and honestly I could go on until I’d dug myself into a hole of depression. The point is, I no longer think that I am special, or smart, or that I could accomplish half of what I desire. College has kicked my emotional butt all the way to the curb of low self esteem.
I’ve come up with a thousand excuses, that I’m not taking classes that align with my strengths, that I’m working part time, that I’m taking too many credits, that I’m being too hard on myself, but for once I think I’ve finally reached my limit of excuses. I no longer believe any story I come up with to explain why I didn’t ace a test, why I didn’t study as much as I should have, why I seem to be failing at my own life. Even if some of them may be valid excuses, I don’t buy it anymore. There’s no excuse. I’m not good enough and I need to be better.
I suppose this post turned out to be a pretty pessimistic rant. That’s where I’m at right now, I guess. I hope, if anyone is reading this, that you bear with me in my low times. I am a drama queen, and I handle my problems by constructing universes that revolve around them as if they represent the doom of my future. I force myself to live in these rotten worlds and wallow in my misery, swim in my river of self doubt, and act as though I have been conquered and there is nothing else to live for. Of course, I always pick myself and drag myself through another day.
Two more weeks of school and I am this burned out. Do you think I can make it?
“You’re off the edge of the map, mate. Here there be monsters.” ― Hector Barbossa
After about two hours of focusing all my energy on paying attention, following what he was saying, and understanding what was going in, my brain completely shut down. This is not unusual in math class. I spent the last twenty minutes, glaring at the equations and tables projected on the board. I thought about the things I hated math more than. I thought about how when the professor had dove into probability, I had been completely lost. I felt as though no matter who explained it or for how long, no matter how many hours I dedicated to studying this subject, it would never click. I am hovering at a mere 76% in that class. I can’t afford to get below a C on this test or the final exam. Since this train of thought began chugging on my brain tracks, I have been in a totally unproductive and pointless state of hopelessness and submission. I’m not smart enough, I’ve wasted nearly two thousand dollars on this class and I’m going to have to take it again. Blah blah blah.
Originally, the plan was to drive straight home after class and start studying for nine consistent hours. But, with my brain completely fried, this is no longer a viable option. Instead, I decided to give myself a little TLC. I’m spending my first hour home doing a face mask in my warm, cozy bed trying to exude some fraction of creativity to make today’s post somewhat readable. But as soon as I wash this sea-serpent-green mask off my face, I’m cracking down on biology to prepare for tomorrow and to catch up on studying hours I’m sacrificing the next couple days to go to the opera. I’m not doing math. I want to vomit in that damn textbook right now.
I don’t have a moral of the story today. My advice is to avoid math like the plague, if you can. My advice is to avoid procrastination like the plague during finals week. I can already feel the evil tendrils of temptation trying to pull me into a snake filled pit of it. But, I shall prevail. I will ace every final, even math. And then I will never take another math class again.
“No cause is lost if but one fool is left to fight for it.” – Will Turner at World’s End
Covergirl, one of the largest cosmetic companies, has finally stepped up to the plate. They are the first major cosmetic corporation to go cruelty free. This is a MASSIVE deal, not only because it will relieve thousands of animals from pain and death, but also because it sets an example to other corporations, and it will only be so long before others fall in line. For any cosmetic company to go cruelty free, they must withdraw production from China. It is illegal to sell anything in China that has not been tested on animals. That means they’ve signed up for a big hit to sales, but perhaps the rapidly growing population of passionate vegans and animal rights activists everywhere else in the world will make up for it. I assume this has been their way of thinking. We also can’t ignore that Ellen DeGeneres is a big face of Covergirl, and she is outspoken about her love for animals and her veganism. I wonder if she had anything to do with it? Either way, this company has earned all my support.
This is huge news for animals and animal rights activists. Nearly four million animals were tested on in 2017 according to Understanding Animal Research, and this was less than 2016. Roughly half of these experiments were harmful or fatal. Mice, rabbits, fish, rats, birds, primates, horses, and even dogs and cats fall victim to these cruel and ineffective experiments every day. These innocent creatures spend their short lives in hard metal cages in cold laboratories, begin injected with toxins, burned with chemicals, operated on with little or no anesthesia, and more.
These animals were born into hell. They can feel pain! We know this and show little compassion! We don’t have the technology to understand how advanced their consciousness is, so we assume they are unfeeling, stupid creatures. Many studies have shown that rats are actually very intelligent, clean creatures. We all know and love cats and dogs, but we blindly support companies like Johnson & Johnson, Unilever, Arm & Hammer, and hundreds of other companies that torture them. We pay them to do this, and our money tells them that we are apathetic to the pain and suffering they put animals through, even though there are cost effective alternatives that are far more accurate. Evidence has shown that, due to the astronomical anatomical differences between us and rats (and other animals), we cant really rely on the results of animal experiments anyway!
Elizabeth Swann: “There will come a time when you have a chance to do the right thing.” Jack Sparrow: “I love those moments. I like to wave at them as they pass by” The Dead Man’s Chest
It may surprise you that shopping on black Friday was a first for me. I went to a mall in Utah and bought a sparkling dark red dress at 50% off. This dress is elegantly beautiful, and very flattering. It’s also tight and could easily reveal flaws; even the tiniest pudge on my stomach would show. Fortunately that is not a problem for me, but my mind disagrees.
I read somewhere that recovering anorexics feel triggered when people tell them they are looking healthier because that means they are gaining weight, which is terrifying to them. I’m not saying I have anorexia, but I have a similar mindset. If I feel hungry, if I see that I am underweight, if I am able to tell myself I hardly ate anything that day, I feel successful. So getting this dress offers up an opportunity to starve myself for fun.
Right now I am on a liquids only diet. I drink 96 oz of water a day, drink a Naked or Bolthouse smoothie for lunch, and have a pureed cauliflower soup for dinner. This diet is similar to the one Lily James was on for the 2015 Cinderella movie, which later outraged feminists because of her unrealistically small waist (although she was also wearing a corset the entire movie). I am hungry constantly, I’m in the bathroom every 20 minutes, and somehow I feel proud of myself?
I don’t know how my way of thinking became so skewed. I know this is, in every way, unhealthy. I know it’s harmful to my metabolism. It’s not even entirely effective for weight loss. I know I should be gaining weight, not losing it. I can’t explain why I do this! If someone calls me “too skinny”, I am offended. And at the same time, I once made it a goal to be able to see my ribs (which I am truly grateful to report was a goal unachieved).
Perhaps it’s a cry for attention. I do that a lot. Perhaps I really do have an eating disorder. There’s always an excuse as to why I’m not eating. I’m depressed. I can’t afford it. I want to look beautiful in my sparkling red dress when I go to the opera. Perhaps it’s a little of both. But this time, my rationalization is that I will do this diet only for the five days leading up to the opera, and then go back to eating “normally”. Although I do fear that by the time the five days are up I’ll have become reacquainted with these destructive eating habits and it may develop into an addiction.
Last night I was very hungry before bed, but I didn’t want to eat because I’ve read the research that says eating in the couple hours before you go to sleep leads to weight gain, so instead I watched a couple mukbang episodes on You Tube, scrolled through vegan food porn, bought vegan Jajangmyeong on amazon, and wrote about a slice of freshly baked wheat bread, spread with butter and raspberry jam. Perhaps I’ll share that deliciously descriptive article tomorrow.
I know something is wrong with me, I can see right through how poorly I am treating my body, and still I am not persuaded that what I am doing is really all that bad. I write this article and for a moment I start to worry for myself, and immediately after I laugh it off and say, “I’m just being dramatic for a blog post. I really eat all I want! I don’t have a problem. It’s normal to skip a meal once in a while, and I always return to a healthy balanced diet anyway.” So what can I do to fix this? I suppose I’d have to give myself some tough love, truly admit something is wrong, toss every rationalization in the trash, and eat three meals a day with snacks.
“Not all treasure is silver and gold mate”- Captain Jack Sparrow in The Curse of the Black Pearl
It’s clear that I have missed a handful of days, a bit too early on in my goal to write here daily. I thought to bring my laptop along on my thanksgiving vacation, but I knew it was an unrealistic goal to expect to have the time to write while I was away. In hindsight, I was absolutely right. There wasn’t a moment to spare, and I’m glad for that. I was worried that I would bring the stresses of my hectic college and work life with me, but they were left far behind without even a thought (with the exception of one brief moment). But here’s to getting back on track!
I had a deliciously wonderful Thanksgiving. My Tuesday classes were cancelled, so I was able to make a road trip to Utah one day early and spend more time with my family. It was wonderful to see everyone. I reconnected with aunts and uncles, got to know my newer cousins, and became closer still with my best cousin. Unfortunately my parents came a day late, which meant spending only a day and a half with them, but we made the most of it.
We had our first ever vegetarian thanksgiving feast! I was worried that the day would be dense with dreading carnivores, filled with angst directed at my eating restrictions. But I think it was a success, although even I was disappointed with some of the food at the table. Fortunately, there was a most amazing peanut butter pie to make up for the bland, under-salted, butterless mashed potatoes.
My weekend was filled with an abundance of gratitude. I was grateful to spend time at the chicken coop of my aunt’s house. I got to hold and pet some very beautiful, healthy, and happy chickens. I was so grateful that they would never know the anguish of the billions of factory farmed chickens slaughtered annually. I got to roughhouse with my younger cousins Ayden and Landon, giving them piggy back rides, tickling them, chasing them, and playing hide and seek. I was grateful to be closer to them and to feel like I officially became a part of their lives. I had many great laughs with my cousin Kaitlyn and drew nearer to her. I got about a million hugs from her and made her feel loved, as she did for me. I was grateful to strengthen our connection and gain reassurance that she has a good soul, lessening my fears that she will waiver in the future. And of course, I was so grateful to see the faces of my mom and dad. I was grateful for the love I saw in my mother’s eyes and felt in her embrace. I was grateful to finally have a conversation with my father that I’ve been waiting to have for years but have been to scared to initiate. I am grateful for every second I could spend with everyone in my family. I am grateful for the wonderful people they are and the roles they play in my life. I am grateful for our closeness and the love that we share.