Posts Tagged ‘school’

“Being Real”

In the library,

I can feel the distress floating off the man next to me. small shaking waves of spiky green, yellow, red

he’s working on a paper. He’s carving his block

and deeply

each nervous tick fluttering off like woodchips as he hacks away at himself,

believing all the while it’s for good.

Perhaps convinced that civilizing his brain and actions into writing this thing,

pleasing his teachers

“working towards that degree”

is methodology for success.

If only I finish here

i might be happy one day.

I just have to get through this

then I can actually do what I want with my time.

You’re wrong, you know.

After this you’ll want things. And in order to get things you’ll have to keep carving the block.


Just follow the Tao, te ching tells

but how does the Tao connect with the false sphere, this illusion?

The only mistake you make is suppressing your own true desires.

Well, fuck.

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All living mercury! and what physical fatigue

what  d r a i nnn

On to the fourth day, unwillingly dragging my feet

when fluffy music and puppies encourage tall flouncing!

I’ve been shutting mouth voluntarily.

I’ve been contained and ablizzard skull-side

a-buzz, a-buzz as those mating big beez just beyond the schoolyard. fighting for a fuck,

funneez. Jib-jabbing that woman down

Y’all don’t know. Y’all’ve no idea’ve m’insanity.


“”I am so incredibly exhausted.

What am I going to do?

I want to let it come.

I can’t live within these confines anymore. These constraints. Schoolwork is impossible.

Roadtriproadtriproadtrip last summer, let’s go back

I should move

but I don’t wanna.

Maybe I’ll eat

but I’m not hungry.

Avoid your traps, girl. Keep going. Just keep going when the going gets like this

But I want a break! not a vacation, a respite. A break from life

let’s go to sleep!

sleeping’s only making me tired.

I want to say I’m sorry. I should send him a letter. Two words: I am so sorry.

It’s over, isn’t it.

Now what?

Where am I?

What matters?

I don’t want to do this school thing anymore. I am wasting my time.

But what else would I do?

Work and guide myself.

But what if I get off track?

I need a teacher. someone to ground me

I need a goal.

But goals are impossible to keep when everything is in such constant flux! Even my goals change every second of the day!

You must find the balance between discipline and flexibility.

but what the fuck does that mean?

It means yoga

study yoga

but even yoga sucks sometimes.

It’s my mind. My mind is what makes it suck.

What’s wrong with school? It’s nice to have people guiding you on some subject you otherwise wouldn’t pick.

I want to do my own learning.

I have this great idea for free advised school via internet…

nothing’s ever going to come to fruition, is it?

Plus, I love it here. so much

i think: I want to be in a place that allows me to explore all types of stuff

– this is that place. I am.

[it’s all right here]

I just want to study yoga.

That can’t be all you do.

Okay, well I want to farm and garden, too.

What about people?

sure, I want people.

I want a variety of people, lovers and haters, all of them teachers

i want to be a part of justice for people.

Naw, I just want to be surrounded by and serving people I love

but all the people I love are dispersed throughout the planet

and serving them causes me to neglect serving myself


Really, though, without having folks to get up to serve in the morning

why get up at all.

but nobody needs me

Some want me, sure

they think I’m unique or funny or uncanny

but they’d not really miss me gone.

And those who do need me, those who do miss me –

i feel oppressed and smothered by them. I push them and proclaim they’re tearing me from my very self

i feebly tell them how I love them

but I’ve never the gall actually to sacrifice and show it for fear of inward personal discontent.

And I did just want to be free. I was living free for such a while and getting good

I was knowing

lonely but uncomplicated

simply making rash decisions here and there.

though unexposed to the “WAH” of all life truly is except in spurts of organic progression of/and understanding

I contained divinity, simply less hands held with the cerebral cortex

I’m not saying it was perfect. It wasn’t.

But it may have been easier. Ignorance always is, eh

though there’s no going back, as long as I am able.

To spiral is the only option.

Bounding, pure light,

a cheetah swift a field of yellow wildflowers

caring her young

licking her chops

big cat love

big cat oh

spirit and bounty,

beautiful beast. Mother mother.

My long past floods in through some expansive region inside the black of my mindspace when eyes are closed. These visualizations used to limit themselves to uncontrolled, forgotten dreams. I’ve recent discovered an entire world apart from the lies told when I open my eyes. The inner blackness, emptiness

fills with giant banners of intricacy and form

Just the respite I’d required.

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It is time I told of Warren Wilson College, the place I’ve been residing for the last 2+ months. This is a largely undergraduate college (there is one renowned graduate program in creative writing) with three branches to its education system: Academics, Work, and Service. In addition to study with the goal of attaining a “degree” (or pedigree, if you are to speak about it honestly), you are required to work for at least 15 hours a week on and for the campus, as well as complete 100 hours of community service before you graduate.

The campus, nestled softly in the cradle of God formed by the Appalachian mountains surrounding, is extremely well-contained. Before I arrived, I felt that I wouldn’t be able to last here without bringing a car – my need to escape had prior seemed prevalent. A thirst wanting quench. But now my car sits in the lot for days on end without budging. Full weeks at times, so’s that I forget where it is or that it exists altogether. (this isn’t to diminish its importance, however. surely if it weren’t here I’d be craving escape all the time) No, everything I need is right. here.

I live in essentially a four bedroom, two bath apartment (called a “suite”) complete with kitchen and living room. Housing is coed, including shared rooms. Couples room together here and no one bats an eye. Front doors to suites remain largely unlocked. None of the doors in our suite are ever locked. There is no regimen and are no regulations for having visitors. When I need something, like a pot for cooking, I simply walk across the deck to the neighboring apartment and take what I need, returning it when I am finished. I’ve had friends use things like my freezer, juicer, and yoga mat at their discretion, only obtaining my general permission ahead of time. Below my bedroom is a meditation room, which contains cushions, a shrine table, an electric kettle, a couple of small statues, a crystal rock lamp, and two bookshelves packed full of material on spirituality and meditation. A friend of mine who lives across the way plays a balafon, which is a Guinean type of marimba that employs gourds as resonators. I hear the dancing sounds of his mallets striking smoothed wood each night just after ten.

Out back behind my living space are woods and hiking trails. I drink snow and rain from heavy branches out there. I wander til I reach Christmas Tree Hill, once a pasture for a Christmas tree farm, the specimens now overgrown and reaching high into the heavens in surreal lines on a perfect grid. Their needles bathe the earth beneath them, making it a blanket of softness and strength. I rub my hands in dirt on those trails. Rub them in dirt, then press the dirt into the grooves of bark to see how the designs lay. Look at how the dirt I’ve pressed into the bark has lodged itself in the lifelines of my hands, a perfect mirror of phenomenon. Filthy clean designs, the way mud never has made me feel like I needed a bath. Rather, it makes me feel like I more exist. And the more I play in dirt and hang with trees the less bathing is a necessity.

I bathe about once a week. I wash my hair about that often if not less. I no longer comb or brush it except for with my fingers. I condition it and treat my dry scalp with olive and coconut oils. I wear and sleep in the same outfit for days upon days. Folks don’t seem to notice. The smell of me seems to attract rather than deflect them.

This being my first semester, I was not provided with a choice as to which work crew I could be on. I have extensive experience in food service and so I was assigned to Dining Hall Crew. There are two major dining choices on campus: Gladfelter and Cowpie. I work upstairs in Gladfelter, which is the more traditional dining hall suited for omnivores. The food is typical and mass-produced. There is a salad bar, a beans/rice/cooked vegetables bar, and the main entree as well as cereals, breads, peanut butter, and the like. There is no uniform for working on this crew (if any crew). There are little rules besides the general showing up on time, doing work, and remaining until the end of your shift or until all the work is done. I do tasks ranging from setting up for meals to washing dishes to prepping with cooks to stocking to wiping tables and mopping. The interesting thing about the work program is that, essentially, all of the students serve one another. In my first week, I was taken by the fact that I was washing dishes for the same girl who helped me in the library just an hour earlier that day. One result of this is a quick and relatively stable sense of community. Another result is that a certain am0unt of respect is cultivated for the tasks that are done for you. Sure, some people who eat in the dining hall are inconsiderate or spaced out and there are dishes left behind at every shift. But, overwhelmingly, students make sure to acknowledge the employees and more or less genuinely thank them for their efforts.

I love working for school. It provides me with a sense of belonging and gives some needed structure to my time. Most days I’d rather skip class than skip a work shift. Plus, working with folks really establishes a pretty clear relationship. I definitely feel closer with the people I work with every week than I do many of the folks in my classes, even when I see them about the same amount. There is something about working alongside someone that creates an important understanding and affection.

I came here in search of real community. And I’m not sure what I’ve found. Surely, out of 900 students, I know only a mere fraction of the humans here. But familiar faces abound and there are a good portion of folks that make sure to stop and connect with me as we cross paths. At first I was frustrated because I felt that I wasn’t establishing deep connections with anyone (except for a rare couple I met at orientation), despite efforts through meaningful conversation. I felt that I was spending time with folks without necessarily becoming any closer with them emotionally. It seemed to me as though everyone was more interested in existing next to one another peacefully, maintaining their individual lives without necessarily risking anything or going out of their way to become close. I was baffled as to how friends were to be made in this setting. After all, my whole life my friends had rather been made for me. My friends were the people who were most like me in a world full of ‘others.’ It was easy – I was attracted to people who looked like me, thought like me, liked the same things I did and those people were attracted to me. How am I supposed to make friends here, where there are so many like-minded individuals?

For the most part, everyone is friendly and even, potentially, friends. Most people speak to one another not only with respect and congeniality, but with a sort of recognition (familiarity?) as well. As if we’re neighbors. On the same page. There is an automatic open-ness I never found in the northeast. And more than that, very little judgment seems to go on here.

I’d like to speak more about Cowpie, social relations, and the environment I’ve begun to immerse myself in. I want to talk about baking bread, finding snakes on the trail, the free store, the wealth of trust, my issues with academic structure and my brainstorm about the possibility of free guided self-learning… I want to talk about dancing in the grass, letting my body hair grow, and taking refuge in a more peaceful enclave of society. I want to talk about what it means to be isolationist versus what “the world” really is. Alternative lifestyles. How nature feeds me. The bounty of health and energy I’ve felt since I arrived in these mountains. Hand-making things like toothpaste. I want to talk about how sometimes I wake up in the morning wondering what the point is and what the solutions to that may be.

I want to talk about how I feel so disconnected from my life thusfar, as if it’s all been an elaborate dreamstate. When I think about memories, I recall events almost from a third-person perspective. And try as I may, I can only recall feeling certain emotions. I am unable to re-feel them to my core or even consider them relevant.

The incredible beauty of the natural world and human lives as mere extensions of that. Ferns as fractals. Humans as fractals. Parts as wholes as parts, inseparable. The self as no self as all self and so on.

Homesteading. Growing food. being not doing. Making. Love.

of course, there is always more

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From Walking

This post needs some follow-up. The day I wrote it I was undergoing extreme anxiety and my first reaction to hearing I’d been accepted to Warren Wilson was skewed by that.

As of yesterday, I am officially no longer an Emerson College student. I went to fill out a withdrawal form last week and just as I was about to hand in the form I blurted out “I’m just going to hold on to this for a couple of days.” Being there made me unsure. I wanted to be a student again. And Emerson’s got this contagious buzzing energy that makes me feel like I might belong there, an energy that drew me there when I first visited four years ago. But I don’t belong there.

If I had to finish my degree at Emerson, I could surely and fairly do so. Life is grand enough here in Cambridge and Boston, Massachusetts. But though I met a few gems at that school, the majority of the relationships I’ve built here are largely superficial. This is helpful in phases such as my current one, but it’s disconcerting as well. I do feel quite alone even in this baby Cambridge community. I feel blocked from deep relationships and I’m not sure how much location is a part of that but I am eager to learn.

My memories of Emerson include walking in the cold and learning where the wind lives. Feeling tired in class. Feeling frustrated with other students in my class. Reading furiously for post-colonialism and slowly cracking open my awareness in that class. Feeling ugly. Feeling radical. Eating the same bad food every day and never feeling satisfied. Superficiality and lack of recognition. Time whipping away with the wind that collects at Copley. But Emerson did make me a post-colonial feminist (with the help of Shannon and the Cambridge Women’s Center) and it gave me some skills I wouldn’t have practiced otherwise and it gave me some people I’ll have to love forever.

Thinking about Boston brings tears to my throat [and then slowly my ducts]. It feels like it’s going to make the last two years nothing but a dream. This place that I have such conflicting feelings about. Boston’s like a friend I can’t decide whether or not to trust, to love, even to like. I came here alone. To build my life alone, after long last of needing to escape the life that’d been created for me under my parent’s house. After running away to Africa and being torn down. I came here and started things for myself in a wooden Symphony apartment, the old fashioned radiator and its ticking pipes warming my room overlooking that loud alleyway. Living there and feeling my new way around, starting from nothing. Acclimating and gathering friends like my own skirts, to have them under me to sit on, holding me up and drinking me down. Walking every day.

Then the summer was a loneliness and heat and all kinds of work I didn’t enjoy. And the clothes, wearing all of these mismatched work clothes I never knew how to do with. And Thia, in her messy smelly place. And going running and to the gym. And then it was Andrew the end of that summer.

The fall and winter again and finding classes that held meaning for me at school. Living at 669 in a community of four that cooked breakfasts and ordered Laz pizzas and got naked in bed together for the joy of seeing smile wrinkles form each others’ faces. Questioning my life every day and dampening my spirits far and far until they grazed a dirty silt ground of some sort, alone on an ikea barstool in that enormous space with nothing but the television and leftover icecream cone cupcakes. My old cellphone next to me sitting quiet and nobody picking up to help. Thia coming home to save me with a list of loves, the Wire, and some hookah. Last winter was desperation and desolation that slowly healed as our community broke apart.

Then I decided to go on the road trip. And it was the best decision I’d made in a long time. I rediscovered freedom and wideness and my pure joy and the kindness of karma. I saw a million people I cared about intensely and felt that it must be some sort of party of goodbyes for future events I couldn’t predict. I came back to Boston and recreated 669 into Virginia’s place. No TV, no internet, a writing table, records, and a hookah as the main events. Clean kitchen. Aimee and Bing. Loads of free time and job searching and bike riding ensued. It was an explorative and inspirational summer, an unabridgedly happy time.

So now, I am about to uproot. I still haven’t wholly committed myself to leaving yet. I can give 90% to believing that’s the plan, but that last ten is a hard sell. I am hoping that going to Asheville in two weeks will spur me to give myself over entirely. I am going. At this point, I know I am. And I am excited. I know not what to really expect (do we ever? yes. sometimes). I expect to be busy and structured, which I look forward to. I expect to be involved in an active community of people I enjoy. I expect to drive in my car. I expect to head to a developing country withing the next two years and learn a lot more in topics I thirst for. I expect to be warm and joyous and clean and virtuous and excited and serene. I expect to have fun and hold happiness. I’m excited to embrace an unusual opportunity and I plan the best.

Plus, there’ll be stars. And quiet. O, the timeless kind of quiet I grew up with in and outside my childhood windows. A blanketing quiet. The feeling I got in that big old Burkittsville house, all alone with my computer and Glory the anxiety-dog. A kind of privacy punctuated by feeling observed as held – a tingling sort of watchover that comes from above and all around, rather than one gaze. Unjudged and just as.

It’s just a bittersweet ending when one tale isn’t surely yet concluded. That’s the kind of thing I feel gentle and nostalgic about. And knowing that what was will never be again. Feeling the truth that I won’t be back.

And scared that I’ve never done this before. Diving in to mystery hopefully hanging on to some serenity and letting myself feel all it wants me to on the way.

Blue Ridge Mountains

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Abyss of Whats Next


I’ve officially been accepted to Warren Wilson College for the spring.

Something’s making me feel sick and it’s either thoughts of going or thoughts of leaving.

Get me?

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