The Post-Holiday Slump

So I promised you all a bunch of posts when I got back from my trip to London. I’ve now been back for a week and a half, and what have I given you?

Nothing.

This is literally the first time I’ve even opened up a new post to start writing. I just haven’t been able to think of words to put down on paper. It’s not easy, translating all of the amazing feelings and experiences into words.

But oh boy, was it an amazing experience.

The truth of it all is, I’ve been in a post-holiday slump. I haven’t wanted to work on anything. Not my job, or my novel, or even this silly little blog. I don’t want to knuckle down and deal with reality, because I just experienced a surreal ten days that were so unlike anything I’ve ever known. Everything was new and fresh and exciting. Even just getting up in the morning was fun – and that’s saying something, because I am not a morning person.

I walked down cobbled roads through buildings older than my entire country. I wandered through the Tower of London and saw Buckingham Palace at sunset. I lived in a culture so different from my own, a world of royalty and history. I shopped in Covent Garden and saw a play in Piccadilly Circus.

After all of that, can you blame me for being a bit grudging about coming back to the real world?

The thing is, I have to come back. I have to embrace the fact that my holiday is over and it’s time to move on. There are bills to pay and exams to study for, and all of the drudgery of real life is crushing in on me. I’m home and it’s done.

The memories, though, well those are what make even this horrible post-holiday drag worth it.

Enhanced by Zemanta

A Brand New Me

I am terrible at keeping New Year’s Resolutions. It probably doesn’t help that I always seem to make the same, cookie-cutter resolutions: eat better, lose weight, get fit, save more money. They’re the same typical resolutions that everyone makes and at the end of the day I only feel committed to them because they are what I should want. I’m pretty sure that I’ve never actually kept a resolution before in my life and I think it’s because I just don’t care enough.

Do I want to lose weight and get fit? Of course I do. Do I want to save up more money? Absolutely.

But do I care enough to actually put a year’s worth of effort toward it? HA! More like I make it about two months and then I get knocked off track and give up for a couple months before trying again some time in June-ish.

Which is why this year I am going to make entirely different resolutions. Instead of the same, generalised, broad resolutions that I make every year, I’m going to make some different, specific resolutions. Things that pertain exactly to me. Things that I really care about seeing accomplished.

1. Have an adventure!: This is something I’ve always wanted to do and this year I’m going to make it finally happen. I’ve done new things and taken trips before but I want to have an actual, genuine adventure. I want to see new places and do new things and meet new people. This is a task that will hopefully be checked off during my spring break trip to the UK.

2. Lose 30 pounds: Yes, this is still the same old resolution, but this time I’m being more specific. I am setting an exact number. This isn’t just a vague plan, it’s a concrete goal. (An FYI, I’m already 2 pounds in. Booyah!)

3. De-clutter: I own a lot of s***. Like, a lot. For someone who doesn’t have much space, I have sure accumulated a lot of things. And a lot of unnecessary things, at that. So this year, I’m going to thin down the stuff and get rid of a lot of things I don’t need. The bonus is it’ll clear out more space for books, which is always a good thing.

4. Learn something new: I’ve been thinking about crocheting. Or cross-stitching. Something crafty like that.

5. Stop making excuses to cancel plans: This is one of those things I’m really bad about doing. I make plans to go do something, and then at the last minute I come up with some excuse to stay home. “I’m sick.” “I got called in to work.” “I had a family emergency.” The truth is I’m a little bit anti-social. I want to make new friends and do things and live, I’m just always too socially anxious to go through with things. This year, that changes.

6. Go to a bar/club: As a 24 year old, I am ashamed to admit that I’ve never actually been inside of a bar or club before.This is partly to do with the fact that I’m social awkward and don’t do well with big crowds. Also doesn’t help that the majority of my friends are LDS housewives. But it’s one of those things I feel like every person should do at some point in their life, and I want to give it a shot.

7. Go out on a date: Another shameful moment here. I’ve not been on a date in well over a year.

8. Give up soda: I’ve been trying to do this for years, with moderate success. This is not just for health reasons but money as well. I spend way, way too much money on Dr. Pepper. Not to mention calories.

9. Take one day a month to tech-detox: We live in such a technologically dependent world, and I especially spend the majority of my time on the computer. And when I’m not on the computer, I’m on my phone. So I’ve resolved that at least one day a month, I will turn off all of the tech – the phone, the computer, the tv, the radio – and I will just exist.

10. Finish (and publish?) my novel: By and far, this is the most important resolution I’m making this year. I actually made this one last year and failed it epically. This year though, I will finish my novel and I’m going to start sending it out to publishers. If things don’t pan out with the contacts I’ve already made, then I’m going to self-publish by the end of the year. Either way, come 2015 I will be a published author.

Resolutions are made for a reason. They are made to give you goals to work toward; to give your year a direction and purpose. 2013 might’ve been a year of stalling and stagnancy for me, but everything is about to change. I’m going to do things differently. I’m going to be a different person.

And 2014 is going to be a whole new year.

Cuffed | An Autobiographical Short Story

Winter, quite often considered the most memorable time of the year, with all the holiday cheer and Uncle Jeff getting drunk on eggnog and running into the family Christmas party wearing nothing but his boxers and a Santa hat. But the winter of 2001 was the most memorable of all, for me anyway. That winter was the first time I ever got cuffed.

It was a Friday and my best friend, Alicia, was supposed to be coming over for the weekend. Everything was planned out; Alicia had brought all her gear to school with her that morning and we were going to walk to my house after school. So, when last bell had rung, Alicia and I gathered our belongings and set out for my house.

The road we took to get to my house was not very heavily populated so we weren’t crammed into the usual stampede that flew from the school doors like gentlewomen from a mouse. Barely more than a block from the school the chill was completely soaked into our skins and now marinating within our bones, even though we were panting and sweating under the weight of the baggage. On the bitter wind I heard someone shout my name and I turned to locate the speaker but before I could identify them my eyes found another sight, far more daunting. An immaculately white police car was heading up the road behind Alicia and me. My eyes made contact with the officer within the vehicle’s tinted windows and my heart jumped wildly. I knew this guy all too well. Instantly the wailing of sirens cut through the quiet of the frigid afternoon like a hot knife through butter and I broke into a run.

I became senseless with fright. I heard Alicia cry out after me but her words never penetrated my mental block. The weight of the bags, the cut of the strap, and the wintriness of the air all disappeared in a flash. I was only aware of the screaming sirens, the colorful splashes of red and blue cast on the snow at my feet, and the erratic pounding of my heart. My struggle was entirely in vain however; I had hardly gone five feet before the police car pulled in front of me, tires sending bright rings of reflective snow into the air around it, and I was forced to slide to a stop.

“Drop the bags!” the officer shouted as he clambered out of his idling vehicle. “Hands on the car!” I immediately complied, not that I had much of a choice with the barrel of a gun pointed in my direction.

“You, too,” I heard the officer bellow and in seconds Alicia was at my side, her whole body trembling. I started in alarm as I felt the officer’s hands on my sides as he checked me up and down for weaponry. Then my arms were yanked brusquely behind my back and I gasped as cold metal encircled my already frozen wrists. As though echoing through a great void of space I could faintly recognize the voice of the officer reciting my rights in a mechanical intonation that blatantly proved he had done so on many occasions. The back door of the car was opened and I was only short of thrown inside. Moments later Alicia was sliding in next to me, her face white and her jaw quivering. The sirens were still singing their mournful march and now I could hear the grinding roll of the lights as they continually pivoted overhead. Shii-tunk, shii-tunk, shii-tunk. A loud thump jerked my senses as the trunk of the police car was slammed shut. Apparently he had confiscated our bags.

As the officer climbed into the front seat of the car I glanced despairingly out of the window, to freedom, and discovered who had been hailing me in the start. A small cluster of my classmates was standing across the icy roadway, now watching the scene before them with wide-eyes and open-mouths. When I saw them the tears I had been withholding slid free of their barriers and I hastily bowed me head although I couldn’t stop my shoulders from shaking.

The police car backed out on to the glassy road and continued down the street for three blocks before the policeman made any motion toward us. He had grasped a small key in his one hand and was now offering it back to us. Alicia grabbed it hastily in hands that had never been cuffed and unlocked the circlets of silver around my wrists. I raised my hands to wipe away the tears of laughter still coursing down my cheeks and when I glanced up my eyes once again connected with those of the officer’s through the reflections in the rearview mirror. We both smiled broadly.

“Classic, dad,” I grinned from the back seat. “Absolutely classic.”

I Hate Black Friday

ap_black_friday_21_dm_121123_wg

I f***ing hate Black Friday.

*breath* Okay now that that’s out of the way, I can talk about this a bit more rationally. Hopefully. I can’t promise that I won’t turn into a giant squid of anger by the end of this though, so be forewarned. It could happen. It most likely will happen. I can almost guarantee it.

So just a quick summary in case you’ve been living under a rock or you’re one of my lovely international readers who don’t have any idea what the hell I’m talking about. Black Friday is an American “holiday” the day after Thanksgiving when all of the stores have massive discounts so people stand in lines all night and then trample each other to death to do a bit of Christmas shopping.

I wish I was exaggerating, but I’m not, and that’s the problem.

I’ve always disliked the idea of Black Friday. As a kid it was simply the confusion of why people would stand around all night in the cold just to get a few cheap toys, but as I’ve gotten older it’s become more than that.

To break it down simply: The very day after we are all so thankful for the things we have, we beat each other to death trying to get more.

Does that seem like hypocrisy to anyone else, or is it just me?

And the biggest problem, sadly, isn’t just the blatant hypocrisy. It’s the fact that I’ve been using terms like ‘trample’ and ‘beat’ and I’m not just being overly-dramatic. People genuinely do fight to the death over these Christmas gifts. When the doors open, there are shoppers and store workers who get trampled by a crush of eager bargain hunters. It has become something of an accepted norm. People just shrug and say, “It happens.”

That’s disgusting.

It’s disgusting that we can keep condoning something that causes people to turn into stampeding wildebeest, crushing everything and everyone in their path. It’s disgusting that we can turn a blind eye when a woman pepper sprays a crowd that included children just to get her hands on an Xbox. It’s disgusting that there are people shooting each other over parking spaces. And it’s absolutely revolting that people don’t stop to help, that when emergency services show up the shoppers continue to fight for their presents and impede these people trying to save lives.

Did you know that one Black Friday rush back in 2008, in one Wal-Mart in Long Island, that not only was one worker trampled to death and several more injured when customers broke down the doors early to get in, but they also jostled one eight-month pregnant woman so badly that they caused a miscarriage?

How do we continue to allow these things to happen? Are we that greedy that we feel the few dollars saved on a present are worth people’s lives? Has human kind really sunk so low?

I am feeling particularly anti-Black Friday this year because of a new thing that’s becoming widespread and common. A majority of stores are opening, not at midnight on Friday morning like usual, but on Thursday evening. That’s right, they are actually opening up Thanksgiving night.

While we’re supposed to be home, visiting with family, indulging in turkey and wine, and enjoying all the wonderful things we have been given, there will be millions of Americans this year out fighting in the cold to save a few bucks on toys and clothes. Not only that, but this means that stores will be staying open, forcing millions of employees to work among these deadly crowds while they should be home with their families.

So much for the spirit of the season, huh?