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Thursday, February 25, 2010

The Eye of the Tyger:

THE TYGER (from Songs Of Experience)

By William Blake

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Could frame thy fearful symmetry?

In what distant deeps or skies
Burnt the fire of thine eyes?
On what wings dare he aspire?
What the hand dare sieze the fire?

And what shoulder, & what art.
Could twist the sinews of thy heart?
And when thy heart began to beat,
What dread hand? & what dread feet?

What the hammer? what the chain?
In what furnace was thy brain?
What the anvil? what dread grasp
Dare its deadly terrors clasp?

When the stars threw down their spears,
And watered heaven with their tears,
Did he smile his work to see?
Did he who made the Lamb make thee?

Tyger! Tyger! burning bright
In the forests of the night,
What immortal hand or eye
Dare frame thy fearful symmetry?

This is my favorite poem. I first discovered William Blake during my freshman year of college in my British Lit class. My professor had a tiny bald spot on the very top of his head that got a little shiny when he stood in front of the overhead projector and bright blue eyes that sparkled like marbles. I fell in love, with Blake and with literature from the Romantic period. All I could imagine was sleeping in the soft grass in the Lake District in the English countryside.

I did well in this class. I did well in all of my English courses. I have always done well with the written word, with spinning phrases and turning pages. I often dreamt of working in the publishing world and yet after graduation from college the economy was so depressing, is so depressing, that making my dream a reality felt almost impossible.

So I took a job working with high school students. I took a job that pays me in peanuts but is so emotionally rewarding that money almost doesn't matter. Almost. As much as I enjoy helping these students compose a paragraph or chat with them about their lives I realize that I can't continue playing "adultette." I am 23. I have bills to pay and rent to pay and an entire eternity of actual adulthood to start living. So, as of today, the job hunt continues. The hunt for a career that will leave me satisfied and secure. I hope that my current writing internship will help me get my foot in the door, and if not my foot, maybe just my pinky toe.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

The Bends vs. My Pride

As I sit here on my lunch break with my water, my apple, my PB&J I think to myself Jessica, I am proud of you. I am proud that despite the minor hiccups along the way, you always try to make healthy decisions. "Try" being the operative word here. I try to be conscious of what I put into my body, who I let into my life, how I care for others. Sometimes I fail. Sometimes more often than not, I fail. But sometimes it's the experience of failing, the feeling of failure that reminds us that we are human. The blemishes and the scars you pick up along the way help grow your compassion for others. I am a firm believer in my imperfection and the imperfection of others.

At times, I get the bends, as Thom Yorke would belt out, or the mean reds, as Holly Golightly would chatter. But the bends or the reds, they're transient, just temporary. My pride, my zest for life, those are permanent.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Hail to the Thief, the dollar thief

Working at a high school is strange. It seems that every single day one of the students will say something that makes me want to A) Cry B) Vomit or C) Laugh hysterically. Earlier this week Jose looked at me with my morning coffee and said "Ayy Mizz, why come you never bring one for me?" I told him that I couldn't afford to buy one for him everyday. He stared at me with a straight face and said "But you're an adult Mizz, you're rich."

In this situation I choose options A and C, I wanted to cry and laugh simultaneously. These 15 and 16 year olds have no idea what it means to be "grown up." Their perception of reality is so skewed at this age.

This morning on my way to the copy machine I found a dollar lying on the ground. I looked around, nobody in the halls...I picked it up and held it in my hand. I walked with it in my hand all the way back to the classroom, like I was scared that if I actually shoved it in my pocket it would make me the thief I knew that I was. I did feel a little badly, but inside my head I was thinking Great Success, now I can buy coffee tomorrow morning!

O little Jose, if you only knew...

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Beyonce said it best, bills bills bills:

Lesson #1

Confidence is key. It is easy to feel down and defeated when you are only 23 and getting paid in peanuts. It is easy to begin questioning every decision you have ever made, as if your life would somehow be infinitely better had you not had peanut butter and jelly three days ago, or had you not decided to dump thousands of dollars into a study abroad program that left you broke and broker. It is easy to give into self-doubt as every supposed adult punches holes into your flawless life plan with questions like: How will you pay for that? and my personal favorite Where will that get you in life?

However, (and this is a big however) in my opinion the only way to battle through the sea of negativity that often submerges over young people is with confidence. Confidence kills negativity, the kryptonite to all of those nay sayers out there. I am confident that I made the right choice when I decided to live abroad in Italy. I am confident that improving my Italian and indulging in delicious food and great wine left me a better human being...a broke young girl but a cultured girl nonetheless. I AM confident that my life IS infinitely better for having taken the plunge and discovered parts of myself and parts of the world that would have been left to the imagination had I not dumped thousands of dollars into a study abroad program that left me broke.

The picture at the top of this blog highlights my opinion perfectly...I LIVED there! That Duomo, I went to Mass there. Those cobblestone streets, I walked them. That tiny, picturesque town on the top of that plateau was my personal heaven, not once, but twice!

So to my parents, Chase Bank, my credit card and every adult out there who said that expanding your mind was a financial mistake...I am confident that you are wrong.

**Today I got two separate offers to tutor for additional money. Hello finances, you're looking up today :)

Monday, February 1, 2010

New Beginnings: Life After College (well 8 months after).

So, in keeping with the theme of this blog (i.e. new beginnings) I've decided it's time to start documenting my experiences as a fresh faced adult. I'm not a student anymore, I'm not a child anymore. But I'm also not aged and jaded yet either. I'm somewhere in between, I'm an "adultette" as I'll coin it from here on out. I thought it would be funny to post something I wrote not long after graduation from the university. This reflected my thoughts at the time, however silly and pessimistic they seemed matters little. What is important is that I've grown from this attitude. The following jargon takes place between the hours of 11 and 12, beneath an avalanche of sheets and pillows:


The Unemployed Undergrad Graduate: Diploma, Check. Dream Job, Uncheck.

I graduated from college, or a university rather, more than two months ago. What this implies, this word ‘university’ is that I should be a well rounded 22 year old with a wealth of knowledge floating around in my brain. I should be able to analyze Dante’s Divina Commedia, understand and commiserate with the economic troubles facing the lesser Antilles in the Caribbean, perform basic algebraic equations on my fancy TI-83 calculator, hell even identify and accurately describe slide identifications from artists like Caravaggio and Gauguin. The funny thing is, I can do all of this. That was not sarcasm, I can identify art and appreciate Italian poetry and yearn for better times to fall upon Haiti and St. Lucia. I didn’t just ‘go to college,’ I went to a university, a very good state school filled with great professors and smart kids. While some professors were not so great and some kids were not so smart I’d like to think that I strived to be, I gobbled up my classes, I bragged about how awesome my teachers were, I even studied! Like actually studied not just sipped on a wildly expensive dessert like coffee while texting on the 3rd floor of the library. And I did it with pleasure, I did it because somewhere in my sickeningly sweet goody two shoes reality I wanted to be that well-rounded individual all of the high school counselors and parents and school officials said I would become. But perhaps even more importantly I did it for myself. I did it because I wanted to learn and be employable and be a contribution to my society not a burden. I wanted to learn Italian to feel like a child of the world, not just of “Amurika” (as the stereotypically southerners might say). I wanted to write a paper about nothing regarding a play about nothing by Samuel Beckett. I wanted to be able to waltz into a museum and search frantically for at least one piece of art that I could accurately identify (one is better than none, one is something). So I guess at the end of all of my writing and researching and studying and memorizing and stressing I thought that there might be one measly entry-level job out there for me. One tiny broom closet in the back of some office where I could hang my sweater and file or push papers all day. And yet the future looks bleak indeed. After hours, literally countless hours of applying to every single job under the sun, my basket has come up empty. I’m bilingual, I can type very fast, I’m familiar with clerical duties and Microsoft programs and not to toot my own horn but I’m super approachable. So what’s it going to take for a young girl like me to land that “I just graduated from college and I’m not sure what I want to do with my life yet, maybe I’ll apply to grad school next year will you please hire me” job? In a word, experience. In this economy, which continues to look drearier and more solemn each day, the only thing that big fish in that even bigger pond wants from his minnows is experience. And that ladies and gentlemen I do not have. I have a nice G.P.A and leadership skills and loads of professors who would vouch for me if asked, but I do not have the faintest clue about accounting, or how to fire somebody, or how to make a Bible of an excel spreadsheet in under the amount of time it would take to make a cup of coffee. What I’m offering isn’t good enough and what they’re willing to train me on is next to none. This I’m finding harder and harder to swallow. It’s difficult to come to terms with the idea that all of your hard work (while not for not) really hasn’t gotten you where you’d like to be because that water marked piece of paper hanging in a frame on your wall doesn’t mean much if you can’t even pay the bills. These bills being student loans, those beastly dollar amounts that got you here in the first place! I guess all I really want is that small broom closet somewhere so that I can acquire some new knowledge, nurse a morning latte and be thankful that even if I didn’t land my dream job 8 weeks out of school, at least I’m sitting in a broom closet indoors instead of in a box on the street.