Monday, April 28, 2014

in the end...

in the end what's important?  the standings? the points? the trophy? the verses? the team?

the standings never really mattered; it's all from your perspective of what is "good" any way.

the points are irrelevant. the moment the quiz is over, they never come back. you can't use them to make a friend stop crying and smile. you can't make someone laugh so hard their stomach hurts after telling them your point average. you can't go out and change the world using an 830 point quiz.

the trophy is the biggest irony; why did we give such value to an unimportant piece of red plastic? I count 5 of these, sitting on my desk, and I look at them without any attachment or emotional value. the gold paint is dull and chipping away. the newest addition already has a scratch. I have no value in these things.

the verses and the team almost are the most important, but not quite. I tuck away hundred after hundreds of verses every year, but what good do they do if I let them sit in the back of my mind, never to be used again? like the trophies, they get dull and tarnished, and their value diminishes unless I put them to use. the team kept me going--we united, we struggled, we laughed, we cried--but what good is it if afterwards, we don't keep up with each other? what happens if we each go back to our merry own ways, back to our regular teammates and friends, back to what we welcome as "comfortable"? what happens then?

the most important thing is none of these.

the most important thing is the memories.

the laughter.

the inside jokes.

the late night talks.

the stupidity.

the tears.

the silly faces made from across a crowded room.

the new friendships.

the kinsmen-ship.

all these things matter and should never ever fade away into oblivion.

I'm never forgetting any of these things.

ever.

Monday, April 21, 2014

absent without leave

hi there.

how's your day been?

mine's been kinda crazy--not in a bad way, just in a busy way.

Veeeeeery busy.

So I've kinda been epically failing at doing my music posts. I am very sorry for that. I'm even more sorry because I probably will fail once again this upcoming Monday, because I will have just gotten back from Minneapolis and will be recovering from lack of sleep and Post-Nationals-Depression and fun stuff like that. So I probably won't be blogging until Tuesday or Wednesday of next week at least.

But to make it up to y'all, I finally forced myself into my computer chair and started this post.

And I'm going to talk about music.

Specifically, music sung by women singers.

Now, I don't know about others, but the majority of artists in my music collection are predominately male. Exceptions are: Britt Nicole, Addison Road, Fireflight, He is We, Spica, Hilary Duff (please don't judge. We were all thirteen at one point in our lives, and sometimes we make decisions that we end up regretting), Lim Kim, and Christina Grimmie. But out of the odd 300 songs I have on my iPhone, maybe 20-30 songs are sung by women.

I don't know why this is (I've actually had several different conversations about this subject with multiple friends, and each time, we come up with another reason for it), and I know that there are other amazing female artists, but I just can't seem to find many ultimate favourite artists that fall into my music style or that I like in general.

However....

as with all things, there are exceptions.

Behold, these 4 amazingly talented ladies.


Rachel Taylor. Love her goofiness. Love her voice. She was the singer (and is now the only member) of the group He Is We--I was sad when her partner left the band, but I was very very glad Rachel stayed.

Why I like Rachel's music: part of it is the type of music she sings. Some of her songs are peppy and bouncy, while others (although still about relationships...) are softer and more thoughtprovoking, and yet they still have the same 'He Is We' quality. I can guarantee you--if a He Is We song comes on the radio, I instantly know it's them. Maybe it's the rather soft and breathy way Rachel sings, but there is a very distinct tone to their music. And I love them for it.


My second favourite is Tessa Violet--we all know her as the blogger Meekakitty (and if you don't, go fix that right away), but she recently released an album of her songs, and somewhat to my surprise, I really liked it. I would never have pegged out Tessa as a singer, but she did a phenomenal job, and her songs are constantly getting stuck in my head. Plus--she uses a ukelele. That's gotta be cool.



Now this third singer is a little different than the others. The other three are all solo artists, whilst Hayley Williams is the lead singer of popular band Paramore. I admire Hayley for three reasons--her crazy awesome hair, her character (while I don't agree with all of the things she does/says, I think she is one of those people who know what they feel is right in their hearts and are not afraid to say it), and her grungy voice. Paramore has always been a favourite of mine, and to this day, Crushcrushcrush is one of my top songs.


Last but definitely not least, we have the incomparable Ms. Christina Grimmie. Why? Because she's Christina Grimmie. This girl can sing. Every single time one of her songs starts playing through my speakers, I'm a bit in awe (and I also wish I could even sing an eeensy weeensy bit as amazingly as she can, but that's beside the point). Her happy songs make you want to get up and dance, and her more serious songs are almost heart-breakingly beautiful.



so that's that, I guess. My 4 favourite female artists. What about you--can you recommend me a singer? Do you have some of the same favourites as I do? Lemme know below!

Hope you all have a fantastic week!!!! *waves while running off to pack for Minneapolis*

Friday, April 18, 2014

a lonely girl

I waited for Nana outside the school gates for fifteen minutes after the first bell and the mad rush of students escaped like the demons of education were on their heels. The chilly mid-October air soothed my neck better than any of Manoy's compresses, so I didn't really mind waiting. I sat on the rotting bench just outside the gates and knocked my heels together from boredness.

A gaggle of middle school girls moseyed by, giggling shrilly. A couple of whiny scooters careened down the street, sending leaves scattering. I picked a scab on my wrist and watched the scrape well up with tiny pin-points of blood.

Where the heck was that girl?

It wasn't like she had a lot of friends that would stop her in the halls, wanting to chat. We often joked about it, but the reality was that I was Nana's only friend and she was mine. We did everything together, and I think that scared others away. How could you wedge your way into a friendship almost a decade in length? It just didn't happen. Nana and I were stuck together for eternity, and that was that.

Could a teacher have stopped her? I almost laughed. Nana prided herself on being an unnoticeable student. She wasn't at the top of the class, but neither was she at the bottom. She didn't sit in the front, where the teacher could see everyone of your pore on your skin, nor did she crash in the back where all the troublemakers slept. She stayed in the middle ground, never over or under achieving at anything. Your typical, un-exemplary student. No way had a teacher stopped her, unless she was doing something absolutely insane, like jump roping down the halls.

Which, I thought with a grin, I could totally see her doing.

I stood up and glanced at my digital watch. 3:57. She should've been out almost half an hour ago.

Maybe she forgot I was waiting, I reasoned as I walked away from the ivy covered gates and into the street. Maybe I somehow missed her in the mad frenzy of escaping kids. It could happen.

Never the less, I had a hungry goldfish at home, waiting for me. And an empty house. And an empty fridge.

My stomach growled.

I'd counted on going to Nana's house for supper, unfortunately. Guess I would have to settle for cheese and stale crackers now, unless I could come up with anything more appetizing than that. As I walked, I kicked loose chunks of streets out of my way. Potholes the size of Asia pocked the street like malignant cancer, and the sidewalk looked more or less just as hazardous. I'd heard of kids turning or even breaking their ankles while running to school. One kid in particular had a permanent concussion after the stone wall lining the school grounds lost its battle with the ivy and collapsed, right on top of him. The demons of education still forced him to attend school, though, but I don't think he ever talked after that--even the teachers stopped calling on him in class. He just sat there, like a blank and broken slate.

And the wall remained a pile of rubble.

I wondered if the authorities even knew that places like this existed. Poverty wasn't the right word to describe it, but there was a terrible sense of devastation and emptiness filling the air here. And this was hardly the worst it could get. In our bustling metropolis, there were dark alleys and cesspools of 'life' that even the brave steered clear of. Surely the government had only one blind eye to turn--couldn't they see the destruction taking place here?

Maybe Nana and her parents were right. Civil servants were a waste of space.

Speaking of Nana...a pair of tooth-pick like arms wrapped their way around my neck and I rocked backwards under the sudden weight, almost falling into a pothole.

"So you're better?" Nana chirped. "Your neck isn't red and puffy any more."

I looked at her over my shoulder, glaring without meaning it. "Did you notice that before or after you vaulted onto my back and put me in a choke hold?"

She slid off with a laugh. "Don't be silly, Felyn. I never would've done that if you were hurt."

"Right." I still hadn't forgotten the time she punched me in the arm minutes after we donated our required amount of blood for the year. Or when she decided to play the bongos with my head that one time I had a skull-splitting migraine.

"So are you coming over for supper?" She grinned mischievously. "You can see for yourself how much Mom's belly has grown, then."

My stomach dropped into a nearby pothole. That hadn't occurred to me. Dinner with Nana and her parents meant seeing a secret taking place right in before my eyes, and that meant I wouldn't be able to consume a single thing. Vomiting all over your hosts and their dinner wasn't on par with today's table manners, it seemed.

I rubbed my neck nervously. "Umm... I actually think I need to head home." I gave her a fragile smile. "I forgot to feed my goldfish this morning, and you know how he gets."

3 delicate wrinkles marred her normally smooth forehead. "Oh, yes. The poor thing might hold his breath and pass out or something."

I never said the girl was intelligent, okay? Not even close.

I smiled again. "I should hurry. See you tomorrow?"

"Totally. Tell your parents I said hi."

We waved goodbye and then separated. Nana lived about 20 minutes from school; she always took the subway. I, on the other hand, lived within spitting distance from the school. I reached my apartment door long before Nan would even arrive at the station.

"There's still time change your mind, Felyn," I told myself, but as the door chimed mechanically and I stepped in, I knew I couldn't and wouldn't go back.

I kicked off my shoes and tossed them into the small mountain of shoes, coats, and miscellanea that used to resemble a closet, and then made my way into the living room.

Collapsing on the couch, I grabbed the remote and flicked on the TV. I didn't tune in to whatever was taking place upon the screen, however. Instead, I reached over and gingerly removed a picture frame from that annoying end table I always managed to knock knees with.

With a knot in my throat, I said, "Nana says hi, Mom, Dad."

They stared back at me, unsmiling, as they always do.

I blinked away errant tears and forced a smile onto my trembling lips. "Just thought you might want to know."

Then I put the picture away.


{to be continued...}

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

we'll sing a chorus

it's been a pretty good day.

I got a book I've been waiting for almost 3 months today.

I caught myself humming Forest by twenty one pilots multiple times today.

A little girl told me how much I meant to her and that she was glad I was in her life today.

A bigger girl made me cry from laughing because of her apt use of Toby Mac's Me Without You.

I got to have a house to myself.

The amount of gluten-free deliciousness I've gotten to eat over the past few days has been substantially awesome.

I may watch Fullmetal Alchemist: Brotherhood or Reply 1997 later tonight.

so yeah.

I'm happy.

but those aren't the reason why I'm happy.

the reason why I'm happy right now is because last night, I got spend a night as an ordinary teenager, in a building filled with people of all sorts, listening to some of the best music I have ever heard in my life.

Yes, that is right. Last night, I went and saw twenty one pilots.

And it was just as good the second time around.


I can't express to you in accurate words how amazing the show was. It was very different from the time we saw them in Kansas City, but it was a good kind of different. There was less jumping around on the stage and speakers (mostly because the stage wasn't that big), but the same schizophrenic, happy, beautiful energy was there.

They played all of Vessel except for Truce, and a few songs from their earlier albums (including Forest...hence my humming it all day). The light show was incredible. Every time Tyler asked us if they were doing okay and we screamed "YES!!" back, he smiled this adorable happy puppy smile, and that was amazing. Tyler's piano was just as awesome as it was the first time. Josh's drums were amazing. The crowd surfing/drumming was...

I need a thesaurus.


Like I said, I can't sum up last night and do it justice. I had an amazing time. I got to hang out with my father, my brother and his wife, and one of my close friends. I got to sing at the top of my lungs, not caring who heard my out of tune voice (isn't that the best part of concerts? No one can hear you, and no one cares.) I got to rekindle my love for an incomparable pair of musicians.

And most importantly, I just got to be normal for a night.


Life has not been easy these past few months. These past few years, honestly. I worry about a lot of things, especially at night, because I have nothing better to do. With graduation, Nationals, and my upcoming and surprising blank future approaching, I've been a bit stressed out lately. But going to see Tyler Joseph and Josh Dunn--just for one night at least, I didn't think about anything but how happy I was to be sitting in that crowded venue. I was so happy I thought I might burst.

I'm still that happy.

I'll probably be that happy for a few days more.

And I'm going to hold onto that happiness for as long as I can.

Yeah. Definitely going to fangirling over this concert for a few weeks...

Friday, April 11, 2014

parts of me

they say 
I have my mother's hair
her short freckled nose
 her arching eyebrows.

they say
I have my father's 
arrow-sharp chin
his small mouth
his eyeshape
but her color.

I have my grandfather's
stubby
strong
fingers
and my grandmother's
pale
Irish
skin.

I have the stubbornness
the flair
the introversion
the temperament
the good things
the bad things
passed down to
my young generation.

I have been made
from so many old
wonderful
things
and yet
I'm myself.

a new
unique 
being.

and that amazes me.

Friday, April 4, 2014

secret-keeper

"Mmm, this looks like it hurts."

Very observant of you, Nurse Manoy. Any other gems you'd like to contribute?

I wished the male nurse had been available to look at my burning neck. Not because I liked him, but more because he'd actually joke around and be straight with me. Nurse Manoy, on the other hand, was more of the smothering type.

She wore a pink uniform in the exact same shade of the decomposing gum stuck to the bottom of my desk, and it made me want to puke every time I looked at her. Her overly done up eyes practically waterfalled mascara flecks with every blink. And that never ending "Mmm" of hers...there were a lot of things about Manoy that made me want to puke, actually.

"Mmm, can you think of any allergies that could cause this, Felyn?" she asked, mispronouncing my name, somehow. Seriously, how did people ever get the idea that I was called "Feln" instead of "Felyn?" She remained oblivious to my glare, completely focused on smoothing the wrinkles in her uniform--as if being fastidiously tidy was going to cure me.

The answer "You." was on the tip of my tongue, but I resisted, instead shaking my head.

Next to me, Nana balled her hands into tight little fists and stared at Nurse Manoy as if both of our lives depended on it. Her intense gaze could've lazered through concrete. "Is there anything you can do, Nurse? We have to be in class in five minutes."

Manoy pursed her lips, which were also the color of aged bubblegum. "I'm sorry, Nana, but I think you'll have to go on ahead to class. Felyn looks serious."

"Oh, she always looks serious. That's just the way her face was made."

The nurse blinked. "Mmmm...okay?"

I nudged her in the ribs. "You're an idiot, you know that?" She scowled at me, but I stopped her angry torrent with a hand. "Go on to class, Nana. I'll get treated and see you after school." She hesitated. "Go."

Her eyes did that weird melty doe-like thing, but she slid off the bench without a word, only squeezing my itchy hand instead.

When the only trace of Nana ever being there was the slight swing of the door, Manoy gave me a horrible smile. Well, horrible to me, at least.

"Now then," she said. No 'Mmm' for once, at least, I thought. "Lie down on the bench, please, and I'll make you a cold compress to cool that nasty rash."

A compress wouldn't help this rash. The only thing that could cure this bugger was to empty my mind. Forget every detail of the conversation in the lavatory. However, I maneuvered myself onto my stomach like Manoy directed and then began the long and hard process of shoving all my thoughts into the dark depths of my mind.

Unfortunately, the dark depths of your mind is still a part of your mind.

"So, Felyn," said Manoy as she draped the cold cloth across my feverish neck. "You're quite close with Nana, aren't you?"

"Yes, ma'am." What did it matter to her?

"For how long? You seem quite chummy."

The word chummy is not one I would ever deign to use in my every day conversation. In fact, it's another one of those words I wish would be wiped out of existence.

"Since we were 10, ma'am."

"Wow, 8 years," she said and started to massage my shoulders. I grimaced. How weird could this lady get? "Bet you know a lot about each other, mmm?"

I tensed. "What?"

"I mean," she said, chuckling under her breath, "our Nana seems to be a rather hotheaded individual. I'm sure she's a bit of a character to be around all the time."

I shrug slightly, and the compress slides off onto the ground. "Sorry..."

"No problem." She replaces it with nimble fingers. "Funny that this happened today...no allergen warnings were posted online."

"It's not that big of a deal," I said. "This actually happens a lot."

"Really?" She sounds curious. "Do you know why?"

As per usual, a block settled in the depths of my throat, and my tongue was paralyzed. I blinked away the stars in my eyes and struggled to pull air into my lungs, mentally screaming at my brain, "I wasn't going to tell her, you dummy!"

Yes, I understand the irony of calling my mind a dummy.

Actually, the biggest irony is that I can never tell anyone about this part of me. It's my biggest secret, and somewhere in that dark depth of my mind, along with a thousand other secrets that I've been told, it's locked away in my strongbox. And if I do tell anyone, I'm pretty sure I die.

At least, that's what my parents always told me.


 to be continued...

Thursday, April 3, 2014

icarus


"You can't tell a soul, okay?" Nana tucked a messy curl behind one ear and grinned impishly. "It's our little secret."

Inside, I banged my head against the wall. Those words undo me, and not for the reason that you might think. "Don't tell anyone." "It's a secret." "I'm not supposed to tell anyone this, but..." Could we just eliminate those simple phrases from the human vocabulary? It sure would solve a few of my problems.

She cocked her head at me, waiting for an answer. I nervously glance at our surroundings. Couldn't she have found a better place to tell me this besides the girl's lavatory? We weren't exactly hidden, standing by the long line of sinks, and moreover, the erratic overhead lights were giving me a headache. "F-fine," I gulped out. Already, the back of my neck tingled like a bunch of fire ants were throwing a party up there. My palms also burned as I rubbed them up and down the thighs of my jeans, wiping away my anxious sweat.

Her straight teeth glistened as she open-mouth laughed in her silent way. "Oh, come on, Felyn. You don't have to look so freaked out. My family is just adding another mouth to feed is all."

I shoot her a sharp glare. Nana had no mute button in situations like this. "Having more than the allotted amount of offspring was declared illegal before we were born, Nana," I stated, crossing my arms. If I'd had glasses, I'd have pushed them up on the bridge of my nose like a know-it-all. "It's also punishable by relocation and disassociation."

I'll let you figure out what those 10-dollar words mean. I sure as heck don't know.

"You're just quoting the Manual," she said with a chuckle. "No one follows that any more."

 
"I do."

She ignored me, like usual. After fiddling with her way-too-fancy-for-school skirt, she pulled herself onto the counter.  "Come on, Felyn. The Jonhas' have two kids, and no one has kidnapped them or wiped their memories yet."

"That's because Mr. Jonhas is a civil servant." Sweat dripped down my neck, stinging all the way.

"I hadn't thought about that..." She pouted. "But that's just more proof of how twisted our stupid government is. Civil servants are such wastes of space--"

I smacked a hand over her prone-to-leak mouth. Seriously, this girl had no filter! Who knew who was standing outside the door, or if some creep (or government official) had bugged the lavatory? Nana didn't need her and her family's political views being broadcasted straight to the Oblige House. 

Stupid Maccabeans.

Yes, my friends and her family were secretly members of the largest underground rebellion known to mankind, the Maccabeans. Yes, I'd known this since we were in middle school and I found crumpled propaganda posters hidden under Nana's bed. And yes, I broke into a cold and itchy sweat every time I thought about it.

She knocked my hand aside and glared at me. "What was that for?"

I sighed. Sometimes, Nana could be so stupid that it turned my stomach.

"Just be careful, okay?"

She gave me a look that this time said she thought I'd completely lost it. "Ooookay..." Then, without warning, her eyes widened and she yelped. "Oh my gosh! Felyn! Your neck!"

Blast it all. I adjusted my scarf and batted her prying fingers away. "It's nothing."

"Nothing? It looks like you've been attacked by a tribe of digger bees."

Hurts like it, too. "I'm fine, Nana," I protested, but she'd already grabbed me by the elbow and was dragging me like a sack of potatoes behind her. "Come on, you silly goose," she said over her shoulder. "You need to see a nurse."

Over the years that I've known and been close with Nana, I've learned three things about her.

First, that she's as stubborn as heck. Secondly, that she's stronger than your average five-foot tall girl.

And last but not least, that she has way too many secrets.



to be continued...