Rye Meetings

can't forget the how or why

I had a balls-to-the-wall stressful day at work today.

But my day started nicely, and now it's ending nicely as well.

It started out with good music, which is always awesome.

The music system for our store had just booted up. My co-worker was getting the store set up, and I walked up to the counter to grab things for the day. We usually shoot the shit while we get the store ready, but the original version of this song came on.

My co-worker, who's close to 9 to 10 years older than me, started humming the lyrics. I joined in as soon as I recognized the lyrics. Her eyes had that flicker of “Oh?” when she saw me hum with her — Then we started singing together and dancing. And then my other co-worker walked up and joined in too. We all had a fun few minutes of dancing, shaking our asses, and just being free.

She was surprised I even knew the song after.

“You must've been a baby kindergartener when this song was out! I was in middle school.”

“I probably was. I actually first heard this song through a bluegrass cover, when I was younger.”

“Ohhh, okay. I see.”

My other co-worker chirped in to affirm that she's heard of the cover I was talking about.

I have almost always gotten along with kids and people older than me. I say kids now, but honestly, I just mean any late-20-something, which is a millennial. And I usually blend in with this generation until historic moments are brought up like Y2K, 9/11, etc. With shit like that I mention, I was seven months, two years old, and so on, and the game is over. I'm singled out as an outside baby amongst these big bag oldies. And it remains that way until the conversation's reset.

(The only time I really get a chuckle out of poking fun at me and a friend's age difference is when Smells Like Teen Spirit comes on, and I let them know I was -8 years old when that came out. Their eyes widening and seeing me as not even a li'l embryo during that time — That's fucking hilarious.)

It felt nice to know that we shared that bit of culture together, even if through a slightly different messenger. It's nice pleasantly surprising people that you share something with them.

I loved starting my day with that.

#Personal #Music #SongFeature

Dimlite – Sun-Sized Twinkles

During my freshman and sophomore years of high school, one of my favorite ways to digest music was to listen to BBC's Radio 1 Essential Mixes. I'd find an artist that sounded interesting, or who I vaguely knew of, and listened to their two-hour set. I'd be doing my schoolwork, going on a walk, staring at the wall, and these would play in the background.

I remembered these mixes this weekend while I was cleaning, and was curious if they'd still strike the same chord with me as it did then. I put on Flying Lotus' mix. I actually didn't finish the mix, because I remembered how much I love this song.

This song touches the part of my soul that always has a raincloud over it. This song is sad, dark, and lonely. But the loneliness it evokes is also very peaceful at times, in a sort of reductive, insular way. It makes me understand that I'm not so much trapped in life as I am someone that tests the bounds of what living is. I can be trapped in my illness, in this vessel that was forced on me or I can make the most of this mass of particles that is “me” since there is nothing else I can truly claim or control.

I'm not really one for strictly categorizing music by genre, but I think this would be considered part of the noise genre? I've never been able to get into noise music from everything I've heard, but music that toes the line of noise? I'm all about that — Extracting beauty out of chaos, but still honoring its chaotic nature.

I've looked nearly everywhere I could think of for lyrics to this song. I'm able to understand a little bit of what's sung. I like knowing the lyrics to the songs I listen to on repeat because it helps me understand the emotion behind it and frame it in the context of my life better. I don't like guessing the lyrics, it almost feels like guessing the meaning to a poem — even though that's what makes music and poetry fun sometimes.

Since no other place I've found has the lyrics for this song, I'm going to post what I am able to decipher, as I decipher it here. Hopefully, this provides some clarity to those looking for it. Over time, if I realize I heard something wrong or understand what was sung better, I'll edit these lyrics below.

Anyways, this is what I've always been able to decipher. And without the name of the song I doubt I would've figured it out:

Blinded by twinkles, the size of the sun They're smiling-sized twinkles, my soul's on the run

#Music #SongFeature #Monologue

I'm currently developing a system of gods and goddesses to flesh out my tarot-inspired universe. I'm working out their creation story and how humans became part of the mix. I just realized all of these gods and goddesses are pretty nice or rational, except for one.

I'm going to work on nixing that to make a more... realistic universe? This is all in the third person, so being semi-objective about it won't be that difficult. And while I don't want this universe to read like propaganda, I also don't want it to be “God's an assface” every second.

Even though my mom sprinkled in bits of Satan-fearing in me through periods of devout Catholicism and Illuminati documentaries, I was raised to understand God as an ultimately benevolent being. By the time I was almost done with middle school, though, it was cool to be an Atheist™. But the polarizing, “If you go to church, you're an idiot,” was not my jam. So I floated for a while between a spectrum of Christianity and Agnosticism until recently.

For a few months I felt, I hate to say born-again because of the connotations, but I felt like a Christian. I went to church with one of my co-workers. It was actually really fucking chill and not stuffy. People were our age mainly, but there were older people there too. There was music, and while it was a little cheesy, it wasn't something I couldn't bob my head to. I really enjoyed it. I've honestly debated on going back, even now. I marked myself as an attendee to a virtual gathering at one point amidst all this shit. But I really don't think I'm Christian. So I'd feel guilty just being among these people that for all I know sincerely believe. So I chickened out.

I know that I do believe in a god. But I don't believe Jesus was a real dude that could walk on water. I believed that when I was a kid. I don't expect Jesus to come back, do the things, and take all the “good” Christians to heaven. For me, religion isn't any of that. And maybe that's 'cause I've had to live with mental illness. I'm fucked in this world, already stressing over hypotheticals when I don't watch myself. Why worry about this new set of hypotheticals that I have to be taught?

I like the idea of church. Getting together with people, surrendering yourself to a higher being that may or may not exist. Discussing the literature that got you there and your understanding of said literature. But when you bring power and control into it, with humans amongst themselves not with God, then it gets messy. Everything between humans gets chaotic, and I think if there is a god, they made religion particularly sticky because humans will never understand the nature of a god. Therefore humans feel the need to emulate God to understand anything. It's a curse of sorts.

And spirituality + religion gets really twisted and disturbing when it comes to that idea – that idea of control and power being centered on focal points, focal people. Fuck that.

Spirituality might just be something I have to practice on my own, which is alright. I guess.

As I'm writing this, I realize how cynical I've become. It burns a bit. I often see myself as an idealist. But there are some things that I've decided to not waste my energy and hope on. Part of growing up, I guess. I also realize I'm not entirely sure how I want to go forth with my gods and goddesses and their morality. Ergo, this entry.

I don't want my understanding of the world to spoil my intent in creating this universe. I want to create something that's separate from me, even though it will still have bits of me in it. To be able to sift through the shitwater in my head, and shape that filtered crap into a universe, a story, that's more distinguished than its shitty origins — That's a gorgeous concept.

#Monologue #Writing #Worldbuilding

“Daddy, I have a cool idea for a story.”

“What is it?”

“So you know how people live in shacks and it's just one room?”

“Yeah.”

“Well, I want to write a story about a homeless girl who can't find a place to stay, so she finds an empty garbage can, cleans it, and makes a home out of it with electricity and everything! She has friends, and she goes to see them but each time she sees them she's a little bit different and that's 'cause the garbage can is eating her soul, and she's transforming into garbage.”

“That's... very dark, sweetie.”

“Dark?”

“It's very... macabre.”

“Maca... what?”

“Y'know, like relating to death.”

“Oh...”

I stopped walking with him and looked at my feet. Thinking about what was wrong with what I said. I looked up and around and saw a few other people near us eyeing me through their peripheral. I was 10 or so and lost sense of my “inside voice” when I was excited. I guess I couldn't talk about my stories in the grocery store anymore.

Not too long after this, he gave me my first MP3 player and a pair of earphones. It was an all-black ZEN X-Fi Style. I used that thing every day and night until it broke.

I have a wide array of artists that I've come to listen to since my MP3 days, but I rarely really listen to the whole gamut of genres I like within a short period. Rather, I go through cycles with each genre or artists, spending days to months listening to songs and albums on repeat and discovering new ones. I've circled back to the Pixies recently. I was listening to Ed Is Dead, actually. Earlier today, it clicked in my head that their songs have a tendency to be pretty morbid or wild. I've always understood that about them, but I had never thought about this in the context of my transition into adolescence.

I'd like to think my father was conscious in steering me toward the Pixies. Even though I wouldn't understand some lyrics and themes in their music until I was much older, I'd like to think he nudged me toward them in hopes I'd identify with their storytelling and morbid imagery.

I'd like to give my dad the benefit of the doubt too because I often think back to when I told him I was suicidal for the first time. It had to be at least the third mental breakdown of my sophomore year. I missed the bus home because I fell apart not being able to complete all of an assignment on time because for a reason I can't recall. Because of this, he had to pick me up and leave work early. I know he'd be upset because he didn't like us interrupting his workday. He was a single dad with four kids and a dog to support. I was scared he'd be angry.

I sat talking out all my feelings with my school's high school counselor in her office. I did my late work while she called my dad to pick me up. She wanted to talk with him about my frequent breakdowns. I was not part of their talk.

The walk to his car was quiet, and it was quiet for most of the ride home.

“Dad, I want to die,” I whispered. My head was against the window, but in my peripheral, I could see him turn his head slightly toward me.

“Sweetie, what you're feeling — all teenagers go through this. You'll be okay.”

I wanted to say, “But dad...” and tell him I'd felt this way for a long time since I was little little and playing with dolls. But no parent wants to hear that. But maybe he was right. I was 14. Maybe all this would go away, eventually.

The optimist in me wants to believe that every suicidal person gets to a point eventually of, “Suicide is not an option.” But that's not how people work.

I'd like to think he consciously raised me to seek solace in music. But even if he didn't, who knows where I'd be without the Pixies. I can't say that I've ever listened to any of their songs while I was on the brink of trying to decide my fate, but they are featured one way or another throughout the soundtrack of my life. They are the unmoving pillar of my music foundation.

I remember talking with someone a few years back. I think it might've been a co-worker or a regular customer; I don't remember exactly. We were talking music. I'm not one of those people that's huge into music history and culture, seeing as how I never really fit into any group or culture anyway.

We were talking about alt-rock bands in 80s and 90s. I mentioned my love for the Pixies. The person I was talking with didn't really care for them. I wasn't offended, but me being curious, I asked why.

“I just don't. They're weird.” “Everyone's weird.” “Yeah, but they're weird.”

I remember raising and scrunching my eyebrows, trying to understand what they really meant. I shrugged it off, and we started talking about something else. I still tried to pin down what they thought was weird in my head.

Suffice to say, I get it now. . . .

“Cease to resist, giving my goodbye Drive my car into the ocean You think I'm dead, but I sail away On a wave of mutilation”

#Monologue #Personal #Music

Gábor Szabó – Galatea's Guitar

Listened to this whole album for the first time tonight. This is honestly just what I needed.

I think I've heard other songs by him before. I listen to jazz periodically. It's one of my favorite genres, if not my favorite genre. I'd love to have a wider selection of favorite jazz artists and albums, but too much of it at times is sensory overload for me. My mind is always going. So when my mind's in a dark place or getting to that if I can focus mentally on something else then that's ideal. I get exhausted trying to keep up though sometimes. It's like juggling. I can nearly always make sense of the orderly chaos, but I do get disoriented discovering new forms and interpretations of chaos and order.

I'm not exhausted now though — far from it.

#Music #SongFeature

I've never come so close to killing myself before. I had the means to do so tonight. Well, I've had the means to do so for a while, probably ever since I started wearing cinched clothing. But I never realized I had the means until this afternoon.

It almost feels like suicide would be the expected ending in my narrative. If my life up to now were a book, I'm certain that most readers would shrug at this ending. “I could see it coming from Chapter 4,” they would say. The part of my soul that's sensitive and pessimistic, wants to give into this ending.

I always thought the way I'd end up dying (if by suicide) was either through carbon monoxide, hanging, or a chemical concoction of sorts. I suppose what I tried tonight isn't too far off from hanging, but there was no hanging involved.

I experimented with several objects, getting close, but still able to take a breath even if I had to struggle to take it. Then I found the right setting. I felt my face get tingly, the music fade, and my vision start to blur. A part of me felt incredibly victorious that after so many years of inner turmoil, I'd found my own way out.

But then I became concerned with the nature of asphyxiation. Is death from asphyxia certain? With carbon monoxide, the levels have to be just high enough, and your oxygen source restricted just enough. I know with pills, it's always a gamble — death is never guaranteed. Even with hanging, I know it can take more than five minutes to slip into unconsciousness, depending on the circumstances.

With asphyxiation, you can lose consciousness and die within five minutes. I've never been that close.

It was odd. I didn't want to die die in that moment. I just wanted people to really know that I want to die. While I hate people looking at me for a lot of reasons, I want someone to look at me.

I want someone to look at my neck and know: “This person was serious about death.” I think that's all I've ever wanted. For someone to look at my face and not necessarily understand what I've been through, but understand living is not natural for me.

The object is inside my nightstand. Right now truthfully, I feel numb just from the fact that death is literally beside me. All my life is now is a decision. My plan is there. My death has become simple — if I take this route.

It's calming.

#Personal #Monologue

“So, I’ll have to work next week.” “...” “If I have to work, I have to work. But I don’t want to get you sick.” “I don’t want to get sick either. I don’t want you to get sick.” “I don’t know what to do... Do you want me to stay with a friend for the time being?” “I... I didn’t even think about that.” “It’s just a thought,” I shrugged half-heartedly. “But it won’t matter if I can’t get insurance.”

I pissed my partner off with this suggestion. Like silent-treatment-level pissed off.

I prefer to talk out whatever is bothering me, and I want to do that candidly with anyone I upset. I understand things can get heated, and things may be said that are hurtful, but that’s the point of talking things out.

Now, I think I understand he didn’t want to attack my view on work, dedication, and sacrifice.

School was the centerpiece of my life until I graduated high school. After that, I had to find another centerpiece because schooling in the U.S. is expensive. So that became work when I moved out at 19. I sacrificed much of my sanity and wellbeing for the sake of being a good student. I can’t say I’ve changed much in that regard, except that I’m older and have a better understanding of what a healthy and sustainable life is.

I realize that he probably was hurt that I wanted to sacrifice my health for a paycheck. And I was willing to sacrifice our time together for me to make money without getting him sick.

I should probably care more about my wellbeing than I currently do. I should probably value my life more than I currently do. Such is the journey of a 20-something.

Until last month, I was insured through my family’s insurance plan. Because of Covid-19, my family does not have that insurance anymore.

Fortunately, my current supply of medication will last me through the first week of August. But if anything were to happen between now and then, I’d have to pay full price for medical services and medication. That’s not the kind of money a 21-year-old has to spend comfortably. I’m proud that I’ve put the majority of my stimulus money in my savings. Still, that money will quickly disappear when my medication runs out and when I feel the need to see a therapist.

I can’t live without my medication. I don’t ever want to revert back into that creature. That nervous, self-loathing mouse who struggled to conform with every breath they took. They’re still there, they’ll always be there. That’s the nature of medication, to make you the optimal version of yourself to survive in this world. I understand some people choose not to take medication for that very reason. I understand some people look down on others for taking medication and advocating for it. I don’t want to be me at my core. I’ve been that and I never want to again.

My first day back to work is tomorrow and I work for a nonessential store in a hotspot for disease. I have to talk with my boss about insurance. I have a feeling they will not provide insurance even though losing insurance through my parents is a qualifying event. I hope I’m wrong. But even if I am, I doubt my boss will let me shelter-in-place. I hope I’m wrong about that too. Luckily I have a job on the horizon I could be able to secure as a replacement for this one. I'm not 100% sure that I will get that job, but it’s better than no prospect.

Right now, it hurts to know that I’ll have to be assertive about my wellbeing. And that this assertiveness may conflict with what people, I’ve come to care for, want for themselves and their goals in life. It hurts that my boss might make an excuse or make it difficult for me to get coverage.

This whole situation gives me the same vibe as when I left home. It was so scary. I’m glad I did it in the end.

Maybe this will be the same.

#Personal #Monologue #Covid19

Kali Uchis – Ridin' Round

(Content warning: Explicit lyrics, drugs mentioned)

Ah, Kali Uchis. I've followed her for a while, since her Por Vida album. I found her through Tyler, The Creator, in my initial listen of Cherry Bomb. I heard her voice on Find Your Wings and that was all I needed to be.

There are two versions of this song. One is more Latin-influenced, and then there's this one which I can only describe as a bubblegum lollipop song with sass. This is the version I heard first and played during my junior + senior year, so I'm attached to this one.

Songs that say, “Screw you. I'm a woman and I'm proud. I don't need you for my self-worth,” ignite a fire within me. I don't have an ex I hate — I've just lived most of my life chasing things to please others, never really to please myself.

This is one of those songs I'll bob, sway, and sing to when I'm alone. I love to flip my hair and play with it to this song. I imagine this being a fun song to play and dance to with your friends.

I love most, if not all, of her discography. I'd say she's one of my top female artists.

This song makes me feel like a badass independent bitch who's happy in her skin out to conquer the world with her friends. Listening to this, I automatically don't give a damn about what strangers think of me.

“I know it sounds strange, but I used to count change On the counter at the grocery store, the bags I would arrange Now his face is looking kinda flustered He didn't know that I was my own hustler”

#Music #SongFeature

“Jack of all trades, master of none – Oft better than a master of one.”

This is something I try to remind myself of often. Being the curious person I am, my interest is piqued by all sorts of subjects. This leads to a lot of different activities I want to explore in such a small amount of time.

I see the look in my partner's eyes as he watches me march off to work through my JavaScript course, write 500 words, and/or follow along with a calligraphy book. I know he's thinking, “How long will this one last?” If I had it my way, I'd be involved with countless different hobbies. But I only have two hands, and there are only 24 hours in a day.

My latest interest is drawing. I've always wanted to sketch the characters I've created, but never really pushed myself to. Playing Octopath Traveler has changed that. Even though they're not my own characters, I definitely want to take time to draw these people. I never thought I'd be someone to draw fanart for a lot of reasons, but here I am.

I can't draw well right now, and I won't for a long, long time — but this is something I want to work on.

The adult in me tells me to commit to one hobby or a select amount of hobbies and hone them. But my end-goal isn't to become a master in any of these fields. At most, my hobbies are something I'll tell someone during an interview or in a conversation. My end goal isn't to be a commodity.

It feels weird to say that as I frame a lot of what I do in how I can be useful to others. Honestly, I've had this mindset since I was a child. If my hobbies make me more valuable to someone, like an employer, then that's a huge plus for my future — anyone's future. I think that's why others sometimes pressure us flighty people to settle for one or a select amount of hobbies.

My end goal really is just to enjoy life and learning.

But I'm starting to realize that knowledge has a complicated relationship with status.

Nothing will ever stop me from being inquisitive. Though I can't help but purse my lips and wonder if all I'll ever be to some people is the set of skills I've learned.

#Monologue #Personal

Sweet Honey in the Rock – Wanting Memories

I first heard this song at a closing ceremony. It was a closing ceremony for what I will call here, this summer school for fun. Our choral group sang this. This version is the closest to what I heard in that auditorium.

This was the summer before my senior year in high school. It was and still is the best summer and time of my life. I’ve rattled on about how I’m an inquisitive person, and that was to my detriment socially. I say this though because I know being inquisitive is not something to be ashamed of, like I believed it was. At this summer school, everyone was inquisitive. And they were all my age. I’d never been in such an environment before.

There is nothing like feeling you belong.

For context, I was 17 and I was a veritable hot mess. In my junior year, I had a few mental breakdowns, but nothing that took away from my near-valedictorian grades. However, in my senior year, I had several breakdowns, which resulted in me almost flunking out of school. These breakdowns also resulted in my admission to a children’s psychiatric ward.

My senior year is the year my obsessive-compulsive disorder took center stage. And I had absolutely no understanding of it. I was convinced to the core that this meant I was schizophrenic like my grandmother.

Imagine a voice yelling through a megaphone horribly degrading, lewd thoughts. All this while you’re trying to think the instinctual thoughts to live and function in this world.

Among them these thoughts: “You’re a piece of shit.” “You should pick that up.” “Why even try? Just give in and kill yourself.”

These were never physical voices, and I never had hallucinations, so no psychiatrist diagnosed me with schizophrenia. These were all internal voices in my head — these voices weren’t me and they weren’t auditory. With that I also had small routines that then I was sure would keep me sane. With all this I was diagnosed with severe OCD.

This song is that the summer before my path in life became unmistakeably foggy. This song is the summer before I understood that my future would not be yet in my hands until almost two years later simply because my mental illness was an impediment to my family. This song is the summer where I felt comfortable approaching the world at my fingertips like a child at a globe. Now I look at that globe, years later, and thumb over it lovingly. There was a moment in time where I couldn’t approach the world without cowering in fear of my OCD and the opinions of my family.

This is one of the few songs that bring me to tears. In fact, I believe it is the only song that does that.

I remember being surrounded by people who never doubted me, what it was like to be encouraged to be yourself, even encouraged.

I guess I’m trying to search for that quietly wherever I find myself.

Right now that perfect summer is a memory. I understand it is a memory that is always with me and defines who I am as a person. It is a memory that gives me courage that maybe one day I’ll find another place, another person, another thing that embraces me the same. It is a memory that isn’t poisoned by my mental illness, where I was truly happy.

If I don’t ever come across this elusive environment, I have the peace that I experienced it all the same.

I can’t say that I was immediately confident in myself after attending this summer school for fun, but it started an irreversible snowball effect of me believing in myself. Without this summer school, I’m not sure there’d be any chance in me believing in myself now. I’m not sure there’d be any chance of me living past seventeen years.

I doubt I’ll ever feel a loving push like that again. But it is a goal in my life to come back and teach for this institution. At the very least, be a resident advisor for a hall. There are others out there who need this experience. It would be an honor for me to guide them through their journey. If I can get just one kid to understand they are not alone, ever, I could die happy.


“I think on the things that made me feel so wonderful when I was young. I think on the things that made me laugh, made me dance, made me sing. I think on the things that made me grow into a being full of pride. I think on these things, for they are true.”

#Music #Personal #SongFeature

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