Saturday, September 18, 2010


   My nose is twitching. There's a carrot being dangled in front of my face. Of course I'm intrigued. It's not just any root vegetable tantalizingly swinging back and forth; this is a very large, very juicy carrot, of the variety that up 'til now I've only fantasized about. I want it, I want it badly. I want it so much that it forces me to take a hop backwards, because it's only then that I remember that I can't want it too badly. Wanting things can lead to disappointment, which everyone knows is on par with a fiery death and must be avoided at all costs. My fluffy mind says that it's doomed to fail, based simply on the fact that I want it. It's a mutated sense of self preservation that's kicking in; that's telling me that this is has to be a trap.

   I want to rabbit. I want to run and run. I want to do anything to keep myself safe from the possibility of pain. It doesn't matter that there's a possibility of success, that there isn't necessarily a trapper on the other side of this meal, waiting to bash my head in and make a profit by attaching my hind leg to a keychain. I'm so afraid of failure that first instinct is to find a dark hidey hole, continue living off of patches of grass and pretend that I never saw it. That this carrot never came into my life and tempted me for even just a moment.

   This is of course, foolish and irrational behavior as well as unhealthy. After all, I can't be a scared rabbit forever. I'm putting myself out there into the wilderness, it's only natural that other animals would take notice. If doom should befall me, at least it will be of my own making. But doom isn't going to fall on my floppy eared head, because I know that a little bit of disappointment ain't gonna kill me, and I can't deny myself what could be oodles of happiness (what unit of measurement would that be, anyway?) in order to protect myself from some hypothetical discomfort which, according to the big picture, would only last a short amount of time.

   Knowing all of that still doesn't stop the urge, but it helps me talk it down a bit. I'm going for it. This carrot is going to be worth it; I've spent far too long wishing for one just like it. Hell, I might even push aside my paranoia just long enough to enjoy the crunchy orange goodness. I need to spend my life enjoying the good, trusting the good and not allowing any pretend scenarios to put a damper on my feast. Carrots are flying my way, and I plan on taking pleasure in every single one.

Monday, September 6, 2010


   Hiking through this particular jungle of mine, I decided to plop down and rest my weary bones. I want to set up camp, eat a meal, and maybe sleep a little. But mostly I want direction. I NEED direction. I crave it. So like an addict quietly shaking in a lone alleyway, I reach for my map. It's somewhere around here, I know it. Ah ha! Underneath a smashed grilled cheese sandwich is the Guide to My Life, the parchment that is supposed to tell me exactly what I'm supposed to do and where I'm supposed to go. It's been folded over so many times, the paper is discolored and holes are appearing. There are coffee stains, some ashes and what I strongly suspect is a glob of Nutella smeared along the bottom. None of it matters though. Now that I have the key to my destiny, I am set for life.

   I spread it out along the ground. I can see where I've been, but where I'm at gets harder to see. I'm having a hard time pinpointing my exact location. Damn coffee stains! All I know is that there's jungle everywhere, and worst yet, I have no idea where I'm going. None. There's nothing to tell me exactly which way to go and how to traverse the wide expanse of land that waits ahead.


   I kick a nearby tree. This is such epic bullshit! I need guidance! I need answers RIGHT NOW. It's not fair. I'm starting to get really scared. I'm running out of time and for all I know, I'm going around in circles. How am I supposed to get to where I'm going if I don't know how to get there?

   Hey, where the hell am I going anyway?

   I stop. I let my tantrum ebb a bit while I go back to Mister Tree and apologize for my hasty act of violence. I still feel pouty, but unlike all of the many times in my life that I've allowed my anger to get in my own way, I decide to use it as a tool and look back to see where I've been instead. There's been a lot of stops on the way to my present incarnation. Some of it was tough terrain, like the School Years, the ones that helped instill an awful lot of the neurosis that I currently carry along with the rest of my camping supplies, but it also gave me the empathy that I'm equipped with as well. The Horrible Boyfriend stops also cause me to wince, but I had to go through that fire to forge the genuine value of myself.

   Heh, this is where the path starts winding around all crazy-like: There's the Jack of All Trades path that I took, such as my days at vocational school where I learned autobody and welding. I don't do much with that stuff now, but I think that some of those skills could come in handy. Maybe. I will admit that I'm a notorious packrat as well as a collector of random skills, so I tend to keep these things close at hand. You know, in case I have to wield fire or do some other bad ass shit. There's the years I spent working on refinishing a yacht, selling eyeglasses, being a barista, my ONE day of waitressing, working in a tattoo shop, and other quirky career paths that I probably can't think of at the moment. Yes, most of this stuff basically led me to nowhere but in their own indirect ways, they did lead me to where I'm at now. I'm happy to say that I no longer attach any feelings of failure to any of my past endeavors. There's too much that I'm grateful for at this moment to be too upset at a couple of dead ends.

   Looking at my recent travel log, it begins to occur to me that everything may be okay. My travels have led me to belly dancing, a wonderful outlet for my creativity, as well as the catalyst for what is now an incredibly large wardrobe. I'm most of my way through earning my Associate's Degree, which helped to reinforce the fact that I am an artist and a writer. Maybe if I work hard enough, I can be pretty good at both (Goddess, that's a topic for another day). Top all of that off with a love for yoga, henna, amateur beat boxing, and my recent interest in the harmonica, and my current course becomes just a bit clearer.

   I still don't have an exact destination in mind but now I realize that I have something that's almost as good: a vessel. Everything that I do, everything that I have in my life that nourishes me, all of this will carry me forward. I can put it all together like nails, wood, and glue in order to create a ship that can carry me wherever I like. I might still get lost, but as long as I have my hands on the wheel, I'm ready for whatever.

   So it's time to pack up my things and set sail on my brave vessel. I'm now better prepared for the journey that is still to come. In the meanwhile, I'm going to keep at what I'm doing (namely playing Somewhere Over the Rainbow poorly on the harmonica) and trying to come up with a name for my magical boat.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Tin Woman

I’m blocked. Completely stuck. I’ve been trying to take in as much mental fiber as I can, but to no avail. Once again, I find myself thinking about taking a radical new approach to writing. Perhaps cutting off the first two digits of my hands will inspire my writing muse. I imagine that pounding the keyboard with bloody little stumps will take my writing to a whole new level. Hell, the typos alone will create a sort of free form writing that hasn’t been seen since Finnegans Wake. I may be jumping the gun a little by comparing myself to Joyce, but I’m pretty sure that I can start a whole new trend here.

I have the added stress of the school semester starting again, along with the side bonus of inadvertently training for my back up career as a demolition derby expert, thanks to the lack of parking on my campus. I knew things were getting a little too peaceful there for a sec. I can almost hear my premature grey hairs scream their rallying cry.

My Circus by the Water has had a wet, grey week. Days of sunless gloom, which caused me further agitation. Now that the sun is starting to show its head again, I can laugh a little bit at my anger towards something so far outside of my control, like the weather. It's quite a testament to the intensity of my need to control. Someday I'll learn that yelling, "Clouds, do my damn bidding!" and "You're really pissing me off, Rain!" is quite pointless and will do nothing other than garner many a strange look from innocent bystanders. It's just another reason to laugh at myself, I suppose. Still, it was a mighty funk, the likes of which I haven't seen in quite awhile.

I decided to fix that. I was going to make myself better, right friggin' now. I was going to gather my entire arsenal of what makes me Awesome and write an entire blog post about it. The stuff that's my thing, my SWAGGER. The bits that are unique to me and give me that little extra something. It's like that special dress or pair of pants that when you put them on, you go, "Oh yeeeeaaaahh....". I began to compile a list. Fifteen minutes later, my college-ruled paper was still blank and I found myself incapable of doing nothing more than drum my fingers on the table while demanding that my brain spit out the secrets of my brand of coolness, because dammit, everyone has one. Holy Spumoni, I couldn't think of a damn thing. What the hell do I do for fun, anyway? Why can't I write anything? It was like having someone ask you what your favorite movie is; you can't help but draw a blank. After struggling for a good half hour, this is what I came up with:

Stuff Kaleena Digs:

-Having incredibly large hair, or what I like to call "Who Does That Bitch Think She Is?" hair.

-Listening to the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and pretending that I can kitten-moan just like Karen O.

-Dressing up as a fictional persona on a daily basis.

That's it. This was a whole new level of lame for me. "Impossible", I say to myself, "how can I only come up with three things?" Wringing my brain like a sponge was doing me no good. I was throwing myself against the walls, trying my damnedest to write, begging the gods to please, PLEASE give me something to write about.

Nothing happened. Actually, I take that back. I got busy, life became lively. I had homework, work, friend stuff, dance stuff, art stuff; I was just unable to write. I was stuck, completely rooted in one spot. A statue frantically contemplating her next move. There was a time that I would have been angry about that. Angry at myself for not making myself do it. Now I'm beginning to alter my perceptions a bit, like a pair of rabbit ears on an old school television. The reception is coming in differently; instead of making a work of art (because every statement that holds up our truth is ultimately art) based out of anxiety and fear, it's okay to sit back and allow the opportunity to open up to you, rather than violently force yourself to move. I needed to oil myself up, like Dorothy's Tin Man. I needed to let my joints work themselves out before I try to go at a full run, thus causing myself to land squarely on my face.

What's really surprising is that this is far more efficient. By not forcing my limbs to the breaking point, I find that the words flow much easier if I just allow them to. Maybe, just maybe it's better to just sit and wait and just let things happen in their own good time. My control freak mind is still warily eyeing this thought. This same mind that thinks it can control the weather is still quite unwilling to believe that it's okay to allow things to happen. When my tin body begins to creak, I must stop and tend to it properly. Flooding myself with demands only hurts me and my poor body in the end.

This is yet another thing to place into the wheelbarrow that I cart along beside me on my trek through this strange land. Something for me to take out and examine when I need it again because like most new skills, it must be studied and practiced for many years before any sort of mastery is attained, if mastery is even at all possible. That's for Future Me though. The Present Me is just going to keep it simple by oiling the wheels and keeping one slightly rusted foot in front of the other.

Thursday, August 19, 2010


Much like Alice in her fabled Wonderland, I am just a bit lost. Being lost has its benefits, including but not limited to, the ability to really take a nice long look at everything. You see, I recently came from a town called "Knowing Exactly Who I Am and Where I'm Going", only to end up in "What The Hell Am I Doing Here?" It was an uncomfortable ride for sure. No leg room and the attendants don't give you anything to eat. Plus the turbulence is a bitch. It's impossible to get used to the feeling of having the bottom drop out from under you. That's pretty much what happened to me once my vessel crashed and burned, leaving me stranded on an island and forcing me to not only deal with what happened, but to also take a good look around at my new environment.

I found myself in an exotic jungle surrounded by the strange and unusual; beautiful things that I never paid any attention to before because I was so busy running full speed down the carefully path I had laid out for myself. Now that I'm lost, I'm letting myself have a good chuckle at all of the many oddities that exist in this world. What's really funny is that now that I'm completely lost in the world, I feel more colorful and strange than ever. Now that I have nothing to really lose (because all of my "goals" crash-landed somewhere along with all of my hand painted luggage), I'm now much more willing to be whatever the hell it is that I am.

So now I'm trying the world on for size. It's a bit tight around the ass, but as I go on with my day, I notice that it loosens up just a little. There's a lot for me to be glad about, even if I no longer have much of an idea of what I'm doing anymore. I'm okay with that because I know that even with all of the threats hanging out in the depths of this strange new world, I will somehow make it to the other side of this deranged jungle.

No more instant travel for me, thanks. I think I'm just going to walk the rest of the way.