Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why I Post Anonymously

I have a friend who I consider incredibly brave. 

I'm not talking about the way he's handled the shit in his life, or the way he refuses to compromise his morals; although that does make him brave in my book as well. What I'm talking about is the way he can write things, post them, and receive feedback ALL UNDER HIS OWN NAME.

It's a genuinely heart pounding experience for me to type this out and give it to you all even with most of you not knowing a damn thing about me, and he just gives it to the world. He gives all his art to the world in these great bursts. Blogs, poems, songs, screenplays, short films; they're all out there and he doesn't feel the urge to bury himself when others see them. It's an urge I'm constantly feeling and for the life of me I can't comprehend the level of confidence you'd have to hold in order to do that. 

I've been thinking about this a lot lately, just rolling it around in my head. Why can't I post things under my own name? Why can't I show people what I've been working on without feeling my heart drop into my stomach acid? And more importantly, why do I let that fear control what I do? In a way this blog is my attempt to work around the insecurities I've had in my writing since I was a tiny human hiding my notebook from my dad when he asked what I was working on, and I think it's a good step. I was going crazy with all my thoughts stagnating in my head and I didn't even realize it until I started posting on this thing. 

Part of it is an honesty issue. If I know my friends and family are reading my work I'll censor myself in little ways that wouldn't seem so important in the moment yet would eventually destroy the integrity of my writing. 

But really it all comes down to my own expectations. 

As a confident woman I have very high expectations for myself, and in most ways I can tell when I'm succeeding or not. That's not how it works with writing. You have to rely on others to help you know when you've got something good on your hands. I don't expect that level of honesty from anyone in my life. I do expect great things of myself so when I don't meet those expectations it's relatively heartbreaking. Pride can be helpful in certain situations, but in this it destroys me. I know I can always be better, always improve. Therefore anything I work on will never be good enough because it can always be better too. 

My high expectations for myself and my work have paralyzed me in more than one way over the course of my life, but the way it paralyzes my ability to write and create and show people all the amazing things I've been working on is by far the most damaging aspect of it. Eventually I'll get over it, and until then I'll be Ellie Burns writing about her life in the most interesting way she knows how. 


Night in the Country Knowledge

I have some wisdom for you all today. Actually I have a shit ton of wisdom to share, but I'm a tricksy little hobbit who doesn't give away all my secrets in one go, so today you'll have to settle for my generous nuggets on a specific topic: Night in the Country. 

To anyone reading this outside of Northern Nevada and California that was total nonsense, but I have faith that a few of you know what I'm talking about when I say those four fateful words. It is, essentially, a giant three day party in a field way out in Yerington, Nevada hosted by an organization that looks after children all across the country. It's our biggest fund raiser of the year, and by far one of my favorite parts of the summer. I spent four days moving tables, checking in campers, and helping people eat and get drunk all while spending time with some of the best co-workers I've ever had. That's not me being sentimental; dealing with shitty co-workers makes anything miserable, while having these amazing people next to me made 46 hours of work in four days an awesome life event. We blew that shit up!

Not only did I make buckets of money (you know, relative to the tiny amounts of money I'm used to), I learned some shit and it was awesome! I've decided, with the graciousness of a wise teacher, to share my wisdom with you here and now

The only point in hiring outside security is to make your organization look good. There was still alcohol, fights, and chaos but at least this year we can point fingers to the people we hired.

Just because you're surrounded by people who fear the good lord and all that nonsense, doesn't mean they'll actually practice what they preach. There are some mean, vicious people I had to deal with (the awesome co-workers really helped me put up with all that) and I'm sure 75% of them are in church most Sundays.

Kip Moore is a trash singer, but a beautiful man with a beautiful speaking voice. Let me know when he starts recording audio books and I'll be his biggest fan. 

Bandannas make everything feel more badass. Dust in your face? Put on a bandanna and look like a highway robber. Actually need to rob a store? Bandannas all day! Protect your identity and your throat!

A nice ass will get you a free drink wherever you are (also boobs).

A nice Lord of the Rings reference will draw out the nerds wherever you are, including a country music festival.

It's fun to dance on a stripper pole. Don't judge! Just enjoy yourself and know that you're brave and sexy and whatnot

Always know how to open a bottle without an actual opener. Because there will come a time when you don't have one and then where are you at?
Sober. That's where. 

I hope you've all learned something. Country music doesn't do it for everyone, but partying and camping sure do and every dollar people spent benefited the Boys and Girls Club in some way. Party for a good cause everyone :)


Tuesday, July 26, 2016

Some Questions Need Answering

I'm going to share a piece of my newest bit of writing with you all, just between us. 

"The wonderfully foul lips in my head fall silent,
sown together by gentle hands 
that stamp tobacco into pipes
and type fiery words across pages
littered with the raw nerves of a wounded man."

I don't talk about my feelings with the men who are on the receiving end of them. I was burned once, and I haven't been able to get over my fear that when I talk about how I feel the only thing that'll happen is I'll find myself alone again. So here we are. I can't tell him, but I will tell you all, because what are anonymous internet blogs for, right?

Turkey gave me quite a number of sexual partners, but only one I want to go back to. Going backwards usually isn't the best idea, yet here it is in my head. Nothing I can do about it either way, but thinking of him always brings up other issues. 

Am I weak for being unhappy without him?
Am I selfish because I don't want that person now, but I don't want him to be with other people?
Should I sleep with someone else to get him out of my head?
Will I ever be brave enough to tell him everything that goes on in my head?

If I'm being honest with myself I already have the answers to each of these. They go: of course not, yes, absolutely not, and a not at all. As far as answers go, they aren't particularly helpful to me, but they're a start. People aren't weak because they miss others. That's life. We like having someone around to share it with, and I found someone I tremendously enjoyed sharing mine with for a short period of time. Losing that sucks, but it doesn't make me weak.

Not wanting someone to be with another person is definitely selfish, but it only crosses a line when I actively do something to prevent it from happening. That right there would be pure narcissism. So I'll stick  to my selfish thoughts of dislike towards a girl I've never met and don't have any reason to hate with the hope they'll go away when plied with alcohol and positive thinking.

Sleeping with someone to get over another person is possibly the worst idea anyone's ever had, and that has been confirmed by LITERALLY EVERYONE. Every single person has tried this and every single person has failed miserably. Imma need another way to get over him. 

I've been guarded about telling my feelings to my boyfriends ever since high school. First loves who lose interest randomly and call you disgusting for having sex with other people tend to have negative psychological effects like that, among other things. So no, no I will not be brave enough to tell him that I've never felt like this about anyone, and I don't think I'll feel so deeply about anyone else for a long time. Instead I'll accept the fact we'll be friends, trade song ideas and art, and never speak about anything really serious ever again. 

I know a lot of people can identify with the helplessness of my situation. I wish less of you did, but that's how life works. Eventually I'll figure out how to be happy by myself again, but till then I'll write poetry and hope he doesn't tell me when he finally hooks up with his ex again. 

I'll do my best to finish this poem and post it on here. I like where it's going so far. 


Sunday, July 17, 2016

A Slut Shaming Experience

This post is hard for me to start. It's a hard thing for me to talk about in general, but it's also very important to me and to a lot of people, so here goes. I want to talk about my experiences of being slut shamed. I want to do this because I hear people talk about bitches who need to keep their legs closed and about college sluts who fuck anyone. These women are shamed daily for living their lives how they see fit, and I don't think the people who judge really understand the kind of damage this shit talking does to a person. At least I hope they don't understand it, otherwise I just spend my life surrounded by terrible human beings. 

Let's be clear, if you're the kind of person who doesn't like having casual flings, are waiting till marriage, or just don't feel like having sex then I have no judgment towards you. It's the beauty of modern day feminism that we can all have different types of sex lives and still support each other! Personally, I've had a range of comfort zones when it comes to my sexuality, and at every single time in my life there has been someone around who disapproved, and made their judgmental feelings heard.

There was the time, in an attempt to get over my ex boyfriend, I slept with a younger guy at a high school party. Like all attempts to get over someone by getting under someone else, it failed to get rid of my lingering feelings. In fact, it further wrecked me because upon finding out that I'd slept with someone else my ex threw this judgment at my feet, "I'm disgusted". Yup. He was disgusted by me. And felt that it was an okay thing to tell me this. I couldn't sleep with anyone for two years after that without feeling some form of shame. Now my only shame for that period of my life is letting someone so inconsequential dictate my actions for as long as he did, first love or no. No one deserves to be treated that way and it took me way too long to realize that I needed to stop idealizing him. 

There was the time that a preacher's wife who showed up on campus told me I was being abused by every single man I'd ever slept with because they only wanted me for my body. Because apparently that's the only reason anyone, including the boyfriend I'd had for over almost two years, has ever desired me. It all had nothing to do with this ~super sparkly~ personality, dry wit, and my ability to sometimes be a really nice person. Nope. It was all about my body (admittedly this was sometimes the case, but using someone for their body on a one night stand goes both ways so I'm not mad about that). My response that I also enjoy using people for their bodies was shocking enough to her that she changed tactics to let me know my parents will definitely get divorced because there's no religion in their marriage and they're 30 year  marriage is a sham. 

And there was the time that I had to cut a friend out of my life because her toxic personality finally corroded the shiny mask she'd put on in my presence for the two years of our friendship. Her final act was to spread around a secret I've kept very close to my heart to our entire friend group and then give me the winning advice of "This wouldn't have happened if you had kept your legs closed, slut". People who say friends always deserve forgiveness have never felt betrayal. If someone is dropping bombs like this it is entirely reasonable to recognize that they don't deserve you in their life. That's what I realized, and I'm a happier person because of it. 

My point in all of this is that those who judge you, whether they're your friends, strangers, or partners; they don't need to have a huge impact on your life. I let myself be shamed for so many years because it's how things always worked and I didn't realize I was strong enough to let their words slide off like the slime they are. Now I don't put up with that kind of talk. Even if it's in the playful smack across the head to let my good guy friends know I don't like the word slut or the outright arguments I've yelled at those who need it drilled into their heads that I'm not going to put up with their hateful speeches, I let my feelings be known. 

I hope everyone, no matter their comfort or discomfort with sex, lets the world know there's no place for judgment in the conversation. 


Tuesday, July 5, 2016

Doggies in the House

My future roommate wants to get a dog for our house and I (being the cynic I am) feel pretty nervous about the whole thing. 

Let's talk about this for a second, about all the factors that go into owning a dog. These animals are basically toddlers that never grow up. They need help getting food, going to the bathroom, and can't be trusted to wander around by themselves; and I'm not ready to have that kind of responsibility. They also need a huge amount of attention. Dogs become part of the family, and like any family members, will get all stupid and rebellious if you don't appreciate them enough. I'm in college. I haven't taken less than 15 credits in Arizona, plus I work, play for the rugby team, and am a member of a student club. Is there any part of all that which suggests I'll be spending a lot of time at home to provide companionship for a puppy?

There's also the awkward notion of this roommate whom I've never met. Now, my other roommate who I know and trust knows and trusts her, but until I meet her that's not enough to earn anything from me. Don't get me wrong, what I do know I like. In our conversation about this she was very adamant about the fact that she doesn't have a heavy work or school schedule, that she'd take financial and physical responsibility for the dog, and that all she expected from us was to love it. 

And fuck I want to believe her. Of all the things I miss about home, the mountains and having a dog are two things that physically hurt sometimes. I can't remember a time in the house when Brownie wasn't there. I'm pretty sure my memory has fucked up and actually inserted into years that I know were before her arrival. Animals are one of the fundamental parts of the human existence in my opinion. So yes, I want a dog in my life, but I want to do it when the time is right and I can do it right. Some of my friends got puppies just because they wanted them and they are now, for the most part, either terribly trained messes who don't get the attention they need, or they ended up back in the pound a year later. There's not a lot I wouldn't do to ensure I never become the kind of person who leaves a dog at the pound after adopting it. 

I hope my new roommate is ready for the responsibility a dog takes, for the dog's sake and for mine. 


Monday, July 4, 2016

A Song Messed Me Up: Here's Why

I am not the kind of person who can listen to a song and immediately absorb all the lyrics and meanings that the artist is trying to convey to me. I'm the person who listens to songs on repeat because every time I listen I pick up more and more. It's annoying to others and I've definitely been called out on it by friends who can hear what I'm listening to when I'm wearing headphones (future me can deal with the deafness this will cause). 

So at first I thought this is why I completely missed the mark on Big Data's song Automatic. It's a fucking amazing song, definitely in my top 20, but when I first heard it I thought it was a happy song. Bittersweet at the worst, but in general I was leaning happy. I was literally arguing that it was sad in tone only, but the lyrics are fine.  And just so you all don't think I'm an idiot, here's the intro:

"I feel so much better today
Now that you're mine

Couldn't do it alone
And I never will again"

The start to a love story right? Something beautiful and lovely. 
Ha. No.

It's still beautiful, but it's incredibly sad. It's about someone who completely loses themselves in their love for someone else. And learning that made me realize something; I didn't think it was happy because I hadn't understood the lyrics, it was because my first reaction to these particular lyrics was that they had to be happy. That someone who can't function without another human is somehow a good thing. And that's depressing as fuck. It's making me reevaluate my whole mindset because how can I; a person who loves the idea of independence, who traveled across the world by herself, who's been living life with no desire to settle down; how can I think that these lyrics are happy?

" don't even have to try

You do it better than I can
Than I can
So much better than I"

That right there is sad. Has society trained me to want a man in my life so badly that I can't even listen to a (let me face it, very obviously sad) song and not even realize the meaning? I even ignored the tone of the music and pretended that the lyrics were happy. That makes me feel dumb, and I hate feeling dumb. It's the one thing that I will never let anyone call me because I can be bitchy, selfish, and gross as fuck but I am not stupid. 

The fact that this song has caused me so much anxiety, and I've put so much thought into it and felt so deeply for these lyrics lets me know how incredible it is. Artists who stir up emotions and shift mindsets have been some of the most major influences throughout history and I'm so impressed that the trend has continued. Only we can change our own mindsets, but we all need help from outside influences. If one of those influences happens to be this gem of a song then we can all be thankful for a creative mind at work. 


Friday, July 1, 2016

Photo Friday: Changing Weather

I live in a place that is ridiculous for its weather changes. And I realize this is something that everyone says, so I'll just follow suit and let ya'll know that NO ONE KNOWS WHAT DRASTIC WEATHER CHANGES ARE EXCEPT PEOPLE WHO LIVE IN NEVADA! 

Mmkay, now that I'm puffing my chest up and standing up for my state, let's all agree that springtime sucks because the weather is terrible half the time and it's amazing because the weather is awesome half the time. I have two pieces of evidence to show this phenomenon, Exhibit A and Exhibit B, both taken within two hours of each other. 

Behold this week's Photo Friday!