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Archive for January, 2014

It’s time you know how I really feel

Uncensored

I need to extract all of these feelings

In order to move on from the hurt

The wounds

From the knife that you held

As you stabbed me repeatedly

In my heart, mind, and spirit

 

I was wary when I started communicating with you

I had been burned by so many men

Used

Manipulated

Dating was losing meaning

I feared that I would no longer know true intimacy

 

You were patient yet persistent

You said such wonderful words

You painted pretty pictures

You wanted me to get used to seeing the word “love”

And faster than I felt I was ready

You coaxed those three words out of me

 

I fell hard and fast

Drinking in the sweet nectar of your promises

We spoke of marriage

We spoke of children

I felt love for the second time in my life

It was my fairy tale dream coming true

My hope was restored

 

And then you betrayed me

You not only changed your mind

But you took back your promises

You lied

You cheated

You manipulated

You used

You took advantage of my sweet soul

You became like all the others before you

 

I loved you

I really did

I trusted you with my heart

And you replaced me quickly

After I finally found the courage to let you go

Causing me to feel even more worthless

 

The Universe has me wrapped in its loving embrace

It is showing me that I don’t need you in my life

In fact, I am in an amazing place

My dreams are being realized and fulfilled

I am meeting people entwined in my life path and destiny

I am growing spiritually

I am becoming more of my true self

I am more beautiful

 

I thought I wouldn’t find anyone as wonderful as you

Well I’ve found several thus far

And all have been better lovers

I don’t need you to get release

Because you’re not even worth my time

I’m not dependent on a relationship to feel complete

I don’t need one

 

I’m content with being independent

I will choose my friends and partners

If I want intimacy, I will get it

Because I have goals

I have a purpose that needs to be fulfilled

And that fuels me much more powerfully

 

My heart has hardened

I don’t trust anyone

Love won’t come easily

I now doubt every single act of compassion and love

I fear commitment

I’m afraid for my heart

Because of you

 

I hope that you’re happy

With whomever you’re with

I hope she can give you what you want

I apparently couldn’t

 

But you know what?

I’ll be fine

I’m stronger than ever

More powerful

I’m going great places

I’m lightyears beyond you

I’m too good for you

 

Hopefully this will help bring me peace

You’ve been haunting me far too long

I shouldn’t waste thoughts on you

I never want to see you again

But you’ll see me

You’ll see me on the silver screen

And on the cover of magazines

You’ll hear my voice on the radio

You won’t be able to rid yourself of me

I will be everywhere

 

But you will be long gone

Goodbye

62206803-Me

 

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For Izzy

For the highest bidder on some online forum (no real money was involved), I said that I would write and dedicate a poem for the person. A girl named Izzy won, and so I asked her to share some information about herself with me. On November 14, 2008, I wrote this poem. I should do something like this again.

Midnight blue spans the skies,

Enwrapping the world in a blanket of stars.

Soft whispers of the wind

Lull all to sleep.

Except for one woman

Who sits motionless,

The ocean laid out at her feet.

Her dark eyes can look into souls.

They see all,

The naivety of those who have not

Known pain and sorrow,

The frailty of those who have not

Truly lived with their whole hearts.

Strength of the earth

Seeps into her body.

Power flowing through her veins,

Making nothing impossible to achieve.

Closing her eyes,

She feels the breeze caress her cheek.

An invisible force wraps itself

Around her in a comforting embrace.

The burdens of her heart are lifted

Replaced with peace.

A shooting star trails across the sky,

Leaving a trace of hope

Solely meant for her.

A smile bursts across her face,

Causing her entire being to glow.

One smile from her can brighten the sky.

She can feel her body lighten,

Leaving behind the weight of the world.

Lifting her face to the heavens,

She rises up among the stars,

Becoming a shining beacon herself.

There she resides,

A light to all who know her,

Source for companionship, hope,

And inspiration.

❤ Me

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I wrote this in 2011 for my Psychology class. It’s weird looking back on this because I wrote about J, who I most definitely am not in a relationship with anymore. Wow, times have changed…

In my opinion, intuition is your gut feeling, voice in your head, God speaking, and many other names for your inner voice. It is almost instinctual, in a sense, built on your primal thoughts and reactions. Of course, it can be influenced by outside forces, but inherently it’s your individual, raw thoughts inside of you.

I mostly trust my intuition. It has been correct many times, more so than wrong. The most times it has been incorrect is when I was going after crushes on boys I had in the past. One in particular was devastating, and led to my first bipolar episode. But I’m very glad I went through all of those rejections because it helped me to find the love of my life, and the man that I am pretty confident that I will marry. In that sense, my refined intuition was very helpful and correct. Although, sometimes I have uncomfortable feelings when seeing him conversing with other girls online (We’re in a long distance relationship). But he assures me that it’s nothing to worry about. He has never been unfaithful in any of his girlfriends in the past, and my relationship has so far lasted six times longer than his second longest relationship. In that way, my inner voice could use a little confidence boost and more faith in him. But what woman doesn’t wonder about their partner?

It is very useful, learning to understand and think about how correct your intuition can be. As is always the case, it can be wrong. Don’t put all of your faith in it. But do trust that it’s your mind giving you some advice that can be useful.

intuition

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I wrote this in April 2011 after going to see Don Giovanni at the Staatsoper when I was studying abroad in Vienna, Austria. Unfortunately, I was feeling ill in the middle of it and left early.

 

The final live musical performance I attended was Mozart’s Don Giovanni at the Staatsoper. It was a bittersweet experience in that I will rarely have the opportunity to witness music and productions of the quality that I have seen in the United States without having to pay a very large sum of money.

Mozart always had the flare for the dramatic, and he truly brings it out in the opening overture to Don Giovanni. It certainly reflects the story of the wooer of women and the melodrama, comedy, and supernatural elements that ensue. The backdrop of the stage consists of a screen with a picture of the cityscape in black and white. The bumbling and swooping of the low instruments brings about the loping manservant of Don Giovanni, Leporello, that sings of how he is tired of keeping watch while his master seduces women. It is a great musical portrayal of the “opera buffa” elements, as the listener feels a sense of rustic buffoonery. I thought that Leporello had a nice strong and comedic presence onstage with a resonating deep voice. Then Donna Anna appears, chasing a masked Don Giovanni and demanding to know his identity. Her voice was a bit lackluster and not too impressive, but she was attractive. Don Giovanni was also very good-looking and had a deep, powerful voice. The Commendatore appeared to defend his daughter’s honor and is killed by Don Giovanni while Donna Anna seeks help. Her grief really shines through with the music when she returns with her fiancé Don Ottavio, finding her father dead. In my opinion, Don Ottavio had the weakest and most inexperienced voice out of the entire ensemble. It was very weak, especially in the high register. They swear revenge on the unidentified man as the music swells dramatically into the scene change.

The next scene looks almost like a tavern where we see a woman, Donna Elvira, cursing Don Giovanni for leaving her and scorning her love. Leporello and Don Giovanni enter and find her, Giovanni taking some time to try to woo her until he realized she was a past conquest. A group of women gather there to celebrate perhaps the wedding shower of Zerlina, a beautiful country girl, and Leporello takes the time to brag of the large number of Giovanni’s conquests. This is one of my favourite arias in the opera, and it certainly drew laughter from the crowd. Don Giovanni arrives and is instantly taken with Zerlina and is set upon making her one of the notches on his belt. He offers to host the wedding celebration at his own lavish house, and Masetto, Zerlina’s fiancé, becomes suspicious and jealous. Elvira re-enters and tries to persuade them not to follow through with it and reveals Don Giovanni’s true nature.

Donna Anna and Don Ottavio come to the abode of Don Giovanni in an attempt to ask his help in finding the murderer of her father without realizing that they are right in front of him. Again, I was thwarted with the lackluster quality in voices. Elvira once again enters to reveal the seducing nature of Don Giovanni, and after those two depart Donna Anna realizes and recognizes Giovanni as her father’s killer.

The next scene takes place at the ball at Giovanni’s estate. I really enjoyed the elaborate costuming, but some of them just made me laugh. Leporello looked like a giant, frilly clown, and poor Masetto appeared as if he was in some kind of feathery bird costume. Masetto hides in a closet of sorts, trying to catch Zerlina with Giovanni in a compromising position. Upon discovering him there, Giovanni leads Zerlina to her fiancé and leaves them together. Meanwhile a group of masked ballgoers (Donna Elvira, Donna Anna, and Don Ottavio) enter, hoping to catch Giovanni in foul play and are ushered in by Leporello. Leporello then distracts Masetto by dancing with him in an effort to distract him from Don Giovanni’s renewed pursuit of Zerlina. We are suddenly met with Zerlina’s cries for help as Giovanni tries to frame her distress on Leporello. The group of masked guests reveal themselves and exclaims how they know the truth. Guns are drawn as the music swells into a crescendo as the act ends in suspense.

I was unable to see the second act due to my feeling very ill throughout the first act. It distracted me somewhat from enjoying the performance fully, but I still wish that I could have experienced the entire production. It would have been great to see the dramatic conclusion of Don Giovanni being dragged down to Hell.

dongiovanni

 

❤ Me

 

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Say Something

I recorded this back in November (2013) on the day that I ended my relationship with my now ex. That song has been very popular, and, while it makes me sad, it helped me realize that I needed to “give up” on him. I almost cried while I was singing, so be prepared for a sad song. But I do hope that you like it.

❤ Me

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I wrote this in April of 2012 for my Shakespeare class.

Besides the conjured spirits, Caliban was the only native to and inhabitant of the mysterious island which is the setting for William Shakepeare’s The Tempest. Prospero and his daughter Miranda chanced upon the island after fleeing forces from Milan that drove them out and appointed the dukedom to his brother, Antonio. This new exotic place became territory for Prospero to rule and utilize in his studies of the magical arts. Yet instead of being accepted and befriended, Caliban was enslaved and subjected to constant torments and insults. Prospero referred to him as “thou poisonous slave, got by the devil himself” (1.2.319). Did he deserve this treatment and portrayal as a monster, or was he simply a reflection of the more savage qualities to which any man can be reduced?

Caliban is the son of the witch Sycorax who previously ruled the island in tyranny before her death. His appearance is described as not quite human and animalistic in nature. Prospero attempts to civilize him and even teaches him how to speak properly. Yet all he does is give him orders and chores, threatening torture of cramps and unpleasant tormentsif he refuses to obey. Caliban retorts back, “You taught me language, and my profit on’t / Is, I know how to curse” (1.2.363-364). He finds ways to defy Prospero and eventually joins up with Stephano and Trinculo in an attempt to seek revenge.

The two members that are part of the shipwrecked crew, Stephano and Trinculo, aren’t the most ideal companions, but they accept Caliban readily enough and impress him with a fascinating item in their possession: alcohol. Particularly affected by the drink, he sees Stephano as a god and pledges them fealty: “These be fine things, and if they be not sprites. / That’s a brave god and celestial liquor. / I will kneel to him” (2.2.116-118). Caliban is regarded in a comic and almost pitiful light. The two men do nothing but enforce the portrayal and use him for their own means as a guide. However, Caliban shines forth as a true and reverent guardian of the island, filled with respect for it. “Be not afeared, the isle is full of noises, / Sounds, and sweet airs, that give delight and hurt not” (3.2.135-136). He speaks eloquently about the island in a way those regarding him stereotypically would not expect, sharing his own hopes and vulnerabilities. “The clouds methought would open, and show riches / Ready to drop upon me. That when I wak’d / I cried to dream again” (3.2.141-143). Winning the two over, he includes them in a plot to overthrow Prospero and gain power.

Ultimately, the plan fails, and Prospero sends spirits on a chase after them as punishment. However, as he speaks to the gathered group, Prospero recognizes Caliban as a part of him: “This thing of darkness I / Acknowledge mine” (5.1.275-276). He admits imperfection and asserts everyone’s rights to fairness and deliverance. Everyone has a darker side, and both light and dark sides should be embraced. Humanity gives rights to all seeking a place in the world.

Caliban

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I wrote this in 2008 as a final essay for my Freshman Seminar Class.

chinese marriage

Devoting one’s life to another is the ultimate gift and sacrifice. Therefore, marriage is considered to be one of the most important and special rites of passage found all over the world. Beginning a new life with another spouse creates what is vital to carrying on the tradition of family and children. These unions in every culture have particular customs and beliefs that set them apart from others as unique individuals. Yet all have characteristics that are shared and celebrated across nations. China is blessed with a rich history that has withstood thousands of years. Over time, their concept of marriage has evolved. The Igbo people of Nigeria have many fascinating aspects pertaining to their traditional marital customs before the British colonized the land, incorporating modernization. Seeing through the eyes of each culture with the lens of marriage reveals that while both the Igbo and Chinese share a similar belief in descent and process of preparation, differences can be found in their social and family values.

The types of marriages existing in both are closely related. The Igbo believe in exogamy, which is the pursuit of a spouse outside the local group. A man would leave his village and travel to those that were near to seek out a wife. Village members were considered family; therefore a taboo was placed on sexual intercourse between a man and a woman born in the same village (Green 155). A group of people called the “osu,” brought to the land as slaves to the deities, were apart from the free-born people and were therefore forbidden to mix (158). In this way, they are also considered partially endogamous, remaining within their social groups. Descent was patrilineal and traced through the male line. Patrilocality was practiced as the wife would leave her family and move into her husband’s father’s household. Polygyny was acceptable and even preferable to monogamy as the more wives a man had, the more prosperous his household. In modern times though, married couples live neolocally and have their own household. Additionally, monogamy has become more acceptable. Chinese people saw fit to marry within their own social class, being a very important aspect of partner choice. They also believed in patrilineage; it was a male-dominated society, as seen in their authority, employment, place of residence, inheritance, preference of sons, and oppression of women (Xiaowei 295). In the case of polygyny, it was acceptable if a wife was incapable of bearing sons. Extended families were very popular in traditional times, and several generations lived together as did the Igbo. Current standards reveal that the new couple will live with their family only until able to find an apartment of their own.

Creating ties between families for economic reasons was one of the only similarities between each culture’s motivations for marriage, and even the economics involved were different. Trading between Igbo villages placed a large part on mate selection. A man would sometimes marry several wives of different villages along a trade route in order to prevent himself from traveling through hostile lands. In this way, war and disputes could be assuaged (Green 152). The continent of Africa placed a large importance of the household on agriculture; thus the Igbo valued a large family comprised of many wives and children as ideal to work the land and gain much productivity and prosperity (Ohadike xxxii). Love was not considered an important factor; husband and wife could always eventually grow to care for one another. This no longer holds true in modern Nigerian society where marriage for love is the most popular reason. Traditional China sought alliances between families in which both sets of parents would be financially supported in the transference of resources (Xiaowei 289). After 1949, however, the government allowed partners to be found based on love and companionship as well as their political and social environment (Xia 235-236). Material comfort and financial security still remained important (Gunde 172). In a social sense, women sought a man that was tall, wealthy, and had an advanced degree. The most desirable women were those that were young, beautiful, healthy, chaste, and gentle (Xia 237-238). It appears that the Chinese have more standards to take into consideration.

The process and preparations for matrimony in Igboland and China had some related aspects. During the traditional time period, arranged marriages were the norm with the Igbo and could take years to fully settle. The prospective husband would bring palm-wine to the bride’s family who in turn would feed him. Then the girl would visit his home, exchanging gifts (Green 151). Inquiries and investigations would take place between the families: consulting a diviner, asking about premature deaths or twin births, guaranteeing the rules of exogamy were followed. Afterwards, the girl would again travel to her potential husband’s home to have her character tested by the elders and adults of his family. She would be observed in her working habits, abilities with crafts, temperament, as well as form and figure (Uchendu 52). If finally deemed acceptable, the brideprice, or amount paid to the bride’s family in reimbursement for their daughter to be leaving the home, would be settled upon by the two families. Finally, the bride would permanently move into her husband’s village. Traditional China also placed high value on arranged marriages and usually did so through the work of a matchmaker. She was an elderly woman who knew the birthday, appearance, and temperament of every unmarried man and woman in the community (Xia 232). Following the tradition of “men dang hu dui,” the matchmaker joined families of the same economic and social status and was rewarded with gifts and money if successful, leaving possible room for exaggeration on her part (233). An astrologer was also consulted for zodiac compatibility. Today, the decision for marriage usually lies between the couple, meeting on their own through school, work, or a mutual friend (239). Originally considered to be a form of engagement and serious endeavor, dating now became more casual. Gift exchanges between the prospective in-laws were not uncommon. It is interesting to note the importance of going through a selection process and exchanging gifts in the two cultures.

One of the more prominent contrasts dividing the Igbo and Chinese was the actual wedding. With the traditional Igbo, a ceremony was not usually practiced. Most of the emphasis was placed upon the engagement and preparations leading up to when the bride would move into the husband’s family. Now, with acculturation, there are church weddings, civil court marriages, and another option called “marriage by photograph,” common with soldiers in which photographs would be exchanged between the two instead of personally meeting to decide whether or not to pursue a marriage (Uchendu 51). In contrast, China in both the past and present has elaborate ceremonies. The couple would officially register with the local government and proceed with a physical and health examination to ensure a healthy union between the two (Xia 242). Glamorous wedding photos in traditional garments were also taken well in advance. The groom and his family would be in charge of all the wedding expenses except in the case that the bride was not a virgin; in consequence of that occurring, the expenses would be shared (Xiaowei 300). On the day of the wedding, the bride would traditionally be transported to the groom’s home by way of a decorative sedan chair, but now, the groom comes to her house escorted by a fancy motorcade. At her doorstep, he would then be stopped by the bridesmaids who would test his love for his wife-to-be in mischievous tests by forcing him to sing loudly of the depth of his affection to the entire group of guests or to drink something horrible. All would go to a fancy restaurant in Western suits and gowns where there would be fireworks to scare off evil spirits. The couple would drink the marriage wine, called “jiaobeijiu” and would settle down with the guests for an elaborate feast (Xia 245). Igbo people seem to be simpler in their ceremonies.

Another clear dividing line between the two cultures was the matter of divorce. It was perfectly acceptable among the Igbo. A wife could leave her husband, returning to her parent’s house for a few days or even longer, if she was annoyed or felt neglected and mistreated (Green 164). In China, traditionally marriages were binding without the option of divorce; a widow wouldn’t even be able to remarry after the death of her husband (Xia 234). Now in the present, divorce is becoming more acceptable in the case of lack of emotional support, family violence, fading of love, or extramarital affairs. During the Cultural Revolution in particular, divorces were common if one member of the family was in political trouble, therefore protecting the children’s future, surviving socially, and avoiding persecution (Xiaowei 245). Although the standards began differently, the Chinese and Igbo are embracing the option of ending a relationship and no longer living together.

There is another definite contrast between China and Igboland when considering family and children. They were highly valued with the Igbo and believed to be the reincarnations of previous ancestors and spirits (Green 162). Everyone would fawn over them, petting and overindulging until the next child was born. Children spent most of their time in the village center where they would participate in wrestling, informal education, games, dancing, and archery, consequently being raised by the entire village (Uchendu 63). When grown, the children would still maintain close ties with their families. Daughters would travel back to their home village to care for their mothers if they were sick (Green 163). Despite the reverence of children, twin births were a taboo because of the Igbo belief that multiple births lowered humans to the level of beasts. When twins were born, the mother would be isolated and the children destroyed without severing the umbilical cords from their bodies (Uchendu 58). China had a very particular preference for sons to carry on the family name. It was not uncommon for a girl born to be abandoned or a victim of female infanticide. The One-Child Policy of today was introduced by the government in an effort to control the population and, with the introduction of ultrasound scans, led to abortions of fetuses that would have been born girls. Children were viewed in vastly different manners between the two cultures.

Vast distances and language barriers may exist throughout the world, but it is simply amazing how much cultures can share. China and Igboland in particular have very similar family and descent distinctions along with the marriage process. The world is filled with diversity, each culture bringing to the table aspects that set themselves apart from everyone else. This can be seen especially when considering how the two mentioned cultures view children and social values, such as divorce. All humanity is linked in some form with similar beliefs that help when opening eyes to a culture beyond one’s own yet in a way that there is much to learn from one another.

 

Works Cited

Green, M.M.Ibo Village Affairs. New York: Frederick A. Praeger, Inc., 1964.

Gunde, Richard. “Family and Gender.” Culture and Customs of China. Westport: Greenwood Press, 2002. 167-190.

Ohadike, Don C. “Igbo Culture and History.” Introduction. Things Fall Apart. By Chinua Achebe. Johannesburg, South Africa: Heinemann Publishers (Pty) Limited, 1996. xxx-xxxii.

Uchendu, Victor C. The Igbo of Southeast Nigeria.  New York: Holt, Rinehart and Winston, Inc., 1965.

Xia, Yan R., and Zhi G. Zhou. “The Transition of Courtship, Mate Selection, and Marriage in China.” Mate Selection Across Cultures. Ed. Raeann Hamon and Bron B. Ingoldsby. Thousand Oaks: Sage Publications, Inc., 2003. 231-246.

Xiaowei, Zang. “Family, Kinship, Marriage, and Sexuality.” Understanding Contemporary China. Ed. Robert E. Gamer. Boulder: Lynn Rienner Publishers, Inc, 2003.

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