Requiem for a Day

I feel wilted right now.

It’s been just a bit of a wilted day.

I’m relatively underslept and my period started yesterday, and I am having a painfully subdued day. Aside from bleeding all over everything, I have occupied myself with anticipating how tired I’ll be tomorrow, curling up into small balls, and generally stewing in a depressive fog.

This morning, Mackenzie in orchestra held out two fingers that had gotten cut slightly working on the set, and I felt like I couldn’t breathe. Normally wounds don’t look like that, or there’s blood to cover it up, but it hit me pretty hard. I’ve never seen any injury looking that way anywhere else around me before, and it was a bit of a slap in my face.

I came home and somehow my energy just melted. Or transformed into anxiety, I don’t know. But I felt nervous and exhausted and unhappy the way I do before a long rehearsal, but there was nothing at all on my schedule for the night. That was… frustrating. I couldn’t wheedle myself out of the anticipatory mindset towards the burden of a rehearsal tomorrow night. Twas disgruntling.

I was left with narry a gruntle to be found.

The late evening has been better, and I’ve had some nice conversation with wonderful people. I’m already feeling significantly more animated than when I first embarked on this post an hour or two ago. I just don’t know how to avoid all-consuming wraith-moods like these, but I want to be able.

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Resolutions

I’ve never been consistent about New Years resolutions; typically I dedicate myself more to the creation of resolutions on Rosh Hashanah, in the fall, and consider the matter settled until next September.

This has been an important New Years, however; my last one before Official Legal Adulthood. I didn’t have resolutions at the ready January 1st, but in anticipation of my birthday on the 12th, I’ve decided to put effort into a concentrated list. Thusly, behold:

Julia’s New-Year-In-Addition-To-Entering-Adulthood Resolution Extravaganza

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  1. Communicate, when needed, in a timely manner. Get used to emailing and calling people, even when you are intimidated by the prospect. Handle your plans, your financial situation, your academics, everything as needed via the routes of communication available to you.
  2. Schedule your time. Schedule blocks of homework, blocks of art, blocks of resting. It will make all of those areas that more effective, and better preserve your energy throughout the day.
  3. Study. Study hard. I don’t know why you’ve been underperforming so badly in Calculus so far this year, but you have the ability to recover. Just do all the homework and practice and studying, don’t give up, don’t feel discouraged. You know you have this in you, and you know how to increase your chances.
  4. Explore new ways to please yourself through art. You feel like you’re stagnating, like there’s no point in doodling when you always doodle the same constipated designs. There’s plenty out there to brighten your way. Be inspired, not discouraged, by those who you admire.
  5. Take care of yourself. Go to sleep at a nice hour, give yourself time to wake up in the morning. Take your meds every day. Pack food when you need food, eat in the morning. Shower, or take a bath. Simple, essential stuff.
  6. Document. Write things down, here or on paper, in your agenda or in a notebook. Take pictures – use your new camera! Go out and document what your life looks like now, posterity is important to you. Make albums. Get good pictures of all your friends, of you with them, of the places you know before they change.
  7. Engage in things that matter to you. Be the best concertmaster you can be, show leadership in every way that you can, step up to what would be helpful. I believe in you, I know you have that energy in you somewhere. Throw yourself into your AP art exhibition, into studying personal interests, into organizing your workspace. Fill your life with the big rocks first, the little rocks later.
  8. Practice! This is quite possibly your last ever semester of private violin lessons. These will be your last recitals! Make them count. Take the time you have again, use your senioritis to advance yourself. Make your parents proud, make yourself feel good. Practice for orchestra, that’ll make everything so much less painful. Do everyone a favor.
  9. Do work around the house without prompting. Get back into that litter box groove, wash the dishes so that Mom won’t have to, keep your bathroom clean. Empty trashcans regularly! And keep toilet paper supplies up in the bathroom pls
  10. 🙂

Re: Movie Escapism

Presenting a self-examination of my recent moviegoing infatuation

Movies, comic books, and outlets of fantasy as a whole have been valued by Americans since the early 20th century. It has always been refreshing for our society to watch good triumph evil or see the underdog rising above their station. It isn’t an epiphany to anyone that movies are cathartic during periods of tension, but I’ve been looking deeper to examine my own personal attachment.

In recent months in particular, I have buried myself in fantasy films – Rogue One, Moana, and in particular Fantastic Beasts and Where To Find Them. Fantasy films are founded in the reality of human experience, with certain elements distorted. The circumstances of a movie elicits emotional responses from its characters, often evoking empathy and catharsis in viewers. We see our characters, be they isolated or gifted or “chosen”, undergo difficulties and setbacks, failures and anxieties, fears and vulnerabilities. These backstories and storylines are crafted to emulate experiences that viewers may have had. Everyone has characters they can relate to, and all of those characters are prone to struggles.

We as viewers might have had similar burdens and traumas as a given character, but a fantasy movie will exaggerate this upset for their character, either by cause or effect. In the Harry Potter books and films, the major characters are outsiders. However, the story augments the impetus for their loneliness, or the consequences of their isolation in such a way that it forms an important plot, imbuing their troubles with a sense of import and relevance. That relevance, that notion of cosmic entitlement to problems that matter, is something that can be hard to find.

Recently, I’ve been having a very hard time, in school and in general. I struggle with depression, with the stress of college applications and calculus, the leadership responsibilities I’ve been grappling with in my orchestra. It is hard for me to feel like my own hardships are important, when so many friends and acquaintances are dealing with grades and health and home environments so much worse.

In movies, the problems the characters are having matter. Their problems are a focal point in the film. Other characters notice and respond to their struggles, and the presence of an audience inherently validates their concerns.

I have always loved fictional stories, worlds, and characters. I have always been fascinated by fantasy settings, and intrigued by punchy science fiction. There are tons of reasons that I might read a book or watch a film, but I believe that it is this validation of characters that has provided such an addictive escape for me in the theaters, this past month or so.

I just want to imagine a world where my problems are ones that matter.

Sno

Everyone seems to be in despair about the early dismissal tomorrow and the cancellation of weekend and potentially Monday activities, for a myriad of valid reasons and conflicts, but I’m as happy as I’ve ever been!

I realized last week that this was my Last Chance to pray for snowfall to come through and completely shut down the city for a day or more. Being such a cornerstone of my winter experience, it hadn’t occurred to me before that I mightn’t spend further days crossing my fingers in delightful anticipation of a 1 inch blizzard. Only one inch because this is Atlanta, and one inch is all it takes for every activity in which I partake to grind to a grudging halt.

The potency of my hope correlates with the potency of the Theoretical Event – all my wishing has to squeeze out of the universe is a measly twinkling of snow to achieve my aim.

I don’t mean to be bragging about how happy I am to avoid things – there are certainly exceptions to that avoidance, fore one – but I can’t pass up any way of relishing this final stand of a snow day’s delight. Even if I stay in Atlanta for college, as I just as well might, I imagine that things will be more important and more enjoyable to attend than anything I’ve slogged through in high school, and thus a snow day might bring me more regret and anxiety than relief, an effect it is already having on my friends.

I made myself write this out and post it, no matter how droll, because my brain has gone dull and bemused tonight, and I’d quite like to joggle it into a focused, productive state, if not a happy one. Cheers.

Transcription

I keep a very eclectic agenda during the school year. I doodle in it rather intensely, and often times address myself directly. In a way, the thoughts I jot down there have made it into a proxy of a journal. I enjoy this, because, when looking back, it gives me a window in to my state of mind as well as my state of affairs.

Below, I have transcribed each extraneous little comment from all of first semester.

AUGUST

  • senior year, bitches
  • viva la suffering
  • It’s always a pleasure to be here [written in elvish]
  • this is where the fun begins…
  • I’m a philosophy major!
  • #raisesenioritisawareness
  • I’m a graphic designer!
  • Lit paper due: finish it!!! god damn!
  • Out Sick – rest rest rest
  • Learn the solo, crush opposition
  • Finish essay
    just two pages
    you can do it
  • Shabbat Shalom! (hey!)
  • period death
  • masquerading as a man with a reason/ my charade is the event of the season
  • It’s going Down
  • find pen find pen find pen
  • it’s ONLY TUESDAY
  • you loose @ therapy rip
  • stoptalkingstoptalkingstoptalking
  • you are the worst * the actual worst
  • 14 days til DragonCon!!! 2 weeks!
  • GLINKA
  • DragonCon is getting…closer…
  • we stand at the end of the longest times/came back to homes we don’t recognize [additional lyrics written in elvish]
  • email Lena, apologize, schedule…. aaaa
  • EMAIL LENA
    AGAIN
  • Jacket expected to arrive?!
  • Quartet…………… I guess……
  • WINE VINE LINE
  • welcome to sickness n depression land
    welcome to college stress hell
  • Nerdy shirt day tomorrow!
  • you need to get it together
    to-to-together
  • Lena?
    nope u suck
  • 1 week till DragonCon!
  • we have been damned/we have survived
  • why do I have to endure this [in elvish]

Continue reading

Stand Partners & Drift Compatibility

“Drifting” is a notion from the 2013 movie Pacific Rim. In the movie, the world is under attack by giant godzilla-inspired monsters, called kaiju, from another dimension. The most effective way to combat these  proves to be the construction and operation of massive robotics called jaegers. These mechs are controlled via neural uplink to two or more pilots within the body of the robot – the neural stress proved too much for one pilot alone. These pilots have to mentally synchronize with each other to operate one mech fluidly and effectively. This synchronization is referred to as “drifting,” or “the drift.”

The Pacific Rim wiki contributes the following:

“The process of Drifting is a type of Mind Meld[4] that requires the pilots to share memories, instinct and emotions. Drifting allows them to act as one and control the very movement of the Jaeger itself, one pilot controlling the “right hemisphere”, the other the “left hemisphere”. Rangers who pilot on the right side of the Jaeger are considered the dominant pilot.”

This process results in subtle impressions of personality traits transferred from one pilot to their partner, and a muted ghost of the drifting effect remains even after they leave the jaeger behind.

This is all very fun and juicy for a whole lot of lovely relationship dynamics and fun AUs taking the concept in all sorts of different emotional directions. But I am taking the time and space to explain all this because for a while I have considered sharing a stand partner for long enough establishes a sort of drift compatibility.

Playing orchestral music with your stand partner is an exercise in mutual contribution and compromise. Particularly when you sit in a front stand, in leadership positions. As I experienced for three years of high school, the assistant concertmaster must defer to the concertmaster in terms of bowing, articulation, and dynamics, just as the right-hemisphere jaeger pilot is considered “dominant”, but when the concertmaster falters, they rely on their co-concertmaster to catch them with the correct rhythm or an established fingering in a difficult technical spot. They learn how to exaggerate together, how to play with abundant and quite unnecessary flourish, or how to play emotionlessly and hunched in, in protest or despair. They establish a rhythm of page turns, of marking their music, of looking at each other when something amusing happens in another section, of exchanging confused and alarmed glances when they get lost.

Justin was my stand partner for three years, and over those three years, we acquired a musical rapport unlike anything else I’ve ever had. There’s just no other way you can get such a high level of instinctive, empathetic intuition in a musical setting with another person. I knew how to follow Justin when he sped way up as a joke, I knew how to glance at him when I messed up, or when he did. I knew when we were about to stop playing to laugh. I knew how to imitate his tone – if we were moving way more than we needed to, sliding around and elongating our vibrato, I had a setting for that, a mode for each of his modes.

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I still channel him, this year now that he’s graduated – my own version of ghost drifting. I play a g major chord at the end of any scale we play to warm up as a class, because he isn’t there to do it. I slide up an octave sometimes, like we might do together, or trill when I feel like it. I channel him in my solos. I channel him in my silent rebellions against the conductor, the way I slouch in my chair sometimes, the way I call out encouragement to other people as they play.

This year, I’ve been concertmaster. Which means that I only follow the conductor, and the other section leaders. It cannot be my responsibility to mold my playing against the shape of my stand partner’s. I have to set the tempo, I have to set dynamics, I have to be bold and confident. I have a responsibility to lead, and to compromise, but in the midst of playing it is their responsibility to follow me.

And so I miss that sensation of having my drift partner alongside me, of being able to read someone else’s signals and surf on the wave of their musicality. All this to say, my music is a collage of impressions from other people. Sometimes I channel Uzuki in my movements and my intensity, sometimes my Dad, often times other players in a present chamber music engagement, but most of all, in orchestra at school, I find myself synchronizing in accordance with Justin’s impression on my music and my memory.

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Surface Tension

AP 4 (CollageFace)

Items included:

  • A page from the notebook my mother kept when taking notes on my early violin lessons. Evidently on April 7th, 2006, I was working on Bach’s Minuet #2 out of Suzuki Book 1.
  • A blank index card
  • A shred of a physics assignment in which I answered everything correctly and Mr. Gcbasche initially awarded me a 79.
  • Part of a CVS sticker label.
  • A British stamp depicting the antiquated European style of illuminating choral music, such as hymns. This was sent to me by my grandfather, who helps me with my stamp collection.
  • Part of a scantron for a chemistry test that I got a 121 on.
  • A fragment of graded chemistry work.
  • Part of an instruction manual for a TI 84 graphing calculator.
  • Part of the receipt for a paycheck from my job as a madricha (assistant teacher) at my synagogue’s Hebrew School. I teach fifth graders, earning $7.50 per hour on that paycheck, $8.25 per hour as of this year.
  • A random map of Ohio that my parents let me cut up. I don’t actually care about Ohio, I’m afraid, but neither do my parents, and my father can be pretty fiercely protective of Things? At least it has Beaver Falls on it, in close proximity, in fact, to Beaver the city itself. Wonders never cease.
  • Part of a sudoku puzzle in a book of 400 Sudoku puzzles gifted to me by grandmother years and years ago. This is an excerpt from one of the puzzles rated “Beware! Very Challenging!”
  • COMMON CORE CURRICULUM STANDARDS
  • Part of a chemistry progress report from last year. The grades are obscured, but they were actually all very high, which is hilarious to me, because for most of my career in chemistry last year, they were not. I couldn’t find one with lower grades.
  • Part of a picture day order form.
  • An out of date CVS prescription label for 20 mg of fluoxetine
  • Some graph paper for formatting in graphics.
  • The little calendar things that show the months before and after the month depicted in the big calendars in the pages of my agenda.
  • An excerpt of my French dictionary, which I no longer need because I took AP French last year. It was terrible; began to panic at the mere mention of French as a language in my vicinity, because I was sure that someone would ask me to speak it and I would Be Inadequate. I got a 2/5 on the exam.
  • A receipt for some art supplies at Binders.
  • An excerpt from this notebook I kept second semester of ninth grade where every night I’d write down all the things I’d done wrong that day? I’d get an average of nearly a page in every day. It was a really unhealthy thing to do and I just got increasingly mad and verbally violent at myself as the thing progressed? Reading through it again was an odd experience. The excerpt reads as follows:
    • So unproductive in Music Theory
    • showoff
    • So determined to be sick you fucking freak stop wasting everybody’s time
    • Not paying attention
    • Not paying attention
    • Messing with Alex shut up leave her alone
    • Not enthusiastic enough, try harder.
  • A red scrap of magazine for composition purposes, some blue graph paper, another excerpt from a picture day order form.
  • An appointment card for my psychiatrist
  • An excerpt from a course catalog that I got from Washington University in St. Louis, which is currently my top (but restrictive and super expensive) choice for college.
  • Part of a baseball ticket to a game that I attended at nerd camp over the summer. I don’t like baseball, but I do like nerdy friends, so I had a good time.