I’ve been thinking recently (as it usually happens before I write a post) about Battlestar Galactica. I love BSG. I also love my manfriend (as you all already know). I also love the earth. I also love studying human rights. I also have mixed feelings about the army. So I’ve been wondering: can a true hippie really love Battlestar Galactica? (beware: spoiler alerts after the jump.)
I’ve had a few interesting conversations the past couple weeks. They all seem to revolve around the theme of change and growth. As I’ve written here before, I can’t believe I’ve done what I’ve done. I took a huge leap of faith and started from scratch in a completely new city. I remember people telling me that I wouldn’t like Atlanta, or that I was making a poor decision to leave my connections behind, or that I’d miss New York City too much to make it in a new place.
Whether or not these things are true, I like feeling like I proved people wrong, or at least that I impressed them with how amazing my life is now. Sure, in NYC I’d probably be doing something I love, like working for a non-profit or a film festival. In other aspects of my life, however, I don’t think I would’ve challenged myself. In Fall 2009 I started taking belly dancing classes with a friend and I loved it. I continued to go on a regular basis, but I eventually stopped going because it didn’t really fit into my routine I had created for myself. And I remember being really sad about it because I felt like that belly dancing class represented a part of me I felt was lost or stunted.
Here in Atlanta, my job certainly isn’t the highlight of my time here, but I’m doing things that make me happy. I feel like I’m growing as a person. I definitely have my regular bar and I don’t go out all the time to try new places with my roommates, but I’m twirling baton, which has been a dream I shelved years ago. I never would’ve pursued this in NYC or even California like I have here. Turnin’ TriXXX has opened my eyes to the things I can do. Silly sounding, I know, but I never would’ve committed myself to something like this if I even had a hint of structure or routine to my life.
I guess my point is this: you can’t hate on people who feel like drones in their own life. I’ve been there, and it feels super lame. I wouldn’t suggest you leave everything behind tomorrow to learn to play some obscure instrument in some rural Indian town, but I would encourage you to leave your routine behind. I still have my routines, like making myself eggs and toast every morning before work, but I genuinely feel like every day is a clean slate.
Try it. You might like it.
Today I had an awesome day. I went to the locally-owned Libertine for a couple hours, then had lunch at the Yacht Club, then went shopping for an outfit at Rag O Rama to wear to the Dead Elvis show at Star Bar next weekend. Now I’m sitting on my roof in the beautiful weather.
Sure, I could’ve done something similar to this in NYC: walked around the village, had lunch at Corner Bistro, then chilled out in the park, or do something similar in Brooklyn. But when it comes down to it, NYC isn’t Atlanta. A weird comparison to make, I know, but NYC is old news. It will always change and it will always be great and it will always have something to offer. But Atlanta is like an undiscovered, awesome, sparkling gem that people won’t touch because it’s in the south. Someone came into Libertine today and complained about all the hipster Burning Man hippies living in Portland who ride their bikes drunk wearing all black at night.
San Francisco, NYC, Portland, and eventually Seattle all become the same thing: taken over by the next generation of yuppies and hippies trying to make the urban world a better place. I don’t think that will ever happen to Atlanta (knock on wood). I think anyone not from the south will be too intimidated to come here. Atlanta will go through its gentrification and will always have its issues, but when it comes down to it, Atlanta will almost always be the Atlanta people remember it to be.
And yes, that’s something great about NYC. (I can’t speak much for SF since I’ve never actually lived in the city. And LA doesn’t count because it sucks.) New York is always changing. People go to New York to introduce new ideas and try to make the next best thing. But New York has already lived through its glory days. Years from now it will have a revival, but right now it’s washed out. Nothing exciting is really going on, other than the usual NYC nonsense.
Atlanta, specifically Little 5 Points, is still growing and developing. There are times when I feel like I’m still part of the creation of this neighborhood. Can you imagine what it was like living in the West Village in the 70s? To be part of the identity of a neighborhood? That’s how I feel sometimes here. Everyone here works so hard not only for themselves, but for this city. For Little 5 Points. At least for now there’s very little gentrification from what I can see because most people have lived here since L5P came to be.
And sometimes it makes me sad to know that in 3 years I’ll probably leave for another city. But at the same time, I’m excited because if I hadn’t made the risky decision to move here, I never would have experienced all these amazing things. It’s obviously too early to tell, but when I make the decision to live somewhere of my own accord, I think I’ll have to move back here.
Now all I have to do is find a job I truly love.
My roommate’s friend stayed with us for these past couple of days. She grew up around Philadelphia, lived in San Francisco, and now she’s traveling around the world until she decides what to do next. She’s got a camping backpack and a couple other bags and that’s it.
It used to be a lifestyle I wanted to pursue, partially because my ex-boyfriend was similar: he grew up in DC, and before attending NYU, he lived in San Francisco for a year and traveled a bit. I wanted that hippie, bohemian, nomadic lifestyle. I wanted to travel around the world and meet random people and make art and live a colorful life, like Auntie Mame (which I watched last night).
There are a lot of choices I’ve made that led me away from that dream. I left NYC. I left the Bay Area. I walked away from some amazing job opportunities and comfortable lifestyles, and for what? To follow an Army boy? To have a job completely unrelated to art? To live nowhere near my family?
Oddly enough, it was all for love. I moved to Atlanta with nothing but my savings account. I knew no one, I had no job, no connections, nothing. I just moved here because I’m 22 and in love. It’s certainly not what I dreamed of doing, and it’s not what I thought I wanted to do, but here I am. And life is good when you have love. Except for when it lives 400 miles away.
I always knew a select few people regularly read my cooking blog, but I recently learned that people have been checking up on me here. I find it sweet. So here’s what I’ve been up to.
Um…I don’t really have much to say. I guess that’s why I haven’t blogged in a month. Life is pretty routine. I still work at Arden’s Garden. I cook a lot (but forget to post about it all the time). I crochet. I write letters. Every once in a while I go out and venture into the world (usually to the Yacht Club). I guess the real reason I haven’t been having adventures is because I’m saving money for a car. Other than that, life is simple.
Though I guess I’ve been thinking about my photography and art, and I’ve made a new year’s resolution to have a significant amount of work done on my next photography project on military partners. My manfriend will finally move to Fort Benning in March, and hopefully I’ll have a car for the summer. I’ll have three different aspects of this project I’d like to achieve by December 31, 2011:
– Have a notebook dedicated solely to this project. Kind of a cop-out goal, but I still think it will help me organize my thoughts and research.
– Have at least 10 different articles/studies from at least 10 different sources about military partners. Again with the research. It’s difficult to find the information I need when no one has done anything about it.
– Photograph and interview at least one other person other than myself. Since I’m transferring from my self portraiture project to this one, I don’t think it’s fair to include myself as a significant part of this work.
– Apply for at least one grant. This one is ambitious, and I can only accomplish it once I’ve achieved the above goals.
So that’s what’s up I guess. More to come maybe.
My day has officially been a good one. Why? Because the tangerine I just peeled peeled really well. It was clean. Very little white stuff left around. All in all, a deliciously clean tangerine.
Last night I went to see Blast-Off Burlesque at the Eyedrum. I had never been to a burlesque show, and all I knew to expect was awesome Vaudeville music and ridiculous costumes. The MC Armitage Shanks had one of the most beautiful singing voices. Every song he sang was amazing, and as I listen to his songs online, I can tell you that his live performance is a bazillion times better. His stage presence and personality just adds so much to his music.
My favorite performer was Sadie Hawkins, followed closely by Dickie Van Dyke. Sadie Hawkins is not only sexy and fabulous, but her performances were completely mesmerizing. Her performance on the lyra (aerial hoop) was so much fun to watch since she’s so fucking graceful doing crazy trick after trick on a hoop. And her burlesque act with the feather fans was tantalizing. It was the first time I’d ever seen such a performance live. Dickie Van Dyke was something I never thought I’d experience. It makes sense to me now, but I hadn’t realized there were burlesque drag kings. Regardless, he was sexy and amazing and so much fun to watch.
I was talking to my roommate who came with me, who had always been interested in pin-up and burlesque and oddity culture. She said she didn’t see much of a difference between dancers at strip clubs and dancers in this show – it’s all skin and music and fun. I guess I hadn’t really thought about it before, but I guess the biggest difference between the two is the audience, because they’re the ones that create any stigma. If the same kind of audience from the Blast-Off Burlesque show went to any strip club in Miami or NYC, what would it be like? Or vice versa?
I don’t know. Just thoughts. In any case, new life goal: to be a burlesque baton twirler, i.e. be able to strip while twirling baton.
This morning I was unusually perky and happy. I wasn’t entirely sure why, but then I realized that I am, in fact, very very very happy here in Atlanta.
I was so scared that I wouldn’t like it. I was afraid that I couldn’t find a job. I thought I wouldn’t make many friends. But lo and behold I have achieved all those fabulous things and more. I am living the dreams of 13-year-old me (well, some of those dreams). Last night I took a fire safety course with Jamie from The Hot Toddies and learned how to use fire fans and fire batons.
Oh, right, I forgot to mention: I’ve joined a baton twirling brigade called Turnin’ TriXXX here in Little 5 Points. I used to twirl baton in high school, and Turnin’ TriXXX happens to be a fierce force of women who want to be fabulous and cute and twirl baton. I had been meaning to post about this, but clearly I’m just so important and busy that I…haven’t. Anyway, we were in the L5P Halloween Parade, which was freaky and awesome. This is a picture of me being fabulous as my alter ego, Anita Valentine:
Anyway, back to flaming batons and fans. I’ve wanted to twirl fire batons since I learned how to twirl. Now I’m completely in love with it and want to do it all the time. I want to photograph myself nude with those fans (preferably lit). I just want to be as much a part of this culture as I can be. I’m so happy here just doing my own thing. Being in Atlanta is more about the community I live in, rather than the people I work with. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy working for Arden’s Garden, but what has truly shaped my experience here is Little 5 Points and the wonderful people at the Euclid Avenue Yacht Club. So in case you weren’t sure if I’m having a good time here, I’m not. I’m having the best time here.
I certainly get a knot in my stomach, thinking about all the things that could’ve been if I had stayed. I’d see my old friends. I’d be there for the great things. I’d explore new worlds. I’d experience things that just don’t exist anywhere else. But at the same time, I feel like Atlanta has embraced me in a way New York never would. It’s easy to be alone in NYC, and I liked that for a while. But here, I’m clearly part of a community. I feel important even to the people I don’t know. I see people on the street and think, “You and I may not know each other or be friends today, but we will be soon.”
I enjoy feeling like I’m part of something. As much as I found a place for myself in New York, I felt so incredibly lost. I had loved NYC so hard, and I couldn’t see a difference between what I wanted and what the City seemed to demand of me. I loved feeling like I was a small yet integral part of NYC. But eventually I lost that feeling and I changed. I’ll continue to change, and if I ever want to return, NYC will be there, but for now, Atlanta is home.
So to follow up my previous post, I just have to say I’ve met a lot of cool people. I haven’t really met anyone younger than I am, and so it’s almost difficult to be around people who have more life experience than I do. I’m constantly changing my opinions and evolving and growing and whatever, but I currently just feel overwhelmed by the amount of knowledge and thought-provoking discussions I’ve had today.
Well, not just today, but within the past few days. It’s hard feeling so grounded in one thing (like love) but feeling so lost on other things (like how to be in love). I think when it comes down to it, I have to do what I always do – stick to my gut and just live my own life. I know people offer their opinions and beliefs and stories to guide me, but at the end of the day, no one holds my hand. It’s OK for me to disagree with or dislike something someone says or the way they judge me.
As this buddy of mine said earlier, when we interact with each other, we’re interacting in this present moment, but both of us are made up of millions of other things that have already happened. It takes a while for other people to understand who we are and possibly what we will become. And when it comes to love, no one can tell you or teach you or guide you. You just have to take the leap on your own and hope you land on your two feet.