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Why? Why do we write? (not the royal We, I mean writers in general!)

I started this blog in a completely different place than I am now- in every way. Back in, what? '08? '09? I hid the posts that went as far back as this thing did, mainly out of comedic embarrassment. What a small, unimportant series of events my life was at the time. And of course- THEN- it was huge. Just like every "Now" is so consuming. It's quite encouraging, when you think about it.

I began as a way of getting myself on paper... one of the only places I've always felt comfortable. It started on a floppy disc, and meandered over to the blog-o-sphere. A kind of "here's what I think" spot. But who wants to read my diary? And why?

So do I write for my Followers? Maybe. I like feeling that there is someone out there who sees an entry that makes them feel something. But I don't get a lot of comments on here, only analytics telling me that some random Firefox or Safari-user cares. Not a bad thing. But it means, in a strange way, that I write for either myself, or for the silent audience out there. Maybe they're one and the same.

The reason I even ask all of this isn't because I feel like driving myself (or anyone else) crazy. Only to question what sorts of things are topics that are appropriate. I've felt torn lately, now knowing that more people and more business-affiliates are aware that I exist. I miss posting the silly little crude posts that I used to feel like no one noticed in the first place. I always knew, even when I felt like "totally- such and such is TOTALLY reading this!"... I knew they weren't. Only, now... the numbers don't lie. Someone is. And it's important for me to know how to speak to people in a way that is still Me, but for something more than just Me.

I know the ballsy writers out there will say to just write honestly and in the only voice I've ever used. But I'm a firm believer that we always, even subconsciously, cater the voice we use to the audience we seek to reach with that voice. What do I want Who to get out of the Things I have to say?

I guess... I guess it all just goes back to the beginning. Back in '08 or '09. When I started a blogspot called Life Is Sweet.

Do you know how this all began? My topic, back before I knew about having any kind of plan, was to discuss what parts of life were so great. The little things people forget. The bird I saw on my hike yesterday, or the fact that I get to play hacky sack at work tomorrow. How lucky I am to maintain close friendships with the people in my life. My Dad teaching me to shoot a gun. Having had the opportunity to spend the past 10 months living with the two most amazing roommates and friends I could have asked for, and them teaching me every single day how to be a better person.

And maybe that's why I write.

And maybe that's what this blog needs to get back to- it's Treehouse Roots.


Perchance to Dream.

"We wander, but in the end there is always a certain peace in being what one is- in being that completely..."
-Ugo Betti

For as long as I can remember, I've had difficulty sleeping. I think the last time I had a consistent run of "good nights" was when I was in high school.

I look back, wondering why this is the case. I'm not even kidding- I have gone through every non-prescription option in Walgreens. Tylenol PM, Unisom, Nyquil (This was during a very interesting Underworld time in my life. If you're going to take Nyquil, please watch that or Resident Evil. Falling peacefully asleep to those movies makes you feel like a hardcore M-er F-er)... I always needed something to help set my mind at ease in order to quiet the frantic pacing my brain did around bedtime. It was never a matter of a "to-do'" list or anything like that. It was always some stupid thought about what friend of mine needed my help, or what my boyfriend was/wasn't doing. Super (un)important stuff like that.

A girlfriend of mine comforted me during a rough patch a few years ago, during a time when my brain refused to shut up. I was exhausted from a string of sleepless nights, feeling on-edge and tweaked. She told me, in so many words, that when she had gone through a rough patch, she worked out at the gym to the brink of exhaustion. She said that if she focused on exhausting her body, her brain would have no choice but to follow suite during her bedtime hours. She basically knocked herself out with physical activity.

I'm not sure how clinical her study was, but she had a point. An exhausted body is a sleepy body (and brain!)

These days, sleep is SO happening. I can honestly say, at 30, that this is the first time since I was probably 15 that I am relatively stress-free. My brain is content. I just don't care about pretty much anything. And it got me thinking... Why?

Did you know that when you're a teenager, the recommended allotment of sleep is 10 hours. TEN HOURS. And do you know why? It's because your body is constantly working to grow, and you are expanding your mind with new information daily. Not just in school, either. Socially and emotionally, too. You are literally growing every part of yourself, inside and out. You are expanding your mind, and exhausting it in the process.

This is me, now.

I am thirty years old. I am single. I am working in a new job where I am being challenged and educated daily. When I get off work, I still- for the first time ever- am thinking about work. Brainstorming, watching tutorial videos, reading books on Marketing. Not in an obsessive way, but simply because I want to be up to par with where I should be at my job. I'm also writing for a few spots, and trying to catch up on my social media that I used to spend a substantial amount more time on at my old job. Sidebar: I have literally had friends message me on Facebook asking if I'm okay since I'm hardly on there anymore. HOW embarrassing.

Cut to my working hours: Between working on different projects I am making new friends, developing social skills in the workplace (since I haven't had any real "peers" at work in over 7 years so this is new territory), joining the fitness team with a handful of coworkers, and essentially navigating what it's like to have a completely different job than I've ever had before.

And it feels amazing.

I know I keep talking about work stuff, and ideally this will subside. But for now, this is what excites me. This is my life, for the moment. Which brings me to my point, sort of (and finally)...

Before this, my life was all about, "Oh, HE'S cute!" and "Oh no- she didn't!" And now that stuff all sort of seems... trivial. I am trying not to lose that girly part of me as much as possible, because I think a certain level of that is healthy for social bonding. But not having my focus be 100% social/emotional has really changed things for me. I'm no longer looking for any kind of drama, and when it comes up I'm too tired to even pay it mind anymore. I recently posted a roommate ad that basically said: I have two requirements, don't be a slob and don't be an asshole. Otherwise I don't care. Because I just don't care about a lot these days. I just want to work, be good at it, go hiking and come home and relax. I'm sorry that your sister's brother's cat sat on your fur-free couch. But I'm too tired to get worked up about it.

I guess I just feel what everyone else has been feeling all along... content. I am filling my brain with useful information, not searching for drama to fill it. I'm not really searching for anything. Not another person, not meaningless chatter just to occupy my time... Just Being.

And for the first time in a long time, I sleep.

Man, do I sleep.


Thoughts on the HB Riots.

A few weeks ago, my hometown hosted our annual surf competition, The Vans US Open of Surfing. Every summer, (hot!) surfers from all over the world compete to lay claim to the title at the HB pier- a spot so famous it's featured in video games and surf videos constantly. They shut down all of Main Street and the area around the pier, dedicating the beach to stands and tents for surf paraphernalia, food, and general industry goodies. We even have a concert series featuring some of the bigger names in music- this year there was a free Modest Mouse show, which is pretty cool if you ask me.
Well... this time things got a little out of control.
People flock in from all over Southern California to see the competition and the concert, and it's generally so crowded these days that locals avoid the area entirely. You see, Orange County has a bit of a bias against outsiders and we tend to sort of blanket everyone with a "certain look" as somebody from Riverside county, which is one of the next counties over. This stigma has gone on for years, and it's almost become a part of our local culture to point fingers at anybody with a bad attitude and dub them "Riversiders" or my personal favorite, "Nine Ballers." I've seen people waving flags down in Newport Beach with quotes like, "Close down the 91 Freeway!" (the route from Riverside County to OC.) I'd be lying if I said I didn't chuckle at this, because... come on man! THAT'S dedication.
The US Open started the same way it starts every other year, people stoked for the competition, shops pumped up for the revenue upgrade. Locals made Facebook posts about the potential line-ups for the concert series, boo-hooing what bands they disagreed with for this free event that was literally falling at their feet. Free is free, in my book, and music is almost always a good thing. But that's a personal standpoint.
By the last day, it was a really, really good thing that the event was closing up shop. I'd avoided downtown entirely so as to not deal with my slight case of crowd-claustrophobia. I'm sure there's another word for this- but I'm too lazy to look it up. The day Modest Mouse played, there wasn't a parking spot to be had, despite the fact that I live 16 blocks away. It was nuts.
Apparently everyone else had overloaded on excitement, too. The final Sunday creeped into the afternoon with a beachy heat and humidity that pushed overly wound up crowds onto Main Street and into the local shops, and tension built enough that- from what I'm reading online- some idiot kids started a fight with a liquor store owner. Drunk? Probably. I mean... it IS Main Street HB. This escalated to some other moron thinking, you know, "How badass would it be if i knocked over a porta potty?" Call me crazy, but who the hell thinks it's cool to knock over a barrel of fecal matter? Not a clue. Crowds matched point by knocking over a string of the bathrooms, punching strangers for no reason at all, and general mayhem. I sat in my house, listening to the helicopters fly down the street and refreshing local news pages to watch videos of what was happening to my city only minutes away.
So here comes some kid, all wild-eyed and probably 'roided up, carrying a stop sign that he had somehow hulked out and pulled OUT OF THE GROUND... throws it through a local bike shop window, and people start stealing 4-digit price tag bicycles from some Mom and Pop. Eventually a store employee manages to wrestle one of the bikes back and stand guard in the window (someone give that kid a HUGE raise), and it seems that the crowd moves on. Cops come, lining the street and eventually raining down rubber bullets to a riot that has gotten completely out of control. Welcome to Huntington Beach, girls and boys.

The thing about this, to me, that sucks, is that this is a surf city. This is a place where the lingo consists of "Dude," "Gnarly," and "Chill." We are the linguistic and attitude equivalent of the bong-tokers. The mellow ones. The surf-and-fish-taco-ers. We are not a bunch of shit-hungry brawlers.
Main street is like a breeding ground for thirsty Sunday Funday-crowds. I've long felt that it funneled in people from South County, LA County, and- yes- Riverside county. This is where the tattooed go for a good time. And we've incorporated that into our culture as well. I know plenty of people who refuse to go to DTHB because they don't want to deal with a bar fight. I'd love to sit here and trump the "It's never locals who fight," but it's become that way, these days.
The other thing that pisses me off about this... well, one of the things, has been the reaction I've seen from my people. "Lets close the freeway next year," says one Facebook post. "Go home to Riverside!" shouts another. No one wants to claim responsibility for what happened. The irony is that the kid who threw the stop sign into the bike store was wearing a Long Beach t-shirt. That proves nothing about where he parked his car that night, but it does point to an interesting stigma that people are quick to point to: It's Riverside's Fault.
It's not. It's a bunch of stupid people, from all over, with no sense of pride in a local city. Wherever they hail from is irrelevant. They're still most likely from Cali, and should respect any spot that opens its arms to them, saying, "Hey- want to see some really cool (free) stuff?" Who walks into someone else's house for a dinner party, or their own house even, and trashes the place because, like, it was just really hot that day? The whole thing embarrassed me to even be from Southern California. There was no catalyst. No cause. No underlying message of injustice and mistreatment or violation of rights. It was just a bunch of pointless aggression from a crowd of pricks who fight with their hands because their mouths had nothing purposeful to say."Why did you do that?"..."Because... Eff the Huntington Beach liquor store system?" 
I don't think so.
And maybe I'm just getting to be that old lady who waves my cane and shouts, "when I was a kid, we respected our elders!" or whatever, but in my book, there is a general idea that I'm learning to apply universally:
Don't be an asshole.
Just be cool. Be nice to people, for no reason other than that it's kind of rad to be a good person. Don't mess up other people's stuff. Don't degrade or demean strangers. Don't point fingers and place blame on people you think are "the bad guy," if you don't have specifics or facts. Don't make fun of people you know nothing about. We all have flaws, misconceptions, and issues. I'm the first one to admit that I am the least perfect person I know. BUT- I try. I try to be cool to people, and to be as normal as I'm capable of being. Sometimes... lots of times- I fail miserably. But I try. Even now, I might be coming across as a bit angry. But I'm not directing it at any ONE, only at a behavior that has passed its expiration date.
There is no reason for stupid teenage or adult angst. There is no reason to generally just suck as a person and direct it at a city, person, or object. This does not make you look "cool," bro.

Just don't be a menace to society, while drinking your juice in... well, Huntington Beach.