Playlist — December 2017

It’s a new year, huh? Strange. Usually by the end of December I’m begging for the year to be over already or preemptively mourning it, but for some reason I feel like 2017 isn’t done yet for me. Not for lack of trying—so much happened this year, for better and for worse. Despite losing a good chunk at the beginning to the blurry mess that was my life post-election, a lot of shit happened this year. I went back to therapy, started medication (for all that it’s done so far), applied to GWU, got in, moved halfway across the country to live on my own, and throughout all that wrote like mad. And yet it still doesn’t seem like enough.

I’m trying to be a kinder person. For twenty serpentine my main zag was being overtly positive, refining my particular brand of comforting nihilism into something more optimistic in the face of a hundred million terrible things threatening to crumble the world around me at any moment. I tried to be nicer to strangers. I made more of an effort to reach out to people first, which is really hard for me. I told people I loved them more often. Hell, I even picked up litter. It feels good, in a way I’m unaccustomed to—for so long sarcasm has been my default, and that’s not to say it isn’t still, but I’m trying not to be so… mean.

I started making these monthly playlists December 2016. Even typing out that date feels so alien, and looking back at every song it’s amazing to watch it all develop. I can pinpoint exact moments (“Here’s where I watched The West Wing again, I remember listening to this when this happened, here’s when everyone else started listening to Sufjan,” etc.) and chart changes, watch my music taste coalesce into what it is today. I can spot the exact introductions of some of my now favorite artists and songs I was listening to before something ordinary but lovely happened. There are reminders of bands and friendships turned sour, and those hurt, but there’s more happy memories besides. It’s like a musical scrapbook, and I’d like, every year, to be able to look back further and further and be reminded of as many small happy things as possible.

That’s all it is, really. Small happy things to hold on to. I’m learning to appreciate those things (re-learning how to wonder and enjoy and marvel) and trying to help other people make those small happy things.

The world is mean enough. I want to make it better. I guess that’s what 2017 was all about, for me. I’m going to try for 2018 too.

Continue reading Playlist — December 2017

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Playlist — November 2017

Good riddance adolescence! Goddamn, I do not miss you. I’m not saying you were all of you awful (here’s looking at you, fifteen, you killed it) but I am glad to be rid of teenagerhood. Plus, twenty is a wonderful number, and I get to have it for ten whole years. Now that is what I call a great gift.

And speaking of great gifts, this month we have THE GREATEST GIFT or, as it is, The Greatest Gift, the newest edition of Sufjan Stevens’ songs about maternal grief that was released on my birthday. The greatest gift is loving your friends? Hell yeah.

As it stands, though, loving your friends is hard when they’re all far away. Instead, I have turned my attention to drinking a lot of coffee and staring lovingly at my stack of birthday cards. Persuasion has been newly minted as my favorite Jane Austen novel, I saw the Brennan clan for the first time in six years, The Bright Sessions is really truly back, and I fought off the first creeping hints of “the holiday season” and managed to accidentally schedule myself an extension on two papers. Score.

Continue reading Playlist — November 2017

Playlist — October 2017

Has it only been thirty-one days? It feels like at least twice as many. Reading back over September feels like looking in on an entirely different person—well, not exactly, but close enough. One that figured the inability to concentrate was an annoying but mild affliction and not something that would make midterms even more of a living hell than they are usually. One that thought things were getting a bit overwhelming but they were treading water and it was alright. One that wasn’t really prepared for things to get any worse.

September Keaton didn’t know the half of it, is what I’m saying. October Keaton… Well, October Keaton learned that. Or learned that that was the reality, if not necessarily how to deal with it. Really October Keaton just watched a lot of scary movies and tried not to swallow too much seawater. And over-empathized with Frankenstein’s monster.

And as for Halloween being shoved down my throat? I walked into my regular coffee shop this morning and they’d gone full Christmas overnight, so we’ve entered the big leagues now.

T-23 days until K-Day.
(Keaton Day.)
(My birthday.)
(November 24th is my birthday, is what I’m saying.)

Continue reading Playlist — October 2017

Playlist — September 2017

September’s been incredibly busy, and not just because I have to read a total of twenty-seven books this semester and I can’t concentrate in the slightest. Smash Mouth was right: so much to do, so much to see. Unfortunately I cannot take the backseat, as much as I would like to. I’m in charge of everything I have to do! Hooray. So so far I’ve written two papers, no idea if either was any good, and possibly gotten a job? We’ll see how that works out. I sure am exhausted already though so that’s really up in the air.

In the mean time I have (get) to watch eight hundred different versions of Pride and Prejudice and will just hope and pray that I don’t get too easily distracted by what is already a forty-six page long modern Hamlet adaptation I accidentally started on last week in a fit of inability to concentrate. And that I can see a psychiatrist soon, although god knows if my medication’s even actually working that well.

And now back to hating the world for shoving Halloween down my throat every day for the next month.

Continue reading Playlist — September 2017

How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Cut My Own Hair

According to Timehop, the last time I had a professional haircut was July 9th, 2016. I had Courtney, my hairdresser (which is an odd thing to say), pull up a picture of Robert Sean Leonard in Dead Poets Society and told her to go to town. It worked out pretty well, I think.

Sometime around September 2016 I got fed up with flinching every time I leaned my head back too far and felt the hair brushing the back of my neck. I got a pair of scissors, tilted the three panel mirror in the bathroom just right, sat up on the sink, and began my work.

Continue reading How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Cut My Own Hair

Playlist — August 2017

I’m not entirely sure August was a whole, complete month. I feel like I’ve been eight different people in the past thirty-one days alone, like I’ve not aged but evolved twice as fast as the world around me. It’s been week long spans of feeling like I’m running out of time interspersed with days of seemingly the entire universe being on hiatus. Not to mention all the endings (most of which haven’t sunk in yet) and beginnings and everything in between, I feel like I’ve lived and died eleven times in August.

I’ve been waking up early for the past week. I made (I think) a few new friends. I made my own doctor’s appointment and have bought groceries and talked to cashiers without breaking down. I don’t know, I think it’s been pretty alright so far. I hope it doesn’t pass too quickly, or too suddenly at least.

Somehow amidst all this I had time to get super attached to new artists, chief among them Marika Hackman, The Long Winters, and Waxahatchee. Rest in piece The Adventure Zone (look forward to more on that) and my having any semblance of free time. Happy birthday to my new dorm. This is August.

Continue reading Playlist — August 2017