Books I’ve Read In 2018

bookish, Writing

If you remember last year on the blog, I was accomplishing a lot in terms of reading. I put a tbr up every month and I posted reviews at least once a month. I read 30 books in 6 months last year so I set a high goal for myself back in January. Unfortunately, along with 2018 came my return to college and I was so busy with schoolwork that whenever I did have time to read, I was spending it napping or watching Netflix. However, 2018 was not completely fruitless in terms of reading, so here are the books that I have read this year so far.

  1. Beowulf//translated by Seamus Heany: The first 2 books on this list were ones that I ended up reading for my intro to literature course during 2nd semester. For a long time they were the only two books I had read. Despite the fact that it was for school, I actually really liked Beowulf. If you care at all about the origins of literature, I think this book is really important. This translation in specific is also amazing and really made me think about language as a whole.
  2. Othello//by William Shakespeare: Once again this one was for class. I read this play in a single afternoon, and I think it has taken the spot for my favorite Shakespeare play. I think Othello is completely underrated. I love that it’s set in Italy, I love the characters, and I love the plot. A classic that definitely deserves to be a classic. image2 (9)
  3. Crush//by Richard Siken: I don’t have a picture for this one because I borrowed it from my friend. I read it to write a review on for my advanced poetry class, and it was a very easy assignment because this book is beautiful. I don’t want to say too much about it because I have a post about my favorite poetry books in the works.
  4. The Body Project: An Intimate History of American Girls//Joan Jacobs Brumberg: Okay, I lied, I guess the first 5 on this list were technically for school. This one was for Women’s Studies and OH MY GOD is it important. If you are a woman or care at all about the way women are perceived you need to read this book. I learned so many things I didn’t know from this book. Give it to your daughter, give it to your mom, your aunt, your dog, I don’t care, everyone needs to read this book.   image4 (3)
  5. Love’s Last Number//Christopher Howell: This was another book for my advanced poetry course. Usually when I read poetry books, I pick ones that are by people like me, and also usually women so this was very different for me. I didn’t love it but the language was nice and I keep a favorite line from it in my notes on my phone. “Rocking with you through the twilight suicides of moths against the bulb”
  6. Snotgirl Vol. 1: Green Hair Don’t Care//Bryan Lee O’Malley : When I started getting back into my personal reading, I started with graphic novels. Graphic novels are some of my favorite books and this has made the “top 10” list . It’s by the same author who wrote Scott Pilgrim, which is cool and it’s just adorable, hilarious, and a little dark. I cannot wait until Vol. 2 comes out.image5 (4)
  7. Paper Girls Vol. 4//by Brian K. Vaughan: The fourth installment of one of my most loved graphic novel stories. I don’t have a ton to say about this except that it is entertaining and absolutely lovely. I would definitely like to do a series review of these in the future.
  8. The Four Agreements//Miguel Ruiz: I have an aversion to self help books but this one is an exception. It’s more of a book about spirituality and overall it made me feel a lot better about where I am in my life. It reminded me of how important letting things go is.                                                                                                                                image3 (4)
  9. A Conjuring Of Light//V.E. Schwab: I’m not going say anything about this one because there is a trilogy review coming VERY SOON for the “Shades Of Magic,” Trilogy. This is one of my all time favorite series’ though, and the finale didn’t disappoint.image6 (4)

I’ve been reading quite a bit more lately so if I keep this momentum, I will hopefully be posting a December TBR. Let me know in the comments what books you’ve read this year!

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Avery’s Favorite Murder

Non-fiction, Personal, Writing

Since I have moved to Colorado I have spent most of my time looking for jobs and listening to old episodes of the podcast “My Favorite Murder” (full disclosure: I am listening to it as I type this.) If you haven’t heard the podcast, I highly recommend it. It’s about exactly what the title would suggest which is, the favorite murder cases and stories of comedians Georgia Hardstark and Karen Kilgariff. If you’ve heard the podcast then you know that they will do mini episodes where they read listener submitted home town murder stories. Listening to these old episodes got me thinking about the crime related things that I or my close friends and family have experienced growing up in Billings Montana. This is a compiled post of those stories. 

DISCLAIMER: This post is a fucking bummer. I’m telling you now. If you get uncomfortable about murder, just scroll down to the last story, have a good laugh at my bizarre life and then move on. Okay, on with the post.

Story #1 The Serial Rapist: When I initially asked myself the question: What is my hometown murder/crime story? a few things immediately came to mind (I’ll save the most interesting one for the end of this post). The first one took place one summer either at the end of middle school or the beginning of high school. I have mentioned my childhood friend group previously on the blog, but for those that don’t know we pretty much had free reign throughout the entire neighborhood. However, this particular summer, my mom told me and my sister that we needed to be careful and come home earlier because there was a serial rapist in Billings. Billings is a pretty sleepy town so this scale of crime was pretty unheard of. Before he had been identified and caught they were publishing articles in the newspaper about how to stay safe as a woman. This pretty much was the extent of my knowledge on the subject so I took to google. Like I said, Billings is pretty uneventful, so I found the story with a single search. The Rapist’s name was Toby Griego and in the spring of 2013 to the late summer of 2013, when he was caught he invaded the homes of, and raped 3 women, and attempted to rape a fourth. Which explains why everyone was so freaked out when it happened. He wasn’t just raping people he was stalking them, then breaking into their homes and then raping them. In the case of one victim, he had delivered a mattress to her house and then came back a week later and attacked her.  He wore gloves and pretty much covered up all evidence, so it took them awhile to catch him. He was ultimately found guilty and sentenced to 22 consecutive life terms without parole. He appealed to the Montana Supreme Court in 2014 but they agreed 5-0 that his trial was fair and he’s been in prison ever since. A job well done by the Montana court system for once.

Story #2 The Carpet Killer: In late 2017, a decapitated body was found wrapped in a carpet on a dirt trail on the west end of Billings and his head was found wrapped in a towel a few feet away. The body belonged to Myron Wesley Knight and prior to this blog post my only knowledge of the case was from driving with my friend down a quiet road when she suddenly said “hey this is where they found that headless body isn’t it?” I got the rest of the story from my dad. “He won some money at a casino. The man gave his winnings to the casino attendant and told her if anything happens to him a couple of transients were to blame. They went to the hobo camp and killed him.” he said. The two “transients” he had named, Donald Cherry and Jeffrey Haverty, had already been arrested for different things by the time the police had received the information. They both claim to have nothing to do with the murder but Cherry’s girlfriend told the police  she had came back to the camp from the gas station to find the dead body and Haverty decapitating it. What gets me the most about this case is that in the end Knight only had six dollars on him. Why would you murder someone prior to knowing how much money they had, if money was your end goal. The two men are set to appear in court later this year.

Story #3 Just a Real Tragedy: I’m going to keep this one brief because it’s just incredibly sad. A few years back in 2015 when I was in high school, a kid that I had gone to school with since 1st grade accidentally shot his friend who was throwing rocks from outside his window. He thought he was an intruder and shot his gun out the window hitting him in the head and killing him. The kid who was shot also went to our school and I remember we had a school wide assembly, and it was the only the only time everyone actually went to a school assembly. It made national news, and was ultimately ruled an accident. The whole thing was incredibly sad and awful. The kid that shot him clearly felt absolutely terrible and this case surprisingly did not change the fact that in Montana we still hand every child a gun the second they exit the womb.

Story #4 Missing Sidney Teacher: Back when I was in middle school we would always talk about current events in our history class and I remember as a class, following the case of a missing teacher from Sidney Montana. Looking back, it seems maybe they shouldn’t be discussing missing persons cases with 12 year olds and that this probably has nothing to do with my constant fear of being murdered. Anyway, they eventually found the body of Sherry Arnold, who was a math teacher for 18 years. She had been missing for nearly 3 months. She was found in North Dakota, in a shallow grave. The two men responsible for her murder were Lester Van Waters Jr. and Michael Spell, who were apparently looking for work in the oil fields and also coked out of their minds when they decided to carry out the random attack. They strangled her then purchased a shovel at Walmart to bury her with, which they later returned… and Walmart accepted that return. Waters received 80 years and Spell recieved 100 but both will be eligible for parole in the coming years.

Story #5 Jeanette Atwater Murder: When I was searching for content for this post I was texting my dad who told me about the unsolved murder of a woman found in a burning car in the 80s… Except it wasn’t the 80s it was January 16th of 2000 (there were a lot of other unsolved murders of women in the 80s though, so it’s an understandable mistake.) Jeanette Atwater was found in the trunk of her burning car, burned to the point that she had to be identified by her dental records later. She died of smoke inhalation so it was assumed she was still alive when the car was lit on fire. She had been at a bar with coworkers all night the night before and didn’t leave with anyone but couldn’t be seen leaving the bar on the security cameras, which is one of the reasons the case remains unsolved. Her 3 children were in Washington at the time with her ex husband who was extensively questioned and not considered a suspect. HOWEVER, there was a man that purchased 1 dollar of gas and a book of matches at a convenience store a couple minutes away from where she was found, just a few hours before authorities arrived at the scene. where matches were found that seemed similar to the ones in the convenience store. The store clerk was stoned or something because they had no idea what the man might look like, just that he was wearing strong cologne. They had the man on security footage but no one could ever identify him. The case is still unsolved to this day.

Story #6 Peeping Tom: I have saved this one for last because it is the only one that I am directly involved in and if you’re my friend then you have probably already heard it because I love to tell this story to anyone that will listen. It goes like this. In my parent’s house, the window of my old bedroom faced out towards the street, and it was on the first floor so anyone walking down the sidewalk could clearly see it. Our house also didn’t have any air conditioning, so I had a window fan, and only had a sheer blind over the top  half of the window. My bed was next to the window with the head in the corner of the room and the bottom against the window. My room arrangement clearly revolved around avoiding the heat and not avoiding what happened to me that summer when I was 16 (maybe 17 now that I think about it). There was a lot of gravel on that side of the house (I have no idea why) and I always thought I could hear someone walking on it at night. However, I have been incredibly paranoid and neurotic my whole life, so I brushed it off as an animal or the wind or something. UNTIL one night I was laying in bed reading, ignoring the weird gravel noises when through the fan (it was turned off that night) a voice said “Why don’t you touch yourself little girl.” Although I was 16 (or 17), I always have been quite small and look younger than I am so this voice probably assumed I was 14 or 15. For all my neurotic research on murder and the like, my first reaction was to throw my comforter over my head to hide, even though that is stupid and unproductive. I realized this after a moment and used all the courage I’ve ever held in my small heart to run out my bedroom door and wake up my parents. My dad went outside immediately with a shovel but the creep had already left, my dad did however see a door close at a house across the street and a light on inside. We called the cops and needless to say I slept on the couch for the next week. I also bought blackout curtains and never opened my window again. I would rather sleep in a puddle of sweat than being watched by a pervert. The scariest thing about the whole situation was that I had heard the gravel sounds outside before so whoever it was could have been watching me for awhile before this event and even scarier… after… but that’s a story for another day.

If you have any interest in hearing that story or any of the other cases and murders connected to Montana that I found while researching the details of these ones, like this post or let me know in a comment! Also if you have a crime/murder related story that you remember you can send it to me on social media. I would love to hear it!

A Really Big Excuse

Personal, Writing

While, I have seemingly dropped off the the face of the earth this past month, I promise you my life has been anything but uneventful. My sporadic internet hiatus was unintentional and accidentally a lot longer than it should have been. My social media has been half-dead with the occasional OOTD post and a strangely active tumblr page. This isn’t a new thing for me. If I could pick one word to describe my brain to body connection it would be apathetic.

I think one of the biggest misconceptions about personality disorders, is that when your not sad, your happy. Another big one, is that when good or exciting things happen you automatically feel good or excited. These two misconceptions honestly haunt my conversations, so let me spell it out for you. A pill cannot make you happy. Pills treat symptoms, they’re not a cure.

For those that are curious; I take Effexor and Wellbutrin (both in fairly high doses).  The Effexor stabilizes my mood and the Wellbutrin (supposedly) gives me more energy. Although the Effexor prevents me from having a breakdown every hour, it works on both ends of the spectrum, meaning that it’s hard for me to experience intense feelings of joy or excitement, and I think that’s what most people don’t understand. For a lot of people, that might not seem worth it, and I understand that. Sometimes the highs are good enough to help you get through the lows. Other times the lows are so overwhelming that you never even get a high. I’m fine with my pill regimen right now. For me, it is much more important to have the consistency of my mood but it’s really frustrating to have people get mad at you for not being excited enough. It’s like since I’m taking meds, I’m no longer supposed to show symptoms of my disorder, which is honestly ridiculous and also exhausting.

In the last month my life has had some drastic changes, and while I think change is good and necessary it also means that my brain has kind of been on autopilot for weeks. I wake up and do the things I need to do and then sit on my phone or go back to bed. The constant fear of having something happen, that could divert me from important tasks, such as a depressive episode, is greater than the fomo of daily social life. And this is why, I haven’t posted in a month or two.

I realize this post is one big, tangled excuse for why my mental illness is keeping me from doing things. I also realize that this whole post is counterproductive to the point of blogging which is to help move forward despite my mental illness. But I’m self-aware ok? And sometimes that just has to be enough for everyone. I’m a large pile of vomit as far as my brain is concerned. But the first step to cleaning up a large pile of vomit, is to realize there’s a large pile of vomit there in the first place.

Turning 20

Personal, Writing

Almost 20 years I’ve been on this planet and I’m still sitting by idiots in coffee shops, that are trying to explain why the earth is flat. It’s definitely round. Just so we’re all clear on that. Last year for my birthday I wrote a poem about being 19 so, because I am feeling less creative this year but still wanted to make it a yearly thing, here is a list of 20 things I learned in the past decade.

  1. The earth is flat. JUST KIDDING. But if people believe that they’re not going to change they’re minds so don’t even bother trying to explain it.
  2. That goes for most things that people believe.
  3. Don’t punch cars. You won’t win, the car will.
  4. If you’re trying to decide between getting coffee or getting to school on time, always pick getting coffee.
  5. School is hard once it’s not required.
  6.  The best way to make friends is to message them and hang out with them until they just eventually adapt to your annoying presence.
  7. You can’t tell your car is making a weird noise if you turn your music up louder.
  8. Time goes by very slowly and very quickly at the same time.
  9. People leave but they also usually get replaced by new people.
  10. I don’t know it all. Just most of it.
  11. People can make you feel like shit to the point where eventually you just are shit.
  12. Ice cream fixes most things, except your triglyceride levels.
  13. If someone hits you, always hit back
  14. Boys are actually stupid. No joke.
  15. Love is an even worse disease than life.
  16. Music helps always.
  17. Healing is never linear.
  18. Pain is never permanent.
  19. Pretending to be something you’re not is exhausting and hardly ever worth it. Unless it’s Halloween or something I guess.
  20. The only person responsible for your pain and healing is you.

While I can’t say I’m looking forward to the next decade, I can say I’m willing to live it. I can also say that I am thankful for the stuff the past ten years has brought me. From a “gap toothed” 10 year old to a “gap toothed because she broke her retainer shortly after getting her braces off” adult, I’m a completely different person with a completely different perspective on life. I’m sure that when I turn 30 I’ll say the exact same thing because I think that all life really is, is learning and moving on.

 

Playlist: Getting Over It

playlists, Writing

My theme words for the past few months have been “Get Over It.” I even put them on the newest update of my vision board. I like this mantra because sometimes in life you just have to move on from things regardless of whether or not you’re ready. Here’s a playlist and my favorite lyrics for moving on from the things and people life did or didn’t give you.

  1. Darling Don’t – Silver : “Darling don’t pull me back into your gravity.”
  2. Ready Yet – Sasha Sloan : “I just want to be your friend again but there’s some shit I can’t forget, I don’t think I’m ready yet.”
  3. Howl – Declan McKenna : “I don’t care for attention that much.”
  4. Pepsi / Coke Suicide – Elvis Depressely : “Truest love, void on fire, you have haunted my desire.”
  5. Hurt – Sasha Sloan : “I probably shouldn’t sleep over, ’cause I know that I’m making it worse.
  6. Life Time Warranty – Cyberbully Mom Club : “I regret to inform you that I am not the girl you knew.”
  7. Empty – Kevin Abstract : “I love my mom, I hate my boyfriend.”
  8. Dreams – Wet : “Some days just aren’t good for anything at all.”
  9. SAD! – XXXTENTACION : “Who am I? Someone that’s afraid to let go.”
  10. Be Careful – Cardi B : “Poured out my whole heart to a piece of shit.”
  11. Softens – Wet : “And you’ll need it most in the dark in the dead of the night.”
  12. Thank Your God – The Forestry : “So I’ll change my hair and get a tattoo, to remind myself I’m forgetting you.”
  13. Congratulations – MGMT : “I’d rather dissolve than have you ignore me.”
  14. Better – Mallrat : “At the time it was alright, but looking back I hurt my eyes.”
  15. It’s hard to get around the wind – Alex Turner : “And you can shriek until you’re hollow, or whisper it the other way.”
  16. “Sober – Childish Gambino : “And now that it’s over I’ll never be sober.”
  17. Up Up & Away – Kid Cudi : “They gon’ judge me anyway so whatever.”
  18. Mad Sounds – Arctic Monkeys : “Make you feel all right. They bring you back to life.”
  19. Same Drugs – Chance The Rapper : “Just remember happy thoughts.”
  20. Habits – Tove Lo : “Your gone and I gotta stay high all the time to keep you off my mind.”
  21. 1998 – Chet Faker : “Is it absurd for me to hurt?”
  22. Call Out My Name – The Weeknd : “I almost cut a piece of myself for your life.”
  23. Helena Beat – Foster The People : “Yea Yea and it’s ok.”
  24. 17 – Youth Lagoon – “My mother said to me, don’t stop imagining. The day that you do is the day that you die.”
  25. Feeling Ok – Best Coast : “When I get down, I get so down, but I’ll keep trying to stay this way.”

This playlist can also be found on my Spotify which can be found on the other links page.

My Go-To Coffee Orders (at every place in Billings)

Non-fiction, Writing

I’m a coffee person. I went from being a person who drank absolutely no caffeine, to being a person who needs it to survive, over the course of about a year. Naturally, with Billings, Montana being the small town that it is, I have had the opportunity to try many a latte from the few coffee places available. I always find other people’s coffee orders interesting so I had the idea to write about mine for my blog. This idea developed into a full fledged quest for coffee throughout the city. Resulting in 12 coffees, 2 teas, 2 wraps, 1 fritatta, 1 Italian soda, and 3 caffeine crash naps. This is a blog post about that quest.

I would like to start with explaining that this blog post excludes 2 coffee shops that are in Billings due to opposing political beliefs, and my long standing refusal to fund businesses that project hate towards others. With that said it’s time to meet…

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From left to right: Skyler, Maisy, and myself

“The Coffee Crusaders” (Trademark Maisy Jam 2018). I enlisted my sister Maisy (@maisyxjam on Insta) and our honorary sister Skyler (@frances_brauneis on Insta) to join in on my caffeine hijinks. With our team assembled, we were off to the ever-changing, but somehow always a staple…

MAZEVO COFFEE:

The name has changed like 3 times now but Mazevo is probably the most popular of  Billings’ local coffee shops. They have really excellent seasonal specials as well as a good bagel selection. My go-to order here is the Graham Cracker Latte. This is also where we acquired the Italian soda: ordered by Skyler who then decided she didn’t want it, so I drank it instead. Maisy drank most of the latte.

image1 (2)

Mazevo Graham Cracker Latte

 

STARBUCKS: 

I probably go to Starbucks the most, simply because I’m a fan of the drive thru. I actually have a couple staples here but usually I go with a coffee frappuccino. Maisy got a green tea here as well.

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Coffee Frappuccino

 

MOUNTAIN MUDD:

Another longstanding Billings fave; Mountain Mudd is a kiosk only coffee shop. They have a really yummy white chocolate latte but they are also VERY expensive. Maybe because they add sprinkles?

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The less aesthetically pleasing, White Chocolate Latte

 

CITY BREW:

Unpopular Montana opinion here, but I don’t love City Brew’s coffee so I always get strawberry smoothies here. They taste like Candy. Maisy and I also got hungry at this point and got some City Brew wraps as well.

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Smoothie and Sun-dried Tomato Wrap.

 

ROCK CREEK COFFEE:

Our first Downtown location, Rock Creek has been around since I was a baby. Their menu intimidates me so I always just get a vanilla latte. This vanilla latte in particular was made by a guy I matched with on Tinder awhile ago and never messaged. It was delicious. Good job Tinder boy.

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Maisy demonstrates how to put the straw in if the coffee is too full.

EBON COFFEE:

Ebon is the only coffee shop that has peppermint lattes on their menu year round and for that I love them. Also they have really good waffles on the weekend as well as an A+ interior decorator.

 

ANNEX COFFEE:

This is actually my favorite coffee shop to work in and also our scheduled last stop. I always get the lavender rosemary latte here which is amazing. Skyler got a fritatta here and we also took a small break since Maisy was near caffeine overdose level.

 

BLACK DOG COFFEE:

I’d never been here before today but it’s one of Maisy’s favorites so we decided to add it to the list. At this point in the day there was no way I could drink another coffee so I got a juicebox but I will definitely be going back to try their coffee. I also couldn’t not get doughnuts on National Doughnut Day so I got some powdered sugar ones that I could have eaten a million of. Skyler got a muffin and Maisy got another tea and an everything bagel “To soak up the coffee” in her stomach.

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This concluded our coffee adventure and we all promptly went home to take naps (except me who has to post this blog post). Let me know what your favorite kind of coffee is and also let me know if there’s anything else we should try out around the city. Thanks for reading this week and I’ll see you on Monday! (and before anyone asks…yes we did all have to poop afterwards.)

-A

Seeds: poetry collection

poetry, Writing

Overgrown

Sometimes my brain gets too crowded and my thoughts start pouring

out of my ears.

They land on my shoulders and drip down my skin to embed themselves

along my spine.

A thought pressed under my skin to sit against my vertebrae and to grow

among goosebumps.

Mushrooms crawl up my back nourished by my bone marrow.

Vines crawl over my shoulders to wrap around my ribs.

Thorns stem from my collarbones to make sure no one can get in

to the body garden grown from my thoughts.

The hair on my arms stands on end as it turns into blades of grass.

My fingers sprout dandelions

and forget-me-nots sprout from my toes.

My breasts grow bleeding hearts

and honey drips from my nose.

Bees live here now, and beetles and moths.

They crawl around my stomach lining,

up my throat,

and out my mouth.

My heart slowly turns a tulip bulb and my brain’s a clump of poison ivy.

Ring Around The Bathtub

If you ran your hands down, they would roll along small hills

Bump bump bump bump

The contours of my back bone

Weak, warped, and sharp like knives

Don’t cut yourself on my lethal body

Let the water run down the stretched translucent canvas

Blue lines painted in textured brush strokes

Paint running down the shower drain

Humanity swirling down the shower drain

Clumps of hair clogging the shower drain

Dark spiders plucked out of my skull

Leaving paste white bone showing

Through the hole in my head.

Cigarettes and Chocolate Milk

Beat up sneakers hit the pavement

In an uneven rhythm matching the beat

Flowing through the earbuds

That no one else can hear

Chilled wind painting a blush

Over her freckled face

Kicking rocks across the street

Sleeves pulled down over her hands

Walking into the corner gas station

Going to the very back of the store

And getting the chocolate coffee in a can

Pulls her debit card out of her pack of camels

She takes a cigarette out at the stop light

Cups her hand around her lighter

To keep it safe from the breeze

She inhales deeply

Nicotine fills her lungs

Cigarette smoke clouds her thoughts

The taste of ash sticky on her tongue

Mentally feeling her body rot

She cracks open the can of coffee

And swallows the sweet syrup

Inhaling the caffeine her body runs on

Ashing her cigarette on the ground

Caffeine and nicotine

Cigarettes and chocolate milk.

Recurring Ache

the knowing,

you’ll never be mine is the hard part.

The absolute sureness that I will never touch your naked back.

Connecting the constellations of freckles along your spine,

The knowledge that I will never hold you

or kiss your tear stained face when you cry.

I’ll never get to see the sun hit your body just right

as your laying next to me with your eyes closed.

Never get to run my fingers through your hair

until it gives me all your secrets.

The ache

that sits in my ribs for you nestled right next to my heart.

House Guest

I hate that my body has learned to accommodate pain

It walks into me and I ask it if it would like a glass of water.

I exhaust myself trying to figure out what it needs

Doing everything I can to keep it from becoming enraged and taking over again

@baby_caleb

After a full blown facebook investigation

I found your Snapchat and added you.

And you added me back

Your Facebook is depressing

You’re a real sadboi ™

See: that’s an example of the correct use of you’re and your

Which according to Facebook, you don’t understand

But you’re real cute

Even though your teeth are crooked

It’s ok mine have a gap

I want to tell you I’ll be your friend

I want to tell you I think your the most beautiful boy

I want to tell you that it could be worse.

You could be me.

In person I said

“I have annoyingly thick hair but it falls out in clumps from anxiety”

I don’t know why I said it but you said

“Me too”

I want to tell you a lot of things but instead

I just asked if you had to work today.

You haven’t opened my message yet

Satan’s Poster Child

The disgust in your voice when you say the words “cancer stick”

As if you think it can change me.

As if I didn’t already know

The concern in your eyes as you explain the importance of your god

My blank eyes staring back at you

So you can look through and see the hollow soul.

I bet they tried to tell Lucifer how to live too

Your help is judgement

Making me fall farther from your heaven

Satan’s poster child.

Heaving through hell and back

Long black nails curling around your throat

If you tell me one more time

I’m gonna die young

I already fucking know that and I wish it would happen today

So please climb up on your precious pedestal

I’m fine in fire

Sitting on my throne of cigarette cartons and bic lighters

Onyx horns protruding from my skull

Dressed in ash and lingerie

Making you all uncomfortable as I

Cry freely for no goddamn reason.

Religion

Non-fiction, Personal, Writing

The kids behind me in the coffee shop were trying to find a bible verse to describe love and all I can think is that the bible can’t describe love. The connection between someone and an idealistic figure whom they have never met and the connection between two humans, are two very different things. As I thought about this, the conversation behind me progressed into one about mental health and how everyone who was depressed, simply needed god in there life, and this is where I start to have a problem with religion.

I was raised agnostic in a state that is predominately christian, so from a young age I was exposed to the division between those that believe in god and those that don’t. The first time I was told I was going to hell was by my classmate in first grade, and I remember going home and asking my mom if I was going to hell because I didn’t believe in god. This was the first of many incidents involving religion in my public education, including arguments with teachers over the use of religion in teaching materials and many fights with other students over whether or not there was a god. What I think is funny, is that they were always started by the people that claimed to be the good ones. The followers of this god, who are supposed to be accepting of everyone and who are committed to a guide that is supposed to be one of love and caring, not me, the Satan loving abomination of an Atheist.

I started identifying as an Atheist when I was 16 which means simply that I don’t believe there is a god. Look, I get it ok, there are a lot of people that in order to have a meaning in their life, need to feel that they are headed for something greater. I also want to mention that I have no issues with people doing good things, and living there lives with belief in a higher power. The thing I have an issue with is organized groups that use a text and fear to control a group of people into spreading something the world doesn’t need. When a religion needs to put down others beliefs and spread hate for people that aren’t like them ,that’s not religion anymore, it’s just a power trip.

I think we all know God didn’t hate the gays, or black people, or anyone that believed in anything that wasn’t him. If god was this all knowing, loving, image he’s supposed to be then he would not be susceptible to such human emotions like hate. I think a lot of people lose sight of what their religion is supposed to be. People use religion to fuel hate and hurt others and somehow still put it on people like me, who simply choose to accept an ending at the end of life.

I remember when I was young, that even though me and my sister didn’t believe in god, my mom taught us a lot about the Buddhist and Hindu religions. We learned about enlightenment and karma, and were raised on ideals of love and caring towards our fellow humans. I would even argue that my mother is a better person than any god fearing christian, because she believes in the world, and her small role of taking care of it, which I think is an ideal that gets lost among the things god did and didn’t say.

 

 

Coffee Convo

Non-fiction, Personal, Writing

Ok, so it’s not really a coffee this time. It’s actually a green tea with honey and an asiago bagel but that’s only because it’s 8,000 degrees here today and I couldn’t be bothered to drink anything that wasn’t refreshing. It’s only May and I’m already so over sun. I mean I’m not asking for 7 foot snow again, I would just like it if it was always 60 degrees and cloudy.

Since I am posting regularly again I figured I should give you a bit of an update and since I haven’t done a coffee convo in a hot minute, I figured I would share my asiago bagel with you all.

For starters, I am turning 20 in a few weeks which feels bizarre. A lot of me still feels like I’m only 14 and the other part of me is coming to terms with the fact that my sister graduates in a couple days. YES MAISY JAM HAS A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA. I’m honestly probably more proud of her than I was of myself. She works insanely hard and is also incredibly smart in ways I have never been and I can’t wait to see where her life takes her now that she has been released from prison/the public school system.

Summer has also officially begun which means lots of plans are being made. I am making a trip to Idaho over the 4th of July with my family as well as trying to figure out all of the logistics of moving, which, if everything goes to plan, should be happening in late August.

My asiago bagel and tea

My asiago bagel and green tea.

I’m trying to find time to spend with all the people I’ve known for years as well as make connections with new people and it really brings to light just how many people come and go in your life. There are people that I still have genuine love for that I haven’t seen in years. It really puts into perspective how much time we set aside for things that don’t give us the love that family and friends give. We put work, money, and material things over interactions that could change our lives and that’s crazy to me.

I haven’t been reading hardly at all this year, which is frustrating because there’s so much I’ve been wanting to read. I think I need to work more on prioritizing the things I love over the things I have to do. I put work over a lot of things, and while I do generally like my job, My life has taught me that I need to make time to do things I like because, I don’t get to re-do life, and I should probably spend it doing things I love.

I’m also working on not caring what other people think about my life. I generally don’t care what others think when it comes to the way I look or act, especially when it comes to strangers. Lately though, I’ve been focusing on not needing validation from the people I’m close to. Even the people I love aren’t going to understand me and I need to accept that and be ok with it.

These are just a couple things that have been thinking about lately. If you have anything to add, I always appreciate your comments and messages, and if you want to see more photos like the one in this post, please follow me on instagram @avejam_ . Thank you for reading and you will hear from me on Monday!

– Avery

13 Reasons Why: Season 2 Review

Non-fiction, Writing

WARNING: THIS BLOG POST CONTAINS SPOILERS FOR THE 1ST AND 2ND SEASON OF 13 REASONS WHY. IT ALSO CONTAINS DISCUSSION OF THE SENSITIVE TOPICS DISCUSSED IN THE SHOW. READ AT YOUR OWN RISK.

13 Reasons Why is Netflix’s original series that came out last year and released their second season about a week ago.

The first season was based on the book of the same title by Jay Asher and tells the story of Hannah, a girl who kills herself and leaves behind 13 tapes, each one for a different person at her school, that chronicle the events leading to her suicide.

Due to my fragile mental state, I usually refrain from watching shows that deal with suicide, but my mom had gotten me the book 5 years earlier and I had loved it. I enjoyed the first season and thought it stayed very true to the book. However the first season ended where the book ended so I was curious to see where they would go with the second season.

The first thing I will give the show credit for is it’s “bingeability” I finished the whole season in about 5 days. The show definitely keeps you engrossed and on the edge. This isn’t necessarily always for the best though. Throughout the season, the characters are faced with disaster after disaster and even when things are looking up it only lasts for about half an episode before everything once again comes crashing down. It gives the show an over all feeling of hopelessness which is not ideal for a show based around suicide.

Speaking of the shows themes, much like season one, the show faced a lot of backlash for it’s graphic depictions of rape and suicide as well as the way people deal with it. A lot of viewers say the show depicts suicide as a way that’s offensive to those that have suffered suicide attempts. Here’s my take on it: the show focuses on one story of one person. The show never claims that this is typical of all suicidal people or that all people with these experiences behave this way. The fact that the show even uses something that is so often tiptoed around as a main theme is something to be commended over the logistics of how Hannah comes to kill herself and leave the tapes. As a survivor of a suicide attempt I don’t find it offensive at all and I appreciate the shows boldness with this and other topics. The show also provides a very large selection of resources for people struggling with these topics.

The best part about this season by far was Jessica Davis’s recovery from her rape. The compassion her friends show her and how she works towards owning her experience and getting professional help is very refreshing throughout the shitshow everyone else is enduring. This, as well as Sky’s example of the person who deals with suicidal thoughts in a healthy way by going to a mental facility, brings the high-strung, emotionally charged show down to a more comfortable level.

Which brings me to the thing that annoyed me the most about this season. While every character is dealing with their mental illnesses and their problems, not once is anyone ever concerned about Clay’s vivid hallucinations. He spend half the show talking to a dead girl but somehow he’s just helping everyone else? Hallucinations are a very real symptom of mental illness and it’s annoying to see a show that’s trying so hard to shine a light on these symptoms, just brush this one under the rug.

It’s pretty obvious at the end of this season that Netflix is shooting for a third, and while the second season was engrossing it seems to me the show has completed what it was meant to do. The creation of problems at the end seemed unnecessary and it seemed like the show was just fishing for a problem that could be considered bigger than Hannah’s suicide.

Overall, the second season was well written and engrossing with all the actors once again giving incredible performances. While not as good as the first season the second season holds strong on its own. Can the third?