Dreams of a Starfleet World

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I’ve written a few different entries in the past week or so that I ultimately didn’t put up. The content included:

-watching Chrissy Teigen’s “73 questions” video and feeling bad for/about myself

-two friends moving away and how that makes me sad

These are finished entries and who knows maybe I’ll put them up someday. I overanalyze and overanalyze things that I write, sometimes to the point of madness. And eventually, I either get to a point of damp satisfaction or I decide that it’s complete rubbish and delete it. So these works, along with so many others that I’ve created and abandoned, are sitting in some sort of digital purgatory.

So here I go, starting another entry; this time on something I’ve wanted to write about for a long time. Dun Dun Duuuuunnnnn. Star Trek. (raised hands emoji)

If you really want to get to the core of me,  you’ll need to know that I think the basic problem with humanity is that we aren’t more like Starfleet. That is it, in one neat little intergalactic package. That is my politics.

I’m gonna nerd out about Star Trek now, so hopefully, you’ve seen it and love it as deeply and steadfastly as I do. If you haven’t seen it because you aren’t ‘into science fiction’ or something lame: stop. It’s so much bigger than that. Cue: *you don’t even know* in a muffled whisper. I love it, seriously. And I think if we lived in the world Gene Roddenberry imagined, we’d be better off.

Couple background things:

-I was in college by the time I’d seen my first Star Trek episode. Star Trek: TNG was (and still is) streaming on Netflix, and my favourite mister Todd introduced me

-I have never seen the original series, mainly because I think William Shatner is a giant douchebag

-If I could be any character I would probably be Guinan from TNG or Kes from Voyager

So Starfleet is an organization of spacefarers. They are governed by standards, aka the Prime Directive. Everyone on the ship is assigned a rank and a role depending on their field of study/interest (a purpose, if you will), and their ultimate goal is to “seek out new life and new civilizations”. TO BOLDLY GO WHERE…sorry, sorry. Reigning it in.

As a member of Starfleet, your entire existence is based on the quest for knowledge and awareness, to discover and encounter new things. Your background and appearance are irrelevant; what comes into focus instead is whether or not you can perform the job. Oh yeah, and there’s no money.

If you asked me to list the major problems that I think exist within our society, I would tell you I firmly believe that it’s all rooted in greed. Celebrity culture, consumerism, poverty…the list goes on. It’s all greed in some form.

We also measure our success by things while worshiping false idols (and I mean that in the most secular sense) and our worth by our appearance. It’s really discouraging to see when we could be using our time so differently. 

I’m one of those dreamers who thinks that all of humanity could all band together and solve anything if it was so inclined. If we all worked together. If we put our energies into believing not that the world is terrible but that something greater is possible.

It’s that story about the people in hell or whatever trying to feed themselves with long sticks while the people in heaven are just feeding each other. We’re moving further away from one another. The world is so fast and scary. What can we do?

I don’t know, but it’s something I’ll continue to ponder.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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These boots were made for

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I have too many boots. I mean, I don’t think I have too many boots (I love boots). But you might think I have too many boots. Kim K. would pity cry if I told her how many pairs of boots I have.

I’ve been trying to downsize lately. Going to my closet and peeling out garments that’ve seen their day. Or maybe they’ve never even had their day yet, but for whatever reason they cannot be a part of my collection today. Whoosh!

It’s emotional going through my closet, as I would suspect it is for most people. These are items I’ve worn over the moon, through grief and heartbreak. I remember going through my dad’s half of the closet after he had passed away. I cried the whole time. I mean, I could see him in this stuff; someone prying their grubby fingers through racks at the Salvation Army wouldn’t know a thing about it.

I have “memory dresses” – dresses I’ve worn certain places and remember fondly or maybe dresses a certain someone has gotten me. These are never touched. Everything else is fair game.

Today, it was the boots’ turn. I have a certain brand of boot I love to buy. It’s one of my, shall we say, pêchés mignons. (though I desperately wish I did, I don’t speak French; I literally just googled ‘guilty pleasures in French’, and that’s the first thing that came up).

The way I feel in these boots is the way boots should make you feel. The way the first person who tried on a pair of good boots said, “oh yeah, these.”  They are at once squishy and supportive, in all the right ways. Every pair I own was purchased with conclusive determination and a borderline irrational level of excitement.

They aren’t inexpensive, so I have to find them places, either online or in-store, on sale. I’ve gotten some really good deals on a few, and this always makes me feel like punching air. Still, I have a few pairs tucked underneath my bed in a super junky shoe organizer (which I would give zero stars on Amazon, BTW), and they haven’t been worn much at all. Maybe I could try and sell them somewhere? I haven’t yet had the chance to visualize myself in them and form a real connection – plus I could use the money.

So I get out this stupid lumpy organizer which makes the shoes fall everywhere inside, and I start trying them on. I put on two different boots to compare and glance at myself in the mirror. At first I’m unsurprised with who I see, a nonverbal groan. It’s just: that’s me, I’m there, fine. I work from home – I haven’t showered or put on makeup in four days. I’m wearing yoga pants that look furry and a loose Gap t-shirt I got for $3 at Goodwill.

But after, that feeling is replaced by another, almost bizarre emotion. When it comes I reprimand myself, then I volley it and finally I let myself just feel it. That feeling of being sexy. But not sexy for you, sexy for me type sexy? That one we do our very best to suppress, because the media spells out beauty in the form of sweeping, minimizing generalities? (Yeah, these boots are THAT GOOD).

So I get out the ol’ iPhone and snap a pic; I mean, this is a rare occurrence. Dirty pores, comfy clothes, two different shoes…SEXY? This had to be documented.

And then, the onslaught:

Ugh, gross. Ew. Uh, no.

My arms, what? WHY am I not going to that class?

Don’t smile, that looks weird.

Suck your stomach in.

Don’t bend that way.

Change your shirt.

Finally, I decided that any pictures with the full me, were totally dunzo. DEL-ETE.

Which, in some ways was helpful, because the pictures I was left with were pretty much just pictures of my legs/feet. Oh and the boots. And that was the initial goal, right? To compare said boots and choose one based on an impression? SPOILER: I’m keeping both.

I’m keeping both pairs, and I’m still wondering why humans (myself included) don’t let themselves feel silently (or even audibly, go you) good about themselves without shame.

Feel shamelessly sexy! (Especially in those makeup-less, furry-pants-wearing moments.) It means you have other things to do, and you love your pets. So sue you.

 

 

Fontaine de jouvence

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When your younger sister texts you and asks you if you want to go get your nose pierced, how can you be a cool sibling and say no? To be absolutely fair, I totally wanted to do it. I was begging someone to ask me. I took mine out when I was 25, along with my monroe piercing, and, since I’m 29 now, I have to figure out ways to regain (retain?) my hipness. Getting my nose re-pierced fit this bill. Or part of it, anyway.

It’s funny when I think back on what I will surely someday refer to as my “crazy days”. It’s like shouting into a shallow cave. I can sense something back there, but only in a faint, general sense. The images that reveal themselves are dying my hair green, drinking shots easy like they do in movies and getting a big tattoo. I’m not that person now. Or am I? I think I still am, in some ways (hopefully the good ones).

I have really bad and annoying issues with getting older. I Google celebrities all the time and measure my worth against theirs. I obsess over milestones yet unreached and path deviations. I worry that it’s me, that I’m not working hard enough. I pressure myself to the extent that I cannot see the happiness the world can bring, only something undone. I really, really wish I didn’t, but there it is.

This thing with my sister, getting our noses pierced or re-pierced – this was a good thing, and I knew it. We were in and out of the Tat Cave in 20 minutes with two new holes in our sniffers feeling like a million buckaroons. We beamed in the mirror, before a brief moment of sadness washed over me of being her age the first time around. The piercing didn’t hurt as bad as I remembered. Maybe I could still do risky things after all.

Sometimes I think that if I never paid attention to the media or grew up in a tech-less, profile picture-less existence, I would be better off. I wouldn’t be so concerned over the not-haves, and I would just appreciate what I have now, at this point in my existence. I have my moments. Writing can easily lend itself to generalities; like, I never do this, or I never do that. I really do try to appreciate things.

My sister is 22, and most importantly the age that Taylor “Everything That is Youth” Swift idealizes and immortalizes. When I was 22, I still had major self-esteem issues, credit card debt and a really brutal white wine hangover. The visual that comes is that collection of symbols that looks a bald man shrugging.

Ah, Life. So we do things like get our noses re-pierced. We parade around with our younger sisters and pretend that we are doing anything other than wishing desperately these moments of beautiful recklessness weren’t quickly becoming ancient history. I could say I’m totes fine with that, but I’d be lying to you if I did.

 

 

 

 

 

Lauren Plays Jane

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One of my favorite things that I did in college was write movie reviews for the student paper. I love watching movies, so writing about them was like ‘ok yes’. Without sounding too highfalutin, I do believe film is one of the greatest tools we have as humans to connect. The experience of watching a movie can be downright soul-crushing or completely entrancing, and that is very intimate. I think back on certain movies, and I not only remember watching them, the positive or negative impression it made on me, but usually the person sitting beside me is just as paramount to the memory.

I have always wanted to do something in film but never trusted myself enough to dip a toe in. I’m sure I would have loved acting, or even something on the technical/ production side, but I guess I never truly considered it a possibility. It seemed too risky, and despite how much I wish I were, I’m not a risk-taker. I love to write though. In the last year, I have tried my best to teach myself screenwriting. I bought the FinalDraft software and a dear co-worker recommended a great manual. I’m such a rookie, and I’m sure the formatting isn’t 100% perfect, but I’m ready to learn.

I’m struggling through two scripts right now. They started out as one idea, but I think there were actually two story lines dueling for attention. I want to create something meaningful, but I’ll be honest — I haven’t touched either of them in probably two or more months. I feel like I should shout ‘onwards’ or something, but eh. It is what it is.

So I just watched this movie — it’s called Kate Plays Christine. It had a lot of things I appreciated and some things that made me scratch my noggin’ in a bad way. The documentary stars Kate Sheil, who I recognized from ‘House of Cards’ (she’s Rachel’s former lover). In this movie, she’s her actual self — cute, edgy bob with bangs, pixie legs and short jean shorts. It’s basically her real-life journey getting into the mind of Christine Chubbuck, a news reporter who shot herself on live air in 1974.

Kate is playing her but only for the purposes of this film. As in there is no separate film, it’s just the footage that plays throughout. She wants to give the character of Christine depth, an authentic representation. It seems to me that the only things she finds to connect on, though, are that she’s a 31-year old unmarried woman (to Christine’s 29) and her anxiety overwhelms her. She seems amazed by these similarities, which is baffling to me because there are so many of us in that camp. Howdy.

The video of Christine’s suicide has supposedly been lost or destroyed, so she’s forced into the periphery of Christine’s life. She interviews anyone that is still alive and remembers Christine. She also does things like get a spray tan and brown contacts (oh, and a really, really bad wig). Some of it gets to be a little bit much. Christine’s mom had apparently said that she thought Christine would have chosen to drown herself instead since she loves water, and there’s this scene where Kate literally demonstrates that possible eventuality. She flops into the water despondently, her bad black wig falling off every two seconds. Not gonna lie, it’s pretty odd.

Actress Kate keeps saying how much she needs to find out everything about Christine, when there’s only a few vague internet stories about her. And interviews with peers all say the same: Christine was a woman who struggled with depression, who had recently been romantically rejected by a co-worker, and who wasn’t satisfied with her treatment at work. But Kate keeps digging and digging, hoping to play detective and find something more sexy. And to me, that’s where it fell apart. Because she’s then forced to fill in what she doesn’t have with ‘cool’, offbeat visuals and her own struggle to bring Christine to life. And IMHO, it just ends up coming across as self-indulgent.

I really liked Kate when she talked about suicide. When she thinks about it, it scares her, she says. It terrifies her to think about something so awful, and I kinda feel the same way. There isn’t anything larger than death. There are times where I’ve thought about suicide but almost always it floats by and out. Like if I’m really down about something, and I’m located near something potentially life-threatening (a kitchen knife, for example), I might think, what if? I have never thought in terms of specifics. Kate taps into this, and I felt our wavelengths come together. She’s scared about the finality of being dead, and I am too. A beautiful moment happens when the woman hired to play Kate’s mother (Christine’s mother) talks about caring for her terminally-ill husband. She says she’d rather have a really shitty day than no day. Yup.

There’s this character I’ve written about before who is basically me (shocking, I know). I’ve said that sometimes I wish I had a different name, something more intriguing perhaps. Like maybe Shea or Melania. KIDDING. Something like Genevieve or Eleanor. A name that begs more attention than ‘Lauren’. Every 80s baby is named Lauren. But I’ve also always liked the name Jane. And how much plainer do they come than Jane? I went with Jane. Jane gets my vibe.

Kate’s trying to play this character (Christine). And I’m trying to infuse myself into this character (Jane). We’re both attempting, sometimes unsuccessfully, to hone our crafts. I appreciated the structure on that level. I really enjoy meta things, and all of the meta things were not lost on me. But I also felt like Kate didn’t really convince me that this was about anything other than her own self interest. She whines that there’s not enough material on Christine, but then sorry (newflash), there wasn’t enough material to make a movie about Kate playing Christine. It feels weak and forced, in that sense.

I’m bad at conclusions, but I did kind of like it. I didn’t love it like I thought I would during the first 30 minutes, and that made me a little sad. But I also don’t consider it time lost. If you’re looking for something a little more clear cut, my thumb would probably be at a 60 degree angle.

Movie recommendations, ahoy!

Ode to the perfect mango

I just ate what I think will go down in my own personal history as being the best mango I’ve ever eaten. Maybe in the history of any mango ever, tbh. I’ll go that far. I don’t know how this mango could possibly be disputed, what faults it could honestly have had. It was green. Normally really tasty mangos have a little bit of red on them, or so has been my experience. This one was green. That’s not good or bad, just different. Complete and utter perfection on the inside though and it filled me with sunshine. That much is truth. I went to the refrigerator expecting the mangos to be bad, because they’ve been in there for maybe like… two weeks? But I picked this mango out of the crisper drawer (no idea if that’s the right place for them), and I knew. It smiled in my hand and said nope, I’m ready – this is my time to shine. Cold, soft, radiant perfection. There is nothing better on this planet than a good mango. Especially when you’re having a good mango.

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This is me

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Hi, this is me at Ravinia circa three months ago. I was happy and drinking lots of red wine. My name is Lauren, and I’m just a girl/lady/woman/lass trying to make her own distinct impression on something or whatever (insert: Gwen Stefani blasting estrogen into a microphone). I’m a huge Trekkie, as in Captain Kathryn Janeway is my fucking spirit animal. Captain Kathryn Janeway of the Federation Starship Voyager 2020. I love flowers and artistic expression in all forms. I really need a pair of cute rainboots, but I can’t seem to find any. So if you happen to know the kind of cute rainboots I’m talking about, please hit me up.

I get down a lot, and not in the sense of like boogying at a night club with gold chains or whatever more like my anxiety and depression make me feel like garbage. Like I’m pretty much leading a meaningless or incoherent life. A misplaced little dot. I worry that I’m not good enough or pretty enough or popular enough or accomplished enough. I worry I’m too old, too late, too anything, really. I spend a lot of time in that mindset, and it weighs on me hard.

But I like to write. And it helps me tackle difficult experiences in an intentional and meaningful way. I’ve always liked to turn stuff into words. Ever since I was in the third grade and had to write about going to the Olive Garden. Or sperm whales. I get simultaneous satisfaction and comfort from words. But, perhaps more importantly, I go through things, right, like life things, and I think I’m so alone. What’s neat about being human is that chances are there’s someone out there that knows exactly what your experience is like. The reason I love art is that it’s this glorious chance to bridge those little divides. Writing helps me to bear the regular awfulness of the world and connect with people. Hi, friend.

Disclaimer: This blog won’t all be about sad or anxious things, I promise. I have some other topics beyond sadness and self-loathing that might be of interest. I’m keeping this blog so that I can force myself to write about happenings in my life, good and bad; however, it’s important to remember the good things, specifically. These occurrences of joy often just float by unnoticed. I’ll try to catch and write about them as often as I can.

So here we go.

But actually hold on a sec. I don’t want to get into, like, deep stuff or whatever right away. I want to give you some semblance of what to expect. You’re my reader and I’m new, it’s only fair. So I think I’m just going to list some things I might talk about in this blog in no particular order. I’m a little unorganized at this point, but I promise I’ll get it together. ish. Things:

-how much I love Star Trek (i just watched an episode so it’s fresh in my brain)
-my cats (they are being totes cute right now)
-movies, definitely movies
-writing, ideas about process and reflection on my own
-how the human race should be more like Starfleet
-feeling uncomfortable in various social situations
-but also wanting to be a person that bursts out in song in the middle of the street
-music music music
-shows and performances
-this one time I met my idol David Sedaris at a book signing (and insert story)
-how social media is…interesting
-Oak Park, Illinois – represent
-disney WORLD OMG…definitely disney world. but not so much that you’ll be weirded out if for some reason you don’t like happiness
-random topics that just float their way through my corpus callosum
-feeling bad about myself for no apparent reason
-fears/failure
-creating things and the delight it brings me

So I hope you find some or any of that interesting and will thus tune in to my little corner of this earth. It would be real nice to have you along on ma journey.