Well, everybody wants to go forever,
I just wanna burn up hard and bright.
I just wanna be your firecracker,
And maybe be your baby tonight.
Maybe be your baby tonight.

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love is hell; hell is love

I just finished a delicious cigarette, out on the porch, overlooking the pond that’s right outside my apartment. I watch a storm roll in, I watched the drops hit the water, first slowly; then quicker. I heard the train in the background. I felt as though I was somewhere other than where I was.

I haven’t smoked a cigarette in years; not the way I have been. There is such a comfort in the way the tobacco tastes, smells; in all the memories that my senses are overloaded with when simply lighting it. I feel incredibly stressed, but if someone was to ask me why, I’m not sure I would have any specific thing to attribute it to. I haven’t been feeling myself; but I think I hate that saying, because it implies that I inherently know what “myself” is. I feel lonely, which is strange, because I’ve been more social in the last six months than I have been in the last four years, which is saying something: plans at least once a week, often more. It’s strange, because everyone I feel like I can even say I’m “close” to, lives far away. I really think I’ll be moving into better parts of MOCSA’s service area: I’m fucking done with the suburbs.

Which reminds me that I have been listening to the best types of music lately. Albums that are awesome: “The Suburbs” – Arcade Fire; “Brothers” -The Black Keys; “Knives Don’t Have Your Back” -Emily Haines and the Soft Skeleton; “Broken Bells” -Broken Bells; and all the singles Kanye’s been dropping recently. Seriously though, check those albums out. Especially The Black Keys and the Arcade Fire. Damn, they are epic.

I feel stuck. I’ve been saying that off and on for months now, but it’s strange; sometimes I feel it, and sometimes I feel content. Content is such a complicated word; I wonder if to me it feels more like settling. And, if this is settling, what will not settling look like? I feel like I need to/want to go back to school; but do I? I feel like I need a life plan; I feel like I had a life plan; I feel like plans are unnecessary to have.

I feel lost.

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I went to my liver specialist’s office today for a doctor’s appointment. Now, in the last several years, I haven’t made an appointment with my doctor. Why you ask? Because I see him, already, about one to two times a year when I get sick and am in the hospital, and we keep in semi-regular contact. However, I had to go to update all my records, because (surprise surprise) the medical clinics of KU and the hospital records don’t share information. Sounds so stupid, I can’t even imagine.

The appointment went well (since, obviously, I wasn’t sick). Anyway, towards the end of the appointment my doctor casually mentioned that I’m one of the oldest patients in the United States with my illness (biliary atresia), still with my own liver (although, I suppose once you have a transplant, you don’t really have biliary atresia anymore, just a transplanted liver). I didn’t think much of that statement at the time, but the more I thought about the words, the more I realized how heavy a statement it actually was. It means, obviously, I should have passed away by now. It means, maybe they don’t know exactly why I’m alive. It means, probably, things are going to get really hard soon. It’s a pretty lonely feeling also; to know that there are almost no people on this earth who know what it feels like to have struggled through life this way.

Anyway, I didn’t mean to make this into a pity party for Megh–but more the importance and weight of every word we say. Maybe I’ll have more to add later.

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artsy fartsy

This has been one of the harder weeks I’ve experienced in a while. Not in a long while, as I experience hard things often, but it was harder than I expected. As sort of a relaxing retreat for MOCSA staff members, today we all went to the Nelson-Atkins museum for a tour and lunch (which was excellent, surprisingly!). Though the tour was a bit too hurried for my liking, I found myself more interested in art than I have been for a while.

I was talking with an old (and wonderful) friend of mine about art, and how, generally to be considered intellectual and “hip” you have to have a deep appreciation for art, especially modern/contemporary art. However, her and I both discussed how often, it’s hard to even identify those pieces as ART, and really who gets to decide what is art, and what isn’t? Alex mentioned this piece he saw, which was just this urinal flipped upside down, which he thought was interesting art. But is that art, or is that just a goddamn urinal flipped upside down?

However, I think what I realized today, at the museum is that art is a reflection of culture. I mean, REALLY just an image of culture (or in many cases, the counter culture) of the time. Much of the Biblically inspired art I find so–uninspiring. I can’t find another word, and maybe it’s because the cultures that created that art were the beginnings of Western oppression on entire nations, because it reflected such narrow definitions of Christianity, of religion, that I am immediately turned off.

However, we entered the Chinese collection of the Nelson, and good god, is it beautiful. What a fascinating, unique and beautiful culture. They essentially have a reproduction of a temple in there, and some of the “religious” statues (because I don’t know that Buddhism is a religion as much as it is a way of life) are just so–well kept, so intricate, so amazing. I think maybe that’s what art is—when a piece gives you a sense of awe. Except that I don’t see those pieces as ART (and I think this comes down to the importance of language)—I see them as elements of culture, anthropological finds rather than art. I know that’s a bad definition, because it implies that art is for aesthetic quality only, whereas anthropological artifacts are simply for cultural reference, although I just stated that art is a reflection of culture. WHOOPS. But, I think I’ll keep my definition that way still.

So much of Western history/culture/background/art is surrounded by RELIGION and CHRISTIANITY, and in a lot of way SUFFERING, that I don’t find it appealing. I don’t find it also appealing to see a goddamn still life of fruit. And contemporary art—I don’t like to pretend to know meaning in a set of colors or blocks or lines, and if there is meaning, and I mean profound meaning, isn’t there a more efficient way to express that? So then, is it true that the culture we come from (our upbringing, religion, etc) also affects how we define “art”? Why are words and their meanings so important? Ugh, and I hate how damn pretentious I sound just by asking these questions.

UGH. RANT. However, it has gotten me interested in reading up on art history, and I plan on buying an art history textbook soon (half price books, WHAT). I would at least like to learn the historical context behind the pieces—grasping at understanding what these pieces did mean, or could mean, and people say they should mean, when really they’re whatever.

Anyway, this is the one piece I cannot get out of my mind, and maybe it’s art or maybe it’s not, but I did like it. Unfortunately, the only picture I could find of it, is some ridiculous flickr picture of the painting in the Nelson. Anyway, here is it.

And a description of the painting from a NY Times article, “Art: Middle-Class Satire from William King”:

The largest of Neil Welliver’s new Maine landscapes is ”Late Squall,” a view of snowy moors running up to a distant mountain that is also veined with snow. This gray- toned canvas appears to be painted in a pointillist style, but the dots turn out to be myriad tiny snowflakes. In a smaller version of the work, the flakes are scaled down to pinheads. Welliver is a punctilious craftsman. Indeed, it’s no surprise to learn that he begins by making an on-the-spot oil sketch, which he enlarges as a charcoal drawing. This he transfers to the canvas by means of pouncing, a laborious form of tracing, and then, starting at the top of the canvas, paints his way down to the bottom.”

Regardless, I imagine I’ll be returning to the Nelson-Atkins, soon. Hopefully with lots of newly acquired art history information. Or whatever.

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I think what I like most about music is a person’s ability to learn about themselves from the music. I don’t think you can do it with every song, but I know that with certain songs, or artists, or albums, you discover a side of yourself that perhaps you didn’t realize you had, or recognize feelings you didn’t know you were feeling, or even admit emotions you were avoiding.

There are several albums or artists that have made me feel this way. To begin with, obviously Bright Eyes. And I say obviously because pretty much everyone who knows me knows that I’ve been their biggest fan since I was seventeen. Except, lately, (and by lately I mean maybe in the last year or so) I always skip their songs on shuffle. I never choose to listen specifically to Bright Eyes, and maybe it’s because I’m just not that sad anymore. Or it could be that I associate Bright Eyes specifically to Manhattan, KS, and I am so disassociated with that town/hellhole that I don’t relate to it on that profound level anymore. Damien Rice is on this same level, definitely. Specifically, “O” and more specifically the song, “Amie.” Also Cursive and “The Recluse” or maybe the entire Ugly Organ album. The songs are still good, in their own respect, but the remind me of a Megh that doesn’t really exist anymore. Or a Megh that I don’t want to exist anymore, take your pick.

Another band that I’ve recently felt incredibly connected to is The National. Jesus, the National is so good. I know I’ve written about this before, but seriously, the entire Boxer album is fucking gold. The album makes me feel very wise and vulnerable. I can’t even explain what that feels like. The lyrics are poetic, realistic, poignant. The whole album is eye opening and I when I listen to the songs, I feel most exposed than I can imagine, but in a very protected sort of way, in the I’m just in my car, and I can choose to turn off this song, or I can get out of the car, and I will no longer be exposed in this way anymore. Take for example the song, “Ada.” For me it’s all about the words. It’s the lyrics, the words I relate to, like Neruda’s poetry, or Bukowski’s, or mine.

Ada don’t stay in the lake too long/it lives alone and it barely knows you/it’ll have a nervous breakdown and fall/into a thousand pieces around you/Stand inside an empty tuxedo with grapes in my mouth/waiting for Ada/Ada hold onto yourself by the sleeves/I think everything counts a little more than we think/leave it all up in the air/leave it all up in the air/leave it all up in the air/Ada Ada Ada Ada/Ada I can hear the sound of your laugh through the wall/Ada don’t talk about reasons why you don’t want to talk about reasons/why you don’t wanna talk/now that you got everybody you consider sharp/all alone, all together, all together in the dark

How can that not be the most meaningful words in your life? The lyrics remind me of Adah from the book, The Poisonwood Bible.

Another band that is overturning my world right now is Wilco. I’ve listened to Wilco on and off since I was seventeen, since I met Tyson Gough. But mostly individual songs, “Sunken Treasure” or “Jesus, Etc.” or “I am Trying to Break your Heart” and others, but never whole albums (though I’ve listened to much off of Yankee Hotel Foxtrot). And I am a firm believer that in order to fully understand the importance of an album, you have to listen through to the whole thing, at least 3 times. And not like in your car, but actually, listening, to every word, to every note. So, on the advice of a fellow co-worker, I have started with Summer Teeth. And it’s so good. Every song is so good. And it’s not as if I’m surprised, but I realize again, how much I’ve learned from myself, of myself when I listen to music. Take for example the song, “She’s a Jar.” God, it’s fucking golden.

She’s a jar/With a heavy lid/My pop quiz kid/A sleepy kisser/A pretty war/With feelings hid/She begs me not to miss her/She says forever/To light a fuse/We could use/A hand full of wheel/And a day off/And a bruised road/However you might feel/Tonight is real/When I forget how to talk I sing/Won’t you please/Bring that flash to shine/And turn my eyes red/Unless they close/When you click/And my face gets sick/Stuck/Like a question unposed/Just climb aboard/The tracks of a train’s arm/In my fragile family tree/And watch me floating inches above/The people under me/Please beware the quiet front yard/I warned you/Before there were water skies/I warned you not to drive/Dry your eyes you poor devil/Are there really ones like these/The ones I dream/Float like leaves/And freeze to spread skeleton wings/I passed through before I knew you/I believe it’s just because/Daddy’s payday is not enough/Oh I believe it’s all because/Daddy’s payday is not enough/Just climb aboard/The tracks of a train’s arm/In my fragile family tree/And watch me floating inches above/The people under me/She’s a jar/With a heavy lid/My pop quiz kid/A sleepy kisser/A pretty war/My feelings hid/She begs me not to hit her

I don’t even have anything else to say. Every word is perfect. It’s weird, I wonder what I’ll learn next through the words of someone else’s song.

EDIT: I completely fucking forgot about Metric. I know that I have a lot of friends who don’t like Metric, and frankly I don’t care. I went through a big phase where I listened to Metric nonstop, and I felt I related a lot to them also. Which is interesting, because as you have noticed, most of the bands listed here mostly play sad/melancholy songs, whereas Metric is pretty upbeat most of the time. I love them in their own place, but I also find myself not listening to them much anymore either. Each band to their own moment in time, to their own Megh that existed only within that time frame.

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misery is a butterfly

It’s weird. This is my first blog since the beginning of March. So much has happened since then; every time I attempt to write an entry I think, there’s too much to say and/or no one reads this anyone. These facts may very well still be true, but I’ve been catching up on other people’s blogs (okay, like one blog), so I feel it’s fair to update everyone on my life also.

So, it’s June. I graduated on May 14th, 2010. I declined walking down the hill, even though it could have been fun. I was at a point in my life where I felt as though I was walking through the actions of being a student, even though I already had a full-time job, and didn’t have anything really school-related to accomplish. I’ve been so frustrated with this last year of schooling that I don’t even want to think about it again. But, it’s over. It was anti-climactic to say in the least. There were no major parties; I wasn’t celebrating the end of an era. I had to work the day afterwards, and I felt like somewhere in the last couple of months this “era” was lost, and I maybe I never really gave a shit.

I’ve been working full-time since the middle of May at MOCSA. I’ve been really enjoying it, but it’s calmed down a bit. I was on high-stress level with school presentations, but now that most schools have come to summer break, I’ve been having a lot of office time, which is productive in its own merit, but it’s strange to go from out-in-the-community-all-the-time to in-the-office-all-the-time mode. But it’s been nice to spend so much time learning. And let’s mention how much free time I have not being in school! Yesterday, after work, I spent the late-afternoon/early-evening in the pool, enjoying the sun, and then ate dinner, watched Mad Men, and went to bed. I plan on joining a gym this week. And reading for fun? What a novel thought! I finished the new set of Jhumpa Lahiri’s short stories called “Unaccustomed Earth,” the author of “The Namesake.” It was delightful. I’m re-reading Nine Stories by J.D. Salinger, and then will move on to either “The Clown” by Heinrich Boll or “Les Misérables” by Victor Hugo. Or re-read “East of Eden” by John Steinbeck. The fact that I have choices in what I read, and that I’ll have the free time to do so for, pretty much, several years.

Speaking of life plans, I’ve been thinking about what I’ll do in the next 10 or so years. I’m thinking I’d like to get a good 5 or so years of work experience under my belt. Then, at that point, I’ll either get my dual degree in MSW/MPH (Masters in Social Work/Public Health) or my MPH/JD (Masters in Public Health/Law Degree). I’m looking at Johns Hopkins, but I’m not sure what it will take to get there. Luckily I have 5ish years to save up/figure it out. I’m really interested in the Masters in Public health degree. It’s like specialized social work in the health care field. You can go here and look at the course requirements for an MPH at Johns Hopkins’ Bloomberg School of Public Health:

I’ve been reminiscing a lot lately and realizing that I hate reminiscing. I’ve changed so much in the last five years that I find it almost laughable to look back at who I was. I think I often feel this way about high school. It’s weird, because I spent so much of my life remembering being 15 that I couldn’t enjoy where I was. And I dislike where I am now so much, I can’t help but look towards the future. I know that’s a major component of leading a safe/balanced life: living in the present. But the structure of my life just doesn’t allow for it. I’m not sure I can be who anyone else wants me to be, and I’m not sure I know who I want myself to be. This is a complicating paragraph, but I don’t mean for it to be. I’ve been spending my time missing people I should have missed in the first place, and definitely not missing people I thought I would. It’s weird how important you find people to be when they’re gone. I feel like I’m witnessing little glimpses of everyone–but I’m never really part of anything. Ugh, how whiny is this?

I hate living in Johnson County. More than anything. I did not spend my life hating Manhattan, KS so I could end up in Johnson County–fucking Olathe, for christ’s sake. It’s weird–I hate Manhattan, I fit into Lawrence (my god did I fit, and did I love it, and do I love it!), and now Olathe? How awful.

I don’t want to end this entry on that note, especially not knowing when I’ll write again, but there it is.

Do you still read this?

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I don’t know how many people read my blog, but don’t see my facebook, but I thought I’d give everyone an update on my life. The last two weeks have been incredibly hectic, confusing, and wonderful, all spun into one. While I didn’t get into graduate school (which is an amusing, unbelievable story I’d love to tell anyone if they’d like to hear), I accepted a job at MOCSA (where I have my internship) for the position of Education and Outreach Specialist, where I’ll be earning full-time + benefits (which is a big deal for a chronic part-timer worker, full time student for me). It means I, for the first time since I was 5, will not be in school, doing mindless bullshit busy work, and instead will be working, and doing something I love!

Anyway, I know it’s a short update, but I’m busy trying to finish up school work so I can end this semester ASAP. I am so ready to be done. I am burned out hardcore, and could use the break.

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Kansas Equality Coalition and the Lawrence’s Human Rights Ordinance

Dear loving friends of mine:

Myself and some friends of mine in the Bachelor of Social Welfare program at KU, Matthew Blankers, Anna Bailey, and Lauren Tullis are working with the Kansas Equality Coalition (KEC) to gather support for a proposed revision to Chapter X, the Human Rights Ordinance for Lawrence’s City Code, which would add gender identity and expression as a protected category. Please read the attached letter from KEC and consider showing your support for this revision. I, myself, am unable to attend this event because of my required social work reasons, so I completely understand if you have prior commitments. However, it would really mean a lot to me, personally, to have your support for this revision. Additionally, please feel free to forward this message to anyone who you think might be interested.

The situation:

As you may know, the Lawrence chapter of the Kansas Equality Coalition has been working toward amending the Lawrence Human Rights Ordinance to protect transgendered persons from discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. We made a formal request to the City Commission in February 2009 The City Commissioners sent our request to the Human Relations Commission for their consideration and the HRC officially took up our request at their May meeting. The HRC held a public forum in August to gather information and at that time the members of the HRC seemed inclined to support our request. At the November HRC meeting, however, some members of the public expressed concerns that if anti-discrimination protections were extended to transsexual and transgendered people, children would be at risk to sexual predators in public bathrooms and the city would see an onslaught of litigation. Both claims are false, and we can prove it. Immediately thereafter the HRC voted 6 to 3 against an amendment. KEC has gathered documentary evidence to the effect that protecting transgendered persons from discrimination in employment, housing, and public accommodations will not endanger our children nor cause significant expense to the city. At the upcoming February 18th meeting of the HRC we intend to ask the HRC to reconsider their vote.

Our request:

We are hoping for a good turnout of supporters at the February meeting, but since it’s at 11:00 am there are many supporters who will be unable to come. Thus, we are soliciting letters of support for an amendment to the Human Rights Ordinance to protect people from discrimination on the basis of gender identity and gender expression, especially from community leaders and small business owners. Please address such a letter to the Human Relations Commission and send it to Maggie Childs ( We will deliver them to the Human Relations Commissioners at that meeting.

Thank you very much.

Megh Chakrabarti

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Slow Show

I love this song. It’s “Slow Show” by The National. I suggest highly checking out their album, Boxer (or all of their stuff!). It’s excellent. Especially this song, and the song, “Brainy.” If you click on the song names in this post, it’ll link you to youtube videos of the song. I find their lyrics devastating, and beautiful.

Standing at the punch table swallowing punch,
can’t pay attention to the sound of anyone,
a little more stupid, a little more scared,
every minute more unprepared.

I made a mistake in my life today.
Everything I love gets lost in drawers.
I want to start over, I want to be winning,
way out of sync from the beginning.

I wanna hurry home to you,
put on a slow, dumb show for you,
and crack you up,
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain.
God I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it.

Looking for somewhere to stand and stay.
I leaned on the wall and the wall leaned away.
Can I get a minute of not being nervous,
and not thinking of my dick.
My leg is sparkles, my leg is pins,
I better get my shit together, better gather my shit in,
You could drive a car through my head in five minutes,
from one side of it to the other.

I wanna hurry home to you,
put on a slow, dumb show for you,
and crack you up,
so you can put a blue ribbon on my brain.
God I’m very, very frightening
I’ll overdo it.

You know I dreamed about you,
for twenty-nine years before I saw you.
You know I dreamed about you,
I missed you for,
for twenty-nine years.

You know I dreamed about you,
for twenty-nine years before I saw you.
You know I dreamed about you,
I missed you for,
for twenty-nine years.

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