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Thursday, January 25th, 2007

Time:7:54 pm.
Mood:life's little winner.
Upon random impulse, I've decided to dust this thing off and give it another go. Since no one reads it anyway, it's almost like a real diary, but better! No smudged ink, no wasted paper, and endless Google-able search benefits.

I lied. The impulse to dust this thing off was not so much "random" as "suddenly and delightfully conscious of the tremendous punch the following synopsis would provide in written form." What have I been up to in the past four years? Well, I'm so glad you asked!

I lost my head a little, and most of the rest of me, too. Then there was a bit of a hurricane. You might have heard about it. But, somehow, I came out of its funnel in infinitely better shape than going in. I spent some time in New York. I came back to New Orleans and fell in love: with the city, with life, with everything. Then I got accepted to Harvard for graduate school. In the last entry, you might have known me as a chronically-depressed, chemically-dependent, petulant and pathetic teen. I'm now earning a little over 30K a year, working on a PhD, and dating a soon-to-be-graduate of Harvard Law. Three? Did I say three? Has it really only been three years since I left this off with some breezy catalog of stupidity disguised as braggadocio? It feels closer to thirty.

So that's the State of the Union. Six more years in Boston and a doctorate, if I can manage to keep things together. In the meantime, it's back to my thrilling downtime activities of knitting a sweater and reading Durkheim, whilst Harvard Law Boyfriend traipsies around London on his last winter break. In fact, he just sent me an e-mail mentioning that today he stumbled upon a movie premier and got a good view of Madonna on the red carpet. Don't some people just have all the luck?
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Sunday, November 23rd, 2003

Time:4:08 pm.
I feel too un-materialistic.

My illustrious mates go shopping for fancy gadgets and frillery almost every week, filling up their rooms with boxes and Wal-Mart bags, while I consider it excessively exorbitant to cough up eight bucks for Chinese takeout. Something about money makes me mistrust it. Maybe it's the fact that I've never really had any to begin with. I've lived on garage sale furniture and mismatched flatware all my life, and it was good enough for me, damn it! But this whole "fancy college" business has made it difficult to be satisfied with my meager possessions.

The thought occurs that I haven't spent money on anything other than the assuaging of my hunger (well, the detriment of my lungs and liver, as well...) in months, if not years. My wardrobe has not changed in roughly half a decade. Besides my computer and a digital camera, I don't own a single electronic device worth more than twenty dollars. This list of things I don't own includes: MP3 players, stereos, televisions, VCRs, DVDs, video games and consoles, microwaves, refrigerators, vacuum cleaners, toaster ovens, scanners, pagers, cell phones, and the George Foreman Grill. I am, according to the strict criteria of TV and magazine advertisers, a nonexistent, useless entity, simply taking up space and air which would better serve someone more eager to part with their cash.

Maybe this needs to change. Maybe, if I dropped a few hundred on basic furniture and clothing needs, I'd feel more tethered to the material world and less like a floating wraith without any worldly obligation. I feel too slight, too insignificant. If I had something tangible of my own -- a few cubic feet of space that were truly mine, to plant and cultivate -- I'd feel solid and able to withstand whatever came my way.
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Saturday, November 15th, 2003

Time:8:26 pm.
The ultimate irony of tonight is that my suitemates have gone to a tavern, and I'm sitting in my room embroidering.

Ha. Ha. Ha.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Sunday, October 19th, 2003

Time:9:52 am.
Mood: sore.
When you're five-six, a hundred and fifteen pounds, and a girl, "I want you to hit me as hard as you can" is not the best Brad Pitt line to utter after the sixth or seventh Miller High Life. Fortunately, what I lack in size or fighting ability, I more than make up for in sheer reckless bravado.

Swaggering out onto the street hips forward, I set my beer on the curb and let loose a punch storm that takes my opponent a little aback. People trickle away from the party to watch us go at it, alternately shouting encouragement or expressing concern for my personal safety, but I ignore them unless they're warning about oncoming cars. Round One comes to an abrupt end when I'm put in a headlock. We separate, take swigs of beer, step out of the way for a taxi to pass. I notice a sprinkle of blood on my tank-top and grin, elated, when I realize it's not mine. More punching then, as a strange blood-lust takes over, churning with alcohol and adrenaline to fuel something mindless and savage in the hollow of my chest. I thought there would be more anger involved in this sort of sparring, but the feeling is closer to euphoric. Zen. In the most overused Palahniuk way, I've discovered a new form of transcendentalism.

So this is what you boys have been hiding from us. All those years in middle school parking lots, beating each other up, time and time again, despite the warnings of teachers and principals. We thought you were just morons. But no. While we wasted time with our slumber parties and lunch table gossip, you were experimenting with your inner primate souls. We really should have paid more attention.
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Friday, October 10th, 2003

Time:10:33 am.
Last night was one of those nights that only happen in college.

Eating order-in Chinese, drinking complimentary warm Diet Pepsi, flipping through a book about Photo-realism, and listening to old Nirvana bootlegs.

Okay, so it's one of those nights that only happen in Evergreen College circa 1993. The thing is -- you can leave Seattle, but Seattle never really leaves you.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Monday, October 6th, 2003

Subject:Chemical Imbalance
Time:11:41 pm.
Reason 203483290 why FDA really stands for Fucking Dumb-Asses:

Kicking caffeine has been a thousand times more excruciating than kicking alcohol. After a day without coffee, tea, or soda, I feel like a wretched stain on the grindstone of the cold, unfeeling Universe. Head and stomach churning, ready to implode with the gravity of craving wired in by the devious narcotic pushers at Maxwell House and Coca-Cola.

I need to sleep for a few days, pop Tylenol like breath mints, apply a lot of fucking cold washcloths to my temples, and avoid light for a while. Hey, didn't I stop drinking to avoid this feeling? Thanks, governmentally-sanctioned speed!
Comments: Add Your Own.

Sunday, September 21st, 2003

Subject:Teenage Mary
Time:12:55 pm.
Mood: irritated.
Because the Universe has a sense of humor and likes to rub everybody's nose in it, today, after a week of feeling hopelessly immature, was the first day I ever in my entire life got carded for a pack of cigarettes. I've been smoking since I was sixteen. Hilarious.

I despise getting carded, mostly because my only form of legal ID is my green card. This usually illicits one of two reactions: either the salesperson/bouncer/cop squints at it in a pathetic attempt to make the offending piece of plastic rematerialize into a more familiar form of identification, or the salesperson/bouncer/cop grins and begins asking how long I've been in this country or, worse yet, if I speak English. The latter is actually much more beneficial to me. I've lost track of the number of bars I've been able to enter because "Hey, Joey! This girl is from... Russia? We gotta let her in!" At that point, all it takes is a shy, confused smile and a few palatalized consonants, and suddenly I'm Everybody's Favorite Immigrant.

I suppose I shouldn't get indignant just yet. Save that and my maturity crisis for next year, when I'm the big Two-Oh. Then the real fun begins.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Friday, September 19th, 2003

Subject:A Day in the Life
Time:12:25 pm.
Mood: numb.
Nine thirty. Wake up in bed that is not my own and, for some undiscernible reason, lacking sheets. Watch owner of bed, room, and missing sheets get out of shower and dress for work. Note expression of annoyance on his face and decide better not to ask about the sheets. Curl back into fetal position under old flannel robe, also not my own, and go back to sleep.

Ten. Having judged correctly that owner of room has left for work, open eyes and assess the situation. Mouth tasting of raspberry vodka. Throat a tight wet rag stuffed in face. Head... better not to think of head. Still wearing last night's skirt and tank top, though mercifully the combat boots have been removed and wait on floor. Empty cigarette pack in trash can. Hoping someone else finished it. Empty bottle of vodka on shelf. Knowing who finished it. Glance in mirror, turn away in disgust. Find keys to room near alarm clock, lace boots, leave.

Ten thirty. Arrive at my room, silently praying roommate has already left for class. Prayer answered, put on clean shirt and rake fingers through hair. Drink cola breakfast. Solids not a good idea at this point. Take backpack minus books and leave for class.

Eleven. Sit through Linguistics lecture trying very hard not to vomit on desk. Notice girl who looks like Donna from That Seventies Show is also haggard and sipping on cola. Exchange mutual pale-faced, red-eyed looks of empathy. Succeed in not vomiting, return to room. Eat apple lunch. Take deep breaths and tell self over and over: the weekend does not begin on a Thursday.
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Wednesday, September 17th, 2003

Subject:Mea Culpa
Time:6:24 pm.
If you're reading this now, the diamond necklace is in the clock.

cut for your convenience.Collapse )
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Friday, September 12th, 2003

Subject:But I wouldn't mind sometime tryin out your horse...
Time:8:54 pm.
Mood: tired.
Friday night. Roommates all in the other room watching anime, making cute little noises and big eyes. Alone, curled up on the bed reading Pynchon, drinking a Vanilla Coke that contains roughly 50% Jack Daniels. Looking up at the phone every five pages, as if it will suddenly decide to light up instead of ring. Ex ex-boyfriend (note the use of the double negative) off roleplaying. Friends driving down from Mississippi, thinking for some reason that I'll show them a good time in this big, big city - because obviously pretty/interesting/bad girls like me know just where to find The Perfect Party - when in reality I'd rather sleep for the rest of the night and the weekend, too, interspering my naps with a literary injection from one of the five novels through which I'm currently plodding.

It's the story of my life.

* * *

"I don't want to meet them. I hate the idea of some other guy's penis in you. It's not even about you, really. It's like this guy... like he's trying to send me pheromone messages. Like he's marked his territory or something."

"I wish you'd stop hating every guy friend of mine. You're such an elitist snob."

"Yeah, I guess. Is he big?"


"Well, he's black, right? Is he big?"

Story of my fucking life.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Sunday, September 7th, 2003

Time:3:54 pm.
Mood: sick.
I suppose it was inevitable. I'm thinking of Giving Up The Drink.

Forget for a second my genetic disposition toward substance abuse ("A glass or two of whiskey a day - it helps me relax," says father. "I'm not really addicted to nicotine. I'll quit when I want to," says mother) and focus on the real issue at hand: drinking does nothing for me. One of two things inevitably occurs when I drink. One. I polish off a bottle of tequila and feel nothing but boredom and vague nausea. Two. I down a bottle of red wine, vomit, and lose all capacity for cognizant thought for the rest of the night. There is no middle ground. There is no stage of pleasant intoxication where I am giddy and comfortable and outgoing. I'm either sullen or incoherent. C'est tout.

Soul-searching always seems to sneak up on me when I'm least in the mood for it. Here I am trying to go about my scholastic and romantic life without concern for meaty issues such as Truth or Self, when all of a sudden I happen to glance down and see my innards laid bare. I'm a fool. I drink gasoline and inhale arsenic. I numb my mind and allow my poor body to be sacked and pillaged like a small French village on the German border. I have no self-respect, and even less will power. And, above all, I am overly fond of consonance, assonance, and precocious simile. Hell's bells. I'm a mess.

What is it they say about the first step to recovery? Oh yes. The first step to recovery is admitting that you have a problem. Now, if I can just figure out that second step.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Wednesday, September 3rd, 2003

Time:3:30 pm.
Mood: amused.
I'm fairly sure that I'm a reprehensible roommate. Not only do I come home in the wee hours, semi-unconscious with just enough sobriety left in me to kick off my shoes and collapse into bed fully dressed, but I also wake up early and prowl about the room in a distracting and wholly unhealthy manner. My poor roommate, a sweet-faced Alabama girl who loves anime and her long distance boyfriend, must be damn near petrified. When I come back from class and drop my book bag on the bed, she turns from her computer and looks at me with such wide, startled eyes that you'd think she expects me to pounce.

So, last night, as a bit of a PR move, I went down the hall and exchanged a bar of soap, a towel, and a sexual favor for toilet paper, which the dorm had run out of and we'd been desperate for. She positively beamed when she saw me walking in with the coveted item, which I placed in the bathroom without a word of explanation.

"How did you get that?" she asked, but I was already huddled in the corner with Tolstoy and mumbled something incoherent into the thick pages. It's probably best for her not to know the means of acquisition. Ha! Preserves my awe-inspiring mystery.
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Friday, August 29th, 2003

Subject:The Big Uneasy
Time:9:01 pm.
As expected, I couldn't keep my dirty mouth shut in Russian History. I'm not usually one for contributing to discussions in class, as I consider the opinions of most college-age people, self included, to be the intellectual equivalent of pea soup and thus a rather unnecessary substance to spew into the face of an unsuspecting professor. However, it couldn't be helped. My voice somehow found a way to sound both pompous and shrill, and I felt rather embarrassed about it in the ensuing murmur of disinterested students waking from their naps in the back row. The worst thing about the incident, upon reflection, is that I think most people consider my sudden attacks of fierce nationalism to be "cute." That is to say: "Oh, look at the little blonde girl with the big opinions! What she doesn't know could fill the world's largest salad bowl!"

I hate being diminutive.

In other news, I think my ex-boyfriend's house could very well be the scene of the next Project Mayhem. It's one of those white aristocratic ante-bellum deals fallen on hard times, very common to the worse neighborhoods of New Orleans. All the paint is peeling and pigeons live in the roof. There is a stolen dry-erase board hanging on the fridge, on which is scrawled:

History's Shortest Books
-Negroes I Have Met While Yachting
-French War Heroes
-Polish Wit and Wisdom

His roommates consist of a recent graduate who spends his days sleeping and his nights playing Dance Dance Revolution, two comp-sci majors with perpetual rings around their eyes, and a cross-dressing punk rock vegetarian who lent me a compilation of works by the Marquis de Sade. Every time I come around, I end up sitting on the porch with a gin-and-tonic and a cigarette, feeling like a second-rate Marla Singer. Tonight looks to be One of Those Nights.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Friday, August 15th, 2003

Time:10:14 pm.
Mood: amused.
I wish my region had had a massive blackout. To simulate the experience, I went for a midnight swim in the pool and pretended that the drone of the air-conditioner window unit was really the faraway sound of ten thousand people walking home on the freeway.

As I was swimming, I noticed a small commuter plane circling the sky above my house. I swear, it must have made five or six rings around the neighborhood before I finally got out of the pool and flipped it the finger. Then it made a hasty left turn, gunned its engines, and flew off into the horizon. The fact that I was swimming in the nude should not have mattered, as it was quite dark, but this is the only explanation I can produce.

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Monday, August 11th, 2003

Time:9:49 pm.
Mood: pensive.
There's something awfully sinister about the sound of hammering at night. What is that man doing? Has he suddenly decided at ten P.M. that the top shelf of his spice rack needs to be repositioned in order to accommodate an unusually tall bottle of oregano? Or is this insipid hammering just a ruse to cover up the screams emanating from his basement?

Life in a small town is full of such troubling thoughts. When you're in a big city, you don't give a damn what your neighbors are doing as long as it doesn't cause police visits on a nightly basis. People keep to themselves. But in a small town, everyone's business seems like it should also be yours. The mind works in strange ways, inventing stories that become myths and then folklore. The Mysterious Hammering Man, creating a bedframe of human bones...

* * *

A few evenings ago, I was sitting out on the front step, watching the sun go down in all its pinkish splendor and enjoying a glass of Bal'sam, a fancy Ukrainian liquor. There was an unusually large number of people out on the streets for such a small, quiet Southern town, probably due to the public schools starting again on the following week. Young, reckless kids in pick-up trucks sped up and down the neighborhood, stopping to holler at each other for directions to Laura Lee's house or Jimmy Bob's barbecue. They were all very eager to cram an entire summer of partying into one Saturday night. I watched them coming and going, blasting their bad music through cheap speakers, trying to keep their baseball caps from flying off in the wind-whipped beds of Fords and Chevys. I could have reached out my hand and grazed their dirty tires, but none of them seemed to see me. I sat motionless, and the sun set, and I just kept watching them in the dark.
Comments: Read 2 orAdd Your Own.

Sunday, August 10th, 2003

Subject:Don't take my word
Time:10:52 pm.
Mood: morose.
In a transitional phase at the moment. Actually, that's a lie, because my entire life is one long, drawn-out transition without any actual substance on either side. Rather like an Oreo cookie with nothing but filling, if that could possibly be misconstrued as some sort of deeply philosophical metaphor...

I haven't really gone outside much since returning from the trip. This is one of those "by choice" things, I keep telling myself, but who's to know by whose choice? Last night I finally bit the bullet and went to a party thrown by some people with whom I'd once-upon-a-time attended high school. It was depressing, and not just because they'd all either not changed a bit or changed beyond recognition. It was depressing because I outdrank them all and still remained sober enough not to go to bed with anybody. It was also depressing because I am beginning to tire of the coddling and thinly-veiled bribery emanating from every male "friend" within a hundred yard radius of me. "Oh, here is some dinner, Maryana. Oh, why don't I pay for your movie ticket, Maryana? Oh, let me open your door and fix you a drink and fluff your pillow and and and...?" I am far, far from a cool, new-age, empowered woman, but what I am is utterly uninterested in such petty displays of affection. It wears me out to have to play the sensitive, holding hands kind of girl. I can't smile and nod and pretend to be endlessly thankful for every meal paid and creature comfort unspared. Before you give me flowers, give me some fucking inspirational sex, or at least good conversation. It really can't be that difficult, can it?

The gravity of my situation finally seems to be kicking in, and not a day too soon, what with my imminent return to The Institution of Higher Learning. I have a sinking feeling that this whole "I let the only good one go" dilemma, currently a half-formulated shadow in the back of my mind, is only going to catalyze a full-out orgy of regret, self-pity, and loneliness. But then again, I have never been known to need a catalyst for said reaction. I'm sure I'll return to my friends, only to wish desperately to be alone and out of socializing's way, and then hate myself for it all because somewhere, somehow, I know full well that I am the one great saboteur of my own contentment. Cue violin.

Well, this certainly has turned into one of those "I..." journals! Maybe for the hideous social cripple that I am, spending so much time talking with myself is not the brightest of ideas. We tend to beat the same dead topic over and over again, and boy howdy! The overkill!
Comments: Add Your Own.

Monday, June 30th, 2003

Time:10:19 pm.
Mood: exanimate.
Things on my nightstand at the moment, in no particular order:

  • tube of automotive glue

  • packet of raspberry tea

  • green socks, one pair

  • mix cd of assorted electronica and accompanying note from Mr. Attractive Philosophy Major

  • scissors, one pair

  • eraser emblazoned with the name of a bad Mexican restaurant in Seattle called Azteca's

  • nailpolish, two bottles - black and silver

  • book lent to me by an ex-boyfriend's mother about growing up in segregated Mississippi, never returned

  • old driver's license from succeeding ex-boyfriend

  • small stuffed walrus

  • piece of gritty gray plastic from gameboy, circa 1993

  • badly abused sports watch miraculously still keeping perfect time, albeit from the wrong time zone

  • from "barrel of monkeys," one plastic monkey, alone and clinging to nothing

Hmm. How positively evocative. Or something.
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Saturday, June 28th, 2003

Time:5:54 pm.
My parents and I just had The Piercing Talk. It went better than I had hoped for; the compromise was getting a smaller ring and taking it out when in the company of little old ladies apt to die of sudden heart attacks. I really think they'll be surprised when we get to Ukraine and nobody bats a damn eyelash. My oldest cousin already parades around with a mane of waist-length platinum weave, so I can't imagine that an eyebrow ring will cause much of a stir. Sure, my grandmothers are of the Old World type who go into conniption fits at the slightest hint of progress, and all of their wispy cronies on the park bench are vultures ready to attack any scintillating gossip about the degenerate tendencies of somebody else's grandchild like a lame rabbit, but c'mon. This is the general area that brought the world T.a.t.u.! Give them a little credit for acceptance.

I told my mother that she shouldn't be so worried about grandma dying when she sees the silver on my face; she should be more concerned about her dying when she hears what comes out of my mouth. The last time I saw any of my family, I was fifteen, and already I had that hellish streak of sneaking off to make out with Ukrainian boys. That condition really hasn't improved, and I've gotten progressively worse at hiding it. I most certainly will not stay silent when Baba rolls out the tired old "when will you settle down and marry a nice Ukrainian boy?" deal, and if she tries to set me up with any of her friends' grandsons, well I'll...! Well. I'll probably check them out, and then decide from there. Christ. I'm rather pathetic.

It's been a month, and it's starting to get to me. Meaningless sex is losing its charm. Everyone worth pursuing has suddenly sprouted a girlfriend, like some sort of mutated prehensile limb. I can't listen to half my music, because it invariably has lines about blue eyes or kissing or love. Sleeping alone blows. But this is what I wanted. This is what I wanted. This is what I wanted. Right? Well. I am anything but a creature of habit, and maybe all I need is a change of scenery.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Friday, June 27th, 2003

Time:12:34 pm.
Two more days of work and I'm out like a light. Then it's roughly a week and a half until Europe, with nothing to do but twiddle my thumbs and frown at my bulging closet of thrift-store chic, trying to decide what the hell I'm going to wear to the discos.

Other than my painful deficit of Gucci and Prada, preparation will be relatively simple. I already have two permanently-packed bags of the bare essentials: jewelry, scarves (who needs shampoo?), batteries, CDs, tattered T-shirts (which can function as anything from towels to pajamas to punk-rock aesthetic), jeans, short skirts, and don't-fuck-with-me-or-I'll-kick-your-head-in boots. From these humble building blocks, the luggage for a trip to almost anywhere can be scraped together with a minimum of effort. This repertoire has taken me to seven countries, countless states and provinces, and hasn't failed me yet.

Okay, work-day number T-minus one. End already.
Comments: Add Your Own.

Thursday, June 26th, 2003

Subject:La petite morte
Time:1:01 pm.
Mood: cold.
Last night, I dreamt that I died. Was shot, actually. It felt exactly like I have always imagined it would: a sudden bang, loss of sensation, everything slowly fading into gray, and my last thoughts - "No, this can't be right. I'm not supposed to die now... am I? Is this really it? Is this how everything ends? All that fussing and living and fighting, and then there's... nothing."

I don't know why, but the dream was strangely comforting. I think it's time for me to stop shrugging off my mental state and start genuinely worrying about it.
Comments: Add Your Own.

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