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Dogbane Beetle

think of this as a collection of the full spreads in my journal-- overflowing with little receipts & tickets & my most rambly thoughts. check out my notebook, now page, or photo diary for shorter form updates

swimming bad / 04-27-24
i have the beginnings of a scab on my elbow from roughhousing with my girlfriend last night, and it's tender & starting to be rough, but still thin-- still fragile

it's odd to watch it move through all the stages of being [a wound]-- starting out fresh & red & raw & unearthed, skin not meant to be seen, and then sticky & silky & slick like i imagine a heart is, and then what it is now

i'm more aware of it than i've been of any scratch / wound / pain i have been in a while. it's occupying so much space in my mind, i think in the form of a symbol of some kind more than in its true form [maybe its true form is its symbolic self?]

i feel self-important & frustrated with this poeticism, but it's the only way i know how to approach this right now. i wish i could be more straight forward, but i guess i feel like i need to wind down this road with all its car sickness before i can understand it. that sentence meant nothing logically, i think. oh well

i'm listening to swim good which is quite a difficult song, and i learned it from my mom, which is not where you want to learn a song like that, but i guess it's just one of many things we learn from our parents that we don't want to

a little too far back to call 'recently', i got to hear a story from my mom's perspective that i've only ever known from my dad's, and i don't really know how to reconcile them yet. i won't / can't bore you with the details [it's not my story to tell-- i wonder if it's either of theirs, either. i think the story is stored in my body somehow]

this song fucks with me in a good [painful] way. i lost someone recently [she didn't die, don't worry], but i also didn't lose her, and also, she's been lost for a long time, and i think i did a lot of my grieving before i even let her go, and even then, it's hitting me again. we listened to a lot of frank ocean together. actually, that's not really true. we listened to frank ocean together in a moment that is now burned into my heart & mind & neural pathways, probably. never this song, but that does add to it

i saw a photo of her and her hair curled so beautifully in a way i almost forgot it could [maybe i did forget, but i won't let myself believe that if i did], and now i'm in this mood i can't kick. i listened to slow like honey in the kitchen around noon today, which i'm just remembering. i love that idea-- "slow like honey and heavy with mood." me too, girl

anyway, i don't really know what to do with myself. i'm overwhelmed in waves & completely fine other times, and i feel a little at sea, which in another world is a lovely thought, but it's lost its charm. it's odd to be writing about this here, because she might see it, but oh well. hi there, you. i hope you're okay. take care of yourself

in the vein of weird shit going on, i watched oldboy last night, and what the fuck do i even say about that movie? my girlfriend said it was weird in every way it could possibly be weird, and i can definitely get behind that one. i felt like i was in some fucked up dream the whole time, and some shots made my head spin, and i couldn't get why people said it was so fucked until it was very obvious why it was so fucked, and i'm grateful i watched it, but also, what the fuck?

can you tell i like coordinating conjunctions? and is my favorite

swim good has been on loop for the last hour and a half, now, which is a little too long to not be that weird. it's okay, though. we all gotta be weird sometimes. in a bad way, i mean. being weird in a good way is always a plus, but being weird in a bad way is for special occasions. this qualifies, i'd say

i saw sister wife sex strike on tuesday, and i made a whole zine about it, so i won't dwell too much, but i'm still thinking about that intense sense of family. i feel like i had it for a moment, but it's gotten slowly torn away from me the past two years, and it was nice to have it back again, even for a moment

i have people that feel like family, of course, and people that are family, but that sense of family as a group evades me in a way. community, i have, but not family. i don't know. i'll find my way back to it again, someday, but for now, the world will just keep stealing it from me in different ways

i'm sorry for the melodrama, but it's felt necessary, tonight. i bought a zine this evening, so maybe i'll spend some time reading that

swim good has been playing for 45 minutes, now

is this for me or for you? / 03-24-24
i feel like i so often starting these blogs talking about how long it's been since i've written one, and i'm not sure quite what that means for me. i think i dwell too much on responsibility-- the need to write regularly and consistently, for an audience instead of myself. so much so that i stop allowing writing to even be fulfilling

i feel like some part of it just has to be the fact that i call it a blog, and that i have a ‘notebook’ which i allow to be less grand… it makes it harder to really view this space as something that can be casual. i wonder if treating it more like a miscellaneous writing page and less like something that has to be a uniform BIG UPDATE will do something good for me. maybe i’ll try that

anyway, i haven’t written in quite a while, and i’m okay with that this time. this page doesn’t have to be consistent. i’m not trying to perform for you or keep you up to speed on all the biggest things in my life. you don’t have to know anything about me in a linear or narrative sense, really. i’m not some character in a novel. that’s freeing

i’ve been enjoying the way i’m updating my notebook page a lot, actually. i’ve gotten a bit better at it as time goes on, which i can tell because my favorite entries have been the most recent, on the 20th and 23rd of this month [on heat sensations & a dream-like sleepless night and a trip to anza-borrego & seeing dune part two in theater, respectively]. it’s exciting to watch myself feel freer & more open to express myself how i’d like– slowly learning that there’s no pressure to be entirely raw & ‘authentic’ & unfiltered or to be poetic & eloquent & polished, and that i can be as incomprehensible & hard to follow as i want, because it’s all for me

on a slightly contradictory note, i’ve been thinking a lot about the concept of rejecting digital voyeurism and how a lot of people– turned off by the algorithmic nature of most social media and the way we’re asked to brand & advertise ourselves– have completely rejected the idea of including others in our online experience. i understand the sentiment & respect it on the surface, and even want to integrate it into my own approach in some ways, but i also think there’s some loss of the true beauty of online experiences when we think that way

i mean, as far as i’ve always thought, the argument around social media has been somewhere along the lines of

“the internet is amazing because it brings people around the world together & allow us to express and explore ourselves in a different space with people we might not otherwise meet, but is that worth the issues it brings with questions of safety, bullying, self-image, addiction to the quick dopamine hits, & mental health issues it raises?”

i think in some way, a lot of people who ‘want to bring back the old web’ or just want to get away from corporate social media in general have lost that idea that internet can mean community in a beautiful way, too. it doesn’t just have to be bad connection

it’s definitely difficult to find that balance of creating for ourselves & trying not to perform who we are [especially in a space that’s kind of intrinsically asking us to encapsulate & perform ourselves] and creating for a sense of community & sharing with some aim of connection & feeling like we’re not just screaming into a void, and i’m not even sure if it’s possible to find that perfect balance, but i think it’s worth it– at least for me

obviously, not everyone wants or needs community online, and sometimes a digital scrapbook is all a website has to be, but it’s sort of sad to me that a lot of people are rejecting the idea of sharing & community because of our sort of collective trauma with online performance. i like trying to find my balance, y’know? no, i don’t want to obsess over followers and whether a page i like enjoys mine, too [which is something i’m still working on], but i also like having a little community of people who comment back & forth on each others’ stuff & want to connect & feel a sort of camaraderie and care. that’s why i love my little ‘neighbors’ page and my muse ariadne club so much, i think

i’m not sure. there’s so much to consider when it comes to how we interact with online spaces. as much as it’s changed over the years, the internet iss also an incredibly new invention in the scope of like… the human race. we’ve got a lot to learn, i guess. i’m not sure how long it’ll take to figure things out, or if we ever will. if the way we’ve ‘figured out’ other societal issues/concepts/ideas so far is any signifier, i doubt we will…

this is a pretty sharp turn in topic, but i was thinking earlier tonight– on my drive back from anza-borrego– about a conversation i had with friends a long time ago

i’d had a lot of issues trying to stay friends with my best friend because we were high schoolers and their mom hated me for ‘turning them queer’ [an issue i’ve had with most of my best friends so far…], and i felt like even though i loved them so deeply & they understood me so thoroughly, we’d grown apart a lot because of it. it was one of those things that couldn’t be helped, you know? trauma like that changes things permanently sometimes, and there’s not much you can really do about it

anyway, i’ve been thinking about this one moment we had while we took the train somewhere after school with our whole group of friends [sort of the only way we can spend time together], and we got on the topic of summer plans, and i sort of casually, half-jokingly lamented that they wouldn’t be 18 until late summer, because if they’d turned 18 earlier, we would’ve been able to do whatever the fuck we wanted together

there was this stale silence right away, and i watched their face sort of sour, and another of our friends [who’d gotten much closer to them since we drifted because of the issues] made an ‘eh–’ sound, and a sinking feeling in my gut that i’d done something bad got even worse. i don’t even know how to describe the sensation, but that other friend sort of explained that no, we wouldn’t be able to do whatever we wanted, because they don’t want to make their familial relationship difficult or lose college money or make things harder, and i remember stammering for a moment– little “no, of course”s and “i just meant that-”s as i tried to explain my way out of it

i remember how utterly ashamed i felt for thinking that my friendship might be worth the difficulty, let alone that it could be a given that we’d try to fight for it. i still can’t quite put a pin in what that moment taught me, but i really feel like it taught me something. it’s been on my mind a lot lately

i’ve never been angry at them for it [even if it was something that would get me upset, they weren’t the one who said it anyway], nor did i really expect it from them, but it’s sort of odd to reflect on. i know i have people in my life that would fight and say ‘fuck you’ in an instant, and i know i have those people, too, and i don’t think that it’s something every relationship needs to have to be valuable, but it’s still sort of a miserable experience to try and figure out who’s who

there’s not really a point to sharing this publicly, and i’m sort of glad that i was able to write something purely for myself– for the catharsis it might bring. the word catharsis feels a lot like chrysalis or cocoon to me, which i love. it has that intense imagery of rebirth & emerging & the transition from the hard encasement of a shell to just the soft, gooey encasement of whatever’s surrounded and protected us within it

this blog was a really long one, but i hope you got anything at all from it. if you want to share random thoughts & ideas, for me or just for yourself, you can always email me at canineical@gmail.com. you can ask me to never read it if you want, or we can talk. anything you’d like. thank you for being interested in what i have to share

canada geese are weird muses / 02-10-24
it’s been a minute since i’ve written a blog post, but still much shorter a gap than the last time i said this [or thought this-- can’t remember if i actually wrote about it]. i feel like a lot’s been happening lately, but also nothing at all. it’s a weird sensation for everything to blend together so much. i've wanted to write this blog post for something like a week, so it might feel a little disjointed-- lots of random thoughts & ideas strung together. maybe something like one of those garish beaded necklaces we all made as kids

i sort of touched on this last time, but i feel like i've been sort of withdrawing lately. i don't exactly dislike it, but it's odd. i'm used to being very open and extroverted and really active in the world. i guess i still am-- it's not like i've stopped doing things, really-- but i think i'm just a little more in my own head

it's odd, because i think i'm engaging with communities a lot, but not really people a lot. i'm somehow stuck feeling a little disconnected. it's honestly kind of peaceful, though. i like getting to feel a little restful and introspective. i'll probably return to the real world a little more with time, but for now it's sort of nice

i went to a burrito distribution today with a local dyke-y mutual aid collective, and it was really nice. of course i interacted with them and loved getting to talk, but i also sort of got to meditate and be in my own world while i rolled burritos and handed them out in a park and just sort of paid attention to all the little things around me. a couple of the women there were really funny and made me laugh and smile a lot, too. i love people so much

birds, too. i saw two canada geese fly overhead the other day-- which is kind of an odd occurrence. we have a lot of parrots, crows, and ravens hopping around my city, but i don't often see geese. it was funny, too, because i had just been wishing-- maybe the day or a couple days before-- that i would get a message from a bird, soon. i wonder what this omen meant for me. it felt unusual, but it sort of inspired me. i've been wanting to do more since i saw them. i'm still mulling the meaning over in my gut

birds are my favorite omens, though. they feel like friends raising an eyebrow at you and going "really?" and they're always sort of cryptic. i guess you could call them omen-ous. hah.

anyway, i saw iron claw with a friend last weekend and it was pretty rough. i honestly sobbed kind of hard. i’ve always been easy to make emotional, but i think it really struck a chord in me just how awful things can be over and over again. it feels like the world really does that to you sometimes. it just gets going and can't stop, only really gaining momentum. it does eventually, of course, but i feel like you can never really shake that feeling that life is supremely unlucky sometimes

it took a bit to process the movie fully, and i spent a lot of time afterwards trying to do my own thing but ending up just sort of reliving it and going “fuck…!” it was a difficult watch, but definitely worth it. my only real critique was that the pacing in the middle when literally every possible bad thing was happening to the von erich family felt a little awkward and choppy. the movie was wonderful, though. i don’t know if i could watch it again, to be honest

on a similar note, i’ve been watching a lot of wrestling and lucha libre lately. i’ve always enjoyed lucha libre, but i think for a long time, it's felt like too much work to figure out all the stories and what matches to watch and where and how-- especially since i don’t live in méxico and it’s a lot harder to find. i think it feels more worth it now, probably because ’m taking a genre study class on wrestling storytelling at the moment. it’s honestly so incredibly fun-- especially because my teacher just clearly loves it so much-- and it’s kind of giving me a love for it, too

i love the politics of lucha libre a lot-- all that the stories stand for outside just “good vs. bad", how it’s sort of a rebellion against violence and oppression. i love the flamboyance, too, of course! american wrestling has been fun to get into for the first time. sometimes the characters are so white, it’s sort of painful, but sometimes it’s just wildly fun and funny. i’m really enjoying it all

it hasn't stopped how much i've been listening to audiobooks a lot, though. i somehow managed to finish go tell it on the mountain, giovanni's room, and convenience store woman all in a week-- and wrote review for them, too [find them here, here, and here, respectively, if you'd like]. my reviews have been getting longer lately. it's been nice letting myself sort of ramble about the books and its ideas instead of just feeling like i should be selling it to some audience or something. i don't know why it felt for so long that my goal had to be convincing someone to read it

aside from that, i've sort of just been working on my neocities and laying around in my room. i've always spent a lot of time in bed-- i have a heated mattress pad, so my bed is kind of the most comfortable thing on earth. i do all my work in bed, and write in bed, and read in bed, and watch tv & youtube in bed, and do kind of everything i could possibly do in bed, in bed. i would play bass & make zines there, too, if i could. i don't know how good it is for me-- it honestly probably isn't-- but i love it. there's something so safe & comforting about a warm, soft pile of comforters & fluff that envelop you while you do the things you want to do and the things you really don't want to do

right now, i really want to re-do my about me page. hopefully it actually happens soon, because i'm not very happy with mine right now. i think it just feels odd to try and talk about myself and not make it a personal essay or a list of the things i like and do. i don't really know how to describe myself succinctly. i'm going to try, though

i've also got to think up some more prompts for a writing club i made on neocities called muse ariadne. it's kind of my pet project at the moment. it's kind of fun to run because i feel like even coming up with prompts is so creative. it's honestly really fun to think of cool prompts i feel could spark thoughts & ideas in others. and it's so rewarding to see people's responses, too. every member of the club is so talented & creative, too, and it feels wonderful to see all the thoughtful & beautiful things they have to say, and that come from what i've asked

that's sort of all that's been going on for me, lately. i'm excited to hopefully finish reading a disability history of the us and braiding sweetgrass, next, and then read left hand of darkness, too ! and then i have even more lined up-- like an etheridge knight poetry collection, the premonition, fifth sun, and maybe [eventually] one hundred years of solitude

i hope you all life experiences that are as in your own head or "active participant" as you'd like, or that fluctuate accordingly. i'll try to write again soon

- xalli

yawning away! / 01-30-24
i've been abnormally sleepy the past few days. i'm not really sure where it came from-- i know that i've been doing a lot lately, so it makes sense to be tired, but i've done much more before and never been nearly as tired as this. i guess it's burnout, then, probably-- just stacking and stacking so it becomes harder and harder to get rid of

anyway, it's odd to yawn so much. it's like there's something in my body trying to get out. i sort of feel that, honestly. i've been in sort of my own world-- listening to braiding sweetgrass a lot (it's so absurdly long... 17 hours!) and just sort of losing myself in messing around on my website or trying to make minizines or playing stupid mobile games to placate my overactive nervous system

i'm hoping to try just listening, and letting myself sit and be still and relax. it's hard-- honestly more out of a deep-seated fear of not being productive than anything else, even if i don't believe consciously in that bullshit productivity-focused approach to life. i want to work against that, even if i love doing things

the website stuff is kind of hard for me right now. i'm loving it in lots of ways, but i'm currently stuck in this weird place with one specific thing: shrines. i really wanna make some to the things i care about a lot or find really interesting, but i feel like i'm having trouble doing it in a way that feels really me. when i try, it kind of just feels like i'm taking on a persona that isn't me, and that i see in the (really cool) shrines other people make. i'm not sure how to find my own way, or even think of something entirely different and interesting in its own right. it's kind of frustrating

this weekend was wonderful, though. i spent time with my tias (my mom's tias, really) because one of them had just had surgery, and it was such a lovely time. one of them is so absolutely hilarious and irreverent, and made a copious amount of sex jokes while we talked and told stories, and the other is this incredibly wise and caring lady who supposedly has a lot of friends in jail who call her "G" (they both work in law in one way or another)

i got to cook so much, too! not meth though. just egg noodles and ube waffles, with my girlfriend. it was genuinely so lovely :] it's odd how like... it sort of brightens the whole experience up to do it with someone else. i love cooking, but i never feel like it's worth it to cook something nice for just one meal on my own, and with her, i want to do it all! it's so nice. oh! and i finished fox & i this weekend. very proud of that (i've never read a 300 page book that felt more like 600 pages...). you should read my review here if you'd like :]

anyway, we worked on some music together too which was cool, if a bit stressful because audio recording software can suck. i've been really bad at playing my bass regularly, as much as i want to. i think it's just the exhaustion of classes getting to me. i don't know how to motivate myself to do the things i like sometimes. it's rough

sort of brings me back to the yawning. it comes in waves and i'm currently in the middle of one. it's honestly kind of a nice feeling-- the way it sort of forces my body to slow down. it's like my body's tucking me in with a weighted blanket and going "yo. chill out." i wish i could control it, though. great at home, at night, when you need to chill. not so great during calc

alright, i don't have much else to say. i hope y'all are well and that every day brings you at least a little bit of joy. i hope the weather is as volatile or not-volatile as you'd like it to be, and that the world meets you with a smile and open arms each day

- xalli

a change of pace / 01-25-24
it's been a minute-- less than last time, though! so that's a win in my book. it's a new year, which is an odd feeling. i'm used to it being 2023, and i don't really feel the need for that to change quite yet. this year is about to be one of the most stressful ones in my life, so i'm just looking for anything to keep me afloat right now.

hoping to find a bass teacher to keep me on track with practicing regularly, do at least five minutes of Real Things (TM) per day, and keep preparing for evil exams, mainly.

i'm reading a book called fox & i right now, and i have pretty mixed feelings right now. i have a lot to say, but i think i'm going to save that for my book review on storygraph. will of course share that when the time comes, too. oh! i finished one on a gwendolyn brooks poetry collection, though it's not particularly amazing. you can check it out here if you want to. anyway, the main plus for me is that it has the most vivid, beautiful descriptions of the natural world that i've seen in a while, and i feel infinitely more connected to everything around me because of it

since i started reading it, i’ve wanted to be outside more and more. i started spending a few minutes every morning on my porch, just taking in the world as best as i can– feeling how the wind sort of burns my cheeks but also makes them colder, and how the moon is so small and light in the sky, and how the plants seem to be waking up with us. i haven’t been as good about it lately, but i hope i can get back to doing it every day. it’s such a lovely feeling

i think the memoir kind of informed all of my “new year’s resolutions”, honestly. it feels sort of funny to call them that, because the resolutions i made this new year’s are more a part of a cycle of resolutions i continuously examine and adjust and add to and remove from, but i guess i made these ones up with the new year’s, so that’s what they are! i’ve been playing bass a bit more with the start of this year, and really trying to explore music theory formally after a decade of music instruction that was kind of just based on practicing new songs forever. it's pretty hard, but i think it's going to be good for me, even if music theory is bullshit

it got me thinking about how when i was younger and in voice lessons, i managed to learn how to pick out every note in a chord my teacher played and sing them back in only a couple weeks.. and forgot how just as fast. it’s wild how human brains just take what they want to know and discard the rest. i wonder if i could even relearn that as fast, now. i might not be able to

i woke up early the other day– at 5 in the morning– and it was raining and the sky was dark with all of the clouds and the night, but it had that purple-dark feeling. it was so beautiful, and i kind of wished someone was there with me; a person or an animal or something. i wanted to hold someone and just melt into the warmth of another body and fall back asleep in the rain. it was nice alone, too, though. both have their perks, i guess

tonight, i read a piece at an open mic– sort of about that experience, but sort of not. i wove in my grandparent’s dog from my childhood. his name was charlie, and he was about a decade older than me, and we grew up together. we still have a video of us passing a ball– him pushing it back to me with his snout– and a photo of me in diapers holding him with all my arms could stretch over. i miss him a lot, honestly. i’m not going to share the poem, ‘cause i wanna edit it lots (and maybe submit it somewhere?), but it’s good, i promise

i’ve been talking about a lot of random stuff here. i kind of wish it was less rambly, but it’s alright. i’m going to give myself permission to post shorter blogs with random topics and not feel like everything has to be a thoughtful essay, so hopefully you’ll hear from me again soon(er)

alright. make some reasonable new year’s resolutions you can actually follow through on. i hope you’re well, reader

- xalli

ambition shouldn't be such a cold word / 12-25-23
i've been putting this blog off for a while know. i can't say quite why. it's that same feeling that you get when you open a new journal-- assuming you're like me in this way. you would think that the feeling goes away after posting enough blogs, but i guess not. i bet it doesn't help that i've had ideas of what i want to write about here for a little while now-- makes the possibility of fucking it up somehow feel even more real

i'm not really sure where to start, to be honest. i've been listening to a couple playlists on repeat lately-- one with some slow punk rock & grunge and another with really fast, hardcore punk rock. as i'm writing this, though, i'm listening to x's los angeles. it's one of my favorite albums recently. i love angry punk, but i feel like their voices in this album give me something close to anguish and it's so fucking cool

to be honest, the album feels kind of country to me, too? i don't know how to describe it-- it's just kind of adjacent in energy to amythyst kiah and other artists like her in my eyes

side tangent: it makes me sad that people so readily discard country as a genre. i think people forget it has roots in labor movements and revolutionary thinking and, like most amerikan music, was stolen from Black and poor people. i wish people would take a chance and listen to actual country instead of just rich white men cosplaying as blue collar before saying they hate it. if i didn't know better, hating country as a default would feel a little classist. hm...!

anyway, i also made a fairly weird playlist, recently-- for a class of mine, actually. it's one of those playlists that does Not work if you listen to it out of order, and i can't quite tell if i like it honestly, but it's definitely interesting. i called it break out the box (something something liberation something revolution and community). here's the link if you want it

i'm liking this poem i wrote about the playlist cover [also for the class] much more than i like the playlist for now. it's not the most polished, but i really just love how i played with enjambment in it. pretty proud of it, especially for a five minute poem. this is it-- very untitled at the moment:

i choose a playlist cover–
palestinian freedom fighters,
reading mao, all lined up
side by side, brothers
in arms, wishing:
they were just
brothers, wishing:
for a calm day to drink,
eat: every good food they know,
but they miss living more,
wishing for loving
that doesn’t mean mourning–
fighting; knowing it can be,
knowing this does not need
to be the end, knowing
that we have nothing to lose
but our chains and the dead
that would die– we would mourn–
anyway, and that we will be free
if it’s the last thing we will ever be

i'm finding it hard to really feel the holidays right now, with this ongoing genocide weighing so heavily on our world's shoulders. it's painful in so many ways. i found this instagram post, though, about feeling more as opposed to feeling better, and it's guiding me through. here's the link if you're interested

on a different but similar note about getting through, i started going to a new therapist with a pain psychology clinic, and it's pretty interesting. the first little assignment she gave me was to focus on positive sensations-- both internally and externally created-- and to let myself take advil if i need to. external positive sensations are easy, but finding any positive internal sensations has been weirdly hard, so i'm having to settle for neutral internal sensations

as for the advil, i usually avoid taking it because i like to try and solve the pain i'm feeling by addressing the root cause if i can (dehydration, minimal sodium intake, hunger, whatever), but i wonder if part of the reason i don't take it is pride, too. wanting to address the root cause can't account for the times i sit in bed with a headache and don't get up to do anything at all about it, you know? some sort of weird self-punishing behavior, maybe-- or i'm just exhausted and executive dysfunction-ridden. who knows?

either way, it's already surprisingly difficult, and i'm interested to see how she'll push me to do [or at least try] things differently

i've been coming back to this interesting piece about stoking the fire of our endeavors and ambitions instead of either waiting for inspiration to spike or forcing ourselves to do them despite not wanting to-- of course, here's the link in case you want to check it out

i have thoughts on the piece that i'd love to share, but i think i need to take time to really process it first. i'd love to hear any of your thoughts if you'd like to share, too, of course. the first thing that came to mind for me, though, was that i completely forgot people can actually force themselves to do things they don't have to do

one of my greatest flaws as a capitalist, if i were to be one, would be/is my absolute inability to motivate myself outside of interest in a topic. other things can totally motivate me [the need for good grades, for example, or the hope of getting something published], but i've never been someone who can really make myself just sit down and write or practice an instrument if i don't want to and there's not an external pressure

it got me thinking about how we motivate and celebrate each other and, to awkwardly bridge to another topic entirely, about the language we use when we do. in particular, i remembered two things. the first is a book called metaphors we live by written by both george lakoff and mark johnsen, which i really recommend you give a read or at least a skim. the second is how ocean vuong [whose poetry, i regret to say, i do not enjoy, though why is a topic for another time] talked about the same issue that lakoff and johnsen did when he was on late night with seth meyers

to quote him,

In this culture, we celebrate boys through the lexicon of violence. 'You're killing it.' 'You're making a killing.' 'Smash 'em.' 'Blow 'em up.' 'You went into that game guns blazing.' And I think it's worth it to ask the question: What happens to our men and boys when the only way they can valuate themselves is through the lexicon of death and destruction? And I think that when they see themselves only worthwhile when they're capable of destroying things it's inevitable that we arrive at a masculinity that is toxic.


when i think about how we fall back on pushing through the pain of finishing endeavors we're supposed to feel passion and joy toward or at least care about until we hate them, i think of this. the language of ambition and drive disregard the love that should be so integral to it all. it's sad to me that those words often bring to mind images of people working, working, working and never resting-- slaving over something to make it happen, even if it drains every bit of fulfillment from it-- becoming the tortured artist

this is coming to me as i'm writing it, but i guess that brings me back to why it was so hard to take the jump and write this blog. maintaining a blog is something i've wanted to do for a while, and even as i felt guiltier and guiltier for not posting anything, i avoided pushing through the pain of writing, waiting for inspiration. hopefully, in the future, i can learn to stoke the fire that is my will to write blog posts

i hope you're well, and taking care of yourself, and giving yourself grace where you need it

- xalli

andré makes some killer track titles / 11-18-23
andré 3000 just put out his new album, blue sun, and it inspired me to write another blog, 'cause i've been meaning to and putting it off at the same time, not feeling quite creative enough or inspired enough or like the vibe was exactly perfectly right. but anyway, i'm here now, and that's what matters most

my instinct is to say that not much has been going on for me, but that's not true, so i don't know why i want to say it. i think there's something in me that wants things to be chill and stable and unchanging, as much as i do love change for a lot of reasons. i think i crave the energy (maybe better described as lack of exhaustion) that comes with 'nothing new', even if it means stagnation and boredom and that dread-full kind of exhaustion

things have been falling into place for me a little bit more, though. standardized tests are going my way. normal exams are going my way. i cleaned my desk & a little organizer cart and did a month worth of executive dysfunction laundry. i'm getting ahold of myself a little more. i have fall break starting tomorrow, and i feel open and ready to both get things done and be gentle with myself, waking up when i need to and taking each day nice and slow

it's sort of weird to feel the entire first half of this semester come to a close. everything is going so fast, but it feels so slow at the same time. time has always been weird like that. i remember being in fifth grade and noticing that the years were starting to go faster, but the months still felt slow, and the weeks and the days differed in how fast or slow they felt. i guess it makes sense, though-- every year we live, a year is a smaller and smaller portion of our total lived experiences, so it starts feeling shorter and shorter and shorter. i wonder if a year ever starts to pass you in the true blink of an eye

for now, years are still slow-- relatively, at least-- and i've been enjoying learning to code in java more than most other things i'm doing, though learning to play bass guitar is almost tied with it. it'll probably be tied with it once i actually have an amp (which is a nice one i treated myself too as an 'early christmas gift' because i got my bass itself from a friend for the grand price of Free and had some money to spare). so far, bass is way easier on my body than guitar ever was. my wrists don't get shooting pains and so stiff they can barely move from it, at least

i'm really enjoying playing disco elysium and kaycee's mod of inscryption, too, but they also kind of melt my brain. it's a lot of mental energy to put into a screen, especially on top of all the time i spend on 'classwork' and 'homework' (they really are just the same thing disguised as separate) and writing and figuring out my life via email and google calendar and whatnote and canvas. i prefer spending more passive energy on my screen, like listening to podcasts or video essays or long, well produced narrated scary stories by dark somnium while i do other things

right now, i'm listening through blue sun and That Night In Hawaii When I Turned Into A Panther And Started Making These Low Register Purring Tones That I Couldn't Control ... ShҰt Was Wild is on, which is definitely one of my favorite titles off the album. Ants To You, Gods To Who ? and Ninety Three 'Til Infinity and Beyoncé are decently close seconds, though

it's a bit of a weird release, but i knew that and was expecting it. i think i just expected something a little more hip hop/jazz experimental and not like... ambient electronic nature music. not complaining, though-- it's sick as fuck

andré is reminding me that there are so many beautiful things in my life right now, and i'm endlessly grateful. the world has given me so much-- though much on the backs of others who've not been so lucky, which inspires a new sort of passion and anger and love for them, too. the joy of every day is an odd feeling, though. grappling with the occupation of and genocide in Palestine while sitting in class and making myself pasta and going to birthdays feels so confusing and disjointed. it's like i'm torn between too mental worlds

Palestinians are my brothers and sisters, and i can see them in my parents and my friends and the children i've yet to have. they're family, and the pain i can hold in my heart for them is only so much-- but then what is that to the pain they have to hold? so i resolve to hold it in my lungs and stomach and thighs and throat. it's a sort of weight that i carry with me through life. i guess that's grief

it's not a net negative on me, though. it's important to me to feel that anger and that grief-- especially when i can do something good with it. it means i'm still feeling things-- that i haven't allowed the world to jade me yet. i'm thankful for those feelings, however painful

i don't know how to feel in general, though. it's like i'm a small volcano of a person just full to the brim and erupting with magma-amalgam feelings. i don't even know if it's helpful to make sense of them all as i let them spill forward

here are some resources on the history of and current events in Palestine, if any of you are on the fence about the status of this genocide or know someone who is: i hope you all are well and being kind to yourselves and resisting

wishing the world boundless empathy and a free palestine, from the river to the sea

- xalli

white men moshing & other thoughts / 10-01-23
i went to a concert last night-- alice bag, the weirdos, and the avengers + allison wolfe from bratmobile as a special guest-- and it was absolutely fantastic. alice, who i went to the concert for, had so much energy and radiated this intensity, anger, and passion that blew me away. i felt so wonderfully connected to everyone there, and i also got some sick merch, too. a zine, short book of hers, cassette, and enamel pin-- the first two of which she signed for me and told me i had such a cool name as she wrote it

i met a really sweet older indigenous guy near the start of the show, too, who was ecstatic that 'youngsters' like us were keeping the scene alive, pulled me to the front so i could see during bag's set, and, according to my girlfriend, kept pointing to me from behind when she looked for someone in the crowd to point the mic toward. he made my night, to be honest

it wasn't all good, though, because of course it wasn't. my girlfriend and i joined the mosh pit during the second set (bag's set!), n it was wonderful at first-- mostly women, some gnc people, and poc. i was angry and joyful, and it felt so connecting and cathartic. but slowly, more white skater boys filled in and started being actually violent. i got a genuine punch to the stomach that didn't hurt much, but really shocked me, and suddenly i didn't feel safe or connected at all-- just a bit scared and like i might be in danger. i heard later that another girl got an even worse & more painful punch

during the last band (the headliner, who definitely shouldn't have been headliner... alice bag is cooler, sorry!), my girlfriend really wanted to go back in the pit, but she'd already gotten a little (temporarily) hurt and i had a bad feeling about it, so i asked her not to. the pit ended up being all old white men and two of them got into a full fistfight

i'm pretty glad i trusted my gut. i knew it wasn't the right crowd to mosh with anymore. it got me thinking about a lot, though. my girlfriend and i talked about how you could feel that these (clearly rich or at least pretty well-off) white guys didn't really connect with the lyrics, and just liked the angry sound and were looking for a place to acceptably be rough and violent. we could feel the drunken excitement radiating off of them as they threw themselves and others around. they aren't evil, of course, but they certainly weren't safe-feeling either. they collapsed that feeling of solidarity and connectedness, transforming the anger from collective to individual

we made light of it-- laughing about how we'll pull a riot grrrl "girls to the front" type thing and say no white guys in the pit when we start playing shows, dancing aggressively together on the sidelines, n taking breaks to get water n talk about whatever

i actually went to a concert at the same venue this wednesday-- saw the wonderful dengue fever and blew my eardrums out because i forgot earplugs. weirdly enough, i wore earplugs last night and somehow still got temporary tinnitus afterward. anyway, dengue fever was fantastic, too. visceral in a different way, i'd say, because with them, i felt more joy and playfulness

i don't usually go to shows this much, but i'm hoping i stick with it, to be honest. they're such beautiful ways to connect with music/art in general and other cool people

other than that, i've not been up to much. my life has been mainly schooling, writing, and sleeping with some occasional fun things out of the house. i'm oddly stressed at the moment, but it should die down in mid-late october as i finish a lot of work i've been doing

i am doing more cool things ! though they're still slightly stressful. i wrote a piece for an lgbt blog feature i'm a part of at a lit mag i work at, and i've begun working on a long form zine about body & identity. obviously, i've been going to concerts, too

i'm reading a few books at once right now-- mainly tell me how it ends by valeria luiselli, oreo by fran ross, pipe bomb for the soul by alice bag, and of course a disability history of the united states by kim e. nielsen for a class. i also finally put up a couple book reviews on storygraph for the books i read before these, though the reviews aren't my proudest ones

here are some links to stuff i mentioned above & other things i think are worth sharing/you might like: i think that's all i have to say for now. i hope you've enjoyed all the things i've shared and that you're doing really well !

wishing you a not-so-stressful and very joyful time this october

- xalli

i wish it really felt like a desert here / 09-12-23
i live in a desert, and i love it, but i wish it really felt like one sometimes. i love california to death. as much as i want to leave as soon as i can, i know i want to come back, too. i love how california has so many selves. it's the coast and the mountains and the desert and the woodlands and the grasslands and the redwoods. every 100 miles is different from every other hundred miles

i think that echoes me, a little. i've never felt like one thing. i talked about it before-- being bi, polyamorous, multi-faith, multi-racial, 2spirit, etc. torn between worlds. i've always tried to label myself in some way or another. i like fitting into something

i try to be punk or i try to be however people imagine a pisces should be or i try to be cunning and flirty or whatever other weird aesthetic-personality box i can think up. and recently, i've let myself be everything, and started flowing between these different "me"s effortlessly

i can't think of it as my person changing. it's not me becoming something else. the something else i'm morphing into is already part of me. the chrysalis is a pretty used metaphor, but it's true. animals.howstuffworks.com says that during metamorphosis, "much of the body breaks itself down into imaginal cells, which are undifferentiated -- like stem cells, they can become any type of cell," and i feel like i understand that in some weird way. all of the things i become were already me, somehow

but anyway, i was talking about california, and the desert, and how we're more of a concrete desert than a real one-- except not really, because it's beautifully green here, but none of it is native greenery, and everything feels imported. there are very few places in the city where i feel like california is really made of california. it can be beautiful, of course, but it's not here

makes me think of invasive species, and how they aren't inherently bad, but destructive because they're not where they should be. harmful to themselves and others, both, y'know?

when i went to utah, everything felt very utah. it probably isn't, to an extent, and i'm sure a lot of my perceptions of it are because i'm an outsider, but i felt the mountains in the city. i felt the lakes and the harsh wind and the brush at my heels while i walked through the streets to get myself fitted for some new rental snowboarding boots

i feel the same way in a lot of the southwest-- excluding vegas. fuck vegas. i hate that godforsaken city. i'm sure there's something good to be found, there, but goddamn. sodom and gomorrah incarnate, i swear

but i don't know. i still love it here. it just makes me feel weird sometimes, when i think of what all this should really look like

i started listening to a podcast recently. i don't know how long the interest will last-- i've never been very good at keeping up with podcasts. it's a hard thing to do, listening to one while doing something else, and i don't feel like i have the time or attention span to just listen to a podcast. maybe that's something i should work on, but i don't know if that should be a priority right now

anyway, the podcast is called unwell, a midwestern gothic mystery. it seems really fucking sick and i really wanna listen ! i hope i stick with it

also started listening to some really cool sista grrrl artists. favorites atm are honeychild coleman and tamar-kali (of course) and then trash kit, queen crescent, and big joanie-- who i'd already been listening to and Adore ! you should listen to their cover of cranes in the sky (originally by solange) if you haven't

this is pretty long, now, so i'll end it and say goodbye, now. talk to me, though ! my contacts are in the 'about' section on here. tell me how you are. go on a rant. say something. hopefully i can write more often

wishing you joyful little moments that make your week

- xalli

working the summer / 08-12-23
i'm finally done with my long, wonderful, exhausting break, 2 months of which (aka most of it) were filled with work with the national parks service out in boston. i worked with kids for the majority of the time, like i've explained, and reflecting on it feels odd. there's so much to think about

we worked with YMCAs to make the camp programs happen, so i was expecting a more... privileged demographic, i guess. i sort of realized, though, that during the school year, every kid who comes does so because their parents can afford to get them there and back home and to activities, but during the summer, the YMCA is free childcare for those who can't take care of them or put them somewhere more expensive or specialized, so of course it's going to look a little different !

i loved the kids we worked with, though. of course, there were the really mean kids, and then there were the sweethearts, like a girl who was insistent that i come back to celebrate my february birthday with her and told me she wanted to be like me, and a girl who told me my name was pretty and was incredibly excited to make friendship bracelets with me during a rainy day plan, even though she couldn't do more 'exciting' things

but then it got a little harder sometimes, 'cause at every YMCA there were a few kids with developmental, trauma, and communication disorders, and giving them special attention wasn't easy to manage, but it was more than worth it

i got to watch a sweet little kid happily chase a ladybug and yell excitedly about his new water bottle with us and not be shamed for it and i got to sit with a kid who had severe shut downs & anger issues and just ride it out with him, and then there was a boy who was absolutely terrified of boats, but felt confident enough to try going onto a stationary historical one once i gave him the option to sit it out and answered some questions

it wasn't an easy job by any means, and i probably wouldn't do it again, in all honesty, but it was such a good experience to have

of course, i got to do some things outside of work! i checked out colleges for a few weekends-- brown university, MIT, and wellesley college in particular ! they were all so interesting in their own ways, though brown is my dream school and seeing providence and the campus in person solidified that

i didn't realize that it was common for universities to have their own museums, though! it just wasn't something i'd ever consider, despite being a very good idea & opportunity to display what they're all about

now for some lists of cool things i got because my weakest trait is being a total consumerist, even if i buy almost solely from small businesses

in providence, i checked out this little bookstore (which had a tip jar for the bookstore cat's dental surgery) and got these few things: i also got to spend a weekend in new york with a close friend of mine, too and we had a wonderful time! i got so many cute small things with them, including: i've ALSO continued going to good restaurants, and got to have some amazing dishes like these: finally, i added to my cassette collection! anyway, all in all, boston was pretty wonderful. it was super rough to not have a solid routine outside of work because i was so exhausted, though, which makes me real happy to be back home. i think being there and experiencing the weather & vibes & atmosphere made me realize that the west coast is very much my home !

i love the southwest with all of me, as much as i want to get out of here for a while and set up shop somewhere else for a bit. i'm happy to be back and excited for my classes this semester, though. it's all tough ones, and i think it'll go well

this is incredibly long, but oh well !

i'm going to rest now, i think

wishing you a wonderful start to whatever new era, small or large, you might be beginning

- xalli

conjunctions & recently / 07-06-23
the last week or so has been really nice !

i feel like not much has been going on, but i don't know if that's actually true, or if i've just gotten into enough of a routine that the cool stuff feels like it blends into the background

work has been really lovely. i adore my team, and it's so nice to interact with the public ! we tabled at a little fourth of july fair and taught people how to make rope (+ some friendship bracelets and paracord bracelets), and it was so much fun to make so many little kids and even adults so happy

i met these really sweet old lesbians when a stud and her butch approached a little set up we had (and i was manning) that taught people how to tie some common sailor's knots and had rope to practice with. the stud tied a clove hitch faster than any white guy or little kid with too much pride to ask for help that i'd seen, surprising and impressing her butch who remarked that she was really good at that

when the stud started untying the knot for the next person, her butch walked away, and she leaned over and told me that "people doubt your skill set." it was obviously playful toward her butch, but there was still some genuine feeling under it. i felt like she was reminding me that i need to be sure of my skills, 'cause everyone else will doubt that i have them

it was a quick interaction, and i wish i'd had more. i grew up with a lot of support around my queerness, but i still feel so lost in some ways. i wish i had a bigger community of queer elders, y'know? we have so much to learn from them

anyway, during the evening on the 4th, my dad and i took a small boat out onto the river to watch fireworks and eat snacks and listen to music. we've never been big 4/7 celebrators, but it was honestly a very nice way to spend the holiday night

we didn't stay out too long, either, since i had work the next day, but it was more than enough to enjoy ourselves

i'm not sure what else has been going on. i got onto mastodon a week or two ago, but i only started really using it recently, when a post of mine musing about how community feels hard to really create on mastodon got a weird amount of attention. it's actually surprisingly lovely, though it has a bit of an older (and tech-based) userbase. people actually interact & encourage & show care for one another. it's refreshing and nice

i miss my dog (athena) a lot, being away from home. i'm not someone who misses things or people or whatever a lot throughout the day-- i tend to be pretty focused on whatever i'm doing/is happening-- but when i think about things, it makes me a little sad that i can't snuggle athena

she's such a needy little sweetheart, and i miss her bodyweight across my chest

exploring the city has been a really cool experience. i always thought i'd hate east coast architecture, and don't get me wrong, it's certainly not my favorite, but i like it surprisingly more than expected. it looks less dull than in the photos, i guess

seeing all the incredibly old, beautiful architecture like cool churches with tall spires with huge skyscrapers filling the sky behind them is so cool to me. the conjunction of history and modernity makes me think about a lot

there's so much that's different between here and where i'm from. i never hear people speaking european languages back home. i barely ever see any indians back home, either. the dogs are all small here. the accents are so cool and different. it all throws me off, but in a good way. i like noticing things, and i hope that i'll build the habit of noticing things around here enough that it'll transfer when i go back home

i've always considered myself observant and perceptive, but i feel especially so, here

i want to submit to a zine-type-thing this month, so i might post some drafts and definitely the final poem here if i do ! it's gonna be at least vaguely about wolves, as the theme of the zine requests, so... look forward to that, i guess !

i hope all y'all are doing wonderfully. please feel free to share any thoughts or tell me about how you're doing !

sending well wishes & worthwhile (ad)ventures

- xalli

staying in chinatown / 06-27-23
i flew into this new city on friday, and i've been exploring a lot. i'm here for a summer job as what's basically a camp counselor but with the national park service and i'm so excited for it, honestly. we've only just started planning this week and next week is our first time with the campers, which will be so, so fun

anyway, i've had the most amazing food & drinks here ! i'm going to share some of my favorites: i've been so pleasantly surprised by the world out here, idk ! east coast cities are so different from west coast ones. it's so much less.. gritty, i guess. it's weirdly safe and clean here, like a slightly less planned downtown disneyland. i was walking back from dinner with my family earlier and got struck with the realization that i think everything looks much more chill and homey here because strip malls aren't really a thing here, and they're so essential to the structure of the west coast (and LA especially). plus, there aren't really billboards here

it's really interesting, honestly. i love the west coast because it's my home, but there's a lot about the east coast that makes me go Damn ! Alright !

i decided to leave my cassettes & my player back home which i'm a little sad about, now. i just got a ton of cool cassettes and i'm really hoping to get more (there's this online shop that's selling uncurated boxes of 24 cassettes for $20 and it's got me... very interested). right now, i Think this is the full (small) list of cassettes that i have: maybe i'll find some more in some thrift shops or whatever around here... i would be so hyped, to be honest ! i know i have music on my phone and all, but it's not the same as sitting down with a cassette and melting into the sound and hearing the scratchy static in the distant background and knowing the music is being forced to make itself right there in your hands (or in the cassette player, i guess)

that's actually the same reason i really love ceramics/pottery. hopefully i can actually learn that eventually !

on another note, i'm honestly really excited about having this platform. there's something wonderful about getting to create your own little space on the internet and let others find it and find other spaces, too. i should probably get ready to sleep now because i have work tomorrow and i would rather not be exhausted for it

anyway, goodnight, everyone ! or good morning, or good afternoon, or good evening. i hope you're doing alright

sending warmth & hearth

- xalli

prologue / 06-10-23
this feels like writing on the first page of a new notebook. i don’t really know what to write or how to start, and i have this looming feeling that i’m going to mess it up somehow

i have a feeling my posts here are going to look like i made a post that’s just a ton of twitter drafts, but oh well! i’m not very good at sticking to one topic or one… anything, really

i want to say it’s kind of a problem, but i know that’s not true, because it’s honestly something i value a lot about myself. it’s just hard. it’d be a lot easier to be just one thing and feel like i know myself. i mean— i do know myself, quite deeply actually, but being bi, polyamorous, multi-faith, multi-racial, gender-full, etc messes with your head a little. sometimes it feels like you’re just always going to be torn between endless worlds

i think that’s okay, though. i think i might not be torn, but inhabiting them all. or i’m trying to feel that way

some more stuff i want to do with this website: speaking of which, you’re all free to contact me anytime ! my contact info is on my about page. i want to talk to y’all

i’m a bit giddy to have this little corner of the internet. i know if i showed my family or anything, they’d laugh at how ridiculously over the top it is to make your own website as a teen, but i think that’s good. i want out of the for-profit hellhole that is so much of social media, now. i want connection and new perspectives and passion and joy and a lot less pointless fighting

hopefully this platform and others can help me find that. i’m excited to explore this and figure shit out

sending y’all good omens & new open doors

- xalli