Growing up

...now browsing by category

 

Assumption

Monday, February 22nd, 2010

The kindest thing that anyone could ever do for me would be to do my taxes*.

As of this weekend, that makes my dad the nicest person on the planet.

But here’s a word to the wise, my friends: do not just assume that you are going to get a tax refund, and then go out and order a brand new, gigantic couch, assuming that the purchase will be partially reimbursed once April 15 rolls around.

Oh no.  Never assume.

For the first time in my life, I owe.

– – – – – – – –

And speaking of assumptions,

the root of “assumption” is “assume,”
the root of “consumption” is “consume,”
the root of “resumption” is “resume,”
the root of “presumption” is “presume.”

The root of “gumption” is… no, it’s not.

WHY DO I LOVE STUFF LIKE THIS SO MUCH?  pleasebemyfriend.

– – – – – – – –

*Also, washing my car, rubbing my shoulders, and curing cancer.

Please tell me.

Thursday, November 12th, 2009

You know how some married people, when asked, “How did you know he/she was the right one?” answer, “I just knew”?

What does that MEAN?  What are they (you?) referring to?  And should single people be holding for it – whatever it is?

Or is it just a completely bogus statement, fabricated to placate the general relationship-befuddlement that seems to expand and swell the further we get from college?

I’m curious.

What’s been going on

Monday, November 9th, 2009

Last week, while the EP listening party was happening here on the blog, and I was steadily posting a new track each day, there was a lot happening in my life.  Like, A LOT a lot.

My mom was diagnosed with cancer – soft tissue sarcoma.  The doctors removed a mass from her hip socket; when they cut her open, it “bulged out like a zit”… or something.

I hope you’re enjoying your breakfast, by the way.

I don’t really know how to write about the phone call that I got on Tuesday night – my mom telling me that she had cancer.  I know that there were instant, uncontrollable tears on my part.  I know that I was suddenly confronted with the overwhelming fear of losing a parent – something that I have never really had to deal with before.  I know that after I hung up the phone with her, I told Greta the news, and then cried some more, because I was completely terrified and couldn’t do a damn thing about it.

But then, I stood up and blew my nose and made a grilled cheese for Julie who was coming home from work.  It was all very surreal.

On Wednesday afternoon, I found myself in a daze, throwing clothes in a bag, getting in my car and driving out of Nashville.  Have I mentioned that I do not do well with spontaneous decisions or chaotic situations?  About 30 miles out of town, I realized that I didn’t even pack a coat; my stress and anxiety levels were through the Honda roof.  But after driving 18 hours and 1200 miles, I was with my parents and all three of my siblings in Colorado Springs.

We arrived to the amazing news that her scans were clear, that the cancer had not spread.  There are no words to describe the relief – that even though the situation is serious, and cancer is evil embodied, the news was good.  I saw Mom’s 8-inch incision, and her Buzz Lightyear contraption around her hip.  We spent the weekend together as a family, stepping over the 4 dogs and eating a ton of food and talking about everything from life to death to the latest episode of “The Office.”

It was so good to be there.

Today, I point the wheel back toward Tennessee, and after an eternity of driving, will be in my own bed tonight.  I don’t really know what happens next – my parents will meet with the orthopedic oncologist this week to figure out the next steps.  There is still so much that is unknown.

But I know that I love my mom more than I could ever say.  And I know that this changes things.

co

On forgiveness

Thursday, June 11th, 2009

It’s amazing how quickly I, an alleged full-grown woman, can revert back to feeling like I did with other girls in elementary school: insecure, timid, and small.  Recently, a moment leapt out of nowhere and grabbed me by the throat, reducing me to those irrepressible tears that leave me shaky and sick to my stomach – because my feelings got hurt.

I am naturally a sensitive person, but I’m also fairly rational.  I don’t get my feelings hurt all that often – mainly because I am largely surrounded by pretty tremendous humans who rarely do or say mean-spirited things.

But when it does happen, it makes me feel so sad, and shocked, and ultimately, rejected.

How could I NOT cry?

But here is the difference between 9-year old Annie and today’s Annie: to forgive is to not let those feelings take root – even when they are justified.  To forgive is to deflect any feelings of insecurity catalyzed by those initial words.  To forgive is to let go of what is right, reasonable, and defensible – in favor of something entirely unsensible.

It’s hard work, forgiveness… but then again, isn’t it our very best option?  Isn’t it the easiest, most freeing thing we could possibly do – to simply let it go?

No one ever loses if no one is keeping score.

Growing up

Friday, June 5th, 2009

I had a thought.  It’s not much, and I don’t even know why I’m feeling it acutely these days, but here it is.

It bothers me when people use their singleness as an excuse for continued adolescence.

I don’t want to use my singleness as an excuse for continued adolescence.

That’s all.

Halcyon gone wrong

Thursday, May 14th, 2009

You know how sometimes, a long-forgotten memory will make its way to the surface for no apparent reason?  All of a sudden, the scene is playing in your mind – like a film projector on an old bed sheet, nostalgic home video remembrances of life before you knew the things you know now.

The other day, that was happening for me.  I was seeing our Dalmatian, Princess, and games on what must have been the original Apple computer, and Otter Pops from the freezer in the garage, and the orange tree in our old backyard, and trips to the Dairy Queen on our bikes, and summer nights in the backyard, and getting beaten up by the deaf girl in 1st grade…

WAIT A SECOND.

It totally threw a wrench in my gears, a hitch in my giddy-up.  I was beaten up?  In 1st grade?  By the deaf girl?

(Let it be known that these days, I would absolutely, 100% use the term “hearing impaired.”  But remember, I am being transported back to 1989, when I didn’t know anything about being politically correct.  I also didn’t know that you shouldn’t swallow toothpaste – but I digress.)

The last time I checked, I do not have multiple personalities… yet… and so I’m not quite sure how this memory got repressed for all these years only to surface two decades later.  But just like that, in the middle of my work-day, I was transported back to recess in 1st grade, on the playground at Oster Elementary, scared every single day that the deaf girl from 2nd grade was going to beat me up again.

She had pigtails.  She had hearing aids.  And she had it out for me.

I never got up the nerve to tell anyone.  I just went on being afraid every day.  And I don’t know that I’ve ever been so relieved as the day when a playground aid caught the little shrew in the act, and made sure she never touched me again.

Hey, if I was forced to re-live this story, then you can be sure that I would subject you to it, too.  What else is a blog audience for?

And two more nubbins:
–    I fly to Seattle tonight.
–    My East Nasty of the Week column will be resurrected next week.

Emma-nating

Monday, April 6th, 2009

This is the day – the day that I re-establish myself as a contributing member of society.  I am uniting myself with the ranks of the fully employed.

After 19 months of instability, I start at Emma this morning.

I have no idea what to expect – except that it’s going to be good.  Whatever it is, it’s going to be really good.  No more Temptress… you can now address me as the Permanentress.

When I moved to Nashville over a year ago (remember this day?), I was a little bit crazy in the head.  I HAD to be – because in order to do something as bold as moving across the country alone with no plan, one must be a small fraction insane.  I was treating the move as an open-ended “study abroad” of sorts, and knew that I was free to leave at any time, should I decide that Nashville wasn’t for me.  Finding work through a temp agency only supported my non-committal relationship with this city.

But now?  Now I have a real job.  A legitimate job.  An awesome job.  A job that tells me, “Hey, Annie, you should probably stick around and see where this road takes you.”  I’m really staying here for awhile.

Life is never quite what we expect, is it?

In this case, I’m glad.

Natty Gann again

Thursday, February 12th, 2009

When I was a little girl, there were a couple of movies that I watched over and over again. All of them were taped straight off TV – back when Sunday nights meant family movies on ABC, back when VCR’s had the pop-up compartment for the videotape, back when we lived in San Jose, CA.

I knew – and still know – every word (dialogue and lyric), every dance, and every nuance to “The Sound of Music.” I watched some portion of it every single day from age 4-6. I also obsessed over “Annie”; how could I not? I thought the idea of being an orphan was romantic (sorry, Mom and Dad), and the opening song, “Maybe,” remains one of my favorite melodies to this day.

And then there was a 1985 Disney film called “The Journey of Natty Gann.” I have not watched it since probably 1989, and had totally forgotten about it until about a month ago. As soon as I thought of it, I added it to my Netflix queue, and finally re-watched it last night.

I never realized how formative this movie was for me.

nattygann

Here’s the plot summary, taken from IMDB:

Natty Gann is a twelve-year old Depression era girl whose single-parent father leaves her behind in Chicago while he goes to Washington State to look for work in the timber industry. Natty runs away from the guardian she was left with to follow Dad. She befriends and is befriended by a wolf that has been abused in dog fights, hops a freight train west, and is presumed dead when her wallet is found after the train crashes. Dad gets bitter and endangers himself in his new job. Meanwhile Natty has a series of adventures and mis-adventures in various farmhouses, police stations, hobo camps, reform schools, and boxcars.

Natty Gann’s sense of adventure, fear, courage, longing for home, and love for dogs convinces me that I absorbed so much from this movie. I only wish that John Cusack had been my first kiss.

A couple of things that struck me, this time around:

  1. In 1985, a “PG” rating allowed the words “damn” and “shit.”
  2. In 1985, a “PG” rating allowed kids being hit in the face.
  3. In 1985, a “PG” rating allowed dog fights and blood.
  4. In 1985, a “PG” rating allowed sexual predators and dangerous men.

See – now you HAVE to watch it. It’s so exciting!

Go back and watch a movie that you haven’t seen since early childhood. I’m convinced that you’ll be struck with something – something deep inside of you, something formative, something that you never realized had a source.

I mean, honestly. Why else would I have a secret-yet-unsquelchable desire to name my firstborn “Fievel”?

"That woman"

Tuesday, December 16th, 2008

Quick show of hands – who here has had a crush? At some point? At any point?

You, without your hand raised: you are a liar.

If you have ever had a crush, well then. Go listen to my latest song, “Make a Mess,” on my MySpace. I feel confident in saying that I love this one. We just finished it, and I think that Josh is a sonic genius. The textures and lovely sounds that he layers on my tracks make me so happy. I have amazingly talented friends – ones who are far more gifted than I – and for that, I’m so grateful.

Speaking of songs, a few weeks ago I played a few songs at a show in East Nashville. My good friend Paul was playing, too, and so we chimed in on each other’s songs – singing harmonies and whatnot. I just got an email from Paul saying that he was talking to someone who had been at the show, and she told him, “You did a great job – and it was very nice of that woman to sing with you.”

“That woman.”

For some reason, this makes me laugh so hard! Welcome to womanhood, Annie. You’ve officially been accepted*.

– – – – – – – –

Update:
* Paul would like me to announce to the blog world that when he sent me the email relaying this woman’s comment, his exact words were, “Welcome to adulthood, you’ve been accepted.” He felt that I plagiarized him in this post – to which I reply, “So?”

Dear Annie Parsons

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Dear Annie,

Last night, your mom sent me the sweetest email. She told me that you are 13, and found my blog when you Googled your own name. I think it’s so cool that you have continued to read my posts, and that from hundreds of miles away, we are connected. It’s like I have a friend that I never knew about. If my friends Paul Zimmerman-Clayton or Elliott Eicheldinger were to Google their names, I’m pretty sure they wouldn’t find blog friends. So you and I are lucky.

First off, you have the greatest name. My parents thought about naming me Molly, but Molly Parsons sounded too much like Dolly Parton, so they went with Annie. My real name is Anne, but I’ve never been an “Anne.” In fact, I’ve decided that if I ever get married, I’m going to drop my middle name and officially change my name to Annie Parsons [Something] – that way, I can forever be called “Annie P” or “AP,” two very frequent nicknames that I’ve grown fond of.

And if I never get married, I might do it anyway: legally change my first name to “Annie.” And then maybe add some awesome name to the end, like Annie Parsons Fox or something. Or maybe I’ll just change my name to Octavia?

So, not knowing anything about you aside from the fact that you’re named Annie Parsons and you’re 13 and you read my blog, I’m wondering what it is that I could say to you — or to any other 13-year old who might happen across this post. I don’t claim to know much about this world or this life, but if I could go back and talk to myself at 13, this is what I would say.

Learn to use chopsticks. Somewhere, someday, you’ll be glad that you know how.

Read a lot of books. Books are amazing, and there are way too many good ones to ever read them all. I recommend A Little Princess and The Secret Garden and A Wrinkle In Time.

People will tell you that there’s no such thing as magic, but they’re wrong. Keep your eyes peeled for beauty. Don’t let anyone steal your imagination.

Sometimes it can be hard to be nice to the people that we love the most, but be nice to your family. Love them. If you have siblings, they can be your best friends. So can your mom. So can your dad. I didn’t realize this until after I moved away from home at 18, but I wish I had learned it sooner.

Whatever it is that you love — whether it’s piano or art or softball or ballet or whatever — keep doing it. Practice a lot. You have this window of time to learn and grow and improve, and you’ll be so thankful someday that you took the time to stretch yourself.

Try not to gossip. It might not win you popularity points, but it will win you friendship points, which are so much better.

It’s fine if you haven’t kissed a boy yet. It’s TOTALLY fine. I didn’t know that at 13 — and as I watched my friends get kissed, one by one, I started to feel like I was an ugly snail, the one that no one ever wanted. And trust me, it took me a long time to get kissed. Like, a lot more years past age 13. But then it happened, and it was great, and it didn’t matter how old I was.

And finally, things totally get better. I don’t know, Annie — you might be the most popular girl in your class, and feel confident and beautiful and completely awesome. But at 13, I sure didn’t. I felt awkward and clumsy and never knew what to say or how to be “cool.” I wanted people to like me (and yeah, of course I still do). But once I got to college, I realized that most people were starting to discover that they’d much rather hang out with those who are interesting, and kind, and uniquely themselves.

So if you’re feeling super lame today, don’t. Just keep being exactly who you are. It’s a good thing — I know it.

Love,
Annie