Hello all. Sorry I didn’t post anything last week. I happened to have started my new classes, internship and and a 2nd job at the same time, so yeah I’ve been busy. Also my friend and I had a mandatory Arts and Crafts night. Not only that, but I’m reading the third book in the series, so the internet has not been able to hold me accountable.
But it looks as though I’m in charge of the trailhead this week so this blog’s content belongs to me. Suckerssss.
I’m pretty sure I have this thing called . It’s this kind of cool thing where my brain translates non-physical things into colors. At least that seems like a really basic way to describe it. By non-physical things I mean numbers, letters, days of the week and months of the year. I’ve always seen these things in my brain as more as light and colors than anything else. My moods are also defined by colors. Sometimes when I’m really anxious the colors in my head change and nothing is okay until they turn back to normal. While I’ve never been tested for this, I’m pretty sure I have it. For the most part it’s not something that I ever think about, it’s like breathing. But I am pretty sensitive to light, time of the day and sounds.
Here’s the crux of the matter: Color is an important thing. That sounds really stupid and obvious, I know, but I’ve been thinking a lot lately about color and how different ones have really defined my parts of my life, specifically the color Red. And if anyone out there has read The Giver, you know that you have to kidnap a baby and run away from your utopia if they don’t allow you to see in color.
I grew up in small town called Cedar Springs, Michigan. I could go on and on about growing up in a rural town, but I’m going to focus specifically on Cedar Springs’s claim to fame, which is the Red Flannel Festival. Yes, that is exactly what it sounds like. I always refer to Cedar Springs as the Red Flannel Underwear Capital of the World. I don’t actually know if this is true, but I find that saying it adds more flavor to things that I say.
Red Flannel Day is the first Saturday in October. It includes things like bed races, lumberjack contests, tractor pulls, Red Flannel Queen Contests and a parade. It’s like any other quaint, home-town festival, I suppose.
Except that it’s not.
If you don’t wear Red on Red Flannel Day you get arrested by the Keystone Cops. And then you have to pay a dollar to get out of jail.
Okay, so they’re not real cops and it’s not real jail, but try to tell that to a 6-year-old whose mother doesn’t own any Red Clothing; i.e. me when I was 6.
I know that this all sounds ridiculous, and you would be 100% correct about that.
You may be surprised to know that I spent a lot of my life hating Cedar Springs. Or maybe you’re not.
Unlike many other people I grew up with, my parents did not originate from Cedar. I lived there from the ages of 5 to 18 and always felt like an outsider. Even as a child I knew on some primeval level that Cedar Springs was the worst. It took me a long time to get over that. I have also come to realize that most people hate their high school experience. That is not unusual. I think the only people who like high school are the people from Glee. (I don’t know if that’s true, I’ve never seen Glee).
Also, when attending the festival is mandatory because you have to march in the band, it makes it all the more repulsive.
The other thing that I’ve figured out is that it’s okay that I don’t belong in Cedar. I’ve often felt resentful of the people who have never left, thinking of them as culture-less, rednecks who are afraid of trying new things. That is not a nice thing to think or say.
Maybe this resentment is jealousy that plays out because I often feel so aimless.
Speaking of, this post is getting sort of aimless, and I think it’s going to continue heading in that direction.
Here’s the semi-happy ending. Last fall I attended The Red Flannel Festival. For the first time in forever, I was excited to go. I was eager to see old friends and show my finance’ that I was not making anything up. I wore a lot of Red and had a nice time.
After some of my adventures, I’ve learned that Cedar Springs was not the worst place to grow up. While I am not and will not ever be a country girl, I now appreciate the simple freedoms that rural life has to offer. Hating living there also eventually propelled me to join , which happens to be another experience that is utterly covered in Red. Because of City Year, I am writing in this blog, so all’s well that end’s well.
Hopefully the picture below makes sense now. This post wouldn’t let me have them together and I am not savvy enough to figure out why.
I’m going to tell you a story. When I first started working in the public school system, I felt pretty good physically. I felt refreshed in the mornings and was happy to be a part of something very important by the end of the day. When I got home, I smelled like sweat and cafeteria but I was proud. My pants would have some pen marks on them from when students would try to write on me when I wasn’t looking. I wasn’t angry; I wore it like a badge.
A few months went by and I started to become physically tired and homesick. I was spending the same number of hours at work as I was at my apartment, a twelve-hour split. I would wake up angry about how horrible some of the conditions are and arrived back at my place numb. I began to cherish the weekends more.
One friday in mid-October, I came directly home and went to bed. Fuck going out to the bars. I didn’t know how people had the energy. Upon waking up around noon on saturday, I made breakfast and then decided to take a nap. I was awake for no longer than forty-five minutes. I woke up later that day around 8 p.m. confused, frustrated, groggy, and melancholy that I had wasted a full day. I had no idea what to do with myself. The longing to be home in Kentucky was almost unbearable and I decided to leave my basement apartment and walk around the neighborhood with my camera. This resulted in roughly 70 photos that perfectly encompassed my mood. It made me feel much better. Sometimes it is difficult for me to express how I feel. It usually all comes out in a scramble of words and noises. Conversations with friends sometimes feel like packages filled with puzzle pieces from different puzzles.
The result turned out completely surreal, hence why I left the pictures in color from my usual preference for black and white. Everything seemed fake yet every problem seemed so very real. It was something that at the time, I could not have possibly translated into words and looking back at these photos now, I realize that the initial feeling was completely preserved in the strange colors, focuses, and angles of these shots. The following are some of my favorites. I hope you enjoy/understand.