#50: When December Ends

The month, and indeed the year, is drawing to a close. I can still remember the beginning, but it’s passed. Life continues.

For me, this has been a year of many emotions and many realizations. I’ve remembered to love myself, I’ve forgotten how to again, and then finally learned how painful it can be to do what’s best for yourself. The most important thing to remember is that the person you spend the rest of your life with is you, as I look toward my future I see the absence of someone who has a very important part of myself, but he too will move on, and our lives will prosper to be all that they can be.

The end of the year finds me contemplative, thoughtful, and solemn. My blog has been a place of truth, and truly a place of pain these last couple of months. I am proud of it because it shows truth, and never is an artist more at peace than when what he creates shows the truth.

The new year begins on a rough note for me, but I believe there are good things to come.

I received some very nice Christmas presents. From my mother, a load of clothing, including four new shirts, two new pairs of skinny jeans, a new pair of boots (girl boots too! Girls get all the good boots), a new hoodie, two new scarves, a new sweater, a new beanie, and new gloves. A friend allowed me to spend some of his Christmas Barnes and Noble gift card money, with which I have added to new additions to my CD collection: Goodbye Blues by The Hush Sound and Life in Cartoon Motion by MIKA. Another friend even sent me some wrapped gifts in the mail: The Great Gatspy by F. Scott Fitzgerald and Rufus Wainright’s album Release the Stars.

On that note, I’ve pretty much went music-crazy over the last few months. As CDs go, I’ve been buying them like they’re going out of style (which, when examined closely, they are). Here’s a bit of the new music that’s come my way. Two albums by Flyleaf, a metal band that refute the label of “Christian rock,” whose songs are filled with truth and a lot of pure emotion. It’s no surprise that a lot of people, Christian or no, find truth and meaning in their songs. I’ve also hopped aboard the Marilyn Manson express: I’ve claimed four albums from the alternative rock star and his eponymously-named band, including their newest release and their smash 90’s hit Mechanical Animals. I’ve found that while the vocals do become a little aggravating at times, the strength of their music lies in the lyrics, all penned by Manson himself. Their albums contain biting social commentary as well as loads of anghst, and provide the listener with more than just rock songs, but music that encourages reformation. The band has a name for being crude and sinister, but honestly, the songs seem to come from a place of hope and a desire for unity and love. The gruesome facade is intentional: the band showcases the demons Americans fear, and lays bare truths that Christianity would have us avoid.

I also expanded my Tori collection! Giving up on buying physical EPs, I purchased two from iTunes, including her famous cover of Smells Like Teen Spirit and her two piano suites, both of which are beautiful and go very nicely with the energy of Under the Pink. I bought her second-to-newest album, Abnormally Attracted to Sin, and I am actually very pleasantly surprised. American Doll Posse left me feeling underwhelmed, and I was afraid we’d lost the old Tori for good, but Abnormally Attracted to Sin shows Tori still in top form vocally, lyrically, and as a pianist. It’s also full of a lot of different composition styles, and in my opinion the album is a success.

I even bought Rihanna’s new album! Shock, right? Well, I’m not usually a big Rihanna fan anyway. Her new album, however, is pretty good. I’ll admit a good bit of it’s strength lies in the beautiful presentation: the album is chock full of gorgeous pictures of the newly red-haired singer rolling around half naked in beds of roses, but the music itself is nothing to scoff at. The lead single, Only Girl (In the World) is oddly minimalist, yet still hits the mark and does a great job as a dance tune. The albums opening track, S&M, is another catchy dance number, complete with naughty lyrics (the hook is “Sticks and stones may break my bones but chains and whips excite me). The most interesting thing about the new album though is to see how Rihanna’s voice has grown. I’m sorry but I’m not normally a fan of her vocals; her single Unfaithful was well-composed, but horribly performed, Rihanna’s voice sounded atrocious. However, she’s honestly grown into a powerhouse, as seen on the album’s track Complicated. She can actually hold her own now, and the often minimalist backing tracks don’t overpower her. I will begrudgingly admit to enjoying Eminem’s verse on Love the Way You Lie, part II, her followup (a la Alicia Keys) to Eminem’s hit single. I still think Eminem is homophobic, ignorant, and a big self-absorbed crybaby, but his verse, despite being riddled with more domestic violence, is still moving. There’s even a little guest appearance by rapper Nicki Minaj, who is new to the music scene but who is nonetheless hilarious.

My final present is one I’ve yet to receive: my mother finally agreed to help me purchase an iPod nano. The problem is, I wanted a refurbished 5th-generation nano, but the apple store is fresh out of them, and I’ve finally just given up and decided to get one of the new touch-screen nanos. I’m not crazy about touch-screens but I’m already getting used to the idea. I just want to finally have an mp3 player that will play all of the files I’ve downloaded and imported via iTunes.

And finally, I’d like to talk a bit about new year’s resolutions. I have actually considered closing this blog after a single year, allowing it to be a chronicle of one year in my life and choosing a new way (perhaps video?) to continue journalling, but honestly I don’t think I’m doing that right now. I may one day choose to close the blog, but honestly it’s a fun way for me to spend time, and it’s been a useful vehicle for expressing my emotions lately. I’d like to do blogs that are witty and hilarious, but honestly I can only write how I feel, and this is the first time I’ve been able to do a blog that isn’t abstract since my breakup. In the new year, I’d like to continue getting myself in shape, I know everyone vows to do that, and I may indeed fall flat on it, but I think I can do it, I’ve already lost ten pounds this year, so hopefully I can turn myself into a sexy guy-magnet by the end of the coming year! I’d also like to get some reading done: I have a lot of books on my shelf that have yet to be read, there are at least fifteen, plus the Harry Potter series (in which I’ve never progressed beyond book four), and I’d even like to dip back into A Series of Unfortunate Events, or finish the Pendragon series.

Finally, I’d like to make some real progress toward getting my life going this year. I’m talking license, job, school, car. I’ve gotten my permit renewed, so now it’s a matter of getting my license, which isn’t altogether an unachievable task, even if I have failed my driver’s license test thrice before. I need to get into school, and I now have a friend of the same age who lives in the same area as me, looking to go to the same college, so it looks like I might have a partner in all of this (I mean that in the platonic way). He even has his permit, but not his license. It’s as though fate wants us to learn to grow up together.

A bright new year, happy memories of the past, and endless opportunity in the future.

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