Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blog Move...

For those who are unaware, but have devotedly continued to follow this blog (despite substantially lags in content lately), I'm somewhat proud to announce that I've developed a website that displays all of my various interests and ambitions, including my blog.

If you want to continue to follow my blog, please go to my website at

The blog will be on the main page, and just as this blog is, it is also accessible through rss feed update. I hope you continue to follow along, and if you're on facebook, you can also find continued updates here:

I hope to continue to see you all as I move towards the more professional spectrum (and corresponding representation).

Thank you all so much for investing time and interest in my writing efforts/thoughts for all this time.

See you soon.

Much love,

Victoria Meredythe

Tuesday, February 7, 2012

On "Being": The Girl With The Most Cake

"What do you want to be?" Pens scratching, inquisitive face, the interviewer asks me. Forks slicing food, relative tongues pinpointing the image of you, swallowing their dinner. College recruiters, strangers, publications, advertising - What do you want to be?

If you had asked me when I was 10, 14, or even 18, I would've told you I wanted to be a writer. I pushed towards every publication I could find, I hunted down college fairs for the right creative writing school, I edited essays over and over in my spare time, attended poetry coffeehouses and seminars, and I wanted nothing more than words.

Somewhere along the line, I got distracted - which is to say, I had to stop "wanting to be." I had to want to survive, and whatever it entailed to survive was what I wanted to be. Distracted, I'd tell therapists "I don't know," I'd tell them I could only safely plan 6 months into the future max, even more safer: 4 months or less. I'd have panic attacks upon staying in one town for too long. I didn't trust a good day (surely the sinister ending would come). I'd put words on paper, I'd road trip, I'd push through college, I'd find a job, I'd struggle (and still do struggle) with financial security. I interchanged pills and specialists and those who projected onto me all their ideas of my potential.

Tongue in cheek, I'll now say "I'm working towards my PhD in psychology" I think.

I didn't mean to end up here - I remember in high school when I said I'd never enter the field of psychology/social work/human services, declaring I was too fucked up to help anyone else safely, petrified of hurting others in the process of my own healing. I remember when I was in elementary school and the biggest career preoccupation I had was with singing, soon enough squashed by the concept that I wasn't "good enough," that I couldn't hack the competition. I needed the safety of knowing I was good at something. I needed the safety of knowing I had a talent I could survive with... Notably, this is a dangerous concept to toy with: which of your talents, your traits, can you you really depend on to help you survive off of - would it be anything you could directly market anyway? Couldn't you argue its intuition and knowing yourself, working hard?

I shut all those switches off: I saw bills and grades and what I should be doing and a lot of netflix movies in order to shut off the panicked static of not knowing who I was or where I was or what I was doing anymore, moving in the persistent direction of "reaction, reaction, reaction," which to some people looked like intense action towards a determined destination. I'm working towards my PhD in psychology, I say tongue in cheek.

What did I always want to be? I wanted to be bigger than my surroundings, unforgettable - I wanted to be everything all at once, and I didn't want to stop. I wanted to be faster and stronger and multi-talented. I wanted to be independent and apart - I wanted to show the strength of my character through the diverse nature of my interests, through the thick line of my adapting to crises - I wanted to make chaos beautiful, I wanted to put my stressed worn-thin conflicted artistic identity out into every venue which ended up catching my interest. I wanted to be so in the thick of it that you could not tear me down even if you tried.

People could say I've lost my vision. I sense a lot of people are disappointed in my life path, the direction of my wandering. Most people who know me or meet me still believe my strength is in writing, that I'm the writer, that I should be pursuing writing - and I don't argue with these sentiments. I do, however, want to be more than these sentiments (while simultaneously acknowledging how hefty a task it is to be an accomplished, respectable fierce writer). I want to be more, I always wanted to be more - like Courtney Love, I want(ed) to be the girl with the most cake. I was demanding, I am demanding - and I believe I spent the majority of the last few years so stressed about reading, writing, and doing all the things I used to do out of great fear I could not keep up with my own expectations and would inevitably disappoint myself or others, or moreso that I could do more than I would even think of, that I could do so much I would inevitably overwhelm myself. I know most people know of me as a workaholic, and frequently, my solution to my desire to be multi-talented, faster, and stronger is to work extra hours and deprive myself of sleep while ironically acknowledging (and incredibly failing at) this concept of radical self-care.

In currently reading this memoir called "Manic" and thinking of conversations with therapists and late night google scrolling, what stood out most to me was this concept of mania - the sudden mood shift and frenzy of doing things, the fast talking and the compulsive need to do things and exert energy and be everywhere at else, the unceasingenergypulsingdesperateneed to avoid sleep. I think of how many nights have fallen upon me like this, I think of my general energy, my identity - how, even in my worst depressions, I could not stop wanting to be, always interested in being _________.

As I shift my studies in Goddard College to the concept of identity construction, I know I must bunker down and study my own beginnings, my desires, my foundational concepts that keep me running. I want to be the girl with the most cake: I want to be a body whole, I want to be a mind furnished, I want to be the personality that does not go away, I want to be the books that influenced me, I want to be the people I admire and the people I regret losing, I want to be the idols I never met and the person I charted out and changed all throughout my life, I want to be that force that blurs the lines and forces you to acknowledge the truths of being, labels aside; I want to be all my years of learning, and I want to be relentless in my learning the value of these years, and then some.

I like to think of Fiona Apple, churning the anthem "Here it comes, the better version of me." Tongue in cheek, vague smirk, but no, really:

I want to be an extraordinary machine.

Saturday, January 14, 2012

Under the Bridge

[Entry started 12/13/11 ]

I've stopped writing, and upon further considering this matter, I find myself hitting the reflection of how this fragment of myself serves as such a larger piece of truth: mistrust of surroundings/perceptions/reality. I would not say that nothing inspires me anymore, but perhaps I've dissociated from the idea of expression, the thought of being burned without the knowledge of foresight? As if studying books and over-experiencing different forms of sorrow had burned me out on this conjunct analytical-sensitive combination where everything hits and then dulls immediately. Where silence remains this vast landscape of my dialect, nothing pushing forward except the processing and recognition of patterns, seeing events fall into place as you guessed. Knowing that bodies have rhythms, and people are a sum of the events that made them (in every sense of that phrase), watching interactions and phrasing, treating life like a hypothesis you are out to prove: congratulations, you guessed right again. It makes me think: maybe I'm asking the wrong questions, not enough questions, maybe I'm repeating the question over and over again in hopes of getting a different answer (but really, getting nowhere). If I have nothing left to say about this life I'm living, if I acknowledge these are the patterns that remain consistent, if I'm running out of answers which I have not heard before, where does this place me?

If the items change, but the struggles remain the same, does a "survivor" ever evolve from just "surviving"?

What does survival look like when liberated from the terms of its oppressor? In firm desire to disenfranchise this oppressive system, do you inherently became part of the game that trapped you, always carrying the sliver of its anger? Where does the body lie when there is no rest?

[ Entry continued 1/14/12 ]
I waver upon the thin line, making goals and goals again - I catch the breath in my chest. I once worked with a Rolfer (Structural Integration) who said I breathe as if I'm consistently having an anxiety attack. I think of the times blacking out in my own skin, lining the ceiling and the walls, the blank spots that could contain a rambling mind. This was not the person I wanted to be, cringing at touch - somehow, it ended up being the person I became: splintered and searching. It has been five years past a time where I can identify a new person forming, one who grew more alive and more jaded, finally touching the edges of feelings that could only be based upon an otherwise blurred continent, a firmament that fell upon the idolization of future for escape of an indecipherable, heavy present. At age 14, going to college conventions. Throughout high school, tenaciously the writer - poetry slams, poetry publications, "most likely to publish a book" attached to my name, "the writer", the creative writing major hopeful, the straight-A-paradoxical-down-with-public-education shined shoes applicant: I believed in a precise knowing I could not yet grasp. Similar to most of my high school (and current) friends, I felt more wise than my age could bear, despite the not-knowing of emotional phrasing. I think writing and reading captured me for this reason.

And somehow, throughout the years, I stopped planning. I became disenchanted. I changed into a person who shucked away the hopes I had once contained, settled myself into a reality that determined itself based upon the breaths I was not taking, adopting a philosophy of taking life only 6 months at a time (maximum), roving streets amongst cigarettes and nightlights. In and out of states (mentally and physically), I flipped the switch of my personality rapidly, unable to be held - perhaps the way I felt most safe. I have frequently expressed my love for White Oleander and somehow have find myself rotating and fixating upon the quote

"Everybody asks why I started at the end and worked back to the beginning. The reason is simple. I couldn't understand the beginning until I had reached the end. There were too many pieces of the puzzle missing, too much she would never tell. I could sell these things. People want to buy them. But I'd set it all on fire first. She'd like that. She'd make it just to burn it. I couldn’t afford this one, but the beginning deserves something special. But how do I show that nothing, not a taste, not a smell, not even the color of the sky has ever been as clear and sharp as it was when I belonged to her? I don’t know how to express that being with someone so dangerous was the last time I felt safe."

I couldn't put words to my abuse, sobbing through trainings, clinging to friends as equally traumatized, slipping out of happiness, through prescription medications, drifting from classes into repeated absences. When I left college and entered "the work force," "the real world," I carried a very persistent fear I would not be able to hold down a job, an internal monologue that perseverated around how unstable I had been in prior years, how frequently I moved, how the running persisted despite the knowledge of where I was coming from. I ended up in graduate school despite the fact I frankly did not want to.

Although my attention span for graduate school is somewhat stagnant and sporadic and anxiety provoking (I somewhat seriously attest that undergraduate education traumatized me - but in graduating in 3 years at 44 credits in my last year, I am partially to blame), I began to hone down the definitions of what had been silently irking me for years. I am now on my second semester after an extended first semester wherein I had initially decided to enter the "Transformative Language Arts" program under the premise of studying writing therapy for sexual assault survivors, essentially an extension of studies I began independently through my undergraduate career (notably with a self-constructed major in Creative Writing and Social Change, and self-developed senior seminar in Feminist Sociolinguistics). Yet, I found myself more deviating towards domestic violence as I wrote draft upon draft of my study plan. Both sexual assault and domestic violence served as these immensely important ideas to me: I could not yet find a way to incorporate both concepts I seemed to fall upon - the idea of a mind/body dissociative split so associated with sexual assault, and the concept of "lost home"/mistrust/abandonment of family structure/gross characterization of inappropriate roles. I fumbled through my first semester (and dropped the concentration), ending it firmly, realizing what stuck with me most throughout both studies was the idea of identity formation in response to trauma/biology/environment/etc., the idea of a silence lost in the static of forced change, the strategic misplacement of self through perpetual adaptation. Perhaps defying genetics (or working in conjunction with), we find the fascinating formula of personality - picking apart my own bias, a grown white middle class girl now surrounded with low-level wages, a new legal name, an attempted restraining order against a family member, $50k in college debt, an outreach worker with an ever-stable job with ambitious promotion, graduate student, 22, spending all my free time being a self-prescribed (and socially recognized) workaholic. I am almost who I was in high school, but radically different. And I wonder perhaps, in the misplacement of my writing persona, I adapted one that needed to find the words I was living and implement them into the structure of my livelihood, expanding my life into experience I can help others with, pinning myself down to the study of my own identity creation, remembering to fight for the worth of the positive people I do have in my life. The words lost themselves in the significant ambition towards the creation of a being that could subsist on its own, still catching itself forgetting to breathe, being told to be 22 when I frequently forget.

I imagine Astrid of White Oleander, packing the identity shifts of her life into suitcases, wringing out the fervid waters of emotional adaptation, slipping an artistic lens onto the pain of forced transition, moving from one home to the next, cutting down the sky into something the hands can manage, carving the words from the base of her reality into a manageable image: packing her life into neat containers, giving chaos only a small space to breathe before she lets go, no longer trapped by the gross generalization of the present.