A Reminder to Myself

My waist is shaped
By strong ribs
That house a
Stronger heart.
It it as small
As it will ever, ever be.

These are things that I cannot change.

My fingers are
Short
Even after years of
Piano lessons
That swore
Bones will stretch
To fit your fancy.

These are things that I cannot change.

My thighs were
Carefully painted
By Titian,
Sturdy enough to hold
All the woman I am
Meant to be.

I do not always see their artistry,
Forged so far from
Mother Italy,
But I was purposefully
Thoughtfully
Lovingly made,

And these are things that I cannot change.

 

Nightmare Anatomy

I had a nightmare last night; I dreamed I was getting married to my (ex) boyfriend at a large, but humble church wedding in front of dozens of guests, including an old flame from college whom I credit with bringing out my anxiety and agoraphobia full-force. I was over the moon that it was finally happening. I flew to the altar so I could stand beside my soulmate. My eyes brimmed with joyful tears as the service began. And then, he abruptly left to smoke a cigarette while I stood there dumbfounded and ashamed. I chased after him, only to watch him be shot to death before I could reach him.

I think this is my brain’s way of dealing with my fear of dying alone save for my cat and some potted plants. Every day I see women my age, and some even younger, getting engaged and married and pregnant and giving birth, while meanwhile what I had hoped would be my last relationship for the rest of my life crumbled no matter how hard I tried to hold onto it.

When I ended things, he told me I was “giving up” because I expected a faerietale ending where we would never fight, and we’d live happily ever after. All I wanted, for lack of better words, was normalcy. We abused alcohol and drugs and each other until I accepted it was not going to get better. Sometimes, no amount of love can make a relationship work.

Even though I know I made the right decision, in my own time, I still feel like a failure. Failure lies at the root of all of my nightmares. If I started a dream journal (and I might), I’m sure at least half of them would be work related. I have dreams where my headset stops working or I can’t get my computer to work while I have a claimant on the phone constantly. Even better, I still have nightmares about when I worked at Five Below of a similar nature, and I haven’t worked there since 2015.  You’d think maybe that taking anti-anxiety medication before bed would alleviate some of my constant fear of fucking up, but it’s done very little. Even after seeing statistics telling me I am one of the highest performers both in my company and on my team at the office, I still panic.  I had chest pains every day for a week in December and it took concentrated breathing exercises when I feel the first twinge of pain to keep them in check.

I wish I was a calm, confident person who wasn’t afraid of being an unlovable failure. And I’m hoping someday I can get there. But for now, I need to learn how to live with these nightmares and figure out what they’re trying to tell me.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Back in the swing of things

Nice to see you again, my few but much loved readers! I’m sorry for my absence; at this point I’m sure this has become expected, but I still apologize for the length of my inactivity. Life got ahead of me, and now it’s suddenly August. Where did the year go?

If you spoke to me a year ago and told me that I would be where I am now, I would have laughed in your face.

I’m just starting my second week of training as a client advocate for those applying for Social Security Disability Insurance (SSDI). I have an ID badge, my own personal headset for the phones, and in five more weeks, my very own cubicle. Of all the careers I dreamed I would fall into, I never thought I would be working in a traditional office, in a full-time nine-to-five position. For all the shit my brothers give me when I brag about the satisfaction in the regularity and when I whine about having to completely flip-flop my sleep patterns, I can’t help but think they’re jealous. I make a living wage, and I get to make the world a better place; I can’t think of much else one could want out of a job. One 0f the hardest things to accept about adulthood, but also one of the most validating, is the realization that ninety-nine percent of us are not going to have that “dream job”. As a good friend of mine said to me recently, you use that satisfying job to fund your dream life. That’s where I’m at right now. For the first time in months I can actually afford to do things and treat myself.  My entire paycheck will not go directly to paying credit card bills. It’s a wonderful feeling.

And since I’m actually motivated for a change, here’s a ukelele cover! I haven’t significantly improved recently but I was in the mood to sing for y’all today. Enjoy 🙂

 

All my love,
Katherine Wheel

Showing off and some life updates

Hey everyone, I have some exciting news (well, for me anyways). I got the full-time position I applied for and I will be starting at the end of July! I never in my wildest dreams would have thought I would be excited to have a cubicle and a consistent schedule, but here I am. Here’s hoping this new chapter is a fun one, and one where I grow a whole lot. You know a company is a good fit when your hiring manager tells you this is a place to start and grow a career, but ultimately move on from. I don’t want to feel stagnant,and I think this is the place I will find that balance.

Anyways, enough humblebragging. Here’s something fun I made for you guys. I figured that since I’m learning ukelele it would be fun to share my progress with you all every so often. As such, I’ve put together a cover of one of my favorite songs by Emilie Autumn, “Thank God I’m Pretty”. Let me know what you think! This was a single shot cover, so all my fumbles and missed notes are in there. I hope it gives you a laugh if nothing else.

Enjoy!

Katherine Wheel.

Uke Can Do It!

Last night I went to see Twenty One Pilots, and I didn’t realize that a financially careless decision at the merch booth would begin a new, burning passion.  I had been scoping out their tour merch online before the show, deciding what I would snap up when I got there; it saves a lot of time knowing what will be there and how much money you’re going to need. I saw a few shirts I liked, and then a beautiful, pricey ukelele. I debated for over a week whether or not I would pick one up at the show ($125 is a lot to spend on tour merch) but ultimately I needed to own one. It’s such a cool little instrument, customized to be a 21p tour exclusive.

 

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His name is Josh Dun and he is a perfect instrument.

I brought it home, opened it up, and it was love at first proper strum. Ukelele is not an exact science: it’s a feeling. I know I’ve only been playing for a day so I sound ridiculous, but an instrument has never been so easy to pick up; it’s the perfect size and for someone who knows basic music theory from years of piano, clarinet, and singing, it isn’t hard to remember chords and rhythms. Uke is what I always wanted playing guitar or bass to be like: natural and fun and just a little bit of challenge. I can tell I’m going to be playing this thing every day for a long, long time.

I’ve been in a creative funk for awhile, so I think going back to my roots and making music is just what I need to keep myself sane and motivated. At some point, I might start posting stuff to a YouTube account to share with you all. I’m excited to see how this goes!

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Am I “adulting”?!

So I’ve spent a lot of time stewing in self-pity and letting my post-grad life slip away from me. The days have turned into weeks and then months, and it’s not slowing down anytime soon. I need to make some positive changes in my life. I applied for a handful of full-time assistant manager positions at local retailers I like and am hoping for some interviews soon! I thought for sure I would be getting out of retail by now, but the fact is I’m really good at customer service and there always seem to be open management positions. A full-time job, even if it’s not in what I’ve considered a professional industry, is something to be very proud of. Also, the stores I’ve applied to are not very strict about appearance regulations which is something I really dig. I need to hold onto some of my youthful desires after all.

Admittedly, a lot of this motivation comes from my realization that I never actually got the raise I was promised when I got promoted at my job, so I’ve been doing a lot more work for the same amount of money the 14 year old carriage boys make. It’s a little ridiculous. Regardless of how I got to this point, I’m really happy to finally make some moves in the right direction. I’m seeking jobs with better compensation and benefits, especially since I’m going to need my own insurance in a few years. These are the considerations I need to make if I’m going to be a successful adult, right?

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I have to maintain my glamour punk aesthetic!

I could probably settle and stay at the supermarket. There might be a management position opening up there and I think I would be a fine candidate for the job; I know that the stress would probably kill me. I’ve been trying to get out of the checkout department practically since I started at the store and they won’t let me switch because I’m too damn good at customer service. I think this means they’d trust me to manage checkout at some point. I guess I don’t want to feel stuck in a job that was intended to just be a way to get myself through grad school. I want to move on, and grow, and be happier in my job.

At any rate, I think I’m starting to get my shit together. I might even retake my permit test in the next week or so, since I need to get back behind the wheel. If I want to be an adult I need to be able to drive, even though I’m afraid to. I need to do a lot of things I’m afraid to. And I’m taking those steps today.

All my love,

Katherine Wheel

Boston Calling VII: The Festival in Review

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For those unaware, blue and red are mainstage and green is the new comedy/local act stage.

This past weekend was Boston Calling VII; for those unaware, it’s the newest, greatest summer music festival in New England. Since 2013 this diverse event has taken up residence in City Hall Plaza in Boston during Memorial Day Weekend and then again on a varying weekend in September.With a music lineup curated by Aaron Dessner of the National, there is rarely an act who disappoints. Beyond the performances at the festival, there’s always a variety of sponsors touting games, raffles,and free swag. And who could forget the amazing food and drink vendors they bring in. Regular offerings include Arancini Bros from Brooklyn, NY (love you guys!), Tasty Burger, Sam Adams, and Wicked Wines; there’s also a rotating roster of excellent local and national vendors including Roxy’s Grilled Cheese, Bon Me, Chicken and Rice Guys, and Wagamama. You will NOT go hungry at this festival.  And planet/animal conscious fans, don’t worry. There are always vegetarian and vegan offerings!

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I had already stuffed my face with the buccatini fritti arancino before I could snap a photo. Look at these delicious balls of joy.

If you’re willing to splurge for VIP 3-day passes (my mom and I did for the second time), you’ll be in for some excellent perks. This year’s meals were catered by Citizen’s Public House (a more upscale offering from the folks who brought you Tasty Burger) There were both meat and vegetarian options at each meal, and one meal was more delicious than the next. I enjoyed avocado cucumber sushi, panko breaded mac and cheese, barbecue pork belly, and a mini meatball sub. They also had three kinds of cupcakes! Other offerings up there included free sodas and seltzers from festival sponsor Polar (a local company whom I’ve been in a love affair with for YEARS), samples of some savory KIND bars, Terra chips from Jet Blue, and Dunkin Donuts coffee. This is a far cry from the first time I bought VIP tickets and all we got were some chips and salsa catered by Hard Rock Cafe. Other VIP perks include a nice shaded area within City Hall Plaza, a platform between the two stages for a better view (this is also for ADA access!),chairs and couches, a bar for VIPS only (cash bar, but still) and private port-a-potties. If you can get these tickets at early bird prices, it’s easily worth the extra splurge, especially if the bands are lackluster or the weather is bad. I don’t know how these perks will vary or improve at the new venue (more on that shortly), but I hope it remains comparable.

This May’s affair is flipping the script by being the last Boston Calling held in City Hall Plaza, and the first to not be followed up by a September event. The BC team will be focusing their energy on planning next year’s festival at the Harvard Athletic Quad in Allston rather than coming back in September as expected. This is part of a plan to expand the festival to include more comedic offerings as well as a film festival component curated by Natalie Portman (WHAT?!) and art installations. As a four-time attendee of the event, and someone who greatly looked forward to being able to attend another September festival now that I am permanently home from college, this cancellation has been a huge blow. I’m sure that next May will not disappoint, but I can’t help but that the attempts to expand and further diversify the event will diminish what made it so special in the first place. While it will still be taking place in the city, it won’t be in the heart of things. It won’t be all about the music and the experience. I know plenty of people will think I’m just being salty, but I don’t see the appeal of comedians and films at a MUSIC festival. For me, it’s a weekend that’s all about music, food, and fun. I don’t know that the expansion will lend itself to that.

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My classy festival style from Saturday

Now on to the actual event review. This year’s festival was…of a very mixed quality.
Friday night was easily the best lineup of the three days. Lisa Hannigan and Aaron Dessner started out the fest with some mellow rocking vibes, the perfect tunes for dinner time. Sufjan Stevens brought what could only be described as a psychedelic art-rock performance (and wacky wavy inflatable arm flailing tube men). I had not listened to Stevens before I saw him, but it did nothing to dampen his contagious energy and electric performance. He was followed up by vocal powerhouse Sia and her outstanding crew of dancers. I know my mom wasn’t as enamored with this performance as I was, but I walked into it knowing the dancers would be doing the real crowd engagement for Sia; if you’re unfamiliar, she obscures her face, typically with a large wig or costume piece, and more or less stands there and sings for her whole set. It may not be your cup of tea, but I enjoyed it. The crowd definitely ate it up too!

Day two was easily the weakest of the three lineups, in my opinion. Maybe it was the heat draining the energy from both the crowd and the performers, but I have never felt less hyped up at a show before. The bands (for the most part) barely engaged with the crowd. It’s one thing if you know a band well and they don’t say anything for their whole set, but if it’s a festival where you might know half of the bands, it’s boring when they don’t even say,”hey” (I’m looking at you, Miike Snow. You guys sucked). Headliner Robyn put on a bizzare, experimental performance that I didn’t bother staying for the entirety of. From what I’ve heard, neither did she; she left the stage twenty minutes early even after the crowd clamored for an encore. I don’t know what she was expecting as the headliner of a music festival on the hottest day of the year thus far; you can’t come up on stage and try something completely out of left field and expect the crowd to know how to engage with it. Some highlights of the day were the Vaccines, BORNS, and Odezsa. Honestly, I think they should have made Odezsa the Saturday headliner since they were much more engaging and overall fun.

Day three was INCREDIBLE. Despite the cold weather, the acts were red hot. Even artists like Vince Staples, whom I would probably never listen to on my own, were highly fun to watch. Some of my personal favorites of the day were the Front Bottoms, Charles Bradley and his Extraordinaires, Janelle Monae, Haim, and Elle King. That’s most of the main stage lineup, if you’re keeping track. And that’s both wonderful and sucky; the beginning and end of the festival were excellent, but the middle was pretty lackluster. Maybe this is just because I didn’t know many of the artists on Saturday, or maybe it’s a general mistake in the creation of the lineup. I have faith that Aaron Dessner will do better next May; he has a pretty excellent track record for putting together good festivals.

I’m looking forward to next year, and I hope I run into some of you there!

All my love,
Katherine Wheel.