Post 500: Welcome back to Blackbyrd

In the fall of 2014 I toured a personal finance magazine’s office in downtown DC. I had actually secured an internship there for a summer but turned it down for another, more-substantial offer closer to home. 

(P.S. I’ve now worked at the company I chose over the magazine for nearly seven years.) 

(P.P.S. I knew close to nothing about personal finance, but I suppose I’m a classically trained journalist who could have figured it out.)

During the tour I couldn’t help but think about what my life there could have been like. The bright office in a beautiful building, the shiny tile floors, the official-looking professionals in their smart, tailored suits. Did I make the right decision? Two summers in a row at the same company — really, Emily? Who would I have met?

But the environment and my daydream isn’t what stood out most to me about the visit. It was the woman who would have been my boss, a notable alumna from my alma mater. It wasn’t how she looked, what she wore, or what she did — it was one tiny thing she said that she probably didn’t think anything of, but it has stuck with me for nearly 10 years. 

Twenty-Year-Old Emily: “What do you do in your free time? Do you ever write for yourself?”

Notable Alumna: “Oh gosh, by the time I get home from work, staring at another computer is the last thing I want to do.”

I was shocked. Imagine me, the self-proclaimed poetic genius five years deep into a personal blog and three years into what essentially was a writing degree, discovering that someone who could be a role model didn’t make time to write for herself outside of work.

I couldn’t imagine it because, at that time, not 24 hours could pass without Emily jotting down a new blog post idea; a young woman’s naive belief that what she has to say really really matters. 

Today, I get it. Today my eyes are tired.

But my fingers have been itching for years with blog posts unwritten and prose unprofessed. I need a creative outlet for my brain beyond the little victories I get at work in-between project planning and PowerPoint deck creation.

I’ve said this before, but this time I really mean it: this is the year I’m bringing my creative writing back. I’ve titled this “The Blog Project,” and my goal is to revisit my roots and practice my writing. (Aka I DON’T GIVE A SHIT IF ANYONE READS IT… I think.) I’m reading more than I have since I was a freckled kid lazing away over long stretches of summertime and I’ve written more poetry in the last couple of months than I have in the past four years combined.

So here’s Blackbyrd, a blog started by a 14-year-old in the heat of angst and uncertainty who is now a woman in her late 20s. I’ll be covering topics as a professional millennial plus some just-for-fun musings and projects.

Welcome back.

14 to 20

My brother’s college professor encouraged his students to begin a blog. LiveJournal, BlogSpot, WordPress…power up your iBook, find the site that works for you and create an account.

So he did.

Jordan started a WordPress blog, called it “Innocence, In a Sense” and practiced his writing. (This is why Jordan is WAY smarter than I am; I just now realized how clever his title was. I’m a year older now than he was when he started his blog.)

Fourteen-year-old Emily wrote poetry.

Fourteen-year-old Emily idolized Jordan.

Fourteen-year-old Emily wanted to blog, too.

Following in Jordan’s too-big-to-fill footsteps, 14-year-old Emily became “Blackbyrd” and started writing about stupid shit. Stupid shit that, at the time, seemed relevant and important. Stupid shit that is, of course, entirely too fun to look back on now.

To go with the theme here, I wrote 14 posts this month six years ago. Fourteen. Now any number over five is an accomplishment because – and you’ve heard me say this before – writing on my blog takes me forever.

Now I put in 43 hours a week at my very corporate summer job. In 2008? Work had no relevance. With food on the table and a pool to swim in on the hotter days, I spent my time reading and, I guess, posting on my blog. Excessively, I daresay.

Twenty-year-old Emily still writes poetry. (She actually slams it, too.)

Twenty-year-old Emily still idolizes Jordan.

Twenty-year-old Emily still wants to blog and tries to as often as she can, but, after actually learning how to write, posting takes her a lot longer than it used to.

Twenty-year-old Emily lives on her own and provides for herself.

Twenty-year-old Emily is fully aware of her upcoming career search, apartment search, friend search, life search.

Still, twenty-year-old Emily couldn’t believe it when this notification popped up when she logged into WordPress today:









Cheers to present Emily, the past Emilys and hello to 2015, fresh-out-of-college Emily. Everything will be okay. It always is.

Life, man

Writing is hard.

Writing sucks. A lot (of dick, if we’re going beyond PG here).

Writing takes me forever. 

So that explains my absence. I can’t tell you  how many times I’ve conjured up the “Add New Post” screen, only to look at the clock and realize two hours of writing would cut my sleeping time down immensely.

Writing a post means spending time away from the book I’ve been reading or the people I could get to know. Writing means solitude, a word and thing I’ve been trying to avoid as of late. Writing means having to pay close attention to detail and trying so very hard not to make a mistake I’m sure my “enemies” would call me out on Twitter for.

Three years of college and I’ve made some enemies, apparently. Imagine that.

I’ve spent the last couple days at home, watching my grandparents’ belongings get sold to strangers and Walnut trees fall in all their green-and-brown glory.

Some things are ending, but others are beginning. Like my life. My life, man.

IMG_20140427_114504Seven credits of college classes separate me from what I’m told is actually – this time – the “real world.” They had lied to me before when I graduated from high school. College isn’t the real world. College is the excuse I use for the drunken weekends and the hangover I have on Friday mornings that is too severe to make it through that morning’s class. But the professor understands when I email him. It’s college, after all.

More than 30 credits separated me from life then. Now I’m down to seven. Seven credits. Seven.

I could graduate early. Get a job. Leave my friends. Get an apartment. Save money. Pay back my loans.

Writing is hard, yet I’m trying to make a career out of it.

A career that I can actually see now. A career where an email on Friday morning from a hungover Emily just won’t fly anymore. I’m more mature than most at my age, but I am having difficulty with accepting this.

Life, man.

All 5’2″ of me

The light is still on in the far-right room on the second floor of Townhouse 31 because Emily CANNOT sleep. And she just gave away WHERE she sleeps. Whoops. She’d make some potatoes to eat right now if she had any. Unfortunately, she threw her last bag of sprout-covered potatoes in the trash can last weekend during a spring-cleaning binge. New potatoes have yet to be purchased. Tsk tsk. I know.

Enough of this third-person shiite.

I was texting my friend who lives in Iowa, but he seems to have fallen asleep. So that’s fun.

I wrote in my journal already and couldn’t come up with any material for a poem, so there’s that.

Oh, and I updated a few things on this here portfolio blog in case you’d like to take a gander. I finally –– FINALLY! –– added a picture of myself. Seems that’s been on my to-do list for two years.

What else to do but to open my laptop and try to write something? I’ve done my fair share of Facebook and Twitter stalking tonight and have grown a tad bored. Not a lot is happening on Instagram either, though I guess I shouldn’t be surprised after seeing what hour I’ve reached in the early goddamn morning.

I guess this is what I get for loading myself with sleeping pills every night this week except tonight. I really thought I was tired enough to just roll over and conk out, but I stand, erm, lay, corrected.

I ran tonight. Yes, as in the past verb tense of “run.” Shocking, I know. I had some pent-up energy that needed to be released, and staring at Natty World notes for another second sure as hell wasn’t going to help things. I ran to the gym. I ran around the track a few times. I walked. I ran again. I skipped a song on my iPod. I managed to forego what could have been an awkward encounter and just flipped that group of people the bird instead. I never said I was nice. (They laughed at me, though…people don’t seem to expect shit like that to come from me in all my 5-foot-2-inch glory. Hmph.)

It felt great to experience physical pain instead of the emotional-bullshit kind. It felt great to breathe heavily –– though my lungs are seriously suffering now –– and work up a sweat. I also got what is to me a rare glimpse of gym culture. It’s fascinating, really. Men flooded the basketball courts for intramural games, hogged the weight-lifting equipment and women took up the cardio room. I just kept running. And walking. And skipping songs on my iPod. Oh, and rehydrating.

I’ve said this before, but I really mean it when I say it this time: I’m going to take some time to really focus on myself. 

My roommate doesn’t believe that I will, so I’m going to prove her wrong. I have text messages from friends who agree that it really would/will be beneficial for me:

“Just give it a few days and you’ll be back to feeling like the wonderful person you are all by yourself!” said one.

“You need to get back in touch with you and stop trying to please everyone and stop trying to fix people, hun,” said another.

“You definitely deserve time for yourself,” said a third.

So I’m going to keep running and exercising, in general. I came back home tonight high off endorphins and ready to go. Go do anything.

I got the summer internship I really wanted, have plans to get serious about road biking and, best of all, my parents, brothers and sister-in-law are all in good health.

I’m done stalking social networks and I’m especially done writing this post for the night. Good night/morning.

Just call me butter

I am on a writing roll right now. Just call me butter.

…sorry. That was really lame.

Any who, I just completed an Intellectual Journey essay, an article for The Intrepid and finalized another article for The Intrepid. Next is one for The Buzzworthy and the touchups on my Denny story. Oh, and tweet composition. Only, this time I won’t actually tweet it.

The good news is, it’s 1:15 a.m. and I’m going like the Energizer Bunny. The second piece of good news is that my first class in the morning has been canceled. This means sleeping until 10 o’clock (or later…). But, right now, my fuel consists of Wonka’s Nerds and Hershey’s chocolate. Oh, and Michael Bublé is playing right now. That’s never a bad thing.

You’d think I’d be sick of writing at this point, but I am still kickin’ and churning out words. I am super duper excited for the weekend. Brunch with the big(gest) bro on Saturday and a chance to be in the same room with all three of my brothers? Yeah, it sounds like a good time.

There are quite a few things I’d like to blog about in the very near future, so be looking out for those (maybe even tonight?). It all depends on how long I plan on being butter.


Biting the Apple

I have dreamed (dreamt? – that one boggles my mind) of this day for months and months. Graduation was a big deal, yes, but what came after graduation was what I needed for this day that I have been looking forward to for a long time.

Right now, I am sitting in my room typing out this blog post. You may recall that I own a little pink Netbook named Eurydice and have owned her for nearly two years now. She’s done a good job with helping me fulfill my duties as a journalist for two different publications. Now, however, I am not using Eury for this post. I love my Netbook, but knew I would need something a little bigger to get me through college and its whopping homework assignments I have heard so much about (especially for my major). That’s why today I purchased an iMac with money from my graduation party.

My family owns an iMac, but it’s nearly four years old. It’s the same style as my new one, but mine is just so much better – Apple has made so many improvements to these things over the years and it is just remarkable. For example, my wireless keyboard is quite a bit different than the one connected to our computer downstairs. It’s smaller, sleeker and, though it requires batteries in order to work, is far more efficient. I can move around my room and still have my words appear on my screen as I type them on the keyboard from 6 feet away. The wireless mouse is just as nifty. It too is sleek and easy to use, but what is the absolute best feature of it as far as I can find right now is that the rolly ball in the center for scrolling has been removed. On our computer downstairs, that little ball always causes problems by sticking and making it so we can’t scroll up, down or across. Now, with just a few swipes of my fingers, my eyes can scroll through documents and apps on my computer effortlessly.

My Netbook did the job, but the screen quality is nothing compared to this stunning piece of art right in front of me. I used my Netbook almost strictly for writing for my jobs and didn’t really use it to surf the web (unless I was really lazy and wanted to be in front of the TV). Now, I’m writing tons of new blogs, checking my email, Facebook and taking a funny picture or two on Photo Booth (though I have yet to enjoy that feature – odds are I won’t be too thrilled since we have it on our other computer, too). The screen is absolutely massive and I have to actually move my head to watch these words travel across the giant and beautiful screen.

I’m uploading CDs and starting to rebuild my music library on my own personal and beautiful computer. Nobody else’s music will litter my music library and that thought is exhilarating. The Sims 3 is installing right now (I splurged!) and I’m just plugging away at this post, anxiously awaiting the arrival of my favorite computer game of all time.

I’m excited and ready to enjoy this computer that I have sought after for so long. I’m glad I chose a different road and didn’t purchase a laptop like all three of my brothers did. This desktop iMac is perfect for me and what I plan on doing with my life.

It’s disgusting

Time moves so fast that it’s disgusting to me.

We have a little over two weeks left of summer and it will be my senior year of high school. It seems like just yesterday I was a little punk wearing jeans from a secondhand store, a Paramore tee shirt and flamingo Vans on my first day of freshman year. I started writing on this blog the summer after my freshman year. Here we are, two years later. My, how things have changed.

I’ve lost a lot of weight since freshman year. It’s not like I was ever chubby, but let’s just say that pants I have from seventh grade don’t fit me anymore (they’re too big). I used to think I was awesome. I was invincible and the senior class then could totally kiss my ass. I was a goth-y punk chick that shopped at Hot Topic and thought she was hardcore. I wore Emily The Strange tee shirts/hoodies (which, yeah, are cool because of my name, but I’ve grown up a little bit) with skinny jeans and Converse. Now, I just don’t care. I want to dress a little more mature, but still want to be a kid. I’m torn between the undeniable reality and frivolous thoughts.

Today were my senior pictures. When my oldest brother Jordan had his done, I was going into sixth grade. It seemed so cool that he was getting pictures professionally done. When Trevor had his done, I was going into eighth grade. Again, it seemed awesome to me. We added one more frame onto the wall next to Jordan’s senior pictures. Adam had his done two years later, and though he was still wearing his braces, he looked great in every picture. It was my turn today; soon my pictures will be added to the senior pictures wall.

I was set on all natural stuff. My braces were removed months ago, but even if they were still on, I would have kept them on. I wouldn’t have gone to my orthodontist to go through the painful process of having them remove them for a few days just to get pictures taken with them off, only to have them cemented back onto my teeth. That’s not natural. When we got in the car today, my mom asked me if I had brought along any blush or lip gloss just to brighten up my face a little more. I shook my head. I only dab on a bit of eyeliner and mascara onto my face, with maybe a dab or two of foundation just to complete a look. In other words, I hardly wear any makeup. I never buy anything new makeup-wise because I never need anything refilled. My boyfriend actually prefers me without makeup, which is a plus because almost every day, I go naked on my face.

Anyway, there were some rules today:

  1. I was to wear a certain red shirt for one set of my pictures, by request of my mother, who is paying for them. It only makes sense.
  2. ABSOLUTELY NOTHING WITH SOMETHING THAT SAYS “SENIOR” OR “SENIOR 2011.” I simply refuse. I find that completely corny and unnecessary and I think that weird object is just an eyesore in the photo.
  3. Since I don’t wear blush of any kind, my mom kept reminding me to pinch my cheeks. Yeah, okay, Mom.
  4. My mom had to at least take her eyelash curler and pinch my eyelashes with it in a painful manner. Again, thanks, Mom.
  5. My bangs couldn’t be perfect. They had to look just a little tousled because I, of course, am not perfect at all. This relates back to the whole “natural” thing I stressed.

Other than the red shirt, my mom gave me the freedom of choosing other outfits. I wore a gorgeous blue, purple, white and black dress that Robby had requested I try on when he was bored with shopping one time (he just wanted some entertainment). I ended up LOVING it and later on hunted all around Western New York for the dress. I found it. (Insert ugly smiley face that I refuse to actually insert.)

It’s funny about the other things that I wore. Every single piece was something I already owned but had no idea that when I bought it that it would end up among the outfits to be worn in my senior pictures.

I wore this black and red dress thing that I have had since ninth grade. My mom saw it in a JCPenney ad and knew right away that her daughter needed to have it. We made a special trip out to the mall and got it. I have worn it to countless events, but never dreamed it would make the cut for my senior pictures.

A dress we got for $1.00 at a consignment shop in East Aurora was among the many outfits I wore. Who would have thunk?

My comic strip-esque Disney hoodie that I bought in Disney World was worn for some of the shots, as was my track uniform. I made sure to get my track shorts (#12 – I’ve worn them for every track season since seventh grade) and took my spikes with me to complete the look.

It was a great experience and I cannot wait to see the prints! It will be hard to choose, I’m sure. The next thing we’ll need to hire the studio for will be my wedding. But, we’ll get there when we get there.

Cowboy Casanova

I like country music, not going to lie. Carrie Underwood is one of my favorite artists. My best friend Katie is a country music addict and a real farm girl, and she sort of made me see the light when it comes to twangy country music. I don’t like all of it, but quite a bit of it is okay. All of the songs have meaning to them. Not every genre can say that.

So, for our school’s talent show (known as G-Town Showdown), Katie and my other friend Alex were stuck on having me sing Carrie Underwood’s “Cowboy Casanova” and they were planning on making up a dance to do in the background. I never thought we would put it together. A week before G-Town tryouts, I had them up to my house and we tried to figure out how it could work. In the end, we decided we needed some other people to join our gang. We needed boys.

So, our hunt began for a cowboy. We originally only wanted one. We bugged quite a few people, but none of them wanted to do it. So, we tried out with their dance and my singing and told our principal (who had to oversee the tryouts) that we were planning on adding a couple of cowboys into the act for the show. He had no problem with that.

We managed to nab one guy to be a cowboy (our friend Jarred). Then, our friend Cody wanted in, and we figured we could use another cowboy and that would be fine. Then, we realized that we each would need one or we would only be able to have two (none of us wanted to be the one without the cowboy if there could only be two). At the last minute, before the rehearsal for the talent show the day before, we added in our last cowboy (Marcus) and they learned the dance right before we were to go onstage for the rehearsal.

The next day at school, our cowboys showed up decked out in cowboy gear; they seriously went all out and we were pleased that they were so into it.

We performed. I wore my favorite dress (slinky black with a zipper down the front. Yes, the front).

The audience loved it. Many of them know I can write, but not very many of them knew that I could sing. I gained the respect of even more people.

We didn’t win (only got Honorable Mention, whatever the hell that means).

So many people told us afterward that we should have won. I agree with those people.

Here’s the performance (wait for the introduction of our group known as “EKA” [Emily, Katie, Alex – fyi we didn’t come up with that name – the hosts did]):

The cherry on top

I had two choices.

Either I lose my sanity and do the musical this year, or I keep my sanity in check and just focus on school and running instead.

Guess which option I chose?

If you’re thinking the first one, you’re an idiot. I may be crazy enough as it is, but I still have my sanity. I think.

Anyway, they changed the musical to “The Wiz” and I was like, “see ya!” And, that’s that. I’m done. I chose my road, remember? It doesn’t involve the yellow brick one that probably appears in “The Wiz.” I chose the lovely red brick one.

So, instead of spending my nights at the school, I’ve gotten stuff done. Good stuff.

I did a project on the novel Jane Eyre. It definitely had the “wow” factor to it. I made a powerpoint, and modeled the sentences after the Dick & Jane books. (Ex: See Jane. See Jane run. Jane runs fast. Run, Jane run!) The best part? Because I was trying to get the point across that Jane Eyre is, in fact, gothic literature, I used Emily The Strange as Jane. Yeah, that’s right. 13-year-old Emily starred in my little movie as Jane Eyre. I was so proud of myself, and I could tell that my AP English teacher was impressed. The icing on the cake? The cherry on top? “Aha!” by Imogen Heap accompanied Jane (Emily) on all of her little adventures. I will never tire of that song. Ever.

Ever since I decided not to be involved in the musical, my life has gotten better. I have no unnecessary stress. Right now I’d be down at the school, but instead I’m here. I’m writing for two newspapers, a website, my blog, doing homework and running cross-country…I don’t have time to participate in silly musicals. There’s no point. It’s hard to walk away, but what’s done is done. My presentation wouldn’t have turned out as well as it did if I had had to be at the school rehearsing last night. And, that’s that.