A letter to the next person that thinks of loving me

Let this not scare you, but be a symbol of my trust and openness. There is no point in keeping closed doors. Life is too short not to love wildly and fiercely when the opportunity comes. I don’t do casual meaninglessness, whether platonic or not. Time is a precious and non-renewable resource. There are a lot of people in this world, too many to waste time on if they don’t make you feel right. I put my shortcomings out early, so that they are not a shock. 

I do not remember a consistent period in my life in which I have been truly happy. This is not to say that I don’t look for happiness and cherish it when I find it. I am always open to it. This is just to say that it tends to slip through my fingers before long. I was a lonely child and I am a lonely adult. Understand that happiness is a new concept, and I cling to it when presented with it. I was an only child. I was a child with trauma. I did not make connections, could not make connections, and I sought the friendship of those older and wiser than me. I did not “hang out” with people. My few friends were often people that liked me well enough, but did not know what to do with me or how to talk to me. I have very few friends these days too, but the ones I have I try to keep close. Schoolyard drama mattered so little in the scheme of my childhood, which dealt with very real, very scary, and very pressing situations. I was told I was intimidating. I was always on the periphery of socialization. Starting in the fifth grade, I became closer to my teachers than I was to any students. I’ve known, my whole life, that I am different in this way. I’ve never met a soul like me. There was never anything particularly strange about me and I was not particularly liked or disliked. I am just, from what I’ve been told, intense. 

I became deeply acquainted with poverty, abuse, and death before I’d even left high school. I often don’t think of myself as having had a childhood. I don’t mean to sound melodramatic. I was born to a young mother in a bad situation. I grew up with primarily adult interaction, since I am the first-born of my familial generation and my mother’s friends did not have children until years after I was born. I grew up quickly, to the point where I don’t remember ever being a happy-go-lucky little girl, though I’m sure I must have been. I don’t have memories before schooling age, but I’ve been told I was always trying to keep the other little kids safe. I was the mother hen. I do remember afternoons spent battling my own demons and making excuses to organize bookshelves instead of going to recess. I have no memories from my youth in which I was just a happy little kid. I do not know exactly why I became a worrier, but there’s nothing I can do about it now. The point of all this is to say that I struggle to connect, because to me, friendship and romanticism can only come on a deep emotional level. Those that have little trauma in their lives cannot understand, relate to, or handle me. I am intense because I know how quickly life can stop, and I refuse to settle for lackluster relationships. Love should be grand, even if it’s private.

I spent so much time alone and in my own head growing up that I am extremely self-aware, to a fault. I ruminate and obsess over rationalization. I cry when people treat me badly and there is no reason. But this means that you will never find someone more understanding than me. You will never meet someone who wants so badly to feel whatever you feel, to understand you at your core. I am the truest definition of an empath. To share a romantic life is to share experiences, even the bad ones, even the ones that make you cry. To be vulnerable with a partner, the most vulnerable possible, is vital to me. Trust, love, and understanding come from putting your guard down. Deep love will never find those who think they cannot accept it. If you choose to love me, I will ask you to lay down your cards. I have been hurt by more people than I can count. If my guard is not up to love, yours does not have to be either. It is brave to be vulnerable.

I am sensitive. I am insecure, in many ways. I require more validation than most want to give, but if you get to know me, truly, you’ll understand how to comfort me. I have baggage, but I know my worth as a person and as a partner. The only thing in this world that truly matters to me is finding someone who recognizes that despite the trauma and pain that linger within me, there is an immense amount of love and passion and caring that makes up for it all. I show my love easily. As long as I feel it reciprocated, I will love you more intensely than you have ever been loved. You will never, for a single second, question my intentions. You may not like me as much some days, but you will never be able to deny how good my heart is.

I am a homebody. I like to cook new meals, I like to binge-watch TV, I smoke pot to ease my tensions. I like to read and knit and cuddle. I am witty and clever and like to be silly. So I am not a gargoyle, but I do take life seriously. In my loving and excited moments, I am genuine. I like to adventure, with notice. I love traveling with others. Spontaneity doesn’t often work well for me unless I trust you to know what you’re doing. I am a planner. I would like to be an easygoing girl but I am not, though I have loosened up a little. I am so used to disappointment that I brace myself for it, and it comes off as hesitation. It is difficult for me to feel safe. I have anxieties and fears and worries and I am human for them. My anxiety and depression are very close at hand to me. But if I know I am loved, truly know it and can feel safe, I can light up your life when given the chance. I do not enjoy my sadness and my wallowing. Sadness is a shield against unknown hurts. But it prevents unknown joys too. I would so much rather love with everything I have, but you must protect my heart at the same time. I cannot do both.

There are many people for whom I am simply too much. That’s okay. I am not for everyone, by a long shot. You take a risk with me and I with you: handling my baggage safely will grant you the purest, most passionate love. Some have cried at the sweetness that still seeps from my pain, and they are the ones I miss the most. No matter how badly I am hurt, I don’t stop trying to love. All I ask is that you are true and that you are open. This has not been a favorable description of myself. This has not been an easy letter to write. This is simply my way of clearing the air ahead of time, so that I won’t shake the first time I see you, and you will know who I am. 

Tales from Wo-Fan’s Land: Constance Markievicz

Back in August 2019, the wonderful Valerie Gritsch compiled Tales From Wo-Fan’s Land on her blog, History Is Important. It was a project inspired by English singer-songwriter Frank Turner and his album No Man’s Land, which features 13 songs inspired by women from history. You can take a look at Val’s introduction to the project here, and read other pages on other wxmen written by my fellow fans! I chose to write on Constance Markievicz, an Irish revolutionary.

Constance Markievicz (Digital image from: historytoday.com ‘Soldiers Are We’: Women in the Irish Rising)

Born as Constance Gore-Booth in 1868, the woman who would become known as Countess and Madame Markievicz was the eldest child of Henry Gore-Booth, an Arctic explorer and AngloIrish landlord who actively provided food for his tenants in Co. Sligo during the famine of 1879-80 and was deeply concerned about their wellbeing. The family split their time between London and Sligo, and Constance saw the class and wealth disparity between the English landlords and Irish tenants first-hand. Constance inherited her father’s social justice advocacy, alongside her sister, poet and suffragette Eva Gore-Booth, and actively pursued it as her life goal. 

She married Polish-Ukranian artist Casimir Markievicz in 1900 and they settled in Dublin. She became a prominent landscape artist, mingling with others in the Irish art scene. She was described as being vivacious and daring, with a fiery spirit. At the home of fellow artist Sarah Purser, Markievicz became involved with several Irish revolutionary patriots and in 1907 she discovered journals that promoted Irish independence from British rule. The more knowledge she gained, the more compelled she felt to do something. She joined left-wing Irish republican party Sinn Féin, as well as Inghinidhe na hÉireann, a nationalist women’s group, in addition to founding Cumann na mBan, a women’s paramilitary organization. She also founded a paramilitary scouting organization for young boys, essentially running a commune to house them and pull them out of poverty. She drifted from her husband, who was not Irish and therefore did not share her passion, and began referring to herself as Madame Markievicz during their separation. 

Her views combined feminism, socialism, and Irish nationalism. She actively worked against poverty imposed by English law, such as schoolchildren’s meals being restricted; Constance fed them “Irish stew” in protest. She also helped run a soup kitchen that fed thousands of people each day during the Dublin Lockout of 1913, during which companies locked their employees out for attempting to unionize, though this was eventually unsuccessful. The 1914 Government of Ireland Act was supposed to give Ireland home rule from Britain, but the Suspensory Act prevented this as a result of World War I. The Easter Rising of 1916 was a response to the lack of home rule in Ireland. Markievicz joined the Irish Citizen Army as a liason officer and as a sniper. When she was arrested after the Rising failed, she kissed her pistol before surrendering. She was kept in a cell in Kilmainham Gaol in Dublin, though the only woman of the 70 arrested to be kept in solitary confinement. She was found guilty and sentenced to death. While 16 men were executed, Markievicz was spared solely on the basis of her sex, instead having her sentence commuted to life imprisonment with hard labor. Her response: “I do wish your lot had the decency to shoot me.” She converted to Catholicism while imprisoned at Aylesbury in England and was released in June 1917 after the English government granted amnesty. She became a major in the Irish Citizen Army, was the president of Cumann na mBan. Many Irish nationalists, including Markievicz, were imprisoned again in 1918 in a British attempt to stifle Irish uprising in favor of fighting in World War I. In 1918, despite being imprisoned, she became the first woman to be elected as a MP in the House of Commons. She refused to take her seat in solidarity with Sinn Féin, who were instead meeting as the First Dáil, the Irish Republic’s first parliament. She and her colleagues were released solely out of fear that death due to influenza would allow them to be martyrized. The Anglo-Irish Treaty set up an Irish Free State, which Markievicz opposed, and she left the government in 1922 as a result. She actively participated in the Irish Civil War and was imprisoned again briefly in 1923. Displeased with the Irish Free State and desperately wanting a socially just Irish Republic, she left Sinn Féin and joined its offshoot, Fianna Fáil, in 1926. She went back to her grassroots movement, opening bathhouses and participating in other social work. She died on July 15, 1927 from appendicitis complications, dissatisfied with the lack of progress made in the revolutionary movement. Markievicz’s funeral was attended by thousands and she was eulogized by Eamon de Valera, who would become the 3rd President of Ireland decades later.

Constance Markievicz was a remarkable woman. Rather than sitting idly by or even just using her voice without taking any real action, Markievicz first used her position of power and wealth to actively improve the lives of the poor, before becoming a radical revolutionary. As she gained more knowledge and passion about British oppression of Ireland, she used every resource she had to fight for the Irish Republic and never backed down from what she believed in, despite coming from a background that would have allowed her to live quietly and ignorantly. She overcame all adversity, including men on both sides critiquing her gender and class. She was adamant about using her privilege to improve the lives of others and of her entire country. As she told the court during her 1916 trial, “I went out to fight for Ireland’s freedom and it does not matter what happens to me. I did what I thought was right and I stand by it.”

This information came primarily from Anne Haverty’s book Constance Markievicz: Irish Revolutionary, Michael Foy and Brian Barton’s The Easter Rising, and the Stuff You Missed in History Class podcast episode on her, in addition to my own knowledge on her from visiting Ireland.

Interview with Harold Perrineau from 2013

I’m starting at the beginning with this blog, with a throwback to my writing career in its infancy. I wrote film reviews for my high school newspaper, and through the power of social media I created a few interview opportunities for myself. I’ve done some revisions of this article for this blog primarily to update its readability in 2020.

Harold Perrineau is a man of many roles, having most notably played Michael Dawson in the groundbreaking ABC television series LOST. He is also widely regarded for his roles in Baz Luhrmann’s Romeo + Juliet, HBO’s Oz, and the hit FX show Sons of Anarchy. Perrineau graciously agreed to do an interview for my high school newspaper and this blog, and I truly cannot thank him enough for that. When I made the call, Perrineau was in the grocery store, and hurried out to his car to answer my questions.

     “How did you get into acting?” was the very first question, and it brought Perrineau back to his teenage years. He referred back to his high school experience in New York, where he had found a passion in music, more specifically the violin. His aunt was attending Long Island University at the time, where a theatre program for children called “Of, By, and For” was taking place. Perrineau, his brothers, and his cousins auditioned for the program, and Perrineau’s aunt paid for the program when they were accepted. For Perrineau, that was when it “all clicked,” and he knew that was what he wanted to do for a living. I asked if he had thought about it before attending the program, and he responded saying that he had only really thought about it in the sense that he had a fondness for television and musicals and thought that it would be cool, but never took it seriously because he didn’t know how to get started with it. It was more of a dream for him, and it wasn’t until he got to experience the theatre program that he finally realized that he truly wanted to become an actor.

     From here, we moved into talking about some of the shows that he has been involved in, beginning with Oz. I asked him if he felt that the legacy of Oz, which was revolutionary in its time due to it being the first hour-long dramatic show on cable television, has impacted shows such as Breaking Bad. His response was that he hopes that yes, the legacy of Oz does affect modern-day shows not only because of the introduction of violence on cable television, but also because it showed the human aspect of the violence and that you can’t just get away with hurting someone without ramifications, which is shown nowadays in so many shows. Having also starred in season five of Sons of Anarchy, I asked him if he believed that the legacy of Oz had carried into that show as well, and he wholeheartedly agreed. Before Oz, everything that Sons of Anarchy includes, meaning gangs, violence, illegal activities, and things of the sort, were not on cable television at all. In summary, we all have Oz, and Harold Perrineau, to thank for paving the way for so many of the shows today that we know and love.

     Myself being a major LOST fan (we call ourselves “LOSTies”), I couldn’t resist asking about the show. If given the opportunity to play any other character on the show, Perrineau still would have played his own, Michael, but said that he did love Jorge Garcia’s Hurley and Dominic Monaghan’s Charlie; he wouldn’t have minded playing either of them if he couldn’t have been his own character.

     When the show concluded in 2010, there was a great deal of controversy over the finale and how it ended, and I wanted to know how Perrineau himself felt about it, having been a part of the show since the beginning. “I thought it was really great that they came right back to the people. At the end of the day, the finale was more about the people, which is what the show was about in the very beginning,” Perrineau said, “So it wasn’t about time-changing or flash forwards or [flash] backwards or any of the supernatural stuff. It was just like, ‘Oh, this is about a group of people who belong together.’ Now, I don’t know why Michael and [his son] Walt weren’t there, but I did like the way that that sort of ended up.”

      I asked Perrineau what the craziest experience that he had with a LOST fan was. For him, there were too many crazy experiences to remember, but the craziest time was right after the first season aired in 2005. Being stuck in Hawaii filming, the cast was so secluded from everything that they didn’t realize the impact that the show was having on the public. When they got to go home for the first time since the show had aired, Perrineau recalled a lot of screaming from fans, and it was then that he realized that the show was actually a phenomenon. In one particular instance, he remembered a kid running up to him in the supermarket yelling, “You’re Walt’s dad!” and he thought it was the weirdest but coolest thing.

     Though he already has a wide acting résumé and has portrayed so many different roles, his dream role that he hasn’t already played is that of a superhero character. “Everybody wants to be a superhero,” he said, “That would be kind of cool to have to go to the gym every day and look like a superhero. Like if I could look like The Wolverine, that would be awesome!”

     The most difficult role for Harold was in the film Woman on Top with Penelope Cruz, in which he played a transgender woman. “I played this character Monica, and I hadn’t played that type of character before. It was one of my most challenging but also most rewarding [roles]. It was really tricky and challenging, but I had a lot of fun and had to do a lot of things like wear extensions in my hair and I had these nails that were cemented on my fingers and I just had no idea how difficult it was to have long nails. I was like, ‘How do women do this?! I keep poking myself in the eye! This is terrible!’ So I had to get used to all these things, and playing this character that was really out-there and outrageous and creative and fun and sexy and all this stuff, and it was really challenging for me to play that role.” 

     Seeing as how this interview was conducted partially for the purpose of being published in a high school newspaper, I asked Perrineau what his advice would be for any aspiring teenage actors. “For me, best thing is always to learn my craft. Take the time and learn how to do it, especially while you’re still in high school and you can experiment and you can try things and you can fail at things, and you don’t have the pressures to have a job or care for your children or pay your rent,” Perrineau advises, “You can really just experiment and learn and perfect your craft of acting. Explore your chance to act and try things that are outside of yourself.”

First post!

I always put so much weight on the first post or page of anything. My notebooks piled up in my teenage years because I could not come up with anything I deemed worthy of the first page. It is the most critical part, where you make or break the interest of a reader. Even in a personal journal, that sort of authorship mattered to me. I find it nearly impossible to write for myself; there is always an unknown and unseen audience. I’m trying to get past all that. So here’s the first post. 

Who am I? 

I’ll keep it recent and brief, for now. I’m Kay. A lifelong New Englander, I recently graduated from the University of Vermont with a Bachelor’s degree in English, a concentration in writing, and minors in history and geography. I finished in 3.5 years because student loan debt is very real and agonizingly stressful for a young adult. I studied every summer just to spare myself the extra semester of student loans (summer courses were discounted 30%). That’s over and done now, until grad school becomes a feasible option financially. For the first time in my truly conscious and aware life, my world is not completely structured by academia. Let’s be honest here…it’s terrifying. I needed 15 courses to complete my major, and exactly 0 of them taught me anything about how to get a job in this field. So I’m on my own! I just spent a month on a road trip through the southern US, and now I’m back in Vermont for the short-term and looking for any and all freelancing opportunities I can to keep me afloat while also building some semblance of a portfolio.

With the pressure of collegiate academics, I have not written for the personal pleasure of it in ages. This blog is my way of encouraging myself to continue doing what I used to love: researching, learning, sharing my views and takes on the world, and engaging with some sort of audience. What will I write about? Who knows! I’m an avid music and television lover, so maybe you’ll get an outdated post about my LOST theories or a ranking of albums by Frank Turner. I’ve been a professional dogsitter for over a year now, and the one thing I’ve learned above all is that every dog has a quirk. I’ve always thought it would be fun to write some feel-good stories about dogs, so here’s my opportunity! You never know where inspiration will strike, and you can’t force it either. We’ll just have to wait and see what happens.