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Castallare.com Grand Opening

Ladies and gentlemen! Readers of all ages!

It is with great pride and excitement that I announce the inception and inauguration of my very own domain and blog.

is now open for readers.

Please keep in mind that this new domain is brand spankin' new and I'm still working out many kinks, including how to syndicate through Livejournal and Facebook, updating my design scheme (Greg's working on a customized design for the whole site! Eee!), and creating a page for my Online FBG Store. I'll be sure to leave updates as to when those things are completed and I welcome ANY and ALL feedback as to the content, layout, or design of my new blog as I value the opinions and desires of my readers very much.

Also! Many posts made on Castallare.com can be found on my syndication through Skirt! Magazine's Guest Blogger spots.

I will continue posting on livejournal, but keep any new posts "Friends Only" as a means of communicating with old lj buddies and others that I contact primarily through this forum.

Thank you so very much to everyone who has shown me enough support on this blog to grow a pair and start one of my own. I don't know what avenues this will open for me, but I have great plans for this in relation to my prospective writing career and I know I couldn't have done it without the encouragement of my friends and loved ones, both online and off. (YOU know who you are. Expect a thank-you note.)

Much much love and HOORAY! Thank you guys for everything!

ooooooooooooooops (I misspoke, I think)

My bad. luffing, acousticrelease, and lyet, I really do appreciate the feedback, but I think my last post was ill-communicated. What I meant to highlight was the ridiculousness of all the notions that make me hate myself and how, when uttered into their barest, most blunt forms, they seem like such trite, stupid reasons to contemplate suicide at all. I was kinda making fun at myself for wanting to give up on life because I wasn't gorgeous. Seems a little retarded when I think about it/write it out.

Thanks for reading. I'll try to be more explicit with my motives when I discuss something as volatile as suicide or self-loathing so you guys don't get worried or think I'm tanking or anything. Thanks, again, for your concern and love.

I'm still pushing forward, I'm still reading Pronoia and The Four Agreements and the Bible and all my other healing texts (including the Tarot, which is strunningly resonating to me.) Don't worry; I was just taking a moment to reflect on the absurd notions of depression and what it'll have someone like myself believe.

Stupidity of Self-Loathing

~ Because I'll never write as brilliantly as Shakespeare.. or Sedaris, even.
~ Because I've never been less than 140 lbs. since I was 14.
~ Because I don't live in any sort of spotlight.
~ Because I love drinking and hate that I miss alcoholic beverages the way some people miss old lovers.
~ Because I wish for a different life a lot more than I should.
~ Because traffic has never stopped in my wake.
~ Because I entertain notions of grandeur and can't accept happiness in obscure mediocrity.
~ Because I've made people hate me and may continue to in the future.
~ Because my dreams have always been out of reach.
~ Because no matter what choice I make, I am always this same, awkward person I've been since I was a babbly 5-year old snipping the bangs off boys on the playground whilst screaming, "BEAUTY PARLOR!!"
~ Because I cannot shake the past... any past, no matter how many ceremonies, rituals and meditations I perform on such.
~ Because I cannot move out of my mind into the real, present world, no matter what decisions I make to alter my thought patterns.
~ Because I contain traces of "Fucking Crazy". And I'm not necessarily objected to displaying them.
~ Because every three years I'll probably be sitting in a therapist's chair, listening to what actions I'm successfully following, and paying him/her to teach me how to live a fucking life [only to continue doing this for fucking ever.]
~ Because nobody will ever accuse me of being an artist, no matter how loudly I proclaim otherwise.

... Sometimes the combined reasons for wanting to kill oneself are the stupidest aspect of self-loathing to begin with.

Le Sigh

You ever have a few extra dollars laying around and think "I'll send flowers to a few friends that I haven't seen in a long time!" only to do so and have the florist deliver them anonymously, thus leaving these three friends wondering who the hell could have done such a thing, whether or not they were being stalked, and if they should be worried for their lives?

Irony's funny... hunh.

Pen Envy

I've always had jealousy issues out the ass. Never about material things but about characteristics in others that I envied.

For example, for my entire childhood and adolescence I was terrified of beautiful people, positive that they were superior to me and petrified that they would notice me or even reject me. Then, as I started coming out of my shell, I supplemented this completely irrational terror with general rage and loathing, often lashing out at those beautiful people around me with snide commentary or other destructive behaviors that are embarrassingly juvenile in retrospect. (And, as I've discussed, I just always assumed that talking shit about the high school bombshell [for example] couldn't possibly affect her [negatively or otherwise] as she was beautiful, desired by everyone and therefore, invincible to the hateful notions of a mediocre nobody like myself. And yes, I know, it's pathetic and extremely screwed up, but this is what those years of therapy have helped move past. I'm just giving you a little background.) I even began to avoid reading or looking at beautiful people because I was absorbed with constant self-loathing and the nagging feeling that I wasn't good enough and never would be. I refused to admire beautiful actresses or musicians or other figureheads and felt a bitter fear and resentment of anyone publicly celebrated for their looks, even if this person no longer existed. I avoided popular television shows, magazines with beautiful women on the cover, even movies with classic beauties in the lead...So yeah, I was a bit of a wreck.
Then, toward the end of my teens, I realized that not only was my fear and loathing of beautiful people childish and ridiculous, but it was extremely limiting if I was going to incorporate the company of women into my life in a healthy, trusting forum. Um, also, I started realizing that I was petrified of looking at beautiful women because they turned me on and that freaked me completely out and I didn't want to deal with what that might actually mean about me and my sexuality because (:::GASP!:::) what if I was actually "into" women!?! But I liked men! A lot! What if I liked both!?!? That would be unseemly, sin-laden madness! I mean, I'd always been an advocate for gay rights, but from a safe distance as "that sort of lifestyle" didn't pertain to me personally... I thought.
So I started working on my ways of viewing women around me and considering the notion that maybe I could recognize that a woman is beautiful without feeling threatened or acting like she was somehow out to destroy me and my self-worth. Hell, maybe I could even be friends with a beautiful woman and maybe one of those women would think I had admirable qualities, too. Honestly, such a radical notion was completely foreign to me, maybe because of societal regimes that condition women to compete against each other, maybe because I was submerged in self-consciousness, or maybe a combination of both. Whatever the case, I started appreciating and enjoying all female forms, finding ways to celebrate femininity and sexuality in a number of ways from collecting Playboys and classic pinup art to reading the autobiographies of smart, powerful, beautiful women. I drew inspiration from those women with extraordinary qualities (aesthetically, intellectually, or philosophically) and finally learned to co-exist with, appreciate, and celebrate women I admire without wasting time focusing on how I don't compare. Hooray!

However, in the last few years, my fear and discomfort with aesthetically gifted people has shifted over to those with flourishing intellectual gifts. Most specifically, those who are able to transpose their brilliance into text and both entertain and enlighten readers with their words. I so envy those people with the capacity to craft beautifully socially-relevant fiction and change the way people think about literature that I avoid great novels out of fear that I'll doubt myself as a writer even more. I'm so positive that my mind could never volley the witty sentiments of modern-day philosophers that I read a few chapters of their work and then walk away for a while, stewing in my own ineptitude and rereading all my previous essays and drafts, convincing myself of my complete lack of talent.
And I can't even read memoirs or autobiographies in the genres I dream of breaking into anymore as I've wholly convinced myself that there's no originality in anything I have to say. If I talk about depression, I'm an Elizabeth Wurtzel knockoff. If I write about pregnancy, I'm holding onto the tailcoats of Vicki Iovine and Jenny McCarthy. If I talk about overcoming addiction, I'm jumping on the Augusten Burroughs/Elizabeth Wurtzel (again)/Koren Zailckas/Anthony Kiedis/MillionLittleLiesonOprah bandwagon. If I write about my-hilarious-self I'm just a David Sedaris/Sloane Crosley/Jenn Lancaster/Dave Eggers poseur. If I blather about my opinions I'm obviously wanting to be all Chuck Klosterman-y or Michael-Moore-y or Sherman Alexie-y. It's like every facet of talking about oneself has been explored and exhausted, and I'm just not smart enough to think of a new, exciting way to publicly blather about my completely average, Caucasian, American, middle-class life.

Fucking "WAaahhh!", right?

I know, okay?

Anyway, this has become more apparent in the years since I graduated college, when I've found myself removed from academia and the exciting churning-out of ideas and movements that are found in universities across the globe. Suddenly, my encouraged expression is limited to reading whatever I can in my spare time and composing unedited ramblings on this tiny online blog. Suddenly, I'm not even able to discuss literary movements anymore [even as an excuse for actually taking part in them] and I'm detached from whatever new creative energies are flourishing in the exciting world of art and intellect. And that's when I get all self-doubt-y and unmotivated and "What's the point?"-esque and generally pathetic on myself again.

This being said, my crazily hyper-introspection has caused me to push forward and continue reading, even when I feel totally inadequate in comparison to whatever author I'm consuming. I have considered starting a book club or a casual online writers' forum/workshop among some of my writerly friends to create an outlet for those of us who feel disconnected out in the real world. And, mostly, I'm still writing.

Once, when I was a lot younger I was watching the men's gymnastics portion of some Olympics at some location that I cannot recall at all. As each competitor was performing his routine on the uneven bars, the cameras kept panning back to the American Olympian who was sitting on the bench with his eyes closed, listening to music. I asked my mom why he looked so bored and uncommitted, she told me he wasn't watching the competition and was focusing instead on his routine. When the man got up to compete, he performed the most perfect routine I've honestly ever seen in Olympic gymnastics and scored 6.0's across the board to win the gold. We were watching it live, so my mom couldn't have planned this event being such a solid lesson to me, but it stuck with me for years. It seems to come to mind at this juncture as well.

So, to tie up this entry with a nice little Westernized literary bow, what I'm slowly working to appreciate the similar work of those around me, but focus my energy on my own performance instead of hating/fearing others' successes.

The problem, of course, is my realized need to see exactly what I'm getting into, keep the wool off my eyes and disillusion the shit out of myself...

I still think Gauguin was on to something when he moved to Tahiti.

Irrational/Frivolous Wishes 2008

Dear Mr. Kringle,

Because my last year has proven to be more abundant than I could possibly have predicted (what with babies and weddings and new houses, etc.) I've limited my material Christmas requests to a modest public list that I released to my family members. That list includes rather small additions to my possessions and selflessly requests a few new articles for the comfort of my entire family and my daughter, specifically. It seemed distasteful for me to dare to request more from those people who have already given us so very much in the last year, when honestly, all I really need is love and support in my environment to be truly happy. Requesting anything else seems selfish and ungrateful which are rather unbecoming features for a young mother and recent bride.

However, being that we are in the throes of economic crisis, I felt it necessary to release my list of Irrational and Frivolous Wishes (2008) to you in hopes that this restores your faith in mankind and gives you a little more job security in this increasingly cynical world. I know you and your family must be terrified of the disillusionment of today's youth and what that means for your employment, and I know it is up to every one of us to dream big in order to fuel your family business.

Plus, okay, I've been ridiculously good this year... for the most part... I've tried above and beyond my normal standards and, although I've had a handful of really bad slip-ups, I can count on two hands the lies I've told (which is HUGE for me) and most of them were to my doctor about the healthy food and exercising I wasn't actually partaking in. I'm not stealing anymore (from family, friends, or corporations), I'm not drinking anymore, I'm only having like, one cigarette every 6 weeks, I've sent "thank you notes" promptly, I don't cheat on my significant other, I never let the laundry pile up longer than 3 days, I'm still anonymously donating to some of my local charities, I've bought gifts and sent notes to people I thought were hurting, I never maxed out my credit card OR overdrew my checking account (again, all year), I didn't get a single driving infraction, and I haven't spent any more than $30 on new music or books for myself in the entire year. (Plus, I only spent money on new clothes because I needed to have a few professional things for work and, even then, I only bought 8 new things and only 6 new pieces of [inexpensive] makeup. ALL YEAR.) I think those are pretty massive accomplishments on my part, even if you don't compare it to how habitually awful I used to be.

This list is uncensored for you exclusively, but definitely not expected in any form, and I invite you to peruse my desires and choose only those you're most comfortable delivering. By no means do I expect to receive anything on this list, so even one or two is more than welcome. For your convenience, I've listed these Wishes in order of smallest to largest, although expenses and preferences between each vary differently. Again, I'll leave the final decision up to you.
Irrational and Frivolous Christmas Wish List 2008Collapse )

Thank you for your time and consideration. I know you're having trouble these days with job security and property management as your homesite territory seems to be rapidly depleting in size (it's all Al Gore seems to talk about anymore, actually), so I don't mean to burden you with extra business. However, being that you're the maintainer of dreams and wishes, I felt confident that if anyone would entertain my totally materialistic, selfish, nonsensically childish desires it would be you. Thanks for listening.

Don't worry; even if none of these things are delivered to me on or around Christmas morning, I will still continue to instill faith in your mission and place homemade baked goods and carrots out for you and your work crew. (I can put these in Rubbermaid containers if you'd like to take some with you for the road? You may get nibbly flying over Asia or the Middle East, although you've probably already passed those places by the time you get to us. You know what? I'll just warm up some dinner and leave it in the oven so you guys can refuel before hitting the Americas.)

Best of luck on your travels and happy holidays to you and yours.

Much love,
Liz Pardue-Schultz

On the upside...

So, I've figured out how antidepressants work. You're pretty sure you're feeling the same until WHAM! one morning the laundry's not been done and the only thing left in your closet is your single pair of Skinny Jeans. The ones you haven't worn since early 2005 [when you started piling on weight completely unrelated to having a baby or even dating anyone for an extended amount of time] but you can't bear to part with because of their exquisite flares at the bottom and the leather laces that dart up the backs of them that make you look oh-so effeminately casual and lithe when you can actually squeeze yourself into them. Laughing to yourself [and your spouse] you say, "I'll bet this is where we draw the line on my magically effortless weight loss plan" as you cautiously take the mythical Skinny Jeans from their perch.

When they slide over your hips and comfortably fit your frame the Great Breakthrough of Antidepressants makes it's first strike. With a "HOLY SHIT!" and a broad smile, you are safe in the knowledge that Everything is Going to Be Okay.


In other news, we've acquired another cat. A 4-month-old kitten we received at a yard sale as a free gift when I purchased 50 articles of baby clothing for $40 and have debated keeping for two weeks now. Because of the massive black blot that monopolizes her back, we were going to call her Rorschach ("Rory" for short) but because that doesn't roll off the tongue, we've settled on "Eva", which has no mythical/symbolic basis but somehow seems to resonate with us. Benny likes her, Chloe loves her and Greg REAAAAALLLY loves her, so the house may be a bit tighter, but I'm thinking it's worth it.

Better. Happier. Forward-moving. Not necessarily "great" again, but it's nice to feel steadily better.
There's a writing prompt in Rob Breszny's Pronoia that invites his readers to describe the last day of their childhoods.

As the sun gently melts the glaze from the ground this morning, I am positive that that day is today.

I've mentioned it before, but I've never had one singular friend in which I put all my trust, in whom I confided every dirty, shameful truth, around whom I felt I really belonged and was completely accepted... loved, even. My whole life I've passed through friendships, letting many go despite my desperate attempts to cling tightly to prefabricated notions of what a "best friend" should be. And I am fortunate that in my 25th year, I have a smattering of dear, loyal friends scattered across the globe that I would trust my life with. My parents always told me that I'd only be able to count my real friends on one hand and, somehow, I've emerged from a selfish, destructive past with a few more than that happily by my side. Despite my direct contradictions and resistance to his judgment, God continues to bless my life.

AF and I stumbled into each other during our second semester at UNCG and I immediately felt a connection with her I'd never had with anyone. She seemed to bravely expose the exact same quirky, creative notions that I'd always been terrified to publicly acknowledge in myself for fear of rejection or disillusionment. Shamelessly, she plunged forward into personal expression, completely aware but decidedly ignorant of the hesitation of the world around her and I was in awe of her candor. I longed for her self-assured style and effervescent radiance and pathetically mimicked her actions like a lost puppy following the alpha dog around the yard. Lovingly, she welcomed me in and with her, I shared a fervent passion for music, art, progress, love, humor, travel, humanity and the beauty of the Grunge movement, growing and laughing and sharing and finally taking the time to just be.

Somehow, despite all the whooshing changes in my last six years, AF has remained a constant source of solace and positive, renewing energy. Sitting on the sidelines of each other's respective catastrophes and triumphs, we've both witnessed each other's darkest moments, highest accomplishments and the cluttered mayhem in between. (Our respect has always been mutual, and even in the one instance our health was preventing a functional friendship, we were able to step back and reevaluate the role the other played in our lives.) Despite the physical distance that has existed between us since late in 2003, she's always been a prevalent force in my world as we're able to pick up exactly where we left off regardless of the time lapses between interactions. Somehow, we've built a friendship on monthly phonecalls and quarterly road trips to the other's temporary residence. (She flew for days to visit me in Australia. I spent many weekends driving through the mountains to see her in Asheville. She got lost a dozen times driving through rural South Carolina to see me in Myrtle and I've stayed many evenings in her parents' horribly-decorated guest room.)

The visits and conversations were the only constant in my life. Nowhere else was I safe to obsess over the subtle nuances of The Who's film "Tommy" or Tenacious D's "Pick of Destiny" ad nauseum. Nowhere else was I safe to ramble about the upward movement of art, politics and the booming energy that connects and propels them both. We've spent patchworked months together, indulging our inner children with multiple Wal-Mart photo shoots, composing songs about having a hit man blow the jaw and legs off a particular ex of mine, and a couple evenings crashing through barricades to effectively befriend rock stars. And amidst all these innocent encounters, I found this ideal friend I'd always hoped for.

With no one else did I feel permitted to share my darkest of secrets, my most insane wishes, my boldest notions. And whether I was calling her with news of my first child's arrival or a second release from a psychiatric hospital, she was calmly waiting to listen and share in my emotions, unabashedly confident in my own beauty and wisdom even when I'm positive I possess neither.

I realize that AF is the type of woman who is a tremendous force in the lives of many. At 25, she is already a godmother to two little girls and is constantly fielding calls and emails from legions of adoring friends vying for her company. Although, she holds the prestigious "Bee-Eff-Eff" title in my records I know I am among a select few that are considered dear to her and, in a weird fangirl-type world, such an honor is more than enough for me. I don't mind if she never calls me first with any news, just so long as I'm among those who hear from her regularly and gets to see her every so often.

Although I believe in fearlessly chasing one's personal dreams regardless of others' opinions, I rarely have confidence in those insane enough to want to act on a professional level. However, AF is leaving in a few months to chase her dream of becoming a professional actor and I've never been more positive of one person's inevitable success. Not that I believe she will become a world-renowned movie star within weeks or grace all the tabloids with glamorous couture among other such pretention and cluelessness, but I know with the same confidence that I am a human female that she will bring a whole new energy and raw talent to the industry and find success doing what she loves.

And, to my selfish chagrin, I realize that this signifies a fork in our road. Selfishly, I am heartbroken that today marks the last of the impromptu visits, the last of the wasted weekends with no agenda besides absorbing each others' company. I know that this is the last time I will get to stay up all night with her gushing about adolescent fancies, picking apart every aspect of our respective neuroses, harmonizing brilliantly to songs that never make it to the radio anymore, cackling over godonlyknowswhatinsanity and plunging waist-deep into buckets of sweet decadences. Sure, there will always be letters and emails and phonecalls to keep us connected. I will always be proud to call her one of my most beloved friends. And, while I pray that there will be visits in the distant future I know there will be none still consistent with these playdates that have acted as lighted guiding posts through my turbulent early-adulthood. I'm sure we'll try to reproduce the careless self-indulgent leisure of our early 20's, but it will never be rooted in the same wandering discovery and we will eventually become two old women reliving the past and clinging tightly to "the old days" before returning to our responsibilities, our lives.

Change is inevitable. Change is humming, buzzing all around us at this moment in a palpably heightened frenzy. Change is what makes life worth waking up for every morning. I am proud of our change and growth over these last years, excited about our separate futures, faithfully optimistic about our potential tomorrows. I'm one of those crazed stage-mom figures who have been shamelessly pushing her toward her dreams and encouraging her planning and progress with more assured confidence than I've ever had in anything in my whole life.

And yet, today I sit at the edge of this unavoidable abyss, heartbroken in the realization that becoming the people we dream of being requires letting go of those safety nets that guided us to who we are right now. It's something I learned years ago when I began working to surrender my various dependences on men, alcohol, cigarettes, substances, attention, pity, parental finances, etc. Foolishly, I thought that growth meant leaving behind only those things that are harmful and destructive. Naively, I simply never foresaw the ending of this carefree, sporadic, playful era.

I will remember her when I pick up my guitar and when Eddie Vedder unexpectedly wails from my radio. I will think of her when I put on an Iron Maiden CD to cheer myself up. I will laugh out loud whenever anyone uses the phrase "like a bat out of hell" or when I see dancers do that one flat-footed extension every modern-dance choreographer in Greensboro implemented and thought looked "edgy". (Also, I will shudder every time anyone uses the phrases "edgy" or "pitchy".) I will continue to continue to collect elephants to befriend the many she's given me over the years and I will always wonder how much (or little) she'd enjoy a performance every time I stand in a throbbing, sweating concert crowd. She is almost as much of my life as this new person I've uncovered in myself during sobriety, and nudging her to the periphery will not be expedient... or voluntary.

So tell me: How does one spend the last remaining day of childhood?

The Lesson on Remorse: Completed

You ever spend a number of years regretting the way things ended with a former lover, constantly blaming yourself and your backward neuroses for the relationship's demise and shamelessly seeking answers/forgiveness from this other party periodically in the form of unanswered emails that proclaim your sincere apologies and soul-baring vulnerabilities to this still-untreated heart wound only to come upon the discovery [far later on] that this certain lover wasn't entirely truthful and may actually hold a majority of the blame despite all these years of unrecognized/ignored/belittled guilt and apologies on your part?


There are things that I've heard a million times but never really "got". That thing people like to preach to the tune of "Remorse/regret/resentment hurts no one but yourself" made sense but never really hit home for me until juuuust this week, when I stumbled upon a handful of truths that didn't justify my actions, but certainly alleviated my guilt.

Although, really? I should have just gotten the fuck over it and moved on years ago like normal people. Because whether the blame was mine or his, it clearly didn't matter to begin with.


Thank you, God. Lesson learned.
To those of you who are disappointed and fearful of the Barack Obama victory last night:

Look, we're all pretty exhausted from this race, so I'm not going to try to fling a bunch of propaganda at you or belittle your beliefs.

Right now is a pivotal, exciting, beautiful moment in America. While there are people who are celebrating merely the symbolic image of an African-American president-elect, there are even more of us who are celebrating the hope and new renovations that he brings with him. We know that these changes will not take place overnight. We realize that Obama is not the Second Coming and will not make everything he touches turn into gold. He is only a man, after all. But he is a man who has an idea of hope and different tactics that nobody else has dared to present to us yet and permission to be optimistic is something Americans are all aching for. Even you.

Since you have time now, why don't you go read about the Socialist (NOT COMMUNIST) practices in other nations and how it has helped to make countries like Denmark one of the most peaceful, functional, happy countries in the world as it has found a balance with democracy? Why don't you talk to the men in uniform who are excited about getting back home to their wives and families? Not that it's even relevant, why don't you sit down and read about the Islam religion and [finally] realize that it's a very loving, peaceful practice with compassionate, joyful people? Why not take some time to educate yourselves on these things you're ignorant to so you can share in some of the joy that's around you? Why don't you take a second to abandon this defensive fear that has become habit for us as American people?

More than this victory, we as Americans all want unity. We all want to be proud of our country again and we all want to be able to trust our leaders, our government, and each other again. I cordially invite you to push this fear of change and educate yourselves on the tenants of all these scary rumors and buzzwords. I encourage you to seize this beautiful, revolutionary moment and soak in the excited energy of this important time.

Americans are feeling joyful, hopeful, optimistic, and renewed. These things may seem naive, but after the years of distrust and fear, it is a welcome, exciting change that will help our country propel itself forward. I cordially invite you to join us in this upward motion as it will rebuild us as a united nation.

It's a beautiful day. Don't waste it on doubt and fear for a change.

Most sincerely,

Liz Pardue-Schultz