Musings on the probability of success

Today has been long and exhausting so far.

I had my choral ensemble placement audition today. I sound like crap, by the way. The humidifier I bought at Target was only on for about a half hour before I had to leave. My throat hurts. My head hurts. I’m not “sick,” yet, per se, but I sound terrible.

Being in that room made me want to cry. I know sol fege. But I sang do-re-mi-fa-sol-fa: and the ending note ascended. It should have been la. I wouldn’t be surprised, honestly, if the grad students and professors in the room (there were five) simply noted down that I should go back home. It was so not my best, but it was all I could do at the time. Competing with stupidly paralyzing nerves and my own lack of knowledge just exhausts me. That’s why I’m glad this isn’t a cutthroat place. If people were outright mean in addition to outstandingly talented, I would be screwed.

Apparently they told Rachael (who auditioned after me) that she sounds like a voice who will really succeed at Eastman. I (obviously) was told no such thing.

That’s really cool they told her that, and as I was talking to John and Tong I heard her and got distracted because it was so pretty. And it was only vocalizing.

But now I’m wondering what it would be like to fail. The parasitic leeching doubt’s just there, and, well… two years of previous classical study might not cut it. It wasn’t intensive study, either. I was part-timing it previously to this week.

Shouldn’t giving it everything matter, though? I know I’m practically infantile in my knowledge of classical music and opera. I get it, okay? But I want to learn. The desperate nerd in me is trying to drag classes closer so I can go and get some homework. The obsessive musician is clamoring for my lesson tomorrow so I can get feedback and have a concrete reason to work in a practice room for the maximum hours allotted a day like I really, really want to.

But on the other hand, what if I’m not qualified to be here? I’ve been telling myself, they’ll teach me. They’ll teach me. They won’t judge me for what I don’t know, they won’t hate me because I’m ignorant. Students or faculty, anyone I respect and/or admire for who they are or what they do, won’t think I shouldn’t be here because I’m still learning what they were proficient at years ago.

I don’t want to be considered out of the running for success simply because right now I don’t know anything. If I am willing to learn, isn’t that important? If I crave the knowledge I’ve seen in action here, if I want it and will reach for it with all that I am, won’t that factor in?

If the thought of failing is breaking my heart, shouldn’t that mean something?

This doesn't really lighten the mood for me, but he is my new humidifier/penguin

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ESM! ESM!

So here’s what’s up with college. Specifically, Eastman.

IT. IS. AMAZING.

It sucks being away from my family. I really miss them. Like, I Really Miss Them.

But GOD. I am at this school, this premier institution with a brilliant faculty and astonishingly friendly students. I know at least half of my class by name, if not name and major. My Big Sib is the greatest most outrageously busy yet successful person I think I may have ever met. Currently I’m enjoying a really excellent balance between rushing around and downtime. I’ve signed up for classes, which begin Monday. I’m going on a tour of Rochester tomorrow with some of the most talented, levelheaded and sociable individuals I have ever had the pleasure to meet, then I’m going to a Redwings game.

And I have only been here almost five days.

It’s unbelievable.

I know learning and classes will keep my occupied. I’m well aware that, at times, I’ll be a completely antisocial hermit with grungy hair and extra black coffee, hoarded in my dorm, locking Lucy out. But I also know that, with the right harmony in place*, a premier experience here will be mine. Not exaggerating here: the most freaking phenomenal time of my life is here. I’ve thought about it and waited and worried and waited some more, anxious and tense and tweaking out.

Waiting’s done. It’s here. And whether I was qualified to be here or not, I’m here now.

I’m going to grab this time with all I’ve got and hold it close, savor it. Then I’ll make it mine like no tomorrow because really, my life is what I make it now. I’m making it successful by being here, making it musical by living here. And making it something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life by pulling every sparkling golden note from each moment I’m here.

The ESM lobby.


*Music pun

Thoughts on academia

I don’t know what I think of college yet.

Today is my first “official” day here, and I don’t know what I think.

On one hand, I am excited for classes to begin. I try to relish the independence when I can. Sometimes I get light-headed. No exaggeration.

But on the other, I’d seriously love to be sitting on the couch right now with a giant bowl of popcorn and Lord of the Rings or Criminal Minds in front of me. It’s lame, but (a) they are the only two things on TV I really adore and (b) although I told Lucy I’d introduce her to Criminal Minds (she doesn’t have cable at home), it just won’t be the same.

I miss having my own space. I miss having someone there physically all the time for me to rely on. Although I’ve waited and waited and yearned for this time of my life, now that it’s here I am still pumped but there’s a streak of sad in it. A swath of strong blue that’s sensitive to the touch. I think it’s my childhood. Yeah, that fits.

Because to be honest it feels like, without me knowing it, even though I prepared for it to happen… my childhood, my whole past at home? It’s gone, it’s done. Yeah, I was aware it would happen, but perhaps I just didn’t see it as something so emotional. Something so deeply rending it just kind of sits there on your heart, shaking a little and whimpering softly to itself.

Earlier today I talked to a sophomore transfer student named Narissa (I think that was it. If not, my bad and I’m sorry). She was extremely friendly and is dual majoring here and at the River Campus (for some brain science insane major I didn’t entirely catch because it was noisy and I was still digesting caffeine). She was enthusiastic about everything, we share a taste in books, and observations regarding awkward situations. She told me one of the most reassuring things I’ve heard: “I love school.”

I’m counting on that obsessive, nerdy academic in me to grab that, too. I’m treating this right now as an extended vacation where I’m learning a shitload. That’s my outlook right now. I don’t want to dwell on the theory that I don’t belong at my house anymore. I don’t want to think stupid things, like, “that’s no longer my home.”

Where the heck else would I go? I don’t live here permanently, despite the chaotically organized debris scattered tastefully around me. For God’s sake, I only have two books here!

I could have made this prettier, but it is what it is

Here we go

This is it.

Those words sifted through my mind more than once today.

My family’s gone, off home. Or, I guess I am “home,” now, so… they went back to Gowanda.

Cool. I’m by my lonesome. Independent, isn’t that the right word?

But I don’t feel alone, and that’s totally not in a creeptastic way, either. I’m just comforted right now, even though I’m sitting by myself in my 2x2ft dorm. There is a lingering sadness, I’m not going to lie. Meesh and my parents are going to arrive back at the house to the constant obnoxious noise of the balding Grizzwald and also to my ugly cat. They’re going to maybe stop and eat on the way there and talk about their day.

I, on the other hand, will go downstairs to eat dinner with my big sib at 5, then to more meeting and an ice cream social (oh, yeah) until potentially 10:30.

It’s going to be a late night, I’ve never (ahhh, gasp!) showered in public (if that’s how we want to phrase that beaut) before, and I have to be up and at a location at 8:30 am tomorrow.

But shit, I’m on my own. Well, with God. But making my own moves, here. Like in the computer chess I’ve been obsessed with lately, the computer manipulates me to do what it wants. I learn from it, but I am not making my own moves.

Consider me making the decisions now. Let’s see whatcha got, Rochester.

This is it

Well, here we go. The next time I sit down and type out a blog it will be from my Mac, from my dorm, using wifi. I think.

We leave for Rochester at seven tomorrow morning. Yeesh. I wish it was five. I wish I could just go and get it over with, and yeah, that sounds bad. But it’s going to be the goodbyeing that’s hardest*.

I think I can do it, though. And that’s a weird part. I mean, I know I “can” and all that jazz but I don’t want to get a big head about it or anything. I just want to go and do it and be great.

That sounds silly but this is what I’ve been dreaming of since I started dreaming. Maybe not this college, specifically, maybe not opera: but opportunity. Opportunity to really go out in the world and say what I have to say, do what I can to be a difference.

This is it.

Here we go...

*I’m aware that “goodbyeing” isn’t found in any dictionary, thank you.

Anxiousitis

I’ve been distracting myself lately.

If I don’t, that deep cold clutch of fear in the belly gives a yank and tugs me under.

It woke me at five this morning, nauseating me. Rippled, acidly, through my nerves until I couldn’t breathe. Dizzy, I stumbled upstairs to drown in coffee. Necessary, but the caffeine just jittered an already faltering system.

I need distraction. Otherwise I just make myself sick.

I’m excited, right? I keep telling myself that. I need this change. It’s a vital step, a crucial part of my life.

But oh God, I’m so scared, so freaking SICK of waiting. The anxiety is wrecking my nerves. Just get me to school and living, already.

What did Brendan tell me? Oh yeah: “Kim, I feel like you’re searching”

*Just a quick note: I wrote this from my cell phone late at night (or, early in the morning) before this past Wednesday. I spent the day with this awesome German I know all day yesterday, so I did not get a chance to type it and post it. But, here it is, unedited and in honesty.  

Brendan texted me tonight, from Waynesburg. Told me about a book he feels I should read. He said, “Kim, I feel like you’re searching.”

  
I feel like I am, too. 

So here is how it is. Here is how I come to be typing– texting, really– forming a blog entry from my phone because I was dumb enough to leave my macbook upstairs, and it’s past midnight: my entire family’s sleeping.

Here is how it is: how I am sitting here sniffling and experiencing mild heartburn, feeling like a complete fool with a temperature.

Here is how it is. How I have come to abruptly halting my reading process and doing this, setting down (temporarily) Don Miller’s Searching for God Knows What.

Miller writes: “…I felt something missing inside myself, some bit of something that made me feel special or important or valued. This thing missing inside me… is something God would go to great length to explain in His Bible. …By trying to find an identity…

Don Miller also wrote Blue Like Jazz, also a good read

I was displaying some of the very ideas God would speak of in Scripture, some of the ideas about being separated from a relationship that gave me meaning, and now looking for a kind of endorsement from a jury of my peers” (Miller 42).

Isn’t that exactly what I have been doing since June, scrabbling frantically around to improve myself, to impress others or receive their attention, simply to feel accepted? To find an identity.

Here I was so worried about making the right impression at Eastman or at work or even on my adventure/excursion that I was completely and totally blind to the fact that I’m obsessed with my image or what people think. Haven’t I trusted God before and never had to worry about it at all? Hadn’t I felt a sense of peace, finally, and an invasive, infectious happiness, a sunshine?

I’ve been trying to find God again, and I think my dip into Spiritualist Central helped concrete my own beliefs and outlooks. It didn’t shake them as much as it could have.

It served to remind me that, without God once again as a fully recognized presence and driving force in my life, my worst and most horrifying fears will be realized and I will fail. God has been with me every step of the way thus far. I know He won’t “leave” me, but I am scared of the consequences. Scared of the thought of evangelism, of losing sight of things, and dumbly, of knowing God’s love as it was meant to be felt. But mostly I’m just ashamed.

I know as a Christian (is that what I am?) I would feel the need to reach others– and to be honest I feel as though that impulse has been with me my whole life. But I’m not good enough to do it, I’ve tried before, when my faith was really strong. Or I thought it was. Now I fall back under the excuse, I’m too flawed, even though I know that’s stupid. But time and again I’ve kind of tried and definitely failed to serve God because I didn’t want to give it everything and fall short, again.

I think I’d want to share news of God’s love. Of an nonjudgmental, unconditional, unrelenting love. I just doubt I’d be a decent spokesperson. Plus it doesn’t help that it feels like, as soon as you tag “Christianity,” all anyone ever seems to see is piety, when (at least in my case) they couldn’t be farther from the truth.

So… how do I go from being “in control” of my own actions to handing myself over to God?

The search is far from over, but I’ve found something at least. Here is how it is.

Pathetic, brimming with shame, and flawed, I figure it’s about time I stop moping around scared and wimpy and be an instrument for God to use. Or, I guess it’s more fitting… a voice for his love.

To ghost along the border of spiritualism: my first visit to Lily Dale

Get ready for one long, in-depth analysis


So my visit to the mediums of Lily Dale was a learning experience, to say the least. I’m a lot calmer about the whole idea now, knowing what can be expected there.

I learned a LOT. It helped that, the entire time, I was thinking of it sort of like a field trip, like a class. Milk all you can from it and remember it, that sort of thing.

I’d done some research before leaving, so I knew that spiritualism was a religion. Upon arriving I had so many questions: they just weren’t written down. I legitimately had no idea what to be prepared for.

It turns out we were to wait in line for two hours before being admitted to Circles. I met Sarah’s grandparents: her grandmother is a medium, and apparently so was her great-grandmother. I also met two ladies staying with Sarah’s grandma; one was from Britain and the other from Rochester. Apparently they frequent Lily Dale as visitors over the summer.

My first impression of Lily Dale as a place was that it’s beautiful. Quaint little houses, brilliant greens of the trees. A kind of innate stillness and picturesque quality underscored by an air of mystery, of presence. It was just really pretty.

While waiting, I asked questions. At first it was tough to get going because hey, I’m not a journalist– I don’t really have an excuse to pry, and as silly as it may sound, I didn’t want to offend anyone. They take spirits and things very seriously there. But I am an obsessed academic and eventually found a manner in which to ask, without sounding like a putzkie.

Here’s a brief summary of some facts I garnered from a few who know a great deal about the facets of spiritualism. Bear in mind they’re just knowledge I’ve gathered, I don’t necessarily put stock in all of them. More on what I do put stock in will come later.

– Firstly, spiritualism is: a religion, a philosophy, and a science.
– Spiritualists worship one deity, one creator God, but acknowledge the existence of many spirits, floating around in the ether.
– Spiritualists believe that, just as in life, spirits can change for good or for bad on the other side as well.
– Ouija boards are a NO-NO: they let whatever’s chillin’ over there come visit, with no boundaries to keep the creepers back.
– According to spiritualists, we each have a group, a “band,” of spirit guides that accompany us as we grow. They can change depending on how we change or how we come to need them, but they are there to protect us from things like anxiety, imbalance, health problems, and, of course, evil.

And naturally there are other things, too, but those are the most prominent tidbits of insight I scrounged up.

Now for details on my own ten minutes with a medium:

We got into Circles the first round (there was a massive line). There were at least twenty mediums set up on the floor of the auditorium. Seating varied: some had four chairs around them, some five, and others six. We were taken to a medium named Bonnie White, an older lady with pale hair and grey eyes, dressed in black. She handed me a watch and said, say when it’s been seven minutes, then you get three minutes to ask questions. So I was the timer.

This is Bonnie White, the medium we met


She started with a prayer. We held hands and she asked the great spirit to bring a white light down around us, to protect us and bring us only good spirits.

I will say this, when I first entered and sat down I felt a great deal of energy, not my own. Around me, a warmth touching my skin, the right side of my neck. It was pleasant, not unnerving or weird. Just different. But it was something.

It turned cooler as the sitting went on.

She started with Sandy, Sarah’s mom. Spent a few seconds touching her hands, “connecting with her individually.” Then Ms. White proceeded to tell Sandy things that a stranger wouldn’t know.

It was hit and miss, with Sandy and with Sarah. She did “sense” that they were mother and daughter. She hit upon Sarah’s boundless energy and constant activity, as well as her interest in athletics and music. It seemed as though she faltered a bit, though: if she stumbled upon something correct, she would blather about it for a little before continuing on: to fill the time, is my guess.

When it was my turn, Sarah took the clock. Apparently she’s better at reading cell phones than hand-clocks, because she gave me twelve minutes instead of ten (love that girl).

It was weird, to say the least. Maybe I just use weird as a filler word because I don’t know what should really go there to describe it.

I was skeptical, but then I’m always skeptical. I tried to keep an open mind, though, for the sake of… I don’t know. For the sake of academia.

She didn’t connect me with anyone from the other side, though. I guess no grandfathers felt like chatting with me (don’t know how I feel about that). Potter must not have wanted to, either, but if she’s in spirit form she’d be bounding off and eating something instead of waiting for me to hold hands with some bad psychic.

Instead Ms. White told me I was artistic. This is when Sandy, Sarah, and I exchanged glances because she told me I had a “good” singing voice, but art and drawing and fashion design were where I was really suited. Fact: I only ever finger paint. I suck at drawing. Blatantly pathetic.

Oh, and I’m going to the Eastman School in a week, folks. I think they accept at most ten sopranos per freshman class?

Man, I hope they have an art program so I can switch my major (HA).

No, you do not 'bong' on this instrument... merde, some people.

She asked me if I played a stringed instrument (no way, Jose), then said she saw a piano-like thing, and what did I play? I told her the xylophone, and she replied, and I quote “Don’t you bong on those?”

Oh, geez. If I wasn’t so curious I would’ve put my head in my hands, a mercy, please gesture before she could say anything similarly silly.

Then, a little later, she spoke directly to me. Earlier, when speaking to Sarah and her mother, and at the start of my reading, she was kind of speaking in show to the group. Now she was entirely focused on me. She began to get agitated. Grey eyes under bristling pale brows tried to connect with mine, fervently almost.

And this is as close as I can remember, it could be a little out of order but this is the gist:

“You’re very sensitive, I’m getting an image of a heart. You know what people are thinking, you’re very intuitive. This is hard for you. You know what people think and you’re right, but it’s hard to know it.

You’re very accurate, perceptive. You arrive at conclusions before everyone else, you’re quite quick. It’s sometimes hard, awkward really, for you to be there, but they’ll catch up. You get there differently, but you’re right. You are also on– what do you call it? Like, on the right note, you’re good at that. In tune. You know when you’re in tune or not.

But… you’re sad– anxious. There’s a spirit guide around you who just wants to calm you down. Do you have a lot of stress, relating to making choices? It’s difficult for you to know you’re path. Did you have a lot of stress recently about college?

But you can follow your intuition. You’re right when you do. When you see a light around a decision, take it, you know it’s right.”

And then she became the most lively she’d been:

“I– I just get this sense– I just really want to comfort you. Don’t be sad, okay? No one wants you to be sad. It will all work out. Your life is just beginning now. It will be an entire change for you, but it’s just starting. Just don’t be sad. You’ll grow from it.”

Later as she said the closing prayer it was as if she was trying to talk straight to me. “Let us be comforted and feel safe and grow and learn from new beginnings, wherever they may be and wherever they may take us.”

That was the weird part for me, when she started talking about being sad. I never mention that to anyone. Ever. She told me that the spirits “wanted me to” march forward with my head up. You know, be confident and all that jazz. She made a cringing motion when she tried to illustrate what they didn’t want me to do. They didn’t want me to enter this new chapter of my life weak and scared. They want me to go kick ass, apparently.

In Sarah, her mother, and her grandmother’s opinions, this lady sucked. I’m not saying she was legit, because I gathered she made stuff up to fill time. I’m not a fool.

But the part about being sad? It’s cute, I guess, that there are floaty guys that want me to not be sad. No one else would know that. In fact I try my damnedest so no one does.

When I got home, I rehashed it all with my mother and sister. My mother’s not “into” it, per se, but she’s aware of the fact that we’re not without ectoplasmic friends.

My mother has had contact with a “spirit world” before, and I’ve talked to people who have had legitimate touches with the other side. In the case of my mom, she didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it. “I never liked spooks.”

But she’s had vivid dreams, in which dead relatives have been with her, spoken to her. She doesn’t normally dream at all. Yet, she’s done a walk-through of her grandparents’ home in her sleep, where she saw things she wouldn’t have drummed up in her subconscious by herself (her memory is awful). She’s ridden in the car with her uncle on the night he died, from her sleep. And she’s had a conversation with a member of my father’s family that she’d never met: when she woke and described her, it was exact.

She’s been to see a medium twice in her life. She said the first time was out of spite, when she was in college. Her father died in an accident when she was in her early teens, and this was a personal visit for her. She was angry with him, and with the medium, for reasons I won’t discuss.

The second time, she said the best part was the dog the lady owned.

Schnauzer (not necessarily the type of dog the medium owned)

She did tell me, very seriously, that psychics and whatever were for entertainment purposes only. And I get that completely, because if you don’t know who you are or where you are in life, it’s highly possible to be duped and tricked. Personally I know that if I spent time trying to puzzle out the mysteries of the ether, I’d go stark-raving. But I’d like to have a professional reading done, for the hell of it. Just because I’m curious. I feel that I’m like my mother: I’d be able to go and keep a level, cool, head. Without putting my faith where it shouldn’t go.

I’m not buying into spiritualist rituals and all of their theories. But I’m a firm believer that there are things out there– call them what you will– and that they come in shades of good and bad. Where some would touch their relatives or friends with love, others would seek to harm. Whether we become these things after death isn’t up to me to figure out. I’ll gladly pass that decision on.

In addition, I know there are, because I’ve felt them. This is what I asked Sarah’s mom, a practicing spiritualist, about. I know when I was younger, and even recently, I’d be praying alone, just trying to have a conversation with God, and feel a little niggling worry, an unease. A lurking, creeping fear. I used to feel it a lot when I was eleven, twelve. I would get scared and start praying hard. Just curl up in my bed, jostled from my thoughts, praying like the dickens for it to go away, for God to protect me.

Sarah’s mom’s take on what to do was similar to my actions. She acknowledged that there were spirits who might try to bust in while I’m praying; she said the spiritualist action would be to say “God bless you, but leave me alone in peace,” and to always ask for “the best and the highest” spirit when praying. And something about asking for a white light.

See, I always just start going when praying, you know? Just, “Hey, so God:” and go from there. But it’s interesting to think that when I’m talking to him, there are eavesdroppers… some benign and some not-so. At least I can tell them to hit the road because it’s a private convo and know I’m not being a neurotic paranoid.

Sarah’s mom also told me something else. Let me just say right now that at no point was she ever trying to sell me her religion. She was just informing me about it, which was cool, because I wanted to know.

The board outside a spiritualist church

She told me that spiritualism wasn’t a mainline religion and that she was raised with a Lutheran background so she’d have something steady, then made her own choice to become a spiritualist when she was old enough to learn about it on her own. A remarkable statement I recall, though, was: “At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters necessarily what we call the one we worship, because it’s probably the same guy anyway. Allah, God, the great spirit, the Creator– probably all the same. It’s what you do in this life that matters– whether you use your life for good or for evil, what you do with it. How you love.”

It reminded me a little of Brendan, and even of my own conclusions relating to religion and love. Just love with all you have and learn everything you can. Keep an open mind and an accepting heart and you’ll be okay.

And so yeah. I’ll wrap this summary up with what my mother told me after I got back home and recounted to her the events of the evening.

“You’ve been raised with a strong faith. You have a strong faith. Don’t waste your brilliant* brain cells trying to figure out things about spooks. Know that there’s good and bad in this world, around us all the time, and that there’s God. The rest you can come up with yourself, but always remember those basics. And now I’m going to smoke and go to bed.”

*Not saying I’m brilliant here. Just quoting my mother, who is probably obligated by law or something to say that.

Psychosis

Here’s the definition for it; it’s not just taking up space as the title of this blog entry. Psychosis (pl. psychoses): a severe mental disorder in which thought and emotions are so impaired that contact is lost with external reality.

It has nothing to do with what I’m about to talk about, except that the core of the word “psych” is also the core of the word psychic. “Psych” comes from the Greek psychikos, meaning “of the mind” or “mental.”

I’m going to see a psychic today.

I feel like both a skeptic and a wimp. Cool, man, cool (not)

I tried to think of other ways to phrase that, but the truth is? I’m feeling a little weird about it and don’t know what to expect. I’ve always had a tendency to research the paranormal, and in doing so have compiled the following facts that seem to be making me nervous.

01. My grandma is a pretty avid Christian and has mentioned to me before that seeking spiritual guidance of that nature is highly ill-advised. She basically conveyed the idea that reaching into the beyond without God was dangerous. Anything from tarot to Ouija to psychics– ex-nay.

02. My mother went with my aunt to see a psychic in Lilydale a few years ago. I remember them returning and detailing the visit for my grandma, cousin and I. Some pretty weird stuff was discussed: everything from the child Kathy must have miscarried to the possible future of Caitlin, to contact with my dead grandfather. Weird shit.

03. The Bible says that seeking mediums are not the way to go. The advice of a centuries-old book shouldn’t be discounted, should it? Granted it was mentioned in the Old Testament where there were hundreds of rules, but still. (Along with psychoanalysis and paranormal research, I’ve been interested in religion as well.)

04. Maybe I’m just a cynical skeptic when it comes to the whole “here let me tell you something about your life that I shouldn’t know at all, but I do” thing. That makes me feel vulnerable. Also, not in control.

05. Plus, I am pretty solidly in the “spirit world is real” camp. I realize that we’re blind to the actions of the ether, normally, but I think they’re there. Thankfully I’ve been blissfully unaware, mostly, thus far… can you imagine neurotic me, trying to live alongside ghosts and knowing it?

06. Also, to be brutally honest, I’m nervous. I’m nervous because even though I’m going with Sarah and her mother and they’ve done this before, who knows what I might learn. Apparently it’s this thing called “circles” where you pay ten dollars or so to sit in a circle with four or five other people. This psychic gives you (and here I’m quoting Sarah) “a mini reading.” I’ve never been to Lilydale and don’t know what to expect.

And here’s the kicker for me, I guess. I’ve never– never— been afraid of learning something. I’ve been afraid of many other things: death, sharks, deep water, slashers, stalkers, cannibals, fire, baby-killers and sadists. But never new knowledge.

I guess I’m just unnerved. What if I’m told I’ll suffer unspeakable tragedy soon? Or that my greatest worries will become reality? Or that on the way home some normal guy will suffer a psychotic break and steal Sarah and I for a fun couple years in his basement lined with human skin?

I just don’t know what I’ll be told, and I won’t have any control over it. I don’t like to be unaware of what I’ll face. So maybe I should be happy that whoever gives my “mini reading” might give me a heads-up… or maybe that five minutes will be the most terrifying five minutes of my life.

Here’s a criminal mind… mine

I have discovered why I have been so unhappy lately. Why my senior year of high school made me so miserable. Why there’s just this little spot of rot just above my heart that keeps eating away at me.

It’s because I’ve reached the point in my life where people expect a great deal of me. So it’s not only my own self pushing me, but I have to live with the idea of those I respect the most really counting on me. Counting on me to make the most of myself, to kick ass in college, to do so much with my life. To learn more than how to tie a string of eighth notes together.

In addition to that, I’m facing the stark reality that the dreams and hopes I’ve carried for so long might fall to the wayside. They might never happen. The best intentions could result in the worst circumstances. So many terrible things could happen and with the drop of a hat, my life’s course could change forever, take an angle I’d never considered before.

I’ve always considered myself lucky and blessed to have grown up in the environment I did. Last night I was trying to fall asleep and found myself thinking about Criminal Minds, and writing. I’ve been obsessed with the show lately (lately meaning, a few months on and off), and in my daydreaming (and actually dreaming) hours have found myself picturing scenarios, picturing an alter ego of myself acting and solving crimes. Getting inside the minds of the Seriously Screwed Up and figuring out how they tick.

My interest in psychoanalysis doesn't come from these guys, but the show adds fuel to the plot-generating fire

I realize there are only about eleven real profilers in the world, and don’t worry– I have no intention of switching careers right before Eastman. But I’ve always had a lingering fascination with the why of the human mind. What trigger in their past claimed their energy and turned it to murder? How did their parents’ relationship affect them, how have vital occasions in their life turned them into serial killers?

Mingled with my predilection to write, to tell a story, this appreciation and interest in psychoanalysis has led me to develop some pretty whacked out plotlines. Despite my glee at arriving at such atrociously exciting stories, though, I can’t help but think, in all seriousness, how do people do such horrible things to one another?

I tend to wonder about and picture every possible aspect of others’ lives in my spare time. We could be driving past a suburb and I wonder, who lives in that pretty house, and what are they hiding? What do they enjoy? Do they hate their job? Dog or cat people? I see two Canadians come into Tim Horton’s and I think, why are they traveling? What brings them to Gowanda? Do they come to Timmy Ho’s because it’s familiar or they want coffee or they need directions? Or potentially all three?

It’s a compulsion to be curious, I suppose. And with that compulsion comes certain darker thoughts, especially when I mix it with a healthy dose of serial killer research and my own life.

If someone had gotten into my house at night– which, I’ve discovered, would be pathetically easy– and killed my family, how would that affect the world? If I–or someone near me– snatched up that root beer bottle and smashed it over someone’s head, what would the consequences be? Would they be evadable? If there was a slasher in the backseat of the vehicle I always make sure to lock, how would I escape them? How would they try to kill me, what would their past look like if mapped out, to lead us both to that point?

Then it all circles back to, how do people do this to each other? What was the significant event that pushed that button: kill, hurt, maim, make suffer? How is it that beings who are predisposed to crave love, end up creating ruin? Is it in pursuit of love, of attention? How can it be rectified?

All this from the spinning mind of a soon-to-be music student. Maybe I should stick to eight notes.

The most wildly thrilling blog you’ll ever read

This is to throw you off. There is no sunniness today

I was going to title this post with the phrase “I got nothin'” but upon reflection that’s too self-explanatory. Instead I labelled it with something interesting, and now you’re stuck here wondering when I’ll get to the point.

Congratulations, you’ve been duped into reading the most pointless two paragraphs I’ve ever written. I’m bored, I work from three to ten today, I’m annoyed. I’m about ready to tear my hair out, because when my mother’s cranky the world has to be, too. I’m tense and anxious about school, and will probably escape to my room to keep packing. The most I can say is, I’m well-rested and there’s plenty of coffee. Hope your day’s going better than mine.

Worrying away: the nonverbal power struggle between me, myself, and God

Self v. self. God's just chillin' somewhere waiting for me to figure it out, I guess

I’m a scaredy-cat. This is just how it is. I’m scared to admit my faith, scared to admit that I might (le gasp) not really be in charge of my existence, scared to think that the control I come to rely on so heavily might be merely a perception. Not real.

Basically I’m scared to admit that I’m a flawed human being that’s not in charge of my life.

This is the biggest thing for me to admit. It’s taken me quite a while to arrive at the admission, too: I’m a control freak. Not because I have a compulsion to lead the way: not at all. On the contrary, I simply don’t want to be seen as weak. I’ve grown up in an atmosphere of strong, confident, vital women. The core people in my life are primarily female, and are all incontrovertably strong in their own way.

I’ve been told, however, that I take after my grandmother, my mother’s mother. We both have the blond hair, love of food (she reins hers in, I don’t), and deeply seated need for peace. She suffered through two divorces and raised three children single-handedly while working full time in order to obtain her calm, her center of balance. So as much as she hated it, she stood her ground for her children. She refused to be run over by others. Now she’s happy.

Me? I’d just as soon give up than fight, but in addition to that Libra-esque desire for balance, I seem to have inherited the moral compass and backbone from my mother. A ruthless sense of justice and equality was bred into my blood; so I’m torn in two. While one half of my heart wants to lay down the sword (or whatever) and stop fighting, the other half will claim fairness. Will demand it, if it’s not given right away.

What to do when two warring halves of myself collide with the idea that I should give my life to God? My selfless and giving nature says, go for it. Just do it, and see where he will take you. You’ve already gotten so far, imagine how much you could grow with a little spoonful of faith. Or more.

The demanding and aggressive section of my brain would like to know what happens when God leaves me again. When he decides to test me again– which I’m positive will happen– and I’m left alone in the mental and emotional darkness that seems to fall on me whenever the glow near my heart fades and takes God’s presence with it. What then? Am I left to resume control until he takes charge again? Or should I lay down arms and be stampeded by whatever until God chooses to remember me once more?

The warrior and the peacemaker in me can’t decide.

Look at me, I’m tired and being ridiculous (also known as me, philosophizing)

I realize this picture is possibly as pathetic as me right now and twelve times as lame/cheesy.

All anyone really wants is attention.

I’ve discovered recently (yeah, over the course of the past week and a half) that I have an ambition to act eventually. Someday. I’d just like to be on TV, to have a group of people appreciate me for what entertainment I can bring them.

Normal people, too, I mean. Opera people are weird: delightfully so, but weird. It would be interesting to have a fan base at all, let alone one of normal people.

This is why I think acceptance is so necessary for everyone. I’ve spent most of my childhood struggling to be liked and accepted by the other kids in my classes. Finally my child self basically said, “Fuck it, I’ll just go be smart on my own and if anyone wants to join me I’ll be reading and singing and xylophoning over here.”

Granted, that was just about a year and a half ago, but still.

Here again I sit and wish for MORE people to like me. MORE people to read this blog. MORE people to follow me on Twitter, to want me to sing, to ask if I’ve ever thought of TV.

I realize it’s not as simple as it sounds, but if Dr. Heischberger thinks I can then hell, I’d try it.

In any case essentially I feel pathetic for aiming for more and craving more but ambition keeps forcing me to run at a ten-foot-high stone wall. Here, try this angle, here, try it again, here, practice some more and daydream some more and get your hopes up some more, More, MORE.

Maybe I’ll succeed eventually but until then my daydreams are what feed my intensity and my goal-making ambition. I just don’t want to get my hopes up too ridiculously high only to fall flat on my never-to-be-filmed face.

Time for the fall

I had it out with my mother last night.

Those of you who actually know me, and/or my mother, will realize that this is not the simplest or most enjoyable activity.

Those of you who don’t know me, and/or my mother, will please take note that we are quite similar… type A personality, somewhat aggressive and domineering, like to be in control, fairly intuitively aware of when someone is having a difficult time with something. The difference is, my mother will confront this struggling person with a “what’s your problem? your tone sucks” (i.e., that’s what she said to me yestereve), whereas I will either allow said individual to continue to work out whatever it is they’re dealing with in peace, or I will ask them about it (hopefully a smidgeon less abrasively… although I’ll confess to being an abrasive soul on occasion).

Anyway. So we were sitting on the porch. Me: bowl of popcorn and some grape juice, Nora Roberts’ The Villa in one hand and a texting conversation with Michael in the other. Ready to relax and burn up the forty-some pages left in my book before the natural light faded.

Mother: “So when are we going to Wal-Mart? What else do you need to get?”

Me: Rattled off list of supplies still necessary.

Dad (eavesdropping by the grill, pretending he’s not being awkward standing there): “Are you going to bring your fridge?”

Me: Explanation of how I don’t know because my roommate’s sister facebooked me about how they have a fridge already. Further explanation of how, even if I don’t bring it this year, I will need it next year when I have my own room.

Mother: “You know, you sound like this all has to go your way. Like, you are entitled for everthing to be exactly the way you want it.”

Me: “That’s not how it is–”

Mom: “That’s what I mean. Your tone… sucks.”

And that’s when I ignored my father pretending to be part of the conversation and forgot to calculate the effects of what I said or how I said it.  Basically I just spewed out what I didn’t know had really been gnawing at me.

“I’m going to a high-intensity musical conservatory in less than two weeks, where I know no one and I’ll be expected to work my ass off every second of my day. Not that I mind, but on top of that I’ve never done college before, have no idea what to expect or what to do or how to do it. No one’s there to help me and I’ll be completely on my own. I’m sorry if that gives me a ‘tone’ since I’m terrified and will have no idea what I’m doing. It’s just a little bit of added stress, if that’s understandable. Just a little stressful for me.”

So now it’s said and aired, and I have come to the realization that leaving has really started to worry me. It’s like the wait before an audition, before a performance. I feel prepared, but unsure of how I’ll actually perform. I mostly am anxious because I don’t know what’s in store, I don’t know what’s waiting at Eastman. Hogwarts, it feels like, but I doubt it will be that fun. Challenges, stress, coffee, no sleep. Hopefully it will be the time of my life, but who knows, really. I’m sadly undereducated and as much as I love music, I don’t like to be behind.

I just don’t know what to expect, and that worries me. The wait pressures me. All that I’m leaving behind here seems so final, so like the end of summer, the end of childhood.

I’ll deal with it and kick its ass with intensity, but for right this second, it’s stressing me out.

Totally Gubular (horrifying pun, I know)



*PLEASE NOTE: The handwritten-ness is simply a tip of the hat to the ingenuity and creative flair of a Mr. Matthew Gray Gubler and is in no way an attempt to plagiarize his work or to be a (and I quote) “copycat.” I have nothing but respect for his career and/or his sweet-looking webpage. So: that’s my disclaimer to anyone who may want or need it.

Make me want to vomit (again)

In my personal and nauseated opinion... he IS the idiot. But I wouldn't waste my time arguing with him.

So, until now I’ve been avoiding politics. Since Government (the class) ended, I’ve cared, but not really. Auditions and college plans and senior year were a little more pressing.

Therefore, it’s been low on my list of priorities. But this morning, Fox News was on when I woke up. Granted, I had a shitty 11:51pm, so I was in a bad mood to begin with. But walking in on Glenn Beck criticizing Putin for walking “like a Communist” wasn’t really the greatest.

He’s not only inconsistent, but he’s trying to tie in history’s violent crusades to today’s times. He is trying to incite teenagers to overthrow Obama. And, apparently, the Soviet Union?

About Communism: “It was a different time until we defeated it. …Now they’re trying to teach you that democracy is what we are. Why would somebody want to change us from a republic to a democracy?”

He just read a passage from Webster’s early history textbook, and quoted that the very core of a republic was the Bible. Then he went on to talk about how when people pervert the government by venturing away from the original intent (church and state intertwined), it’s horrible.

Now back to the former USSR. Something about their “freedom of religion.” My head’s starting to ache and I need coffee but am scared to drink it, so I’ve zoned since this guy’s just making me angry, and more nauseous than I currently am/was last evening.

I will tell you what I think is really perverted. The idea that a figure with some weight is speaking out against communism and real freedom of religion from government at a time where the president currently isn’t garnering excessive support? That concerns me. The idea that this figure doesn’t mind insulting Putin on live TV? Concerning. The idea that he’s reminding kids my age that war is necessary to prevent communism, and calling his segment “Restoring History”?

Yeah, that worries me. I’ll probably get an ulcer.
There have to be better solutions than war, or encouraging kids to approve of it.

Must be meaning something

So I think it’s bizarre that, out of nowhere, the urge can hit me to pick up a Bible again. I think it’s strange that my wandering mind will hit upon the inspiration to turn to Romans, land upon Romans 12.

I believe it is especially weird that that’s one particular passage that could give me hope about the future, and confidence in my own outlooks and beliefs about humanity.

More on this later sometime. I’m working early tomorrow and am pretty exhausted. But I do think that it’s unbelievable what can happen when the mind and heart are open and eager, waiting for something to speak to them.

Ужь ты нива моя (The harvest of sorrow)

The day I memorized my Russian (a poem)

My buddy Sergei.

The day I memorized my Russian
I decided to take a new tack
It was the day of a master class and
I was sick of being told not to slack*

It was a humid and muggy and watery day
(Meaning I drank lots of water while I paced and I prayed)

The day I memorized my Russian
I wrote it all down in Cyrillic twice
It was muttered and scribbled and screamed and
Sung and I realized laziness was my worst vice

It was a hurried and stressed and embarrassing day
(Since, well, I came to terms with myself, in a way)

The day I memorized my Russian
Well, I thought about Eastman a lot
Will I make it if I can’t pull this off for today
Maybe my chances at succeeding are shot

It was a reflection, realization, come-to-Jesus at best
(I don’t need to relax, overthink, or to rest)

The day I memorized my Russian
It clinched something in my soul
Cliche and think whatever but
Music’s going to play its role

It was a long and trying afternoon when I learned my Рахманиновь
(But I’m motivated, here and now, and still will be when push comes to shove.)

*For the record, it’s been since, like, last October when anyone’s told me seriously to take practicing seriously. Since then, I’ve been the one telling myself not to slack. I just don’t listen.

Thoughts while sipping the first mugfull

 

I had a dream that I was sad. That I was left behind. That I was about to die.

The truth is, I am all of these things, however much I press it back into my subconscious during waking hours.

I literally just dragged myself out of bed and have a sip (okay, gulp) and a half of caffeine in my system. I’m still under the last haze of dreaming. But as my mind starts its slow shift back to the waking world, I begin to realize that I’ve stopped analyzing myself lately. Usually I’ll use my blog and journal-like writing to accomplish that. But I haven’t been doing it. I’ve been working, and when I’m not, I’m practicing. (Or swimming… or anything else in a countless realm of things that do not include blogging.)

So I haven’t spent much time reflecting on my own personal balance (yes, Libra reference there). It screws with my anxiety levels when I’m not fully aware of my own mind and emotions.

But now (thanks, dreamland) I know: I’m sad. I’m worried about being forgotten and discarded. And I’m alarmed by the reality that I’m getting older– and even that doesn’t matter because, really, any second could be my last.

My older blog talked a great deal about death. I discussed in great detail how I felt about life and trying to exist and make the most of it. Circumstances that had nothing to do with me ended up having the greatest effect on my views regarding death. I still believe that living all-out is the way to be… the way to go.

But now that I spend most of my time employed, at a job that’s pretty great if you need a job, but not where I want to be for the rest of my life, I have been thinking. What about people that have sucky jobs, that pay like crap? How do they stay happy? Sacrifice time with their friends and family in order to make more?

I figure now that you have to pay for time. It costs money to take your friends out to eat; it costs money to go shopping with your mother; it costs money to go to college. Does it equal out: the happiness versus the time lost to make the happiness possible?

I don’t know yet. I imagine when my cup(s) of coffee has(have) been emptied I’ll say the pleasant times are worth giving up so many hours in order to provide them. This is yet another concrete reason why I know I need to end up with a job I love. A job I live and breathe.

But speaking of work, I have to stop doing this and start getting ready. So, thank you for choosing Tim Horton’s, and have a great day.