In limbo

I only have about seven drafts of previous attempts saved somewhere in the nebulous internet space where all drafts go to die, suspended in permanent Draft Limbo. I don’t want to go back and reread, because I’ll just feel guilty for not finishing them. And also I’ll probably wallow in whatever problems I felt I had to work out.

I’m only here now because my real journal is at home and I feel as though I should try to stream-of-consciousness away the doldrums that’ve been harassing me for the past little while. Some days are good, some days are, well, Not So Good, and I know that’s normal, and probably healthy. But there’s just something else, some greasy underlying mental or emotional abcess that I don’t quite know how to drain away.

I’ve been in a decent, businesslike frame of mind lately. I feel as though I’ve had to be. I have grad school applications to submit tonight, and that requires all of the faculties…  I can’t afford to think about the future in any capacity, I just have to complete the required steps with purpose and with efficiency. If I don’t, I go into complete meltdown mode… i.e., last Saturday around dinnertime, in my closet. (Yes, my closet is big enough for me to entertain a complete meltdown. And yes, the littlest, stupidest thing set me off. Something totally unrelated to applications, mind you– but because I was thinking about how incredibly important these applications are, it didn’t take very much straw to send this camel tumbling ass over teacup down the side of her metaphorical sand dune.)

Also, this is the first Thanksgiving I’ve not been home for, and although I know there are a million and one things to be thankful for (and I am), it still makes me sad not to be around my family. You know, my teacher had us over for a late lunch yesterday, and it was extraordinary… but she was talking about going over to her grandmother’s when she was young. The carpet in the dining room, as well as this massive, beautiful grandfather clock were her grandma’s… she said it made her feel as though her grandmother was with us. I’d like to think that those we love can still be with us in spirit, even after they’re gone. I know this just took a turn into a weird place, but what the hell… this will probably end up in Draft Limbo as well.

That brings me to weird topic number three… what happens when we die?

Just kidding. Sort-of. I’m so sorry you can’t really sense my arch, philosophical tone via computer. Or phone, whichever. (It’s not like anyone reads this anyway.)

In other news, one of the original songs from She Loves Me just came up on my Christmas playlist… it feels a little like someone’s putting a mediocre effort into sawing at my heart with a butter knife. I’d forgotten what it was like to be broken up with someone and then see them out and about… this is it! How bittersweet.

I’m going to leave it on. It will be good for me to keep hearing it– that’s the way to get over something. It’s not as though I can go back and magically have the show back. The energy, the companionship, the happiness of being busy doing something you’re in love with… that’s part of my problem, too, I suppose. I think I’m at a point in my life where I am forced– on an almost daily basis– to relinquish control. I have a few control issues. It’s one thing to know that there are things I can’t change: things about grad school, or about relationships, or even about the way this semester is going to turn out. It’s another thing altogether to say, “I give up. I’m giving up completely and I’ve given it all I have… here it is. There’s nothing left for me to do, and I can’t change a thing from this point forward.” I can’t completely say that– not right now, not yet. As soon as I send these applications in– tonight– I can say it about grad school until I hear back. I’d love to say that about my love life (what love life? you may have asked just now, to which I respond: “Good question.”). I’m just too stubborn (and a little aggressive), and I know it. It takes every ounce of self control I have not to force my company on those I’m interested in. It’s just hard, even knowing I’m fighting a losing battle in the alleged romantic department, not to take action. Logic dictates not to continue beating a dead horse. My own emotions hint that if I keep beating it, it might come back to life. And I know, if I leave it alone and have a little faith, I’ll either move on when it doesn’t resuscitate, or it will breathe again on its own, without my help… but it’s so hard to just let it be.

I used to have the kind of faith that kept me sane and happy and disciplined. This was that all-consuming, it’s-going-to-be-fine-even-if-I-screw-up-in-some-extreme-way kind of faith. I’d like to think that I still do, somewhere, and it’s just dusty. But I don’t really know how to access it. Do I need someone else’s hand to hold? Some other person’s support? I’d like to think that’s not the answer. The only other answer I have for myself involves putting my trust in something bigger. Something else, that has it all figured out so I don’t have to worry. In the interest of total disclosure I’ll say that I think that thing is probably God– but what that means for me, personally, in the grand scheme of things, I can’t say. I don’t know. It’s taken a good handful of years to even admit out loud, to my closest personal friends, that God is something relevant to my life. (And here I almost backspaced and typed “The concept of God”… so if that doesn’t tell you how tenuous that line of thinking has been for me in recent years, I don’t know what might.)

Le package room aka work

Le package room aka work, aka I didn’t bring anything else to do so here, you have a picture of my face and a run-on fragment of something aspiring to be a sentence

Anyway. It’s approaching the time where I have to stop playing on the computer and do some package and envelope logging. I have the easiest job on the planet, for the record… for which I am thankful.

And it looks like this post isn’t going into Draft Limbo, after all. Good evening!

Dear Boy I Used to Love,

I think you’re an idiot. And I think you gave up too soon.

You told me once you wanted to work hard. I took that to mean you wanted to work hard no matter what it cost you, because you were determined to make something out of the bullshit life handed you. I saw that as a perseverance to be respected, a drive that would prove to the world how special you were, and how extraordinary.

Well, I helped get you a job, and you fucking blew it. I put in a good word for you and you decided that it wasn’t for you. Instead of sticking it out for the summer, for a measly twelve (or less?) weeks, you quit. You left your colleagues with a reminder of the kind of dumb shit they hate to work with– someone with a piss-poor, know-it-all attitude and a preconceived notion that life owes you.

Allow me to clue you in: life doesn’t owe you a goddamn thing. And you can look down your nose at me in jaunty confidence and treat me to a patented, affronted reverse-snobbery; you can ask me how the hell I would know, haven’t I been handed everything I could ever want?

I’ll tell you something, and it’s up to you whether you want to pay attention. The only reason I grew up with a childhood so different from your own, is because my mother worked as hard as she possibly could at a job she was mentally overqualified for, for nearly thirty years. My mother’s work ethic and drive to give my sister and I a childhood so far removed from her own, are the sole reasons I didn’t grow up with your childhood.

Where do you think she got her drive? Possibly her own determined mother who worked day and night to be the only provider for her three children. Perhaps seeing her father and uncle kill themselves with the bottle had something to do with it. Maybe it was the fact that she realized, almost too late, that she might not fulfill her own potential as a human being. She didn’t go to college for long. She realized that she needed money and she loved my father so they began a life together– but they earned everything they now own from the ground up. Her life wasn’t fucking peaches, either, but she didn’t whine or complain that the work was too hard or that she deserved better than what was handed to her. She didn’t blame others for her mistakes.

She passed those traits on to me. I don’t blame you for hating me. I don’t blame you for giving up on our friendship without so much as a struggle, even though I was hurting and I needed you. Even though it looked like I hated you, I was absolutely miserable without you and you didn’t even bother to look away from your empty-headed, real-college friends to notice. By the time you figured it out, it was too late and my heart had broken and spilled out and healed over. And you didn’t so much as turn your head, except to complain to other people that I was “mean.”

I’d thought we’d worked toward becoming friends again, but you don’t give a shit. You don’t have the balls to tell me so, even now, and truthfully I don’t care enough to make it clear to you. Then again, maybe I’m hoping in some deep recess of my heart that you’ll grow up and we can share some (not all) of the bond we once shared. I do think that once (if) you pull your head out of your ass and realize you’re going to be twenty, that you might come to remember that I apologized. I apologized, and after that I didn’t know how to behave because how could things go back to normal? You seemed to have thought they could in a heartbeat. But I couldn’t do that. I didn’t know how.

Then you were angry and the cycle of misunderstanding started again. I was mad too, don’t get me wrong. I was furious. Even now, you seem not to give a shit that you’ve disappointed many of those who care about you, including my family and, well, me. Like it or not, I do still want the best for you, even if I don’t really like you as a person anymore. And if that didn’t make any sense to you, read it again.

I know now that you think I’m some pretentious diva who lords her expensive school and fancy ideas over everyone (don’t worry that I’m paying for the expensive school out of my own pocket and that I work constantly). Because I’m quiet, I’m stuck up, and I don’t tend to drink like a sloppy whore so I’m not any fun. I don’t dress to cover only my tits and ass so obviously I don’t fit in with the girls you prefer now, anyway. Yes, I’m a bitch, and I’ll stay that way in your mind until (if) you decide to grow up and maybe then you’ll realize: I would have given you everything.

But it’s okay. You’ll continue to earn mediocre grades and a respectable beer gut at some state school where it doesn’t matter how well you actually do, because unless you have something special that sets you apart, you’re going to settle for a mediocre job somewhere that you loathe. You’ll take your enjoyment on the weekends with your slutty girl friends who only want in your pants because they believe you’re the best they’ll ever get. Not because they want what’s best for you as a person or as a lover, not because they give a shit about your dreams or your hopes or your fears.

It’s okay.

It’s even more okay because I’m thinking about this after seeing your pictures on facebook… Don’t you realize potential future employers see those things? How could you be so stupid? I know for a fact some of your past employers have gone back and looked to see what kind of a dumb ass they were mistaken enough to hire, so they won’t do it again. I hope you don’t have really high goals for future jobs. Then again, if you don’t like the work, you can just quit, right? That sort of lack of discipline is acceptable, isn’t it?

I think you talk big and you never follow through. I think you had all of these big plans and loved to tell people about them, and then you realized it would take blood, sweat and tears (God forbid you don’t have “fun” all the time) in order to achieve those goals. So you quit. You gave up too soon on those dreams, and on working hard. And on me.

But, Dear Boy I Used to Love,

I’ve long since given up on you.

Stream of nagging consciousness

So for most of today I’ve experienced simple, so-happy-I’m-stupid bliss raging blood-spattering war against a persistent nagging feeling that there’s no real reason for me to be so happy. Read that single-comma-ed run on one more time in a single breath and then you have my day in a nutshell.

I just saw a picture of a guy I know on facebook. He had a laughing, pretty girl (much shorter and more petite than I, with a little more charm in her laughing face… let’s face it, who has a charming laughing face?!) on his arm, and a smile that read “I’m getting some.” This guy I know, well, he and I may or may not have entertained the idea of entertaining one another. To some extent we did, for one hot endless summer night.

We talked a little after that but it was obvious that nothing would come of it. But for some reason I allowed myself to build castles in the air around him for a little while, and it took a few weeks for them to gently collapse back to dust in my brain. But the time we had was nice, as he was nice. We were compatible and there was some serious chemistry. And then there was no contact so the chemistry faded softly away, as did the niceness and the friendship.

So why is it a blow to see him with someone else? Why, when I Have Someone now? Maybe it’s the heartsore “what could have been” coming back to nudge me. Maybe it’s the memory of that warm night and his mouth on mine, persistent and electrifying. Maybe it’s the absence of a new and shiny friendship that fell off into nothingness, or maybe it’s simply a bittersweet melancholy that whines at inopportune moments.

I don’t know, exactly. Maybe it’s a combination of them all. But what pisses me off the most is that I let it interfere, for even one moment, with the happiness I have right now. The pleasant fizz under the skin at the thought of moments that might arrive, the ever present maybe of thrills that may or may not ever be realized. The challenge, the adrenaline of discovery… I have that now, or at least a taste of it. I don’t want to ruin it by worrying myself into a paranoia that complicates it all just because something made me sad and that prods me into thinking I might not be justifiably happy.

Trying to understand, a little (a mini patriotic rant) 

A facebook friend of mine whom I went to high school with recently posted this status:

Image

First off all, yes, my facebook is in German. So sue me.

Secondly, I have to say, I really don’t know how to feel about it. I don’t understand. What’s the point of expressing you apathy in this kind of situation? Let’s review. 9/11 was a tragedy that shook the world. An unprecedented slaughter of nearly 3000 (yes, three THOUSAND) people, many of whom were trying to save the lives of others even as they died.

I understand that, yes, the world has seen its share of tragedies. And I also understand that many of them are not memorialized. Well, people die every day… shouldn’t all of them be remembered in some fashion? Thousands died on 9/11, all in the same fell swoop. Shouldn’t they be remembered, and the heroes honored? 9/11 gets some publicity yearly. What’s the big deal? I don’t get it.

Is she upset that horrors elsewhere are not being publicized? Stop bitching on facebook and write to your local news station. Or start a blog to talk about issues that motivate you– like Melody has.

Or maybe, it’s the fact that 9/11 is STILL memorialized eleven years after the fact. Is that the problem?

Personally, I don’t see much wrong with recognizing the deaths of thousands of people, remembering that they have families and friends still here, and thinking of them as the day passes. I remember my relatives who have passed on when their birthdays roll around, or a specific thing occurs that reminds me of them.

I think of the victims of 9/11 every time I catch the time on the clock.

I may have only been in third grade in 2001, and I may or may not have only understood that I couldn’t watch TV when I got home from school because the news was on and that’s all my parents wanted to see. But I came to realize in short order exactly how terrible a tragedy it was.

And now, to see something so dismissive, so bland and unfeeling, about an event that changed this country, changed the world, and changed the lives of millions by ripping from them their loved ones… it’s disheartening, at least. “There have been worse tragedies?” That’s like saying, “Let’s not celebrate Memorial Day, because we don’t give a shit and people die every day.” “Let’s not recognize that the Holocaust happened, because they’re already dead and currently no one’s showing a growing desire for gas chambers.”

I just don’t understand. One day out of the year to remember isn’t such a great sacrifice, for me at least, when I think about those who sacrificed their lives nearly eleven years ago. A few moments to pause and think about the victims of an unspeakable tragedy aren’t a huge waste. A life taken is a life taken. And I guess that’s how I feel about it.

Refusal to take myself seriously

It’s the end! Of the second year. Oh boy, oh my. Oh dear.

But here I am, still in one piece. Actually, I think I might be more whole than I was coming into school this summer. And I’m definitely more of a real person than I was at the beginning (middle, or end) of my freshman year.

It’s amazing, how much a span of a few months can change a person. March was the month of change for me, and it catapulted right into April with that same new, thrilling momentum. Now here we are in May, and all I can think of is summertime, cool breezes and hot sun, learning my music and keeping up with my language and theory skills. Not that I have a great deal of those, just to clarify. But I’d like to try to keep up.

That’s all I really want to do, to be honest. Learn, and drink coffee and sit outside with my dogs. But I’ll be working.

Anyway. Total change in subject now. So. I guess that last post was mostly me drinking. I don’t usually drink and write– normally I know better. But I’d gone out and come back within the span of an hour and a half, and I hadn’t felt tired.

But I had felt alone, and lonely with it, I suppose. That’s not really my style, to be clear. I love to be alone. In fact, I often prefer it; I’m more productive, and certainly more sociable when I finally do see people. I guess there’s something about a two o’ clock on a Tuesday morning that brings out the sentimental in me.

I can’t help but laugh it off, though. I’ve been really silly lately and I’m blaming it on the end of the semester and three and a half more finals to go. Speaking of, I’d better keep studying for Deutsch, and I think I’ve lost my voice final… Uhg. Maybe I’ll return to WordPress before I set out for the rustic land of dial-up internet. In case I don’t though, bis später!

I like to make lists

So, here is my day in a nutshell.

1.a. History class

1.b. Drama that I am going to ignore and hope goes away

1.c. Learned that, actually, all straight boys here ARE really weird or involved with someone

1.d. Reminded myself that it’s okay to be single

1.e. Reminded myself that I hate people anyway and don’t play well with others even under the best circumstances

1.f. Chose to ignore the fact that I lie to myself about hating people… all the time

2. Lunch, class, stress, meeting with teacher, failed practice session, quick break, more class, gym

3. SA meeting, where I showed off my incredibly toned legs, cute choice in workout shorts and ability to look sarcastic and fit (read: slightly sweaty but pumped on endorphins) at the same time

4. Saw this quote on Edo’s facebook and decided it suits my week thus far: “I will, however, prove to myself that I can do what I want to do, and that I am as good as I know I am.” I am capable. I am smart. I am efficient, productive, strong and determined to do what I’m here to do, regardless of whatever may stand (or try to stand) in my way. I’m here for a reason, and no one, not even myself, will tell me differently.

Standing in the sunlight, laughing

Why is it always so bittersweet to remember things? I can’t watch old home videos without being miserable, because I’m happy there and I’m happy remembering… but I’m sad thinking that time’s passed. My grandpa’s not here anymore, but he’s there, and laughing; my cousins are all living with their parents in those movies, not off in different cities, some, different states, living their own lives… not that that’s a bad thing. My parents are younger, healthier.

As for me? In those old movies, I have big choices to make, still. I can save the hard decisions and the bad decisions for another day, because in those movies I’m content to live in my small bubble: one that consists of bickering and playing with my baby sister and romps in the backyard with my favorite yellow dog. It’s a perfect thirty minutes of childhood, preserved for anyone who wants to watch.

That’s why it hurts to remember. I can sit here and remember happiness felt this past summertime and just want to cry. Sunlight and green things, and iced coffee with lots of chocolate and extra ice; movies and pool nights, the Happening and farm work and guide rail. I had decisions to make, then, too– but they were a little more complicated than an eight-year-old me sitting on the floor unwrapping birthday presents in the living room.

I wonder, if I had decided to press the issue with him, if I’d be this miserable now. If I’d chosen potential over years of friendship… If I had said, “I think I’m in love with you,” when I thought I did, would we still be fighting? And, fighting over what, exactly– that I lost my temper? that I was sad and tired and stressed? that I was stretched thin to brittle, and closed to shattering?

Is that what this is about? That I was rude? That I’m a terrible friend? I thought you knew me better than that.

And what about all of that “I hate it when my friends change themselves” crap I heard for almost a year? What happens when you change? What then? Do I get to sit here and hate it, like you did? Or am I expected to just roll with it and accept that when I need you, you can’t be there for me like I need you to be, because you’re changing– into someone who has friends who are less serious than I am, more fun, with less to do and less at stake… I’m sorry I’m not spontaneous and fun anymore. I have to focus. I have to. I’m sorry.

This is why it hurts to remember. It’s one thing to remember the man you knew in the summertime, but in the cold winter daylight when things aren’t as perfect, you have to face the boy he decided he was, and any frost that comes along.

Reflections on stars and the moon

I’ll preface this by saying, I don’t really know why I’ve thought about these things lately. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d probably figure that it’s part of some larger circle that needs to return and resolve. But anyway.

At some point within the past three years, I’ve realized that the boy I gave most of my innocence to wasn’t the person I thought he was. He never pretended to be someone else: no, he didn’t pretend. But I did. I saw the hurt and the sadness in him and I wanted to fix it. I saw the scars she had inflicted and the wounds he didn’t want to admit his parents had left him with. I saw a sharp mind and an experienced, worldly soul and I wanted to help him grow. I wanted him to be the man I’d always read about: the one who swoops in to sweep the strong, independent, outspoken and vibrant woman off of her feet.

Well, here I am, nearly four years older and a hell of a lot stronger. And more independent, and hopefully more vibrant; although I can’t comment for sure on the outspoken because I feel like I do an awful lot of listening these days. But I’m smarter, and I suppose that lately it’s struck me just how much stronger.

He was eighteen then; I was fifteen. I was precocious, sure, with quite a bit of educated reading under my belt and a pressure to be better, to learn about the world.
He had been cheated on and, I guess, manipulated. His parents were divorced and I’m sure he’d seen a little too much of the world.

Those aren’t excuses, for him or for me. I guess I could fall back on my old quantification: I never said I loved him; I never gave him everything; I never expected too much, especially toward the end.

But that’s not entirely right. I never said I loved him but I allowed him to manipulate me, to make me think I was less than I am. I allowed him to tell me things about myself that weren’t true. I let him steer me away from my family and my friends simply because he wasn’t that close to his and I wanted to be with him. I gave him my trust. I gave him my loyalty. I gave him my time, my being, little parts of my heart that I’m proud to say I reclaimed and then some.

Long story short, I think it’s really interesting to see how capable I really am of looking back on the only “real” relationship I’ve ever had to see the issues I’d viewed as such complexities then become clear as day, now.

Now I sit here in my room in the dorm building of a school that is leagues and leagues above and beyond what I’d even dreamed of attending four years ago. I’m going to be in debt for the rest of my life, but I charged headfirst into that with the full intention of making the most of myself in the time I’ve been given here. I’m doing something I love, and am going to continue to. I am capable of doing almost anything.

And I all I can think of right now is how much has changed, how much I’ve learned in a few short years. How much I’ve grown. How much my life could have been like the song “Stars and the Moon” from “Songs for a New World.”

And it never changed
And it never grew
And I never dreamed
And I woke one day
And I looked around
And I thought, “My God…
I’ll never have the moon.”

But I’m not. That’s not me, but it could have been. But I don’t think I need someone who can give me the moon, as romantic as that might seem. I’ve grown up surrounded by strong women who take the moon for themselves, and I intend to be one of them. I’ll have the stars and the moon for myself.

Tear down the house

I decided to go with a new theme tonight because

a.) I can’t sleep– I have too much on my mind, AND I’m going home tomorrow, so I’m really excited

b.) It’s time for a little change, and

c.) I’ve been neglecting this outlet for too long.

I know, it’s been busy, and blah blah freakin’ blah. So what? So I don’t have five or ten or fifteen minutes– or thirty seconds– to write? Seriously, it helped my mental and emotional health SO MUCH this summer when I was journaling on paper. To think it wouldn’t help to write my thoughts on my blog is just silly.

So here I am again, with a new theme and a little pizzazz and even less sleep.

I felt guilty not blogging on my birthday (the 30th), but to be honest I was a little emotional during the day, and that night was an absolute wreck. Definitely did not feel like writing after that. I felt like shit, in almost every way possible.

But I suppose it’s time to talk about that a little bit. So I did six extra or so too many birthday shots. My normal limit is four– five if I’m feeling crazy. Blame it on peer pressure and one– I repeat, ONE– night of reckless decision-making. That’s all it takes for me to learn a lesson, I promise. I’m not stupid or careless. But I was missing my family and excited to be with my friends, and I’ll confess to having a natural inclination toward vodka.

So I was a little reckless. Not one of my friends took care of me until I was back in my room– and even then, I barely remember getting there. It was actually repulsive. I ended up with a boy in my room that I didn’t want there and a choice to have sex or not have sex. I say that bluntly because that was the decision. I can honestly admit that I was so drunk I don’t remember how I phrased things or how loud I was– but I can clearly recall telling this boy before we had even left the party that I was Not Having Sex With Him. Period, no question. It’s highly probably that other people heard me telling him this. I wanted there to Be No Question.

Well, when he found his way into my bedroom, he told me he’d thought I was kidding.

I tried to explain that I was waiting for love. I tried to explain that I had not had the greatest experiences before with boys in general and that type of pressure. I tried to explain that all I wanted to do now was cuddle and sleep off the vodka.

After spending I-don’t-even-know-how-long trying to explain, I gave up and left him in my room, and, frustrated with myself and with the evening (and with the fact that there was a boy in my room who was demanding sex and wouldn’t leave), I went over to Katie and John’s. They returned with me as amused reinforcements, but I was really upset, simply because I HAVE been pressured in that way before, and it’s humiliating and degrading. And unacceptable, whether you’re drunk or sober or scared or experienced. No means no, and should always mean no. Every time.

Finally with a little peer pressure, the boy left and I retired to my room with Katie. There I basically wept away the early hours of the morning after my nineteenth birthday. I couldn’t help myself: everything is more emotional when you’re drunk, anyway. And in all seriousness, if I wasn’t stronger than the boy I’d had in my room, I might have been raped. Like I said, it only takes one experience for me to learn. My previous experience led me to refuse this boy at any cost, even my pride. This most recent awful night taught me how dangerous birthday shots can be… and all joking aside, it taught me to know just how much I can trust my friends to get me out of certain situations. To get me home safely without making bad decisions: not one bit. To keep me safe once I am home and support me in my own choices: rather a lot. It’s interesting, anyway.

But so. Yeah. That was my horrendous October 1st. I was extremely sick when I woke up, and for most of the day. I guess it might look like the average weekend of your every day college student to some? Maybe. But for me, it just wasn’t a good fit. I like to share a bottle of wine with friends, and a couple of beers at a party are just fine. And normally, shots are my favorite when it comes to drinking. But this was too much, and it led to really unpleasant things. I disappointed myself.

But it could have been so, so much worse. I could have had drunken unprotected sex with a boy I barely know (and a really short, kind of scrawny one at that). Bad decision. I could have compromised myself in a way that I vowed I wouldn’t, not yet.

And I closed a certain circle, in a way… I took back what had been taken from me. I knew what I wanted– or rather, didn’t want– and I didn’t let guilt or obligation or shock or even flattery rampage over that. The fact that I was flat-out wasted and able to maintain the willpower not to have meaningless drunk sex has to stand for something, I figure. And it might make me a prude or a tease but it’s my body. I’d said from the very beginning that I didn’t want it– I was honest. And that’s all you can ask for. Although I respect everyone and tend to feel bad if I hurt people, I’m sure this boy feels nothing but a bruised ego, and I can’t be sorry for that. Also, Katie informed me later that day that he’d said he “forgave me.” Then I made the decision to forget about him completely and allow him to go fuck himself if he chose. That clinched my original choice not to give a damn or to feel bad.

This past year, I’ve discovered that it is vital to love and respect yourself. The decisions I make are mine, for my own reasons, and I answer to no one but myself and my maker– whether that be God or the Creator, or some Great Spirit that’s the best and the brightest. I can’t help but be satisfied that the person I’ve become has enough strength to know her mind and her heart even while seriously inebriated. That might seem a little strange, but since I never plan on being that drunk again, that means that I’m stronger than even I realize. And that’s reassuring, considering life is only going to get harder as the years go on.

Little post-departmental spewing of miserable words

Why is it SO HARD for me to fail? It’s worse when no one else can see it but my teacher: that means no one else noticed how much I really have to offer, and how much more I still needed to give.

“Die Nacht” is so important to me. Not only is it a favorite of my teacher’s, it’s a favorite of mine. The story is beautiful, the setting is beautiful. It just needed so much more than I gave it today. Part of it was nerves, part of it was energy. I had been so revved up all day long for this performance: it needed to be worthy of being second-to-last on the program. It needed to be clear enough to understand, it’s message had to be there.

I had shown my professor my dress and warmed up before the recital. She thought I was going to nail it. Then I sat through six or seven other performances before going to the green room. I think that might have been my problem. I didn’t nail it. I sang it with expression but with half of my voice, it feels like now. With only half of my love. I guess it makes me feel better that my teacher said my accompanist was underplaying it and undersupporting me as well. That makes it less all my fault. But it’s still a step back for me, it feels.

These performances only come once a semester, if that, and I disappointed myself and my teacher in this one. Also, I guess I was just looking forward to rounding out the week I go home with a great performance, and that didn’t happen. Not by my standards. And my standards aren’t very high: it’s usually, if I sing well, I’m on a post-performance thrill for the rest of the evening. Now, I just feel a sense of dread and disappointment, much like the one I’ve been carrying with me since Saturday morning. Maybe I thought, if I do this well, it will take away the parts of myself I currently don’t like. Maybe it will fix me, If I can sing how I know I can sing, in front of my department.

But I couldn’t. If I had done that in an audition, and undersung it by so much, it would have been a mess and I wouldn’t have gotten hired or cast. I wanted to leave a favorable impression on the voice staff; I wouldn’t be surprised if not a one of them gave me a second thought besides “Her outfit looked good” (which, it did). It’s good that I’m not doing the opera this year because there is so much more I need to work on.

It is just so hard to fail at something I worked so hard for. And for it to turn out mediocre? When I’ve previously sung it so, so well? I just wish I could grab time, grab it hard and twist its arm and make it take me back. Make it give me a second chance to do it again. I wish that so much, and I know it’s only because I care so deeply and so ferociously about what I’m doing.

And that makes it worse. Because I do care so much, and I rarely get a chance to perform, and I love it when it goes how it should.

I can do better. And that’s the end of it.

It goes on and on, on and on, on and on (etc.)

So the earth keeps spinning and life keeps changing and here I am blogging about it.

My birthday is next week. The semester’s already nearly five weeks in and I’ve been to the gym every day for nearly twenty days this months. I’m loving German, enjoying but sucking at theory, and getting the help where I need it so I can understand the beautiful things that are going to shape me into a musician worth knowing. I’m trying to look for time where I normally wouldn’t, and also learning how to balance the mental health time that’s so very necessary to keeping a busy mind sane and efficient.

On a greater scale, my family’s nearly all grown up and a few branches have started families of their own. Life has taken my cousins all over the country; deaths have brought them all to one place again. Sometimes I wonder whether or not I would have ever gotten the chance to meet some of these people otherwise. When I asked  my grandmother to show me, finally, my great-great-grandmother’s autobiography, I discovered some piece of where I come from, some part of the family legacy that I and my sister and my cousins will build upon.

I’m living on my own (minus a few bills that I would otherwise have to pay on my own, but what the hell, that money is all being sucked into this thing I like to call “tuition,” anyway). I’m creating plans, choosing things for myself, making my own coffee… I’ve made my own coffee for years but it’s different when the coffee pot you use is something you bought with your own money, and the coffee you make is again something you purchased yourself. I’m almost a real person. That’s what it feels like to me, right now.

But life will go on, and we’ll have to see if my being almost a real person changes as it does.

Sometimes I hear, sometimes it robs me blind

Today was a beautiful day.

Some events:

– George Eastman Day of Service with the freshmen and Ellen and Matthew Ardizzone at the Garth Fagan Dance Studio

– Bonding time with David, Kit, Andrea, two violinists and Sandra/Sondra

– Party in the soggy red Jeep (John: “There is something wet by my feet.” Brian: “It smells bad in here.” John: “It probably has something to do with the something wet here by my feet.”)

– My little sib Theo (paraphrasing): “You’re amazing. I can’t wait to hear you sing. You’re all so great.” (Slightly beer-induced but flattering and kind, especially since we are at the kind of school where everyone really IS so great and at times one might tend to feel somewhat inadequate.)

– Being at the same party as my secret, moody, might-be-gay percussionist crush, even if he is slightly weird and antisocial

– Being at the same party and spending time with my not-so-secret completely harmless mini-singer crushes David, Sam, and Theo

– Having friends who like to hug me

– Having friends… ridiculous but truest thing on this page. After a summer of talking to almost no one, it is so, so stunning to have people actually wanting to talk to me

– First kiss with the magnificent Matthew. Katie: “You guys totally just could have kissed on the lips and both avoided it.” Matt: “Want to just kiss on the lips?” Me: “Yeah.”

– My mother is visiting me tomorrow!!

Final-ly (blog for 407T)

Well, I’m done! For the summer, for the semester. Until August, I’m done with school!

Not really, but the thought’s a nice one.

I don’t have to go to school for grades, now, though. And that’s where I get giddy. I can be self-motivated and study and learn because now I have the materials and the tools. I can learn things because I want to learn them and because they make me happy.

I guess I won’t comment in depth about how much I’ve changed. I’m really glad I made a new blog, a new chapter, for this part of my life, because you can see from the very, very beginning of my summer (last summer) how different things have gotten. I feel like my mind’s been stretched and warped in so many new and interesting ways– not all of them good, but then again, whose mind is all good? I figure those parts will iron themselves out as things continue to shift and change.

I did a lot of thinking last night as I laid in my bed in 407T for the very last time. It’s strange to think that I’ll never spend another night in this room. I remember thinking that about my room at home last summer (but of course I’m headed back there and have been there since last August). Still, the nostalgia is kind of the same. And it makes me a little melancholy to dwell on how many hours I’ve spent in here, thinking and ranting to Lucy, doing work, tapping out aural skillz rhythm patterns… good times. And bad times: the vicious homesickness, angsting over problems with people I thought were my friends, learning who was really going to be there for me– like the invaluable support system Professor Cowdrick spoke of– and who I’d be there for.

So much that has contributed to my personal growth and change has happened here. While I was sitting in this uncomfortable, ugly chair at this cluttered little desk.

I know it’s just a room, and I won’t linger sentimentally over it once I’m out of it. But for this moment, I’m going to sit here thinking about the year I’ve spent here, in 407T.

Quick note to self

Whether a man would have died tomorrow or the day after or eventually… it doesn’t matter. Because… this life… every second of it… is all we have (Rice 238, Interview with the Vampire).”

It’s not worth being angry over mistakes that were made  a long time ago.

It’s not worth not going all out to accomplish something.

It’s not worth it to hold back.

It’s not worth your energy to hold grudges.

It’s not worth your time to wonder what might have been.

It’s not worth your heart or compassion to forgive and laugh. Not this time, or back then. Summertime may make you think of those “special” boys, but really? They used you, and they didn’t respect you. So now, you keep your backbone, and you keep your head up. You deserve better than all of them.

They’re not worth giving up any small speck of happiness you’ve gathered.

It’s April again

There really isn’t anywhere else I’d care to talk about this. I only have a little on my mind, though, running around and around in a constant circle of worry and sadness with the ever-present and obnoxious hope. I guess here is the logical choice because the only people that tend to read this are a handful that know me, and they all know me well enough not to bring this up or tell me I shouldn’t post things about it.

No one is talking about it. Dakota is in critical condition– yeah, thanks, I know he is, I saw him for myself– and no one is talking about it. I expected some kind of prayer group, or you know, people being concerned? But apparently that’s not the case. Well, I am freaking concerned. This is the boy I went to middle and high school with, the outgoing but shy, sweet boy who loves to dance and laugh and act and write poetry. He is the boy whose best friends are some of my best friends, who’s been up to my house for bonfires. Who’s been in musicals with me since forever. Who’s going to Fredonia for theatre next year, with a writing minor. He has a half-finished tattoo that needs to be colored in, dammit.

I guess it’s natural that today’s been a long day to think about it. I get sick thinking that someone else with so much to live for might not get the chance. He’s strong, though, and his body will fight and heal and recover. I just want him to get better. I never want to hear the worst news. This was never supposed to happen. Hey God, if you give a shit, don’t take another boy away from his mother, his family, his friends. He has so much to offer the world. He might want to be forever young, but not like this.

Stay strong, Dakota.

Rest in peace, Dan. (Sept. 4, 1989 – Apr. 25, 2009.)

April again

It’s so wild. Wild that almost a year has gone by since I wrote this post about my cousin Daniel’s death. I didn’t know him, but my mother and his were best friends when they were my age. My other cousins on my mother’s side knew him much more than I did.

A week after his death was my junior prom. I remember riding with my mother in the car to the hair place, heartsick to know what grief was doing to members of his (and my) family. I know I felt stupid because I was upset: after all, I’d barely known of him, let alone knew him personally. I was just aware of the situation. A nineteen year old junior in college fell down a flight of stairs and broke his neck. I could only imagine the sheer injustice of it, the pain his mother must have been experiencing. And his siblings. His father. Oh God.

But I felt like an idiot because it didn’t seem like my grief to bear. For someone who’d so rarely come into contact with death, I was confused and wondered if maybe grief should be rightfully expressed by those whose lives Daniel had changed, and not by me. I guess I thought that maybe the family or friends would be angry to see a stranger, barely related, mourning someone so dear to them. I don’t know. Like I said, I was confused. The confusion did nothing to lessen the echo of pain I felt for them.

When I tried to express this convoluted jumble of emotion and thought, my mother reasoned it out for me. She told me that it wasn’t an insult to grieve over a stranger. She also pointed out, “Sometimes someone’s death can change a lot of lives.”

I guess I’m a living tribute to that statement. Here I’d never known Daniel, probably spoken to him once, maybe twice, but I’ve blogged about him, wondered about him, and drawn courage from his story more times that I can count.

According to his family, his friends, and complete strangers, he was a gent who lived out his life to the fullest. He was going to graduate a year early, a history major at Brockport. He was kind, funny, and genuinely liked people (more than can be said for most of humanity). He smoked Newports and wore a red bandana all the time.

He lived his life without fear and with a laugh. The final quote on his facebook wall is the one I have posted in the left sidebar (by Anberlin): “Life for today, we’ll dream tomorrow; we’ve got big plans in sight.”

He changed my life. It’s because of his life, and the way he lived it, that I make an effort, every day, to live for the moment, to plan, dream, and take every breath like it’s both gift and blessing. It doesn’t matter that I never knew him; if in some unknown, nebulous afterlife I encounter him, he’ll be one of the first I thank.

“I want to have friends”

Why is it that the Avett Brothers always pull me back to myself? When I’m a little out of it, or shaken, miserable, glum, whatever… they pop up on shuffle and voila, reassurance. Or at least closure; or more importantly, a reminder that life isn’t about the little stupid dramas that are pointless anyway.

I want friends that I can care about. That let me care about them and can trust me. As I rely on them. To be honest, if not kind. “I want to have friends, that I can trust.”

That’s really all. Otherwise, you could probably be a psychopathic slasher and I’d probably not care. It’s really just honestly, or the lack thereof, that hurts. Is it something I did? Should I have left a friend to dwell on his own mistakes without talking them over? Should I have asked about things right away instead of speculating on my own time? Is there something I should have done differently?

Or does it not matter at all? As long as we care about each other and can forgive, and move on, does it matter? Aren’t we all thrown into this outrageously difficult world with our own problems and situations and manners of dealing with them? Shouldn’t we disregard mistakes– our own, others’– and make an effort to love everyone without judgment, without anger or jealousy or anxiety?

If I felt like tossing a reference out into Brendan’s neck of the woods right now (and I do), shouldn’t we love one another unconditionally? Without becoming jaded or sick about it? Like Jesus would. I guess I went there. Well, I said the Avetts brought me back to myself when I’m upset. Myself tends to love God, and also wants to love people. “I want to fit in to the perfect space; feel natural and safe in a volatile place. I want to grow old, without the pain… give my body back to the earth and not complain.”

Real, and well this is my life right now

So I found this quote on Ivy’s blog and nearly started crying. It’s silly, I know.

“May your coming year be filled with magic and dreams and good madness. I hope you read some fine books and kiss someone who thinks you’re wonderful, and don’t forget to make some art — write or draw or build or sing or live as only you can. May your coming year be a wonderful thing, in which you dream both dangerously and outrageously. I hope you’ll make something that didn’t exist before you made it, that you will be loved and you will be liked, and that you will have people to love and to like in return. And, most importantly (because I think there should be more kindness and more wisdom in the world right now), I hope that you will, when you need to be, be wise, and that you will always be kind. And I hope that somewhere in the next year, you surprise yourself.”

-Neil Gaiman, “A New Year’s Benediction”

But it’s just that I think I’m experiencing a period of self-hatred right now. I know that is probably silly, too. There’s all this crap about loving yourself floating around and being shoved down everyone’s throats, and up until recently I believed it. I wasn’t truly deeply happy, although seeing my family always inspires a serious dose of love. Upon reflection I think it’s that I hate myself. I love everyone around me. I love them so much it hurts and would never want to leave them (that’s why going back to Eastman generally just makes me sick). But me?

I feel stupid. I feel undereducated and barely literate. I know of few ways to rectify this and in any case my schedule this coming semester absolutely would not allow it. Those “fine books”? Yeah, right. Because I can read for fun. And if I could, where would I get the books? Rush Rhees? Because I have that much time.

I feel ugly. And I know it’s not what you look like that matters. That’s what I tell myself every day. I tell myself that just because I’ve gained a little weight I am by no means fat. I’m curvier, and that’s supposed to be attractive. Right?
I can’t even fall back on cleaning horse stalls to tone up. It’s winter and the tractor is clogging the barn. My dad cleans them every few days because he uses the tractor and if I tried messing with that whacked-out setup I’d break the barn. And if I make an effort to work out it will be like confirming I’m a mess and need to fix myself. I’m just scared to make a change, and for that I despise the insecure and procrastinating parts of myself that slap and tug, each in opposite directions.

The idea that I will kiss someone wonderful this year is unlikely at the very best. I need to not focus on boys or relationships. Boys terrify me. I hate writing that and I hate that it’s true. I hate that I’m too much of an insecure coward to take steps to get to know anyone like that. I hate that the only boy who would kiss me has two other girls he’s also propositioning and I hate that I would even consider that offer. I won’t take it. I know that he won’t care and we’ll move on and stay friends. Chemistry means nothing, the physicality of it all means nothing unless there’s love. And that’s just not in the game plan. I won’t waste my time when there are so many more important things to be doing.

That looks so dramatic and stupid and I’m sure that three years ago I’d’ve been scolded and told to stop being… oh shit what was it. “Emo?” Yeah, well… That was a long time ago and I know the psychology of my situation then back to front. I’ve put it aside.

But I’ve also thought through my life in terms of the big scheme and if I stumble across someone in the distant future who can value me as more than a good time, more than someone to manipulate, and more than a secret meeting, I’ll maybe reconsider. And to be honest I’m jealous of the normalcy, the innocence of my sister, because she has so many options and the good sense and sharp mind to tell all the jackasses and lost causes I seem to attract to go screw themselves.

So this is one step I can take. One thing I can and will firmly refuse. Without love, I won’t make myself vulnerable to anyone. It’s such a hopelessly romantic statement and looks like I’m a giant loser, but the drain that kind of attempt at loveless commitment can take would cost me too much, in terms of emotion, and time.

Most importantly time.

But I will sing. I will write and I may finger paint. If nothing else I will progress musically to the best of my ability, even if that ability happens to be less than everyone else there.

I keep returning to a thought: that I’ve been told I need confidence.

Well you know what? You get too confident and then life sucks when you find out you’re not even close to as good as you thought you were. You try your damnedest to mix humility with the confidence and hope you shine, hope to God it’s working because you crave to do what you love, and it hurts even more when it’s destroyed. You think you know something and you keep seeking that knowledge and you try and fall flat on your face. I’m in a place right now where if I take those kinds of chances and fall, I may not be able to get back up. Everyone knows everyone and they talk. They talk they talk and I keep thinking I don’t want to go back and spend as much time socializing because sleep is great, but apparently their opinions matter and I don’t quite know why. It’s only three and a half years more.

But these people will be around, connecting in the future, for the rest of my life. What do I do? I don’t know. I don’t know.

What do I want?

I want to dream. Dangerously, outrageously. I want to do, and do something useful to benefit people. I want to serve, I want to help. I want to give of myself to improve the life of someone else. I don’t want to dwell in this place where I’m sad and I’m stuck and miserable because I’m ashamed of myself.

I don’t just want, no– I don’t just want to.

I need to surprise myself.

Nothing matters but knowing nothing matters

Some things change, and others stay the same. I think that’s a quote from somewhere. Truth is, I’m sitting belting out Wicked like it’s nobody’s business, and reading the FBI’s Year in Review Part Two.

Guess that quote I think might be a quote’s true.

I’m pretty sure I’ve changed. So much. And I say “pretty sure” only because, I mean, how can I analyze myself and stay unbiased? Obviously I’m a little discombobulated when it comes to self-reflection.

But I’m writing again. I mean on paper. In a book. My sister got me a journal, one of those really really cool ones you see in Barnes and Noble with the leather and the strings that tie it together? It’s got some Italian dude’s manuscript on it. I’m not going to consider whether the music is legit or not because honestly it’s beautiful and I’m not that much of a music snob. I also promised myself to write whatever I want in it. It’s gotten pretty uncensored and disjointed and stream of consciousness, but if it helps me sort myself out even more, and streamline my focus so I can do what I’m here to do (whatever the hell that may be), then it doesn’t matter. No one’s going to read it, anyway. Or so I tell myself. Maybe when I’m dead or whatever some brave soul will crack it open and decode my crappy handwriting. But until then? It’s not exactly a diary and I’m not going to hide or safeguard it… but I refuse to censor myself. Whatever comes into my head goes through my pen to those pages.

Not that I totally censor myself here, or anything. I don’t. But there are some things that are more comfortable reflecting on in a hands-on, pen-to-paper method. Those thoughts become less available to me when I’m aware there are those who may read them.

But yeah. So I’ve also come to the conclusion that I’m not going to suck at school anymore. Being around everyone at Eastman makes me feel stupid. This makes me doubt my own capabilities (not that I’m a genius or anything). I know that my writing isn’t conventionally correct in many ways. There are issues in my sentence structure and grammar and anyone acknowledging that this is true knows what I’m talking about. But since I love reading and learning and music and thinking… I want to stop feeling inadequate every time I discover my own faults. I know I can achieve good things academically. It’s just intimidating being around people who are naturally good at it… more naturally good at it than I am. I know that in reality I am insignificant but I like to think that with the right discipline and strategy I’d be able to accomplish something worthwhile in any area of study, whether I’m automatically good at it or not.

That said, I have to go. I’ve got a letter to write and a CD to send to a certain German in Schwäbisch Hall.

And I know I didn’t really discuss the title of this post. I kind of wanted to, because it fits where I am right now in terms of mindset a little. Maybe another time. In any case it’s a line from Wicked’s “Dancing Through Life.”