Weltschmerz v. Wanderlust

There are so many things I could write about, but I have such little motivation.

Well, that’s a lie. I am motivated to begin and end this blog post. I am motivated to one day finish sorting the hundreds of pages of music and class notes scattered about my room. I am motivated to do all of my Lieder translations today, and look at the music for Russian diction. I am motivated to sing through Joan’s Aria, and I am motivated to restrain myself to only two cups of coffee today.

But after that I may switch to beer.

These have been the longest two weeks of my life. Professionally, emotionally, and mentally, I’ve been completely drained. My energy is at an all time low– all I “want to do” is sit quietly by myself. I don’t even really want to listen to music. That’s another all time low for me. I could at least sit with something on in the background, usually. But today and yesterday I’ve put on the last-resort playlist of the Avett Brothers’– the soundtrack of my adolescence and the only music I can listen to with a combination of compliance, satisfaction, happiness-in-remembering-home and abject misery. It’s very strange. I guess I would compare it to the musical equivalent of the concept of “Heimat.” The Avetts are my musical Heimat– especially their older songs denote my experiences both at home and at Eastman. They were the soundtrack to both homes and can comfort just as readily (and often at the same time) as they bring heartsickness.

Anyway, what was I saying?

All time low. That’s right.

But overall the past two weeks have been successful? I sang as one of eight finalists for the Friends of Eastman Opera competition. Didn’t win, but I’m not complaining, as I had my senior recital a short two days later. Both my family from home and my musical family here were mostly present, in person or over the internet. It flew by in half of an eye-blink and then this week occurred. Long opera rehearsal combined with work, schoolwork and classes… and then thoughts about the summer and how I am supposed to afford it… My brain is just frazzled. And this is without considering the natural human element. The drama here is just suffocating.

But, I’ve read a little poetry and kept to myself as much as possible. This is not to say that I’m antisocial… but sometimes (okay, more often than not) it’s refreshing to get away from others. I can’t distract myself with a dog, so no escape there… I’d go for a walk, but it’s cold outside: plus, it’s not as if Rochester is necessarily picturesque. The escape occurs when I can leave Eastman. Mostly figuratively, you understand, but when I picture myself in Philly this summer my spirit gets just slightly lighter.

And Germany. Let’s talk about that for a moment.

I have wanted to go for nearly six years now. That’s over a quarter of my life. I’m of the opinion, if you’ve wanted something for a quarter of your life and haven’t achieved it yet, it’s time.

The question is, really, how? How to afford it, how to get there? How to convince my mother? And again, how to afford it? There are so many other things that need to be paid for, the least of which being rent, and the greatest of which being the summer program in June I’ve already committed to. How to make another pocket of money, in order to travel alone, halfway across the world, just because I want to?

There really aren’t any acceptable excuses for wasting money (or even debating wasting money) in this way. I must just be selfish. Why can’t I wait for life experiences to find me? I keep telling myself, if it’s meant to happen, it will. I need to be patient.

The funny thing is, while typing “happen” just now, I made the mistake of writing “happy” instead. Twice, I did this.

Now, that should tell me something.

There are some things– like Eastman, like this Russian Opera Workshop– that happen almost on their own. Yes, I’ve worked hard, but that doesn’t always mean success. These things have occurred by a stroke of blessed, cosmic luck, and I am supremely grateful.

But other things in my life (my senior recital, which received six “brava”s from the six present faculty members, or the Mahler solo in October) have taken place and been highly successful because I’ve worked. And loved the work, and worked with love. That has to count for something, too. The work, and love, and cosmic power have to come together at some point, for some people, sometimes– otherwise no one would ever accomplish anything they set out to do.

So there’s that tangent. I want to travel and experience things (and, you know, maybe actually learn this language I’m obsessed with). I just have no idea how it’s going to happen. The sad part is, if I hadn’t signed on to do Russian Opera Workshop again, I might have been able to scrounge up the funds to do Goethe-Institut in July. Now, there’s almost no way, because I owe Ghena money and of course I’m thrilled to be singing Joan; it’s going to be another incredible June. But it is expensive.

And I feel as though I’m going to miss something! I know it’s strange, at twenty-one, to really worry about missing life. Extrinsically, I realize that I have plenty of time and blah, blah, blah. But if I’ve learned nothing else, I know that that is really not always the case. I’m stuck here at this conservatory, garnering a fabulous musical education– and I should only be grateful. I am grateful. But I don’t leave. I don’t meet anyone. I don’t sing anywhere. I don’t even have time to learn music because I’m busy with rehearsal and classes and work. And outside of this grey, miserable, freezing, windy, sunshine-less city, the world continues spinning and others live full lives with love and happiness and other types of motivating forces that often don’t seem to exist in Rochester.

But this wasn’t really meant to be a “look at how pathetic my life is” ramble. It originally started off as an update on the life of a tired soprano, for the three souls on the planet that might actually wonder (three is being optimistic, anyhow). And I know, too, that if I want change, I have to make it. That’s just one of those things, though, that is much, much easier said (or typed) than done.

I’m reminded of a poem I recently read; it resonates with my own unwinding, stormy mood this week. Like I said, this wasn’t supposed to morph into a gloomy mess, but here we are. Might as well indulge…

Ûber die Heide 
Theodor Storm*

Über die Heide hallet mein Schritt;
Dumpf aus der Erde wandert es mit.
Herbst ist gekommen, Frühling ist weit–
Gab es denn einmal selige Zeit?
Brauende Nebel geisten umher;
Schwarz ist das Kraut und der Himmel so leer.
Wär ich hier nur nicht gegangen im Mai!
Leben und Liebe– wie flog es vorbei!

My own poetic (ish) translation follows… watch out, world… 

Over the heath echoes my footstep;
Muffled out of the earth, it roams with me.
Autumn has come, Spring is far–
Was there ever once a blissful time?
Brewing mists spirit around;
Black is the grass and the sky, so empty.
If only I had not gone here in May!
Life and Love– how they flew past!

*For posterity’s sake I feel I should mention that Theodor Storm (besides being one kick-ass name) was the author of Die Nachtigall, one of my favorite poems ever. The text was set to music by Alban Berg and features as the third song in the cycle Sieben frühe Lieder. I sang these nearly a week ago for my senior degree recital.

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!

I have to share, too

I have to share these posts, the first by a colleague of mine and the second by his friend Justin (whom I have never met).

ANDREW:

I have to share this post by my good friend Justin. He sums up very eloquently the plight of harassment that is still very real for gay people (tempted to emphasize ‘gay men,’ although some may disagree with me) and even people simply assumed to be gay. Read this if you want to know what it feels like, if you want to understand why myself and many others are still so outspoken about creating an accepting world for gay people to live in. It’s not just about rights; it’s about about respecting difference on all fronts, and it’s about bringing a moderate-to-high level of understanding and empathy to your interactions with your friends, and, yes, even strangers. We all have demons and prejudices that were transplanted to us at a young age. At this point, it is our moral and civic duty to try to obliterate these prejudices…to see people for the good that radiates from them rather than judging them for the aspects of their person that you cannot understand. Read below.

—————————————–
JUSTIN:
“I feel the need to write something VERY important and I hope all of you will read this and consider it. I don’t want to proselytize here, but this is something different anyway, a personal issue.

Last night, walking in downtown Boston from the subway to the museum, I was harassed by a small group of (white, male) thugs. It was dark but very early in the evening, and somehow I was the only one on the street. Had I needed to call for help, I’m not sure from where it would have come. I tend to pay no attention to people on the street and have only rarely had issues of this kind, but this group of men proceeded to provoke me from across the street with homophobic slurs (“faggot”, “Clay Aiken” – never heard that one! – among other things too explicit to write here; to my brothers and anyone else who thinks “faggot” is funny, *this* is how it is used and what it feels like). I didn’t acknowledge them, and they proceeded to cross the street, follow me, and continue to harass me. One of them laid an aggressive hand on me. I naturally walk quickly, and somehow was able to get away with only a little more attention from them. I said nothing throughout the whole exchange – an exchange of their demeaning idea of fun (or “civil duty”, for all I know) for my sense of security.

(It’s worth mentioning that I was dressed normally, like any New Englander in deep winter: heavy coat, hoodie, scarf, boots. That I was immediately assumed to be gay, however accurate, was not obvious. That merits a different discussion.)

I do not often fear for my safety on the street in general, and I am loath to think that I should have to as a gay man. However, this is not the first time I have been accosted in public for being a “fag”. As for last night, I am over it, in as much as that is possible. However, it leaves a myriad of questions to be addressed. Questions which range from: “What the fuck kind of society is this?” to “How is a verbal and physical violence of this kind any different from the non-support so many LGBT people receive, from people they know, from their country and society at large?” I can’t answer the first question. But about the second: “It’s not different.” The effect – be it psychological or physical – of not feeling as though you matter, to a single individual or to a society, is an silent and destructive form of abuse. I in no way mean to trivialize the troubles of those who have suffered abuses far greater than I have; and I should mention that in many areas of my life, I feel supported and cared for. But not in all, and incidents like these remind you of those colossal gaps. For the record, my sexuality (like gender, like skin color) is on the table for precisely no one to discuss, for no one else to have a say in. The ways in which one can be violated are many, but all they feel the same at the end of the day.

I consider myself lucky to have gotten off so easily this one time, in a situation in which my privacy, my personal space, my sexual safety, and possibly even my life is at stake. You never know, and everything hangs in a tenuous balance. There is no excuse for sitting idly by. To say nothing IS a lack of support. To say nothing is to do nothing, while abuse ten times greater than this is happening all the time. People need to know EXPLICITLY that you are backing them, that you care about what they are feeling, and that they are valued; and it is not enough to be “mostly valued” or “pretty much supported, but not totally”. Nothing – literally nothing – will happen on a societal level without this kind of attention on a personal level.

I don’t mean to be sappy or dramatic, but I feel like, this once, I deserve to say whatever the hell I want. Because it’s huge, but it is so, so fixable.”

I felt the need to repost these thoughts once I read them via a facebook post of Andrew’s. I thought that this would be a way of giving the matter attention on a personal level, as Justin calls for. 

There are a couple things I wanted to call attention to, and to discuss a little. First the “gay thing.” As a girl who’s grown up on the outskirts of a small town, and a smaller community, I was privy to the typical village-y small-minded stubbornness and old-fashioned thinking. Remarks like “that’s so gay” were common in my public middle and high school days and toward the end of high school “faggot” was a frequently heard term, especially from the athletic, “I’m really hot, cool, etc” boys (both white and Native) who thought that they could continue to reaffirm their manhood by supposedly undercutting their peers’.

I don’t pretend to have never spoken the word (although I do not use it now, and haven’t for what feels like a very long time) and I don’t pretend to have held the same views I do now in high school. But the beauty of humanity is in change, and accepting the faults in one’s own character and learning from them, addressing them. And in trying to fix them.

But even in the adult world I’d experienced problems, stemming from lack of consideration, respect and education.

I’ve worked for Cattaraugus County in western New York for two summers now, and I like my job, for all it doesn’t challenge me a great deal. It’s physically demanding, and the hours are long and usually not air-conditioned or filled with empty time. I’m either working extremely hard (physically) or I’m sitting around, extremely bored. But 98% of the time I am accompanied by at least one white male over the age of 20.

None of these men are gay. Most of them are outspoken. And nearly all of them refer to one another in a playful, down-putting but affectionate sense as “homo” or some variation of “faggot” (I’ve heard “gay boy,” too) at least a handful of times a week.

One of these men was my supervisor. I can’t tell you how depressing this became. I made every effort to ask him to stop (not in front of his work buddies, so as to not upset him). We had many conversations about homosexuality, not because I really wanted to, but because he liked to hear himself talk. We also discussed gay marriage, but to my surprise, on this he ended up agreeing with me– in that everyone has a right to marry someone they love, no matter the gender. After that small victory I began to think there was a little hope for the manly-man men at the county.

My hopes were dashed when one of my other supervisors, a devoutly religious guy, decided to bring up the topic of gay marriage and lecture me on it one day in the truck on the way to a job site. He asked me what I thought, and I told him, assuming he’d agree, too. He’d seemed like an easy-going, open-minded guy.

He puffed right up like a bantam rooster. “it’s wrong, it’s immoral, the Bible says, blah blah blah.” I’m embarrassed now because I kind of just let him ramble on. But this summer I called him a bigot to his face, in front of a few coworkers. I might have been considered insubordinate or what have you, but he went on a rant in front of everyone about “the gays” and I let him have it. He wasn’t expecting me to say anything, but I made it clear that I found his remarks offensive and he never brought up the subject again. He had obviously been raised with a specific set of values and adhered to them– that in itself is admirable. But he refused to reconsider, to self-reflect, or to admit that there might be something in the world he had a limited understanding of.

And honestly, the biggest fault in a small town,small county setting is the sheer lack of awareness. Half of those people haven’t met an Asian, let alone a homosexual, and wouldn’t know what the hell to do if they did. They base their judgment and mindset on the media and what their children come home talking about (that is, if they pay attention to their children in the first place), and of course, the stories their friends tell them. And that’s really all. Until some fresh wave of insight arrives to deconstruct the ignorance, there will continue to be huge numbers of people (small-towners particularly)

who do not realize the sheer injustice and prejudice in the views they hold. It’s just miserable that so little is being done to bring about the awareness and the acceptance that gay people (among other minority groups, as well) so desperately need.  What’s America doing to remind everyone of our little motto– oh wait, it’s actually a pledge, right? “…With liberty and justice for all.” …RIGHT?

– – – And now… a New Ramble! Get excited, kids. If you’ve stuck with me this far, that is.

The second thing I wanted to dwell on is street harassment. There were some really good comments below Andrew’s post that talked about this. I won’t post them here because, well, I’m going to talk about it (and also this isn’t facebook).

There’s been an escalation in street crime in my area. I live in the artsy-fartsy district of Rochester (East End) and we’re all music people, in some form or another, living one on top of the other in our own little corner of the city. It’s unlikely to walk to class or down the road or across the street without saying hello to someone you know.

That said, we’re smushed up against kind of a seedier neighborhood. Not that seedy neighborhoods as a whole are filled with creepy, lecherous middle-aged men with a hard-on for engaging in street harassment, but the likelihood increases that there might be a handful of people you pass on the sidewalk that are, frankly, unsavory.

I mean, no biggie. You just pass on the street and go about your separate lives. Right?

(Photo by Vivienne Gucwa.)

Well, or not. We’ve had two muggings in the past week. One of them happened outside of an apartment where some of my good friends live. I know that at least two of them heard the victim yelling for help and called the police, then ran down to him as his attackers were scuttling off with his cell phone and wallet. This occurred in a well-lit, highly populated little section of our corner of the city. This happened right down the road from my building. This took place shortly after the school closed for the night (eleven pm) and the person who was attacked and robbed was walking home from practicing.

It doesn’t matter whether he was gay or straight or a fucking Martian. He was victimized and it happened very close to home. That is unacceptable. It’s unacceptable anywhere.

I feel that, as a student population, we have been (for the most part) walking to class and our friends’ apartments and home from the gym and to the library and the café and our jobs with more than just a small slice of fear tagging along. When I walk home, I walk fast, and I keep my cell phone in my bag (although that’s just being safety conscious in general) and my coat zipped all the way. I don’t wear heels unless it’s to studio class and I keep my bag across my chest so no one can grab it easily. It might be paranoia, but I’m not that tall and against two bigger guys I might not stand a great chance at keeping my valuables (or potentially even my physical safety) unless I could clear a knee to a set of balls. You know?

On top of that, last Tuesday a friend and I were harassed– verbally– by a set of four or five guys, clearly inebriated, pushing a bicycle (yes, between the four or five of them) up the street. They were coming from the seedier part of town. My friend and I hurriedly crossed in front of them… I’m an impatient person and they were taking forever to meander their way up the sidewalk. We kept our heads down and simply walked across the street toward our building, but one (and then two, and then three and the rest) of them called after us. “Kelly, hey Kelly!” At first it was an invitation, a cajoling, “Hey Kelly, hey blondie, where ya going?” Then they started to warm up to the game, and the catcalls became threatening. “Kelly! Hey, fuck you Kelly! Why don’t you come back here, Kelly? We’ll fuck you, we’ll fuck you up!” And so on.

There were others on the street. It was well lit. It was right in front of Eastman. We didn’t report it– we didn’t think to, we were just happy we were across the street, and after that we tried to ignore them, and they continued on their merry way in the other direction. We’re lucky they didn’t follow us, I guess, now that I’m thinking back on it. I’ll admit it, I was a little shaken… mostly pissed off, but nervy and jumpy as well. It just sucked.

And I can’t say that an alleged increased police presence has helped a great deal. They increased the police after the first mugging. And oh look, then there was a second one.

I guess I just don’t know where a desire to commit a crime, or to waste so much energy on violence or hatred comes from. Yeah, there are times when I want to give an annoying classmate, a difficult colleague, or a creepy guy leering at me in the gym a healthy punch in the head. But that negativity spawns from frustration, at myself or at a situation or admittedly, often at a person– even then there’s no real inclination to actually physically or emotionally harm someone. And, to be honest, as someone who’s experienced a form of emotional abuse, that shit’s no joke either. You’re left feeling just as vulnerable, just as wrenchingly insecure, and you hate yourself and resent the rest just as much.

And I mean, let’s be serious, all violence is horrific in real life. But there’s something about randomly mugging someone on the street– or following them, harassing them– or calling names to a random passerby– that’s chilling. It could happen to anyone. And as Justin pointed out, you really never know. The situation he (or I, or the guy outside my friends’ apartment) found himself in could have escalated and become much, much worse. You just never know. What happened to Justin is terrifying, and I think it’s made worse by the fact that his antagonizers– bullies with nothing better to do– used homophobia as a mask for their own cowardice (as evidenced by the Pack Attack) and general jackassery. 

All in all, I felt it was important (for me, anyway) to add my own thoughts about harassment to Justin’s and to Andrew’s. The more ideas that can be pooled and discussed and thought about, the more consciousness can be raised around these very real problems in our society. Because you really never know. That’s why I wanted to talk about it: so more people might know, and maybe think about it and talk about it with their mother or their roommate or their elderly neighbor with fifteen cats. And then maybe someone somewhere might, instead of watching How I Met Your Mother, walk their elderly cat lady to the post office on the day a group of Hey Kelly-ers might have considered her easy pickings. You just never know.

IMG_1483

This is just a picture of a crazy cat. Not a cat lady. Sorry…

Reviens, reviens radieuse

The song I’m singing tonight for studio is Fauré’s “Après un rêve.” That means, “after a dream.”

I feel like I’m waking up.

I’m waking up from a strange place into a world that’s grey with some splashes of color that are only glimpsed in moments of great artistic or emotional poignancy. I’m waking to a shimmering dawn that’s bleached but still beautiful, and it’s only those moments of clarity that lend it something really special.

I did my first “breaking up” yesterday evening. I woke up this morning and was just sad for a while. It’s weird for me to wake into sadness but there I was, and my heart hurt.

I don’t think it’s the same for him. I think his distance was achieved a few weeks ago and that’s why I’m having the more difficult time of it. I did the breaking up, but it was because I refuse to see myself as a last priority, and that’s what I was becoming. It wasn’t because I wanted to be alone, or wanted away from him.

So I’m a little sad, and feeling kind of bleak today. But something interesting, and, I suppose, valuable, happened to me today, both in my lesson and in Intro to Lyric Theatre.

I almost cried.

I was on the verge in both places, both right after I’d sung. My Intro piece, “Meine Liebe ist grün,” is a Brahms Lied that stirs up extravagant imagery: glistening, glittering glowing sunshine throwing a verdant lilac bush into dazzling happy light; dizzy with love, a soul rocked into love-drunkenness– these things are beautiful. But the accompaniment is set strangely– a thickly textured, rambunctious sweep of notes that leave the listener hanging at unusually placed fermatas– this leads me to interpret a story of a person yearning for a love as extravagant as the harmony… but whose needs aren’t really fulfilled.

I cried a little after singing that today, because it applied to me.

Après un rêve was a little less extreme, but its entire encompassing theme is a yearning: Awakening from a slumber, you’re there, you call my name, we venture off into the light together… Then I begin to wake… Return with your lies, return oh night mysterious– the concept is of one clinging to something that isn’t real, and the melodic language is powerful.

I have to sing that in little over an hour, so I hope I don’t blubber in class, too.

I guess they’re just incredibly relatable to how I feel right now. That’s where I draw from the sense I have of color, and real artistic breakthroughs… It’s moments like these, “real” moments, when I’m feeling something (other than pressure and stress, ha ha) that remind me I can bring “real” things to the music I perform. Granted I’m just the tiniest bit upset still, and that doesn’t help a whole lot… but the fact is I remember I can feel other things and bring them to what I’m doing. And that’s something important I can draw from this.

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.

2nd Amendment entertainment

So I read some Cosmo online tonight between freaking out about my missing French textbook and trying to read for German tomorrow. Not ashamed.

Anyway. I found this survey on gun ownership really interesting– it followed an article about Brad Pitt.* Brad Pitt’s a self-proclaimed liberal, but also fully supports gun rights. Cosmo wanted to know how their readers felt about “their man” owning a gun.

This just made my night:

I mean… I have my own gun at home.

I loved the fact that nearly half of the women on the site are independent and proactive enough to own their own firearm. I thought it was amusing (although a little cliche) that over half of the remaining half like the idea of their man protecting them. Understandably there were those who don’t give a crap and those who worry, but for the most part? Roughly 66 women out of the 144 that read the article and took the poll take care of themselves. Way to be, ladies.

*Someday I’ll maybe discuss my thoughts on gun rights in greater detail, but I have a shit ton of homework due tomorrow. ARLGJALDKFJALDSKFJA and good night.

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:

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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.

What good would the moon be

I woke up this morning thinking that I would be really productive and get all of my work done.

I mean… I’d still like to, and plan on it, mostly. But I got side-tracked, as usual, and found myself writing. Then I was listening to Street Scene (our opera for the spring), and then I was here.

I said it in my last post, but it’s been a while. I feel sorry that I don’t force myself to write more. Even if it’s just my own musings, my own stream of consciousness, it still counts, right? I suppose I just feel bad sometimes because my stream of consciousness is not the most captivating nor the most interesting and I don’t want to waste anyone’s time.

On the other hand, though, it’s really easy for anyone bored or annoyed to click the little x in the corner of a screen. And it’s really easy for me to come up with excuses not to write.

Bad segue, but I really want to complete NaNoWriMo this November. I tried last year, and I tried the Summer Camp option in August. Much to my dismay (but not surprise) I can’t make myself dedicate. I can’t carve out fifteen minutes a day to channel my brain into writing mode. I can’t create believable characters because I’m so concerned with their believability (or lack thereof) that I give up altogether. I let my fear of what might be overwhelm me and I decapitate myself before I even start.

I don’t want to do that this year. Here, or for Nano, or in Intro to Lyric Theatre class. Or in life. I don’t want to short-change myself before I even embark on a task.

So here we go, new task. Write a blog a day until my birthday, 30 September, regardless of the topic or the logic of it or even the stupid sentence structure. And I’ll try not to let myself down here.

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Schreiben

Well, well. It’s been a while. Hi, WordPress. Hope everything’s been cool here.

I’m at work right now, on a little break while I sit in the shop and make signs for the town of Olean. My life is riveting, I know (major points to whomever caught the sign making pun there).

I’m still trying to figure out how to readjust to not being halfway across the country. I loved South Dakota. The hills, the air, the people… I adored it. Now my softer, greener hills here on Cattaraugus don’t seem quite as ferocious and wild. Instead, they’re the shyer, prettier younger cousins to the loud and brazen Black Hills of the Dakotas. I think I love them equally.

I also thought the buffalo out there were the coolest damn things. Tatanka, tatanka! Oh my God. Just so awesome.

Anyway, what else to talk about? I have to start learning some roles. I need to solidify my theory and get that Berg together. I also want to explore the Rimsky-Korsakov set Paulina sent me.

I need to figure out my living situation for next year and email a man about a job. Then, and only then, if I have time, can I snuggle down with my new Russian books.

Oh, and since my mother has been sick the past few weeks and has been unbearably cranky because of it, I volunteered to make dinner tonight. What the hell was I thinking? I don’t really “cook.”

In any case, I suppose I’d better get back to work before I get in trouble for blogging on the job….

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!

Variations on a common bass pattern

Blah, blah. Here I am again. Did I post yesterday or two days ago? It’s been kind of a swift slither of days for a little while.

I had a serial killer dream last night. Something about little kids being taken to a room with pink walls and there was a knife involved, and I’m pretty sure I remember a garrote. Ew ew ew. I think it’s because I watched two or three episodes of Criminal Minds on Sunday while I was waiting to feel busy. I really should have cleaned my room instead. There are clean clothes all over the damn place (floor, lamp, laundry basket) just begging for me to get off of my ass and do something about it.

But I guess I won’t, because right now I’m writing and after this I’m going to put my shoes on and go to history class.

History always stresses me out. It’s one of the few “typical” academic classes we have here, and it’s so stupid because everyone is trying to be more of a know it all than the person they’re sitting next to. I don’t even bother raising my hand, because although most of the time I know the answer and’ve done the reading, there’s no point– someone will either mutter or squeal out the appropriate reply and they’re the ones who are expected to answer by now, anyway. So what’s the point? And in addition to those who actually speak up in class, you have the rest of the vast majority who sit there seething with self-righteousness because they know but they are too good to put their hands up, unless it’s meekly and demurely every once in a while. Then there’s usually eyelash batting or self-deprecating smiles involved. It’s like, please, guys.

I actually don’t give a crap, though. I don’t fall into either of those two categories. I don’t feel left out because I don’t answer– I don’t feel unjustly ignored and too perfect to contribute, either. I just don’t feel like getting involved in it at all.

That’s me. Plain detachment. When I become emotionally invested in things I can’t change, I have to remove myself from thinking about it, caring about it. Having some kind of emotional input about it. Otherwise I tend to drive myself crazy dwelling on it and that’s unproductive, and why — seriously, why?– should anyone be miserable because of a situation they can’t control?

I’m not really talking about history anymore, but the question remains the same. Why should I allow myself to feel like less of a success, less of a musician, less of an intelligent and capable human being?

A question to ponder on the way to history.

Hin und zurück

… are vocab words for this week’s chapter in Deutschland-Klasse. “There and back.” Well, it’s weird because it feels like I’ve experienced the concept this week.

I got back to Eastman last Saturday afternoon with one goal only: to write my history paper.

I began at four and was done by seven-thirty. I’ll probably go back and revise, closer to the due date.

I then unpacked for most of the night and was the only brand-new ASM at opera rehearsal on Sunday afternoon. Beth and Abby came to the second one that day and then off we went, it seems.

There begins the “hin” portion of my tale. I had no idea what to expect, but crammed in that black box theatre with the chorus, I started to feel, for the first time, that this was really, really where I wanted to be. Not assistant stage managing, hopefully, but for now that’s enough.

Alongside Abby and Beth, I’ve fallen headfirst into this show. It’s finally (finally) coming together and there are only two (dress) rehearsals left until opening night this Thursday. I’m not sure if I’m excited or bummed that it will all be over so quickly for us. I think that the three of us have grown quite attached to this show (as weird and kind-of uneventful as it is), and we definitely love the cast.

Anyway, long story short, today we had a day off and it was the weirdest thing ever– it was like life had been suspended in some Eastman Theatre-esque space. But today we didn’t have to be there. So, I practiced in the morning, but other than that didn’t get a whole lot accomplished because I was busy waiting to be busy… if that even makes sense. I’m most productive when I have a schedule crammed full of things I enjoy doing, because then I’m motivated to get the things that I don’t enjoy doing the hell out of the way.

Uhg. Speaking of, I have to sleep now. I’m going to read for a few minutes first and then I’ve got to try to sleep. I just said sleep twice (now three times) in two (three?) consecutive sentences. Definitely time to go.

Gute Naaaaacht!

Since I can’t seem to focus enough to write my Deutsch test…

I’m sitting at my desk on my last day in Rochester before Spring Break Round 2 begins. I have to get through German, a meeting, Diction, another meeting, a quick Java’s trip, a bit of last minute packing, a final meeting, and the trial of loading the car and making everything fit properly. There is snow flurrying every which way in front of my window, as if it doesn’t know which direction to take. Like so many feathery white gnats, confused and energized. That snow wasn’t there a half hour ago when I walked back from Music for Special Learners.

But, shit changes, you know?

Like right now, I’m going to have to do a total mood shift and work on my German test. I have to write about my hometown for a fake tourist pamphlet, using the genitive case and at least fünf Adjektive… and since I couldn’t seem to tear myself away from this damn computer to do it, I decided to compromise with myself and do it here. Here we go…

Gowanda liegt in der Nähe der Buffalo, New York. Das Land is wunderschön! Es hat grüne Walde und starke Flüsse. Das Dorf ist klein aber hat es ein historches Gebäude! Das Hollywood Theater hat seit den 1920er gestanden. Das Theater hat ein grosses Balkon und ein grosser Haus. Das Hollywood kann 990 Leute sitzen! Im Sommer Gowanda hat das Biker-Rallye, weil das Theater brauchen repariert. Das ist die tollste Sehenswürdigkeit jedes Jahr. Der vierzehnte “Hollywood Happening” Biker-Rallye ist im Juni dieses Jahres: die ersten, zweiten und dritten! Man kann übernachtet im preiswertes Hotel Palm Gardens. Man kann im Restaurant Olympia essen oder man kann das Fastfood im Tim Hortons, Subway oder McDonald’s finden. Das Hollywood Happening hat die Lebensmittel-Anbieter auch! Man kann Musik hören und tanzen Freitag bis Sonntag! Am Sonntag eine neue Harley-Davidson Motorrad verlost. Gowanda ist ein kleines Dorf aber es ist ein schönes und interessantes Dorf!

I wanna dance with somebody

Well, this is cool. I’m blogging off of my phone, as my lack of computer for the last couple of weeks has left me a little desolate in the blogging department. 

Whitney Houston just came up on shuffle, the room I cleaned yesterday has fallen back into its regular state of unoffensive clutter, and I’m still in my coat and shoes. My 8.30 class was fantastic, as per usual, but the happiness has faded a little. I don’t have a lot of fun here outside of class and homework and books– not that I’m saying that those things aren’t fun. But I missed a chance to go skating tonight (well, I’m on the waiting list). But I didn’t think to ask if anyone wanted to go with me until a little while ago, because as a rule many of my friends don’t like the same outside-of-school things as I do. Hockey games? No way– an Amerks game (with discounted tickets!) is out of the question. Boxing? Only now are a few of my singer friends starting to trickle in. And I guess, thinking about it now, aside from those and a few other things, I don’t have any fun things in my life here… besides reading and music. That should be enough, right?

Right?

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.

Half of a confession (one’s enough for tonight, anyway)

My room is a disaster zone. Half-wrapped gifts are strewn everywhere, flashcards half-studied lie piled on my desk and all of my books and notes for every class I’ve taken this semester are piled on my bed, waiting for me to organize them and decide what I can throw out, what I can use to study from, and what I need to bring home for the break.

I have some Christmas music playing, but it doesn’t help the pressure go away. I have cinnamon coffee freshly brewed on my desk, and that does help. But it also serves as a reminder that I have four days left to prove that I can be a smart, dedicated, and productive person. I feel like this semester has pressed me into a corner, and while cowering in that corner, afraid of the work and the knowledge and failure, I’ve forgotten that I really am someone who loves to learn. I absorb new knowledge. I LIKE IT.

I didn’t like anything about this semester except the German language and diction classes, the excitement Dr. Laitz brought to written theory class, and the door Frau Balsam opened for me (helped me open myself?) into the world of German lied. Those things, and my illegal Christmas lights.

They make me happy now, when I force myself to reflect. They’ll make me happy for the next four days, until I can get the hell out of here and prepare myself for the semester to come in the comfort of my own home for a month. I am looking forward to learning the rest of the rep for Lucy’s and my recital, I am looking forward to teaching again… I am looking forward to being a huge cookie monster and going crazy for Christmas. I haven’t been this thrilled to be celebrating this holiday since I was about nine. I’m not kidding, either. I think it has something to do with the fact that I can now get my parents things: real, useful things. And I can spoil my sister like I’ve always wanted to be: with random, frivolous, happy little things that have no value to the rest of the world, but are so fun and precious between the people who give and receive them. (Although, Michelle, if you’re reading this, I didn’t get you a thing…)

Oh, and I can’t stand this– this pointless rambling about stuff that’s not really pointless, no, but it’s not the heart of the matter. None of it’s why I’m writing, none of it has anything to do with the sick feeling I have, all the time. I can’t even blame it on seasonal depression, because there’s no snow (yet).

I can’t (won’t) talk about the one thing, the thing that’s really wrong with me regarding finals week. That’s not for a public blog. But I can talk about the boy thing. And it might seem a little bit stupid, a little girly. And certainly a lot unimportant, considering you’d think there could be one or two other things I could be thinking about, right?

But no. Instead I sit here wishing that, for once in my life, I could meet someone. Maybe it’s this stupid little hope I have of a sleigh ride in a quiet woods, with gentle snowfall and a knitted scarf. Maybe it’s the hazy daydream of laughing with someone, of caring for them enough to find them a thoughtful gift. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me that pleads for an impromptu hockey game on a frozen pond, or a morning of making hot chocolate with Bailey’s and Christmas cookies, or a night curled up together watching tacky traditional holiday movies.

But those things happen in books. Those things happen in movies. And those things happen mostly in my mind. And they happen with someone who’s not a musician, who understands that there is more to life, and who’s typically about four or five years older than I am. Someone who wants all of me, not just the physical aspect. Someone who at least pretends to have a brain located somewhere other than the place where all boys keep theirs.

I’m not saying I want to get married and have babies. In fact, I turn a little green when I think about that. Honestly it’s too early, and I want a Career (yes, with the capital C). But (and this really is pathetic, because there are bigger worries, in reality): I’m lonely. I haven’t dated anyone in over four years. I’d trade all of the kisses since then for someone that respects women, respects what I do, and is a real person.

And that’s enough my emotional weeding for the evening. I have three finals this week and a recording session tomorrow evening (as well as class), so I should probably go and pretend I’m being productive.

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.