And in springs May

I’ve updated! Finally. Made some much-needed, pleasant redecorations.

I also did some spring cleaning on my computer. Not physically– the screen’s still splotchy and dirty and there are the *cough* few little droplets of coffee here and there around the keys, but everything’s in proper working order so I’m not concerned. I’m talking about the inner spring cleaning, the going-through of all of my school papers and theory projects and compositions and whatever that were sprawled across my Desktop willy-nilly. Essays with names like “omgggdfakdjlkMUE111ESSSSAY” and “asdjffjkjkdshitttfinallythispaper.” Random photos that I posted on tumblr, some miscellaneous notepad entries with cryptic phrases like “bach cell0 suite in g major for marimba.”

All of that has been either deleted or relegated to my EASTMAN 2010-11 folder. So it’s nice and cozy. Also, all of my stories and to-do lists are neatly filed away. My background is currently rotating photos from home (in the summertime, outside, I might add). And I’ve got less than four days of Rochester left (!!!!!!). Tomorrow is “Reading Day,” where I will barricade myself in my room with a study plan I hope to have arranged by this evening (well, later this evening). Wednesday I have theory and music ed. Thursday I have ed psych. And Friday is the open book (LOL) Italian final and I am OUT OF HERE.

For home, for summer. My first summer as a grown up, I guess. I feel grown up now (not really, but I don’t feel like a child). I certainly don’t feel like I did before. I’m about ready to start actually contributing to the world. What a notion.

I actually do plan to be productive. In addition to my job, I’ll have practicing to do. Friday is also “Raid Sibley Day” so I’ll hopefully have a massive collection of German (also!!!!!-worthy) to learn! And three more of Tchaikovsky’s six romances.

But that’s for four days from now. So until then, I’ll sign off, bid adieu or what have you, and maybe read for a while.

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There are more important things than aural skills

Well, it’s hit me.

Something useful to do. Some of the things Liz Shropshire said, some of the points she made and the clips she showed, had the impact I knew they would. There is incontrovertible power behind the simple verses sung by children who’ve suffered unspeakably.

I want to be involved with this foundation like it’s my job. I want, I want, when really I need to do this. For those kids, for their families, and for myself. It’s a necessary human function to want to give what I have. But for this, I would give what I am, and I hope that can make a difference.

A child with a Shropshire harmonica (photo taken from http://teachingchildrenpeace.org).

A little bit of time

I’m taking a breather right now. I’m just sitting in the dorm relaxing (playing on my laptop) as the sky dims to a sheet of grey outside the window as a soothing breeze tries to creep in.

It’s just a nice pause in a week that’s been crammed with new sensations and the first spurt and rush of a new life. Fourteen weeks to go until this semester’s over.

I want to say that I will be prepared. I have a plan. I am ready for what may come my way, or I will make myself ready. I’m facing the future with less fear than I’ve ever felt. I haven’t wondered “what will happen if I die today” in almost two weeks. Well, to be truthful I thought it yesterday, but it was in passing over the fact that I haven’t really thought about it. In case you’re confused, after my cousin passed away at nineteen, I became fairly neurotic and theorized about death almost daily. If you could see my other blog… well, it wasn’t the most cheery read some days. I mused on life and its end a great deal.

But lately, I have thought about other things.

For example, how Eastman is like Hogwarts. We have a Chamber of Secrets (the Director’s Dining Center, off of the regular Dining Center), many (MANY) stairs that lead to hallways that look highly alike, and we make something from nothing. Whether we use wands or batons or horns or ourselves, we’re shaping ourselves and the world around us into (what is perpetually hoped to be) something better. Something that can make the world better.

That brings me to what I’ve been up to. Yesterday I went to the first SA meeting of the year. SA is the Student’s Association. Representatives from each class are chosen and it’s recommended they attend regularly; also reps from clubs and organizations on campus show up. It’s where student government leaders are decided. In addition, anyone who has something to complain about is urged to go.

So Mary and I went and were the only freshmen there. We’ve been (well, I’ve been) trying to kind of spread the word about the need for freshmen class council members. I’d like to do it, but I think I’d want to be secretary/treasurer, so the pressure of leading others to decisions doesn’t necessarily fall on me. I have to see if I get an ushering job first, though. And there might be more interest and someone with more drive will want that spot.

I’m not saying I’m not ambitious: quite the contrary. But I’d rather see someone who’s obsessed with class government get it, if they want it and will do a good job. I would be pretty good, I’m not going to lie, and I want to be involved, but Garrett Rubin’s organization seems like something I’m going to find a passion in.

It’s called Eastman for the Shropshire Music Foundation, and Garrett developed our little part of it. The Foundation itself was founded by Liz Shropshire, whose background and experience in music and music education led her to raise funds to purchase musical instruments for the children of Kosovo refugees. It now reaches children in Northern Ireland and Uganda as well. I won’t go in intimate detail here, but please visit this site for more information if you’re interested. If you’re not interested, check it out anyway (please). But my point is, I want to get involved. I don’t want to just “be a part of something” for the feeling of inclusion. I don’t want to commit my very limited time to an organization that isn’t doing something proactive, something useful and beneficial.

The Shropshire Foundation is worthwhile. It helps people. Moreover, it helps the children who will grow up to someday have their own impacts, however publicly realized, on the world. To be a medium through which people can learn to love music seems to me a truly influential and vital use of time. Especially since Eastman for the Shropshire Music Foundation is based here. It seems too coincidental that something I’d be crazy about doing would be one of two university-based campaigns for the foundation.

So in this little snippet of down time I’m snagging now, I’m considering the future, considering the options here to be a part of something that’s making a difference. And, I figure, it’s about time.

Refugees (picture taken from http://www.shropshirefoundation.org/mission)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Simple peace

I sit in the woods right now. By the time I copy and paste this online I won’t be anymore, but as of this very second, 7:24 pm, I am sitting on Faerie Rock in the woods and writing.

I’ve wanted to do this for such a long time. Have a laptop and go into my favorite place to write.

When I’ve thought of doing that, I’d always picture myself typing out some novel, putting some spectacular story into motion. Instead I sit slouched here pondering my own sad story and craving to know how the forest always holds what I need.

A few years ago, I needed a playplace to live out my imagination. I needed a fantasyland for a warrior, a setting for a wandering heroine, or a hideout from pirates. A few months ago, a good friend and I needed winding beauty and distractions to keep us from making a silly mistake that we made anyway. A few weeks ago, I stood just over there and needed silence, smothering silence to blight the sounds of breathless, passionless, horribly chemistry-less kisses. This land has given me all that.

And if lore and conscience hold I shouldn’t blame the earth for the mistakes of her children. (But between you and me, I frigging hope she disowned this particular child. I’m not the clingy sort, I’m just sad.) So I’ll forego the blame, skip over the empty betrayed emotion that surfaces whenever I consider that night, the night the forest blissfully forgot for me. Instead, I remember that she gives me all I need, even when I don’t know what that is.

Apparently today, I just need solace. I need forgiveness for misusing this stunning place of my childhood. Just because this place is so, so special won’t mean that any boy I bring to see it is or ever will be. I need the trees to come alive in Tolkien fashion and tell me themselves that they don’t hate me for misunderstanding.

This raw undiluted place knows my beginnings. I feel as if it know of my darkest mistakes and half-feigned innocence but chooses to love the innocence more. Allows me for just a little while to become part of the world humanity once belonged to.

That little while is enough to hold me until the next time I come. The vivid greens, the ripe mud and leaves and debris, pounded into one thick ground. The soft trickle of the stream you can hear tinkling at you if you just listen hard enough. The constant vocal constructions of the birds and wildlife that are too real to be called music. Yeah. The little grey squirrel that’s coming to check me out as we speak. It’s enough to tide me over until I see it again. I can pull it up in my mind crystal-clear but it doesn’t compare.

It really does let you become part of it for a while, too. The little rock-grey rodent that just leapt from tree to tree on my right was totally chill with me being here: or at least she didn’t really give a crap enough to be subtle about her traveling plans to the bank-side. It’s a kind of acceptance that you have to just sit and be still for; a kind of peace that hits you quietly but keeps you quiet, and feeling as if you’re part of something. It’s something I’ll never willingly give up. It doesn’t matter how long it takes me to come visit this place, it always seems to be just as pleased to have me, bumbling about or writing away.

Anyway, the mosquitoes are out in full force now and there is some stench that makes me feel that something’s died nearby. Oh, hey, new scent: some skunk doesn’t accept me as much as that squirrel seemed to. Cute.

So I’m off, out of the forest. Off my rock I’d christened Faerie Rock when I was probably no older than three, wandering in here with my dad or grandpa. Twelve or fifty bug bites later, and I’m out of the woods and into the real world yet again. I wouldn’t pass up this haven for anything.

Always free

Here is what I think college will be like. I think it is going to be a lot of work. I’m going to get migraines again (I already had one the other day for the first time since I think yearbook ended). I am going to stress endlessly and probably overdose on caffeine and most likely will stop blogging for a while because I’ll be so insanely busy.

But I am going to enjoy every second of it. The long hours, constantly pushing myself. The eventual improvement that will hopefully follow.

Heather said outright, “They’re going to take you down a few pegs.” She means emotionally, musically, and mentally. Not ego-wise, I don’t have a problem that way. But everything I’ve ever been taught or thought I was doing correctly or well enough? No, they’ll fix me. And that was my reply: “As long as they’re planning on bringing me back up and higher, I’m totally fine with that.”

I am ready for this massive change. Not too eager: I love life, simple as it is right now. But I’m prepared for something bigger, something on a more serious and intense scale. Something I’ve been waiting for all my life.

At five years old I wanted to be a country star with a hundred horses and side jobs as a firefighter and ballerina. But even then I knew that my existence couldn’t be a simple marriage, children, and steady nine-to-five job. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I almost envy it now that I know I probably won’t have it. The simplicity and basic motions that lead to a challenging and extraordinarily life-filled time here.

But I have come to realize that those probably aren’t going to be mine. Marriage wouldn’t be so bad: I like the tradition of it. The family that comes from it and the life two people can build together. I’m too much of my own person to share it with someone like that, though, I think. I like to be in charge; I want to have control over what I’m doing, with my body, heart, and career. A husband would really screw with that. Besides, the only guys that would be willing to stand up to me (or stand with me) on a romantic plane are the toughy-toughs: but the guy who believes he has a chance at leading me around anywhere is smoking the good stuff. Or delusional. Wimpy boys aren’t any fun, and the regular guy (if there is such a thing) seems to find me intimidating. But maybe, who knows, if there was someone who didn’t mind my lifestyle and let me do what I want, without being a complete pushover… oh well. It bears thinking about when I’m older. As does the thought of kids: but seriously? With what I hope is my career during the kid-bearing ages? Yeah, right. I’ll let Meeshie have the children, and I’ll be the best damn aunt anyone could contemplate.

Speaking of careers, if all goes as planned I’ll be singing. Singing then teaching, or singing and teaching. But either way I’ll probably be traveling. Maybe I’ll take classical music to third world countries or something cool. Who knows? But from a very young age I was aware that there would be different things in store for me. Whenever I thought about staying in a small town and having kids, maybe running a little business (pizza-making? a bookstore? cafe?), it just felt awkward. Like something was telling me, good try bud, but not in this lifetime… at least, not until you’re very, very old.

All the same, I want it and I don’t want it. I see the beautiful home my parents have, I know of the happiness my mother found in the early years of her marriage (up until my sister and I entered the picture, anyway. ha ha) and I know that the job security and a pleasant home can be a wonderful thing. I just don’t know if they will be mine. Anyway, all this rambling comes to one conclusion: college will be the start of something big, something magnificent and bright and wonderful. A vibrant beginning to an adult life that will make me who and what I was meant to be. Sempre libera.