Puppies

I can’t sleep.

I think that’s partly because I’ve had some caffeine later in the evening– aka a large black coffee during rehearsal (so, what?) and kahlua after the SA meeting (again, what’s your point?). 

I also think it’s partly because my brain won’t turn off.

Last night I had a number of very strange nightmarish dreams that ultimately resulted in a restlessness and an urge to wake up but no real motivation to remove myself from bed. The dream I had closest to waking was my most vivid, and it involved puppies.

I was on this trip with my family. My parents and sister were both there– at some point I think Michelle may have left– and Mark and Karen were with us. Mark and Karen, for some reason, were both wearing white, and Mom, Dad and I all had our dogs. Molley was there, as a puppy, which is still hard for me to think about, really, and Grizz was there and little. I’m pretty sure Dad was keeping track of TJ the Beagle (who is, in fact, still a puppy). I don’t know what I would have done if Potter had put in an appearance. I probably just would have started sobbing mid-dream and that would have been that.  

But anyway, we were on this journey and it mostly consisted of walking. Michelle was really, really tired; we all became that tired by some point. The puppies were breathing heavily and their feet were bleeding. I feel as though we passed my house at least twice but no one but me seemed to see that it was there; “This is the wrong house,” they kept saying. So, onward ho. 

At one point, Molley seemed to turn to me; I knelt by her, and I was so, so sad. Sad that she was in pain when all I wanted to do was get her away from the commotion of the world and back home and nourished, and incredibly sad that in real life, she’s no longer with us. In this dream she was just a sprightly young thing, however, so she turned to me and looked at me with puppy eyes, deep chocolate brown and so like Potter’s– and reassured me. There was something about that point in the dream that was just wrenching– it was as if she was telling me, Look, this sucks, and you’re right, I’m not doing so well. But it is going to end and you will wake up and I will no longer be suffering– and neither will you, if you keep on going. 

I’m taking that to be true. It has to be, somehow. I’ve spent a while lately thinking about what’s important right now and how I can prioritize some of the things I have to get through in the next few weeks (months, years). It’s another layer of stress that melts away when I can get myself in the mindset of, “It will be over eventually, and then you can breathe again…”

I have also been trying to keep myself in a lighter frame of mind. It’s all too easy for me to forget how to play, and I had such a good time this summer learning and studying my craft in a playful way, an easy, this-is-fun-and-wonderful kind of way. Interestingly enough, the Dream Moods dictionary cites dreaming about puppies as either a symbolization of my own playful and carefree nature, or a blossoming friendship. To care for a puppy symbolizes a dependability that others can rely on. 

I’m going to take those things as a positive sign. I’m also going to go to sleep now, as I have an early (ish) morning tomorrow and would dearly like to be up in time to get to it… Thankfully I’m tired now and won’t have much trouble getting to sleep, provided I can stop thinking long enough to drift off. Gute Nacht!Image

Miss you, sweet Molley Grace!

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.

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.

Another late night

So.

If I said I think too much, would that be surprising? In any way, shape or form?

Probably not.

But here is what I think anyway.

I think that my really weird and awful and revolting dream set the stage for an equally weird and awful day. I think that I may be getting sick and will be taking every precaution against it.

I think that this dream makes me scared to sleep again. But I mean, I have to. My eyes are just so tired. I want to snuggle up somewhere and just drop off the face of the planet for a few hours.

That sickening, heavy leaden feeling in my stomach won’t go away. I don’t want it to remanifest itself if I nod off. Who knows what it might be tonight? God. I don’t want to dream.

Unraveled

I think I have unraveled a tiny portion of my churning unpleasant mood.

I don’t think the boy thing is directly related to the baby dream. Which is good.

But I do think that A.) I am disgusted with myself for thinking about boys/a boy, and in turn being distracted and B.) Letting that distraction keep me from being goal-oriented. Right now I’m of the mindset that I should just trust myself to do the best thing and not make myself sick thinking about the potentially negative results. But this is college. Everything here is bigger and badder than high school, and that’s great, but… that means that every mistake I make is bigger and badder, too.

I also think that the baby dream was partially correctly analyzed by the dream interpretation website. I just had a quick discussion about it. It was proposed that, due to the setting (here) and the instant and huge fear it gave me, that something here is developing, being born, and I’m scared of it. Whether it is for the best is yet to be seen. It was part of the newness and the unknown prospect of the baby that made up a large part of my terror. That same newness and unseen features could apply to whatever it is that’s growing. It could be my potential, or the prospect of a relationship, or my future. Or even something as simple as my voice.

The flat-out worst dream I think I’ve ever had

The dream interpreter website says that I am trying to achieve inner growth and development. It says that I may be headed in the direction of a new idea, direction, project or goal.

It obviously does not realize that dreaming I was pregnant with a dead baby at school is probably the most disgusting fucking thing I could dream. I didn’t know who the father was. I didn’t know if the baby lived. I only knew that it was a boy, no one would help me, and I was alone. Except for those who scalded me with looks for shook their heads in pity.

I’m so scared. I feel like I’m sick. I feel like I’m alive and sick and like the dream is true. I know it’s not– how could it be!?– but I feel the way I did in the dream. From the thick band of weird all around my stomach to the horrified sadness. That dream represented everything that could go wrong. Everything. And I lived it. I lived the terror and the shame of it, felt the life inside me and then the death touch it. The rank touch of failure swiped nasty claws across my heart last night.

But, according to the dream website, apparently some aspect of my personal life is trying to grow or develop?

It’s going to stop. I know what my inner romantic thinks is going to happen in my “personal life,” and I won’t let it. I’m not ready for or craving a relationship. And that’s what I want when I decide to get close to a boy again. Although something in me tells me I should go for whatever opportunities present themselves, my actual brain, that has my future in mind, is adamantly screaming, no fucking way. Just stop. You’re so stupid.

I’ve never full-out denied myself something and meant it. So it’s strange when another side of me is straight up rebelling at what my logical mind is telling it.

I’m pegging it down as the fact that I’m just really pathetic and feel wrung out and sour and down and will leave it at that. With any luck this sickening feeling will be gone by the end of the day.

Wish projection = formula for success

So I haven’t written anything meaningful (to me) in about a week.

I have, however, produced the hands-down shittiest piece of writing in my life. I would say that to my professor’s face. That’s how horrendous it is. It helps that the course is only a semester long and I only have to pass it. That’s not my actual goal- I would like to knock the disapproving smirk off of her face permanently- but I feel as though that may not happen and will be pleased as long as I get through the class and never have to take it or anything similar ever again.

Speaking of goals. The other night, I had a dream. It’s been stuck in my mind for a while now, because it started as kind of a puzzling dream, and I was wondering, Okay dream, where are you going with this?

Allow me to set the scene a little bit. I have an affection toward the actor Matthew Gray Gubler. Not only does he play a great character on Criminal Minds (my favorite show for many reasons), he is actually a pretty cool dude in real life. Despite his elderly status (he’s thirty) he’s still got a pretty face on him and is doing interesting and motivating things with his life. I mean, come on, he’s directing, he’s acting, he’s being an artist– all of these things people say you can’t make money off of. And he loves it.

It’s a motivator for me because I do multiple things that people tell me will never get me any money. I mean, let’s be realistic, I’ll end up living in a box (or so I’m told). I sing classical music, want to write about it, speak and teach about it, love performing/acting/fingerpainting– yeah. Box on the side of the road.

Back to Gubler. He’s only thirty. Granted, to me right now, that seems like, um, old. But in thirteen years, that’s where I’ll be, yo. Okay, sorry. Twelve years now. Yikes. But he’s only thirty and he’s actually doing things with his life. He’s where he’s aimed. He’s famous.

Granted there’s a certain allure to fame that I’m sure isn’t so shiny once you actually get there. But I’d really like to find out for myself. Not only does fame ensure you can actually pay those college bills, it provides a conduit to sincerely make a difference in the world. To be a change.

And God knows I’d really love to be a change.

But back to my dream, I’m derailing here. So, I kind of admire this Gubler character, and he’s not too hard on the old eyeballs, either. For being old. Therefore I was confused when, in my dream, he was dating a friend of mine here at Eastman. I was like, okay, cool, but I’m having this dream. Let’s swing the focus here, huh? Instead, Rebecca’s on his arm, and then the scene spins and suddenly Rachael is telling me that he broke up with Rebecca and had started dating her… then Rebecca is telling me that he broke up with Rachael too. They both kind of merged into the same person after a while and were telling me all of these lovely things he used to do with them– outings, and walks in the country at sunset, and art show premiers… all of these great adventures. I got really jealous, and kind of annoyed now. Because those are all things I love to do, and Matthew (in my dream) had completely met me. We were on speaking terms.

The dream spun and shifted again, a spherical twist that put a giddy leap in my heart that stayed; suddenly I was having a drink with Gubler at some outdoor cafe and he was wearing his funky glasses and wide-brimmed hat. And I think plaid. We were… together. The paparazzi were there, that’s how I know.

Then we were in line for something and Jack and Matt and David were in line ahead of us? I remembered (in my dream) once having the tiniest crush on Matt and feeling balanced and not awkward about it (because nothing had come of it) when Gubler came to stand by me.

this guy = symbol of ambition ? hmm.

And you know that feeling (and this has really only happened once for me, in real life), when a guy comes up behind you and it’s not creepy? He just stands there and he’s warm and solid and present. You can tell he wants to be there and he’ll reach for your hand and/or rest a hand on your waist. That happened in my dream and I was just so… so settled, so satisfied with where I was, who I was, and who I was with.

 

Now to analyze: I don’t think this dream means I want to “be with” Matthew Gray Gubler. On the contrary, I’d rather just meet him and discuss all sorts of interesting things with him because A.) I’m sure he has a bajillionandahalf leagues of girls throwing themselves at him, and B.) I’m sure he has a wide scope of things to talk about and wanting to get in his pants would kind of deviate from any type of actual thought-related discussion.

Not that I would turn my nose up at an outing with him. I love adventures, any time, any where.

But that takes me back to my analysis. I think Gubler represented my goals. My wishes and desires to achieve, to be There in that hot light of the public eye. First I was confused, why don’t I have that? Then I was frustrated, I should have it by now. Then I did have it, and it felt right and I felt centered.

Just one possible analogy. But my eyes are getting dry and I’m tired so I’m putting this away for now. It was nice to do some storytelling for once.

Blogs from home

A series of little bloggettes from my first time back home since college started.

12:17 AM 09 Oct 2010

This is so, so so so strange. It’s like, I’m home! Finally.

But so why do I want to cry? It’s like everything’s the same, and nothing’s the same. In a way, it reminds me of the dream I had around a year ago, where I was killed and came back as a ghost. Only to see that life had gone on without me, but I’d left a hole. That’s kind of what coming home has done to me: shown me the hole where I fit. The empty space I left behind that was sort-of filled but that had been waiting for me to come back to it.

It’s so overwhelming. The love is too much for me. I’m so lucky and so blessed. And I’m not ashamed to say I’m crying while I’m typing this because I’m so full of happy and– and– I don’t know if the word is unworthiness? Insignificance? Overwhelmed, overflowing. The love my family has for me is so huge. I was wrenched by time out of their lives and now I’m back and it’s like nothing ever changed. I just get to hug my mother for a few minutes longer. That’s the only difference.

But evidence of my absence is everywhere. My room, with only one pillow and no little pink lamp, shows that I haven’t been here. My laundry wasn’t in the wash, my dishes weren’t in the sink. None of my chaotic piles of makeup were dumped in their usual spot by the bathroom mirror, no brightly-colored, half-consumed coffee cups littered the counter. The computer desk was neat.

I just feel sad that I had to go. It’s like someone ripped off my arm, or something… and pretended that it was going to be gone forever, but for a few days they stick it back on and say, “enjoy, until we tear it off again.” I remember adjusting to college life being fairly difficult. Now I’m accustomed to the routine and the rhythm, but when I first got there I was just heartbroken. I don’t want that to happen a second time.

Saturday 09 October 2010 6:49 pm

“It’s not where I am, it’s you I’m with.”

I’m in the car typing this right now, and reflecting on life. It sounds really deep, but it’s not.

We get a little wild during car rides...

I think about life a great deal. But as the Avetts croon about love and existence and the car glides toward the sunset, I’m launched into a mindset that sends thoughts of home and belonging swirling through my brain.

 

Where’s my home now? I’m coming back from eating la comida italia with my family and wondering, now that my life’s been thrust into its own orbit, where I’m allowed to call home. There’s a sense of rightness and belonging about Eastman for me, and in Rochester. But in the same breath I feel that way about Buffalo and my home. Can I have two? Is that allowed? What about when I get my own apartment? Or move out of Rochester? Is it possible to make a life elsewhere, to have multiple homes that feel comfortable, wonderfully happy, and right?

Then the Avett Brothers chime in with “St. Joseph’s” and remind me. “It’s not where I’m am, it’s you I’m with.” As long as I’m with those I love and who love me in return– whether it’s familial or friendship or both– I am already home.

Sunday 10 October 2010 8:38 pm

I just got out of my third shower since I’ve been home. It’s an exercise in indulgence: I take a shower that would have been normal for me here, but at school is extravagant. At Eastman, we have the minute yellow bathroom stalls with mangy floors and flip flops involved. Non-adjustable spray with squeaky nozzles and an atmosphere of tension in case (gasp) some strange girl flounces in mid-exit and sees me in all of my toweled-up, drippy-makeuped glory. All in all I rush to perfect personal hygiene and it’s simply a mandatory procedure.

Here, I take time. Take those precious few moments to take off all of my makeup, to savor the clean white, steamy air. To stand with bare feet in a clean shower. The perfume of my home billowing around me, swirling with the sweet citrus of body wash and lotion and shampoo, is the scent that irons out the stress of a long day and a nervily-anticipated trip back to school.

Even the simple actions that I completely (typically) took for granted are purely divine now. Like, toweling off in a space that’s not two square feet. Having a well-lit and enormous bathroom with a halfway-recognizable color scheme. Not having to dig through a caddy to find the right item.

It’s so great. Except, I realized tonight that I’m already missing home. And I haven’t even left it again.

Sunday October 10, 2010 11:27 pm

I knew it would happen. I knew I’d love home so much and never want to go away and always want to stay here safe in this warm and cozy house with the people I adore and the sunshine and the comfort.

I know in my mind that I’d go insane. If I had to stay here all the time. And I’ve really just been trying to enjoy every second spent here and with my family. Playing Sims with my sister, watching the Sabres win (then lose), Criminal Minds marathons, and selling Harley tickets in Ellicottville. All of it is part of being home and coaxing every drop of happy from it that I can.

I miss Eastman too, but in an academic sense. I wish Eastman was right next door so I could step into my family’s life whenever. I’m so freaking happy to be with them right now it’s stupid, because when I get back I’ll be happy too and that will be a betrayal of sorts. But also I just don’t want to leave them. Their lives will roll on and so will mine and even though this visit was like no time passed, I know that won’t continue. Life goes on.

Damn it, life goes on whether I’m there or not. Something– anything, really– could happen at any second. I could get hit by a bus or get slashed in the parking garage or sweet Jesus God forbid fall from a stairwell and break my neck. And writing that makes me want to vomit but it’s the truth, and then what? And then what? Life would still go on.

I can’t wrap my head around it and I am so miserable trying to try. It’s so hard. It’s so hard to have two places I want– need– to be, with so many desires and hopes and fears tearing me in so many directions. Expectations and longings and worries and stresses. And I’m depended on to deal with them all, to handle it. I can. I mean, I can. And will.

Life goes on. But I’m still here and sad, this moment.