January

I’m supposed to be note-taking while I read for history class, but I’m really just sitting with a bowl of soup and a big glass of wine. My history book is spread out on my lap, open to the first page of the reading; I’ve titled my notebook page with the source material and my pen is at the ready.

I want to do the reading. I want to be productive and thoughtful and intellectual, and, dare I say, “smart.”

Well, I suppose I am, objectively. But there’s more to life than being smart and a good note-taker. 

There’s a lot to think about, to reflect upon, in this new January. I’m twenty-one. Most people have lives by now– they’re either finishing up school with a definite plan or they’re already working or beginning families or establishing themselves in some other way. I spent this afternoon in rehearsal and then walked home in the freezing cold to drink tea and try to get healthy again, during which I took a “What Disney Princess are You?” quiz and tried to locate a suitable recital dress online that won’t break my bank account. It just feels a little strange, to live life so abstractly. 

And still, even knowing that studying and recital dresses and whatever aren’t the most important things– they’re what’s immediate to me right now. The concepts of marriage and “real” jobs are so far away– and who says marriage is in the hazy future for me, anyway? Or children? Or even a stable family life with my own immediate relatives? I might be halfway around the country by this time next year, studying for a career that’s touchy at best– what am I doing? 

I’ve blogged before about having a kind of faith that would allow me to do anything. I’d like to say that belief– in self, and in an Otherness– is returning to me in some capacity. Otherwise, I would have been a basket case long before this little period of reflection. This introspectiveness isn’t happening with an overtone of dread or foreboding– it’s logical, calm, and clear. Here I am, with not one clue as to where I will be in a year, and I’m fine with it. I know there’s an infinite amount of work yet to accomplish, and I’m terrified, but I’m facing it. I’m ready to try and tackle it. (Not sure if it’s actually doable, but I’m prepared to give it a go.) That’s where I am right now. 

I’m supposed to be note-taking while I read for history. I’ll get around to it. I might sit and enjoy being here for a few more moments.

Dear Friend,

She-Loves-Me-Logo-JPEGTonight’s the show! “She Loves Me” opens in Kilbourn at 7:30 tonight… my cast goes tonight, and again on Saturday. I am SO EXCITED.

Jacob was just over (he brought his accordion….) and we ran through our scene together. I’ve discovered that is one of the best colleagues a girl could ask for. I’ve treated him as a combination of great friend, accompanist, therapist, drinking buddy, and partner in crime. But most of all, we’re collaborators. Having the opportunity to build a real relationship with someone from artistic groundwork has been a huge privilege of participating in this show, and I think it gives a great deal to our onstage chemistry as well as on a personal level. I’m extremely grateful, not to mention proud of and excited for the work we’ve done.

There are a lot of other things for which I can be grateful today. My mom and grandmother are coming to see the show. I’m in really good voice today. I belted an Eb (what the hell, actually). My hair looks nice. I’m not as socially awkward as I could be. I’ve had coffee. I’m not sick (knock on wood). I am surrounded by some of the most talented, kindest, extraordinary people on the planet. And I am so happy.

I have a lot to be thankful for.

A lot of moving

I was going to work on other writing, but I found myself headed here first. Despite the fact that this wifi situation is laughable and that I’m alone in the pitch black living room with my laptop and makeshift bed, I still needed a different kind of closure: one of a written, personal nature. So here it is. I guess. 

I’m leaving tomorrow morning for Rochester— by seven-thirty, at the latest, by my mother’s decree. This is good, because it signifies a return to my “normal” life, a busy-ness and a whirlwind of activity. This is good for me. In other ways I am very much a hermit and prefer to laze and read and absorb and enjoy. The whirlwind forces me to enjoy from an active standpoint. 

I don’t like to leave the hermitage— the cloisters, if you will. My parents’ house— it sucks to call it that, now, but this is my first very real move away out of the house with all of my furniture and run-on sentences— my parents’ house is out in the country, five minutes by car from civilization. I love it there. I don’t think it’s far enough away from people, personally, but it’s as far as I can get at this point and I wouldn’t have it any other way. My summer has been a peaceful time of very low emotional and/or mental stress for me, and a huge, relaxing blessing. 

 And it’s over. Tomorrow, it’s over, and I leave my family for the Real World again. And this time I’m taking almost all of my belongings with me. I’m moving out. 

Things are changing. I have my first “real,” named role in an Eastman show. I’m also in a student-run performance/collaboration. I’m also Eastman’s student body president, and I also have a job where I make real money on campus. Things are changing, and things are happening. 

I guess I just have to come to terms with the fact that they will also be happening at home, and I won’t be there to witness. My sister is entering her junior year of high school. My mother has a birthday soon that will turn her an even number that ends in a zero. My grandmother isn’t going to have me there to saw branches off the crabapple tree or lilac bush, or to rip stubborn shrubbery out of her yard. Granted, my mother is just as capable of doing this, but she is beyond busy. 

I’m going to have to watch as one of my co-volunteers accepts a position on the Hollywood board: we have worked together since the current board has been together, really, and now he gets to call shots and be even more involved, and I will only be able to drop in whenever I’m in the neighborhood. I feel neglectful. In addition, I have to wait and worry about my old dog at home. He’s eleven now, and allergic to life and tired of the puppy. I feel like I have to wait and worry about everyone. 

I should feel excited, and I do— but the work ahead of me is daunting and I feel as though life is going to move on, yet again, without me. This summer at home, I feel as though I might have just barely managed to catch up with it. I should have known that it wouldn’t be for long. 

And here we go again

Well, here it goes. Into semester six of college. 

I guess not quite yet. Officially it begins tomorrow morning when my mother and I update our FAFSA and then stuff all of my luggage in the car. Then it’s off to Rochester again. I’ll be leaving my beautiful home, family, and dorky, smelly dog for the city and stress, exhaustion, coffee overload. 

I keep trying to suppress my excitement. It’s always so bittersweet– I never want to leave, but I go crazy when I have too much free time. And I always figure it’s better to go back with some sort of enthusiasm, then dread.

I’m finally going to be caught up with aural skillz. I want to get my first tattoo. I’m going grocery shopping tomorrow at Wegmans with my future roommate and then to the gym and then to rehearsal from four pm to whenever it ends. 

And then I have Sunday, a day to settle in.

And Monday it’s back to a twenty-five credit load week, complete with work four out of five days, extraneous coachings, and forced time at the gym. I have until March 10th to look hot in a bikini (that’s when our Last Family Vacation happens). Yay, Spring Break. Too bad I only have two months. 

Anyway, it’s going to be rough transitioning back, but I think (hope) (at least at the beginning, when it’s kind of easy) it will be fun. 

I’ll try to keep writing over the course of the semester, but we’ll see if I have the time.

À bientôt!

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.

Another list because I can’t seem to get off the internet

Yeah, I have about zero will power right now. Mary, EE, Ivana and I just got back from Relay for Life at U of R. I spent the rest of my money in support of cancer research. Not only has every other person in my immediate family had it, but I’m likely to, and so is my sister, unless we luck out like our father has so far. I made a luminaria for Grandpa, Aunt Ginny, my great-grandparents, and Aunt Josie. I also have a really spiffy t-shirt and pink button necklace now, but I would have spent the money anyway. It’s probably the best cause I can contribute to right now, and shit, if it means I’m without Java’s for a week, the world won’t stop turning, will it?

Anyway, I guess I said this was going to be a list in the post title, so here we go. What did I do today/think about (not that it’s relevant, or that anyone cares)… this is my own blog, after all, I don’t even have to write well, let alone justify myself. So there.

List of things I did/thought about today (in no particular order)

  • Matt Grills is a wonderful artist/human being and I could have sat in his recital for another few hours… days… weeks. Whatever
  • I can’t go to Wegman’s without spending money on cheese… I’m a sucker for a certain Brie, and I don’t care who knows it
  • I’m getting old
  • I had to check and delete my full voicemail inbox today, and heard messages I’d saved from two years ago. My great-aunt Mary Jane left me a message asking for my mailing address, and I’d saved it, probably because I guess I saved basically all of my messages at that time. She passed away over winter break this year. It’s not like I’m unaware that she is pain-free now, and I hope happier and at peace, but it was a quick clench of the heart to hear her sweet voice again, so unexpectedly. Also I was in Java’s waiting for my sandwich and basically about to cry. Knowing she’s better off now and missing her are two separate things entirely.
  • You know when you’re looking for someone who’s supposed to be meeting you, and end up literally staring at someone you know, but not really looking at them (more of a looking-through?)? Did that tonight. Whoops. I blushed so hard afterward I felt like I was hot flashing.
  • My eyesight has gotten SO BAD, to the point where I’m beginning to be concerned…
  • I think I’m going to enjoy the German future tense
  • I miss Russian more than I thought I did… I wonder if Michelle found my notebook when I asked her to, three weeks ago
  • I want to go home and see my family
  • I want to go home and have a fabulous place to practice
  • I don’t know how I’m going to make any money this summer
  • How shall I obtain Professor Daigle’s signature?
  • How shall I admit that I actually have a physical list of questions to ask about performing?
  • I just yawned wide enough to crack my jaw
  • I thought about Daniel today, after I listened to the Aunt Mary Jane voicemail. I guess because his is another death that has affected my life, albeit a little differently. He was nineteen, three years ago and eleven days from now. God.
    But as I thought about him, and felt sad for a pretty good chunk of time, I swear I almost heard a voice snap– pleasantly but sarcastically– “What the hell are you doing? Go out and live,” and I probably imagined it, but it killed the morose mood I’d sunk into and spurred me into getting ready for my next class, and resolving to be a little ballsier.  I’d like to think it was Daniel, even though I know that’s nuts, and if I were him I wouldn’t waste my time. But I know he tried to live life to its fullest, so, I guess you never know.
  • In other news, Mu Phi is lame, and no, I didn’t get a damn email, or text
  • I’m tired of this list and I’m tired in general. I guess I’m not very interesting this evening. Oh well…
  • “Guten Abend, mein Schatz! Guten Abend, mein Kind…”

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?

Urge

My room is a disaster zone. This head cold I’ve been hanging out with for almost a week now is showing no inclination to leave. I haven’t made a great deal of progress learning new music, although things are starting to improve. And I haven’t done laundry in almost two weeks.

I’m lazy. But slowly growing more motivated. It’s one of those things that comes and goes for me, and I’m worried that I’ll be so excited about POTENTIALLY being capable of making real steps toward improvement that I’ll just spend all of my energy and end up pathetic and back where I started. I’m determined that that won’t be that case, though. Honestly it might come down to sheer willpower… which I have in abundance some days and seriously lack on others.

I go home in nine days, though, so hopefully that will act as a spur, of sorts. Speaking of, I should probably stop wordpressing and start to pick up the haphazard piles of clothing and books that are strewn all over my floor…

Typing this with my eyes closed….

I am so tired right now. My eyes are bleary, my head is fogged, I’m a little disoriented and I’m a smidgeon loopy. Not from drinking, though. I’ve never been too tired to drink before, so tonight was really interesting. As this four o’ clock am hits, I’ll have been working/thinking/active for eighteen hours straight. What the hell?

Tonight we had Boo Blast: the Eastman Halloween party. It was at the Radisson (a new location for us) and around 300 people were expected to attend. It was nice, but exhausting. (I was Little Dead Riding Hood, for anyone who may have wondered.)

I also lost my Dakota bracelet there. My bag was partially open for some of the time, and I think it might have gotten knocked over and some of my things tipped out. But then again, I’m really freaking tired, so maybe even though I looked in every pocket of that bag, and all around my room, that it fell out somewhere unusual, or maybe I found it and placed it somewhere I forget about now.

I’m even too tired to feel like shit for it, even though I will (and do, mentally). I’m such an irresponsible ass.

ANYWAY I should go before the seriously atrocious grammar and punctuation (whatever) get the better of me. Guten Wochenende…….

Guten Abend, mein Knab…

Today was decent. I felt the need to get myself organized, so to provide myself with that extra boost (that I most definitely was not getting on my own), I signed up for a coaching with the wonderful Berri. She and I talked about my preoccupation with “other things” (like, credit-bearing homework) but it was nice to hear someone who’s not a peer tell me flat-out that I am here to sing, and that’s what’s most important. It’s different from hearing friends say it over and over, and it’s different than telling it to yourself. It’s fact, coming out of Berri’s mouth, and from anyone else you respect and trust.

It’s about getting myself organized, which I did, and planning out rep absorption logically (currently in process). Speaking of which, Paulina just referred me to another sassy Italian piece, so I’m going to IMSLP that shit before I lose my groove. Guten Abend…

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

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

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

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

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

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

Let’s see if I can write a blog in five minutes

It’s 11:25. I would really like some sleep but as usual I’ve got a couple of things clogging my mind.

01. Homework. It’s basically eating me alive and although I’ve gotten better at handling the workload, I feel like every day there is more to do, and every day it’s monumentally harder. One day I will be trying to breathe beneath a sea of dictations, listening modules and piano audits… and I might just stop swimming, and plummet to the bottom of the theoretical ocean. That’s what it feels like.

02. Friends. Sometimes I feel so, so blessed to know the amazing people I do. This is what I have to tell myself when they piss me off… or when I feel as though I’m not worthy of them.

03. Home. I keep having beautiful daydreams of being home. There’s a spicy pumpkin scent to the crisp fall air there and the leaves are already Halloween shades. Hot cider is on the stove and I have a pile of books to read and nothing else to do but laundry and the dishes. And most importantly, my mind is relaxed and my family is there. That is what I daydream about. Only two and a half more weeks until I’m home again.

04. Love. Is it possible to love someone but not be in love with them? I don’t know.

But my time is up. Five minute blog down. Gute nacht, it’s past my bedtime.

And when they ask you what you’re living for, say love

I wrote a song earlier (it’s not that uncommon for me, nowadays) that questioned, really, why we’re here. It referenced the grieving process, and the endless cycle of life, and death, and life again. It’s bizarre to know that my heart just ached when I wrote it. And now? It still aches, some, but I have my answer.

Funny how those things work out. It’s also funny, and by funny I mean bizarre, and sometimes annoying/frustrating, that sometimes, the more you think you can handle how you feel about something, the more it gets away from you. That happened to me tonight at the vigil: I was silent and respectful during the ceremony that consisted mostly of hushed speakers and a pathetic microphone and the wind in the courtyard, mirroring our breathing. I wrote my message to Victor, maintaining that respect and composure.

Then I saw David swoop right in to hug Katie and for some reason that embrace, one of friendship, support, and communal grief and understanding without words, took me right back. I thought I’d grown from my experiences with the fucking brutal unfairness of life. I thought I had grown from my experiences losing those I hardly knew, and those I knew well.

Well, I didn’t. I got back to my room and absolutely lost it for a little while. I didn’t bother to turn on the lights. I don’t feel bad admitting it here, but I’m a really ugly and disgusting sobber– I was a wreck and it would have been humiliating to be below with my classmates. So I cried alone. I cried, selfishly, because I was here and Victor wasn’t. I cried, still selfishly, because like Dan, Victor was only nineteen when he lost his life, with so much potential in front of him. I cried because I knew his family was coming in from China for the memorial service this Saturday. I cried because I know that those who loved him– and perhaps, even some who barely knew him at all– will be forever changed in one of the most painful ways.

I cried some for Dakota, even though he’s improved so much, because he’s lost a lot of time and a great deal of opportunities. I cried because his situation is truly heartbreaking, even though there is hope for him to recover even more than he already has.

And I cried a little bit for myself, because there is still so much life to experience, and I haven’t yet. And, stupidly, because I had pretended not to need a hug. My own stupid fault, but I couldn’t cry there. Seriously.

I realized afterward, after I’d written some lyrics and established a melody both haunting and pretty, that the communities I live in– both at home, and here at Eastman– are so strong and reseliant. People are there for each other. Like just a little while ago, when the sad knotted ache under my heart wouldn’t leave, and I had to talk to someone for just a few minutes. People here listen. People here care.

When Saturday rolls around, I cannot imagine the overwhelming situation Victor’s parents will be facing– having to say goodbye to their son. But I do know that this community will do all in its power to ensure that they have the strength, support, respect, understanding, and love they need to make it through.

That’s why we’re here. It’s not because we’re some science experiment, it’s not so we can make money and rot into the ground. It’s not for material gain or networking or technological advancement or to see if there’s life on Mars.

We’re here to love: whether in jubilation or darkest misery. We are here to accept it, to revel in it. And most especially, to give it.

When I lose my direction, I look up to the sky

Because I feel the need to talk about it, here it is.

Last night at approximately 3 am a nineteen year old freshman student was found lying dead on the ground in front of the Eastman Living Center. That is, my dorm building. It was reported he fell from a twelfth story window.

I can’t begin to comprehend this. I didn’t know him, but slowly we as a collective residential and student body are putting together a picture of who he was, and what happened. Everyone has their own theory, but only time will tell the truth. Did he jump, did he fall? Was he incapacitated in some fashion, or was he clear-headed?

I feel the worst for his family, and for his friends here. We are all waiting for his relatives to be contacted so his name can be released officially. I can only imagine what his roommate is going through– classes haven’t even started yet. I can’t fathom what it must have been like to look out the window for whatever reason at three in the morning to see a slick red pool of blood and flashing lights.

But, as our Executive Associate Dean, Jamal Rossi said in the first of a slew of emails about the tragedy: “One of the hallmarks of Eastman is a tremendous sense of community.  At difficult times like this, it is important to for us to draw together to support one another.” I suppose it’s going to take our tightly knit little school’s tendency to pull together and push onward and lift each other up in order to carry on.

More information (basically the only information out there) can be found here.

Sometimes I hear, sometimes it robs me blind

Today was a beautiful day.

Some events:

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

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

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

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

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

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

– Having friends who like to hug me

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

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

– My mother is visiting me tomorrow!!

As the kid next door tunes his violin…

Well, here I am again. New room, new school year… new views and new dreams.

Not a new blog, though. No, this one just went on hiatus for the summer. I feel bad, but I don’t. I worked three jobs, I spent time with my family and close friends. I thought I felt love, which was different and interesting, but I don’t think I’ll ever really know if that was the case or not. In order to really love, you have to acknowledge it aloud, in my opinion. And I couldn’t do that. We might talk about that later. Maybe.

Anyway. My room is freshly decorated, and smells good (thanks Bath & Body Wallflower). It’s really sticky and humid here but I guess I’ll live with it/get over it. My mother’s coming back out in a week to say hi and drop off a bunch of crap I forgot.

Shit, okay. I’m running on reserve battery power so I am going to take that as a sign from the Fates to get off the computer and play with all of my new school supplies! I’m feeling like a mixture of Hermione Granger and Spencer Reid so this should actually be exciting.

Maybe I’ll post again later, maybe not. Orientation week is going to be buuuusy. Have a lovely day regardless, and it’s weird (but cool) to be jivin’ again with WordPress (:

Final-ly (blog for 407T)

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Little rant about Christianity today

There. I’ve said it. “I don’t even consider myself a Christian any more.”

Lucy and I have these discussions pretty frequently. About what we believe, about the Christian group at Eastman, and about modern belief systems. It made me think about Brendan, the only stable Jesus-loving presence in my life (besides, well, my grandma), and about his organic, true-to-love way of communicating about his faith. The kids here are NOT like that, and it drives me crazy. Okay, being judged is part of life. Fine. But as I actually know a few true, down-to-earth, Jesus-loving people (who love everyone regardless of who they are or what they’ve done), I think I’m on the right track by saying that being judged by a cliquey pack of self-proclaimed, over-churched snobs is not really in anyone’s plan for their day.

Is it really important to take others’ sex lives and drinking habits and potty mouths into consideration? Doesn’t it matter more how they feel about themselves and about others? Or maybe God really doesn’t want people who like alcohol or physical pleasure. I’m sure that whenever someone tells God to “Fuck off,” that he actually says “Okay” and puts their name on a list for hell. That’s what the Good Book says, after all. RIGHT?

Give me a fucking break.

I consider myself someone who loves people (including the kids I’m currently ranting about, weirdly) and loves the idea that there is something out there that’s taking care of us. That gives a shit, you know. But I’m not about to turn my nose up at my roommate, who doesn’t believe in anything. She’s one of the most accepting people I’ve ever met. But she still feels excluded from our local cross-wearers. Because she’s unaffiliated, she’s not welcome.

I have to say, I don’t really want a ton to do with a pretentious sect of people that struts around excluding everyone from their fun and games. Not that I actually consider sitting around bashing others’ beliefs and lifestyles fun. Or game-like.

The 2006 Jeremy Brock film “Driving Lessons” sums up my feelings on modern Christianity in a few sentences.

“How is a person truly free, until they can think and act for themselves. If you say to me, ‘Am I a Christian?’ I say to you, if you strive to do good, then you’re a Christian. If you don’t seek to hurt or betray others, you’re a Christian. If you’re true to yourself, and treat others as you’d have them treat you, you’re a Christian. 
The more a person parades their Christianity for the benefit of others, the less I’m inclined to trust the Christianity they claim to bring. God tells us, ‘True faith is the freedom to choose truth.’
Now, how you express that: the way, the manner, the means at your disposal, these things are of no consequence be you Christian or atheist, unless in your heart you are true.”

I don’t think that making yourself out to be a member of God’s Special Club speaks of love for others. I don’t think that avoiding people who have sex and drink and cuss will have any effect on your so highly valued purity. I don’t think that pretending you’re not human and are all distant, fake smiles forever, even to the lowly un-religious (like myself), makes you a Christian. And I certainly don’t think that proclaiming your love for church and the Bible and other devout Christians puts you any closer to divine salvation, unless you can come down off your self-constructed throne and mingle as one of the masses. Rub elbows with the filthy and share with the downtrodden and the gleeful sinners. Not as an emissary of Christ, but as a fellow human being. Love is the dynamic force that will change this world. Not self righteousness.

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.