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.

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!

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. 

You can while away the hours (like me)

Apparently the only useful skill I have right now is procrastination. I don’t want to unpack all of my clothes because I don’t have music on. I don’t want to turn music on because I don’t know what I want to listen to. I don’t want to listen to anything that’ll make me think of home for too long, because I miss it.

I called Grandma tonight, and that was good. Mom spent an extra three hours with me in Rochester helping me solve my phone dilemma. What more could I have wanted?

I still have my Deutsch to do and I am skyping with Kenneth in less than an hour. Ironically my German homework is a Familienstammbaum. Kühl. Not.

Anyway I guess I’d better get working on it. I’ve only been to Facebook and Twitter twenty times in the past twenty-six minutes….

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.

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.

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 (:

April again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“I can’t lose you too”

I have needed to blog for a very long time.

There are so many things I feel like I need to say: about life, about family, about romance and love and sex and other things. I think constantly, about concepts that are bigger than I am, and when I go to put them into words, they become about as easy to catch as vapor.

About life
I guess I’ve come to terms with the fact that it doesn’t do to be terrified of dying all the time. I think about dying: how one dies, the possibilities, probabilities, likelihoods. Serial killing’s the most colorful, but there’re random acts of violence, gunshots, stabbings, poisoning, and anthrax. And sheer accidents. But it really doesn’t do much for peace of mind or happiness to dwell on these things. If it happens, it happens, and I guess I’d just have to hope that my family would celebrate my life instead of mourning my death. I guess I’d want them to do everything they could to live to the fullest and enjoy themselves because there’s no way to tell what could happen.

But I feel like a moron saying that because here I am, not living life to the fullest BECAUSE there’s no way to tell. On a level with something happening to me is if something happened to them. That’s the most horrible thing I can think of in my own limited sphere of terrors on a personal scale. I say it would be on a level with me being gone because if something happened to me I know that my immediate family, anyway, would be heartsick. I know them too well and it would be painful and awful and sad. I would feel like shit and be responsible for their pain. That guilt and responsibility is paralleled by something happening to them. They just need to be safe. Healthy. Happy.

That’s another thing. I feel guilty being happy a lot. Some things are too important for me to be happy all the time. But the repressed happy is making me sad. If that makes sense. All of this worrying is pointless because it’s out of my control. But whose control is it in?

I needed to ask that. I’m not saying that I’ve suddenly turned agnostic or whatever. But I feel like there comes a time in everyone’s life where it needs to be asked, and answered on one’s own terms. I’m asking, and I’m going to have to get an answer for myself, instead of just flopping around searching for some kind of response and taking it from others’ thoughts and ideas.

It’s me from now on. I am sick of saying that my own life and happiness is second to other, bigger issues that I cannot effect. Such as the concern over death. It will happen eventually and I’d be really dumb if I continued to let it loom ominously behind me with it’s ugly, outdated scythe at my neck. I need to let it go, or push it aside. I worry about doing those things to certain aspects of my personality because I don’t want to risk losing my sense of self. But seriously, what self will be left if I spend all of my time stupidly, silently crying over events that haven’t happened yet?

This is going to be lame, but it reminds me of Roy Mustang and Riza Hawkeye in the series Full Metal Alchemist. They love each other, but she protects him and he has goals that they are both incredibly determined to see through. They never act on their love– they’ve known each other since childhood– because they think they’re never in a position to do so. I think that’s nonsense. If you have something so beautiful and tangible and powerful in front of you, how dare you let it go without a fight?

Riza dies, so that’s the sad ending to that story and also the moral.

I have something so beautiful and tangible and powerful in front of me. If I delude myself into thinking I’m incapable of taking it and making it mine, then I’ve wasted just as much as the characters I adore.

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.

Talk about thankful

So I have a friend right now who is severely injured right now and stranded in Zoar Valley. He has rescue workers with him, but he’s too badly hurt and they can’t move him until tomorrow. Everyone who knows him has been offering prayers and support, thoughts and well wishes.

What a horrifying situation. He was hunting, and must have fallen over a hundred feet down into a gorge. They found him in the water, and got him to a safer spot. But it turns out they just couldn’t move him. I obviously can’t do anything helpful from here except think of him, fret a little for him and his family, and pray.

On that note. It boggles my mind when people make a big deal about praying. If you don’t, that’s cool. But when the situation calls for strength of faith and well wishes, don’t make a statement about how you’re the different one, and you don’t pray, and how you hope that does the same thing.

Sure and it might. But to be brutally honest, when someone takes a tumble down a fucking cliff and is in serious condition in freezing weather… forgive me if I strongly feel that that deserves all of the attention and the focus. Not whether you’re God-fearing or whatever.

Honestly my whole heart goes to Drew and his family tonight. I can’t imagine how terrifying and stressful today must have been for them and you can bet I’ll be praying he makes a full, swift recovery.

http://www.wivb.com/video/videoplayer.swf?dppversion=6469

All my loving

I see my family in three days.

Technically I see them next Tuesday, but I have to get through Friday, Monday and Tuesday for that to happen. I’m leaving straight from studio class at 730 in the evening to load up the car and get the heck out of here.

I can’t say I’m unhappy here, because I really enjoy myself, normally. But I am so ready to go home, to breathe real air. To see stars. The one Sunday we went to the beach at night? Yeah. Amazing. Just that little teasing glimpse hooked itself into my heart and still tugs, tugs, until the breath comes short in my chest and I can almost picture the sky from my house. I can’t wait to see the horses, to run around with Molley and Grizz and maybe go for a run. Okay, so I don’t actually run, but a leisurely jog with the dogs or a wander in the woods is certainly an exciting possibility.

I can chill out with my sister when the parents are at work. We’ll play Sims and eat Real Food and insult each other. Probably fold some laundry and do the dishes and laze around and drink hot chocolate.

Then, Thanksgiving. Oh my God. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. Grandma’s house in Forestville jammed full of the Luders and maybe/hopefully Uncle Norm and Aunt Lena. Bursting with sounds and smells of football and Really Real Food. I’ll probably be chopping vegetables or making gravy or whatever while Uncle Dave struts around like the proud grandfather he is (regardless of the fact that baby Evan will be with Maria at Scott’s parents’) and Grandma runs around trying to make sure everything is amazing. She needn’t bother– it always is. There will be turkey and holy sweet baby Jesus mashed potatoes. And salad, and some weird casseroles that I probably won’t eat, but then. But then. Dessert. Pies and holy crap it doesn’t even matter what other goodness there is because there will be homemade freaking pie. More than one kind.

I’m going to faint just thinking about the phenomenal week that awaits me.

I just have to get through three days. And a weekend. I cannot wait to be home.

The view of the back of my house from a little ways into the backyard

Every night’s an all nighter

No one ever said it would be easy. I’d even told myself, from the very beginning, that this would be difficult. That I’d work, and work hard. That there would be stress, and infinite pressure, and time management and energy concerns.

Like, I knew it. So why, when seasonal depression and homesickness hit, do they feel like some viciously unexpected wallop from the beyond? Not to mention the added pressure of friendships and balancing a social life with academic proactivity, and the agitation that accompanies the occasional brush of unfriendliness.

I don’t want to be bitter. I don’t want to sit and stew in my own negative outpouring of feelings toward individuals or a course or my own longing to be home. I want to just plow through the rest of this semester and be home. Be home. I’ll say it again: I want to be home.

I know I’ll sink back into the routine here, because I’ve discovered I actually can adapt. There are those who get under my skin and stick there, infecting my mood and my performance, but I am going to work to pop them like the acne they are. That looks really gross and harsh: but honestly, this is a vicious fricking environment if you don’t have your shit together. I can’t afford– emotionally, financially, physically– to not have my shit together. So if certain people are an infection, I hereby antitoxin the crap out of them, right here, right now. I’m a tolerant, patient, sometimes outspoken but generally very balanced and caring person. But there are times, like right now, with two more midterms to go and one month standing between me and my family, where I am going to slam both feet into the ground and say, that’s enough of this bull crap.

It’s so necessary for me to excel here. Not for me, on my own. Necessarily. So much falls to me, to surpass the goals I’ve set for myself. My family is counting on me to make this time worth it.

So, God help me, I damn well will.

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.

Waiting to leave… again

So, this is the first time I’ve blogged from my home since I left in August. It’s really strange to have a raised keyboard and a mouse, among other things.

Anyway, so. I’ve blogged from my Mac but I don’t have an internet connection here for it so those will go up tomorrow when I return to ESM. Yay?

Everyone told me I’d miss it. And I guess the fact that I’ve thought about going back so much “means” I’m “missing it.” But honestly I want another week here.

I get it now, why Caitlin (my cousin) was always so cranky when we were younger. She always got downright bitchy when it came time for her to leave Grandma’s and fly home. She was especially mean to me– and for someone my own age, my best friend, to be cruel, it was painful and upsetting. But we never talked about it, or going home. Grandma said it was because she didn’t want to leave and she was angry she had to.

I know now that she was going to miss me the most, and didn’t want me to be sad she was going. Therefore she made me angry and upset with her so I wouldn’t be sad.

I’m not going to do the same thing to my family; after all, Cait and I were only twelve when she acted this way. But I can’t help but wish that instead of sad, we’d part some other way. I don’t know. I just wish I had some immature way I could closet the concept of leaving away with and forget about it until tomorrow.

Science that’s double sharped. Oh, and Cheddar Bunnies

There are some things we refuse to let ourselves see, because it hurts too much. Valid observations and clinically correct studies really just make us ache so we don’t focus on massive changes in our lives. For example, I’m sitting here procrastinating and eating Cheddar Bunnies for comfort instead of letting myself feel sad. Or, if I’m being astute, painfully aware of how alone I am and how much I miss the happy things I love about my home and family and friends.

Even the music has a comfort zone it misses. The vanilla chamomile tea with agave nectar during long frigid months in Heather’s classy little apartment are long gone. The summery newness of her little house has faded for me; I don’t see it. I won’t see it, for a good few weeks at the very least. The steadiness, the calm and balance that was my previous instruction has coalesced swiftly into a cacophony of sounds that I can’t quite make out. There are so many, and they’re so fast. I’m expected to teach myself, to some degree. The disciplining is all me.

That has to happen. My mind thinks it, pressures me, but inside I really just want to go home. To the safety of my backyard and living room where so many hours were spent just waiting for this time to be here. Now that it is, I realize everything is different.

And it hurts. The Cheddar Bunnies, while helpful, don’t do as much to smother the throbbing that’s double sharp, lodged right where I breathe and remember I’m alive. I’m alive and I’m in this place that’s unfamiliar. I’m brave. I’ve prayed to be strong. Not wise, not more talented, strong. I need to bend and grow and succeed, not break. I’ve found out that within that strength there’s growing pain. At least I can face it and analyze it and know it for what it is and admit it.

I’m sad.

As Lucy says, "They make you feel good about yourself because it's like you're a meat-eater... But they're organic."

Blurb

I should not feel disoriented and dizzy this early in the morning. I’ve got a cinnamon pop tart in my system and am consuming searingly hot tea but I’m still groggy and I don’t like that. I also don’t like that there’s so much gap time between everything. I want to go, to get it done. I don’t want to disregard the importance of time and waiting and all that crap but come on, I’ve been waiting to reach this stage in my education (in my LIFE) since I was, like, four. Old enough to know what college was and that I wanted to go there and be smart and use it to do something worth it.

Granted, I never thought it would be opera, but here I am.

Still waiting.

Waiting for theory to start at nine thirty, waiting for the day to end so I can begin another monotonous cycle of homework, waiting for the next exciting thing to do that doesn’t involve food and hopefully does involve caffeine.

Waiting, ironically, for fall break to swing around a month from now so I can see my family. So we can laze around for once crisp fall weekend and enjoy the brief time we’re together. The stupid little pleasures of home no one thinks they will ever miss are the ones that turn and twist the tendons of your heart.

But I’ll wait; I’ll wait it out and I’ll work and drink my tea and burn my mouth and wait. It had better be worth it.

This scrawny-looking cat is in fact waiting for me... I'm the only one that likes him at my house :/

Thoughts on academia

I don’t know what I think of college yet.

Today is my first “official” day here, and I don’t know what I think.

On one hand, I am excited for classes to begin. I try to relish the independence when I can. Sometimes I get light-headed. No exaggeration.

But on the other, I’d seriously love to be sitting on the couch right now with a giant bowl of popcorn and Lord of the Rings or Criminal Minds in front of me. It’s lame, but (a) they are the only two things on TV I really adore and (b) although I told Lucy I’d introduce her to Criminal Minds (she doesn’t have cable at home), it just won’t be the same.

I miss having my own space. I miss having someone there physically all the time for me to rely on. Although I’ve waited and waited and yearned for this time of my life, now that it’s here I am still pumped but there’s a streak of sad in it. A swath of strong blue that’s sensitive to the touch. I think it’s my childhood. Yeah, that fits.

Because to be honest it feels like, without me knowing it, even though I prepared for it to happen… my childhood, my whole past at home? It’s gone, it’s done. Yeah, I was aware it would happen, but perhaps I just didn’t see it as something so emotional. Something so deeply rending it just kind of sits there on your heart, shaking a little and whimpering softly to itself.

Earlier today I talked to a sophomore transfer student named Narissa (I think that was it. If not, my bad and I’m sorry). She was extremely friendly and is dual majoring here and at the River Campus (for some brain science insane major I didn’t entirely catch because it was noisy and I was still digesting caffeine). She was enthusiastic about everything, we share a taste in books, and observations regarding awkward situations. She told me one of the most reassuring things I’ve heard: “I love school.”

I’m counting on that obsessive, nerdy academic in me to grab that, too. I’m treating this right now as an extended vacation where I’m learning a shitload. That’s my outlook right now. I don’t want to dwell on the theory that I don’t belong at my house anymore. I don’t want to think stupid things, like, “that’s no longer my home.”

Where the heck else would I go? I don’t live here permanently, despite the chaotically organized debris scattered tastefully around me. For God’s sake, I only have two books here!

I could have made this prettier, but it is what it is

Anxiousitis

I’ve been distracting myself lately.

If I don’t, that deep cold clutch of fear in the belly gives a yank and tugs me under.

It woke me at five this morning, nauseating me. Rippled, acidly, through my nerves until I couldn’t breathe. Dizzy, I stumbled upstairs to drown in coffee. Necessary, but the caffeine just jittered an already faltering system.

I need distraction. Otherwise I just make myself sick.

I’m excited, right? I keep telling myself that. I need this change. It’s a vital step, a crucial part of my life.

But oh God, I’m so scared, so freaking SICK of waiting. The anxiety is wrecking my nerves. Just get me to school and living, already.