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.

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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?

Tear down the house

I decided to go with a new theme tonight because

a.) I can’t sleep– I have too much on my mind, AND I’m going home tomorrow, so I’m really excited

b.) It’s time for a little change, and

c.) I’ve been neglecting this outlet for too long.

I know, it’s been busy, and blah blah freakin’ blah. So what? So I don’t have five or ten or fifteen minutes– or thirty seconds– to write? Seriously, it helped my mental and emotional health SO MUCH this summer when I was journaling on paper. To think it wouldn’t help to write my thoughts on my blog is just silly.

So here I am again, with a new theme and a little pizzazz and even less sleep.

I felt guilty not blogging on my birthday (the 30th), but to be honest I was a little emotional during the day, and that night was an absolute wreck. Definitely did not feel like writing after that. I felt like shit, in almost every way possible.

But I suppose it’s time to talk about that a little bit. So I did six extra or so too many birthday shots. My normal limit is four– five if I’m feeling crazy. Blame it on peer pressure and one– I repeat, ONE– night of reckless decision-making. That’s all it takes for me to learn a lesson, I promise. I’m not stupid or careless. But I was missing my family and excited to be with my friends, and I’ll confess to having a natural inclination toward vodka.

So I was a little reckless. Not one of my friends took care of me until I was back in my room– and even then, I barely remember getting there. It was actually repulsive. I ended up with a boy in my room that I didn’t want there and a choice to have sex or not have sex. I say that bluntly because that was the decision. I can honestly admit that I was so drunk I don’t remember how I phrased things or how loud I was– but I can clearly recall telling this boy before we had even left the party that I was Not Having Sex With Him. Period, no question. It’s highly probably that other people heard me telling him this. I wanted there to Be No Question.

Well, when he found his way into my bedroom, he told me he’d thought I was kidding.

I tried to explain that I was waiting for love. I tried to explain that I had not had the greatest experiences before with boys in general and that type of pressure. I tried to explain that all I wanted to do now was cuddle and sleep off the vodka.

After spending I-don’t-even-know-how-long trying to explain, I gave up and left him in my room, and, frustrated with myself and with the evening (and with the fact that there was a boy in my room who was demanding sex and wouldn’t leave), I went over to Katie and John’s. They returned with me as amused reinforcements, but I was really upset, simply because I HAVE been pressured in that way before, and it’s humiliating and degrading. And unacceptable, whether you’re drunk or sober or scared or experienced. No means no, and should always mean no. Every time.

Finally with a little peer pressure, the boy left and I retired to my room with Katie. There I basically wept away the early hours of the morning after my nineteenth birthday. I couldn’t help myself: everything is more emotional when you’re drunk, anyway. And in all seriousness, if I wasn’t stronger than the boy I’d had in my room, I might have been raped. Like I said, it only takes one experience for me to learn. My previous experience led me to refuse this boy at any cost, even my pride. This most recent awful night taught me how dangerous birthday shots can be… and all joking aside, it taught me to know just how much I can trust my friends to get me out of certain situations. To get me home safely without making bad decisions: not one bit. To keep me safe once I am home and support me in my own choices: rather a lot. It’s interesting, anyway.

But so. Yeah. That was my horrendous October 1st. I was extremely sick when I woke up, and for most of the day. I guess it might look like the average weekend of your every day college student to some? Maybe. But for me, it just wasn’t a good fit. I like to share a bottle of wine with friends, and a couple of beers at a party are just fine. And normally, shots are my favorite when it comes to drinking. But this was too much, and it led to really unpleasant things. I disappointed myself.

But it could have been so, so much worse. I could have had drunken unprotected sex with a boy I barely know (and a really short, kind of scrawny one at that). Bad decision. I could have compromised myself in a way that I vowed I wouldn’t, not yet.

And I closed a certain circle, in a way… I took back what had been taken from me. I knew what I wanted– or rather, didn’t want– and I didn’t let guilt or obligation or shock or even flattery rampage over that. The fact that I was flat-out wasted and able to maintain the willpower not to have meaningless drunk sex has to stand for something, I figure. And it might make me a prude or a tease but it’s my body. I’d said from the very beginning that I didn’t want it– I was honest. And that’s all you can ask for. Although I respect everyone and tend to feel bad if I hurt people, I’m sure this boy feels nothing but a bruised ego, and I can’t be sorry for that. Also, Katie informed me later that day that he’d said he “forgave me.” Then I made the decision to forget about him completely and allow him to go fuck himself if he chose. That clinched my original choice not to give a damn or to feel bad.

This past year, I’ve discovered that it is vital to love and respect yourself. The decisions I make are mine, for my own reasons, and I answer to no one but myself and my maker– whether that be God or the Creator, or some Great Spirit that’s the best and the brightest. I can’t help but be satisfied that the person I’ve become has enough strength to know her mind and her heart even while seriously inebriated. That might seem a little strange, but since I never plan on being that drunk again, that means that I’m stronger than even I realize. And that’s reassuring, considering life is only going to get harder as the years go on.

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.

I want to have friends that’ll let me be, alone when being alone is all that I need

That quote basically describes my life. If I am to be completely honest, I love my friends. I love them and it hurts when some of them don’t love me back. Or when they don’t even realize how much I give a shit what they think. It is painful to force yourself face to face with the fact that you are so insignificant in someone’s life (someone you’ve known for over a year now), that they don’t even realize how much you need them to care, even a little.

Isn’t that how life works, though? You try and love with all you have in whatever capacity you’re capable of, and it either doubles and returns or trickles off into nothingness. And you’re rejected.

As I listened to the Bitchin’ Kitchen play tonight, I wondered, if the group of people (friends?) I’m talking about cared, would it make it better? Would it make the clinging sadness in my chest go away? Or it is just early-onset seasonal depression setting in, or what? Then I wondered, if there was a boy, would it be better? And then I decided, probably not. A boy of that sort is basically a built-in best friend you can have sex with, and somehow I think having one of those would complicate things more than it would help.

I mean, I don’t mind being my own best friend. And I’ve said for a long time that if no one talks to you, that’s your own fault and you should go be more social. But here, everyone is working their asses off to be the best. If I don’t talk to people, it’s because I’m working. I’m trying to make something of myself. I want to have friends who understand what it’s like to need to be alone, to focus or to refocus, but who also understand the necessity of human contact.

Maybe it’s all about finding the perfect fit of people who care a lot, enough to notice when you’re upset or lonely or tired or miserable. Maybe it’s all about taking closer notice of the feelings of the ones I am rather close to. The ones who don’t talk to me simply because they’re bored and there’s nothing else to do.

But for now, I guess I’ll be my own best friend. It’s okay. I’m used to it by now.

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.

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.

Just a few thoughts before I go and sleep

Have you ever been creeping on someone (yeah, my method is generally facebook) and found someone from their past that they obviously don’t talk to anymore? Like who’s commented on their older pictures, a LOT, or older statuses?

Then you go to that person’s profile, and you’re not friends, but from the comments you can tell that they were just really, really… nothing like yourself.

I just had that experience and it’s really bizarre thinking that there really are human beings so far removed from what I’m doing. From a general standpoint that looks really shallow and narcissistic. From the intense and focused academic’s, not so much. It’s just shocking to think that there are normal people “out there” living normal lives, with no intent to do anything more than file papers or make burgers or pump gas. It’s not as though those are bad ambitions, but for me, here, it’s such a driven atmosphere of incessant motion. It’s hard to picture the guy who’s bored on his couch watching some baseball with a beer. It’s tough to imagine the girl who’s going to college for something ridiculous like, oh, I don’t know, middle school math education or similar nonsense. It’s strenuous to think of the gal who likes to go tanning and get manicures and take her boyfriend shopping with her so she can talk to him in a cutesy voice. I just can’t picture someone who has That Much Time to Waste.

But maybe, like I said, it’s because it’s so far removed from here. Maybe it’s all just a matter of perspective. Perhaps that same baseball fan or the orange girl decked in pink with too much eyeliner would have trouble envisioning an opera major with a jam-packed schedule and insomnia.

Apple cinnamon morning

I just got done recalling the events of yesterday evening to my roommate. I made sure to tell her before I left about my own feelings on partying. I won’t go into them now but you’ll probably be able to tell as this post continues.

It was beautiful, flying on impulse to get there. An Eastman party? You may be thinking.

Yeah, well, it was pretty rad, in many regards. Ke$ha Night was an evening to remember, and I’ll be one of the three who will actually remember all of it.

We got in a car, and I had to sprawl across the laps of three guys. Pretty cool, as I re-met a Sabres fan who was actually straight (surprise!). They’d all been pregaming but the driver, so the ride there was highly entertaining. It’s so much easier to just say what you’re thinking when you’re around tipsy people: they really don’t care if you end up sounding stupid.

We were supposed to pay three dollars upon arrival, and unbutton our pants “So you don’t get raped.” Okay, so comforting. It was really beer money, though, so I guess charging made sense if the host was the one willing to toss away X amount of money on booze for everyone. I was wearing leggings, so obviously I didn’t have anywhere to keep my money. As it was, my ID was tucked safely in my boot and my phone was in my hoodie pocket. I asked John to pay for me… I’d say I’ll pay him back but I think I may see if he recalls it first. (That’s a lie, I’ll probably slip him three bucks over dinner later, if he’s functioning enough to eat.)

Booooze.

Anyway. We met some sophomores in there, and I pretty much stuck close to them because one wasn’t drinking and I knew them. In a giant mob of random strangers, they understood and I tagged along with them. Ke$ha wasn’t even playing upstairs: they had four of her songs. Regardless, a dance party was beginning to stir up so enough people migrated up to either ignore or venture over to the porn playing on the TV in the upstairs corner, and eventually dance. Most of the kids I knew were dancing.

I kind of felt awkward without a cup in my hand, and if there had been pop downstairs I would’ve tried to snag some of that. As it was, kids kept asking me if I’d gotten anything to drink, and when I nodded and smiled vapidly they believed me… cool.

Half an hour (roughly) into the goings-on the cops showed up. This sounds alarming, but to the sober girl in the midst of raging drunkenness, it’s almost a level-headed situation. Walk out, walk away, the cop has better things to do than arrest you.

And that’s exactly how it played out. The DD picked a bunch of us up but this time the car was filled to double recommended capacity, so we walked after we reached a certain street. After reaching the living center we sat outside for quite a while making sure people were getting back, talking, and laughing at John the diva, who decided to have his own personal dance party with GaGa on his phone. Who knew alcohol brought out the sass in tenors?

At around a few of us went in. In retrospect, it was a good night to be sober, because A.) no one could tell anyway and B.) it’s easiest to feel comfortable in any situation when I’m completely in control of the situation. I feel like I’m not stupid enough to get trashed in front of people I barely know. I mostly just was along for the experience and the laughs. Call me what you want, but I like to think of it as responsible. I’m getting out and enjoying different elements of college as well, but I’m doing it in a way that won’t put me in danger or damage my recollection of things that happened.

And now, because of that, I can sit here this morning and put it all into words. I can sit and enjoy the fall chill seeping through the window and the simple pleasure of wearing warm penguin socks. I can drink my apple cinnamon tea with no headache and no sour, gross slime slicing through my system. I’m not saying I’m above getting drunk, or anything (not at all). I just think that for me, it was safer and more entertaining to stay aware of everything. And to be honest, even sober it was pretty fun.

So that’s my story. My tea’s getting cold.

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."

To ghost along the border of spiritualism: my first visit to Lily Dale

Get ready for one long, in-depth analysis


So my visit to the mediums of Lily Dale was a learning experience, to say the least. I’m a lot calmer about the whole idea now, knowing what can be expected there.

I learned a LOT. It helped that, the entire time, I was thinking of it sort of like a field trip, like a class. Milk all you can from it and remember it, that sort of thing.

I’d done some research before leaving, so I knew that spiritualism was a religion. Upon arriving I had so many questions: they just weren’t written down. I legitimately had no idea what to be prepared for.

It turns out we were to wait in line for two hours before being admitted to Circles. I met Sarah’s grandparents: her grandmother is a medium, and apparently so was her great-grandmother. I also met two ladies staying with Sarah’s grandma; one was from Britain and the other from Rochester. Apparently they frequent Lily Dale as visitors over the summer.

My first impression of Lily Dale as a place was that it’s beautiful. Quaint little houses, brilliant greens of the trees. A kind of innate stillness and picturesque quality underscored by an air of mystery, of presence. It was just really pretty.

While waiting, I asked questions. At first it was tough to get going because hey, I’m not a journalist– I don’t really have an excuse to pry, and as silly as it may sound, I didn’t want to offend anyone. They take spirits and things very seriously there. But I am an obsessed academic and eventually found a manner in which to ask, without sounding like a putzkie.

Here’s a brief summary of some facts I garnered from a few who know a great deal about the facets of spiritualism. Bear in mind they’re just knowledge I’ve gathered, I don’t necessarily put stock in all of them. More on what I do put stock in will come later.

– Firstly, spiritualism is: a religion, a philosophy, and a science.
– Spiritualists worship one deity, one creator God, but acknowledge the existence of many spirits, floating around in the ether.
– Spiritualists believe that, just as in life, spirits can change for good or for bad on the other side as well.
– Ouija boards are a NO-NO: they let whatever’s chillin’ over there come visit, with no boundaries to keep the creepers back.
– According to spiritualists, we each have a group, a “band,” of spirit guides that accompany us as we grow. They can change depending on how we change or how we come to need them, but they are there to protect us from things like anxiety, imbalance, health problems, and, of course, evil.

And naturally there are other things, too, but those are the most prominent tidbits of insight I scrounged up.

Now for details on my own ten minutes with a medium:

We got into Circles the first round (there was a massive line). There were at least twenty mediums set up on the floor of the auditorium. Seating varied: some had four chairs around them, some five, and others six. We were taken to a medium named Bonnie White, an older lady with pale hair and grey eyes, dressed in black. She handed me a watch and said, say when it’s been seven minutes, then you get three minutes to ask questions. So I was the timer.

This is Bonnie White, the medium we met


She started with a prayer. We held hands and she asked the great spirit to bring a white light down around us, to protect us and bring us only good spirits.

I will say this, when I first entered and sat down I felt a great deal of energy, not my own. Around me, a warmth touching my skin, the right side of my neck. It was pleasant, not unnerving or weird. Just different. But it was something.

It turned cooler as the sitting went on.

She started with Sandy, Sarah’s mom. Spent a few seconds touching her hands, “connecting with her individually.” Then Ms. White proceeded to tell Sandy things that a stranger wouldn’t know.

It was hit and miss, with Sandy and with Sarah. She did “sense” that they were mother and daughter. She hit upon Sarah’s boundless energy and constant activity, as well as her interest in athletics and music. It seemed as though she faltered a bit, though: if she stumbled upon something correct, she would blather about it for a little before continuing on: to fill the time, is my guess.

When it was my turn, Sarah took the clock. Apparently she’s better at reading cell phones than hand-clocks, because she gave me twelve minutes instead of ten (love that girl).

It was weird, to say the least. Maybe I just use weird as a filler word because I don’t know what should really go there to describe it.

I was skeptical, but then I’m always skeptical. I tried to keep an open mind, though, for the sake of… I don’t know. For the sake of academia.

She didn’t connect me with anyone from the other side, though. I guess no grandfathers felt like chatting with me (don’t know how I feel about that). Potter must not have wanted to, either, but if she’s in spirit form she’d be bounding off and eating something instead of waiting for me to hold hands with some bad psychic.

Instead Ms. White told me I was artistic. This is when Sandy, Sarah, and I exchanged glances because she told me I had a “good” singing voice, but art and drawing and fashion design were where I was really suited. Fact: I only ever finger paint. I suck at drawing. Blatantly pathetic.

Oh, and I’m going to the Eastman School in a week, folks. I think they accept at most ten sopranos per freshman class?

Man, I hope they have an art program so I can switch my major (HA).

No, you do not 'bong' on this instrument... merde, some people.

She asked me if I played a stringed instrument (no way, Jose), then said she saw a piano-like thing, and what did I play? I told her the xylophone, and she replied, and I quote “Don’t you bong on those?”

Oh, geez. If I wasn’t so curious I would’ve put my head in my hands, a mercy, please gesture before she could say anything similarly silly.

Then, a little later, she spoke directly to me. Earlier, when speaking to Sarah and her mother, and at the start of my reading, she was kind of speaking in show to the group. Now she was entirely focused on me. She began to get agitated. Grey eyes under bristling pale brows tried to connect with mine, fervently almost.

And this is as close as I can remember, it could be a little out of order but this is the gist:

“You’re very sensitive, I’m getting an image of a heart. You know what people are thinking, you’re very intuitive. This is hard for you. You know what people think and you’re right, but it’s hard to know it.

You’re very accurate, perceptive. You arrive at conclusions before everyone else, you’re quite quick. It’s sometimes hard, awkward really, for you to be there, but they’ll catch up. You get there differently, but you’re right. You are also on– what do you call it? Like, on the right note, you’re good at that. In tune. You know when you’re in tune or not.

But… you’re sad– anxious. There’s a spirit guide around you who just wants to calm you down. Do you have a lot of stress, relating to making choices? It’s difficult for you to know you’re path. Did you have a lot of stress recently about college?

But you can follow your intuition. You’re right when you do. When you see a light around a decision, take it, you know it’s right.”

And then she became the most lively she’d been:

“I– I just get this sense– I just really want to comfort you. Don’t be sad, okay? No one wants you to be sad. It will all work out. Your life is just beginning now. It will be an entire change for you, but it’s just starting. Just don’t be sad. You’ll grow from it.”

Later as she said the closing prayer it was as if she was trying to talk straight to me. “Let us be comforted and feel safe and grow and learn from new beginnings, wherever they may be and wherever they may take us.”

That was the weird part for me, when she started talking about being sad. I never mention that to anyone. Ever. She told me that the spirits “wanted me to” march forward with my head up. You know, be confident and all that jazz. She made a cringing motion when she tried to illustrate what they didn’t want me to do. They didn’t want me to enter this new chapter of my life weak and scared. They want me to go kick ass, apparently.

In Sarah, her mother, and her grandmother’s opinions, this lady sucked. I’m not saying she was legit, because I gathered she made stuff up to fill time. I’m not a fool.

But the part about being sad? It’s cute, I guess, that there are floaty guys that want me to not be sad. No one else would know that. In fact I try my damnedest so no one does.

When I got home, I rehashed it all with my mother and sister. My mother’s not “into” it, per se, but she’s aware of the fact that we’re not without ectoplasmic friends.

My mother has had contact with a “spirit world” before, and I’ve talked to people who have had legitimate touches with the other side. In the case of my mom, she didn’t ask for it, didn’t want it. “I never liked spooks.”

But she’s had vivid dreams, in which dead relatives have been with her, spoken to her. She doesn’t normally dream at all. Yet, she’s done a walk-through of her grandparents’ home in her sleep, where she saw things she wouldn’t have drummed up in her subconscious by herself (her memory is awful). She’s ridden in the car with her uncle on the night he died, from her sleep. And she’s had a conversation with a member of my father’s family that she’d never met: when she woke and described her, it was exact.

She’s been to see a medium twice in her life. She said the first time was out of spite, when she was in college. Her father died in an accident when she was in her early teens, and this was a personal visit for her. She was angry with him, and with the medium, for reasons I won’t discuss.

The second time, she said the best part was the dog the lady owned.

Schnauzer (not necessarily the type of dog the medium owned)

She did tell me, very seriously, that psychics and whatever were for entertainment purposes only. And I get that completely, because if you don’t know who you are or where you are in life, it’s highly possible to be duped and tricked. Personally I know that if I spent time trying to puzzle out the mysteries of the ether, I’d go stark-raving. But I’d like to have a professional reading done, for the hell of it. Just because I’m curious. I feel that I’m like my mother: I’d be able to go and keep a level, cool, head. Without putting my faith where it shouldn’t go.

I’m not buying into spiritualist rituals and all of their theories. But I’m a firm believer that there are things out there– call them what you will– and that they come in shades of good and bad. Where some would touch their relatives or friends with love, others would seek to harm. Whether we become these things after death isn’t up to me to figure out. I’ll gladly pass that decision on.

In addition, I know there are, because I’ve felt them. This is what I asked Sarah’s mom, a practicing spiritualist, about. I know when I was younger, and even recently, I’d be praying alone, just trying to have a conversation with God, and feel a little niggling worry, an unease. A lurking, creeping fear. I used to feel it a lot when I was eleven, twelve. I would get scared and start praying hard. Just curl up in my bed, jostled from my thoughts, praying like the dickens for it to go away, for God to protect me.

Sarah’s mom’s take on what to do was similar to my actions. She acknowledged that there were spirits who might try to bust in while I’m praying; she said the spiritualist action would be to say “God bless you, but leave me alone in peace,” and to always ask for “the best and the highest” spirit when praying. And something about asking for a white light.

See, I always just start going when praying, you know? Just, “Hey, so God:” and go from there. But it’s interesting to think that when I’m talking to him, there are eavesdroppers… some benign and some not-so. At least I can tell them to hit the road because it’s a private convo and know I’m not being a neurotic paranoid.

Sarah’s mom also told me something else. Let me just say right now that at no point was she ever trying to sell me her religion. She was just informing me about it, which was cool, because I wanted to know.

The board outside a spiritualist church

She told me that spiritualism wasn’t a mainline religion and that she was raised with a Lutheran background so she’d have something steady, then made her own choice to become a spiritualist when she was old enough to learn about it on her own. A remarkable statement I recall, though, was: “At the end of the day, I don’t think it matters necessarily what we call the one we worship, because it’s probably the same guy anyway. Allah, God, the great spirit, the Creator– probably all the same. It’s what you do in this life that matters– whether you use your life for good or for evil, what you do with it. How you love.”

It reminded me a little of Brendan, and even of my own conclusions relating to religion and love. Just love with all you have and learn everything you can. Keep an open mind and an accepting heart and you’ll be okay.

And so yeah. I’ll wrap this summary up with what my mother told me after I got back home and recounted to her the events of the evening.

“You’ve been raised with a strong faith. You have a strong faith. Don’t waste your brilliant* brain cells trying to figure out things about spooks. Know that there’s good and bad in this world, around us all the time, and that there’s God. The rest you can come up with yourself, but always remember those basics. And now I’m going to smoke and go to bed.”

*Not saying I’m brilliant here. Just quoting my mother, who is probably obligated by law or something to say that.

Thoughts while sipping the first mugfull

 

I had a dream that I was sad. That I was left behind. That I was about to die.

The truth is, I am all of these things, however much I press it back into my subconscious during waking hours.

I literally just dragged myself out of bed and have a sip (okay, gulp) and a half of caffeine in my system. I’m still under the last haze of dreaming. But as my mind starts its slow shift back to the waking world, I begin to realize that I’ve stopped analyzing myself lately. Usually I’ll use my blog and journal-like writing to accomplish that. But I haven’t been doing it. I’ve been working, and when I’m not, I’m practicing. (Or swimming… or anything else in a countless realm of things that do not include blogging.)

So I haven’t spent much time reflecting on my own personal balance (yes, Libra reference there). It screws with my anxiety levels when I’m not fully aware of my own mind and emotions.

But now (thanks, dreamland) I know: I’m sad. I’m worried about being forgotten and discarded. And I’m alarmed by the reality that I’m getting older– and even that doesn’t matter because, really, any second could be my last.

My older blog talked a great deal about death. I discussed in great detail how I felt about life and trying to exist and make the most of it. Circumstances that had nothing to do with me ended up having the greatest effect on my views regarding death. I still believe that living all-out is the way to be… the way to go.

But now that I spend most of my time employed, at a job that’s pretty great if you need a job, but not where I want to be for the rest of my life, I have been thinking. What about people that have sucky jobs, that pay like crap? How do they stay happy? Sacrifice time with their friends and family in order to make more?

I figure now that you have to pay for time. It costs money to take your friends out to eat; it costs money to go shopping with your mother; it costs money to go to college. Does it equal out: the happiness versus the time lost to make the happiness possible?

I don’t know yet. I imagine when my cup(s) of coffee has(have) been emptied I’ll say the pleasant times are worth giving up so many hours in order to provide them. This is yet another concrete reason why I know I need to end up with a job I love. A job I live and breathe.

But speaking of work, I have to stop doing this and start getting ready. So, thank you for choosing Tim Horton’s, and have a great day.

Candy coated

This picture makes me almost as happy as the half butter pecan/half cookie dough candy coated medium cone I had earlier this evening at La Via :) I mean... LOOK AT IT!

Growing apart from the people you love is hard.

I read that on a blog tonight. I actually have been on a little adventure online: first from Brendan’s blog, then to two others. All in all I have thought a great deal about what those two talented writers had to say. The following conclusions are mine, but I am thinking. Wheels and clogs are turning. You know how it is. But yeah. Anyway.

Firstly, I need to come to terms with the fact that I Am Leaving. I am going away. It feels like I’m just moving on naturally but the truth is, I am starting a completely new chapter in my life. I need to face facts: my family will be, too. It’s not going to be “normal” anymore. Coming home will be a special occasion. Making plans with me will be one of the last things on my family’s collective mind; they have their own lives to lead. And I should let them. There’s no point in getting upset because they’re already starting to do things without me while I’m working. No point in being sad when they discuss what they’ll be doing or the fun they had. None whatsoever.

Secondly: it’s friend-losing time. Tonight I said goodbye to Brendan for what was probably the last time. I might see him again in two Saturdays, I think. But aside from that it’ll be pure chance if I meet up with him again. Until… until, I don’t know when. Well shit.

Thirdly. That dependent and homebody little piece of myself, that loves to laze around in the sun with a book and chocolately coffee? She’s got to go. At least until next summer. I can’t have her screwing up my intense schedule and workload that will be college or the pre-college theory studies I still have to slog through. And when she leaves, she can take the desperate, bored, miserable chunk of me that seems to weigh me down with every mistake I’ve ever made. If the blog-surfing tonight taught me nothing else, I’ve learned, been reassured, really, that the most horrifying circumstances can be forgiven.

I’m not alone in royally screwing myself up. I’m not alone in obsessing, or trying to distance myself from people so they don’t reject me for the self that I am. I’m not alone in trying to maintain a relationship with a god that no one else seems to openly talk about or really, seriously depend on and love.

You know, after a while, it’s hard to be positive if the tenuous strains of faith you had are still there. Reading about other struggles with faith (and the growth of such relationships with God) gives me a little boost. It’s nice to know others share similar plights, just as it’s nice to know that they pulled through just fine.

Anyway; that’s all I have for tonight. I should have been sleeping two hours ago, but… yeah, I went out for ice cream and it was awesome. Ice cream is another reassurance. It’s says, “No matter how crappy you might feel, I am delicious and pleasantly unhealthy. But I do have dairy (so look on the bright side), and sprinkles up the wazoo (oh yeah baby). Oh no oh no, I’m melting… better hurry up because whatever your problems are, I will be here. Until I’ve been completely devoured and made the day infinitely more wonderful for you.”

Simple peace

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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