Why read the paper for upcoming births, when you can just check Facebook?

I just found out via the informational super-timesuck that is Facebook that my best friend from kindergarten is– wait for it– PREGNANT.

Now, we don’t really talk anymore, unless we run into each other. We were pretty good friends right up through school, although we only hung out a few times. So why do I feel so, so sick right now?

I think it has to stem from a number of things. I’ll make a list. Lists I can do, especially when I’m upset or stressing.

Why I Think I’m Upset Because My Best Friend from Kindergarten is Having a Baby

1. We’re not even twenty-one… she’s older than I am by like a week! Are we old enough to care for living organisms wisely? Is twenty a responsible enough age? I thought this was the age to run around and get shit-faced and make impulse buys and have indiscriminate sex? Most people our age (the ones I know, anyway) can barely take care of themselves. Like, they can’t even wash their hair on their own. And maybe I’m strange for feeling this way, but I know that I can barely take care of the puppy, and the puppy’s not even my puppy, officially. Let alone a baby. A freaking human being thing relying solely on me.

2. I don’t know the dad situation. This requires a sub-list.

a.) None of my business, first of all.

b.) From what I glean from Facebook, they’re together and really happy or something of the sort, which eases my panic slightly

c.) Like I said, none of my business, but she’s known for having gone through many boyfriends. Doesn’t say much for stability… but what the hell, who am I to talk? I won’t have a steady job until August, so I’m leaving that alone

d.) But speaking of jobs, so she’s going to work in town for the rest of her life? What does Baby-daddy do for a living? They’re just going to stay in this itty-bitty town with the same people and the same routine for the rest of their lives? How is anyone okay with that? (Sub-sub list: 1. I should not be so judgy, and I know it. Let the record state that I am not attempting in any way to pass judgment, I’m simply ranting and worried and stream-of-consciousness-ing this shit. 2. My mother was okay with staying in this itty-bitty town with the same people and the same routine, ever since she and my dad got together. She’s worked at the same bank in the same town for nearly thirty years. Then again, she was married for ten years before I came along, so… not sure exactly what that’s proving.)

3. Back to reasons why I’m upset: this smacks of poor planning. Isn’t there something else, at twenty, that one wants to do before settling down with a child? Like, I don’t know, move? Travel? Live? For me, child-rearing refuses to be a pastime that one chooses to engage in when there are a few spare minutes. Maybe it’s just the way I was raised, but from the second a kid is born, they need to be the Top Priority. There should be thought and effort and love poured into that child’s upbringing. I know that if I ever had a child, they would be the center of my world, immediately. With that knowledge in place, I can comfortably say that it will be a long, long time before I am financially stable enough to support anyone other than myself. And when that happens, I’m test-driving the money theory with a giant dog, just to be sure. There’s just no way I’d even think about bringing a child into this world without a safe, stable home, enough money for healthy food, and adequate time to spend with it.

4. That said, I’m starting to think that I might be equally upset that my friend has the freedom to have a child. That sounds crazy, probably. And you know, I never thought I’d want one (I still quaver at the thought a bit). But there came a certain point (I can’t remember if it was earlier this year or last) where it hit me: if I want to make something of myself, and have a career in the profession I am most passionate about… I am going to have to give something up. I fear that might be a real relationship. I fear that I might have to give up marriage, or if we’re being modern, a deeply committed romantic partnership. I fear that means giving up any possibility of children of my own. A successful opera singer (sopranos, particularly) will hit their prime mid-thirties. Guess what that means for me? All of those years before– my twenties, early thirties, when most women meet a man and fall in love and have those traditional, often lovely things– need to be spent working. Practicing. Singing. Otherwise, no payoff. No success. That’s the way it looks to me right now, and although I want the work, and need the stage– I fear I don’t have the freedom, the luxury, to just meet a guy and have a kid with him. I can’t be that irresponsible, or that disloyal to myself and my goals, because honestly? The second I learned of a new life, one I’d be charged with loving, raising, and protecting? All of my goals, all I’ve worked for, would evaporate in favor of that child.

So maybe it’s that I’m too selfish. Maybe I’m too scared. But maybe the reason my stomach sunk and my heart broke a little upon reading that news, about my best friend from kindergarten, is that I can’t. And it’s such a common thing to see or hear about today, with young women who aren’t necessarily in a permanent relationship or supporting themselves. Not that that’s what she’s like, or what she’s going through. I hope that she and her current boyfriend will stay together forever. I hope this baby will be born into a stable, happy, loving home and grow to be someone magnificent.

I hope my list will be sufficient to get me through the rest of the facebook updates I’m sure will come… and the moronic comments that will undoubtably accompany.

[EDIT] because I just can’t leave anything alone: I did a little more creeping into the cybersphere and I honestly think that they’ve got it figured out. I update mostly for my own peace of mind, to resolve the shock a bit for myself. It’s just so strange to know that people I’ve grown up with are going to be raising families of their own. It’s even stranger, and going to be significantly more difficult, I imagine, to reconcile myself with the fact that this is something I will not get to do if things work out for me career-wise. The busiest, most successful people I know fell in love late in life, past the time when they could have had a family. The people I respect the most, that fall into this category, tried marriage and children and sucked at it, divorced and then found the love of their life. So, I guess it’s a predetermined game for me, and I have to deal, and not freak out because other people get to have a traditional life and I can’t. I chose this— because I love it, because it loves me back, and because I can make some kind of a difference by doing it.

And if it makes me sad to read about all of these pregnancies on Facebook, well… I mentioned it’s a timesuck, right? Might as well not even waste the time.

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Half of a confession (one’s enough for tonight, anyway)

My room is a disaster zone. Half-wrapped gifts are strewn everywhere, flashcards half-studied lie piled on my desk and all of my books and notes for every class I’ve taken this semester are piled on my bed, waiting for me to organize them and decide what I can throw out, what I can use to study from, and what I need to bring home for the break.

I have some Christmas music playing, but it doesn’t help the pressure go away. I have cinnamon coffee freshly brewed on my desk, and that does help. But it also serves as a reminder that I have four days left to prove that I can be a smart, dedicated, and productive person. I feel like this semester has pressed me into a corner, and while cowering in that corner, afraid of the work and the knowledge and failure, I’ve forgotten that I really am someone who loves to learn. I absorb new knowledge. I LIKE IT.

I didn’t like anything about this semester except the German language and diction classes, the excitement Dr. Laitz brought to written theory class, and the door Frau Balsam opened for me (helped me open myself?) into the world of German lied. Those things, and my illegal Christmas lights.

They make me happy now, when I force myself to reflect. They’ll make me happy for the next four days, until I can get the hell out of here and prepare myself for the semester to come in the comfort of my own home for a month. I am looking forward to learning the rest of the rep for Lucy’s and my recital, I am looking forward to teaching again… I am looking forward to being a huge cookie monster and going crazy for Christmas. I haven’t been this thrilled to be celebrating this holiday since I was about nine. I’m not kidding, either. I think it has something to do with the fact that I can now get my parents things: real, useful things. And I can spoil my sister like I’ve always wanted to be: with random, frivolous, happy little things that have no value to the rest of the world, but are so fun and precious between the people who give and receive them. (Although, Michelle, if you’re reading this, I didn’t get you a thing…)

Oh, and I can’t stand this– this pointless rambling about stuff that’s not really pointless, no, but it’s not the heart of the matter. None of it’s why I’m writing, none of it has anything to do with the sick feeling I have, all the time. I can’t even blame it on seasonal depression, because there’s no snow (yet).

I can’t (won’t) talk about the one thing, the thing that’s really wrong with me regarding finals week. That’s not for a public blog. But I can talk about the boy thing. And it might seem a little bit stupid, a little girly. And certainly a lot unimportant, considering you’d think there could be one or two other things I could be thinking about, right?

But no. Instead I sit here wishing that, for once in my life, I could meet someone. Maybe it’s this stupid little hope I have of a sleigh ride in a quiet woods, with gentle snowfall and a knitted scarf. Maybe it’s the hazy daydream of laughing with someone, of caring for them enough to find them a thoughtful gift. Maybe it’s the hopeless romantic in me that pleads for an impromptu hockey game on a frozen pond, or a morning of making hot chocolate with Bailey’s and Christmas cookies, or a night curled up together watching tacky traditional holiday movies.

But those things happen in books. Those things happen in movies. And those things happen mostly in my mind. And they happen with someone who’s not a musician, who understands that there is more to life, and who’s typically about four or five years older than I am. Someone who wants all of me, not just the physical aspect. Someone who at least pretends to have a brain located somewhere other than the place where all boys keep theirs.

I’m not saying I want to get married and have babies. In fact, I turn a little green when I think about that. Honestly it’s too early, and I want a Career (yes, with the capital C). But (and this really is pathetic, because there are bigger worries, in reality): I’m lonely. I haven’t dated anyone in over four years. I’d trade all of the kisses since then for someone that respects women, respects what I do, and is a real person.

And that’s enough my emotional weeding for the evening. I have three finals this week and a recording session tomorrow evening (as well as class), so I should probably go and pretend I’m being productive.

This, and who I used to be

“This, and who I used to be, don’t matter much at all to me
To pin you down, to plant your feet, ‘s a far cry from my destiny”

I don’t know why that quote makes me feel better right now, but it does. If I were to guess, I’d probably say it’s because right now, I feel like a speck. I tiny speck floating in time without much meaning, without much worth. In reality, I know that’s altogether true (and yet, not true): but that’s a thought for another time.

There are a number of things I should be doing right now, but I can’t seem to think much past the fact that my Dakota bracelet is, yet again, gone from my wrist and pressing in on my heart. It wouldn’t press so hard if I had just kept track of it, made sure it was there! The empty space on my wrist wouldn’t feel quite so bare if I had paid more attention to it. I should have realized that it was likely to fall off– hadn’t it gone “missing” two days ago, and ended up on top of my sweater sitting in the chair? HOW it had gotten off or WHY my wrist is so small are questions at the very top of my miserable list of things to do tonight. I checked everywhere in my room. Frisked my coat, emptied the scarf drawer, scoured the floor and my bookshelf and under my bed and rug. Rummaged through my bag until I was sure, absolutely sure, it wasn’t there.

I just don’t understand. I had been checking it, on and off, since that moment two days ago when the bottom of my stomach lurched away and I’d noticed it gone. I’d been thrilled when I’d found that purple bracelet again.

Now, it could only be in the practice room where I’d spent my time from seven to eight; or else in the street? on the floor of the dorm lobby? in front of the main desk? I wouldn’t know where to begin searching on this campus: the likelihood of it NOT being trampled or picked up and tossed by cleaning staff is really, really slim.

I asked my mother to mail me another one. If I have to staple it to my damn arm I’ll be keeping this one.

The only upside to this is, I think of Dakota constantly. I remember him how he used to be, and how he is now. I remember how he looked when I saw him with Kenny and Jon on Sunday (so much better than the time before, as always!); I think of him as I sit here now, and I think of him every time I look down to see where my bracelet is supposed to go. I think of him, and I toss out hope with my heart. And look forward to a time when he can cut my bracelet off of my wrist himself.

Short angry paragraph that changes absolutely nothing, and a happy birthday wish

It’s not fair. It’s not fair that someone so full of life and promise should be reduced to lying on a hospital bed generating bedsores and infections with a traumatic brain injury at nineteen. It’s not fair that a mother should have to yearn and hope and pray and grieve for her child all at the same time– isn’t just plain grief enough? Isn’t it horrible and wrenching and downright heartbreaking enough without the hope? Without the constant pull that maybe, maybe someday her baby will be back the way he was? Or even maybe say “Mom, I love you” one more time. It just isn’t right. It isn’t fair.

Every day I think about you and your family, and mentally send the best positivity, strength, peace, and luck your way. Every day. You deserve to get better. You have so much to live for and in order to do that you need to heal. I know that takes time and patience but honestly you’re a strong guy and your family needs you. You’ve come a long way and we all support you. We all love you and miss you so fucking much. I wish I could go visit you with everyone else today. Happy birthday, Dakota.

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.

Here’s a criminal mind… mine

I have discovered why I have been so unhappy lately. Why my senior year of high school made me so miserable. Why there’s just this little spot of rot just above my heart that keeps eating away at me.

It’s because I’ve reached the point in my life where people expect a great deal of me. So it’s not only my own self pushing me, but I have to live with the idea of those I respect the most really counting on me. Counting on me to make the most of myself, to kick ass in college, to do so much with my life. To learn more than how to tie a string of eighth notes together.

In addition to that, I’m facing the stark reality that the dreams and hopes I’ve carried for so long might fall to the wayside. They might never happen. The best intentions could result in the worst circumstances. So many terrible things could happen and with the drop of a hat, my life’s course could change forever, take an angle I’d never considered before.

I’ve always considered myself lucky and blessed to have grown up in the environment I did. Last night I was trying to fall asleep and found myself thinking about Criminal Minds, and writing. I’ve been obsessed with the show lately (lately meaning, a few months on and off), and in my daydreaming (and actually dreaming) hours have found myself picturing scenarios, picturing an alter ego of myself acting and solving crimes. Getting inside the minds of the Seriously Screwed Up and figuring out how they tick.

My interest in psychoanalysis doesn't come from these guys, but the show adds fuel to the plot-generating fire

I realize there are only about eleven real profilers in the world, and don’t worry– I have no intention of switching careers right before Eastman. But I’ve always had a lingering fascination with the why of the human mind. What trigger in their past claimed their energy and turned it to murder? How did their parents’ relationship affect them, how have vital occasions in their life turned them into serial killers?

Mingled with my predilection to write, to tell a story, this appreciation and interest in psychoanalysis has led me to develop some pretty whacked out plotlines. Despite my glee at arriving at such atrociously exciting stories, though, I can’t help but think, in all seriousness, how do people do such horrible things to one another?

I tend to wonder about and picture every possible aspect of others’ lives in my spare time. We could be driving past a suburb and I wonder, who lives in that pretty house, and what are they hiding? What do they enjoy? Do they hate their job? Dog or cat people? I see two Canadians come into Tim Horton’s and I think, why are they traveling? What brings them to Gowanda? Do they come to Timmy Ho’s because it’s familiar or they want coffee or they need directions? Or potentially all three?

It’s a compulsion to be curious, I suppose. And with that compulsion comes certain darker thoughts, especially when I mix it with a healthy dose of serial killer research and my own life.

If someone had gotten into my house at night– which, I’ve discovered, would be pathetically easy– and killed my family, how would that affect the world? If I–or someone near me– snatched up that root beer bottle and smashed it over someone’s head, what would the consequences be? Would they be evadable? If there was a slasher in the backseat of the vehicle I always make sure to lock, how would I escape them? How would they try to kill me, what would their past look like if mapped out, to lead us both to that point?

Then it all circles back to, how do people do this to each other? What was the significant event that pushed that button: kill, hurt, maim, make suffer? How is it that beings who are predisposed to crave love, end up creating ruin? Is it in pursuit of love, of attention? How can it be rectified?

All this from the spinning mind of a soon-to-be music student. Maybe I should stick to eight notes.