Dear Boy I Used to Love,

I think you’re an idiot. And I think you gave up too soon.

You told me once you wanted to work hard. I took that to mean you wanted to work hard no matter what it cost you, because you were determined to make something out of the bullshit life handed you. I saw that as a perseverance to be respected, a drive that would prove to the world how special you were, and how extraordinary.

Well, I helped get you a job, and you fucking blew it. I put in a good word for you and you decided that it wasn’t for you. Instead of sticking it out for the summer, for a measly twelve (or less?) weeks, you quit. You left your colleagues with a reminder of the kind of dumb shit they hate to work with– someone with a piss-poor, know-it-all attitude and a preconceived notion that life owes you.

Allow me to clue you in: life doesn’t owe you a goddamn thing. And you can look down your nose at me in jaunty confidence and treat me to a patented, affronted reverse-snobbery; you can ask me how the hell I would know, haven’t I been handed everything I could ever want?

I’ll tell you something, and it’s up to you whether you want to pay attention. The only reason I grew up with a childhood so different from your own, is because my mother worked as hard as she possibly could at a job she was mentally overqualified for, for nearly thirty years. My mother’s work ethic and drive to give my sister and I a childhood so far removed from her own, are the sole reasons I didn’t grow up with your childhood.

Where do you think she got her drive? Possibly her own determined mother who worked day and night to be the only provider for her three children. Perhaps seeing her father and uncle kill themselves with the bottle had something to do with it. Maybe it was the fact that she realized, almost too late, that she might not fulfill her own potential as a human being. She didn’t go to college for long. She realized that she needed money and she loved my father so they began a life together– but they earned everything they now own from the ground up. Her life wasn’t fucking peaches, either, but she didn’t whine or complain that the work was too hard or that she deserved better than what was handed to her. She didn’t blame others for her mistakes.

She passed those traits on to me. I don’t blame you for hating me. I don’t blame you for giving up on our friendship without so much as a struggle, even though I was hurting and I needed you. Even though it looked like I hated you, I was absolutely miserable without you and you didn’t even bother to look away from your empty-headed, real-college friends to notice. By the time you figured it out, it was too late and my heart had broken and spilled out and healed over. And you didn’t so much as turn your head, except to complain to other people that I was “mean.”

I’d thought we’d worked toward becoming friends again, but you don’t give a shit. You don’t have the balls to tell me so, even now, and truthfully I don’t care enough to make it clear to you. Then again, maybe I’m hoping in some deep recess of my heart that you’ll grow up and we can share some (not all) of the bond we once shared. I do think that once (if) you pull your head out of your ass and realize you’re going to be twenty, that you might come to remember that I apologized. I apologized, and after that I didn’t know how to behave because how could things go back to normal? You seemed to have thought they could in a heartbeat. But I couldn’t do that. I didn’t know how.

Then you were angry and the cycle of misunderstanding started again. I was mad too, don’t get me wrong. I was furious. Even now, you seem not to give a shit that you’ve disappointed many of those who care about you, including my family and, well, me. Like it or not, I do still want the best for you, even if I don’t really like you as a person anymore. And if that didn’t make any sense to you, read it again.

I know now that you think I’m some pretentious diva who lords her expensive school and fancy ideas over everyone (don’t worry that I’m paying for the expensive school out of my own pocket and that I work constantly). Because I’m quiet, I’m stuck up, and I don’t tend to drink like a sloppy whore so I’m not any fun. I don’t dress to cover only my tits and ass so obviously I don’t fit in with the girls you prefer now, anyway. Yes, I’m a bitch, and I’ll stay that way in your mind until (if) you decide to grow up and maybe then you’ll realize: I would have given you everything.

But it’s okay. You’ll continue to earn mediocre grades and a respectable beer gut at some state school where it doesn’t matter how well you actually do, because unless you have something special that sets you apart, you’re going to settle for a mediocre job somewhere that you loathe. You’ll take your enjoyment on the weekends with your slutty girl friends who only want in your pants because they believe you’re the best they’ll ever get. Not because they want what’s best for you as a person or as a lover, not because they give a shit about your dreams or your hopes or your fears.

It’s okay.

It’s even more okay because I’m thinking about this after seeing your pictures on facebook… Don’t you realize potential future employers see those things? How could you be so stupid? I know for a fact some of your past employers have gone back and looked to see what kind of a dumb ass they were mistaken enough to hire, so they won’t do it again. I hope you don’t have really high goals for future jobs. Then again, if you don’t like the work, you can just quit, right? That sort of lack of discipline is acceptable, isn’t it?

I think you talk big and you never follow through. I think you had all of these big plans and loved to tell people about them, and then you realized it would take blood, sweat and tears (God forbid you don’t have “fun” all the time) in order to achieve those goals. So you quit. You gave up too soon on those dreams, and on working hard. And on me.

But, Dear Boy I Used to Love,

I’ve long since given up on you.

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Standing in the sunlight, laughing

Why is it always so bittersweet to remember things? I can’t watch old home videos without being miserable, because I’m happy there and I’m happy remembering… but I’m sad thinking that time’s passed. My grandpa’s not here anymore, but he’s there, and laughing; my cousins are all living with their parents in those movies, not off in different cities, some, different states, living their own lives… not that that’s a bad thing. My parents are younger, healthier.

As for me? In those old movies, I have big choices to make, still. I can save the hard decisions and the bad decisions for another day, because in those movies I’m content to live in my small bubble: one that consists of bickering and playing with my baby sister and romps in the backyard with my favorite yellow dog. It’s a perfect thirty minutes of childhood, preserved for anyone who wants to watch.

That’s why it hurts to remember. I can sit here and remember happiness felt this past summertime and just want to cry. Sunlight and green things, and iced coffee with lots of chocolate and extra ice; movies and pool nights, the Happening and farm work and guide rail. I had decisions to make, then, too– but they were a little more complicated than an eight-year-old me sitting on the floor unwrapping birthday presents in the living room.

I wonder, if I had decided to press the issue with him, if I’d be this miserable now. If I’d chosen potential over years of friendship… If I had said, “I think I’m in love with you,” when I thought I did, would we still be fighting? And, fighting over what, exactly– that I lost my temper? that I was sad and tired and stressed? that I was stretched thin to brittle, and closed to shattering?

Is that what this is about? That I was rude? That I’m a terrible friend? I thought you knew me better than that.

And what about all of that “I hate it when my friends change themselves” crap I heard for almost a year? What happens when you change? What then? Do I get to sit here and hate it, like you did? Or am I expected to just roll with it and accept that when I need you, you can’t be there for me like I need you to be, because you’re changing– into someone who has friends who are less serious than I am, more fun, with less to do and less at stake… I’m sorry I’m not spontaneous and fun anymore. I have to focus. I have to. I’m sorry.

This is why it hurts to remember. It’s one thing to remember the man you knew in the summertime, but in the cold winter daylight when things aren’t as perfect, you have to face the boy he decided he was, and any frost that comes along.

Reflections on stars and the moon

I’ll preface this by saying, I don’t really know why I’ve thought about these things lately. If I had to hazard a guess, I’d probably figure that it’s part of some larger circle that needs to return and resolve. But anyway.

At some point within the past three years, I’ve realized that the boy I gave most of my innocence to wasn’t the person I thought he was. He never pretended to be someone else: no, he didn’t pretend. But I did. I saw the hurt and the sadness in him and I wanted to fix it. I saw the scars she had inflicted and the wounds he didn’t want to admit his parents had left him with. I saw a sharp mind and an experienced, worldly soul and I wanted to help him grow. I wanted him to be the man I’d always read about: the one who swoops in to sweep the strong, independent, outspoken and vibrant woman off of her feet.

Well, here I am, nearly four years older and a hell of a lot stronger. And more independent, and hopefully more vibrant; although I can’t comment for sure on the outspoken because I feel like I do an awful lot of listening these days. But I’m smarter, and I suppose that lately it’s struck me just how much stronger.

He was eighteen then; I was fifteen. I was precocious, sure, with quite a bit of educated reading under my belt and a pressure to be better, to learn about the world.
He had been cheated on and, I guess, manipulated. His parents were divorced and I’m sure he’d seen a little too much of the world.

Those aren’t excuses, for him or for me. I guess I could fall back on my old quantification: I never said I loved him; I never gave him everything; I never expected too much, especially toward the end.

But that’s not entirely right. I never said I loved him but I allowed him to manipulate me, to make me think I was less than I am. I allowed him to tell me things about myself that weren’t true. I let him steer me away from my family and my friends simply because he wasn’t that close to his and I wanted to be with him. I gave him my trust. I gave him my loyalty. I gave him my time, my being, little parts of my heart that I’m proud to say I reclaimed and then some.

Long story short, I think it’s really interesting to see how capable I really am of looking back on the only “real” relationship I’ve ever had to see the issues I’d viewed as such complexities then become clear as day, now.

Now I sit here in my room in the dorm building of a school that is leagues and leagues above and beyond what I’d even dreamed of attending four years ago. I’m going to be in debt for the rest of my life, but I charged headfirst into that with the full intention of making the most of myself in the time I’ve been given here. I’m doing something I love, and am going to continue to. I am capable of doing almost anything.

And I all I can think of right now is how much has changed, how much I’ve learned in a few short years. How much I’ve grown. How much my life could have been like the song “Stars and the Moon” from “Songs for a New World.”

And it never changed
And it never grew
And I never dreamed
And I woke one day
And I looked around
And I thought, “My God…
I’ll never have the moon.”

But I’m not. That’s not me, but it could have been. But I don’t think I need someone who can give me the moon, as romantic as that might seem. I’ve grown up surrounded by strong women who take the moon for themselves, and I intend to be one of them. I’ll have the stars and the moon for myself.

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.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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 (:

Little rant about Christianity today

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

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

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

Give me a fucking break.

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

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

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

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

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

Asking for beautiful

Maybe this kind of vulnerable post should better be left to my spontaneous journal, but I don’t feel like writing by hand. Yet again laziness fuels me to take an alternative route. Oh well.

I can’t write, and yet I’m making myself. It’s just been kind of a one eighty from earlier. Lucy hasn’t been back in all that time. I took a quick nap and gave myself a weird headache, I daydreamed. I read some stories online because my daydreams just aren’t good enough lately. Or maybe they’re good enough, they’re just NOT enough. I don’t know, but I feel a little sick. I just sat there wishing for something more than what I have.

A better body, a more charming personality? A boyfriend? They all crossed my mind. But I don’t know if that really is what I want. It’s absolutely completely stupid because I know who I am, for the most part, and I like her. She’s fine, she’s okay. Occasionally creative and brilliant and lovely.

And I know– I know I’m going to have to wait until probably after college before any of that romance business gets to me. The kind that’s closer to being real. I could probably sleep with a few people between now and then, but the likelihood of it meaning anything is highly unlikely. I’ve had enough of that shit. I don’t want just the physical. It’s a little unpleasant, actually, and that’s probably why I feel ill.

I want the simple, and the romantic. The beautiful and the elegant and the lovely, without the filthied meaninglessness the world today tends to put on it. I know it can all be ugly. I’ve experienced that firsthand.

I’ve decided that I don’t want any of it if I cannot have the beautiful.

“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.

Perfection (a reflection)

To be honest, I never usually have so many ideas I can articulate in one day. Occasionally they’ll hit me, quickly and suddenly, and I’ll have to get them down somewhere, somehow immediately or lose them forever. Others drift as remnants, half-formed and vague, until later. Or until never.

But today is just a good day for thinking and writing, I guess. It’s also strange that I’m blogging now because generally by 11:06 pm on any given evening (weekends excepted) I am either sleeping or wishing to God I was sleeping, so hey. This is cool.*

But back to my stream of consciousness at the moment, why don’t we?

I think a lot about perfection.

We all try to be perfect. We all want the 100 on our theory homework or the A in ed psych. Obviously we all want to perfect our skills, especially at Eastman (like, DUH, hello). And there are other ways in which people strive to perfect themselves: religiously/spiritually, physically, emotionally. Still others strive to behave perfectly or respond perfectly in social situations, perfecting their image.

I have tried to perfect myself in all of these ways. Possibly more, I guess. But over the course of the past few years, and especially here, I have put myself at a level with other, more “normal” human beings– and by that, I mean the kids who don’t try as hard, or the kids who aren’t at an advantage socioeconomically, or even the adult working class. I think working at Tim Horton’s all summer and this winter break reinforced my relationship and tie to the everyday average person. And while I refuse to lower my sights or adjust my previously-set goals, it’s humbling and enlightening at the same time to have a glimpse into the real world. It was also a learning experience– an incredibly motivating and meaningful one.

I guess it gave me a glimpse into a life not filled so much with lofty aspirations of a perfect fellowship with Christ and the church, or a toned and physically disciplined body, or straight As.

I mean I’m not going to alter my own goals– I have a shady outline of what I’m here to do, and I plan on filling it in. But there are manners that some adopt that make having goals seem like something pretentious and disgusting. Like, “I’ve got these plans and nothing is going to get in my way.”

It sounds okay, but in my opinion there need to be some priorities. Right? Like, family? Friends? Relationships with people, meaningful interactions with others, your teachers, your peers? What about living life? I don’t mean getting drunk (although hey, sometimes it’s a perk) but enjoying yourself and taking time to reflect on the happiness in your life. Little things, like having a ridiculous discussion with my roommate about Barbie and Ken, or talking to my grandmother about Criminal Minds, or savoring Starbucks because I don’t have it at home– or even staring into the sun and feeling it touch your face because it’s the middle of winter– those things are valuable to me. They are, in a way, much much MUCH more important than behaviors I’ve noticed, such as…

Biblical facebook statuses: I mean I guess people quote meaningful song lyrics and that’s similar, but please, do you really need to shove your faith in everyone’s face? I mean, I can say I love Jesus because, well, I do. But in my opinion and experience, it’s better to show your love for him through your actions. It’s really not how often you talk about your prayers or your youth group or “how you can spread the Woooord.” How about, you just go show it? Loving people without judgment is going to have more of an effect than a club at college where all you do is chat about how to add more people to your club. It feels exclusive. And it feels like bragging, and an exaggerated attempt to make oneself into someone others should seek out or respect.

Physical perfection: I understand that gyms are awesome. I have a membership. But those that get carried away, and do a freakout if they miss half a warmup or a stretch or something stupid? That’s ridiculous. The world is not going to end if you miss Pilates, dude.

Academics are overrated. Isn’t it enough that we kill ourselves to achieve proficiency at our art? The added pressure of grades just screams “give me migraines.” Some overwork themselves to the point where learning the material is secondary and the letter grade is most important. Isn’t the acquisition of knowledge the goal? Not the skill with which one takes tests.

Or, maybe I’m just overthinking this, and it’s the attitude with which one seeks perfection that is the really irksome thing. Maybe I just place too much value on not being an obsessive lunatic. Maybe I have a thing against acting like an overeager or scarily-driven know it all. Hopefully, though, I’m capable of pursuing my own goals with a passion for life and an enthusiasm that’s contagious and considerate, not obnoxious.

But that’s all I know for tonight.

Also, Lucy and I were just having a discussion while I wrote this… for her benefit I’m supposed to mention that Zulu thatchers were hired to thatch the roofs of all the gift shops in Disney World so that they would look legit.

 

* I mean, undoubtably this also has something to do with the fact that, YES I’M GOING HOME TOMORROW.

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.

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

Old

It’s really weird, isn’t it, to think that in fifty or sixty years, if I make it that far, my world will be so unfathomably different than it is right now.

I am sitting on my bed, in my dorm. A freshman in college with polka-dotted sheets and pink and orange, vibrant decor. A book on one side of me, my computer and phone on the other. So new to the world of real things. So new to living on her own, as her own.

In sixty years, where will I be? A stout little grandmother making my life with love and horses and big scary dogs in Wyoming or Montana? With a big, open house and plenty of kids around. And space to run and ride and work and learn.

Or will I be in the city somewhere, teaching master classes? Speaking and reading and developing new ways to think of music and education. Probably alone since that work is intense. I might have a decent apartment with plenty of books and a red coffeemaker.

Maybe I’ll be huddled near my sister in some suburb somewhere. A well-to-do, all-is-well, everything’s-the-same neighborhood. I can sit trapped in the house that’s identical to everyone else’s and write away while my sister’s grandchildren play nearby.

I don’t know. But I was just sitting here thinking, in fifty years, will I remember this exact moment? Will I recall that day when I sat and breathed and looked around, wondering if I’d remember? What will I think of my eighteen-year-old self? What would I tell her? What will I know then that is still a mystery to me right now?

What people will I have come across? What other lives that are strangers to me now will have brushed against mine? What lives will my family and I have lived?

Who will I be when I am old?

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.

To the dog I will someday have

Dear puppy,

Although it may seem as though your sole purpose in life is to be scary-looking and protective, I have a few reassurances for you that will hopefully make your job seem less complicated.

Yes, you will be my “guard dog.” However, in addition to looking like a terrifying creature of destruction, sounding like an alarm system on steroids, and physically being capable of preventing any serious harm to, well, me? I will expect you to be house trained. Well-behaved. Pleasant in polite company (that of serial killers, rapists, vandals, etc. excluded. Obviously.) Your vicious appearance will be tempered by a heart of sincerity and devotion. Your strength shall be evened out by a passion for life and sly sense of humor.

But your flaws will be largely overlooked (assuming they don’t involve eating children, or my shoes), since, well, duh: I will love you and take care of you.

We’ll be a team, little dude. You’ll be the T to my Rex, the cream cheese to my bagel. That kind of thing. We’ll grow old together; or, more likely, you’ll grow old and I’ll grow middle-aged. It’ll probably just be me you’ll have to deal with, but who knows? Maybe other interesting characters will wander into the picture. Naturally I’ll trust your judgment when it comes to who I spend my personal time with.

Oh, and okay. So there’s one other little hitch I hope you’ll be okay with. That unconditional love bit? You’ll have to stretch it on your end for me, since I kind of crack the sound barrier with my voice on a daily basis. I can try to get you your own room, depending on what apartment we live in. You might have to just chill in the kitchen while I practice. Sorry bud.

Other than that, I think we will be the freakin’ dream team. A build in bff system. That’s us, you and me, me and you, us. I don’t know what your name will be, I don’t know where we’ll meet, or when, or how. I don’t know how I think I’m going to afford to share my life with you (the last part’s a joke. Kind-of.). But I promise that, when I am at a point where I am financially able, semi-paranoid/lonely, and living on my own, we will meet and our lives will mesh.

And there you have it. Just something to look forward to.

Sincerely waiting,

Kim

Underneath the abject willow

This is the song that is stuck in my head. It’s really great. And it’s also why I can’t get to sleep.

I want to sing in all of these different, intriguing languages but it’s funny how out of nowhere a song in my own native English can pop up on the radar. And be really meaningful.

“Underneath the abject willow” is a Britten tune that speaks of love and rejection and coming back from all of it. Life’s too short to wait and wonder, and although it’s beautiful to pause and enjoy the scenery, without action, without loving someone, it’s all pointless.

It’s just the song to inspire a few pretty thoughts of what a puzzled girl could do if she wanted to. Could do with life, if she focused. “Underneath the abject willow, lover sulk no more; act from thought should quickly follow: what is thinking for?” (Britten 1). So gorgeous. ♥

All that lives may love; why longer bow to loss, with arms across? Strike, and you shall conquer.