Just an eighth note of a moment

I’m sitting at my desk right now in my chaotically organized yet still zen-providing pretty space of a room. My hair’s outrageous and I still haven’t taken my scarf off from outside. My left contact is itching and my neck’s regained probably about half of its normal tension already.

But I’m so, so happy.

Don’t ask me why, because I don’t know if I could tell you without gushing about twelve hundred different probable causes. Nothing spectacular has happened (except I have a GREAT second semester schedule, minus the fact that I don’t have any River Campus classes… which is a bummer). I haven’t lost a ton of weight or anything. My sock has a hole in it (I’ve just discovered).

But I am so happy.

Maybe it’s the sunshine. Maybe it’s the sparkling white curtain of snow I walk out in at 830 every morning. Maybe it’s the morning time I currently enjoy; maybe it’s the music. Maybe it’s that I’m finally reconnecting with the self I lost in the shuffle of a new time.

I don’t know. But I’m happy.

Maybe it's because I've been fingerpainting... or maybe the fingerpainting is a result of the happy.

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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.

ESM! ESM!

So here’s what’s up with college. Specifically, Eastman.

IT. IS. AMAZING.

It sucks being away from my family. I really miss them. Like, I Really Miss Them.

But GOD. I am at this school, this premier institution with a brilliant faculty and astonishingly friendly students. I know at least half of my class by name, if not name and major. My Big Sib is the greatest most outrageously busy yet successful person I think I may have ever met. Currently I’m enjoying a really excellent balance between rushing around and downtime. I’ve signed up for classes, which begin Monday. I’m going on a tour of Rochester tomorrow with some of the most talented, levelheaded and sociable individuals I have ever had the pleasure to meet, then I’m going to a Redwings game.

And I have only been here almost five days.

It’s unbelievable.

I know learning and classes will keep my occupied. I’m well aware that, at times, I’ll be a completely antisocial hermit with grungy hair and extra black coffee, hoarded in my dorm, locking Lucy out. But I also know that, with the right harmony in place*, a premier experience here will be mine. Not exaggerating here: the most freaking phenomenal time of my life is here. I’ve thought about it and waited and worried and waited some more, anxious and tense and tweaking out.

Waiting’s done. It’s here. And whether I was qualified to be here or not, I’m here now.

I’m going to grab this time with all I’ve got and hold it close, savor it. Then I’ll make it mine like no tomorrow because really, my life is what I make it now. I’m making it successful by being here, making it musical by living here. And making it something I’ll treasure for the rest of my life by pulling every sparkling golden note from each moment I’m here.

The ESM lobby.


*Music pun