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.

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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.

Blogs from home

A series of little bloggettes from my first time back home since college started.

12:17 AM 09 Oct 2010

This is so, so so so strange. It’s like, I’m home! Finally.

But so why do I want to cry? It’s like everything’s the same, and nothing’s the same. In a way, it reminds me of the dream I had around a year ago, where I was killed and came back as a ghost. Only to see that life had gone on without me, but I’d left a hole. That’s kind of what coming home has done to me: shown me the hole where I fit. The empty space I left behind that was sort-of filled but that had been waiting for me to come back to it.

It’s so overwhelming. The love is too much for me. I’m so lucky and so blessed. And I’m not ashamed to say I’m crying while I’m typing this because I’m so full of happy and– and– I don’t know if the word is unworthiness? Insignificance? Overwhelmed, overflowing. The love my family has for me is so huge. I was wrenched by time out of their lives and now I’m back and it’s like nothing ever changed. I just get to hug my mother for a few minutes longer. That’s the only difference.

But evidence of my absence is everywhere. My room, with only one pillow and no little pink lamp, shows that I haven’t been here. My laundry wasn’t in the wash, my dishes weren’t in the sink. None of my chaotic piles of makeup were dumped in their usual spot by the bathroom mirror, no brightly-colored, half-consumed coffee cups littered the counter. The computer desk was neat.

I just feel sad that I had to go. It’s like someone ripped off my arm, or something… and pretended that it was going to be gone forever, but for a few days they stick it back on and say, “enjoy, until we tear it off again.” I remember adjusting to college life being fairly difficult. Now I’m accustomed to the routine and the rhythm, but when I first got there I was just heartbroken. I don’t want that to happen a second time.

Saturday 09 October 2010 6:49 pm

“It’s not where I am, it’s you I’m with.”

I’m in the car typing this right now, and reflecting on life. It sounds really deep, but it’s not.

We get a little wild during car rides...

I think about life a great deal. But as the Avetts croon about love and existence and the car glides toward the sunset, I’m launched into a mindset that sends thoughts of home and belonging swirling through my brain.

 

Where’s my home now? I’m coming back from eating la comida italia with my family and wondering, now that my life’s been thrust into its own orbit, where I’m allowed to call home. There’s a sense of rightness and belonging about Eastman for me, and in Rochester. But in the same breath I feel that way about Buffalo and my home. Can I have two? Is that allowed? What about when I get my own apartment? Or move out of Rochester? Is it possible to make a life elsewhere, to have multiple homes that feel comfortable, wonderfully happy, and right?

Then the Avett Brothers chime in with “St. Joseph’s” and remind me. “It’s not where I’m am, it’s you I’m with.” As long as I’m with those I love and who love me in return– whether it’s familial or friendship or both– I am already home.

Sunday 10 October 2010 8:38 pm

I just got out of my third shower since I’ve been home. It’s an exercise in indulgence: I take a shower that would have been normal for me here, but at school is extravagant. At Eastman, we have the minute yellow bathroom stalls with mangy floors and flip flops involved. Non-adjustable spray with squeaky nozzles and an atmosphere of tension in case (gasp) some strange girl flounces in mid-exit and sees me in all of my toweled-up, drippy-makeuped glory. All in all I rush to perfect personal hygiene and it’s simply a mandatory procedure.

Here, I take time. Take those precious few moments to take off all of my makeup, to savor the clean white, steamy air. To stand with bare feet in a clean shower. The perfume of my home billowing around me, swirling with the sweet citrus of body wash and lotion and shampoo, is the scent that irons out the stress of a long day and a nervily-anticipated trip back to school.

Even the simple actions that I completely (typically) took for granted are purely divine now. Like, toweling off in a space that’s not two square feet. Having a well-lit and enormous bathroom with a halfway-recognizable color scheme. Not having to dig through a caddy to find the right item.

It’s so great. Except, I realized tonight that I’m already missing home. And I haven’t even left it again.

Sunday October 10, 2010 11:27 pm

I knew it would happen. I knew I’d love home so much and never want to go away and always want to stay here safe in this warm and cozy house with the people I adore and the sunshine and the comfort.

I know in my mind that I’d go insane. If I had to stay here all the time. And I’ve really just been trying to enjoy every second spent here and with my family. Playing Sims with my sister, watching the Sabres win (then lose), Criminal Minds marathons, and selling Harley tickets in Ellicottville. All of it is part of being home and coaxing every drop of happy from it that I can.

I miss Eastman too, but in an academic sense. I wish Eastman was right next door so I could step into my family’s life whenever. I’m so freaking happy to be with them right now it’s stupid, because when I get back I’ll be happy too and that will be a betrayal of sorts. But also I just don’t want to leave them. Their lives will roll on and so will mine and even though this visit was like no time passed, I know that won’t continue. Life goes on.

Damn it, life goes on whether I’m there or not. Something– anything, really– could happen at any second. I could get hit by a bus or get slashed in the parking garage or sweet Jesus God forbid fall from a stairwell and break my neck. And writing that makes me want to vomit but it’s the truth, and then what? And then what? Life would still go on.

I can’t wrap my head around it and I am so miserable trying to try. It’s so hard. It’s so hard to have two places I want– need– to be, with so many desires and hopes and fears tearing me in so many directions. Expectations and longings and worries and stresses. And I’m depended on to deal with them all, to handle it. I can. I mean, I can. And will.

Life goes on. But I’m still here and sad, this moment.

Waiting to leave… again

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m sad.

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

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.