Just a few thoughts before I go and sleep

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

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

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

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

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In another life, maybe

So I realized upon waking up and reading what I wrote last night, I left a few important things out of my post.

First of all, I realize it’s a pretty personal subject. When I mentioned the vulnerability? It’s kind of weird leaving that last post up, just because it talks about crap I’ve tried my best to not even think about for a long time.

Because let’s be realistic. I sing opera. I have plans for my life, and they’re not all money-making or stabilizing. I’m ambitious and fairly smart and love to read, write, think, and work outside/shovel horse shit/run around with my dogs when it’s not snowy. I don’t fit the typical mold for a significant other and I’m aware of it. But that doesn’t stop me from thinking about it, or having a yen for it. Even if it doesn’t make sense.

And hey. This was a blog for my thoughts, first and foremost. So if I’m thinking about boys and the future, then that’s what I’m going to write about.

But upon further reflection, I almost feel as though I should resign it to fiction. Keep the thoughts of a future with some faceless, nameless gent within the pages of a word document. The idea of jeopardizing my future plans because of some unknown stranger is horrifying. It’s just not worth it.

So ignore my lists and forget the standards. It’s just a silly topic that happens to surface in my mind whenever I see my friends happy in that way. I’m glad for them, but in the more selfish section of my brain I do tend to wonder why I can’t have it, too.

Finally yellow

It’s been my favorite color since I was old enough to know my colors. It’s sunshine. It’s a dandelion. It’s my hair.

And it’s happiness, for me.

I wanted to put that happiness here, for anyone who reads my thoughts. The negativity some associate with yellow should vanish upon reaching this page, because, well, crap. I really dig “happy.”

It’s here. The big eighteen. I’m so old. And in some ways I still feel like I’m three again and sliding down brightly-tinted plastic with my hair static-ed all around my face.

Two years ago, I was going to get my learner’s permit with my mother.

One year ago, I was so insanely busy I don’t even remember what the heck I did. Oh wait, I think I went to musical and ate a giant cookie with purple frosting. Or that could have been the AIDA year. It might have been, because Kiener and Emma were there. Yeah, whatever.

This year, I’ll be in theory and in aural skills and traveling to get pizza with a completely different group of people in a still-new place. I’ll voyage to sing with ladies I respect and admire and return to be initiated in the ways of Student Association.

It’s so different. And I can’t help but think, it’s where I’ve wanted to be and worked to be for the past eighteen years without knowing it. I’m finally here.

Crescendo to a thought

As always, Brendan’s blog got me thinking.

I wish I could say it made me think about how great people are, and how humble I strive to be, or even how much like Jesus we should try to be.

Instead, it got me thinking about three separate things.

One: a behavioral pattern I see here at Eastman.
Two: ideas that have been swarming in my brain lately.
and Three: that Brendan needs to write a book.

Relating to one, which I think is the most trivial of the three…
I see a pattern between the “partiers” here and the “religious kids.” The religious ones either keep it to themselves or go to extremes to invite people to their well-behaved events. We have one group, called InterVarsity (it sounds like a sports group but it’s a Christian organization here) that holds all kinds of events. But somehow it kind of seems like they’re in their own little bubble. They’ve extended information to the non-affiliated kids (like they mentioned a gathering to me once, I think) but to me (the non-affiliated), they seem a little upper echelon. A little too good, if you know what I mean. This may or may not be true (I don’t know) but that’s the vibe I get.

In addition to these Christian sects here (and they do separate, we have more than one little club for each denomination), there are the party-goers. The weekend warriors, if you will. It does get incredibly intense here during the week and to me, an outing seems like recreation to release stress (even if it becomes an unhealthy behavior eventually). Now I don’t see any of the partiers in the Christian groups. I could be overlooking someone, but I don’t think I am. In fact, there almost seems to be some animosity between partiers and groups like InterVarsity. I do recall on Ke$ha night being asked in the car if I was a member of InterVarsity… if I was my new best friend (whom I was, uhh, like laying on) was going to kick me out of the car, regardless of our shared sports views.

Back on topic, though. So. My friend Katie here said the other evening to another friend, “When’s church in the morning? I think I’m going to try to go.” This surprised me, because A.) Katie and I were going to the River Campus that night with the intent to find somewhere to dance (to the uninformed it looked like we were going to get smashed), and B.) Katie had never seemed the “type” to go to church.

I realize this is silly thinking on my part (slap on the hand for stereotyping) but to be honest she hadn’t fit the mold for kids I know here that go to worship services. That got me thinking, why can’t I try to go to church? Granted I would love to sleep in on Sundays… but maybe I could even go to a youth group thing or something here. Who knows? But then again, I’ve been known to be out late on weekends. That doesn’t make me any less of a follower of Jesus, though, does it? Then I thought perhaps some of these groups needed a reminder that, first of all, drinking isn’t a sin (hello, wine in the Bible). And secondly, most importantly, Jesus loves the sinners, too. I’m not saying that I go around getting wasted, swearing and having wild monkey sex with everyone I know (because obviously that’s not really my game plan here). But someone who’s not to hip to the holiness thing (aka me, or anyone else, really) is just as loved by God and (if they’re doing it right) should hopefully be just as loved by the little clumps of Christians floating around here with their wooden cross necklaces and conservatively buttoned shirts.

That about rounds out topic number one for me.
Topic two? IDEAS.

Liz Shropshire will be the speaker at next Tuesday’s Colloquium. I. Am. So. Pumped. I really want to get involved with that. In case you haven’t heard of the Shropshire Music Foundation, the link to the site is here and I blogged pretty extensively on it here, because man, am I excited. It’s finally a window (dare I hope, a door?!) into using music to make a serious difference in peoples’ lives. Children’s lives, more specifically.

That brings me to ideas. I haven’t even heard Ms. Shropshire’s spiel yet, and I’m already planning what could be done back in my hometown to bring more revenue to the Foundation. Then (it’s ambitious) what about starting something similar of my own? Maybe a mix between School 17 here (it’s a huge string instrument program for younger kids, but in a city school, if you’ll believe it) and the Foundation. The ideas are still molding themselves, shaping like silver ore in the forge that is my mind, but it’s exciting. To think that the training I receive here won’t restrict me to performing for the elite (if I ever get that good)… it’s really cool. I could use my degree(s) to pour the salve of music into the bleeding gashes of the world.

That said, here’s a poor segue to topic three.

Brendan needs to write a book. Yeah buddy, if you’re reading this… I feel like now’s the time. Okay, maybe in a few more months. But soon. Use your blog and some other topics, get them edited (Jordan and I did offer, oh so long ago…). I’m not trying to flatter you, I’m being honest. Reading words from someone so young in the scheme of things, who’s really trying to connect to his faith and figure crap out is really inspiring. And it makes your audience think. Or at least it makes me think. It’s so real, too. Like God is giving you words with which you can poke at someone’s thoughts. Little nudges. And they show that you absolutely don’t have to be some godly snot in order to have a real relationship with Jesus.

So, whenever you’re ready sir…

On that note, this post is so done. I have theory homework to do. But those are just some thoughts before studio class that I feel needed to get put on a webpage.

Your mission for the day? Listen to the song 'Why do they shut me out of heaven?' It's a Copland tune with words by Emily Dickenson. The Barbara Bonney version is pretty decent.

Apple cinnamon morning

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

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

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

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

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

Booooze.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A little bit of time

I’m taking a breather right now. I’m just sitting in the dorm relaxing (playing on my laptop) as the sky dims to a sheet of grey outside the window as a soothing breeze tries to creep in.

It’s just a nice pause in a week that’s been crammed with new sensations and the first spurt and rush of a new life. Fourteen weeks to go until this semester’s over.

I want to say that I will be prepared. I have a plan. I am ready for what may come my way, or I will make myself ready. I’m facing the future with less fear than I’ve ever felt. I haven’t wondered “what will happen if I die today” in almost two weeks. Well, to be truthful I thought it yesterday, but it was in passing over the fact that I haven’t really thought about it. In case you’re confused, after my cousin passed away at nineteen, I became fairly neurotic and theorized about death almost daily. If you could see my other blog… well, it wasn’t the most cheery read some days. I mused on life and its end a great deal.

But lately, I have thought about other things.

For example, how Eastman is like Hogwarts. We have a Chamber of Secrets (the Director’s Dining Center, off of the regular Dining Center), many (MANY) stairs that lead to hallways that look highly alike, and we make something from nothing. Whether we use wands or batons or horns or ourselves, we’re shaping ourselves and the world around us into (what is perpetually hoped to be) something better. Something that can make the world better.

That brings me to what I’ve been up to. Yesterday I went to the first SA meeting of the year. SA is the Student’s Association. Representatives from each class are chosen and it’s recommended they attend regularly; also reps from clubs and organizations on campus show up. It’s where student government leaders are decided. In addition, anyone who has something to complain about is urged to go.

So Mary and I went and were the only freshmen there. We’ve been (well, I’ve been) trying to kind of spread the word about the need for freshmen class council members. I’d like to do it, but I think I’d want to be secretary/treasurer, so the pressure of leading others to decisions doesn’t necessarily fall on me. I have to see if I get an ushering job first, though. And there might be more interest and someone with more drive will want that spot.

I’m not saying I’m not ambitious: quite the contrary. But I’d rather see someone who’s obsessed with class government get it, if they want it and will do a good job. I would be pretty good, I’m not going to lie, and I want to be involved, but Garrett Rubin’s organization seems like something I’m going to find a passion in.

It’s called Eastman for the Shropshire Music Foundation, and Garrett developed our little part of it. The Foundation itself was founded by Liz Shropshire, whose background and experience in music and music education led her to raise funds to purchase musical instruments for the children of Kosovo refugees. It now reaches children in Northern Ireland and Uganda as well. I won’t go in intimate detail here, but please visit this site for more information if you’re interested. If you’re not interested, check it out anyway (please). But my point is, I want to get involved. I don’t want to just “be a part of something” for the feeling of inclusion. I don’t want to commit my very limited time to an organization that isn’t doing something proactive, something useful and beneficial.

The Shropshire Foundation is worthwhile. It helps people. Moreover, it helps the children who will grow up to someday have their own impacts, however publicly realized, on the world. To be a medium through which people can learn to love music seems to me a truly influential and vital use of time. Especially since Eastman for the Shropshire Music Foundation is based here. It seems too coincidental that something I’d be crazy about doing would be one of two university-based campaigns for the foundation.

So in this little snippet of down time I’m snagging now, I’m considering the future, considering the options here to be a part of something that’s making a difference. And, I figure, it’s about time.

Refugees (picture taken from http://www.shropshirefoundation.org/mission)

Thoughts on academia

I don’t know what I think of college yet.

Today is my first “official” day here, and I don’t know what I think.

On one hand, I am excited for classes to begin. I try to relish the independence when I can. Sometimes I get light-headed. No exaggeration.

But on the other, I’d seriously love to be sitting on the couch right now with a giant bowl of popcorn and Lord of the Rings or Criminal Minds in front of me. It’s lame, but (a) they are the only two things on TV I really adore and (b) although I told Lucy I’d introduce her to Criminal Minds (she doesn’t have cable at home), it just won’t be the same.

I miss having my own space. I miss having someone there physically all the time for me to rely on. Although I’ve waited and waited and yearned for this time of my life, now that it’s here I am still pumped but there’s a streak of sad in it. A swath of strong blue that’s sensitive to the touch. I think it’s my childhood. Yeah, that fits.

Because to be honest it feels like, without me knowing it, even though I prepared for it to happen… my childhood, my whole past at home? It’s gone, it’s done. Yeah, I was aware it would happen, but perhaps I just didn’t see it as something so emotional. Something so deeply rending it just kind of sits there on your heart, shaking a little and whimpering softly to itself.

Earlier today I talked to a sophomore transfer student named Narissa (I think that was it. If not, my bad and I’m sorry). She was extremely friendly and is dual majoring here and at the River Campus (for some brain science insane major I didn’t entirely catch because it was noisy and I was still digesting caffeine). She was enthusiastic about everything, we share a taste in books, and observations regarding awkward situations. She told me one of the most reassuring things I’ve heard: “I love school.”

I’m counting on that obsessive, nerdy academic in me to grab that, too. I’m treating this right now as an extended vacation where I’m learning a shitload. That’s my outlook right now. I don’t want to dwell on the theory that I don’t belong at my house anymore. I don’t want to think stupid things, like, “that’s no longer my home.”

Where the heck else would I go? I don’t live here permanently, despite the chaotically organized debris scattered tastefully around me. For God’s sake, I only have two books here!

I could have made this prettier, but it is what it is

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.

Ужь ты нива моя (The harvest of sorrow)

The day I memorized my Russian (a poem)

My buddy Sergei.

The day I memorized my Russian
I decided to take a new tack
It was the day of a master class and
I was sick of being told not to slack*

It was a humid and muggy and watery day
(Meaning I drank lots of water while I paced and I prayed)

The day I memorized my Russian
I wrote it all down in Cyrillic twice
It was muttered and scribbled and screamed and
Sung and I realized laziness was my worst vice

It was a hurried and stressed and embarrassing day
(Since, well, I came to terms with myself, in a way)

The day I memorized my Russian
Well, I thought about Eastman a lot
Will I make it if I can’t pull this off for today
Maybe my chances at succeeding are shot

It was a reflection, realization, come-to-Jesus at best
(I don’t need to relax, overthink, or to rest)

The day I memorized my Russian
It clinched something in my soul
Cliche and think whatever but
Music’s going to play its role

It was a long and trying afternoon when I learned my Рахманиновь
(But I’m motivated, here and now, and still will be when push comes to shove.)

*For the record, it’s been since, like, last October when anyone’s told me seriously to take practicing seriously. Since then, I’ve been the one telling myself not to slack. I just don’t listen.

Always free

Here is what I think college will be like. I think it is going to be a lot of work. I’m going to get migraines again (I already had one the other day for the first time since I think yearbook ended). I am going to stress endlessly and probably overdose on caffeine and most likely will stop blogging for a while because I’ll be so insanely busy.

But I am going to enjoy every second of it. The long hours, constantly pushing myself. The eventual improvement that will hopefully follow.

Heather said outright, “They’re going to take you down a few pegs.” She means emotionally, musically, and mentally. Not ego-wise, I don’t have a problem that way. But everything I’ve ever been taught or thought I was doing correctly or well enough? No, they’ll fix me. And that was my reply: “As long as they’re planning on bringing me back up and higher, I’m totally fine with that.”

I am ready for this massive change. Not too eager: I love life, simple as it is right now. But I’m prepared for something bigger, something on a more serious and intense scale. Something I’ve been waiting for all my life.

At five years old I wanted to be a country star with a hundred horses and side jobs as a firefighter and ballerina. But even then I knew that my existence couldn’t be a simple marriage, children, and steady nine-to-five job. Not that there’s anything wrong with that! I almost envy it now that I know I probably won’t have it. The simplicity and basic motions that lead to a challenging and extraordinarily life-filled time here.

But I have come to realize that those probably aren’t going to be mine. Marriage wouldn’t be so bad: I like the tradition of it. The family that comes from it and the life two people can build together. I’m too much of my own person to share it with someone like that, though, I think. I like to be in charge; I want to have control over what I’m doing, with my body, heart, and career. A husband would really screw with that. Besides, the only guys that would be willing to stand up to me (or stand with me) on a romantic plane are the toughy-toughs: but the guy who believes he has a chance at leading me around anywhere is smoking the good stuff. Or delusional. Wimpy boys aren’t any fun, and the regular guy (if there is such a thing) seems to find me intimidating. But maybe, who knows, if there was someone who didn’t mind my lifestyle and let me do what I want, without being a complete pushover… oh well. It bears thinking about when I’m older. As does the thought of kids: but seriously? With what I hope is my career during the kid-bearing ages? Yeah, right. I’ll let Meeshie have the children, and I’ll be the best damn aunt anyone could contemplate.

Speaking of careers, if all goes as planned I’ll be singing. Singing then teaching, or singing and teaching. But either way I’ll probably be traveling. Maybe I’ll take classical music to third world countries or something cool. Who knows? But from a very young age I was aware that there would be different things in store for me. Whenever I thought about staying in a small town and having kids, maybe running a little business (pizza-making? a bookstore? cafe?), it just felt awkward. Like something was telling me, good try bud, but not in this lifetime… at least, not until you’re very, very old.

All the same, I want it and I don’t want it. I see the beautiful home my parents have, I know of the happiness my mother found in the early years of her marriage (up until my sister and I entered the picture, anyway. ha ha) and I know that the job security and a pleasant home can be a wonderful thing. I just don’t know if they will be mine. Anyway, all this rambling comes to one conclusion: college will be the start of something big, something magnificent and bright and wonderful. A vibrant beginning to an adult life that will make me who and what I was meant to be. Sempre libera.