Sunday, January 30, 2011

Absence

I had a bad week.

I felt barfy and feverish.
I got the "let's just be friends" speech from dude.
My schoolwork is reaching epic proportions.
My mother called me to apologize and raked my heart and mind back through the smoldering ashes of the past for the umpteenth time.

I've got a bad case of wanderlust. I dragged my feet too long to sign up for a study abroad program in London and now I'm on the waiting list. I'm waiting for more information on a program in Salzburg. In the meantime, I'm drooling over these:

Aptly described as "travel porn" (I've been to two of these places which seems to make my longing worse)
The world in a bubble

Luckily, I've got good friends, Harry Potter, The Office, and my cat to give me some buoyancy.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Rainy days

My mom and I used to go on epic bargain shopping trips once every couple of months. We'd dedicate a whole Saturday to making the rounds to see what kind of deals we could get. One time we took such a trip and got back home after dark. It was cold and rainy and we were exhausted from being on our feet all day. My mom pulled the car into the parking spot in front of our house and turned the engine off. Neither of us made a move to leave the car. We had forgotten our umbrellas. We waited for a few minutes to see if the rain would let up, but it showed no sign of stopping, so we continued to sit there, stewing in our exhaustion. The windows started fogging up from our breath and our tiredness made us silly. We began to draw funny shapes in the condensation on the windshield, giggling uncontrollably as we made up stories to go along with the images. I'm not sure how long we continued sitting in the car before finally making a run for it into the house and letting the cold air erase our creations from the glass. Time seemed to have stood still.

Friday, January 21, 2011

Speechless

I've been feeling rather disconnected the past few days. I found out a high school friend of mine passed away this week. I met her in 5th grade. She introduced me to the Babysitters' Club and Pokemon. She taught me how to play chess. The first and only game I played was against her and I somehow managed to win. She was the first person I knew who had an iPod. I remember how truly excited she was to attend my birthday parties. Incredibly intelligent and an unbelievably talented musician, I cannot believe that her life ended so soon. Her dedication to everything she did pushed me to be a better person. I deeply regret not staying in contact with her after high school. I no longer have the opportunity to change that.

Far too many people have been passing away lately.

To lighten the mood, I will leave you with two things that made me smile recently.

The Bobcats from the Oatmeal: when cats work in an office.

My future, in a nutshell:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Nameless Library


I came across a reference to this sculpture, the Judenplatz Holocaust Memorial, by Rachel Whiteread today while reading about lost and destroyed libraries for class. It is also referred to as the Nameless Library. This sculpture embodies so many of my interests, I can't help but be fascinated by it. I hope one day I can finally make my way to Vienna and see it in person.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

You can't have your cake and eat it too

“You can get sympathy or you can get better, but you can’t get both. You can be in your comfort zone or you can have growth, but you can’t have both. You can be interested or you can be sold-out-committed, but you can’t entertain both. You can have excuses or have results, but you can’t do both. Choose the path that develops your visceral fortitude.”
-Mario Cortes

Friday, January 14, 2011

On being shy and overcoming it

I just did something that a few years ago, I would have never done in a million years: I went up and talked to an acquaintance that was working at a computer here in the library. I've seen this guy around, usually when I'm out at bars and parties, and we have some mutual friends. The first time I saw him out, he said hi and recognized me as "the girl at the library." I had recognized him too from seeing him at the library and secretly, I had labeled him "the guy with the nice dreads." He was at the library this afternoon and when I saw him, I went over and said hi and asked him if he was going to a party I'm going to on Saturday. He's a nice guy and we chatted for a minute before we both went back to work.

When I was little, I was terribly, pain-stakingly shy. I couldn't talk to strangers or even acquaintances. The words got caught in my throat like large wads of cotton balls and no matter how much I screamed in my head to say something, anything, the best I could do was smile. I remember one time when I was probably in first grade, there was a nice, older girl who was in my brother's grade who rode on the school bus with us. I sat next to her one afternoon on the ride home and she chatted away with me. She was so nice, I actually felt comfortable enough to talk to her. Also, she had a humongous box of art supplies on her lap that she let me see and try out. She told me that the next day I could use them too on the bus, all I had to do was ask. I wasn't lucky enough to sit next to her the following day, I was a couple of seats back from her. I sat on the edge of the seat, fuming because I couldn't unstick her name from my throat and call out to her so I could use her umpteen awesome colored markers. Finally, I decided to trick myself into mustering up the courage. I started whispering her name, gradually saying it louder and louder, until I said it loud enough for her to hear me. And guess what? It worked and I got to doodle away with her and her holy grail of art supplies.

Within a few years of this incident, I had a less successful experience with my shyness. For a good number of summers as kids, my mother drug my brother and me to what must have been every vacation Bible school program within a 10 mile radius of our house. At the start of one of these programs, I was sitting on the floor with a bunch of kids my age, listing to the roll being called. My name was never called and the teacher asked if anyone hadn't been called. I raised my hand and she asked what my name was. I couldn't for the life of me spit out my own name. My throat felt as though it had closed and my tongue lay dry and lifeless in my mouth. I screamed my name in my head, trying over and over again to push the words out of my lips. The teacher kept asking me over and over to please tell her my name. Sensing my uneasiness and shyness, she even tried to bribe me with candy. Finally, a girl who had been in my class in elementary school that past school year told the teacher my name in a snobby tone, clearing disapproving of my weakness. I beat myself up over missing out on that glorious bag of candy for months afterwards.

It wasn't until high school when I finally managed to completely shake the cotton ball throat syndrome. A wonderful teacher I had my freshman year liked to pick on the shy ones in class, making us get up in front of the room to speak and constantly asking us questions. I guess this desensitizing was what finally loosened me up enough to speak up more and take more pride in my opinions. Over the years, I've cared less and less about talking to strangers and public speaking, but it's largely been an uphill battle. So, being able to go up to a guy I don't know very well to say hi and talk for a minute speaks volumes about how far I've come.

I think this ties in nicely with my prior mention of vulnerability and my need to open myself up more. I stepped a toe outside my comfort zone to say hi to someone and had a nice, short chat with someone who seemed to enjoy talking to me. When I was on my second date a few nights ago, I took a chance and reached out to stroke his hair during a lull in our conversation, leading to kiss after kiss. It's a good feeling to jump and land on your feet, no matter how small the jump.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Smooch

I have two bits by ee cummings to share with you today, which I think are rather telling of how the second date went last night.


"And the coolness of your smile is
stirringofbirds between my arms;but
i should rather than anything
have(almost when hugeness will shut
quietly)almost,
your kiss"



"up into the silence the green
silence with a white earth in it

you will(kiss me)go

out into the morning the young
morning with a warm world in it

(kiss me)you will go

on into the sunlight the fine
sunlight with a firm day in it

you will go(kiss me

down into your memory and
a memory and memory

i)kiss me,(will go)"


I'm quite tired, but happy this morning. My first class of the semester starts tonight and even that cannot stop me from smiling.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Vulnerability

This video was brought to my attention today and everything about it is absolutely wonderful. I had never heard of this woman, Brene Brown, before, but I have a feeling that I could listen to her talk about anything for hours on end with unwavering attention.

When you do not allow yourself to be vulnerable, yes, you avoid some of the life's pains, but you also miss a lot of life's joys. My vulnerability is what got me into the situation with my mother, but my vulnerability is also what brought me some of my favorite life experiences. I have stopped being so vulnerable lately and I feel like maybe it's time to let more, the good and the bad, not just the neutral, in. Life will not be full, my heart will not be whole, without taking such risks.

"To feel this vulnerable means I'm alive."


Friday, January 7, 2011

Bits and pieces

I was diagnosed with alopecia areata. Not the end of the world. The half dozen injections to my scalp did have me in tears though.

I'm going to be an aunt! Weird, but totally awesome.

I haven't gotten a call from dude yet. I did, however, get two wrong number calls yesterday. Way to rub it in, stranger from Indiana.

Spring classes start next week and I'm not happy.

I hope I have a good last weekend of freedom or, at least, don't spend the majority of it lying in bed, watching The Office for hours.

My mother is turning into quite the liar.

My coworker keeps flirting with me and I don't know how to feel about it.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Why I write prose, not poetry

I took an intro to creative writing class as an undergrad and we were required to write a number of poems for the first half of the class. I typically do not write poetry when I write because the brevity and exactness of words intrinsic to poetry makes me restless. It doesn't feel very natural to me, as writing prose does. Regardless, I wrote a poem about my mother for that class that I will share with you. It's crowded with words and I'm warning you upfront that it is far from my best work, but I think it gives a good, general idea of my mother:

A Shred of Consolation


The diseased pink disaster of a robe,
probably bought for pennies
at the overstuffed Salvation Army
on the day its colored tag
offered an additional fifty percent off,
quickly became crumbling cotton candy,
matted down, worn away, tattered seams,
exposing the microscopic, polyester mesh
that held the whole blasted thing together
in one piece.

Nevermind the velour peach gown,
fresh with department store tags,
hanging abandoned on the bathroom hook,
adorning the seeping pipes and porcelain.
No, the one covered with short, wiry, root-exposed hairs,
each one shed as a martyr for her growing negligence,
would do until the inconvenience far outweighed the function.
Just as it willingly absorbed the breathless musk of mildew,
the overlooked bottom corner would soak up
the flood on the carpet while she dozed nightly on the couch.


I wonder if she ever made the switch to the newer robe or if she's still wearing cotton candy tatters. 

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

More inspiration from Rilke

What keeps me sane when dealing with parents, especially my mother:

"Avoid providing material for the drama that is always stretched tight between parents and children; it uses up much of the children's strength and wastes the love of the elders, which acts and warms even if it doesn't comprehend. Don't ask for any advice from them and don't expect any understanding; but believe in a love that is being stored up for you like an inheritance, and have faith that in this love there is a strength and a blessing so large that you can travel as far as you wish without having to step outside it."

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet

Monday, January 3, 2011

Patience

I have a date with him tonight! To keep the butterflies at bay, I've been trying to focus on work and to remember these very timely words:

"You are so young, so much before all beginning, and I would like to beg you, dear Sir, as well as I can, to have patience with everything unresolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves as if they were locked rooms or books written in a very foreign language. Don't search for the answers, which could not be given to you now, because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps then, someday far in the future, you will gradually, without even noticing it, live your way into the answer."

-Rainer Maria Rilke, Letters to a Young Poet