Thursday, September 29, 2011


So, I spend a lot of time thinking about deep, meaningful things.
I am so kidding about that.
Mostly, I daydream about food, sleeping, and sleeping some more. When I'm sitting in a dull class and not thinking about one of those three things, I spend my time glancing around the room at my peers. I think about what kind of things lie just beneath their surface. I wonder what they've done in their lives. I think about the people who probably think the world of the person sitting right next to me, who I hardly know. I wonder what kinds of things they love to do, what foods they hate, what they consider the worst moment of their lives, and what moment they consider the best so far.

So, even if I can't run around and ask everyone to share their life stories with me, I wanted to make a list of things I find important about myself that nobody can really see from the surface. Lots of people don't know these things about me, but when I think of myself, these are the things I use to define who I am. Kind of cool, huh?

*I am the oldest child in my family, out of two. I have a younger brother by five years, named Ethan Blane. He's the best. I used to hate his guts most of the time, but now that we're older, I really wish I could be around him more often, and watch him grow up. He's such a talented, smart kid. I think the world of him, and wouldn't give him up for anything (even though I wanted a sister.)

*I was six weeks premature when I was born, and spent ten days in incubation. I wore the sweet stunna shades, and I still have a bear from the hospital that sat with me in the incubator, who now wears the shades, my identification band, and my tiny blood pressure cuff. He doesn't have a name.

*My dad's side of the family is Russian, and my mom's side is German, so I am purely fifty-fifty, from what I can tell. My dad's side is also predominantly Jewish. I grew up Catholic, but we celebrated Jewish holidays growing up, and I really love attending synagogue with my dad. I like to think that that integration of the two faiths in my life has really given me a tolerance and respect for other beliefs, and I like to take the best of every culture and religion I encounter, and use those things to enrich my own life.

*I am minoring in music, and my primary is the trumpet, but I consider my most proficient instrument to be the piano. I've played since I was eight. I used to be way better than I am now. In fourth grade I was a winner in the MMTA Piano Competition, and got to play at Northrup Auditorium at the U of M for the Centennial Celebration Honors Concert. The winners from my age group got on stage all at once and played a duet, two on each piano, with twenty plus pianos on stage. There were about forty of us; it was incredible. Even though I was really young, I still think that will forever be one of the best moments of my life.

*I was engaged to be married for about two years, from the age of sixteen to eighteen. Long story short, I jumped into a lot of life-changing decisions because I felt I had no other choice, and it ended up falling apart when we got to college. Two weeks after we broke up, he committed suicide. Many factors influenced this, including severe manic depression, but I am still convinced that situations leading up to his death, including our break up, were what ultimately influenced his decision. It changed my life completely, but it didn't change ME completely. The worst thing ever is when I explain the situation to friends who didn't know me before college, and they pity me or act differently around me sometimes. I'm actually more myself now than I ever was in high school, and no matter what his decision was, I know that ending our unhealthy relationship was the best option for me.

*I had bacterial meningitis in the right hemisphere of my brain in the spring of my junior year of high school. I was misdiagnosed by the emergency room doctors in my hometown, and by the Grace of God somehow managed to go almost forty-eight hours without treatment, when some people die within twelve hours or less. I was transferred to Abbott-Northwestern in St. Paul, and there I had a brain biopsy, where they drilled a hole into the right frontal lobe of my brain to collect some of the fluid that had been building up between the meninges of my brain.Treatment involved having a PICC line catheter inserted into the inside of my right upper arm, which ran from the arm into my inferior vena cava, to administer antibiotics straight into my system. I had the PICC line in for a few weeks after surgery and diagnosis, and I even had it in during my junior prom! I go into so much detail, because while it was a scary and very painful experience, I also learned so much, and found my procedures and treatments to be so interesting! The brain has always fascinated me, and to be able to see my own brain and heart on the screen during and after procedures was so cool. I sent my surgeon my prom picture, and he asked for a picture from my college graduation, to remind him of a "job well done." I don't plan to disappoint him. (:

*I've wanted to be a teacher since I was six. I think I always knew that's where I belonged, and I can't see myself doing anything else. I'm glad I changed my major to English education. I will never regret it. As difficult as I know it will be, I can't think of a better thing to spend my life doing.

*I wanted to play trumpet so badly in band when I was in elementary school, because of E.B. White's "The Trumpet of the Swan." I ended up playing French horn, because I was the only person to try out for it, and I was actually pretty good. I switched to trumpet in high school, anyway, and though I still play the horn pretty well, I play trumpet in all of SDSU's major ensembles. I still really love that book. I will read it to my kids someday, just like my mom used to read it to me over and over again.

*Speaking of reading, I give my parents complete credit for my reading ability. They fostered a love of reading in my brother and I from before we could speak, and every night my mom would stack up a pile of books we picked out on one side of the rocking chair. She would read through all of them (usually four or five on a typical night,) and as she finished each one it would go on the opposite side of the chair. To this day, I love that nightly ritual, and will use it with each of my kids in the future.

*When I was a baby, I looked like my dad when he was a baby. It was probably the crazy curly hair we both have on our heads.

*The first CD I bought with my own money was an album of Scott Joplin rags. I was in fourth grade. (The first CD I ever owned was Backstreet Boys - Millennium.) Ragtime is my absolute favorite thing to play, hands down.

*When I picture how I look in my head, I'm about a foot taller than I actually am. I don't think of myself as small until someone points it out.

I can't figure out how to rotate this, so, enjoy a sideways picture of me swinging from a maple tree.

Monday, September 26, 2011


Lately, my posts have been really derogatory and, frankly, bitchy.
I promise, I'm not always like that. Writing helps me sort through tough situations, so I turn to blogging to express my frustrations and interpretations to work through them.
I thought I would make another "happy" list...since I was feeling quite chipper today while walking around campus. I love fall weather.
a picture of a tree, taken by me.
BAM. rhyme.

A good book.
Apples from the apple orchard.
Curling up in my tie blanket.
Completing a "to-do" list.
Having a "good trumpet" day.
Having a clean room.
Snuggling up with Alex.
Singing to my favorite songs in the car.
Halloween decorations.
Thunderstorms and rain.
Sleeping in.
Going for walks.
Fun socks.
Calling my parents.
Jacks football games.
Hot chocolate, apple cider, and tea.
A good nap.
Playing the piano well again.
Taking pictures of things and people.
Playing trumpet duets with Alex.
Basically, anything with Alex. :)
Giving and receiving compliments.
Jack-o-lanterns. (I'm making one this year....or maybe two!)
Getting exciting inspirations ALREADY about teaching!
Pumpkin pie.
Fall night air.
Acing tests.
Understanding metric modulation.
Jimmy John's sub sandwiches.
Holding babies.

Friday, September 23, 2011

if you want something done...

do it yourself.

In grade school, I hated group projects. Being the "smart kid," I always seemed to be stuck with the most uncooperative, lazy, and thoughtless people in the class. I ended up shouldering a good chunk of the work, and delegating tasks usually ended up in disaster, leaving me to pick up the pieces in a frantic rush before handing in the project. The irony with that situation is that I was considered the "smart kid," and had no other personality to those I worked with. Not only was I earning a grade FOR them, but they were judging and degrading me as well. Needless to say, I didn't like grade and high school very much.
To this day, I have an issue with allowing other people to pick up responsibility for a group effort. If the project we are working on in any way reflects myself as a person, affects my grade, or holds any kind of importance to me, I usually end up taking on the whole thing, giving others minimal tasks.

Often, I wonder if I'm too much of an over-achiever. Maybe I should settle down and trust other people. However, whenever I start to think that way, I am invariably proven correct in my original assumption: that I cannot trust anyone to do anything.

I've tried my hardest to sit back and let others pick up the slack, but it seems that nothing ever gets accomplished if I wait it out. Any activity that may prove to be unpleasant in any way, or that will involve a little more than passive effort is pointedly ignored, until I give up my "vow of silence" and just do it myself. This can be anything from cleaning the bathroom at my apartment to fraternity projects. It happens in class. It happened when I worked at Walmart, or even at the GAC. It happens when I support friends who can't turn around and support me. Invariably, I will do it, because it needs to be done, and I want to do my best.

My dad tells me constantly to not worry about other people, and what may be "fair" or "right." I should just focus on the end goal, and do whatever it takes to reach that goal.
I used to think he was being less than supportive, or understanding.
Now, I know that he's right, no matter how much that philosophy sucks.

The fact that I have to shoulder responsibilities that should be shared isn't right, or fair. I shouldn't have to beg for assistance, and everyone should care enough to do their part.
This, I find, is an unreasonable expectation.
Just because I put care and effort into nearly every aspect of my life does not mean that others will. In fact, it's very rare that people actually care at all.

Everyone is so used to instant gratification. What they do not realize, however, is that things like a diploma, degree, membership, grade,  job or friendship is not their RIGHT. People just aren't earning their rights anymore, I guess. People feel so entitled.

I recognize this, and understand why things are the way they are. It sucks. I still stress out and feel crappy when I undertake things on my own without any reciprocation. I resign myself to admit that if I expected friends to care as much as I do, I would have no friends. If I trust others with my grade, I may not end up with the one I deserve. If I refuse to do something because I've "done my share, and don't need to do any more," I probably wouldn't get far, at all.

Others may coast along and use me, but the more I think about it, the more I am okay with that. In no way am I hurt by that behavior, honestly. I am learning, doing my best, and getting the things I deserve. I will end up with a good job reference, friends, good grades, and I can say I am proud of the things I accomplish. I know the truth. I know who did the work, and who deserved the outcome.

One teaching strategy I will employ sparingly, and with close observation, is the group project. Even if it goes unnoticed in every other classroom, my students will be rewarded for the effort they put forth.

I know I can't be the only one who cares.

Saturday, September 10, 2011


Anyone who knows me knows that I don't try very hard in the "outward appearances" category. My family may attest to the fact that I do have a "beauty ritual" after I shower, involving copious quantities of mousse and a bit of eyeliner and mascara, and I definitely go through way more bobby pins than the average human, but usually my routine in the morning involves more hitting the snooze button than primping.

As far as clothing is concerned, I like to look like I try, but if a look is going to make me try harder than reaching into my closet and pairing a neutral-colored tee shirt with a camisole and jeans, I usually won't go for it, unless I'm being forced to dress up. Occasionally, I will go out of my norm and put something on that actually accentuates the fact that I'm a girl, but usually I feel crazy awkward leaving the house with something that achieves this look that I change my clothes five seconds before I leave the house.

In high school, I used to care way more about my hair, and would straighten my bangs every morning, until they were almost permanently straight, but my clothing style was just about the same as it is now, and as soon as I got to college, the heat tools generally stay in the linen closet most of the time.

Tonight, out of boredom, I decided to re-curl my hair, and put eyeshadow, blush, and lipstick on my face. It took about an hour, and when I was done, I looked in the mirror, and didn't even recognize myself. Sure, I looked pretty good, but my natural Jewish curls had already started to rebel against the ironing, and I hated that I could feel the makeup sitting on my eyelids. I sit here scratching at my eyes, twitching my nose in discomfort from all the makeup I have on my face, and I've already impatiently tied my hair back up. It took me about twenty minutes.
Not worth a full hour.
If anything else, I feel like a hypocrite when I actually take the time to attempt to make myself look like the traditional "beauty" of our generation. Most of the time, I walk around with a tee shirt and jeans, hair back, and minimal makeup on my face.

If being "real" has helped me in any way, I never have a doubt in my mind that my friends are my friends because of who I am, not because of what I'm wearing, or how I look. I know that Alex thinks that I'M beautiful, not my makeup or curling iron. Of course, he likes when I put forth a little more effort than slathering on some mousse and slapping eyeliner on my face in three minutes, but I generally don't try very hard on any normal day, and he is still attracted to me. He compliments my features even on my "ugly" days, and I know he cares more about my heart than my hair. He also loves my natural curls, as much as I despise them. Plus, when I actually do dress up, put on something that accentuates the fact that I'm a female, and step into some heels, he acts like it's Christmas.

Maybe my lack of sophisticated fashion sense, and my "unlucky" gifts from the gene pool made me less popular than most in high school, but I know my brain and intelligence is healthy and thriving. My character and actions are so much more important than looking the part that everyone wants me to play, and being a unique, intelligent individual is miles more rewarding than being "typically attractive."

If all of the girls in the world stopped trying so hard, perhaps everyone could get along by content, rather than the cover. Popularity would be judged by character, rather than by clothing and hair. It's still self-respectful to care for oneself, and take care in one's appearance, but instead of slaving in front of the mirror every morning in an effort to look good for people I don't even know or care about, I would rather be comfortable and happy in my own, real, genuine skin.

Thursday, September 8, 2011


This week has been one of THOSE weeks.
The kind of week where everything is just a little bit off....nothing is quite right.
No, I haven't suffered any major catastrophes, but the little day-to-day annoyances pile up until I sit here, barely ten in the morning on Thursday, trying to convince myself not to crawl back under the covers and stay.
Petty frustrations and little disappointments fall into my hands as little rocks would, until suddenly I'm staggering under a boulder, asking for just a little bit of help while everyone passes by.

My hopes for this year are quickly crumbling into mediocre apathy. The hard work I've already put forth seems to be yielding miniscule, if not nonexistent, results, and the clear goals I set for myself this semester are getting fuzzier by the hour.

I find it very challenging not to feel bad and hurt when someone talks down to me.  Keeping a smile on my face when friendliness is met with apathy or even sarcasm is near to impossible. Practicing my trumpet every day when it hardly gets me anywhere worthwhile is incredibly difficult. I find it so difficult to be proud of my accomplishments when my mistakes and shortcomings are so much bigger. Progress is progress, you may say, but after a while I get tired of baby steps when I want leaps.

I know I sound whiny. I know my life is awesome and I shouldn't be complaining.
The unjust price I have to pay for CARING while others stand by and coast is the worst. Being known as the loud, mean squad leader in the Pride for actually wanting our forms and marching to look their best is definitely a blow to my confidence. Being held accountable for the responsibilities that should belong to the high school students I work with irritates and upsets me.
Where is the passion, excitement, or pride?

The weight of responsibility shouldn't fall upon my shoulders alone.

So if I seem angry, upset, or cranky, I am. Being nice has gotten me nowhere this week. I know it may not be right, or the "big girl thing to do," but I'm only human, too. I can only carry this boulder so far before I'll just drop it before it squishes me.

Hopefully next week will be better.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

for the jonathan livingston seagull, living inside us all

Press play, then close your eyes. Play it again and watch the video. Read the following after you've listened to the entire song.

Beautiful, isn't it? Even if you don't particularly like Neil Diamond, it's difficult for me to fathom that someone out there can NOT find this absolutely gorgeous.
Alex introduced me to the Jonathan Livingston Seagull soundtrack during one of those quiet, peaceful times, just simply sitting in the dark, enjoying the company of a loved one. It all really hit me at once, and I fell in love instantly.

As I begin another year at State, I find myself struggling again. Not as much as I used to struggle, but in the quiet moments, I find the darkness around the edges, that sadness that lurks just beyond the horizon, creeping in just a tiny bit towards me. Flashes of images, sudden rushes of sound, and twinges of emotions linked to long-repressed memories come to mind, and doubt follows immediately upon the heels of the memories.

I wonder a lot of things. I wonder if I'm a good person, and if I made the right decisions along my way.
In a little over two months, I will have lived for two entire years without Joey.

I feel like I've lived a thousand lives since that day. I've felt thousands of different things, and explained the situation thousands of different ways. It all amounts to the same thing, in the end.

I know not to compare myself to others....that grief, circumstances, relationships.....they're all different from person to person. I know that no fault was mine, though I remain living my life with twinges out doubt and guilt regardless.
Lately, I've been delving into these feelings, truly examining my thoughts and emotions, and I've realized that that guilt doesn't come from Joe's suicide directly.
My guilt comes from others who have suffered a it the loss of Joey or another loved one.

Knowing that these people still openly grieve months, even years, after a death makes me feel heartless, to be honest. I enjoy my life more now than I ever have before, in spite of the tragedy I experienced. Breaking up with Joe, regardless of his choice to take his own life, gave me freedom. That freedom granted me the ability to be who I was meant to be, and not just who he felt HE needed me to be. I can follow my heart, follow my dreams, and live a life that is more blessed than I ever could have imagined it could be.

I walked away and was blessed. I left him behind.
Is it my fault?

He took away my chance at normality when he took his life, and I can do nothing to change that. The scar he left by making that choice will stay with me until the day I die. However, I wear it as an internal scar...a quiet, subtle crack in an otherwise increasingly steady foundation.

Yet, as much as I am ever thankful that I am the healthy, happy, thriving twenty-year-old I am today, I feel as if I owe something to someone. While I am loved by more people than I can count, am cared for by the most amazing man I've ever met, and supported by a family I wouldn't change for anything, I feel a sense of discontent.

I've identified this discontent as guilt. I feel guilty because I am happy, in spite of the circumstances, while others continue to mourn his loss.

Then, I heard of Jonathan Livingston Seagull, and it reminded me of my own outlook on the entire situation. It reminded me exactly why I picked myself up and carried on, healthy, happy, and full of a life that I am completely blessed to have been given.

"Does my life end here?
I wasn't born to drown in the ocean.
I can die here, or I can force myself to fly.

It's in me.
It's in me!
I've got to get back home.

At last, I can stop thinking, for once in my life.
Just stop thinking
and fly towards the lights in the dark!"

He may not be alive anymore, but I am.

I AM, and I plan to live while I'm alive.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

even if you miss....

"'ll land among the stars."

I don't remember exactly whose quote that was, but I'm pretty sure it was Ralph Waldo Emerson.
"Shoot for the moon. Even if you miss, you'll land among the stars."

Most everyone I've spoken to, with my family members and Alex being exempt, have told me that I'm nuts for quitting my job at Walmart. I guess from their points of view, quitting a long-term, regular job seems crazy to go to a temporary, low-paying job, with no guarantee of any kind of regular income.

I've been worrying about money almost constantly since I quit. It's difficult to keep my eyes on the moon, or the stars, or any celestial body for that matter, when there are bills and things to pay for down here on Earth.
I know I shouldn't worry so much. I have more than a lot of people, and with two paychecks coming in over the next seven days, and my student loans dropping in before school, I shouldn't struggle too much for the next few months, but the nagging worry that I don't have a steady income waiting for me at the end of this marching season is always there.

I know why I took this job. The experiences I'm getting right now will be phenomenal later on, both on a resume and in my "teaching arsenal." I'm learning skills in discipline, leadership, and so much more during these weeks, more than I would ever learn from an hourly position anywhere, and I'm working with the age group I will be certified to teach, in a school setting.
I'm shooting for the moon; looking ahead; equipping myself. Teacher certification, student teaching, and graduation seem so far away, but in reality, I only have three semesters left on campus.

Being aware of how close the "future" is doesn't help the here and now worries, however. As happy as I am for this opportunity, and ever-grateful for the gifts I've been given this summer from Mr. Coull, Mr. Stary, the band members, and my family and friends, it's still hard to shake the anxiety and fear of the unknown.

I've always been scared to take risks like this. I've been terrified to go out of my comfort zone and take chances. It's why I didn't take the opportunity to go to Ireland with my peers this summer - something I will always regret. I was worried about money, thinking I needed to work those three if that made a difference at all. I spend my time constantly looking backwards, scrutinizing my choices, and lamenting that I made the wrong ones....often erring on the side of caution.

I know that money will be tight, now. I know that finding another job will be difficult, and may not happen. However, I also know that when I look back on this season six months from now, a year from now, or five years from now, I will not regret my choice. I know that this experience is giving me so much more than a paycheck. After is much more than a paycheck. I'm not teaching because of the glamor, or because it will get me lots of money and fame.
I'm teaching because it's what I am meant to do, and it's what I want to do. I'm much happier now that I ever would have been working at the store, money worries and all. My restlessness is completely gone, and I finally feel like I'm doing something meaningful.

I think that's worth ten thousand paychecks.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

eyes: with pride!

So, this past week...ridiculous.
Ask and ye shall receive. I spent most of my summer wishing I was doing something other than Walmart. Anything different, unique, or interesting would work. Right after I had a huge breakdown and spent every evening on the phone with my mother, I got an offer to work with the Brookings High School Marching Band.

We are done with the first week of drill camp. It has definitely been a week of good and bad emotions, constant stress and disorder, and I absolutely love it. I had doubts about leaving Walmart, taking a tremendous pay cut, and jumping into a world of no guarantees, but I am one hundred percent certain this was the right choice.

I am so new to the world of competitive marching. These kids put forth a tremendous effort, and as much as we yell at them when they make mistakes, I spend most of my time in complete awe of what they can do. In just three days, the band learned a third of their field show, and the music rehearsals are absolutely phenomenal.
It's been a growing experience for me, too. The looks of fear and anxiety on the faces of the Freshman is often echoed on my face, as I struggle to set an entire side of the field in less than a minute, or drop and do ten push-ups numerous times for messing up commands during fundie block. The best feeling in the world is standing in front of the band, giving a command, and watching a group of teenagers turn into a cohesive, organized marching band before my eyes. As they grow, I grow, too. A small victory leaves me grinning and jumping around on the sidelines, punching the air in triumph. Turning a mess of confused kids into an award-winning band is something I am honored to do....and I KNOW I'm working with winners.

I know that I'm overly enthusiastic about marching band. It was a personal passion for me, since I joined the Pride, and even though many who participate in it dislike the band, or consider it a joke, marching becomes my life, and I love it (and sometimes love to hate it.) Working with the high school band, on top of marching for the Pride, gives me such a sense of accomplishment, and, well, pride. Through all the frustration, anxiety, anger, and disappointment, when a set finally clicks, a piece comes together, or a show springs to life, any accomplishment reminds me time and time again that it's all worth it.

The friendships I've made over the past week have already changed my life. People I didn't know this time last week have now become people I share every day with, and I already care about them more than I thought I ever would. Coworkers became friends, and students became family. Thinking about it, marching band in general, be it the Pride or the Bobcats, has given me more than I ever could have hoped for. It gave me important, lasting relationships, timeless memories, and unforgettable moments and feelings. It gave me the confidence to become the person I was meant to be, and without it, I would still be stuck.

A far-fetched dream of mine is to introduce marching into the Glencoe-Silver Lake School District. Everyone I've spoken to has been less than enthused, and I know it's a long shot. Marching band is expensive, and with cuts already made in the music department, adding another program would be asking a lot. This is an experience, however, that kids from GSL are missing out on, and it's a shame. How sad is it that Glencoe has a marching competition during the Glencoe Days Parade that its own students can't participate in? Interest in the arts has rapidly decreased, and I was just in time to hit high school and watch it collapse. Marching band incorporates musicianship, competition, and athletics, and may be what the district needs to save a dying program. I would even be willing to spend a summer back home, helping to build a program and introduce students and parents to marching.

This is probably a long-shot, and I don't even know if I can find a way to get this ball rolling, but I can't help but wonder if a program with the cohesion of a marching band drill would have given me more meaningful, lasting relationships in high school, and would have made those four years less of a hell.
One of the most outstanding moments in my life remains the minutes leading up to my first performance with the Pride. After seven years of being made fun of for my passion for instrumental music, forgoing sports in an athletic-heavy school district in favor of my trumpet, I was used to being mocked and unappreciated at sporting events, being considered "uncool" and "nerdy." Hearing the cheers and yells from the crowd of students when the Pride took the field, I immediately felt the familiar heat rushing back into my I was again, being judged poorly for something I was proud to be doing. As I leaned over and expressed my fear to one of the upperclassmen, he looked back at me and said, "No, Sam. They love the Pride here. They mean it." I will never forget the feeling I got as I stood in front of the huge stands, under the bright lights, hearing genuine cheering, as I realized I wasn't being judged, but ENCOURAGED.

I think every single student that picks up an instrument and genuinely loves playing should be encouraged, not judged. Perhaps people who look down on "band geeks" haven't actually noticed or appreciated how much technicality, talent, and perseverance it takes to play an instrument well. As hard as others train in athletics, musicians work hard to do what they love as well. Kids shouldn't be ashamed to be in band. I know that GSL has a sweet spot for its football program. Perhaps adding in another element to that program, a competitive marching band, that exhibits its field show at halftimes, would inspire interest and appreciation for a group of kids that has never felt what it's like to BE appreciated by the community. Music programs aren't just another set of numbers on a budget. Just like football, band has a face. It has many faces. Those faces are just as important as the face of an athlete, and should not be considered to hold any less value.

Alex told me of a sound-off of sorts that he used to do with the DC Marching Chargers, that ended with a drum major yelling "EYES!" and the band would respond "WITH PRIDE!"

I'd like to see pride in the eyes of the GSL band members, instead of shame, defeat, or disinterest. If anyone from GSL, student, alumni, or parent happens to read this, and would like to support me in this and help find a way to get this ball rolling, please contact me.

Friday, July 29, 2011

rain pours.

"Be careful what you set your heart on, for it will surely become yours." - Ralph Waldo Emerson

Out of my funk....and in a hurry, too.

Several life-changing events have happened over the past few days. Not life-changing to the point of completely altering my entire existence, but drastic enough to completely turn my plans upside-down.

I learned two nights ago that my grandma Pattie passed away. She and her husband, Bud, are not my biological grandparents, but I've known them for as long as I can remember, and they have been even more supportive than my own grandparents at times. Bud was a coworker of my dad's when we lived in the Fort Worth, Texas area. As small as I was (we moved to Minnesota when I was five), I remember vividly weekend afternoons spent at their house, picking flowers in their beautiful backyard, coloring in the books under the coffee table, admiring Pattie's ornamental prism collection hanging in the window, and chasing Maude the cat (who hated me.) I haven't seen them since my last visit to Fort Worth...over ten years ago. Even so, without fail, I would receive a card every Christmas and birthday, and a phone call every few months. Though I didn't see Bud and Pattie, I can clearly recognize their voices, and can still hear them calling me "Sweetheart."
Calling Bud that night was one of the hardest things I've ever done. Whenever we spoke on the phone, they would each be on a separate phone so they could talk to me at the same time. It seemed so empty without Pattie's happy, subtle drawl. Though I don't get to see them, my life feels empty and hollow without her.

Next week Thursday, my family and I (Charlie included!) are going to Fort Worth for a few days, to see Bud, and probably my Uncle Lewis. Though it's under such awful circumstances, it's been a very long time since I've seen my old home, and I'm looking forward to seeing my family.

On top of losing my grandma, I was offered and accepted a position as a marching band/percussion technician at Brookings High School. Basically, I will have charge over a section of the band, helping learn drills. Starting on the eighth of August, I will drop to part-time at Walmart, and spend the majority of my weekdays at the high school, helping with band camp. I am really excited about this opportunity, since we didn't have a marching band at GSL, and it will be awesome to get to experience high school marching season, even if I'm not in uniform. On top of Jacks games with the Pride on Saturdays, I get to spend Friday nights at Coughlin-Alumni with the Bobcats, plus competitions and parades. I love everything about marching season, so I'm excited beyond belief that my season gets to start a whole month early.

I suppose this is what happens when a person complains about a stagnant lifestyle. It's been a crazy few days of emotional confusion, but everything has a reason.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

books 'n bitchin'

Lately I've been inhabiting funk town. I try as hard as I can not to feel sorry for myself, but this summer has been nothing at all like I expected it to be. Perhaps it's because I've worked so much this month, or maybe it's just seeing pictures and updates from all of my friends who spend time in fantastic places....but I am so discontent.

It had me thinking about my plans in life....before Joey....before everything. Back when I was in junior high, and even in middle school, I had dreams and aspirations to do big, great things. I was going to attend the University of Florida, be a music major, and live in a big city. I wouldn't settle for anything but amazing grades, achieve everything I set my mind on, and become a brilliant piano player.

Looking at my life now, I've really a way, I failed myself. I'm at school in South Dakota, in a town a little bigger than Hutchinson. I changed my major from nursing (a sudden, drastic change during my junior year of high school) to English, and I'm finally feeling comfortable with my major...after messing up my GPA and wasting a year of college. I stopped taking piano, and even though I still play, my skill level has dropped significantly. Though I love my trumpet, and taking lessons has been amazing, I still feel like a stranger, like my real connection is at the keys. I hope I can take lessons next spring...and hopefully I haven't lost my talent for good.
Life really changed, and times like this make me slightly disappointed with myself.

Why did I let a high school relationship change my plans? At the time, I was so convinced I was doing what I wanted...and it certainly has given me lasting, true relationships and countless unforgettable memories....but looking at the big picture, I'm lucky I even went to college. That's not who I am. I only applied for two schools, neither of them the schools I dreamed of going to. I was convinced I wasn't good enough, that the fastest and quickest way to make a lot of money was the best choice.
It's hard not to blame everything on Joey, and continue to harbor bad feelings towards him.

Three years later, after ending that relationship and getting past that big pitfall in my life, I am fully aware of my mistakes and disillusion. I want more from life, but I feel stuck trying to get over the mistakes I made years ago. I chose South Dakota, and I do love my school. I just hate knowing that my dreams were bigger than the reality I chose.

I'm hoping that once school starts, this funk will go away.

Today was really a good day for me; a breath of fresh air. Alex took me to Sioux Falls to eat lunch with his brother, Nate, and hang out. Nathan bought us Chinese at our favorite restaurant, and then Alex and I went to the mall to chill out until the drizzle stopped. We stopped by Barnes & Noble, and he got Don Quixote, while I found The Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar Wilde. Since becoming a major, I have really enjoyed discovering Wilde. I had seen a play of his, condensed to one act (The Importance of Being Earnest) and really hated it, but after reading the play in its entirety (and seeing a film featuring the gorgeous Colin Firth), I fell in love with Wilde's writing. It's all in delivery, and the high school actors in that particular ....rendition.... didn't do it justice at all. I'm excited to read this piece - a novel, not a play! - that is, after I finish The Count of Monte Cristo.
I tried to convince myself to buy some Austen, but I just couldn't. I feel compelled to, since everyone else in my Brit Lit classes sing her praises constantly, but I can't get interested in her plot lines yet. Alex is going to have me watch Pride and Prejudice....thinking maybe Colin Firth will once again change my mind about another classic writer. I'm loving The Count so far, and it's taking all the self-control I can muster to not start reading Dorian Gray.

Does anybody out there (hellooooo?) own a Kindle or a Nook? I've been thinking of saving up some money and getting one. I'm leaning towards a Kindle, since I use Amazon quite a bit, and don't want to be limited to Barnes & Noble. I'm not sure if I'll like reading off the screen. I was playing with the Nook Color today, and liked it much better than the originals, which are in black and white. I have a feeling getting books this way would be cheaper in the long run, but I still have some reservations about it. There is just something about holding a physical book that I love, and seeing books on shelves. Another plus for the Kindle, however, is that I can download sheet music, and turn pages with a flick of a finger. Since I accompany occasionally, it would be awesome if I could carry my music on a Kindle, and not need a page turner.
Let me know, on here or Facebook, your thoughts!

Sioux Falls - Big Sioux River 7/27/2011

Friday, July 15, 2011


I've been having some existential, quarter-life crisis issues lately.
I really don't like my job. I do my best, put forth all the effort I can, but it just doesn't make me happy.
Friends are having adventures, right and left, and I'm stuck in Walmart 1538, moving features and mixing paint. I wear the same three pair of khakis and four navy blue shirts about three quarters of the time I spend awake.

I keep telling myself that I have all these opportunities. If I wanted to, I could go do something amazing.
Reality is, I can't.
I'm stuck in a vicious cycle of earning and spending money, just to keep my apartment and go to school.
I have to pass up opportunity after opportunity.

I feel like I work more than I do anything else...but it doesn't get me anywhere. I spend breaks, holidays, and my entire summer in the store.

I wish I could be overseas, doing study abroad, or taking summer classes. I wish I could be on vacation, lying on a beach somewhere, or touring a big city. I wish I could be learning...exploring...growing. I'm young. I have two years left of my undergrad.

I know I'm lucky. I try to tell myself that a home, food, clothing, and a little bit extra is much more than most have...but I still feel like my life could me so much more than living by the timeclock.

Perhaps I just have to be patient. Maybe my adventures are still to come.

In the meantime, I'll be under the fluorescent lights.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

girl like that.

I got a pedicure today with one of my best friends in the world.
We went shopping, tried on perfume, and I splurged on some new dressy shirts.
Sometimes, it's fun to dress up, even if you have nowhere to go.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

puppy dog eyes.

One of my best friends recently got a new puppy. Her name is Daisy, and she's a loving, adorable dog. She's very affectionate and friendly...but she's also crazy. She has a kind of wild excitement about her that only goes away when she's fast asleep.
I often go along with Scott when he walks her, sometimes even taking the "reigns" and holding her leash. She, like my baby boy Charlie at home, will pull on the leash, straining herself against the collar around her neck until she is out of breath, gasping for air, nearly choking herself. She never lets up, but by the end of the walk, she attempts to stop at every nasty, stagnant puddle along the way to get a much-needed drink. We hope eventually she'll associate her pulling on the leash as the cause for her exhaustion and dehydration, but as of yet, she continues to pull as hard as she can, attempting to go forward as fast as she can, a wild excitement her motivation.

It's really easy to look at Daisy and think, "Wow. She is really stupid. If she had any brain at all, she would quit blocking her airway and just slow up a little bit."

Not that I'm comparing myself to a few labrador retreivers....okay. Yes I am. I am no different than that over-enthusiastic creature, pulling on the leash and collar around my own neck. I know that if I would just slow down and stop pulling I wouldn't have the problems that I do, yet my nature is to forge ahead, barrel through everything as if life were a race. There is so much I want, so much I want to do and see, that all I notice is what's in front, the things ahead of me. I can't look around what's happening right now.

Daisy is very affectionate. She is rarely aggressive toward people, and will jump up and lick whomever she encounters with a wild abandon. She loves being around people, especially the people that take care of her on a daily basis. She will crawl up and over Scott's and Alex's necks, nestling in to sniff and lick their ears and face lovingly. She will interrupt a person, whether they are exercising, folding laundry, cooking, or just playing a video game, and beg for attention and a scratch behind the ears. Often, however, she is simply content with chewing away at a rawhide bone or pouncing on one of her favorite toys while we all watch a movie or talk together in the living room. If she is left outside on her own, she will whine and bark until she is either accompanied, or realizes that she's stuck out there for a while. She will mull around the yard, vaguely sniffing here and there, but always keeping an eye and ears on the door.

I can't help but compare myself to the six-month-old puppy, now, as I sit on the couch in my apartment, alone, not in the best of moods, surly and discontent. Most of the time, I love company. Often, I'm very particular about who I want to share that company with, but I enjoy a companion most of the time. Usually, that companion is Alex, naturally. Alex's personality is not that of a six-month-old puppy. Perhaps it's just because he likes them so much, but I see Alex's animal likeness as a turtle. A turtle who enjoys some attention, but is best when left alone to bask on its own, doing as it pleases in its own time, independent to a point.

I chomp at the bit all the time, running forward, dragging others along behind me, namely Alex, as I try to get to whatever it is I want. What I see and what I want is always changing, and every time something new comes along I fly towards it with a wild abandon, choking and stumbling when those around me aren't quite keeping up pace.
I jump up and shower him with affection, and when I'm pushed down and away I feel hurt. When I'm left alone, like now, cranky and whiny, I can do nothing but check my phone, like the dog staring at the door, both ears raised hopefully, eyes big and sad.

I can't help but be hurt. I know it's not meant to cause harm, or to make me feel bad. I mean, when was the last time you've seen a turtle get all emotional because it was left alone for a few hours? Yeah, never. It would be joyfully swimming around its pond, nibbling on some greens, or basking in the rays of the sun. It doesn't hate company, nor does it dislike is just self-sufficient and happy on its own.

It's like I have to train myself. I know that pulling on the leash is hurting me, and I know that being left alone doesn't mean abandonment, or that I'm not cared for. Regardless of intentions and reasons, I can't help what I feel. I can't help but be upset, waiting with my ears and eyes for the call that says I'm wanted, needed, appreciated.

This is just how my life is. Running, running, running. I know I should slow down. I know that if I stop expecting to reach that unknown goal, I will breathe more easily and will enjoy myself more. I know I won't constantly have to stop and make-do with little puddles of happiness and fulfillment.

I should stop wanting things that I don't have, and start being happy with the things that I do. Nothing will ever be perfect, but I have what I need, and that is comfort enough.


Thursday, June 23, 2011

Friday, June 17, 2011

An open letter...

to any consumer of a retail store:

I'd like to bring a few things to your, the shopper of any retail department store, attention. These "items of business," per-say, are things that most decent human beings are taught, along with common sense, at a very young age. However, whenever you walk into the big sliding doors of your nearest supercenter, your intelligence level seems to drop swiftly and steeply, leaving me, the corporate slave, to deal with your stupidity and utter lack of cognitive function. I have not yet figured out why this happens, but I think it may be witch magic....witch magic employed by the owners of the company to get you to lose your common sense and buy more cheap, plastic shit.

Have you ever asked yourself why it is that people who work in retail are often crabby, unresponsive, or rude? Some are just dicks. For every few people, there are sure to be one or two dicks among them. For the rest of us, however, the associates, cashiers, or workers of the store you are gracing with your patronage may simply be a mirror of yourself. Let me give you a few scenarios, cases-in-point, and general observations of a not-new-but-not-yet-numbed sales associate.

1. If I have taken the time to scan an empty shelf facing of the product you want, check if we have a backroom count, and we do not have any more of that particular item in the store, I will say it once again: WE DO NOT HAVE ANY MORE OF THAT ITEM IN THE STORE. Staring at me blankly, or whining to me about how we don't have it is NOT the correct response to this occurrence. I do not have the capability to pull your queen-sized pillow top out of my ass, and I'm sure you probably wouldn't even want an ass-pillow top.

2. If you are looking for something in particular, and know what department or general area of the store it would be found in, actually go into the department and look for it. Do not just walk up to a random employee and ask them where it is. More than likely, it's two aisles down from where you were just standing, and you've probably wasted your own time, and the time of the employee. You probably also look like an idiot that can't see the obvious aisle marked "vacuums" when looking for just that.

3. If you are looking for a seasonal item, say, egg dye for Easter, the day before a holiday, and the store is out of that product, do not ask us when our next shipment will be. Use your brain. Would we REALLY place an order of egg dye the DAY BEFORE EASTER? See item #1 for how NOT to react to the store being out of said egg dye. Also...when I suggest you use food coloring and glitter, do not glare at me, yell, or stare at me like I'm from space. Why you would want to spend money on an overpriced box of FOOD COLORING AND GLITTER, specially packaged for Easter, and act like the suggestion I gave you is completely nuts, I cannot fathom. Please seek help.

4. If you are the kind of person to stop and chit-chat in the middle of one of the high-traffic aisles of the store, and not move for twenty minutes, I hate you. I also hate people who rummage through purses, buckle children into carts, etc, right in front of the damn doors. What is wrong with you?

5. This one goes out specifically to the old guy who gave me a hard time the other day at a register. It's really cool if you have exact change, so I only have to give you paper money. It is NOT REALLY COOL when you give me partial change. What the fuck? To add to it, when you yell at me for not counting out your ridiculous change correctly because you've caused my brain to self-destruct with your stupidity, calling ME an idiot (literally), I really just want to throw all of your million lures you've dug through the clearance boxes for a half hour for in your face. Another thing, when I close the till at the end of this unfathomably ridiculous transaction, and hand you your receipt, you handing me four quarters and asking for a dollar has taken you over the limit of idiocy, now borderline crazy. I didn't think you could outdo yourself, sir, but somehow you did. As I wait for a supervisor to override my register so I can open the till, you freak out about how I CANNOT OPEN THE DAMN REGISTER WITHOUT A TRANSACTION. No shit. Do you seriously think that any schmoe can just walk up and open the till? Are you seriously that thick?

6. Also, girl from yesterday who paid for four dollars and some odd change worth of merchandise in all change? I hate you, too.

7. I am so onto you, consumer who uses three-quarters of a gallon of paint and then returns it with the complaint the paint is "too runny." The return policy on paint is stupid, and one day your tricks will get you naught.

8. If you are attempting to return an item from over two years ago, you are stupid. Repeating the phrase "It says Walmart on the vase! It says Walmart right on the vase!" six billion times will not magically make that item available in our stores anymore. It is worth a whopping one dollar and fifty cents. Why you still have the receipt for this item blows my mind. Go find a hobby. Seriously.

9. Presenting me with the used belt from your vacuum will not help me find you the correct replacement. The "numbers printed on it!" is the serial number, which does absolutely nothing for you. The fact that you don't even know what brand your vacuum is really doesn't do much for you, either. Again, see #2 for the way NOT to respond to my ignorance of the exact width and length of every brand and model of vacuum cleaners we carry. This also applies to lightbulbs.

10. Don't you dare swear at me. It pisses me off, and I want to slap you.

11. If the store is undergoing remodel or if departments or sections are being moved around, and you can't find something, do not take out your anger and frustration on the nearest employee. That person has probably had that exact thing happen repeatedly throughout the course of his or her shift, and they cannot tell you to shove it up your ass, for fear of losing his or her low-paying, mule-labor job. It is not that employee's fault the store has changed. Asking him or her politely to help you find it would probably be a lot more beneficial to you, and less demeaning to the employee.

12. If you are a creepy old guy, don't hit on any female in the store, especially not those employed by the store. Actually, don't hit on any female, ever, unless she is equally as old and as creepy as you.

13. If the store does not carry the particular item you are looking for, and I suggest you try a neighboring store or a competitor, I am genuinely trying to help you find what you need, and showing a real concern for you. Snapping back at me, or whining, that you do not want to go to ANOTHER store just makes you sound like a lazy two-year-old. Grow up. If you really wanted or needed that item, you would go to that store. If not, I am done trying to help you.

14. You only need to ring the bell for service once. Maybe twice if you've been waiting for a while. It is not necessary to repeatedly smack the bell from the time you reach the desk until someone comes running to your aid to please, please stop the infernal ringing, for the love of God.

15. "That one thing I'm thinking know....that one thing...." is not a good description of the product I'm supposed to help you find. Try again.

Please keep in mind, my dear customer, that most of the time the employee's attitude directly reflects how you are treating them. I, for example, always greet a customer with a smile, asking politely and eagerly if they need help with anything. If you walk away from me believing I am the biggest bitch on the planet, chances are YOU are the biggest bitch on the planet. I respect the fact that not finding things, stressful days, kids, a family, work, and other factors may make you on edge and impatient, but you must realize that the person you are aggravating over the store's lack of "strike-anywhere matches" is just that...a person. Use common sense and courtesy, and I will help you with nearly anything and everything you need to have a good shopping experience. If you are upset with me because I have refused to help you, been rude, ignored you, or said something uncalled for, you have every right to be angry and dissatisfied with the service you received.

If your complaint is out of my control, however, it is not appropriate to unleash a torrent of rage over our lack of Christmas lights in the middle of June. Buy a calendar, they are over in the stationery department.

Have a nice day!

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

car stereo remedy

I needed some new music, DESPERATELY, to have playing in my car for my drive to and from work. Although it's only about a five minute drive, I'm spending quite a bit more time in my car lately, and the radio just wasn't cutting it.

I went on and did a little splurging. I invested in "The Way It Was" by Parachute, and "Sigh No More" by Mumford & Sons, and also a few random songs I've been hankering for lately.

I've compiled my first mix CD of the summer, and I am excited to cycle through it a few hundred times, before I get bored and get back on Amazon for some more.
If anybody is reading this blog (Hello? Yoo-hoo!?), please leave your musical suggestions, either here, or some other way. I'm open to just about anything. From the following playlist, you can kind of get a feel for my tastes, but the extent of my musical inclinations is just about as vast as it goes. Lay it on me, and I'll let you know how I like it!

Sunday, June 12, 2011

keep my head from goin' down.

"Something To Believe In" - Parachute
I heard this song for the first time today on radio, driving home from work. I fell in love as soon as it hit the first chorus. Right up my alley, bluesy-gospel, heavy piano power chords... 
Not only is this song musically beautiful, it also has a great message. It kind of puts into a few minutes how I've felt for the past few years.
For two and a half years, I had to provide all hope, motivation, and inspiration for someone who claimed he had none of his own. He claimed depression took away everything he had, which left him sucking me dry.
After a while, depression was his crutch. He no longer even attempted to find motivation or dreams of his own...he simply expected to find these things from external sources, be it his medication, other people, or me.

He knew that he couldn't live that way. There is only so much you can take from others... attempting to fill one self up with purely external energy is not enough to sustain a person. He gave up when I left. Instead of accepting that he had to find his own reasons, he continued to expect his reasons to come from other people. He had spent so long believing that only things outside of himself would make him happy, he believed it.

I've suffered from depression most of my life. I was not diagnosed until I displayed classic major depressive symptoms after he died, but I had a form of depression, that manifests in high anxiety, since elementary school, possibly even before. 
The difference between he and I, however, is I was never taught that my problems were anything special. Since I was not diagnosed, we never knew it was a "real" issue, but my parents dealt with my anxiety in an understanding but passive way. My symptoms were seen as things I have some level of control over. To an extent, I couldn't control them. I would get anxious or have a panic attack whether I wanted to or not. What I could control, however, was my reaction to it, and subsequent actions. I was taught that I could overcome any obstacle, all it took was self-control and motivation from inside myself.
I was taught it was NEVER okay to use anxiety, depression, or my panic attacks as an excuse for a failure.
I thank my parents every single day for not coddling me, and for teaching me to be responsible for my own actions, and through those actions, my own happiness. 

He believed that the pills he was on were the answer to everything. They would make him happy.
He claimed that no medication ever worked on him. I refuse to believe that. I think that he didn't understand how they worked. He didn't need higher dosages, he didn't have an incurable disease. He was sick, yes, very sick. His cure, however, was not chemicals alone. The chemicals would give him the ability to choose for himself his reaction to life, and the obstacles we all face. 
He never took any normal life situation very well. Everything was amplified, over-dramatic, and traumatic. He felt his situation was a curse. It wasn't fair, and he was given an unfair shake at life.
He didn't see how good he had it.

I believe that my medication allows me to have the ability to choose to be happy. I have to do that myself. I choose to love my life, and all that I'm given.

Depression is real. Mental illnesses are real. They are not a choice. They are a problem. They need answers, solutions, cures. However, I believe a lot of a person's experience dealing with an illness of this nature is not about drugs, anatomy, or unstoppable forces. The experience is how hard that person is willing to work, to fight, to push through. 
You wake up every morning looking for your answer; waiting for your sign...
Well Jeremiah's on his way to tell the people, but you watch him pass you by.
You walk the streets at night, still looking for your reason, but you don't wanna try.
You swear the world has got you backed into a corner, but no one holds your hand to walk into a fight.
You swear the light is gonna find you, but it can't find you when you're waiting all the time.

...sometimes its hard to keep on living, but you're the one who's got to know just when it's right.
No one gets to where they want to be by wishing. 
Don't expect others to give you your happiness. You make your own happiness. If you are content to happy with yourself, and can be satisfied on your own, only then can you truly accept another person to share in that happiness, and give back to them as much as you take from them. If you hold no respect and love for yourself, you cannot give love back to anyone in the way they deserve. You will take, and take, and take, and never give back. You will not make them happy, as much as you want to....and you will not be happy, either. 

This I promise you.

Don't wait for life to come to you. Run out and meet it, or you'll miss it.

I stumbled upon a girl who posted a picture of herself, not made up, just in her every day clothing, hair, makeup, whatever. I feel like a lot of my pictures of myself are fakey. They are me, but most of the time I pick and choose which pictures I post.
Here is me today, after work, with runny makeup and frizzy hair. This is STILL better than I look about 95% of the time. One day, I will be proud of who I am all of the time, but for now, here is my less-than-perfect self. I am trying very hard to be less self-conscious and self-obsessed, and try to just be happy with what I was given and who I am. 
After all, I think that other girls are much prettier with less makeup and work, in their more natural states...the same is probably true of me, even if I can't see it.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

big girl pants.

I got a text message from a band friend and TBS sister yesterday. It was a picture of her left hand, and her ring finger was sporting an impressive (and very beautiful) diamond engagement ring. I sent back an excited text and sat at my desk smiling like an idiot for a few minutes.
Then, my smile faded as I counted back the years between her age and mine.

Two years, maybe less.
The scary thing is that Alex IS her age.

I have been engaged previously, for two years, from when I was sixteen until I was eighteen. I wore a ring with two tiny diamonds for the majority of those two years on my left-hand ring finger. We were too young for it to feel real, though. It was always a far-off idea, something we wanted (or thought we wanted) but couldn't hope to attain for a long period of time. I didn't plan much of anything, even in my head, and a friend and I perused a wedding dress boutique for about twenty minutes one day. That was it. Marriage was an abstract idea, and I had a difficult time imagining it. In my head, it was never really "real." I won't deny what it was, or say that wasn't the ultimate goal, but marrying Joe was never something that I fully grasped, understood, or could envision completely.

Thinking about marriage, engagement, and pretty much being an adult in general is kind of a foreign concept to me, as much "experience" as I claim to have in that situation. I mean, I still whine about having to do the dishes after dinner when I go home, and I proudly display my crayons and coloring books in the living room of my apartment.  I have a job and pay bills, but that's about the extent of my maturity.

People my age, and even younger, are wearing big diamond rings, having babies, planning weddings, moving in with spouses or even significant others, buying homes, graduating, and doing all kinds of big-person things. I can't even imagine myself being a mother, as much as I love kids. Right now, I will babysit them, not reproduce them, thanks very much. The idea of me planning a wedding is something I can imagine doing...but actually becoming a "Mrs." is a little bit different. Weddings are fun, and I like them. It's what comes AFTER that day that is still a bit murky to me.

Perhaps in the two years between me and graduation, I will grow. Maybe those two years are a big step in life, and I just have to wait for my personality to evolve around my age. There is a huge difference between a newborn and a two-year-old, and although my physical appearance won't change much (in all probability), perhaps I will mature in a different way. Two years can make a big difference.

It's not like I really want to lose the part of myself that likes coloring books and playing in the park. I never want to be old and serious. Just old and wise. Not an intellectual "wise," per-say,  but a more appreciative, caring, and understanding "wise." I want to be able to fully understand and appreciate the gifts I've been given, through other people, and through myself.

I'm not going to go through the next two years staring at my left-hand ring finger. It's fun to dream, and imagine, and hope. It's good to have plans, to an extent. However, if there is one thing I've learned from my life so far, it's that life is unpredictable. Life always changes. So far, it's been exceeding everything I could have hoped for, and reality is turning out to be bigger and better than the plans I had made for myself. Why would I confine myself now?
I'm definitely not going to expect that in two years I will be ready to drop the "Bass." I may find that I'm ready next week.....or in five or ten years. I don't know... and the great thing about my relationship with Alex is that we usually move through things at about the same pace....usually. I am so content with where we are right now...having fun and enjoying one day at a time. I don't think I've ever laughed so much. Who knows? Maybe I won't end up marrying Alex at all. Maybe one day we will find that it's not what we want out of life. And who is saying I will ever get married at all, to anyone? I feel very strongly that at this point I'd like to be a wife and mom, but as I grow, I may change. That's the beauty about life's unpredictability: it's literally impossible to know EXACTLY what will happen down the road.

I don't know about you, but I really, REALLY like surprises, anyway.

I am not saying I'm not CRAZY ECSTATIC for my friends who have become moms, or are planning weddings.  I love partying at weddings, and holding new babies, and buying shower gifts and being excited. I'm just not ready to be getting excited about myself, in that way.

I'm just excited to be actually graduating on time.

And here is a picture of trees that I took on campus day before last:

Tuesday, June 7, 2011


I put a picture of him in my room.
It's just a tiny wallet-sized senior photo from like four years ago. I found it in my own wallet while I was digging through all the crap in it to find my insurance card. For some reason, I have a hard time throwing away useless things like old receipts and expired promotional cards. That little voice in the back of my head goes, "As soon as you throw it away, you'll need it!" Yeah, okay. Maybe if I need some kindling when I become a hobo or something.


The picture was shoved between some old receipts from restaurants in the Black Hills and a punch card for a free drink at Java City. I had been tacking pictures of friends and family to my bulletin board, so I figured it wouldn't hurt if I tucked him in between them, since I wouldn't ever throw it away. How could I, when I still keep $2.76 receipts? I stuck the tack through the top of the picture, just missing the top of his hair, and went about my day.

Later, as I was packing up my phone and purse to go to band rehearsal, my eyes wandered for a second over to my bulletin board, full of friends and people I love. They scanned each face, happily, until coming to rest on his face. I stepped closer to examine it, nose almost touching the picture.

The picture was old, even two years ago. He was only seventeen in the picture; three years before he died. His face was much thinner, and his hair longer. A neat black button-down shirt just barely blended into the background, and his hands rested on his legs, one on each thigh, the way photographers make you place them to look "natural." I looked at the hands for a while.

I used to think that his senior pictures were the best thing ever. Any picture of him was great. I know I at least cared for him, if not loved him, while we were together. If I didn't, it wouldn't have been two and a half years. Yet, as I looked at the face, the hands, and the hair, I realized I don't see very much in him at all anymore.

I know that I have moved least enough to stop obsessing over what happened and why, and continue on with the life I deserve.

I can also tell that I'm getting farther and farther away from him, and that dark place. It's getting more and more difficult to write about it. I still want to write my book, and maybe get it published, but I just can't seem to find the inspiration or the right state of mind to properly describe and analyze my feelings and experiences. Most of the time, I'd rather go watch movies with the guys, hang out with Alex, or talk to my friends. I can feel that old part of myself slipping away more quickly than it has before.
I know this is a good thing, and that it needs to happen.

I just don't want to get too "used" to having it easy. I don't want to take people and situations for granted. I could tell it was starting to happen with Alex, and I almost lost him.

Assuming things will always be fine, or that someone will stick around for you, no matter what, is not a good thing to do. You can trust them and be comfortable with them, but do not assume you know them or know how they will react. People change, feelings change, and situations change. The only thing you can do is care about them, and always try to do what's right. Apologize when you hurt someone. Tell them that you care about them when you think they should know....and even when they don't. Even better, SHOW them that you care about them. Often, actions are more convincing than words, and are more appreciated. Do things that aren't necessarily fun, but will make life easier for someone else. Don't expect - ASK.

That picture made me have another dream. No matter how good I feel, I don't think those will ever stop.

This turned into another serious, existential rant, didn't it?
Eventually, at some point, I'll be able to get the humor back into my writing.
Oh, well. Lo siento.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

can i help you find something?

I'm tired. It's muggy in here, and as nice as the breeze is outside, it only gets about halfway into my room until it stops. My left leg is comfortable, and my right leg is all blotchy and red. I know I have an A/C unit in my room, but I hate running it at night. We only have a single unit in the entire apartment, and for some reason, they decided one of the bedrooms was the best place to put it.
I feel really guilty when I run the A/C at night, because I can't go to bed with the door open, and I hate that I will be resting in cool, albeit loud, comfort, while my roommate has to suffer with a fan. When she told me it was in my room, I tried to get her to switch to my room before I moved in, but obviously failed. We had it running last night because Alex stayed over, and he was all greasy and sweaty, and I felt bad for him, too. I wouldn't mind leaving my window open and buying a small fan to stick in front of it, but closing the window is the only way to harbor any hope of not being scared shitless by the trains.
The train tracks through Brookings are immediately outside of our windows.
I love this apartment much more than I liked living in the dorms, and much more than Alex and Scott's apartment last year. It's roomy, generally clean though it's an older building, and affordable. The only things I can think of to complain about would be the aforementioned less-than-convenient air conditioner placement, and the trains.

I did Angela's dishes last night. It was like 12:30 in the morning, and I was washing my plastic containers after having leftovers. I felt really awkward leaving all my dirty dishes in the sink, and even more awkward about only cleaning my things, and leaving her pizza pan and cutter. So, I took about two minutes and washed all of the dishes in the sink. I then curled up next to Alex, and immediately started to worry. Would she think that I'm leaving a hint, or that I micromanage? Will she be upset because I washed her dishes? Why am I so uptight about two damn dirty dishes? Would she feel bad? It was not my intent to feel bad. Should I talk to her about it?

All I do at work, all day long, is stock shelves, move merchandise, zone, and help customers. I repeat the phrase "Can I help you find something?" more times than I can recall. I put on a fake smile, use a voice way higher than my normal one, and make a fool out of myself trying to make the customers happy. I guess I'm like that in more than just work.
I'm really shy. No, for real. I mask my shy tendencies and awkward insecurity by being boisterous and friendly. When it comes to work, it's very easy for me to pull out my acting experiences and play along to the audience, but in more personal situations, it's very difficult for me to come out of my shell, and stop worrying so much.

I'm such a people-pleaser. I will go out of my way to make sure another person is happy and content. When Lizzie and I were moving into our dorm room last year, we decided to bunk our beds. Since Alex and I got there first, we moved the furniture before Lizzie got there. I chose to bunk the beds as high as they could go, one right under the other, so we could fit a dresser under the bottom one. I didn't want Lizzie to be cramped, so I chose the top bunk...with less than a foot of space between me and the ceiling. I took up very little room in the dorm, and justified all of it with "I'm never here. I'm always at Alex's house." I wanted to make sure that Lizzie would have no reason to be upset with me about how much room I was taking up.
I was miserable the entire semester, and I blamed it on her. I should have blamed myself.

I'm doing the same thing now, in this new apartment. I know Angela much less than I know Lizzie, and so I'm doubly anxious and awkward. I feel terrible about not getting any furniture for the rooms we share, and using her pasta strainer for my spaghetti makes me sweat. I feel awful about using her hand soap in the bathroom, and I make a mental note every time I pee to make sure I am the next person to stock the toilet paper. She has pictures hanging in the living room, which I love...but I am very apprehensive about putting up some pictures of my own.
We have opposite work schedules. She works mornings, while I normally close in the afternoons. We barely see each other, if at all, and probably won't much of the summer. I also feel bad about this. "What if she thinks I hate her? What if I'm being a hermit?" 

The worst thing about my people-pleasing tendencies is that I end up repressing my discomfort until it gets projected onto the person I am trying to please. I get so wound up about the tiniest little things, that if they don't reciprocate, I begin to blame them for my unhappiness.

I have noticed that I only do this with women. When I'm at Alex's house, I know his roommates pretty well, or at least well enough to be comfortable around them, and not really worry too much about what they think of me. I'm okay with using their dishes and pots, and I don't get all uptight when I choose to spend the night with Alex. I can sit in the living room with them and watch movies or talk or drink, and I don't feel like I'm annoying them in the slightest.

I'm just really, really bad at being a roommate. The only time I actually felt comfortable sharing a living space with someone else was with my first dorm roommate, who was chosen at random. Autumn and I had similar sleeping schedules and times we wanted to study or rest. We had the same schedule second semester, and would sleep through Wildlife 110 in the mornings together if one of us didn't want to wake up. I found it very easy to be Autumn's roommate, even if we weren't the best of friends.

Don't get me wrong, I really like my new roommate. She and I have a lot of similar interests, and we've known each other for over a year. She's a great person and friend. I am really excited to get to know her better, and I have no complaints about her as a roommate. I honestly think I have a great thing going here.

I'm just annoyed with myself.

Perhaps this will take time to adjust to. No matter how many times she says something is okay, or that she doesn't mind this or that, I will still worry. I'm not entirely sure when those worries will go away, if ever.

In other news...
I also had to go back in to the doctor this morning. I have an infection, which has been a recurring issue for me over the past few years. Since I was a sophomore in high school, I've had numerous infections affecting numerous areas of my anatomy, from my brain to my kidneys, including bacterial meningitis my junior year of high school, and nephritis last spring. Alex stayed with me last night to make sure I was okay and keep me company until I could fall asleep, but tonight I'm on my own. He's a light sleeper, and everything wakes him up.
I'm on an antibiotic series for a week.
I'm probably killing my immune system with all of the antibiotics I keep having to shove into my system. I start to wonder if I'm sick all of the time because of the PFO (patent foramen ovale: that was found when I had meningitis. It makes the most logical sense to me, and I was told to not play anymore wind instruments by the cardiologist I saw after my brain surgery.
I am now minoring in music on the that's how well I listened to that.

I wonder if I should look into getting it fixed. The surgery is low-risk and minimally invasive. Basically, they stick a catheter into the inner thigh and feed it up to the heart to close up the hole. There are studies being conducted (at least one I know of through Abbott-Northwestern) linking PFOs to chronic migraines, which is something I've battled my entire life. Now that I'm over eighteen, I could sign up to participate in a study. The surgery seems a bit unreasonable, since I haven't had any relapse with the meningitis, or a stroke. I just get really tired of popping ibuprofen and getting sick every other month.
I just hate being so sensitive to illness. Headaches and getting a sore throat every few weeks don't seem to be huge, life-altering problems, but after a while, it's incredibly tiring and irritating.

I should probably hit my bed, before my crabby pants stay on for good. Hopefully I'll start to feel better in the next few days, and maybe even stop being so twitchy, and just stop worrying about the dirty (now clean) dishes.

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

right now.

[sooner or later]

I don't really think I'll be sleeping much tonight.
I feel like my stomach doesn't really have a top or bottom, and it's just kind of sloshing around my midriff. Perhaps that's what people mean when they feel something in the "pit" of their stomachs. To be honest, I haven't had this lump-in-my-throat, weight-on-my-chest feeling for a very long time, and to be honest one more time, I didn't think I'd ever feel it -in this context- again.

I find myself at a crossroads with a person I thought was running parallel with me. I didn't anticipate a situation like this . . . or if I did anticipate it, I definitely repressed it. I think the case is the latter.

We have this thing, this little ritual we do. It's really special to me. I put a hand over his heart, he puts one of his over mine. You are mine, and I am yours. It kind of started, if I remember right, when I turned to him that night in the car, in the dark; when I decided that I was going to leave everything else behind - all of my anger, fear, resentment, and regret. I told him that I was giving him my whole heart; not just a piece, a fraction, or a taste, but the entirety of my love and loyalty. No longer would I harbor any love for my past, and I wouldn't let a person who no longer needed me claim my affection. I was his, and his completely. I would lay down everything and be his, and his alone.  

So, apparently, my idea of "completely" is a little different than his.

I don't really remember when it all started to change, and I guess I just passed it off as one of those relationship "phases."
The man I adore simply doesn't adore me back.

True love doesn't prefer solitude. It doesn't believe in "loving too much" or "trying too hard." All I ever do is express what I feel. I do what I want to do, when I want to do it, and I always mean it to the last tiny details.

I was told that I am more passionate than most people. I don't believe that. I think that anyone who is truly in love will rise up to meet the one they love. I'm met passively, with a pleased but apathetic response.
He listens to love songs.
He knows every line, every word.

For the past year and a half, I've felt like my life is a love song.
And it was just my love song, not his.

So where do I go from here? Do I try to sleep it off, give him some space, lay low, spend a few days without the phone, and then go crawling back and apologize?
Should I apologize for loving someone TOO MUCH?
Do I change how I love? Do I change myself to fit his mindset? Should I shelve my emotions, and my feelings, and bring myself down to his apathy? Do I ignore my inner thoughts and feelings, and express myself through a "filter?" Should I limit how much affection I give? Should I attempt to love less?

I am independent. I know that I can make my own choices, and that I have my own thoughts, dreams, opinions, goals, and personality. I do know, however, that I love him enough to not want to be alone anymore.

I'm so tired. Everything is flying around my mind faster than I can grip it and hold it down long enough to understand. All of it makes sense, but at the same time, I can't comprehend it at all.
It just hurts so much to be hit in the face with reality.

I feel belittled. I went and stood in front of my bathroom mirror, disheveled and flustered. My eyes were red from more than a few tears, and my hair was sticking up at odd ends from running my fingers through it: an expression of frustration. I counted the number of spots on my face, noted my puffy cheeks and tiny little double-chin, and surveyed my less-than-sleek body frame. It's so funny how a blow to the heart can make the self-esteem plummet. I pictured him. He'd most likely been long asleep. He was probably out like a light five minutes after he told me he was done talking to me. 

I can't even wrap my head around it anymore. I don't know what to think. I'm used to being confused. Dealing with questions that can never be answered is something I've become especially good at. I have many questions and blank spots in a story that can never be filled. A suicide story is one thing, and I've become accustomed to shelving and accepting that I can't possibly figure that story out.

I struggle with the fact that I can't read a person who is right here in front of me. I struggle with the idea that I don't know the truth of the one situation in my life that I thought was completely pure.
I never knew love had a double-standard.
Maybe I never even knew what love was at all.