All the Things I Never Say

Do you ever do that thing where you think of everything you’re going to say, and then you just don’t? That’s my life. Although, many of these things I would never even think of saying aloud, they are true nonetheless.

 

To my boyfriend:

I love you more than I thought I would ever love anyone romantically. And that scares me.

I would marry you tomorrow, even though I know it would be a bad idea.

I’m willing to work around my schedule to see you, but I feel like you aren’t willing to do the same.

I am busier than you.

Why didn’t you invite me to <insert event or holiday here>?

How come you can’t meet up with your friends AND hand out with me?

I would call you 5 times a day if I could do it without feeling crazy. (So instead I will just call you never)

I’m afraid that you don’t love me as much as I love you. Also, you have no idea how much I love you… because I don’t want to scare you. And I wonder, maybe I don’t know how much you love me either? Can you tell me, please?

I imagine marrying you and having the cutest babies in the whole world. I have ideas for names.

I imagine my wedding…to you. But don’t worry, I’ve been imagining my wedding since way before we started dating, the only difference is the you. (P.S. our colors are orange and green and I don’t care if it looks like Halloween!)

If I could not think about babies and marriage and moving in together I would!!! But I can’t control my thoughts, so get over it! I’m not going to drag you to the alter or anything.

 

At a job interview:

Why do you want to work for us? Because I need a paycheck.

What is your classroom management strategy? I couldn’t care less that students are talking, texting, passing notes, or not paying attention.

I never wanted to be a teacher. This is my backup plan. (I don’t even say this to myself! But slightly drunk me says, “it’s the truthhhhh!” Hopefully sober me disagrees tomorrow)

 

To my parents:

Ehhhh….I pretty much tell my mom EVERYTHING (like, way too much). She knows me better than I know myself.

 

Conclusion: I guess we all have a filter for a reason, just don’t let it get in the way when it’s important. That’s what drunk-texting is for! Have a good night, and tell someone that you love them way too much! (I’m not quite intoxicated enough for that, but it sounds fun!)

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Making Choices, And Owning Them

I skimmed through an article a Facebook friend shared, 15 Things You Don’t Owe Anyone, and it got me thinking. When I started skimming I was expecting only the blatantly obvious, something like: you don’t owe anyone sex because they paid for dinner. But I was really struck by the items on the list that state that you don’t owe anyone an explanation of your life choices (whether that be relationships, career, appearance, etc.).

It hit me, rather suddenly, that I spend way too much time coming up with explanations. Explanations for my actions, my choices, my feelings. Some of these are explanations that I give to other people, or that I fantasize about giving to people. But most of the time I’m trying to give myself an explanation. I try to justify my feelings and my decisions, as if every little thing that I do needs to be defended.

As I’m finishing up my teacher education program and applying for my first teaching job, I’ve been trying to justify two things to myself:

1) Why do I want to work in that city? The same city that he lives in.

I’ve justified it to myself by reasoning that he’s the only one I know in this geographic area and I don’t want to be lonely. I want to have support, someone to lean on when my first year of teaching gets rough.

Sure, that’s a good reason. And maybe it’s true. At least partially. But deep down I know that I’ve made a decision, and I don’t need to explain it to anyone, least of all myself. I’m allowed to make decisions, even life-changing ones, for whatever reason I want. Or for no good reason at all.

   2) Do I want to be a teacher for the rest of my life? Is it horrible if the answer is NO?

I know so many people who are becoming teachers because they feel that it is their calling in life. They’ve wanted to become a teacher for several years, if not more. But that’s not me. It took me a long time to make this decisions. It was, admittedly, not my first choice career path. And I do see myself doing something different at some point (I will finish writing my novel someday, that is something I am certain about). But just because I don’t plan on teaching for the next fifty years, doesn’t mean that I can’t be a great teacher for however long I do it for. And I don’t need to explain that to my peers or my future boss or myself.

Sometimes in life we do things that don’t make sense and we make decisions that aren’t the most logical. I could spend the rest of my life trying to justify the choices I have made, trying to convince myself and everyone else that I was reasonable in my decision making process. But sometimes the most reasonable thing to do, is to go for what you want. Do what you need to do. Do what makes you happy. Do what you feel is right. Do it and own it and don’t apologize to anyone. Do it and don’t even think about regretting it.

Long Distance

Grad school has brought me many new challenges, stuff I never had to deal with as an undergrad. Most noticeably, maintaining a long distance relationship – or any relationship for that matter.

I’ve had to deal with homesickness and feeling lonely. But this feels different. I change my mind about my boyfriend on a daily basis. Granted, I wasn’t 100% happy with how our relationship went this summer. I felt like I didn’t see him enough and he felt like we saw each other all the time. It’s a little bit more complicated than that (at least to me… but then again, I never even told him that I felt like that) but that’s the easiest way to describe it.

For the first few days after I moved away I was too caught up in the excitement and nerves of starting something new. Then I started to miss him, really intensely at times. But before long I started getting annoyed. I felt (and still feel) like he wasn’t taking any initiative. He never called me, he never suggested we Skype. If we did Skype it was because I suggested it. We still texted daily, but it didn’t feel like enough. (I’m writing this all in the past tense, but really I still feel the same in many ways)

I thought that I was finally not missing him anymore. And that scared me. Because I haven’t seen him in nearly 6 weeks and if I don’t miss him then I figure that maybe I don’t love him anymore. Maybe I’ve felt ignored for too long, maybe my feelings have changed.

But then I got a voice mail from him, and the sound of his voice just made something in me crumble. And I’m right back to where I was at the very beginning: missing him.

My ever changing feelings are starting to drive me crazy. Sometimes it’s even hard to concentrate on my school work (granted, some of the readings are so boring). And sometimes (right now) I just need to get my feelings written down so that I can try to sort through them. I haven’t come to any conclusions, but I’ve organized my thoughts. And sometimes that’s all that you can do.

The Things That Are Bothering Me

Once again I am blogging when I should be going to bed. But something is bothering me, and I can’t even really pin down what it is. But I know that it’s something because I’m listening to a single sad song on repeat. That’s always a sure sign.

It could be that I’m unsure about my decision to apply to grad school. A year from now I could be working toward a Master’s degree and student teaching at a high school. I’m certainly not ready for that right now, and I can’t see myself being ready in a year. I still look like a high schooler! How am I supposed to teach them?

It could be that I don’t know what the heck I’m doing. There’s no manual on how to apply to grad school (ok, there probably is, but it is not in my possession and I don’t have time to read it). I emailed three professors asking for letters of recommendation, and the only one to respond basically said that I was doing it wrong. I didn’t even know there was a way to do it wrong!

It could be that despite the possibility of going back to school, the reality is that I’m still working a dead-end, soul-draining job in a sandwich shop. And I still feel like a failure. And I still don’t know when I’ll be able to quit.

It could be that even though I’m the closest I’ve ever been to being in a relationship, I don’t know if I really want it anymore. And I’m frankly worried that I’m incapable of loving someone in a romantic sort of way. I like this guy, but I’m already starting to get bored and we’re not even official. And this whole long-distance thing is already wearing me down.

It could be that I’m mad at myself for not trying harder, or being more persistent, or sticking to my goals, or having more self-control. I’m not applying for many jobs. I’m not keeping my room even moderately clean. And I’m not losing any weight.

I’m happy… but I’m also unhappy.

There are a lot of possibilities for great things to happen. But nothing great is actually happening right now. And I feel like it’s all my fault.

I’m… Going Back to School?

After months of trying to decide what to do with my life I have finally made a decision. Ok, so I still don’t know for sure what I want to do for the rest of my life. That’s a tough question for a 22 year old. But I’ve decided on something to do for the next couple of years that won’t drive me absolutely crazy.

Law school is out. Pursuing a career in publishing is out (at least for the next 2 years). And working in a deli for the rest of my life was never in.

So, what’s next?… Grad school. A master’s degree in education with a single subject teaching credential, to be specific.

I never planned on going to grad school. And the more my mom pushed the more I resisted. I never planned on becoming a teacher. But now that I’ve given it some thought I’m surprised it took me so long to come to this resolution. I think a big part of it was stubbornness. My mom was a kindergarten teacher for several years and I was determined to do something that no one in my family had ever done before. Plus, I always found it annoying that everyone just assumed I would want to be a teacher when I told them that I was studying English. I didn’t want to be a cliché.

Since it took so long for me to finally make my mind up, I’ve only got about six weeks to get everything together for the application process. It’s way more complicated than I ever imagined. Test, letters of recommendation, essays, volunteer experience, and more tests. It’s going to be a busy six weeks for sure.

But one of the things I’m thinking about most right now is what I want to do differently now that I’ve already done the whole college experience once. I had a great four years at my alma mater, the best years of my life so far. I feel like I’ve left part of my heart there. I don’t have many regrets because I would never want to change the way things turned out. But there is certainly a lot I know now that I did not know then.

By the time I graduated I felt like I had finally just gotten the hang of it. I finally knew how to make friends and keep them. I finally knew how to take chances and try new things. I finally knew how to love myself and the people around me. College was a learning experience in more ways than I could ever count. So this time around I want to do everything that I wish I had done before. Now, I just need to figure out exactly what those things are.

I Do Not Know What I Want

Sometimes you have revelations at the oddest of moments. This past week I got to re-unite with my “old college friends” (OK, it’s only been 3 months since I graduated) at my alma mater. And I did a lot of thinking while I was there. I thought I knew what I wanted for my future, but maybe I don’t.

I loved seeing my friends – some of whom had graduated with me this past fall, and some of whom have one more year. But it just felt so different than it had when we were all students. There was strangeness in the air. A feeling that we could never go back to the way it had been. That doesn’t mean that our friendship cannot one day become even stronger than they ever were before, just that it will never be like it was.

You know that saying “you can never go home”? That saying finally made sense to me four years ago when I can home from college for the first time. And it makes sense to me once again. My university was my home. And as I drove toward the bell tower I felt like I was returning home. But the feeling quickly faded into something different. A feeling that I just didn’t quite belong anymore.

And this all made me think: I really want to go back to school. I don’t want it to be over. I know that grad school would never be the same, I wouldn’t be with the same people and I wouldn’t be in the same city. But it would be school. And school is familiar. I’ve gone to school every fall since I was five years old and this is the first fall I haven’t eagerly packed my backpack up and headed to class.

And this got me thinking about making decisions and what factors I want to influence my decision making. There were two main things that I thought about: Grad School and Boyfriends. An odd match, but hey, my brain is unpredictable.

#1. Grad School (Law School to be specific):

I can’t make this decision based on a fear of the unknown. If I go to law school my life is pretty much plotted out (at least more than it is now). School would be a change and a challenge for sure, but it would be predictable. If I don’t go to law school I have no idea how long I’ll be stuck working at the deli, I have no idea what will come next or where I will end up. I have no idea if the career path I choose will work out (though, that can also be said for law school). I love the idea of living in a college town with other students and going to class every day. I do not love the idea of endless job applications with no guarantee of a better job. I want to go to law school, simply because I want to go back to school. That’s not a good enough reason. I need to want to be a lawyer, and I simply don’t know right now.

#2. Boyfriends:

I’m 22 and have never been in a relationship, and I feel like I’m getting close for the first time in my life. It’s a guy I’ve known since high school and who I re-connected with this summer at work. Now he’s gone back to school and we’ve been talking a lot on Facebook and Skype. While he was here, there was no doubt in my mind that I had a huge crush on him and wanted to be with him. But my feelings have been weakening since he left. If my feelings are shrinking now, how on Earth would I maintain a long-distance relationship if one began?

And why do I want a boyfriend anyway? Yeah, I’m 22 and I haven’t had one yet. So what? Who says that’s unacceptable? Media? Society? My peers? I want to have the experience, to check it off my list so that I can move on. Is that a good enough reason?

But maybe I’m just afraid of the unknown again. How am I supposed to know if I want a boyfriend if I never have one? I like being single. Single is familiar and easy. A relationship would come with its own benefits I’m sure, but it wouldn’t be easy, especially long-distance.

Conclusions:

  1. I think too much
  2. I suck at making decisions
  3. I do not know what I want
  4. When in doubt, go with the brave decision – that is what I have decided to do

Really Happy

I think something may be wrong with me: I’m listening to happy songs on the radio and actually singing along. I’m smiling for no reason at all. I can almost feel my heart beating up against my chest. The sun is shining and the sky is blue and I’m not even bothered by the unseasonably warm temperatures.

I’m not normally an unhappy person. I’m usually pretty content. But everything seems so perfect. Even though I’m still working at the deli making sandwiches for rude tourists and living with my parents and our occasional late night screaming matches.

I’m not saying that I don’t want my life to change and progress. I don’t want to get stuck in this rut, even though it’s looking like a pretty good place to be stuck. And it’s not all perfect. I am frustrated by my inability to get a “real job” and put my hard-earned degree to use. And I’ve had a few bad days at work and a few moments when I just feel like I can’t do anything right. But those feeling wash away pretty quickly and I’m reminded what it feels like to be surrounded by people who love me and people who enjoy working with me and people who are willing to work at a long-distance friendship.

I don’t think I’ve ever been surrounded by so many people who make me so happy. And I’m feeling pretty good about myself lately, because I seem to make them happy too. It’s a pretty amazing feeling.

He Might Like Me…?

So, if you’ve read even one post on my blog you probably know that my skills with the male of our species are lacking. Very lacking. I can’t figure out how to flirt. I can’t get a boyfriend or a date or a kiss. I have a crush on every other guy I meet. And I cannot tell when a guy likes me. Maybe that’s because no guy has ever liked me? Or maybe they have and I just didn’t know it? You see my dilemma.

So, I resorted to the one thing that could give me advice… my mother. NOT! The internet, or course. Why would I ever ask a living, breathing person who has had actual experiences when I could ask the world’s most popular search engine?

According to my Google search, the guy I like at work just might like me back. The results are inconclusive and further research is needed at this time. But there is a possibility!

Now, I’m trying to work out in my head if there is really a chance this guy likes me as more than a friend, or if it’s all just wishful thinking.

another summer job… another co-worker crush

I thought I would have learned my lesson after the fiasco last summer with the janitor. In a nutshell: I had a crush on him but didn’t know him that well and then we went to the movies and I realized I really didn’t like him at all but he suddenly liked me a whole lot more. Luckily I only had a week left at work, but it was an awkward week.

This year I’m working with someone I went to high school with. The one main difference in the situation is that I feel like I know this guy much better than I ever knew the janitor. But still, I guess I don’t know him all that well. But I’ve known him for a long time and I feel like I have a better idea of who he is than I did of the other guy.

I liked him when we worked together a few years ago and I’ve been trying to keep the crushing at bay for the past month. When it comes to crushing, I can get pretty hard-core. So, I’m trying to avoid that. But I can’t deny that I like him… a lot. Every day I like him more. My favorite days at work are the ones when I’m standing next to him.

I really kind of hate myself for being so cheesy. It would all be easier if I just thought of him as a friend. Because nothing is going to happen. It’s just not. But, boy, do I have an active imagination.

And no matter how realistic I try to be, a tiny corner of my brain always pipes up and tells me it’s possible. It’s the same part that tells me that I can do anything and be anything that I want. It’s that same part that tells me that one day I will be a published writer. But it cannot be trusted. I’ve always secretly been a dreamer. But I’m just going to end up sad once again when nothing happens.

But nothing has happened for my entire life. Odds are, something has to happen eventually. Right? It’s just simple statistics. Maybe that something could happen this summer? I’m waiting… I feel like I’ve been waiting since I was fourteen. I want the waiting to be over so badly, but I’ve been expecting it to end for just as long. And clearly the odds are not in my favor.

Either way, crushing on a co-worker seems like such a bad idea. But sometimes it feels so good. In the end, I’ll probably regret it. But for now, I’ll enjoy the butterflies in my stomach and the smile I can’t keep down when he’s around me.

A Perfect Ending

The night ended with me walking home laughing hysterically and sobbing. And I wasn’t crying from joy. The past six months studying abroad have been a rollercoaster of emotions and experiences, and it all just hit me at once in a flurry.

Tonight I went to the student bar with my usual group of friends and we hung out there making fun of what the girls across the room were wearing and throwing old receipts at each other and taking ridiculous photos and laughing a bit too loud. Then we headed to a pub down the road for Karaoke Night and there we ran into another group of international students. There were about fifteen or twenty of us and everyone was getting along (which is not always the case). A few of my friends sang and each time we would all join in and cheer loudly at awkward moments. In those moments I couldn’t help but just look around and try to commit the whole thing to memory – the sounds, the people, and the way I felt. We sang along to Backstreet Boys’ songs and Hakuna Matata and American Pie. We took loads of pictures. And some of us (not me) danced even though everyone else was sitting.

It was one of the most memorable nights of the past six months of my life. And at the end of it I had to say goodbye to two lovely girls who I never even expected to like. They are leaving tomorrow and many others are leaving in the next few days – and I’m leaving in five days as well. I hugged them goodbye and tried so hard not to cry. I glanced through the room one last time before leaving, knowing that I would never see some of those people ever again. I said goodbye to two, but I’m sure there will be others whom I will not see again before I leave.

I walked home with the best friend I have made here, who has quickly become one of the best friends I have ever had. And the tears started, and they didn’t stop for two blocks. I was truly sad to be leaving those girls and sad that we would never go out as a group like that ever again and sad that the next five days will just get more and more lonely until I’m standing at the airport by myself. And I was so happy that the night had gone the way it had, a truly perfect end to the past six months. So I laughed through my tears.