Thowing Away the Papers of my Life

            I was cleaning my room the other day (it’s about time, trust me) and I came upon a box of stuff from high school – which I guess only ended two and a half years ago, but it feel like such a long time ago. I had kept all of my notes, my papers, handouts, quizzes, everything that had anything to do with school. To be honest, this is still a habit of mine. I hate to throw anything away – but I’m trying not to become one of those crazy hoarders you see on TV – but I really hate to get rid of my school stuff.

            I held a stack of history notes the size of a novel in my hand and grudgingly placed them in the trash with one final look. It suddenly became clear in that moment why it was so hard for me to part with these messy pieces of paper and why I had kept them all along: school was my whole life.

            In high school I had no friends. I had no social life. My family life was dramatic in all the wrong ways. I never went to a single party, I went to the movies with “friends” a grand total of three times in four years, I spent every lunch period in the library alone. I wasn’t living the life I wanted to live, except in one category: school. Well, not really school in its entirety, but school-work. School includes all of the lunches spent alone, awkward dances that I attended dateless, failed friendships that I was unable to make happen. School-work was what I was good at: pen to paper, quiet thinking, studying, reading. Still to this day, I’ve never been as good at anything as I am at school-work.

            But today my life is so much more complete than it was just three years ago. I have a life outside of the words I write and the exams I take. I still love school, but now I also love spending Friday nights with my roommate at the movies, and Saturday nights in the Pep Band, and Monday nights talking about books with my English club friends. I love my life so much more now than I did then. I hope that with this new-found happiness, letting go of my college school work will be easier, because school isn’t my whole life anymore.

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Thanksgiving with my Family: Realizations over Vodka and Pita Chips

My family celebrated Turkey-day with 30 of our closest relatives, 4 dogs running all over, and two massive bottles of vodka. It had its ups and downs. I had two fairly major realizations in the pinnacles of those ups and downs. I’ll start with the down first, because everyone likes to end on a high note (which do you want first, the good news or the bad? Everyone chooses bad, don’t they?).

My little brother got extremely drunk on Thanksgiving night. My older cousins had been drinking all day, and my little brother foolishly joined in and went way too far. I came home from dropping my cousins off at a bar and I found my brother in my room (he was staying in my room while our relatives were over) sitting facing a corner rocking back and forth, completely covered with sweat and incoherent. He had thrown up all over the brand new carpet. I was so pissed, but I was more worried. I just embrace pissed more easily than I do worried. My mom cleaned him and his mess up and got him to go to sleep, after much more vomiting. I barely slept that night, partly because I was still fuming and partly because I got up every hour to make sure he was still breathing (I’m paranoid like that).  I’m pretty pissed about the whole thing (pissed at my cousins not telling him to slow down, my parents not noticing how much he was drinking, him for being a complete and utter idiot – it’s not the first time I’m seen him dangerously drunk). But I’m most angry because I’m pretty sure he learned nothing from this, I’m pretty sure he’ll do it again. And that thought gnaws at me like nothing else. I’m afraid he’s going to end up killing himself.

But there is something else that’s bothering me about this incident: I could easily put myself in the same position. My brother and I aren’t all that different. When we were little and my dad would get really drunk, my brother and I would hide in our room and we swore we would never drink. Or course, we were just kids then, but I still don’t drink. I’ve given up on the “never”, but I hope that when I do drink I won’t take it that far. I’m afraid that if I start drinking I might not be able to stop. I know this seems slightly illogical, but it’s not from my point of view. I’m very shy, and I feel very awkward in social situations. If I start drinking and it makes me feel good, I’ll want to keep feeling good.

I guess this would be the time to tell you about the one time I did choose to drink. It was only a few months ago, at my cousin’s wedding (my cousins are a bad influence, in case you didn’t notice. But in all fairness, most everyone in my family is a bad influence). My cousins were all drinking shots and margaritas (which they offered me, and I declined), so they left their champagne on the table. The table was empty and I was sick of being the only one not drinking, so I drank every glass of untouched champagne at the table. And then the ones at the next table. They were cleaning up by now, so they were taking all the glasses off the tables. I know it sounds like I drank a lot, but I really didn’t. They were small glasses; I drank each one in one gulp. I did not get drunk. My chest was warm and my head felt light, I was talking kind of loud. I must have had a bit of a buzz because I was having a full conversation with someone who I had never spoken to before (although, she was my cousin) and I willingly danced with my mother. But I could tell the effects had worn off a few hours later and I felt no type of hangover.

So, this incident was not in and of itself frightening. What scares me is that I don’t know how much I would have drunken if I had the opportunity. If they hadn’t been getting rid of the drinks would I have drunken all of the champagne? I drank them quite thoughtlessly, all in a matter of a few minutes. What if I had been drinking shots? I don’t know the answers to these questions, but I may find out soon. I will be studying abroad in England next semester and I really do want to go to the pubs with my new friends and have fun (if that’s what they want to do). But I want to know that I won’t go crazy and drink myself into a stupor. My older brother jokes that I will come back a full-fledged alcoholic. I laugh, but I’m secretly terrified that he might be right

Well, enough with being a downer. I actually had a really good Thanksgiving, if I just forget about my brother. It was really neat having a few people from my dad’s side of the family over, we usually just celebrate with my mom’s side because they live closer. I don’t see my dad’s side of the family very often at all. We went to my cousin’s wedding last summer, it kind of turned into a family reunion of sorts, and that was the first time in nine years that I’d seen many of my cousins, a few aunts and uncles, and my grandma on my dad’s side of the family. It was a really strange experience, because we all lived together in a house for a few days. And since then I’ve been seeing a lot more of those relatives. One of my uncles and his daughter visited us for a few days after the wedding. Another uncle came a month later. And now we had my aunt, uncle, and their son and daughter over for four days of Thanksgiving break. Yes, they were a bit wild. But it really was nice. It’s nice to see where my dad came from. It’s nice to see his most love-able quirks reflected in someone else, and it’s nice to know that he didn’t collect all of his annoying habits of his own accord. And I feel like I’m seeing a different side of myself also. I know my mom’s family. I know how I fit in with them, I know how we are similar and how we are different, I know what I got from my mom, and I thought I knew what parts of me were just me. But now I can see that some of those parts come from my dad’s family. And I can see parts of myself that I never saw before because I wasn’t looking through the right lenses, so to speak.

At one point I sat around the kitchen table with my brothers and cousins and we all just mindlessly ate the pita chips my mom set in the middle of the table and we joked back and forth and laughed. It was simple and easy and it felt right. That’s what family is.

Unfriended

I’m a bit heartbroken, and it’s kind of pathetic why. But I’m going to tell you anyway.

            Two years ago I met a guy in one of my freshman classes. I was very attracted to him, like more attracted than I have ever been to any guy ever. And it’s not because he’s some gorgeous sex god. What I am going to say (write) next is quite possibly the cheesiest thing I have ever said, but this is how attracted I was to him: I felt like if God had made someone especially for me it was this guy. And I’m not even a very religious person.

            When I get a crush on a guy I fall really hard, really fast and I like them for a really long time (I’m talking several years). The stupid thing is, I fall for them for really stupid reasons. It’s not like I get to really know these guys and become friends with them and I feel like I know them inside out. I see them in class, I might make small talk with them before or after class, we say hi in the halls or whatever. That’s about it. And based on that little bit of information and what I can gather from Facebook stalking (I’ll talk about this later) I get a massive undying crush on them. It’s stupid and illogical and I hate myself for it, but that’s just how it happens for me. Maybe this is why I’ve never had a boyfriend, been on a date, been kissed, etc.

            So, I knew this guy in class and we talked every once in a while. I added him as a friend on Facebook (which was actually really hard for me to do and I felt very bold, like I’d made some big move. That’s about as bold as I get) and he accepted. He occasionally Facebook chatted with me (just about homework) and I had only been on the site for a few months so I thought this was a certain sign that he liked me. He even asked me if he could get a ride somewhere while I was driving home for a long weekend. I was super excited, but he cancelled. That was a long time ago, while we still had a class together.

            After that class ended he kept saying hi to me for like a whole year whenever I would see him on campus. After a while it just got awkward and we barely ran into each other and never spoke. He still smiles when I walk past him, but it’s just friendly. I’m not going to lie, this whole time I’ve been watching his Facebook rather closely to see if he was still single (he is, and has been through this whole thing) and honestly, because he’s really cute and I would look at his pictures sometimes. Not in a perverted way, just in a I wish I had the courage to make a move kind of way. Maybe a bit creepy, sure. But it was just innocent Facebook stalking, we all do it sometimes. I just did it perhaps a bit more often.

            So, I have had a massive crush on this guy for two years. I was just thinking about how much I would like to go to a party, get drunk (for the first time ever), and tell him how much I like him (see my previous post, I just wrote it like an hour before I wrote this, before I went on Facebook). I was listening to sappy love songs (thank you Colbie Caillat) and day dreaming when I went on Facebook. I typed his name in the search bar and clicked on his pictures, and it said “_____ only shares some information with everyone. If you know _____ add him as a friend”. I was initially confused, thinking but we are friends. Then I realized: I had been unfriended. By the guy who I have had a massive crush on for two years.

            I really want to say I understand why he unfriended me, it’s not like we talk or hang out. But the thing is, this guy has hundreds and hundreds of Facebook friends, I know he can’t possibly be actual friends with all of them. So, I don’t understand it, at all. Why did he unfriend me? I thought maybe he was weeding through his friends, but that doesn’t seem to be the case. And why would he even bother to unfriend me at all? If my posts were annoying he could have just made it so they don’t show up on his news feed (I doubt all of his friends’ posts show up anyway, because that would be A LOT). So I’m a bit worried that one of those stupid “see who has been looking at your Facebook” things has actually worked, but I just don’t know if it’s possible. If it is possible though, I might as well go into hiding now. If that’s not it, then why? I can’t help but take it personally.

            And I’m pissed. Not at this guy (Ok, maybe a little), but at myself. I’m so mad at myself for doing the same thing I always do: allowing myself think that something is possible that isn’t. I actually thought that this guy might have liked me at some point, and I thought that it might be possible that he still liked me. When you never see someone, you can make stuff up and you will have nothing to prove you wrong. But now I know with 100% certainty that he doesn’t like me. And he probably never did.

Falling

            I ride my bike, I ski, I hike… but I never push myself because I’m afraid of falling. I’ve been skiing every winter since I was about five, yet I’ve never ventured onto a black diamond run. Most people my age in my town who ski can confidently conquer double black diamond runs. And to be honest, I should have been able to progress to the harder runs, but I’ve always been afraid. A million different scenarios and bad endings race through my head. So I stick to the runs I’ve known for years. I’ve only fallen about three times since middle school, and that was because my boots didn’t fit into my bindings right, so that didn’t have anything to do with my skiing or the difficulty.

            I’m not really trying to blab about skiing, sorry about that. But I find that this fear of falling carries through to other aspects of my life. I don’t “put myself out there” because I’m afraid of embarrassing myself. I don’t try new things or meet new people or do things I’m not good at. There is a lot I avoid so I don’t fall.

            I’ve had a crush on this guy for almost a year (Yes, this blog is kind of about a guy. Sorry, I’m a nineteen year old girl, I can’t help it!). I see him around campus almost every day and when we run into each other this is how our conversation goes:

            Him: “Hi <insert name here>”

            Me: “Hi”

            Him: “How are ya?”

            Me: “Good, how are you?

            Him: “Good.”

            It’s just riveting, isn’t it? Now, I know, I could use some serious work in my people skills. Half the time when I say hi to people (including Him) all that comes out is a quiet squeak. I’ve always thought that’s just my shyness creeping in, which it is. But lately I’ve been wondering why that shyness still exists.

            I was always a quiet kid. I never left my mom’s side, not even at family parties. I’m not a touchy person, I don’t talk much, and I don’t express about my feelings or thoughts (blogging doesn’t count). I’ve always felt that it was easier to talk to my dog than kids at school and I was never even close to being semi-almost-kinda popular (i.e. I was rather unpopular).

            But I wonder if there’s a point when my shyness stopped being a characteristic and started being an escape. Lots of people are able to outgrow their timid nature. My shyness only got bad in about 8th grade and peaked my sophomore year in high school. But for the last three years I’ve really felt like I’ve made strides becoming more friendly and outgoing and quieting the voices in my head that tell me that no one likes me and no one wants me around (not literal voices, I’m not that crazy). I feel like I reverted a bit this summer, being in my hometown and not having any friends there sucks. But I think I’m back on the road to working on my problems and improving myself.

            This post wasn’t really supposed to be about shyness, or skiing, or even a guy; but I think the point I’m trying to make is that so much in my life decided by fear. My shyness, my inability to push myself, and my failure to show my feelings is all driven my fear.

            Maybe, if I can overcome my irrational instinct to fear everything the rest of my life will fall into place. Now, I just need to figure out how to overcome that darn fear! Maybe a subject for another completely random disjointed blog =).

Realizations

I’ve been thinking a lot about my future lately. I know I want to be a novelist, but I don’t know how exactly I know that.  I’ve been writing like crazy since… um, forever (or, since I learned to write). But I only really decided to be a novelist 2 or 3 years ago. When I was really little I wanted to be a pro basketball player, then I wanted to be president, then I wanted to work in a morgue or be a crime scene investigator. Through middle school I wanted to be a scientist and find a cure for diseases. But that fell apart when I realized 2 things: 1.) I was really no good at science and 2.) I was suddenly squeamish. And I say suddenly because in 8th grade I went on a science field trip and got to see a human cadaver up close, and I thought it was awesome. I thought dead things were awesome. Then that summer my dog of 16 years (longer than my whole life at the time) died and I never wanted to see another dead or dying creature for as long as I lived.

                After that we did dissections in biology and that made me really hate science. So I turned my focus to liberal arts. I tried art, I wanted to like history, and politics really did interest me but I was too shy to argue for my opinion. I did explore veterinary medicine for my senior project because I love animals maybe even more than I love writing, but I always knew that I could never be strong enough to deal with dying animals, and I could really never euthanize an animal. That left English. I didn’t even realize how much I loved English until I ran out of other options. Then I remembered that I had loved every English class I’d ever taken, I’d always turned to books or writing when I needed to de-stress, and it was something that I was actually good at. Upon this realization I decided that what I really wanted to be was a journalist. Again, my shy personality took that out of the running and I’d suddenly started looking at books differently. When I thought about writing a book it just seemed so right, it seemed to fit me perfectly: I’m good at writing, I love writing, I narrate things in my head as they happen (odd, but true). Suddenly I knew my life’s purpose, I knew what I wanted to study, I knew what I wanted to do until I die, and I knew it was something that would make me happy forever.

                Now I’m positive that I want to be a novelist (That’s not my realization). But I have realized that I can do that and more. I love writing, but it’s not the only thing I love. I’m still interested in politics and animals and so much more. As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, I’ve been bored and wanting a change lately. I think I’ve finally decided what to do about it. I’m going to add two minors to my English Major: a minor in Pre-Law and a minor in Film Studies. If I love law, I can pursue law school; if I love film I can pursue that. There’s no commitment, and no matter what I chose I can keep writing all the time.

                I also came to another conclusion: I’m not ready to write a book right now. I don’t have all the skills I need, and I also don’t have enough life experience. I was trying to rush myself into writing a complete book as fast as I could because I thought that would prove that I really loved it and could make a life out of it. My mom’s been bugging me lately about finding a career path that I could actually make money on. I thought choosing a backup plan meant giving up on my dream. But now I realize that having a backup is not only the responsible thing to do, but it also shows that I’m not ever going to give up on my dream of being a novelist. Because I know that even if I’m never able to make enough money to live on from writing, I will keep writing because I love it.

Jealousy

I know that I am extremely fortunate in life, but I’ll be the first to admit that I’m a jealous person. When I see someone who I don’t like get something that I want I get jealous. I don’t act on my jealousy and I rarely show my true feelings, but they’re in the back of my head taunting me. It sounds horrible to admit, but when I see a girl who is obnoxious or five hundred pounds I often think “how the hell did she get a boyfriend and I can’t even get a date!” Surely I can’t be the only person who has a mean little voice in the back of their head that is more judgmental than anyone would expect. But lately I’ve began to think about why I get jealous so easily. Well, here’s what I came up with.

Example 1.) Recently I was watching some sorority girls at my school perform a show. Seeing how everyone just gave them their undivided attention and the guys just gawked at them really made me realize something. I’m not mad at them for being seemingly perfect, I’m just jealous that I will NEVER be anything like that. No, I don’t want to be some skinny little blond who enjoys sitting in front of the school cafeteria sun bathing in a tiny bikini… but I would like to experience having that confidence for just one day of my life, and I know that will never happen.

Example 2.) The guy I’ve been staring at for the past few months recently got a girlfriend. I wish I could hate them, but I can’t because they make a much better couple than I could ever hope for. But, I realized that my jealousy didn’t stem from the fact that I wanted him and she got him. While he’s cute and nice, there are plenty of other guys out there. I was simply jealous that the same thing that always happens happened again. The other girl got the guy and I was left realizing I had no chance to begin with. It’s easy to come to the conclusion that I will NEVER get the guy when it has happened every single time I’ve ever liked someone! It just leaves you feeling hopeless.

It’s hard to focus on what’s going right in your life when you can’t help but compare yourself with others all the time. I guess that’s something I need to work on in the future… or right now.