If I’ve learned anything in the past three years, it’s that I tend to jump into things too quickly.  Choice of college, my relationships, deciding what classes to take, volunteering for stuff–I’d say about 90% of such decisions were made quickly without evaluating all options.  I’m not saying all of these things are bad, but what I have realized is that sometimes I need to think things through, give them time, and revisit them when I have a clearer mind.  Many times, I don’t necessarily wait and seek out what I’m really going after and then in time, I realize that I’ve accumulated a list of regrets and “what if’s”.  Lately I’ve been thinking that maybe, just maybe, I should have waited longer before deciding on a college.  Wondering what if I would have figured out a way to study abroad this past fall?  What would my life be like if I could have been the person I wanted to be a year ago?  

While I know wondering about the past won’t at all affect my life now, it’s this reflection that leads me into thinking about how I live my life presently.  Am I where I want to be as a person?  Am I letting things pass me by?  I have to identify what I want and really start going after it before I wake up in ten years and realize that I’ve let things slip through the cracks.  I feel like with the new year and my birthday around the corner, I really really have to straighten myself out.  Not because someone else needs me to, but because I need me to.  It’s the least I owe myself.

My Life Pursuit.

January 22, 2009

When you grow up in a small town, you’re often encouraged to dream. As many people from my graduating class haven’t even left the zip code, I look at myself as a small success story. Either way, we were all required to write a short “life goal” list that was included with our pictures in the senior yearbook. For me, I listed a bunch of stuff that I had hoped to accomplish. On that list I mentioned visiting Germany, graduating with my Masters, and continuing my journey to feel infinite. I still haven’t made it to Germany (India instead), I’m nearly finished with my undergrad and I have every intention of going on for my MFA and the journey still continues. Over the last few days, I’ve really been thinking about what I truly want in this life after being recommended to look at my life, figure out how I want to continue, and shoot for it. So, in no particular order:

  • solid foods: this is at the top because it’s short-term. I have been semi-restricted to liquids the last six days or so for some unknown reason. I do, however, enjoy being able to drink Icees and eat unlimited quantities of Jell-O without even feeling guilty.
  • visit Germany: this stays. I still really really really really really want to go.
  • be in love, get married, have kids, blah blah blah: I want the whole she-bang. While I’m in a relationship now, I know that I want to have my special day with pretty dress and flowers (which is, I’m pretty sure, the only real reason I want a wedding) and I want kids. Not one. At least two. With cool names and middle names that make other kids say “what were your parents’ thinking?”
  • get into a school for my MFA: I really feel that despite a lackluster portfolio, if I’m given the chance to go somewhere for my MFA (Chicago? Baltimore? Rutgers?) I could really excel. I have the desire, I have the drive–most days–and I know that it’s what I want. I’d love to teach at some point but more than anything I’d love to have the opportunity to learn more than I already know.
  • Tell every person I know exactly how I feel about them: This isn’t quite as much of a “thing I want to accomplish” as it’s me being honest with myself and the people that I love. I should get on this, pronto.
  • Get over my fear of spending money: I have a phobia that prohibits me from buying anything I don’t actually need. While most people (men, moreless) look at this as a good thing, it’s a bit out of hand when I’m standing in line at Wawa and I walk back, put every item away, and walk out empty handed because in my head, I knew I wouldn’t die without that bag of trail mix.

So, that’s it. Now I’m off to chat up my vag and down the rest of my 16 ounce blue Icee. Nothing says adult like that.

He was right, I may be crazy.

December 23, 2008

He said that our love shouldn’t be directed to only one person and that physical relationships do not equal love.  I fought, said I couldn’t understand him, and that by no means did I want to be having sex with other people while in–what I define as–a committed relationship.

Today I sort of had a breakthrough of sorts.

I have love for so many people.  While this love may be different for the people who whom I direct it, it’s love that is impossible to harness and throw onto only one person.  While visiting at the nursing home today, I sat with a woman who usually finds her way into a chair next to me when I swing by for a visit.  We spent about half an hour simply sitting in silence with one another as she tried to eat a candy cane that my mother gave her. I may only have known this woman through the limited contact I have with her a few times a year, but I love her.  No, I don’t just throw this word around, I truly do.  I get attached to each person that enters my life; the only difference is the extent to which I do this.  Some people linger, therefore, I typically have a stronger bond with them.  While many of these people are entirely unaware of these attachments I form, the moment they are out of my life, I feel a loss.  It’s not a loss that causes me to stay awake crying at night (although some of them do) but it’s a loss that is present at different moments throughout my life.  Some days I recall a face that I saw while working at a job I had in high school, while other days I think about a relationship I had in junior high while I drive to campus.  

My love is without limits.

As I’ve gotten older, I’ve learned to love in a different kind of way.  This person has shown me that love is truly open to being shared with more than just the person you want to grow old with; instead, you can share that wonderful emotion with anyone around you.  While I’m typically reckless (hense the handful of broken hearts I’ve dealt with in the last twenty years), I honestly love without regret.  Every bad moment has taught me something new and every great relationship has blessed me in a unique way.  

and now, back to some crappy television.

…if you read back to the first post, I think I recall stating how I’m terrible at keeping a blog, how journals never worked for me, and how after awhile, the appeal wears off and I realize that I’d rather spend the half hour that I use to blog hitting the snooze button instead.  Don’t get me wrong, I love to write and blogging is fun (when you look at those stats pages it’s quite exciting–even if it’s just the same person visiting twice in a day).  So here I am, “working” (I use quotations because I’m essentially getting paid to watch an empty room) and I feel as though the best way to kill time between knitting and doing program layout is to blog.  About how I forget to blog.  

I finally finished my “To do + finals” list today as of 9:26am.  I am now officially a senior despite having three semesters left at the college, but I’m looking forward to the absence of gen eds (minus one more terrible lab science) and the influx of art classes.  I jumped half a grade (B- to a B+) with my art classes this semester, so in the words of someone else, it was “a step in the right direction”.  I’m hoping to find more luck in other places (printmaking, anyone?) so we’ll see how that goes in the spring.

So with the new year a few short weeks away, I’ve been trying to figure out a short list of things I want to work on.  Not really resolutions, but more a to-do list for the next six months.  Something a bit more ambitious than doing the dishes but slightly below saving the universe.  In no particular order, my to-do list for January-June 2009:

> get more ambitious with my work:  It’s not that I’m slacking, but I often feel like I “play it safe” when it comes to academics.  I don’t take the easy road, but I rarely challenge ideas or think too far out of the box when it comes to my artwork.  I’ve been told I have great ideas for what I’m creating, but I just need to take the steps to put them into practice and make them realizations.

>keep on top of stuff:  I never was forgetful.  Sometimes I feel as though I’ve aged sixty-five years because of my tendency to walk into the kitchen with a hair brush and not remember what I was doing or what in God’s name I carried something across the house for.   I’ve pulled too many all-nighters, watched too many projects get thrown together in a hurry because I simply forgot.  Not that I did something else, but that I didn’t notice the scribble in my planner or I washed my hand that had the reminder scrawled across it.  I just have to get on top, stay organized, and somehow work on my memory skills.

>nag less, love more:  I wouldn’t call myself a bad friend or lover, but I feel that after living with someone or knowing them for who knows how long, we tend to get nit-picky.  I need to back up, remember why in fact I love these people, and do just that.  Who cares if they leave the toilet seat up or forget to make the bed?  Why should I mind if they don’t always have the time for me that I wish they did?  I just need to love what is available and enjoy what’s here now.

>stop worrying so much:  Getting worked up over small stuff only irritates ulcers.  It doesn’t stop the C- from coming back on my Science exam or fix the thing that I forgot to do.  I need to just “roll with the punches” over things that I don’t have much control over.

>lose ten pounds learn to love who and what I am:  I have to just do that.

So I have six months to try, another part of my country to see, a visit to Central America, and lots and lots of people to meet.

Can’t wait.

Keeps me going

October 24, 2008

Yet again, I’ve made to beloved Friday–day of dates and the dreaded 11-6 day of work.  My life has turned into a seven-day schedule that ends with a huge repeat sign.  I’ve realized that my semester is nearly over (although I still feel as if I’m establishing myself in all my classes) and thanksgiving and winter break are only a few calendar pages away.  I’ve picked my spring classes, (almost) decided what I’m doing for spring break, and (tried to) set my work schedule for next semester.  In all due time, everything will be complete.

The last few days I’ve really focused on settling into myself.  As odd as this sounds, I have learned that there is much in my world that I’ve never really been comfortable with.  I’m learning to take things as they come, accept what I can’t change, and realize what I bring to the table now rather than problems that may arise in the future.  I’ve learned that my worrying doesn’t solve anything (instead, it aggravates an ever-present stress ulcer) and that I’m not as bad as sometimes think I am.

I’m doing this all for me.

I have realized that everything I do–the work I create, the hours I put in at my job, the studying I do (or don’t do), the love I give, the conversations I have–really only come down to what I feel about them.  My diploma isn’t going to have my GPA on it, half the people I know now won’t know me in ten years; there’s little now that will follow me into my future.  I need to let go of the fears that are limiting me and instead just throw myself in head first.

This blog isn’t for who reads it (because, to be quite honest, I’m not sure anyone does)… it’s for reflection, rambling thoughts, stream-of-consciousness that tends to be entirely incoherent.  I am not exceedingly concerned with public opinion, because in the end, the only person I’m going to have to answer to is myself.

It’s been longer–much longer–than I would have liked it to be.  I’d credit that to the immense amount of schoolwork that’s been assigned (and forgotten) about over the last few weeks.  Somewhere between getting my life back on track and staying on top of my apartment, I’ve just seemed to forget about this.  With this tiny gap over the next few days, I hope to really catch up and get back into writing… something that has just been neglected in the whirlwind that has swept me up.

The good news is that things really are back on track; the tragedies of two weeks ago  have found solutions, (most) of the friend problems are mediated, and despite being behind in two classes, I’ve realized that I’m not that far off track.  Something about tiny successes that really make you feel as though you haven’t fucked up that much and that there’s time to finish everything else up.

In the past few days I’ve found myself really contemplating this college thing.  While I’m within three–or even two–semesters of graduation, the lines between learning and application have finally begun to blur.  With the exception of Science and Civ, most of my learning is done through application; projects being completed, filming, processing and enlarging–I’m no longer a sponge in a seat.  The defintions between student and professor have also finally meshed the way I’d like to see them.  I’m learning to really come into my own creatively and I’ve found that projects are much easier to complete… and defend.  I’ve found myself becoming much more confident in my presentation and my thoughts as an answer to a prompt; I don’t always second guess like I once did.  I am thrilled with how things have been going with school lately… it’s a great feeling.

But despite the success and happiness I find between 9 and 4, there’s other things that I still just don’t get.  The idea of finding purpose–or giving my life purpose–still sometimes escapes me.  I feel as though I’m going through the motions and just completing menial tasks; that the things I’m doing are not shaping any amount of meaning and that despite the time taken, it will eventually be forgotten anyway.  It’s rather pesimestic to be thinking this way, but in the same breath, I find it hard not to.  I look to invest time in people, in processes, only to realize that those people forget, those projects fall apart.  Sure, I have a handful of truly great things and great people, but it’s those few that can really put a damper on the bright eyed view that I attempt to hold on to.

And then I think of the lady at CVS who gave me the coupon.  Or the woman who walks the dog on my street and lets me play with him when I walk by.  Or the child at the grocery store who smiles incessantly when I smile back.  Or the professor who really seems to care about me beyond a name in a grade book.  Or the boyfriend who wakes up with me in the middle of the night because I have a question that just has to be answered.  Or the mother who always picks up the telephone, even if it’s a bad time.

And it really doesn’t seem all that bad anymore.

Nights like tonight don’t help me at all.  I don’t feel I was at fault by any means; plans were changed by someone who wasn’t included and I am to feel as though it was my fault.  It’s unfair to be thrown into a position like that.  I feel like I have no one to rely on, or if that one person (beyond my immediate family) is two hours away.

And then the emotion pours.  Like water through a colander.

We had the talk–the one that goes something like “I wouldn’t be with you if I didn’t want to be” and on and on, but there’s simply something that won’t let these words settle with me.  Something that unnerves me.  And it really gets me thinking when I realize that there’s no one trustworthy.  There’s no one who sees it like I do, and no one who will run when I walk out the door.  I worry that I’m just not enough of something–whatever it may be–to hold on to one of the few remaining relationships that weather all problems, big or small.  The one who doesn’t leave when things get tough, but instead grasps on tighter.  Someone who I don’t have to explain my problems to because he already knows.  The one who I don’t have to worry about including because it’s already him and me.

I’m just not that needed, I guess.  And I suppose I can’t blame them; I was the one who left.  For once in my life, I want to be followed by someone that I actually want to follow me.  I want to be pursued by an interest, I want to be needed by someone I need.  Too often I feel replaceable, and that might just be my insecurities.  I’ve been trying my best to get beyond them, but more often than not, I feel miserable at the thought of not being the type of person you want around; instead, I’ve fallen into being the person that you hope doesn’t show up.

When did I become that girl?

I honestly hate the times I feel this way; I’m fulfilling the typical “angry teen” persona, but in all truthfulness, it does not always come out as something pretty.  Writing is better than taking it out any other way, and this is what I’m left with:  a mess of words that sound like complaining and two nights spent alone in my two story apartment. These better not be the best days of my life.

When all else fails…

September 17, 2008

The last few days, at best, have been miserable.  After being awake for 36 hours to finish an art project that I delayed, I have yet to fall back into a normal sleep cycle.  I am exhausted, moody, and nauseated (for something like nine days now).  School has been overwhelming; the projects keep coming no matter how many I already have and my planner is loaded up until the end of October.  Once again, I’ve filled my plate beyond what is reasonable and I’m trying to be involved in everything.

I love to overextend myself.

The last few days have really shown me what matters though.  My close friends, my family (always), my wonderful, wonderful roommate (and boyfriend), and–believe it or not–me.  I’m trying to give myself a bit of time now and then and really pay attention to what my body is (or isn’t) telling me so I don’t end up sick again.  It takes something really big, and sometimes even somewhat unexpected, to really put things back into perspective.

My Foundations professor has been working with me on establishing a final project concept.  Today I decided it would be semi-chronological and a collection of 20 items that could define my identity.  So far, these are the ideas.  Each will go year-to-year in my life (I hope)

  1. my blankets
  2. a picture of my first house (?)
  3. my mother-daughter necklace
  4. childrens’ books
  5. my ballet bag
  6. my bicycle
  7. a picture of my second house (?)
  8. The Hoboken Chicken Emergency
  9. my violin
  10. 3-4 pairs of jeans
  11. my yellow backpack
  12. a picture of my third house (?)
  13. my camera
  14. picture of a church
  15. picture of my new apartment
  16. picture of my car (and possibly old car)
  17. tattoos
  18. my glasses
  19. my refrigerator
  20. my ipod (?)

so this is tentative for now–most depends on what I can get collected from home over the weekend while Zach goes back to our lovely NEPA hometown.  Until then, I pray life settles down, I get a moment to just r e l a x and that I can keep sight of what really matters.  Life might not always go according to plan and til it gets back on track, I’ll simply run with it.

Hm.  After a meeting tonight, I feel compelled to write about something a bit deeper than what I typically address.  As a woman I have always felt somewhat ashamed of my sexuality.  Growing up in the Catholic school system, I was required to constantly wear a skirt, yet hide any sign of my female body.  Heaven forbid a knee was shown or a button left undone; I was convinced that God himself would damn me to hell.  Now as an adult, I have found myself sometimes struggling with the fact that I could see my sexuality in a positive light–sometimes denying it all together.  The last year have really helped me otherwise.  

I have allowed myself to take on a role that combines a strong, (and slowly gaining) confident self as a female.  I have learned that sex isn’t something to hide and be uncomfortable with, but instead, to celebrate, to enjoy, and to be proud of.  While my sex might subject me to a cultural hierarchy that still puts women in the second-class place from time to time, I have found myself in places of prestige and in an age where my mother and grandmother were viewed as subservient to a man, I have risen to a place where equality is almost entirely evident.  There’s still strides to take, but there’s something about here and now that makes me truly feel proud to be a woman.

It has to be something about gathering in a room, overflowing with estrogen, and talking about how we’re going to make sure people hear what we have to say.

Even if it’s just a story about our vaginas.

I have allowed myself to be surrounded by people who have healthy views of what women should be, I have overcome a huge obstacle and lived to tell of it, and I have tried to live my life to what I want it to be.  I’m a skirt-wearing, bicycle riding, Veggie lovin’, peace demanding feminist.  A year ago, I might not have used that last word, due to the stigma it often carries, but I’ve learned to embrace it.  Where many simply sigh and dismiss the questions, I have learned (through the lovely teachings of professors who beg us to all be feminists) that it’s not necessarily the dirty word it has evolved to be.

This is what happens when you get me thinking at 10:30 at night.