Random

Day 365.

Happy 365th Day of Posting!

Here we are: 365 Consecutive days! I can hardly believe we made it. I say we because you all were an essential part of this. I wish I was home to thank you and give you a hug for sticking with me through this year, for being a part of my life, for being a part of my everyday, for allowing me to write about you (whether you knew I was or not!), for supporting me, for reminding me to post when I almost forgot, for believing in me, and most importantly, for making me feel like my writing and my life is valuable. That’s better than any gift I’ve ever received.

Thank you.

This process has been a complicated one, often frustrating and annoying; but more often  it has been wonderful, eye-opening, and amazing. I started this blog a year ago today wanting to document the summer before starting my freshman year of college. I thought that it was the perfect time and I would see how long I could keep up a daily blog for the summer. When the summer came to an end, I decided to keep going. I passed the three month mark, then the six, and here we are. One year of blogging. 365 days! I’d like to use this post to reflect on my year and on what it has been like and recap some of my favorite posts.

Things I learned from 365 consecutive days of blogging.

1. Contrary to popular belief, I don’t always have something to say. 

As many of you know, I didn’t always enjoy blogging everyday. And as school started and I found myself spending more and more nights writing endless english papers, I learned that it was highly unrealistic for me to expect quality writing every night. And there were many times when I felt like I was letting myself down, nights when I didn’t have much to say. I didn’t write every night; I posted though. I required myself to have the time to have the opportunity to write. What I did with that opportunity every night wasn’t always the same, but I learned that I often had more to say that I thought.

2. I need an outlet. 

I learned that I need a way to process and to feel other than inside my head. Many of you were with me through some of the most defining moments this past year and of my life, whether you were aware of it or not. And while I did my best to be brave, I was cryptic at times. You often saw through it (and didn’t get frustrated with me. Thank you. Really). My blog became a place for me to communicate when things were difficult, a place for me to feel safe, to process and feel, to be honest, and to learn about myself and about the wonderful people who care about me (that’s you!).

3. Whenever you allow yourself to be vulnerable in front of someone, they will often do the same.

Many of my posts were difficult to write, but I did my best to be honest. Many times, my blog opened up the conversation to talk about things that we normally don’t like to talk about. It allowed me to have a place where I felt safe enough to do so and I’ve learned so much about the way people work and think and feel because of it. Thank you for responding to my writing, for taking me seriously, and for recognizing the honest feelings I wasn’t always brave enough to write. Thank you for caring enough to have those conversations with me, for teaching me to ask questions, for teaching me that life and people are complicated. Thank you for showing me how spectacular that is.

I write in order to know who I am, who I’ve been, and how that girl was and is a significant part of this human family and all of its wonderful complexity.

And this is most definitely not the end of this blog. I need him too much to abandon him now. Not to worry. I do feel like I’m saying goodbye though.
Unnecessary sentimentality: check.

I think it’s appropriate to end my final post of my year of blogging with a piece of wonderfulness that I imagine will be extremely familiar to all of you by now.

“One can only see with the heart. Anything essential is invisible to the eyes.” The Little Prince. 

Thank you all for teaching me to see what is essential.

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Reflection

Thankful Thursday: You’re already home where you feel love

Today, I am thankful for…

1. My new favorite hiding place

We have an old library that very few people use. It holds a strange collection of books and I happened to wander in there a few days ago to find a book for a paper I’m writing. After getting lost for twenty minutes, I did my best to find my way out of the yellow-bookcase maze to ask the circulation desk where the book was. She handed me a map with very specific instructions of how to get to the section where the book was. I found the book and my new favorite paper-writing place. It has its charm despite the claustrophobic feeling it induces and the crazy hum of the lights. It’s perfect. Something about the feeling that no one would ever be able to find me there; the ultimate hide and seek place when the world always seems to be wanting to find you and you don’t want to be found.

2. The Epitome of Weather Perfection

For some, the perfect temperature would be closer to seventy or eighty, but my vote is fifty-eight. A pair of jeans and a cardigan, and you’re set. Excellent, excellent, excellent. I live for evenings in spring, sleeping with my window open, and slightly chilly early morning bike rides to work.

3. An Old Friend

Returning to a piece of writing after some time away from it is like seeing an old friend. You get reacquainted. You assess how things have changed since you last saw each other. You get to know them again. You ask them questions and you look at them different as you’ve changed and things have changed. And you find comfort in the realization that you still have things in common despite all of that change.

(All of this is to say I finally tackled dealing with my writing critiques and did some significant revisions on my piece for my nonfiction class. Whoop. Productive evening in my favorite library.)

4. Having a Ukulele to Play at the End of the Day

Eugene’s a sweetie, what can I say? He’s a considerate fellow.
And yes, I did pick his name finally. It’s like Eugene was always meant to be. I couldn’t devastate him like that. I don’t support ukulele identity crisis.
P.E.T.U. (People for the Ethical Treatment of Ukuleles)

5. This Song.

Put your dreams away for now
I won’t see you for some time
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

Momma once told me
You’re already home where you feel love
I am lost in my mind
I get lost in my mind

Oh my brother
Your wisdom is all that I need
Oh my brother
Don’t you worry ’bout me
Don’t you worry

How’s that bricklayin’ coming
How’s your engine running
Is that bridge getting built
Are your hands getting filled

Won’t you tell me my brother
Cause there are stars up above
We can start moving forward

Lost in my mind
Lost in my mind
Oh I get lost in my mind

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Reflection

On your mark…get set…

I don’t consider myself a writer. I consider myself someone who has done a significant amount of writing in my short nineteen years of living though. And after my first year of college as an English major who’s done more writing this past year (and anticipates way more in the next five or six) than ever before (and who tried to love every minute of it, or at least take valuable lessons from it when I didn’t), I can pretty confidently make the claim that, at least for me, one of (if not the most) difficult part of writing is starting. It’s not even drafting so much as just hands to keyboard, thoughts to page, words on screen. (I’ve also learned that I love to use parentheses in my blogs (and in emails)).

I think that’s the case with most things in my life.
Sorting through the nerves, the worry, the overwhelming anxiety enough to convince myself that I can, in fact, do it, and that regardless of the outcome, the jump alone is worth it.

I know I’ve written about this before, it felt necessary this evening. Thankful Thursday post to come, not to worry, ol’ chaps.

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Random

To expose feelings is to risk exposing true self

To laugh is to risk appearing the fool;
To weep is to risk appearing sentimental;
To reach out for another is to risk involvement;
To expose feelings is to risk exposing true self;
To place your ideas, your dreams before the crowd is to risk their loss;
To love is to risk not being loved in return;
To live is to risk dying;
To hope is to risk despair;
To try is to risk failure;
But risk must be taken, because the greatest hazard in life is to risk nothing;
The person who risks nothing, does nothing, has nothing and is nothing;
He may avoid suffering and sorrow, but he simply cannot learn, feel, change, grow, love and live;
Chained by his certitudes, he is a slave and has forfeited freedom;
Only a person who risks is free.

I’m not sure when I read this for the first time, but I thought of it tonight. It’d be a complicated and lengthy post to explain why this notion of risk taking and being a risk-taker has been a thought that has made its way into my every day the past two months or so. I can confidently say I am in no way, by the true sense of the word, a risk-taker. I am cautious and careful and guarded and paranoid and safe, constantly safe. I do all of these things and am fully aware of the way I am despite the disappointment that often ensues after an opportunity passes. I love the metaphor for slavery that it uses, “Chained by his certitudes…forfeited freedom.” That’s exactly how it feels. Caged by caution and fear. I live this way, scared to be alive and free, unaware of what I’m actually afraid of.

And in considering all of these things, I realized that I may take a single step in the right direction towards progress and risk, instead of ten steps backwards into comfortable and safe. I take risks in my writing. One place. Somehow it’s not so scary. I think anyone who creates anything from a place of honesty and vulnerability does so. You can’t create something whether it be a song, a painting, or a piece of writing that you honestly care about and put it out into the world without risking judgement and criticism. Anything less than the highest accolades are hurtful to the creator.

Next week in my nonfiction creative writing workshop I will sit in a classroom of twenty college-students and my professor and listen to them discuss an honest and personal piece I’ve been writing the past month. I’m terrified, to be completely honest. It’s so easy to want to crawl in a hole with my feelings and sadness, but in this piece, it’s me, exposed, vulnerable, and fragile. No hiding, no running; an unavoidable leap.

And I think this is just the step towards learning, feeling, changing, growing, loving, and living that I need.

I received a WordPress surprise when I posted this! Little things, it’s the little things. 😉

This is the video that popped up as my surprise.

*Sorry for all the typos on this post if you read this before noon today. I was hardly awake when I posted last night. Whoops. I think I caught most of them.*

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Random

Thankful Thursday

This edition of Thankful Thursday will be brief, especially in comparison to last week. Whoop.

Today has been an extremely long day. All I can think of is the prospect of getting to bed in the next two hours and if my calculations are correct, that should be manageable. My terrible paper is finished but I’m without ink in my printer. So, fail.

Right now, at this moment, not considering how I felt three minutes ago, not thinking about how I feel 90% my day, but now, in my tired stupor, I am thankful for:

This blueberry (and the handful of fresh blueberries I’m eating)

The glorious temperature it is outside right now at 12:15 in the morning as the breeze through the window keeps me awake.

And this song.

So, as I was publishing this post, I received a WordPress Surprise! It only happens every thirty or forty posts, I think. Not often. And you had to have checked some box somewhere at some point in time, which I managed to do but have never been able to find again. It’s really exciting when you get one though. It’s always something encouraging or funny. My favorite was a video of a goal in a world cup game with the spanish speaking announcer screaming, “¡Goooooooooooooooooool! ¡Gol! ¡Gol! ¡Gol! ¡Gol! ¡Gol! ¡Goooool” So funny. This time was a video of the next contestant on The Price is Right and his celebratory dance.

So, I’m thankful for that too, maybe even more than the other stuff.

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Reflection

As Promised.

“The heart is capable of sacrifice. So is the vagina . . .It can ache for us and stretch for us, die for us and bleed and bleed us into this difficult, wonderful world”
-Eve Ensler, “The Vagina Monologues”

Aside from the slightly uncomfortable picture this paints for some of you, it was definitely my favorite line from the Vagina Monologues and just so happens to be a snippet of the very monologue Miss Julia Moen gave at her Vagina Monologues performance way up north in (must be read with accent)Minnesota. She’s definitely the person to ask if you’d like to know more about them as she is a Vagina Warrior herself (hopefully that’s a generally accepted title and not something they just call the people involved with the monologues here…).

But, in short, as she explained to someone earlier this week:

The Vagina Monologues is a play by Eve Ensler that shares women’s stories in an effort to bring awareness to sexual abuse in America and around the world. Aka: Awesome.

They are, indeed, awesome and quite hilarious as well. There were some moments where I felt slightly uncomfortable and then felt bad that I felt the way I did (felt, felt, felt…felt. Geez!). I wanted to grasp on to that feminine notion about freely expressing and appreciating our sexuality as women, but it was a bit too much for me. Maybe I’m a prude, but the provocativeness, it just wasn’t for me. What I very much appreciated, though, was the overall message about women and celebrating women. They place value in confidence. They place value in womanhood. They share the sentiment that a woman’s body is her own, valued by herself, not for the benefit of anyone but herself, not to be abused or taken advantage of, and revered and honored if anything. At the end of the show they had a rose ceremony where they explained that each of the women involved in the production was wearing a rose. The women wearing a black rose were women who suffered abuse themselves at some point in their lives. Those women stepped forward and they invited anyone in the crowd who survived abuse to stand with them. Then they explained that the women wearing red roses were women who knew someone who had suffered abuse. They stepped forward, the entire remaining cast members, and once again invited us to stand if we fell into that category as well. It was heartbreakingly beautiful to see this auditorium filled with brave women. It was very, very cool.

So as today, well, yesterday now, Valentine’s Day, is the perfect opportunity to remind your dear one that you love them, I’d like to suggest an alternative or addition. While I can’t deny the fact that sometimes (frequently!) I’m that hopelessly emotional girl who watches romantic comedies and listens to Greg Laswell and Ingrid Michaelson’s sweet love songs after love songs, wishing that sweet young man was thinking of me, I like to regard myself as a strong, independent young woman. And as a (sometimes) strong, independent (an alternative to “single”) young woman, I’d like to say that I’m thankful for the strong, independent (single and otherwise) women in my life, who inspire the very same confidence, bravery, compassion, and love that being a woman is all about. You all teach me to be a better person.

 

Do you need anybody,
I just need somebody to love,
Could it be anybody,
I want somebody to love.
I get by with a little help from my friends,
Yes I get by with a little help from my friends,
With a little help from my friends.

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