Sunday, September 30, 2012

Quote Sunday

Since I'm reading a shit ton of Harry Potter lately (finished the 1st one yesterday) I thought I'd give you one of those 3 or 4 Harry Potter quotes that happen when JK Rowling decides she's going to say something profound, and then says it, and then it's not really that great at all, but it stands out  in such stark contrast to everything else she writes that people decide it's probably the most meaningful thing ever said and get a tattoo of it. There are several of these, gun to my head, my favorite is probably this one:

It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live.

It's not really that great, but it does reflect something I like a lot: be present. I've been thinking about this since my friend Kasandra blogged about it in the summer. I guess it's really easy, especially when there's perpetually big changes up ahead, to say "I'll be happier when..." To look at the things coming and thing they're going to be the magic get-rid-of-anything-you-don't-like-in-life cure all. And that's preposterous. So I've been working on being present. On paying attention to what's right in front of my face. And I like life better that way.

PS. Think I'm lying about the tattoos? Here's 3 examples.

Saturday, September 29, 2012

Harry Potter

Wednesday night I found I had an uncontrollable urge to read Harry Potter. Since then I have read the 2nd, 3rd, and 4th books (the library was missing the 1st) and I'm half way through my next one. The last time I had an uncontrollable urge like this to read Harry Potter was when the last book came out in 2007: the summer before 8th grade. I wanted to read Harry Potter because I wanted to be just swept up in a plot. So now I'm reading Harry Potter.
I started thinking about Harry Potter because for debate my partner and I are writing a Harry Potter/ JK Rowling case. The more I thought about it the more I really really wanted to read it.
The only way I can explain my need to read Harry Potter is this:
All of last year, I read (mostly) really incredible literature in my spare time. Literature that was beautiful and heartbreaking and thought-provoking. I had this luxury because I didn't have a lot of school reading. I mean, we read some incredible novels in my English class, but I would usually finish them in under a week or so (remember that time I read The Sound and the Fury twice and still finished ahead of time?), and once I was finished with school reading, I had lots of free time to read other great literature. But these days, I'm getting assigned impossibly large amounts of really interesting reading. And I need an escape. I'd rather read then watch T.V. Hence, Harry Potter.
And I'm not ashamed to say I'm loving it.
(Okay, maybe I am a little ashamed. But I'm just going to say I'm loving it despite the writing.)

Friday, September 28, 2012

Pinterest (part 2)

Since getting to college, I have lots of homework. Consequently, I have lots of time to procrastinate homework. This time is spent on pinterest. I love pinterest quotes. Especially when they are quotes I love on a pretty background:
 But my favorite thing about pinterest is my English Major board. Seriously. Click on it. Go check it out. This board is where I keep track of all things related to my love of literature. So there are book covers for books I love. And portraits of authors I love (though many of those are on lovely). There are pictures of famous authors gravestones. There are bookshelves I want. And then there are the pure English Major joy ones. Like these:

Thursday, September 27, 2012


Another one of the funny things about being in a new place with new people is that you get alerted to all the quirks in your language. For example, it's been pointed out to me several times that I use the words "darling and dolly" frequently as terms of endearment. It's true; they're a pair of my favorite words. But I hadn't really noticed that those are things that not everyone says. I hadn't noticed that, at least partly because at home my best friends use those words all the time. I think you inevitably talk like your best friends.
But the word I use that throws people off the most is fierce. I guess that when most people say fierce they intend it as some kind of insult, almost synonymous with bitchy. Or sometimes they use it like Tyra Banks does. I do not use fierce either of those ways. I use it to describe people - usually women - who aren't intimidated by "should"s, who live boldly, who I really admire/look up to/am intimidated by in a good way. I love the word fierce. I love meeting (or knowing about) fierce people.
Here are famous people who I think are fierce:

Georgia O'Keefe
Hillary. I have a crush on Hillary.
Susan Orlean. Check out her twitter
Toni Morrison, obviously.

Eve Ensler. Do they come any fiercer?

Wednesday, September 26, 2012

Unusually intense emotional connections

One of the funnier things about moving away is that I've found there are some unexpected things that I have unusually intense emotional connections to. These are things that aren't necessarily that emotional or important, but that deeply remind me of people, traditions, or places I love and miss. Here's a list:

Chronicles of Narnia and Puddleglum

Hot chocolate

John Denver

Aspen trees and fallen leaves

The sound of crickets at night


Plaid skirts


Cars that are the same as ours

This isn't just me: my roommate saw a picture of Singaporean beer on a poster and started crying.

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Too Many Beginnings

I wrote this poem like a month ago. I stated it on the plane out here, worked on it that week, and I've been letting it settle for a little bit. But now I'll post it:

Too Many Beginnings

My first breath came here
(it takes time
to take a breath)
alongside the river running
gray, in the house with a chimney
& a happy family

temporarily bound
like shadows before nightfall
Who might have prophesied that?

We would have said goodbye yesterday,
but it would have been sweet, because I’m right where I’m supposed to be,
and that matters –

being where you are supposed to be matters
I’ve always waited.

Between us: so many inhales
and the way ink seeps through paper
(people do not bleed uniquely)

farther I go
stiller I stay
things break

I think I’ll sit for a while.

Monday, September 24, 2012

Weekend Re-cap

So the weekend was awesome. Better than awesome. It was extraordinary. It was just so incredibly nice to spend time with Kat and Alex. I really love them lots and lots.
I left Friday afternoon on a bus. The bus was late getting into the city, because we spent an hour outside the Lincoln tunnel. That sucked, but was worth the $11 trip. It was actually really nice to realize that Kat and I aren't really that far apart. Like it's actually incredibly easy to get on a bus and visit each other. It makes me feel better knowing how easy that is.
So Alex and I got to Barnard like half an hour apart. We saw the Barnard campus (which is incredibly lovely) and then got sushi! I loved getting non-cafeteria food. Seriously. A real dinner was so great.
 Yes, there has never been a pretty picture of sushi. But still, it was good sushi. Highlights of sushi included me trying to use chopsticks (hugely unsuccessfully) and dropping a whole piece in my soy sauce. It splashed.
After dinner, we took the subway down to Times Square for a tourist moment. I don't even care that it was a tourist moment because it was fun. We stopped by Starbucks. Starbucks with my best friends is something I missed a lot. I didn't even realize how much I missed it. It felt so familiar and comfortable to have a Starbucks cup in my hand and be talking to my best friends again.
 So that night we kinda just walked around the city. We walked down to Central Park, but didn't go in, because we are not looking to get murdered/raped. And we went to Rockefeller Plaza. And just enjoyed the city at night. Then we got back to the dorm for sleepy time. We all fit in the dorm surprisingly well. We probably could have fit one more person in the dorm just fine. Also, since we're 18, sleeping on the ground is do-able. Yay for being young.
Saturday we went to breakfast at a Hungarian bakery: croissants and jam. Yum. Literal yum. It was such a good breakfast. And it was nice to have breakfast together. We did that at home, and I think it's one of my favorite things we do. Breakfast is my favorite best-friend meal.
Then we spent most of Saturday shopping. I didn't buy much (starving college student). I did get a dress! For $12! At H&M! And I bought two books, because you can't let me walk into a bookstore like the ones in New York and expect me to not buy a book or two. I bought Franz Wright's Wheeling Motel and Anne Carson's Plainwater. They're both books I've been meaning to get, but haven't ordered off Amazon yet. So that was nice.
And we took the subway everywhere. I like the subway. Not as much as I like cars, but better than taxis. Subway is the way to go. Plus the fact that there's a Barnard/Columbia stop: excellent.
Saturday night, we hung around Barnard. We got dinner with some of Kat's friends. It was really fun to meet here friends. I actually really liked them a lot. They were good people. People I'd like to be friends with. Which is, I guess, obvious. Because Kat and I usually pick the same people for friends. But still, I really liked getting a feel for what Kat's life is like. It made me happy to know her friends.
We were going to go dancing on Saturday night, but it downpoured. So we didn't. Which was fine by us, because it was just as nice to hang out at Starbucks and talk.
So Sunday morning we had breakfast at a little crepe place. Super yummy and awesome. Then we took the subway down to Central Park and walked through it. Lovely. Central park is lovely. 
And after Central park, we went to the Met for a little bit. There was an awesome Warhol exhibit. And we spend some time on the 20th century portion of the museum, which is the best, obviously. Have I talked about how much I love Matisse? Because I do. And Monet always makes me think of Kat, because the water lillies are her favorite, so it was nice to see those with her. And Degas always makes me think of Judy, because of the dancers and because the first time I was exposed to Degas is when Judy and I were in Paris in 8th grade. So yeah, Degas makes me think of Judy, and I love that. And, impressionists in general make me think of Lorin, because even though he doesn't really love museums, he will always go in an art museum with impressionist paintings. I kind of love being in places that remind me of my favorite people.
And after the museum, I got on my bus and came back to campus. I actually was really happy to be back on campus too, and I missed my college friends. Which was kinda nice to realize too. That I'm enjoying it so much that I missed it. Lovely moment.
So yeah, it was an exceptionally awesome weekend with  my favorite girls.

Sunday, September 23, 2012

Quote Sunday

I wrote an essay about this poem this week. We had like 30 to choose from, but I picked this one because it made me smile and think of Lorin. In another world, Lorin might have had a shoebox full of minerals.

by Marilyn Nelson

The only thing he still wanted
that a millionaire could buy,
Ford's good friend answered,
was a big diamond,
In Ford's mind,
on Carver's long, skinny, wrinkled
anthracite finger,
a stone to dazzle an entire
classification system of eyes.

Ford told how he bought a flawless
many-carat stone, had it set
in a masculine ring,
and sent it off
When next in Tuskegee
to visit Carver and throw
some money around,
Ford asked where the ring was.
Carver lovingly set aside
several dusty shoeboxes of specimens
and opened a box labeled MINERALS.

He showed Ford his phosphate pebble,
found in an Iowa creek bed,
his microcline feldspar, found
in the Alabama woods, his smoky quartz,
kicked up by his boot toe
in a Kansas wheat field, his fluorite,
sent by a Kentucky spelunker, his
marcasite, sent by an English mineralogist
in exchange for a piece of information,
and here it was, his diamond, the gift
of his dear friend, Henry.

Carver held the ring up to the window.
Ford saw by it's faceted luster
that Carver's eyes weren't black, they were brown -
no, they were sparklets of citrine light.

Saturday, September 22, 2012

Blogging Block

I've had blogging block. It's like writer's block, but not quite the same. It happens every once in a while. Usually, I'm like this:
But right now I'm not. It's been happening off and on lately, because I'm busy. Like how I'm in NY with my best friends today. And blogging just doesn't quite happen. Blogging kinda takes time. Because it's not just "here's what I did today". At least I try to make it more than that; I try to make it more of "here's a little piece of who I am today".  And because of that, most days, I love blogging. Really, where would I be without a blog? It makes me feel like people are listening to and keeping track of me. Also it gives me a space to be entirely selfish and focus on my voice and what I think and what's going on with me as a person. I love blogging for those reasons.
But for today, here's all I have to offer you. This is one of the most darling music videos I've ever seen. The aspen trees with the snow make me miss home. And I love the song. So much.

Maybe I'll learn to play the guitar.

Friday, September 21, 2012

Weekend Escape

Guess where I'm going today!
But specifically!
And guess what I won't be doing!
Because guess who I'm going with!

That's right. BEST FRIEND TRIP TO NEW YORK! THIS WEEKEND! In 2 hours I get on a bus and in 4 hours I WILL BE IN NEW YORK WITH MY BEST FRIENDS. Could I ask for anything more? No, I could not. 

Thursday, September 20, 2012


One of the things about being in a new place is that no one really knows my story at all. I can put in or keep out whatever I want; create whatever image of myself I want to. I've never had that before. I'm so used to everyone around me knowing - more or less - everything about me. I always thought I hated it. And there are definitely things to hate about it. But I find that I also kind of miss it. Because it can make things easier too.
I've been thinking a lot about secrets lately. I'd never really thought a lot about secrets, because I honestly don't have many. I don't even know what my deepest secret would be. Do I even have one? I'm not that secretive because when I am, I always end up feeling lonely. It makes me think of that line in Catcher in the Rye, when Holden says, “don’t ever tell anybody anything. If you do, you start missing everybody.” 
I think that for me, one of the highest indicators of a meaningful friendship is when I trust someone so completely that I can tell them my secrets – not my darker huge-emotional-connection, things-I-just-don't-like-to-talk-about secrets, but my who-I-am secrets. The secrets about what I think and believe; about where I'm going and where I've been; about what I fear and what thrills me. 
I have spent my days among the ones I trust with those secrets. And that is a beautiful thing.
But being in a new place means that, in some ways, everything becomes a secret. Not even because it's information being withheld, but because you're just not close enough to share everything yet. And I kinda miss having other people hold my secrets. I know it'll come with time. For now I'm just waiting, I suppose. 

PS. This is the best playlist ever.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Lost in my mind

I am fiercely independent. This is good at times, but is also something that I've had to (and continue to) work on. When I first came here, I found myself craving time to be alone and get lost in my mind. At home, I had this time when I would drive places. It's one of the reasons I love driving so much. But here, I obviously don't have a car, so I've been finding other ways.
Sometimes I go for walks around campus. Have I mentioned how incredibly beautiful campus is? I couldn't ask for a better place to live:
The amplitheatre is usually empty, so it's a good study-alone place.
The chairs on Parrish beach make me happy.

I also take poetry study breaks. I take a collection outside and sit in the sun in the courtyard for 10 minutes or so. The sun on my face makes me happy.
Also, I journal. Which is not really "alone time" so to speak, but feels like it. Writing poetry feels the same way.
But mostly, I go to the gym. (I know right? I usually hate exercise.) The gym is a short four-minute walk away, and it's one of my new favorite places on campus. Seriously. I'm a workout fiend. I'm running between three and six miles a day. And I'm getting plenty of time to get lost in my mind. My meditation is when I sweat. Win-win.

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

During A (Wild)fire

During A (Wild)fire

This suitcase
heart – locked in
locked out
once and again

while the tip of my
cigarette is the sun
during a wildfire

burning through those mountains
I left

Still stars shine
this way things change,

it seems I’ve moved away
with nothing left to say

because what’s best
can’t be left


Monday, September 17, 2012

Happy Birthday to Kat!

Guess who's birthday it is!
This girl's!
(yes, it is 2 AM, but that still counts, and I'm starting the birthday party early. No time to waste!)

Happy Birthday Darling!
I hope the weather is perfect, and that it's a good hair day. I hope the discussions in your classes - which you will go to because you were always more disciplined than me - are riveting, but you don't get assigned too much work for tonight. I hope you get to spend some time in a coffeeshop with really good coffee and a book that brings your whole self to life. I hope someone remembers to get you good birthday cake, because if I were with you, we'd be going to Nordstrom cafe for chocolate cake, and I'm worried that no one will pick up the slack. I hope 19 is even better than 18 and I hope that the next year is filled with all kinds of extraordinary.
Love you lots!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Quote Sunday

So this week study breaks have been poetry breaks. I read Nick Flynn's Some Ether (which was amazing) and now I'm reading Gregory Orr's The Caged Owl. I love Gregory Orr. I really like this poem. It reminds me of the end of Mary Oliver's "In Blackwater Woods."

What I'm Saying

What I'm saying isn't exactly news
and to say it bluntly is no big deal:
once you decide to live, you have to lose.

But what if you could simply refuse
by claiming that life itself isn't real?
What I'm saying isn't exactly news -

the Buddhists think this world, hooked on adieus,
is just red dust. If that's true, why feel
that having to live you also have to lose?

Well, because we're boides, bodies whose
mortal bruise is time's kiss and time's seal.
What I'm saying isn't exactly news.

The luckiest among us live in twos.
Yet love has tied them to a burning wheel
once they decide to live. They have to lose

because time's only tempo is the blues.
It's what we're born to, what our prayers conceal.
What I'm saying isn't exactly news -
once you decide to live, you have to lose.

Saturday, September 15, 2012

I miss my brother

I miss my brother.
He's the other sibling, the not-me, and I miss him.
I like that our names go together, were put together.
He's at a new school right now, and I'm at new school too. Sometimes I worry about that.
I miss seeing him every day. I miss the way he makes me laugh, and waits for me to watch Modern Family. I miss walking past him and his friends playing Xbox or foosball or whatever it is they were playing. I miss his big smelly shoes. I miss going to his lacrosse games or going to the cabin and sitting on the deck reading and watching him fish. I miss the really substantial conversations we'd have every once in a while. I miss telling him all my secrets (he knows everything). I miss him giving me hugs, because it's new thing for him, but he's still really sweet about it. I miss the way people always forget we're siblings, because we're so different, but it makes me smile, because of course he's my brother: I couldn't pick a better one. 

We climbed a mountain together.
And he goes outside a lot.

Also, he's kind of a stud.

Friday, September 14, 2012


This is not a post about George W Bush.
This is a post about writing essays.
We have W courses here. W stands for writing. As in writing intensive. You have to take three W courses in at least two different disciplines (Social Science, Humanities, Natural Science) in order to graduate. My English class right now is a W class. I really like my English class. My only problem is that I only have 2.5 hours of English class a week. From December - May, I had 10 hours of English class a week. That doesn't seem quite fair, now does it.
So the W class has lots of writing. A paper a week is what it basically what it comes down to. Which is feasibly do-able. Especially because we've got a super helpful writing center that will go over papers in whatever place they're at - pre-writing, rough draft, polished draft. But still, I struggle a little.
For me writing - but especially writing academic essays - is a leap of faith. I usually end up mapping things out a little beforehand, but I always start feeling like there's no way it will ever get finished. I don't understand the topic, or what my stance is, or anything. I feel like I magically got stupider between class time and writing time.
Eventually, I get an intro done. And I have a thesis of sorts. So I start writing. But it feels like 90% of my brain is turned off. I'm confused as to where I'm going or coming from or even writing. Which is when the dead point comes in. Dead point is not writer's block. Dead point is when I decide there's no way I'm going to finish this paper successfully and I close the computer for an hour. Deadpoint sucks, but is necessary.
Because after dead point, I come back. And after some more struggling, some idea will catch. So I turn my screen to black and just write - just follow the string where it wants to go - paying absolutely no attention to the actual craft of writing or beauty of language. If I want to use the word "represents" eight times in a paragraph, I do. And if I want to write "I think that the sister is crazy because she can never keep her shit together," I do. Eventually the thread runs out, I turn on my screen and see what I have.
What I have is, more often than not, something to go off of. So I do my best to make it pretty and remold my thesis and make some sort of paper out of it. And this is the point when I start to feel like maybe I will have a paper to turn in, maybe I will emerge from the fuzzyness of writing clinging to something I can turn in. Eventually I'm just rereading and rereading and rereading it, making minor but important adjustments as I go.
And then it's time to turn it in. I honestly cannot think of a time that I've turned in an academic paper and felt really truly incredibly good about it. It always feels to me like some kind of failure: the arguments are forced, or the language is sloppy, or the topic is stupid. But eventually there's no more time and I turn it it.
Sometimes I fail, sometimes I do well, but I almost always learn something that I can include in my next paper. Which will once again be a leap of faith to write. But a slightly easier one.

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Things I'm good at

Taking naps

French braids

Procrastinating homework by writing poems

Whining about the homework I procrastinated

Workout binges (wanna talk about how yesterday I did an hour of Pilates then ran two miles? Or how the day before that I did an hour of yoga then went to the gym and ran again?)

Putting on mascara

Getting my hands dirty

Wearing chacos


Listening to This American Life

Decorating my dorm

Hashtags (I love Instagram)

Impulsive decisions

Eating vegetarian

Ordering off menus

Reading good books

Blogging (but this everyday thing is getting hard)

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Words that are hard for me to spell


(seriously though, what happened to I before E except after C?)

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

The Morning America Changed

So here's a 9/11 poem that's stuck in my head for the past year. It thought of it especially when I was at Lake Como in July. It's a good poem.

Happened in the afternoon at Villa Serbelloni.
We'd closed up shop on the work for the day
and decided to make the long descent down
the elegant stone switchback path into Bellagio
for coffee and biscotti. It was still Tuesday
and a quarter to three and a good quarter hour
to the exit gate or if you stopped to look
at the snow on the Alps or at "the deepest
lake in all of Italy" or looked both ways
at once - as we say crossing a street - five,
ten minutes longer. This day was longer
because it was especially, if redundantly,
beautiful, with the snow shining and the lake
shining and the big white boats shining
with tourists from Tremezzo and Varenna.
And the herring gulls and swallows at different
layers, shining like mica in the mountain rock.
And the terra cotta tiles of the village roofs
almost shining, almost close enough to touch.
Judith was already in the pasticceria
and I was looking skyward on Via Garibaldi,
the one-way traffic lane circling the town,
when I heard the rain in the distance breaking
and then her voice through the window calling
and then on the tiny screen inside
pillars of fire pouring darkly into clouds.

-Stanley Plumly 

Monday, September 10, 2012

To Philly!

On Saturday I went into Philly! It was exciting. I went with my friend/quadmate Nora. We went to the piercing studio first (don't worry it was for her not me), then we went to a coffee shop for bubble tea. Then we took the subway and walked along the main shopping area. The highlights included: a free people store, a farmers market with fresh peaches that I ate like an apple, and Anthropologie's flagship store. I'm obsessed with that store. I want to live there. It's an old mansion that they turned into a store. Beautiful.
So yeah, I liked Philly. It was so nice to walk around and just be there. The old part of town is lovely. At some poing I'll have to go see the Liberty Bell and Independence Hall. But I've got four years.
Have I talked about how I'm not really a city girl though? I like spending a day in a city here and there, but I don't like spending substantial time in cities. Even being in Europe this summer was maybe too much city time for me. I love Swat because I love having my little campus. I'm really glad I didn't end up at like NYU or even just a college within a city. I don't think I'd do well there.
I've been spending a lot of time with everyone lately, and I'm starting to crave time to just be by myself and walk or read or write. I'm social, but I'm also fiercely independent and if I don't get solo time I lose it. I think that on Wednesday - when my classes end at 12:30 - I might go into Philly and have an afternoon to myself. It's good for me.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Quote Sunday

So since I've been here I haven't had all that much time for free reading. Which is sad, but made up for because I'm still reading a lot. 100 or so pages a night. Still, I'd take that and a discussion class over worksheets any day.
So in my Gender and Sexuality Studies (henceforth GSST) class, we read this essay/speech called "Coalition Politics" by Bernice Johnson Reagon. And I loved it. Here's what was my very favorite part:
Respect means when somebody joins you and they need to be white, you give it to them. You turn it over and you say: Okay you got it—you are white. I could save your life, but okay you got it—you are white. That’s called allowing people to name themselves. And dealing with them from that perspective. Shaking your head in your little barred room about it, or if somebody’s crazy enough to let you sit on the stage for a little while will not help the situation. It won’t stretch your perimeter.
I love it because you can replace "white" with anything and it's so applicable. I think it's an incredibly human urge to want to label each other - to want a paradigm to work within - but I think that allowing people to name themselves might be one of the most powerful things in the world. Because really, who am I to say what someone else is? Really? And who is anyone else to say that I've named myself incorrectly? Sometimes it can be phenomenally uncomfortable or even just new and strange to call people what they name themselves, but I think it's the only way things ever get done.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


Maybe this transition is easier than I thought it would be...

Maybe I really miss my car and driving with the windows rolled down...

Maybe I want to learn how to play at least one song on the piano...

Maybe it makes my day when people I haven't heard from in a while text me just to check in...

Maybe I try to befriend anyone I find threatening,
because maybe it turns out I usually like them...

Maybe I felt so hot in a pair of jeans that I didn't mind paying $200 for them...

Maybe I worry too much about the words that come out of my mouth...

Maybe I like piercings more than is normal,
like maybe I've gotten 5 in the last 2 months,
but maybe I'm done now...

Maybe I like to write on my walls...

Maybe I write poems and journal entries for people instead of praying for them...

Maybe I'm more thoughtful that it can seem...

Maybe I love tattoos...

Maybe I'd really like to shave my head sometime in the next 5 years,
or maybe just cut it really short myself...

Maybe I actually don't have any idea where I want to go...

Maybe I really like that I can act like a grown up and a child in the same day...

Maybe it makes me feel really good when people start to understand who I am...

Maybe I smile whenever people call me an adult...

Maybe surprises scare me...

Maybe I put on dresses just to spin around...

Maybe I stay up late worrying about things I have no control of...

Maybe I think I've got important things to say,
maybe I'm waiting for the platform to speak from...

Maybe it's nice to feel lonely sometimes...

Maybe just maybe I'm better than I've ever been...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Genesis of Fear: Going Downhill

I'm back to prompts. I love their prompts. Here's a response to one that I loved:

My mother loves the phrase "hindsight is 20-20."

My family has ATVs that we keep at our cabin and ride around the mountains. I've crashed those ATVs a number of times, and the majority of them have been when I was riding downhill. Going down a hill on an ATV always makes me nervous. It takes some kind of backwards faith to put on the gas and know that I'll have more control going faster with the accelerator than slower with the break. When my every instinct is to do the opposite, I hit the gas.

I once stayed up until 2 AM discussing the question: if you could make perfect decisions all the time, and have perfect judgement, would you? I'm still not sure what my answer to that is. Maybe it's because I just can't even comprehend even a little bit what a life like that would look like, but I can't help thinking about some of the dumber things I've done and knowing that given the chance, I'd do it again.

In the winter, the large hill we live on turns to a large luge run for SUVs. Utah's snowy winter packs a punch; the skid marks along the side of our road are a testimonial. By anyone's judgement, I'm not an especially talented driver. I've totalled one car and beat up another so seriously that front and back fenders needed replacement. So driving down the slippery slope was nothing less than terrifying.
On days that it snowed, I left 10 minutes earlier for school. I'd turn the music off (better focus), put my car in the lowest gear, and ever so slowly inch down the hill. Most of the time I'd make it smoothly enough, but the stop sign at the end was always a battle. More often than not I'd find myself sliding into the main road, wishing quicklyasIcould that no other cars would be passing for me to run into.
And somehow there never were.

I'm learning when to trust my head and when to trust my heart. My head leads me toward danger and growth, towards fear and courage, towards a purer self and higher thought. My heart leads me towards sensitivity and tenderness, towards sincerity and generosity, towards personal truth and fulfilling relationships. But their are also pitfalls to both. I'm learning how to differentiate the times to listen to my head and the times to listen to my heart.

My worst experience with the snow was - go figure - when I was going uphill. It was a snowy night during what had been a dry winter. I started up the hill doing fine, but then at the steepest part found myself stuck behind a Honda Civic from the 90s who simply would not be making it up the hill. And I was stuck. I slid my way backwards to the side. Stuck and scared. Called my house. No answer. Called my mom. At her art class 45 minutes away. Called my dad. "I'm in a meeting but I'll leave. Be there in 10 minutes."
I sat in my car listening to Mumford and Sons while I saw my dad drive past - unfettered by the Civic he made it fine. A few minutes later he came back. Wearing his snow boots and parka, carrying mine. I climbed into the passenger seat and felt safe.

I don't really know if there's a way to avoid going downhill. I think that sometimes decisions can't be unmade and sometimes life just goes downhill and sometimes there just isn't any control in anything. Maybe when I'm old I'll know how to never ever go downhill again. But for now, I hold this close: many of the things I hold dearest have come during the ugliest times of my life and from the hardest things I've had to do.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

The Dorm

I live in a dorm. I like my dorm. Even though it's way too hot. It's fun to decorate. Also it's fun to write on the walls. Here's what my dorm's looking like these days:

Shakespeare, Patagonia, Obama
David Foster Wallace This Is Water quote
I had to bring the best of my books with me to college
The desk area

Also, this poster is in the mail:

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

The Second Pond

I wrote a poem last night.

The Second Pond

An hour ago
I was handed a word
which I cracked like a nut
to find inside
the sound of eyelashes
batting against the pillow

it used to be so easy to sleep

there was a song to play
             come morningtime
words to speak that afternoon
a place to be from

the second pond
(the littler one
which fills too quickly
with green plant growth)
is home to the biggest fish

who we never manage to catch

                           Let her swim.

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

The Sched.

Have I mentioned that I'm taking classes? Since that's part of what you do when you go to college.
Here's my schedule:
Notice that my first class is 10:30/11:30. That's not an accident.
I've got some super awesome classes. (All except stats). Have we talked about how I failed my stats AP? Funny thing is that failing it was actually the best possible thing I could have done. If I'd done well I couldn't have gotten any more credit, since my calc AP is all the credit I could get. And if I'd passed then I'd have been placed in a higher level course. But this way I get to take level 1 stats and get all my math classes done. Which is great.
Besides that, I'm in an intro to gender and sexuality studies class, which I'm excited about. I potentially want to have GSS as one of my majors, so it's cool to actually be in a course.
Then I'm in two first-year seminars. The seminars are capped at 12 students, are discussion intensive, and the subjects are chosen by the professors and what they want to teach. My first one is called Subverting Verses, and it's about the line between poetry and prose. The second one is called Religious Radicals, and it's about the religious radicalism of MLK and the civil rights movement, as well as the role of religious communities/organizers/clergy/people in the success and failure of movements.
So yeah, I've got an awesome schedule.
I bought books on Sunday. Books are so damn expensive. I could buy a roundtrip ticket home or I could buy books. WTF?

Monday, September 3, 2012