This blog is a collection of a young woman's random thoughts, many tangents, and occasional
short stories and novel excerpts. Stay tuned for plenty of bull and brief moments of brilliance.

Tuesday, September 27, 2011

concentrate, Concentrate, CONCENTRATE!

As a person who usually excels in school, slacking is not something with which I am familiar, nor is performing poorly on exams for which I was clearly unprepared. It would be one thing if I had studied my ass off and still did badly, but coming into a test with little work put in makes me nauseous.

Not doing actual studying since December is a contributing factor, but hardly an excuse. Classes starting at 9:30am and going through 5:30pm is annoying, but not a reason to slip. What's going on with me? I wonder...

Maybe I'm getting early senioritis (I got high school senioritis my junior year as well), wondering why the hell Latin and Earth Science even matter to me, wanting to focus on enjoying myself just for once, bladyblahblahblah, excusesexcusesexcuses.

I'm cracking down now, for real. Last year this time I had another wake-up call when I got an F on my Latin II midterm and a C on my Age of Dinosaurs midterm. I worked like crazy, got my Latin grade up to a C+ and straight A's in all my other classes and on the Dean's List for the second semester in a row.

What I mean to say is this: I can do it.

I didn't do well on my Latin III exam which is to be expected since I haven't reviewed much since Latin II, and Earth Science was a C with the curve. Did I study for either exam? Sure. Did I study well and long enough? Hell no.

Last year when I did "buckle down" and made a weekly assignment sheet divided by hour each day, I had little social life. Was it possible for me to balance both and just stay up past 11pm? Yes, but I didn't bother. This semester, however, I have things that are also important to me: personal relationships and close relationships (mainly my boyfriend and my best friend, Michelle).

I'm not saying my friends are more important than my grades, hell to the no, I'm way too much of a nerd for that to be the case. I tend to slack when things are going swell and I know from the past that stress drives me. I'm a pain in the ass when I'm constantly stressing/freaking out, I know, but that keeps me on task and actually caring about my performance in the classroom.

I have a lot to be grateful for though right now, and that was the bulk of my prayer last night when I lay in my bed watching the shadows from the streetlamp outside dance off my angled ceiling. My health which has been a problem in the past (i.e. freshman year with swine flu, mono, kidney infection, allergic reaction to kidney infection medication...) is solid right now minus a slight cold that's almost gone. My friends are loyal and understanding. My family keeps in touch. My mood is more optimistic than in previous years and I wear a genuine smile on my face.

Since I have so much to be grateful for, I think I'll use this to drive me forward instead of only relying on stress and the brink of an emotional break. This may be a slightly more healthy approach.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Stop Questioning the Smile. Now.

I write random shit when I'm happy, sad, or pissed off, but rarely when I'm bored. When I'm bored, I rarely do what I need to and once I am, that is when I want to write. Stupid fucking vicious cycle. Yet I try and save everything I write even if it seems melodramatic and ridiculous in hindsight, and reading it later is satisfying and greatly unsettling at the same time. Mostly, I write when I'm sad or angry and they are the most entertaining. I feel better though reading them and realizing that I'm no longer in that place.

And then I wonder why I always expect to return.

Letting myself be happy is a struggle, probably because I was conditioned to question love, affection, and loyalty from anyone. Years later I am better with this in female relationships, but with men? I'm a late bloomer so to speak, and need to remember how I got past it before. The problem is I don't remember. A basic "calm-the-fuck-down" suggestion is not only unhelpful but counterproductive. The more I calm down the less I consider what I am doing. Going with the flow cannot be my MO to a certain extent.

When you have to relearn basic social skills in your early teens, resorting to what feels right and comfortable is usually damaging; it has been for me in the past. Making the conscious decision to trust and let your guard down is one thing. Making yourself believe that not everything will inevitably turn to shit is another.

I sometimes wish there was someone who actually understood this or went through this who could explain to me what I need to do. I've made it this far on my own, but the solo journey is a lonely one. I'm tired of losing people. I'm tired of being tired. I want somebody to make me feel special because I’m tired of having to do that on my own. Won’t someone else carry me, just this once? (<--the last four sentences were taken directly from some of my melodramatic writing, but...nope, just sounds weird).

I guess the point of this post is to say that right now as I sit here in my sorority house (and for this past week), I am "happy." The word is in quotations because I don't want to jump to it too quickly. Am I happy? I think I am, my heart is floating and my cheeks hurt from smiling. I feel focused on my school work (if you count still needing to write a paper for Thursday, do Latin parsing/translation and read two stories for tomorrow, and read the play for my monologue as focused...) and am trying to stay connected with friends.

The main source of happiness at the moment is thanks to one of my friends setting me up on a blind date. I've only known him for a week, but my new boyfriend definitely makes me smile. I'm trying to look at this as the fates turning in my direction as they have been for the last year or so. Maybe I should stop thinking too much, or at least find some sort of balance between relaxing and freaking the fuck out. Everyone's different--for me that seems to be an understatement--and I think that's what's best for me.

Who the hell knows, really; I tend to live in a world of learning by doing. I'm the kid that would have to burn her hand on the stove to make sure it was hot even if her mom told her it was on. You learn more about yourself that way, or at least that's what I tell myself to sound less insane. I'm excited for my dad to come visit me for dad's weekend in two weeks and I hope having him around will remind me of whatever it is I need to remember. His awkward humor, insight, and unwavering support has been my saving grace through much of my life. Besides, as always, I have plenty of stories to share with him...and of course I could use a trip to the mall.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Laptops in Class are a Problem

Sitting in my Earth Science lecture, obviously working very hard on...whatever it is we are talking about (okay, it's geological time, I know that much!) and obviously grasping this complex concept. Having taken this class in high school and rocking it then four years ago, I'm not that concerned for my exam Thursday. Or maybe I should be? Not quite sure.

What I am sure about is the exam I failed yesterday in Latin. I think it's funny I want to get a tattoo in Latin someday even though I suck at the language. I love Latin, I honestly do, but translation has never been my strong point; when I did German my freshman/sophomore year in high school, I excelled until we had to start speaking almost exclusively in German. Fuck that shit. So I switched to a language that did not require such oral exams (don't let your mind go dirty mine does...) and did well until translation. Translation is the death of many Latin students for I am convinced it is more challenging than most languages (minus the Asian languages which are challenging for various reasons). Latin was once described to me as a giant puzzle; each word, participle phrase, sentence, poem is its own jigsaw puzzle.

Too bad I hate puzzles.

Well, only two more semesters to go and hopefully my professor will be merciful when I beg her forgiveness upon return of our exam papers. I excel in English classes, hence why I became an English major. It makes sense to me. I can handle math and science to a point but once the ideas go beyond my general knowledge, I shut down. Math bothers me for it demands one, specific answer. I like a certain amount of ambiguity. Science is even worse for it employs the dreaded math with the added need for comprehension.

I often wonder how much these things will be beneficial for me in the future. Beyond helping your children with homework...I can not give you an answer as to why I need two science classes with one being a lab. Part of me wants to figure out a way to use this shit so my time isn't entirely wasted.

Side note: currently the professor is talking about half-life. I think I grasped this concept freshman year of high school. Ugh.

My weeks are filling up quickly, with homework, studying, papers, and what not. This semester, I have five classes, two of which require attention (Film&Lit and Earth Science), one that requires a great deal of attention (Latin III), and two I expect an A in (Creative Writing and Acting).

Then I need two CDC events for my scholarship, two meetings with my CDC adviser, keeping in contact with my friends, keeping up with my friends from home, theoretically finding some sad excuse of a romantic life, and going out at some point.

Sometimes I miss the good old days of high school when my biggest concerns were when I would have time to watch all of my many TV shows that were on at the same time on school nights. I miss free time; not "Ireland" type of unlimited free time, but a bit would be nice. I know deep down though that stress and a busy schedule keeps my grades up and my spirit perky. Stress fuels me. Yippie.

Maybe I should pay attention for the last fifteen minutes of class...or do a bit of online shopping for dresses...

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Holy Crap...I'm a Junior.

I remember high school sophomore year when my older friends told me that junior year was a bitch; they were right. Now, my junior year was difficult for many reasons from the basic studying for the ACT, to college research, to theater (and evil directors), to challenging classes. Beyond all of this though, it was at the end of my junior year that my mom died.

This means now it will be four years in April (3 1/2 October 11th) which is mind-blowing enough, but also means I'm feeling similar stresses as a junior in college. Fingers crossed I don't have to deal with a death this year. In high school, your main worries are boys, getting into the "right" college, getting good grades, and having some sort of a social life. In college, they are quite parallel except for one important difference: we are not hearing back from colleges in the spring.

That's right, we as juniors, as we did four years ago, have to start thinking about our future. Thinking about my future four years ago consisted of college and day dreaming of what I'll do when I'm "all grown up." Even now I find me and classmates catching ourselves when we talk about growing up. We are in the midst of it and will soon be entering this so-called real world. Some (actually, many) of my friends and classmates are applying to grad schools and internships in the summer or early next year.

I get scared thinking about this because...I am not.

I'm not going to grad school since having a masters in English was never my plan. The "plan" was to get my BA, get a reasonable out-of-college job, polish my manuscript, and find an agent. From there, hopefully I'll be picked up by a publisher and begin working with an editor. Since it'll be my first published piece my monetary offer will be small, but I accept that. As soon as a publisher picks it up and begins the long publishing process, I'll start working on my next piece. After this one is published hopefully a couple years later, I can begin my next and, depending on its reception, propose the possibility of selling it as a trilogy. Following my trilogy (I'll most likely still be working odd jobs throughout this time) I'll propose my memoir and following this, my next piece. Hopefully at this time I'll have garnered some sort of minor name for myself and can maybe venture into the world of children's literature.

So there you have it, the above is my "plan" but really more of my dream. I believe in my heart I can make the above happen if I work hard enough, but the reality of it is terrifying. This is no longer years and years down the line, its only a couple summers away. I'm not stupid enough to think these epic opportunities will land in my lap right out of the gate; I'll have to work my ass off. Though I'm more than ready for my life to begin progressing, I'm still scared.

Sometimes I wish I had grad school and another ten years of schooling/practice to have before I had to get all responsible and shit...but I don't. I simply don't have the time to spend in an institution when I could be out making real connections to advance my career. I can talk a big game (or seem completely arrogant at times) and act like I have it all worked out, but I don't. I have a good game plan, and as with all plans it'll change and evolve over time.

Every so often I'll hear or see something that will scare the shit out of me, send me running to the fucking hills. I'll walk home from class with a blank stare on my face, wondering what the hell I think I'm doing. Other times, less often but far more important, I'll feel something glowing in my heart or my brain that gives me hope. More than hope actually, it gives me faith. Faith that I can makes something out of myself. There are plenty of people that I want to prove right and prove wrong, as anyone does. I think that belief that I will succeed is amplified by the idea of showing this world what I'm capable of doing.

I want to prove to the crazy girl from high school theater that I am indeed smarter and more talented than she. And yes, I am crazy, but at least I'm not as crazy as her which is a plus.

I want to prove to my sadistic AP English teacher that I do have balls and will make it, and she'll have to teach my books in her classroom. No longer will she sneer at me when our paths cross; she'll have to respect me.

I want to prove to the bitches in the past and present (and future) that I may not wear makeup or have awesome clothes, but I'm prettier than they'll ever be on the inside and it'll shine through in my writing.

I want to prove to my dad, my sister, English teachers and professors, my theater teacher and mentor, and all my friends that they were right to stick by me and support my dreams.

Personally, that last one is the most important and will be the most rewarding in the end.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Written Perhaps Too Quickly

I wrote this three page microfiction story for my Creative Writing class in about 45 minutes which I think may be a record for me. It's supposed to be in "wacky mode," meaning something surreal is happening but presented as plausible. I read it back to myself and I can see obvious signs for improvement, but since it's not being graded or workshopped and I have a shit load of other stuff to get done on my plate, revising isn't on my radar. However, this class is forcing me to write small pieces of fiction at the drop of a hat, something of which I particularly struggle. Being a perfectionist has it's downfalls. Anywho enough sidetracking, here it is:

"The End"
She sat in her dreary apartment, waiting for him to text back. He'd been out for hours now searching the town for the last loaf of bread, most of which was deserted by that time. As she started to nod off, her phone buzzed: Success! I'm about to take one last quick to join me? She smiled, closed her journal, and headed out the door. Momentarily she considered grabbing her purse but then remembered there was no use; her phone was in her pocket and people didn't use money anymore. No one was around to make or spend any kind of income.

When she reached his apartment she burst through the door, kissing him before he had a chance to breathe. Previously, this type of behavior would have electrified him, but he was worried that she was thinking again about tomorrow morning. He gave his usual you-sure-you-are-alright look and she ran her fingertips slowly down his shoulder blades.

"Seriously, forget about a shower right now," she whispered into his ear, "All I want to do is fuck you, right here right now. We don't have time to waste."

He wanted to protest, talk to her about her language that he had forbade her from using a month after the Rapture Day. Ever since more than half of the population disappeared without a trace, people understood what would happen in the coming months. Most were dead from famine and disease by now and they promised each other--he made her promise him the day he told her he was in love, five month ago--not to think of this as the end.

They had to act as if each day wasn't to be their last. But that bleak late afternoon was, all the signs were there, and she knew this was one of the last times their lips would touch. He wanted her to forget her troubles, even if only for a short while. Picking her up and wrapping her legs around his waist, he pushed her roughly up against the wall as he ripped open her blouse. Her mind wanted to stop worrying about the next twelve hours, to stop wishing for time to slow down, to enjoy this moment.

As soon as she was on his bed and his hands ventured teasingly lower and lower, she knew why she kept coming back to him. Often she wondered if they had clung onto each other out of desperation, for fear of being alone at the end of days. Sex during these times was an escape--one she knew he didn't mind--but to her it had become more than feeling his hot breath on her neck; he cared and wanted her to be happy. It's hard enough to find an unselfish lover in everyday life but in a time like this? Finding a warm body not infected with one of the many plagues was difficult.

She awoke early around 4am when his body twitched violently next to her; she feared he had fallen ill while out in search for food. He tossed from side to side, a thin beat of sweat developing on his forehead.

"Let her live. Please, take me instead. Just let her live."

As much as she wanted to remind him that she was fairly certain that was not how this whole "end of days" thing worked and that pleading would get him nowhere, she opted instead to stroke his back reassuringly. He shot up and almost hit her out of surprise. He was mad at himself; he must have been having another nightmare and she had seen him in distress. Resting his hands on his face with a long, strained sigh, he felt her arms snake around his neck as she peppered his upper back with light kisses.

When they had sex that early morning there was something different. Frustration, desperation, sadness, and confusion all wrapped into one. He kissed every inch of her shoulders, chest, and face, pausing every so often so they could pant softly into each others ears. Her fingers clawed at his back in vain, trying to draw him as close as humanly possible.

They kissed more that time than ever before and they weren't only the passionate ones out of the heat of the moment; they were tender, pleading almost. When they came together they cried out, their voices filling his bedroom. There was more than a literal release when their bodies shook and fell together. There was a goodbye in every kiss, every sigh, every thrust. Dripping from each touch was the growing realization of what was going to happen next.

As she lay on his chest with him stroking her hair, she stared out into the glowing red skies. According to most predictions, they had less than an hour to live. Part of her wanted to run away from him, from what this meant to her, spend her last moments on earth by herself, and pretend that she only used him for the distraction and food in her time of desperation. Was she afraid though of admitting she loved him? She'd never said it back those months ago and she knew deep down that it hurt him. She didn't know how to love him the way he loved her.

Was this love though? They made each other happy, laughed and cried together, told secrets in the dark of the night, opened up more than to anyone else before. He looked at her and he knew, he always knew, what she was thinking. The words didn't need to come out of her mouth for him to know that she loved him back; that look of contemplation was enough. He held her close and breathed in the scent of her fading perfume.

"Do you remember the first time I met you?" he said into her shoulder. "We were running from the explosion and you fell into my arms. I thought I was in heaven. You gave me a look of disgust though and continued to run screaming. I found you passed out a few blocks away minutes later."

Laughing genuinely the first time in a long while, she nestled closer to his chest. The sky was growing redder by the second; she placed her lips to his forearm and kissed him gently.

She was glad she had found him, even if only for a short while.