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.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Perfectionist in Me Slowly Dying

Melodramatic title, but true.

For me, school was always an escape from the stress in my life: from the bullying, from the depression, from the truths I ran from for years. In high school, I was on honor roll all eight semesters, high honors for two of those. My senior years my grades were awesome, despite being in two plays back-to-back second semester, being a writer for Senior Production, and photo editor for the school online magazine.

In college though?

My first semester at Iowa sucked, no doubt about that. Stress with the insanity that was my floor in my dorm lead to my struggling grades.

Second semester was much better. Dean's list was where I ended up since literally all I did was go to the bars on Saturday nights, sleep, and study.

First semester my sophomore year, I had 17s.h. and was working 13hrs a week. Dean's list again.

Second semester I was in Ireland and it was practically a free semester. I passed my classes and my GPA was unaffected. Thank you, Study Abroad.

First semester junior year? Not quite as good grade wise. Latin is killing me; I'm hoping for a D+ at best. Earth Science is so boring I find it hard to bother much with it. I'm guessing B-. Film and Lit? B+, A-. Creative Writing? A. Basic Acting? A. That GPA? Would make my cumulative a 3.2. Not that terrible, but not impressive either.

So why then am I freaking out this much? My goal is to graduate with at least a 3.0 which is very likely still. I stress out like crazy though if I think I'm not excelling.

I feel guilt.

I feel guilty for many things, constantly, incessantly, always. Again result of early childhood but grades cause me much guilt if they fall below a B. I have to get beyond this self-imposed-grade-guilt I have that is helping no one. Stop blaming yourself, stop worrying about what your grades say about you, stop freaking out about not being on the Dean's list three semesters in a row. How much do my grades really matter, beyond the obvious of course?

But I can't, I can't stop questioning, I wrote something for myself to hang over my bed and read before I fall asleep:

Dear Molly Jane,
Look at yourself. What do you see? A writer, a fantastically gifted, driven, weaver of tales. You know you can do this; deep down you have no doubts. You see those concerns on the surface? You feel that building anxiety in the pit of your stomach? That constant wonder if you will fail, how you will fail, when you will fail?
You're better than your worries, as real as they seem. All those teachers, family members, friends, mentors, and classmates who read your work must be right to an extent. Some, yes, may be obligated to say kind things, but not all of them. Their praise is what keeps you going and you must internalize it if you want to contain that emotion. What I'm saying is...
"I hear you're something of a genius when it comes to writing."
"You have such a clearly defined voice which is difficult to achieve."
And the most important one from your dad:
"I knew from that moment that you were going to be a writer."
They know you can do it, you know you can do it, so for God's sake stop questioning yourself! Focus, buck up, and buckle down. You have this gift; do not let it go to waste. Don't listen to anyone who says you can't. Listen to your heart because you know you can.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

Happiness Is...

My blog posts are becoming farther and few between, but I blame this on my insane schedule rather than my lack of desire/ability to write worthless babble.
Monday- class 2:30-8:30pm
Tuesday- class 9:30-5:30pm
Wednesday- work 6:30-11am, class 2:30-4:45pm
Thursday- class 9:30am-1:45pm
Friday- class 2:30-3:20pm
Saturday- work 11am-3pm
Sunday- work 11am-3pm

Somewhere in there I need to find time to keep myself from failing out of Latin III, study Earth Science, compose analytic emails for Film&Lit, and write responses for Creative Writing stories in which I have little interest. Oh yeah, and work on the minimal amount of homework for Basic Acting. Beyond this I need to see my best friend once a week to catch up and spend enough time with my boyfriend (one month and counting).

I'm making up my "possible" schedule for next semester and I'm liking it a hell of a lot better. I put possible in quotes since I have an early registration date so I will most likely get all the classes I want. What I want to take: Shakespeare, Religion&Pop Culture, Roman Poetry (Latin IV), Basic Acting II, Performing Autobiography. Looks like a great semester, right? My two toughest classes will by far be Latin IV (obviously, for me at least) and Shakespeare.

The class is with one of the better known English professors on campus and I hear she's a GPA crusher...and also a genius. As a rather huge fan of Shakespeare myself, I knew from my freshman year I wanted to take a class--this class specifically--from her. I've had to wait til now because she won't let you in if you are an underclassman. I only have one more English class after Shakespeare til I'm done with my major which is exciting and saddening. I need to push myself and challenge my abilities, and taking a class from this professor will be my needed kick in the ass or my downfall. Here's to hoping it's the former.

Insanity aside, I'm happier right now than I have been since I left Ireland, happiest in Iowa since maybe my freshman year. If you guessed why, you probably guessed right: my boyfriend Eldon. Last night, we were laying in his bed listening to the music coming from Studio 13 near his apartment and I leaned over to his smartphone to play a song on YouTube: You and I by Ingrid Michealson. And yes, to add to the cheesy-factor, it is "our song."

He turned to me and said, "I have a hard time telling you just how much I love you...'I love you' doesn't seem like enough."

I nuzzled in his chest and smiled at his adorableness as my heart soared. How did I get this lucky? People like me don't get this kind of shit landing in their laps. Somehow, I lucked out and got the sweet guy who gets me, loves me for my imperfections, and doesn't mind me in sweatpants with no makeup. He makes me feel safe and beautiful all wrapped into one. I couldn't ask for much more.

So yes, I may be a bit head-over-heels right now, but I'm hoping the ride isn't slowing down anytime soon; I'm not ready to get off yet. It's been one month today and I feel like we just met and like I've known him forever. I truly love him and yeah I may be insane (actually, definitely insane), but I'm okay with that for this moment. In this moment now I am happy and sometimes that's all I ever ask for.

Thank you God for giving me a reason to smile: family, health, friends, and someone to love.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Oh How Time Flies

I love fall (when it's not 80 degrees, but I'll take it), with the leaves changing, apple cider, Halloween, pumpkin carving, and (usually) sweater weather. My favorite part by far though is the changing of the leaves. I love the beauty in their dark and bold coloring and crunchy exterior. I remember being young and someone telling me the leaves were dead when they changed and fell to the ground. While at first I found this depressing, I've come to see the magic in the statement. There's something amazing about beauty in death, in the last moments of life. Our true colors show at the end and in our leaving of this world and into the next, we leave something beautiful behind.

It is three and a half years ago today, on April 11th, 2008 at 7:22am, when I woke up to hear my dad screaming and to discover my mom was dead.

Seeing that written out doesn't feel weird since after almost four years, that statement is habit by now. Accepting that the above statement is true took a lot longer. I look back on the years since then and can hardly believe how much I've grown; my mother would barely recognize this new Molly. She though, more than anyone else in my life, did understand me even when I thought I didn't understand myself.

I can imagine her reactions and advice for certain things over the years, from the tattoo, to deciding to study abroad, to boyfriends, to love, to heartbreak, to stress, to blue hair...
I knew her almost as well as she knew me. She hated to see me grow up and was definitely more of the mother-with-the-shotgun than my father is when it comes to men. She would have been terrified to let me study abroad even though she would have supported me. She would have listened intently to all my drama, gossip, and missteps. She would have hated the tattoo (sorry, mommy), hated the blue hair, and hated even more the idea that I wanted a couple more tattoos (sorry daddy). She would have loved University of Iowa.

Memories of my late mother pop up constantly, many of which my sister and I share with each other:
~Listening to "Life Would Be Dream" on the newly paved road in the van
~Sitting in the penthouse laughing in Door County
~Seeing Wicked together for my sweet sixteen
~Matching dresses, matching pants, matching sweaters, matching everything...
~The awkward pre-homecoming party she threw for me and my friends my freshman year
~Telling me I couldn't date a boy because she "didn't like his bite"
~Throwing me the Care And Keeping Of You book when I asked to have "the talk"
~Family vacations, road trips, and trips to our grandparent's condo on Green Lake
~The goody bags she insisted on putting together for my 16th birthday party
~Our basement which had sections for scrapbooking, beading, stamping, and knitting
And oh so many more.

Anyone who knows me will say I talk a lot about my mom, which is true, though it's because she was such an instrumental figure in my life. Without her, I literally would not be sitting here unable to sleep. She was the most amazing woman I have ever known and probably will ever know. She loved me to the depths of her heart, and made sure I felt that love every single second of every single day. Not a moment went by when I wasn't smothered with her love and cookies. She was the best mother any girl could ever wish for, and I feel selfish at times wishing I could have kept her longer. She graced my life with her presence for seventeen years and perhaps that's all I could take of her awesomeness before the world imploded.

A few years ago, I wrote a little something to my mom that still rings true: "Because of you, mom, I am alive. Because of you, mom, I'm still standing. Because of you, mom, I smile. Because of you, mom, I never gave up. And because of you, mom, I never will."

Call up your mother and tell her how much you love her or give her a hug if you can. Never let her forget how amazing she truly is. Love you, moomookins, miss you every day.