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.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

A Verry Merry Post

Wow, that was a lame title, but alas "It sounded better in my head" is rarely a good excuse. On this Christmas day I am sitting on my bed having exhausted my Pinterest and Nook as of now. My Christmas goodies have been sorted and played with (or enjoyed rather, since I'm twenty fucking years old I don't have toys anymore) since last night. My family celebrates Christmas now on Christmas Eve, so Christmas day is pretty chill which I enjoy.

I am slightly regretting now not staying in my new Victoria's Secret PJ's as long as humanly possible.

I went onto my Pinterest to pass the time and started filling up more boards, specifically my "Favorite Places" one which was empty. I went to Google Images and typed in the various places I visited this last April-May and started pinning the pictures. There was this surreal moment I had when I pinned a picture of a black sand beach in Santorini. The red lawn chairs looked familiar, but what got me was the large rounded cliff on the left.

Then it hit me: though I was looking for a random black sand beach picture, I can stumbled upon the exact one my friends and I visited. Not only was it the same one, but it was the same spot. I remember the bar we went to for drinks for Cassie's 22nd birthday right behind those chairs and dinner we ate farther down. We spent most of the day there and were horrible sunburned (Natalie more than the rest of us), coming back at night to party. The Cork party scene wasn't much like home and Santorini offered us that club feel we had been missing. We danced the night away and stuffed ourselves into that cab at the end of the night.

Looking at the Google Images is strange, because I have to remind myself, "I was actually there. In that spot. In that beautiful place." While I was traveling, I remember telling myself, my friends, and even journaling about feeling zoned day after day. I knew someday I'd look back on that trip in awe when I had more prospective. It made for a wonderful tagline: "I visited eight countries in thirty days with three friends, barely enough food, a Eurail pass, and a backpack." Yet it felt like it was happening to someone else; it was too great to take in then and for months afterwards.

Only now do I think I'm able to understand how wonderful that trip was for me. My friends and I on that trip were close before, but it brought us (at times, perhaps too much) closer than we could have imagined. We learned more about ourselves and each other in that short time span than our whole time studying abroad in Ireland. Fending for yourself like that is frightening and looking back, I'm amazed I managed it at all. So much stress, tension, sadness, joy, insanity was in that adventure. More than before, I'm grateful for that experience.

In nine days, it'll have been a year since I flew into Ireland and made it to my apartment in Cork where I met Alicia, Cassie, and Natalie. It's nice having Natalie at Iowa with me since she transferred, but I miss my other girls off on the east coast. I knew I'd miss them, but strangely enough I miss them more with each passing month. All strangers, we bonded in a way that is tough to explain. It was out of desperation, in a way, to survive a new place we were apprehensive to explore alone. Like the first day of school, it reminded me of clinging onto one other classmate that you knew in a class or at lunchtime. The difference here though was we were expected for five months to eat, drink, live together, study, travel, make friends, and become a family of our own.

We shared many amazing times and far too many secrets. We bickered like adult siblings visiting for the holidays. We created a life for ourselves that no one can understand but us four. That's one of the hardest parts of coming back, and I can say that now with more credibility after a semester in Iowa: losing that world. After our trip even we were so used to each other we had to force ourselves apart and not talk about the trip to reintegrate back into our friend group. You realize it a lot at first, and I still do from time to time. I know someday I'll see my Irish lasses again and squeal about Eddie Izzard (hopefully with Alicia's British accent) over a glass of white wine. We'll indulge in some chocolate and watch many YouTube videos. I'll open up my scrapbook and we'll smile at the memories and the friends we made.

No matter how much times passes, nothing can take those memories from me.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Awkward Tears in Dark Theaters

Last night I got to go see the Rep's performance of "Next to Normal" and though I expected to cry a bit, I did not expect to be so shaken. Oh, and by shaken I mean sniffling the entire show, going down to my basement the minute I got home to cry, and falling asleep exhausted.

If you do not know the show, I'll give you a second to go Wikipedia a plot summary. I can wait.
Got it? Yup. I knew the gist of the story but maybe should have looked into it a bit more before I started bawling, like I usually do I guess. I think what got to me the most was how much I connected with the characters and the music that sent me over the edge. Standing on the other side of depression, PTSD, anxiety, suicidal thoughts, and self-mutilation, looking back at a dramatization of some parts of my past was overwhelming.

The song that sent me into complete hysterics (seriously, it's a good thing I was biting the inside of my cheek) was the song "You Don't Know." I'll put the lyrics here, written by the brilliant Tom Kitt and Brian Yorkey:
"Do you wake up in the morning and need help to lift your head?
Do you read obituaries and feel jealous of the dead?
It's like living on a cliff side not knowing when you'll dive.
Do you know, do you know what's it's like to die alive?
When the world that once had color fades to white and gray and black.
When tomorrow terrifies you, but you'll die if you look back.
You don't know.
I know you don't know.
You say that you're hurting, it sure doesn't show.
You don't know.
You tell me let go.
And you may say so, but I say you don't know.
The sensation that you're screaming, but you never make a sound.
Or the feeling that you're falling, but you never hit the ground.
It just keeps on rushing at you day by day by day by day.
You don't know, you don't know what it's like to live that way.
Like a refugee, a fugitive, forever on the run.
If it gets me it will kill me, but I don't know what I've done."

Among songs about love, loss, and trying to hold the family together, this one hit home. It hit home in a way I cannot explain, a way that hurts and helps to watch at the same time. It vocalizes what I try to say sometimes when I talk about my past and those darker days, but the raw intensity and utter abandonment of the lyrics stir something deep inside.

The scene with the therapists made me laugh at their authenticity, especially the awkward and impossible to answer question, "Tell me about yourself," or "Tell me your story." The drugs listed throughout the show were mind boggling since I knew almost every one of them. The adjusting of regiments, the constant promise that it's not an exact science but we'll keep trying, and the reassurance that we'll find something that will work. I was lucky enough to find something that did, but not everyone is so lucky or it takes years to find a combo effective enough for stability.

I never dealt with the numbness, but I can understand it in numbness I felt off my medication. Nor have I ever had the urge to go off my pills for I fear myself without their aid. Fear...fear is an interesting thing for me. The emotion saved my life in a way. I never carried through with any suicide attempt for fear of it not working and waking up in a psychiatric hospital. I think that was always my worst fear. I worried if I did tell of my thoughts and feelings I would be carted away, restrained, sedated, and force fed medications.
For reference, here's a picture of me in those darker times:
You see that girl? That girl, 11 years old, was hurting too much to tell anyone.
Looking back, perhaps I should have told someone during instead of after the fact. I'm lucky I didn't fall completely off the deep end and that medication and therapy worked.

The other thing in the musical that sickened me (literally, I had to look away) was the portrayal of ECT. Next to the hospital, ECT is another one of my hidden fears, since it's main use is on patients with untreatable chronic depression. I worried many times, "What if this medicine doesn't work? Will they do that to me?" Granted, it isn't used often and is seen as beneficial to it's users, but it still frightens me. I don't mean to say either that psychiatric hospitals are horrible or shameful places; rather my own twisted fears kept me from acting on impulses.

Overall though, my review for the musical in one word would be: beautiful. From the lighting (I'm a sucker for well-executed lighting), to the music, lyrics, acting, bare-bones set, and tense subject material, I loved it all. It struck a cord with me, yes, and made me reflect about certain things that I had left buried deep for a while, but I was moved. That's the point, isn't it? Great theater is what I have a passion for, the kind that touches every fiber of your being and electrifies your senses. This show had that element for me, and I'm grateful I was able to be a witness to it's art.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Five Down, Three To Go.

I gave myself two options moment ago: get another thirty minutes of sleep after two 6:30am work shifts in a row or write a blog entry for the first time in a month.

I'm crazy enough to chose the latter.

Why has it been a month? You tell me, because I sure as hell have no idea. I could use being busy as an excuse, but I even managed to blog briefly while traveling around Europe with few moments to have any internet connection. This I believe was because I didn't want to write.

Like many passions, there are things that take away that drive. Focus I have been lacking for a while now (apologies, Autumn Leaves), but drive I rarely lose. I haven't been very stationary the past month though, running around campus with some supposed purpose in mind. I wish I had something amazing to show for it but alas I do not. My grades for this semester will be complete shit which I already knew but am only now accepting.

My guess: Creative Writing--A, Fiction Writing--A, Film & Lit--B, Earth Science--C, Latin--F.

Good God, that looks pathetic written out like that, but thankfully the U of I second grade option will save my GPA when I retake Latin. The failing grade will be in there for now, but will be removed and replaced next semester. The title of this entry does not refer to exams (if it did, I would have hung myself by now) but rather semesters at Iowa, six in college in total.

I can hardly believe I only have three semesters left in college. Only a handful of papers remain in my future and exams will soon be a thing of the past. In honor of this, I am writing a mini-letter to past self for each semester.

Dear First Semester Freshman Molly,
I can barely think of what to say to you, you poser. Stop trying to fit into the hipster crowd because I can guarantee you that you do not belong. Please oh please get rid of that blue streak in your hair and invest in some makeup so people stop assuming you are sixteen years old. Leave the boys alone for a while and focus on those grades. As smart as you think you are, this is still college so shape the fuck up.

Dear Second Semester Freshman Molly,
You are growing up now, slowly but surely, but can you stop leaving such depressing Facebook statuses? In the future you can look back at those things (and your God awful poetry) and you'll wonder what was so horribly wrong in your life. I'm glad you're focusing on school and that you made the Dean's List. However, quit being such a drunk. Alcohol doesn't solve your problems and drunken makeouts do not make you cool. You are amazing without all of that.

Dear First Semester Sophomore Molly,
Wow, you've really matured a lot and I'm proud you decided to join a sorority. You're focusing on you, that's great, but remember to live in the moment more instead of living for next semester. You need to value the time you have with your sisters now; you'll miss them after not seeing them for eight months. Invest in some nicer clothing please and maybe a blow dryer. You're beautiful but I want you to start embracing your beauty.

Dear Second Semester Sophomore Molly,
Holy fuck you're in Ireland. Okay now, calm down, wipe away those tears. You're going to love it there, I promise. Those girls, Alicia, Cassie and Natalie? They are your lifeline and your soulmates. Don't take for granted all the incredible sights you will see while traveling. I'm glad you "found yourself" and learned to relax for once. Also, way not to learn anything the entire semester...I'm almost impressed.

Dear First Semester Junior Molly,
Hi! I can see your face! Kidding, that's creepy. But seriously. You need to go to the Calvin Hall now and drop Latin, go while you have the chance! Too late? Oops. Honestly, you're smart even if you don't always achieve perfection. It took you a while, but I'm glad you like your sorority house. And that Eldon kid: hold onto him. I'm thinking he's a keeper. Oh yeah, blog more often next semester. It's a great way to avoid studying but still feel productive.

Love Always, Molly Jane