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, January 24, 2012

"I Just Wanna Be Okay Today."

Blog title refers to Ingrid Michaelson's title song off her album, "Be OK," which I didn't realize until now was sung by the amazing Ingrid. This song is currently my anthem for it's honestly and very necessary upbeat rhythm.

I didn't know how to write this blog post but knew I had to for a couple reasons. First, the flow of my posts (if you can even consider that one exists) would feel off if I talked about my boyfriend in my last entry and never mention him again. More importantly though I know if I don't write this I'll go a bit crazy.

Listening--or reading, in this case--about a breakup story is interesting for a couple minutes at most, even with celebrity duos. One of my least favorite things, and one of my greatest worries, is I'm being a burden or annoying someone. Bitching about my love life would seem to fall into that obnoxious category. I'm operating under the assumption though that perhaps three people will read this if anyone. I don't write for others; I write for me...and I do it on a blog because I have a bit of a narcissistic streak in my personality.

Anyways, enough side-tracking: my boyfriend broke up with me. Boom, I said it. Whew. Today is the first day since Friday I haven't cried which is a plus, though I cannot promise myself I won't while writing this entry. I didn't see it coming so it of course was a startling surprise. In the moment I don't remember much of what he said as I entered tunnel vision. I left that night in tears, hyperventilating, stumbling through the icy roads back to my sorority house.

My sisters tried to console me but with little success. I hate hugs and most displays of affection unless in the context of a relationship. I have been known to give too frequent and/or awkward hugs, mainly because I want to force myself to be affectionate. When people see or hear you're upset though they're instant reaction is to console. When I'm upset, I don't want to be touched and want to be alone.

No one is going to leave a hysterical, emotionally unbalanced girl by herself though in this state. Everyone over these past couple days has wanted to know what happened since no one else could see it coming either. It wasn't any simple explanation of he cheated, fell out of love, liked someone else, or any other numerous variations. Complicated it was and I did not really know what happened myself.

When I say it was complicated, I mean it was insanely so and not at all simultaneously: he didn't see us as a long term relationship and didn't want to string me along. Noble, mature, and considerate are words that come to my mind. Even if he can be an asshole at times, he always has cared for me deeply which makes this almost harder.

I want to say I fucking hate that fucking bastard piece of shit fuckity fuck fuck...but I can't. It isn't true. He's still one of my best friends and I don't know if that will ever change. This doesn't mean, though, that I'm not mad or hurt. I am. I want to place blame of someone or something concrete and there isn't anything to place.

I want to be excited or at least see the positives in being single again but I don't. I've never enjoyed being single. I have that same icky, lost feeling right now I've had before. Starting all over is something I've had to do many times over in aspects of life yet never get used to the process.

I want to jump a month into the future this instant and be sitting in a coffee shop with him, talking as friends. I want to get in a time machine and cherish every last moment I didn't realize was a last. I want to say, "Fuck all this," and go on some slutty rampage downtown. I want to run to his apartment and beg him to reconsider, be together again, pretend like this weekend was some horrible nightmare.

Unfortunately, none of those things will happen. A) I don't know how to travel through time. B) ...Again, time travel isn't readily available yet. C) I would get all dressed up, drink a couple beers, then run away at the possibility of a one-night-stand. D) That's pathetic and would be the stupidest thing I could ever do (and that's saying something considering it's, well, me).

Mostly though I want the second part of that last one: for this past weekend to have been an odd dream I'll wake up from soon. These past four mornings I've woken up and rolled to my side to find no one there; I've had to remind myself each day I'm not with him anymore. Selective denial, perhaps, or simply the fact the whole situation hadn't sunken into my brain.

I did all the things you're supposedly supposed to do: eat rich chocolate ice cream, bash about other exes, cry for hours on end, go shopping, walk around in sweats sans makeup, and so on. They all make me feel better for a total of five minutes before I think, "How the hell is this supposed to help me?" It wasn't in the end.

Keeping myself busy is what I'm currently attempting and it's been working so far. At the end of the day though I'm drained physically and emotionally, searching for a reprieve. I want to vent incessantly about anything and everything that comes into my mind...but I can't do that with him anymore. He could tolerate me like no one else I've ever known and I miss that already after four days.

What I want and need are very different. I want him to knock on the door of the house with flowers in hand, telling me this was all a mistake and pleading to have me back...but I'm almost 100% certain that won't happen. Sadly those romance movies aren't entirely factual it turns out.

What I need's the question then, I guess. Writing like this helps a bit and not letting myself slip back into denial is probably good as well. I know I'll be okay even if I wish things were different right now. I wonder if he'll read this post since he used to read all of them and I wonder if that matters to me.

It does and doesn't in a way; it does in a silly fantasy-reunion sort of way and doesn't in this isn't for him. I'm not mad at him, even if I want to be, and will always care about Eldon. These past four months were wonderful even if they ended so quickly. He gave me a kind of happiness for which I had been searching and for that, I'm grateful.

I wrote this to generate some kind of internal peace, at least, that was my attempt. Did I? Or did I babble random pity thoughts for the past forty five minutes? Either way I feel a bit better and that's enough for me tonight. I'll go eat some dinner, Skype with my friend, do some homework, then off to bed. And so the routine goes until I can make sense of it all and I will, in time.

I love him still, I miss him now, and will remember and care about him always.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Guess I Should Start Giving a Crap

Tomorrow morning is the beginning of my second semester of my junior year in college. First two classes on the agenda? Religion & Contemporary Pop Culture and Performing Autobiography. Both classes are for my minors, Religious Studies and Theater Arts respectively. Thank God this semester for the first time, except for Latin that is, I'm taking classes solely for my degree. After this Shakespeare class, I need a Transnational/Post-Colonial course and then I'm done being an English major. Two more religion classes and three more required theater classes, though I'll be taking four. Pass World of Cicero and make it on to Roman Poetry. Throw a couple B.S. classes in there and I'm good to go.

Now, let's let that paragraph sink in. Ready?
Freaked out yet enough? Because my brain is doing something a little like this: "AHHHHHH!!!"

They say your college years go by quickly and I remember hearing the same thing in high school, yet you never believe it until it's almost over. How can I be this close to the end, so close I can sufficiently plan out my next three semesters? Winter break was the last long period of time (more than two weeks or so, I mean) that I'll be staying at home in Wisconsin. I'll be living here in Iowa City from now on and for at least a year post-grad.

Things, big adult people things now suddenly matter. What the fuck am I going to do with my life?! "Oh," I think as I read old blog posts, "look at that cocky asshole who has her shit figured out. Wait, that's supposed to be me." Talking the talk...talking the talk...walking the walk is coming soon, my friends. My classmates are either worrying about getting into grad schools and that perfect summer-after-senior-year-internship, or are in my situation: knowing the gravy boat is coasting to a stop all too soon.

The first I could have dealt with: worrying about classes, GPA's, scholarships, grants, recommendation letters, grad applications, etc. That I've done before but on a smaller scale. "Focus on your academics and the rest will fall into place," I've always thought. That part of my life is almost over now and I wonder, "Where do I go from here?" I find myself drifting off into space frequently, pondering my future, and snapping out of it when it looks too bleak and dismal.

I didn't do as well as I should have last semester because I started questioning the importance of the classes I was taking. What will my ability to analyze cinematic transitions do in my writing career? How will understanding soil and the composition of rocks help pay the bills? When will I ever need to know how to parse lines 120-131 of Cicero's First Oration? Why do I need a great GPA if I won't be going to grad school?

Oh, I forgot, your stupid ego. The idea of sitting at the family table at Thanksgiving and not being able to look your grandfather in the eye when he asks how classes are going. Knowing you'll hate yourself for not doing your absolute best. Giving up when there is no benefit for said actions or lack thereof. Not finishing strong, playing hardball, fighting for that paper, striving to set that curve, competing with everyone around you, showing again and again why you deserve to be here.

Feeling like it all matters. This time matters. Stressing over a final matters. Living for school matters. Being a college student matters. Pots upon pots of coffee and energy drinks matter. Ten page papers on books you barely read matter. You matter.

You matter. You've done something special as everyone around you does the same thing. What a feat to achieve amidst such a large graduating class. Thank God you have such a challenging major so you weren't being a pussy all those nights in the library. Good thing you have a logical reason for typing so loudly on the keyboard. Making noise makes you feel important.

I write these blog posts, I think, to have something to show for myself. Leave some kind of mark on the inter-web. At the end of the day, what do I have that is tangible? Papers I love but not every English professor will have nerdgasms over. Smoothies in the bellies of tired college students coming to my workplace. Grades I am proud to share with my dad but will be forgotten months from now.

I write not to do something. I write to be something. I matter when I write regardless of the content. Random shit like this, a chapter here and there for my book, sketching out character bio's, and shifting the plot of a trilogy around like a 1,000 piece puzzle. All of it for some purpose, I suppose. It's silly to think this quickly typed blog will change anything or anyone. Do I care though? Is this instead for me?

My boyfriend and I were talking late last night while eating cereal on the floor of his apartment. We were talking about purpose and what scope our life's purpose should be in; and in the end, why does it matter? Alright, so I hate philosophy since I can never win and I hate losing. There are no answers in philosophy and I usually stop arguing to let my brain regain it's composure. Somehow though I never mind getting wrapped up in one of these conversations...until I get frustrated. He was making good points (even if they were sullen and a bit dark) and I couldn't figure out a way to counter. Damn it!

I sit here now in my room in my sorority house, my knees bent up to my chest and my bangle clanking annoyingly against the edge of the desk every time I hit the space bar. I realize I don't give a fuck what my life purpose is in any sense. I probably should, but I don't think I do. Unless, of course, I look to my writing. I write to have a purpose. I write things that are witty, pathetic, poetic, intense, emotional, and anything in-between.

I write because I can't stop. There's this craving that cannot be sated. No matter how much I write, there's more I have to say. Stories, thoughts, sentences, words pouring out of my brain and onto this page. I write because I search for perfection. In my writing there are times I get close, but never fully there. It's a never-ending internal battle I have waged unknowingly. I care about my future but don't at the same time. I do care if I'll still be able to type seventy years from now. I will keep searching (and should probably start giving a crap about school again) for that perfect piece of artistic expression. In the meantime, this writer's word vomit will have to suffice.

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

It's Only A Couple Days...It's Only A Couple Days...

I don't do well with disappointment, like ever. Who does though honestly? When I was little and kids would get sick and have to cancel a play-date, my mom said I would cry and sulk for hours. Over a play-date. It was serious business.

So I didn't exactly take the news well that my boyfriend wouldn't be able to visit after all. With the snow storm headed this way tomorrow, it wasn't a good idea for him to drive up. Yes, it sucks, but my reaction was to cry and cry I did.

That was ten hours ago and I only stopped crying recently.

I don't know what about it shook me so much, but it attacked my senses like nothing else. The stress of being home has been waring on me. I've kept my cool and worn a happy face. Tiny things throughout break have stung harder than they should because of my heightened sensitivity. This was my tipping point and it all came out.

Everything was fine though; I changed my schedule and am leaving now Friday morning and will get into Iowa City late afternoon. I'll see him Sunday night, no big deal. And yet the logic and rationality of it all only pissed me off more. Yes, I was being ridiculous. No, I did not care. So I cried, hugged my teddy bear, cried some more, screamed, then sniffled a bit.

Eventually I felt rather silly. Why was I crying this much over not seeing him for another four and a half days? I'd already gone almost thirty. So what was the issue? I'm not sure; I think it's simply the disappointment of it all.

I planned for months, counted down the days, paced my house, woke up early to clean the house, even had to take Advil PM last night because I was too excited to sleep. After all that the stupid fucking snow ruined it, ruined my couple days alone with my guy before we were thrown back into another semester of stress.

So I lay here now on my bed, wishing he was next to me but knowing he can't be here. I sit here talking to myself, telling me that everything's all right and you'll see his face shortly. You'll be with your friends tomorrow and back in Iowa City the next day. Everything is fine so calm the fuck down.

I realize then my problem right now isn't so horrible, that I've been through worse, and the longer I dwell on this the sadder it becomes. I'm lucky enough to have him in my life, so what if it's a couple more days? I'd survive. I had to stop being a baby.

How much longer than do I let myself be upset? Meh maybe like ten more minutes. Then it's time to suck it up, throw away the tissues, and eat some ice cream. Pronto.

Monday, January 9, 2012

I've Been On A Roll Lately

Geez two posts in two days, three within a week? I'm on fire right now. Granted it's probably just my best excuse to pass the time but I had been meaning to do this post for a while. (On an unrelated note, I'm slightly relieved to realize my parents don't really read my blog frequently [if ever]. How did I realize this? Today at lunch, my dad asked me about my post-college plans. Thanks for that one, dad.)

Many of us went through a phase of thinking we could write poetry, specifically when we learned of the amazing world of free verse. You mean we don't have to rhyme or even attempt to make sense? Awesome! I, as others have before me, was briefly deluded into thinking I could write poetry when I couldn't for the most part. I've posted two or three poems on this blog I think, and that's about how many I have of which I'm still proud.

After I graduated middle school, I realized I sucked, but continued to write poetry as an outlet rather than an actual expression of creativity. Along the way our family computers have crashed or gotten viruses and many of the early work was lost (thank God) but my college work has survived. Most of them are about sex--since I felt badass writing about something I knew nothing about--or generally depressing stuff. I want to share some here, with commentary of course: the worst parts of these poems.

"My Only Regret"-November 4th, 2009
I moved on
Why can't you?
It isn't high school anymore and it's time to grow up
I used to think it was my fault, but I did make a mistake
My only mistake
Was kissing you.
*On snap, you showed him! This was written for an ex who had dumped me and meddled in another relationship that also failed. I was over him, but saying, "I moved on," screams, "I'm still attached," even if it isn't true. The third line reminds me of a million Facebook statuses I've seen since being in college, the old oh-my-gawd-that-girl-is-such-a-whiny-bitch-why-is-she-being-like-high-school-drama?-so-immature. The last two lines are the ending of the poem and I thought at the time they were a real zing but now they don't make much sense. No, eighteen year old Molly, your mistake wasn't kissing him, it was going on double dates with your ex and the girl with which he cheated on you. THAT'S called a mistake, duh.

"It"-February 16th, 2010
But...will guys stop when they see her?
Will she take their breath away?
Is she special enough?
But that isn't the problem
The thing holding her back
Was she didn't think she deserved "it."
*Woah, major emo alert! Though I think there may have been some truth to it at the time, I think what makes it extra sad is realizing I wrote this two days after Valentine's Day. I think we all feel this way about guys sometimes, but it's a fleeting thought that's embarrassing at the least. You don't take the time then to go right a whole fucking poem on it! Alas, I guess I do.

"What Do I Do"-March 2nd, 2010
I'm broken, tarnished, damaged goods
But beyond repair?
Will anyone ever love me?
Can someone wake me from this nightmare?
I am a burden, always have been
Why isn't anyone else like this?
Why am I all alone?
What do I do?
*It's a good think no one stumbled on this or they may have confused it for a suicide note. This is a stanza in the middle of the poem (if you can even call it a stanza...) and perhaps the most depressing in this depressing poem. My main thought is, "What the fuck girl? Calm down!" My big tragedy at the moment? I was bored all the time with a pretty empty schedule. That's it. Also that fourth line, if it looks familiar, it's because it's taken directly from "RENT." Come on now, Molly, seriously?! I did have a tough semester that second part of my freshman year, but it was 10x better than the first. I had good friends and many fun times. I needed an intense chill pill and to stop being a damn drama queen.

"Touch"-May 5th, 2010
I want it, I need it,
This animalistic craving that can't be sated.
I got but one taste of the delicious sin,
Still dripping like honey from my parched lips.
*Animalistic craving? Not only does it sound awkward, it's redundant. And seriously, taste of delicious sin sounds ridiculous. The sin I'm talking about? Making out with a guy at a bar. I was newly nineteen. Ooohh so bad. The last line is so cliche I don't even want to mention it. I don't know why I thought I was cool for writing "provocative" stuff and it makes me feel icky in retrospect. I was inexperienced and kept talking like I was this giant whore who lived a crazy life. In fact, I would go to the bar for a couple hours, kiss a guy, get tired from the beer, and go back to my dorm and pass out by midnight. Not exactly life in the fast lane.

"Innocence"-February 10th, 2011
The fire's heat burns, teasing me, aching
Like the bitter cold does to the marrow of your bones
Wishing time would quicken itself,
My mind wants to be put to ease
For, you see, this little virgin
Is far from innocent.
*Oh, back in my virginal days, how naive I was. I had to include these last two lines here for obvious comedic reasons. Sadly, I actually like the second line and may use a variation of this in a story but in this poem it's out of place. This poem was about wanting to get rid of my V-card and the whole thing comes off rather pathetic. I'm arguing I'm not a little girl anymore, have more experience than I look like I do, and whatever else the fuck this shit is trying to say here. Did I have more experience than I looked like I did? Nah. Who was I trying to impress, myself? Truth: that little virgin was innocent. Gahhh

There you have it, some of my more recent poetry. I'm glad I can look back on it and laugh now and hope I'll be able to even more so in a couple years. So why today in particular, did I feel the need to write this post? Well I woke up from a nap and felt the urge to write a poem for the first time in a long while. Then I went to my computer and opened up my Word documents...and I remembered why I shouldn't write poetry. The end.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

End of Break Rambling

The end is so close I can taste it, and it tastes like peppermint hot chocolate or pretty much any kind of hot chocolate I can find. I have six more days of break but the countdown I'm more focused on right now is three days til my boyfriend comes to visit me in Milwaukee.

It's been a long time since I've seen him (24 days if we're going to get all creepy and specific) and it's starting to wear on me. At first, you have the initial excitement of having no exams, papers, or work looming over your head and seeing family you've missed. Then there's your gang you haven't seen since the summer. There's more food in your house than you know what to do with, a car you can drive (you missed driving terribly), a nice big TV, your full bed, sleeping in, your dog to cuddle with, and unlimited free time.

Let's not forget the inevitable boredom.

Oh boredom, how I despise thee like nothing else. Many would rather be bored than busy and stressed but I disagree. Give me countless tasks to make the days go by rather than hours of wedding-related television and blogging random shit. I have little to complain about this break since it's been going smoothly and complaining about it's length usually falls on deaf ears (resisting urge to make dirty joke...resisting...RESIST...). I've never enjoyed breaks from school, even as a kid. I would loathe days of doing nothing and would rather be in school because I'm a nerd like that.

I prefer to do nothing when I should be doing something, at least the guilt then is somewhat interesting. My sister and I caught up which was much needed and welcome, that is, until we started to bicker. Growing up we rarely butted heads and were the bestest of friends (not a real word, I know, but work with me here people). As we've grown older we've learned how to talk to each other even if it's not always as seamless. It's part of getting to know each other better as we start our own lives but still difficult at times. I miss her like crazy now though that she's back at school in Minnesota.

Three days, three days til the boy will be here and my curse of boredom shall be broken! I've used his eventual visit as a marker of bringing back of my sanity which I tend to lose in a big empty house when everyone is gone at work or school. After he's here for a couple days, we'll head back to Iowa City Saturday and I'll do some sorority stuff Sunday. Then, it's the beginning of my sixth semester in college, fifth at Iowa.

Maybe that's what I'm afraid of in a way: starting the end of my junior year. I get freaked sometimes thinking about my future in too rational of terms. These thoughts are brought up during family gatherings common of college breaks. The grandparents, uncles and aunts, and family friends typically ask how college is going. When they realize you're a junior the follow-up question is: "So what's the plan after graduation?"

My initial reaction is usually, "AHHHHH Shut the fuck up! Why would you try to stress me out like this, on fucking Christmas Eve!? Just give me some money or holiday cookies and leave me alone in my sugar-induced coma!" However, I have a feeling such an outburst would be inappropriate in the middle of our living room. I turned the topic usually over to my sorority, but then would get bored of justifying my decisions or explaining how special my sisters are to me and are not simply "drinking buddies." Then, what to talk about?

"The boy, use the boy," my brain told me (okay, now I have a strange feeling this is some variation on a quote from Harry Potter, but I'll leave it). And I did with great success. To avoid talking about my ill conceived future, I talked about my boyfriend instead, by which my extended family was fascinated. Thanks to Facebook, they knew of his existence but I was left to fill in the blanks. Where's he from? What's his major? How old is he? How did you meet? When do we get to meet him? How on Earth do you pronounce his last name? etc.

Talking about him made family gatherings--or as my mom affectionately called such times, Forced-Family-Togetherness--less awkward and was easier to talk about than post-college plans. At the same time though, talking about him made things harder because it obviously made me think of him. Healthy or not, we spent much of the semester as a couple and saw each other, one way or another, every day. Going from 100 to 0 was tough, but I was okay.

At night, I take my dog Lucy for a walk around the block and use the time to let my brain wander. Late in the evening was when the emotions would hit me like an anvil. One minute I'd be fine and the next I'd be stuck in nostalgia mode as a big-eyed, pre-teen girl. This is insane, I would think to myself, you'll see him in a couple weeks.

As slow as this break has seemed the end has come quicker than I expected, though this last week has proved to be the hardest. I miss him and I feel pathetic and lame for saying it out loud (or typing it I guess). I think about him rolling into Milwaukee, driving up to my house. I think about how hyper I will be Wednesday in anticipation. I think about seeing him smile, not over Skype or with a smiley emoticon in a text, but for real. I think about holding his hand again and all the other cutesy stuff that usually makes me want to gag. I think about how happy I'll be once he's finally here.

For some reason I love this strange man.

More than anything though, I'm looking forward to going back to the life I know and love in Iowa. Mornings at Java House, wandering around the sorority house, running across campus to make it to a lecture, and struggling to find the right words for a paper...I miss it all. The good and the bad are necessary and going back to it is much needed. I miss my friends, my favorite spots, my sisters, my roommates, and just about everything I left behind.

I'm used to being away from people now since Ireland, but it's been a while since I've needed to bring out those skills. This winter break has reminded me as independent as I think I am, I still need people, certain people, in my life.

So, only a couple more days of boredom ahead until he visits and then we can go back to Iowa where I can begin avoiding schoolwork once again.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

I Is Good Dancer?

Alright now, I have a confession, one I've been keeping secret for years. I deny it with self-deprecation and all but the signs are there and it's time the truth be revealed.

I'm under this strange impression I'm a good dancer.

What? How is this possible? ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? Well yes, obviously, but that's beside the point. I have thought it for years and for some reason can't shake it even though I know it's not true.

I enjoy learning Lady Gaga dances, many of which I've recorded and posted on Facebook. I always preface it by saying I know they're horrible and only for laughing purposes. But secretly? I think they're awesome. I spend hours practicing and perfecting the moves I usually destroy in my performances. I pay attention to the clothing, lighting, and setting as though I'm a real dancer.

I can say I did ballet for four years, jazz for two, and hip hop for a summer. I was in the Nutcracker as an angel at the age of eight. Sounds decently impressive for a girl who seriously lacks coordination, right? Wrong. This may be a bit of false advertising even if it is true.

I did do ballet but from the ages of four to eight and I'm pretty sure the majority of those first two years consisted of running around with streamers. The third was probably walking in a circle practicing my plié. Only in the last year I'm guessing did I get into anything somewhat substantial with battement, jeté, and pas de bourrée (and yes, I was on Wikipedia "Glossary of ballet" to remember these terms).

The Nutcracker thing may seem a bit impressive and yes it was my only professional role and first stage production, but keep in mind I was eight. I did less on that stage than my actual classes. However, I was hella adorable in that pajama suit and giant wings. I loved the year I was in the Nutcracker and stayed in ballet after that only to be in it possibly again.

The next year though when the company came to our ballet school, I did not meet the height requirement to be an angel still but was too short to graduate to a higher role. "Next year," they said. "Fuck no," I thought. I'm almost certain that next ballet class was my last and I was relieved. At the same time though I missed ballet and was envious of my sister who continued and was in the Nutcracker later in large role.

Later on I took jazz which I loved but hated actually going to class. In retrospect I should have realized I'd have to go to classes for a long ass time I didn't want to and that sometime in the future, there would be little regulation of my classroom attendance (i.e. college). Regardless I lasted two years with jazz and was again jealous of my sister who did tap and was quite good; she is the one with rhythm out of the two of us which is good since she's a Music Education major.

The summer in hip hop...will not be discussed. It's for the best.

After all this though I think I'm vaguely impressed I have any rhythm even if it's minimal at most. Why do I think I'm a good dancer? Beats me, but one of these days I think it will dawn on me how bad I am. It may take one of my friends recording me dancing at a party or club. That's where the sad moves really kick in.

Tuesday, January 3, 2012

For the Love of Giving

I've always loved my birthday (which I guess, with age, translates into being a "birthday diva"...) and being the center of attention in general. With Christmas in late December and my birthday in early February, there's just enough time that family feels obligated to get me two presents and close enough that Christmas feels like yesterday...fuck yeah! <--yes I thought this all the time as a child.

This year though is the big 2-1 (holla) which is exciting even if I feel like I already turned 21 last year when I was in Europe. Don't get me wrong though, I'm looking forward to being shit-faced but the excitement is not quite as strong as it should be. Five days after my birthday is Valentine's Day which has never been that important to me. Before this year I've never had a boyfriend over Valentine's Day. My main memories of this day growing up are filled with slight sadness but mainly memories of my mom.

My mom loved giving more than anyone I knew; she spent forever preparing each gift and would watch intently as you opened them. Through those awkward pre-teen/teen years I still had my mom around who never let me linger long on the fact guys didn't go for me. Each Valentine's morning I would come downstairs to a card sitting at my spot at the kitchen table accompanying a nicely wrapped small gift.

The significance of a card was taught to me from a young age and was harder to pay attention to on Christmas morning with all the presents sitting there, but I cherished them on those Valentine's Day mornings before school. She spent considerable time picking out those damn pieces of expensive folded paper and as I grew older I inherited this obsession, helped along by my working at a Hallmark store for three years.

She never thought store-bought cards were any less meaningful. My mom thought each word should be meant with your full heart; that was the true test of a wonderful card. By the time I was fifteen or so I was doing the same, especially for her cards. Sometimes I'd get pissed at how much time she spent on that fucking card but I know how much it meant to her in retrospect.

After she died, present giving became one of my favorite things with birthdays being my specialty. People ask sometimes why I care so much about birthdays, and this is my answer: "I think everyone should get to be celebrated one day a year." It's cheesy but true. I get a kick out of buying presents for others and love the moment they open the present.

I think that's why these gift-giving holidays, particularly Christmas, are so hard for me. My mom took so much pride in every element that it made the season brighter than imaginable. I love presents as much as the next person but I think it's those stupid folded pieces of paper that make me smile the most. The long, cheesy, overly wordy ones are my favorite for their ridiculousness and sentiment. I go for the sappy ones myself.

Regardless, having a large family is great because I get to buy eight cards at Christmastime now. I apologize to my boyfriend in advance for a dorky Valentine's card. My friends are used to it by now I think; probably just another one of my "adorable" quirks.

I'm excited I get to have a Valentine's Day for the first time but still do miss those childhood moments of coming to the table with a card and flowers. It's just one of those little things I think will stick with me forever and I am grateful for her small acts of kindness that made me smile.
My mom, my sister Stephie, and me in wintertime when I was eleven