Sensory Wisdom

I’m a naive little 21-year-old. Does red wine have artificial coloring? If it does, don’t tell me, or my purple mustache; I’m enjoying it too much.

This week has been less stressful. I’m not sure if I’m coping, if I’m out of the woods, or if I’m just excited. That’s not to say it’s been an easy week; I still find myself deep in thought every day. Missing people I shouldn’t, mostly. Missing things I should. But also appreciating things I have. Some things have certainly changed from when I was 16 or 17. I feel a more positive force in myself.

I really think it has come from this summer. This wasn’t an easy summer between school and work and dramatic situations, but I still stand by it was life-changing. I learned so much about myself from being on my own for the first time in a long time. I had time to myself, to evaluate and feel without thinking. I definitely think too much. I used to catch myself laughing, question what it was that I was enjoying about that moment. Now I’ve made the decision to just let myself feel it and not worry, wonder, or care why I’m enjoying it. I think it’s helped prolong my happiness.

I’m excited to return to the mountains. And I don’t know what to do with myself, and I’m not as afraid of that as I thought I would be. Instead, I’ll hike, I’ll write, and I’ll work. The future is full of possibilities, and I have to take them.

Candles are a godsend. Today in my argumentation and public policy class, we talking about monuments and memorials and their different representational characteristics. We talked about how water is seen as rebirth, a force of life, etc. And I think fire is the same way. Maybe that’s not a new thought, but there’s something so powerful and mesmerizing about fire that it has to be a source of life. Do you think people that go to Hell have to stay there? Do you think the fire just cleanses them for their new life? Hmm. What a theory.

It’s unbelievable how powerful smell is too. It can create peace, it can trigger trauma. People have different pasts. I’m not sure if that’s something I just recently figured out – I used to be bewildered driving on the highway, thinking about how everyone in the cars around me had different lives; they have different pasts, they were on the road for different reasons, they were going through different points in time and life. So I guess it’s not new, but when my roommate says she hasn’t seen some of my favorite, childhood Halloween movies, I guess it just strikes me again.

Sometimes I think I’m just connected to a different emotional version of the world. Sometimes I can disassociate from problems in order to deal with them, and for some reason I consider myself strong during those times, if not a little heartless. But there are other times I just feel connected on a different level, with a different understanding. I can’t explain it, though this is the first time I’ve tried. I’ll try again later.

I remember that time we ran from my car to your house, soaked within the first ten leaps. I asked for clothes, and you gave me the pants I always borrowed and an old t-shirt you wouldn’t miss (though when have I ever not given your clothes back?). I changed and when you walked in, your drunk eyes lit up as I shrunk into your shirt, embarrassed at being ogled by you. I’ll remember that as I try to forget you.

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A Benjamin Button Complex

There are few things better than watching 10 Things I Hate About You and drinking wine on a Tuesday night.

This weekend was easier on me than the rest of the previous week (mostly). Work went smoothly, I got to see an old friend, and I think I lived how a 21-year-old should. I was a little promiscuous, drank a lot of alcohol and redbull, slept few hours, and was able to successfully function both days afterward. It made me feel like I was doing something right, somehow. For as mature as I am, I’m glad I could take the time to be young while I am.

* * *

I’ve been searching for excuses. And I’ve found them, but I don’t know how I feel about that. There are a few things I feel I could put on hold for years. Do I pursue them now? Or does that mess up the timing? Whatever I do is supposed to happen, I guess. I’ll put a pin in that.

* * *

He lit himself on fire and watched as she drowned in his smoke.

Lauren has pointed out to me that I always fall for tortured souls, and the more I think about it, the more I think she’s right. There’s something about that deep, ethereal emotion that is like a target for me.

I guess you could say it hasn’t exactly worked out for me. But I’ve certainly had some experience with drowning in someone else’s smoke.

And after hearing Heath Ledger’s accent (as well as Liam Hemsworth’s in his new movie), I’m hoping to have some experience with an Australian.

Bones Don’t Stay

The last jazz night I worked was a little different. It went much less smoothly, and I was a lot happier. I was on the verge of tears, grateful for all I had been given.

Tonight went smoothly, but so much has changed in the few weeks I have been gone. The universe keeps drowning me in whatever bad karma I have earned.

My cat died. These things come in threes though, right? That’s the hope I’m hanging onto.

Funny enough, I think the universe is telling me where I should be. Tonight the 400s room was reserved for a surprise going away party for a man named Danny. As I sit here writing this, the jazz band is calling “Danny, Danny we love you, Danny we love you.”

I’m not sure if that’s the universe telling me to go, that it’s sorry but it loves me and this is my sign to get out. It could also mean I should be here in Middletown.

I’m not sure. Maybe the universe can give me some clearer signs without anyone else dying.

Freckled Exhaustion

Between contacts, computer screens, road signs, and crying, my eyes feel endlessly tired.

It has not been a good time for sleep, and normally I don’t mind it. I’ll never turn away the beautiful morning sun streaming through my windows, igniting my eclectic home. I’ll never regret waking early and parting the blinds to peek at the multitudinous hues that color the Appalachians in Middletown. I’ll forever hold in my heart the still and quiet mornings spent reading a new book, contemplating dozing off again for a few hours.

What I will not relish, are painful nights that slither into hollow mornings. I will not welcome the heavy darkness on my chest. I cherish neither the sudden, cold feeling that vibrates through my body, nor the colorless desperation, pleading, and anxiety that sinks into my sheets.

I spent most of the weekend awakened by fear. Misty was left outside, bitten, and might not make it through the week. My bed will be forever empty without her. It’s been a bad weekend.

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* * *

Something has called me to examine horoscopes more closely. I still always look at them objectively — vague terms can only paint such an exact picture. But it’s been fun to learn and interesting to explore.

I think the most unique characteristic of my sign (Taurus), is that it is ruled by Venus, the planet that symbolizes love. Love is the center of this earth sign.

I’ve only had intimate enough conversations to admit this to maybe two or three people, but I came to the conclusion that somehow, love is at my center. It is not my driving force behind menial things (though supposedly money is), but it is what I see as the most powerful entity in the universe. Which is true; everyone wants to love and be loved, and while I don’t emit love for everyone, while I get annoyed, I do still feel I should be spreading love out in the world for those who feel none. I really love to remind my friends of their worth. Sometimes people just don’t see what’s right in front of them, how beautiful of people they are. I like to be the person that gives them that unique compliment, one that actually means something.

It’s probably because of these intimate, minuscule details that I fall in love with things maybe a little out of the ordinary. I love some peoples’ scars, or laughs, or smiles. Some eyes I find breathtaking. Someone’s resiliency. Someone’s ability to love.

This detailed love extends to nature as well. There are so many mental snapshots I take that I wish I could share with everyone. There are snapshots of people I want to share with everyone too, to show them how brilliant they shine in an unimportant moment.

Just a thought.

I’ve had a few people in mind lately.

But for now my eyes are tired.

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Reflection of a Mediocre Paradise

Romance movies, romance novels, and 90’s music. Sundays are meant for lazing around, and it’s as though the entire month of August has stretched from one long, hot Sunday.

As I maneuver winding country roads, I desperately wish I could print the mental photographs I take in my head. I am in awe of the countryside, gazing, gaping at the rolling hills and copse of mountains that maintain my paradise.

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Mary has helped me pick up a new hobby. I need something to keep my hands busy, something that takes less brain-power than trying to find the right words in writing. I’m steadily learning the art of decoupage in the hopes that I can graduate to something less concrete and perfectionist to something where I can feel comfortable creating images from my mind. I wish I could capture and share the beauty I see, but cameras are too expensive, car rides are too fleeting, and my hands aren’t skilled craftsmen.

I’m a little sad to go back to school. I want to continue to explore without being interrupted by schoolwork (though it will be nice to get back to my own apartment). It’s disheartening to think I’m leaving most of my friends behind to go to a strange place with no job, but maybe I need that push to succeed. I’m determined to adapt well, as I’m hoping to move to West Virginia or North Carolina after graduation. Adventure is pacing on my doorstep, and the handle is finally within my reach.

Something about nature is calling me too. I got to help Mary and Beth feed the calves today, and it was my first time bottle feeding a calf.

Every time I can sneak a glance at the mountainous terrain, I imagine I am in North Carolina, driving home to my private apartment or single story home.

Yet I will miss the connections Middletown has blessed me with. I love feeling welcome at my place of work. I do fear what I will miss (FOMO, as Bob calls it).

As unsteady as the future is, there is only so much I can worry about. It’s hard to worry about it intensely until it is there, ya know? I think I’ll be okay. And I’m still looking forward to it.

I only feel really lost in love. I’m confident he will find me, I’m just too impatient a person. I believe there must be past lives, because it seems I was born an old soul ready to love from the moment I entered the world.

Until then, I have my wonderful friends to swell my heart. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard so often in quite some time. Love drunk is a true idea, as is laugh drunk.

Also, something I’ve learned about myself; for some reason I love romances in which someone is tragically taken and the other has to pull him/herself together to move on. I don’t know why, it doesn’t exactly resonate with me because I haven’t really lost anyone in that way. Maybe it just seems like a beautiful love story, maybe a past life resonates in longing. Who knows.

Embarking

Able-bodied, able-minded

So much has been going on over the past week. My friends and I are looking for a house tucked into suburban College Park, which would be wonderful since I’m clearly not a big fan of city life. Other than that, my schoolwork has needed my full attention now that we’re winding down.

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently and my eyes are burning so this likely will be a short post.

I always get so frustrated when I get sick or have allergies. I feel like I have been fighting against my body my entire life. I would always get the stomach bug when I was little, and it became common practice for me to camp out in the bathroom, bring all my blankets and a big chair pillow and be ready the next time I needed to puke. Funny enough, my expertise has been helpful so far in my college career; my roommate was impressed by my bathroom fortress (and my resiliency).

There was a time in seventh grade that I missed 14 days of school because I would be healthy one week then sick the next. I was the kid that needed her homework delivered to her house so she wouldn’t fall so far behind.

I have bad knees that make it hard to run and exercise. I hyper-extended my left knee in high school and sprained my right ankle later that same year. I had plantar fasciitis for the majority of last year which made it difficult to run (and sometimes stand). Now I think I have a torn or irritated muscle in my calf that makes running and HIIT nearly impossible without a limp. I can’t work out the way I want to. I have bad hips that used to pop in and out randomly, though thankfully that has come a bit more under control. One of my ribs is out of place and it sometimes tweaks my neck so that I can’t turn left for about a week.

My stomach problems have carried over into my adulthood, and there’s a very good chance that I have Crohn’s disease, but I refuse to get diagnosed because I hate doctors and it can be difficult to diagnose.

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My mom and I hiking Annapolis Rock summer 2015. She has Crohn’s and has faced insurmountable hardships because of it. Her strength and resiliency inspire me day in and day out.

I’ve been sick with a strange bacteria three times since Christmas, and I think this time it’s mixed with the onset of allergies.

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t win. I exercise regularly, usually seven days a week, and while my eating habits could probably be better, usually my friends joke that all I eat is rabbit food.

It’s very frustrating, not feeling in control of your body. It seems like no matter what you do, nothing will keep it healthy. I’ve had to explain these random injuries to people throughout the years, and I always felt like I was making excuses for my inadequacies, that people didn’t believe my reasoning. They give me a pitiful look and continue on their way.

There was one time in kickboxing that we were lifting light weights, and we were supposed to raise the weight from our side to our shoulders. My mom, a physical therapist, has told me time and again that that move isn’t the greatest for me and strains the muscle in my neck that can cause my rib to move and tweak my neck, and that I should lift from my shoulder to up above my head to release that neck muscle. I, however, hate drawing attention to myself, so I participated in lifting the weights the more dangerous way. After feeling my muscle getting tighter and fearing the worst, I lowered my arms, and the middle-aged woman in front of me (who is kind of prissy) said I shouldn’t be tired since I’m the youngest one there.

That was the first time in my life that I just flashed a grin and didn’t explain my injuries. I didn’t owe her an explanation. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I am fighting my battle the only way I know how, and it finally dawned on me that I don’t have to waste my time and energy telling someone what they think are made up, bullshit excuses.

While I’m still frustrated at my injuries, I have never let them stop me. For god’s sake, after learning I tore a muscle and shouldn’t do high-impact workouts, I proceeded to run two miles three times that week and go to kickboxing twice (which maybe wasn’t a smart idea, but you get the point). I continue to do my HIIT classes and do some intense cardio nearly every day, and I’m proud of myself for not letting these obstacles prevent me from being happy and achieving my goals.

So to everyone else out there frustrated with how things are working out, just know that you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and that if you want it, you’ll find a way over those obstacles. It’s important to be happy and supportive of yourself and your physical and mental health.

Now, off to find a movie to fall asleep to. The best part of being sick is finally falling asleep.

Cheers!

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Mom suggested we go look at plants after I said I wanted one for my apartment next year. We were just browsing, but I had to snag a picture of my favorite flowers – lilies. Being around so many plants again was amazing; I felt like I was in a jungle!

 

Gentle

As I said before, it’s getting down to the wire for my classes, which, unfortunately, means I don’t have as much time for fun things. Instead I’m writing feasibility reports and historical reflections.

I like the idea of reflections, just not the formalities. I wish someone would ask me those prompts in person. What a conversation it would be!

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It was beautifully muggy yesterday evening

I think I’m losing the art of conversation. I don’t know if I just don’t talk as much here, or if I’m really just bad with small talk, but more and more I find it less pressing to talk to people. It’s still nice to have a conversation, but I realized my thirst is not in speaking, but in holding an in-depth conversation. I’m a listener, but that doesn’t mean I can’t express my own thoughts and opinions.

(Speaking of, I finally registered to vote today)

My COMM theory professor from fall semester brought up a recent study performed by one of his colleagues, and it stated that people of my generation were exceedingly good at multitasking. After expoing for two years now, I have no doubt I am great at multitasking. However, the study also said people of my generation scored significantly low in reflection. I remember furrowing my brows at that. What? What did this guy know?

But the more I look around, the more I see that some of my friends don’t reflect on anything. I specifically remember telling Mary “reflection is important!!”, and I’m pretty sure she needed to hear it – you’re welcome, Mary.

It’s like people don’t understand that they can try to answer the “why?” and “how?” questions themselves. “Why do I feel guilty about the way I treated this person?… Because it was the wrong thing to do, wow I should apologize.” “Why is it that I’m unhappy?… Maybe you’re feeling unfulfilled.” “How can I be fulfilled?… Try new things, find what you like.”

Some days I feel like I’m the only person who reflects. Then again, maybe I reflect too much. I’m always in my head when I walk to class or the gym. The gym is usually the only time my brain is absolutely silent, and that’s why it has become my savior over these past few years.

Anxiety? Run.

Sad? Better lace up those shoes.

Stressed? Boy you’re gonna be sore tomorrow!

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Unfortunately, the rest of my body disagrees with me, and it always tries to ruin my progress either by destroying my knees, my heels, or – now – my shins!

Sometimes having a silent mind can be more helpful than being reflective. I take after my mom in that my mind is always running before bed unless I can really tire myself to the point of exhaustion (which hasn’t been difficult since senior year of high school).

Some of my friends are really into eastern philosophies, and I remember trying my hand at meditation. I struggled with it (“Am I doing this right? No I shouldn’t be thinking… I think I got it – damnit no I shouldn’t be thinking!”), but I eventually got the hang of it. It really helped me go to bed. I think it’s similar to that savasina thing at the end of yoga, even if I’ve somehow pictured myself in a different world.

I think my ability to multitask and remain calm is due to my success at meditation. It’s not like you avoid all thoughts that come into your head – you accept them, finish them, and let them slip right on through. I realize I do this when I expo. When I’m suddenly overwhelmed with tickets, I internally scream, and then pull myself together, let the tickets flow out as fast as they flow in. I like the challenge it brings, and I’m always proud of myself at the end of a big rush.

I guess it’s important to find balance then. Multitasking is a great skill of our generation, but don’t forget to reflect. It’s important to balance a fast-paced life with enduring thoughts. It’s how you come to understand yourself and people around you better.

Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom. – Plato

(Never thought I’d ever be the person to quote a Greek philosopher…)

Too Strong to Lose

I had an epiphany today. You ever have those moments where when it finally hits you, it’s like you’ve unlocked secrets within yourself? That “aha” moment where it finally makes sense? Very liberating.

Funny enough, it happened because of a video I saw on Facebook. It was about the bond and love between mother and child. Maybe it was the hangover, but it made me very emotional. I have always struggled between wanting children, but being afraid to. There are a number of reasons, for example I’m horrible with doctors, needles, and pain. I’m not that great with kids, either. Not bad, just not great.

Recently a new concern has popped into my mind: everyone always says they never knew how much they could love something until they had a child. But I know this world can be cruel. What happens when my child has her heart broken by a fool who couldn’t see what she was worth? When other children bully him for his interests and passions? Even at my current age, seeing someone I love in pain hurts me deeply. What happens when someone I created, someone I love on a level I can’t comprehend yet, gets hurt? I imagine it will break me to my core. Part of me is afraid of loving someone that much.

Over the years, I have been left heartbroken by a few people, and it has left me with this wall (to use the cliche). I struggle between being guarded and just letting myself feel freely. I have received broken promises, yet each time I am hopeful that maybe it will be different. It’s getting easier not to get my hopes up, and that’s been discouraging to me in a way.

I feel that I have to let things roll off my back and pretend they don’t hurt me, that I have to hold onto this air of not caring so that I can pretend to myself and to others that I’m not bothered. As if feeling something makes me weak.

But it doesn’t.

My epiphany: loving takes courage.

I’ve heard this before, seen it several times, and I’ve always agreed with the statement, but something in me today just clicked and it finally resonated with me.

It takes courage to make yourself so vulnerable to people. I’m not saying throw yourself headfirst into any feelings you may have, but to be open to loving someone with your whole heart, not withholding anything to protect yourself, is a brave act.

As someone who has been hurt in the past, and I’m not the only one, I have been discouraged from any kind of relationship with someone because I don’t want to feel that pain again, I don’t want to be played for a fool again, I don’t want to have my emotions toyed with again. Loving someone, being in a relationship – it’s taxing. It can be emotionally traumatic.

It’s not uncommon for a bad relationship to turn someone off to the idea of love. They feel it is better to be alone and content than give someone permission to affect their emotions. “Space is just a word made up by someone who’s afraid to get close.”

And that’s true, being alone is the safer option. Depending on your viewpoint, it may or may not be easier, but it is safer; you are responsible for your own happiness. Everyone says this as a way of saying “you’ll be okay, that breakup was rough, but you’ll be okay,” but I think it needs to be acknowledged that yes you were with someone and they made you happy and that’s okay too. I get why you’re sad, and I’m hurting for you, I know they made you happy, but you are also capable of making yourself happy. No, you don’t need a relationship to be happy, but being that close with someone, for most people, is something happy.

So for someone like me who has had some of their happiness ripped away from them by the very people that provided it, it takes courage to be willing to try again. To try and not let your past relationships interfere with a new one, to be excited over new beginnings.

(This stands true for those in platonic relationships as well as romantic ones.)

It’s okay to be afraid, “courage is not the absence of fear.” Fear is healthy. But it’s important to be willing to try again. I feel that I have a lot of love to give to my friends, my family, and my future partner, and I just want to share it with them all. Love is a beautiful thing to share.

I know that one day I will love someone deeply, and they won’t take it for granted. They will keep their promises, they will be brave enough to love me too, and I will be surprised by how much I love them. I will ache when my child is hurting because it is a genuine human emotion, and I will be courageous enough to feel love, joy, and sadness so deeply. I will be happy with myself for taking the leap, and I will be surprised by how strong I am because of it.

Being deeply loved by someone gives you strength, while loving someone deeply gives you courage. -Lao Tzu

I’ll Be There For You

The hum of the A/C, the whir of the dryer, the glare of the lamp against the off-white walls, the animated conversation punctuated with giggles. What a nice lullaby to end the day. I think the constant buzz of city life has finally gotten to me. When I was home last weekend I couldn’t fall asleep, and I think it was because it was so quiet. It’s frustrating – I love quiet.

There’s really nothing to report today, no spontaneous adventure to scatter throughout, no do it for the blog! moment today. Sometimes you need a reminder that doing nothing, having a normal day, is okay. I even wrote about that for my English class.

The other day my friend was telling me how hard it is to make friends here, and I definitely agree. I was fortunate enough to be placed with roommates that I really click with, that I would consider friends based on more than just being stuck living together, and that’s a great feeling to have. We’re all going our separate ways next semester, but at least I can use going to see them as an excuse to get out of the apartment.

What’s better is that some of my friends from home are visiting me tomorrow! After enduring a trying couple of weeks, this is definitely the best medicine I could ask for.

There’s nothing more valuable in my life than the friendships I have made. Funny enough, I met all of these people coming to visit me through working at The Main Cup. I could make my experiences at the Cup its own blog series, but I’ll save that for another “do nothing” day. General idea, I love my job mostly for the people I work with.

So I’m going to take a moment to tell you about some of these special people.

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(Yes, this picture was taken from a video on snapchat. If there’s one thing this blog had been consistent with, it’s low quality pictures with high quality fun.)

This is Timmy, the mastermind behind all of tomorrow’s plans. He started working at the Cup a month or so after me, and back then his curly hair was so long he reminded me of Bernard the Elf from The Santa Claus. He’s always the life of the party with his outgoing, positive personality, and quick-witted sass. Somewhere along the line one of our inside jokes became him being my cat? I don’t even know how that happened, but thanks to this guy I get to see some of my friends from back home tomorrow. And he taught me how to chacha! (Pictured above).

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Left to right, this is Sam, Will, and Roeder on one of the many spectacular nights in Will’s basement.

Sam is musically gifted – I’m talkin’ incredible. He’s also just a kind human being. I remember during June when I was going through a rough breakup, Sam asked me how I was doing and I told him truthfully I wasn’t doing that great and that I was supposed to have the “closure talk” later that day. He texted me that night saying that he hoped it went well because I deserve the best. During that breakup I was shown so much love from so many surprising people, and it really helped me realize that I would be okay, that I was surrounded by love. Sam was one of the people to show that to me, and for that I’m grateful.

Oh boy, what could I say about Will… He has easily become one of my better friends throughout the year because of his sense of humor. Even though his horrible jokes make me roll my eyes, his physical humor has me in tears almost every night I work with him. He also brings Altoids (“you mean, Draco Malfoys”) to work all the time, and it seems like a bonding experience between us for some reason. He also made this video back in high school. He showed it to me on New Years Eve and I was in tears, again, laughing so hard. You just… you have to watch it.

Roeder and I have a funny history. We’re family friends, and my mom goes walking with his mom almost every Saturday morning, and I’d say they’re best friends. Though I’ve known him since I was probably nine or ten, we never really became friends with him until he started working at the Cup. He has this habit of never shutting up, and I remember there were nights that Zac and I would look at each other and say “whose turn is it to yell at him?” I’ve made some attitude-y comments to him at work before, but the good thing is that’s never slowed him down or hurt out relationship. He’s at UMD with me now, and I always have someone to watch the games with and talk to about the latest Marvel movie (my roommates aren’t into sports or superhero movies. Bummer.).

This is Ryan. Unfortunately he won’t be joining us tomorrow, as he goes to school all the way out in Ohio (and I’m hoping to visit him in April – imagine the blog then…), but I felt like I had to include him, and he’s already visited so I’m not really breaking any rules.

We’d both gone to Middletown since elementary school, but I didn’t really get to know him until eighth when we were both part of Fellowship of Christian Athletes (back when we were actively religious), and we immediately clicked and became close friends during that year.

Early high school we didn’t really see each other, but junior year we both had chemistry. Naturally, I was horrible because chemistry is part science, part math, but we got to choose lab partners and eventually we chose to work together. We quite literally rekindled our flame over bunsen burners…

I’ve always been able to talk to Ryan about anything, and so many of my favorite memories involve him: sitting in the trunk of my 4Runner on a hot summer day just killing time; having a few beers around a bonfire, taking turns choosing music; going to Hershey Park in eighth grade (2009) and again in 2015; taking trips to Rita’s, where we would share bites of each other’s flavors, and he would usually end up finishing mine because I take forever to eat; going out every night in Ohio, and staying in every night in Maryland (fun fact, I drove almost 7 hours to see him in Ohio, he drove almost 8 hours to see me at UMD for one night over his break. What an awesome friend.) I would definitely consider him my best friend.

Him and…

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This guy! Alex. He and I have also known each other since eighth grade, when he dated one of my friends at the time (oh those middle school romances). We had a few classes together in high school, and we would always talk but I would’ve considered him an acquaintance at the time. Also during junior year, as I rekindled my friendship with Ryan, he invited me to go longboarding with him and Alex. That’s when it really turned into the golden trio.

Suddenly we were going on these longboarding expeditions all through town and up in Braddock, and most days when I got too tired we would find a place to chill, sit on our boards, and just talk about life. We jokingly called ourselves “RAD” – Ryan Alex Dani – but my favorite is the likeness to Harry Potter – Ryan with his black hair, me, the girl with the brown hair, and Alex, the redhead.

Unfortunately I never took pictures of us all back in high school, so this is the only picture I have of all three of us together, taken a few months back.

During senior year, Alex and I had a bit of a falling out for personal reasons, and at the end of senior year, before we could make up, he and his family moved to Australia. I was devastated, sure I’d never see him again and that I’d just lost a friend forever. I don’t remember when or how it happened, but we started talking again over Facebook, and then we started skyping every once in a while to catch up. We fell back into being friends, and I’m beyond thankful.

Alex has always been protective of me, the older brother, though he’s the youngest of the trio. He and I have deeper conversations, and when I come to him with my problems he will always be the person to tell me what I need to hear, no matter how hard it is. I know he’s just looking out for what is best for me, and I think it’s important that everyone have someone like him in their lives. Lucky me, I have him in mine. I have both he and Ryan in mine. I do get a small sense of pride, saying that one of my best friends lives halfway across the world, and I’m proud of us for staying so close. When I was thinking of studying abroad in Australia, we had even talked about being flatmates! Thanks for the disappointment, ARHU…

(I had to break the rules for Alex. Of course he hasn’t visited me, he’s in Australia, so cut him some slack)

I have several other friends that I didn’t include just because they haven’t visited me yet (I’m lookin’ at you, Mary!), and maybe I’ll make that its own post sometime. I just wanted to share with you how happy I am to know that I have these amazing people in my life, and I am lucky enough to call them my friends.

I can’t wait to make more memories with these people. Look out UMD, The Main Cup is comin’ for ya!

 

 

Siren’s Call

If you’re looking for some background music, click here.

Recently I’ve been having those days where it’s too tempting to do nothing. I’m usually no nonsense when it comes to getting to the gym, but I think the weather turning cold again as well as my studies becoming more intense has made me feel lethargic. But I got my butt off the couch and to the gym, and I found that everything was thought-provoking.

I crossed the bridge, the one I’ve crossed one hundred times on my trek to Eppley. The one that plays with the familiarity of home, because it looks just like the one in Middletown Park. I kept my eyes to the horizon, searching for the perfect moment, another beautiful shot that’s never quite the same as seeing it with your own eyes, feeling that wonder take hold of your heart.

Even my HIIT class itself made me feel lighthearted. I need to learn to smile more. I’ll add it to my mental list.

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On my walk home, the sun glows behind me, against me, warming my skin as if the whole world has always been trying to make me smile and I’ve just been too oblivious to notice. I cross that familiar bridge and I’m shocked to finally notice the stark contrast between the trees and the concrete. I wonder if I’ll ever find beauty in a place like College Park, so wrought with cement and brick, an unfinished game of Tetris.

I think we must be a foolish species, to think we can improve nature. Try as we might, we all know of a building that has been made more beautiful because a vine wound its way up a wall. I think of the little weeds that somehow break through cracks in the sidewalk, how persistent they must be. Maybe I should add that to the list too. Be persistent – I can do anything.

I cross the other, boring bridge that leads me to my complex and reminds me of nothing and no one. I decide to make my way to the small river under it. I haven’t done this before, but I’m curious.

After shaking off the embarrassing feeling of people watching me, I am surprised by my own awe. The river listens to the wind as it whispers its delight, having chased all the clouds from the sky again today. I spot some fish in the river, just floating, sharing this calm moment with me and the river and the wind. Of course Pocahontas pops into my head. The color of the wind must be blue, as that’s the only color in the sky today. Or maybe it’s also green as it runs through the grass, plays through the trees. Maybe brown as it playfully unravels my hair. I guess the wind could be any color. It must be fun.

As I said, my studies are becoming more pressing. If I wasn’t so close to graduating, I think I might just drop out, work part-time, and do whatever I want with my days. I’m keeping my eyes on the summer. I have big plans. So I stand, parting with my wonder, and I climb my way back to reality with a new understanding of why sailors are drawn to sirens.

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