Drink Your Poison

Noise overstimulation has become a big problem lately. I’m not sure if I had would have more patience if I wasn’t surrounded by blaring sirens and the honking horns of pissed off drivers, but I can hope. It’s gotten so bad that sometimes it’s unbearable to listen to my roommates’ mundane and polite conversations.

Yoga usually helps clear my head. Alex and I chuckle side by side as we pick apart our yoga videos online. It’s probably the brighter side of most of my days, just social enough while also allowing me to retreat into my mind shortly afterward. Plus, when you feel limber you feel good.

Today we watched Boyhood, a movie that follows a boy and his family over approximately 12-13 years of his life, from age 5ish to his first day at college. We all kind of criticized it; the mother for her horrible choice in men, the father for his immature parenting style, the daughter for her boring and sassy attitude, the boy for his gloomy speeches about existential crises.

As much as we criticized, it was interesting to watch, and in ways it was very relatable. You grew to connect to certain characters and their fucked up life stories. I definitely related to Mason on not wanting everyone breathing down my neck about what to do with my life, something I’m sure many people our age experience. Even following the petty high school break up experience. There was something so quietly entertaining about watching these events unfold, partially because there wasn’t really any action – kind of like real life. There weren’t many dramatic scenes, no thickening movie plot. Just life and how it moves, changes, unfolds. How people develop, for better or worse. How life just goes on.

It’s an incredible juxtaposition to the other show I (and the rest of America) have been watching: 13 Reasons Why. That is quite the dramatic show. With some terrible acting and cheesy one-liners, but that’s what sold in middle school, when I first read the book that the series is based off of.

It seems to glorify suicide in a vengeful way, something that I can’t get behind showing to the vulnerable young-adult public viewers. It makes me mad. This girl is so dramatic. The things she faces in life are by no means easy to go through, but I think they are things she could get over without taking her own life. Granted, I didn’t have the mental stability I like to claim I have now when I was back in high school, so she probably doesn’t either. Hindsight, I guess.

Regardless, the thought of vengeful suicide angers me. It’s such a final, definitive move. But in the same vein, it’s not final. Hannah commits suicide and supposedly her pain is over. Except her pain lives on through other people. It’s not a final move, just the next one. A transfer of that energy. A selfish act. It hurts me most when they show the parents as they struggle to find out what went wrong, why their daughter was capable, why she felt this was her only option. This girl had a support system – two loving parents. They weren’t drug addicts, she wasn’t neglected. They cared about her. I can’t imagine doing that to my mother. I can’t imagine someone doing that to me.

It really struck a nerve because my friend’s dad committed suicide in December, and that was its own transfer of pain. But the cases were different. Scott had a mental illness that he couldn’t beat, and it took him. It took him from his wife. It took him from his three kids, the youngest of whom is only about ten. It took him from his friends, his church, his community. It left a scar so deep we don’t talk about it. People ask me how my friend is doing and all I can say is “good” because how am I supposed to delve into that kind of pain with my friend? How am I supposed to ask him how he’s holding up since the man he looked up to from day one decided he couldn’t take it anymore? It’s created a barrier between him and his friends, the wound we never touch, and one that will never heal.

But no, Hannah Baker gets groped by some jerk, nasty rumors spread around her, a stalker taking her pictures. And that’s all it takes to push her over the edge. (I’m not finished with the series. Maybe it gets worse and makes more sense, but for now I’m just angry). And the show seems to glorify suicide as the final, vengeful act, this girl only caring about how to end her pain than think about who her death with destroy. At the very least, the number to the suicide hotline should accompany each episode.

*   *   *

One episode brought me plummeting right back to you. You know how indie shows now use indie songs by unheard of artists just to seem cool? Yeah, well, I recognized Lord Huron in there. A beautiful song shared between Hannah and Clay. But I couldn’t pay attention to the show once that song came on. I just thought of you.

I had all and then most of you, some and now none of you.

A heaviness hit my chest. I don’t think that song was even out by the time we ended things. Maybe it was. Did you listen to it? The summer that Lord Huron was your muse? The medicine that also broke your heart, that album on repeat as I danced my cares away with a boyfriend that shouldn’t have been more than a rebound? Did you torture yourself with one of my favorite bands as a way to expel your thoughts, your sins? You deserved this, you thought, to wallow in pity and despair. You did that whenever you messed up.

I broke away from you, turned my back and ran. That was when you finally listened to all the songs I had been suggesting for months, the movies I’d wanted you to watch for years. I just wanted to share them with you, appreciate them and analyze them with you. We were insightful, emotional.

My favorite memories with you aren’t even memories. We would lay in your bed, ready for sleep, wrapped around each other, talking. Just talking. We would have those insightful conversations, ones that I wouldn’t remember in the morning. We would talk until we couldn’t move our lips anymore, couldn’t form the sounds. Sometimes we talked about how much we loved each other. When things got bad, we talked about what we were sorry for. How we could work on things. And sometimes we just talked about our thoughts. The world. The universe. We were in love. We were present in that moment, our energies floating through the universe, anchored by a warm blanket and each other’s presence.

I think back, and I miss those moments. Will you always be one step ahead of me? Would I feel the same as I did back then? Or would I be afraid, as I am so often now. Of letting you in, of being hurt, of committing to loving so wholly again. I know it is brave to love. But it is also tiring.

Don’t get me wrong, I am grateful that you are my first love. If it wasn’t for you, I don’t know if I’d believe romantic love existed at all. I’d think romance was all just a game. That connections were impossible to keep for more than two months. That boys were all liars that just wanted to fuck. Thankfully you showed me that that isn’t the case. You showed me love, intelligence, emotional and intellectual intimacy, and I am truly lucky to have found that in my first boyfriend. And this time it’s me who fucked up. But it’s all about how gracefully you let go, right? You were water.

Thank you.

Wishes to the Universe

Had a wonderful and spontaneous night at home in order to see my best friend. It involved copious amounts of tequila and the perfect amount of french toast. Our hungover asses sat in his hot tub on a freezing day, fully bloated from the previous night, discussing life, praising the mountains, and feeling grateful for our town. I did, anyway.

As I’ve said, as it gets closer to graduation, I find it harder and harder to leave my little town behind. My heart yearns for the mountains, and I’m always so awestruck when I can catch the colors of the sun setting over the mountains or between the trees. I can’t tell you the number of times my gaze has left the road a dangerously long time just because I’m trying to enjoy the beauty of the sunset. I’ll say it here, if I ever die in a crash because I was watching the sun set, at least the last thing I saw was something I loved.

Morbid… Anyways.

Yesterday I stayed in town long enough to greet my parents after they had finally gotten home from their cruise. As I waited for them to call me, I laid down in bed, trying to close my eyes since I was running on a mere four hours of sleep from the night before (still went to the gym, proud of myself for that!). But I couldn’t close my eyes. My room was too beautiful. A light, happy, peaceful yellow, filled with a similar relaxing sunlight drifting in through the open blinds. I cuddled the pillow next to me, staring at the beauty that my windows framed, that my blinds teased. I wish staring at the sun wasn’t bad for your eyes. I’m not sure I’d ever look away.

I love to linger in those peaceful moments. I want to be able to just share that serenity with someone else, for them to understand my love for a beautiful sky.

IMG_4738

I told Ryan how excited I was to spend a few weeks out in the mountains, just me and Phoebe, someone else who appreciates nature and namaste-ing as much as I do – if not more. It really just made me more excited to think about being outdoors for days on end, not caring how dirty I get, not trying to impress anyone. Just me and her soaking up the wilderness.

Also, side note, I think I’m getting slightly better at yoga. It doesn’t seem like as much of a chore to do downward dog anymore. Part of it might be because it’s nice that my roommate enjoys it as much as I do, so she helps motivate me. She does, however, also motivate me to eat cookies all the time, so I’m trying to work on my will power here.

At the same time, yoga has also allowed me to see how much I need improvement, especially in my mobility. I’m hoping it opens up my hips, but even just side body stretches can be ludicrously difficult sometimes. It reminds me of when Mom makes me her physical therapy guinea pig and I realize I can’t hold poses/postures that are seemingly simple. Like sure I can squat a decent amount of weight, but can I lift my leg while keeping my core tight and hips level? Way harder than I thought.

I had a scary revelation yesterday. Mary texted me asking where I had slept the night before (she knows my drunken habits – I giggled), and I truthfully said that I had slept in my own bed that night, and then we had a short conversation about my love interest where she brought up how it’s been a long time of us being on and off and how he needs to get his act together (preachin to the choir, girl). And I realized that this on again off again thing has been the second longest “relationship” I’ve been in…

I officially dated Chad for a little over two years, I officially dated Adam for maybe a year and one or two weeks. Connor and I were on again off again for maybe four months. But this current one has been a year and three months. I’ve been battling with him and our feelings for each other for longer than I was with someone I had considered moving in with, someone I had considered marrying. It was a weird little revelation.

I doubt he reads my blogs, so I have no qualms speaking freely about it on here: I just haven’t been able to get him out of my head. Sometimes I struggle with it, especially the first time he grew distant. I wanted to be hurt and say “screw you” and never talk about it again. Easier said than done when you see him every time you go home and he’s there in the kitchen of your place of work. And he’s been there longer than you so you can’t be any kind of territorial over your workplace. Some days are easier than others, but that’s usually when I’ve been away at school for a few weeks and we haven’t spoken anyway.

You’d think that with all the back-and-forth, I’d be sick of it and just be done. Part of me wants to be done, sometimes I say with confidence that I am. And then I come back home and fall right back into it because there’s something about him that’s irresistible to me. He has such a good heart, the kind of person that doesn’t like to say anything bad about anybody, and he’ll usually correct himself if it has any kind of mean edge to it. He’s all about enjoying life, though I wish he’d do more with it. But who am I to judge.

There’s some part of me that just wants him. And I haven’t been able to explain to anybody, even myself. I’ve asked so many of my older friends for advice, something I rarely do, and they’ve helped me talk through my feelings, how there’s no reason for me to be as hung up on him as I have been. But I’ve never been able to put my finger on it.

So maybe someday we’ll give it a shot. Maybe I’ll be hung up on him until I move to another state, though the thought of never seeing him again makes me sad. Maybe I’ll be hung up on him forever. Some days I imagine (guiltily) that I’ve moved to North Carolina where I’ve met a nice man, but that I come home to Middletown and rekindle something with him. I want to give things a shot, almost as if it’s unfinished business. That it needs to run its course before I can give it up. But then again, I’ve never really been the one to give things up first, unless, sadly, my foot was safely planted in another canoe (I’m still sorry).

I have worried that I seem to be turning down guys because he still holds the higher pedestal in my heart. He’s the one I drunk call most often. I hope to not close myself off to the possibility of other, perhaps better suitors just because I’m hung up on him.

Some days I just ask the universe for him. And weirdly enough he seems to be headed in the right direction. So I guess we’ll see what happens. Maybe one day I’ll reread this and laugh that I was so attached to him, maybe one day I’ll read this to him. Who knows.

As the sirens screech down Route 1, I can’t help but crave the utter silence of my bedroom back home. So I need to go to bed, as I’m still recovering from the four hours of sleep night I had so recently. Life is great, isn’t it?

Peace

IMG_4709

 

Enduring Fate

Coincidence: the day after I post my blog about reflection, and suddenly tonight I’m blogging in Al’s room as she and Hannah write about the pros and cons in their lives in their own journals. I didn’t know they kept journals. Han’s even going so far as to think of solutions for each of her cons. They’re trying to better their lives, and I’m proud of them.

12957290_10208233557574752_1251492658_n

Last night, I had to read a section of a novel by Waters Turpin called Those Low Grounds for my Literary Maryland class, and I have to say I actually  enjoyed it for once. We’ve gotten to the writing for entertainment part of the class, thank god.

Anyways, it was beautifully written, and there were a few times during the reading that I actually sat back and appreciated the writing. In a class where most of the pieces are written before the Civil War, that’s kind of a rare find.

“He had known toil. He had faced years of grinding disappointment. He had met life bravely, with a purpose in mind, and he had won his reward.”

Turpin was talking about a black man who had worked hard to build his own empire of a farm, but I think many others can relate. We all go through struggles, some of us face more hardships than others. I feel privileged in my life because I know people who have endured more than I could imagine.

And that’s what we do. We endure. We push through, we persevere. When we don’t win, we adapt as a way of rolling with the punches.

I’ve always been the person to believe in fate, that if you’ve given everything you can to something and it still doesn’t work out then maybe it was not meant for you. I want to stress that it doesn’t give anyone permission to be lazy or give up. But sometimes there are signs in the universe that you need to listen to.

I went to yoga again today with Chad. No savasina visions today, and I was a little disappointed, and then he said, “It was when I stopped looking for home in others that I found home inside my own mind and body.”

Maybe that’s not the most monumental advice, and I’m sure Han would crack up at how cheesy it sounded, but I think I needed to hear that and let it sink in. I’ve always been so worried about my relationships with others, wanted to make sure that I’ve had friends everywhere I go, needed to feel wanted by others, and when that doesn’t happen I get offended. I’ll feel like my friends don’t like me or don’t appreciate me.

It’s taken me a while, but I’m starting to realize that technology has made me crazy. It’s set this precedent that because you can talk to anyone at any time thanks to cell phones, social media, and texting, that you should be talking to them at all times, and that’s just not how it goes.

I don’t talk to my family all the time, and I still love them immensely.

I will go weeks without talking to my friends, and our relationships are never damaged just because we were unavailable.

The only place this precedent still seems to loom in my mind is for romantic relationships. I’m caught between my sister saying “you deserve someone who’s going to talk to you all the time, even if you just saw him a few hours ago” and Connor saying “I don’t talk to anyone 24/7, but that doesn’t mean I don’t love them.” I’m still trying to figure out that balance, but I’m confident it will come to me when I’ve met the right person (the person of my fate).

I’m glad I could blog, but it’s getting harder and harder to write (someone kept me up all night last night…), so I’ll close out.

May you find home in yourself, and may you endure fate.

Cheers

When One Door Closes, Corri Pulls It Open

It’s been a long one, but a good one. Today I ventured into D.C. thanks to my friend Corri. I’m not sure if I normally would be down to see the city on a weekday, but my first thought was that would be good for the blog. That’s what it’s come to now – do it for the blog!!

Unfortunately, I’m horrible with public transportation. Maybe something to do with not wanting to make a fool of myself, but I haven’t exactly tried to learn. I guess learning through trial and error is sometimes the only way to learn. But we finally got me a reusable metro pass (ooh, how city of me), and off we went.

As we walked through town, I kept thinking of my times in Boston. The city and its historic, brick buildings had more of a charm than any other city I’ve been to, but maybe those feelings are more so tied to the person I once shared it with. Maybe I’ll never love another concrete city in the way that I loved Boston, but I’m okay with that – the mountains have my heart now.

12910776_10208169221206383_1668842963_n

Wow I wish these pictures were less grainy. Soon I’ll be putting in those hours for some kind of camera, either a point and shoot or a GoPro if I’m lucky enough. Anyways.

After walking through the city, I realized just how little I knew of the place. I’ve been to D.C. a handful of times and I live an hour west. Corri is from Wisconsin and she said she and her family used to go twice a month when they first moved here. Mental checklist: take advantage of being this close to D.C. more often… do it for the blog! Do it for yourself!

I guess the monuments don’t really captivate me anymore. I don’t know if they ever really did. How are George Washington’s accomplishments immortalized by a giant toothpick? Museums may have a stronger effect on me, but even then I don’t really remember ever being touched to my core by staring at an historical artifact. I need to feel a connection. I remember going to the Native American museum on a field trip once. As I’m part Native American, I found it incredibly fascinating. It combined the modern day museum with the spiritual nature of the indigenous tribes of North America.

Side note, they knew how to live. I don’t know anyone who doesn’t feel healed by being out in nature. An old friend of mine decided he wanted to explore different religions, and he landed on Taoism because it was all about finding the path to the ultimate goal: returning to nature. That thought crosses my mind every time I step on a Maryland shuttle bus. If there was ever a place that needed to return to nature, it is College Park.

Back to D.C.

The Cherry Blossom Festival is this weekend, so we trekked past the monuments in the hopes of seeing some beautiful blossoms. We weren’t disappointed. We wove our way through the netting of people, dodging strollers, ducking past cameras, tripping over roots as we searched for a picturesque moment.

12939272_10208169222046404_738702795_n

(I’d say we found a few)

Corri was talking, ever the tour guide, about how the cherry blossoms were given to us as a gift from Japan after WWII. The idea was a bit absurd, considering our dirty hands. I hope we gave something to them in return.

I thought it silly, what we consider an apology. Thousands upon thousands of people were killed in Pearl Harbor and in Hiroshima, lives cut short or damaged beyond repair. Children grew up in fear, and they were to be considered the lucky ones because they were given the chance to grow up. Mothers, wives, brothers, all other family thrown into depression at the loss of their children, lovers, role models, etc., and we are given the gift of beautiful cherry blossoms in the hopes of putting these horrors in the past.

These lives ruined by war, such a logical and methodical idea. The reparation? A beautiful, artistic idea, as if the left brain is responsible for the attack and the right brain is responsible for damage control. I have a hunch that the minds that thought the cherry blossoms to be a beautiful, meaningful statement were not the same minds behind the kamikaze pilots.

But our acceptance of these beautiful trees is evidence that we do hold meaning in symbolism. We understand the beauty, we see the sacrifice, we forgive. Nothing is ever as blissful is finally being able to forgive. You feel the house of anger, misery, and bitterness that you have built collapse on itself, and the new breath of life is what it truly feels to be free.

I find it beautiful that these trees, these symbols, are a sufficient peace offering. To see the blush petals falling softly to the ground, no matter how harsh the wind whips, instilled a calmness in me. In a bustling city surrounded by people, cars, and buses, I felt quiet. Peaceful.

And on our way back to College Park, Corri and I ran to catch our train and she hopped inside just as the doors were closing, leaving me still standing on the platform. Lucky enough, she and a nice man were able to wrench the doors open wide enough for me to slip inside. Almost had me, L’Enfant!12939225_10208169223046429_1960290405_n

12910585_10208169223166432_2013526735_n

Of course this doesn’t capture it, but the dim yellow sunshine filtering through the metro station gave the train a very sentimental glow.

I am learning to be a tourist, that it’s okay to have your camera out to capture a moment you don’t want to lose. I’m also learning that it doesn’t have to be the perfect picture to still hold meaning (although I do still want a better camera).

Lucky me, I got to continue my serenity by ending the day with yoga. I haven’t been in weeks, so my shoulders and triceps are not happy with me right now, but it’s a start. Here’s to getting back on track.

Wednesday’s yoga classes always get to me. During the closing moments, lying peacefully on our backs (I’m not even going to attempt to spell the word, but I think it’s pronounced suh-va-sin-a), listening to whatever background noise Chad has picked out for us today, I almost always have a profound moment with myself.

A few weeks ago, after having a horrible day, bound so tightly by anger, I came to yoga and worked it out. I felt calmer, sure, but still upset. During the final moments of rest, Chad played sounds of soft rain, thunder murmuring in the background. I was instantly pulled back to when I was 11 years old. I don’t even think it’s a memory, just a vision. I was 11, sitting in the warm, green, dewy grass in my backyard. It was summer, and it was humid, and I was quietly listening to the storm that had just rolled through. I have since spent the past few weeks trying to chase that calmness, that peace, during difficult times.

Today, Chad played something different from the rain and thunder. I was trying to imagine what it could be, and suddenly I was in Victoria’s backyard, with her and our other neighborhood friends surrounding a bonfire that sat in the old washbin. It was a clear night, crickets chirping, and I just sat and smiled. Victoria and Jess were talking animatedly, and I just sat back and smiled.

I think it says something that my peace has been found in nature, back home in Middletown, and when I was younger. I don’t know what it means, but I’ll keep searching.

For now, I think I’ll watch Ponyo. Or maybe I should go to bed since I have class in the morning… But I think Ponyo would make me happier.

Cheers