Past Curiosity

Tonight I came across old pictures and videos, some that had you in them (unsurprisingly since we were together for a while). It was a little odd looking back on that time in our lives, but some part of me just couldn’t stop staring.

Then I looked through old emails, from the good times, the bad times… and the end. I’m surprised with how profound and mature our responses were at the time. I’d be lying if I said I didn’t tear up a little, so I just won’t say anything.

I wonder what it would be like now. The you that I knew in that era is appallingly similar to who I have become now. I think of how much I have grown, of what I expect to give in a relationship. I say give because I’m not sure I have many standards for what I receive in one anymore, which is a sad thing to say, and I know that past you would be disappointed by that information. I wonder how you have matured. You always seemed a few steps ahead of me in maturity, in belief development, and so I wonder if, now that I feel I’ve caught up to you, would you still be a few steps ahead? A few years down the road just waiting for me to catch up when I never will?

As a writer, my mind jumps to the fact that this could be the most inspirational love story ever told. Boy and girl fall in love, go through hell, go their separate ways, find each other again years later once they’ve grown and matured, and come back together for their happily ever after. Such dangerous thoughts, but I blame the idiom that you never forget your first love.

All I know is I wonder, and I wonder if I will ever find out.

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

Summer Vibration

The heater hums, the air is thick in my lungs, and I’m slightly sticky from the dried sweat and grease from a night at work. We’ve added new items to the menu, and it’s been a bit of a process.

I’ve come to realize I’m very much in love with this summer. There are plenty of situations that frustrate me, but there are more reasons for me to be jovial. I am young and still trying to figure myself out. I’m exploring, as I should be.

I’ve grown close to new people (tonight I spent an hour at the bar having a heart to heart with a coworkers boyfriend). I’ve simply fallen in love with the quiet nights spent on the restaurant patio.

Somewhere inside me I feel the need to move on. There are exciting things in my future, and I’m looking forward to where I am going while also trying to take in all I can while I’m still here. “So many lives you leave behind from the paths you don’t take.” (Probably not word for word, but it’s Atticus)

I’m also nervous for the future, all the paths I could choose, which will be the right one for me. I’ve always worried.

But for now I am in love. I’m in love with everything I have, I am. I can see how people get stuck here. But I will not be one of them.

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!

 

A Hum and a Howl

Having this blog has already helped inspire me. I walk around campus looking for the next mediocre photo I can post to the page, something that captures a new side of this place that I haven’t seen, haven’t been looking for.

The dryer hums and rattles behind me, my feet are cool – I wore sandals today in hopes of warm weather. Instead I was greeted with a cold wind that whipped right through my sweatshirt. I guess that’s how being here has made me feel so far.

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I expected Maryland to be the reparation for the disappointing college career I’ve had. Sometimes I feel there’s a lot of pressure for me to be happy here, “is it everything you dreamed it would be?” Well, no. I dreamed it would be a great place to meet people, grow and prosper, and explore new things. Instead I find it’s much easier than usual to slip into the sea of people here and go about my day unnoticed. This is the first time in my life that my professors haven’t known my name. I’ve always been shy, and I guess this is where I learn to introduce myself and branch out. Finally forced out of my comfort zone, unlike the terrapin that has come to represent this place, who has all the comforts of home on his back.

But I think I need this. If I never leave my shell, I’ll be stuck. Stuck in the same old town with the same old people in the same old job with the same old problems. I’ve done a lot of soul searching recently, yet I haven’t made any breakthroughs. If anything, my searching has left me even more lost. Where do I go? What will make me happy?

What will make me happy while taking me out of my comfort zone?

I cling to familiarity. There is comfort in familiarity, a sense of calm. But no matter how far my branches stretch, the roots still remain, clinging to the same old soil.

I love my little Middletown. It’s nice to look up and see mountains and a blue sky instead of just brick buildings. There will always be a connection there, but I’m caught between hanging on and letting go. Maybe it doesn’t have to be an ultimatum, but that’s how it feels right now. I fear I will return and never again leave, never branch out and live elsewhere. There are too many places to experience, too many people to meet.

Yet I also fear what it would mean to leave. I would be away from family, from close friendships, from everything I’ve ever known. For the third time in my life, I would be alone in a new place, left to my own devices to figure out where to go.

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As I write this, I realize that’s what I need in my life. It’s not like leaving someone behind means letting go of them forever, that the gate will be shut, the bridge will be drawn, and I am left to sink or swim with the crocodiles. Starting somewhere new opens up a whole new storybook for you to fill, and it’s your duty to take the pen and start writing yourself a beautiful, adventurous story.

There’s comfort in familiarity. There’s opportunity in the unknown.

 

My First Blog

So let’s get started! I have no idea what I want this blog to be about. Probably just my life, my thoughts, my perceptions, my experiences. I hope to someday be able to go back through my blogs and see how I’ve grown as a person, because you don’t always notice the day-to-day changes, and then somehow those tiny changes have lead to a completely new you.

But let’s start with who I am and where I am now:

  • I’m 20 years old (about to be 21 in 45 days WOOHOO!)
  • I’m a student at the University of Maryland, studying Communications and Professional Writing
  • I have always loved writing, and I think it’s the only creative thing I have (but I’m trying to branch out)
  • I find communication theory more interesting than my lecture classes
  • I work part-time at The Main Cup as an expo and I love it; it’s my second home and I always try to make it a point to see my second family when I come home
  • I do not have a boyfriend (boys are too complicated)
  • do have some amazing friends (shoutout to Ryan, Alex, Mary, and Will)
  • I have no idea what I want to do for a job
  • I love animals and I want to foster
  • I am itching to travel, even if it’s by myself
  • I love mountains. I grew up in a small farming town tucked into the mountains, and I have seen some purple mountain majesties.
  • I don’t know how to camp, yet my recent dream is to backpack the Appalachians
  • I’m young and everything is either terrifying or exciting – and sometimes both!

Some days I may be casual, like this, and some days I may be more soulful. I’m not sure where it’ll go, but life is wonderful right? And I’ll spice things up when I start working enough to afford my own little camera. I have a feeling I’ll be putting in a lot of hours this summer…

Much love,

Dani