Thursday, May 29, 2008

I will not be swept away, I will not be burned

I've been overtaken by a strange energy. Though I awoke at 6am (much earlier than I'm used to), and I've been in class all day with only a couple of 10 minute breaks, I feel energized. My heart is racing, and my eyes are wide awake, but it's a strange exhausting energy, as if I were running and any minute now I'm about to stop and collapse and then I'll feel completely spent. I should probably use this energy to work on the project I have due tomorrow, but instead I feel the urge to write. I don't even know what to write about, usually I think my blogs out in my head before I sit at a computer screen and write, which may explain why they're usually so stinkin' long. But today, I just thought it would be fun to sit and write whatever comes out.

May 2008 has been crazy. It's been very emotional, filled with highs and lows, disappointments and excitements. I can easily imagine an affect chart of this past month that looks something like an earthquake on a Richter scale. Studied for finals for four days, took three finals, three days in a row, went to a potluck picnic for homeless people, went to a departmental party and sang with my advisor and other faculty and students, went to my friend Amanda's birthday party, saw Andrew for the first time since breakup. First time was great, second time, I smashed a tequila bottle afterwards. Packed up, came home for over a week. Watched friends at TCU graduate, celebrated my birthday with sushi and martinis, went to my grandma's for mother's day and my actual birthday, had a nice steak dinner with family for my birthday. Spend the rest of the week sleeping in and catching up with various friends. Went on a date with a 36 year old. Saw Prince Caspian, liked it, but not as much as I'd hoped.

Flew to Ohio via Houston and Nashville to see the first concert of the Stone Temple Pilots reunion tour. Spent all of the next day flying home, then drove back to College Station. Got really sick with food poisoning or a stomach virus, missed my first class, my mom drove down to take care of me. Finally went to class and back to work, and mom drove back. Been taking a crazy awesome but crazy two week course called Advanced Therapeutic Techniques where I've been learning a lot, both about therapy and about myself as a person. Made an appointment to go see my own counselor.

Came back home, saw Britt and Shawn, ate Indian food, smoked hookah, celebrated my friend's birthday, celebrated Cara's graduation dressed as a rockstar, went bowling and saw Indiana Jones with my friend and her husband. Loved Indiana Jones, more than I expected. At some point over the weekend, I realized that I still miss Andrew. Had an emotional reaction to something silly that resulted in me and my church friend/mentor type person emailing back and forth, and recently resulted in a really good conversation. Heard some things that were hard to hear, but were true, and I'm feeling better and less fearful. Found out that our fourth roommate changed her mind about living with us next year, and the next day found out that we'd found another one.

Went to Scarborough Faire, got a henna tattoo. Seriously thinking about getting a real one. Drove back to College Station, started a course on Family Therapy. An 8am course. Been classing, working, and seeing clients all day long. Spent time with my church small group last night.

Phew, it's exhausting just typing it out, and thinking about all that I've experienced and dealt with over the past month. But I've definitely had some exciting experiences, some great memories, good times with friends, and good conversations. It was really good seeing those of you that I saw over the past couple of weeks. You're a blessing to me, you're beautiful, and I hope I see you again soon. I'm learning a lot about myself and how and why I function the way I do, and hopefully that learning will continue. I'm ready to just be in the swing of things, and hopefully have some time to relax and opportunities to spend more time with new friends here in College Station. The second time I went back to DFW, I really didn't want to come back here. But now that I'm here, I want to make the most of it, and I'm willing to be proactive. Like asking my friends last night if they wanted to watch LOST together tonight, instead of waiting for an invite. I'm not entirely sure what I'm doing this weekend, but I'm definitely going to this potluck picnic thing again. It's pretty awesome, it's in a park in Bryan, and several people from my church go. Basically, the soup kitchen or what not isn't open on Saturdays, so we bring food to this park, and anyone in the community (homeless or otherwise) is welcome to come. I brought eggs and cinnamon rolls last time, and then played soccer after we ate. I really want to start going to this more, at least every other weekend, if not every weekend. Oh, and I have a paper due Monday, joy. But I'm not complaining, because it's a good class, and I honestly don't think this paper will be that hard to write.

I guess that about wraps things up. It's time for me to work on other things. I really don't know what to expect from this summer, especially since it's been such a roller coaster so far. But I'm feeling optimistic. I'm going to work hard in my classes, and serve others, and have fun however I can, and just try to roll with any punches that come along. I really truly believe that good things are happening, that I've been significantly blessed, and there are more blessing to come, and I'm being challenged and meeting those challenges and being shaped and chiseled. And when the bad things happen, I'm not alone. I'm never alone.

"When you pass through the waters,
I will be with you;
and when you pass through the rivers,
they will not sweep over you.
When you walk through the fire,
you will not be burned;
the flames will not set you ablaze."
Isaiah 43:2*

You're not alone either, you know. Good things are happening for you as well.

*The inspiration for my tattoo if I ever get one.

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

my first experience with age regression

I had a conversation with my eight year old self yesterday. She (I?) spoke to me from where she was sitting by the bushes in the backyard and told me I was beautiful, which surprised me and made me blush. Then she (I?) told me, "You're not a kid like me. You can do more than I can do. You can do a lot." There was a tone of admiration and wonder in her (my) voice, mixed with a little bit of impatience. She didn't ask me for anything, but I gave her a hug, because we both could use a little love.

Neither of us said another word, until I walked toward the gate, and before it closed behind me, turned around to say, "Thank you."

What did I learn from this experience? That I'm still afraid of being inadequate, but I'm not a child. I can do more than I once could, more than I realize.

Wednesday, May 14, 2008

thirteen years

Cara told me this was good blog material. So, here goes.

Are you sitting down?

Do you have and food or drink in your mouth? Swallow quickly.

A few days ago, I turned 23. Yesterday, I went out with a 36 year old.

Ok, catch your breath. If you did a spit take with your drink, it's your own fault. I told you to swallow.

Yes, I turned 23, and suddenly I'm thrust into the adult dating world. The world where men can ask you out at restaurants, and 23 year olds and 36 year olds can be peers (sorta). 23 no longer sounds like a college student. Sure, there are 23 year olds still finishing college, but there are a lot more 22 year olds in college. And yes, I'm still in school, but it's different. I have a degree, but I'm advancing my education further and doing something that few do. Since we've graduated college, three of my friends have started men born in the 70's: 29, 31, and 34 are the ages of their boyfriends.

So, back to this dude (man?). Let's see, when he was graduating high school, I was starting kindergarten. When he was my age, he was living in Greece, modeling, and I was ten, and had never flown on a plane yet. His oldest niece is 25. He said he normally wouldn't "go after" 23 year olds, but he was attracted to me before he knew my age, and when he knew my age, he said, "You don't sound or act like a 23 year old." And let's face it, he doesn't look, sound, or act like a 36 year old. When he asked, "How old do you think I am?" I realized that he was older than he looked. When I saw him outside in the sunlight, I noticed the few gray strands peppering his red hair and a few laugh line wrinkles around his eyes that I hadn't noticed when I'd first met him in the dark restaurant.

So, how did I come to meet this dude in the first place? Back up three months ago. I was at a restaurant, with my mother, stepfather, and step grandparents, celebrating my mother's birthday party. Around dessert, the waitress comes to me and says, "Hey, the man sitting at that table over there wants to ask you out." What?!? I looked over and see an attractive man waving at me. The waitress continues, "He's a great guy, I know him, he works here. " So, with the permission of my family, I went over and talked to him. He was dining with a friend. We all introduced ourselves, and the question of my age quickly came up. His friend had thought that I was young, 17 or 18, but he had noticed the margarita I was drinking and thought my young looking mother to be my coworker. His friend felt uncomfortable, "like the chaperone," and left us to chat about ourselves. I explained that I don't live here any more, that I was only in town for the weekend, but I was very flattered by his approach. He asked when I was returning, and I told him in about a month for spring break. "Ok, how about this?" he explained, "I'll tell you my email address, it's very easy to remember, and if you like, when you're in town again, I'll take you out. I'll take you out to dinner somewhere." The whole experience was very strange. I've never been asked out my a stranger, and certainly never when I was with my mother!

And what possessed me three months later to call his restaurant after unsuccessfully emailing him? A little bit of breakup blues desperation, and a lot of curiosity. Seriously, if he could take the risk to ask me out, couldn't I take the risk to let him take me out? At the very least, it could just be a fun time and good story. So, I suggested we meet for coffee at a nice shopping center, and we spent about three hours, drinking coffee, talking, telling stories, browsing shops, and eating cheese fries.

So, what of the date? It was fun. Did we have a good time together? Yes. Did we click? Not entirely. Were there fireworks and butterflies in my stomach? No. Is he someone I could see myself in a relationship with? No. Is he someone I'd see again? Perhaps. As it turns out, he's suffering from post breakup blues himself. About nine months ago, he moved here from Austin after a bad breakup, and I'm the first person he's asked out since then and this was his first date-type experience since then. Kinda flattering. He told me, "I'm just easing back into the dating thing. So, I'm pretty safe!" He seemed interested in hanging out again, when I mentioned liking plays, his response was, "We'll have to go to one sometime." And at the end of our time together, he told me to text him whenever I was in town. Maybe I will, maybe I won't. As long as he doesn't want to get serious, it might be nice to go to plays and such with an interesting, attractive man every once in a while. Or not. Maybe I'll always be busy with friends and family whenever I'm in town, that I won't want to bothers with hanging out with someone who I'm not seriously interested in.

Whatever the case, I'm glad I took the risk and had a good experience.

Saturday, May 10, 2008


The past couple of weekends, while I've been writing and studying until I dropped, my mom, aunts, and cousins have been sorting through items at my grandmother's house. I wish I could have been a part of the process, because the things they've found have truly been amazing. They found several diaries that no one even knew my grandmother kept! These go back as far as her teenage years, when she writes of dates she went on, years before she married my grandfather at 29. Apparently she kept these diaries off and on throughout the years, and I think they've found one from every decade through the nineties. After reading a few passages, my oldest aunt stated how she doesn't like reading diaries of people who are still alive and would like to wait until our grandmother is gone before these are read anymore. Everyone agreed.

I've kept prayer journals off and one through the past several years, and I've kept a travel journal of places I've traveled to since I graduated college, which I intend to give to my daughter when she turns 18 or 21. And then there's this blog, an online diary. Will someone find these journals in my home when I'm 80 and in a nursing home, or will Google maintain these blogs sites and we can email our grandchildren links? One of my classmates has kept a diary since she was 14, and she writes exactly one page, no more no less, every single day. I feel like were I to start a diary like that, I'd soon lose interest in a couple of months. If my grandchildren want to learn about this season of my life, they can piece together photographs, travel journals, and blog entries, and it will tell them something. But what kind of picture am I painting of myself?

Also, my cousin and I used to play all sorts of creative games together at my grandmother's house. One of our favorites was to make "robots" out of the bedposts, which consists of drawing, coloring, cutting, and taping clothing, eyes, and mouths onto the bedposts to design different "robots." When we were done, we always stashed the materials under the dresser, and sure enough, when my cousin looked, they were all still there! She told me she'll get them laminated so we can save them.

My mom's main interest in this endeavor was saving old pictures. She's collected most of the pictures found in the house, and has bought a scanner/photo printer and has begun scanning them. Since I've been home, I've been looking through these photos. There are pictures of my mother when she was 2 weeks old, her and her sisters as children, as long-legged, long-haired teenagers, but the pictures of the most interest to me are before my mother and aunts were born. There are many pictures of my grandmother before she had children, when she was my age, posing dramatically with her college girlfriends, wearing dark lipstick, cat-eyed glasses, rarely smiling, always looking serious, but something about the poses and the other girls expressions tells me that these were just a few college girls goofing off for the camera, much like my friends and I do now. There are my grandmother's brothers, who I never knew, and their charming, carefree attitudes ooze from the photographs. Uncle Waymon, the womanizer, gives a smarmy smile while wearing a bowtie and holding a cigarette toward the camera, trying to pose like a movie star or something. You look at this picture, and you can't help but hear him saying, "Hey doll, got a light?" My mother held this picture next to my grandfather's serious portrait in his Corps uniform, and said, "Isn't it interesting that a woman who came from this family married this man?"

And then there's my grandfather, who died when my mom was 12. I love hearing stories about him, but I feel like he'll always be a mystery to me. It seems like every year another piece of the puzzle is added. High school math teacher turned principal. Amputee from an accident working in Illinois, who survived when a nun prayed for him all night long. A&M Corps member. Musician. Husband. Brother. Father. But I still don't know how to describe him. My mother describes him as hard-working and honorable, "a man of character." Those are great things, but they tell me nothing about his personality, what he was like to be around, what he was like as a husband or father. I found a photo of him that I love. He's canoing on a lake in 1950, one year after him and my grandmother married, a couple of years before my aunt was born. He's in the shadowy right hand side of the photo, gazing out into the water, light streaming from the upper left hand corner of the photo, and mossy trees in the background. My mom scanned this for me and found one of my grandmother, posing on a big tree stump in a forest, who's setting matches the forested lake setting of my grandfather's picture. Somehow, these pictures capture how I conceptualize each of these grandparents. My grandmother is posed for the camera, and her body takes the center of this clear, crisp photograph. My grandfather, however, was just captured by the lens, clouded by light and shadows. My memories of my grandmother will always be as clear as this photograph, but my ideas of my grandfather are sketched together through other's memories, clouded by light and shadows.

Friday, May 02, 2008

statistics hate

Last night I learned that working on multiple regression equations for a couple of hours has similar effects on me as consuming alcohol, contributing to the following behaviors:
  • Uncontrollable laughing at things that aren't really that funny.
  • Use of curse words, both real and made-up, ("Oh shiznit!")
  • High distractability
  • Decreased inhibitions resulting in inappropriate comments, ("What does 'SM' stand for?" "I dunno, but it involves leather.")
  • Excessive use of "Your mom" and "That's what she said" jokes, ("Your mom's a standard error of the mean!" "Your mom looks like an anorexic dog!")
  • Increased interest in the opposite sex, (Edgar's male friend called, and I kept obnoxiously asking, "Is he hot?")
  • Extreme fatigue!
Amazingly, I drove home safely from that stats session. Thankfully, I wasn't pulled over!