revelations

“Understand I will quietly slip away from the noisy crowd when I see the pale stars rising, blooming over the oaks.
I’ll pursue the solitary pathways of the twilight meadows with only this one dream. You come too.”
― Rainer Maria Rilke

I go back and forth between journaling and blogging. There’s usually no rhyme or reason; only my mood, and whether I want a pen in my hand or keys beneath my fingertips. In the last few days, I’ve been journaling a lot, trying to get some thoughts out after nearly a month of no time to think, reflect, breathe. With love week, recruitment, classes, an internship and a job, and getting strep, I haven’t had much time for the little things. Like staying in touch with my mom, or eating dinner at the house, or writing. I’m feeling behind, like a lot of things have passed me by: the chance to meet new Phis, time with friends, season 7 of Game of Thrones, and events I wanted to write about but didn’t get the chance to. I wouldn’t say I’m drowning, but I’m definitely on the verge of being overwhelmed. It’s nice (and unexpected) to be home for the weekend, so hopefully I can catch up on schoolwork, rest, and maybe some TV shows (don’t even get me started on reading––I am so behind).

I’ve taken to keeping a list of firsts. My list for the spring takes up a page in my journal; my summer list, while not yet written, will likely be longer. I’m curious to see how long this fall’s will be. I know that, realistically, the longer I live, the fewer firsts there will be. But I’d like to try to have a lot, because experiencing new things has helped me grow. And I never want to stop growing.

JOURNAL EXCERPTS

“Being sick puts a lot into perspective. You realize how much of your daily life is trivial, and what really matters. It’s made me less vain, and re-think cigarettes.”

“In the spring I grew comfortable in my own skin, something I’d been faking-till-I-made-it for years with mixed success. After this summer, I’m confident in my own skin, and I didn’t realize there was a difference until now.”

“I think there’s a critical difference between not giving a damn and not giving a fuck. The former is matter of fact; you can own your opinions without needing to defend them with a facey word like ‘fuck.'”

“It’s hard to find the right balance between hard and soft. But somehow, tortoises do.”

“You will always be my favorite what if.”

“It doesn’t hurt anymore, but sometimes I’m reminded of the memories, and for a moment, it does.”

“I wish I didn’t have so much stuff––that’s something I’m trying to be more conscious of going forward. I learned this summer that I enjoy living with less.”

“I want to keep my standards high, but that’s hard to do when you’re constantly surrounded by frat guys, or when you’re intoxicated, or lonely. I want to meet someone now, just to experience what that’s like, but my heart lies abroad, and in a few years, so too will my body.”

“I want to meet someone whose eyes give me a glimpse into their raging and beautiful soul.”

“Something I’ve learned this year: Sex doesn’t really matter. Not to me, anyway. You’re not a cooler person because you’ve had sex, or a better person because you haven’t. And sex isn’t necessarily intimate, either. Just because someone’s seen your body doesn’t mean they’ve touched your soul.”

“My memories of that time don’t rise to the surface very often, and they become blurrier each time they do. But when I wipe the fog off the lid of that glass box that holds them, they still come back in bits. Fragments. A twirl on a dimly lit dance floor, a gin and tonic in my hand. A smelly kitchen with two chairs, two beers, two souls, late night. Arms wrapped around my neck from behind, his chin resting on my head. The fire, and the trees. A pile of blankets and a swinging chair for two. A spilled glass of water; his head in my lap as I played with his hair. A couch. And two gentle kisses goodbye. This is all I remember now, and even though I don’t feel much anymore, I can remember what I felt then. The memory of it all is what brings me hope and devastation, all at once.”

“It’s hard to look at the big picture all the time. Sometimes, I just want to have fun and experience new things. New people.”

“It’s raining, like it has been all day, and the pitter-patter of droplets on my ceiling is singing my eyelids to sleep.”

Goodnight.

“I’m thinking about people and trees and how I wish I could be silent more, be more tree than anything else, less clumsy and loud, less crow, more cool white pine, and how it’s hard not to always want something else, not just to let the savage grass grow.”
― Ada Limón, “Mowing” from Bright Dead Things

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day by day

Who looks outside, dreams; who looks inside, awakes.
– Carl Jung

Day by day, I’m feeling better. I still have highs and lows, but with each passing day, I feel myself return more and more to normalcy. It probably helps that a few close friends are back in town, and that my time in Tampa is dwindling. I’m excited for the independence and social life going back to university entails, and can’t wait to see my lovely friends, who I realize I’ve missed dearly. xoxo to you all 🙂

Today, I started thinking about Italy. Or more specifically, visiting Italy. This winter. I’ve always wanted to, and it’d be nice to avoid the brutal heat of a Mediterranean summer, but it only just occurred to me that I could actually fulfill my dream of seeing Rome, Pompeii, Cinque Terre, and more by the end of the year. Or early next year, at the very latest.
e x c i t e m e n t.

Also today, I went to the art museum downtown with one of my best friends and his girlfriend, who I got to meet in person for the first time. We brought my little sister along because I’m home alone with her the next two days, and Abby and I had a lot of laughs looking at art we didn’t understand and taking goofy pictures.

On another note, I’ve learned a good deal in the last week. One of the things I’ve realized is that even if someone is super fun and wonderful in person, if it’s constantly a hassle to get in touch with them and make plans to hang out, the friendship might not warrant the trouble. I have this guy friend who I love spending time with but who just plain sucks at communicating through text and committing to a plan, and after a year I’ve finally reached my wit’s end with it. It’s not that I’m unfriending him, and I’m sad because I truly enjoy his company, but I’m not planning to reach out anymore. It’s just frustrating and tiresome, and usually goes nowhere. That’s the thing with relationships: they involve two people. My parents taught me to go after what I want, but you can’t always live by that rule when it comes to wanting something from another person. You can’t make someone want you, or like you, or hang out with you or even talk to you. And you shouldn’t have to. If they aren’t interested in putting an equal amount of effort into the relationship, whatever kind it may be, then don’t force it. Try not to take it personally, and let it go. There are seven billion people on this planet—there’s no sense wasting time and energy on someone who won’t give you either.

“Sometimes you just give the wrong people the right pieces of your heart.” 

Another thing I’ve realized is that distance provides perspective. I’m unsure whether I made this clear in sad songs, because I didn’t have much distance from the situation at that point, but it wasn’t love. Maybe it was the beginning of something we like to call “travel love,” or maybe it was the potential for something more, or perhaps I just got a small taste of something I wanted but couldn’t have. Either way, it still hurts, and was the first “heartache” of sorts I’ve ever felt. So it’s been a bit difficult to deal with, and will likely haunt me for awhile, but it showed me something important. A few things, actually. One, I have the capacity to feel that way about someone. Two, now I know that the ability to want and have and lose someone can cause immense pain, both in my mind and chest. And three, it showed me that there are people for me out there. For nearly a year now, I’d thought there was one, and I was so scared of letting him slip away. I fought for him because of that, maybe more than I should have. (Maybe that’s why I’m not fighting for this one—that, and I can take a hint. If feelings aren’t mutual or timing isn’t right, there’s nothing to fight for. Which all goes back to that “it takes two” philosophy I mentioned earlier.) But this second person and experience I had abroad showed me there was someone else. And given that things have seemingly ended there too, at least for now, I have faith there are more out there. More of those good, good guys who are tender and have pure hearts and make me melt a little inside. If neither of the ones I’ve known so far were it, then there have to be others.

“Stop chasing the waves. Let the sea come to you.”

In the meantime, I’m nineteen. I in no way, shape, or form want to settle down (and by that, I mean commit to a person or place that will keep me from doing what I want with my twenties). There’s way too much fun to be had: places to see, people to meet, parties to go to, and things to try. Sure, it would be nice having someone to share some of that with, but I’m scared that committing to someone would mean tying myself down. I like to feel free. Besides, it seems like I’m away too much to have a relationship at home, and home too much to have one abroad. I’ve been told by many people that I’m naturally flirty, and compliments spew easily from my mouth when I mean them; I’m an open, honest person with little filter, which is both a curse and a blessing. Because of this, people sometimes think I want or am looking for something when I’m really not. And half the time, I’m totally clueless about it all. I have lots of guy friends, and I love them to death, but I’m not interested in many guys. I’m picky. I have to feel something and I usually don’t, even if they’re textbook attractive or have a great personality. Something just needs to click for me and oftentimes it doesn’t, hence why I have lots of male friends but haven’t had many boyfriends. When I do like a guy, it’s overwhelming because I’m not used to having the emotions that come with interest, or at least interest beyond the physical. So I end up convincing myself I’m crazy, which really doesn’t help things at all. Because then I actually drive myself crazy. Note to self: CALM DOWN. Your feelings are valid. Your lack of feelings is valid. You aren’t insane. You aren’t doing anything wrong or weird. You simply think you are because you are a teenage girl with hormones and a tendency to overthink and worry. 🙂

I have to remind myself sometimes that there’s no rush, and that if it doesn’t work out it wasn’t the right person. That things falling apart isn’t necessarily my fault, and that rejection shouldn’t always be taken personally and internalized. It helps to look at myself and the guys I go for—often it’s not the nice, model-esque, tall-dark-and-handsome, but rather his funny and witty best friend, who may not be as cute but who makes me laugh and has pretty eyes. And other times, it’s the guy who’s both. So if a guy isn’t interested in me, it doesn’t mean I’m not pretty or funny or whatever—the lack of interest isn’t a reflection of me and my worth. It simply means I didn’t click for him, just like many great guys don’t click for me. I’m learning that it’s okay to have feelings (or more often for me, to not have them—I think that’s why I was taken aback after Poland), and to not overthink my actions or another person’s. Sometimes I get too inside my own head and overanalyze things that I either shouldn’t or can’t. Like I said, when it comes to a person, my strategy for everything else in life becomes absolutely useless, and maybe that’s why I’ve always felt so lost when it comes to pursuing guys (hence, why I usually don’t) and why I’ve sometimes stayed in friendships long past their expiration date. I’ve found in the last seven months that it’s best (and easiest) to just be my confident, relatively carefree, and sassy self, and things usually end up falling into place, one way or another.

“The flower doesn’t dream of the bee. It blossoms and the bee comes.”

In 2017, I’ve really grown comfortable in my own skin, have let go of a lot of society’s expectations of me, and, all in all, have learned to love myself. I’ve become a much happier, more free spirited, and less harried individual. I am so proud of the person I’ve become, because I fought to become her. By no means am I perfect, and I will certainly continue to grow, but it’s nice after this rough past week to be able to sit here today and type this:
I
am
okay.

Or I will be, in any case.

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solace in solitude

“When will you realize… Vienna waits for you?”
— Billy Joel, “Vienna”

Vienna. That’s where I am right now. To be more specific, I’m sat alone in a flat in a supposedly hip neighborhood, trying to decide whether I want to write or fall back asleep. I’ve been here since this morning, yet I haven’t seen any more of the city than the bus into town and my walk to the supermarket allowed. I feel a bit guilty about that, wasting a day. But I am exhausted.

The last week has been a whirlwind. I absolutely love meeting people while traveling—it’s one of the reasons I stay in hostels— and I find that the people I get to know tend to be cooler than the places I visit. The thing about making fast friends, though, is that I don’t have much time for myself. I’m only going to be with them for x number of hours, days, and then I’ll likely never see them again, which is a sad reality in itself. The constant on-the-go nature of traveling and meeting people lends itself to early mornings and late nights, and that lends itself to me being absolutely knackered. It’s caught up to me by now, the rush and rigor of it all, and I’m looking forward to having a room and flat to myself for a few days, to rest and do my own thing before heading to a hostel in Krakow where I likely won’t be resting much at all.

I’m sure the idea of being completely alone for four days would frighten some people, but I’ve always enjoyed solitude. It gives me a chance to think, to reflect, to recharge every once in awhile. I’ve become more of a people person again over the last few years, but I still appreciate the value of being alone. The windows are open here, and I can hear the rush of cars outside, the wind blowing in and stirring about, and my own thoughts. Despite my tiredness, I feel peacefully content.

Today I had a nap at three o’clock, only to wake up at ten and still feel tired. Today I’ve eaten about three quarters of a wedge of brie cheese, and most of a large bag of peanut m&m’s, and I don’t feel fat. I don’t feel shame or guilt. Either I’m too tired, or I’ve really come a long way—probably a combination of both. Today I talked to my dad for the first time in a long while, since I left the States. Today I was reminded what it is like to feel like a foreigner, after nearly a week of feeling like I fit in, like I belonged. I didn’t realize how at home I felt in Scotland, surrounded by wonderful, English-speaking humans, until I arrived in Austria and remembered I know next to no German and have very little idea of what I’m even doing here. The weather is shite in the UK, but the people are good. And their sense of humor is even better. In a strange way, I feel like I should’ve been born British. I have yet to meet one I don’t like, and the Isles are one of the few places I’ve traveled to that I click with enough to think “I want to live here.” Well, if not for the terrible weather, that is.

I’ve been listening to a lot of Bon Iver the past few days. His music is mellow and haunting: the perfect soundtrack for the rolling hills and mist of the Scottish Highlands. His lyrics don’t seem to make much sense until you listen to them, until you inhale and exhale and sigh along with them. The instrumentals. And his voice, my God.
Here are a few lyrics from my favorite songs.

“aiming and it sunk and we were drunk and we had fleshed it out
nose up in the globes, you never know if you are passing out”
Michicant

“So it’s storming on the lake
Little waves our bodies break
There’s a fire going out
But there’s really nothing to the south
Swollen orange and light let through
Your one piece swimmer stuck to you”
Calgary

“But what do you lose to concede?
And yes it’s hard to believe
When ’em sold for your sleeves
Just come off of your kneel
Please, please, please
I can admit to conceal
No, that’s not how that’s supposed to feel
Oh, no
(It’s not for broader appeal)
Fuck the fashion of it, dear”
666 ʇ

“And I told you to be patient
And I told you to be fine
And I told you to be balanced
And I told you to be kind
And in the morning I’ll be with you
But it will be a different kind
And I’ll be holding all the tickets
And you’ll be owning all the fines”
Skinny Love

“Sea and the rock below
Cocked to the undertow
Bones blood and teeth erode
They will be crashing low
Wings wouldn’t help you
Wings wouldn’t help you… down
Down fills the ground, gravity’s proud”
Rosyln

“There’s a black crow sitting across from me;
His wiry legs are crossed
And he’s dangling my keys he even fakes a toss
Whatever could it be that has brought me to this loss?”
Re: stacks

“Is the company stalling?
We had what we wanted: your eyes
(When we leave this room it’s gone)
With no word from the former
I’d be happy as hell, if you stayed for tea
(I know so well that this is all there is)
This is how we grow now, woman
A child ignored
These will just be places to me now
The foreman is down
(When we leave this room it’s gone)
We’re rising the stairs

​i FIND GOD
AND RELIGIONS, TOO…
Staying at the Ace Hotel
If the calm would allow
Then I would just be floating to you now
It would make me pass to let it pass on
I’m climbing the dash, that skin”
33 “GOD”

Hands down, one of my favorite artists. If you read those lyrics and are thinking, “what the f*ck,” then go listen to the songs and I think you’ll understand the magic I’ve described.

Also, these two sets of lyrics have been in my head this evening, along with Billy Joel’s “Vienna,” which I’m convinced was written about me because it is so accurate.

“May you build a ladder to the stars
And climb on every rung
May you stay forever young
Forever young, forever young”
— Bob Dylan, “Forever Young”

“Look at the stars,
Look how they shine for you,
And everything you do”
— Coldplay, “Yellow”

I think there might not be anything more magical in this world than the night sky, a sky full of stars.

But enough with lyrics for now. Although I pondered a lot whilst on the long bus rides during my highlands tour, and wrote several posts in my head while doing so, I am running out of steam (and brain power) for the night and will have to come back to them, either here or in my journal.

Thank you, J, for the title.

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unfiltered thoughts

thoughts:

I think I missed my Birkenstocks and my dog more than anything while I was away. Does that make me “basic” or just simple?
Buying a Kindle was the best purchase I’ve made in a long time. I don’t know exactly why I never gave it a chance before, but it’s completely changed reading for me, and therefore my life.
My mom wanted me to get checked after that night. I told her no, listed off a plausible reason why it wasn’t necessary. Maybe I just don’t want to know.
I’m torn between wanting stability and normalcy and nice things, and wanting adventure and uncertainty and spontaneity. I think the latter desire is winning out, and I’m glad for that.
I was overwhelmed and surprised by the support I received after my last post. What began as an angsty stream-of-consciousness exercise turned into an apparently admirable excerpt to many of the people, particularly adults, in my life (or rather, on my list of Facebook friends).
I’m going to try to stop picturing their faces, the ones of the boys I admire, or at least to picture them less. There’s no use obsessing over the idea of people and being in love. Someday I’ll find the real thing.
I am completely enraptured by Lorde’s new album, Melodrama. Merde, I connect so fiercely to all of her brilliant beats and lyrics.
I have a mystical fascination with the stars, the night sky. I don’t know much about astronomy, but constellations and the concepts of starlight and stardust frequently consume my thoughts.
I wish I could write the way great poets can. I’ve been told that I’m a good writer, but when I read the works of poets like Lang Leav, I can’t imagine being able to skillfully and creatively craft words and weave meaning into them so poetically. To convey so much in so little space, with so little ink—and yet evoke so much emotion in the writer and reader alike. Poets astound me.
I think the most important word in the female vocabulary is no. I think we should sit in front of our mirrors and practice saying it, see what it looks like rolling off our tongues. Taste it on our lips. Hear what it sounds like: power. We should practice until it comes out easily, naturally. So that when we need the word, out in the big wide world, we don’t hesitate or stumble over it or stifle it for the sake of others or because we are unsure how to use it.

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The Simple Things

Well, after nearly a month of being out of town, I’m back home and loving it. I spent a week in Portland, Maine before adventuring on to Paris, London, Belfast, and Dublin for two and a half weeks. I learned so much and gained valuable traveling experience, yet it’s good to be home. The Common App released on Saturday and I’ve begun filling out bits and pieces of it, all while studiously ignoring the essay portion. I finished a book over the weekend – The Final Empire by Brandon Sanderson – and it was actually the first book I’d completed since June. This year has been very slow reading-wise but so fast-paced in almost every other way. I spent a good portion of Saturday and part of Sunday totally reorganizing my bookshelves and, for better or for worse, I’m satisfied with the way they turned out. (There’s only so much a girl can do with more books than she has shelves to put them on.) I’m back to using my beloved planner after a month-long hiatus. It’s nice to feel productive again, though my suitcase still lies unpacked in my entryway. I guess it’s a work in progress.

I’ve caught up on my ridiculous reality TV shows and done even more college research, slowly whittling down my top choices and safety schools into a selection that will hopefully comprise my final list. I’m touring three more schools in mid-September, and possibly one or two more after that, though nothing of the sort is firmly planned. I started posting on my “bookstagram” account again yesterday after a very long and unintended absence. (For those who are unfamiliar with the term, the word bookstagram is used to describe an Instagram account dedicated to bookish posts.) My family has been eating home-cooked meals for dinner since I returned from Europe and it’s a surprisingly welcome change. The baked ziti and delicious salads have been my favorite parts so far.

Yesterday was a particularly good day: I had a balanced day of relaxation and productivity. I managed to watch TV, work on college stuff, nap, and exercise and truthfully I was very proud of myself. *Pats self on back.* Then one of my closest friends and I went out for dinner at a newish sushi joint called Kelp. While the service was mediocre, the menu was awesome and the food we tried – crab rangoon, the Mexican roll, and a tempura fried tofu and sweet potato roll – was fantastic. It’s not a pricy place either, so if you’re in the area and looking for reasonable and delicious sushi, then check it out. Afterwards, we tried to rent The Hobbit from RedBox, but it was unavailable so we went back to my house and watched the first Lord of the Rings movie. I hadn’t watched it in a few years, and had forgotten there was so little action in the first installment (compared to the next two, of course). However, I enjoyed seeing Tolkien’s Middle-earth brought to life again and we have plans to watch the second movie later this week when the weather’s supposed to be awful.

One of my other good friends is turning 18 on Monday, which is crazy. I haven’t seen her in forever due to us both having hectic schedules and being out of town, but I’m looking forward to celebrating with her and her family this weekend. She requested a Thanksgiving-style dinner because she adores Thanksgiving and I absolutely love the idea. More home-cooked food… Yay!

It’s my half-birthday today. I finally get to see my trainer again and I’m thrilled because he’s sardonic and witty and lovely because of it. We get along grandly and I have a few fridge magnets to give him from my travels that he can add to his ever-growing collection. What I’m learning from my few days of being back is that home, family, and the simple things are those that I sometimes forget to appreciate at their full value and that they deserve to be recognized more often. Getting away from it all and seeing the world is amazing. I cherished my trips while I was on them, and before, and after. But learning to appreciate the quirks of your family, the flaws of your friends, and the familiarity of your hometown is harder when you’re here living through it all. It’s easy to love what you don’t have, so it’s easy to miss these things when you’re away from them. The trick is learning to appreciate what you have while you still have it. It’s an invaluable lesson. And I’m still learning.