jumbled thoughts

“Summer romances end for all kinds of reasons. But when all is said and done, they have one thing in common: They are shooting stars — a spectacular moment of light in the heavens, a fleeting glimpse of eternity. And in a flash, they’re gone.”
— Nicholas Sparks, The Notebook

I suppose it’s both a curse and a blessing, to feel this much.

Another shard from my already fractured chest broke away the other day when a homeless man in Christiania, most likely a refugee from Africa, was so kind and lovely to me and my friend who were sitting on a park bench when he and his companion arrived to set up camp. They did so a ways from us, out of courtesy, and then the one in red went across the path to sit on a bench elevated on a little hill. When we got up to leave, after having been sat there chatting for quite some time, he turned to us and said in a pleading voice that shattered me, “You are leaving? We mean you no harm!” As if they were the cause of our exit. How tragic, to have no home, to sell “antiques” on the streets to make ends meet, and to constantly feel as though you are a bother. A burden. He must have had people leave because of him before, for him to have such a desperate response. Once again, I wanted to cry.

“Be glad of your human heart, Feyre. Pity those who don’t feel anything at all.”
— Sarah J. Maas, A Court of Thorns and Roses

A conversation I had yesterday:
“How do you ever get over these feelings?”
“You don’t, you just learn to live with them. There’s not much you can do but live life and see where things go. Life isn’t a fairy tale, as much as people wish to believe.”
Thank you, Andrew, for helping me to finally understand.

Also part of said conversation:
“I’m too much of a dreamer sometimes. I look at the possibilities instead of the realities.”
And they break me.
Advice to self: Stop worrying about far off possibilities that you can’t control, and focus on the little things, here and now, that you can. You’ll be much happier that way.

I just absolutely love words. Quotes, lyrics, prose and poetry… I connect with them in such a deep, intense way. It often feels as though someone else has read my mind, felt exactly what I feel, and painted those emotions with words so that I might understand myself better.

I had my fun, I played around
Without a love to tie me down
I always used to kiss and run,
I never wanted love to catch me
I thought I had a heart of stone
But now I’m in the danger zone
I can feel the heat is on,
Soon the flames are gonna catch me
— Billy Ocean, “Red Light Spells Danger”

And for one desperate moment there
He crept back in her memory
God it’s so painful
Something that’s so close
And still so far out of reach
— Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers, “American Girl”

I’ve been particularly drawn to poetry lately. I find it raw and unfiltered; often straight to the point, like a knife to the heart, twisting and telling me, “ah, yes, you’ve felt that too.” The three most recent poetry books I’ve read are the princess saves herself in this one by Amanda Lovelace, The Universe of Us by Lang Leav, and Love Her Wild by Atticus. I loved all of them, and definitely recommend giving them a read. I’ve started getting the urge to highlight and mark my books, something I never used to do because I historically have been absolutely OCD about keeping my treasures in pristine condition. It’s nice to save the lines I love best, or connect to, though, and be able to flip back through books and find those passages easily. On another book-related note, I’m reading a book called Into the Wild by Jon Krakauer right now, and it’s impressively good. I don’t typically read nonfiction, or travel novels, but I think I want to pursue more of those types of books in the future, as this one is so well-written and eye-opening.

Do you ever wonder at how strange it is that we often let a number define our worth, or control how we feel about ourselves? I put on a couple of pounds while I was away this summer. That puts me right back at where I was before starting freshman year, before I lost ten pounds in a month from so much stress and anxiety. I’ve been slowly gaining it back this year, and when I got home and could finally look at myself in a mirror, I thought I looked good. With more defined womanly curves and all that jazz I’ve been genetically blessed with. But the minute I stepped on the scale, I felt like shit. Shit because the number was higher than it was when I left, higher than my mind wanted it to be. It’s literally two pounds; it shouldn’t matter. I probably look the same at 125, 128, 130. But the way I feel… It changes, sometimes drastically, with a slight tip in the scale. And it’s bullshit, because if I think I look good, and am healthy, who cares what the scale says? Why do I care? It’s not as bad as it used to be. In all honesty, I can’t imagine it ever being that bad again. But it always manages to creep back up, even when I think it’s gone, that I’ve conquered it for good.

I’ve been so down about being home, stuck in Florida for an extended amount of time after three months of movement and freedom. I miss the friends I made abroad, and the thrill I get from being out in the big wide somewhere. Seeing things, doing things, meeting amazing people. It seems so much more valuable to me than a college education. But seeing as I’m not quite willing to drop out, or take a gap semester and lose my scholarship, I’ve just booked another plane ticket instead. I’ll be traveling back to Europe from mid-December to mid-January for just over a month. And I am SO EXCITED. It’ll be hard to prioritize and balance seeing places vs. people, but I’m just happy to be getting out of the American, Floridian, privileged college bubble again. Next summer, I think I want to go to South America (maybe parts of Central America, too). And then the following summer, Asia. And maybe the summer after that, if I have the money and can get some work over there, Australia and New Zealand. And even aside from those places, there’s so. much. I. want. to. see. It’s sad to think that even if I dropped everything and traveled for my whole life, I’d never get to see it all. However, from this last trip, I’ve learned that traveling and seeing the world is probably the single-most important thing to me. I don’t want to settle down, not in my twenties. I want to live an exciting, fulfilling, and beautiful life now, rather than wait around working some boring career job and dreaming of the day I’ll do what makes me happy. There’s no time for that in this life. None at all.

“I’m not going to die,” she said. “Not till I’ve seen it.”
“Seen what?”
Her smile widened. “Everything.”
— V.E. Schwab, A Darker Shade of Magic

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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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flying

Does it feel, feel like you never gon’ find nothing better?
— Charlie Puth, “Does It Feel”

When I love a song, I love it. I listen to it on repeat, sometimes for hours, other times for days. Music has this beautiful way of painting pictures in my mind, scenes from daydreams that I can replay over and over or expand upon, depending on the lyrics, rhythm, and my mood. Poets do it too, paint pictures with words. I’d like to have that skill, one I believe is a magic of sorts. Words have an indescribable power.

As I was thinking about this on my flight yesterday (today?), I had a few semi-poetic thoughts myself.

1. From all I’ve read and seen of love, most lovers must be like clouds. They appear embracing and safe and lovely, but if you take a leap of faith (or foolishness), they won’t hold you up.
2. Soaring above the horizon of clouds, the setting sun looks like molten lava.
3. Sunrise turns the clouds into cotton candy: pink mist that gives me hope in this beautiful, twisted world. Then the cloud-mist changes, absorbing the sun’s rays until it’s an orange creamsicle. The pastel hues are gentle, like watercolors, and they soothe my exhaustion, lulling me into content as I stare out the airplane window for hours, watching the sky change.

Now I’m sure a writer could turn these observations into majestic prose, but I’m not a “real” writer and am too jet-lagged to bother with trying to be at the moment. Meanwhile, Iceland is EXPENSIVE. Which I knew, but I didn’t quite know it was $27-hamburger expensive. Needless to say, I’ll be consuming a steady diet of bread, peanut butter, and bananas for the remainder of my stay.

I recently read this quote on the back of On Booze, “a collection of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s best drinking stories” (I haven’t read it, so I can’t confirm or deny this claim), and thought it was perhaps the truest, most relatable quote I’ve read in my life:

“First you take a drink, then the drink takes a drink, then the drink takes you.”

Tell me about it, Fitz.

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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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Read in 2016

Here’s a chronological list of what I read (or rather, finished) in 2016. 75 books… The highest number since I’ve started tracking my reading. Woo hoo! I also started, but didn’t complete (with the full intention to this year), at least 9 books, and I had several DNF books (with no intention of ever finishing), as well. Happy New Year!

1. The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho
2. The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman
3. The Ice Dragon by George R.R. Martin, illustrated by Luis Royo
4. Eleanor & Park by Rainbow Rowell
5. The Longest Ride by Nicholas Sparks
6. The Assassin’s Blade by Sarah J. Maas
7. The Opposite of Loneliness by Marina Keegan
8. Passenger by Alexandra Bracken
9. Six of Crows by Leigh Bardugo
10. Burial Rites by Hannah Kent
11. The Queen of the Tearling by Erika Johansen
12. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
13. The Importance of Being Earnest by Oscar Wilde
14. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer     (re-read)
15. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer     (re-read)
16. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer     (re-read)
17. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer     (re-read)
18. Midnight Sun draft by Stephenie Meyer     (re-read)
19. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer     (re-read)
20. Life and Death: Twilight Reimagined by Stephenie Meyer
21. The Twilight Saga: The Official Illustrated Guide by Stephenie Meyer
22. Salt to the Sea by Ruta Sepetys
23. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
24. Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling     (re-read)
25. Shadow and Bone by Leigh Bardugo
26. Siege and Storm by Leigh Bardugo
27. The Tailor by Leigh Bardugo     *
28. Ruin and Rising by Leigh Bardugo
29. The Demon in the Wood by Leigh Bardugo     *
30. The Heart of Betrayal by Mary E. Pearson
31. The Offering by Kimberly Derting
32. Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes
33. The Kiss of Deception by Mary E. Pearson     (re-read)
34. The Girl Who Fell by S. M. Parker
35. Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë
36. Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale     **
37. The Name of the Wind by Patrick Rothfuss
38. Hamlet by William Shakespeare
39. The Wise Man’s Fear by Patrick Rothfuss
40. The Slow Regard of Silent Things by Patrick Rothfuss
41. The Winner’s Kiss by Marie Rutkoski
42. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale     **
43. Rebel Spring by Morgan Rhodes
44. Gathering Darkness by Morgan Rhodes
45. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas
46. A Court of Thorns and Roses by Sarah J. Maas     (re-read)
47. A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas     (re-read)
48. Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas     (re-read)
49. Crown of Midnight by Sarah J. Maas     (re-read)
50. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas     (re-read)
51. Queen of Shadows by Sarah J. Maas     (re-read)
52. Me Before You by Jojo Moyes
53. The Sun Is Also a Star by Nicola Yoon
54. This Is How You Lose Her by Junot Díaz
55. City of Thieves by David Benioff
56. Wolf by Wolf by Ryan Graudin
57. Iron to Iron by Ryan Graudin     *
58. milk and honey by Rupi Kaur
59. Girl in the Blue Coat by Monica Hesse
60. The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan
61. Harry Potter and the Cursed Child by J.K. Rowling, John Tiffany, & Jack Thorne
62. One Direction: Who We Are by One Direction
63. Frozen Tides by Morgan Rhodes
64. Germans as Victims? by Robert G. Moeller     *
65. The Question of German Guilt by Karl Jaspers     *
66. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling, narrated by Jim Dale     **
67. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
68. A Torch Against the Night by Sabaa Tahir
69. The Reader by Bernard Schlink
70. On the Natural History of Destruction by W. G. Sebald
71. Empire of Storms by Sarah J. Maas
72. Survival in Auschwitz by Primo Levi
73. In My Brother’s Shadow: A Life and Death in the SS by Uwe Timm
74. Crabwalk by Günter Grass
75. Farewell to Manzanar by Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston & James D. Houston     (re-read)

* Novella, thesis/long essay, or short story
** Audiobook

Thanks for reading.

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