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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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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Top 15 Books I Want to Read in 2015

After a long week of exams, I finally got some reading done for the first time this year. A goal for me this year is to minimize my TBR pile (books I have sitting unread on my shelves). I did a post last year listing all the books I’ve bought but haven’t read yet (though it’s no longer up to date). I’ve knocked a few off, but here are 15 I really want to get to in 2015.

1. Heir of Fire by Sarah J. Maas
3rd book in the Throne of Glass series. I actually just finished this one today at 3 am, but this was my top 2014 release to read in 2015. I’ve been with the YA fantasy series since the beginning and this installment was FANTASTIC. I’m contemplating writing a review. | Goodreads

2. Mortal Heart by Robin LaFevers
3rd book in the His Fair Assassin trilogy. Each book follows a different character, each a female assassin/nun/daughter of Death. Another series I’ve been with from the beginning, and this installment was highly anticipated. I can’t wait to devour it. | Goodreads

3. City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
5th and final book in The Mortal Instruments series. I picked this YA urban fantasy series back up last year and am thrilled that I did. Because this book is a monster- over 700 pages long- I’ve put it off until I can sit down for a day and read it straight through. | Goodreads

4. The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas
This is another big book I didn’t finish in 2014. I bought it for book club (the unabridged version) in November but only read around 70 pages. I love it so far; it’s a classic set in France revolving around mystery and complex subplots. | Goodreads

5. The Bane Chronicles by Cassandra Clare, Sarah Rees Brennan, & Maureen Johnson
This is a collection of eleven short stories- originally published as novellas- detailing the backstory of TMI and TID character, Magnus Bane. My mom bought me a signed copy for Christmas and I can’t wait to read it! | Goodreads

6. Cress by Marissa Meyer
3rd book in the Lunar Chronicles quartet. I bought this when it released last February and it’s been sitting on my shelf ever since, patiently waiting for me to pick it up. The series follows a string of characters and plots in a sci-fi retelling of several fairy tales. I read the first book, Cinder, when it came out in 2012. The last book, plus a prequel, release early this year so I hope to get to this one soon. | Goodreads

7.  The Book Thief by Markus Zusak
I started this book in the summer between 7th and 8th grade. I didn’t know nearly as much about the Holocaust and World War II then, nor did I know that the novel is narrated by Death. I read 26 pages before giving up. Since taking History of the Holocaust as a sophomore, I’ve wanted to finish this novel. And in 2015, I’m going to finally do so. | Goodreads

8. Percy Jackson’s Greek Gods by Rick Riordan
I’ve been reading this collection of myths told from Percy’s perspective almost every night since the new year began. It’s beautifully illustrated, humorous, and I’ve surprisingly learned new things about Greek myths that I’d never heard of before. I think I’ll be finished with this one soon. | Goodreads

9. The Evolution of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin
2nd book in the Mara Dyer trilogy. I read the first book of this eery paranormal series over Thanksgiving break in 2013 and the third book released at the end of 2014. I’ve been meaning to get to this one for ages because I need more Noah Shaw… and answers. | Goodreads

10. The Offering by Kimberly Derting
3rd book in The Pledge trilogy. I absolutely loved the first two books in this dystopian fantasy series. I started the third installment last year soon after it released, but I couldn’t get into it. I’d found that a year after the second book, I didn’t care much anymore and I was bored. I want to give it another try this year, especially after adoring the first two parts of the trilogy. | Goodreads

11. Evertrue by Brodi Ashton
3rd book in the Everneath trilogy. I bought it when it released last January. This paranormal trilogy has elements of Greek mythology weaved into it and I really want to finish it up. I can’t wait to find out what happens after the second book’s cliff hanger. | Goodreads

12. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
I bought this adult historical fiction novel a long time ago. I don’t read many adult novels, but in 2015 I’d like to expand my horizons in that aspect, starting with this one. Then I can finally watch the movie! | Goodreads

13. What’s Left of Me by Kat Zhang
1st book in The Hybrid Chronicles. I bought it at the end of 2012 due to its gorgeous cover and a recommendation and I just haven’t desired to read it since. But it’s been long enough and it’s finally time to give this dystopian novel centered around twins a shot. | Goodreads

14. Antigoddess by Kendare Blake
1st book in the Goddess War series. I bought it at the end of 2013 on a whim because of its premise. I love Greek mythology and I thought this book sounded different and interesting. However, it didn’t get the greatest reviews and I decided it wasn’t worth prioritizing. Now I’d like to see for myself, especially since the sequel released last year. | Goodreads

15. God Loves Ugly by Christa Black
I got this book at a Christian conference as a freshman. Christa was a speaker and her story was so raw and inspiring that I wanted to read it for myself. I don’t know where I stand in terms of faith and religion, but I can relate to some of the author’s struggles. I want to finally sit down and read this book sometime in 2015. | Goodreads

If I read all 15 of these books in 2015 I’ll be very happy with myself, not to mention proud. It’s time to get reading!