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Here’s your chance… and I know how you’ve always wanted it… to decide my future for me. Or at least to weigh in and give me your opinion, or weigh in by giving me your opinion…whatever, I’m not finished with my coffee yet and I’m reading about the Comparative Method in Political Science, so that should tell you where my brain is.

Here is the question.

What should I aim for after graduating college?

1. Law school
2. Graduate school
(sub question, in a) Political Science, b) Public Policy, c) International Studies, d) Sociology, e) Women’s Studies)
3. Apply to the Peace Corps
4. Apply to Teach for America
5. Attempt to find some other kind of job in the “real world.”
6. Other, please specify.

Not to gloss over last night’s post (and yes, I firmly agree that he needs to be punched – the problem is, I can’t find anyone to do it), but I’m trying to do this thing where I actually blog regularly, as opposed to sporadically, and… twice a month at maximum.

This weekend Sparkle Pants and I set out to photograph Duke University. We’d driven through the campus on Friday and were all set with batteries charged Saturday morning (okay, afternoon) when we woke up.

And then we got there… and discovered that the entire Raleigh/Durham area (or “the Triangle” for all y’all keepin’ it real) was at one of the seventeen events we hadn’t noticed were planned for that very day. Overnight an entire circus had sprung up, a run in support of animals, a run for children, a grandmother’s knitting convention, the annual tearing down and rebuilding of the school just because Duke students are spoiled rotten and they could do that if they wanted to… We decided we’d try the Gardens, which I’ve never been to but have heard from everyone are amazing… but there was a wedding on and no parking whatever to be found.

Vowing to come back next weekend, we drove around aimlessly for awhile, until we were forced to choose between “Downtown Durham” and I-85. I chose Downtown, because D comes before E which is the letter 8 starts with. It was an alphabetical adventure.

We ended up in the Tobacco District, where they were setting up for a battle of the bands on the lawn that night. We wandered up and down, past the offices of WUNC, our local NPR affiliate… and then I saw it. Extended until June or July something… a display of paintings, photographs and handwritten letters documenting Nelson Mandela’s time in prison in South Africa. Now, this is exactly up Sparkle’s alley, and very much up mine as well, so we crossed the fake river and went inside.

Y’all, it was heart breaking. Reading Mandela’s own words about his attempts to grow a garden, about the death of a beloved tomato plant which he uprooted and tenderly buried like anyone would a pet or loved one, about his realization of the importance of family and friendship, of touch and love and hands holding hands, shoulders supporting shoulders. He spoke of thinking he’d be imprisoned behind guard towers and barbed wire until he died, that he never dreamed that outside the walls of the prison, the tide was turning in their favor, apartheid was being overthrown… Nelson Mandela has always been one of my very few real heroes, but to hear his voice speaking on the small monitor inside the exhibit, to read his words in his own handwriting, to see the pictures he had drawn and filled in with such bright, bright colors – I couldn’t help but internalize that moment when he stepped into freedom. When he saw the faces of people he loved, people he never thought he’d see again. When he walked out of the prison not to another day’s work at the quarry, but into a new South Africa, one that has made strides toward equality and overthrowing racism that we in the United States only dream about even today…

There was no photography allowed in the building, so you’ll have to see the exhibit itself if it comes anywhere near you. I just photographed the Lucky Strike tower and the waterfalls gushing over No Smoking signs. But the eye is the best camera, and memory the best film, and I have those images in an album in my heart. And I know if it can happen there, if hatred can be overthrown and lives rebuilt, it can happen anywhere.

Even here in the United States.

From now on I should only listen to those people who offer me both honesty and acceptance, or so says my horoscope for today, Tuesday the 22nd of May 2007. Sometimes it feels like I am overwhelmed with people like this, surrounded by true friends… other times it feels like I can count those honest and accepting people on one hand… or one finger, or even none at all.

As anyone who knows me or reads this blog with any regularity (and all of you who read this blog period know me, so really there’s no difference in those two groups) knows, I tend to be exuberantly, excessively passionate about the people that I choose to care about. I let people in very easily… for some reason, I still have the ability to trust, and to be sometimes painfully honest and open about my life and my feelings. In the past few months, I feel like that quality (and after much thought I have decided it’s a quality, damnit a VICTORY that I’m able to be that way), has been used, abused and torn to shreds, stomped on, shat on, pissed on and set on fire.

And yet, I continue to hope for the good in people, and the good in God, and the idea that it’ll all work out in the end if I just keep on going.

A few weeks ago, I lost someone I considered to be a friend… She sent me emails full of vitriol and anger, but I knew I’d lost her the second I started dating a boy, and right in front of her (how dare I) about a month before. She stopped talking to me, stopped confiding in me, started talking about me behind my back…and ultimately disappeared from my life completely, leaving something of a shambles behind her. I don’t care if “something of a shambles” doesn’t make grammatical sense – I rather like the sound of it.

The funny thing is, I also lost the boy I was dating who “caused” all of it. That is the one thing, however, that I don’t blame him for. Her heterophobia is not his fault (although it was his fault when he used her as an excuse to pick a fight with me because my friends didn’t like him (1 of them) when his friends hated and insulted me). The reason I ultimately lost the boy? … After dating for less than a month, I still refused to have sex with him. He needed, he said, a physical relationship (I don’t know what else you would call much of our relationship, though… basically what he wanted was the ability to stick his penis into my vagina, and I said no, I wasn’t ready.)

So, he pretended that things were okay, and told me he had no problem waiting. And then slowly stopped talking to me. He’d call me late at night only after everything else in his life had been attended to. He stopped text messaging me or returning my messages, and then got angry when I asked him why I hadn’t heard from him in days. Ultimately, after my asking him multiple times to just tell me what was going on, with no response from him, he blatantly ignored me for a week and then said he was “cutting his losses”… he was getting out because I wasn’t putting out.

That was the last I heard from him.

We were all taken in. My friends and I… people who don’t normally trust that boys are capable of being real human beings. We believed what he said, *I* believed him when he said he was crazy about me and he’d wait until I was ready. And it turned out to be an act – it turned out to be an ultimatum… either have heteronormative sex with me right now or I’m walking away.

Well of course I chose the walking away.

Call me crazy, but I think that sexual contact should mean something, and so I am wrecked over the fact that I kissed him, that I wasted kisses on him, that I believed he was who he claimed to be… and that no one warned me, not a single person. I ultimately blame myself for being taken in, and being screwed over. And knowing that no one is going to stop him from moving on to the next girl and pressuring her into sleeping with him – and in this town, it’s not hard to find a lot of girls who will. His behavior was absolutely disgusting, and I’m still in shock over it. I’m angry about it. I’m not angry at him for what he did to *me*, I’m angry that he thought he had the right to treat any human being the way he treated me. I’m angry that I met him when he assistant directed my performance of The Vagina Monologues, and so I assumed certain things, things he claimed to be true… that ultimately weren’t. He wasn’t feminist friendly. He was not an ally.

He was a wolf in sheep’s clothing, and he’s going to do it again. It is all I can do not to resort to egging his car, or slashing his tires, or starting a website devoted to making sure no girl ever falls victim to his bullshit again.

Because you can’t just say you’re crazy about someone, that however and whatever they want this relationship to be, they’re in… and then utterly and completely vanish from their lives because they won’t open their legs. And you can’t do that and call yourself anything but a misogynist. You can’t do that and work in the feminist community. You can’t do that, you can’t sit in my living room and mock The Monologues or bitch about how much you hate your friends and then turn around and put them ahead of your girlfriend every single time and wonder why it is that they want to know what the hell happened to change you so drastically in such a small amount of time.

The truth was, he hadn’t changed. I’d just bought the lie, and then the mask came off. And I hadn’t been wearing one. And he’d been wearing several.

I’m able to write about this now because I’m over the “us” of it all. I’m over *him*… in fact, I wasn’t even sure I liked him enough to keep the relationship going much longer. I was still testing the waters. I was still figuring out if I could trust him. But to a certain extent, as I do with all of my friends, all of the people I spend time with, I had let him in to some small extent.

Pissed and shat all over, that was me. Twice in as many weeks. Actually twice in less than two weeks. First him, then her.

So when my horoscope says to listen only to those people who are honest and accepting, I have to wonder if my radar isn’t off. If maybe I have no clue who the people are that I know that are honest and accepting, and safe. If maybe I’ve got this whole friendship thing wrong somehow. If maybe I should just shut down. Although that means they win.

If you’re one of those honest and accepting people, feel free to say so now. If you’re not, feel free to say so as well. I’d just like to know into which baskets I should put my eggs.

Life has been stopped up with massive amounts of adult-type things lately. Communicating, and then snarking, and now full-out screaming at my bank. Submitting applications for a new apartment. Trying to find free furniture. Making sure I never spend any money at all. Throwing away Credit Card applications. Not being able to afford to go to the doctor due to said Bank mistakes, calling the pharmacy, having things faxed… How adult is it to have something faxed? Faxing was something that was very big right between my being a child and an adult. By the time I grew up it was something people did in the past…it was passé, and yet, here I am faxing things. I never even learned to use a fax machine for Exclamatory Tone of Voice: [RELIGION RELATED NOUN]’s sake…Drinking excessively…Yes, drinking. Vodka, wine, beer, I don’t care, hand it over. Make this end of the semester thing a little easier to bear.

And school things: bombing a final in a class I cared a lot about, but doing well in a course that was amazingly difficult and mind-blowing. Signing up for summer courses, trying to get research approval so that I can get my fellowship money, communicating with the Financial Aid office. No, you can’t sign up for classes until you pay for them; no, we can’t give you the money to pay for your courses until you’re signed up for them…You can’t take this class, even though it’s listed as open. No, you can’t have that one either. Here, have a donut. Ah! Kidding! No donuts for you! Buy your own donuts!

I hear Andrew Bird’s new album is simply fabulous, and am tracking it down to try it out myself… stomping and slurping my way through the IRB approval process for my thesis research, although the amount of money they’re giving me and the manner in which they’re dispensing it is going to make it impossible for me to do the project the way I had previously planned… re-thinking. GTD GTD GTD.

Meanwhile, I’m just drinking lots of water. I know that’s good for me! It’s something, right?!

P.S. In 5 days, I will have been alive for 10,000 days. I think this calls for a celebration, no? How about drinking and donuts?

This has been a nearly impossible semester, but it is finally, blessedly over.

Last summer hit me this semester. One night stands turned into life-long plans without my having a bit of a say over any of it. I was inspired. I was saddened. I was deprived. I was cherished. My mother got on a red-eye and flew across the country to be with me when I needed her.

I auditioned for a part in a play.

I got a part in the play.

I was in the play.

All was full of love, and I learned about myself and the nastiness and dirtiness of my soul – and some things about its beauty as well.

I learned about the necessity of silence, and of space. I learned that life comes at its own pace no matter what you do to speed it up or slow it down. I learned that I can fail, and that I can choose to fail. And that sometimes choosing to fail at something is the bravest decision a person can make. I made the decision to fail in some things this semester. It was hard to let go. There are still fingernail prints in my palms.

I learned that I have an almost limitless capacity for forgiveness, but that I sometimes cannot figure out how to stop the anger. I learned that I can love and hate at the same time, that I can cry and then be okay, but not. I learned that closet moments are sometimes safer than being hospitalized.

I learned that the hospital is a bad, bad angry place with scary lights.

I learned that sometimes, what I will give to you isn’t what you asked for – but it’s what I have to give, and it’s what I need to give. And that’s okay.

I learned to scream.

I learned to say goodbye.

I learned to smile again.

I learned.

Sparklepants made a comment about craving a clear mind, and I am so there right now – not having a clear mind, but craving one. I saw a lot of people who are very special to me this afternoon, and it made me miss parts of myself I didn’t even know were gone. They’re not gone, they’ve just been shoved on the back burner as one confusion after another slams itself over my head. Our shared professor came into the Library and I immediately ran barefoot through the assembly room and cuddled myself into her back. Somewhere inside of me there is this person who is more than this fucked up shell of psychosis and insecurity.

I was officially inducted into Pi Sigma Alpha today, Alpha Chi chapter. I wore a pretty dress and did my makeup and everything. I watched my gorgeous friends who are graduating this year get their honors tassels and whisper/bitched through the whole thing with a dear friend I miss way too much. And then we stood around and bitched some more after – when they gave us free food. Everyone is getting ready to leave, to go somewhere that is not here. Hong Kong. Central America. Little pieces of Chapel Hill sparkling their way out over the face of the globe.

All I can think is how terribly I’m going to miss their sparkling right here with me. My loss is the world’s gain, but I’m not ready for that loss yet.

I forgot about that part of college. The ending part.

So I’m coming down from two of the worst days of my entire life, during which I spent most of my time attempting not to throw up, staying out of my house, going to the lake and … oh, right, there was that bit where the cops came to my apartment because someone called my University and alerted the Dean to the fact that I was suicidal. Which was funny, because I wasn’t. But at least now we know that the City of Chapel Hill takes its random student phone calls very very seriously.

The problem is, I’m already on record as being “suicidal” from back in March when they hospitalized me (I wasn’t then, either, but I finally got to hear the notes from the meeting with the therapist and damn if she didn’t make me sound like I had a gun in my mouth). I had to fill out all this paperwork to stay in school and not have to, you know, get thrown out on a medical and have to reapply after taking a year off – something I really thought I was going to have to do two months ago… something I cannot cannot do now.

So now there are reports filed with the Dean saying that, in fact, I am still a head case. The same Dean who had to be convinced I wasn’t so I could continue going to school.

And the girl who called… to whom I’d said all of “I’m having a bad day” before saying we’d meet up at the pool in my complex that afternoon to hang out and cheer me up… now says she’s sorry if I hate her, and if I got thrown out of school, but it was “better safe than sorry.”

I am so sick of better safe than sorry.

I am sick of a lot of things.

I am mostly sick of confusion and misunderstanding and frustration, and right now, El Boyo is bringing a lot of that into my life. Before I met him I was not sane, but I was pretty well established in my interactions with people. The people I knew I’d known forever, I could read, I could understand… this learning someone else thing is making me sick to my stomach. This not being sure if someone is trustworthy, or … just not being sure of anything really. I asked Diary of a Fangirl if she would have a problem with me if I were a lesbian, and she paused and then said “…no.” Because really, I think I am just much more comfortable with women and emotional relationships with women than I am with guys. I have guy friends and they drive me insane. I’m talking out of my ass right now because I have no idea what to even say about the entire situation. I am confused, and I am sick to my stomach, and El Boyo is confusing me and making me sick to my stomach (not cause he’s gross, just because my stomach is tied in knots). And finals are this week and I still don’t know if I get to, you know, keep going to school.

And that’s my life with entirely too many ellipses. Did anyone understand that?

Sweet cracker sandwich. Here I am in my living room, on the last day of classes. There are frat parties and…party parties going on everywhere. There’s even, in fact, a party in my pants – and everyone is coming. (Would you like to come to…the pants party?) I am silently watching Spongebob Squarepants, and trying to recover from the fact that I just drove to a town whose name is pronounced entirely incorrectly just so I could eat my weight in fried Tater Tots. And then I had ice cream. Oh yes I did.

There’s not a lot more than that to say. Finals are next week, so if you thought I was stressed before…I’ve also got a ton of stuff to get in to various committees and boards and organizations and individuals before they will give me my fellowship – and I have yet to hear back from anyone about summer school funding… I think classes start next week, so that shouldn’t be too stressful or anything. ;)

No, really, now I’m just looking around the room trying to find something to post about. I think I’m going to go have a life now. Or at least irritate my neighbors with my guitar.

I can’t begin to explain the way I’ve been feeling for the last few weeks. I don’t think there are words to explain it. I wrote the most incredibly personal final paper for my English 666 course and turned it in on Tuesday. There’s no doubt I’ll get a horrible grade on it, but it seemed like it marked a turning point in my writing. There was something more raw in it than there usually is in anything I say or do.

Maybe because I was actually telling the truth.

Things have been a roller coaster of insanity. I’m not sure whether I’m going up or down. Everything that should make me smile makes me cry, and everything that should make me cry makes me cry harder. I got to school early this morning and no one was in my Economics classroom, so instead of turning on the lights in this huge hall I just waited until my eyes adjusted and walked down to my usual seat. It’s completely dark except for the exit signs above the back doors, the light from the hallway way back behind the 50 odd rows of seats and this laptop monitor. I wish it would just stay this dark. I wish I could curl up in a ball on the floor, with all of the toe jam and old gum and empty water bottles of thousands of entitled Carolina students, and sleep for a million years. Sleep until it all made sense.

A question for those of you with sane and stable relationships: How does one go about being an emo and moody girl while dating a non-emo or moody boy? Especially when said emo girl doesn’t feel comfortable sharing her emo-ness because of said non-emo boy’s lack of it?

Through your house is not fun. Leaning into the bathroom wall while the water runs. Curling in a ball in the bathtub. Gripping the walls back into your bedroom. Falling against anything that will support your weight while you try to clear off your bed so that you can get into it.

And the pain. The constant pain and the spasms of sharper, deeper pain. Like hot, steel claws sliced through my kidneys and then liquefied and spread, attaching themselves to every cell inside of me and ripping it away from where it is supposed to be.

Oh. Sweet. Jesus.

Currently Reading

Eve Ensler, Insecure At Last

Brettell and Sargent, eds. Gender in Cross-Cultural Perspective

Quoth the Raven:

"Girls aren't beautiful, they're pretty. Beautiful is too heavy a word to assign to a girl. Women are beautiful because their faces show that they know, that they have lost something and picked up something else."

-Henry Rollins
June 2017
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