Wednesday, February 27, 2008

I keep finding more and more reasons to leave, but I just can't.

Last night, we didn't get back from the jail until 2AM. I didn't do the reading for today's class. Today in class, we had a pop quiz over the reading; I didn't know any of the answers.

I know that I should do my homework prior to the night before it is due.
I know that I could have stayed up later to do it.
I know that any other day, any other week, it wouldn't have mattered whether or not I read.

Still, I'm upset. I'm very upset.

More ridiculous metaphors for your amusement.

I was thinking about the title of my blog today: A Woman Under Construction (and how she feels about it). My blog has gone through many, many names, but this one feels the most right to me. It used to be Warm Fuzzy Feelings, but I don't get those very much anymore. And I think one time it was Orange Pineapple Juice, because its just delicious.

But I am a woman under construction. Hopefully, I will always be changing and growing. And how do I feel about it? Well, look at any construction site, and you'll see. Its no fun; its work! And sometimes things get to a point where it seems like more of a mess than improvement. Still, wait and you'll start to see the skeleton of something beautiful rising out of the strange machinery. The only problem with my little metaphor? simile? is that I don't have a blueprint. Sometimes, I find that whatever I've been working on should be completely destroyed and re-built. This growing-up stuff is hard work.

So, sometimes life sucks, like bailing dad out of jail. And bailing dad out of jail again. But these things are the machines that are making me. I am slowly starting to see that something beautiful. These things make me stronger. For instance, I don't freak out during an emergency. I've seen too many 'crisis' moments to freak out. Panicking doesn't solve the problem. And I know: I will be okay.

I bailed my dad out of jail. How was your day?

Every time I get a paper cut or stub my toe, every time I bang my elbow or knock my head against something, I am hurt and surprised. It keeps happening, and I keep feeling surprised and hurt. Its kind of like that.

Monday, February 18, 2008

Reasons I may never get married:

Mom: Sarah did the dishes today.
Dad: *laughs*
Mom: No, she really did.
Me:I really did!
Dad: You did?

We let time and distance do what we said no time or distance could ever do.

I was just feeling a little bit sad thinking about people I don't have anymore. We can't keep them forever, can we? Still, I miss getting coffee with Katie on Saturday afternoons and talking for too long about I don't know what. And I miss hanging out with Ashley for days at a time complaining about our parents and planning our next get away. We had so many plans then, but they are all gone now, just like the people.

Sometimes I look in the mirror and I am completely happy with what I see, but other times I'm terrified that it will only ever be me, just me.

Sunday, February 17, 2008

Evidence that babies are, in fact, evil.

Kiersten got that awful flu. When I had it, I couldnt talk. When she got it. . .

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Conversation from work or there is a time and place for everything.

"Good morning! Are you having a good day?"
"Yes! A blessed day! Is Jesus Christ your personal Lord and Savior?"
"Uh . . . yes, Sir. Did you just need to renew your license plates today?"
"Yes, I do. Do you think he's coming back soon?"
"I don't think so. Is this for your 1997 Chevy?"
"Yes. Its only going to be a matter of months now before he comes. It has been prophisied."
"Thats nice. Is your address still the same?"
"Yes. Did you know that every generation in past history has reached heaven or hell through the grave, and we will be the first generation to ascend into heaven before our bodily death?"
"Thats interesting. Your total is 54.50"
"Aren't you excited?"
"I guess so, sir. Here is your change and registration. You have a nice day."
"You have a blessed day! And tell someone about Jesus!"

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

You should reall watch this video.

The Belly Button Song

"I need to tell you sumthin: I don't got a belly button!"

Thats all, kids.

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

And then I dropped my new *not washable* purse into a puddle of water.

I really wanted to hug those men, but I'm not sure how appropriate it would have been.

Miami has three campuses. This morning, two of them were closed. Which campus did I have class on? You guessed it: the open one.

So, I tried to go. You'll notice the operative word here is tried. Let me tell you why.

I was getting on the exit ramp, the one that curves right then left then right again. The roadway was perfectly clear, but I soon realized that the exit ramp was covered in a lovely mixture of slush and freezing rain. Suddendly, and somehow very slowly, the back end of my car swung around to the right, sending the front of my car to the left. I spun. And spun. And spun. Down the icy ramp. Soon, the back end of my car asserted itself as the leader and I was facing the wrong direction knowing that very, very soon, I would feel my car rolling over the median. Turns out, it didnt roll smoothly over the median but instead came to an akward and shuddering stop. I had two tires on eithers side of the concrete barrier. All kinds of warning lights came on. I cried.

That was two hours ago. Now, my car is at the mechanics and I came home to find an email telling me that class was canceled. Lovely.

It is, apparently, a dangerous assumption that everyone lives on campus and only has to walk to class.

On the bright side, my car was driven, and not towed, to the mechanics. I am not hurt in anyway. And handsome young paramedics happened to drive by just as I burst into tears, saving me and my car from . . . well . . . from having to call a tow truck.

What did I learn today? My priorities are a little mixed up. From now on, my personal safety will come BEFORE my attendance record. Thank you, world, thank you very much.

Now, were is my hot chocolate?

Monday, February 11, 2008

It will all be okay in the end. If its not okay, its not the end.

Before you read this: This blog has absolutely no point. I thought I would reach one, but it never happened. Good luck.

Oh man, I feel really good right now. It might have something to do with the Mocha Latte I just drank, but I'm going to say its real happiness and go with that.

I'm mostly writing here to postpone doing my homework for twenty more minutes. I know the typical college student wouldn't avoid writing by writing, but thats how my brain works. . . somehow. I suppose it works like this: I love to write until I HAVE to write, then its not so fun. I love reading, except the reading I'm assigned for school.

I read somewhere that if you find do what you love for a career, you will never work a day in your life, but I don't think thats true. I love to write. I can't think of anything more satisfying or fulfilling than a paper I just covered in ink. It is my thing. Somehow, I must write. But that doesn't mean that writing is always fun or amazing; sometimes, it is just work. Its no fun editing and it hurts sometimes to delete paragraphs or sentances, like cutting off healthy branches so that the whole plant can flourish. And I don't have kids right now, but I think the same thing holds true there too. People say that there is nothing like raising a child, but no one would say that there is no work, no pain involved.

But you know what? Things can't always feel good all the time. Think about perfume. When you first put it on in the morning, it kind of burns your nose and floats around your head while you put on your make-up, but later, it fades to nothing at all. All day long people may notice how good you smell, and they may even tell you too, but you don't notice that perfume at all. Eventually, all that perfume evaporates and you shower and it is truly gone. The next day, you spray it on again and WOW, you smell it again! Now, I know that was a really long example, but I am getting to my point: if things were perfect all the time, we would become desensitized to the goodness, taking it for granted. The bad days provide the perfect contrast to the good days. Yesterday it rained, and that makes todays sunshine that much brighter.

I'm twenty one years old now, and everything I think I know now might very well turn out to be foolishness in twenty one more years, but I right now, I believe what I believe with so much conviction because I only have my own experiences to guide me, and I've only had twenty one years to collect them. So please, excuse me if I sound naive or sugary, that is not my intention at all.

I'm moving on at exactly the same pace as my thoughts. I hope you can follow along.

I might have said this next part some time before:

Someone once wrote somewhere (I know, I'm TOO specific sometimes) that we are given the burdens we each bear because we are the ones strong enough to carry them. That really resonated with me. Sometimes, I get a little angry when I hear people complain about things I would love to consider "problems"; if that is the worst thing going on in her life, she must be lucky. But we never really know all the secret pains someone has to deal with, and to her, that situation may be devestating. I can't really wear her shoes. And I get angry with things I have to deal with because I think This isn't normal. Most people don't have to worry about things like this. But maybe its all for a reason.

Maybe some time in the future something will happen to me that will require a strong, resilient spirit. Maybe my future husband is the kind of man that requires a lot of patience from a woman. Maybe when God was trying to decide what spirit should inhabit this body, mine was the strong enough one. Or maybe the writer in me is always looking for the greater meaning in personal struggles. What does this singular story mean to strangers, to the world?

You know, I didn't know I wanted to write until . . . (here, my sense of time fails me) . . . I dunno, the last five years or so? I remember wanting to sing. That was part of my self-conception. I was a singer. But I'm not a singer. I don't have a passion for it. I think I sing passably well, but its more for me than to share with anyone else. I don't like it when people are looking right at me. But with writing, I can pour my whole self out onto the pages and shove it in peoples faces. Here, I feel really seen. ( And no one is worrying about my hair.)

But, you know, I really do feel good right now, even as the pile of homeowork glares at me from the corner, my Cafe Mocha looses its edge, and I am reminded that I alone, in this house of seven people, have a job. Excuse me while I go pay the water bill and return to my studies.

Sunday, February 10, 2008

I wrote this for school. Yes, this semester, homework is fun.

I don’t remember any of the good things. My mind must be wired to only form and collect memories of the negative kind, because surely, there were good things. My parents always look offended when I recount my version of my childhood. A look of horror passes over their faces like they cannot imagine they raised such a child. We must be different creatures, my parents and I. A conversation about it might go something like this:

“Do you remember the time we stayed in that cabin for vacation?” My dad would ask.

“Yes, Mom was sick and stayed in bed the whole time, the lake smelled funny, and we left all of our cooking utensils in the drawer when we left.”

“But you had a good time. Remember, we drove out to that little store to rent movies to watch on that little TV.”

“Didn’t that TV get stolen when we were robbed? See, nothing good ever happened to us!”

“Well, what about all those days you spent at your Grandma’s pool?”

“Didn’t Christopher get a concussion there? And we were always afraid of the hornet’s nests by the side windows. And my aunts told us we would get sucked into the drain in the deep end and die. It was amazing fun.”

These aren’t the only bad things I remember. Other memories reach out and grab my attention as I search the mad filing cabinet of my mind: sleeping on a mattress on a floor with no carpet, packing all of our belongings into the minivan to go live in the hotel, having no running water for weeks at a time, seeing my mother run out the back door when the police knocked. These things turn into an ink, staining all the memories of wonderful things that must have happened too. I am angry, and I cannot stand to remember the Hanson ice-cream-cake (that probably melted) or the happy child in all those pictures. How can this little gap-toothed, shirtless three-year-old smile with the future looming in front of her?

We don’t talk about the bad bad things. According to my parents, they never happened. They didn’t matter. Everyone makes mistakes, why keep bringing it up? But I can’t seem to focus on the warmth of the sun or the cool relief of the water when the hornets are buzzing behind me and the deep-end looms dangerously before me. These events all happened as I was learning how to be me; I cannot simply leave them behind like our cooking utensils.

I still check my closet for monsters sometimes; I make sure the door is securely closed before I crawl into my bed. I’ve been known to sleep with the light on when the fear of something happening makes the shadows malicious and the random sounds turn into approaching footsteps across the carpet.

“It couldn’t have been too bad, “my mother would argue, “You have always been so happy; no one would think you were so negative about things.” And then she would try to make me feel guilty about accusing her of being a bad mother.

I’ll step back here and say that, at some point, we all accuse our parents of ruining our lives. This may just be my version, but I have a right to say it. So, how do I explain my apparent cheerful disposition in the face of such a negative view of my childhood? I don’t have all the answers, but I know that happiness is a choice, and those inky fingers haven’t quite reached out to spoil my future. Somewhere, in some vague tomorrow, I will be in control. I’ll decide what happens in my own house: the bills will be paid, the laws will be followed, and no drugs whatsoever will be present. Everything will be safe and consistent one day.

I’m still angry. I’m still hurt. I’m still waiting for the next bad surprise to come along. Will it happen tomorrow? However, my anger and hurt do not solve problems, they don’t make my family make better choices, and they certainly don’t make me a healthier person. So instead, I push them aside somewhere, allowing them to wreak havoc on my past while I work on finding happiness in the small things I see everyday.

In the past three months, I’ve had as many people offer for me to come live with them, but I stay here. I say I don’t remember any of the good things, but it must not be true, because even when I hate my parents for the choices they made, I love them even more. And I do remember that Hanson cake.