What He’s Doing Now.

When you left me, I didn’t think I’d miss you. You hurt me way too many times, I’ve become jaded by your promises and heartbreaks, your leavings and your coming homes. Good riddance, I thought to myself, who cares that you’re gone now. But then a few weeks would go by and it would start again. My loneliness, my isolation, my longing for you to be by my side.

And just when I couldn’t take it anymore, we’d be back together again. There were talks and a few exclamations of “I’m sorry.” You realized that you had done me wrong and wanted to make it right. And once more I’d forgive you and there would be a short time of peace. I was too much of a coward to say goodbye. How can I say goodbye to a man who said he dreamed of me and saw the signs that he could do better by me, that I was the wrong? That face was too hard too sweet to say no too.

But it would all start again. The pressure. The perfection. And then we had an argument and that was when I should have known you’d never see me again. A day went by and we talked. You thought it was a good sign that I was talking to you again, I said “Yeah.” We made plans that Friday, but you never came. You never answered your phone. The end.

You hurt my feelings. I didn’t understand. Why did you tell me how much you wanted to prove that we were meant to be together only to dump me like this? I wandered about lost and confused. How could things have gone so wrong?

But the leaves changed color. The air turned cooler. The months came and went. You have moved on to other things. Obviously, you found a girl who wasn’t careful, who didn’t want to take the time to make sure that it was right. Your roller coaster went by me, but caught someone else riding the same ride as you.

I don’t think you realize the pain you put me in. You didn’t grace me of an ending worthy of a clean moving on. Instead, in your rush, you left me hanging where my arm got torn off, my heart bleeding crimson to the floor, staining everything for all of men to see. I had to sew it up myself, jagged, with remorse, infection searing into my soul.

My heart is slowly healing. I am finally on my own two feet. But you don’t realize what you’re doing now had torn me apart. Your intricate words caught me in a web and I couldn’t escape. You once tore me apart but I’m finding my pieces being put together again.

You might have thought I was the coward for not getting into a relationship with you so fast after the things you put me through. You might have disappeared from my life, thinking I’m too weak and cowardly for you. But I hope you realize one day that you were the cowardly one for being frightened by a woman too strong for your narrow world.

Peeling Back the Layers.

Have you ever noticed that most foods you eat or use in your every day life has layers? You peel a banana and an onion, you cut the skin of a watermelon or pineapple to get to the fruit. And it’s funny because when you look at an onion or a watermelon, it doesn’t look like there’s a whole lot to it, just another fruit or vegetable until you peel back the layers.

It’s kind of like us humans. We look at each other and see humans, but we see beyond just humans. We see them as black, Asian, Hispanic, liberal, conservative, gay, man, woman, etc until we can’t see them for all the layers that we’ve put on them. We see each other as all these things constantly as if in a masquerade and judge them for how they appear on the outside.

But what if we peeled back the layers of perception to who people really are as people instead of the layers they build up for the rest of us.

And what you see can quite surprise you.

Dreams.

Fears.

Hopes of a better job.

Thoughts of moving abroad or even to another state.

Falling in love. Or being alone.

Being creative.

Being accepted.

Sound familiar? Probably because we all have similar dreams to variant extents. Oh, we all like to pretend we’re not who we are. We act professional or goofy or aloof, just so people won’t get close to us. But what a glorious world it’d be if we all peeled each other back and get to know each other as humans rather than the labels that we like to give each other as society.

I’d like to be myself, if only I have the freedom to be able to be myself as an individual. Sometimes it comes at a price, lonely and singular. But isn’t that how we all want to be seen?

What would others see they peeled back the layers?

Destination Bucket List: Places I’d Like to Go.

It seems cliche to say that you can learn so much about another country or culture if you go there yourself, but it’s true. There are little nuances that are hard to convey in words and pictures unless you go there yourself. Not only that, depictions of certain countries in the news and media aren’t always giving you the full picture of that place and to be there yourself makes you realize you don’t actually know the big picture until you’re standing right there. You should also see places for yourself because photographs don’t always convey the place it’s showing. Sure it looks like it, but sometimes a building or a landscape is so much more grander (or less so) if you go to see it yourself. In essence, people should go see something and make their own conclusions.

The bad thing is that traveling is expensive. A plane ticket overseas can cost around a thousand dollars or more and even more to get around, buy room and board and food that you need to eat to survive. And yet, we all dream about these exotic lands and long to set foot in the locations that we read about or see in movies and pictures.

If I was inhibited by money, these are the overseas places that I’d like to go to (and by overseas, I mean places that don’t include America):

  1. Romania.
  2. Ireland.
  3. Germany.
  4. Scotland.
  5. Poland.
  6. Austria.
  7. Costa Rica.
  8. Argentina.
  9. Spain.
  10. Wales.

Some of these places have literary significance. For example, I want to go to Romania because that’s the country that held the infamous Vlad the Imapler and inspired Bram Stoker to write Dracula. Plus their castles look amazing. Other places I want to go because I studied Spanish and I’d like to practice my rudimentary Spanish skills to fluent speakers like in Costa Rica or Spain. And finally, there are places with historical significance. I’m really into World War II history and the Holocaust in particular, so to be able to go to Poland and see Auschwitz where so many people suffered and died would be heart wrenching and put the war into perspective and reality for me. And of course there’s places I’d like to go just because, like Wales and Scotland, though I’d like to see the infamous Lake Loch Ness where a certain monster is supposed to live.

What are some places you’d like to go and visit and why?

Let’s Focus on the Good Things.

This world is full of crusty things, you know. And by crusty I mean that there have been gross things that have put gaping holes into our minds and bodies and souls and they’ve bled and crusted over and got infected. And then the crusty bits grew over the infected bits and it’s just a whole gooey mess. And we keep sinking into the middle of this crusty goo and struggle against it and never seem to get out. We get so involved in it that we forget that among the horror, among the sadness, among the disillusionment, there are good things that happen. Tiny rays of hope that struggle for our attention, but the hugeness of the negativity of the world is such that we don’t pay attention to it.

But we should. We should stop fighting and sinking and debating who is right and just take a good look at the good in the world.

That’s why I want to take a moment and look at the good things in my life. Maybe some of my good things are some of your good things that have happened. Maybe they’re similar or relate to you or just make you smile. Because I’d like to make you stop and smile in the very least, just for a little while.

Without further ado, here are some good things that have happened in my life:

  1. I got to teach two little boys what bookmarks are. A mom and her boys came to the desk to check out. I asked them if they’d like bookmarks and they asked me what bookmarks were and I said “Something to put in your books to mark your pages.” After I explained to them, they both really wanted one. I’m glad I got them started early in the possible of wanting to use bookmarks, even for picture books.
  2. Being halfway done with summer reading. At my library adult participants get a prize for every five books read for the first fifteen books. I managed to get the first two books in two weeks. I’ve kinda slowed down and only finished one book for the third prize, but I’m almost done. I hope I can get it!
  3. I’ve been sleeping well. Somehow I’ve been falling straight to sleep this past week. I love it when I can fall straight to sleep. I don’t know why I’ve been falling asleep so quickly, but I’m loving it.
  4. I’ve been writing in my private journal almost every day for a couple of weeks. As I’ve mentioned before in past posts, I love hand writing things, especially stories and in journals. I’ve been writing in my journal almost every day for a couple weeks now and it’s making me happy. I haven’t been writing anything interesting and I’ve mostly complained about trying to find something to write about, but I’ve mostly been able to get one or two full pages for the most part. I’ll take what I can get.
  5. I’ve finally gotten some of the books I’ve been waiting for at work. There’s some books that I’ve requested at the library, and a couple of them I requested way back in February and it’s taken ALL this time to get them. Well, I finally received some of them and I’m almost done reading one of them already. It’s fabulous. And yes, only an avid reader like me can get so excited about getting books from the library after a long week.
  6. Going to the movies. I rarely get to go to the movies and even rarer when I get to go with my mom. A couple Saturdays ago I got to go see Me Before You with my mom and our neighbor. It was so heartwarming and sad at the same time. And it followed the book well. If you haven’t seen it yet, please go see it. And if you’ve read the book already, I think you’ll be pleased by how well it’s followed the book. Very, very pleased.
  7. Having good health. I’ve said this before, many times before. But you don’t know how how precious health is until you lose it. If you don’t have any diseases or disabilities, be grateful. Not everybody has that luxury.
  8. Riding my bike. This summer I’ve rode my bike more than I have in the past couple years or so. Since my dog died seven years ago, I rarely rode my bike mainly because it was something I did with her and it just wasn’t the same. But now that some time has passed, I feel ready to start riding again or a regular basis and I’m glad that I’ve been doing so.
  9. Having a thunderstorm/rainstorm this week. Early hours of the morning Thursday, we had a bad thunderstorm. It knocked the Internet and t.v. I’m not a rain person unless it’s at night, and I’m even grumpier when it knocks out the Internet for any length of time, but yesterday I was grateful for it. Mainly because it helped me focus on reading and catching up without the distractions of the computer, even if it was for a short time.
  10. Getting my Internet back. See previous post. I don’t like being without the Internet. At least it was a short time this time instead of all day!

What are some things you are thankful and glad about this week? Let me know in the comments below!

In This World…

In this world, there is pain and hate. People get killed for being different. Women get shunned for speaking up against their attackers, for being at the wrong place at the wrong time, for calling attention to themselves. Innocent people get locked up for years for crimes they did not do while those with blood on their hands get a slap on the wrist.

In this world, there is war and death and torture. I see people willing to go over to hate filled groups because they feel that the world owes them something but never receive it, so they take it out on everybody in their violent hatred, because they believe that such a thing can scare us into submission.

In this world, there’s potential for violence. I see people skirt through the streets, eyeing each other furtively, hoping it’s not their day to die. But there’s also potential for love and peace. For every violent act, there’s always a group of people rising up and holding hands, strong against those determined to break them down. We have our differences, that’s true. I don’t think we’ll always see eye to eye on certain things, especially in politics, religion, and sexual preference. But I think it’s possible to set our differences aside, even if it’s for a little while and see we’re all human beings. We are all individuals looking for love, acceptances, peace, and safety to be who we want to be in this world. Things that everyone else is trying to find.

In this world, I’d like to see us stop hating. Stop hating for mundane things that we shouldn’t be hating for. Instead, I’d like for us to set outside our hate and grudges and support each other as humans. Mourn those who fell, cry for those who are suffering. Because they’re suffering just as we are suffering. They have people who care for them. Brothers, sisters, friends, lovers. I don’t know if the hate can completely stop in my lifetime, but at least we can make some progress.

Creative Living.

Yesterday I went to see Me Before You at the movies. I was excited to see it as I’d just finished up reading the book and I looked foreword to seeing how the actors and director interpreted this lovely and charged story.

To say the least I was blown away by the performance. Not only did the movie follow the story, the actors were perfect for their roles. Sometimes it doesn’t always happen this way. Sometimes they get the essence of the story, but for whatever reason (sometimes valid), they need to change or omit some things. Other times they get the story right but the chosen actors were somehow off in their acting. They don’t click. They don’t seem to get what the characters are about. Thankfully it wasn’t the case with Me Before You.

If you haven’t heard of the story, the book is about a girl named Lou. For the last 6 years, Lou had been working at a cafe. Her mom stays at home to take care of her father (Lou’s grandfather) and Lou’s own father is about to lose his job. Her younger sister is on the bring to going back to college, so it’s up to Lou to work and support the family. But then one day, Lou finds out that her employer is closing up shop and moving away.

She then takes up a job being a caregiver/companion to a quadriplegic named Will. His family comes from money and he himself was at the top of his career field, but because of his accident that left him paralyzed, he can no longer resume his former life and he faces depression and suicide. It’s up to her to bring up his spirits and convince him not to go to Switzerland to end his life.

While Lou tries to get Will to see the joy in his new life, Will also pushes Lou to see life behind her small life in the village. Together they come out of their shells and live life more fully. But it’s also overshadowed by what’s to come and who can stop the tides once a man such as Will makes his decision?

Both the book and the movie were delightful. I loved every moment of it. But it also got me thinking about life and living creatively.

I’ve just started reading Big Magic by Elizabeth Gilbert. She focuses on how we can move beyond the fear that’s stopping us from reaching out to our creative sides and living more creatively in spite of our fears. Both this book and Me Before You seem to have the the same themes in regards to creativity and fear. Maybe we just need to be the catalyst to push ourselves beyond and reach for our dreams. I don’t think we need a Will Traynor, but maybe we can BE Will Traynor and just do. Acknowledge our fears and go out and do it anyway.

I have a fear of writing. I love it but I’m afraid of it. Whenever I write and publish on my post, I feel fear. Especially when it’s something that I’ve written and I feel especially proud of it. But when I check back and no one has even glanced at the post pushes me back down in fear. It makes me sad and wonder why I even write? People would probably say just because nobody liked or commented mean it wasn’t worthy of writing, but sometimes it’s just a nice validation to what I’ve written.

But maybe that’s just the point. We don’t need validation to write. We just need to write. If we’re proud of it, then that’s all that matters. And if others like it, then that’s even better. It’s hard to believe sometimes, but that’s how it is and can be.

I Still Miss School.

Sometimes you are aware when your great moments are happening, and sometimes they rise from the past. Perhaps it’s the same with people. ~James Salter
I wasn’t exactly popular in high school. I was quiet and bookish, the type of girl who kept to herself for the most part. It wasn’t that I didn’t want to be popular, because I wanted to be, it was just that I wasn’t invited and I didn’t like some of the activities that made you popular. You know, going to every single football game, being a part of student council, and going to the mall to get the certain clothes that defined the IT girl. Sure, I had a couple of friends that knew how to fit in with the in crowd, but I was firmly in with the OUT.

By the time I graduated, I was more than ready to move on. In spite of finally feeling somewhat comfortable with the people that I was forced to socialize with for many years in my senior year, I was ready to move on and meet exciting new people in college. These unknown people were exotic, new, and my potential new friends. But I was also very nervous. Would people notice me? Would they like me and want to be my friend? Would a guy finally notice me and ask me out?

 

All of these things swirled in my head as I walked across campus. The college that I picked couldn’t be considered huge, not like Ohio State or even Standford or UCLA, but it was big enough to meet different people while maintaining a small campus atmosphere and seeing familiar faces. This will be the place where I shine, I thought, or at least I hope so.

It didn’t work out like that right away, though. I went to all my classes, I took careful notes, I studied, I made an effort to talk to the people who sat around me. The people were nice, and I enjoyed my time in most of the classes that I took. I even got noticed by a couple of different guys by the end of freshman year, but those didn’t last long due to reasons I won’t discuss here.

It wasn’t until my sophomore year that it finally began to click together. I met a couple of friends during winter quarter that helped me get though the classes we were taking together. In spring quarter, I took a class with a wonderful instructor and from there on out, I took two more classes and sat on one other class he taught. I finally felt like I was a part of something.

The beginning of the end started my last quarter of my B.A.  I had to observe a class as part of my placement. I didn’t like the place that I was at, my classes were a struggle, and a couple of people that I thought were my friends turned out to not be very hurtful and not very friend-like. By the time it ended, I was stressed to the point of being sick and feeling very disgusted with myself as well as disillusioned. This wasn’t how I wanted college to end, with stress, dissatisfaction, and no friends as I perceived it. And yet here I was in that predicament.

I’d been accepted into a master’s program that I was supposed to start that summer. I emailed the person in charge of the program and told him that I no longer felt like I could be a part of the program. I didn’t think I could put myself through a whole year of the same thing that I went through the last quarter. All the people that I cared about were going int the English literature program. The creative writers, the intellectuals. The people I felt most a part of. I went to the head of the English graduate program. He told me it’d be better if I waited a year so I could be a T.A. for two whole years rather than one. He seemed to have confidence in me. I was stoked.

I put my application in the following February and waited with bated breath. This was going to be in the bag.

Until it wasn’t.

They didn’t think my application was strong enough. They didn’t think I’d succeed. I was devastated. This was the only thing I wanted to do. Now what?

To make a long story short, I went into another program that summer. It wasn’t what I wanted, but I liked it well enough. I met a couple of friends I generally felt like an outsider. I finished up my program and got another job.

The people that I thought I wanted to be a part of are all scattered now, doing their own thing. I spend time with one or two people that I’ve made friends with in the last couple of years. It’s nice spending time with them, but even now, I can feel them slipping away from me. We’ve probably all changed and have focused on things that are more meaningful to us now. But when we get together, I look at them and miss the times we had in college. I long for the times we had in class, the easy way we talked and got connected. I wish for that feeling of belonging again that dissipated like leaves in the fall.

I still miss school and long for those times that made me have a sense of belonging. But I still hold on to the hope that there will come a time when I will once again feel a part of something. I will be part of a group that I’ll be happy to spend time with and look foreword to getting together. I don’t know where or how that will happen, but the candle of hope still flickers.


Paul over at The Captain’s Speech wrote a post three years ago reminiscing about school which can be found at I Miss School Already. He recently had a guest post from Shaz who writes how “I’m Going to Miss School.” Inspired by both, this was my response.