Sunday, November 25, 2012

Thank you, for letting me be young.

And now for that post where I pretend like it's exciting and scary to be another year old and I feel completely different from all my years before because I have a NEW DECADE ahead of me!!!

Or not. It is exciting and a little scary to be getting older. The idea of my sand clock letting the grains slip through my fingers is so mind boggling that I have to stop or else I swear I can feel the world spinning around me. I try not to think about that too much. I'm still young and I still have plenty of time. I have accomplished much, and will accomplish much more.

Guess what- I'm over being bitter about having my birthday on Thanksgiving, or dangerously close to the holiday. My mom told me a couple stories about how some family members tried to lump some birthday and Christmas gifts together since my birthday and Christmas are only a month apart. I think somewhere in my toddler and young child mind I grew to resent having my birthday lumped with anything resembling a holiday. After pondering this Thanksgiving night (after asking people to keep my birthday low key because I didn't like the holiday association), I've decided that it's not too big of a deal. Just never give me a Thanksgiving themed cake, okay? Besides, French Silk pie is much better than birthday cake! I still have one piece left. That will be gone tonight.

Getting Birthday wishes from all my friends, all day on my birthday made me feel really loved. Just getting the little texts on my phone and facebook wall posts made my day. I had to work from 7:30-11:30 and I got over 30 messages in those 4 hours. I also got a singing birthday message from my friends who went swing dancing (I couldn't because of work) the night before.

It occurred to me recently that there has been a shift in my friendships. Most of my close friends are all older than I am, be it by a month or many years. Some of my friends are more than twice my age. I have a good amount of friends who are about my age, or a little bit younger, but for the most part I am the younger one in my groups of friends.

The most wonderful part of that? They let me be young. Part of that is I have friends who are young at heart. They're very mature and reasonable adults, but they are all young at heart. They don't push me to "grow up" in the sense that the rest of the world might. I can simply be "my age" (whatever that number really is, and not how many earth-years I have) and be accepted. When I'm playing a character, they tell me to milk the years I can play a young character. I'm playing characters 4 years younger than I am! I enjoy that a lot because when I was 4 years younger, I was very different. I had a lot more holding me back.
My friends don't hold it against me when I don't have the same "life experiences" or don't know all of the references, they teach me. For the most part, I get to feel like I'm the younger sibling, but at the same time I'm treated as a peer.

Thank you all, for letting me be young. Thank you for letting me discover things and learn things. Thank you for knowing that I don't know it all and for taking me in. That is the thing I am most thankful for this year, all of my friends who keep me going.
I'm going to give back to all of you for a moment (it's part of my new thing of trying to not leave things unsaid when I need to say them).

To all of my friends, no matter how well I know you,

I don't know if I will know all of you in two months, two years, ten years, or twenty years. Maybe all I will have known you for is a summer, or a winter, or a school year.
You have all made an impact on me in some small (or large) way, and I'm glad you have. I hope however long we are friends that our times together will be wonderful and shape us into better people. I'm beyond grateful to know you. Thank you for adding to my life.

And that's what I was thankful for on my Turkey-Day Birthday.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Dear Grandpa Jones

Dear Grandpa Jones,

It's that time of year again. Our birthdays one right after the other. Two and a half years exactly have gone by without you in my life (earthly you, of course). It's getting a bit easier now. I didn't bawl my eyes out yet today. Tomorrow will be my third birthday without you. I couldn't believe it when I turned eighteen and you weren't there. Your birthday that year was really rough for me.
Each new milestone I make, I can see you somewhere in the background. You've been there in your own way, watching over me. I sincerely believe in that. Remember all those owls I saw and heard this summer? I knew you were watching me grow at Bristol. I knew it was the right place for me to be the minute I heard that owl hooting on my first rehearsal day. I remember wearing a gold chain that belonged to you for my graduation day.
I guess I'm going to have to come to terms with the fact that you won't be here for some of my life events that I was looking forward to having you here for. The one that is still painful to think about is the fact you won't be at my eventual wedding. I'm still working through that one, that's maybe the biggest disappointment I have to work through.

I was listening to the song Time Heals Everything, sung by Bernadette Peters. I know you really liked her voice. I like her voice too.
As time has gone on without you, I've come to realize how true the song is. At first I was just counting the days without you. One week, two weeks, a month, September, November, our Birthdays, Christmas, etc. Then somehow a year rolled around and I found that while I still missed you with a tangible ache, the grief was slowly getting less. I say slowly because there are still times when the impact hits me just as hard as it did when my dad told me you had died and all I want to do is to curl up into a ball and cry.
Somehow it gets easier. Now I still have moments where missing you is unbearable. One day at Bristol I couldn't face the fact that you weren't going to be there. Suddenly everywhere I went I saw owls at the faire. Every time I hear a southern accent I think about you, I still need to practice mine.
I've learned that these things just take time. I hate that these things take time, but I don't want to rush this either. It wouldn't be fair to my memories of you.

I remember sitting on your lap in your chair, feeling very important.
I remember sharing our birthdays and blowing out the candles on the cake. 
I remember going to the zoo with you and Grandma. You loved the zoo.
I remember playing at your carving desk, drawing pictures.
I remember sitting in the high chair at your house.
I remember you voice when you called "hey beautiful."
I remember your scratchy beard.
I remember your gold eagle necklace, I never asked you what it meant, I wish I had.
I remember you watching the nature specials on TV.
I remember your eyes sparkling when your face crinkled up in a smile.

Time will heal everything, but loving you.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Being sick and feeling cared about

I certainly learned something about the life expectancy of seafood salad before it goes bad.

First time I've ever had to call in sick to work. I didn't even feel bad about calling in (which means I really was feeling ill). Yipee. Spending most of the night in a haze of dark nausea because I don't want to risk opening my eyes and possibly throwing up, even though part of me really just wants to upchuck and get it over with, is tons of fun. Sarcasm.

I finally risked puking and got up around 4AM and shuffled myself to the living room, turned on the television and tried not to look at the food commercials. Full House was on Nickelodeon. Never have I been so glad of that TV channel, cause there was nothing else on except the news and I didn't want to watch our world falling apart while I wasn't really sure if I would puke up an empty stomach (because at 4AM I don't think there is much left in your stomach).

Fell asleep on the couch from about 5:30 (after calling in sick), to 8:30. Then I spent the morning watching American Pickers while napping and trying to not move. Every time I did move I got another lovely wave of nausea. This finally started to subside around 10 in the morning and I was able to sip some Sprite.
Then came the stuffy nose and headache. I have no clue what the heck my body is trying to tell me. I understand that we don't eat any more seafood salad that is over one day old. Can we not get sick with a cold though? I'd really appreciate that. I have a college visit at the end of the week.

Something on a slightly different note that I want to mention.
November has been a slightly better month for me that September and October where. Maybe because I'm finally trying to stop doing everything on my own, or maybe my Grandpa is watching over me. It's our month, after all. I still miss him a lot.
I've noticed a lot of friends using terms of endearment for me lately, mostly among my friends who are older than I am (which is completely fine with me).  Lately I've heard the words "sweetling, sweetie, darling, baby, hun, sweetheart" and probably a few other words that I'm blanking out on.
All my life my Grandpa called me "beautiful." It's a special term that I associate with him. I'm especially sensitive about these things during November because our birthdays are in this month. I used to hate terms of endearment, but lately I've been finding them to be comforting. This morning there was a small outburst of "feel better" well wishers on my facebook page and even though I still felt awful physically I felt a lot better emotionally because of the family I seem to have landed myself in. I don't feel like I collected some of my new friends (as I used to think), I feel more like they took me in to their circles and collected me.

Now that my slightly sick state has made me go all mushy (because that above is about as mushy as I get), I'm going to try cooking some Mrs. Grassy's chicken noodle soup. I've grown up with this as my "post stomach upset" food and it's never failed me so far. I haven't been queasy since 10AM and have been keeping the Sprite down. I think I can do this. 

Other than feeling like a lump all day, I got word from my Creative Writing Professor about my mid-term grades. I'm pulling an A in her class! Now if I can manage to get through History with a B I'll be happy with this semester.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Confronting Myself

Alright, we're going to get to the nitty-gritty here.

You just had a decent day. You had a few laughs with your classmates during Creative Writing. You got complimented on your writing. You turned in that paper for your history class and you feel pretty good about the possibility of getting a decent grade on that. The dance class you taught for that youth theatre group performed and did fantastic! Even your dance class tonight went well and you felt that you were doing okay.

Oh wait...only okay?

Self- are you tired of simply being "okay?" I know that's the phrase you are using when people ask you "how are you doing" because to be honest, things aren't "good" right now. You're muddling through things though, and this is only a season. There will be better seasons.

You're scared about upcoming auditions. You're scared because you don't know where you are going to go to college and you will probably need to go on an audition if you even want to attend Roosevelt. The program calls for intermediate and advanced levels of ballet and jazz. You know your jazz, and maybe you can push your way through the ballet. But you're not nearly as good as you want to be. You're not nearly as strong as you think you should be. Do you even have "it," whatever it is, that will make you stand out in a crowd of auditioning performers?

Besides the dancing, you'll have to sing, and recite a monologue.

You don't know if anyone really believes you can do this. You don't know if you believe that you're good enough. You don't know if you're good enough.

Remember that theatre group you were apart of growing up? They taught you a lot of things. Some of them were good, but some of them have hurt you more than helped.
Somehow, you learned that you were good, but not good enough. You could even be second best, but not first.

Now opportunities are arising for you! Auditions for clubs and productions and colleges that will help you along your path to that tricky and slippery world of performance! You've met wonderful and talented people who have helped you become so much better than you were.
But that feeling still looms over you, doesn't it? You still hate auditions and callbacks, even though it's a clean slate to show what you can do! You know the positive, why can't you believe that it is true?

Why do you doubt that you are good enough? Why does that question haunt you every day? Why- after a summer of being shown that you are good enough- must you still ask these questions?

Am I a good enough singer to sing a song by myself or with only one other person?

Am I a good enough actress that I could be chosen for a part?

Am I a good enough dancer, at 19, that I could turn my passion into a career?

There are so many more questions about self-worth that I am working through right now. I really don't know why my self esteem has hit such a low point. I think I'm getting intimidated by the caliber of the people I am currently surrounded by. I love being surrounded with intelligent, talented, amazing people. I don't like being the "best" because then I have no motivation to grow. I'm simply at a point where I am scared that I do not have what it takes.

Tonight is a night where I took comfort in snickers and dried mango. I don't usually use food as a comforter, but then again I was also hungry so let's not label that as a habit yet. I probably cried a fair bit too because this is a really painful fear of mine and a very deeply rooted lie. I should know that I have worth, that I can achieve these things. At the end of summer I felt ready to go out and take on whatever college or other thing came my way. Now I feel like I'm being broken down bit by bit.
I made such big strides in actually believing myself, and now I feel like I'm back at square 1.

An author's Note:
Please know that I wrote this as an attempt to get this out of my system. I am not fishing for compliments, nor am I trying to be angsty. This post was an attempt to call myself out on some things that have been eating at me and get them out in the open. I figure if I name the things that are bothering me and tearing me down, I can better work through them and get past them.
Also- I know God has a plan for me and is in charge. I'm asking him a lot of questions right now and I'm not very clear on what the answers are (if I am privileged enough to receive answers). I am currently working on that idea of "no man's opinion matters, only God's opinion does." I've been working at that for years and only now do I have moments where I am grasping this.

Last note- I want to thank all of you who have been giving me support through this season. I know I wouldn't be able to make it through all this without you and you all mean the world to me. Thank you for bearing with my through these posts and whatever comes up in person/texting/facebook. Thanks to your support I find myself opening up more, actually asking for help, and generally doing things that a year ago I would have taken on all by myself. There IS progress, it's just a very slow climb.

Saturday, November 3, 2012

A Haunting We Will Go!

In which I tell the story of my first Haunted House.

I thought I was going to go to Fear City a couple weeks ago, but it didn't quite work out. Life can kind of smack you in the face, you know? Anyways, I got an invite from a Bristol Friend by the name of Elizabeth to go on Monday night and I wasn't about to let this second opportunity pass me by.

Well the first thing that made me at home about this place were the Tardis blue port-a-privies. It was cold out and, man, was I glad I made sure to make that little trip at home.
Now, being a theatre person, I walk into the lobby and start going nuts over how cool the atmosphere is. Very nicely done. I even liked the promos about the zombies and the walk around characters' make up was SO COOL!!! Unfortunately, none of them would break character and tell me what brand of stuff they use...or fortunately because their job is to creep people out before they even get into the Haunted House!

The first haunted house (of the zombie variety) was cool. I think I jumped only a handful of times and honestly thought that it was super creative. I don't think anything genuinely scared me. I mean, there was this zombie pimp guy that was kind of nasty, but he also reminded me of the MC from Carabet, so it was funny too. I really liked the neon circus part, and the maze, and the white strobe light room, and the "dementor." I think the dementor (whatever that was) was the only thing that genuinely gave me even a hint of the willies.

I'm trying not to give too much away of what was in the houses because why spoil it for someone else?

The second haunted house had much more potential for a scare factor in my opinion. Unfortunately, since I knew a decent amount of people in the house, I was too busy playing "spot the rennies" and shouting out people's names when I saw them (or thought I saw them) to actually get scared. Plus, the second house was a bit more "spectacular" so I was appreciating all of the creativity and use of strobe and black lighting. I wish I could have gotten a better look at some of the rooms, but because of the strobe effects it was a little difficult.

To be honest, the things that scare me aren't zombies or black lit ghosts and people following me. I mean, it was a lot of fun to try and figure out if there was going to be someone around the next corner, but after that first thrill I simply saw straight through to the person screaming/growling/staring at me.

What scares me more are the people in this world. Somehow, a zombie with a plastic machete isn't nearly as terrifying as waking up not knowing if today will be your last day. Someone following you in a haunted house isn't as scary as someone you think might be following you while you're walking home in the dark. Wandering through a maze without any idea of direction isn't worse than wandering through life thinking that you're going somewhere, only to have your plans come crashing around you.
Haunted houses are a joke compared to life. Maybe that's why we love them, because they make us think that life isn't the scariest thing out there. I'm not calling the Haunted House I went to a "joke." Let me make it clear that I loved the Haunted House and thought it was awesome! I'd totally go again next year!

Now for a conscience check-
Tuesday I did something I'm not proud of. I didn't sleep at all Monday night (and it wasn't due to the fact that I had been to a haunted house) and I skipped my second class of the day to go home and sleep because I just couldn't deal with the world. I wanted everything to just stop. I had the worst sense that the world was spinning around me and there was nothing I could do. All that on a normal day would be difficult. On a day without any sleep the previous night? I caved and skipped Western Civilization.
Did I need that sleep? Yes, I really did. I felt 80% better and was in a much better state of mind.

I also had trouble sleeping on Wednesday night, so I'm wondering if there is something at school that is really stressing me out. Thursday was actually an ok day, my writing class was fantastic, I met with an adviser and got my classes for next semester picked out (such a load off my mind!), and my history teacher wasn't as immature as usual except for one or two brief moments (as opposed to a full half hour-45 minutes of class). 

Let's hope this pattern continues for a few more days.