Saturday, September 22, 2007

Not Sure What To Feel

Life changes. Every single day is different. Nothing ever stays the same. Relationships constantly adapt. People choose new paths to follow or decide to remain on the same path. Seemingly meaningless decisions can alter an entire day, week, year, and quite possibly a life. And yet, these decisions are made without a second thought or sometimes with too much though. At times, also, the decisions are postponed and not made.

I'm currently struggling with not making decisions. Not only that, but I am struggling with finding the drive to take time and devote it to school and to the things I realize I need to accomplish. It's a fear that is close to me, and that is a fear of success. Because if I succeed, then what?

I've discovered that more people than I would have thought are currently dealing with this as we are all moving towards the next steps in our lives following graduating from college. It is such a large milestone we hear and so exciting. But there is so much unknown, so many questions to answer and decisions to make and fact to align.

And this is why I am doing anything I can to escape it. Soon I'll run out of time for escaping. I've already run out of money. There are only so many nights you can go out to dinner and pairs of jeans you can purchase before you realize that escaping will not make the decisions disappear or stop life from changing. It just hurts you in the end.

Tuesday, September 18, 2007

Where Nothing Dims These Stars

1. Are you in a relationship?: No
2. Are you happy?: Yes!
3. Are you bored?: Yes
4. Are you sad?: Nope
5. Are you Italian?: No
6. Are you German? Yes
7. Are you Asian?: No but I have an Asian name from my students in China
8. Are you Mexican? No
9. Are you Irish?: No
10. Are your parents still married?: Yes

1. Birth Place: Upland, CA
2. Hair Color: naturally brunette but dyed blond
3. Height: 5'8"
4. Hair Style: straight and blond
5. Eye color: naturally a blue hazel, aqua blue with contacts
6. Room color: yellow!
9. Mood: Sick of school.
8. Crush: ........
9. Piercing/Tattoos: Ears, tattoo soon (hopefully)
10. Lefty/righty: Righty.

1. Have you ever been in love?: No
3. Why did your last relationship fail? Too many reasons to list
4. Have you ever been hurt?: Yes.
5. Have you ever broken someone's heart?: Yes
6. Would you date someone of a different race?: Yes
7. Have you ever liked someone but never told them? Yes.
8. Are you afraid of commitment?: Yes
9. Have you kissed someone within the last week?: No

1. Love or lust?: Love.
2. Up or down?: Down.
3. Cats or Dogs?: Dogs.
5. Television or Internet?: Television....The Hills, Grey's Anatomy, The Hills...
6. Pepsi or coke?: Diet Coke
7. Wild night out or romantic night out?: Wild night with girlfriends, romantic night with boyfriend (good answer)
8. Black or white?: Black
9. Night or day?: Day
10. IM or phone?: Phone

1. Been caught sneaking out?: Never got caught
2. Done something you regret?: Yes
3. Been Streaking?: No
4. Bungee jump?: No
5. Been on a house boat?: Yes
6. Finished an entire jawbreaker?: No
7. Been skinny dippin?: Yes.
8. Ever been on a plane?: Yes.
9. Cried because you lost a pet?: Yes.
10. Wanted to disappear?: Yes.

1. Smile or eyes?: Smile
2. Light or dark hair?: Don't care.
3. Hugs or kisses: Depends on the person. Usually hugs. Any physical touch is good, usually.
4. Shorter or taller: Taller please
5. Intelligence or attraction: Intelligence, attraction can be fleeting
6. Romantic or spontaneous: Both.
7. Nice stomach or nice arms?: Arms, all the way
8. Hook-up or relationship: Depends on the day... usually dating; not too sure about a full on relationship yet
10. A date outside or at the movies?: How about a movie outside?

1. Phone call you made: MH
2. Phone call you received: MH
4. Person you hugged: EW
5. Person you recieve a text from: SS
8. Person you went to the movies with: MP
9. Person you have missed: My mom.
10. Song you heard: Ingram Hill - She Wants To Be Alone

Why do boys have to be so confusing? If I had any money left from my paycheck, I would shop until I found the answer, but I, uh, sort of already shopped in an attempt to find the answer. I didn't come home from the mall empty-handed, but I didn't find the answers I needed either.

Friday, September 14, 2007

Shopping Makes The World Spin Round

There's very little that shopping can't fix or at least make things seem better. At least that's my philosophy. It's a philosophy that I thought I moved past, but after two days on a rollercoaster ride of emotion, I went back to the philosophy and took myself shopping after a busy day of working with babies and then interning in the city. The shopping was both a way of congratulations and a bandaid over any wounds I had. And it worked very, very well.

I feel much better than I did earlier this morning. Minus the sinus pressure I have pressing against my forehead. It's a good thing NyQuil and a full night's rest followed by a Saturday of homework can take care of all that. I'm a bad Sooner as I will not be at the game tomorrow.

Maybe I can take myself shopping for an OU/Texas shirt. Then I'll feel better...

Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Competition and Friendships

What is it that pushes a woman to constantly compare herself to the other women around her? In my nonverbal communication class, we just finished discussing just how important appearance is, how even babies at 2 or 3 months old can differentiate between an attractive person and unattractive person. Is this what pushes a woman to look at the people around her and then peer at herself and decide what needs to be changed? Is it really just as simple as something we have ticking inside of us? It might be true for finding that person to spend a night, a week, a month, or a lifetime with, but what about when it comes to forming and then keeping friendships.

On Friday night, I went out to a bar with several girl friends, and within the first ten minutes of finally getting into the bar (after having waited outside for thirty minutes), I had a few girls compliment my curled hair. I said 'thank you', but I stopped short after that because what do you say when a random woman compliments you? I live in the real world, or as close to the real world as I can get at 22 and still in college, and in the real world, women just aren't always that nice to you unless you know them or they know someone you are with. And there was a compliment in the bathroom, when I was trying to make sure my eyeliner and eyeshadow were still on my eyes and not running down my cheeks, from a girl who, while quite intoxicated, was so kind and sincere about the compliment that it took me (again) by surprise.

I'm used to the girls who stare you down if they see you out with a guy they see as hot. I'm used to the girls who roll their eyes when you say "excuse me" and the girls who do their best to keep their circle as tight as possible because life as we know it will end if someone new is let into the circle.

At least that is what I was used to. Maybe now I'm entering into a new area of girls, friendship, and life where everyone is searching for that close group to share their lives with, where people are ready and willing to open themselves up and be just the slightest bit vulnerable with their stories if it means they might find a soulmate.

Maybe we're all just searching, and sometimes the only way to search is to weed people out by being that bitchy girl and seeing who can handle it. Maybe it's not something we are biologically programmed with as my nonverbal communication class suggests.

Monday, September 03, 2007

Shades of Love

Love is complicated -- full of sacrifice and compromise. But maybe that’s the best part. When you see someone in love you want to do whatever you can for them because the truth want to be them. - Sally, "Felicity"

I'm ready. I'm finally ready. I know that does not mean I'll fall in love within the next two days, but I'm finally ready. And being ready for a relationship takes off a huge weight.

I never knew just being ready would be so freeing.

Now I just need to find someone else who is ready as well.

Saturday, August 25, 2007

Suddenly Everything Has Changed

There are times when I wish my life was documented on a reality-TV show. There are times when I wish I had a camera following me just so I would have the memories to always look to and see, memories of days like yesterday and today where I spent the majority of my time with friends catching up and having true conversations. But then I remember that no reality-TV show is a documentation of a realistic life, and I'm grateful for my camera-free existence.

Still, days like today deserve to be documented on tape because it shows how rich and deep relationships can go, and it reminds me of why I am so hesitant to graduate college in less than 9 months. It's not that the next chapter of my life doesn't excite me (even though I am still clueless as to what I will be doing), but the excitement so easily becomes overshadowed by fears, worries, and concerns. It was so easy to trust God this summer because I had no place else to turn, so I should easily trust him now. Only, it doesn't work that way because I see too many other options of where to place my trust, and God doesn't always yell as loudly as the other options. The reason I am hesitant is mainly because of the unknown.

I have so many questions concerning life after college, life where I hopefully move somewhere exciting like New York City or China and pursue the rest of my life there. Questions like "how will I pay insurance and buy groceries" as well as questions like "how do you make friends in the real world without the bubble college provides" and most importantly "how do I find a boyfriend in the real world".

Those questions might be easy to answer if I was one to head to the bars every night or use my credit card to buy groceries and deal with it later, but I've been that person before. And it's my hope to never be that person again because it doesn't work for me. I'm far less than joyful, and right now am literally paying the price for doing things like that. I want more, but I don't know how I get that more.

At least I have a little under 9 months to find the answers? Or better yet, a little under 9 months to wait for God to reveal the aswers to me. And 9 months to learn how to truly live a simple life. I've started that by filling three trashbags with clothes, shoes, and purses to give away and by not trying on a single pair of shoes while perusing Shoetopia this afternoon. It may not seem like a big deal, but trust me when I say that it is. A few more big deals and maybe I'll be closer to set for the rest of my life.

Sunday, June 24, 2007

It's Never Really Over

Before summer began at camp, I attended a week of training. And I thought about quitting. I honestly didn't think I could survive three weeks of camp, even though I'd lasted an entire summer two years before. But I kept my commitment. I survived. I have several bruises, a sore ankle, am sleep deprived, but I survived.

During training week, you are prepared for every possible situation that might happen in the cabin. I use the term prepared loosely because honestly nothing can prepare you for cabin life until you are in the middle of a cabin, until you are really responsible for 9 to 15 13-year-old girls. And they tell you during training that the time spent working at the camp will be the hardest of your life. Again, it's hard to understand the truth of that statement until you have actually lived it.

I cried more over the past three weeks than I normally cry in a year, including the tears that fall while I watch movies. There was so much that happened while I was at camp. I have so many stories from those three weeks, but I'm saving the stories. Maybe I'll write a book one day. Or maybe I'll just keep them close to my heart and remember the people from my three weeks in Livingston.

What I do know is that I can do it. Not camp but this thing we call life. I can do it, and I can make it matter. It just takes one person to spark a change. I saw that over the course of three weeks. Even if I wrote out everything that happened, I'm not sure I could adequately describe the changes that occured in my life. I know I couldn't describe the changes I saw in the lives of the people around me. But what I do know is this. Life can bring it on because if I could survive those three weeks, I can survive just about anything.

Saturday, June 02, 2007

Dream of Me, Only I'd Rather Not

Last night marks the third night I have had a detailed dream concerning marriage or serious relationships, and when I woke up this morning, there was a slight smile. Then I figured out what the dream was about and sighed. It's really hard to repeat that I don't need no man when all I seem to dream about is having a man.

This particular dream speaks volumes right now, which is never a good thing. I'm already second guessing myself and wringing my hands over whether or not I can actually pull this summer off, but hey, let's add in a dream about a very cute country boy, who has a baby that isn't mine but that I care for like it is mine, and see how I deal with it all. Especially since, you know, I dreamt about said country boy and my dad discussing my future. The country boy doesn't want me to give up my dreams for him or the baby. At least I know how to pick them in my dreams. Now I just need to learn how to transfer that talent to real life.

So what did the man of my deams look like? Taller than me, blond hair, blue eyes, nice build. Pretty much the All-American guy, which is not inventive at all. Hello, I am a writing major; could my dreams please reflect my ability to draw characters with words?

One good thing, though, was that there was no marriage involved in this dream. Just the dream man standing and clapping as I graduated across a very small stage. And no marriage is good because the last marriage dream I had was of the wedding day, when I left the guy at the altar.

If these dreams continue, I'm either going to need a good man or some psychologist to let me lay on a black couch while she figures out what all of this means.

Friday, June 01, 2007

Monday, May 28, 2007

Light Up Ahead

Eventually, I want a summer where I can sit and read every single day. I say this; I think about it all the time, but I never follow through with it. Instead I putter through a few days of nothing to do, and then I propel myself into weeks packed with working as a camp counselor and then traveling to a foreign country for weeks as an English teacher. There is no real time for rest. There is no way of slowing myself down. There is only fast and faster in my life.

Being busy is a good thing. It keeps the mind from going idle. It focuses my attention on what I need to get done, and I seem to find more time to relax and write because I know I have to fit it into my schedule. I can't just channel surf my way through relaxation; instead, I have to be proactive about it.

The past week was one of the hardest of my life, so this week I am being proactive about writing and about reading. I'm going to enjoy this week I have for rest. I'm going to take advantage of it and enjoy it so that when I make the two-hour back to camp I am ready to pour out everything I have (and more) into the three sets of campers I will have.

And I'm not exactly sure how this summer will work. There are so many little things I'm worried over, little things I never thought through before signing up for the summer job or before applying for the teaching position. But I won't second-guess myself, at least not too much. Life is all about trusting your first instinct and trusting that everything will follow in a way that takes care of the small, daunting details. It's not about picking through all the options and having an anxiety attack over whether or not the correct option was selected.

Right now, it's pouring outside. The rain is falling down in a slant that almost makes the rain look as though it is falling sideways. The palm trees in my parent's backyard are moving about wildly, and watching the canal water blur as the rain hits it sends a calm through me. It's beautiful out here when it's sunny and when it's rainy. There aren't many places like that in the world, at least not like this, and being able to enjoy this moment, since I don't yet have to venture out in it, tells me I made the right choice. If I had stayed at school to work until leaving to teach, I would've missed this.

Saturday, May 12, 2007

Reasons I Dislike Driving In Cities I Am Unfamiliar With

1) I have no idea what radio stations are "good".
2) I'm never sure exactly how many miles over the speed limit I can get away with.
3) I lose track of all the different highways.
4) Really, how many streets can you name 21st or 11th?
5) I might have gotten about 5 tickets for accidentally running red lights.
6) I'm told 1/4 mile before the exit that I need to be in the right lane. And I'm in the farthest left lane possible.
7) I have to use my own money to pay the tolls instead of running through with the Texas Tag my parents pay for.
8) I'm not sure whether or not the camers above the lights work.
9) Again. A possibility of 5 tickets for accidentally running red lights.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

Much Farther To Go

I thought that saying goodbye would become easier as I grew older, but if anything, it has become harder.

Commencement and graduation are this weekend. I know so many people who are throwing their caps in the air and bidding farewell to OU. There are people moving to Connecticut, people moving to Virginia, people going home, and people who aren't sure yet. Their lives will continue without OU, and OU will continue without them. But for me, it won't be the same.

Friendships are difficult, no matter your age, but there's a sort of serenity with friendships in college. It's so easy to go weeks and sometimes months without seeing or talking to friends, and then one night you meet up for dinner at The Mont or you run into people on campus. And it's like nothing has changed. There's an ease in conversation and a familiarity to the humor you share. There's always something to talk about and people who connect you. Bringing new people into the friendships is effortless. There's so much room for freedom. No one has to worry about jumping through popularity hoops as was the case in high school and as will possibly be the case in the real world.

And then graduation happens and changes everything. Paths will cross again, but I won't see these people at 10 year reunions. I'm supposed to graduate with them. I'm supposed to be done with school according to the college plan that college is a 4-year institution. I have another year left here, and they're done. How does this work? How is it so easy to realize that I don't want to graduate and yet wish I could walk with these friends of mine? How is it that I can't quite figure out if I'm really not ready to join the real world?

And how will I ever replace some of these people? It's not that I am extremely close to these girls, but they've touched my life in a way that will never again be recreated. The pictures we have, the memories we share will always be special. But we're all in different places now. That's what is so hard about college, I think. Everything changes every year in a way bigger than the world of gossip and drunken hook-ups and revolving relationships that constitute some of high school. And I'm thankful for the changes. I'm just not quite sure how to respond to the changes.

And this summer will change even more. Separated by so many friends but with others for five straight weeks, I'll grow and adapt and maybe figure out who God is calling me to be in this big, wide world. Everyone I know will grow and adapt as well, and when we all come back into this world of OU and Norman and trips to Oklahoma City and getting through finals with wonderments of "Is it worth it? Should I just drop out?", we'll be different and yet the same.

And, because Carrie Bradshaw always says it best...
Maybe our mistakes are what make our fate. Without them, what would shape our lives? Perhaps if we never veered off course, we wouldn't fall in love, or have babies, or be who we are. After all, seasons change. So do cities. People come into your life and people go. But it's comforting to know the ones you love are always in your heart. And if you're very lucky, a plane ride away.

Later that day I got to thinking about relationships. There are those that open you up to something new and exotic, those that are old and familiar, those that bring up lots of questions, those that bring you somewhere unexpected, those that bring you far from where you started, and those that bring you back. But the most exciting, challenging and significant relationship of all is the one you have with yourself. And if you find someone to love the you you love, well, that's just fabulous.

Wednesday, May 09, 2007

Looking Forward to Looking Back

When I look in the mirror, it takes me a moment to realize that I am actually looking at the reflection of myself. I went blonde on Saturday, and I love the change. It just takes some getting used to. Now, if only I can lose some weight and have a television camera trail my every move, I will be complete. Because just like friendships aren't real until you are "friends" on facebook, life isn't real until you have a reality televsion show on MTV.

This summer will take care of that, I think. We'll be in China for a month, teaching English and American culture in Cangzhou, and one of the girls is bringing along her video camera. There will be confessionals along with all the live footage of us at work teaching. It might be hard to market to MTV, what with the lack of hook-ups, but it will be fun to shop around to friends and family. My own personal 15-minutes of fame.

Before China, I have a few days left in my apartment and then a weekend of Tulsa followed by a ropes course, and then it's homeward bound to Seabrook for a few days of relaxing. And then it's the return to camp; it will be just like summer 2005 but better!

There's something about being at camp and serving the kids that just excites the deepest part of my heart. I feel the same thing when I'm at the daycare. When 2-year-olds play hide-and-seek around you and rest their weight on you as you read to them, your heart sort of clenches (in a good way), and it makes me think that if I can do this, if I can help these kids, and turn it into a real-life job one day, I'll have done enough with my life.

When I said goodbye to my 2-year-olds on Tuesday, it was hard to keep from crying. Those kids changed my life. I learned patience. I realized what love was. I learned about God and how He wants me to run so hard after Him, just as those kids run hard after everything because everything excites them so much. Those lessons can never be taken from me or replaced just as those kids can never be replaced. I'll carry everything around with me wherever I go.

And as I hold your dirty hand all that I can say to you
Is in the awkward smile I make
I can’t explain why I came to this distant land
Your simple smiles refresh my soul and
I can’t help but love you and know
That you have all you need

As I look into your face I see hope and not disgrace
And strength that carries you along the rugged road you travel on
And as we go our separate ways you can be sure that I have changed
Because I’ve seen the way you live

Sunday, May 06, 2007

These Are The Days

When I was younger, I thought life changed at a snail's pace. I was always counting down until birthdays. I was always waiting for something more. I wanted to grow up. I wanted to be independent. I wanted to live my dreams, and I thought I could only do that when I was 18 or 21 or out of college.

I feel like I wasted those days. I feel like the time I spent wanting something more should have been spent enjoying what I had. If I could tell my younger self anything, it would be to slow down and to enjoy. I would also tell her not to date the boys she was attracted to but to listen to the boys her father approved of because, well, he was always right.

But I can't tell my younger self those things. Instead, I can tell the self I am today to slow down, to enjoy, to build relationships and to be content with what is right there in front of you (me) for the taking. That's what I've learned more than anything this year. That's what I want to continue to know through the summer and on into the years that lie ahead.

There's so much good in the world. But there's a lot of bad in the world too. They have to balance each other out. Which is a lot like planning out one's life. You have to mix the plans with the spontaneous. Without the mix, you'll always be searching for something more when what you want might be right in front of you.