Thursday, November 29, 2012

'tis the season of nostalgia

I miss things altogether too much. I think it is because I care too much -- it's my downfall -- I attach too much meaning to certain moments and then they pass me by and I'm left missing them. Sometimes it's worse than others, and right now, at the onslaught of winter, it's pretty bad.

I miss soccer. I miss the game and the aggression -- you can't really purposefully slam into people in a race without deterring yourself as well -- but mostly I miss the team. I miss going to Starbucks in between games at tournaments, I miss laughing inexplicably during scrimmages at practice, and I miss that first year I joined my new team, back in seventh grade, when we made it all the way to Western District in Corpus Christi and won second place. 

I miss summer. I miss walking around Spain taking pictures and watching the Olympics every night and that time we went to the Cheesecake Factory and had to ask if the bread was free because we're all cheapskates. I just miss the potential of it all, the possibilities that the season encompasses, the way it makes me dream of afternoons at Barton Springs and sleepovers devoid of sleep even though I never really did that. 

I even miss fall, a little, too, perhaps prematurely. Fall was good, it was change, it was growth, it was fun, but now I'm worried that winter means slipping back into my shell and hibernating for a while. Maybe that's what I need, I don't know, but it's not really want I want.

I especially miss random people I haven't really talked to in a while. These recollections won't mean much to people who don't know who I'm talking about, but I do.

I miss one of my good friends from middle school, how everyone said we looked alike and all of our shenanigans in art class and how at her birthday party one year I stayed up later than I ever had before and I still remember some inside joke about toasters.

I miss my old best friend from third grade, how we'd used to play dress up and make commercials and jingles ("Bess's Dresses, they're the best!"). I see her around school and I'm fairly certain she's going to be very successful today and it makes me kind of sad that we grew apart, but you know, c'est la vie.

It's weird to think they're both graduating in a matter of months.

I miss my best friend from sixth grade who lived down the street from me. We were only really friends for about a year, but we were close. She introduced me to a bunch of movies my mom probably wouldn't have let me watch and we had a bunch of adventures, like our encounters with our strange neighbor who tried to shoot me with a pellet gun after I dumped water on his head one Fourth of July. We failed completely trying to bake a rainbow cake and went to the midnight release of the last Harry Potter book and were going to write a book together. Once I read a quote that said something like, "You never have any friends like the ones you have when you're twelve," and I think that's kind of true.

I miss my two best friends from fifth grade. When one of my friend's sister died of cancer, I skipped school to go to the funeral. And it was the first funeral I ever went to and it was for a teenager and I cried so much even though I hadn't known her all that well, only glimpses of her and her room. And I remember how they played "How To Save a Life" and I still want to cry every time I hear that song. That wasn't the defining feature of our friendship or anything but it's what sticks out when I think about it now. I saw my friend a month or so ago at a cross country meet and we talked a little and it was nice.

Heck, I even miss my first best friend, who I shared a nanny with when I was a baby. If I wanted to, I could pull out any number of fading pictures from our shared childhood, but that's too much effort. Instead, I'll just rely on the faulty narrative of my memories. I still clearly remember the layout of his house, his room, his backyard. I remember one year at his birthday party I won a whole jar of Skittles in a guessing contest and it was the greatest thing ever until my mom threw it away.  

+ + + 

Winter's never been my season. I love summer and I love fall and spring is more like almost-summer, anyway, but winter is just darkness and death and missing things right and left. That doesn't mean that I'm going to be completely depressed throughout it all, but rather that I just have to work a little harder to surround myself with things that make me happy. It's a conscious effort.

Everything's going to be okay.

That's what I end most days repeating to myself. Everything is okay, and if it's not, it's going to be. I'd like to think I'm starting to believe it.

And for the record, after writing all of this, I feel like I should say that for the most part, while I miss these people and these memories, I'm at peace with the fact that they had to move on in order for to make room for other people and other memories in my life. I'm glad they happened, just the way that someday I'll be glad what's happening now has happened, but I'm okay that they're over. It's the ebb and flow of life, and it's all natural and necessary. I used to not be okay with that. Now I have accepted it. (Maybe this is growing up.) I still feel twinges of missing people, as this has clearly evidenced, but now I'm just happy that I ever had those times. Yeah, we had some good times, but there are far far greater things ahead than any we leave behind. 

Sunday, November 25, 2012

thanksgiving break


my city

my city

Thanksgiving break has been nice and relaxing. I got to do most everything I wanted: I went shopping, volunteered at the Turkey Trot Thanksgiving morning, worked on drivers' ed, went running, read a bit, took some pictures, and ate a bunch.

There's one thing I didn't really focus on, and that's writing. Uh, NaNoWriMo? Yeah, I kind of gave up on that around Day 13. There are a ton of reasons and they're all sort of entangled in each other. For one thing, writing is hard (understatement of the century). It's hard having to decide each time you sit down where to take the story, hard having to write a plot and characters, hard having to write so much every single day when you have so many other commitments in life that get in the way.

And I guess another part of it is, I let life get in the way. Because I could understand pushing away other commitments to make room for writing if it was my job, my livelihood, my life -- but it isn't. It's something I enjoy very much, but it's not the sole focus of my attention. And right now, I kind of don't want it to be. I want to have real experiences and be around real people, not just live in my head. You know? I still journal my thoughts and musings at the end of most days, and I blog here, but I don't see myself writing a full-length novel right now. There's a balance between observing and participating, and I'm still trying to find it.

There's a Hemingway quote I love that's been circulating the web and I feel like it kind of encompasses a lot of how I feel on this subject:

"The most solid advice for a writer is this, I think: Try to learn to breathe deeply, really to taste food when you eat, and when you sleep really to sleep. Try as much as possible to be wholly alive with all your might, and when you laugh, laugh like hell. And when you get angry, get good and angry. Try to be alive. You will be dead soon enough."

I love writing, but in order to write, you kind of have to live first. So that's what I'm focusing on.

I hope you all had a nice Thanksgiving break, and don't have too much trouble easing back into the routine tomorrow. I just realized we have less than a month of school left in this semester, and a whole week of that is finals, so it's winding down pretty fast. Winter, and Christmas, is on our heels. But today is a glorious fall day, as evidenced by the foliage by the lake. It's still November right now, after all.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

the obligatory thankful post

I have a lot to be thankful for right now, but I'll try to make it interesting because I know everybody and their mother talks about what they're thankful for this time of year. I'm thankful for things like food and television, too, but these are what really make my heart feel full.

I'm thankful...for those moments when you're in the passenger seat of your friend's car flying down the highway after the last football game of the season and you're blasting Taylor Swift and singing along like your life depends on it, and those moments when you're laughing so hard at stupid cat videos that tears stream down your face and just when you're about to stop laughing someone else's laugh makes you laugh even harder, and all of those other moments when you're just so happy that you can't help but think, this is how it's supposed to be.

I'm thankful...for my family, for providing me with a home (parents), singing along to Taylor Swift with me (sister #1), and eating all my chocolate from my Halloween candy (sister #2) so that I didn't go into a sugar coma (awww how thoughtful) (sarcasm). I'm thankful for my extended family, too, for my grandparents and aunts and uncles and especially my cousins who I'll get to see at Christmas again.

I'm thankful...for all my friends: Mayrose for driving me around and responding to my silly texts with equivocal amounts of enthusiasm, Caitlin for being on the same pop culture wavelength as me and for kicking me in the shins when certain people walk by, Elizabeth for telling me to join cross country and for being my twin except not, Claudia for always being entertaining company and for getting me saying things like "YOLO", Deborah for exchanging critical faces when Claudia says something questionable, Sydney for being so Sydney-like, Sarah for laughing at like everything I say so I feel like a comedic genius, Erina for being there to make fun of people with, Luxy for being the funniest 11-year-old I know, Madisen for being my Stats buddy and always asking me for Goldfish, and my online friends for constantly inspiring me and encouraging me.

And I'm thankful for everybody else who's probably never going to read this. All the people who've made me smile or laugh lately, all the people whose company I've enjoyed whether at school or youth group or cross country, all the people I used to be close with, all the people I've grown closer to. I'm so thankful that all of you exist.

I'm thankful...for the ability to express myself in writing. Writing is kind of like exercising: I don't do it because I really want to, but because I feel so much better afterward, because it clears my mind and keeps me sane and healthy. (...We'll discuss NaNo later.)

I'm thankful...for music, and I legitimately mean all types of music: alternative and (indie) rock when I'm traveling, classical music for when I'm working, country music for when I'm feeling nostalgic, pop music for when the radio's on and I want to sing, hip hop/rap for when I feel like it, gosh. (I've pretty much exclusively been listening to Kanye West for the past few days so that's a thing.)

I'm thankful...that I live in the ATX aka the coolest city I know and home to some of the coolest people I know (that means me).

I'm thankful...that I have both wonderful memories to look back on and wonderful plans to look forward to.

And last but not least, I'm thankful...that CHRISTMAS IS JUST AROUND THE CORNER. I mean, yeah, I'm pretty sure I've seen at least one person in a Christmas sweater every day since November started, and we've been listening to Christmas music in Painting for a few weeks, too, but now I can enjoy all that, and more, guilt-free! Huzzah!

Monday, November 19, 2012

room changes

This is what my room looks like now (in over-saturated hues and ugly lighting).

I got a new, full-sized bed to accommodate the precious family heirloom that apparently is that headboard. I also got a new bedspread and a new carpet and new curtains that aren't pictured. Everything else is pretty much the same, but the room feels so much smaller because the bed takes up more space. It smells funny, too. Like airplane. Gag. I hope that goes away soon.

I haven't even slept in my new bed yet, because my mom's friends were visiting and she generously offered to loan them my room for three days. But it's okay. It's practically Thanksgiving break so I'll have lots of time to sleep soon. I mean, probably.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

roman numerals

i. I keep starting posts and abandoning them. I hate fragments; I like for my writing to be long and focused, but I don't have the time or creative energy for that these days.

ii. You can think of these as poems if it makes you feel better, or a list, or just one long essay chopped up. This is meant to be cathartic; we'll see how that goes.

iii. Right now I have a headache because I accidentally slammed heads with someone and because I'm an idiot. That's two things that need fixing. The first will go away with sleep and water; the second, I'm afraid, may linger a while.

iv. I've lived in this body for sixteen years and four months and two days and I still frequently feel like a newcomer to this planet.

v. It was cold yesterday morning (today, too, though not as much). Cold enough for boots and jeans and a jacket over long sleeves, but not quite see your breath, wear two pairs of wool socks to bed cold. Not quite cabin cold.

vi. Incidentally, they've sold the cabin. I haven't really thought about it all except for now, realizing that there won't be any more winters up there, and if there are, they won't be the same. Ordinarily, maybe, dwelling on this would make me kind of sad, but I am so done with being sad.

vii. Well, I mean, I would be if I could be. Maybe what I'm trying to say is that I'm done being sad over silly, small things like that, like changes I can't control. Instead of being sad about things changing, I'm trying to be excited about the new things that the change means.

viii. For instance: my mom just told me that today she bought our tickets to Paris for next summer.

ix. If we're really being honest here, talking about traveling to places like Europe makes me feel a bit uncomfortable because I'm all too aware a lot of people don't get that opportunity and it makes me feel like a spoiled rich kid when I say it. Or rather, other people make me feel like a spoiled rich kid when I say it.

x. Today my friend asked me, jokingly, what I did last summer, so I, jokingly, mentioned everywhere I had traveled, and then my other friend replied, with an edge in her voice, "Well, not all of us are rich." ("Yes," I almost said, "that's why I live in a mansion and am getting a car for Christmas and have had an iPhone since I was 13...oh wait.")

xi. I hadn't really been to Europe until this summer, and I remember thinking the same exact things about my cousin, who's lived and been all over the world. We'd talk and I was always surprised when she said she was jealous of me, that she hated moving and would rather just live in America.

xii. But I think I understand her now. Traveling doesn't mean a thing if you don't have a place to call home. I could visit every country on every continent and see the most amazing things but I'd still rather belong to one place than wander everywhere.

xiii. I dislike it when people generalize and say things like, "I hate everyone" or "I've lost faith in this generation" or other such ignorant and depressing comments. Maybe you've been annoyed by a few people but I bet my life you don't hate everyone. Similarly, just because some people enjoy listening to music like Justin Bieber doesn't mean that society is completely ruined and hopeless or even that music "isn't what it used to be." I mean, have you heard "As Long As You Love Me"? Chills.

xiv. Similarly, I dislike it when people say, "I hate this school." I don't know but I'm pretty sure that you don't have to go to school here. You applied to go here, and if you don't like it, you can leave, and you won't hear me protest.

xv. Okay, maybe that's a little counter to my previous, albeit, implicit argument that everyone should just love each other. But we wouldn't have this problem if we were all more positive, right?

xvi. I like my school, for the most part. People care too much about grades and freak out over small things, but I think they have a lot of passion and it comes out at events like football games. I like how for the most part we are able to maturely and independently handle situations. This morning, for instance, in physics, my teacher had to go to another class, so he just had a student run the class. He went over the homework just like our teacher normally does and then we broke into groups. A substitute came in about halfway through and saw the kid at the whiteboard and was like, "Oh, sorry to interrupt." I just thought it was kind of funny.

xvii. Forum (advisory, homeroom, what have you) operates more as a music history and appreciation class than anything else. My teacher basically just shows us a variety of music videos, and sometimes we talk about things like Field Day, which is next Tuesday. Today we watched/listened to this song and I actually recognized it because somebody played it at cross country practice a few weeks ago. Now it's stuck in my head.

xvii. Interestingly enough, I've been invited to three parties in the next few weeks, so I guess my worry that the social atmosphere was dying down or whatever was somewhat unfounded. I'm pleased.

xix. While we're on the subject of nothing in particular, can I just say that, "Don't be afraid!" is pretty terrible advice? It is. Fear is such a primal, irrational thing -- it's so hard to just stop being afraid of something. There's only one way, really, and that's to just to do it, to face your fear. So, I think that's a lot better advice. Be afraid, but don't let that fear paralyze you. Be brave, not fearless.

xx. I feel better now. I think I've said most everything I want to say for now, and it makes me feel good. My head still hurts, but it will go away. The important thing is that the blogger's block has gone away.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

no sleep november?

Today my friend and I were talking and she mentioned that she was only ahead on volunteer work and APUSH work and was behind on everything else. And I was like, what am I ahead on? Nothing. I'm literally behind on everything.

I'm definitely not on top of all my schoolwork, I haven't been running in a week, I don't have nearly enough volunteer hours for NHS yet, I haven't been to youth group for the past two weeks, my progress on NaNoWriMo is a complete joke, I haven't practiced guitar as much as I should have, it feels like ages since I've blogged, and I sure haven't been sleeping a ton, either. You know that triangle that's like, "good grades, social life, and sleep, pick any two"? Well, I guess if you add it all up I have maybe one total. So, uh, there's that.

Such is this time of year.

But it's not like I've been doing nothing. Here are some things that have happened since November started almost a week ago:

  • I have eaten an inordinate amount of sweets, mostly candy from Halloween.
  • I went to a Regina Spektor concert last night (!). It was amazing, as is to be expected.
  • I have written almost 5,000 words of a novel, after completely scrapping the first idea (but leaving the words, because I did write them and I want them to count) and starting over three days in.
  • I have celebrated Dia de Los Muertos with an altar and Mexican food in the library and the most bothersome face makeup that took forever to get off, and I have celebrated my friend's seventeenth birthday with caramel apple cider (autumn in a cup) on the way to school and lots of sweets at lunch, as per tradition.
  • I have continued to listen to far too much Taylor Swift and procrastinate on the internet far too much. (See: right now.)
And now I'm watching the election results trickle in, a little anxious and a little excited.

How's your life?

Hopefully I'll be back soon with more coherent thoughts and such. But right now, with a million other things on my plate, this is all ya get. Peace out, girl scouts.