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"I would rather be ashes than dust! I would rather my spark burn out in a brilliant blaze than be stifled by dry-rot. I would rather be a meteor, every atom of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy, permanent planet. The proper function of man is to live, not to exist. I shall not waste my days in trying to prolong them. I shall use my time." ~Jack London

Tuesday, January 31, 2006

A Few Notes For The Few Moments I Have

I don't have a lot of time to blog tonight, so I thought I'd just write a quick post to say that YES, I will be able to blog from India. I'm not sure if it will be as frequently as it has been here, but I'll do my best to keep this updated, and to check in on all of you, my favorite bloggers. I don't know what I'd do if I couldn't.

And while I'm checking up on you tonight, here are the lyrics to one of my favorite songs by one of my favorite singers. Enjoy!

Joyful Girl
By Ani DiFranco

I do it for the joy it brings
Because I’m a joyful girl
Because the world owes me nothing
And we owe each other the world
I do it because it’s the least I can do
I do it because I learned it from you
I do it just because I want to
Because I want to

Everything I do is judged
And they mostly get it wrong
But oh well
’cuz the bathroom mirror has not budged
And the woman who lives there can tell
The truth from the stuff that they say
And she looks me in the eye
And says would you prefer the easy way?
No, well o.k. then
Don’t cry

And I wonder if everything I do
I do instead
Of something I want to do more
The question fills my head
I know that there’s no grand plan here
This is just the way it goes
And when everything else seems unclear
I guess at least I know

I do it for the joy it brings
Because I’m a joyful girl
Because the world owes me nothing
And we owe each other the world
I do it because it’s the least I can do
I do it because I learned it from you
I do it just because I want to
Because I want to....

Monday, January 30, 2006

I Know What I Know

I finally booked my flight this morning. It’s so exciting to have it become more and more real as each day goes by. People keep saying “so, India…” and I keep responding with a smile and nod, as if to say, “yes, yes, there is such a place.” It still hasn’t quite sunk in that I’ll be there in 5 weeks. 5 weeks. I’m not sure if it will even sink in until days after I’ve arrived. The older I get, the longer it seems to take for things to have a real impact.

After booking my flight, it occurred to me that India will be the 13th country I’ve been to, 14 if you include the US, but I think that’s kind of cheating. Even Canada is sort of on the fence. Still, it’s a pretty cool thing to be twenty years old and to have already seen so much of the world. I tend to forget that isn’t the norm.

I was once celebrating the departure of a group of friends who were leaving for Europe, and one of their mother’s asked if they would be able to read the flight information at the airport over there. I thought, although I’m sort of ashamed to admit it, that it was by far one of the dumbest questions I’d ever heard asked, especially coming from an adult. Not only do they have the same alphabet, and millions of American tourists, but every airport in the world, no matter how small, accommodates the English language. It’s sort of sad in a way, but certainly makes my life a bit easier, so I shouldn’t complain too greatly.

The point is that it didn’t occur to me at all that perhaps this woman had never set foot in a foreign airport, and I was ashamed of my pretentious judgment of her. The only stupid question, after all, is the one that’s never asked. I really do believe that. She just really didn’t have the answer, and it was so wrong of me to think less of her for wanting it. She just really didn’t know.

It was then that I thought of my own mother, an insanely intelligent woman, who figured out twenty-five years after the release of the popular Village People song, that people were not just throwing their hands up in the air, but were in fact, spelling out the letters Y.M.C.A. What makes it so funny, far beyond her obliviousness to what seems so painfully obvious, is to think of all the events and parties she attend during the years 1977 through 2002 where that song must have been played. Everyone at the party, lifting their hands up, perfectly forming the shapes of each letter in unison, while my mother stood in the middle, flailing her arms about like some wild animal.

What stares she must have gotten, and I’m sure that she assumed it was because she looked like she was having so much fun. I’m sure that she assumed she was the life of the party. I guess in her own, unaware way, she kind of was. That’s the kind of story I’d repeat to all of my friends. “Did you see that woman who didn’t even know she was supposed to be spelling Y.M.C.A? How funny was that?”

It was funny, that moment the song came on the radio in 2002 and my brother and I began to dance around in that cheesy sort of way. It was funny, that moment my mother said “Oh, isn’t that clever, you’re spelling out the letters.” It was funny, that moment of dead silence before my brother and I burst out laughing with a slew of “are you kidding me?” remarks. My poor mother, suddenly so enlightened and so humbled, could do nothing but laugh with us uncontrollably. It was one of my favorite family moments.

That’s the moment I think of every time that I’m inclined to judge someone. We define ourselves based on what we know to be true, and because our perception of truth is infinitely changing, our self-awareness is too. We can only live our lives the way that we believe they should be lived. We can only reside in the reality that we’ve created for ourselves. We can only know what we know, and what I know is that no matter how far I travel or how much I learn, my life will always be filled with those wonderful moments of uncontrollable laughter. I know that I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Sunday, January 29, 2006


It’s always my first instinct to smile. Sometimes I don’t even notice that I’ve been smiling at a person until they smile back, and suddenly I realize how strange I look standing around smiling at strangers. It’s not that it’s an attribute I dislike, but I find that sometimes I wish that I could look a little less approachable.

Every time I step out of my car at any kind of convenience store I am, without fail, approached by any homeless person who may be outside. It doesn’t really bother me, but combined with my inability to lie or say no, I tend to end up spending a lot of extra money just giving it away. It’s really fine with me. I figure I probably wouldn’t end up spending it on anything more productive than they will, but I still often think to myself “why me?”

This morning on my way in, a man called out “Hey! Buy me a cup of coffee?” He said it like we were old friends, and I responded as such. “Of course! Just plain coffee?” He wanted an extra large, cream, two sugars. I liked that he said it as though he were ordering in a restaurant. It was refreshing to have someone ask for something inside instead of just plain money. It somehow made me feel much more useful.

There used to be a man outside WaWa that I’d see on a regular basis. I got used to the routine of leaving the store, handing him my change, and talking to him for a while. He had so many ideas and opinions about the political and social state of our country. He wore a button on his shirt that read “war is not the answer,” and it always made me smile.

He used to comment on my shoes a lot, these bright yellow high-tops that I’d wear around simply because they looked so ridiculous. He even once offered to steal me a pair of green ones from Famous Footwear, but I declined for obvious reasons. Still, I always think of him with a certain fondness for making such an offer. He was always really sweet like that, and I was glad that he stopped me to have those little chats. I liked that he felt like he could talk to me.

People always seem to feel that way, which I really genuinely love, despite the occasional person who relinquishes a little too much information. Those 11am drunks who start talking to me on the street about all the ways the world wronged them, those I could do without. Otherwise though, I take great pride in the stories I pick up along the way. It’s nice to have these little secrets in the back of my mind. It’s nice to know how a complete stranger takes his coffee, and I’ll always remember that, whether or not I ever end up buying him another cup. It’s nice to know these little details about people that make them who they are.

And isn’t that who we are? Are we really anything more than just a collection of specific details that come together to create our identity? I don’t know, perhaps I’m over simplifying us. I guess I just wouldn’t mind defining myself as the smiling girl with yellow high-tops who buys homeless men coffee, because I think really, that just says it all.

Saturday, January 28, 2006

Good Grief

Not to be the epitome of depressing, but I need to write another sad post. My grandfather died this morning. He was my step grandfather, but I never once thought of him as being my “step” grandfather except that my mother never called him “dad.” He was the only grandfather I ever knew.

How lucky I am to have known him. He was a really amazing person, full of life and passion right up to the end. I was always so surprised at his ability to have deep, intellectual conversations at his age, and even more so at his wide knowledge of pop culture. I loved how at his 88th birthday party, he wanted to discuss “those silly desperate housewives on TV.” I loved how when I got home from Bonnaroo, he called me to talk about the article he’d read on it, how they said it was like a modern day Woodstock, and how he was so jealous that I got to go. He always went out of his way to take an interest in my life, and I loved him for it.

December 26th was the last day I saw him. He had already begun the inevitable fight against his ending days. He looked so skinny and small, moving his tired feet in tiny little steps along the carpeted floor, shuffling from place to place. Still, he never looked sick. He still carried himself with that certain dignity that seemed to radiate from him all his life. His intelligence always seemed to enter the room just before he did, announcing his arrival.

He loved the Peanuts cartoons and I always think of him whenever I see Charlie Brown or Snoopy. All of the birthday cards I’ve ever gotten from him had the Peanuts gang on the cover. They always made me smile. He was a lot like those cartoons I think, so good-hearted, so filled with wisdom and joy, so loveable. You just wanted to hug him constantly.

Something I adored most about him was the way he looked so surprised every time I did hug him, as though I had done something so unexpected, given him something so extraordinary. I think he was the one who taught me how extraordinary a hug is, how precious a gift. I don’t know if I ever told him that.

There are things I regret of course, as one always does when a loved one dies. I regret not telling him that. I regret not holding on a little bit longer the last time we hugged goodbye. I regret not saying something more significant as my last words to him. I can’t even remember what they were.

I was sad when my mom told me about him after I’d gotten home from work this afternoon, but part of me wished I could have been sadder. I didn’t cry and somehow I felt as though I ought to, as though that would somehow prove exactly how much I cared for him. I suppose since his death didn’t come as too much of a surprise, I had already had time to deal with it, to accept it. I’ve been preparing for both of my grandparents’ deaths for some time now, hoping that it would make it a little easier.

Of course, it’s never easy, but there’s so much comfort in knowing what a great life he lead. He was happy and wonderful and loved. He was what I hope to be when I reach the end. He was what I hope to be each and every day of my life. He was an extraordinary human being, and I will miss him more than he will ever know. I love you Grandpop, forever and always.

Friday, January 27, 2006

Daddy, Daddy, You Bastard, I'm Through

Dear Dad,

I don’t know if you still read this. I don’t know if you ever bothered opening it again after the first time I sent you the link. I had wanted you to read about my frustrations with you, no matter how mean spirited they may have seemed. It took a lot for me to work up the courage to share that with you, but I needed you to hear me because I never feel like you really hear me. I wish that you could understand that there’s a difference between listening to a person and actually hearing a person. I wish that you could understand how to understand. I wish that you could be bothered to read my thoughts here since you never bother to access them anywhere else.

On the rare chance that you are reading this, I don’t want another email critiquing my writing or making some lame attempt at a joke. That poem I wrote about feeling like the apple you would never deem good enough to keep, that wasn’t about being wasteful, dad. It was about how much you’ve hurt me. For an English teacher, you have a lot to learn about interpreting a poem, and while I may not be a published writer, or even a good writer, it should still matter to you. I should still matter to you.

I’m sorry that I missed your phone calls early this week and forgot to call you back, but when I did make time to call you tonight, I wish that you could have welcomed the conversation instead of attacking me with shame and guilt for “ignoring” you. I had a really wonderful talk with a friend of mine about how I feel so unworthy of my friends and the beauties in my life. He tried to help me figure out why I’ve spent my life feeling inferior to other people and tonight I finally have an answer for him. It’s you.

I wouldn’t feel so ashamed all of the time if you hadn’t spent the last twenty years convincing me of all the things that I should feel ashamed about. I wouldn’t feel so guilty about everything if you were capable of feeling guilty about anything. I knew I never wanted to hurt people the way you hurt me, and so I tried to be the exact opposite of who you are, no matter how extreme the difference was. Even that I feel guilty for. I feel guilty for having people who love me and for needing people who love me, because for as long as I can remember, you’ve shown me how undeserving of it I am. I feel guilty that I’ve allowed you to do this to me, and I feel guilty that I care. I walk around with so much guilt inside me that I’ve somehow convinced myself that everything that’s ever happened around me is in someway my fault. I’ve spent most of my life apologizing.

But I’m not sorry, dad. I’m not sorry that I don’t fill you in on every detail in my life. You called me tonight “worried” about the condition of my life, but you’re about twenty, almost twenty-one, years too late. And then I feel guilty for being so stubborn, because in theory, I believe that it’s never too late in life to make amends with people, but I shouldn’t be the one feeling guilty about this. At least, not the only one. My life wouldn’t be in the condition it’s in if you hadn’t done such a lousy job, and that’s the truth.

It’s funny that you mentioned your concern about me becoming depressed. If you had been listening, really listening, to a word I’d said over the last three years, you would know that I’ve been depressed on and off all that time. You would also know, that I’ve handled it, no thanks to you. In fact, I had finally gotten to a point where I wasn’t feeling that way anymore, and then you had to go and take that away from me again. I can’t even sleep tonight because I’m so angry with you.

The worst part is that the only reason you’ve taken this sudden interest in me is because you have a new woman in your life. Yes, she’s lovely, and I am truly and sincerely happy that you’re together. What I’m not happy about is this sudden “my daughter and I are best buddies” act that you’re putting on for her benefit. You suddenly want to know what’s going on with me because when she asks you about me, you don’t want to have to admit that you don’t know who I am at all. And you don’t, dad. You don’t. It was embarrassing when we were at dinner with her and you responded to everything I said with “oh, really…” as though it were news to you. It’s embarrassing that it is news to you, but it’s not my fault. This isn’t my fault.

How dare you discuss my problems with your girlfriend. You don’t even know what my problems are, and you don’t have the decency to ask me first, or to withhold the conversation you had about me from me. I don’t care what she has to say about me. She’s not in my life. She’s in yours, and you’ve made it quite clear that those are separate entities. I’m not sure why you expect me to revel in your happiness when you can’t even name one single thing that makes me happy, which is not a difficult task for anyone who has ever spent ten minutes with me, let alone twenty years.

I suppose that I should be grateful that you never hit me or ran out on me, but abuse and abandonment can take on different forms. It's nice that you help me out financially when I need it, for the most part. I appreciate that, I do. I know that I can depend on you if I get into any trouble that doesn't require an emotional response to fix, and I thank you for that. I guess I just really need more. It's painful to need something from someone who can't give it to you. It's even more painful to need something from someone who WON'T give it to you. Why is it so difficult for you to love me as I am?

I’m glad that you’re happy. Really I am. I’m glad that you found this woman that you care about so deeply. I just wish that you could care about me a little too. You remember me, right? Me, the girl whose plays and concerts you used to attend and then list for her all the ways she could have been better on the ride home. Me, the girl who has never been smart enough, or pretty enough, or good enough for you to love. Me, the girl who struggles each and every day to feel deserving of anything good and real in life. Me, the girl who wanted more than anything to have her daddy’s approval, foolishly believing it was possible.

Remember her? Remember me? I wish that I could believe you did. I wish that I could believe you cared. It’s funny, with all of the things you’ve convinced me of throughout my life, that was the one lie that never stuck. It was easy to persuade me into disliking myself, but you never even tried to fool me into believing you didn’t feel the same way about me. You never even tried. Well, I'm done trying too. It's not worth it, all the guilt and pain and heartbreak. It's just not worth it. You're not worth it. I'm done.

Did you hear that, dad?

Your daughter in title only,

Wednesday, January 25, 2006

A Simple, Ordinary, Absolutely Wonderful Day

What a beautiful day filled with simple pleasures. I’m not quite sure what made me so extremely aware of details on this seemingly ordinary day. Perhaps it was watching the movie Amelie again yesterday (one of my favorites), or perhaps it was from the lack of sleep I got last night, either way, I’m so grateful that it happened.

I was running early for a meeting, so I drove around for a little while, watching the surrounding world. I love turning off onto little previously unexplored side streets, getting to drive as slowly as I like in an attempt to take everything in. I watched four boys playing football on their lawn, tackling one another and laughing with a kind of tender innocence that only resides in the hearts of children. I watched the leaves rise and fall with the wind, dancing as they hovered above the ground. I watched the people in the cars that passed me, so unaware that they were visible, singing and dancing along with their radios. I smiled and laughed and rejoiced in the solitude of my own car, knowing that I was visible, hoping someone was watching.

My meeting was with one of my bosses who, knowing that I need some extra cash for India, asked me to do some additional work helping him out with some “personal affairs.” Basically he wants me to help him arrange his office, which I would happily do for free, but am delighted to get paid for. The best part of our meeting was his asking me if the usual rate would be enough for such a thing. It was such a sweet and wonderful thing to ask. I guess I tend to be overly appreciative of little considerations like that, but it really was just so lovely to be asked. Of course, I said it was more than enough and wanted to add that I would have done it for much less, but decided that I usually regret saying things like that, so I’m going to be a little greedy for once. After all, I do have a plane ticket to buy.

When I got home, I had a slip for a package that I’d missed the delivery of, so I made my way to the post office to pick it up. On the way, I passed a grown man in a statue of liberty costume standing outside liberty mutual insurance, handing out flyers. My first reaction was to feel sorry for him. It’s one thing to have a horrible job when you’re young, but to be humiliated to such a degree when you're middle aged just seems so unfair. I was sitting at a red light sympathizing with him, when I suddenly began to notice how much fun he was having. He was hopping up and down and talking to people as they passed by, waving to all the cars that passed. He was reveling in how absolutely ridiculous he looked and I loved him for it. I loved that he embraced the humor of the moment and just went with it. I smiled and waved to him as I passed, thinking how much better the world would be if more people could be like him. He made me so happy.

As did the package I picked up. It was an unexpected box of treasures from my best friend who’s in China for the year. Honestly, the box could have been empty and it still would have meant the world just to know that he was thinking of me, but the fact that it was filled with some of the most perfect presents I’ve ever received, just made my heart sing. I love when I receive presents that really express who I am, because it reassures me of how I come across to other people, it shows me a reflection of myself in their eyes. As I said yesterday, he seems to know me better than I know myself. He knew I’d love it all, and I do, so endlessly.

And to top it all off, I had a nice chat with a good friend who I hadn’t had a long conversation with in a while. All in all, it was an amazing day. A simple, ordinary, absolutely wonderful day.

Tuesday, January 24, 2006

A Really Kindred Spirit To Whom I Can Confide My Inmost Soul

I hope L.M. Montgomery will forgive me for quoting her in my title, but I could think of no better way to describe my dear friends who have done so much for me lately. They are, as so dramatically dubbed by Anne of Green Gables, really kindred spirits to whom I can, and have, confided my inmost soul. This is a tribute to them.

To you, embarking on the journey of your true passion, thank you. You solidified everything I knew to be true about you with your decision, with the beautiful words that you wrote to yourself and allowed me to read. I never doubted for a moment that your heart wouldn’t eventually lead you here, to this amazing adventure, to your amazing skill. I never doubted for a moment your ability to accomplish anything you put your mind to because underneath all of that skill and passion and determination, you’re YOU. I never doubted for a moment the importance of that. You are so talented and kind and smart and admirable. You have allowed me, time and time again, to share in all of your endless triumphs and I am so forever grateful to you for it. You are a rare and remarkable person and friend, and I love you for it. No, that’s not it, “love is too weak a word for what I feel. I luuurve you, I loave you, I luff you, two f’s.” Here’s to living so fully that we won’t ever have to dream of things that we might have been. Here’s to you, my pride, my joy, my friend. Here’s to you, my hero.

To you, who spent last night discussing with me life and all that it entails, thank you. I feel as though I’ve been bombarding you with these sentiments lately, but in truth (always in truth), recently every time I’ve sat down to write, I’ve thought of you. Partly because I know that you’re reading, and partly because I’ve wanted to say all of these things to you so many times before and have only now found the courage to do so. I want to tell you that, without exhausting the idea, I utterly adore you. I awoke this morning still beaming with the delight of our conversation. The frustration with my inability to spark new ideas that I spoke of in my blog yesterday is always completely eradicated after a few words with you. You ignite realizations within me about who I am and how I am and I can’t begin to adequately express how grateful I am to you for it. You are, undeniably, one of the smartest people I’ve ever known. You are knowledgeable and wise, and your extraordinary desire to know more about the world is a constant source of inspiration for me. I love that there are so many layers to you and that as each one is revealed in some way, it only makes me more appreciative of you, for you. I love that every time I think that I couldn’t possibly have any more respect for you than I already do, you manage to take it to another level, another realm of admiration I didn’t know existed. I love that I can have a four-hour conversation with you and it only leaves me wanting more. Here’s to a lifetime of great discussions to come. Here’s to you, and your endless ability to amaze me. Here’s to you, my new, dear, phenomenal friend.

To you, who knows me better than I know myself, thank you. I could try to explain how much I love you and miss you and how proud of you I am, but the explanation seems to pale in the light of the emotions themselves. There isn’t anything new that I could tell you here that I haven’t already told you a thousand times before. Not a day goes by when I don’t think of you. Every time I laugh, I realize the depth of how much I miss the sound of yours. Every time I cry, I long for the comfort of your presence. Every time a story presents itself, it’s you I want to tell first. You know all my stories and secrets and thoughts, sometimes before I do. You make family out of strangers because you see the world as one big human family, and you know that you belong in it. You live the way I dream to, full of energy and happiness and profound revelations. Your life burns with meaning. If I could be more like anyone on this earth, it would be you, because everything about you screams beauty. Here’s to everything you’ve taught me about life. Here’s to you, and your all-consuming beauty. Here’s to you, my best friend.

And to you, each and every kindred spirit, thank you. Here’s to friendship. Here’s to love. Here’s to confiding our inmost souls on this miraculous journey called life.

Monday, January 23, 2006

An Unoriginal Thought

Sometimes I feel like I’m incapable of an original thought. It’s as though my mind works in these endless cycles that just forget and renew the same revelations over and over again. It’s not that I mind the cycle. I like the delight that comes from rekindling an epiphany, from discovering it in an unexpected time and place. Still, I often wonder if I’m making any progression.

It’s funny how song lyrics and poems and stories hold different meanings each time I discover them. I like the way children’s books always seem so profound when I read them as an adult. I like the way a song that meant nothing to me five years ago can suddenly seem like it was written just for me. I like the way concepts far beyond my grasp a short while ago seem so obvious to me now.

And yet, as I read over old blog entries, I can’t help but be struck at how similar they all are. Everything I write makes me pause and wonder if I’ve written it all before, if I spend my time just quoting ideas back to myself. I guess there’s nothing wrong with that, except the whole reason I write is to discover something new, to dig a little deeper into my soul. It’s frustrating that I can’t seem to reach a new plateau of understanding. Perhaps I’m just too impatient.

Lately I’ve been talking with a dear friend about life choices. He’s reached one of those inevitable forks in the road where one questions the path their on. I think he’s making the decision to change his, and it got me thinking about all of the changes I’ve made, even just in this past year. It’s so strange to think that even within the cycles, within the similarities of my entries, I see the world so differently than I once did. The older I get, the shorter my life seems, and I value my time so much more. I know that I’m only twenty, and I have a long way to go, but who really knows? Today could be the last day of my life.

Maybe it sounds really cheesy, but what I’ve been thinking about this past week is how okay I’d be with that. I spent a long time feeling so frustrated that I didn’t have a set plan for my life, that each day I’d get up not knowing where I was headed. It annoyed me that while I followed my heart, I also had to accept that life does go on, and that I couldn’t realistically live each day as though it were my last. At some point, practicality and logic would always seep in.

Somewhere along the way, I decided to fight it. I wish that I knew when or where or how that changed, but I don’t. What I do know is that I’ve become more of a lovey-dovey hippie in the past year than I had ever planned on becoming. I cast aside all of those practical voices nagging at me and decided that I would go to sleep each night feeling complete. I do feel complete, even though there are a thousand things I want to do and feel and experience and change about myself, I somehow feel complete.

I think it’s mostly because I make sure, each and every day, that the people I love know that I love them. I’m by no means saying that I want my life to end anytime soon, but if for some reason it did, I would leave this world knowing that I shared all the love I could while I was here, and because of that, I’d know that my time here was worthwhile. I know that it’s worthwhile.

I still don’t have a plan. I still feel unoriginal and restless and hungry for more, but I also feel a kind of sublime contentment with things that I haven’t felt in a while. That I haven’t felt since the last time around. I’m probably really insane, and this living in the moment lifestyle will come back to haunt me someday when all of my friends become doctors and lawyers and I’m living from paycheck to paycheck in an attempt to “find myself.” Still, for now, the present thrills me it’s in uncertainty and I could die right now feeling happy and complete. Maybe it’s not original, but it’s me.

Friday, January 20, 2006

That's Your Family

I was never very close to my family. It wasn’t necessarily that we didn’t get along with each other. It was more that I never felt very connected to them. I didn’t feel like any of us really understood one another. With the exception of my mother, my family was a separate entity from my friends. Friends were the people I wanted in my life and family members were the people I was stuck with it.

It was especially true of my siblings. I love my brothers and sister, don’t get me wrong, but we never hung out with one another the way other siblings did. We never spent time together just for the sake of spending time together. It was tougher, in our defense, to bond. Nate and Jenny, my half siblings, are 18 and 21 years older than me, respectfully. They were both out of the house by the time I was 3 (they lingered as I am), so they weren’t a big part of my immediate life.

Harry, my younger brother by 3 years, and I for the most part always got along, but we were --are-- different people. We never really fought, but we never really spent enough time together to have the opportunity to. We lead different lives. By the time he was 13, he had dropped out of school and was determined to find life outside of the private school world that I was so involved in. My school was my life. All my friends were there, all the parties and events I attended were in the surrounding neighborhood of Chestnut Hill. I was happy with my small life and he wasn’t. Neither of us could grasp, or wanted to grasp, the alternative life the other had chosen, so we just stepped aside and allowed ourselves to grow apart.

And then came Zoe. Nate and Zoe were married in October of 2004, the week my parents decided to separate. It was the worst timing and I remember calling my best friend right after the wedding and crying for hours. It wasn’t just that there was a wedding to remind me of a love that my parents no longer shared, but they were awful to one another, sharing a bitterness I had never really seen in them. I left angry and heartbroken with their behavior, and angry and heartbroken that I couldn’t really revel in my brother’s new found happiness.

When I finally did get the opportunity to, when I moved passed the divorce of my parents and the anger with my father (for the most part), I got to see Zoe, really see her, for the phenomenal person she is. Nate is so lucky to have found such a wonderful wife and we are so lucky to have her become a part of our family. I love my sister-in-law. She’s this amazing person filled with energy and light and laughter, and what I adore most about her is her dedication to family. Over dinner once, she said “yeah, but don’t you want to know about them? I mean, that’s where you come from. That’s your family.” I smiled a sort of half smile, suddenly feeling unexpectedly embarrassed that I didn’t know them, that I hadn’t ever really wanted to. Why didn’t I want to?

From then on, things were somehow different. Zoe always called and invited me to family gatherings at the new house she and Nate moved in to. They always listened to what I had to say about myself and my life. They told me stories about their own. I’ve learned more about Nate in the last six months than I have in the past twenty years. We bonded over struggles with our father and our siblings. He told me things about my sister that I’ve never been able to drag from her. All of the pieces started to come together. This is where I come from.

Last night we went out to dinner and then to watch Zoe’s nephew, who’s sort of my nephew by association, perform as Daddy Warbucks in his school’s rendition of Annie. Sitting there, delighting in Jared’s smile as he walked out onto the stage, holding his little brother Gabe in my lap, my brother and sister-in-law laughing on either side of me, I finally understood what Zoe was trying to say about family. This was it. This overwhelming sense of pride and happiness was what being a family was all about. This is where I come from and this is where I belong.

Thursday, January 19, 2006

What I Like About You

You are a fool.
You dance in the rain with no shoes on.
You speak your mind no matter how random,
Your thoughts may be.
You don’t care what anyone thinks
About the way you choose to express yourself,
The way you choose to live.
You follow your heart
To places no one else dares to go,
And still, you’re always in control
Over the situation at hand,
Commanding and demanding
The direction of your journey.

You are a fool
Not to understand how remarkable that is,
Not to understand what that means to me.
You allow me to be free.
Like the way it feels to sneeze while you’re driving,
That sudden sense of letting go,
Where there is no control
Over the moment,
But only that release,
Like when music builds to its highest point
Before breaking.

You are a fool
For showing the beauty of that to me
Because now every song that I hear reminds me of you
And the way that we dance,
My goodness how we dance
Like utter fools.
And we don’t care what anyone thinks
While the music’s playing
Because the music is simply a metaphor
For the way we think and live
To the beat of our own drum,
The way we laugh and love
Amidst all of our beauty,

And all of its utter foolishness.

Wednesday, January 18, 2006

Our Story

On a postcard my mother once gave me are the words “To read is to empower. To empower is to write. To write is to influence. To influence is to change. To change is to live.” I love these words. I posted them on my bedroom door and I think about them every time I walk in and out of my room.

I like to think about my life as an ever-changing phenomenon. There’s something so comforting about knowing, really knowing, that a life can never become stagnant. Even in it’s daily routine, life is always moving forward. Every instant is a small journey towards the future. Every smile is a small journey towards happiness. Every word said and thought and written is a small journey towards the story of a life.

What will your story be?

I always have that urge to create, even if it’s only thoughts in my own mind, and that urge in and of itself is my creation. I am already making my way through the story of my life. It’s here among the entries of this blog, in the letters and emails I’ve sent and received, in the smiles and hearts of my loved ones. It won’t be a recollection at the end of my life, but a tale that resides in the present, in the here and now. It’s a narrative that grows longer with each passing moment. It’s an account of a life that begins and ends with me.

It’s amazing to think that each of us has our own story that is growing and changing by the second. I am often so consumed by my own, that I forget to read the trails being left by those around me. Every once and a while it will suddenly dawn on me that the person sitting across from the table, across the room, across the world, has their own life story to share with me, and I realize how desperate I am to hear it.

I love to hear other stories. I love when people share their lives and thoughts and experiences, even if it’s not presented in a direct way. I’m always listening for it, really listening. People are often stunned at the information I remember about them, but I make it my mission to do so. I consider it one of the most important things that I do, as though my purpose in life is to someday write the biography of each person that I meet. Maybe in my own way, it is.

I’m so interested in the different kinds of journeys we all take. If I could, I would spend my life traveling around asking people about their lives, listening to their stories. I love how each one is so remarkably individual and yet how they are all so inherently the same. I love how just when I think I have someone completely figured out, they share something with me that changes everything I’ve ever believed to be true about them. People are always so much deeper and more complicated than I give them credit for.

Lately I’ve been finding that every topic I begin to write about changes direction by the time I reach the end of it. If I were a better writer, I would take the point I reach at the end and begin all over again to make a stronger statement, but for now, I’ll just leave my ramblings as they are. They should remain as they are, because like life, they are always moving, always changing, always evolving into something different than I thought they’d be. My story is evolving. Your story is evolving. Our stories are evolving as we change, as we age, as we live.

Tuesday, January 17, 2006

The Secret, By Denise Levertov

Two girls discover
the secret of life
in a sudden line of

I who don't know the
secret wrote
the line. They
told me

(through a third person)
they had found it
but not what it was
not even

what line it was. No doubt
by now, more than a week
later, they have forgotten
the secret,

the line, the name of
the poem. I love them
for finding what
I can't find,

and for loving me
for the line I wrote,
and for forgetting it
so that

a thousand times, till death
finds them, they may
discover it again, in other

in other happenings. And for
wanting to know it,

assuming there is
such a secret, yes,
for that
most of all.

Monday, January 16, 2006

One Life To Live

Every chance we get, Tommy and I send each other an email reminding one another, and ourselves, that we only have one life to live. The thing I treasure most about our friendship is the way we both see the world as an opportunity for exploration. He makes me feel a little less crazy than I assume I am.

In his latest email he reminded me that we only have one life, one mind, one soul, and if those are happy, why should anything else matter? I know that I’ve always believed that, but something about hearing it from him made me so utterly aware of its truth. It is so true.

My first assignment in college was to write a page about where I want to be in ten years. It sounds lame I know, and at the time I wondered why my first real homework in college was the same assignment I’d had in the fourth grade, but looking back, I’m grateful for it. My idea for my future was the same at age eighteen as it had been eight years earlier. I wanted to be a teacher. I wanted to live in a small town where everyone knew everyone else, where all the neighborhood children would come over to my house to play with my own children, where everything was simple and certain.

Part of me still wants that life, but not until much later days. Maybe I’ll never get there. That idea has moved so far down on my list of what I want my future to look like, that I often forget it’s on the list at all. I want so much more than that.

I grew up with very few expectations. My parents emphasized the importance of being polite, friendly and loving, but beyond that, my requirements were minimal. When I tried hard in school, it was always more for my teacher’s approval than it was for my parents or my own. When I took on leadership roles it was for my friends. When I participated in extra curricular activities it was about being involved in the community more than having something to put down on resumes. I never really felt forced to do anything.

I both love and hate that in retrospect. I hate that I have trouble sticking with anything I dislike. I hate that sometimes I feel as though I’m only living for me. I hate the responsibility that comes from having my entire life be of my own making. Sometimes independence can be a real curse. It’s strange, but somehow having a lack of rules forced me to create my own. I am actually, almost overly responsible for the most part. I was always safe and sound minded. I never became that wild, party child that my siblings had all tried at some point in their lives. I made the choice to take control of my life.

Now, I’m beginning to set myself free. I’m allowing myself to let go of some of those rules and expectations I forced upon myself. I AM living for me, but I’m learning to see it as a blessing rather than a curse. It’s ok to be a little selfish. It’s ok to stop worrying so much about what other people think. It’s ok to make drastic decisions to fulfill the hunger for life within me. It’s ok to love my independence. I love that I can follow my heart. I love that I can do whatever makes me happy, because being happy is what makes my existence worthwhile.

That “straight path” life isn’t for me, and I know that. I have only one life, one mind, one soul, and I intend to do everything in my power to make them extraordinary. In the words of my favorite poet, Mary Oliver, “I don’t want to end up simply having visited this world.” In the words of my best friend, Tommy, “if you are happy, why does anything else matter?” I know that it doesn’t. I’m not just visiting, I’m living, and it’s ok that I’m dedicating my life to me. We only have one life to live. Enjoy it.

Sunday, January 15, 2006

Defining Myself

I’ve been thinking lately about who I am. I used to be able to define myself so absolutely, so matter-of-factly. When I could no longer do so, when those definitions become too constricting and too absolute, it bothered me. I hated not knowing who I was. I hated not being able to sum myself up into a category. I hated the uncertainty of being anything.

It’s only tonight that all of that has changed. Well, that’s not entirely true. What I mean to say is that it’s only tonight that I’ve suddenly realized how lovely it is to be anything and everything. I am someone entirely new each morning. I can choose to be whatever I like, mold my life, my spirit, into anything my mind can dream up. And even then, I’m still not one specific thing. I’m incapable of being labeled.

I’ve been thinking about my relationships and how different I am in each one. I am someone new with each person. Everyone in my life knows so much about me, but each one knows something different. I have some friends who I sit and listen to for hours without saying much of anything. I have other friends who can never get a word in the way I ramble on. Some friends I write to each day. Some friends have never read my writing. Some friends I am always happy around. Some friends instantly bring out the sadness in me. Some friends I have yet to say, “I love you” to, while others I embrace at each encounter with a myriad of loving remarks.

What’s so interesting about it all is that there’s no real formula to it. It’s not as though the people I consider my closest friends know me better than the ones I only casually see. I’ve cried more with strangers than I have with friends. Some of the people I share everything with have never even seen me cry. Sometimes I forget to tell the most important people in my life of my most important decisions. I’m just never the same person.

I like that. It used to annoy me so terribly. I used to hate that I couldn’t be “myself” in certain situations, that I would feel awkward and close myself off. I still do that, but I understand that it’s part of me. If I were someone who was open all the time, who was always the life of the party, always felt sociable and gregarious, I wouldn’t be the same person. I wouldn’t sit and reflect on what was said and what I wanted to say. I don’t think I would be so analytical.

That’s not to say I wouldn’t change some things. I often wish I were a little less self-aware. I watch some of the people in my life who have little to no idea how they come across to others and I find myself jealous of that kind of ignorance. Life would be easier if I didn’t care so much what other people thought. It would be easier if I weren’t so analytical. It can sometimes feel like I’m alone in my head, to steal a line from a brilliant acquaintance of mine.

Still, when it comes down to it, I wouldn’t trade the inside of my head for anything. I like being that aware. I like noticing every detail about the people that surround me, and the way those details affect who I am. It makes me who I am. It makes them who they are. After all, it’s those little things that make us so uniquely beautiful.

Tonight I received an email from a friend who I’ve exchanged “I love yous” with for years, but who made it feel like it was the first time I’d ever heard those words from anyone. “But I know now that I love you.” Are there any words more precious than those to hear? If there are, I can’t think of what they would be. What it made me realize, far beyond just how much I love him, is that I can actually define myself. I am loving and I am loved, and for me, that’s the only definition of who I am that matters. Whoever else I am, whoever else I will become, that will always be me. That will always be me.

Friday, January 13, 2006

The First Step

It was extremely appropriate that Friday the 13th began the way that it did. It was such a grey and dreary morning, the world moving languidly through the thickening fog. Everything seemed so slow and quiet. It certainly had that scary movie quality to it.

I tend to love mornings like that. Somehow everything seems to shine so vividly juxtaposed against the blank canvas of a cloud ridden sky. The naked branches of the trees stand black and bold against the white light behind them. They look like the negative of a photograph. They look like a painting of silhouettes. They look beautiful.

Today I received the beginning sets of my India information and got a chance to speak with the head of our program. Sarah, a delightful British woman, spoke to me all about what I’ll be doing, why I’ve decided to do it, how happy she was that I did. Suddenly, it all became so real.

Suddenly, I’m so very excited. It’s finally beginning to really sink in. I’m going India. In less than two months, I’m going to be on a twenty hour plane ride, alone, on my way to discover the world. Everything about this is so crazy. People keep asking me why I’m doing it. I guess it’s pretty ridiculous that I don’t really have an answer, nothing more than “it just feels right,” which is usually the reason I make most of the decisions that I do. But it just feels right.

Meghan asked me, “Do you think you’ll find yourself in India?” I don’t know if we ever really “find” ourselves, but I truly believe that every step we take is a step towards that kind of self realization, and this is certainly a big step. I think it’s impossible for this experience to leave my life unchanged. It’s impossible for me not to give myself whole heartedly to this, to allow every moment to seep into my veins and mind and soul. It’s impossible to emerge as the same person who entered.

I’m so blissfully happy and excited for what the future will hold. This is the sort of adventure I’ve always admired other people for embarking on, the kind of thing I’ve always longed to do. This is the kind of life I’ve always wanted for myself, full of travel and uncertainty and independence. This is the first step to becoming the person I want to be, the step that will bring me that much closer to finding myself.

Tuesday, January 10, 2006

The Unbearable Lightness Of Being

This morning I was thinking about the unbearable lightness of being. Milan Kundera will have to forgive me for stealing his title, his line, his idea. It’s a wonderful book, but I was thinking less about the novel and more about the words themselves. The unbearable lightness of being.

I’m twenty years old and still cannot watch a full hour of the news without crying. It’s sort of something I keep to myself. In so many ways, I’m desperate to watch it each night, to stay updated on current events, to know what’s going on in the world. Unfortunately, I can’t let it stick to my brain the way I want it to. Instead it pours down me, through me, into the depths of me. I feel with every inch of me, the pain and suffering of the world. I think about the people they don’t show on TV; the families, the children, the spectators of it all. I weep for them. I weep for our world. I weep for our lives.

Sometimes it feels as though my heart is too big for me. I’m so consumed with emotion that I can’t function in a logical, practical world. I can’t let things roll off my back or stand as they are. I can’t separate the way that I feel from the way that I think. Perhaps because what I think, what I feel, is that they shouldn’t be separate. How can there be so little compassion in a world that needs nothing more?

It isn’t just that I can’t watch or listen to other people’s pain without feeling it too, it’s that I feel all their beauty and happiness as well. It’s always been my greatest strength and my greatest weakness that I feed off of the emotions of others. A friend in a bad mood can deter me from my night in an instant. A friend in a great mood can fill me with such delight that I wonder how anyone could ever possibly be sad in such a perfect world.

I am forever in awe of the way a flock of birds erupts from a tree into the limitless sky. The way raindrops dot the surface of the earth, hitting bodies of water as grand as the ocean and as poignant as a puddle, twinkling like stars as they become one with their brothers. The way the early morning light cascades over the roofs, pours down over the hillside, illuminating every object, moment, soul. A child laughs. A grown up laughs. Somewhere someone is saying I love you. Somewhere someone is hearing it. Two old friends reunite. Two new friends share secrets over coffee. A life comes to a comforting end. A new life begins. The universe continues on.

And I feel it. It aches deep within my heart, as though any second I will burst with gratitude. I think it stems from never feeling beautiful myself. As someone who’s not beautiful, I’ve learned to find, to seek it out, in everything around me. That’s why I can look at a rock and see a soul, why the stars burn my senses, why rain fills me with joy. That’s why I can see the world as an invitation for love. There’s a beauty that comes from feeling both happy and sad. There’s a comfort that comes from allowing myself to be human. There’s a lightness that comes from being.

And yes, sometimes it is unbearable. Utterly, painfully, beautifully unbearable, but always, always, always, worth experiencing.

Monday, January 09, 2006

The Brilliant Dance

I can’t remember what I thought my college years would look like, but I know that it wasn’t this. I’m not necessarily disappointed with the way things turned out, but at the same time, I know that if I was really content with the state of my life, I wouldn’t be constantly trying to analyze how I got here. I wouldn’t be constantly wondering where everything changed.

Everything changed. In high school I was ambitious. I wasn’t the best student, but I loved school because I loved who I was there. I was popular. I was a performer, a writer, a leader. I never really gave myself credit for any of that at the time. I always believed that it all just sort of came to me through my circumstances. It was easy to gain the trust and love of the people around me having thirteen years with them to do so. It was easy to step into the limelight knowing every face in the audience. It was comfortable and safe.

Which is ironically the reason I left my first choice of college. It was comfortable and safe. It was a continuation of the straight and narrow path I had grown so accustomed to, grown to love. I needed more. I needed my world to be bigger. I needed to see who I could become when I stepped outside of the bubbles I created for myself.

So here I am in the bigger world with each day of my life a bigger struggle. It’s not easy. It’s not comfortable and safe. It’s not a blissful life, but it’s mine, and because of that, I treasure it. I won’t ever really know what my life would be like if I’d made different choices. That seems to be my mantra, and I’m quite sure I’ve written about all of this before. Still, sometimes I just need to remind myself that this is all ok.

I am ok, because no matter what happens, no matter how much my life may feel impossible at times, I’m still living it. And so I look upon each morning as an accomplishment in itself, and each night as another success. Each day is a day I have faced, no matter how sad or lonely or difficult it may have been. I welcomed it with open arms. I entered it knowing that it will only be followed by more days, more joys and hardships. I cherished it for the gift that it was. Tomorrow I will do it all again.

I suppose what it comes down to, is that I live on hope. I wake up each morning with the hope that today will be a little brighter, that I will be a little better. I move into the future with the hope that it will be all that I dream. I follow my heart with the hope that it knows what I need. Perhaps that is all I need, that hope, that ability to revel in each day. I can’t remember what I thought my college years would look like, but I always knew that I’d travel my own path. I have. I am. We all are.

We are all moving through the days in our own way, seeing what we want to see, believing what we want to believe. We are all on our separate journeys, and yet, we all move together as one. We’re all on the same search for a life we can be proud of, no matter which path we choose to take. In the end, no matter what kinds of steps we choose, we are all dancing the same dance. And so we dance on and on and on, into the grand ballroom of life.

Friday, January 06, 2006

Grateful Friday

I think this is such a nice way to end the work week. Thank you to my fellow bloggers who inspired me to do this. Here's what I'm grateful for today.

My dear friend's 21st birthday today.

Getting to celebrate with her the second it turned midnight.

Getting to celebrate with some other friends who I haven't hung out with in a while.

Getting to do it all again tonight.

A heart to heart talk with my mom.

Finally feeling like I know what I want to do next.

My decision to go to India.

My parents and friends support of my decision.

Getting to return to work until I leave (even if I don't particularly like the job).

The emails I've received from various online pals.

The new friends I met on Tuesday night.

That one of them turned out to be an old friend who I hadn't seen in seventeen years.

The moment we both realized that.

The beautiful weather we've been having.

The long quiet walk I took home last night.

My friend's new home and how much it means to her.

Realizing I have a friend who spends a free day in Borders reading books.

Realizing I have a friend who believes in my future as a writer.

Realizing I have a friend who laughs with me from across the world.

Realizing I have the greatest friends in the world.

Feeling consumed with love.

The prospect of another great week ahead.

Thursday, January 05, 2006

5 Weird Things Tag

I was tagged by Liz (www.bepresentbehere.blogspot.com) to write 5 weird things about me. I've seen it on most of my other favorite blogs and felt deeply inclined to participate. Here goes;

1. I am afraid of getting poked in the eye by other people's umbrellas. I'm not sure where this fear derives from, but I've had it for as long as I can remember. Because of this, I never use umbrellas and I try to avoid crowds on rainy days.

2. I love to be barefoot all the time. Not just on soft surfaces like grass and sand, but on dirty sidewalks. I always slip my shoes off when no one's watching, even if it's painful to walk. Sometimes I like it better when it's painful.

3. When I was younger, I would cut celebrities pictures out of magazines and make collages in a big scrapbook. They didn't even need to be celebrities I liked. Anyone would do. A few years later, I ripped out all of the pages and used them as wallpaper for my room. When I was sixteen, I decided it was lame and threw them all away. I miss them sometimes, and am always tempted to rip out pages every time I read a magazine.

5. I got my tongue pierced a year before I pierced my ears. Even when I went to get my ears pierced, I decided on a whim to do my nose as well. I can't actually remember any of it and I often forget they're even there.

4. I partied more at age 14 than I do at 20. We used to sneak liquor from our parents, get dropped off at WaWa and go walk what felt like miles to go drink in the woods. It often took all of our cunning capabilities to pull this off. Now that alcohol is readily available, I find I want it less. I miss the adventure.

Wednesday, January 04, 2006

The Road Less Traveled

Today I made the decision to change my life. I know that I haven't written for a couple of days, and I apologize for my lack of updates. Everything has just sort of been in limbo lately. I wasn’t sure what my semi-immediate future would look like, where I’d be, what I’d be doing. I was lost and confused and afraid to face that, to admit that to myself.

What I’d been dreading most was sitting down to talk to my mom about taking a semester off from school. It’s not that I thought she’d be angry, or even terribly disappointed really, but I thought she’d say no. I thought she would push hard to make sure my life doesn’t end up like hers. It is a family trait to take the road less traveled, and my family has seen its fair share of sorrows because of it. But she was amazing, as she always is. She talked to me like a grown up, she listened carefully to what I had to say, she took my feelings into consideration. In the end, she told me she just wanted me to be happy. I believe her.

So, the plan as of now is that I won’t be returning to school later this month. Instead, I’m going to India in March for a few months to volunteer and travel and have an adventure. My mood has already blossomed. I’m so excited and happy and thrilled. The feeling derives from both the prospect of such an adventure as well as the final decision I’ve been waiting forever to reach. I think the struggle of what to do has been weighing on me more than I’ve allowed myself to admit. I’m quite sure it was a major contribution in my recent depression.

I feel as though a weight has been lifted from me. I feel better about myself and the world and the direction of my life. I feel a kind of contentment I haven’t felt in a very long time. Yes, it’s risky. Yes, it’s different. Yes, it’s the road less traveled, but that’s what I’ve always wanted. That’s why I left my original college choice, Kalamazoo, to be in a bigger world. I wanted this struggle. I chose this life.

That’s how I want to feel about my life. I want to feel like my success, my failures, my days are my choice. I want to feel in control. Of course I know that having control over my life isn’t always an option, but with every decision that I make I’m that much more satisfied. I don’t have an ultimate destination and I like it that way. What I do have, what I do like, are these choices that I can make. I like the freedom of following my heart wherever it may lead. I like that each time I make the choice to travel down the road less traveled. For surely that will make all the difference.

Sunday, January 01, 2006

A New Year

A new year. There’s something so exciting about the prospect of starting over, not from scratch, but from the opportunity to have a new perspective on life. I left the New Year’s Eve party early this morning, hoping to come home and get some sleep. I opened the front door to leave and suddenly the world seemed to burst open with everything I could ever dream of. It was like a scene from a children’s movie, where a door leads to another universe. It was the wardrobe door that leads to Narnia. That’s what it felt like.

The sky seemed so large with its sporadic bursts of clouds hovering before a vibrant blue background. It was the color of one of my dearest friend’s eyes when he stands in just the right light. It was beautiful. Having grown tired of my party shoes five minutes into the night, I walked across the front lawn to my car barefoot. The grass was so cold and wet beneath my toes. I breathed in deeply, savoring the sweet moisture in the air. It felt like my first breath.

It felt like the first time I had ever seen the world, everything glowing in the soft light of morning. The universe radiated a sense of freshness, of birth, of life. The earth burned with possibility.

When I arrived home, the streets of Manayunk bustled with people leaving their parties from the night before, everyone slowly and quietly making their way to their cars. There was something really lovely about knowing that we were all feeling the same way, tired and happy and ready for our new year to begin. I couldn’t find a parking spot and had to park a few blocks away. I walked barefoot with my shoes in my hand, my hair a mess, my makeup smeared around the edges of my eyes. I looked like a complete disaster. I smiled. Sometimes looking like a fool is the best way to feel free.

In the year 2005 I thought about death more than I have at any other time in my life. I thought about how easy it would be to just give up on life, just be done with everything. There was something so appealing about that kind of ultimate peace, so final, so absolute. It seemed to loom over me as an invitation for escape. In truth, I often thought about accepting.

In the year 2006, all twelve hours of it, I have wanted nothing more than to live. Not just to be alive, but to live with such a blaze that nothing can extinguish me before my fire burns out, before I’m meant to go. I haven’t even slept yet, somehow afraid of missing something beautiful if I close my eyes for too long. I want to be awake, wide-awake, always watching and listening and embracing the life around and within me. I’m ready to take on the world.

At around four a.m., Sam and I sat down and discussed our futures. I’ve been trying to figure out what to do with myself, what direction to point myself in. I told him I didn’t know what I should do. He said, “write.” I know that it’s impractical, and I know that my life will be more difficult for following my heart over my head, but I can’t imagine that my life would be better in any way if I no longer dreamed the way I do. I still don’t really know what will become of me these next few months, this year of 2006, but this morning I started writing a novel, and while nothing may ever come of it, I’m so glad to have begun. I’m so glad for this new beginning.

Happy New Year.