Saturday, October 22, 2011

Rising and Falling

I've been sitting in the Student Union for a while now.  When I got here it was perfectly empty at first.  It was perfect in quietness, perfect in solitude, perfect in loneliness to match my mood.  Now, there are a few dozen people here from some robotics convention.  It's still perfectly lonely but now that desolate feeling has been personified in the faces of people I don't recognize and never will. 

I wrote once on how hard it was for me to connect with music.  I'd like to retract that statement.  As I'm sitting here, reviewing my notes on the Greek influence on Renaissance art, a familiar melody started playing though my headphones.  Except it wasn't playing through my headphones, or in my ears, or even across my brain waves, but it started playing directly on my heart.  It isn't even that great of a song yet all of a sudden I felt like smiling or crying or both (you might be correct in attributing this conflict of feeling in the fact that I've spent the last two days on a relatively deserted campus).  Either way, I decided to write.

As soon as I felt the melody and notes on my heart, my brain turned into some sort of antiquated projector.  Fuzzy black and white images started to come into focus.  I'm sitting in my old bedroom before it was redone, staring at walls the color of a grape slushy and playing with little key chains and trinkets that unlocked my imagination to a world all my own.  I'm sitting in the old Lumina mini-van with the worn upholstery and fabric falling from the roof, on my way to Florida listening to this CD and halfway between the conscious and dreamworld.  Looking back, I think I spent most of my childhood in that transitory state where nothing was real enough to be boring and reality was augmented by an imagination that was always on in full force.

My heart is rising and falling to the beat of the violin and drum.  Finally, I am moved.

Until next time,

P.S. Although this post may insinuate that I am in some way not enjoying this weekend, that is completely false.  If you didn't know this already, I don't consider lonliness and quiet and solitude to be negative things and my experiences with them these last few days have been minimal yet fulfilling.

Monday, October 17, 2011

Sushi and Diamonds

I am the type of person who cannot be within eyesight of a sign, posting, notice, billboard, book, graphitti, pamphlet without reading it.  I will read the same sign over and over just because it is there.  So, when riding in the car, I pay attention to what's on the other side of the tinted glass. 

We were just outside of Pittsburg and I saw a billboard that had a picture of a diamond being held by a pair of tweezers.  I looked away for a second and on a closer look, I realized that I had mistaken what was truly a piece of round sushi and chopsticks for exquisite jewelry.  An honest and harmless mistake.

While misidentifying images may be relatively harmless (with the minor exception of street signs while driving), when we begin to categorize and identify people based on first impressions we run serious risks.

It might have been said that first impressions are important.  I'd like to add that they are wrong 95% of the time.  If I can't tell a roll of sushi apart from a diamond, then I surely can't accurately assess someone within five minutes of knowing them.  I shouldn't be assessing them at all.  Just enjoying getting to know another story and friend.   Yet it is far too easy to fall into a faulty first impression judgement.

I mislabeled the billboard advertisement because I looked at it too quickly.  You can't possibly expect to know someone after a brief meeting, especially depending on the circumstance and opportunity for true conversation.  I also got my diamonds and sushi confused because I had seen a billboard with tweezers and a diamond before.  I wasn't expecting to see sushi, so I fit it into a mold that I already knew. 

How many times do you meet someone and say, "You are just like my friend so and so!" Or at least think it.  Except they aren't.  Because they can't be.  We are who we are, nothing more and nothing less.  Squeezing people into cold metal molds is great if you want a bunch of friends that are exactly who you think they should be but nothing like who they really are.

I think it's time to get our eyes checked.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011


Before I went to college, I always thought it was too bad that I was turning 18 when I would have just been at college for a month.  Surely, I thought, there was no way I would have a group of friends to celebrate with that fast.  I mean, I'm not the type of person that makes friends fast.  My best friends from high school I knew for many years before we made that final leap into "best friendhood". 

I couldn't have been more wrong.  Today was the best birthday I have ever had and that is including the two midterms I had to take today.  It's not just because I'm finally an adult (voting and infomercial shopping anyone?).  It's because today was a wonderful blend of realizing how much I belong here and what wonderful friends I still have from back home. I didn't even know that the two could coexist so nicely before today.

Making friends here was so much more beautiful than I thought it would be.  It wasn't just easier because everyone was freshmen and wanting to make friends, it was significant because it was still sincere even if it was fast.  So to all the wonderful people I have met, and the ones I have yet to meet: thank you.  As individuals, as a collective whole, we are a part of something very unique and special here.

Holding onto the friends from home was a great deal harder than I expected.  My tendancy is to live fully wherever I am and with whoever I am nearby.  Technology aids maintaining connections but I love real conversations with real people.  I'm fully aware of the wonderful things Skype can do but there is a drastic difference between a scheduled "skype date" and just sharing the little joys of life with people as they come up.  I believe I fall short in this area of long-distance friendships consistently and while my past history makes my upcoming statement less than trustworthy, I truly wish to improve upon this.  So to all the wonderful people that have been a part of my life, you aren't rid of me yet.

I believe I started off this post as something about my birthday yet I digress more than I ever stay on topic.  In short, my birthday was amazing because it contained wonderful people and friends and family and love and connections and for me, that is all I could ever wish for.

Saturday, October 8, 2011

We are our stories.

There are so many stories here.  I noticed this as I walked down the princess staircase this morning.  The stained glass streaming light onto this glamorous staircase was a small action shot of a knight riding his horse into battle.  If that isn't the epitome of a classic story.....well, no need for cliches.  Any story involving a knight must be a good one.  I've been walking down that staircase for a few weeks and never even saw the knight before.  There are so many stories here.

The best ones aren't even the ones captured in colored glass.  They are the ones in sweatshirts and jeans, hands in their pockets, shuffling past Rockwell. They are the ones that are chatting loudly outside of my window.  They are the ones down the hall, around the corner, and next to you in class.

These are stories that defy our English formula for literature.  They may have a beginning, but there is no end and while there is much rising action, the climax is yet to be written.  No one is really sure who the antagonist is here.  We can't figure out if this is man vs. nature, or nature vs. nature, or why we have to be versus anything at all.  Sometimes, we don't even know who the protagonist is but we hope they are a character that someone would like and want to cheer on.

There are so many unknowns and unwrittens to these stories that we tend to hide them.  The most we give out is a 300 word summary or back-of-the-book paragraph that is so vague it could be written about anyone. 

College is mostly about learning.  Most of my homework is reading.  I'm reading about creating good ideas, the fall of Rome, how to record an adjusting entry, and the historical background of the book of Judges.  I've learned a good deal in the last six weeks and will continue to do so.  Yet I want to read more than textbooks or fiction.  I want to know more than dates or philosophies.  I want to begin with the stories that surround me.  After all, we are our stories.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011


I really am spending more time writng than I ought.  I should be reading and memorizing and studying.  I feel that's a bit unfair though.  If I'm expected to keep soaking up information and knowledge, creating these giant stockpiles of thoughts in my brain than I think I should be allowed to turn the tables sometimes and release these ideas. 

Besides, my entrepreneurship classes and books are always encouraging us to write and be creative.  I like it when I can find other things to justify myself with rather than just my own logic. 

I realized lately that I do that a lot.  I create these little rules and mannerisms that help guide my life along.  No one else follows them but I don't expect them to.  I like the idea that I can create up my own words if the ones I've been given aren't working properly.  I like that I can create my own paths if the ones that are offered don't look like ones I want to sojourn down.

Today, I am in one of the best moods possible as a result of a severe lack of sleep and a good amount of coffee.  I am just tired enough where nothing bothers me and have enough caffiene in my system to make everything peaceful and happy.  It's one of those moods where I am almost impossible to knock down.  I don't have to look for the silver lining on days like today.  All I can see is the silver, the clouds aren't even existent.  I burned my tongue on my precious coffee today and instead of registering the pain, I smiled because my coffee was still hot.  Perhaps this foolish happinness is completely irrational, but I am determined to enjoy it today. 

One of those little rules that I have is that I have empowered myself to dictate what kind of day I am going to have.  I decide whether it will be a happy day, a tired day, a reflective day, a sad day, and whatnot.  The type of day I have is completely distinct from my circumstances.  Its some kind of buffer I give myself that is built on a solid foundation of dellusion and denial.  It's probably unhealthy, but it works quite well for me.

That's another rule: I can do things that don't make sense but if they work, I can continue doing them.  Today is a happy day.  As was yesterday.  Tomorrow is looking pretty good too.  Once I started deciding what kind of day I was going to have (I began this a few months ago) I have found that is very convenient to choose to have happy days the majority of time.  If you could pick what your day was going to be like, wouldn't you go for the best possible?