trinsy: (I came back)
We are not our parents. We live in a different world - one where college degrees are common, jobs rare, and marriage optional. One where there's not as much pressure to stick to one path for the rest of your life. One where you aren't necessarily expected to be married and popping out kids by the time you're twenty-four. One that is a bit less limited and a whole lot scarier. We are not our parents. We can't be, and we need to stop trying.

I keep having to remind myself of that. I've got one semester of college to go, and I'm terrified. When my mom was my age, she was married and had a career path in mind and knew what she wanted to do with her life. And you know what? I don't know what I want to do with my life. I haven't got a clue, and even if I did, I haven't got a shot at a career with my current qualifications (or lack thereof), and I couldn't be further from marriage if I joined a nunnery. And everyone tells me this is fine, I'm young and it's good to have my options open. The world is my oyster. I can do anything I want, have anything I want.

You know what I want right now? Stability. Security. I want to go to bed at night with the assurance that I won't spend the rest of my life living hand-to-mouth in some studio apartment working a minimum wage job. Sure, it's nice that I have "options", except that isn't one of them. I don't have a guarantee of anything: career, job, family, house, nothing! If the world is my oyster, it's one that's keeping tightly shut. I'm secretly an optimist, so I'm about 90% sure there's a pearl in there somewhere (on a good day; on a bad day I'm convinced there's nothing but sand), but I don't know what it looks like or how to get it. I'm scared and directionless and you know what? Sometimes I wish I lived in the world of my parents, because maybe if there'd been more pressure on me to find some direction at this point in my life, I'd have worked harder and discovered something I could do for the rest of my life, even if it didn't make me completely happy.

That's the problem with our world, really. We've been conditioned to reject anything that won't make us happy. I know I couldn't live with myself if I ever settled for less. But honestly? Sometimes I wish I could. Sometimes I wish I could settle, because frankly, I haven't been happy for twenty years. I know I can deal with that. And maybe it'd be okay if I were suffering for my passions, but I'm not. I don't even know what my passions are! I don't even know if I have any! But I've been conditioned to not betray them, even if they only exist in theory, so I'm unhappy and directionless and passionless and poor and terrified, and I can't even guarantee I'll get anything out of it.
trinsy: (home)
The reason I will probably never do anything practical or concretely useful with my life, but my friends will with theirs:

I don't like American comedians. Okay, that's a lie, I do like John Stewart for reasons I can't even explain to myself. He's the exception though. I don't find Dane Cook and his ilk funny at all. I like American comedic actors, but Americans standing around monologuing? Not so much. I prefer British humour. Generally it's subtler and more intelligent and makes you think for your laugh. I like that.

I don't like realistic fiction either. I prefer fantasy and sci-fi, and I think it's for the same reason: they're subtler. People don't get that because people aren't looking, and I suppose that's really the point. That's what makes the beauty of fantasy/sci-fi so subtle.

I hate telling people Doctor Who is about an alien who travels through Space and Time in his time machine spaceship because that's so not what Doctor Who is about. That's the premise, but that's not what it's about, any more than Harry Potter is about a boy who lives in a cupboard under his aunt and uncle's stairs for ten years before finding out he's a wizard. They're both about life, far more than any realistic book or show I've ever read or seen, and I think there's a reason the fantasy/sci-fi genre is actually more conducive to portraying life realistically than realism.

See, if we're being honest, real life is incredibly boring. Fiction can't be. So to make it interesting, realistic fiction has to throw in sex scandals and pregnancy and affairs and family feuds and murders and mysterious fires and kidnapping and any number of other things that yes, happen in real life, but almost never all to the same person or group of people, and never in the space of about three months.

But fantasy/sci-fi doesn't need that sort of thing to be interesting, because it's got wizards and aliens and evil emperors bent on destroying the world as we know it. Which means the characters can focus on acting and reacting and thinking and feeling like normal people instead of worrying that their girlfriend's best friend's boyfriend's best friend's girlfriend, who has been ostracized by her family for dating said girlfriend's best friend's boyfriend's best friend since their families have been feuding for ages, is going to take revenge on them for that thing they did to her family so she can be accepted by her family again. Because you really can't deal with things that are real if you're supposed to be dealing with things that are real. Aliens, however, make a nice backdrop (and sometimes frontdrop) to hold the viewer's interest, so the characters deal with pain and love and loss and sacrifice without straying into melodrama and ridiculousness.

You can see that and get that and live and love and feel with the characters if you're looking for it. If you're not, then yeah, it's just a semi-interesting story about aliens and magic and whatever else.

That's why I have a totally impractical major. That's why all my friends have jobs lined up for next year and I don't. That's why they'll all make perfectly acceptable adults and I won't. That's why there is a huge part of me they affectionately tolerate but will never understand.

Because that's how I see the world: Subtle.

It's more than charts and numbers and anatomy. More than rent and groceries and a paycheck. More than getting married and having kids because that's what you do. It's just more.

I never thought life was perfect. My imaginary friend and I used to fight all the time, and if that doesn't sum up my life, I don't know what does. But I've always known there's more than meets the eye.

That's why I want more out of life than just getting a job and settling down and having kids, more than the white picket fence, more than the American dream. I want more, but the frustrating thing is that I have no idea what that looks like outside the TARDIS and Hogwarts and Narnia and Middle Earth. So I'm just this fantasy/sci-fi geek with no practical skills and no future because I don't know how to live in the confines of face-value reality.
trinsy: (hug)
 So, I just finished my last final and am officially a university senior.

It's horrible.  I don't want to be at all.  I want to be a freshman again, when everything was new and exciting, and school seemed hard but actually wasn't.  Or maybe a sophomore, when I was comfortable and experienced, but graduation was still far enough away that I didn't have to worry about anything bigger than a World Civ exam.  I don't want to be a junior again, because that's when reality starts hitting.  But the first two years ... those were good.

I had a friend in high school who did her freshman year twice.  She didn't fail or anything, she just switched schools after freshman year and decided to start from the beginning again.  I thought she was crazy, doing an extra year of school she didn't have to, but now I know better.  I skipped a grade, and now I wish I hadn't.  She did one more year of school, and I did one less, and now I know she had the right idea.  Because she'll graduate when she's nearly twenty-three, but I won't even be twenty-one.  We'll be in the same life place, but she'll have delayed it two more years than I managed to; she got to hold onto childhood two years longer.  She was right, and I wasn't.

I remember when nineteen seemed so old.  I remember when being a senior in college seemed so old.  It still seems so old.  It's old, and I'm not, and that's the terrible truth of it.  I'm not ready to be an adult.  I've never been ready to be an adult.  I'm not sure if I'll ever be ready to be an adult.

I used to imagine this time in my life.  I never imagined further than graduation, because I didn't know then what I'd want to do, but I always imagined that by this time I would, and I'd be able to project myself further into the future than the cap and gown.

Well, I'm at this time in my life now, and I still can't project myself further than graduation.  It's still the same vast, frightening, unknown blank it's always been.  After graduation, it ends.  After graduation, I die, and I mean that in every sense of the word.  I can see nothing after graduation, literally nothing.  Nowhere I want to be, nothing I want to do, no one I want to be with, and I've always said I wasn't meant to be a student, but the frightening thing is that it seems that maybe I wasn't meant to be anything.

I literally cannot imagine one day beyond graduation.  Not even a single day.  There's graduation, then there's nothing.  I may as well be dead.

And yeah, I've still got a year to figure it out, but the years that used to stretch infinitesimally before me have all squeezed themselves into yesterday, and time has become so fleeting.  I may as well have a week for all the good fifty-two will do me.

I just ... I feel like I should be happy, but I'm not.  I'm just scared.
trinsy: (I'm always all right)
Sometimes I wonder if maybe I’m so insistent that being single doesn’t mean you’re less of a person because I subconsciously know I’ll probably end up single, and it’s easier to convince others – to convince myself – that that’s okay now. I hate myself for thinking that, but … I don’t know. To be known so completely by someone else. It’s not what marriage means, but it is what a relationship means, or should mean, or was meant to mean. I want that more than I want marriage and everything that entails, I think. To be known; to be validated. To not have to hide any part of myself, to not have to pretend. And that’s not what happens in a relationship, really. Relationships are compromise.

Well, I’m tired of compromising. I’m so, so tired. Tired of giving up little pieces of my soul every time I’m not alone. Tired of being stubborn, of waiting for the world to give me what I deserve, of thinking the world owes me something, when it doesn’t, really, nothing that I didn’t give it willingly, anyway, because I was four and stupid and thought that’s what it wanted. It’s funny, that, a decision you made at four haunting you into your twenties, practically (probably). It’s funny too, you get into college and people start telling you that “the decisions you make now will affect the rest of your life”, and I can’t help wondering why people weren’t telling me that at four, that the person I chose to be in public at four would be the person I had to be in public for the rest of my childhood, for the rest of my life, probably. Set down the neurological pathways, or whatever they call it. The cycle’s gone on too long, runs too deep, can’t be changed. Some habits are impossible to break, and if you choose to be who you think people want you to be when you’re four, you’ll always have to change for people; or, alternatively, the backlash will come, and you’ll be in your teens and hate people, hate them for doing this to you, for making you think at four, when you didn’t (couldn’t) know any better, that being yourself around people wasn’t okay, that it never would be. They don’t tell you to be yourself at four, not until you’re older and it’s too late, and they don’t mean it then, anyway, not really. They mean don’t be stupid, don’t be who the bad kids say “yourself” is. And you don’t know who “yourself” is anymore anyway, because you lost that at four when you changed.

And just … where did I learn that? Where did I learn that being myself wasn’t okay? How did I know, at four, that people will always want you to be someone you’re not? Tuck away your real thoughts and feelings in a corner of your brain, only visit it when you’re alone, live in your head and talk to those imaginary people in the bathroom because that’s one of the only places you’re alone and thus safe. It makes me wonder, really, how many people are just wearing personas, how different the people you interact with are from the people they are in their heads. You can touch a heart, fine, it’s just an organ, albeit an important one. But to hold someone’s brain.… That’s where they live, that’s where the true person is, and the heart swells and breaks in a firing of neurons, if you really get down to it. Hold someone’s brain? You might as well hold their soul.

My grandma had surgery and suffered some minor brain damage, lost a bunch of inhibitors, and it’s like she had this complete personality transplant. But sometimes she says something and I just sort of think … I can’t help but wonder if that’s who she actually is, you know? If maybe she’s become the person she kept tucked away in her head for seventy-five years. Like, there is the person everyone knows as me, and then there is actually me, the me I keep in my head, the me I know. And I can’t help but wonder if I suffered the same brain damage as my grandma, if I would become a completely different person, or if people would think I’d become a completely different person but I would actually become myself. Like maybe the person I present to the world would actually be the person I am inside, if that makes any sense at all.

Now I’m just rambling, and this went in a completely different direction than I intended it to go, so I’ll just wrap it up for now.

trinsy: (hug)

The dead don’t haunt.

They lie beneath the ground, quiet,
Encased in their wooden beds,
Or else are caught in the wind,
Scattered ash and bone,
Slowly breaking down,
Slowly forgotten,
Until even their descendants
Forget they existed.

The dead don’t haunt.

The dead stay still,
Changing only in imaginations
Of those they abandoned,
Faults or virtues melting
Away in the faulty memories
Of the living.
The dead stay dead.

The dead don’t haunt.

The living do.

The living can change
And never change.
The living can return
Just when you’ve become
Used to their absence,
Disrupt your emotions
And tear open the old wounds
Before they abandon you again.
The living don’t let memories
Slip or idealize.
They prolong grief,
Block the forward journey,
Pop up when you take a step
And force you back.

The living haunt.

The dead have no ghosts.
The living are ghosts.
Unpredictable haunting specters,
Hovering in the background
Or flying forward,
Forcing you back
Into insanity, until death
Finally claims and captures them
Enclosing them in tombs
To haunt no more.
Death is final.

The dead don’t haunt.

The dead can’t haunt.
Only the living haunt
And are haunted,
Haunt others and
Haunt themselves.
They imagine they see the dead
In an object or another’s face,
And they dwell on it,
Turning the illusion over
And over in their mind
Until they are driven mad,
While the dead they imagine
Are haunting them molder
Beneath their feet, still and silent.

The dead don’t haunt.
trinsy: (home)
It’s Friday morning, and it’s raining, and the very last thing I want to do is go to class. My lack of motivation isn’t helped when I discover my roommate has already commandeered the bathroom … even though she doesn’t have to leave until at least an hour after I do. Which means, of course, that I’m annoyed with her even before she starts playing Taylor Swift’s new song ‘White Horse’. If she were playing it on a CD, instead of out of her computer, I think I would have broken the disc by now. Swift whines in an emo half-whisper about how she’s “not a princess and this ain’t a fairytale”, and first of all, it’s “isn’t” not “ain’t”; second, how surprised is she, really, to have discovered reality; third, the whole problem seems to have stemmed from her dating a world class jerk, so again, how surprised is she by this outcome; and fourth, no she isn’t a princess, but she is a very rich, famous, and successful teenage country star, so maybe she should count her blessings and shut up already about her ostensibly terrible love life. Also, stop making stupid girls even more emo.

So I get dressed and trek off to class a bit earlier than usual, partly because it takes longer to walk in the rain, but mostly because I’m pretty sure I’ll be coming around on a white horse to trample Taylor Swift if I have to listen to that stupid song one more time. Consequently, I’m the first person in the classroom, but this blissful solitude doesn’t even last a full minute before the door opens and my least favorite classmate enters with her friend.

She’s a sophomore with the whole bohemian “I-don’t-care-what-people-think-of-me” thing going on, and has the extremely irritating habit of loudly proclaiming just exactly what she finds wrong with world at that particular moment – there’s always something – but she does it with an impressive vocabulary, and the other sophomores think she’s brilliant.

I’m not surprised, this morning, to hear her complaining about something – children or her Linguistics homework or the fickleness of men or her parents deciding to take a second honeymoon in Mammoth during Spring Break – it doesn’t matter what it is, really, her point is the same as Taylor Swift’s: life sucks.

And the most frustrating part is that I can’t really articulate why she’s wrong. I can’t help thinking that if I’d met her when I was a junior in high school or a freshman in college, I would probably have loved her and found her hilarious – which probably says more about me than it does about her. As it is, though, she happened upon me in the stage of my life where any cynicism that isn’t my own annoys me, for reasons I can’t fully explain. My ever-present optimistic streak is strong this year, and life’s rough, sure, but it doesn’t suck as much as everyone seems to think, and then my realistic side jumps in and snaps that maybe if people didn’t have such stupid, unrealistic expectations in the first place, they wouldn’t be so jaded now.

It’s stopped raining by the time I finish my classes at noon, and I’m walking back to my apartment still struggling with the paradox of my own cynicism and my loathing of the cynicism of others, when a cloud slides away, and I’m hit by brilliant sunlight. Suddenly I’m forcefully reminded of walking this same road two years ago as a freshman, wondering if this was how the next three-and-a-half years would be: the bright sun, and the awkwardness, and the vast, terrifying, unknown blank that is the future (and the terrible irony is that I wasn’t that far off).

I get home and try to distract myself for a few hours, and then one of my roommates comes home and announces she’s going for a walk, and I remember that I’m supposed to be exercising for my P.E. class, so I should probably go on one too. I get my shoes on and grab my iPod, and it’s only after I’m in the neighborhood that I realize this probably wasn’t the best idea if I didn’t want to have to think. It’s nearly sunset as I turn on to Hill Street, which is just far enough away from my apartment for my pessimistic side to kick in and remember, hey, wasn’t it supposed to rain again tonight?

I look up, but the sky is completely clear. I follow its ever-lightening curve down to the clouds lining the horizon, behind which the sun has just disappeared. Below the ocean is laid out, muted colors in the pre-twilight, pastel shades of orange, pink, blue, green, gray, and brown, and the combination should be ugly, but somehow it isn’t.

I’m supposed to be getting my heart rate up, but it’s hard to care about passing a P.E. class when confronted with such overwhelming natural beauty. Instead, I stop and take in its vastness, and – just for a moment – feel that maybe it’s enough.
trinsy: (I came back)
So I spent Thanksgiving with Kira and her family, and you know what? It was fun and fantastic, and I could not love her family more. Her family is so fun and funny and just nice to me, and I love them all, from her crazy grandma to her sarcastic little brother. But I was really struck by something yesterday morning as we were driving to brunch that has a lot to do with her family, but not just her family.

We were driving to brunch, and her dad asked if we should go to Cheesecake Factory or some other place I’ve never heard of, and Kira was like, “Well, that other place is really expensive.” And her dad said, “Nothing is too expensive for my girls.”

And that hurt a little, because even though that’s really sweet of him, the truth is, I’m not “his girl”, but more than that, I’m not anyone’s “girl”, and I never was, and I’m never going to be. Kira’s ringtone for her dad is ‘I Loved Her First’. I don’t have that. I’ve never had that. I was born not going to have that. And that sucks.

We went to her brother’s football game over the weekend, and we had to stay in a hotel with his team, and her brother forbid her from swimming with the team because he didn’t want them making comments about her. And she complained about how “overprotective” he is, and I really wanted to be like, “You know, at least you have someone who cares enough to be ‘overprotective’.”

Over the summer, I stayed with my uncle for about a month, and his girlfriend bought me this tank top, and he was like, “You can’t go outside in just that!” And I laughed, and rolled my eyes, and said he was just being overprotective … but honestly? It felt really nice. It felt really nice to have someone actually care about how guys were looking at me. It felt really nice to have someone want to protect my modesty or virtue or whatever.

This is something I have such a hard time with, because I totally believe in the independence and self-sufficiency of women, and that they don’t need to be protected, and all of that. But the truth is, I’m that way because I had to be that way. I had to take care of myself, I had to protect myself, because there was never anyone else to do it. I didn’t have a dad; I didn’t have brothers. I never chose to be an independent woman. I was born an independent woman. And you know what? That’s awesome. But sometimes I see what Kira has and … a part of me aches for that. It just does.

And I hate that.
trinsy: (I'm always all right)
Right. So Thanksgiving is Thursday, and all my friends keep going on about how excited they are to go home, and … it hurts, frankly, because I don’t get to go home. I keep trying to think positive, like, “Less than a month!” and “It wouldn’t be worth it, anyway,” and “I’ll have more fun at my roommate’s,” and those are all true, but … I still get homesick. And it’s not even about not getting to go home, it’s why I can’t go home, and how going home isn’t even going home anyway. And I just keep thinking about all those stupid, boring Thanksgivings with just the five of us – me, my mom, my sisters, and my grandma – and …

Anyway, in my emo-ness and self-pity, I made a mix, not just about homesickness, but also about going out on your own, but still wanting an anchor to come back to, and the ache when that isn’t there. So yes.

Homesick 'cos I no longer know where home is... )
trinsy: (I'm always all right)
The year I was sixteen was the happiest I’ve been since my parents split up. My mom and I were getting along, I had a great school schedule, and I had finally gotten over my despair over the pointlessness of life. You guys, I was so, so happy.

I don’t like to remember that, to be honest. In part because I’m always like, “If I’d only known what was coming…” and then I sort of go, “I’d have done what, exactly?” And it’s all very stupid and pointless. But mostly, I don’t like to remember it because there is one memory from that year that haunts me.

My sister was studying abroad in Poland that year, and over Christmas break, my other sister and I went to visit her. We left on a night flight, and the day of our departure we were checking our luggage, doing some last minute packing, that sort of thing. I don’t remember exactly what happened. I suddenly realized I didn’t have a sweater or a scarf, something stupid. Everyone was really stressed that day, and my mom got really mad at me and told me to go upstairs and find it.

I couldn’t find it. And I freaked out. So I lay down on the floor of the closet and curled into a ball because that was the only way I knew how to cope. I don’t know how long I lay there, but eventually my mom found me and yelled at me for not being able to handle things like an adult. Maybe, she said, I shouldn’t be going. It seemed obvious to her I couldn’t handle a trip like this.

You know what? Maybe she was right. I have never been in a better place than I was that year. And I still couldn’t handle that stupid little thing. Is it any wonder that I lost the ability to function when Grandma ended up in the hospital? Is it any wonder that I had a panic attack after we moved? I couldn’t handle real life when I was happy; How could I possibly handle it now?

What the hell is wrong with me? Why is my coping ability so stunted? None of my peers seem to have this problem? Why do I? What’s wrong with me? What can’t I handle the real world?
trinsy: (bovvered)
 Dear roommates/friends/entire student body of my university,

Shut the fuck up about next semester schedules!

trinsy: (hug)
I hate this time of year.  I hate advising.

Aside from the first week or so of school, I haven't been panicky at all this semester.  I've been calm, and happy, and everything has been going wonderfully, really.  Even with my horrible grade in American Writers, things could be a lot worse.

But then we had advising day yesterday and ... well, suffice it to say that my school is stupid, and my department is stupid, and I am stupid, and if I graduate in Spring 2010, it'll be a miracle.  I'm seriously so behind in courses I need to take, and a lot of the courses I do need to take are offered at the same times, which ... get a brain, Lit Department!  You could offer your core classes in more than three time slots!  That could help your majors out, I don't know, a bunch!

Anyway, I was up half the night last night panicking, and trying to figure out how I could arrange my schedule, and freaking out because I might need summer school and OH MY GOD I THINK I CHANGED MAJORS TOO LATE AND DIDN'T TAKE ENOUGH COURSES ABROAD, AND HOW THE HELL AM I SUPPOSED TO GET EVERYTHING DONE IN JUST THREE MORE SEMESTERS?!?!?!?!  And I didn't do my reading for the first time in weeks for no reason at all, and I'm not going to do it because I'm losing the ability to function, again, like I always do in the middle of the semester, and if I get any sleep tonight it'll be a miracle, and my stupid friends keep talking about how next semester they're going to take it easy, and I can't have that conversation, I can't, I can't, and OH MY GOD, WHAT THE HELL AM I GOING TO DO?????  And I can't stop shaking, and if I don't have another panic attack, that'll be a miracle too!  I need a lot of miracles right now!  Oh my god, why am I being flippant, I am seriously freaking out, and I want to cry and throw up and whimper and scream, AND OH MY GOD EVERYONE SHUT THE FUCK UP, BUT ALSO, SOMEBODY HELP ME!!!!
trinsy: (I'm always all right)
I tell some people I’m a cynic, and others I’m a realist, but I’m not being honest with either. The truth is, I can’t define what I am. There are some things that I view pretty cynically, and there are others where I’m just like, “Look, that really is the way things are.” But deep down, I have this enduring belief that everything will turn out okay. I know that’s not true. I know some people die miserable and failed and alone. But somehow I can’t rid myself of the belief that everything will turn out okay by the end of the movie. I’m too cynical to be a realist, and I’m too realistic to be an optimist … but I’m too optimistic to be a cynic. I don’t know.

I want to be happy. I want things to be okay. I want to move on. But more than that, I want to be able to cry in more places than my bed and the movie theatre. I want to tell someone how I feel, and not be told that it’s going to be okay, and not be told that I need to change, and not be told that I need to feel something else. I just want, for once, to be honest with someone about how I feel, and have them tell me that it’s okay to feel that way, that I have right to feel that way, that being angry and scared and in pain is valid.

I tell people that I don’t want to go to counseling because I already know why I feel how I feel, and counselors don’t tell you where to go next; that’s partially true. But mostly I don’t want to go to counseling because I don’t want another person telling me I need to change. I know I need to change. I just want someone to tell me that I’m okay how I am right now; I want someone to tell me that it’s okay to feel the way I do right now. I’m not an idiot. I know I can’t be angry forever. But why is it not okay for me to be angry right now?

And people wonder why I internalize! Every time I admit how I’m really feeling, every time I’m truly honest and truly open up, I’m immediately told that my feelings aren’t valid, that lots of people have been there and weren’t as upset as I am, that I need to “get over it”, to change, to move on, to be happier. And so I internalize, and smile, and pretend everything’s okay because that’s what people expect from me and it’s what they want … and then I cry myself to sleep. I have never been told that it’s okay to feel the way I do right now once, in my entire life. Of course I don’t open up to people! Why would I when I always get shot down? Why would I when apparently my feelings are never valid?

I just want someone to look me in the eyes and tell me, 100% sincerely, that what I’m feeling right now is valid and isn’t wrong, and then stop. Not tell me, “It’s okay, but …” “It’s understandable that you’re angry, but …” Not tell me what to do next. I know what to do next. I know to move on from Square One. But why does Square One always have to be wrong? Why can’t I move to Square Two just because that’s the logical progression, and not because Square One is wrong?

I don’t know. Maybe I’m clinging to the anger not because I don’t know I need to let go, but because I truly, deeply believe that I have the right to be angry, and I can’t (or won’t) let it go until I find someone who will tell me that’s true.
trinsy: (I'm always all right)
So I've been at school four days ... and the panic's come.  It hasn't fully set in because I've been holding it off through sheer force of will, but I've felt it hovering on the edge of my mind from the moment we drove onto campus.

And just ... I hate it.  Not just because my own panic scares me more than anything else in the world, but because it just doesn't make sense.  I was trying to explain it to my roommate last night because the thing is, I never panicked in Scotland.  Not once.  I was on the other side of the world, and I had no friends, and school didn't make an ounce of sense, but I never panicked.  I mean, I was failing school, and there were nights when I went to bed hungry, and I was lonelier than I'd ever been in my life (which is saying a lot), but ... I slept at night; I didn't cry; I was happy.  And that logically makes no sense at all.

I mean, here I can go to class and know what's going on (usually); here I have people who actually care about me; here I'm not completely on my own.  But here I panic.  I was telling my roommate how, emotionally, Scotland was really good for me because "it kept me stable and it kept me sane."  And then I paused and said, "Or maybe it kept me delusional."  Because the truth is that Scotland was the first place since I came to college that I didn't feel homesick.  And it took me nearly the whole semester to work out why, but one day it finally all clicked into place:

In Scotland I was so far removed from everything that I was able to tell myself that at the end of it all I could go home.  And here I just know that's not true.  I can't lie to myself in Texas because I see all my stuff in that unfamiliar house; and here I can't lie to myself because I grew up fairly close to my school, so when I'm here I know what I lost.  And I know that I can't go home because there is no home.

And so the panic sets in.  And I hate it.
trinsy: (physics)
I'm so over exams.  I had my History exam yesterday morning ... and I failed.  Like, literally failed.  Because we had to answer two questions, and I didn't know anything about the second question at all, so I was like, "Well, I could just not answer and be blatant about the fact that I have no clue, or I could B.S. a couple paragraphs and it will still be obvious that I have no clue.  With option one I can leave the exam half-an-hour early."  So I just left the second part totally blank.  I can't even bring myself to care that much.  At least it's over.

I have Philosophy tomorrow, which I'm not overly concerned about because if I have what I think I have in the class then I can bomb the exam and still pass.  I shouldn't bomb it, though, because unlike in History, I actually know what's going on.  I've given my notes a cursory glance over, and now I'm going to give The Sarah Jane Adventures a try.  This is my study method.  Glance over, then relax.  I've never hardcore studied in my life.  I don't know how, and it doesn't work for me anyway.  I think I'm just that kind of person where I either know it or I don't.

Friday I have Sociology.  The good thing about Sociology is that I will only have to answer one question instead of two (unlike History and Philosophy).  I've got a pretty good handle on Sexuality, and I know Crime a bit, so I should be able to answer at least one of those questions, and again scrape a pass.  All I care about is passing, since this doesn't go on my GPA anyway.  I've worked out how to make up History online if I flunk, though obviously I hope it doesn't come to that.  But yeah, I'm just want this week to be over so I can relax and enjoy the rest of my time here.  I still need to go up to Edinburgh and scout out Tom Riddle's grave!

Also, I'm very annoyed that Doctor Who has been switched to a later time, as well as I'd Do Anything.  But I'm glad that Ashley has finally been sent home!  If Andrew had chosen to save her, I would have been very upset with him!  Oh, but I'm also annoyed that the finale of I'd Do Anything is 1 June, the day after I leave!  Seriously, what up with that?
trinsy: (hug)
In high school, I didn't really have friends.  I mean, I had friends in the sense that there was a group of certain people that I always sat with in class and at lunch and hung out with at school events.  But I didn't do stuff with them outside school; in the summer I never saw any of them, so in the summer I effectively didn't have friends.  It would be a lie to say this didn't bother me, but by high school I was too used to being on my own most of the time to be overly fussed about it.  In fact, in high school I actually had more of a life then I'd ever had before, so even though it bothered me that no one ever invited me to the weekend gatherings, it wasn't like I felt like I'd suddenly become a reject (and I wasn't a reject, just forgettable; there is a difference).

Probably the biggest adjustment I had to make in college was having friends.  I mean, it was very bizarre for me to suddenly have people outside my immediate family actually genuinely care if I was sick or sad or didn't turn up for dinner.  It was weird for me to have people come into my room and ask if I wanted to do something that weekend, and even weirder when they seemed genuinely disappointed if I said I was going home.  Even more bizarre: I wasn't the forgettable one anymore.  There actually is a forgettable girl in my group of friends, and I can never get over how it's not me.  Over the summer these girls called me, planned a trip with me, and pestered me if I didn't update them about what was going on in my life.  It was all very new and weird for me (in a good way), and I honestly don't have any idea how it happened because a huge reason I didn't have friends previously is because I don't know how to make them.

That brings me to my point: I don't have friends here in Scotland.  I actually have friends to a lesser degree here than I did in high school.  I mean, the classes are all so huge that it's basically impossible to have "class friends"; and while my flatmates are all nice and I get along with them, hanging out with them is awkward, and I don't really interact with them beyond the occasional friendly greeting in the corridor.  Basically, it's like high school all over again, minus the chats at lunch and the in-class banter, and also minus my mom bugging me to get off the computer when I'm home.

This doesn't really bother me.  Do I wish I had friends here?  Yes, of course.  Am I miserable because I don't?  Far from it.  I couldn't take more than a semester here for a variety of reasons, the biggest of which is not the lack of friends.  That said, I don't regret my decision to come here this semester, and in some senses I'm less miserable here than I am at my home university (certainly in the sense that here I don't cry myself to sleep every night (or any night, for that matter)).  I only have one problem:

I don't know how to explain any of this to my friends from home.  I've basically given them general, evasive, and I'll admit misleading updates about my time here because I don't know how to tell them that a.) I don't have friends here, and b.) that's okay.  I'm used to being on my own, and in some senses I prefer it (and it's probably where I get the attitude my friends have told me they both hate and admire so much: No one who's not an authority figure in my life is going to tell me what to do!).  It's not like it wouldn't be nice to friends here, but I don't require friends.  I can get by on my own.

Normally, I wouldn't even worry about it, I'd just keep giving them the misleading updates over the next two months and avoid giving them specifics when I see them in August -- hey, it worked all summer! -- but I've encountered a huge problem.  One of my friends is coming to visit me here next month.  And yes, I've basically led her to believe that I have friends here.  And I don't.  Crap.  Because what am I supposed to do now, go find friends the last two weeks of classes?  How's that going to work?  But I don't know how to tell her that I don't actually have friends here because this is the one girl who is still in close contact with her high school friends (even my friends who had real friends in high school don't really talk to them anymore); this is the one girl who I know will never understand that it's okay for me not to have friends.  I don't even know what to do because I'll never be able to explain it to her but it's not like I can go get fake friends to show her, you know?  And honestly, I'm tired of having to lie about not having friends.  I just wish I could level with someone in real life, you know?
trinsy: (cold)
Southern California is having a heatwave, my dormitory does not have AC, and 95 degrees is stifling even if your room does overlook the ocean, so today I did something I've never done before and went to Starbucks to do my homework.

It was really lovely. I got a frappuccino (even more wonderful because of the heat), and sat in one of the big, comfy armchairs in the AC, and read Madame Bovary. And when I finished my coffee, I got ice-water, and scribbled down quotes from Madame Bovary while the ice melted on my tongue. I have to say that while the beginning is fantastically dull and the ending rather abrupt, the book is actually rather good. There are many quotable paragraphs in Part III, and while I think Flaubert over-dramatises Emma's emotions in particular, there are several parts of human nature he got spot on. But reading it reinforced something I'd been thinking about as I drove to Starbucks:

I'm not happy; I'm not sure I've ever been happy, really. I was thinking about this because my oldest sister is working for the Peace Corps in Ukraine, and half the time her water doesn't work, and she can't use a computer right now, and she has to walk everywhere. And she's happy almost all the time. I wonder about that. I mean, not that water and computers and cars automatically ensure happiness, but it's just ... when she was here -- when she was like me -- she wasn't happy either. And I wonder about that.

I wrote this poem in class the other day. I wrote it in about five minutes, so it's not very good, but it sort of gets at what I'm saying:

My life is like a melody
Sweet, but just a bit quirky
Notes all blending perfectly
Then dissonance begins.

My room is large
My problems small
But I don't know I have it all
The harmony unnoticed 'til
The disaster descends.

The thing is, I look back at my life and think that I should have been happy, that I should be happy right now, but I wasn't and I'm not. I remember little periods of time when I was happy, but it always freaks me out when I get happy because I'm so used to being unhappy and life just doesn't work the other way round. Happiness just isn't natural for me.  Everything just sort of blends into this weary discontent that I've known for so long I don't even question it anymore.  And I wonder about that.

I'll close with another poem I wrote in class. It's made up of (most of) my lines from the pass around poems we did the first day of class. It's a little weird, but I like it all the same.

Pictures of the Soul

The wind churned the leaves like an ocean wave
Glass shattered, the shards fanning across the asphalt
Living pictures on a 2-D surface

Birdsong starts and swells to meet the sunlight
Homesick for a place that’s nonexistent
But here there is no movement but the water
It pushes forward still, unrelenting
Never thinking, only feeling, always creating
No brain for speech, no heart for emotion
Is it the only real thing in this world we inhabit?

Should I reveal my soul to an objective world?
Or be forever homeless, flat, and small?

trinsy: (pest control)
Disclaimer: I apologize to any and all Texans who read this, but seriously: Build roads that make sense.

So.  I have been living in Texas for the past six days, and I am very happy to say that in just eight more days, I will be leaving it again, not to return for at least two months.  This is seriously one of the last states I would ever chose to live (though admittedly I would chose it over Montana and definitely North Dakota).  I couldn't possibly list all the things wrong with it, but brace yourselves because I'm going to try anyway.

First and foremost, the roads are terrible!  They make absolutely no sense whatsoever.  I am convinced that the person who designed the roads in Texas was a.) drunk, b.) high, c.) a complete moron, or d.) some combination of the other three.  It is the only possible explanation for the convoluted way the roads here are set up.  See, first you have your highways, which are like the freeways, except there are only two lanes in either direction.  But they have exits and stuff, so for all intents and purposes, they are freeways.  Then, running parallel to the highways are these things called "service roads".  They are also two lanes.  When you exit the highway, you exit onto a service road going the same direction you were going on the highway.  If you don't want to go that direction, you have to go through this little roundabout u-turn thingy to go the other way, and when you do that it puts you on the service road running the other direction which is on the other side of the highway.  So these service road things are basically one-way streets.  Then you have to go down the service road (running parallel to the highway the whole time) until you get to a real street.  But the real streets twist and turn and split and fork about every half-mile, and half of them are one-way anyway, and half the time you just end up going in a big circle without even realizing it.  And honestly, the whole service road thing wouldn't even be necessary if you would just put more exits on your damn freeway, if you didn't have to exit in only one direction, and if you built roads that were semi-straight and actually made a shred of sense!

Time and distance to do not seem to exist here.  The people in the stores are slower than molasses, and often equally as helpful.  15-minute meetings last over an hour, and the lights are all four to five minutes long.  When I asked for directions to the closest Starbucks, the person told me it was "just right over there", which to me meant that it was right across the street.  To them, apparently, it meant it was ten miles up the road.  "Just up the road" can mean anything from actually just up the road to over an hour away.  "Not all that far" is a four or five hour drive.

The insects and reptiles are a huge problem.  There are these terrifying black crickets that attack me every time I put my dog out, and people swap snake stories over dinner as casually as if they're discussing the latest weather report.  I have also seen at least one frog every day, though often more.  So far, I have not seen any of the killer ants I discovered in New Mexico (they were as long as crickets, and twice as fat as fire ants), but I'm sure it's only a matter of time.

It never cools down here.  I hate that I can never open my window.  Every night I want to open my window and get a nice cool breeze, but I know that's not the answer, because even at night it is hot and humid.  ARGH!

Only eight more days...
trinsy: (wall)
Today is my eighteenth birthday. I’m not very excited about it, to be honest. I liked being seventeen. Seventeen was an age that suited me: hovering on the edge, old enough to join in with the adults but young enough to avoid the responsibility, almost grown up but not quite there, in transit between child and adulthood.

Eighteen is legally an adult. It doesn’t make me one, but now more is going to be expected of me, and it makes the idea of being grown up even less of a distant dream and more of a frightening reality.

This is it.

Time flows relentlessly forward. I won’t be a child forever. The government considers me an adult now, and that means that someday in the no-longer-distant future real people will too.

And that scares me.

trinsy: (too late)
Was there ever a time the living room wasn’t full of boxes?

Was there ever a time a Christmas tree stood where the treadmill is now, and I taught myself piano facing the same wall I now face when I eat in the dining room, and a door sat in the now empty doorframe that leads from the dining room to the kitchen?

Was there ever a time when the now noxious room my uncle sleeps was called “The School Room” and my mom would sit in the middle of a futon with my sisters on either side and I would lay across the top while she read?

Was there ever a time when there were three windows in my sister’s room where now there’s only one, and above these hung a valance of carousel horses to match the wallpaper border lining the top of the wall, and the carpet was rough and a hideous color?

Was there ever a time when the shower curtain in the downstairs shower was a plain and faded pink, and my mom and I would have to walk down the stairs, past the front door, and down the hall to that bathroom in our towels to shower?

Was there ever a time that the kitchen was blue, and our microwave sat on the counter and only had two buttons, and the cupboards were plain wood, and the dishwasher and refrigerator were off-white, and the Kitchen Aid was yellow, and the floor an ugly, sticky linoleum?

Was there ever a time when the family room was cut in half, and the half by the window was our dining area, and we extended the table weirdly into the family room on holidays and during parties?

Was there ever a time when we pulled beanbags in front of the fireplace in the winter and drank eggnog, and made fudge and caramel corn and then gave it away to our friends and the neighbors?

Was there ever a time when my room was peach, and my closet doors opened out instead of sliding open, and I slept in a waterbed and kept all my Bernstein Bear books on the shelves of its headboard?

Was there ever a time when my sisters shared the room next door and I’d bang on the wall at night to tell them to shut up so I could sleep?

Was there ever a time when my shelves were filled with books and stuffed animals and glass dogs, and a green dresser sat to one side of my desk (though God knows why since I’ve never kept clothes in my room), and I could hide myself in the toy chest in my closet?

Was there ever a time that I could fit in my wardrobe or the linen closet, or fit under the coffee table (long since gone), and a yardstick was not much smaller than I?

Was there ever a time when the patio floor was half concrete, half bits of old carpet, and one whole wall was rusting metal shelves, yet the awesome blocks, and the Fisher Price kitchen and hair salon and dollhouse, and the PlayMobile ranch and fort made it a child’s paradise?

Was there ever a time where a pomegranate tree grew where a rosebush now blooms, and the tree outside the kitchen window was much larger and dropped disgusting-smelling berries every fall, and a peppertree flourished where a stunted orange tree now languishes, and I thought a bloodstained old man lived in the hedges surrounding the central power controller in our backyard?

Was there ever a time when there were swings in the backyard, and we actually walked on the grass, and we pretended to go down the manhole or through the mailbox to emerge into another world?

Was there ever a time when the house rang with laughter, and children played, and memories made?

Was there ever a time when people actually lived here, instead of just eating and sleeping and existing?

It’s been sixteen years but really eighteen, more than my whole life though, twenty-one years, and twenty-three, and thirty-six. But it’s a been over a year since this house was a home, more than that really, years since any of it, since all of it. Years since the caramel corn and the eggnog and the fire and the Christmas tree and the tea parties and the piano lessons and the swings and the patio and the best game ever invented. And all I want now is out, out of the oppressiveness, out of the room with the bare walls and empty shelves, out of the house with the stained, faded carpet, out of it all.

Maybe it’s better this way, better that I was forced to put away the stuffed animals and the glass dogs, better that I was forced to do away with the remnants of my childhood in one swift stroke, because that’s what this house is, my childhood, and tomorrow it will be gone. But I hate to think that this is what I’ll remember: boxes and bare walls and that oppressive emptiness.

Was there ever a time the living room wasn’t full of boxes? I’m not even sure now that there was.
trinsy: (diamonds)
It hit me last week that I’m closer to being an adult than a child.

Actually, it hit me that I am going to be an adult.  The truth is, I never realized it before.

It’s funny, because you spend so much of your childhood talking about “when I grow up.”  But I think the thing is that when you’re a child, time drags on so painfully slowly (I can’t tell you when it starts to speed up to scarily fast; it seems like one day you wake up and the more recent half of your life all squeezed itself into yesterday).  And I think that you spend so much time (I’m finishing up my eighteenth year of it, currently) talking about becoming an adult that you stop believing it’s actually going to ever happen.  It’s like it turns into one of those ridiculous daydreams that’s fun to toy around with, but is too far out of reach to ever be a danger of becoming a reality.

Only I realized last week that it is going to become reality.  I am not going to be a kid forever.  I’m not going to go to school for the rest of my life.  And even though I complain about it and always say that I wasn’t meant to be a student, the truth is that school is all I’ve ever known, and the thought of not having that as the constant in my life is more terrifying than anything else I can imagine.

One day I will buy a house.  One day I will have to pay bills.  One day I will have to make myself dinner with groceries I went to the store and bought with money I made from the grown-up job I have in the career I chose.

One day I am going to be just like the adults that surround me.  The only thing more frightening than the thought that every adult was once a child is the idea that every child is {barring tragedy} going to become an adult.  I mean, I’ve always known that this is what happens, but I’ve never really understood it.  It seems like I’ve watched everyone around me going through this cycle – all this bother of growing up – and I’ve stayed just the same. 

And I can’t decide anymore if I’m a kid playing at being an adult or an adult playing at being a kid.

June 2013

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