Monthly Archives: December 2012

Pray it all comes together

I am laying in my brother’s old bed at my mom’s house, and I can’t sleep.

Tomorrow,

FINALLY,

I have my appointment to get my final document for Korea authenticated. Once this document is authenticated, I can fed-ex it to Korea and get my placement and be set to go for real.

Please, everyone,

pray this all goes smoothly. Everyone who reads this please pray. Normally I try to be PC and say “send me your thoughts and energies,” but not for this. This is gripping the inside of my chest, it is fluttering inside, it is swirling in my thoughts, and frankly it is too important for PC. I don’t need PC, I need prayer. Pray my documents make it to Korea yesterday. Pray there is no problem with anything, pray things align in that special way they do when things are meant to be. Pray I get to the authentications office on time.

Just, please,

Pray it all comes together.

Thank you.

P.S. I just finished reading Mindy Kaling’s book. She is officially someone I look up to.

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Being Done

People have been asking me a lot lately,

“How does it feel to be done?”

My response: “I dunno.”

Being done isn’t a feeling, I don’t think, but rather a gradual realization that comes from the absence of certain feelings.

The other night, I was at home watching Netflix, and I was feeling that grad school guilt where you’re doing something but there is always, always something else you should be doing.

Except for me there’s not. Unless you count packing. Which I don’t.

There was nothing I should have been reading.

There was nothing I should have been writing.

There was nothing to feel guilty about; I could watch my Netflix in peace.

I was done.

Today, I had to go to Richmond (about an hour and a half away) to get my degree authenticated for Korea. I told myself I was going to get up early and hurry back down. Because I am who I am, I got up at 9 and left at nearly 11. I felt bad, like I was running late….for something.

When I got there (a shorter drive than I expected), it took all of 20 minutes to get my degree authenticated and get back on the road. And still I was rushing back. I felt the stress in my chest, that feeling that I had to hurry and get back because I had to hurry and……

…pack?

Get to work?

Finish my portfolio?

I was stressed and rushing out of habit,

but I’m done. No job no school. There is no reason for me to rush.

And there is no reason for me to feel guilty.

And there is no reason for me not to take a nap in the middle of the day (I don’t think I will though; I’m not experiencing my doneness to that level–yet).

26 war wounds; 26 battle scars

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about how much more comfortable I’d be with my position in life right now if I were 24.

24, single, M.A., about to travel the world.

Yeah,

That sounds about right.

26, [haven’t even MET the person I’m gonna marry (for reals this time) yet] [tens of thousands in student debt] [uncertain future].

That’s how that sounds at 26.

I come from a long line of women who lie about their age. To me, it’s funny, it’s elegant, it’s part of being a lady.

And so briefly, I’d decided that this was the year I would subtract two years and start back at 24.

I like 24.

But then I asked myself which two years I would subtract.

Like,

If I’m 24 now, then which two years am I deleting from my life? Not saying that anyone’s life is particularly uneventful,

But I’ve led a pretty packed 26 years. Every year was a year of note. Every year was a year that I learned/experienced something substantial that contributed a crucial component to the woman I’m growing to love today.

So which of these components could I do without?

Certainly none from my early twenties; each of those lessons was hard-learned, and I’ll be damned if I’m going to go through that shit again for the sake of subtracting a year or two.

What about my late teens, then?

No,

there too,

there were no wasted years.

Early teens were a mix of lessons and good memories with friends whom I still love,

before that was childhood, and every moment of childhood is precious.

Don’t get me wrong,

I am in no way saying there aren’t things I wouldn’t do differently.

I’m not one of those people who insists that if they got to do it all again they “wouldn’t change a thing because it made me who I am today.”

No,

If I got to do it all again as the woman I am today,

I’d invest in apple and stay the HELL away from these boys.

It is what it is.

At the same time, though,

I look back at my life and I start to see my 26 years as 26 battle scars.

Each year was like a little war that I survived. I survived 26 times. How many people can say they went into battle (sometimes blind) 26 times and survived? That’s an achievement. That’s something to be proud of.

I think it’s almost like a mother’s stretch marks.

Sure,

She may miss her unmarked skin. She may see it on other women and compare their smooth, flat stomachs to hers.

But at the same time,

she created life. And as a part of that process, she got stretch marks.

Each mark is there as a direct result of some stage of development of the life that was inside of her. Which aspect of that life would she diminish to have fewer marks?

That’s how I’m starting to feel about 26.

Yes,

It is a bit too high for my liking.

Yes,

I am damn uncomfortable with being single and broker than broke.

But at the same time,

This is my life. Every year, every moment, every second has been an integral part of shaping me into a woman who is now comfortable saying things like “that ain’t gon work. I know me.”

Some women are that woman at 24, but me,

I needed 26 years. And so I accept my 26 years as outward indicators of the life that is growing inside of me. They are not my ideal, but they are my actual. And for simply that reason, I love and accept them.

 

 

“What’s next?”

If I had a dollar for every time someone has asked me “what’s next?” in the context of this here recent graduation, I wouldn’t have to find a job overseas.

I’d just go.

OK. I’m exaggerating. More like I would use it to pay my phone bill.

OK OK. Total transparency: I’d buy an outfit from Target. And some coconut water. Which is totally still like being asked between 30 and 40 times, which basically feels like 4000.

Truth is, I’m scared.

What’s next.

Funny thing is, I’m not scared of not getting a job. I’m not scared of entering second adolescence, of moving back in with mama, of depending on her to borrow her car. Apprehensive? Youbetcha. But scared….not so much.

Not of that.

But I am scared.

See,

I tried “being graduated” already. It….was a mindfuck.

And I went back to school.

And I’m used to school, and I understand school, and school kept me busy, and busy Bryoney = happy Bryoney.

In about two weeks I’ll be jobless and all moved out, and then there will be 24 things terrorizing me every day. They’re called hours, and they will be long and empty and they will take their sweet time dragging themselves along the kitchen floor of my life, leaving claw marks in the floorboards of my mind.

What am I supposed to do with no job? No school?

This semester, I worked 30 hours, worked as a special programs coordinator, did my practicum (student teaching), took a class, and did Orals.

Then I graduated.

Then I moved.

Then I’ll……………………..

…?

I like to joke and say I’d like to get the bags under my eyes reduced to at least half an inch and, well, this is not really a joke, but say I just go hard in the motherfuckin paint and sleep 9 hours a night for a month and I look fabulous and restored at the end of it.

What am I supposed to do with the other 15 hours of my day?

So far I’ve got paint, sew, cook and yoga.

I’m the type of person who can invent her own misery by overthinking.

Already I’m thinking this is going to make me incredibly lonely and acutely aware of my singleness.

It hasn’t even STARTED yet.

 

the only thing that will matter is that you didn’t love enough

it is very much the sign of a very un-broken person

that you love the way you do.

it is very much the sign of a very pure heart

that your love soars,

that it shines,

in a way you can’t control.

and yes, sometimes it hurts,

because you’re human

and sometimes you get angry and you blame

(this is OK too)

but in the end when you look back perhaps the only thing that will matter is that you didn’t love enough

and in those moments, remember these

when you chided yourself for loving too much.

To love harder, quicker: My promise to my new place

Lately, things have taken on a surreal quality.

The countdown is on. I’m officially finished with school. I have to be out of my apartment by the end of the month (I haven’t started packing). Korea in February.

And yet here I sit, right outside the bubble. 

Or I guess more aptly, still inside.

Very soon, I am about to pass through this bubble into the rest of the entire world,

but right now I sit in its soft, refracted light, and everything has taken on a gentle glow. 

I was walking from my final practicum meeting with two ladies in my cohort just a few minutes ago, and they were asking me if I was excited to be graduating.

“I don’t know,” I told them. “I feel kind of sad.” 

I feel kind of sad not only because I’ll be leaving, but because I’ll be leaving them. I do this at every new place, new stage. I’ve had two years to be friends with not only them, but the other students in my cohort too, but I only just started getting close to them this semester.

This makes me sad for the time I wasted, because you never know when you’ll meet your next lifelong friend.

And you never know who could have been, had you had a stronger bond before leaving.

And you can never quite go back to a moment. I’ll never be able to go back to the time when we were all in graduate school together, when we were all teaching together, when we were all here. Together. We’ll go our separate ways and we’ll keep in touch and we may even visit, but we’ll never all be here together again. I could have had two years of that but instead I had only half a year.

Maybe I’m just greedy. I mean, I’ve had an amazing two years, and an amazing time at my university too. I am so sad to be leaving here because this is the first place I picked for myself, and it’s home. There are many people here who I love. There are friends, best friends, family members of friends, neighbors, mentors, relatives of neighbors and mentors. 

But there were also times that I wasted, feeling alone. Feeling lonely. Holding myself back, afraid to branch out/reach out/allow myself to love these wonderful people.

I moved around a lot as a kid, and I ended up becoming someone who kept people at arm’s distance because I couldn’t bear to leave the people I loved.

Now I’ll move around a lot as an adult and I’ll become someone who opens up and loves people instantly because I don’t want to waste a moment not connecting with great people.

You can never quite go back to a moment.

Best not to waste even a second.

Shortcuts

The other day I was at a Wiz Khalifa concert, and I wanted to dance.

I wanted to dance,

but I felt self-conscious. Well, it’s not that I felt self-conscious, so much as I felt conscious; I couldn’t forget myself.

I closed my eyes, but I was aware in every moment that I was dancing, that I felt awkward, that I was surrounded by people, and that sometimes strangers laugh at you (just like I sometimes laugh at them).

In that moment, I thought about drinking, and how drinking allows me to dance unselfconsciously.

I read once that the goal isn’t to find yourself, it’s to lose yourself.

I believe that.

I think that in some situations, it’s awareness of self that causes the block, for instance when I’m at a concert and I want to dance but I am also aware that I’ll probably look foolish.

I think there is a way to lay this awareness down sober,

but I also think that substances are a shortcut to it. We want to dance unselfconsciously, but we don’t know the path. Substances instantly move us from crippling awareness to blissful unawareness, and for a moment we can forget selves and just be.

For me, the question then becomes how to get to that place sober? How do I forget self without substance? How do I live completely sober, completely in the moment?