Tuesday, July 26, 2016

I'll be wearing red

There is so much that I want to say, and yet so few words come to mind.

Two years ago (from yesterday), a precious little was born. Due to many health complications, he had to be delivered at 29 weeks (with all the health problems that he had, this was the only possible way to save his life). After a week of fighting through it as best he could, the sweet little passed away. This little was my nephew, who I only got to meet once.

Although it was a heartbreaking day, I hope I never lose my memories of the morning I met him. As my wonderful, courageous, and tender-hearted eldest sister held her precious child, I reached my hand out to hold his, knowing that it would likely be the only time I could ever embrace him in any way. I didn't ask to hold him. He was so small and fragile, and moving him could cause him stress and further problems, and I also didn't want to take away any of the time that my sister had to hold her beautiful baby.
The second my thumb touched the palm of his hand, his tiny fingers curled around it in a faint but firm grip. I say "faint but firm" because he didn't have much strength at all, but his little hand seemed to be latched as tightly as was possible around my thumb. I don't think I will ever be able to perfectly describe the emotion of that moment. All I know to say is that it was overpowering, beautiful, and sad.

It may be difficult to understand for some, but I miss him. I get to hear my other nieces and nephews laugh and cry, I get to read them stories and sing songs with them, and I get to know who they are. All I know about sweet little Gideon is that he fought his many trials so hard, he seemed to love and find comfort in music, he was and is dearly loved... and that I got to hold his hand one magical time.

A family that might not realize my love for them recently and unexpectedly lost a little, as well. I only met him a few times, but I know that he was a sweet little boy who also was and is dearly loved by his family. And I know that his favorite color was red, and that I plan to wear red on Friday in order to honor him in some way.

I feel as though I have been watching the world through grey-tinted glasses, as of late. This time of year will always mean a bit of sadness and heartache for my family (and theirs). I have, unfortunately, been a less than bright force in the world around me for a while. I ought to be cherishing the precious moments, and making brighter the world around me (and seeking to improve the lives of those around me). Whether a lifetime lasts only the span of a week, or four years, or twenty-eight years, or a hundred years... What seems to matter most is the way in which we show love and are loved in return.

Gideon's willingness to hold on seemed to be the gift he had the power to give to his family. My sister, her husband and her other children were devastated by the loss of his precious life, but they were so grateful that they had time with him at all.
The immediate grip of his tiny little fingers around my thumb felt like his gift for me; it felt as though he knew I wanted to hug him tightly and he did what he could with the strength he had to "hug" me, as it were. His sweet little spirit touched so many hearts in the short time we were blessed by his presence.

As I drove toward home on the day I met Gideon (which was, as it happened, also the day he passed away), the song "He Lives in You" from The Lion King Broadway cast recording began to play. So many of those words resonated with me as I drove, and cried, and listened to the words:
"have faith..."
"he lives in you, he lives in me..."
"he watches over everything we see..."

I want to believe that these precious little ones are guardian angels, who are now watching over their loved ones. They are still in everything we see, because they have blessed us with their light.

I wish comfort and love to anyone who has suffered/is suffering a loss. I wish to be a person who brings some comfort and/or joy into the lives of others. And of course, I wish we didn't have to say goodbye. Life is precious, and fleeting, and we may never understand it.
And I wish I was a person who knew how to love more unabashedly and bravely. As it is, I simply try to make people happy, but sometimes I don't succeed.
Again, this family might not realize that I love them dearly and am grateful for their part in my life. But I hope they know that they are loved, and I hope that they are able to be comforted during this heartbreaking time.

I'll be wearing red on Friday.

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

"You're lost in the woods. We all are."

I'm feeling a little extra lost, lately... I feel like I'm "getting by" and have all these things I have to do but haven't done yet, and I also feel like I'm not enjoying the things I'm doing as much as I should be.

I have my moments! I enjoy things sometimes. But my joy feels so fleeting; it seems as though any old comment or situation can chase my moment(s) of joy far away. School is just getting harder. There are things I should have been doing at the start of this semester of school that I have still not done, because it seemed too hard at the time, and now the eminent difficulty seems all the more daunting and is all the more vital to get done.
There are also things in the coming school year that will be weighing on me and making my life more difficult. See, there are times in my life when I enjoy being busy and responsible, but I feel like this next school year will not be one of those times (and yet, keeping busy and staying responsible will be required of me whether I "feel like it" or not). I've already made a few decisions/commitments because I knew it would make other people happy. I've already tied myself to extra responsibilities and work that (should I survive) I'll be grateful for once the crazy times are over, but that currently look like several more weights to add to the stack that I'm already carrying.

I'm struggling to make ends meet, financially. I honestly don't know if I can do this. It sounded like such an interesting adventure. Albeit, a terrifying and saddening interesting adventure, but I thought we could probably do it. I'm feeling a lot of weight on my shoulders at the moment, and I'm currently just trying to get a little relief. I'm fairly certain that no one I know reads this blog, and in some ways that's encouraging. I don't think I'd feel free to whine quite this much if I thought someone I know was keeping up on it. If some stranger reads it, just for kicks, I'm sorry that this post isn't very chipper. But if Pixar's Inside Out taught us anything, it's that we all need a little sadness, right? We need a balance.

Well, this is a sadness post. Everything is tinted a little more blue today. I don't know how I'm going to do any of the things that I should be doing, if this strange adventure is to go according to plan. And if it doesn't go according to plan, what was it all for?

Also, can it actually be defined as an "adventure" if it relies so much on a plan? Seriously, what am I doing with my life? I feel like I'm a good person, but I feel like I'm not good at being a person. Is that even possible?
This post is my version of a deep breath before I fall asleep, because falling asleep means I wake up in some hours and go to school, then work, then rehearsal, and then I study (if I do things the way I'd like to believe I would), then go to sleep again.
I know I'm going to sound awfully contrary (particularly with the way this post has been going) when I say this, but when an entire day is planned out and my time is occupied before I even get the chance to live that day through, I feel really depressed about it. That's quite ironic for somebody who wants things to go according to plan... But I hate having something to do at nearly all hours of the day. Especially when I'm running on so little steam.

On that note, I wish I could end this post with a cute little "I think I can, I think I can, I think I can" train, but I can't. Because at the moment, I don't.

Wednesday, July 13, 2016

"Books and cleverness... There are more important things: friendship, bravery...."

Many a time when I've needed inspiration/motivation, I've told myself to "be a Hermione." The girl got stuff done. I know that I tend to get into slumps and to turn into more of a Ron Weasley (another fantastic character, but one with a lot less self-motivation). I get so disappointed in myself when I become a Ron instead of a Hermione. And I've been crumbling under a lot of pressure lately, and getting more and more exhausted and less and less motivated... This post should perhaps actually be titled "Bloody Hell," or another Ron Weasley-ish phrase, but I choose to emulate Hermione (ironic as that may be, considering Pottermore deemed me a Hufflepuff years ago).

Image result for hufflepuff pottermore

I say "ironic" because they say that the famous trio (Harry, Ron, & Hermione) represent qualities of the three houses outside of Gryffindor house. They each have qualities which could have made them likely candidates for these other houses, but their deep-set values and choices made each one of them a Gryffindor. It is speculated: Harry could have been a Slytherin, Hermione could have been a Ravenclaw, and Ron could have been a Hufflepuff.

When I get all introspective with my Harry Potter-isms, I tend to think of myself as a Hufflepuff with Ravenclaw tendencies. I dearly love to learn, but I am rarely up for the type of logical reasoning associated with Ravenclaws. Were I a Ravenclaw, I would most assuredly be found pouting outside the common room more often than not, unable to solve the riddle required to be granted access to my own dormitory.

I actually (silly as it may seem for an adult woman) had a bit of an existential crisis recently with my Harry Potter-ism. As you may know, the Pottermore website was updated somewhat recently. Those who already had Pottermore accounts had the option of sticking with their previous sorting, or being re-sorted. Hoping to reassure myself of a true Hufflepuff status, I took the new sorting hat quiz. And, lo and behold...

Image result for the sorting hat has placed you in ravenclaw

No, no. No, no, no, no, no. Couldn't be. Could it? I'm such a Hufflepuff, it's ridiculous! Though, at the time that I took the test again, I was in a very studious mindset (I got a 4.0 GPA that semester for the only-eth time in my life!) and that mindset might have lent very much to my being sorted into Ravenclaw house.

It's so very silly (I have a lot of respect for Ravenclaw house), but I was so disappointed. And it felt untrue, to be honest... So silly.

After a while, though, I decided to try again (I had a student email address with which I could join Pottermore and be sorted yet again). Time had passed, I had accumulated a better perspective on the whole affair. I decided that if this time resulted in a Ravenclaw sorting, I would wholeheartedly be a Ravenclaw. I mean, admittedly, based on the lack of respect shown to Hufflepuff characters by other characters within the Harry Potter wizarding world, when I was first sorted into Hufflepuff I recall being initially disappointed, and then chuckling to myself because it made perfect sense. So, again, if I was now sorted as a Ravenclaw, so be it. I would be happy about it. I took the quiz again, and...

Image result for gryffindor pottermore

Wait, whaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaat? I have a great deal of respect for Gryffindor house, as well, but goodness. It couldn't be. I couldn't be. Too much bravery and too many crazy shenanigans for my liking in Gryffindor house. Perhaps I'm braver than I think I am, and while that is an encouraging thought...

I truly feel that I'm a Hufflepuff. I have now taken the sorting hat quiz three times, and each time I've felt that I answered honestly and sincerely. And now, as the sorting hat can't quite seem to make up its mind, I've decided to continue identifying with Hufflepuff house (not a difficult decision in the slightest bit).

Image result for dumbledore it is our choices

Right? Dumbledore said it. You gonna argue?

I may have a little Ravenclaw in me, and a little Gryffindor as well (seems likely there's not a lot of Slytherin to be found, but who knows? Maybe a fourth time taking the quiz would tell me otherwise. Probably not gonna find out).

Oh, this post... It started as one thing, and as it continued it took on a whole other life. A defensive, "I'M A HUFFLEPUFF" life. Perhaps I'm simply seeking Hufflepuff status validation. If you knew me well, I think you'd agree that I'm most certainly a Hufflepuff.

 Come to think of it, this entire post is probably all the proof you need. This definitely seems like something a Hufflepuff would do (and I should absolutely be doing homework, but this is important).

Even if we are able to do certain things, our values say a great deal about who we are and might at times be more telling than our obvious abilities. I choose to be fiercely loyal and hardworking. I choose to keep striving toward Hermione-level motivation, and I'm sure it'll be a constant battle. I choose to stay afloat as blissfully as I can.

Tuesday, July 12, 2016

Why are you apologizing?!

I get the following questions/statements a lot:
  • Why are you apologizing?
  • Sorry for what?
  • Stop apologizing.
  • What are you sorry for?
  • Apologizing makes you sound needy...
For a while there, I was starting to feel like a really confident person (if we go back in time two and a half years or so). But I changed course. Although several fundamental qualities of my personality and morals remain, I have changed course. And changing course means unfamiliar territory, which tends to mean there will be bumps and bruises, and sometimes those little injuries along the way (if acquired consistently along the unbeaten path) give a person reason to doubt him/herself.
I doubt and second guess myself and my choices rather often.
I do feel as though I've been growing as a human being, but growing isn't easy.

Image result for a seed must come completely undone

I don't always feel certain about where my source of light to grow toward is, either. But as long as I'm growing toward some kind of light, I suppose I should be content to simply grow and let the chips fall where they may.
I'm under construction. That is why I apologize so much. Honestly, when others are speaking/interacting with me, I don't even feel certain I know who it is that they're dealing with. I do know, however, that I am an empathetic person who doesn't enjoy the annoyance/pain/confusion of other people. I also know that I apologize more often than I would like to, but it feels like a compulsion now. I'm not sure how to kick the habit.

Sorry, not sorry! But really...sorry.

Monday, July 11, 2016

Hikes are fun and stuff (climbing over rocky mountain...)

 These are some of the best photos I have of those moments of joy/silliness/relief after reaching the top of a hike. It's good to keep going. It's good to stay as positive as you can. It's good to enjoy the journey as much as you can. Issssgoooooooooood.

Climbing over rocky mountain...

I've discovered on numerous occasions that I have a tendency to be a whiner.

The thing is, I know I'm just whining temporarily, but how is everybody else supposed to know that?

I said in an earlier post that "I don't like to be a downer," but I've been noticing lately that I whine and spout negativity at random, and then have to over-explain myself to try and patch it up. Generally, I try to be a positive person, but those who know me better tend to see the uglier side of my personality rear it's rotten head from time to time.

I remember one day, during my senior year of high school, I told a good friend that I was having a bad day. He responded "well, that's your fault."
I'm pretty sure I remember whipping my head around and saying something like "excuuuuuuuse me?" and he said, "it's your choice to make a day good or bad. Bad things might happen but you don't have to choose to let them bother you so much."
I probably still looked grumpy (because honestly, for the first minute or so after that I felt very "how dare you?"ish and angry), so he probably has no clue that I learned anything from him that day, but I did. Once I stopped mildly fuming.

Now, truth be told, there are some cases in which one truly cannot just "turn that frown upside down." There are illnesses and circumstances which can make one's emotions difficult to simply "choose" to "fix." But that was not my specific struggle. My day honestly was not that bad. Something annoying had happened earlier in the day, and I'd been mulling over it and letting it cast a shadow over everything else. I did have a choice.

I think much of my problem was/is the fact that I'm not particularly open with people all the time, so when I feel comfortable with people, all the things that I usually bottle up tend to spill out. It's real dumb (it's just so illogical; I'm a bigger burden to the people who make my burdens lighter). I honestly should meet with a therapist from time to time. Maybe everyone should. We take care of other problems at the doctor's office when we get sick/injured. Why isn't it always the same way for our mental health?
I'd like to have my mental health in a good place as a general rule, and I'd like to not be a burden to my loved ones in order to do so.

I really am trying to be a better person, though. There is much that I'm trying to accomplish lately, and it can be very overwhelming. But the climb is rarely the part of the journey that feels worth it at the time, you know? We usually don't appreciate the journey we've taken until there's a view to enjoy. I know that with most hikes I've been on, I've honestly felt a little miserable during the climbing portion (I'm not the most unhealthy person ever, but I'm certainly not a health nut, and I'm rarely super in-shape). Once I have a chance to rest at the top and look down on the path I've taken up to that point, and I see how beautiful everything looks from that perspective, there's a kind of euphoria that washes over me. But before that moment, the only things "washing over me" are my own sweat/blood/tears/desire to turn around and quit.

I feel like that's where I am. I'm at the early stages of the hike where I'm close enough to the beginning that I'm so tempted to say "I'm just going to turn around. I'll go buy everyone cold waters/Gatorade for when you finish, but I can't."
"I'll cheer you on, but I can't do this."
"I'm not strong enough."
"I don't have enough resources to keep my strength up."
"I'm huuuuungryyyyyyyy."
"I'm just not that adventurous."
"This hurts."
"I'm only this far?! That's the top?? All the way up there??!"

But I do recall that at the top of every single one of those hikes, I've thought...
"I can't believe I made it."
"This is beautiful."
"This was so worth it."
"I should do this more often."
"I'm so glad I didn't quit."

No climb was ever made easier by whining the entire time, though (and those climbs have happened, for sure). I wasn't making it easier for myself, or for those around me who were climbing the same trail/taking the same steps that I was.

Positoovity? Poositrocity?