everywhere life is full of heroism

everywhere life is full of heroism

This will absolutely be a long, winding blog because I haven’t made enough time to get my thoughts together more, and also because it’s 2am and work in the A.M. is a thing unfortunately… 

But I have been through Some Things in 2016 that I needed to put down for later blogs.

This year has been very mentally challenging (and physically – stitches in my tongue! Story for another time, worth it). I’ve been on meds after meds as they adjust everything, but I’ve had close calls with my own mental darkness.

And I haven’t wanted to admit or even acknowledge this for a long time to anyone but my mom and therapist, but it’s time to continue the conversation when it’s finally being even somewhat discussed.

There were so many times this year when the only thing keeping me from attempting suicide was the thought, “but I’m worth too much money in tattoos.” Ridiculous, right? But it worked almost every time. What kind of weird mental illness response…?!

I know I’m worth more than ink. “You are a child of the universe, no less than the trees & the stars; you have a right to be here.” (Max Ehrman)

It’s been a year of great things, too. I’m working every day on building up my self-esteem and self-worth. I’ve learned lessons about not being so reactive, to chill as best as I can, and don’t stress about things that might happen or that have in the past. 

“Do not stress yourself with imaginings. Many fears are born of fatigue and loneliness.” (Ehrman) This is most especially what I need to work on. Insecurity is getting a punch anytime I feel the slightest inkling.

Be the best you that you can be – that’s what I’m striving for. As a friend quoted to me from Oprah, “When you know better, you do better.”

The only thing I ask in companionship, whether platonic or not, is to be patient with me while I work through this and I will do the same with you for any of your changes.

I’m starting off 2017 early. Who needs an arbitrary revolution around the sun to start a new year anyway?

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“we can’t know better until knowing better is useless.” -Looking for Alaska

I just finished Will Grayson, Will Grayson, by John Green and David Levithan, the second of two books I checked out from the Springville Road Library – the first books of many I will be reading during this year off between school and life experiences.  The first book I checked out and read was Looking for Alaska, by John Green, the same John Green who collaborated with David Levithan for WG, WG.

And wow.

These two books were amazing.  I’d first heard of them through tumblr, but especially Looking for Alaska (which I’ll abbreviate as LFA from now on).  Everyone on tumblr seems to worship this book, and I’d seen a few excerpts from it and thought there might be a reason behind this holy love for the book, so I checked it out with WG, WG, and began reading.

LFA takes place in Alabama, at a fictional boarding school called Culver Creek, and although the geography is a little strange (Montevallo is mentioned and the mileage from Birmingham and Culver Creek and Pelham doesn’t add up, but it doesn’t matter), Green himself went to Indian Springs, and so his descriptions of Alabama are pretty perfect.  For instance, the main character is from Florida, and in discussing the head there versus here:

This did not prepare me for the unique sort of heat that one encounters fifteen miles south of Birmingham, Alabama, at Culver Creek Preparatory School.  My parents’ SUV was parked in the grass just a few feet outside my dorm room, Room 43.  But each time I took those few steps to and from the car to unload what now seemed like far too much stuff, the sun burned through my clothes and into my skin with a vicious ferocity that made me genuinely fear hellfire.

Pretty true, right?  Apparently John Green lived in Birmingham, Alabama, and attended Indian Springs, so he has firsthand experience with the heat of Alabama, and I thought while reading that he might be from here or have lived here because of his knowledge of this sort of thing.

So, LFA, by pure virtue of taking place in Alabama, fifteen miles south of Birmingham to be exact, drew me in almost immediately.  While it helps in a book to have landmarks or places or names you know – such as I-65, Pelham, Birmingham, etc. – that’s not the reason I love this book.  Green just has a way with words, and both LFA and WG, WG made me think about authors of ‘teen’ books – or at least John Green and David Levithan – and how amazing they are at describing the teen experience.

There are things both LFA and WG, WG have described that I can relate to so well because I am like a character or see some of myself in a character, but it made me wonder just how much each of us is in a character.  We were all teenagers once if we are no longer teenagers, and we all have struggled with various things these characters have struggled with, and the wonderful thing about Green and Levithan is that they haven’t forgotten this in their age (both in their 30’s, far enough removed from their teen years to perhaps be disgruntled with teenagers as I already am at the age of 21).  Reading these books – especially WG, WG, as I related more to both the Will Graysons than I did Pudge or the Colonel from LFA, but of course could relate to them too – threw me back to the teenage experience, to the almost overwhelming of emotions and hormones and the irrational thoughts that “NO ONE KNOWS HOW I AM FEELING! NOBODY UNDERSTANDS ME!” – yet I am far enough removed from that to say, Wow, I sure have grown a hell of a lot from that person.

How do young adult authors do it?  Do they just channel their teenage selves?  Yet, these kids have individual qualities, they are their own person, and each have different struggles.  I related more to the non-capitalized will grayson than the capitalized Will Grayson because he also struggles with depression and feels many things I felt as a teenager (though he is also gay, and that comes with its own struggles as well), but there were parts of Will Grayson that I could relate to, especially with relationships.  The teen/young adult author is one to be respected, and especially a good writer of young adult/teen books.  Teenagers are hard to deal with, much less write about, but Green and Levithan are amazing at it.

I think young adult/teen books are good for adults to read, especially I would think if one has a kid that age.  I plan on buying both these books and revisiting them over the years to see how my perspective on them and the characters changes, if it does at all.  I think it’s important for everyone to revisit their teen years to an extent, especially when dealing with current teenagers, to really understand why they act the way they do and how to deal with that.  I’m not a parent, so I don’t know firsthand, but I know from my own grief-causing stints as a teenager and looking back on them now how infuriating it must have been to deal with that.  For a kid who never did things like get detention, do drugs and alcohol, run away from home, I certainly did my own share of horrible teenager-y things.  But reading these books made me realize I wasn’t alone in feeling so many feelings, that it’s really a universal sort of thing.

So, this post kind of went in a direction I wasn’t thinking about or planning, but my writing tends to do that (if it’s not for a paper).  The point is that I think every adult can gain something from reading good teen novels, like Looking for Alaska and Will Grayson, Will Grayson, as well as current teens and young adults.  I don’t know if I’m still considered a young adult fiction-wise, but I didn’t find the writing to be below my level and I laughed and cried at both books – laughing aloud and getting the question, “What are you laughing at?” multiple times.  I would recommend these books to anyone, because although some of the character may drive you crazy, I believe anyone could benefit from them.

There are so many quotes I could quote as my favorite, but I’ll save that for another entry because this one’s long enough.  However, I’ll leave with one of many great quotes from Looking for Alaska.

“Imagining the future is a kind of nostalgia. […] You spend your whole life stuck in the labyrinth, thinking about how you’ll escape it one day, and how awesome it will be, and imagining the future keeps you going, but you never do it. You just use the future to escape the present.” -John Green, Looking for Alaska

Books down for the year: 2
Books to go: ???

PS: This books counter will become a new thing for my blog; I’ll use it to track just how many books I read during this year and to serve as a topic to write on, since I’m so bad at coming up with things to write about!

if you haven’t, you can’t possibly imagine it–

In the past not-even-a-year, four friends of mine have either gone through losing a parent to cancer, or are going through a parent with cancer.  Seriously?  I mean, really, cancer?  Could you not touch my friends and my friends’ families?  That would be fantastic.

I don’t mean this in a crass way, but I love talking to and helping people who are going through dealing with such things – though I would never, ever wish this on anyone.  At the time of my dad’s decline because of his liver-and-lymph cancer(s), I was pretty much alone.  I don’t mean in the sense of not having friends or family for support, but in the sense that nobody close to me had ever gone through this at my age or around my age before.  The last half of my senior year of high school was wrought with tears and a horrible sense of loneliness that I couldn’t shake, no matter how much I cried on Joseph about it, no matter how much I tried to not think about it and tried to have fun.  All of my cousins have their healthy parents – and I wish no less for them, of course! – and my sister was going through this with my mom and I, and she has a family of her own, too, so it wasn’t like I was going through this with someone my age.

And honestly, I’m glad I don’t have siblings my age.  I don’t think I would have handled it well with them, and that’s just me, personally.  I don’t want to imply it would be the same for all siblings close in age.

And so, when I talk to those who have gone through similar things, it makes me feel good that they can come to me for support from someone who has been through it.  Even if I don’t know what to say (and believe me, I don’t – I’m so socially awkward, even if I come across as not sometimes; I’m just a mistress of disguise, I guess), I can share my experience with them and talk about it with them.  I found a quote on tumblr the other day that was “If you have ever lost someone very important to you, then you already know how it feels; and if you haven’t, you cannot possibly imagine it,” and god, that’s so true.  I think you can hypothesize about how it would feel if you were in that position, and I think you can have sympathy of course, but it’s such a profound thing that it really almost forms a bond between two people who have gone through it.

I was talking to one of my former professors, whose mother recently died of pancreatic cancer (and who had been diagnosed the semester I took her class) and we talked about how, when people say they’re sorry, they mean well but it’s just not what we want to hear; that’s not why we tell our story.  She went on to grasp my hand and say, “We’re sisters in this.”  Tying in with the quote above, I really think she’s right – it’s not a club you want to be in, or anything cool, but it’s something that links those of us who have experienced such soul-wrenching loss.

The other night I had a breakdown, which you can experience if you wish here, and I think the combination of me not having cried that deeply about him recently, stress of school and the milestone of graduation approaching, and just life in general brought it on.  I really thought I wouldn’t be able to stop crying.  It gets easier, sure, but I think I’ve just grown numb to it instead of letting it truly affect me, and all the emotions I’d shoved aside in favor of “being stoic” (which is stupid, in my opinion – just cry if you want) came to the surface and boiled over, and I cried for an indeterminable amount of time before I fell into an uneasy and not-long-enough sleep.

Anyway, I kind of digressed… but going through this helps me help people; yet, it’s a double-edged sword, because when I talk about my story and listen to people tell their story or vent or whatever, it takes me back to that time.  I’ve turned back into the scared 18-year-old I was before college and during the beginning of college, spending time away from home so I wouldn’t have to face it yet wanting to savor each conversation I had with my father and each night we spent watching the Food Network – of course, I am not this person anymore.  Time has made me a still-depressed but better-at-handling-it person, and a more confident young woman.  Grief closes up my throat and sometimes it’s hard for me to talk, but I will.  Anytime, I will be here, because having been through that ‘alone’ (again, because no friends of mine had been through that exactly, not for lack of bodies/people to sympathize) sucked.

It’s a loss which has affected me in ways I’ve felt and in ways I can’t even begin to imagine yet and while I don’t want it to necessarily define me, it’s something that defines my life as an adult.  Everything takes on a new meaning now.  But to those struggling with similar situations, you have a friend and an ear (or eyes, depending on your mode of contact) in me.  We’re all brothers and sisters in this, after all.

he doesn’t need your voice —

Sometimes it feels like my soul will split in two from how much it hurts, and it’s then that I think I’ll never learn how to deal with this.  I haven’t cried this hard in a LONG time (even with Gurren Lagann and Black Butler, seriously) and especially about him.

The only way I can think how to describe it is like when you’re throwing up and there’s that spasm of the stomach muscles and diaphragm and you can’t control it, but instead of, well, throwing up, it’s just sobbing.  And in these moments, irrationally I know and I don’t rationally feel this way but, I feel like no one on Earth has ever felt like this and that I will never be okay.  Is this what a breakdown feels like?

Daddy I miss you.

I want someone’s arms around me, want someone  to rock me as I cry, but I don’t want to wake up my mom and this is a dumb post and I will probably think it’s dumb tomorrow/later today but I just had to get my feelings out and I don’t know.

This shit sucks.