it’s real, the pain you feel.

Well hey there, WordPress, it’s been a while.  Mostly because for a while, I was writing things that weren’t blog posts, but lately, it’s because I haven’t been writing ANYTHING.  (PS: Writer’s block sucks.  It is quite possibly the worst thing for a writer, ever.)  I’m hoping a blog post will get the creative juices flowing again.  I’ll let you know if it works.

I’ve had an idea of what to write for a while now, but again, never got around to it (obviously).  I was thinking about college and graduate school a while back, and how, just after my dad died, I kept thinking about how I had to finish college because it would have made him so proud, and how proud it would make my mom and family and everything, but mostly my dead father.  Who could care less because he’s dead.

Do you see where I’m going with this?  I had some vague notion of “honoring his memory” by finishing college and finishing it well, with good grades and all that, when really, it isn’t about my dad.  It never was.  It was me not realizing that I could finish college and make good grades and graduate with honors because I wanted to.  Because I wanted to prove not only to other people but most of all to myself that I’m capable of that.  That I’m capable of what I never did in high school because I was lazy, and that I’m capable of hard work and the benefits of said hard work, and I succeeded.

By the end of my time at Montevallo, I wasn’t thinking, “Wow, Dad would be so proud of me.”  Well, I did sometimes, of course I always had my “what would Dad think of me now?” in the back of my mind, I’m sure I always will to some extent.  But most of the time, it was, “I’m proud of me.”  It was no longer about carrying on a legacy.  In college, I was proud of the woman I’d become.  I was happy that I could be a hard-working student with a knack for writing and putting in the effort that my professors appreciated, but also make time for watching entire series with my roommate, and going home on the weekends and seeing my family and enjoying my free time (or sometimes, making free time when I didn’t really have it, but hey, I did fine, didn’t I?).

And with graduation, I heard so much of, “Your dad would be so proud of you,” sometimes with an ‘is’ instead of a ‘would be’ – you know, the expected.  And that’s great.  I agree, he would be.  My still-alive family is, but most importantly, I am.  I used to be afraid of seeming like I was bragging about having graduated.  But my friend Ali once said something to the extent of being proud is nothing to be ashamed of because it IS a big accomplishment.  So, there it is – I am proud of me!  Of my accomplishments and my perseverance and my overall strength (because let’s face it – sometimes I’m not really strong, at all, but overall, yeah, I think I am a pretty strong person) and my good qualities!

***

So, that brings me to Part II, and I guess the meat, of this post: grad school, or lack thereof.

I, like an idiot, only applied to one grad school, and what’s considered an elite one at that.  And, spoilers if you didn’t know: I didn’t get in.  I have the grades, but for whatever reason, they didn’t accept me, and I think a large part of that is lack of experience (but I have yet to find out what got me booted out of the acceptance pool).  And coming to terms with that has been, and remains to be, really, really hard.  I should have applied to more so that surely SOME kind of acceptance would come and I wouldn’t be really soul-crushed like I am right now.

Actually, I’ve fallen into a big rut with being rejected from the only place I applied to, and why I didn’t apply to more than one haunts me daily.  Every time I put on my work uniform, I hate myself for not applying to more than one place.  I was lazy and decided I was so tired of having to deal with the stupid rigorous application that I just left it at the one.  And as a result, I dug my own Unhappiness For At Least One More Year grave.  Which is not necessarily true.  I COULD get a job at a local library (and have the possibility on the horizon, but haven’t gotten a callback from the interview yet) and love it and get paid better and it challenge me intellectually and not be completely unhappy with my life.  But as I see it, it’s just stagnating.

It’s no secret that retail is crummy.  You get to deal with people who act like the world must stop for them and complain to corporate about dumb crap and who act like the smallest mistake is the biggest deal in the whole world.  You get to deal with ten-year-olds speaking condescendingly to you and bossing you around, because guess what?  THEY are the customer.  You get to ask the same questions over and over and pretend to give even half a crap about complete strangers’ problems while dreaming of handling old documents in an archives department or even just shelving books, for god’s sake.  Repeat ad infinitum.  I have an infinite number of stupid mistakes I make at work, simply because I’ve turned my brain off.  Retail isn’t the type of work that really requires a lot of critical thinking.

Recently, my coworkers have gotten each other into this show called Weeds, you’ve probably heard about it in some fashion, and Nancy, the main character, says this about working as a manager of a maternity clothes store:

I wake up in the morning, get dressed, drive myself to work, put on a name tag, take my brain out of my skull and place it in a drawer. I spend the next nine hours staring at people, pretending to be interested in their happiness, tolerating the company of my co-workers, staring at the clock. At the end of the day I take my name tag off, open the drawer, reach for my brain, plop it back inside, walk to the employee parking lot and drive myself home. And it’s really, really boring. And it looks like I’m gonna be doing it for a long, long time.

That sums up my feelings on retail, too, and of the pit a combination of my own poor decisions, a sinking global economy, and bad luck I’m currently stuck in (preposition at the end of a sentence aside).

But it’s a job.  It pays the bills.  I’m grateful for the means to pay my own crap and help with household bills and give back to the woman who’s provided so much for ME all my life.

But at what point is my unhappiness not worth it?  I can’t quit, like that’s just not in the cards, because of bills and hard economic times and all that crap.  And it’s the worst feeling in the world.  Because I’m just stagnating.  I’m not growing intellectually, I’m not being challenged.  I miss college SO MUCH because on a near-daily basis, I was growing intellectually, I was being challenged.  I’ve been reading a lot, and I do have some intelligent coworkers that I have meaningful conversations with, but how much can you talk about interpreting the events of history or what the color red means in a book or whatever, while you’re at work, pretending to care about peoples’ problems and asking repetitive questions that have no significance on your own life at all, over and over again?

Little to none, that’s how much.

And as a result, I can think of no other word to describe me right now other than “stagnating.”  And I’m trying to find my way out of the labyrinth of suffering, and the solution isn’t forgiveness this time (Looking for Alaska reference), it’s finding a job relevant to my interests and future plans and getting the experience I need to get out of this stupid labyrinth and do something I really love.  And why is that SO hard?  To ‘build character’, whatever that means?  Okay, I get it, I appreciate the plight of the retail worker now.  I respect those I, frankly, already respected (because I’ve never been bitchy to retail employees like people have been bitchy to me and my coworkers, I’ve never chewed somebody out for the stupid crap we get chewed out for).

I think I’m angriest about graduate school because I can’t escape, at least not for a little while longer, unless I get a job in a field I care about (and by god, I’m trying).  So for now I’m just still stagnating, despite all the efforts I’ve made to try and intellectually grow.  I’m having panic attacks often because of customers, and you know what pisses me off the most about it?  Nobody takes it seriously.  Tough shit if you have social anxiety and withdrawal but are forced to deal with people who think their problems are the end of the world.  Tough shit if you have a mental breakdown over a customer whose infirmities remind you of your dying father.  Nobody takes it seriously because you’re just a worker in a company whose goal is to make money and you can be replaced.  And that’s the way of the world, yes, I get it, I understand that and the corporate machine and capitalism and I’m not looking for coddling or lullabies or a band-aid or whatever – I’m just looking for something that challenges me in a non-psychologically-damaging way.  And it’s hard to find.

And you know what would do that?  GRADUATE SCHOOL.  But because of poor decision-making and bad luck and a sinking global economy, I can’t achieve that goal just yet.  What’s the point of being proud of my accomplishments if they aren’t getting me anywhere?

So, I don’t really know what the point of this post morphed into.  I guess that life’s hard, wah wah, cry more.  But I’m allowed to be disappointed with things in my life that I can’t change on a larger scheme at the moment, whether for lack of money or lack of opportunity.  And I’m allowed to express these in a blog post that nobody has to read if they find me whiny or whatever.

But I AM trying to find my own way back into using my brain.  Falling from the cloud of “wow college is awesome” onto the pavement of “wow the real world sucks” has really given me an idea of what I DON’T want to do for the rest of my life.

Now, I’ve just go to try my best and take every opportunity that’s offered and get out of the labyrinth of suffering and of not using my brain as much as I can with being broke.  The ball’s sort of not really but still kind of if you turn your head and squint your eyes in my court now.  It’s time to keep trying to do something about it, because what else CAN I do?

I’m not saying I’m unhappy with every aspect of my life right now.  I have plenty of things that I enjoy and look forward to, and things could be a lot worse.  Before you call me whiny, know that I do appreciate the things I have.  I have a lot of amazing people in my life who make things not-completely-horrible.  Things could be so much worse, yes, I know this.  In some ways I AM privileged (though tumblr has made me really start to even hate that word).  I get it, I do.  I could just be a lot happier in ways I know are doable, I just have to achieve those things, and as I said, the ball is not always in MY court.

On a good note, though, I’ve finally got an idea for a tattoo for my dad.  It’s about time, too.

(Sidenote: WordPress’s new layout SUCKS, seriously, way to make your blogging site much harder to use and, oh I dunno, BLOG with??  Seriously, ew.)

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“It could be worse…” or I could feel better by punching you.

A couple of Sundays ago, Limbo discussed the idea of the “it could be worse” argument.  Now, I wasn’t there, because as you all know, I got my bachelor’s in Sleep and Sleeping In – the whole ‘history/English’ thing was a façade – but it got me thinking, as it always does when I think about this particular topic.

No beating around the bush: I hate this phrase.  Sometimes it’s good to put things in perspective, such as “god, I really miss having satellite,” followed up with, “but at least we still have a house, so I guess we can do without having other TV channels than the local ones” (thoughts I’ve had before).  That’s a different argument, and not the “oh it could be worse” argument which, for me, is another way of saying “Your feelings are invalid.  Feel sad?  No, you’re just a jerk.”

I actually know people who, if someone complains about having to work a double shift, or having too many projects, or just having a bad day, will say stuff like, “Well, it could be worse – you could be starving in the middle of Africa,” or, god, this one recently – “At least you still have a home unlike those people in Haiti,” after the huge earthquake that hit a few years ago.

Wow.  Way to make me feel like I can’t ever be sad again.

Being sad, having off-days, or just plain ol’ complaining is part of being human.  If we don’t cry or rant or bitch about whatever’s going on in our lives that’s irritating us or stressing us out, we’d explode.  Comparing my situation to someone who doesn’t have water in Africa or child slaves in Singapore or whatever, is just a way to try and make me feel guilty for – god forbid – having a hard time.

I can tell you firsthand, I – and likely few others – have ever said, “Wow, you’re right.  I’m not buried under rubble in a third-world country, so I’m not sad anymore!  Thanks, that really opened my eyes!”  I just don’t understand the point of “it could be worse.”  Yes, it could, and…?  That doesn’t mean what I’m sad about or frustrated with or just complaining about is less valid.

I’ll never say, “Oh, you’re right, I could be starving in Africa, that makes me feel so selfish about missing my dead father!”  It just doesn’t work like that.  I refuse to feel selfish or like I’ve got first-world syndrome over complaining about things, and honestly, that argument reeks of attempting to do just that.

Does that mean I care less about what’s going on in other parts of the world?  No, absolutely not.  I think what’s happening in the Sudan and Darfur and in sweatshops in Asia and the mess in the Middle East is awful.  I’ve cried at news stories of those before.  But if you say something like, “It could be worse – you could be starving in Haiti because of the earthquake,” you’re just being a condescending, uppity asshole.  So you can bring the fact that children are being sold into slavery as I’m complaining about my roof leaking: CONGRATS!  You’ve earned the “irrelevant to all things” award.

Sometimes even the “at least my house isn’t foreclosed” thought (that is, the lesser version of “at least you’re not starving in Africa” version of “it could be worse”) seems kind of like an attempt to make me feel guiltier about complaining about not having TV anymore.  I’m used to having ‘x’, so when I don’t have ‘x’, it makes me feel crappy.

I’m aware there are people out there who have it worse than me – they have abusive fathers, or fathers who have never been in their lives, or they’ve been abandoned, or whatever – but that doesn’t make me miss my father any less.  That doesn’t make it immediately better for me and make me any less sad.  I was used to having my father around, now I don’t, and I refuse to feel bad for being sad about that.  My mother’s car got wrecked the other night and may have to be totaled.  Guess what, that sucks.  Yes, we still have a car, yes, we were lucky to even have a car, but guess what: it doesn’t make it suck less.

That’s just one example, and if my thoughts aren’t very clear right now/if this post seems disjointed or repetitive, I’m still having slight withdrawals from medication I’m going off of, and I just played intense video games.  But the point is: people are allowed to complain, or speak their mind(s) about how they feel like something in their life is worth being bummed about – don’t be an ass and say, “It could be worse.”  Yes, it could be worse.  So could your day if I punched you.  And???  I think it’s within my rights to complain about feeling offended at a rude customer, or having seizures, or my deceased father.  That’s not to say if used in the “well look at it this way, you had eighteen years to make great memories with your father,” or “it’s good you never had seizures while driving, though,” – a.k.a., an attempt to help a person actually feel better or to not get so incredibly overwhelmed by negative feelings, is bad.  Sometimes we need people like you to help us through bad times.  But there’s a difference between that and what I’ve described.

That “argument” doesn’t make how I feel any less valid – and it sure as hell doesn’t for anyone else, either.  Yes, keep things in perspective, but don’t feel like your feelings are less valid just because someone’s gotta be That Guy and compare your situation to starving nations in Africa.

To anyone who pulls that “it could be worse” thing on everyone – don’t be a dick.  Let people feel what they’re going to feel.  If they want things in perspective, that’s a different thing entirely, but when you say stuff like that (could be worse/starving in Africa/earthquake in Haiti), you make quick judgements on a person’s life.  You’re just being a jerk, and really, no one likes that.

“You found a Purple Rupee! That’s 50 Rupees!”

If you follow me on tumblr, Twitter, or Facebook, chances are you know I bought a 3DS on June 17, and the Ocarina of Time 3D remake on June 20.  I’d prepaid for OoT with some of my graduation money because let’s face it, I’d been looking forward to this game for years, but I still had yet to purchase a 3DS.  I was holding out, hoping they’d release a ~special edition~ for the OoT release I just hadn’t heard about (and let’s face it: the games for the 3DS pre-OoT were terrible), but by the time I got paid Friday the 17th, I figured they weren’t going to release a gold one or whatever, so I trekked (read as: drove) to GameStop before work, walked in, took a deep breath, and when the guy behind the counter asked me what I needed, I said, “I would like to buy a 3DS” (to which he responded “Awesome!”).

Now, let’s get one thing straight: I have never paid more than $60-70 for anything video games-related.  Well, I’ve bought video games separately that add up to more than that, and a hard drive for my Xbox 360, and a wireless adapter for it – all on separate occasions – but when it comes to one-time purchases, I have never spent over $70, much less $249.99 plus tax (unless I’m forgetting something).

The 3DS was, indeed, $249.99 plus tax, and since tax in lovely Roebuck is ten percent, that was $24.99 tacked on, so I ended up spending, in one purchase, $274.98.  Ouch.  Add in the trip to White Water Limbo was taking the very release day of Ocarina of Time, June 19, and I had about $30 to last me until my next paycheck, which hasn’t even come yet (well, it’s tomorrow, but I set up direct deposit, so 2am-ish tonight, so close enough).  Add in gas and meals, and that’s really not much.  At all.  I ended up with something like $11 by the end of the White Water trip (excluding the $26 I had already accounted for in cash for the ticket), and since, I’ve been asked by Mom if the 3DS “was worth the three-hundred dollars.”

My answer is: absolutely.

The very day of my big purchase, I was closing with Kathy.  Now, I have this thing about me that when I buy something that’s pretty expensive and probably not necessary, I feel huge, major guilt.  Be it shoes, video games, whatever – if it’s a semi-big purchase, I end up feeling guilty no matter how much I’d been looking forward to it or whatever.  I can only imagine what’ll happen when I buy a car or a house.  Anyway, so I later expressed to Kathy that night that I felt like I shouldn’t have gotten the 3DS.  She exclaimed, “Why?!  It’s really cool, and aren’t you getting a game for it?” And I told her yes, that I’d already prepaid, etc., but still felt bad.  She said, “In all the years I’ve known you, you never splurge on things.  You deserve this!  You need to do something nice for yourself every once in a while, and I think you deserve this!”

And I thought, you know what, I do deserve it.  I graduated from college, and I have a job and I can easily (well, if one considers dealing with sometimes-difficult customers ‘easily’) make back the money I’d shelled out anyway, and she’s right.  I rarely splurge since Dad died.  Money goes mostly to gas, food, paying bills, whatever I need until my next paycheck.  I don’t mind helping out at all – after all, I live here, so why shouldn’t I?  But she was right – I deserve to treat myself every once in a while…and it had been a while since I’d spent anywhere near that much money (aside from post-graduation gifts but I mean paycheck-money) at once.

But was the 3DS worth it after all?  Well, I already answered that, so yes, but why, exactly?

First of all, Ocarina of Time, first released in 1998, is my favorite game ever.  I’ll explain the reasons for that in a separate post, but in short, the storyline is amazing, there’s character development with both main and minor characters, and it’s fun.  You get to travel back and forth through time, rage at the hard-as-hell Water Temple, and have some really awesome (and infuriating) boss battles.  It’s one of the best games probably ever because it was so revolutionary for its time and the N-64 (still the best system IMO, so many great games and stable as everything – I still play mine often), and really opened the door for other games like it (such as Legend of Zelda: Majora’s Mask, the following game released in 2000, which required an Expansion Pack because of the sheer awesomeness).

So when I heard they were remaking and re-releasing Ocarina of Time for the 3DS, I groaned because I’m pretty tired of the 3D trend going around, but was excited because I would get to play Ocarina of Time anywhere I wanted to.  Do you understand how amazing this is to me?  Well, no, because you’re not me, but if you’re a gamer and you grew up loving OoT as well, you’ll understand still.  And oh. my. GOD.

OoT 3D has far surpassed my expectations.  The 3DS was worth it alone, just for the OoT remake.  It has a special feature, too: when you beat the game, you unlock Master Quest.  I never had Master Quest for the Gamecube, so this was like a dream come true (even though I heard MQ was horribly difficult, and it’s pretty tough but not horrible – I’m about 3/4 of the way done).  So not only do you have amazing new graphics, you have new textures, new patterns, a few new Easter eggs, and 3D, which I’ll admit, is pretty damn cool for OoT.  They did a really good job of making the right things pop, and sometimes I turn off the 3D just to compare, and always end up turning it back on.

I’ve enjoyed the game so much already.  I really had my doubts about it being so much better than the original, and I hate when people say “oh I’ll never go back to the N-64” or whatever, but…I kind of feel the same way now.  The N-64 OoT is great.  I have my best game files on there, including one I’ve had since, like, 7th or 8th grade.  But…I can’t carry it everywhere.  I can’t look in awe at the gorgeous detail and textures they’ve patterned the walls, the floors, carpets, torches, gates – everything – with on the N-64.  I can’t marvel at the Temple of Time’s sweet design.  It’s so insane to look at comparison pictures.

And not only have they released a remake of OoT, but they’re soon to remake and release within the year: Starfox 64, Mario Kart 64/DS, Super Mario 64/DS, and God only knows what else.  This is gonna be great…and since it’s a Nintendo product, I KNOW it will last.  My fangirliness for Nintendo is obvious, and I love them for many reasons, but I think my favorite reason is that their products are so damn reliable, and they make their products to where one can play the previous system’s games (at least, starting with the GameBoy Advance/SP and the DS, and the Gamecube and Wii).

While I had my doubts at first, now I can say with all honesty, yes, the Nintendo 3DS, which cost me $274.98, was worth it.  I have definitely earned the money back in terms of playtime and enjoyment, I still have many more hours to play the game before I beat Master Quest, and I only look forward to the upcoming remake games, though none can beat Ocarina of Time (even if they remake Majora’s Mask).  I’ll be a Nintendo fangirl for life…yet I still don’t have a Wii.  (Still played Twilight Princess, though!)

No regrets, at all.

“a thing that doesn’t change with time is a memory of younger days…”

I woke up at an extremely unusual time for me today–12–and haven’t been back to sleep.  I played Pokémon, won me a gym badge, and then got online and, as per usual, went straight to tumblr to catch up to today’s picture spams.  Then, as per usual during a day I’m home, I started thinking.

“It does not do to dwell on dreams and forget to live,” Albus Dumbledore so wisely said once.  Well, I have been dwelling on dreams for a while now, I don’t think to the point of forgetting to live, but definitely dwelling.  Creepy dreams of my dad alive once again with me knowing he would die again, dreams of him hugging me, dreams of my grandmother, and as is the norm with me, weird dreams that don’t make an ounce of sense.  But what about dwelling on memories?  Couldn’t that be worse than dwelling on dreams?

Lately, I’ve been increasingly more nostalgic.  I remember the good things, not the infuriatingly frustrating things about a person (my dad included).  Isn’t that the way it always is?  Remember the good times, shut out the bad things, the things that made you want to get away and to separate yourself and the growing apart…or, if it’s a death, the good things they did, the funny moments, the wonderful qualities, but hardly the temper while working on a car, the burning of meat because of falling asleep while barbecuing 99% of the time, the griping because we turned off a NASCAR race while the subject was asleep on the couch and not watching it anyway.  I’ve done well in not sanctifying my father, I think.  Mom and I laugh sometimes about his irrational moods and the double standard he set while griping at us for taking a long time to get ready, but by the time we were ready, he wasn’t ready.  We laugh about them, but more importantly, we acknowledge them.

With you, I’ve been harsher to myself.  I think, with disgust, often about my unrealistic expectations and my histrionic and melodramatic tendencies and find a kind of kinship in Asuka Langley Soryu from Evangelion, who really kind of is a braver version of my fourteen-year-old self…well, without the piloting an Eva kinda thing.  Actually, she’s kind of like me all throughout high school.  The point is, I can hardly see positive things about myself, and that sucks.  I’d like to think I’m a better person than I paint myself to be in my memories, but I don’t know, because I only know what I think I was, and god, ever since I was 11, I never could really distinguish the depression and the anger I felt from how I should act.  And work, if nothing else, has taught me that No Matter What, you must act stoic and cheerful and be A Great Cashier by separating how you feel from how you act.  But I don’t think being dishonest with someone who’s much closer than a customer is the way to go.  So how do I balance these unrealistic expectations with how I act upon them?  I still don’t know.

I take after my dad in a lot of ways.  I get easily pissed off if I’m working on fixing something, though it usually ends in tears for me rather than bitching at someone (such as when I tried to put childproof lever things on our kitchen cabinets and ended up just sitting in the floor and crying because I felt like a failure — over childproof locks, how stupid is that??).  But, unlike me who cries at everything from commercials to not putting on locks, I only saw my dad cry once, at his sister’s memorial service/funeral.  I’m like a more crying version of my mother in this way.  I feel so many things and I don’t know how to handle them so I just stuff them away until one day I have a breakdown and then things are fine again after that, rinse, repeat.

But I’ve been having a hard time with memories lately.  I don’t know how I went off on a tangent like that, but it does relate, so I suppose it’s not much of a tangent (however, this sentence is).  Anyway, I’ve been nostalgic for a time that I’m sure is much more golden in my head than it was at the time.  But I know that with some things, with most things, it’s not.  It was wonderful just the way I’m remembering it.  And I miss that.

I wonder if you ever think of me, of us.  Lately, I do.

The flow of time is always cruel…
Its speed seems different for each person but no one can change it…
A thing that doesn’t change with time is a memory of younger days…
-Sheik, Legend of Zelda: Ocarina of Time

the blog of a college graduate

Well, it’s been a week and three days since I walked across the stage without tripping at Montevallo’s Flowerhill Lawn and…

I don’t really feel much different.

The weekend cabin was wonderful, then we came back home and it’s…kind of just been like another summer here at the Tidmore residence.  I’m not sure when it’ll kick in, maybe the closer to school it gets?  Maybe when I check out more library books and realize I don’t have to be done with them by late August?  I don’t know, but I’m waiting.

Of course, I know I’m done with school until -dun dun dunnn- grad school, but it’s just not at the forefront of my mind yet.  It was definitely weird not driving back to Brooke Hall on Sunday night, though, there’s that.

I really don’t want to go back to work.  It’s just a work thing — I love not having to be somewhere at any certain time.  I love days like today when I can just sleep late, and then sit in bed reading or playing Pokémon.  I like the freedom of being able to do that, but also being able to, say, walk somewhere or go to the library and just hang out and read or go to Starbucks and write.  I hate morning shifts because I have to wake up early and I’m tired the rest of the day after leaving.  I hate night shifts because that’s my prime time to be awake and I have to spend it being nice to people I just don’t care that much about.

And it’s not a PSP thing at all — it’s a work thing.  No matter where I would work, it would be the same.  It’s just the principle of having to be somewhere that I don’t want to deal with yet.  A few engagements a week — a doctor appointment here and there, fine; lunch with Mom, totally fine — but not a -groan- work schedule.  It’s nice being free, and being lazy.

But that’s not how the real world works.  People need someone to ring up their 82 Fancy Feast cans and throw them in bags that don’t cooperate 90% of the time.

But can my graduation money last me through the year until grad school?  Please?  That’d be lovely.

Well, it won’t, so I’ll have to work.  What can ya do?  I’m way too poor to fight the man, so at least the beginning of my year off will have been spent well: sleeping late, playing Pokémon, reading, living the way I like to live.

And maybe things will sink in soon.  We’ll see.

I’m just a twenty-something now.

as a child of twenty-one

So, this is it.  I’m sitting here typing at 2:57 pm on a Thursday afternoon needing to pack to go home–forever from the dorm, which is just weird–but instead typing out a blog that won’t change the world or anything.

My GPA is a 3.576.  I’ll get cum laude on my diploma, and Saturday starting at nine A.M. (ouch!) I’ll be sitting on Flowerhill listening to speakers and trying not to cry–because I know I will at some point because I’ll keep thinking about how my dad should be there and how unfair it is that he isn’t–and waiting to hear my name so I can concentrate on not tripping in my high heels as I walk across the stage to get my diploma.  Wow.

It hasn’t really hit that I won’t be coming back to this beautiful campus to live (certainly, I will to visit! I’m terrible at staying away).  I won’t be able to drive back under the stars that I can actually see because I’m not in a city full of bright lights while the fog curls in on the roads–well, I mean, I could, because who would stop me, but it wouldn’t be the same.  And on one hand, it’s good.  I’m tired of lugging my basket full of laundry and assorted things for the weekend home and back again.  I’m tired of writing for classes even though I loved college and loved being good at writing (especially with history–clearly I chose the right major).  But I’ll miss the hell out of this place.

I can’t even imagine what it’s like to be at Alabama, where students are left with a sense of disjointedness.  They don’t even get to walk at graduation until August 6–how crappy is that?  I cannot possibly imagine what that’s like, but to be fair, I really haven’t tried.  I don’t want anything else to spoil my own graduation experience, and that’s selfish.  In my head, it’s already torture that my dad won’t be able to come and sit in the audience, or my grandmother won’t be able to come and sit and cry with my mom and aunt.  And don’t get me wrong–I’m so glad for all of my relatives and friends or whatever who will come!  But because I’ve lost two people so dear to me and have to experience the biggest accomplishment of my life without them, I don’t really want to imagine what being in a state of different loss like UA students’ loss is like.

Maybe that’s selfish–I think it is.  But I didn’t go to UA, and so I will be able to walk at graduation, I will get to cry and probably get annoyed at the number of pictures being taken even though I do want pictures, and I’ll get to think about moving gracefully so I don’t trip on the stage on the way to my diploma–although, I have to say, it’d be pretty fitting if I did trip, I mean, few are clumsier than me.  And for that (that is, being able to walk) I’m grateful.  I’m especially grateful that our commencement won’t last as long as other colleges’ will, because while we do have a formidable amount of students, God bless Montevallo for being comparatively small.

To all my friends I met here at Montevallo, I love each and every one of you.  I can’t imagine what college would have been like without you–much lonelier, I know.  To all my professors who might read this, especially my history professors, thank you for making my college experience one of a kind.  You have been so kind and funny and I will never forget any of you.  And to anyone else who might see me bawling in pictures or at graduation itself…well, haters gonna hate, and criers gonna cry.  I’m the latter.

…Saturday, here I come!

language (some of which is not appropriate for young audiences here)

I said my first curse word when I was riding home from gymnastics with my mother, somewhere around the age of six or so.  We passed a strange-looking car on our street just over the big hill and I observed that it looked “goofy-ass” or “silly-ass” or something like that.  I don’t remember exactly, but I know that it was “ass.”

A few years later, maybe when I was eight or nine, I had an “argument” in school with a boy over if the word “fuck” was a cuss word or not.  I was on the side of “no” because I thought it was just another variant of “freak” as in “stupid freaking boys.”  I asked my mom on the way home if “fuck” was a bad word and I remember her swerving out of shock — not into danger or anything, but just enough to where I started immediately apologizing, afraid I was in trouble.

In third grade, my teacher told me “dang” was too much like “damn” and that I should go with “darn.”

And ever since all this happened, and I grew older and started cussing more around my mother (because she can cuss like a sailor, which is where I get it from), but knew not to in front of my dad and grandmother (although I began to around my dad when I was about sixteen, and he didn’t seem to care, I guess because I was old enough/had seen enough movies with cussing in them, whatever), I began wondering why cussing is such a big deal in society.

To me, cussing is just a way of emphasizing something.  For example, if I say, “it really fucking bothered me that that customer acted the way she did,” it’s a way of saying “it really bothered me, so much to the point that I felt the need to use this word to emphasize just how much it bothered me.”  But I don’t get the whole stigma behind them — used certain ways, of course I do, but I don’t see why it should deeply offend someone if I say something “really fucking bothered me.”

As South Park proved in episode 501, “It Hits the Fan,” using a cuss word, say, 200 times, as in the episode, the word begins to lose its meaning.  I don’t think cuss words should lose their meanings, because then you couldn’t emphasize things or whatever, but I think some of the stigma shouldn’t exist.  It’s language, it’s powerful, and why take away someone’s comfort in using such powerful language?

That having been said, if me cussing makes you uncomfortable, tell me and I won’t do it around you.  Seriously, I do just fine around customers and people I know don’t like it, so it’s not a problem.

And I certainly don’t think young children should be allowed to cuss (my parents really discouraged it until I was really old enough to understand) because I think they need to understand the implications and ramifications of such words in society.

But please don’t lecture me on using such “dirty language.”  Words are words, and they all have their own value.