Tuesday, July 24, 2012

I've Returned!

First off: Amy, I can't seem to see your blog. If you want to invite me, I'm not sure how you do that, but my email is love.is.stronger.dp@gmail.com. =)

Now to say Hello, again! I've been on vacation for weeks now, and I'm sorry I put off writing for so long. I've just been lazy, and loving it. So I've decided not to work my butt off trying to get more followers this summer, as I had planned to do. And from the way this summer's been going, I likely won't be posting much. I'll start on my Love post right after this one, but it's the only post I have planned at all right now.

Now for a note on the past few weeks of my life. Summer classes went alright. I did better emotionally than I had during the spring semester, and I ended up with an A in Calculus 3 and an A minus in Physics 2. I came home, and it's been a good summer since. I haven't done much at all, which is okay with me.

Now to get to work!

Thanks for listening, I feel better already! =)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Spring Semester 2011-12, Part 3: Pills and Pals

In Part 2, I said how I hit a low point where I longed for a True Friend, but actually, I wanted one all semester. Just last semester, I was thinking how you don't need a significant other. You could find ways to be happy without one. I really believed it. I had friends, I enjoyed school, and I felt good. This semester, I was back to wishing as hard as ever for my True Friend. I stopped writing in my diary for the first time in five years because I didn't feel like anything in my life was worth remembering. I ate less but seemed to gain weight, probably because I was stressed and sleep-deprived. I had fairly constant heartburn. I thought a lot more than usual, NOT about committing suicide, but about suicide itself. I'm not sure why. Maybe I realized that some people commit suicide because of the very feelings I had. Knowing that, maybe I had more reason to feel sorry for myself; maybe I had more reason to believe I understood people; or maybe I just had more reason to think about suicide this semester.

I've always understood why people would kill themselves. I believe in Heaven. Who WOULDN'T want to switch their misery for Paradise? However, although I won't say that I'd never kill myself, it's not likely that I will. Some people think it takes guts, but I think the opposite. As I just said, it seems like the easy way out. I want to be brave, like the people I admire, and keep going no matter the pain. And I don't want "them" to win. I don't even know who "they" are, but it just seems like they would win if I died. So I refuse.

I just happened to think a lot about suicide this semester. That seems like a sign of depression, doesn't it? I mean, I know I was depressed, but I've begun to wonder if there's a difference between normal depression and "clinical" depression.

I don't really believe there's a difference, but it's also hard to swallow that all these health professionals could be lying when they say antidepressants will help you. In the END, I honestly don't think the pills help. I think people get depressed because something in their lives is wrong, and by taking these pills, people give themselves an excuse to NOT change their lives. By taking these pills, people give themselves an excuse to not grow as human beings. Perhaps though, by taking these pills, people also give themselves respite from the pain and strength try again later. Perhaps, even, by taking these pills, people fix their brains of the wonky hormones and chemicals that could be impeding their happiness. . . but I have a very hard time believing that.

While I'm tempted to blame my depression on hormones and chemicals, I know in the end why I'm unhappy. It's because I'm alone. It's a real reason, external to my brain, and it should cause me to change my world and myself.

Sadness is terrible in itself but can be very, very good for you. It forces you to grow and change until you've developed a new view of the world, one that will give you hope regardless of the newest addition to your list of sorrows. I'd like to skip the sorrow in life but I don't want to skip the growth.

During this semester, though, I thought more about antidepressants because I realized that while the pain I've gone through has made me stronger and better, it's a continuous cycle of pain and wellness. Pain then wellness, pain then wellness, pain pain pain then wellness. While I will always get through it, the real question is if I want to keep going through it.

Besides, this year, I had to wonder if I'd brought it on myself. My friends may have alienated me, but I kind of alienated them back. I wondered if I couldn't handle being happy, if I just HAD to dig up sadness for myself, if I myself have always been the cause of the cycle. If so, didn't that mean there was SOMETHING wrong with my brain, something that pills might help? But no.

See, for instance, I thought a lot about my friend, J, this year, and changed my mind many times, but so far, I've decided she wasn't a good friend to me and wasn't compassionate to others. I don't want to be around people like that. I'm better off without her. In distancing myself from her, I was aiming to lessen her influence on me till she couldn't hurt me anymore. That's not crazy, and it doesn't mean I need pills to fix my brain. I figure that I'm just as alone now as I was when she was my friend. I just don't hold as many illusions now. 'Course, I change my mind a lot on this issue, and maybe she wasn't that bad. I don't think she meant to hurt me. But that doesn't change the fact that she did. She was inconsiderate at best. . . See?

At least, I do seem better at distancing myself from her. I can be civil to her in a "Howdy, Stranger" kind of way, like I am to most people. I still hurt when she overlooks me though. I switched back and forth from hating her to implementing new plans to "forgive her" or "get over it" while we were both still alive and at school together, so that I could be a little happier. However, while it seems that civil discussion SHOULD help, there's not much you can say to a person like her. She's the kind who will never be able to believe she's done anything wrong.

This semester, I told her I was frustrated she didn't keep in touch. At least, I said, "You never text me anymore," in as frustrated a voice as I could. She lightheartedly replied that she "didn't text anyone anymore." She was "trying to focus on school this year." Yet, I seemed to see her texting all the time, and somehow she managed to get together with all her other friends every night for dinner, and according to one of those friends, none of them were doing their homework. Last semester, it was the same thing. I'd get after J for something and she'd come back at me with endless excuses.

I obviously can't talk to her, so I distanced myself, but if it's helping with the pain, it's working very slowly. Besides, it scares me because I'm not sure if it's weird to care that much about a friend. If she's any indication of normal, then it's very weird. I was scared someone would think I was a lesbian, when I'm pretty sure I'm not and I hate being misunderstood. I think I only care so much because it always hurts when people neglect me, especially those I used to trust. Maybe, as with many pains, I just have to wait until it fades.

Even after that pain fades, I'll still be alone, which I know is why I'm depressed. In order to get better, I need to shake this loneliness. The most obvious and perfect way to do this would be to find my True Friend. I'll get into exactly what that means in my post on Love, which I promise is coming sometime.

Anyway, this semester, I felt a strong impulse to try eHarmony or some other soul mate-finding site, to find someone who will always be with me. However -- and this makes me feel like such a whiner -- I don't have time for a soul mate. I won't have time until after college, at the earliest. At least, I don't FEEL like I have time for anyone I'd find online. Somehow, though, I always feel like I have time for anyone who just pops into my life. I don't know. I'm kind of messed up at this point anyway, and I'd like to prove that I can become wise without my soul mate, and then prove I only need my soul mate because they are my soul mate. I'm getting ahead of this post, though. The point is I didn't try anything like eHarmony this year, and I probably won't unless I get really depressed. It's possible.

But I don't think I should take pills to fix my brain. I should fix my life. You know?

In the last couple of week of school, I was starting to feel better. I spent more time than usual with my classmates. We went to a music-fest, took a box of free pizza from it, and chased people around campus asking if they wanted free pizza. We threw a folf disk around. We had long conversations about anything and everything, because we had time, because school was almost over, and I finally started feeling like writing in my journal again.

Now I've been on vacation for about a week, and I have summer classes in another week. I'm taking summer classes so that I can fit a chemistry minor into these next four years, but I kind of regret giving my summer away. It's only five weeks, but still.

I really want to post that Love post, but I don't know if I'll get to it in the next week. I'll try, but I also want more followers before I post that one. I feel I have something to say to the world, but so far, I haven't done a great job of getting the world's attention. After my summer classes, I'll try to get more followers. In the meantime, I want to encourage comments, so comment and tell me what you think about loneliness, antidepressants, and/or free pizza.

Thanks for listening, I feel better already!

Thursday, May 24, 2012

Spring Semester 2011-12, Part 2: The Stories and The Agony

As I said in Part 1, I had a low point in the last month or two of school. It came after I read the first two pages of a short story for my Literature class. It was called "In Broad Daylight" by Ha Jin (I think). Don't read it. It starts with a somewhat graphic description of the old Chinese punishment of burning adulteresses alive. If the story's true, they merely beheaded male adulterers. I didn't finish the story, but I gleaned that the adulteress of this story was paraded through her Chinese town by the "Red Guards," or something like that, and her husband killed himself. From the way the professor denounced these officials for carrying out this new form of punishment, you'd think the professor didn't realize that the old form, burning alive, was worse. I mean, both are horrible, but one is definitely worse, but no one in class even mentioned how horrible the old punishment was. I was sluggish and unmotivated for a couple weeks afterward.

I'm not naiive when it comes to these things. I know that such cruelty and violence and hate towards women existed in ALL ancient cultures and many present ones. I have a hundred stories of cruelty that I can't forget and don't necessarily WANT to forget, but often, I can ignore them. It takes only one story to bring them all to the front of my mind, though, as if one wasn't enough. It takes just one story to remind me that this is a hideous world, and I don't want to be here.

I'm always scared to say this, and I never have, because I think it might make me sound pretentiously humanitarian, but the following statement true. I am in agony for all the people of the world who are being hurt, humiliated, and made to feel worthless, and all who ever have been. I can ignore the stories, and then, I feel only a slight ache in the corners of my heart, and it doesn't bother me TOO much. But the stories and The Agony are so readily called up and fanned into fires.

Some people have such an attitude of "How dare you complain about the state of the world? 90% of your life is beautiful." I've let them keep me from saying just how upset I am, but seriously? I know I have good things in my life and maybe I should be more grateful, but how dare THEY try and keep me from empathizing with people? That's all I'm doing. I'm not saying my life is that bad, or that the world is all bad, but I won't pretend that it's good either. Why shouldn't I be upset? Do they think I can't truly be empathizing with people if I haven't actually been through what they have?

I have a good imagination, if I do say so myself. I have a dime-sized scar on my knee where I burned myself when I was little. Around which time, I also stepped on red-hot embers in bare feet. (I wasn't trying to, obviously. I was just careless.) I've been cut, bruised, embarrassed, ignored, and dealt injustices, and I CAN imagine what it might be like to experience those pains on a larger scale. I can imagine what it might be like to be burned alive. I won't apologize for feeling so low after reading that story.

The Agony is actually a huge part of my life, and I want to write pages about it, but right now, I don't know what I'd say. It's just always there, has been for years, and probably always will be. It's the reason I need people to distract me, and more than that, I want someone to BE like me. After reading that story, as I always do when I'm in agony, I wished for someone I could really talk to, for someone who would completely understand, for just one person who is as haunted by The Agony as I am. But I didn't even have anyone to distract me from it, which brings me back to this semester and my lack of a True Friend, which I'll get more into in Part 3: Pills and Pals.

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Spring Semester 2011-12, Part 1: Grades and Loneliness


I'm off school for a couple weeks before I start my summer classes. I wish to update you on my life.

This semester was obviously harder than the last.

Academically, it was okay, but I was very lonely and sad. I got all A's (including the A- I got in math)! I was only taking fourteen credits this semester, so even though I had to learn a greater amount of new material this semester than I had to learn last semester, I worked less this semester.

I have a bad habit, though, of using any spare time I have for the purpose of procrastinating. Sometimes, when I procrastinate, I make the work even more stressful than when I have no time to relax. When I put work off until the last minute, I sometimes panic, wondering if I'll get done at all. With the looming possibility that I won't get done, I lose some motivation to try. With the loss of motivation, I lose some love for the subject matter.

I would probably die if I lost ALL love for what I'm studying and if I started feeling lost again. After all, these past months, I've been so sure this was my path in life. Luckily, however, I somehow always finished my work in time, and I didn't face the kind the academic despair that would cause me to lose all love for the material. I mean, I failed one math test and turned in one paper 15 minutes late, but it never got much worse than that. I credit God with getting me through the semester with such success in spite of the way I was feeling and in spite of how much I procrastinated.

As for my emotional state this semester, well...As I've said previously, I was very alone.

I've never had anyone I could REALLY talk to, but I've usually had someone to distract me from painful thoughts. This year, I had that distraction during class-time, when I was listening to lectures, walking between classes, and talking to classmates. That was when I felt okay, during class-time.

Back at my effective "home," the dorms, however, I no longer had the friend I was closest to last year. And my other close friend was taking nineteen credits. She was always busy and exhausted, and I don't blame her. Still, she left me with no one at "home" to distract me. This situation was even worse because I had comparatively massive amounts of free time, time to think about my loneliness. In addition to that, I had become  unfamiliar with the very sensation of being alone. I felt really weird without people keeping track of me and keeping plans with me. I was almost in physical pain, for the first couple months of the year.

Nonetheless, just as I did with the very same feelings BEFORE college, I got used to them. I stopped feeling weird and unsafe at the fact that no one knew where I was at any one time. Before I went to college, I had recognized my tendency to use other people to distract me from my fear and pain. I had realized that, rather than alleviating those emotions, other people (usually my family) constantly aggravated them. I was slowly learning to stop seeking other people out. I was learning to find other ways of distracting myself. I started relearning those ways this semester. I'd watch Youtube, listen to music, etc. I stopped feeling quite so bad.

Of course, there's nothing quite like a conversation to distract and entertain.

I was in a stable state of pain for the rest of the semester. Most of it. I had at least one memorable low, which I will tell you all about in Part 2: The Stories and The Agony. . . In case you're wondering, I'm having fun naming the parts, yes. =)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Call Me "A Really Late Thanksgiving Post"

I decided I am still dissatisfied with the state I've left my blog in, and to try and remedy that, I will write a happy post. Maybe that will make me feel less like a whiner. This post, hence, is dedicated to Things I'm Grateful For. It's the kind of post I should have done during Thanksgiving break, but now's good too.

Things I'm Grateful For (ahem):

1. I'm grateful that I have, for the first time, a sense of direction. I know where I'm going to TRY and head in my life, and it's a wonderful feeling.

2. I'm grateful I've made the marvelous discovery in college that there are other girls out there who are not obsessed with boys. These are smart girls who focus on school and work.

3. I'm so grateful that I keep growing and changing. In this way (one of few), I'm like the people I admire. I admire people who keep changing because, I think, it's very difficult and rare. And I need to change. Honestly, I'm not a terrific person. I'm like a petty, vengeful child. I wasn't always, though, and hopefully, I won't be forever. I've already been this way for what seems like forever, but I know from experience that no matter how much I seem to be stuck in a stage of development, no matter how long I feel depressed or angry, I'll escape eventually. (I admit I have trouble BELIEVING it sometimes.) And it satisfies me to be able to look back and feel that what I went through was worth it.

4. I'm so grateful that I made it into college, made it through my first semester, and am making progress in my second semester.

5. I'm grateful I get to eat pretty much whatever I want in college.

6. I'm grateful for the upcoming 3-day weekend.

7. I'm grateful that I enjoy the subjects I'm studying.

8. I'm grateful for the pizza I had last week that looked just like the pizzas in the movies! I hadn't known that was possible. I just asked for about 3 layers of cheese. So that's the secret. In case, you wanted to know.

9. I'm grateful for last Tuesday when I went ice skating for the very first time. Besides the exceptional foot-pain (read "I'm a wimp and was complaining about it the whole time while other people hardly noticed it"), it was glorious fun.

10. I'm grateful for Invader Zim quotes. "A new child attacked me with meat. My conclusion? She's in love with me!"

11. Hercules quotes. "Indoor plumbing. It's gonna be big."

12. Quotes like these: "There is a certain immovable quality to a shore." - Stephen Crane

13. The following face:

And the suits he wears.

Does it strike anyone else how the beautiful Matthew Bomer was tailor-made for those beautiful pinstripe suits?

I just love looking at him. And his suits.

So ends "the list that could go on forever, but won't for now" in no particular order. Thanks for listening. I feel better already. Ooh! I think I've discovered how I want to sign off my posts!

Sunday, March 11, 2012

The Nature of My Own Posts, and Then Some Songs

I haven't felt at all proud of most of my post-college-entrance blogging. This is partly, I think, because I wrote many of my posts with a tone of 'this is not normal, no one else will understand this.' I know that's not true, but I convinced myself it was, and I find that tone so annoying because... I know the idea behind it's not true.

Furthermore, I think I was partly ashamed of these latest posts because I wrote some of them on relatively temporary emotions, and I prefer to write about more profound, lasting things. Otherwise, when I'm done and over it, I realize I was just writing about a phase, and I don't like going through phases in the first place. Phases are deceptive. They make you think what you're feeling is going to last forever, and then they end. Just like that. I don't like even privately recalling a phase I went through, let alone knowing everyone else will be able to recall it too. For instance, last year, I wrote about some very bizarre almost-crush I had on a guy, and it's ridiculous that I felt like that at all. I want to forget that happened in real life, but good golly, I wrote about it on the internet!

No one who reads this blog even knows my real name, and I'm still worried about them knowing about my phases.

I want to delete that post, along with a few others, but I don't, because I feel like that wouldn't be honest. I need a place to be honest, and that place has been my blog for the last couple of years. They may have been phases, but when I was experiencing those emotions, I truly was experiencing those emotions. And if I keep secret any honest experience, even just honest phases, how can I say I'm being my complete self on my blog? If I let myself feel shame over any true part of me, how can I say I'm not ashamed of myself as a whole?

Then again, maybe those phases are small enough portions of life to be left unmentioned. Maybe, I don't have to put myself through further shame by posting about them. At least, not until I understand them well enough to post intelligent thoughts on them. I may still take them down.

I feel differently about some of my posts, like the ones I wrote when I was sick. I still don't like them, because of the tone I wrote them in, but they were written on lasting emotions. "2:40 AM and All is Not Well" was about me feeling lonely. Specifically, it was about me feeling lonely after a whole semester of feeling mostly UNlonely. But the loneliness was not a temporary phase. It was an old enemy. I needed last semester. I transitioned easily from lonely to connected then fell back hard to lonely, and I recognized loneliness so fully that I actually had a mini-revelation that I'd felt like that for a very long time. I just didn't recognize it completely before. That's what I think "2:40 AM" shows, sort of, and I'll almost certainly not delete that post, even though I was temporarily worse that night than I am most nights.

Anyway, one way or another, I don't want to keep writing posts I later have to wonder about deleting. I might take a break from blogging about my life for a while, unless I really need to let it out, like I did on the night of "2:40 AM."

Here, I really want to post about some songs I've been listening to lately instead.

Wasted - By Cartel

"We all feel alone every single day." Which proves that other people feel as lonely as I do. Even last semester, I had lonely moments, maybe not EVERY day, but often enough. I'd describe this song as melodic and sad, and not completely but at least half true. It does seem most people's lives are wasted, but I think every person was put here for a reason and we all have the choice to fulfill our purposes. We don't HAVE to be wasted.

Is Anybody Out There - By K'NAAN featuring Nelly Furtado

"Is anybody out there?" A plaintive and relatable cry. I'm not saying that other people don't matter, but when you're hurting -- when no one is helping you -- in a way, other people don't exist. They don't exist in relationship to your healing. Is there anybody who exists in relationship to your healing? Is there anybody who can hear you? Is there, for all intents and purposes, anybody out there?

Also, the video reminds me how horrible I am. These days, I shy away from broken-seeming weirdos in the world. I scare myself into thinking they just might be serial killers, and I keep to myself out of fear. I didn't used to. I used to think that the broken weirdos were always good guys, and while that might not be true either, at least I was willing to be kind to them. I want to be that way again, but I'm still scared and I still feel like there's nothing I can do.

Still further, this video and this song remind me that it's okay to hurt, even with all material possessions in my care. I'm not freezing, starving, or living in a mud hut, but the pain I feel is ligitimate pain nonetheless.

You - By The Pretty Reckless

I've never had a boyfriend, but somehow I can relate to this song. I can relate because of friends and crushes I've had, and just through my imagination. I've been crying over stories of unrequited love since I was twelve. The Little Mermaid. The Phantom of the Opera. Even Lemony Snicket. For some reason, they strike a chord deep, deep in my heart. It's hard for me to imagine anything more painful than unrequited love.

In the video, she's obviously watching a sex tape, and I'd usually find something like that inappropriate to spread around, but I couldn't bear to just post a lyric video. Taylor Momsen's expressions are so evocative. You hear her and know how she's feeling, but you LOOK at her and you FEEL how she's feeling. It's really amazing.

As a plus, it's very refreshing to hear a girl sing about tragedy in love without sounding 100% whiny like Taylor Swift sounds. Just saying.

That's it for now. I'm on Spring Break, so I may post more, but I wouldn't count on it. =) Happy Upcoming St. Patrick's Day, everyone!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Oh, People

Well, thank God for blogs. I really needed an outlet last night. Sometimes it helps just to say something out loud or out...typing...or something. So, I emailed all my teachers today and stayed home sick. I slept all day, but it never felt refreshing. Does it ever, when you're sick? But in the afternoon, I called my mom, just to let her know. I felt kinda guilty about missing all my classes today, and I know it's weird, but I had to tell someone. And she surprised me. She said she wished she could be here to take care of me, and she sounded like she really meant it. It made me cry, but I tried to cover up with my painfully sore throat sounds. And then I texted my dorm friend, and she bought me some food and juice and ibuprofen and Nyquil. It was very touching. Aren't people funny? It's like they're allergic to doing what you expect them to. Anyway. loads of homework awaits! Thanks to anyone who's reading this. It makes me feel better to be able to even imagine that someone hears. =)

2:40 AM and All's Not Well

I don't know if it's happened again or if this is something new, something I'll pull through. I've been very unhappy in this, my second semester at college. I was terrified this would happen. Again. In my second year of online classes, my senior year, I lost all drive to keep going. I think part of the reason I did this was because online classes were no longer new and exciting by the second time around. So, even though I was terrified I'd lose motivation in my first semester, I knew it was even more likely in my second semester of college. In my senior year in high school, I WANTED to do well in school. I really did, but I just couldn't bring myself to try. It was so much easier to sleep, and that's what I ended up doing most of the time.

It hasn't been quite THAT bad this semester, but still, I've been unhappy, and it's quite a loss to go straight from being okay one semester to decidedly sad the next. I wrote a post on this earlier in the year, but never got around to editing and posting it. Maybe I will later. Anyway, I started off this year depressed in big part thanks to losing my friends. My cafeteria friend and particularly my friend J who ditched me for her other friends and hasn't called or texted me once this year. I still have my other friend in the dorms and my other friend in electrical engineering and a couple other people who's company I enjoy, but I can't really talk to any of them. I certainly can't go over to their rooms in the middle of the night to chat and relieve my anxieties, like I used to do with J. Everyone else keeps somewhat normal hours.

In a word, lonely is what I've felt this semester. Utterly lonely. And sad. It's not unfamiliar to feel this way. I used to at home all the time, but I find myself wishing I was at home at lot this semester, because at least there, there's someone around, someone making noise, someone I could say SOMETHING to any time I felt like, even if it wasn't a very nice something. This year, there's no one nearby that I could go up and say hi to. I often feel like, at any one moment, no one knows where I am or how I'm doing. I could be dead, all tied up in garbage bags in a dumpster, and no one would know.

Basically, I'm not feeling so well this semester. Academically, I've been doing fine, I suppose, but then this weekend happened, and I got sick. It was a three-day weekend I've been looking forward to since Day 1 of this semester. I got to go home, see a movie, eat out, and I was supposed to do homework too, but I didn't. It was very stupid of me. Because yesterday, I got sick. My mom brought me back to the dorms. I spent a miserable night doing a crappy job of writing my lab report while my nose was congested and my throat stung and I tried to grab a couple Z's as well.

Today, I was tired and sick, so I emailed my teacher to say I wouldn't be in class today. I didn't feel that bad about it because I only have one class on Tuesdays and nothing really happens in it. I tried to sleep all day, and got a few hours, and felt better than I had in the morning, but still not good. I got up to do a few things I had to do, then I came back to my room and tried to do physics. But I slept. And then physics just seemed really hard, and I knew I couldn't get all my homework done and I got very frustrated. I knew I could do it if I wasn't sick physically. I could even do it if I wasn't sick emotionally. But seeing as I am both, I won't get through it. Not tonight.

And then, finally, the tears could come. I need to do my physics homework because the quiz tomorrow will be based on the homework, and I still have no idea what I'm doing. I need to do my calculus homework because supposedly this homework set will take a long time and I'm only going to get more homework tomorrow and I have a quiz on this stuff on Friday, and I still have no idea what I'm doing. I needed to do my chemistry homework because the quiz tomorrow will be based on THAT homework, and I still have no idea what I'm doing. But I need to get some sleep too because I'm sick and I won't be able to do well tomorrow if I don't get any sleep and I'm sick. I need to get some sleep to even be able to do this homework, because I feel too awful to do it right now. And I don't see how I'm going to make it through college at all if I'm going to be feeling like this all the time. Like crap. This is senior year all over again. I'm already so behind, and I'm going to lose motivation to catch up, because it's going to seem too hard for me. I'm going to fail college. This is what I was thinking. Part of it.

I often cry when I'm sick. I can't stand being sick, especially when my nose gets all clogged up and my whole face aches because of it. It wasn't even that bad, though, this cold. I wasn't in THAT much pain. But it was everything that was adding up, piling on: my loneliness, my homework, my despair, and my physical discomfort. I wished the cold would go away. I wished I could get my homework done. I wished I didn't have to be scared of losing motivation. And I wished most of all for someone. You know, someone. I wished -- no, I WISH for someone who didn't care what time of night it was, who'd come to me from however far away they were RIGHT NOW WHEN I NEEDED THEM, who'd hold my hand and rub my back and talk to me and let me cry. I feel so pathetic for crying. I feel like everyone else is happy and smiling and getting on with their lives in spite of the pains we all have to endure, and I'm crying over a stupid cold. I wish for someone who'd show me they still love me in spite of how weak and pathetic I am with tears pouring down my face.

I paced around my room, blowing my nose constantly and loudly and hoping everyone who heard assumed it was only my cold and couldn't hear my sobs. I briefly kind of almost considered calling my mom and telling her how sick and unhappy I am and how I want to quit and come home. But I know what she'd say. She'd tell me to keep my chin up and press on for just another three weeks and then we could see each other again over spring break. She'd tell me, "What do you want from me?" She's not the kind to consider driving two hours in the middle of the night in the middle of the week to see someone. I can't really blame her, when she has so many problems of her own, real problems, and she has a job she needs to be at in the morning. But if I'd called her, I'd be exactly where I started, except I'd also be humiliated. You know, like most people, I've never had anyone who would be there for me exactly when I needed them and know exactly what to say. I've never had anyone who could actually help me with my problems.

But, God, I wish I did.

Anyway, I blew my nose raw and cried my eyes sore, and now I have a strong feeling my face is going to look like a marshmallow tomorrow. So I'm going to have a sick day. It should at least be interesting. It's the first one I've taken. I don't really consider today a sick day, because I only had one class. But I have four tomorrow, and I'll be missing a lot of important stuff in all of them, quizzes and such. And I still have my homework I was supposed to have done by today, so I'll have to work twice as hard. Hopefully, I'll get over my cold through the night and be able to do that. It would also be nice to sit in bed and watch movies, like some people do on sick days. But then, you see? Isn't this like my senior year? I'm skipping classes when it seems they'll be hard to go to, and I'm thinking instead of watching movies in bed. I hope to God it's not going to happen to me again. (I'm not using the Lord's name in vain anywhere in this post. I'm actually saying it to God. Just so you know.)

Good night.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Review of Skulduggery Pleasant Death Bringer

Sorry, should have done this sooner, but big spoilers in blue.

I finally got the book and a break from school in which to read it, Skulduggery Pleasant Death Bringer by Derek Landy. I'm depressed and disappointed in it. Basically, I didn't like any of the characters and I downright hated Valkyrie Cain.

In previous books, Valkyrie was tolerable but nothing special, character-wise. In this book, she's thoroughly dislikable. Mainly and most importantly, she cheats on her boyfriend. First of all, this comes out of nowhere, since, in the last book, she walked away from they guy she was cheating with in this book. He and she kissed in the last book, but I was willing to forgive her for that because it was mostly his fault and she stopped it and she walked away from him. Twice.

I'd call a one-time kiss-cheat a mistake, sure. However, in this book, she's a willing chronic cheater. In this book, Skulduggery calls her behavior a mistake. When you cheat repeatedly, it's not a "mistake." It's a habit. It's a way of life. It's your personality. It's who you are.

Maybe I'm the only person in the world who feels this way, but in the list of Worst Possible Things You Can Do To a Person, I place cheating in the Top Ten. I put it up there along with torture, because from what I've heard -- and I've always thought so anyway -- the worst part of torture is the emotional destruction that remains long, long after the physical. Well, being cheated on can destroy a person emotionally too.

Yet here Skulduggery was saying he wasn't mad at Val and her cheating was a "mistake." That makes it sound so much more innocent than it is. The whole book made it sound more innocent that it is. A common argument in situations like this is that the book is just being true to the characters. The character of Edward is just obsessive and controlling, and the character of Bella is just submissive and fawning. Here, Val is just unfaithful and Skul is just permissive. That may be true, but first of all, it wouldn't make me like the characters any better, and secondly, the book can still send the message that its characters are wrong. But it doesn't. Death Bringer doesn't. Not really. Not enough.

Val hardly gets any flack for cheating on her boyfriend. She may call herself a bad person when chatting light-heartedly to her baby sister, but it's not enough just to point it out. Words without followthrough are dead. If she really thought she was a bad person, she'd do something about it. She'd at least FEEL something about it. But Val wasn't exactly racked with guilt over cheating on her boyfriend. She was heartless. She hardly thought about it. She feels bad for Fletcher once or twice for the look he had on his face when she broke up with him, but she never felt real shame or guilt for cheating on him. She never felt that bad about herself.

In fact, by the end of the book, she's saying how she doesn't need a boyfriend to tell her how awesome she is, because she already KNOWS it. And if anything, that's the moral the book leaves you with. Not that you shouldn't cheat (although maybe that you shouldn't cheat with VAMPIRES), not that it's despicable and wrong (Skulduggery just points out Fletcher was just always destined to be Val's ex). The book left you with the moral that you don't need someone else to tell you you're amazing.

I'm all for loving yourself regardless of little embarrasments or sinless flubs, but not regardless of ruining the lives of people around you. If you do THAT and still think you're awesome? You're disgusting. If you ask me, Val definitely doesn't need someone to tell her how awesome she is. She needs someone to tell her what a creep she is. Repeatedly. Until she GETS it. (If that's possible. Most creeps like her don't ever get that they're creeps.)

She even gets on Fletcher's case for joking about cheating on her. What a hypocrite. And as I said, Skulduggery does nothing about it but call the cheating a mistake and feed Val's ego over the course of the book. China excuses Val's cheating on the oh-so-solid grounds of natural teenage lust for excitement and sex. Ghastly meekly and and briefly mentions it. And no one else says anything about it to Val. Except Fletcher, at about the middle of the book, when they break up.

At this point, I'd gone through half the book with my hate for Val steadily growing along with my despair. The book was painting cheaters in a lenient light to say the least. It kept saying how Val was so freaking beautiful, powerful, skillful, and smart and no one could say anything to her about the wrongs she'd done. She was seeming more and more like a spoiled Mary Sue who could get away with anything she wanted with hardly a slap on the wrist. And then hope reared its deceptive head when Fletcher finally said all this out loud in-story. Finally, someone says it...

But then Fletcher was painted as an angry, jealous boyfriend, and THEN he said he wanted her to take him back, and THEN even he was making excuses for her, saying she wasn't trying to be mean or anything. Good golly, it was disappointing.

She didn't even apologize. Three pages from the end, she said something RESEMBLING an apology, but by then, it was way too little to late. I hadn't even felt sorry for her when Melancholia cut her up. In fact, through most of the book, I found myself rooting against her. I found it preferrable that she would die than that she would continue on to all these romantic teases obviously opening up to her, all these boys she'd probably treat just as badly, all this romantic happiness up for grabs to this cheater. Thing-resembling-an-apology or no, by the last page, I still hated her.

Aside from the cheating, I couldn't sympathize with Valkyrie anyway because Valkyrie never needed sympathizing. I'd hoped this book would show that losing Kenspeckle and other friends had really gotten to Val. But she thought of Kenspeckle only once and Tanith maybe twice in the whole book. Melancholia attacks Valkyrie to hurt her emotionally, but Valkyrie herself admits she feels no emotional pain whatsoever over the experience. Basically, nothing affects Valkyrie to an appreciable extent, and it's very boring.

As for Skulduggery, is it me or did it seem like he didn't do anything in this book? It probably is just me, but most of the time, he just sort of faded into the background. Sure, he helped save the world, but aside from his disappointingly mild reactions to everything Val did, he didn't do anything surprising as a character. It was supposed to be surprising that he was Lord Vile, but I just felt like I already knew that. Well, not THAT specifically, but that he had been a horrible, senseless killer in the war. It was hinted at. I just thought he was on the good guy's side while he was a murderer.

Anyway, in this book, there was not even one instance of surprising kindness on Skul's part, and that surprising kindness was what made me like him the first book, what I liked most about the fifth book. In this book, he didn't even make me laugh. He was so gray. (GRAY, you understand. Those who skim may have read it as something else. Just saying.) I didn't care much what he did, even in the parts that hinted at a Skul/Val pairing, and there were quite a few, with Skul seeing the reflection naked, buying Val a skimpy dress, and just being what everyone said Val needed -- someone who matched her.

First, I didn't even want Val to get Skulduggery after how despicable she was in this book, and second, I didn't really care about Skul's happiness in this book. I didn't care about him or if he ever fell in love again or whatever.

Also, maybe, it's just that I've changed, but Skul and Val actually seemed mean this time around. They picked on each other, and more importantly, they picked on people around them who were perhaps weaker, less confident. Fletcher's the perfect example. They laughed at his expense the entire book, even after the cheating and the break up, right down to the last showdown between Darquesse and Lord Vile.

Furthermore, Skul and Val may get beat up physically but ALWAYS seem to be on top psychologically. They are always smiling, confident, strong, and laughing their heads off, and they're enemies are always angry, scared, hurt, and pathetic. This arrangement is not only boring, but Skul and Val are unrelatable and look like arrogant bullies because of it.

It was extremely refreshing for them to finally experience some psychological turbulence when Tenebrae spilled Skulduggery's secret about being Vile. Something finally got to Val. It didn't last long though. A couple chapters and Val had forgiven Skul, as she should have, but any normal person would still have felt twisted up about it. Val just got over it.

The rest of the characters are hardly worth noting. The only ones who made me laugh were Finbar, Clarabelle, and Scapegrace (whose abuse of Thrasher still got very tiresome). And I hated China just as much as ever. Six books have done nothing to endear her to me.

Plot-wise, it was very intricate and plotsy. Characters coming from every angle with every sort of agenda. Battles were fought, secrets revealed, and it all should have been very exciting, but I was very distracted by the Valkyrie problem. I was flatout TIRED of reading about her, and I didn't care about Skulduggery anymore. Without characters I cared about, the intense plot was wasted on me. I just couldn't enjoy it. Besides, it seemed like a lot of scenes didn't contribute anything to the plot, most of the scenes at the ball for instance. They just stood around talking about the war that happened hundreds of years ago to characters we've never met.

And another thing. Again, maybe it was just me, but this book seemed awfully preachy and the messages awfully depressing. It seemed like characters stopped several times to just stand there and repeat things they'd already said. One message was something about who people really are or aren't, or maybe it was about mood swings. I didn't really get it. One message was how Val and Skul didn't need anyone else to tell them how great they were. Another message was what seems to be a common modern message about teenage dating, which is that "It's bad to be obesessive, so it's good to be dismissive."

This message came through in the way Caelan got much more abuse for being obsessive than Val got for being unfaithful; it came through in the way China condoned Val's behavior because "no one your age" is looking for love; it came through in the way Skulduggery told Val she should be dating boys as a HOBBY; and it came through in many other ways.

Look, I agree it's stupid for teenagers to obsess over love, to fall in love overnight (or over one kiss or date or sight or whatever), and to decide immediately that they've found their one true, destined love, without taking the years it takes to really get to know someone. At the same time, I think it's horribly cruel to date someone just for fun when you don't really care about them or plan to take the years it takes to get to know them or at least consider the POSSIBILITY that they might be your true love.

If you know beyond a doubt that they're NOT the one for you? You. Shouldn't. Be. Dating. Them. You shouldn't be stringing them along. It's just mean and wrong. I'm sure sometimes it happens. You start dating someone, find yourself not in love, and keep dating them without realizing what you're doing. But once you do realize, you should stop immediately.

But Death Bringer almost seemed to encourage dating someone when you're fully conscious of the fact that the relationship won't go anywhere. It seems to encourage dating someone just for the experience. It doesn't seem to take into account that that sort of behavior broke Fletcher's heart. It seems to say that that was destined to happen, so it was alright. I think there's a happy middle ground where you don't rush into a relationship or jump to the conclusion that you're in love, but you also respect each other and consider each other precious while you work at SEEING if you're really in love. You don't date someone knowing from the start that you're not in love.

Also, just about Caelan, he was nothing like he was in either of the previous books. Even after the kiss, in Mortal Coil, he wasn't speaking all in cliches, and before the kiss, he was perfectly sane as long as he was human. This time, he was completely mad. The book was so insistent on making a point about the Edward-Bella sort of relationship that it did a 180 on Caelan's character and even mentioned Edward and Bella by name. Very subtle. . . That was sarcasm.

I don't want to sound mean. I really don't, since the author seems like such a nice guy and I've been a fan of all the previous books, but I have to be honest about this one. I didn't like it. And it doesn't make books to come appear very appetizing. And to be perfectly honest, the books have become the sort of books I read only because they're readable, not because they're great. I won't be buying the next books over Amazon. I'll just wait until they're cheap and easy to access. Truthfully, I want to see if they get better, but I can wait to find out if they do, I can wait to read more about Skulduggery, and I can wait a long, long time to read more about Valkyrie.


Friday, February 3, 2012

Gravestone: Not a Post as Morbid as It Sounds

I had a funny thought today that wasn't really related to my day or this post, minimal relatedness really. I thought, "I don't want my gravestone to say that I didn't cry enough." By "didn't cry enough," I don't mean, "didn't suffer enough." Everyone suffers more than enough, but not everyone lets herself cry for it. I don't. I never cry in front of other people if I can help it, because I know how gross I look when I cry. I don't even cry when I'm alone, because it makes my eyes puffy for hours and I don't want people to see that. I do cry, a tear or two, but I fight it very hard and give myself a headache trying to hold back tears, until basically I forget about my sadness.

It never leaves you, though, whatever event made you sad. You'll always be sad when you look back on it. And if you expend all your energy fighting the sorrow at the moment it hits you, you won't be able to let the sorrow out. Who wants to die knowing they went through life all twisted up inside with no release for their sorrow? Well, even knowing this, I probably won't start crying any more, but it's interesting to know.

A couple weeks ago, I was feeling sad and realized I hadn't cried yet, for any of it: my life changing, moving out of my old house, all the hard parts of coming to college. I hadn't cried one tear, and a couple of weeks ago, I felt like all those tears had welled up inside me in addition to the new ones coming in. So I actually planned to have a good cry that weekend, a good cry I never did get to, but anyway, what was I talking about? Oh, my day today.

Today, I had a chemistry lab I'd been stressing about for a week or two, since I realized they would expect us students to know much more advanced material than we do. I spend the last week reading ahead as much as I could and still not understanding what we would be doing in lab.

I was doubly scared about this 1 credit 3-hour lab class because I CHOSE it. It's not required for my major, electrical engineering. It's required for a minor in chemistry, which I decided to pursue because I like chemistry and because I believe it will help me in studying nanotechnology, which I plan to do in graduate school.

Now, no matter the area of life I'm dealing in at the moment, I'm scared that I'll make a decision that will prove stupid and show everyone that I can't make smart decisions. Therefore, whenever I make a decision of my own, I feel extra pressure to make it work because I need to prove it was a good decision. I hate to suffer for my decisions because, after all, if I suffer for them, they must have been bad decisions. I was thinking, though, that I really should be proud to suffer for my decisions, because at least it means that I made decisions. It is far better to suffer for your choices than to sit and rot and let the world decide everything for you.

Still, regarding this chem lab class, I was (still am, really) additionally scared that, if I did badly in it, it would prove my nano-technology dream is deluded and presumptuous and laughable, that I have no talent whatsoever for chemistry. If I did badly, I thought that would indicate that I'm not meant to do it.

Today in lab, I did badly. Very, very badly. It is just one session, but still, crash and burn. It wasn't entirely unexpected, but it was still humiliating. I looked like an idiot, I doubt I can get an A in the class now. I came back to my room from the lab and cried a little. I told myself the usual: life is a bumpy road, and if everything went smooth, well, I suppose we'd all be okay, but it wouldn't be much of a STORY. This is my story. It wouldn't be very exciting if I didn't have to face hardships. I believe all of that, and I didn't feel like one bad lab was the end of the world, but I was upset.

And then the thought entered my head that...maybe this bad lab doesn't mean I'm not supposed to minor in chemistry or study nanotechnology. Maybe it means I'm supposed to want that future badly enough push through this. And I do. I'm not going to quit.

I'm not sure if I've said this before, but I'm a real quitter. Or I was. I used to quit at everything I thought was too hard for me: senior year, my first job, etc. It was only recently that I recognized my ability to not quit, to keep showing up even when it's hard. I don't want to lose that ability now. I'll keep trying at this lab class and, if I fail, I fail. (Even so, I'm looking into CLEP tests so that I can earn enough credits to keep my scholarship and financial aid if I do fail a class.)

Alright, well, happy weekend...I guess...I'm having trouble coming up with a closing statement. Oh! I know. Here. This song. It rocks.

Sunday, January 8, 2012

So Much Has Happened in My First Semester, Part 5

In Part 4, I talked about how I was alienating people...

On the bright side, since I've started school, I've felt -- maybe not closer to -- but different about God. In a good way.

I started to feel like He was helping me out. I always KNEW He was, but I hadn't FELT like it in years. I felt like I, and only I, was helping me out. But then when school started, I'd get "lucky" on a day my teacher's assistants did a surprise check on our notebooks and I'd filled out my lab notebook an hour before class. I'd feel like God made that happen. Or I'd feel a tickle in my throat and sincerely pray I wouldn't get sick, and I wouldn't. I'd feel like God made that happen.

Actually, I can't remember the first time in the school year I sincerely -- SINCERELY -- prayed for something and got it, but it was that that convinced me that praying helps. So I started doing that a lot, and it seemed like every time I did, everthing turned out right. I'd pray before exams and I'd do well on them. I know it's because I was studying hard, but the important thing is that I felt like God was helping me. He was helping me to study, to avoid making stupid mistakes on exams, and to adjust to college life at all.

I have to admit I was pretty amazed at myself for slipping into a college routine as easily as I did. The dorm rooms, the showers, the cafeteria food, all the stuff I always thought would be a nightmare. It was nothing. I truly believe God made it possible for me to adjust to it. It feels really good to truly believe.

I prayed that God would help me pass every class with a B or better in order to keep my scholarship, and He's done just that. When I wrote my first draft of this post, I was still waiting on some grades, but I knew I'd still believe in God if I got less than a B in anything. It would be because He decided it was for the best. But I'm REALLY glad He decided it wasn't. Thank you, God.

That's the long and short of it, folks. If you're reading this, I think you're great, especially since posts have been so scarce lately. I know that my latest posts have almost exclusively focused on ordinary life goings-on. I usually prefer heftier topics, but when I got on break and wrote a rough draft of this 5 part post, the last few months were burning on my mind. I almost want to apologize that, looking back, I myself am not terribly excited about these last posts. Not that I don't want you to be excited about them. If you liked any of these posts, please tell me I'm wrong and they're the most fascinating thing on the face of the planet. Planets. ALL OF THEM! =)

In a few days, I'll have school again for four months, and then,summer, at which glorious time I should be able to post again. So don't give up on me.

Saturday, January 7, 2012

So Much Has Happened in My First Semester, Part 4

In Part 3, I talked about my college friends and how much I enjoyed them until they started alienating me and I started alienating them back.

I know from experience it's stupid to immediately and fully reconcile with friends who keep hurting you. It hurts more every time. It's far better to distance yourself from them until, when you do reconcile, you don't reconcile as friends but as people.

Still, I felt really mean one day when I passed by my friend (the one who found other friends; let's call her J), who was coming back from yet another dinner she went to without me. She obviously wanted to talk to me. She turned to me a little, and appeared to expect me to come to her, but I kept walking. She looked hurt. Sometimes, you gotta do what you gotta do, and it does help you feel better eventually, but in the midst of doing it, you might feel guilty. Maybe I am guilty, but I feel reasonably justified right now. I mean, she's not a bad person, but she's not a terribly good person, either. She did one thing in particular that really bugged me, but it's another post entirely.

Speaking of people I alienated -- there was also (yes, also; is there no end to the list?) my old cafeteria friend. Let's call him, what? M?

M finally said something to really irritate me. I'd been going to lunch and dinner almost every day (and gaining weight) because I liked seeing him. I always went with my friend J, too, because I liked the way she and he snarked at each other. I really liked him as a person, mostly because of how accepting he was.

I never like-liked him though, and I think it wore on me how he seemed to like-like me. Furthermore, by the time he really annoyed me, I'd come to realize that he wasn't the original I thought he was. His dad's an addiction counselor or something. M's just being the person his dad raised him to be. So after he irritated me, I stopped going to see him. I still saw him now and then, but I didn't go to see HIM, just to eat. And you know what? My guilty truth is that life felt quite a bit easier. Except when I felt like scum for hurting his feelings.

See, for weeks and weeks, I'd been going to see him even though I knew he felt differently about me than I felt about him. I didn't even want him to stop feeling that way because I didn't want to lose the extra attention he gave me. I was selfish and horrible, and then I just stopped, which was also selfish and horrible. I knew that he had feelings, that he noticed I didn't go see him anymore, and that he'd feel abandoned, like I feel when people ditch me. (Then again, I've been wrong about him before. Can I hope that he didn't feel that way?) I felt at one point that I had to go to him and explain, and I think that might have been a good idea if I had figured out a good way to do it. But on the day I went, he was downright chipper and said he was having a good day. I needed no other excuse to back out. He was doing fine without me. What would I have said anyway?

Maybe I'll write more about what he actually said at a later date, but for now that's the silly, guilty story.

Maybe I was alienating a couple people, but once I distance myself emotionally from people, I live more in harmony with them. The other girl (who's not J) on my floor really is nice, nice and grown up; she knows a good friend when she sees one, knows a snob when she sees one, and knows she herself is not perfect either. I find I like that kind of person, mature, humble, accepting, smart. The other electrical engineer possesses many of these traits too. But none of the people I've met could be my True Friend, and I think it's okay that I've distanced myself from them.

Friday, January 6, 2012

So Much Has Happened in My First Semester, Part 3

In Part 2, I talked about how I enjoyed living alone in college.

I also enjoyed the friends I made. I met another girl in electrical engineering and two girls on my floor of the dorm. For a while, I believed that I'd found kindred spirits. "All this time," I thought, "I just had to go somewhere new to find some people who behave the way I think human beings should." Of course, in the back of my mind, a voice told me it couldn't last forever, and that voice is always right. Everyone disappoints me until I develop more realistic expectations of them.

One girl said something kind of twisted about tying me down in the yard at night until I understood I'd be fine (this was her response to me saying how scared I was to walk around campus at night). That hurt, but I stopped hanging out with her for a while, and it was fairly easy to change my idea of her.

The other electrical engineer sometimes ignored me. Not in a mean way. But, say, I'd sit down next to her and wait for her to say hi, but she wouldn't. Maybe she was waiting for me to say hi too. Neither of us would then. Most of the time, we get along fine, but because of those now-and-then moments, we grew apart.

People in general stopped being their strangely friendly selves. I think they got tired and their grades worsened as the year went on. At first, I thought it was weird how nice they were, but after they stopped, I missed it.

In particular, I grew pretty close to one of the girls on my floor. We were in classes together, and we always walked to and from those classes together. We were both slow at our work, usually the last people to finish labs and tests. When I finished slightly before her, I'd wait for her. She did the same for me once. I'd help her with homework and studying, and she'd let me use her mini-fridge and printer. We were both usually the last ones to bed, as we were up all night doing schoolwork and helping each other with it.

But then, she found other friends, people I didn't like particularly in the first place and even less after I became jealous of the time she spent with them. I know it's petty, but it didn't feel fair. She seemed so much happier with them than with me, and what had they ever done for her? They didn't help her study or do homework. They didn't wait for her after class. In fact, they were jerks. Some of them would poke fun at her for being out-of-state and for any other reasons they could come up with. And they drew in permanent marker on her face and played pranks on her. See? Prank-pullers, the kind of people I don't like. . . Okay, fine, so she seemed to enjoy it and she returned the favor to those who drew on her face, but I could tell it bugged her slightly too because she appreciated it when I snatched the marker away from her friends.

One night, it was 4 am the weekend before a chemistry exam, and my friend should have been studying, especially since she was failing chem. I looked out the window and saw her friends restraining her in a bear hug and sticking snow down her socks. I suppose she may have started it, and she threw snow back at them. But then there's the problem of why on earth they were encouraging her to be out goofing off at that time of night, a day before a big test. But she absolutely loves them.

Her friends are mostly from an on-campus youth group type deal, such groups are often exclusive, and the same is true of this one. One of them is somewhat pleasant, though. He's the boy who awkwardly asked me to go rafting at the beginning of the year. My friend is besotted with him, and he with her. Problem is, to be completely honest, he's not a better friend to her than I am. I came to her rescue when they were drawing on her face, and he just sat there. I always told her the truth, and he sometimes didn't. But she loved him so much more than me. Is it because he's a boy? I mean, of course it's because he's a boy.

See, I know this sounds weird, terribly petty, and childish. I know. But I'm being honest.

She started spending more and more time with them -- going to dinner in the cafeteria, playing card games in the study rooms, having Bible studies downstairs, or just hanging out in the boy's room. And not inviting me. She did this more and more. I soon decided I needed to distance myself from her, so I tried to avoid or act cold to her when she WAS around. By the end of the semester, we spent a fraction of the time together that we'd spent before, and I'm barely over my bitterness after not seeing her for three weeks.

Even more than the other girls, this one chipped away at my okayness in the last few weeks of last semester. They all did, though, and it was amazing the feelings I could recognize as being more familiar than feeling okay. In a way, I didn't start feeling like myself again until the first girl disappoined me by threatening to tie me down in the yard. I recognized the feeling of disillusionment regarding her and everyone else on the planet, really, like what I'd felt with my family before college.

When my friend started spending her time with other people instead of me, it was one of those things, those previously so-familiar things I couldn't forget about just by avoiding. It took me back to the pre-college days, when hurt hung on the edge of my thoughts all the time. I had knowledge that bugged me, knowledge about the people around me, knowledge I couldn't -- wouldn't just forget about, because that wouldn't be truthful. It wasn't nearly as bad as pre-college, though. I was still okay most of the time.

I know lots of people go through this -- you find a friend, they find other friends. Heck. It's happened to me before. Maybe, though, I was under the impression that, once people grew up, they'll stick with you if you're a good friend to them. Even if I wasn't under that impression, I'm probably too stupid to avoid becoming friends with people. And even if it's true that grown ups know good friends, that girl is not grown up.

One Friday, she did invite me out with her friends, and we saw the school's band play. I fell asleep. (C'mon, if you were me, you'd know how impossible it is to sit still and stay awake after weeks of not sleeping. The band was good though.) My contacts got dry. One fell out. I was exhausted, irritated at losing a contact, and disoriented from having only one eye that could see clearly. I politely asked my friend to follow through on her promise to get Rafting Boy to drive me home. She suddenly decided she didn't want to bother him. I had to find a ride home myself. I didn't think too much about it then, about what that meant about her priorities and her word. I was too tired to think about it then. I was mad about it later though.

So, first the beginning of the semester, my college friends were part of why I felt okay, but by the end, people were aliens to me, which I'll talk more about in Part 4.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

So Much Has Happened in My First Semester, Part 2

First of all, Happy New Year!

Now, in Part 1, I talked about the academic parts of last semester.

Regarding other parts of life, they've been pretty darn good. Those first few weeks were hard in a way I didn't understand. They didn't feel hard. They just felt strange. I felt strange. Because I didn't feel much at all. And now, I think I know why. I had no "cues," no previously-understood reasons for feeling anything. I had no familiar sights, sounds, people, or objects to trigger feelings. I had to start from scratch making new cues.

So I did. I met new people, enjoyed new foods, appreciated different sights and experiences, etc. And around the time I realized how normal I was behaving, I also realized that I was okay, really okay. And that was better than I'd been in years. I'd have mistaken it for being "happy," except that I know what it's like to be happy. Still, being "okay" was pretty great, and it came about because all my cues were absent.

I was authentically unhappy before I went to college, mostly because of - and this is going to sound very heartless, but it's true - the people I had the most contact with, my family. I'm sorry, but they make me very unhappy. For the most part, they hurt me by saying cruel and mindless things -- not usually directed at me, but cruel and twisted nonetheless -- which used to hurt me all the more because I loved them, expected much, much more of them, and wanted them to see the truth.

It didn't bother me as much when complete strangers did and said the same things as my family did. I think going to college has helped me see my family a little more as strangers.

For instance, the other day, my dad caught a half-dead buzzing fly in a sack, and I asked him to just kill it, but he refused, saying he, "liked to watch them be tortured." He said it because he thought it was funny, not necessarily because he was serious. Because I care about all kinds of creatures, I'm a vegetarian, but even if I wasn't, torture is horrible, and I absolutely hate when people joke about horrible things. It's a topic I'll have to write a whole post about sometime because it's become really central to my thoughts. My dad did what he did to the fly even after all the times I've argued with him about problems like this and despite the fact that he knows I'm a vegetarian.

However, it hurt me relatively little when my dad caught that fly a few days ago, as compared to how it would have hurt me before college. Before college, I'd be unhappy just being around my family, especially my dad and brothers, as it hung in my mind how often they'd behaved that way, how hard I'd tried to get them to stop, and how badly I'd failed. I was unhappy around my mother too, but I also enjoyed being around her sometimes. When she was around my father and brothers, she'd act to some extent like them. Without their influence, she was kind. And I'll always remember the months we had together when all of the boys were gone and how close and peaceful our relationship became. She was my best friend back then.

I thought I'd be miserable without her, but I think she's a major part of why I used to be so bashful around strangers. See, I didn't want to interact with strangers in a way that was inconsistent with the way my Mom saw me. I wasn't even sure how it was she saw me, but that fact just added to my fear, which made me shy. Even without her right next to me, she was around, and I knew it and could almost feel her watching as I interacted with people. I want to be honest in who I am, how I act. I don't want there to be any discrepancies, so I used to overmonitor myself when I talked to people.

When I left my mom far behind, though, I didn't have to worry about acting consistently with how I'd act with her. It was very freeing, and because of that, I acted confident and normal, like other people there at the school.

Also, before college, I'd get myself hurt when I'd try to share things with my mom --songs, pictures, movies, or books I discovered -- and she would show little or no interest. I don't blame her for that. I know it only meant she doesn't have the same interests as I. I wouldn't want her to pretend she did. That's too much like lying. Somehow, though, I kept taking the slim chance that she'd really like it THIS time, THIS time, THIS time. It happened quite often, and I could never stop myself. When I started living alone, though, I never even thought to share the fun discoveries I made, because there was no one around. I just enjoyed them on my own. And I didn't hurt myself trying to get other people to enjoy them with me. To be honest, I still subconsciously store away discoveries I make to bring up with my mom when I visit home. Most of the time, though, I just enjoy them.

I felt pretty genuinely okay in college, thanks to the factors above and the people I met at college, which I'll talk about in Part 3.