Monday, March 29, 2010

If I wrote you another letter, this is what it would say.

My favorite thing about college- or just the general becoming-an-adult process- is this: you get to decide who you want to be. All of those times that you thought I can do that better, I won't make that mistake, or I really will be someone? This is your chance to put those thoughts into real deal action. No matter how much you (or I) might try to flee from that reality, at the end of the day, your life is completely yours now; your decisions belong to you in ways they never have before. For me, that meant deciding to go to class, not to date, and to get plugged in at the right church. For you, it's different. I'm sure it is.

But it's also the hardest part. We're all different than we were; I know I am. I look back at myself a year ago and smile, because I see bursts of who I would become- fleeting dashes of color that allude to the eprson who is waiting around the corner. I couldn't really become that person, though, until I had the chance to not be that person. That is, until I was actually in control of some decision- only then could I really make the choice that was right for me, and the sum of those choices is me (I should go ahead and point out that I don't always make the right decision. In fact, quite a bit of the time, I make the wrong decision and that shapes me, too.)  But this is kind of beating around the bush. The point is that we all change in college, or after high school, or when we become (or are supposed to become) adults- different words for the same thing. You have looked me dead in the eyes and told me how very much I've changed. In fact, you said, you don't even recognize me. That's okay. Sometimes I surprise myself, too. You've changed, too, and when I click through the pictures you've posted online, or chat you on the instant messenger, it blatantly slaps me in the face: I don't know you anymore, either.

And that's what's unimaginably difficult to comprehend. I can't wrap my mind around it: we're not friends anymore. You don't know the most important things about me these days, and when people question me about you (they just assume things are the way they were), I don't have the answers anymore. I shrug and say, "Honestly, I haven't spoken to her in awhile." And when I say that, I have to gulp a little because I just can't quite believe those words are coming out of my mouth; for so long, you were the person I knew better than myself. Doesn't it seem strange to you? Coming home shoves this realization out of the back corner it hides in while I'm here and displays it in the bright sunlight. The minute that familiarity falls around me, I start thinking of you. Suddenly, I'm sitting on your couch eating an egg sandwich, or I'm laughing at you, hanging out in my passenger seat, or sometimes, I'm lying in bed with you, holding you while you sob, because, well, that was my job. But I'm not; you're not coming to visit and we're not hanging out at all, and I know that's for the best. We've gone around and around, and I want to get off the carousel- don't you? I've accepted it and I have moved on and I am truly happy- I promise.

It's just that sometimes I miss you. Sometimes I wish you'd be waiting for me when I got home or that you'd come visit like you'd always promised you would. Sometimes, for a split second, when I see my phone light up, I feel certain it's you because man, I haven't heard your voice in forever. But it never is, and I suppose that's for the best. You've moved on too, and who am I to stand in the way of that? I suppose the point of this is to let you know- if you didn't- that I haven't forgotten you. That sometimes my soul aches to be with you. Every now and then, I get that lump in my throat and a quick rush of hot tears because we didn't make it work, and I feel like I failed you. Occasionally, I drive our old routes and nobody else understands, and my heart trembles at the memories. And I remember you- I remember egg sandwiches and fried pickles, I remember singing in the car and dancing in your room, I remember getting off work or finished with school or out of bed and driving to where you were. I remember fighting for you and with you. I remember defending you and having your back and I remember you having mine. I remember spending hours upon hours where we weren't necessarily supposed to be (usually the library), but we did it so we could be together. And I remember all of the other people who helped do all of that, too. I know that that was a time in our lives that has ended, and I thank you, because you were the only person who fit so easily into being my best friend. It's over, though, and that mold has changed- and you don't fit anymore. In the same breath, I'm not who you need, either. Far from it. We changed, kid.  But you should know- I remember, and I won't ever forget.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

dead week.

That's what I'll call the most beautiful week in the whole school year. Let me tell you, reader, if you didn't know: eight straight weeks of school is a lot. It's a lot of everything. A lot of tests and quizzes and studying and reading and writing and waking up and walking in the rain and going to the library and babysitting and going over notes and hand cramps and going to bed early and math problems you don't understand and a heavy backpack and notecards and's a lot. And so, as you are probably concluding, I was burnt out, and I wasn't the only one. We were all on edge, getting snappy with each other when it wasn't necessary, getting irritated when it should have rolled off of our backs, becoming more and more exhausted as we slept less and spent more time dealing with things like halogens and venn diagrams. And then, like a ray of sunshine, spring break shined into our lives with promises to be easygoing and stress free and fun. And we were up for it. In fact we said, "FUN? Why, I haven't seen you in awhile. SLEEP? yes, come on in, thank you, nice to see you again. HANGING OUT WITH NO OBLIGATIONS? Sign me up, sure, I'd love to." So that's how it happened.

I went home the first weekend, and then I headed to Lake Martin. When I arrived, a bunch of rested kids were making pancakes at one in the afternoon. That, my friends, is when I knew it was going to be an incredible week. (I was hungry.) I stayed the whole week, and our days went something like this: Sleep until 11. Eat muffins. Play scattergories. Watch a movie. Nap. Read a book. Eat tacos. Play Risk. Eat brownies. Have a dance party. Go to bed really late. Sleep.*

Obviously, there were variations. I mean, some days we ate cinnamon rolls instead of muffins. And sometimes we slept until noon. We played Wackee Six a lot instead of scattergories. We didn't always eat tacos. We did this night, though.

And I wasn't lying about the Wackee Six bit, either. Or the dance party.

On Friday, something wonderful happened: the sun came out. We took advantage. We put on swimsuits for the first time since last September, we put enough sunscreen on for ten gingers because, well, we gave the illusion that we were ten gingers because, Hello, it's been winter for five months, and we shivered through bouts of wind because, um, it's only March. But by golly, Internet, we got semi-tanner than we were before! And even though just looking at the water sent us into hypothermic shock, we sat around it and dreamed of less-Marchy-more-Juney days.

And before you could say, "Hey, I could get used to this!" it was over. Saturday threw us sad goodbyes and stressful septic system shocks and good-intentioned visits from old friends, and we packed up and headed home. Yesterday, school came back swinging, and my breath got knocked out. I had class at 10, and by 10:45, the stress had crept back up and was laughing at me, as it will continue to do as the semester peaks and comes to a close with FINAL EXAMS and then ENDS. Which also means MY FRESHMAN YEAR OF COLLEGE IS ALMOST OVER. But I'll save that for another day, aye? Alright. Carry on with what you were doing before you got distracted by that booty dancing photo.

*In our defense (in case defense is needed), we also spent some of our time grocery shopping, cleaning, cooking, and organizing the newly remodeled lake house. That's right, we were dream kids. Or, at least, nice house guests.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Weekend one.

It always sort of takes me aback when I come home and realize, oh, nobody's world stopped spinning around because I don't live here anymore. Taylor still plays little league, and Hailee doesn't just wear bras because she wants to anymore, but because she NEEDS to, and the dog has a particular favorite variety of Ol' Roy that I don't know about (I kid you not, Internet.) And they welcome me back with open arms and slaps on the butt (it's a form of endearment that I've been subjected to since I was a tiny child that I still don't understand) and all of that jazz, but the truth is, they get on with their lives when I go back and get on with mine.

Regardless, though, it's always nice to be home, albeit occasionally taxing because my goodness, you people YELL sometimes and you NAG each other and WHY IS THAT KID SCREAMING? For the most part, however, I can always put on this place like my favorite pair of sweatpants, wondering why I ever wear jeans after all because those pants, worn as they may be, just feel so comfortable. And, Internet, my family cracks me up; they just do. I realize they all have rare senses of humor and that not that many people find it funny when someone says, "hey, grab the water hose and clean my butt. no? hahahaha!" but luckily, I do. Let me share my weekend with you, reader.

My goodbye Friday morning was less than tear-filled because I knew I'd see Janie on Monday and the others later in the week, and it had been more weeks than I had ever gone since I'd been home and please, can I just leave and go there already? Moreover, I had two new cd's to take me home (although, I should point out that I got two songs into cd one to find that it didn't work. I was asking too much, to have TWO new cds, and I couldn't handle it, so the cd powers that be took that away from me.) I made excellent time, and so when I walked in, my mother hugged me and said, "You sped." Hush, mom. Just hush. And just like that, I was back, and suddenly, I was reading Glamour magazine on the couch and detailing my entire life in the past six weeks to my mother, who at least pretending to be interested and asked questions like "Oh really? Then you bought more toilet paper?" and then, I got to ride with her to get Hailee from the junior high, which is a treat that I can't properly describe: It's like a free backstage pass to my past. Later, I found myself alone in a bookstore with not one, but two cups of coffee; then, I ate a plate of bbq nachos that I think I might request if I ever found myself on death row contemplating my last meal.

Saturday morning I woke up at ten, which is a miracle in this household. All too often, Chris comes into my room at 8:15 and says something along the lines of, "What are you doing? It's almost 9:45." I then roll out of bed, feeling pretty guilty, and transport to the couch with my blanket, so I can at least be counted as awake, only to find out that it's really only 8:15, and then I get angry and yell things like, "YOU'RE JUST JEALOUS OF MY SLUMBER!" and go back to bed, although, I should point out, once you get yourself so worked up, it's difficult to get back to sleep, which leaves you lying in bed grumpily until ten. Just saying.

Anywho, I slept soundly until ten, and then I came out and enjoyed not one, but two homemade blueberry doughnuts, and a glass of milk. Then I watched a movie (I told you going home is terribly taxing.) Then Lori and I spent a good five hours yanking dresses over our heads and saying things like "Those zebra stripes look smashing on you!" and "Look! The tie-dyed masterpiece you've been searching for!" I ended up purchasing (okay, she ended up purchasing for me) a pink flowery dress for Easter, and the more I see it hanging in my closet, the more I love it. Then we ate food and made jokes and let me tell you, it's all fun and games until the six year old starts looking green and, yep, there was vomit. We all went to bed (well, we all went to our respective rooms and closed our respective airborne-illness-blocking doors) after that.

Today has been full of laundry and naps and The Catcher in the Rye. I've been hanging out in the living room and let me leave you with a snippet of the conversation that's flowing around here:
Chis: "I have cornhole in my bootswa." (I'm paraphrasing.)
(I shoot him an odd look and go back to typing.)
Chris: "Lindsey, two very famous men said that. Do you know who they are?"
Self: "No. I don't."
(Chris shakes head.)
Chris: "Danielson! Do you know who those two very famous men are?"
Danny: "Beavis and Butthead."
Chris: "Yes! Danny, you're so smart. What are you, a history major or something?"
Danny: (referring to an episode of The Minute to Win It) "Yeast, this is a show we could actually go on."

Pure sunshine, little friends.

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Soul searching

It's no secret that I've learned a lot in the past parent-figure-free months. Who wouldn't? Alright, the girl downstairs whose mother calls her five times a day and visits every weekend may have learned less than me. But she's neither here nor there.

I have been grown, matured, increased, stretched, formed, pushed, and pulled.
I have become older, wiser, happier, lonelier, smarter, faster, and dumber.
I am more efficient, carefree, independent, opinionated, confident, honest, and obedient.
I am less neat, worrisome, stagnant, studious, and unathletic.

I've done (and am doing) what everyone does, or at least what everyone has the choice to do (or not):
grown up. And I'm growing into me.

I've found out a lot of things about myself, too:

I'm not really a neat freak at all, and dirty dishes don't bother all that much. Furthermore, it really doesn't matter if the toilet paper is on the handy toilet-paper-holder.

I am terrible at focusing. I don't think it's ADD; I think it's willpower (or lack thereof).

My can't-live-without-food is cereal.

Choosing things that make you happy make you happy (as opposed to choosing things that make other people happy). For example, I'm happier when I'm playing board games and watching movies, not partying. I'm happier when I'm well-rested, not when I skimp on sleep. I'm happier when I eat when I'm supposed to and when I put at least 10 minutes (but not more than 30) into looking somewhat presentable. I'm happier when I'm writing than when I'm doing math, and that will never, ever change.

That said, making other people happy makes me happy. So, yes, I will go to that party with my old friend who is in town and I will stay up late for a heart-to-heart and I will skip lunch with you in favor of a Kit Kat at the library, and I'll run out of the house looking like someone who only put two minutes into her appearance. I won't do math for you, though. 

I really, really, really, really, really, really, really hate being rushed. But I always, always, always, always, always, usually am.

I'm a hopeless romantic. This realization upset me too, Internet.

My love languages are words of affirmation and physical touch, but truthfully, I really, really love quality time, too, and I get miffed when I don't receive it. Furthermore, acts of service are nice, too. Receiving gifts makes me feel awkward and reminds of days when my father would slip green into my hand like it was a gift certificate of any of the other kinds of love, and it never felt right.

And I could go on, about how my room is in shambles and I'd rather be writing or I have a test in the morning but I'd rather be writing and how, wait a second, I may change my mind because journalism feels like something I don't want to do and all I really want to do is write. (And what is right.) (I'm so punny, even at 2 in the morning. Am I making you proud?)