The Beginning of the Beginning

I’m young, in the single digits, and I remember playing with Stretch Armstrong with my uncle (who happens to be six months younger than me) on a grassy field. My Mom and Grandpa are there but I’m focused on stretching Stretch’s arms and legs as far as they will go, though I worry that I’ll stretch him too far.

My other memory from that first horse show at Trader’s Point is (surprise surprise) from the back of a horse. Mom let me go on a pony ride, and as my squat, furry new best friend moseyed around the circle I couldn’t keep the grin off my face. It was a wonderful feeling, to ride a horse.

When I came around the curve, Mom sees me and asks, “Are you sure you want to take horseback riding lessons?” I nod so vigorously I lose sight of her, say a hushed but urgent “yes”.

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A Great Day

Yesterday, after frolicking in the snow with Reno, I rushed home to clean as much of my apartment as I could. Gail and Cindy were going to arrive later that afternoon. I spared a moment for a hot dog and both Charlie Brown Valentine’s Day specials, then began clearing the floor. Of course, it occurred to me as I was stacking papers on my desk and throwing scraps of receipts and clothes tags away that I should probably dust before I vacuumed. So I lightly spritzed a paper towel with vinegar cleaner and wiped every surface I could find- the wifi box, the TV, the printer, the lampshade. My apartment had gathered a pretty impressive layer of dust.

I finally started the vacuum after deciding to just stash my shoes in the bathroom and clean that problem out later. I gave up on the dirt on the linoleum in front of the door, but the rest of the place cleaned up nicely. The bathroom and the giant hairball that accompanied it was another story. I started with the toilet, as it needed the most attention, then was briefly distracted by the sink, then the mirror (which I did nothing about, sadly) before returning to finish the toilet.

At this point I was frantic, as Gail had texted earlier that they were on their way. I admitted defeat with the dishes, but I made sure that the bathroom at least looked sanitary.

It was so nice to see Gail and Cindy and to have people in the apartment, talking and catching up. Cindy was kind enough to drive, so I took them to campus and showed them my office with my wilting birthday flowers and the stack of notes from Lauren. Gail and Cindy liked all of the converted houses on campus, since they made the spaces more “homey”. I agree.

After, we drove down South Main Street so the Gail and Cindy could see the massive Victorian houses. We stopped at Kroger to pick up some butter and wine, then drove by the Sweet Retreat so that they could see the cupcake shop where I worked and ate too many sweets.

Then we trekked up Tiffin in the hopes of eating at Chedders, which turned out to be the hottest dinner destination at Findlay. I didn’t mind as much; I was happy that Gail and Cindy got to see most of Findlay as we drove up and down Tiffin Avenue. We found a parking spot off of Main Street by some miracle, and after some tricky maneuvoring on Cindy’s part, wiggled into a parallel parking spot and walked to Main Street to find someplace to eat. There isn’t much to do in Findlay besides eating on a Saturday night, so we tried Logan’s, but the kilted hostess gave us a half hour wait. We crossed the street to Waldo’s and had better luck there, perched on high but comfortable chairs. We ate and I got caught up on some Lighthouse team drama, which sounds oxymoronic to me; shouldn’t church groups have the least drama? We also watched the US/Russia Olympic hockey game. It ended in a tie that led to shootout after shootout. We were on the edge of our seats, very confused by the number of shootouts but rooting for team USA. We found out after that we were watching a rerun of the game, but it was thrilling for us.

I suggested renting a movie, since Findlay still has Family Videos, and we went to the nearest one near my laundromat and started trolling the aisles. Gail made up a game: we would travel down each aisle and everyone had to pick a movie from each aisle. After we were done, we sat on the floor and spread out all of our choices and took turns eliminating each choice. It came down to three, and I put them behind my back and shuffled them. The first one, “The Roomate” was eliminated, and the second one, “Valentine’s Day”, was the winner. In the end though, Gail and Cindy decided they would rather watch something they haven’t seen, so “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen” came out the winner. It was a brilliant game to play with a group picking out a movie and we had a great time on the floor in the middle of Family Video, sorting movies.

We went home and Gail and Cindy surprised me with two blowup matresses, so that we could all be comfortable that night. We snuggled up, busted out cookies, brownies and pink muscato and watched “Salmon Fishing in the Yemen”. Gail and I enjoyed the blunt and sarcastic British humor, and Cindy liked the parts she was awake to see. It turned out to be a good movie, lighthearted and beautiful and full of sass. Gail congratulated me on my movie choice and I will not lie-I was very proud of picking that out.  After I saw Tom Mison’s name in the credits, I freaked out and showed Cindy and Gail some funny clips from Sleepy Hollow.

As we were settling down for bed, Cindy asked me to tell them a bedtime story. After silently panicking about coming up with something, I told them a story about two girls who lived in a room who created a world all around them, full of people and sentient bean bags and a train that circumnavigated the world, whose station was the front porch of their house. It was nice to tell a bedtime story-or any story- again. It was also nice to share my small apartment with Gail and Cindy, to have three people snuggled and relaxing and talking and sleeping in my space that managed to fit two air matresses. I didn’t realize how much I would enjoy having Gail and Cindy over and now my apartment seems larger and more bare. It was wonderful to see my sister and her friend, to joke and talk and swap drunk stories and have the girls’ night to end all girls’ nights. I really miss my sisters and hanging out with them.

In the morning we went to George House and got coffee and bagels and muffins and told each other our worst (and consequently most fun) drunk stories. I sent them off into the light snow with directions for I-75 and then caught up with the barista- who is in my London class who I didn’t recognize the first time-while I got a bagel to-go. I hope I get the chance to visit Gail at Dayton soon, and Chloe at Purdue. This Saturday was the most fun I have had in a while, because I got to share it with my sister and her friend.

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Words are Actions

In the long and twisted journey through my existential crisis that is really mostly my brain yelling “what am I going to do with my life????” I got it in my head that maybe words in general aren’t as powerful as I previously thought. Maybe inspiring young girls to aspire to be Dragon Queens of the Realm wasn’t actually as beneficial to young girls, or to society at large. A degree in engineering, on the other hand, can yield concrete positive innovations that provide the world with, say, fewer carbon emissions. Big difference, right?

As I slowly came down from this initial panic, I began to realize firstly that nobody does it alone, and my receiving a degree in law or theoretical physics isn’t going to magically change the world for the better in a monumental way. (But I still want to pursue a STEM-related degree, as it would be tons of fun and work and mountains of new knowledge.)

Secondly, how dare I (admonishes my inner voice) diminish the positive effects of a book? Books introduced me to the female characters I aspired (and still aspire) to emulate, from dragon-slaying knights to no-nonsense detectives to earth-savers? Without these literary companions, I might have drowned in the sexist agenda that permeates the society in which I live and to a greater extent than I was previously aware, my own home and family. I might not have had the guts to say/dress/act the way I wanted in school, when the pounds of pressure to “blend in” weighed on my sweatshirt-clad shoulders.

The moral of the rant is that words shape us. Words do have power. Every fairy tale you read is right on the money when it comes to the potency of an incantation. Words not only inspire actions; words ARE actions, and should not be undervalued.

The moment when I realized I was putting a little too much validity on my panic-du-jour was a story my mother told me in passing. She told me that she had mentioned a metaphor I had used about the ability of one person to make an impact on the world. (I used the ripple effect metaphor.) The person to whom my mother was speaking lit up with revelation.

In a very literal way, I saw my words take root in another person. By “ripple effect” my overused metaphor traveled from me to my mother to this stranger whom I’d never met and managed to provide insight (however trite and slight). It’s these little but powerful events that remind me that words are actions in and of themselves and that little things can great change. These are ridiculously obvious points, in theory, but every once in a while it’s good to witness a reminder of their existence. The voices in my head can get so awfully distracting.

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Sudden Epiphany

I can do whatever I want. 

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Tuesday (Tennant, to be exact)

Okay, so.

I may have forgotten about/let this blog fall to the wayside (yes terrible pun I went there bite me) in favor of trying to actually go out there and get stuff done. Which I think I’ve accomplished. To some extent.

I literally overcame a bit of stage fright by auditioning for a play. Felt like skydiving onto a tightrope strung out over a lake of fire. Unbelievable. I’m now an adreneline junkie for acting. I didn’t get the part, but I was surprised at how little that bummed me out; I went into the audition looking to do my absolute best, kill the monologue (the best I knew how, at least) and make split-second character decisions before cold-reading. As far as I know I did all these things, plus got an amazing rush in the spotlight. So, not too bummed about not actually getting the part. But I’m definitely auditioning again. So much fun.

On a ‘whoa, dude, that’s deep’ level auditioning for a play is also a big step in the direction I’d like to take, the “stop telling yourself ‘no’ and just do everything you’re terrified to do” direction. The path is treacherous but the view is incredible.

I’ve been mulling over that odd little voice in my head (one of many) that pipes up with a high-pitched squeal of “no!” when I think of what I should do/could do for the day, or even for my future plans. Part of it, I know, is borne of the great black nexus that is the OCD monster in my head but I have to wonder how much of it is years-long habit. In my pre-medication days (high school) the twitchy “no!” voice acted as a kind of shield for all of the horrible mental images my OCD would send my way. So I guess it helped me crash my train of thought when it started to skip like a bad record, or send my imagination down a dark and terrifying path. But now…..now. Post-medication, it seems like an outdated defense mechanism that’s preventing me from getting the most mundane of things done, much less the big things in my life.

I’m having trouble figuring out how much of the “no!” is bull and how much is still legitimate. It’s probably safe to say that most (if not all) of it is completely baseless. However. Ignoring the “no!” voice is a very hard habit to break. I’m practicing; I auditioned for a play. I’m visiting with friends who are back in town (even when I just want to curl up with fanfiction or some other time-sucking pastime).

Now I just have to get my day-to-day schedule in order. Maybe that will shut the “no!” voice up, if I have everything written down and (mostly) scheduled out. Hey, it’s on paper, therefore it doth be indisputable. I hope it helps. Because what I really fear most is that:

I won’t get my life going the way I want it to go. I want to accomplish a lot of things, “now”, and in order to do that I have to stay focused and do some work that I really don’t want to do. Necessary evils and all that. Currently I’ve cleaned out my car, purged my wardrobe, re-organized my horse’s wormer/vet schedules into neat excel charts and made a folder for important receipts and bills. So basically, stuff I should have done five years ago. But still.

Now, I have to finish an oil painting that hopefully won’t stink up the wall on which it’s to be hung. That will bring a decent paycheck.

Now, I have to commit to studying for the GRE so that my scores will be worth something when I take the test next month.

Now, I have to finish wrapping my best friend’s birthday present. And burn a couple CD’s for her.

Now, I have to write a little bit each day (preferably both on this blog and on my original stuff…and the fanfic).

It’s really not a lot, I know I can do this. I know for a fact that I do not want to be where I am this time next year. I have to get out and move in the direction I want to take. I will never stop fighting for what I want. I do have that going for me, at least: I never give up.

Motivational Anti-Heroes/Villains Who Also Never Give Up: Zuko, Loki, Black Widow (because she broke through her brainwashing, that is badass and takes extreme determination).

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The Beginning of the Beginning

I’m young, single digits and I’m playing with Stretch Armstrong with my uncle (who happens to be six months younger than me) on a grassy hill. My Mom and Grandpa are there, but I’m focused on stretching Stretch as far as he will go. My uncle has hold of his legs and I of his arms. I like playing with Stretch but I worry that I will stretch him too far. 

My other memory of that first Trader’s Point horse show is (surprise surprise) from the back of a horse. Mom let me go on a pony ride, and as my squat, furry new best friend moseys around, attached to a miniature hot-walker, I can’t keep the grin off my face. As we round the curve, Mom comes into view. She catches my eye and asks “Are you sure you want to take horseback riding lessons?” I nod so vigorously I lose sight of her and murmur a hushed but frantic “yes”. 

 

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Earliest Memory (As far as I Know)

I’m on my little rocking horse, rocking away while Mom does the dishes in the tiny kitchen of the first house. Baby Horsie rolls over the textured tiles. They’re a warm color, yellow maybe, or reddish orange. Right in front of me are the backs of Mommy’s legs. Suddenly Baby Horsie rams into the wall behind me, jolting me out of my happy lull.

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