Timing is Everything

 

Hello my faithful reader(s) -really just my sister, whom I stand behind her shoulder and instruct her to read- I’m sure you’ve all been wondering about my post-graduation life. Get excited, I’m about to thrill you.

Post-graduation life is awful and sugar-sweet all at once, but mostly awful. Currently, I’m at Plan D. Plan D involves me: moving back in with my dad, working part-time at a restaurant, trying to convince my ex that getting back together is a good idea, thinking a lot, crying a lot, wanting to sleep more than the 11 hours a day I already do, watching Harry Potter and Grey’s Anatomy intermittently, avoiding God but finding that that’s pretty impossible, considering applying to jobs, the jobs that I do pick someone else, finding ranching opportunities out west and seriously consider if that’s what I should do, turning down jobs that don’t necessarily feel right, hanging out with my sister and her boyfriend, day drinking, painting, looking at my planner, cooking actual meals, letting my dad yell at me because I can’t seem to find my backbone, befriending the cat (she lets me pet her for twenty seconds now, I even picked her up for six once), getting angry that my friends don’t have as much free time as I do, being mom-sick with my dad, wanting to write more but lacking the motivation… You get the idea, I’m not doing much.

You spend three or so years dreaming about what school you’ll go to receive an education and then four years training for a profession for a single moment of recognition of that effort; basically, you spend a lot of time working towards something and you kind of feel lost once you get past it a few feet. After all, it’s all about the journey, amirite? My commencement ceremony was interesting because I should have felt like I was achieving some milestone (standing next to two thousand others, some landmark, ya know? …), some personal victory. And truth be told, I was. It had taken a lot to get there, but small moments will reveal a lot and as I sat there in the front row, looking intently at our President and hearing his words, all I could feel was the absence of those I loved. Sure, I had my brother and his wife, dad, sister, and cousin there- and many who sent well wishes-, but I immediately wholly felt vacancy of my mom. One thing stuck with me at my high school graduation, that, ‘you are not here to celebrate your accomplishment, you are here today so those who love you can celebrate you- they are your fans, let them be proud.’ I didn’t care about my own graduation, I only decided to walk because I felt I should- I should let those who wanted to celebrate me, do so. But I sat there, and realized, my mother is the only person who would have done anything to be there… who would the date marked in her calendar for four months, who would have woke me up at 5am because she would have been more excited than me, who would have made me take a thousand pictures, who would have cried because her Little Baby graduated today. For the longest time I counted on my biggest enthusiast to be there, and it’s hard to let go of what you’ve believed for so long… It’s amazing how you can grieve over something that never was. The second absence I felt was Nick. I’ve done a lot of thinking about how I managed to fuck so much up between us, but I missed you and wished you were in the audience. You’re my person, and I’ve been stupid in a lot of ways- and it sucks worse when you know the only reason someone isn’t there is because you ruined it enough that they wouldn’t be.

So, in summary, mostly what graduation did for me was caress then slap my face for realizing none of this success is nothing without love and people to share it with.

But post-graduation is interesting because for the first time in my life I have time. Like any college kid, I put in twenty hours a week to classes and schooling, ten into assignments, another forty into projects and shows- with no slow-downs (Saturdays are never really off days, they lie). But dedicating that time gave me a false sense of worth and identity, and time has peeled back that thinking.As William Penn said, “Time is what we want most, but what we use worst,” (thanks Google). And in not using time wisely, time has successfully unraveled my identity in my career and put me at the feet of God. Which isn’t an awful place to be, but a humbling one.

So I’m being transparent. One of the largest reasons it is easiest for me to take up my cross every day and follow God (well, it’s not all day every day- I’m still hurt and angry- but in moments) is because I see him so present in this world and believe that we are here to evangelize. As a Christian, it’s hard to have a conversation about Christ- for others, or myself even, to being open to it-but I believe the best thing our God does for us is makes us feel whole again- through our suffering and joy. So, as easy as it is to always show you how glamorous life is (through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter- whatever), life is also hard. Technology has made us so accessible in a positive way to each other, but it has also made us colder and coveting in a large way.

Here goes.

Disclaimer:I am not one who finds much muse by romance, but lately it has been transforming me and a constant point of tension in my life. I am no genius, and certainly not the first person to ever have these thoughts and feelings, but I am the first Laura Stenger who is 22 years old from a small town in Indiana in the twenty first century who is.

*Standby: My Heart Will Go On Instrumental– Instrumental, GO.

I am The Blind Pig with you, my sister, and your roommates after having convinced you that Trivia night at one of your favorite bars with your friend would be fun and thoughtful. Maybe this will make losing you easier or I’ll get a chance to corner you and talk, but neither is probably not true. I sit across from you. Your roommate buys me a double Jameson and coke because the job I wanted just called and said they went with someone else. I drink it, my sister shows up, we all laugh, our food comes, trivia starts, you come up with a good team name, I’m kind of drunk now and about six questions in. I get up and sit beside you. You put your arm around me, kiss me on the top of my head and squeeze for a moment. I tuck my head into your chest and silently thank God that I’m able to have you in small ways and moments.

Your roommates and friends don’t think twice about this gesture and continue to still make sexual jokes involving us both. I don’t know if it’s because you haven’t told them we’ve broken up or they’re just too polite to treat me any differently. I can’t tell if I hate it, or if it’s one more thing that makes me feel like nothing has changed. But we all laugh, take second place at trivia, and you’re still holding my hand and giving me the softest smile- so I’ll deal with all of it.

I’m pretty drunk now. Why stop at one when you can have five? I say I’m going to get sick and we should go. You say at 10:40p we’ll leave. You always have been kind in that way, even when I’m pulling you in the other direction. I get up, go to the restroom, come back, and the five of you are all listening intently to the bartender girl across the table talk about aerial yoga, or something. I sit beside you and put my hand on your knee. I’m used to this garnering some kind of response- whether that be your hand on mine, a look, anything- but it gets nothing and I’m persistent so I try it in six other variations each the next more annoying than the last, and still you laugh and smile at her.

This time, I share a small moment with a year of guilt and shame that brought me right here. I get up, go to the bar, get a water, and go outside. I enter the alley and the cool air punches me in the face. At first suffocating, and then fresh and clean. The alleyway goes left and right, with walls straight up and surrounding me on every side. I sit down on their patio chair, notice the table is crooked and assembled poorly- fitting for me, though. No one else is outside, and I’m drunk, borderline sick, so it’s simultaneously fascinating and daunting all at once. I stare and follow the ground until I come to a misplaced cement block and decide that I’ll stare at that for awhile. I down my water as two gentlemen pass me and flick their cigarette buts into the nearby drain before entering the bar. I am immediately annoyed by their actions, presence, and clothing- I have never spoken a word to them and a second after that thought I am reminded just how shitty and judgmental I am capable of being. I miss him. I can hear his laugh from outside the bar, and as much as I hate his big, stupid laugh, even that makes me sad and miss him.

I am an incredibly anxious and distrusting person. Growing up in an abusive household and watching the two people I love the most eat at each other is destructive for a young, learning mind. I’ve made peace with my past, but that doesn’t mean I haven’t taken it with me. I spent four months really getting to know someone, because for the first time in three years, it felt like this could work out. My feelings are fleeting, logically I know that, but I still battled every day, going back and forth, sometimes for a few weeks being fine, and then one weird moment changing my mind. And you were no exception to this, but you were the first person that ever gave me good days too- and no one but myself gives me good days. So I wanted you to stick around. I can distinctly remember the first time I felt I was in love with you. It took everything for us to convince each other that going to the other’s family Thanksgiving party was a good idea. We each sacrificed time with our own to meet the others, and that meant so much because I stopped bringing people around a long time ago. I remember being at your house, your family so kind to me and making me feel welcome and one of their own. I got to see your cabin that you told me so much about, and the lake, and again, your family. Meeting your people made so much of you make sense to me, and I’ve never seen you happier. You led me to the guest room, picked me up and sat me on the bed. Holding my hands, you looked into my eyes and thanked me. That’s when I knew, I loved you so much in that moment. And then the next day we left at 5am to drive back to meet my family, and you were even better with them and I don’t know how but I loved you more. … But I’m always anxious, and so much of me hinges on the future and making the right decision- which is awful because I don’t even believe in either of those things, it’s just the way I feel sometimes. But you left one more morning and while making eggs before class, my heart raced so fast that I passed out because I was so fucking scared what our future might mean. So I called a break, and I worked some things out, and we got back together a few weeks later. Things were better, even now I remember how you said you’ve never seen me happier. We both were. Again, one day I woke up and things felt off. I took a shower, the heat sped up my bloodstream, my heart raced, I panicked, ran out of the bathroom to get water and reaching for the cupboard, fainted and hit my head on the counter. Fucking anxiety. I told myself to work through it, but you could tell I was different. We went on a weekend trip. We came back. You kept pestering me as to why I wanted alone time. A week passed. My mother died. All you wanted was to be there for me. You had to leave in two days to fly to California for work for a month. (Timing is really on my side, right?). We met up, actually, my whole family drove me up to see you so I could call it off. I don’t want to blame my mom’s death for everything, but it really messed me up- and in fight or flight, I chose to fly away. I saw you, took you into your room and after two hours of us both crying, I left. It wasn’t until later that I found out that was the night that you were going to tell me you were in love with me.

So there we were, two broken people, who couldn’t figure out how to fit our pieces together. You gave me all your love and all I gave you was goodbye.

So here I am, on December 17th alone and outside a bar in an alley, going back to January 28th when I had you.

I go back all the time. It’s been almost a year, and I still go back. For a long time, we kept this together, in a way. You’re my best friend, and that’s always been hard to let go of. Sometimes I felt like you never understood me, or we didn’t communicate enough, or this or that, wherever my anxiety and doubt could creep in. I would get hung up on our few differences instead of enjoy the thousand ways we are so similar. Or how our personalities complemented each other, even though they’re so different in ways. We are two entirely different people that found each other and fit so well together. I’m human, and I wanted it to be okay for me to be wrong- but playing with others is not okay, and I know that. Even still, for eight months we kept that up, neither of us too willing to give into it or too strong to stay away for too long. Before sitting in your new house, resting my head on your chest, I whispered, “Nick, I think we should break up.” You replied, “Yeah, I think that’s probably a good idea.” So we did. With a new pact that it’s okay to love and care about each other, but we’ll try to be friends.

I never worked hard for you- and sitting outside, hearing your laugh, it is the thing I regret the most.

I give myself a moment, share one more look with that cement block, and I go inside. I sit down, you look at me and grab me, as you always have. I tell you I’d like to go and noticing I look a little sickly- with soft eyes you say, yes, of course, let’s go.

We head home and for the majority of the ride, I cry because I’m an uncontrollable sob when I’m too drunk and around you. I weep over anything- from the homeless to us having to pay a parking meter- emotions taking me over, I guess?

But just like every time I’ve seen you for the last month, I confront you about how you feel and it’s a conversation we never have time for and you’re worn out on having- but when I decide to fight for something, I can’t let up until it’s fixed and we just haven’t fixed it how I wish it could be.

So here it is- post drunken crying in your bed because you said it was okay for me to sleep over, two hours before you have to go into work and really just want sleep, and I’m being difficult and won’t let up.

There are many things about me that will never change. I will always be stubborn, indecisive, and pushy. I seldom will hold back my thoughts and feelings, if something’s not right, I will always want to fix it right then. I will never lose my humor. I will have bad days, but you can count that I will find a way to laugh about it, that I will stop at nothing to get you to laugh, even at your angriest. I will always be convinced that if I try my hardest, I will beat you in whatever physical endeavors. I will never stop trying to charm you or pry out of you how you feel about something. I will not always be one hundred percent aware of my faults in the moment, but I know myself- and you know I do too- and we both know that I’m not afraid to say when I’m wrong. I’m saying I was wrong now. If that’s not enough to change your mind, I hope it is enough to ease it.

You ask what’s different, and here it is. I’ve had time, time to see what it is I want in life, and I want you. I know, that’s a simple answer and there are things that need work for that to be possible. But losing you also made losing the future with you so real. I took you for granted, we both know that. I’m different. Sure, a degree doesn’t automatically make you an adult- but those things that I’ve always wanted, I finally feel ready to actually want them. I sit at night, missing our fictional future we’ve created together. I know many people do that, I know break-ups are meant to do that to you. But it’s not just the future and infatuated possibility of those things that I miss- I also just miss you. I miss the house we drew up together, all of our trips in Goldie, going to church with you Sunday morning, going to your rugby games, talking about the dog you will never want. I miss the way we were together. What changed is that I finally want to work and fight for those things with you. What changed is that I am finally taking full responsibility. What has never changed is that I’ve always known what a long-term relationship and marriage takes to be successful- what has changed is that I am willing and wanting to be those things. I don’t believe in ‘the one,’ and neither do you; but I do believe that it is wonderful and rare to feel about someone the way that I feel about you. Our relationship was mature and you were my teammate- what a dear blessing it is to find someone in life who will hold your hand through your best and worst- and I keep kicking myself that I did and didn’t see it until now.

I’m a fool and I have too many words to say to you that I can’t find all of the right ones to put here. But I woke up this morning and I took what you said to heart. I’m sorry for everything I put you through, and I understand that you’re tired of this and it feels good to finally be outside my atmosphere. I don’t want the middle ground. I want all of you and all of me to try and make this work. Doing this friend thing is wonderful but every time I see you it’s a small reminder that I messed up one of the best things in my life, and as much as it makes me continuously fall for your soul, I can tell it’s hard on you too. I’d give nearly anything for another chance to try to fix this whole thing, but I know that’s asking a lot and you’re tired of trying for whatever this is to work.

So for now, I have to stop looking at your letters beside my bed and wonder if mine are still in your top drawer. I needed time to figure things out- perhaps that’s what you need too. You’re right, ultimately, things will be okay. If I have proven anything to myself, it’s that I am a resilient woman who has yet to lose her fervor for life. I will always care about you, and at my core want you to be happy- even if that doesn’t include me. If you ever change your mind, I hope you have the courage to say something. I will always welcome you.

 

“And I could’ve been another minute late, and you’d never would’ve crossed my path that day. And when it seems love is hard to find- That’s when love comes along just in time.

Cause you can be hurt by love or healed by the same- Timing is everything. It can happen so fast, or a little too late. Timing is everything.”

 

 

The brick in my pocket.

I have a lot to say. The truth is, I’ve had a lot to say the last nine months but finding the energy and emotions to say those things is difficult. Contrary to what I believe, the scale of saying something and the impact it will have versus saying nothing at all and how life may continue – has been a muddy, unbalanced, immeasurable one. Ultimately, it all feels the same, so I keep quiet.

And maybe that’s why when my boyfriend (ex now, I’m told that’s what you have to say to make it feel real) and I broke up a few weeks ago I’ve been sparked to finally feel something fully. Fully is hard to define though, too. I am feeling the weight of it fully- but there are times when I can’t but help feel lighter, that my shit-storm (it’s the fun way to refer to my sadness train) is affecting one less person I care for but also heavier now that I’m left to bear it alone. There are also times I want to blame my Mom for this. I know it’s unfair to throw knives when she’s not even here to defend herself, but I know she played a role in it and when you’re this sad, it is easier to pick on the dead…

As much as I want to dwell on it and do things differently- I just pray that you are happy. I want happiness for both of us. The difficult part is no longer having a right to know how you’re doing and what keeps you laughing, no longer having the right to know you and be known by you. I have to be okay with that and understand that’s how you heal… Just know that I miss my best friend.

It’s interesting. You always hear that there are two kinds of people. In reality, there are many kinds of people and one long, personal, continuous fence of life. And as we walk along this fence as individuals we find we are on one side or the other of different groups of people and issues and that’s how we find ourselves and tell our stories. On January 26th of this year I hopped the fence.

It’s not ‘normal’ to lose a parent at 21 so I found myself among few people my age. The few who are here are incredible people. Sometimes I think the most beautiful thing I’ve discovered is that in a single shared look I’ve been more wholly understood than ever before. But this side of the fence is a double edge sword. I have a hard time relating to anyone on the other side now. The problems the other side faces I find irrelevant to me. They’re still their struggles and valid, but I can’t relate because loss feels so much heavier to me than fear and failure. It’s not their fault they haven’t been dealt a fucked up hand but the gap isn’t helped because without the loss of someone who held so much of your life together, it’s hard to understand how quickly it can fall apart and how much space that person occupied in your life. It’s been nearly a year and I still think about my mother in every way in most of my minutes. The division is that people expect a certain time frame for grieving and then with that acceptance we are to move forward.

In many ways, I have healed. I’ve laughed louder than I remember and I still find a zest for life but I have learned that even that control is out of my hands. My wish is that the other side of the fence could give grace to our tears. I don’t choose to see a hawk fly above the field along the highway and boisterously laugh at the memory of the hundreds of times my mother cut conversation to watch a bird in its path in the same way that I don’t choose to then fall apart because I would give anything to have another interrupted conversation with her.

The fence is what keeps life interesting. It’s how you relate to the people beside you and respect the ones on the other side. There are no walls in life, just a fence with holes for hands to hold each other that I am thankful for.

“Does it ever go away?”

“No, I don’t think it does. Not for me, it hasn’t – has gone on for eleven years. But it changes though.”

“How?”

“I don’t know… the weight of it, I guess. At some point it becomes bearable. It turns int something that you can crawl out from under and… carry it around like a brick in your pocket. And you… you even forget it, for a while. But then you reach in for whatever reason and – there it is. Oh right, that. Which could be awful – not all the time. It’s kinda… not that you’d like it exactly, but it’s what you’ve got instead of your son. So, you carry it around. And uh… it doesn’t go away. Which is…”

“Which is what?”

“Fine, actually.”

 

What Cancer Gave Me

Through the sun-kissed curtains in my room, I struggled to find my phone and relieve myself of its heinous screams at 8:15a. Following suit, I checked social media of any updates and among the lulls and surges of the Facebook world, it stopped me. Staring at a perfectly square picture of words reading, “World Cancer Day.” The moment slows down, my heart skips a beat.

Even when you think you can escape it for a minute… you can’t. My mother passed away nine days ago. She had stage four cancer and was in the 3-5% of people who cannot be diagnosed.  People have asked me every day how I am doing, and the truth is, I don’t know. Grieving is a process, and I will say now that the only thing to be said of it is you have good moments and worse. There is celebration and there is remorse. There are fits of tears and small, shared smiles… Leave it to as awful a time as this to realize just how loved someone can be. So many people have come to me offering prayers and sympathy and a promised shoulder. I thank you. I have largely slipped into a wordless expression, but let me say, I have seen and heard the words you have offered. I appreciate them so deeply. I sit with them, and let the warmth of their love pour into me. It has made and continues to make a difference.

But back to World Cancer Day. The day is to raise awareness and funds for cancer and the damage it can do. I’m here to raise a slightly different awareness… I, like unfortunate thousands, am not able to say that battle was won. What I can talk about is a battle of other sorts…

At my mom’s funeral service, I gave a eulogy. I would try to explain it and how it fits, but I think my parting words speak for themselves…


How do you tell the world about your mother in a few minutes? That was where this started. And in thinking about it for the past few days, I realized that besides the time limit, I will never be able to find the right words to say everything I want to say about my mother- but I think I know where I want to start.

If you have only known me for the past couple of years, then you may not know just how much of a challenge I was for my mom. Growing up, I was often called, “Little Tim.” I liked to think that was because I embodied all of dad’s good qualities. And I did, but like Dad, I was hard-headed and difficult at times- and in the least, a lot more to handle than Greg or Sheryl.

Mom and I had our differences. In fact, if I had to be honest, I spent most of my childhood in disagreement with her. She bothered me in middle school, was way too nosey in high school, and by the time I headed to college, I was happy to have some distance between us.

And in retrospect, I think I’ve finally figured out why it was that way, why I was that way. I don’t think I knew what to do with that kind of love in my life. If you knew my mom then you know what I’ll try to explain, and if you didn’t I’ll do my best. My mom never cared for things of this world. She wasn’t troubled by wealth, social status, career growth, time, or anything of that nature. She only ever cared about the people in it.

She spoke kindness and compassion to everyone. She had an infectious smile and a comforting presence. She listened to stories and problems and if she didn’t have the wisdom that helped, she had a hug and prayer that did.

That was mom every moment of every day. And for the longest time, I didn’t know what to do with that. But one moment can change the course of your life forever.

On October 19, 2013 my mother sat down on my couch and looking into her soft brown eyes, I faintly heard her say, “I have cancer.” Even thinking about it now, I’ve never had a moment in my life so slowed down. Because it truly was in those seconds that my perspective changed.

I grieved. I grieved for my mom, but mostly I grieved for all of the time I wasted not loving my mom back, and how I now had so little time to make our relationship what it should have always been.

From then on, I did my best to live a life of love. I realized the best reflection I had of that was looking at my mom. When I spoke, I chose words of kindness. When I felt anger, I prayed for patience and understanding. When I hurt, I prayed for healing. Slowly, I saw mom and I’s interactions change. For the first time in my life, I felt like I had a relationship with my mom.

Our growth was constantly rivaling the growing cancer. I remember crying in the doctor’s office as he showed us the body-scan of hundreds of tumors. Of sleeping beside her hospital bed after surgery, holding her hand and praying. When I dyed her hair and spent most of that time pulling out chunks of it. Coming home after three weeks and seeing her thirty pounds lighter. Going to chemotherapy and feeling like we belonged anywhere else in the world but there…

It was hard to see her through the changes. She changed and our parents’ marriage changed. Our family changed. We were new together. None of us knew the time we had left, and in a way, that made each experience better. The five of us, we were finally what we should have been all along.

A lot comes with cancer, and for me, it came with a picture of how it would end. In those final moments I thought we’d all be seated around mom in a hospital bed, sharing love and holding her hand. But that wasn’t how it happened at all. In reality, Sheryl and Greg were working, I was sitting at school, and Dad was driving to the wrong hospital. (Not his fault).

It wasn’t how I thought it would be at all… and I really hurt over that the first couple of days. That I couldn’t be with my mom when I felt like she needed me the most. And then I realized that it was just another one of the thousands of times that she was taking care of me. I’ve always needed her more. I couldn’t be there and admit to standby helpless and watch as I lose my best friend and mother in the same day. But like every single day since October when I found out- my mom had still called me in the morning to tell me how much she loved me, and I told her back. And as hard as it is, that’s enough for me.

We have less time than we think. You will never be able to make it right, because you’ll always have things you would have done differently- but you can make it better- and that is one thing cancer gave me. The opportunity to make my relationship with my mom, my family, better than it was.

I bought a book a few years back, For One More Day by Mitch Albom. And each time I read it, I find new meaning to its words. And I’d like to share a piece that has stuck with me:

“And I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest love you will ever know. There’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins. So this was my mother’s story. And mine. I would like to make things right again with those I love.”

Loving you endlessly,

Your “Little Baby”


I had 473 days to make it better… Don’t wait for cancer to come, fix it now, and everyday hereafter.

Can’t Stop the Whiskey Train

Okay, here we go.

I’m sitting on my bed, Hot Rod playing in the background, two pieces of Papa John’s to my right, and a collection of foolish decisions to my left.I have a week left here, and in the last twenty minutes I have come to a radical, self-discovery.

Let me preface this by saying that I have been extremely down the last few weeks. -It’s even shown in this; I’ve started this a few times and become too indecisive to finish it. – I don’t know if that’s because my heart is calling me home, I am so lost in my career path, or a myriad of mental things that I’m too lazy and scared to confront. But- it sucks. I don’t feel like I’m truly moving forward in my life or that I feel kinda stuck. It’s horrible and I hate it. I meet wonderful people, and as much as a rag on it, SoCal has kind of grown on me too- but I’m a tad miserable. I’ve been dreaming of coming home and have had a hard case of puppy-fever but all I want is to start my real life and it’s a shame because that feeling is keeping me from living the real life I have right now. I don’t know what to do about it.

Also, I’m kind of drunk so let’s not judge my run-ons, both fragments and thoughts. Mkay? Mkay.

I’m 20 and there are still times I debate opening (who am I kidding, re-opening) my online dating account because I’m in a serious position of not having it all at 20.

Sometimes I cry over the day that finally comes when pizza at 2am is a bad idea and I can’t bounce back from it.

Also, I’ve spent a lot of time planning my 21st bash- you’re invited, don’t wait for the invitation- IT WON’T COME.

I am not a passionate person, and I only love it all in retrospect. There are two things I am deeply passionate for (and I suppose that is what drives me forward); people and fun.

Seriously, I don’t know if it’s because of the lack of childhood I had and double dose of tears as a kid, but pain is so easy to overcome with laughter for me. I just love laughing and dancing and I hope it’s not at the fault of being young- I’m not sure I’ll ever outgrow this because every time I step out the door I just find it very hard to take myself or this world seriously.

What do I do with that talent? I’ll tell you what people with my kinds of talents do- WE PANHANDLE.

Shit, what am I writing. Andy Samberg keeps distracting me. OH- for example, I spent 20 minutes following BD Wong around tonight and taking creepy pictures with him.

STANDBY FOR THE WORLD PREMIERE OF LAURA WITH A C-LIST CELEBRITY AT THE FUNDED RAGER

bd

 

What is wrong with me?

Recently I busted my knee and got x-rays, that was an exciting 3 hours at urgent care on fourth of July weekend. I also stopped training and definitely feel it in my thighs now (not the good kind). I keep hurting myself out here and that sucks. I know other things have happened but I’m too gone to remember them…

Whatever, now I’m tired and just want to use my pizza as a pillow and Andy keeps talking.

Goodnight zzz

 

coffee and cigarettes, as simple as it gets

 

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I’ve written and rewritten this post about four times in the last week and I honestly can’t live with myself (not true, definitely lying) if I don’t just commit to something and present it. That was one of the pieces of my week I was trying to describe; my complete inability to commit to something – or someone- and to just play the cards I have and wait to see how the flop turns out. (BTW, I’m mildly upset with all of the bad Texas Hold’em games I’m missing out on back home). Here’s a compiled list of all of my uncertainties that I became definitely (still convincing myself) certain about in the last two weeks.

Anyways, this is my committed blog post. Currently, I am riding the 30 bus home from the Playhouse. Yesterday, for the first time, I jumped on the wrong bus only to ride it for 15 minutes in the wrong direction and then walk the rest of the way back. An hour and a half later I was back on track. More impressively, I think life is really starting to become the ‘second scratch’ for me. You know how when you get something new, you cherish it and protect and hold it so closely as to protect it from the harmful things and ways of the world? And then one day you drop it or punch it or (insert more harmful things here) whatever and it’s not quite as shiny and perfect as before? And then after a 15 minute personal/cry intervention with yourself you realize it’s still functional and you’ll be fine? Life is like that for me; everything feels like the second scratch (most things, oops, lied again). What I mean is, after a short, “Ahhh damn, this isn’t the 30, is it? Can I get off here?” I packed my things and walked the mile back (only to miss the next bus- oof). But life feels like it’s settling into that. Which is really nice.

Another cool thing is my host family. Jack and Carol. Small update, Carol had surgery on Tuesday. I’m a big believer in medical science so it was safe to say that I believed she’d get through this with the love of God and skill of the surgeons. Sure enough, Carol is doing WONDERFULLY in recovery- but the point of it is that it has been so interesting to see someone so in love with another (her husband)- after all these years- still be so deeply unsettled by the thought of his baby being left different in any negative capacity. It’s beautiful to look upon love in this way (Small shout-out to my parents, just put their 31st anniversary under their belt!).

Speaking of love, I read the most perfect excerpt yesterday from Chuck Klosterman:

“We all have the potential to fall in love a thousand times in our lifetime. It’s easy.

The first girl I ever loved was someone I knew in sixth grade. Her name was Missy; we talked about horses. The last girl I love will be someone I haven’t even met yet, probably. They all count.

But there are certain people you love who do something else; they define how you classify what love is supposed to feel like. These are the most important people in your life, and you’ll meet maybe four or five of these people over the span of 80 years.

But there’s still one more tier to all this; there is always one person you love who becomes that definition. It usually happens retrospectively, but it happens eventually. This is the person who unknowingly sets the template for what you will always love about other people, even if some of these loveable qualities are self-destructive and unreasonable.

The person who defines your understanding of love is not inherently different than anyone else, and they’re often just the person you happen to meet the first time you really, really, want to love someone. But that person still wins.

They win, and you lose. Because for the rest of your life, they will control how you feel about everyone else.”

This pretty much summed up my thoughts and feelings for the last two years. If you’ve known me for a few years and have been around long enough to know my high school sweetheart-relationship, you know that it wrecked me. I’ve since forgiven him, myself, the situation and alleviated a lot of tension of that sort in my life. But what I couldn’t understand is why this- thing, I don’t know what to call it- still crosses my mind in some capacity every day. I hate it and I wish it wasn’t there but it’s a shitty reality that I’ve created for myself.

But this realization has helped me in my dating recently. I was talking to a (now) good friend (was forced to like me day one, I think I’ve convinced her now) and in getting to know each other the topic of men and dating came up, naturally. I expressed to her how I just have a hard time committing to anything because I find a few deal-breakers or faults and usually just head for the hills with a handle of whiskey in tow. For whatever reason, likely the inspiration of the beach and locals never hearing of rain, I’ve decided to give it a go. The messed up part is, in being out here I’ve taken a few shots in the dark and have had some surprisingly nice dates with people I would have otherwise discarded as options. And you know what, that is refreshing. I’m actually starting to just enjoy others for their company, and I think that’s something I had neglected. An appreciation for people I haven’t exercised. I like it. I like it a lot.

SIDE NOTE- Other forced friend. This one I truly mean, she’s the granddaughter of my hosts, doesn’t get more, “please be friends with the house guest she’s around too often,” obvious than that. Her name is Addy. She is wonderful and after speaking, I had dubbed her my bad bitch spirit animal because, to be honest, if I had a patronus or something, it would probably be her. We explored some hot spots of San Diego, played with a fat cat, she made me breakfast (and others, not as romantic as I wanted it to be), and she’s one of the few people here I can just have honest conversations with. The other is Lindsay (mentioned in above paragraph). I will be very sad and disheartened to go next month. Building wonderful relationships and walking away sounds scary… But that’s one of the places I am right now.

And where I am also right now is dream-world, California USA. Every day I go to a job that I am fascinated by. Every day I meet people that are captivating and unique. Every day I fall in love with possibilities. Every day I can see the ocean from wherever I stand. Every day I ride the bus and intersect with dozens of lives and stories I will never know. Every day I test my legs by running. Every day I test my heart by giving. And every day while I am out here I am testing my ability to be selfish. 

One thing I have learned and enjoyed in La Jolla- it is not always bad to act and react selfishly. Sometimes, it is exactly what you need in order to grow and understand more of yourself and how to appreciate selfless-ness. In that fashion, I am doing a lot of whatever I want- and it feels great.

Pictures for my lovers- XOXO

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You’re such a lovely cup, why don’t you fill me up

I’m doing my best while out here to make everyone back home jealous of all of the adventures (Monday adventures) I’m embarking on. There’s no better way to express that than through my amateur photography skills with my Cyber-shot 14.1 megapixel camera- been touring since ’11.

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X O X O

PS – I’m having less fun than it looks (but still fun nonetheless).

PSS – I wish I could give more than just selfies, but they’re actually a very real thing when you are by yourself.

The Jewel of My Summer

Following up to the last thing you read, I survived the flight into San Diego. Barely.

We touched down in the sunshine state, 96 degrees and barely conscious enough to function (don’t get in a plane without eating or drinking all day). My hosts are fantastic. They so kindly set me up with pretty much everything I need to survive in San Diego- a bike, my bearings, a metro bus-pass, and the local supermarket’s savings card. Honestly, it’s only been a week and I already feel like a citizen.

La Jolla is great. To be honest, the weather has finally dropped down for a normal May, about 73, sunny, light breeze. Which makes wearing pants and a flow-y top, SO much easier.

I have all of two friends. Not counting the ones that I inherited from my hosts. The first girl’s name is Lindsay- she plays drums which is cool and we went on a coffee date downtown, ate sushi (the only time I’ve ever liked sushi- HOT HOT MEXICAN was what they called it- I’ll probably sneak back for more), and explored the Seaport area- could be Seaside(?). It looked a lot like home. I played Chinese checkers for the first time and naturally lost. The other friend is more like a boyfriend, except we’re only mean to each other and don’t talk too often… or ever.

Saturday I got a sunburn from being in the sun from 10-11:30a, don’t ask me how that works.

Sunday we went to church and then I started my first day of work at the Playhouse. Church was great- the messages are challenging. Note: bring your notebook next time. I should clarify- a large part of my job is prompting. I watch the show every night (front row, holla) and take line notes. It’s not too bad, actually, I like it a lot a lot.

Mondays are my day off, this past Monday I decided to bike around town. Down to the Cove and then to the Shores. Let’s just say it’s not like biking Miami Whitewater- much hillier and much sweatier and I will do my best to never use my bike again.

Tuesday I started my job. I got a tour of the Playhouse and met SO many people. Having the whole creative team (all of the people who created Memphis) in one room is such a pleasure. These people are so efficient at their jobs and so helpful. I can’t say enough good things about them. (Also, I spend a lot of time starstruck). I’m creating a list of notes about the things I’m learning- I won’t post them here. That night I (still being pretty jazzed about riding the metro and feeling like a big girl) I took the bus into Mission Beach. I went to a JAZZY place called Surf Tacos. It’s a hole in the wall place with more people my age than I’ve seen in the last week. Anyway, I had a fish taco (first time, Taco Tuesday deals yeah $$$) and a California burrito (first time). Skip the first one and go straight to the second. SO GOOD I WANTED TO CRY. I don’t understand why we don’t put hashbrowns in all of our burritos. Delicious.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and Saturday all were the same jam. Work 12-5, find a comfy spot on campus and watch LOST for 2 hours and then work 7-1030. Gotta say, this is the life.

Also- spending money is easy here. I eat the same thing every day almost and yet still I swear there is a hole in my pocket and I am often asking myself, where is my money? I don’t know. I’m even keeping track of it and I still want to cry. BUT, every morning I pick fresh lemons (off of the tree) and put some in my water bottle. How cool is that?!

California is great and I am loving it. I miss Indiana and my family like crazy. That is all.

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X O X O

Connecting Flights

I’m sitting in Denver’s airport at terminal A38 dealing with my 5 hour layover (it seemed like a good idea at the time), but my mind is traveling a bit.

Maybe you’re curious as to why I’m in Denver… I’ll tell you.

In summation, I am heading to La Jolla, California to begin my internship at La Jolla Playhouse. However, the rudiments to that sentence are something I’m still in shock and awe about. Let’s take a journey, shall we?

If you didn’t know, I study Theatre Design and Production with a focus in Stage Management at CCM. It is strongly encouraged in my program to go out and seek internships, apprenticeships, and work at a professional theatre, being that the experience is vastly different than academia theatre. It’s more of a ‘learn by doing’ type job than a studious one. Anyway, I had taken a serious approach to procrastination during my winter break as I switched between goofing off and working at a ski resort. Alas, second semester had started and by January 31st I had only submitted one application. I knew how important it was to get an internship because entering the professional world with nothing on your resume is hard, despite coming from such a prestigious school. Names and good recommendations are the name of this game, so I got out of my slump at started applying. Truthfully, I wanted to end up at Utah Shakespeare Festival or at Williamstown Theatre Festival (neither of those happened). But, I researched companies, asked around, and wrote A LOT of cover letters. I was working on a show at the time, and I have got to tell you, having the downtime helped (shout out to Metamorphoses). By late February, I had submitted about 8 or 9 applications. The wait game began.

I got an interview at The Old Globe in San Diego first. Waited. I interviewed with Cincinnati Symphony Orchestra. Waited some more. I spoke to Ash Lawn Opera. Waiting, still. And amongst the lulls and pulls of not having a summer job, I contacted all of the other companies. Then came the wave of, “I’m sorry, while your resume is impressive, we have decided not to hire you. I know you will be valued by another company though,” and the, “My apologies for not getting back to you, we’ve hired our season.” It’s hard to write about the disappointment and getting beaten out by other people, because I’m so gosh darn excited and blessed right now, but it sucks. I haven’t felt so down on myself in a long time. Every response is a punch to the ego and kill of the self confidence. I walked around with slumped shoulders for a few days. And then, it came. An acceptance letter. The Old Globe offered me a position. I was so excited and elated that I had something at all.

By this time it’s mid March. I began searching for places to stay in San Diego. San Diego’s economy is a bit higher than ours so I was looking at $700 ish a month for a room (sharing a room, mind you). I began to crumble because there is truthfully just no way that I could afford any of that, let alone convince my dad that he should.

And then God stepped in.

I would like to say that I gave it all over to Him and trusted Him fully, but it really didn’t happen that way. I got an email a few days after that from La Jolla Playhouse asking if I would like to interview. My thought was, why not? Getting my name out there couldn’t hurt and it’s late in the game. It’s such an amazing company that despite knowing that if I couldn’t go to San Diego there was NO chance I’d swing La Jolla- I set an interview up anyway. I interviewed the next day and through speaking with the woman, I told her that I wanted to be honest and see if it was possible to do LJP and TOG and have a bit of overlap. There was no use lying to her and playing games with either company. The interview ended a little awkward from the other company name drop and she mentioned she had a few other interviews to conduct and would get back to me in a week or so, but my thought was an honest, ‘oh well.’ Not a day later, I got an email with a job offer to be La Jolla Playhouse’s intern for their production of Ether Dome. I was ecstatic. This company has sent countless shows to Broadway and the networking is unreal. But you know, the craziest part of all was that I didn’t even fully apply to them. I sent a half application.

Fast forward… Hard decisions led me to accept La Jolla’s (seriously, real hard decisions. Google Balboa Park- that’s what I turned down). Every day for about three weeks after that I had an anxiety attack or mental breakdown about living situations. If you know me, you know that I thrive on structure and knowing. I love adventure and spontaneity is great and all, but confirming that you’ll do something for two months and it’s a month and a half away from you needing to do it- not having a place to stay out there, not having money, and not knowing people- it’s extremely challenging. Not to mention I had to take my parents into account for all of this, and their opinion is a reigning one. My dad kept saying, “Call some churches, stay with a family out there.” I mostly shrugged this off because of all the people I knew out there, not one of them could direct or offer me a place to stay. Maybe people weren’t kind in California? Who knows. I emailed a few churches anyway. After several intense phone conversations with my mother, she called a few for me (I was in a show at the time and too busy).

Two weeks later, I got an email from one of the church’s secretaries. I came to find out that her daughter is the costume shop manager at LJP and that (well, originally I had suggested Emily and I get a place and split rent- this info will make more sense now) she had a spare bedroom with two beds, so if I wanted to bring a friend I was more than welcome to. I don’t know how he arranged this one, but he did. All of my worries, doubts, and frustrations were alleviated- just like that.

In a moment, all of the energy, time, sadness, fights, and failures I had had, became no more. It had all  been made right. The worst (actually the best, praise all things that come your way- good or bad) part was that I had done nothing to deserve any of this. It’s like getting a door prize and staying at home. I was amazed, I still am amazed. I don’t deserve any of this. He is doing things in my life and revealing himself to me in ways that I do not yet understand.

My relationship with God has been a flat lining recently. I was once told that you’re either getting closer to Him or further away, but you never stay in the same place. This is a shocking reality that hits me over and over. I want a deeper relationship, I want to feel his love always, but sometimes it’s easier to believe that I’m not equipped to do that. I’ve found it’s good to place yourself at the watering hole, even during dry seasons. Even while it has been hard to find God moment to moment, I would still show up to church to serve coffee on Sunday mornings and sing praise. Those little moments brought me back. But now, I am entering into another’s home, and the love they are showing me is incredible. I’ve never lived with a stranger in a new place, and I cannot wait to see what all of that entails and the adventures to come.

I’m sorry for the long explanation- I’m even more sorry if none of it makes sense. I’ve been people watching. We are such amazing creatures.

Anyway, I flew for the first time in my life today. Of course, with all of the good I’ve had recently- there must be some bad. I sat in the last row by the window next to a talkative (yet, informative) woman and on the other side of her were 10 months old crying twins. Oh joy. But, this was my view.

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See ya on the other side, San Diego.

XOXO

A bottomless well of love

That is what your mother has for you.

And I realized when you look at your mother, you are looking at the purest form of love you will ever know.”

Mother’s Day is in two days and this one feels much different than the previous. I used to swing by a nearby jeweler and pick up the cheapest, but still pretty enough that I would wear, earrings. I honestly thought that my mother didn’t ever really want anything, not to mention that she would just be elated I got her anything at all, even if I only did put forth 15 minutes and minimal effort. It was only another day. But this year is different. For weeks and weeks I just kept sitting breathless with the words “Mother’s Day” at the edge of my tongue. After a few moments of that I quickly discarded and kept going. But the thing is that I have been caught in this situation a lot. A lot of the time I just feel like a record skipping.

Eight months ago my mother called me. I had known that my dad and brother were out of town on a hunting trip and my sister had left for Minnesota, to me it sounded like the perfect time to spend time with my mother and take advantage (in the most loving way) of the alone time and go to dinner and some light shopping. When she arrived at my apartment she gave me darting glances, a hug, and took my hands in hers, and then sat down beside me. As she leaned back I could see her soft, brown eyes well up and she slipped out in one breath, “I have cancer, Laura.” … They are different than other words. They’re too big to fit in your ears. That is right where I was, sitting on my couch on October 19 holding onto my mother. That is when everything changed. Days passed, and a lot of firsts came with it. We did our best to remain calm, but there are parts that hit you like a brick crashing into your skull until finally there is a hole large enough to keep you from forgetting it. I cried over the phone when I found out that she was in stage 4. I cried when I saw my dad cry for the first time in my life. I cried in the doctor’s office when he showed us the body scan. I cried for the hundreds of tumors that I saw all over inside her body cavity. I cried alone in my room. I cried when she came out of surgery and didn’t look like my own mother. I cried when I touched her scar where they removed a football sized tumor from her kidney. I cried when I prayed with her. I cried when I gave my own mother a bath because she was too weak to do it herself. I cried when we found out it wasn’t kidney cancer and that the doctors have no idea what kind it is. I cried when I came home three weeks later and she had lost 30 pounds. I cried to God. I cried when I dyed her hair and spent most of that time pulling out chunks of it. I cried alone in my room. I cried in my manager’s arms when he asked if I was okay. I cried in a stranger’s arms when they asked if I was okay. I cried in my roommates bed. I cried to God. I cried because my sister and I were fighting and then my mom started crying. I cried when she lost 10 more pounds. I cried when I went to chemotherapy with her. I cry when I watch her carry around the pack that helps administer the fluids. I cried when I watched her say goodbye to her father as he passed away. I cried when she came to my show because it could be the last. I cry when I’m in the shower. I cry when I’m alone. I cry when I’m in bed. I cry when people catch me off guard. Sometimes, I cry when I look at her. I’m crying as I write this. But most and worst of all, I cry when she recounts her day to me, smiles, and adds, “I just tell them, I’m going to be a miracle.” Because the truth is, I just don’t know. I am scared more in my life right now than I have ever been before. I pray that you never have feel the constant pressure of fear and uncertainty. I haven’t even lost a parent (I say that having NO idea how difficult that actually is) but this has made the truth that it will one day happen so much more of a reality. The truth is, I’m in a constant state of confusion and find it very hard to trust any feelings I have since they’re constantly fleeting- I often find myself remaining quiet and locked up about any of it. But, people ask, and for the most part I answer with her current condition and how she’s feeling day to day because that’s easier to say than choking up over it and stuttering the truth of how unbearable it really all is. This is way I’ve chosen to challenge myself and be honest about it.

The only thing that I am for certain about is that I am hopeless without her. And while all of that above have been some of the most trying and worst parts of my life, I see her so differently now. I see us so differently now. Her story and mine, they are so stitched and weaved within one another. I am so abundantly affected by her. Don’t get me wrong, there are times I would still say I’m a horrible daughter  in comparison to what I should be, but I’m recognizing through my struggle and trying to be better. I’m changing my heart. There are times in my self-awareness where I think, “that is just like my mother.” I was a fool to think for so long that we’ve always been two different people. We speak differently now, in a much more loving way. I’ve found patience I didn’t think existed before. And yet, every time I see her- stripped of her clothes as she stares at her body in the mirror, touches the 9 inch scar, runs a hand through very thin hair, and surveys her frail frame, I can’t help but think she is the most beautiful woman I have ever met and ever had the privilege of being loved by.

So while I still haven’t figured out the perfect gift for my mother this Mother’s Day, I have one for you.

I pray that you find the strength to love your mother unconditionally. Forgive her of her wrongdoings and shortcomings, she forgives you daily. Don’t forget to forgive yourself. Lend her a helping hand when she asks, she doesn’t ask for much. Take your mother out to dinner, she has cooked so many 5 star meals for you. Hold your mother’s hand in public. Don’t be afraid to lead her, mothers can be just as lost as us sometimes. Hug her every time you see her. Buy her flowers and/or a plant for her garden. Rub her back, you have crawled into her lap so many times for one. Make jokes with her, not at her. Sometimes it’s easy to take advantage of her kindness. If she needs something from the grocery, don’t make excuses, go get it. Look at your mother and change the way you see her. See the sacrifice and dedication she has for you, even if you don’t understand it. Take more pictures with her, you’ll want them later. Stay home from school on her day off and watch the television all day or go bike riding. Pick up the phone when she calls. Don’t make me type that one twice. Actually, make sure you call her often. Nothing makes her happier than hearing your voice. Set aside time for you and her to get to know each other. As we grow up we have a tendency to grow away too, and the truth is that you will find no better friend than the one you have in your mother.

Those are my words to whoever is reading this. One day you are going to lose your parents. And whether it is without a moment’s notice, through disease, or they pass in their sleep- you will lose them. I pray it is the last and that you are ready. Remember that you need to keep them close, and give them access to your heart. Cherish your mother this Mother’s Day, and do your best to do it every day after that as well.

“But there’s a story behind everything. How a picture got on a wall. How a scar got on your face. Sometimes the stories are simple, and sometimes they are hard and heartbreaking. But behind all your stories is always your mother’s story, because hers is where yours begins.”

Also, go read “For One More Day” by Mitch Albom. It’s one of my favorite books, and oddly enough, it changes me each time I read it.

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XOXO

Laura

We are freaks, we are fragile, and we all survived.

Firstly, to all my loyal (not yet, but you will be) followers I apologize for my two week and some days slump. There’s no real reason, but the brief update on my life is that I finished (officially) my sophomore year of college, I moved back home, and I started working again. That last bit leads me into today (which, this should really be the bonus because the latter half of this is easily cooler). 

If you know me there’s a good chance you know that I also work part-time at Cracker Barrel, partly because you’ve probably made fun of me for it before or that you’ve secretly wanted to wear my uniform to a Halloween party. Anyway, midway through my shift today as I was reading a ticket-order I realized that it was two years ago to the day that I first started as a server. It’s been both a long and short period there but it got me reflecting on time. Every shift I work I come across handfuls of people that I have never met and will never see again. Even the other employees, each time I come there are new ones in training and I heard the old ones have moved on. Honestly, restaurants kind of feel like life’s waterhole. Everyone comes to drink but no one stays. That being said, it’s also kind of absolutely beautiful. I’ve served some people with unbelievable stories and have had some of my wildest laughs in the back vestibule. In these two years, these people (the ones who are always there) have kind of become a family to me. Sentimental and stupid, I know, but these people have seen me in my worst and best times. They held me while I bawled my eyes out after my boyfriend and I broke up. They all cheered when I went off to college (and bought me a drink at Bdubs). They picked me back up the first time I did the classic slip and drop of an entire tray of food in the dining room. They gave countless congrats when I got an internship this summer, although many of those ‘congrats’ sounded like ‘I hate you for leaving me this summer.” (And again, they bought me a drink). They even sent prayers and cards when my mom was diagnosed with cancer. So it was with these small facts that I decided today I would finally take my par 4 test and commit more of my life to Cracker Barrel. And as I walked from the break-room to the dining room I heard over the comm, “Please congratulate Laura on getting a perfect score on her PAR 4 test- 4 star employee!” It was through high-fives that I walked out today, and I am okay with that.

 

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The second half of this post has to do with college’s greatest week, the Little 500 at Indiana University. Life kind of worked out perfectly for me in that this year the weekend was open for plans and there was no where else I wanted to be. If I can give a three lessons out of this story, here’s the first.

One of the best things you can do as a human being on planet Earth is to support those you love. I don’t mean support in activities like selling cocaine or shaving your eyebrows off, but listen up. I mean going out and standing beside your sister when she gets married, or calling your best after he sends you an drunk photo in a ditch to make sure he’s alive, or walking with your friend late at night because you’d rather they get there safe, and even driving two hours to cheer your best friend on in doing something they love. You don’t have to understand it and sometimes you don’t have to like it- but I’ve found when I dig deep to find ways to love someone, that being there sometimes is the best thing you can do. Remember the first time you tried something new. If you’re lucky, the people close to you believed in you. But everyone isn’t. When I had my show last month, of all the people I asked to come, only two came. Two. I wish it was more. Opera isn’t for everyone, I get that, but I wish some people had suffered through it to support me and the hundreds of hours I put into it. That weekend changed a lot for me, and I’ve been using that as motivation to be a better friend. So Jew, this is for you. I don’t understand cycling. But, I loved seeing the snapchats over the last year and hearing updates about riding. Most of all, cheering for you in turn two was the most exhilarating thing I’ve done in months and it reminded me of our good ‘ol cross country days. XOXO I love ya and could not be more proud. (Also, if you have a chance to say hi to old friends, do it. I’ve found time doesn’t always look like forever).

Lesson number two is an easy one. Drinking is fun and rowdy, but do your best to keep your body’s water percentage at like 60%. There’s a point in drinking when you go real far; I swear that percentage drops to 15 and you blackout. It’s a fun memory if you can suffer through the 12 hours after you wake up and go through the rest of your day as if someone took a grater to your throat and you walked out mid lobotomy. Note: This is more a personal note. 

Thirdly, be happy where you are and appreciate progress. The only two schools I applied to were IU and CCM. So it was interesting to go back and try to relive what my life would have been like if I had made a different decision. Honestly, I have no idea. I’ve made so many dumb decisions in Cincinnati that I’m convinced I would have made equally dumb ones in Bloomington. But also that I’ve made an abundant amount of accomplishments at UC too, and the truth is that working hard will follow you not your circumstance and I think I would have done the same at IU. The unique part is that I am coming to truly love this ‘changing and adapting’ thing. I think the trick is learning to carry that more than your environment. I don’t know what’s going on half of the time and the other half of the time I’m still thinking about the first half of this sentence (the ‘after-it-already-happened’ part). I guess I just need to trust myself more on the fact that I am happy and stop convincing myself to try to be…

This is weird. Basically what I am saying is that this weekend grew me. My roots are watered and I am writhing. 

Also, go watch “The Mortified Sessions.” I promise you won’t regret it.