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Am I Really Doing This Again?

I think the more I try to push away writing projects for other things, the more my life works to swing me around and bring me right back to where I started: small and scared, pen in hand in front of a blank piece of looseleaf. Or, in this case, insert creaking knuckles and office laptop screen into the appropriate slot, I suppose.

I don’t want to talk about where I’ve been; I’ll let the stories do that. What’s important is that I’m back again, and that I never actually stopped writing to begin with. The rusty old brain has been kicked around, patched up, scratched up and booted halfway from here to Arkansas (I didn’t actually go to Arkansas, I just like the way it’s spelled, and how I say it phonetically in my head like an elementary rebel while I pronounce it aloud the right way), but thank the Lord above, she’s kept on trucking for me, and that’s more than I could have asked for.

Hell, she even managed to pump out some things that got published, that little fighter, and I love her for it. And now, after our nap that wasn’t quite a nap, now we’re here; maybe because I like this medium, or maybe because there’s something I’m supposed to get from this, I’m not sure. I do know that my fingers got to aching to move a melody against a set of plastic keys–this Mac makes a better sound than a baby grand, let me tell you– and where a rusty tap used to jut out from my cortex, a leak has sprouted from beneath the siding and there’s a bunch of stuff–creative oil, perhaps– just gushing out into my imagination and pooling there. And though that blank page is as terrifying as ever, I’m starting to see what it would look like with, dear God yes, words on it. So I guess I’ve just got to do what I’ve always done and put them where it looks like they should go.

You can see it when I’m done, too, if you like. For now, you’ve got these silly little brain scrapings to read. Hope you like ’em.

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Hello, again.

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Talking to Strangers Taught me Things. (Sorry, Mum)

Depending on the day, I can either be a total people person, or a real-life version of Gollum– you know, before Bilbo took the ring. On those days, I loathe anyone who makes eye contact and try not to leave the house.

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Precious doesn’t want to go outside, the sun doesn’t likes him, no it doesn’t…sss…sss

One of my goals for getting better is to tell myself on those latter sorts of days to suck it up, princess. The world goes on regardless of whether or not you’re stuck inside. Why don’t you go enjoy it? Stop missing stuff! –that type of thing.

When I was invited to check out an outdoor weekend market a few towns over last night, I said yes for two reasons: the first, because it was a family outing. I’m not going to say no to a family outing, especially if they’ve been kind enough to take me in for the summer. Second: because every fiber of my being told me that I shouldn’t go. Not because of any weird intuition, or anything telling me that we were going to crash and die on the way down (ain’t no Final Destination shit goin’ on in here, no sah), but because I did not forsee myself wanting to go out. So before I could convince myself otherwise, I said yes. And then I put my phone down so that I couldn’t pick it back up again and tell them I wasn’t coming.

I regretted it all night. Oh, there’s writing I could be doing, I didn’t have a chance to do that today, oh, I still have to do those dishes, oh I’m still not feeling too hot, sleeping in tomorrow would help me, I’m really going to need Saturday to work.

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In other words.

I regretted it when I woke up at 6:30 this morning to shower before we left at eight. And at seven, when I still hadn’t gotten out of bed.

And at twenty to eight when I– God forbid– pulled out the hairdryer to make sure I didn’t get stuck in a chilly sea-side town with frozen hair in May.

But when I got into the car and we pulled away, I was surprisingly thankful I’d made it that far. I love my family; they know the area better than I do. It was time to explore.

And you know what? When I got there, I began to–gasp– enjoy myself. Not because of all of the booths that allowed potential shopping of goods that no one was going to have, but because in taking everything in, I felt joy, and interest and curiosity and peace. I wandered around and looked at antique furniture, homemade bread, two dollar book sales (girl, you know I hit dat up), jewelry counters. I saw things and met people and not only was my creativity fed, but my soul was too. For the first time in a long time, I struck up a conversation with a woman–a complete stranger, careful kids–petting a dog outside of a little shop. We spoke about art. I told her that I was new to the area, and she gushed about its charm and warmth, and in that moment, not only did I believe her, but I saw it; I felt it. We spoke about writing, and she told me how much our county benefited creative people like me. We wandered around and looked at pottery inside the shop we stood in front of, and met the owner and maker of that pottery, and I saw just how people like me can survive in little places like this and be happy.

On the way home, I had a conversation with my aunt, who is wise and beautiful and smart and who knows the world better than I ever could. I learned things.

Also, I bought a cookie. And that cookie tasted awesome.

It’s early afternoon now, and I’m still going to write and read and do all of the things I wanted to do, but instead of moseying around the house, stopping for an hour here and there to surf the net and not change out of my pajamas (or put on pants, for that matter), I’m sitting on my couch, relaxed and thankful for a day that gave me things. Things that I never would have had had I stayed in.

And so my challenge to you is this. Go out. Go out on days where you feel like it the least. Go and find curious places with people and new things, and if you happen to stop for a moment, say hello to anyone close to you. Do not fear the crowds and public places, because even though they’re intimidating, they hold experiences that you aren’t going to get on Netflix, or going through your girlfriend’s latest vacation pics on Facebook. Talk to your family; they know things and they want to share them with you. And for the love of God, not having pants on is not an excuse to stay in. You’re missing real adventure, here.

Today, I found joy in the mundane, because I discovered that sometimes all you need to feel better is to step out the front door for something other than a big night out or a roadie with the girls. And now, as I settle myself down to write some more, I’m ready and willing to explore where this story is going to take me. To be honest, I don’t know where it would have gone had I stayed in.

I can tell you though, not as far.

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The Second Someday

I’ve spent most of the last four months wishing that I could blow the dust off of this corner of the internet so I could put some sort of effort into my blog– poor, lonely, little blog– but you know what they say about good intentions: you can wish to do something all you want, but if you don’t actually start it then–

Though there hasn’t been much in the way of updates since August, I’ve lived a life worthy of posting; I just spent more time doing than I did recording. Which, if you’re like me, is positively depressing. But what would a good story be without some sort of experience behind it, right? In the four months since I unintentionally left my internet footprint alone, I’ve learned quite a few things about what it means to be me, some wonderful, some uncomfortable, but regardless of the nature of the whats, whos, and whys I discovered on this mini adventure, I have not escaped unchanged. I am now more sure about who I am than I have ever been before, and I know exactly where I want to be. Between new friends, learning to live on my own, and an existential crisis (the ghosts of which still haunt me), I think I can honestly say I’m okay with where I’m at. It’s the “get up, get going” part that scares me.

It’s easy to have goals. When I was a kid, I wanted to be a Paediatric Cardiologist (say that five times fast, Mum); the idea of it gave me such a thrill that I could barely contain myself if someone ever made the mistake of bringing it up. I told anyone who would listen that I was going to get there someday. 

Someday. What a funny word. Based on my experiences, it can have one or two meanings depending on the context that it is used. In the first instance, it appears with a positive connotation; it is chalk full of childlike optimism, and hints toward a successful outcome. The second situation comes with a similar tinge of yes, but often results in the disappointment of those silly enough to wait for it to happen– for example’s sake, it’s used most frequently by one too scared to say no.

ex: “Daddy? Dad? Can I have a pony? It’ll make me the happiest girl in the world                        andifyoudontillscreamuntilyoucaveandbringonehome.”

“I’m not so sure about right now, babydoll, but someday, for sure.”

Nice save, Dad. In the short term, that someday” might soothe some inner desire, but, in the case of the pony example, unless Pa decides to save up, buy a bigger house, build a barn and actually make the effort to look for and purchase a horse good enough for his little princess, then babydoll can hope for the pony ’til she’s blue in the face, but she’ll never get it.

As you can probably tell from all previous posts, the Cardiologist dream was lost amidst the waters of the second someday example, and I’m completely okay with that. For one, I’m not a fan of blood, or Chemistry, and as I found out rather quickly, I lack the emotional blockades to deal with sick children calmly in dire situations. And, of course, I realized that I’d rather swallow a live jellyfish every day for the rest of my life than support myself with something that doesn’t involve writing creatively.

And here we have the problem that I’ve been trying to combat since I left for school in August. With classes and committees and scholarship work and volunteer hours and exams, my dream is in danger of being trapped in the dangerous web of the second someday. Of course, with dreams like this, it’s all a matter of knowing what you want, and believe me, I know what I want.  But I figured out pretty quick that I can talk about it, dream about it, and dabble with it all I want, but just thinking about it all the time isn’t going to get me any closer to doing anything about it. I’d be lying if I said I’ve picked up a pen to write anything creative since I’ve last been home, and I’d be two seconds away from burnt legs if I said it didn’t bother me.

I don’t need inspiration; that stuff is everywhere. I don’t need drive; I’ve got lots of that, too. I’ve just been pushing to move forward in the wrong areas. Maybe it’s time to stop striving for classroom praise and scholarship winnings; maybe it’s time to do what makes me happy. And so I’ve promised myself that I shall. Hell, I’ve even moved a step further than that, and started doing it. The next challenge is keeping it up, but that’s a story for another time. I’ll tell you when I get there.

If you’re reading this, and you’ve found yourself in the same boat that I’ve just docked and climbed out of, whatever your dream is, don’t let it disappear into the vault of lost somedays. Work for it, grab onto it, and get going. Make someday today; it’s possible, and with a little elbow grease, it’s probable. You’ve just got to move.

So get going.

“You can, you should, and if you’re brave enough to start, you will.” — Stephen King.