He gets me.
There are many times when I have looked back on decisions that I’ve made and wished that I could hit “redo.” I’m witty and sarcastic, which is often times a recipe for disaster, and suddenly I’m hit with a wave of guilt and “I can’t take this back’s.” This has always been a problem for me, so much so that my mother used to say that I could cut someone down with words in an instant, and needed to be constantly aware of what was coming out of my mouth. At a young age I didn’t understand what she was babbling on about, but it didn’t take too long for the silent treatments and unspoken angry glances from those closest to me for me to understand what she was talking about.
There are photos that I’ve seen where I wish someone would have told me how ridiculous I looked in an outfit; that wind pants and Olympia Sports t-shirts were never a fashion statement, turquoise strips in my hair made me look like a mermaid, and that perming my bangs was a massive mistake.
There are friendships that I’ve lost throughout the years that have devastated me, times where I have been horrible to those closest to me, and have put myself in unhealthy situations more times than I can count.
In college there was this guy that I worked with that I adored. There was never anything between us, but he was always there for me. The type of guy who brought me medicine when I was sick, held my hair when I drank too much and threw up in the bushes outside, hugged at while I cried and cried and cried after yet another breakup with my at-the-time boyfriend and always insisted that I could do better. He meant the world to me, would constantly make fun of me for preferring Ray Allen over Paul Pierce, and would make me play “Horse” outside at my apartment complex until it was so dark I could no longer see the hoop. It wasn’t until he asked me on a date that things changed for me. I immediately knew that our friendship was about to change; the carefree times together were going to be different, because I just didn’t feel the same way. I wanted to, I mean, who wouldn’t want to be with someone that great? But I just didn’t.
And I was right. The air between us shifted and I found myself avoiding him, making excuses not to hang out. I told him that I didn’t feel the same way, and the reaction on his face broke my heart. Then, one night I invited him over and a group of us went to the local boarded up mill across town to investigate the broken down building. We had to roll through dirt and busted boards to make it inside of the building, and it was dark, late, and terrifying on a warm night in the middle of May. I hate being scared, and this place creeped me out as I walked through tools, wood, graffiti and clothing from a time way before my own. I remember not even thinking as I grabbed his hand, and he held mine right back. I thought that maybe I could force myself to have feelings for someone who was so nice to me, because I wasn’t used to it and it made me feel special.
Later that night we drove home, and I smiled even though I was nervous and uneasy and knew what was going to happen. He kissed me and I felt nothing. Nothing. All I could think about was what I could do to get him to leave, what an idiot I was for hurting him like that, that things didn’t feel right, how uncomfortable I was. But I let him kiss me anyways because I was selfish and knew that by asking him to go, that I would also be saying goodbye to my friend for good this time. Eventually he did leave, and I spent the whole night tossing and turning wondering how on earth I was going to tell him that I just didn’t feel the same way, that I had messed up, that I was so, so sorry. I knew I had to.
I didn’t mean to hurt him, I didn’t know that by kissing him I would get all the answers that I was looking for. That sudden pang of no, this isn’t supposed to happen that I didn’t know would be so strong. I thought that maybe if I tried hard enough, that maybe I could develop feelings for him, that maybe I could fall for a guy who I knew adored me and was so good to me. I loved him, just not in the way that he wanted.
Because when you find someone that you feel that strongly for you just know. There are signs, connections made even before that first kiss that you can’t ignore. Similarities, an easiness between two people that’s just there. An instant desire to talk to someone all the time, hear their voice, kiss them, touch them. You sort of lose control of everything you’ve tried so hard to keep together.
As much as I regret what happened on that night in college, there are times where I think that if that hadn’t have happened, then I wouldn’t be where I am today. We all have to have bad dates and relationships with no spark to realize when something good comes along, to get that reassurance of, “oh, this has been what I’ve been waiting for this whole time.”
Maybe I wouldn’t be as independent as I am today, or have that ability to tell someone that things just aren’t going to work out after all if I hadn’t gone through that. Maybe I needed to make those mistakes to learn more about myself, what I desire, what I’m capable of. I never would have realized the impact of telling someone that you don’t feel the same, how heartbreaking it can be coming from sides, because trust me, I’ve been there.
Finding someone that you actually enjoy, can more than tolerate, that challenges you every day is really fucking terrifying. But it’s so magical to me, that there are people out there that are just as attracted to you as you are them. You make them feel weak and you feel it right back. That bring out the best in you, and they don’t really see the worst, and if they do, they don’t care.
And if those moments are going to be out there for me, then I guess I don’t regret anything that I’ve been through that’s helped me get to this point.
It strikes me as so strange how quickly life can change its course. As simple as from Friday to Monday – a whole different perspective in the blink of an eye.
I’m a planner, I always have been. After high school I wanted to get a degree, after I got my degree I went to teach, I want to get married around the age of 30. Or something like that. I’ve always had this mental list of have-to’s and by-the-time-I-turn-30’s. In a way I think that it’s a bad thing, me needing a timeline, because it makes it difficult for me to accept change. To let new things in that I didn’t have penciled into my schedule. But then again maybe these mental lists forced me to push myself, create an identity for myself, be the best I could possibly be. Or not.
But then there are some things that step in and change things, all of your schedules and clear cut plans and you don’t even know where it came from, how it happened. These things don’t fit any mold, any schedule, but yet there it is, clear as day and it knocks the wind out of you. I don’t always know what to do when this happens except to just let it happen, maybe because these moments are so rare. You didn’t even know that you needed a change, didn’t know you needed a moment to come sweep in and change things and change you but then when it happens, everything becomes more clear. Better. More vivid.
I’ve spent so much time lately keeping my guard up, my opinions closer, and my secrets never spoken. Have you ever met anyone who changed this for you? Changed things about you that you try so hard to never show anyone else? Suddenly that guard comes down and you’re vulnerable. I have, and it’s terrifying.
Terrifying but addicting. Is that a thing?
Maybe it’s the universe, or God’s way of saying, “nice try, but you’re really not in charge, and you’re ridiculous for ever thinking that you were. You don’t actually have everything figured out.” This instance, I can’t really say that I’m complaining too much.
I think that some of the best moments happen when you’re not planning them to, when they surprise you, catch you off guard. And then in the end you’re left kind of breathless from the hype.
When I was young, I can remember sitting up and praying for something or other that I desperately wanted. In 7th grade, it was for a boy in my Language Arts class. He was a dreamboat at age 12, full of corny jokes and flirty responses to make every girl nuts. It was the first time I had felt so strongly about a guy, and I finally understood that butterfly feeling as I laid awake at night wishing he would notice me. I prayed, begging for God to allow him to see me but he never did. It was the first time I remember it being painfully obvious that God was saying, “no” and maybe that broke my heart more than he did.
Now looking back I’m so glad that the slimeball in 7th grade never gave me a second glance, but when you’re in the moment sometimes you just don’t see things that way. I know I didn’t when I watched him ice skate with another girl on Valentines Day, even though I can’t ice skate and stayed on the bleachers to sip hot cocoa with my friends. Instead, I just knew that I was lonely and miserable and sulked for a while – oddly enough, that still happens a lot.
And then without knowing it, life happens, and today becomes yesterday, and yesterday becomes last year and you’re just living. It’s crazy to me how quickly these things happen. How fast life happens, plans change, my carefully thought out plans get rewritten.
What about when God says “yes” before you have even asked for anything? What then? I’ve had these moments happen to me once in a while, and sometimes they don’t work out but I’m never sorry that they came. I never am upset with that little slice of happiness, I’m just so glad that it happened at all.
It’s a nice feeling to be this happy. To feel like even though things have hurt lately, have been trying, that this feeling – right here, right now is possible. It’s almost like a small miracle that you didn’t know you needed, but when it happens you can’t remember what it’s like to not feel that way.
But I’m so thankful that it did. I’m so thankful for out-of-the-blue happiness that I didn’t even know I needed, but that I so obviously did even though I wasn’t searching for it at all. These are my favorite parts of life.
I read an article today that was fabulously written. It focused on a teacher who sometimes wishes she didn’t want to become a teacher, because sometimes it’s hard and exhausting and more work than she’s ever experienced in her entire life, and I was just like….yes. Exactly.
Sometimes I find getting myself frustrated with people who are my age. Maybe frustrated isn’t the right word. Let’s change it to jealous. Yeah, sometimes I wish that I could go out and celebrate Thirsty Thursday again. I miss that weekends actually meant two entire days off. I miss the naive thought that I once had that teaching meant regular hours, Monday-Friday 7:30-3:00. Ha!
Like when they ask me to go out and get drinks and I’m just like…I have 18 piles of correcting, have cleaned up 3 piles of projectile vomit today, and I don’t even remember my drive home today because my mind has turned into mush. It’s not that I don’t want to go drink hard cider and remember that I’m only 24 (oh, yeah) because I do. So, so much. But, for the most part my priorities have changed.
I get up at 5:30am every morning, and spend my hour commute on the way in planning every little piece of what I’m going to complete that day at school. I finish school by 2:15, stay after each night to get myself situated and then grade papers for 2-4 hours (depending on the workload) when I run around and try to make dinner, pack my lunch, return emails, make phone calls, and usually think about how insane I am for taking all of this on while telling myself, “you’re not stressed, you’re not stressed, you’re not stressed.” Then I spend the remainder of my night making (sort of) interesting lesson plans for the next day, spelling packets, spelling words, weekly newsletters, and rubrics. I’m in bed, lights out by 10:00pm, and usually toss and turn for an additional hour while I wonder about whether or not students ate dinner that night, bathed, got permission slips signed and homework done, and if they are going to come to school well rested the next day.
So, basically what I’m saying is that when I signed my contract, I also signed away my social life.
So, yeah, sometimes I do wish I didn’t want to be a teacher. But I do.
For some reason I want to tie shoes, trace students outlines in colored chalk, pick melted popsicle up out of the carpet at snack, read stories about spider man and magic kangaroos, and french braid children’s hair who live in single parent families in the morning. I want to hear about what my students got from the easter bunny, what they’re going to do over the weekend, and help their imaginations run wild each day during writing.
So, fine, I have to get up at 5:30 when I would rather sleep in until 8:00am. So what that my veins are filled more with coffee than blood? Yeah, I had to say goodbye to my social life that included bar hopping on Saturday nights and staying up until 1:00am. I traded those nights out for nights in with Netflix and takeout instead because I am so, so tired that I can barely keep my eyes open past the eight o clock episode of Big Bang Theory. I signed up for this, but even more than that this is what I love.
Don’t get me wrong, I still appreciate a margarita after 5 hours of grading persuasive essays. Sometimes I lesson plan and wish that I were outside, and sometimes I spill late night coffee on my students papers because it’s the only thing that is possibly keeping me going.
And sometimes I leave school and I swear there is glue and tape and glitter and slobber stuck in my clothes, hair, and God knows where else. Sometimes I want to scream at the top of my lungs after hearing, “Miss Higgins, he said…! Miss Higgins they took my…! Miss Higgins she said…!” 7,3876 times a day and leave the second that clock tells me I’m allowed to go home.
Yesterday I heard, “May the 4th be with you” about 43 times. I reminded my class that the M in Miss Higgins doesn’t stand for maid about 15. I gave out 7 hugs, 4 “I love you too’s” had to send two students back to the end of the hall to “try again quietly please,” and reminded one that, “no, you can not bring your hermit crab in tomorrow to show the class.”
I repeat myself even in my sleep, dream tattling and whining, could wallpaper my apartment with “Dear Miss Higgins, I will not do that again’s.” I am sick of telling students that “no, you may not spider man crawl up the side of the bathroom stalls” and explaining that it’s absolutely not acceptable to have snickers for breakfast.
But I have to tell you, during the first snow of the year there is absolutely no where I would rather be than making paper snowflakes with my students. There is no where else I would rather be than giving my students hugs on the very first day back from vacation when my they can’t wait to tell me (in extreme detail) every single thing that they did (and ate) every day of vacation. There is nothing I would rather do then be doing read aloud Monday-Friday at 1:45. There is no where else I would rather be when their gooey arms wrap around mine on a particularly hard day of theirs and they cry and cry and cry. Honestly, no where.
When I first decided to major in teaching I had no idea that it would require more than just multiplication tables, the Maine song, and reading groups. If that was the case maybe I would just have a regular 7-3 day. I had no idea that I would spend my days yelling and cursing at the photo copy machine that broke for the 23rd time that week. I had no idea that I would become such a professional at getting that one little stray staple that got stuck and is jamming up the entire device. That I would need how to put up 9 girls hair in a 7 minute period during lice season and zip up all 18 students in record time after they very carefully put their winter jackets over their gloves and their fingers just refused to cooperate during the winter. I didn’t know that I would spend my days reassuring, soothing, mediating, decorating, crafting, planning and reminding little ones how much they are loved.
A lot of times I end my day with sore feet, no voice, and am more exhausted than I ever, ever thought that I could be. My butt is usually asleep after sitting on the floor for so long, I often times have a caffeine headache, and am thinking really hard about swinging through Dunkin’ Donuts for coffee #2.
But I have to tell you, Thirsty Thursday has nothing on me.
I’m a huge sucker for chick flick’s; happily ever afters and final kisses and the emotional film all the way until the last ten minutes when, bam! A happy ending.
I love sappy songs and love stories, fairy tales and thinking about the sappiest part of my past.
Why is it that people never notice how good they have it until it’s too late? And by people, I mean me. I don’t know why, it’s like I get so caught up in the good that’s going on, that happiness and the contentment, and it’s like I forget that I was ever unhappy before and I just get caught up in it all. And then something bad happens, and I feel so sorry for myself, when in reality I had been happy for a long time and never even realized it.
Take this past week for example. My check engine light came on in my car, followed by an extremely odd noise coming from God knows where in the hood, and later that day, a rock flew into my windshield as a result of driving behind a Mac Truck. To say that I was annoyed is a bit of an understatement. I was pissed, and feeling slightly superstitious after hearing all of the rumors of how bad things happen in 3’s. I thought about this for a while, but then was flipped off on my drive home by some guy in a camo truck (I’m serious), and my streak hit 4, so clearly this superstitious myth is a lie.
This was just one day. One day and I wanted to throw my hands up in the hair and have a temper tantrum and flip that jerk off right back, but seriously, Liz? It’s not that big of a deal. So, why am I so annoyed? Why am I flipping out so much about little things that really aren’t that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things.
I don’t know.
That’s a lie, I do know.
Maybe it’s these silly movies that I love so much that actually mess things up for me, because in the back of my mind I’m always wishing that it would happen to me. But they’re just movies, and these people aren’t me, and it’s not always reality. There’s not always a happily ever after, a happy ending, a final kiss at the very end of an hour and a half long movie. Not everything is always peachy, and I shouldn’t always expect it to be. Life is about perspective I think.
I had my happily ever after at one point, I did. But I don’t know, I got scared. I ran. I told myself that there would be plenty of other A’s in my life. That it would be okay, that he’d be happier without me, and maybe he is. But I never met anyone else like him. It’s wasn’t the chase, it wasn’t the thrill.
I love Grey’s Anatomy – not anymore, since I refuse to watch any new episodes after hearing what happened to McDreamy. If you’ve never seen this show then I’m really sad for you. But even more than that, Meredith, one of the main characters is desperately in love with this guy Derek. Except, (cue the music) he’s already in a relationship with another girl even though he feels way stronger about Meredith, and feels really stuck between these two women. He wants to do the right thing by staying dedicated to the relationship he’s already in, but can’t help but pine for Meredith the entire time.
She tries to plead with him. When she finally gets up the guts, she gets really, really vulnerable and says, “Okay, here it is. Your choice, it’s simple, her or me. And I’m sure she’s really great. But Derek, I love you. In a really, big really big pretend to like your taste in music, let you eat the last piece of cheesecake, hold a radio over my head outside your bedroom window, unfortunate way that makes me hate you… love you. So pick me. Choose me. Love me.”
I guess I can relate with fictional Meredith Grey in a lot of ways. I understand what she’s going through, the pain that she feels. And ultimately, despite her beautiful speech, she’s rejected. He doesn’t pick her, he doesn’t choose her, even though he does love her. She’s still rejected, just like I was. Although, I don’t think that A was ever stuck between us. I think that despite the beautiful speech, his answer has been “no” to me for a long time.
I know that my life has a whole lot of beautiful moments. Adventures and daffodils and moments worth remembering, but I’m having a hard time seeing them at the moment. I just keep thinking about him. My own “pick me, choose me, love me” speech that was also rejected. For a while now I’ve been trying to convince myself that it never even happened, but who am I fooling?
I think pain comes in a lot of different ways. Physical pain, like when I stepped on a nail when I was younger because even then, I hated to wear shoes in the summertime. Legitimate bloody, knock you down kind of pain that made me cry and cry and cry and my Mom had to rock me back and forth and tell me that everything would be alright.
A twinge of pain – like a paper cut. It initially hurts like hell, but within twenty minutes it subsides, and everything is suddenly sunshine again.
And then there’s the heartbreaking, gut wrenching, knocks-the-wind-out-of-you pain that changes you completely. That sudden, “I screwed everything up and I can’t take it back” kind of pain that makes it so that you can’t sleep, think, work, dream, eat. That pain that is so bad, so messy that it changes you. Changes how you look at things and process things and how you even view yourself. The kind of pain that you still feel, still experience everyday, or when you least expect it a memory is just there, as clear and as fresh as ever and it’s hard to catch your breath. It’s hard to focus.
But sometimes thet’s nothing else that you can do besides keep pushing on, and hope that something changes soon even though you’re heartbroken and exposed and more vulnerable than you’ve ever been before, especially because you’re frustrated with myself for not being able to move on. Sometimes though, none of that seems to matter.
It just doesn’t.
I’ve never been the most adventurous person. When I was young it was typical for me to go to a friends house only to call home around midnight sobbing and scared, wanting the familiarity of my mother and my bed.
I didn’t mountain climb, I didn’t water ski, I didn’t run marathons (or at all). I didn’t take risks.
I remember my parents telling people that I was a homebody, that I would rather be home than anywhere else, that I rarely went anywhere. Hearing that out loud made me not want to be that person anymore. So, I stopped.
When I was young I was deathly shy, always attached at the hip of those I felt most comfortable around, and the list was never long. I got embarrassed easily, so to keep the harsh comments about my inevitably red face away, I rarely spoke up.
Looking back, I think that this took a real hit on me. It’s so important to encourage imagination and creativity and the idea that every single voice matters, and I think that because I was scared of turning red, of someone saying something to me about it, I rarely said anything at all. Don’t get me wrong, my parents did everything in their power to bring me out of my shell. I was just scared, and people were cruel.
I remember vividly sitting in a high school social studies class and my teacher announcing loudly to the class how often my face turned red and asked if I had a skin condition; or if I was blushing because of some boy I liked in that class. I was so, so humiliated. I remember slinking down in my seat and not meeting anyone’s eyes that entire class. I wished I was invisible.
It wasn’t until later that summer when I went to work as a CST at a summer camp, that I finally began to come out of my shell. I remember the freedom that I felt simply being around people who didn’t know me. They didn’t know how shy I was, they didn’t know I turned red, that just being there was a huge leap for me. They just accepted me, and it was that summer that I found confidence. I still have my ID picture from that first week of camp – bright red face and eyes cast to the floor on day one. I have another picture from the end of the summer, and that part of me was no where to be seen. I was caught mid-laugh, my hair turned platinum from the sunshine, and my skin the darkest I think it’s ever been. I was happy.
After that summer I went from Elizabeth to Liz and the old me kind of left. I found happiness and friendships and a boyfriend. I found confidence.
When I think about adventure I find myself thinking of that picture, my first big leap at age 15. I think that in a way, this past year I’ve gone back to that girl from Freshmen year of high school – eyes cast down, nervous, not wanting any attention brought to me at all and I don’t want that. I’ve felt uncomfortable, not the most confident as a result of having to try and prove myself every single day in a new profession, and always wondering if I’m good enough. It’s scary to know that I might not be.
Years later, when I was 18, I had this amazing opportunity to travel to London with my best friend. I had the best time visiting a different part of the world, exploring the city life, venturing out on our own for the first time in my life. I walked through streets crowded with people and spoke with strangers and ate food that I had never seen before. That time of my life changed me, showed me that there’s something different, something more than small town Maine, that crowds or people in lime green taxi cabs and buildings taller than I had ever seen before were actually desirable. I loved it. I went and had the opportunity to be whoever I wanted to be, nobody knew me there. I was free, just like when I was 15.
Maybe that’s what New York is all about for me. It’s a challenge, a leap, a new opportunity. When I leave here, I get to start again. A new city, with new people and buildings and opportunities. I don’t have to be known as the Liz that’s unsure, nervous, a list a mile long of what-if’s and I’m-sorry’s. I can be whoever I want to be, and to me, that’s worth everything.
It’s important to me to make my own way, to always, always, always be a good person, and have standards and dreams. I want to leave a legacy. A good one.
In a perfect world I would always get support from the ones I love, no matter where I decide to go or what I decide to do. I’ve told those close to me what my plans are, that the next chapter of my life will take place in a city a million times bigger than where I grew up. Initially I was upset that I was offered more negative comments than support, but I’ve had to realize that this is for me. Not anybody else. I’m going to go on this adventure for me, so that I can be happy and live life to the fullest and be proud of me. I don’t need anyone’s support but my own, and I’m going to go regardless.
I think I’ll always be me. I’ll always love watermelon and sunshine, have a weakness for ballet, Starbucks, the Christmas season and guys with blonde hair and blue eyes. I’ll always find myself reading at a bookstore to calm my nerves, watching Julia Roberts and Meg Ryan movies when I’m sick, calling my mother when I’m sad. I’ll always buy flowers for my kitchen table every Sunday, live in dresses and skirts whenever I can, wear flip flops beginning in March. I’ll still be me; have the same values, honor traditions, have the same convictions and conscience. I think that I, more than anyone need to remember that.
And yeah, I still won’t climb icy mountains and jump off of cliffs, but there are still things that I can do. I can walk through Manhattan streets first thing in the morning, take photos of tulips under 100 story buildings and ride a yellow taxi through the pouring rain. I can make new friends, and have new experiences and make new memories. These people don’t know my history, and they don’t need to. When they meet me for the first time that will be it, that will be their very first impression of me, just like I’ll have first impressions of them.
They’ll never know that I’ve never been adventurous before.
Over the past couple of weeks I’ve had this deep, insane nagging in my chest to leave Maine. I’ve had it for a while, but lately I’ve been really aware of it.
I grew up in a small town; a really small town. One store/gas station, more cows than people, and the local cops who know your parents, aunts, uncles, and all of your friends by first name. Here it’s always smelled like fresh cut grass, tree bark, fresh air and more than not, cow poop. As a kid I thought it was great that I could walk the half a mile to the local store in bare feet so that I could buy penny candy. As a teenager it was the worst thing in the entire world, and in college it was a nice escape from work and drama when I went home to visit, which wasn’t often.
Once I graduated college I moved the next very next week to the only major city in Maine, and for a while I loved it. I loved how different it was from where I grew up; that I could buy a carton of eggs without getting asked about how my parents were doing, or how my brother was liking the Navy, and once my Dad got sick, how his doctors appointments were going and how he was feeling. People mean well, I know that. But I don’t always want to talk about the things I try my hardest to keep hidden.
To me, the city has been an escape. I can go to the grocery store without talking to a soul, cops don’t know me by name, when I make a mistake the whole town doesn’t have to know about it. Nobody asks me about my father. But lately, I’ve felt the excitement over my current city start to dwindle, start to no longer be enough and lately I’ve been wanting more.
I’ve decided that I’m going to move to New York City. I would like to finish up two full years of teaching so that I can be off of probation, (all teachers are on it for the first two years of their career) but after that I know that it’s time for me to officially leave Maine. Next June, my two years will be up.
Maybe that’s why my favorite movie has always been You’ve Got Mail; the buildings and architecture and speeding taxi’s and the people have always fascinated me.
I want skyscraper buildings, yellow taxi cabs, the smell of the rain on pavement, Central Park, a city that never sleeps, and just change. This is a change that I need, and I just can feel it.
Maybe I’ll end up going to New York and hate it. Maybe I’ll be miserable and hate teaching there and I’ll be lonely, but that’s worst case scenario. Maybe not, I hope not. And even if I do hate it, I’m only going to make a year commitment to start with. I can do anything for a year. But even with that being said, I don’t think I’ll hate it, I really don’t. I think I need to go.
I don’t even want to bring my car, I want to walk everywhere. I want to buy flowers from the street corner, and lay on the grass in Central Park. I want to purchase produce from the Farmers Market in Manhattan and work with inner city children. I want to ride the ferry boat, and run through the city at midnight and stare up at the skyscrapers and feel so, so small. I want the atmosphere, culture, city lights and energy. I feel such an overwhelming need to go there it’s ridiculous, it’s like I’m suddenly obsessed with needing to go to New York and I’m not sure why.
In a way I feel like I’m being selfish; wanting to move when I know that my father is sick and he doesn’t have that much time left. I don’t want to be selfish, but I also want to follow my dreams, and I never want to ever regret anything. I feel like I would regret not moving for the rest of my life if I stayed here. But I still can’t help but feel selfish, that I’m thinking too much about myself right now when it should be about Dad.
I want to pursue my dreams, but I also don’t want to let my family down. I want them to be proud of me, and I also want to be proud of me. But I don’t know if there’s anything in the world that I’ve ever wanted as much as I want this.
Being that close to so many shopping opportunities is also going to be really nice…just saying.
I can understand why men get so confused with women, because I often times can’t even figure myself out.
Today I found myself obsessively listening to three songs on one of my old CD’s over and over and over again and I couldn’t figure out why. After about the thirtieth time of playing “I Miss You” by Blink 182 for the third day in a row I realized that they all had one thing in common; they were all songs I loved when I was about 16. Maybe I was feeling nostalgic, or just wanted to remember parts of my past I had buried much too long ago. They seem to be resurfacing lately, no matter how hard I keep trying to push them away.
One of the happiest parts of my life has always been my love of water. I crave it, I always have. My father can’t swim, and I can remember the water always terrifying him. He would even refuse to go into our four foot tall pool as a kid. I honestly don’t know if this was because he was terrified, just doesn’t really like swimming, or because it gave him a break when us kids were all occupied at the same time; maybe a little of all three. My Mom would swim with us every once in a while; these times were a thrill, but we always had to swear upon our lives that she didn’t in fact, look atrocious in her swim suit.
When I was really young, before my uncle had kids of his own, he would tell us kids that after he finished haying the fields on hot days that he would take us swimming. I hated the place that he took us; the rocks were sharp and slimy and I ended up with cuts all over my feet in about 10 seconds flat, but he would say that as long as we pushed off and moved our arms and legs as much as we could then we wouldn’t have to touch the bottom. He would swim way out and tread water while he waited for us to catch up to him, yelling at us the whole time to go, “faster, faster, faster!” We’d swim until the sun went down, and then we’d hop into the back of his truck and drive back to the farm with his dog Ollie, ducking underneath the wind in the bed of his truck. Soaking wet and smiling in the sunset, my whole day was just made.
I loved those days, and even now, when I drive by the lake I can still see us out there.
When I was old enough to go to summer camp my mother would always tell me that I was allowed to pick two of the three activities offered, but I was required to take swimming lessons, “no questions asked, no complaints.” I hated these lessons, I knew there were leaches down there, made obvious by the giant block of salt sitting beside the boat house. Repulsed or not, the lessons were forced as my mother didn’t seem to care about the ton of sodium left on the waterfront no matter how much I whined. It wasn’t just the blood sucking slimeballs, but also the required “triangles” that I was forced to swim by my swim instructor while she lounged on the dock and ate McDonald’s chicken nuggets because she hated camp food. Don’t be fooled by the cutesy name, these were hour long drills, usually swam on windy, cold, rainy days that required me to swim strokes like the butterfly (my worst stroke) from both sides of the walkout dock, to the tip of the diving board out at the floating dock. Usually this resulted in me swallowing up half of the lake and sloshing when I walked for the following 24 hours until I had to swim it again.
Regardless, I still loved the water, and went for my lifeguarding certification as soon as I turned fifteen, something my parents really wanted me to do. It scared me, the thought of having to save someone so terrified in the water like I knew my father was, but I went for it anyways. Mostly because a really cute boy I knew was also a lifeguard, and spending more time with him would have been a real shame.
I don’t know what it is about water that is so different from land, so much more appealing to me. It’s like I’m weightless, happier, more able. I was never a fast swimmer by any means, my strokes weren’t fantastic and I wanted to die every time I had to demonstrate my butchered butterfly stroke, but I always loved it anyways. I didn’t do it because I was good at it, I did it because I loved it.
Some of my happiest memories come from the water, so much so that I continued to swim all through college while I taught classes to toddlers and four year olds. Aside from not wanting to sing “Way Up High in The Apple Tree” first thing on a Saturday morning I was so happy working at that pool, and even worked at the outdoor pool that summer both because a friend asked me to and also because I needed as much money as possible before student teaching. Sitting in the sun, teaching swimming lessons, and sliding down waterslides was a really rough job.
Someday my dream is to go back to that camp. Maybe one day I’ll be the one teaching swimming lessons again, driving the jet ski while people screech behind me, spending summers back in the water, back at the lake. I’ve been craving it lately, thinking a lot about it, maybe that’s why I listened to those songs so many times. It brought me back there again. Someday I want to be the Waterfront Director, living my summers suntanned, smiling and part fish as “We All Bow Down” and “Awesome God” are heard being sung from the lodge.
I promise you, there is nothing better than laying on your stomach in the middle of the dock while you watch the water lap over the side. I have this feeling, this weird feeling, and maybe it’s because I believe in fate, that I’m going to be experiencing it all again sometime.
One of my favorite things about life are the people in it. So many people have made such huge impacts on my life, and they probably don’t even know it, because a lot of times I don’t know how to tell them. I mean, how do I say, “you’re a fabulous person, and you’ve made me happier, wiser, grateful, more romantic than I ever thought possible?”
Honestly, how without sounding like an over emotional sap? Because I’m terrible with feelings and emotions, I really am. And when I finally get up the courage, it’s usually too late. I don’t know why I’m like this, it’s no excuse and I know that. But I need to say things, I need to tell them, because what if some day it’s too late for someone? What if I should have poured my heart out and told them that they’re a fabulous human being and I didn’t and it was too late? I blew it again, for real, when the stakes were higher and I never, ever got another chance?
I know that it’s terribly depressing to think about, but as I sit back and watch all of this stuff happen with my Dad I can’t help but wonder what people’s reactions would be if this were me. Because I’ve seen peoples reactions about my father – I’ve seen my own. I’ve felt my heart breaking for months now. It’s forced me say things that maybe I should have said sooner, and it’s made me think about my own life.
Would I be missed? Would there be people in the church if it were my funeral? Would I be given a second thought, or have I not really made an impact on the people I’ve met? Maybe I have, but maybe it hasn’t been a positive one.
Would people even have nice things to say about me? Maybe people would be relieved. I know that these are really selfish thoughts, and honestly I don’t mean for them to be. I’m just thinking.
A couple of months ago I was in a car accident that really scared me. One minute I was listening to Snow Patrol, and the next I was spinning around and around and around and my thoughts just kind of slowed down. Got bigger. Louder. I know you hear about people who tell you that time slows down, but I swear it did, I’m telling you that it did.
I remember dust and the guard rail in front of my face and looking up to see all of these faces of people I didn’t know smushed up against the glass watching me as they drove past me almost like I wasn’t even there at all.
I remember being scared, and thinking about those who mean the most to me but I know that I don’t really mean anything at all to them and it made me sad.
I was thinking about him almost wishing he could hear me say, “I love you, I love you, I love you” to the people I love the most but I didn’t hear anything back.
I had nightmares after that for weeks. Of me spinning, silver guardrails, the yellow Penske truck that kept driving like I was invisible, and maybe I was. Faces in windows that gave me fleeting thoughts until exit 12 five miles down the road. Moments like that add perspective to life, and to be honest, maybe I needed it.
If I could do anything in the world, anything at all, I would choose to be with you. Shouldn’t that mean something? It means everything to me. Maybe it would mean more if I said it in person but I don’t know how and it probably wouldn’t make a difference if I did. You won’t even acknowledge me, it’s like I’m nothing.
I would also choose to explore Europe and lay on the beach in Australia but those come in second and third. I’ll add a ride in a hot air balloon ride over some exotic place as a close fourth.
I guess I’ve been thinking that if that day back in September was it for me, and it could have been, would people have even cared? Have I given them a reason to? I swear I don’t mean to sound horribly depressing because I don’t mean to. They’re just thoughts.
The nightmares have stopped now, but I’m still spinning.
I can’t stop listening to music from my high school/college days. And, you can temporarily enter my mind for a moment as I list my top songs that I’m currently obsessed with.
- Check Yes Juliet, We The Kings
- Love Drunk, Boys Like Girls
- Like We Used To, A Rocket to the Moon
- Belle of the Boulevard, Dashboard Confessional
- Bent, Matchbox Twenty
- Only Wanna Be With You, Hootie and the Blowfish
- 21+, Butch Walker
- I Wanna Get Better, Bleachers
- I Need You, M83
- Your Guardian Angel, The Red Jumpsuit Apparatus
- She Paints Me Blue, Something Corporate
- Overjoyed, Matchbox Twenty
- I Won’t Let You Go, Snow Patrol
- I Wanna, The All American Rejects
- Ocean Avenue, Yellowcard
- Kiss Me Slowly, Parachute
- Stay Close, Don’t Go, Secondhand Serenade
- Style, Taylor Swift