Monday, November 22, 2010

How To Communicate in the 21st Century

Just to prove that I am making progress in the real world... here is another story for my creative writing class. Please enjoy or tear to pieces, your choice.  :)

How To Communicate in the 21st Century

  Email. Instant messaging. Facebook. Texting. All things we didn’t really have ten years ago. And even if we did, it didn’t take over our lives as much as it does now. Sure, there was that 1998 Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan film “You’ve Got Mail,” indicating the role email had in popular culture. The Internet Movie Database only gave it 6.3/10 stars though, so I think we can safely strike that from our conversation.
 Okay, sure, I guess we’re not really participating in a conversation now, are we? I’m simply typing out words that I hope will make you smile. That’s what you should do when you text. Wait. Re-read the last message you received over and over again, hoping it will reveal some sort of cryptic message that you didn’t pick up in the last twenty-two times. Then check your last sent message to see if you actually sent it. Over-analyze what you wrote and wonder if you should have added an emoticon. Things like “I’m going to kill you :)” are a bit lighter than “I’m going to kill you.” Wonder if the person on the other end is emotionally immature because they don’t understand that you didn’t really intend to kill them. You are just a 135-pound white girl.
  Another great thing to do is bring up things you texted about in everyday conversation as if it were a quote from “The Office” or something. And when the person in question that you were texting says, “Huh?” you should probably explain it in great detail. This will jog the person’s memory and make you look cooler than ever before. This is also fun to do at parties. Explain it to the people that weren’t a part of the text exchange. They will probably think you tell good stories.
 It’s definitely a good idea to text other people while you’re at said party. Let other people know that you made a fool out of yourself. When they don’t respond right away, sulk into a corner, sit down and cross your legs. Rest your head on your palm, as if you are awaiting news from the Pope. When people look at you quizzically and ask, “Why aren’t you at the party?” say, “I’m talking to someone important right now.” When they start to ask “Who?” hold up your finger and say, “Hold on...” and pretend that they are calling you. Get up and start walking around with one hand over your ear and the other holding the phone.
 When you get home, you should change your Facebook status to, “ crunk tonight!” even though you don’t really like alcohol. People will think you are street smart if you say things like “crunk.” They will think that maybe you have friends from different cultures and that it’s okay for you to use such nuanced phrases. When people “Like” your status, click on their page and assess whether or not you are cooler than they are. If so, browse their pictures and see what sorts of things they do. Also, read about their interests and favorite music. Go listen to the bands you haven’t heard of and plan to do something cool like this person does. Go to a hippie music festival and walk around without shoes. Bring a hula hoop and wear a crochet top. Go to a jazz club. It seems like being cool revolves around music no one listens to.
    You should also try to remember as many people from the party that you can so you can request them as friends. That way, people will think, “Wow, she must be well-liked.” This will also give you more material for your specialized “creeping.” Find out about as many people as you can so that way, when you see them, you can bring up nonchalant interests that you both have in common. Say things like, “These guys remind me of Au Revoir Simone.” When the guy you’re talking to says, “Why would you say that? These guys sound nothing like Au Revoir Simone. Au Revoir Simone is an all-girl’s band” say that you were just thinking abstractly. Take a mental note, so as not to make another similar faux pas in the future.
    If you are ever to send an email, which really, is becoming almost obsolete nowadays unless for official and timely business, such as setting up meetings or asking questions about assignments, try to remember proper etiquette. Think about whom you are sending the email. Try to imagine how they would form an email. If it’s official, say to a teacher or boss, address them in the most respectful way you deem fit. Do not type, “Dear Dragon Lady...” and then delete it once you decide how to start your message. Sometimes you will forget to hit delete.
  Keep your messages short and to the point, but try not to be too sterile. Try to add your own voice but don’t inject too much personality. Your superiors hate it when you have a personality. Especially in emails. They will think, “Who does this person think they are getting an attitude in their email?” And this my friend, is a severe disadvantage. You should instead try to say something like, “Professor Jones, I was unsure of which pages you assigned for homework. You mentioned page 437 but also page 525. Could you please clarify? Thanks.” Mentioning those page numbers makes it seem like you were paying attention in class even though you were on Facebook the whole time. Your professor will appreciate the extra effort.
    For the most part, you will not be sending email to friends. With the advent of Facebook and texting, email is merely the “snail mail” of the electronic world. Believe me, everyone will be checking their phone or Facebook before they check an email. But if you so choose to kick it old school, try to be cordial and memorable, since you are kind of wasting the person’s time. If it hadn’t been for your message, they could have put check marks in all the little boxes and deleted all the junk. Also, make sure you have a point but don’t make it too important because it might go unanswered and the person will feel bad once they get it a few months later. Don’t feel bad. They have a lot going on in their life.
  If you happen to be in middle school, God forbid, you might want to take up the habit of instant messaging. You can create a screen name that really shows what kind of person you are like, “Stargirl574569064” or “1997mYsOuLbLeEdSbLaCk1997.” Find it interesting that other people out there have souls that bleed black who were born in 1997 too. Ask people if they will be chatting after school. Think about forming a chat room where you talk about how totally cute Justin Beiber is and how you are so going to be Mrs. Beiber one day. Use an abundance of emoticons and create a profile for yourself that showcases your favorite quotes. Try to think of something interesting that sets you apart from everyone else. Roll your eyes when people ask who John Lennon is.
  You might use Facebook chat as a form of instant messaging once in awhile. Use the “Hide” feature when that crazy girl from high school is on and wants to talk about her cat. Wait until that little green light appears next to the name of the guy you like and become suddenly “visible.” Ask him what his plans are for the weekend. Hint about the movie you want to go see and how you’re not busy on Sunday. Send him your phone number so you can begin texting and overanalyzing everything that is said. Try to maintain an air of mystery and say you must go once plans are confirmed. This will also help you make a swift exit from the electronic perils of the Cat Lady.
    There will be times in your life when you have to use a telephone. You already have a cell phone for texting so you kind of get the idea. A telephone is this thing you hold up to your ear and sometimes sounds come out. You can also talk into this device. Oftentimes, you’ll have to use the telephone to make appointments at the doctor’s office or to call the bank when an unusual purchase at the “Horse Shack” appears on your credit card statement. Usually you can just have your mom do it but the bank will typically want to talk to you personally since you’re over 18 and all. Unless you’re not 18, in which case see the above descriptions about instant messaging.
  If you’re in the real world and you’re not busy speaking with your fingers, try not to use texting/Facebook/IM lingo. If someone says something funny, don’t say, “LOL” because you are laughing-out-loud and it will cause people to look at you with furrowed brows. Also, please refrain from using “LMAO,” “ROFL,” or “BRB” vocally. Even if you’re just saying these things ironically, people won’t understand. People will call you a tool. Tools don’t get invited to cool parties that people talk about in their Facebook status. It’s the twenty-first century. People do not understand irony. Go easy on them.
    Sometimes you are faced with near-death situations, i.e. your cell phone battery dies or your laptop is at home. Have no fear. There is a simple solution to this conundrum. But please, and I do beg please, proceed with caution. If this task is not carried out by proper procedure, it could lead to a catastrophic undertaking of mythic proportions. Look around at the world. The people. The trees. Notice things. Smell the wind. Taste the sun. Take a walk. Do anything interactive.
    Here comes the hard part. When you see someone you know, it’s tempting to look down and pretend to be texting. You don’t know what to say to them in real life. Texting is this fantasy world where you can think about what you say before you send it. Facebook is this world where you can take pictures of yourself at really strange angles or in sepia tone to hide traces of acne. You can be publicly interested in only the most “hipster” of things. You don’t have to tell people that you love Ghost Whisperer. Look this person in the eye, and yes indeed, this is suspiciously simple, say, “Hello.” Have a conversation. Ask questions. Smile. Laugh. Realize that you might actually enjoy this.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Some days

Some days you just need to skip class. And eat lunch with your best friends. You need to praise the world around you; the beautiful people in it, some you have had the privilege to meet, others you never will.

Some days you have to hide under the covers and appreciate another's warmth. And smile because you know he thinks of you when you're not around. You need to appreciate the moment and make sure he knows that you think of him too.

Some days you need to smile at your messy hair and and make the last packet of hot apple cider. And get ready for work.... but know that even though life is hurtling itself at you, that everything will simply be, all right.

Monday, November 15, 2010

This Is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love

For those of you who have time... or who care... here is the most recent short story I wrote for class. Any feedback would be much appreciated, as I am trying to refine my skills as a writer. The hardest part is trying to say something without saying it...Thanks for your time! (FYI: The title is borrowed from a short story by Raymond Carver... we were to use it to title our own creative pieces and use it as inspiration).

"This Is What We Talk About When We Talk About Love"

    The poppies bloomed red the summer that I died. They littered the countryside as if they were sunflowers or some other sturdy form of vegetation. The very sight of them was overwhelming, like walking into an invisible film of heavy cologne, lining the insides of your lungs and penetrating your alveoli. My death wasn’t his fault; it was a result of love and a certain martyrdom I felt myself responsible. Living would have only meant waking to every cold, sunless morning with the burden of guilt heavy upon my being. Yes, it was better to have died.

    Darren was of average height and build when I met him in 2010. His shoulders were broad but other than that there was nothing particularly distinct about his appearance. His smile knew how to melt a mother’s heart, allowing me to extend my curfew and go on more excursions than I had ever been before. At twenty-two, he was fully aware of who he was and what he believed. I could have only aspired to be like that.
    My hair was a curly shade of honey back then and my hips were slightly larger than the girls my age. I was like some awkward column with small breasts and these protruding hips that no amount of pilates could ever repair. I was my parents’ only daughter and at twenty-one, I was living the life of a Victorian lady, pressed and starched into restrictive corsets. My parents wanted me to play the part of a proper woman, go to medical school, and adhere solely to the Catholic faith. All I wanted was to figure out who I was outside of the world of politely wall-papered barriers and artificial floral arrangements. One glorious day in the park would change everything.

    In a pale pink lace dress, I opened my front door as the sunshine greeted my face with a warm embrace.
    “I’ll be back,” I yelled to my seemingly quiet house, one foot on the ground.
    “Hold on just a minute, young lady,” my father called through a gruff tone. If it hadn’t been for his profession, I would have thought he’d had a burly beard.
    “Dad, I’m just going for a walk. Nothing bad is going to happen to me in the park.”
    He hesitated for a moment and sighed.
    “Do you have your cell phone? And don’t bring that silly iPod of yours. You need to be fully aware of your surroundings. Call me when you are on your way back.”
    “Okay, dad. Love you.” I smiled and kissed his smooth but time-worn cheek.
    “I love you too, Joan.”
    My father’s use of antiquated language indicated his desire to return to days of proper formality. Even the name he and my mother chose for me at birth was evocative of the past. My heart ached for the fact that he would never change. I loved both of my parents but sorely knew that I would never be that cookie-cutter image of a daughter they had painstakingly hoped I would become.
    On my way to the park, I greeted everyone I passed with a smile. My feet couldn’t take me fast enough to the world of green encircling a dark blue pond and a dirt path that I loved to swirl into a dusty cloud with my feet. When I finally approached the entrance, I conceded to nature’s way. Whatever was going to happen today was going to be new and exciting. I just had to let it happen.
    The first few laps had left my skin dewy and heart bounding with whimsy inside my chest. A moist wooden picnic bench seemed the only viable option to my winded state. Towards the water’s edge, a boy with broad shoulders and dark brown hair dragged a canoe up onto land. His white t-shirt and dark jeans reminded me of a modern-day James Dean and in my little old mind, I could only hope he was just as charming and rebellious.
    He looked back at me and smiled. I turned around to see if there was anyone behind me.
    “Yes, I was smiling at you,” he said, grinning, “What’s your name?”
    “Joan,” I said, pausing. “What’s yours?”
    “Nice to meet you Darren.”
    “And you as well.”
    He approached me and wiped his hands on the front of his jeans, leaving behind a dusty trail. He extended his right arm in offering of a handshake and I stood up to kindly oblige. We stood there staring for a moment.
    “Are you going somewhere special?”
    “No,” I said quizzically, until I looked down. “Oh. This. No, I just threw something on this morning.”
    “Well, it’s not everyday a girl comes to a park wearing lace.”
    “That’s a fair assumption.”
    “Not saying it looks bad or anything. Just kind of peculiar. I kind of like it though. It’s different.” He stood staring at me for a moment. “Are you doing anything right now?”
    “Well actually, I have to get back. My parents are expecting me for dinner.”
    “Okay.” He sounded defeated and stood there for a moment before continuing, “You’re not just saying that to get rid of me, are you?”
    “No! No, that’s not what I’m trying to do. I really do have to get back!”
    “All right, Joan in the lace dress. I can see I’ve creeped you out enough for the day. I’ll leave you be.”
    “I wasn’t creeped out. Believe me. It was a pleasure to have met you!” I said taking off into the distance. I stopped and turned when I was far enough away to shout but still close enough to be heard. “You should ask me out sometime. My last name is Donahue. Look me up on Facebook.” Then I turned to run away, flushed and embarrassed, stirring up dust with my shoes.

    Twenty years later, Darren and I had been married for sixteen years. My mother had fallen in love with his boyish charm but my father was wary of his financial inabilities to fully support me in the way he believed I should be supported. “Foolish.” That’s what my parents called me when I packed my adolescence into twelve cardboard boxes. “Regretful.” That’s the adjective my parents used to describe my decision to walk down the aisle in a Buddhist ceremony. Darren and I preferred the idea of a ceremony that focussed on the purest states of love and devotion over tradition and formality.
    Early life together saw us through two apartments and finally a modest home with red shutters. Darren and I had two children, a thirteen-year-old boy and a seven-year-old girl. Our boy Zachary had been difficult to handle at that age, as he was bringing home poor grades and citing a disinterest in school. I was worried our seven-year-old, Hannah, would follow in his example. The toughest aspect of our relationship was learning to channel frustration into constructive criticism.
    “Why wasn’t Zachary at soccer practice today?” Darren questioned, walking through the door in his blue pants and shirt with the name “Darren” embroidered in cursive upon the chest. His hands were covered in black grease.
    “His grades are down, you know that,” I said, rubbing the hair away from my forehead. I began massaging my temples.
    “It’s not bad enough to miss practice! The coach only has them sit out if they’re failing. He’s not failing anything yet!”
    “Yet. Our son’s education shouldn’t be the judgment call of a coach.”
    “Then whose judgment call is it? Yours? I haven’t had any say in this situation. Damn it, Joan, you’re acting just like your parents.”
    My eyes filled with tears, as I looked penetratingly through him. I placed my hands upon the kitchen table, slid out of my chair, and walked solemnly through the hallway and out the front door. My breath turned cold and white in the night’s biting darkness. The door cracked open and Darren walked out. I felt him crouch down as he peered into my face. 
    “I’m sorry. I didn’t mean that. You know I didn’t. I just feel like I’ve been struggling to make ends meet lately... Your dad was right. I’m not able to support you financially and I hate it that he’s right. I’ve been so tense...”
    “Darren, you know I don’t care about that. I’m fine working two jobs. We’ve had a lot harder times when we were first starting out. Do you remember when I was working third shift stocking canned vegetables and teaching in the day? At least both of my jobs are in the daytime now,” I said smiling, but still frustrated. “Tell me how you feel about this situation with Zach.”
    “I don’t know. I guess I just understand how he feels. I felt the same way at his age. I didn’t go to college because I hated school so much...I just want him to be happy.”
    “So do I but there comes a point in time when you have to make a decision to do what is truly best for your children. You graduated high school, right? Your parents pushed you to do that  and aren’t you glad for it? You wouldn’t have found a job without that diploma.”
    “I know.”
    “I’m not saying he has to go to college or be a lawyer. I’m just saying that he needs to graduate high school without D’s and F’s.” I paused for a moment. “Maybe you could sit down and talk to him. Lord knows he won’t listen to me. He looks up to you though. Use that to your advantage.”
    “I will. And I’m sorry. I didn’t mean to hurt your feelings. You’re the best thing in my life and here I am treating you like a stranger.”
    “We’re working on it. Every day. You and me.”
    Darren lifted me up off of the ground and pressed his mouth to mine, like he had for years. His chapped lips were irrelevant and the grease stains we’d discovered on the back of my clothes as we walked indoors didn’t bother me as it normally would have. Hannah had pressed her face up to the glass door while we were outside, leaving slimy smudges and fingerprints. We were greeted indoors with exaggerated kissing noises from both of the children. When night descended and everyone had fallen asleep, Darren laid me down upon our bed and with his lips slowly apologized for his words.

    In fifteen more years, I was in and out of the hospital for shots and IVs to treat my illness. I had noticed that the muscles in my legs felt unusually weak, so it didn’t necessarily come as a surprise to me when I collapsed for the very first time. I was losing sensation in my body and couldn’t control my movement. My co-workers didn’t know what was wrong so they called an ambulance to take me to the hospital where they took a few MRIs and discovered some unusual lesions in my brain. Then using the largest needle I have ever seen in my life (and I’ve had an epidural) the doctors, in their pristine white lab coats, extracted cerebrospinal fluid from my back that confirmed the doctor’s suspicions: I had multiple sclerosis, a chronic disease with no cure but an optimistic prognosis.
    “I’m going to do everything possible to make you as comfortable as can be,” Darren said, his face just a residue of the man I married, his hair a salt and pepper gray.
    “I know you will. It was only a matter of time before they told me something was wrong with me. I’m fifty-six years old and I’ve been healthy my whole life. Did you really expect me to get through life that easy?” I said, hoping to make him feel better. Instead, his face shriveled into a wrinkly contortion, as he choked back tears.
    “What am I supposed to tell the kids?” he asked.
    “Nothing. I’ll tell them myself. It’s not like I’m dying of cancer. I have this...illness...but I’m still going to live. I just have to get an IV once a month and go in for weekly shots. Nothing could be any worse than that giant needle they used on me before.”
    “You can’t just live like you used to, Joan. You have to be careful. You collapsed in front of a classroom of kindergartners, for Christ’s sake.”
    “It was the hallway, thank you very much.”
    “Same difference. You can’t have to...”
    “I understand Darren, I do. But you have to let me live.”
    A single tear dripped from the pools that were his clear blue eyes, down into the weathered lines that defined his face.
    I was in and out of the hospital, in and out of those stupid polka-dot tablecloths that the health care professionals called “gowns,” and in and out of the bank with Darren, pleading for payment extensions and loans. Our savings had dwindled to nothingness and though Darren now managed his own garage, the benefits weren’t as stellar as we’d hoped. To add fuel to the ever-burning fire, the school board didn’t see me “stable” enough to continue teaching in one of their facilities. My days were reduced to watching re-runs of game shows, the blue glow of the television diminishing any shred of usefulness I felt I ever had. The doctors wrote me a script for Prozac.
    When Darren returned home from work, he assembled dinner, helped me into the bathtub, and gave me my prescriptions, a particular fatigue settling heavy upon his muscles. Sometimes I woke up in the middle of the night, only to find Darren half-stretched out upon the couch, still in uniform, dribble forming at the corners of his mouth. The only thing keeping him going each day was a pot or two of coffee and the hope that one day something would magically come along and take the pain and trouble away. I heard him talking on the phone with Zachary one evening, now 28 and living in New York City.
    “I just don’t know how I’m going to go on like this forever. I’m not getting any sleep and it’s getting in the way of my work....” A phone lay on my nightstand so I picked it up.
    “Dad, I told you I can send some money. Just tell me how much you need. And just as soon as I get time off of work I’m going to come down to see you. Hannah’s schedule is a lot more flexible so we’ll try to come down together...Dad, really, how much money do you need?”
    “It’s too much, son. I can’t take your money. I’m just going to keep working. I’m going to take care of your mother the way she deserves. I’m going to do everything in my power to keep her alive and comfortable. Even if it kills me.”
    “Zach, really. It would be nice if you and your sister could come down soon. Your mom would really love to see you two. She misses you.”
    “I know, I feel so guilty that there’s nothing I can do...”
    “Come see her. That’s what she wants more than anything...” I hung up the phone, tears rolling down my cheeks.
    A few weeks later Zach and Hannah came to visit. Zach handed me a bouquet of red poppies, as Hannah walked over and enveloped me in her arms.
    “Oh, mom,” she said.
    “Don’t oh mom, me. I’m fine.”
    “Poppies!” Darren exclaimed, “Your favorite, aren’t they beautiful, Joan?”
    “Indeed, they are! Don’t I get a proper hug, Zachary? Or are you afraid MS is contagious?”
    Zach's face froze in surprise as he pursued my request.
    “Now, that’s more like it.”
    Zachary and Hannah told me their plans to pursue scholarships and opportunities at work. I didn’t want them to leave; I wanted them to put their lives down in a book I could hold close to my heart forever. Seeing my children beam with life’s bright promise made saying goodbye a lot less difficult than I’d expected. Darren and I waved to them front the doorstep, as I turned to go inside and retire for the night. Apologetically heavy eyes lay ingrained on Darren’s face.
    “Joan, I put some flags on the parts of the document you need to sign.” These were the bankruptcy papers. “I just can’t think of anything else to do.”
    Unwilling to focus on any such nuisance, I looked into the face of the man I had shared life with for over thirty-five years.
    “Do you remember the first day you saw me and I was wearing that silly pink dress?”
    His frown shifted to a grin and I could see his muscular arms protruding from that white t-shirt, dragging the canoe from the water, dust on his jeans.
    “Of course. I had never seen anyone so beautiful.”
    “You were so handsome. I was so nervous around you.”
    “I was shaking on the inside.”
    I paused for a moment, and without expecting Darren to understand, I muttered the most allusive phrase I could think of, “I don’t think two people could’ve been happier.”
    He laid his quiet body down beside me and we cried together, rocking ourselves to sleep for the final time. When I was certain Darren had succumbed to his peaceful slumber, I reached for the handkerchief I had neatly wrapped and tucked away in my bedside table. I’d been collecting those little green and white pills for a month and now cradled them in my hand. They were only anti-depressants, but in that moment they were weapons that would magically take the pain and trouble away. Sticky and sweaty in my palms the cylindrical marvels lay. Yes, I was certain this was what was supposed to happen. My sacrifice to Darren was life itself. In order for me to reconcile some semblance of peace, I needed to know that he was taken care of. Life was not forthcoming enough to provide a more favorable option.
     I leaned over to kiss Darren on the cheek. His old, tired body had deposited layers of adipose tissue in places he had been svelte before.
    “It was a pleasure to have met you.” I said, swallowing a handful of the only viable solution I could fathom to say thank you.

I'll See You Soon Then...

"You know what, today is a Dear John kinda day," I said to myself as I drove home from class. I've recently been burdened with the inconvenience of homework and the stressors of procrastination and wanting to get by on the absolute minimum effort. So I stopped for coffee and snowflake-shaped Dove dark chocolate (oh and peppermint bark ones too!) and now I am home with Dear John playing in the background. Call it corny, but I love the relationship between John and Savannah. I love the soundtrack and I can't help but find myself feeling as giddy as they were when they were falling in love...

 These past couple of weeks have been a whirlwind...

It was a movie on Halloween, a spontaneous Thursday Qdoba encounter, a Persian food+coffee+bowling+Pie and Icecream Kitchen Saturday date, a monstrous Friday night pizza and the beginnings of a movie, and a surprise party+seafood+movie date......dare I take a breath?

I can't stop listening to "Paperweight." Or The Swell Season. Or Ben Sollee. Or other things I know he loves too.

My Spanish class requires that we give a debate... my group went today. I was surprisingly as confident and calm as I could be. The native Spanish speakers even told me I did a "great job"! In English I presented one of Plath's poems, "Fever 103," which was sort of on-the-spot, so I wasn't nervous and I feel as if it went well too. My friend Sarah told me I did a good job... which made me think, "Man, maybe I actually did a good job today!" I walked out of class with my professor who is directing a summer study abroad program in London, of which I am dying to partake. She told me that she would write me a letter of recommendation... to get into the program she designed. If only I can get scholarship money lined up, I will be Britain-bound this May... absolutely a dream come to life.

I must edit a Spanish term paper for class tomorrow but alas can find no motivation. I want to write and dream elsewhere. I want my coffee-chocolate high to be directed upon a creative endeavor. I want to feel the raising and lowering of his chest next to mine, arms linking me to summer's dying warmth.

My short story is being discussed in my creative writing class tomorrow... wish me luck.

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Flannel Sheets

 This week has been filled with so many contradictions. 

I've been having that can't eat-can't sleep, reach for the stars over the fence-World Series kind of feeling  lately. In fact, I sent a frantic 5AM message to Julie which I feel too endearing of my recent past self not to include:

And I just find my body language to be surprisingly forward and it catches me off guard and I try to correct it. And I always try to stand next to him and talk to him and I see people watching and I know they realize that I only light up like that when I'm talking to him. And I can't help the nervousness! It's like being in the middle of speech in front of people you're trying to impress--too late to turn back, so you might as well keep going.

But then this feeling of inadequacy creeps in. I have taken 4 French exams thus far and have gotten A's on every single one of them. I know this language (well, the 121 version of this language, anyway) but for some reason my class grade remains at a B+ despite my constant participation. Part of the problem is that my teacher probably forgot to take my attendance for two days because I have a couple 0/10's. I talked to her about it. This is how it went down:

"Oh a couple zeros won't hurt you!"
"Yes, I understand, but I've never missed a class..."
"Well, I can't give you participation points if you weren't here."
(I walk away, dumbfounded)

So, in an attempt to gain extra credit, I'm going to do my darndest to attend 5 French films and write about them. Just what I have time for, right?

And to top things off, my Medicine, Madness, and Lit professor returned our 8 page case studies today with a disclaimer: 

"These grades are lower than what you expected. There are C's." 

In an honors seminar, no one wants to hear this. Especially since this paper is half of our final grade. I got a B+/B but I somehow feel dissatisfied. I have never gotten a C or lower on a paper but I kind of expected... oh I don't know, perfection. I just feel like my writing is completely transparent and she can see that I don't belong in this advanced of a setting. I should just stay in regular classes and write mediocre papers that teachers gloss over and give me an A because I "pretty much got the point." 

Okay, sorry. Annoying honors complaining over now.

The cool weather has finally settled in. It's warm enough that I can omit gloves but I'm still wearing multiple layers. At least I'm getting smarter about that. I used to think you could wear one sweater in the winter and be warm. Then I would become puzzled as to why I was not. It's a wonder I do as well in school as I do.

I'm just bubbling. mumbling. stumbling. 
"I've been this way with so many before, but this feels like the first time..." -Paperweight, Joshua Radin + Shuyler Fisk

I'm exhilarated by the prospect of something new. Something I might actually try to trust this time. And I've got flannel sheets. Life is always better when you've got flannel sheets.