Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Hide and Seek

The wind is cold and without mercy in DC today.

Since my arrival on Saturday, we've been spoiled with warmer than usual days, but not today.

I decided to brave the cold anyways though, for a while at least. I went out with a friend to explore Adams Morgan, a neighborhood known for its culture and diversity, and only a 12-minute walk from our hotel.

We stumbled upon one of the coolest things I've seen on this trip. The "Airing of Grievances", which I was unfamiliar with up until now. The grievances were posted on a busy street corner, for all to see and participate. That was my first feel of the city's character. And I loved it.

(Now, let's  be clear,  this is my second trip to DC and on the first I explored and took in the history that is this place. But on this trip, I wanted to witness the street culture and city life. So, this was a bit of that.)

We walked a little further before we decided we should probably walk with our backs to the wind. As we changed directions, we ran into a quaint little cafe that serves New Orleans style cuisine.

I fell in love with this spot as soon as we sat down. It's small, but cozy. Its walls are painted in warm inviting colors; deep reds and browns. We were served by the owner himself, Bardia. He's a small man with a thick accent (which I couldn't identify) and a sweet spirit. He's the kind of person that in just a short time makes you want to be a little sweeter and kinder.

My friend and I shared a plate of beignets, my favorites. I also had a cafe au lait with real chicory (much better than Starbucks' cafe au lait which I settle for at home) and a cup of gumbo. All were delicious. We lingered there for a while and chatted. I told my friend:
"If I lived in this city, this is where I'd spend all of my mornings, eating too many beignets and sipping cafe au laits."
When it was time to face the wind again, we thanked Bardia and headed for a bookstore I spotted on the way in. This place, also quaint, was a used bookstore. Upon opening the door we were flooded with that used book smell. It was warm, and a great hiding place from the wind.

I could have spent hours there. I left with two books that will help fill my free time for  the remainder of the break.

I've got tonight and tomorrow left here in DC. These are the types of places I can be found, when I'm hiding from the wind.

Monday, December 28, 2009

While I'm Waiting

I overheard a friend of mine planning his love life tonight. Bit by bit. The kind of girl he’d meet, when they’d be married, his children’s names.

And I laughed. To myself, of course. As he talked through his timeline for the next 10 years I was wondering when he’d realize that things won’t be as he planned.

At least I hope they won’t.

Because the best things in life aren’t planned. They have a way of sneaking up on you. They catch you off guard and take your breath away. They leave you yearning for more. They make you wonder why you didn’t think of this arrangement first. And question how you didn’t see that this predicament is just what you needed all along.

Yet and still, I too have plans. Plans for love. For my life.

In short, there’s the graduate school in the city, the man I’ll meet I’ll meet and fall in love with there, landing the dream job and finding happiness somewhere along the way.

I, like we all do, need the plans. The plans give me hope. They remedy my uncertainty. And give me something to hold onto while I’m waiting to be filled.

But I hold on loosely. And wait for the things in life that can’t be planned, only embraced.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Another Chance

I’m three days into a three-week Christmas Break now. I’ve been a vegetable for the past couple of days, worn out from all of the work I had to finish up for finals week, but I plan on spending the remainder of this time recharging and getting things set for the new year.

I’ve picked up the book that I checked out at the library two months ago and have up until now, had time only to read a few chapters here and there. I’m almost through it now and have already begun searching for my next read or two since I’ll have the time.

More importantly though, I’ve begun my internship search which I hope to secure as soon as possible. The past four months have flown by, and I’m sure the summer will be here before I know it.

And, I’ve continued my search for a multimedia graduate program for the next phase of my education, and life. I found one just last night that I adore. It’s an art school in the heart of Chicago.

I'm having quite an internal battle concerning the fact that two of my top three graduate school choices are art schools. For the past several years I’ve been trying to fit myself into this business mindset, thinking that it was what I was supposed to be. What I am expected to be.

So I chose the Public Relations degree instead of the Magazine Journalism degree. And as graduation nears, I'm more and more filled with regret. Realizing I'll never be happy with a career in public relations. That I'll always wonder what I'd be doing had I believed in myself a little more.

I'd never describe myself as creative,though I’ve dibbled and dabbled in the arts over the years. I’ve never been trusting of my creative instincts or abilities.

And despite my insecurity, I’m drawn to places where creativity is valued, nurtured. I’m drawn to people that are intensely creative. Those people make sense to me. They make me feel like I make sense.

And I hope that this graduate school will be another chance for me. A chance to discover and embrace who I am, ignoring the person I’m supposed to be.

I don't know that I'll end up doing what I want. Or that I'm good enough. Nor do I believe that this is the ticket to my happiness.

All I know, is that this is a chance. To not be so full of regret.

But first, I've got to apply. And get in.

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"There's Nothing Here to Hold On To..."

The semester is winding down. Actually, it has wound down. With only two more class days and finals  remaining. Unlike seemingly everyone around me, I'm not excited.

Of course, I'm relieved. I've just about made it through the most stressful of my projects, presentations and tests. But that feeling of relief, the big exhale, wasn't as gratifying as I thought it would be.

Because, in all honesty,  I'm not ready for the end. I've got that sinking feeling in my heart. The one that precedes emptiness. Which, though scary to admit,  is telling of where I find my fulfillment.

This has been, by far, my best of three semesters at Ball State. My best semester of college, even. I've met a handful of cool people. Ones I'd like to get to know a little better. I've done some cool things, like being a part of the social media team for the Extreme Makeover: Home Edition build, and the Windows Mobile 6.5 research project for Crispin Porter + Bogusky.

But, the cool people trump the cool things.

 And I've only got a few days left with these folks that I've seen day in and day out for 15 weeks.  The comfort that those familiar faces have provided me, is about to be upset. Some of them will still be around, some won't. The ones that won't, I'll miss. The ones that will, I'll miss soon enough, when it's all over  at the end of next semester.

Perhaps that's really where the heaviness is coming from. Thoughts of the end, and the starting over. Again.

Obviously, I've gotten ahead of myself. In my head and in my heart. So I'll try to back up, lest I waste the moments I've got left.

Two more class days, and finals week. And for those things, unlike seemingly everyone around me, I am excited.

Sunday, December 6, 2009


It's Saturday night. I'm sitting at Panera Bread, tucked away in a booth. Hiding.

I have a bit of a complex about being seen out alone on the weekends. I'm sure that seems seems silly, and it probably is. Thankfully, it's not enough of a complex to keep me in. It is, however, enough for me to drive 15 miles from home so that I can be a little more comfortable. (Which I normally do, but I was too lazy for the drive tonight.)

 Only because I'd rather avoid those awkward moments of seeing people I know swirl in and out with their boyfriend or best friends while I sit for hours upon end reading, writing, people-watching.

 I've had the house to myself this weekend. And I've enjoyed it, I love the quietness. You see, it's not the physical aloneness that bothers me. In fact, I often crave that. 

 It's the other aloneness that I'm dealing with. The outsider looking in aloneness. This aloneness has pain attached to it. The kind of pain that makes your squish your face and squirm. The kind that produces a dangerous desperation. 

 I've learned the hard way that I can't will people into my life. When I have, they've been the wrong people. They weren't good for me, or I for them.

The right people, they come as quickly as they go. That's just the way it works. There is a lesson to be learned in that I'm sure. One that has not been easily understood by my heart. Not yet rationalized by my head either.

I know that they do come though. And the knowing, just the knowing, makes this pain a little more bearable. This aloneness a little less lonely.