Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Until Then

It’s painfully still in this downtown apartment. Hours pass before I blink and wonder what’s next.  I’m comforted by the sound of cars whizzing by and airplanes roaring overhead as the smell of smoke rises from the jazz lounge on the first floor.

It’s just enough to remind me that I’m not as alone as I feel up here, away from the small town homeliness I’m trying to forget.  

I had myself convinced that this place would be everything I needed to shape the life that I wanted. It all made perfect sense just a few short months ago. I’d be a young professional in the city with a PR/advertising gig by day to pay the bills while the nights spent writing in the coffeehouse on the corner would keep my soul alive.  I’d become friends with the single strangers in the quaint little cafés on Saturday afternoons. I’d be busy. I’d be full. I’d be content.


It’s empty. All of it.  And harder to fill than I ever could have imagined.

I’ve had trouble finding the words lately. The feelings. I know they’re there, but I can’t reach them.

Until then, it’s just me, the sounds and the stillness. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

When It All Stays The Same

Sometimes it feels like a punishment.

This aloneness that follows me everywhere I go. From one side of the country to the other, from adolescence to young adulthood.

The story remains the same.   

The long weekends of silence once the busyness of life has slowed.  The phone that doesn’t ring, the knock that doesn’t come.

And so I stay locked away inside myself.

I spend more time in this apartment than I should, fixing carefully crafted meals for one and turning into bed early; an attempt to escape the crushing loneliness that has permeated this space.

 I lie down and dream that maybe tomorrow there will be someone who wants to stick around for a while. There’s got to be someone.  

I told myself long ago, there will either be a time when it all changes, or it’ll all stay the same. It seems that the latter is true. Maybe this is the thorn in my flesh, the ache that I’ll be reminded of daily in the midst of joyful moments and contentedness.

And because I can’t spend my life waiting, I go looking for those moments in places where it feels ok to be alone. These have always been my favorite, the bookstores, cafés and darkened movie theaters, where I can busy myself without a companion.

Today, while my dinner was simmering in the Crock Pot, I lunched in a place that’s frequented by friends and lovers. Alone.

I forewent the security blanket that is my laptop. But I did bring along a hearty novel, just in case.

I swooped in and took the only table for two left. The place was packed; the chatter and laughter of friends and young families surrounded me.

I ordered quickly and opened the book, hiding my face until my plate came. When it did I looked up to thank my waiter and spotted at the very back of the restaurant an older man, with a long salt and pepper ponytail resting on his neck. He held a book in front of his face, looking around at the flip of each page.

I caught his eye for only a second, which was long enough to get me wondering whether this was his joyful moment, or the end of a long string of mornings waking up alone. 

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Once More, With Feeling

August 21, 2010

I turned 23 today. And it was a little disappointing as birthdays and other so-called monumental occasions tend to be. As there is often the absence of some feeling we were desperately hoping to feel again or for the very first time. 

For some reason, I thought spending my time here in Tampa would feel less lonely, but the loneliness is within—that’s always been the problem.

However, after eight days away I’m refreshed enough to go back to Indiana with a new attitude to accompany my new job.  A new start to a new life, hopefully something a little more like what I’ve always imagined.

Soon, I’ll have my own place. Somewhere that feels like my home again. It’s been too long.

There are so many changes on the road ahead. I’m overwhelmed by the thought of it all.  I spent my whole summer trying to get ahead and now I’ve got to catch up to where I’ve gotten.

How it’s all going to happen—I’m not sure. But it’s got to.

All of it.

The weight has got to come off. It will require all of my strength and discipline, considering the circumstances. I’ve got no other choice when I think of it every day and feel ashamed of my body. It’s time. I’m secretly hoping the physical changes will attract the man I’m waiting for. Whomever he is. 

That, without a doubt, violates some self-love law, but it’s my truth.

There are other grown-up things to deal with—skeletons to evict, dreams to chase, loves to let go. You know, the gut-wrenching things that are impossible to prepare for.

I told a friend the other day that I’m almost happy. A little more than yesterday and even more tomorrow, I hope. Maybe it’s a natural progression, something I’ll work my way into when the time is right.

Or  maybe it’s one of those feelings. 

Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Summer I Fell Out of Love

It’s taken me months to get through this in my head.

Months to regain some sense of sanity and control over my emotions towards this person that I’ve known all along wouldn’t take the risk and love me back.

It’s been a long, quiet journey. One I haven’t shared here one the page, my most sacred of places.  Nor have I even uttered a word of it to my closest friends.

It was silent misery, the tears on my pillow every night when I thought of him before drifting off to sleep.

All I wanted is to not love him or for him to let himself love me back.

And there were many a times when I thought I saw the latter happening. When he looked at me with eyes I’d never seen and lost his words mid-sentence, recovering only after looking away for a long moment.

It was the kind of love that I fell into on accident. Gradually the crushing became a little less cute and carefree. I found myself vying for his attention, his adoration.

And I got it. And, of course it left me wanting more.  All of his attention and adoration.

 And that’s what never came.

Then the anger set in, the bitterness.

His every word, even the ones I once thought were sweet and charming made my blood boil.

In my anger I began to wonder, is this what I want? To convince someone that I’m worth their love and affection. To tell them that I’m okay to love?

Of course not. So I took a step toward real love–which starts with me–and let the agony go.

As for him, he’s just a small part of a much bigger lesson.

Monday, June 7, 2010

Scavenger Hunt

I spent yesterday with a friend doing a random assortment of things including but not limited to: picking out a bike (for her), geeking out an old car show, and scavenging through the Goodwill for books and decorative pieces.

Throughout the day—and night— we laughed and talked and laughed some more.

The theme of the conversation that broke our fits of laughter: Restructuring.

Newness has enveloped us both. As twenty-somethings there are constantly gains, losses and unexpected transitions.

And sometimes on a Saturday afternoon while rifling through books at the Goodwill you realize that your life is not what you expected. That you are not quite who you want to be. (Which is not a dig on used-book hunting, that will continue.)

Life has a way of breaking the fits of laughter, it seems. Whether it is in the form of an emotional upset, over-packed schedules or the aforementioned gains, losses and transitions.

At some point, though, there is a sense of urgency to get things back in working order.

I’ve reached that point.

It’s time for me to make a constant effort to be who I want to be. To make my life what it should be.

I’ve settled into my internship now, and I love it.

But, the 9-5 life or 7:30-6:30 life, actually, has consumed my energy. My creativity has wane, which is the most frightening thing for me.

As much as I enjoy my internship, I am incredibly frustrated by the lack of dimension in my life. The same was true of being a full-time student. And I feared the emptiness that I’m experiencing now.

It’s time to make my life full.

And so a new adventure begins, one with much more purpose than so many of my others.

I’m off to rifle trough the monotony of life in search of those precious things, people and places that will keep me happy, inspired and full. 

Sunday, June 6, 2010

Simple Words And Melodies

Sometimes I wish that someone were here with me now.

A warm body to brush against. Breathing, other than my own, to fill the silence.

And I’m sure that just being here would be enough.

That anything more would be too much.


In 2006, my already fragile world was destroyed. In a matter of minutes.

I fainted at first. Then, I laughed out of shock.  Then I defended the betrayer, at my expense.

It was—is—far more than I’ve ever had the courage to explain. It is something I dread explaining to the person that’s around long enough to deserve an explanation

That’s how the chips fell.  It was my trust that was irreparably damaged. Four lonely years later, I know for sure it was, indeed, irreparable. 

My only confidante is this page, full of the words I wish I could speak to that warm, breathing body. Which sometimes, in a moment of bravado, with trembling hands and a sour stomach, I have the courage to share with strangers and associates and friends.  


Other times not.

The nots are not good for my sanity. I am eaten up on the inside. And I lay in this room with simple words and melodies playing on repeat.

And I pray for sleep. Or the courage to speak. Or to forget.

All of my excitement about this new life complete with my own place and agenda are tainted by the right now. These reality pangs.

 No matter how great the day, there is always a lonely night with more longing than I can handle gracefully.

 Sometimes, I wish that I were full.

That the nights were as pleasant as the days.

That I knew which parts of me were real and which are just remnants of the destruction, waiting to be sifted. 

Tuesday, May 25, 2010


Life is an interesting hue these days.

I can't say exactly what I expected, only that this is not it.

Some things, like the internship, have worked out brilliantly. I fretted for an entire year about securing an internship. Sweated, nearly had anxiety attacks and doubted myself each time one of my fellow students came back with their exciting news.

Just in the nick of time, though, I came back with my own exciting news; securing a full-time internship at an advertising and PR agency and another at a social media and marketing company. I accepted the agency internship and I just hoped that I'd enjoy my summer. And that I'd be busy. And that it would all be enough.

Thankfully, I absolutely love the internship. And I'm busier than I could have imagined; exhausted by each day's end.

But it's not enough. There are things—people—missing.

This is what I've always feared. In that irrational way that only makes sense because I feel it. It is the kind of fear that only slips out in my writing. The kind that people, who don't know me the way they think they do, question.

Those people don't know the stories that feed the fear. That just tonight, I nearly begged a friend to hang out with me this weekend (and after typing that I'm confident that won't be happening again, weekends on my own aren't THAT bad).

This wouldn't be honest writing if I didn't acknowledge the resentment I've felt the last few months. I've never had many friends, but when I have them, I am a friend.

As it turns out, I define that differently than a great many of the people I've met. There are some, a precious few, that understand that word in the same way that I do. It has never failed, though, that life pulls us a measurable and tangible distance apart.

Maybe that's the way it's meant to be.

Or maybe this is the voice of fear, not as removed from me as I expected.

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The Awfulness of Endings, Surprises and New Beginnings

I live my life quietly, most of the time.

Until the silence begins to eat away at my sanity, stains my cheeks with unexplained tears and weighs my breaths with heaviness and anxiety.

And so here I am.

I’ve been busy these past few weeks, finishing up the last classes of my undergraduate career, enjoying my mom’s graduation and then my own and getting my feet wet with a full-time internship at a full service PR and advertising agency.

There hasn’t been time for silence or stillness.

This is my first free weekend in a long while, the second night that I’ve found myself laying silently in my bed, thinking.

I think it’s safe to say that I’ve now made it through another ending.

There is a bit of sadness, as there always is; disappointment, as there always is; and surprise, another constant element in the midst of change.  

These are things that I’ve ignored, refused to acknowledge, through the slow-down that preceded the end and the quick pick up that was the new beginning.

Endings are terrible. I dread them with reason; the goodbyes that only one of us knows is the last, the unmet expectations, the longing that I’ve learned will never subside.

And I’d like to skim over the details: the tears that I refused to cry, the people that broke my heart by not being there, the words left unsaid.

But silence makes such skimming hard, if not impossible, to do.

It’s been a much smoother transition than I expected; my first steps into the big wide world. 

Even still, I’ve found myself hurting and longing, disappointedly.

I had a bit of an outburst while on the phone with a friend the other day, after which I was able to process all of the emotion that is now making its way to the surface.

It comes down to letting go. Something I’ve got to do. The sooner the better.

To wave goodbye, as I nearly shouted on the phone, to those that have decided that they don’t want to be here with me as I expected them to be. As they said they’d be.

To stop loving the boy that I keep letting break my heart with his indecision.

To stop hoping, waiting, foolishly for the things that I know will never come.

There were—are—however, some beautiful surprises in the midst of all the shuffling.
  • There are some people that I’m not saying goodbye to as soon as I’d expected. And others that have found their way back in my life- even if only for a catching up of sorts
  • I got a kick-ass internship, something that I worried anxiously about all semester. And I’m enjoying it much more than I thought I would. 
  •  participated in the commencement ceremony with the people I’ve spent the last two years with and grown to love. It’s a memory we can all share, sitting out on the quad chatting (during the commencement speech) and laughing that last time before we scattered off to find—and make— our own places in the world.

These are the things that I’ll hold on to, open-handedly, of course, as I let go of the gut wrenching awfulness that I expect at each end.

It is the surprises that will usher in the new beginning.

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Elements Outside My Control

 I’ve anticipated this week for months.

I’ve dreaded the emotion— or lack of— that I associated with these last days. I’ve been too busy for it though.

Until now.

It’s finals week, and as a senior my remaining obligations are ones I am left to manage on my own. I’ve got one paper left to revise and another yet to write.

I’ve spent the entire day at home. I’ve busied my mind with cleaning, organizing, planning my summer and collecting recipes, pages and pages of recipes. No paper writing, as my motivation is wane and my mind already past this point in time.


I’ve spent a lot of time envisioning what my life will look like after these next three months.

This move home, though purposed, assailed my independence in a way I didn’t expected. Which is the main reason that I considered packing up once again and getting on a plane back to Tampa immediately following graduation.

It wasn’t at all the way it was planned. I’ve taken care of myself since I was 14, when I had to just figure it out step by step and keep moving. Since then, I’ve worked to make it work. No questions asked.

I am proud of my independence during that time; the courage I had to navigate a new city and build a new life away from everything I knew.

I’ve always had an independent spirit. I try to live with as few attachments as possible, something that’s hurt a few people along the way.

I can recall countless conversations I've initiated about establishing boundaries and holding on with open hands. I am overly protective of my freedom and my time.

All this because I know that once I’m in, I’m in. With my love and affection, I am relentless.

I am attached now. My heart has been won, it seems. It’s beating for more than just me, aching for more than just me, leaping for more than just me.

On nights like tonight, when I’m enjoying my aloneness and the solitude that comes from being disconnected, I hate this.

This reminder that my life is never entirely my own. That I am loving right now.  

Something that I wish I had a little more control over. 

But, I haven't fled and I haven't shut down. When it comes to the things I can control, I'm figuring it out. 

Sunday, May 2, 2010


The memory of my 14th birthday party has been swimming in my head for the past couple of weeks.

My family doesn’t do big birthdays. Not that I can remember. Then again, the memory of my life at home breaks somewhere after early childhood at about five or six years old to this adolescent stage where I was anticipating my parent’s divorce and then dealing, as best I could, with the aftermath.

That year, though, I decided to plan my own party. I began telling my Mom exactly what I wanted a week—maybe two— in advance.

Even then, in the time when we are trying desperately to impress our peers, I had an appreciation for the simplicity of things.  I wanted a small get-together at my house with grilled hot dogs, my mom’s macaroni and cheese and my godmother’s famous baked-beans.

I invited three of my closest friends from school, my new best friend from church and her parents, my youth pastor, and my extended family. We sent little invitations that my Mom wrote up, and I was excited.

My birthday was on a Sunday. We went to church as usual and came back to my house afterward. The majority of those invited went to church with us and followed us back to the house, changed out of their Sundays’ best and settled in for the party.

Everyone was hungry, as people generally are, after spending the morning in church. My mom and godmother finished preparing the food in the kitchen and everyone lined up at the counter ready for the food that was assembled buffet style.

My Dad scolded me when I jumped to the front of the line and told me that guests eat first. (I will let my kids eat first on their birthdays, but it was a good lesson in hospitality.)

Embarrassed, I sat down at the table and waited for my friends from school to arrive.

And waited.

There was laughter and movement all around me when my world stopped.

I remember trying indiscreetly to get my moms attention. When I did, I whispered in her ear that my friends hadn’t shown up and no one had brought any gifts or cards (except my godmother). To the first she told me to call them and to the second she said something to the effect of so what, before she went back to being a good hostess.

I grabbed the phonebook before I sat back down at the table searching for phone numbers. I couldn’t reach anyone.

They never showed up.


I was popular growing up. People always knew my name, adults because I was the daughter of a teacher and administrator and kids because I was athletic and tried a bit of everything as a kid.

But, I’ve never had a lot of friends.

Quality over quantity became my motto somewhere along the way, when I started having to explain.

This isn’t always an issue though, until the three don’t show up.


I’ve been arguing back and forth with my Mom this past week over the phone and this weekend in person.

I’m one week away from graduation now and I’m anxious.

 Both about the actual graduation ceremony—I’m a little paranoid that they won’t call my name because this May ceremony, much bigger and more celebratory than the July ceremony isn’t really mine, since I have yet to complete my internship requirement—and my post graduation celebration.

When I got permission to walk in May, I told my mom that I wanted a small get-together after the graduation; just my family and close family friends together for an afternoon at park with hot dogs and hamburgers.

My mom got my grandma on board with the planning and addressing of the graduation announcements and invitations.

My grandma is a socialite and its spun out of control now.

While I have no idea who will actually show up, very few of the invitations have been sent to people that I actually know and feel close to.

Last night at dinner, complete with the divorced parents, my grandma and step-grandpa sister and niece and nephew, I lost it.

“I never wanted it to be something you guys would have to fuss over, I said.” Hot dogs and hamburgers at the park, I continued. That’s all I want.”

That’s all it is, my grandmother said. You can’t just do these things without any planning.

It’s not fun for me when I’m surrounded by strangers, I continued, this frustration that’s been building now overflowing.

Well, you haven’t told me any of the friends you want me to invite, my Mom said.

“I don’t have friends to invite, I keep telling you,” I snapped back.


The word friend is something pretty weighty to me, granted to only those that I know will show up.

I’m in another one of those weird transition phases with my friendships. My closest friends are in Florida, living their lives. Our communication is almost nonexistent now. Our lives are going on, moving further from the time when we were bonded so tightly.

And I’ve made a few connections here, people whose company I enjoy. But the timing, as it often is, is bad.

It’s the disappointment I’m worried about. Sitting at the table waiting while the party continues around me.

Those that do show up, however, will be greeted with a smile, warm hug, and genuine thank you.  Another lesson in hospitality I’ve learned along the way. 


I find myself here on nights like tonight when I'm holding back. Stuck in a loop with this song that doesn't make much sense unless it resonates. Which, for me, it does.

Thursday, April 29, 2010


The end is never quite what I expect it to be. But, we know what they say about expectations.

I’ve been anticipating this end for 90 days. I assumed that there would be this huge exhale, an incredibly satisfying sense of accomplishment, that I’d celebrate somehow, even.

As it turns out, I’m laying in my bed trying desperately not to fall asleep.

It’s not that I’m not excited or proud of this accomplishment, I am. But, the most powerful part of this process happened on some unmarked day along the way.

My professor and mentor, Brad, threw down the challenge 90 days ago. 91, actually.

On Day 1, Brad, Megan and I were sitting around drinking coffee, eating blueberry pancakes and talking writing; something we did a few times throughout this journey.

I remember the panic that washed over me when Brad asked if we were in, if we’d commit to writing and publishing every day for 90 days. Here I was sitting with two writers, who in conversation reference writers that I’ve never heard of, let alone read.

Publish every day, I asked back nervously.

I knew it only be a matter of time before I was found out. Words weren’t made for hiding.  

Mine has been an unpursued passion outside of the pages of my journals and unofficial “blogs”.  I’ve toyed with the pursuit many times over, never quite sure how far I could go, choosing to stop before I was crushed and devastated.

I didn’t think I could do it.  I thought sure at some point, far before 90/90 that I’d run out of words and creative energy.

And I did, several times. It’s evident in the writing, the peaks and valleys, excitement and misery, assuredness and angst. It’s all there.  Because I kept writing.

I stopped staring at the screen while entertaining my fears and started writing.            

I’ve got no doubt that the crushing devastation will come, sooner rather than later. I expect that.

At which point, I’ll remember the 90 posts in 90 days where I learned that I must write on both the days that I feel like a writer and the days I feel like a fraud. I must write on the days when the words bubble up on the inside and explode on the page and the days that I force them, letter by letter. I must write when I am empty and when I am full.

I must write.

And I assume that this ending is empty because it’s actually a beginning. 

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

On To the Next (89/90)

I started working at 7 p.m.; hunkered down, turned my phone off and began plugging away.

I got lost in the moment, which ended up lasting over four hours. The only other time this happens is when I’m writing. Really writing. Last semester many a Thursday and Friday nights once the hustle and bustle of the week settled, I’d write and re-write and write some more, losing hours without an ounce of regret.

 But, that hasn’t happened at all recently. The stress, anxiety and exhaustion of this last semester have kept me grounded. Always right here, consciously pushing through every single minute.

So despite the amount of work that awaits me still at 1:15 a.m., I feel good.

I spent the evening working on my social media project. There were—and still are—a lot of logistics to work out but people have begun to share their stories and pictures and it’s been thrilling to say the least.

It was refreshing to get outside of my head and focus my energy on something bigger than me.

The 90 in 90 challenge is just about over now.

And throughout these 90 days I’ve worried about the end, as I always do. The warm-up period, as I dubbed it, is over and it’s time for the writing to become something more.

Thankfully, my social media project, presents the perfect opportunity to develop my first real writing project. I found that the recurring theme in the meta-monologue that has been my writing thus far has been an exploration of identity and appearance.

The site asks one simple question: When was the first time you were made aware of your appearance? I think that all of us has one very memorable, often times painful or uncomfortable memory of that moment.

As I share, I’m asking people to share with me.  It is through these stories that I’ll embark on the first of my adventures in storytelling. 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Little Breakthroughs (88/90)

I used to cry when I got my hair cut at the salon.

Actually, I’d be my sweet little self in the chair, holding my tears, disappointment and frustration until my Mom picked me up. I’d always ask her to do the talking before she left me sitting there in that chair in the hands of some adult that I was too shy to speak with.

 Tell them not to cut it, I’d remind her naggingly.

Sometimes she would, sometimes she wouldn’t. Sometimes they’d listen, sometimes they wouldn’t.

I’ve always had healthy, strong hair. Which for me meant that I had no qualms about abusing it through excessive heat and color treatments (once I was old enough). But, the heat and chemical damage would always catch up with me.

I’d cringe as I watched my hair fall from my head, to the apron tied loosely around me, to its final resting place on the floor, snipped quickly and carelessly by the stylist.

Still, I’d sit with my book in my hands, pretending that I wasn’t even fully aware of what was happening. I’ve always tried extremely hard not to be difficult, even if it meant I’d have to cry later.  Once the stylist was finished and handed me the mirror I’d glance too quickly to see anything.  Then, I’d smile, give a nod of approval and push the mirror away.

My mom would breeze in and begin laughing and talking with the stylist, the way that she does with just about everyone. I’d grow irritable and anxious as I sat waiting to get in the car to whine and complain and figure out how to work with what had just been done.

I’ve never been one for change when it comes to my appearance.  I’m a minimalist; I find basic pieces and styles that work and add personality with (still very basic) accessories.

And pull it all together with the hair. I allow the hair, more than the clothes, to speak for me.

When my team for my capstone class decided to add a little flair to our professional dress to match our fashion forward retail client, I immediately said, I’ll blow out my hair, but that’s all I got.

And so I finally went through with it for the first time. I blew it out that morning and rocked the big hair and a little bit of attitude. Of course, it was a little uncomfortable, but it was because of the big hair that day that I felt as fashionable as the girls that accessorized our all-black attire with fancy make-up, shoes and other bright jewelry.

In the year that I’ve been natural, I’ve done little by way of maintenance to my hair.  Aside from being busy and a little lazy there’s a lot I’ve still got to learn in terms of caring for natural hair.

Needless to say, I’ve gone without a trim the entire year. My hair has been shedding and knotting like crazy and, as I’ve read on the natural hair blogs, that’s how you know it’s time. Past time, actually.

After a few days of the blow out I decided to give the trim a shot. Myself.

I held small sections between my fore and middle fingers, pulling each one straight and trimming all that I could see through, as I’d inconspicuously watched the stylist do to my relaxed hair for so many years.

It took double the time I thought it would—two hours— and I needed to trim more than I anticipated. I didn’t fret too much about the length because one of the great things about natural hair is that it grows like weeds. It’s already longer than when I cut it last year.

But, I did hold off bringing the curls (and shrinkage) back to life with a fresh wash.

Until tonight, specifically because I knew I was in for a shock. I’ve got so much thick, fluffy hair that it was hard to tell any difference when it was still blown out. But I knew the trim would be apparent after the wash.

And it was. My hair feels much better and was easier to detangle, which was the point.

But, I can’t look in the mirror. Not for long. Still, I’ve decided to skip the whining and complaining and go straight to figuring out what can be done with what I’ve just done. 

Monday, April 26, 2010

Beyond (87/90)

There is but one week left of classes now, plus a few last obligations during finals week. There are only three days left of the 90 in 90 challenge (though I’m over an hour late on 87/90 now) and I’m looking ahead.

I hope to spend the summer interning in Indy though I haven’t been offered an internship yet. I’ve just decided, within the past month, that I’ll stay here this year instead of returning to Tampa as I had considered. I think it may be good for me to be still for a little while and try to establish myself as a real grown-up.

I’m too worn out to panic over how quickly these last days are passing. Instead, I’m reveling in each moment spent with the people I’ve grown to love and planning the summer and next few years ahead. 

Depending on how the internship prospects play out, I may get a part-time job at one the malls in Indy and try to save every penny that I can (which may turn out to be a problem if I get a job at a bookstore, like I’d hope to) in order to get my own place as quickly as possible.

Outside of the internship maybe part-time job, this summer will be all about the writing and the reading. As I said in the beginning, where the 90 in 90 ends, the real challenge begins.

It’s time to start developing the first real writing project (and handing the work over for critique).  I’m excited about incorporating stories from my social media project, but first I’ve got to really ramp it up on that spend a lot of time building that community and finding the stories that I want to tell.

I’m excited for the time I’ll have to read non-assigned books. I’ll start with the four books that have gone untouched on my nightstand since the middle of this semester and then tackle the reading list that I’ve begun to assemble with some classics that I’ve yet to experience and some more modern creative non-fiction.

To fuel this writing, reading, interning filled summer, I’m going to try to give up red meat come and stick to a core-foods diet plan. I’ve also got four new Jillian Michaels hard core workout DVD’s in addition to the several others that I added to my collection last year when I was obsessed with the weight loss. I want it all to feel less like a punishment this time though, so I’m trying to figure that out. And I’ve contemplated starting a weekly weight loss vlog for accountability’s sake. We’ll see.

I think I’m nearing the point where I’m ready to close this chapter and begin the next; life beyond college and writing beyond the blog. I’ve got no choice really, that point is nearing, whether I’m ready or not. 

Blue-Gray (86/90)

I’m not quite sure what to do with myself right now. 

I feel a bit unsettled and antsy. This is a night that if were in Tampa I’d take a long drive over the bridge, surrounded by only the blueness of the water and the grayness of the sky.

There is no distraction for a nagging heartache. And as much as I want to go, somewhere—anywhere— I know that it is inescapable.

I’ve thought a lot about my disappointment over this finality that fully realizing now and I think it goes beyond him and us.

My hope has been ashamed. Which of course makes hope feel, well, foolish.

I am always ill prepared for endings. Not because I don’t anticipate them, but because I’m always holding out hope for some huge transformation. One that never really happens. And I know that. But I hope.

I’ve spent nearly the entire weekend in, something I denied myself the past few months.

I’ve made a few associates over this last semester ones whom I’m comfortable enough around to spend long periods of time. And I’ve tried to become more social. But, as evidenced by the irritability after too many weekends out and about, I am not a socialite. And I’m allowing myself to realize that I never will be.

I needed this weekend alone desperately; the time to clear my head, to be still and quiet. And for the first time in months I feel ready for the week ahead: the last of my undergraduate classes.

Still, I am without contentment. Longing for someone here that gets me. Someone that I needn’t perform for.

There’s something that my old pastor used to say over and over from the pulpit, and I’m not sure if it’s meat or bones, but it’s stuck with me: People change, but not that much.

Herein lies the disappointment. It is with me. Not with us, or the end of the idea of us. 

This is my life and I’m always hoping for huge transformations that just aren’t happening.

My move here was multi-purposed and it’s hard to explain it without explaining the year that preceded it. But, I set out to add some dimension to my life. I stopped living in and for church and planned on finding and indulging in things that would fill me back up and consume my time.

That first year back was the loneliest, emptiest year of my little life.

I didn’t gain the friends that I convinced myself would be so easy to make, the Midwestern boys didn’t fawn over me the way that my mom assured me they would and I didn’t have the courage to fully pursue this dream.

I remember the lunches by myself day after day where I hid in corners and tried not to cry or stare at the people around me doing—being— everything I said I would.

This, all of it, is not turning out the way that I expected two, five, ten years ago. It’s emptier than happy-endings and new beginnings should be.

And besides hope for some huge transformation, I’m not quite sure what to do with myself. 

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Fool That I Am (85/90)

There was an unfortunate happening last night that sucked me into a whirlwind.

I shouldn’t even call it a happening, really. It was just a conversation that I witnessed online. Which is the ironic thing about the amount of time that I spend behind my computer, away from the world— I still don’t miss much.

And the little pings back and forth in cyberspace are no different than the subtleties that I am never able to miss in real life, because I’m far too observant than I need to be.

I dreamed about this day, a little over three months ago. I remember waking up feeling exactly as I do now; torn and broken but ready to move on somehow. So, I wrote.  I’ll share bits and pieces of what was too raw to publish then and still is, because maybe this is the somehow.


I woke up from a dream this morning that I keep convincing myself was just a dream. It was one of those that lingers, stays with you all day heavy on your heart, but it’s hard to recall the details with your head.

I remember that it broke my heart because it still feels broken although I know it wasn’t real. 

We talked last night, intimately, in the way that we do when we’re not crying from laughing too hard. And I felt exhilarated. I remembered thinking, now if only any of the ones after me now could talk with me like this; this is a conversation worth having.

As we said our goodbyes he said: Don’t go too fast, I want to experience some things with you.

 And I let my heart get excited, as I wondered exactly what he meant.

I dreamed that finally, he was with me and I with him. The happy ending that I’ve always hoped for. That’s until I saw his phone, and his plans to rush off and be with her.I thought it couldn’t be real. I would have even chosen to believe the “we’re just friends” lie again, but instead he confirmed my fears when he said: “I want to be with her, I choose her.”

And what can be said to that?

I’ve got no defense for my selfish love; one that fills me, but keeps him from what—whom— he really wants.


I spent last night and the better part of the day trying to determine why this story is one that keeps repeating.

I’ve always been described as loyal, and I am to a fault. My heart is won over too easily and I never walk away when all the warning signs say that I should.I keep telling myself that I’ll soon reach the point where those things will work in my favor. But that hasn’t proven true just yet.

Because for me, it means something when he feels comfortable enough to talk to me through the night and into the morning, quiet only once he lays his head in my lap to sleep. But all that was really meant by that is that I was a comfortable, safe resting place.

Which isn’t what he wanted after all.

This is number three of such happenings, though. All within different contexts but devastating just the same. For the past several years my life has been full of these almost, should be, would-have-beens.

And  it’s the almosts that are the most crushing and humiliating, because like that conversation that I witnessed last night, they never happen quietly or with any intention of secrecy.

I’ve grown tired of it all, really.

I feel these breaks happening every time. It’s time that I stop waiting for the crumble to realize that such happenings aren’t actually so unfortunate.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Pressure (84/90)

I get sick at the end of each semester. It's something I've come to expect, beyond the exhaustion, it's the mere result of running my body into the ground for 16 consecutive weeks. 

The week before my 100-page research paper was due last year, I was derailed by a stomach flu that had me stuck in bed for five whole days, unable to keep my eyes open for longer than thirty minutes or move—at all—without getting sick.

But it's never quite at the end, truthfully.  It's always right about now when I need all that's left to carry me through to the last day of finals. And this time that walk across the stage. 

Yesterday, after my interview and time spent laughing with my sister, niece and nephew and before I got in bed, I had a sudden bout of ear pressure. Like the moment that you reach the surface after being underwater, immediately jumping out and leaning your head to each side to let the water drip from your ears. 

Only, there is no dripping this time. Not yesterday, not yet. Just pressure. My head has spun a few times since then, my laptop screen bouncing and fuzzy as I stare, although I am still.


Everything is beginning to run out now, it's just that time. Among them: patience, motivation, energy and my health insurance. 

That last one is something I haven't thought much about until now. For whatever reason I thought there would be a seamless transition, but it doesn't look like there will be. I'm thankful that the long overdue health care bill was passed, which was actually the topic of aforementioned 100-page paper. Still, there will surely be be some bumps in the road over the next year or so for me and several years yet until the full implementation.  

I don't go to the doctor on my own, I am almost always forced. But, being without the comfort to just up and go makes me more than a little nervous. 


I've feel the shift happen in my body when I've pushed it right up to the breaking point; a confirmation that it's trying to keep me balanced and well. It's happening now. The coffee starts sending me to sleep, no matter how strong I brew it; I'm losing my appetite and craving only natural foods when I am hungry, the ones I've been depriving myself of while living on-the-go. 

I've got to start doing better, and I always say that. All the while avoiding my mom and grandma's questions about the amount of sleep that I'm getting and if I'm cooking more. But, it's especially  important now that I start taking better care.  

Another thing that will be running out here soon: the excuses. 

I think I'm too far gone to expect any dripping or slow, gradual relief. Instead I'm convinced the pressure will cause a burst. And though it will be messy, at this point, it's exactly what I need. 

The Ache (83/90)

I've started this post over at least four times in the past two days.

On these days­­­—weeks—I long only for the journal; the smeared ink on my palm and the ache between my thumb and forefinger. The ink reminds me that I’m writing; the ache confirms there is something worth writing.

Even when it takes pages and pages to realize what that is exactly.


I've been wondering how many times I can rewrite the same thing; if I can say it differently enough to fool you, and myself, into thinking that it is, in fact, different. 

It’s not. It hasn’t been for the past several weeks. And I’m not sure that it will be any time soon. This isn’t something that I can rush through.

It is the best of times and the worst of times. I was only prepared for the first part.

It’s hard at this point not to assess the past four years of my life. I’m looking around at what I’m walking away with, and what I’m not.


My life, on the whole, is not what I thought it would be. And each new realization brings its own pangs of disappointment.

I thought sure that I’d be one of the girls engaged; planning my wedding upon graduation. In reality, I’ve gone all four years without a college boyfriend. The processing on that fact stops there, though, lest I drive myself mad.

It’s been a much lonelier journey than I anticipated. While I’ve made some lovely associates over the past two years, I don’t have the Sex and The City clan; that tight-knit group of college friends that your supposed to share your life with every step of the way. And I can’t help but wonder whom I’ll call when it’s all over and there’s a step worth sharing.

I’m not in love with my major choice of study, which I realized too late in the game. But that’s turning out to be less of a problem than I anticipated; I’ve just got to get in
where I fit in. It’s finding the fit that’s a bit of a challenge. 

It is exciting at times, but angst-filled mostly. If there’s one mistake I’ve learned not to make again, it’s to build these expectations of what life will be and instead just let it be.

In the meantime, I find solace in the writing; the smeared ink on my palm and the ache in my fingers.

 There’s something to be found I’m sure, in the turning of the pages. 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Interview Hair (82/90)

I've got another interview this afternoon; one that I'm really excited about. I really feel like this opportunity may be a perfect fit for me, so cross your fingers.

Outside of the whole selling myself thing, sometimes--okay, 99 percent of the time-- I worry about the first impression; how the interviewer will sum me upon first glance.

Before the last interview I worried a lot about the clothes, knowing that I probably should have been dressed in an all-black professional suit. But after an unsuccessful and discouraging search for new business attire I went without the jacket and wore just the button down and slacks.

The problem: that attire doesn't feel like me. Which is weird because I live in patent leather loafers and cardigans. And that feels like me. But, the traditional business suit just doesn't, which when I think about it, has a lot to do with my body and trying to fit it into a traditional business suit and still look and feel good.  I'll have to be okay with that for now, until I figure out what feels like me and still looks like the company that I will represent.

Today, though, I'm worried about the hair. I don't have interview hair.

First, I forgot to mention that I did it. I finally did it; I made good on my promise and wore my hair fro'd fluffy and free. And the freedom of it did feel good. I was proud of myself, especially that by the end of the day, when it had expanded from the heat and humidity to three times the size it was when I left the house, I let it be, resisting the hair ties that I'd worn around my wrist and the headband I'd tucked in my bag.

But mostly I was vulnerable and uncomfortable, as I expected. I want that to feel like me though, because it is me and my hair in all its glory.

Still, I worried about what I'd do with it today come interview time. The girls in the office all gasped at the idea of straightening it, but agreed that I should put it up. Somehow. Because as much as it's not a political statement or an act of rebellion, it's also not interview hair. Not yet. Not for this internship that I want so badly.

I've only begun fighting this battle in my personal life. I'm not even sure where to start in my professional life.

I guess I'll search for one of those interview hairstyle guides, and hope that there's one for the girls with  big, fluffy, 'fros.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Losing Things (81/90)

I don't lose things.

 Well, almost never. And that's only because I have a mild case of OCD and am constantly checking to make sure I have the valuables: my wallet, my keys, my phone and my iPod. And by constantly, I mean at least once every hour when I'm out and about. Additionally, I have a spongy memory and an annoying attention to detail, which makes it hard for me to lose things.

But on those rare occasions that I do, I panic. Which is always an ironic experience because I recount in my head all the times that I’ve talked my friends through the panic that accompanies that feeling of loss.

“Just slow down and look,” is what I’d tell my friend Marissa, who would always panic when she couldn’t find her keys immediately. (They were always in the bottom of her purse, by the way.)

I heard those words and my own calm, gentle tone in my head today when I checked my wallet before running downstairs to buy a mid-day caramel macchiato. I always do that too; check to make sure I’ve got my debit card before I jump in line to make a purchase.

But, I knew I hadn’t lost my debit card. Because I don’t lose things. And so I began to panic. I felt my cheeks get hot and my stomach turn.

My debit card has its place just like all of the other valuables. When it’s not in that place, something’s wrong. I didn’t need any help recounting my steps this morning; spongy memory. I bought gas before I left Anderson this morning and a quick and unhappy lunch at Burger King on my way into campus around noon.

I remember the blonde manager handing me back my receipt and I tucked it into my wallet. Her white shirt was open too far and her tie hung loosely around her neck. I assumed that she’d just started her shift and so I sat patiently in my car bobbing my head and rapping along with The Jigga Man as I waited.

But I couldn’t remember the hand-to-hand pass off of my debit card. I thought first that maybe I was tired and hadn’t stuck my card back in its spot. Unlikely, but maybe. So, I ran out of the office and made the trek through campus back to my car.

I peeked through the windows and underneath the car before I unlocked it, sat down and felt around. No card.

At this point, the panic dissolved; completely left my body. I knew either it was gone for good, that I’d dropped it in transit, or it was at the Burger King.

Because I don’t lose things.

I walked back from the commuter lot to the center of campus, grabbed that receipt and called the number on the front.

“I bought food there a few hours ago and I’m not sure that I got my card back. Do you have a debit card there by chance?”

“What’s the name, the girl on the other end asked back” and I knew it then, it was there.

“Oh yeah, sorry,” she mumbled. “Bring your ID in and I’ll give it to ya.”

“I knew it!” I said as I grabbed my things running out of the office again. “I don’t lose things.”

Except for that hour-and-a-half that I spent running around, feeling a lit bit crazy.

Worry (80/90)

For the past two years, school has been my life. My entire life.

It’s only this last semester that I’ve started doing non-academic things outside of school. And I’m not sure that you can call study sessions that sometimes turn social and reading groups non-academic, the most consistent of my non-academic activities.

But, I’ve said yes to a few invitations to dinner breaks, margaritas after classes and weekend get togethers; offers that I refused for a whole year-and-a-half.

I’m finally comfortable here. But my stay is almost over, and when it is I’m not sure that I’ll know what to do with myself.

The year break that I took between high school and college, for various reasons that I won’t get into now, was one of the worst years of my life; second only to the year that followed it, my first at USF.  

I was vulnerable and directionless.

In the time that everyone around me was beginning to “find” themselves, I was wandering about, eventually losing myself in murky waters while searching for something–anything– to consume me.

I don’t know how to live my live unengaged. I need to be all in, all the time.  

Thinking of the emptiness that will fill the weeks ahead nauseates me. With only an internship, which I’ve yet to secure, I’m sure to have free time. Too much free time.

Of course, I’ve got the blog, two of them actually, to keep up with. I’m also starting a summer reading list; a mix of classics that I’ve yet to read and a lot of modern creative nonfiction.
And I’ve picked out a healthy cookbook with recipes for one that I want to cook through since I’ll have the time and I’m ready to get back on track with my lifestyle change; complete with more cooking, less processed foods and consistent workouts.

But, that’s all I’ve got. And I worry that it won’t be enough. 

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Sticking Around For Goodbyes (79/90)

Today was another first of the lasts.

I've just settled back in after enjoying the Cardinal Communications end of the year picnic. Though a little chilly, we gathered outside at a picnic nook on campus to enjoy hot dogs and hamburgers, lots of sweet treats (my favorite was Kellie's fruit pizza) and each other's company.

We sat for a while chatting about internships, jobs and all of the projects and assignments we've got left to wrap up. And then we got awards. Most of which were pretty funny, but I'll have to say, mine is strikingly accurate.

"Unable to Function Without A Steady IV of Coffee and Twitter"

I mean, as was mentioned, I did put my friend in charge of my Twitter account while I drove to Chicago for our agency visits. Because four hours is too long to go without a Twitter update. And, it's true it's not often that I am seen without coffee, and there's a reason for that.

It was a fun afternoon and I found myself sticking around longer than I normally do. I even wanted to give everyone a hug as I left. But I didn't. I simply said my goodbyes in passing instead, assuring myself that we'd all see each other again. And we will, we've got two more weeks to spend in the office together, doing a little work while sharing stories, music and giggles.

But I'm bad with goodbyes that way. Most of the time I pretend they're not happening. That we'll see each other again soon, although I know that's often unlikely.

When I left Indiana for Florida, my youth group had a big party for me. Let me first back up and say that I never told anyone that I was leaving. Not one person. I didn't want to acknowledge it, so I didn't. But, it was a messy situation and world travelled fast anyway.

We sat in a big circle in the church annex and each of my friends said something nice about me. Some were funny, some were touching. But, through it all I sat there smily and emotionless. I made jokes as I walked out the door that last time, refusing to be flooded by the reality of the moment.

The same thing happened when I left Florida. I told only a few people and exited as quickly as possible. There was a big party at the gym complete with cake and presents. There were tears, but not mine. One my last day in the gym I laughed with the girls and gave them big obnoxious bearhugs.

It's always a see-ya later with me. I like to believe that soon enough we'll fall right back into step with each other.

But, my experience has proven that to be a rarity.

So over the next two weeks, I'll slow down and try to do a little better with my goodbyes.

Tomorrow (78/90)

I’m trying to write this before I take another dose of pain medicine and fall back asleep because the past few days have left me with some catching up to do.

But I’m not sure that I’ll make it.

I convinced myself that today would be better. Upon opening my eyes this morning, I realized that it won’t. Which may sound premature, but I know my body. Nearly eight years into this struggle I know that this is as good as it’s gonna get for today. At 9 AM I already know that getting to the mandatory "social gathering" I’ve got in Muncie at 2 PM will be a struggle. But, I’ll make it there, and I’ll be as much myself as I can.

I’m lying in bed with my heating pad turned up to high, burning my back. But it’s not helping. It hasn’t been this bad in a while.

I was certainly caught off guard.

I’ve stuck to my guns though. I didn’t call my mom—okay I did but hung up after a few rings knowing there was nothing she could do or say to help me— and I didn’t curse my doctor under my breath. I did cry, the one thing that by 10pm I couldn’t keep myself from doing.

I’m trying not to let this derail me though, as it so often does. My tenacity is born of anger and frustration. I’ve got to get through; to keep making it work because is no end in sight. I’ve got no other choice but to work through it.

There’s no probable solution.

Especially not for a 22-year old without a significant other and any plans to have children within the next few years. No good doctor wants to touch me; to start surgeries that would be necessary every couple of years without any real promise of a remedy.

And so I just hold on and convince myself that tomorrow will be better.

I hope that it actually is. 

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Grateful (77/90)

I've been in bed since I got home from a great day at IPRLS last night. And I'm pretty sure that I'll be in bed for the remainder of the day. Which is fine, because I've learned to make this work.

I've been trying to decide all morning, though it is now afternoon, whether I should be really open and write about what's real for me right now. I'm a pretty open person, I don't have many qualms about sharing things, even very personal things.

 But this, especially on the blog, feels weird for me. Which doesn't mean that I think it shouldn't be shared. It should. Because this is how I get through; finding and clinging to those that share. The struggles, the triumphs, the brokenness. The process; the reality of it all.

Yet, I still haven't decided, really. For today anyway. But I did decide against crying, calling my Mom-because she would worry, and muttering expletives under my breath about my new doctor.

In the meantime, I've been searching the blogosphere for the words that have already been written. And surprisingly it didn't require a lot of searching. For that, I am grateful.

So, I started a new folder in my google reader full of voices that will help to get me through when I can't find comfort anywhere else. And until I'm ready to share more, I'll share that.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Time (76/90)

 It's been a one-day at a time kind of week. I keep convincing myself that I’ll make it. Through this week, and the next, and the next.

 I've spent nearly two hours tonight just sitting in my room, doing nothing but bouncing around the Web. Catching up on my friends Tweets, status updates and blogs. I also listened to an interview on social media and marketing while browsing the sites of some local communications firms searching for internships and jobs.

I imagine that once this is all over in a few weeks this won't feel like wasted time. It may just be a normal grown-up night.

Just a month ago I would have withered at the thought of such uneventful evenings. (Because staying in the library until 3 a.m. accompanied by only by my Pandora station is so much more appealing.) Now, I can’t wait to have the time to do these little things without feeling rushed or guilty or wasteful.

I can’t wait until I’m free of the things that have lost my interest completely yet still require so much of my time and energy.

I’m starting to feel a little resentful, to be honest. So I’ve started saying no, without any hesitation, to the extra, last minute requests. Which is kind of a big deal for me. Especially if I keep it up after the stress begins to fade.

I, like many of us, have an issue with saying no. I offer more of myself than I am really able to give, and once committed, I find a way to give anyway.

And the problem with that is there’s never quite enough left for me.

I realize that this sounds a bit ridiculous and whiny, which wasn’t my intention. So, let me try to clarify.

The most precious thing we all have to offer is our time. When we go to work we are paid for our time. It is our livelihood.

Several years ago I read a book called The Five Love Languages, which helps readers to determine the way that they express and interpret love. The five love languages are: Words Of Affirmation, Quality Time, Receiving Gifts, Acts of Service and Physical Touch.

My love language, of course, is quality time. When someone takes time for me, it means the world. I value others’ time so much because I realize that when someone gives time they’re giving something that they can’t get back. They are, in essence, offering up a piece of their livelihood.

And that, to me, speaks volumes over the other love languages.

But that’s the thing; we’re not all speaking the same language. And I have to remember that.

The past couple of weeks I’ve just about given every free moment of mine away. Which leads me to two hours of nothingness during a busy week. This weekend though, I’ll be planning some time for me.

On the agenda: cooking a few healthy meals, reading  (no textbooks), writing before midnight and maybe even some kickboxing.

It’s about time. 

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

98 Percent (75/90)

I'm swamped tonight, and I haven't much time or energy for a whole lot. Which doesn't mean that I have nothing to share. I do.

I'm finally finishing up my 12-page campaign critique for Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty. Which, for the most part, I love. Dove's mission: To make women feel more beautiful every day by widening the definition of beauty and inspiring them to take great care of themselves, is one that I can totally stand behind.

For the past four days I've been reading poring through the  research of The Real Truth About Beauty study, in which Dove sought to explore what beauty means to women and why.

And the findings, though somewhat expected considering the overwhelmingly homogeneous portrayal of beauty in pop culture, were heartbreaking.

Dove collected data from a global study of 3,200 women aged 18-64.

One of the statistics that has been swirling in my head since I read it this weekend is that only 2 percent of women felt comfortable choosing the word "beautiful" to describe their looks. And I was disturbed by that fact until I wondered more about it and became angry.

Not being comfortable describing one's looks as beautiful is not the same as not feeling beautiful.

Comfort, in this case, is an external factor. It is my assumption that only 2 percent of women choose the word beautiful to describe their looks because 1. they look similar to what is what we are quick to call "beautiful" by societal standards, or 2. they are not afraid of the judgement of those that don't stand behind their personalized ideal of beauty.

And both of those things are great. But, the other 98 percent of us have work to do. We can only sit around and wait to be represented for so long. We must represent, proudly.

 One of the things I really appreciate about Dove's Campaign For Real Beauty is that it calls on real women to redefine and widen the definition of beauty.

So it's up to us. And time is of the essence.