Saturday. 5.11.13 9:55 pm
It's day five and they tell us to pair off with someone with whom we've connected on a deeper level, and to take a walk and talk about our goals. I mention aloud that I have no idea who to partner with, and the person beside me suggests we just go ahead and partner up. We've really just met for the first time, and it's great timing, because I've just seen a major change in myself.
We walk down the gravel road to a dock on the water, and he leads me through the tall grass to a bench that looks over the lake, and it's so incredible and peaceful that we lose time and end up nearly missing our next session. I pour my soul out about some things. It feels normal. It isn't.
That night, we spend a good amount of time together with everyone else, playing games, dancing, talking outside in the late summer chill...and, walking back to our cabins, we make a pact to get up before everyone else and go for a run, which turns out to be a long walk that I wish could take even longer. We end up leaving off around 7:20 to shower and get ready for breakfast, and then sit together while he sips at coffee--cream and sugar, by the looks--and I munch on fruit and some dry French toast.
This week changed me, and it was entirely not because of this person. We met on the fifth day, after I'd already become someone entirely different, so he doesn't even know old me. I feel like my body is twenty-one but my mind has just been born.
I cry at graduation, with about sixty people I met less than a week ago. We have five families, each of which have spent so much time together, really talking and being honest with one another, that it feels completely normal to say that we love each other. When our family leader has us up at the front with him, he tells us in front of everyone--voice cracking--that we filled an enormous void in his heart, and we circle around him right then and there, all eleven of us, arms around each other, and we just cry in front of everyone, and they're crying too, and it's all so euphoric and honest. I'm halfway between a laugh and a sob the entire time.
The ride home is quiet and introspective. Clif and I are in the front seat, across the row from someone with whom I originally thought I might end up forming something romantic. He lays down in my lap and rests his eyes, and it doesn't occur to me until later that, before this week, that wouldn't have been something I would offer--and that, before this week, my mind would have been on the other person, rather than the open soul resting in my lap.
I think I relearned humanity and vulnerability, this week. It's so hard--after living through years of rejection, half truths, complete lies--to put myself out there and just let people see me in my entirety, but I'm so glad I had the opportunity to do that, and that people just...were. They didn't place judgement on one another, they didn't express hate...it was just all peace and appreciation.
I told Andrew, who was sitting behind us, that he should just trust that people are being sincere. He was texting someone he just met and really found interest in, after having a hard night of serious doubt about reciprocation. Clif nodded emphatically, but he doesn't see things through my lens, so he can't possibly know how ridiculously new this all is to me. I've never before told anyone to trust that others are sincere. I've never trusted in that.
On top of all these amazing, new things, I scraped my knee for the first time since I was probably seven. I wrestled with people, and laughed until I was crying, and didn't feel any need to impress anyone. I have a bruise the size of my forearm on my leg from being boosted over a twelve foot high wall, and several people told me it was beautiful and that it looked like outer space.
So it goes.
I'm not releasing my grasp on this new trust in people, so I hope you're ready for my honesty.
And I'm so ready to get back into town after California and see him again.
only because apparently this puts me in good graces
Tuesday. 4.30.13 10:25 pm
Since I'm going on a retreat on the 6th and not coming back for a week, then taking like THREE DAYS before heading to California for a week, I'll update now.
Nothing is new, really. I've been having a stressful day--like, the type of day where my eye starts twitching during a meeting because people are that terrible and aggravating. I had to use all the will in me, today, to keep myself from pulling a guy's trachea out through his anus because he kept making jokes that trivialized the situations women are actually put in on a regular basis.
So there's one more professionalism session I'll have to bring to a club that shouldn't need it. He was jokingly complaining about how we only have one guy on the board... Well, mate, you're really giving us a great reason to reduce that population even more.
I saw my ex-boyfriend, yesterday, and I think he made an attempt to smile at me. I had many things I wanted to say. Namely, "Don't try to push your horny repentance on me; I don't want to look at you, much less feel obligated to smile at you. You're not coming back into my life, not even as a three-episode guest star."
If you leave, stay gone. If I ask you to leave, stay gone. After either point, I don't want you back without a big old "I was wrong and here's how and here's what I've done to change."
Without all that, I'm just getting back into my same shitty situations, and that just isn't me, anymore. I don't know why it ever was. I guess I was afraid of what it would feel like to cut someone out.
--For the record, liberating. Liberating is how it feels.
I'm excited for the retreat I'm going on in a few days. At the meeting, I looked around, found some friends to sit with, then saw this guy I've been admiring from afar after he called out and waved to me--so, he's going, too, which is exciting, since we'll be out in cabins for a week. Kind of rustic romantic. I hope. Unless my giant gay antelope keeps making jokes about the two of us going out into the woods and making out. And then it will probably not be rustic romantic.
Weird how, at this age, you make the closest friends by threatening to kiss them BUT NOT ACTUALLY KISSING THEM because that is not friendship.
BECAUSE THAT IS NOT FRIENDSHIP, she screams at her past.
But anyway yes, here I am turning my leadership training into a romantic comedy. Watch me go.
I accidentally spoke French during my Spanish oral. Twice. She asked about changing my last name after marriage, and I gave her my usual spiel (just in Spanish)--it's weird how women fundamentally change where men don't, with marriage. I mean dude, "Mr." was originally the abbreviation for "master," and "Mrs." the abbreviation for "mistress." A LITTLE OLD FASHIONED?
I don't like my last name at all. It's traditional Irish, which typically means it sounds like something icky (like Doherty--sounds like a word you could use to describe your spit) or a bar (but really we were famously drunk long before they started naming bars after us), so I'm not exactly loving it. But I'd rather keep it than change so fundamentally. It's all about equality. I'm hoping that, if someone ever proposes to me, we're both standing and looking each other right in the eyes.
I'm not here to tell you how to do your marriage stuff. I don't care how other people do it. Some people enjoy the tradition. Some people don't have the same priorities that I do. That doesn't mean I'm wrong, and that doesn't mean they're wrong, but when people try to convince me to be less strict about my own beliefs and principles, it's half past time to fuck off. I get that a lot. "But it's just your last name." No. "What if your husband really wanted you to--" Spouse, first off, and second, I really want whoever I marry to be cool with me riding a motorcycle, but that doesn't mean it will happen AND it shouldn't be something that ruins an otherwise solid marriage. Also, maybe I want my spouse to change his/her name (I don't, but). Ever think about that? Well THINK about it. Quietly. Over there. "You might change your mind when--" Yes, obviously, thank you for your input.
I'm all good with people asking questions. "What would happen if you married someone and it was extremely important to them that you changed your last name?" for instance. Valid question, but kind of invalid, when you think about it, because I definitely don't attract that type, with my rampant feminism and aggressive activism.
I feel like, usually, when the person you're marrying is known for, oh, I don't know, immediately responding to "We all count" with "WE WILL NOT BE ERASED," and telling men to get out of her house when they try to use offensive sexist terms, you already know what you're getting into.
And it probably kind of turns you on.
Anyway, that's that. Don't marginalize minorities or be a sexist poop this week okay? Also stay away from the mindset that activists are too over-the-top, because really, friends, everyone under that top is doing jack shit for the movement and it's never an easy battle.
Oh and the person I'm admiring from afar shared some knowledge, on Facebook, this week, that I was especially happy about (in fact, one may say that I freaked out on seeing him post this), because I've studied this in-depth and it's one of my favorite psychological THINGS. So, it's connected. Enjoy:
"'Repressive desublimation' is a term German philosopher Herbert Marcuse employs to describe the process whereby people unknowingly give over their liberties to tyrants in favour of material or sensual satisfactions. At first glance, the term seems oxymoronic. Why? Because in Freudian psychology, 'sublimation' refers to the process whereby a natural human drive (eg sex) is transferred or 'sublimated' into a more socially acceptable form (eg film or music). 'Desublimation', however, posits the reverse. Itís when the subject is allowed unrestricted, direct access to their desires (eg porn, rape).
"By attaching the seemingly contradictory modifier of 'repressive', Marcuse thus challenges common sense to come to terms with the potentially repressive effects of desublimation. In other words, when the gratification of immediate material and sensual needs becomes the prevailing concern of men, then the ideals of freedom and democracy have no chance."
Weird source, but explains correctly.
what it's like to be a chair
Sunday. 4.21.13 10:09 pm
I think we all kind of understand the tendency of cats to lock onto and spend the whole night rubbing on that one person in the room who has a deathly feline dandruff allergy. That's what cats do. They find the person who doesn't want anything to do with them, and they express their love only for that person.
Children are my cats.
Disclaimer: I love children. I think they are wonderful. But, I have no urge to have children, personally, AND being around them makes me kind of nervous, for some reason.
They realize this and run, full speed, towards my unwanting arms.
Yesterday, there was a local fireworks show in my hometown, and I was up there for the weekend, anyway, because SURPRISE I'm turning 21 on Tuesday. So, I decided to go with my friend Meagan and her family (I asked my mum to come, but she didn't want to)--and Meagan has two younger sisters, but the older of the two has met me, and the younger I assumed, correctly, would be shy.
The problem was the friend. Meagan's sister was sitting in her lap, so her sister's friend comes waddling over, assesses the situation, and then decides to plop down into my lap like it's casual freaking Friday, and I freeze and look at Meagan with an expression that roughly read, "WHAT. HOW. WHY. WHAT."
So I'm about to be like, Yoooo where is your mommy and daddy, when the punk turns around and goes, "You're pretty."
Fast forward fifteen minutes, I'm explaining why the moon matters to us to a complacent little girl in my lap. I'm trying to keep it simple. "You know at the ocean, how the tide goes in and out?"
"The moon makes it do that."
"Oh. That firework was really close to the moon. I hope it doesn't blow it up."
"The moon's pretty tough, I think it will be okay."
BUT IN THE MEANTIME CAN YOU NOT?
The parents came and found her, after enjoying the fireworks show--they didn't care. I didn't really think it was that bizarre, either, but that's mostly because of the constant stream of babysitting job offers I get from total strangers. I'm not kidding about the cat thing.
Something about me and kids, man. They know.
So that's your fun fact for the 21st of April.
Thursday. 4.4.13 8:48 pm
Any given person would define my town as a city. We have an awesome downtown area, a great nightlife, and the traffic to match--not to mention the squished-in population and huge hoards of tourists. I guess, at first, people kind of take that to heart: A lot of our new students' parents get worried about their kids living in a "city environment," not only because of the crime (which we do have), but because of how overwhelming they think it might become.
This whole city knows damn near everyone. If you're out there for more than a couple days, you'll have a network bigger than what you'll know to do with. We have movie nights in the giant local park with all our favorite vendors (and yes, the whole city loves very specific vendors), and we have amazing restaurants with photos up of all their favorite guests--and some of these places give their frequent customers free drinks, pasta, and whatever else they feel like. We sit down and talk to our guests, at the bed and breakfasts. We hear stories about depression, and marriage, and childbirth, and a billion other things that you wouldn't expect to hear from strangers. You can run into anyone you know, in the shopping district--even people you didn't know were visiting. Even when you're also just visiting. And city people walking around the busy streets always remember to smile when they make eye contact with a passerby, because that's just us.
That's the south.
I used to think that my life was meant to be spent in New York City, or San Francisco, or somewhere...you know. Big. Busy.
There's just something to being able to sit out on the piazza in a big rocker, a glass of sweet (and I mean sweet) tea to the side, katydids whirring all around, and watch the sun go down. It's slower, here. People smile and make conversation and get involved with strangers' lives and conversations. We are what we drink--extra sweet.
And I don't think I appreciate it enough, sometimes.
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