Thursday, August 28, 2008

Thoughts On Rainstorms

I do know where rain comes from. I understand the the two-day downpour we were subjected to started perhaps with mere changes of temperatures out on the ocean, a clash of winds that end up spinning themselves together and moving across the water and towards land according to the sheer whim of mother nature. There was no intent behind the rain, it was totally indifferent to where it was dumped. All the same, it is hard sometimes not to feel that God must be trying to wipe us all out again, no matter what promises were made. it rained and it rained so much I could hardly believe it. It felt endless and damp, very damp, no matter where you went.
And yet, rain always clears eventually. Storm clouds cannot linger indefinitely. We were graced once again by the return of the sun this afternoon, and the blanket of humidity has rolled back over us. I like rain, but the most reassuring part of a rainstorm is when it finally clears.

I believe that this applies to both physical and metaphorical storms. I strikes me how sometimes both of them intersect, for today I feel as if more than one kind of cloud has been blown away. It is so very reassuring, particularly because the good weather never lasts. So, it is good to know that the bad weather never lasts either. It is very easy to get overwhelmed, and the words "responsibility," and "time management," and "homework" keep swimming 'round my head. There are plenty of things to pull you in so many different directions here, which is perhaps the difficulty of this much freedom and opportunity. One has to keep in mind that sleeping and eating are necessary to keep functioning. Balance is a very precious thing that I am chasing down, trying to stay sane... I want to make the most of this, not to let time slip away between the lists, and the meetings, and assignments. I want to know people, to sit around on the grass, learn how to play guitar, and write, write, write, not for any assignment but because I want to. It is a delicate balancing act, but I have always been afraid of falling off the tightrope wire. Sometimes I wonder if it would be as bad as I fear...

I am listening to the Shins for the first time in months and it is bringing up such visceral memories of last year. The memories, (vivid snippets of the places I used to go, the people I used to see, the way I used to feel) are so strong it makes me regard with wonder how I got from there to here. The past still seems so present and near, how can I have moved along so quickly? How can things be so different than they were? I think that I am also realizing in what ways I am different, and the same, and how much growing up I still have left to do.

However philosophical and reminiscent I get, though, things still happen one day at a time. One day at a time.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Fear of Drowning

So ends the first day of classes: me sitting in my room, trying desperately to interest myself in the minty new, five pound Biology textbook in front of me. I try reading with a highlighter in hand, an attempt to focus on key phrases, not to skim idly over the words. I make lists, obsessive lists. Lists of assignments, lists of things to buy, lists of things I forgot and need to ask my mother to send me... Lists make me feel better. The beginning of the semester is exciting and a little terrifying. The same old insecurities arise when you read over the syllabus, listen to the grading and attendance policies, take a gander at all the work you'll be expected to do over the coming weeks. Weeks that will fly by faster than you can bat an eye. Can I handle this? Am I smart enough? Will I be able to work past that stopped-up, shy throat to speak my mind in front of all these people? (Something I wonder if I will ever truly conquer). How hard will this be, really? All questions that dog the mind as you meander from destination to destination and scribble out lists. Yet these doubts are the flip side of my desire to succeed. It is a fear of drowning that makes me swim so hard.

Yet... life is more than lists. Life is sitting in the sun reading a poem you don't understand; life is listening to the happy chatter of the girls down the hall; it is listening to the poetry and soul of the people around you. It's sort of magical and inspiring and intimidating. I think, "Who the hell am I? What have I done?" Then it occurs to me that I could just as easily ask myself, "Who do I want to be?"

I can't decide if I like being with people who are just beginning to know me. It's a little exciting to present yourself to people who do not have preconceived notions about you. On the other hand, I miss the trust and confidences of the people who know me so well... people who I know already accept me implicitly. I try to come back around to my own sense of identity and faith in myself. Don't compare your insides to other people's outsides, I tell myself.

Who do I want to be? I want to be me and not worry about being whoever that is.

Friday, August 15, 2008

Here I Am

Well, here I am. On campus, at school, moved out, moved in, and all that jazz.

I am trying to sort through the past few days. I'm having trouble because there is more than I feel able to process at this time. It is much easier just to go along and not think about it. I know I have to hit the highlights for all those who are waiting for some news of me, and my general well-being.

I am well. I love my room, have a very personable roommate, and a nice quiet hall (so far). I have had more orientation activities thrown at me than I know what to do with. So many things, so many issues, so many details to settle. It's nutty, I feel so overwhelmed with information. And people! Lordy Lou, I have met more people in the past few days than I know how to keep track of. I have already made some fast friends, (wonderful, wonderful people...). I love orientation weekend, though, because everywhere you go all you hear is, "Hi, what's your name? Where are you from? I'm so-and-so..." It's really beautiful and exciting.

Lastly, the view from my window is perfect. The campus is so beautiful and I can hardly believe that I am lucky enough to live somewhere so beautiful.

It still feels a little surreal to be here, and to be on my own. It feels so right, though. I feel as though I've stepped into the life I've been waiting for and that was waiting for me. There is no doubt in my mind that this is where I am supposed to be right now.

Now I can't wait for classes to start...

Monday, August 4, 2008

The Right Thing

I think it is funny, funny, funny that I write that I am in love when (many months ago) I wrote something about the state of being In Love. Mostly it is funny to read that, to look at my helpless wondering, my not-knowing. Even funnier to realize that I am up to here in exactly what I was wondering about, and I still don't have a clue.

But I would like to talk about a different love affair. I've mentioned it before, I think. This very blog is one giant testament to it, in fact.

Yes, it is the written word.

Now, I may be rehashing a point that I have already made, but I always come back around to it. Always. Writing and studying the writing of others continues to challenge, inspire, and comfort me. Writing is therapeutic, it is what I turn to in times on confusion and distress... And yet it fulfills much more. Writing strikes the deepest chord for me, it is the lens through which I see life. It shows me truth in it's most honest, poetic, and sometimes brutal form. I believe absolutely in the power of the written word to change peoples' lives. Writing and reading leads me to understanding, even if it is to understand how little I really know. I do know that I will unquestionably, unwaveringly love words (and putting them together just right) for the rest of my life. In the midst of uncertainty over the future and those half-joking, half-serious remarks about the relative (non)usefulness of an English degree, my love of writing is still the most driving certainty in my life right now. I want to write and I want to study the writing of the greats. So, I see no other alternative than to act on it. That is exactly what I am off to do at this beautiful new college of mine, and it is right. They say that the right thing is not always the easiest thing. I am feeling that right now. This is not easy, none of this is very easy. It is, however, right. Whatever comes with it, whatever comes next, (the good, the bad, and the ugly) well...

I will write about it.