Costa Rica part I! : Bichos y café y mucha conversación.

As a lot of you know, I’m in Costa Rica right now! Visiting my familia tica whom I grew close with while studying abroad and the 2 years of weekly Skyping we managed to keep up. They are amazing and I blush lots because I love them so much.

My Spanish is coming back pretty quickly. I should take to writing down new words, though…that might help.

I’ve been writing random little notes on my phone—written verbal processing, I guess.

I will proceed to dump those on you with minimal revision.

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Day one:

Upon arrival in Costa Rica, I had an unfortunate encounter with a toilet. An automatic toilet that didn’t flush on its own and when I clicked the manual flush, it flushed so long and with such gusto that the water just got higher and higher and I thought it was going to overflow. So I freaked the crap out and almost forgot my passport in the stall. So then I had an adrenaline kick and was super jittery for a good 15 minutes—during which I went through immigration, baggage claim, and customs.

I had a sudden overwhelming inundation of homesickness and I milled around my room hunting for my nightlight (yes I brought one of those) for an hour or so…I didn’t think I would feel this, but I think it’s mainly because I’m so worn out.

Day two:

I slept until real late and the first thing I did this morning was kill a cockroach. Then I met somebody without having brushed my teeth or made sense of my hair because everyone was hanging out in the kitchen and there is no other way to the bathroom from my room.

My Spanish is lacking this “morning.” (afternoon)

My host family were concerned the mattress was too hard for me. This afternoon, I was sitting at the table writing and I saw they were changing the mattress in their bedroom (I can see it from the table), and I suspected they were switching out mine with a softer one. When I ended up in my room again, I felt the bed, and sure enough. Ah well. It is comfortable, and softer.

 

Day three:

It was hard to sleep because my mind was too excitable.

I want to come to a place where I go to bed at a decent time and get up at a decent time. Maybe little by little I’m getting there…

I finally figured out the shower. It’s not like American showers.

Apparently May is cockroach breeding season. Apparently they eat fabric. I have found 3 in my room in 2 days’ time.

Today we went to my host dad’s sister’s house and we talked for a long time and she and her daughter-in-law M made us food and really good strawberry smoothies. M speaks some English and when we left, she told me something in English, and it was such a breath of fresh air—even only three days in. I disarmed very quickly, because I didn’t have to concentrate to understand or act like I knew what was going on when I only understood a part of the conversation.

I am not very helpful. -.-

I brought tea and coffee and we’re going to drink the coffee now. A little taste of home. I forgot how strong French Roast is. My host mom really likes the tea I brought them, which makes me happy. ^^

“Novela” in Costa Rica apparently means TV drama (think Korean drama). Luckily, my host family gathered that the “novelas” that I am writing are not those types of stories. (Very much not my thing.)

¿¿Qué demonios acabo de matar?? Translation: I killed something very strange on the wall. I don’t know if I’ll ever know what it was. (update day 4: I killed another one. Still don’t know what it is, as hard as I googled for it.)

Day four:

I can’t seem to sleep all the way through the night, or fall asleep quickly. I’m not sure why. I keep waking up and it is only after 6am that I can sleep through until 9 or 10.

My familia tica is trying to figure out what would help me sleep better. I’m thinking it’s more that I’m still in school mode and I’m used to being exhausted and being on vacation, my mind is wound a little too tightly. That or I’m eating too much too late at night, drinking coffee too late. Or I’m not writing or drawing enough to satiate my brain.

4th cockroach killed in my room.

My host parents and I talked about homosexuality today (I actually didn’t bring the subject up this time. It follows me.). They are very chill about the subject. It sounds like a lot of Costa Ricans are. :)

I love how parakeets and parrots live outside in Costa Rica and I hear them bickering and stuff from trees and buildings.

My spotify commercials are in Spanish…IT KNOWS

I JUST FINISHED DRAGONFLY!!!! My second book and the end of a series of I’m not sure how many books. Depends on how I decide to divide it up. Likely 3 books. I don’t know if the first one (The Bioroboticist) divides well enough to be two books, though it is big enough to divide.

5th cockroach killed in my room.

Day five:

In Costa Rica, YOU KILL BUGS.

Costa Rican Spanish has taught me a lot about the fluidity of words. They arbitrarily change words to include “tico,” “ito,” or “illo.” For example avacado = aguacate –> aguatico. “Tico” is also the name Costa Ricans call themselves, and I find that extremely adorable.

My familia tica were talking tonight and got on the a subject in which I explained how my mind works in needing to write all the time. My host mom said it was like a machine and I told them about my roommate and my joke that I’m and andoid, and as I was explaining more about my brain, she said something to the effect of, “You really are like a robot!” Which made me happy.

The “qué demonios” bug is some kind of black and white caterpillar with a dust bunny home. I think it’s more interested in wedging itself inside the wall than invading my bed.

Day six:

People walk all over the road in Costa Rica. Cars go fast, but they’re prepared for people.

I feel like I’m stuck in my own head a bit, not being as well spoken in Spanish as I am in English.

My host parents have mentioned my robot brain a few times in our conversations, especially when I told them I ended up staying up super late writing in a fit of inspiration. I think they think it’s both hilarious and concerning, my preoccupation with writing. They’re trying to get me to relax. I should get up at a decent time.

My host mom’s aunt brought cockroach killer. Yeeesss.

I’ve been listening to REVERSI by UVERworld on repeat today. I don’t know why.

I’ve already landed on a new project, but I’m mostly flirting with ideas, playing and experimenting and worldbuilding, as I now have two large novels to prepare for publication so I shouldn’t start hardcore writing on another. I’m hoping what takes shape will be very different than the series I just finished. My brain does not stop.

Checking in before I’m off again!

A short status update because apparently I haven’t posted in an entire month?

Wow.

Quite a bit has happened. The last three weeks of school were a blur.

A week ago today, I graduated from university with a BA in Biology with an English Emphasis and a Spanish minor. Two days after that, I received a phone call from my admissions counselor at Academy of Art University–the only art school whose graduate illustration program I applied to because it sounded too wonderful for me to want to go anywhere else–and I was informed that I got into the program! I’m going to graduate school to become an illustrator and a comic-artist! Needless to say, I spent the rest of the afternoon calling family and friends to tell them the news.

What this means is, God willing, I will be moving down to San Francisco with friends to find work and attend art school. I’m so excited for what this new chapter will bring.

I’m also soon to finish my second novel. I had meant to finish it before school ended, but everything got in the way. I’m taking it steady, making sure all the ends are tied, etc. My other novel is being torn apart again. I’m looking forward to what other projects will take shape this year.

And, finally, this post is so incredibly short and anticlimactic because I’m leaving for Costa Rica in the morning (middle of the night)! I’ll be spending a month visiting my host family, who I grew close with while studying abroad. We’ve been skyping almost every week for about two years and I’m super excited to be able to see them in person again. To share an entire month with them. Not to mention this time around will not be my first time traveling alone or outside the country, so I’ll be considerably more at ease.

So the rest of tonight, I’m finishing up preparations and I’ll try to get some sleep sometime in there. I’m not looking forward to my 6am flight or the 6-hour layover, but I’m excited.

Adventure is afoot.

Stress is gray

Undergraduate senioritis is so much worse than high school senioritis.

I’ve been carrying around a can of Red Bull for four weeks. But I haven’t yet found circumstances dire enough to willfully consume this failsafe. I feel like whatever I need to be able to pull through the remainder of this semester, caffeine and taurine’s not going to cut it.

I have been drinking a lot of coffee, though. But more as comfort food.

I’m not so much sleep deprived as utterly and completely burnt out. At this point, I think I’m too far gone for any stimulant, direct or indirect, to be able to remedy that.

It’s time to get psychological, I think.

When I think of doing homework, my insides shrivel up and it feels like every bit of life housed in every one of my body’s cells is opposed to the concept of fulfilling my academic duties. But it’s just homework! What’s the big deal? Learning is good. I like learning.

But this semester’s been hard, and these days, I really can’t be bothered to care enough.

The scary thing is, I felt the burnout last semester, but my reluctance to devote time to academics stemmed mostly from an acute need to further my creative pursuits. This semester, I still have the need, but the motivation to do anything is declining fast.

Bedtime is my favorite time now. That has never been the case up until this point. Two weeks ago, I legitimately woke up in the morning and thought, disillusioned, that I would have to go the entire day before I could crawl back into bed again. Which was quite unnerving to me.

I don’t want to do homework, but I find myself not wanting to do anything else either. Not writing, or drawing, just nothing. That and the very definition of my existence does not compute. What happened to “I’ll sleep when I’m dead?” What happened to actively pursuing coffee dates with friends? What happened to spending time outside or making time for people? Playing video games and practicing backflips when the weather’s nice or drawing cartoons until the sun comes up?

Gradually, I see the world of “boring adults” in a different light.

Prolonged stress. This is what it does to us.

If I could use a color to describe myself right now, gray is the color I would name. Without hesitation, without deliberation.

Gray.The color of stress, of fatigue, of burnout.

I find myself wasting a lot of time, sitting still for hours on end doing nothing of consequence, never fully fixing my mind on anything for a particular span of time. I think I need to keep better tabs on myself. Not create a meticulous schedule for myself per se, but make sure I’m engaged or that I’ve deliberately disengaged instead of dismally floated off into a stupor, or cycled through social medias three times in a 10 minute span.

I feel like my current way of doing things is slowly killing me. If I’m avoiding something, I should deliberately avoid it and do something that will keep my mind off it and recharge my courage a bit instead of letting the looming obligation constantly suck energy out of me. When I decide to work on it, I’ll work on it.

But I do wonder if I have the energy to do this. To simply not sometimes, instead of fill the fatigue with noise.

Perhaps I can pull it off.

I know this state is temporary, because I’m peace-ing out in three weeks and moving on to new things.

Until then, the remainder of this semester stretches before me like endless nails on a chalkboard. But perhaps I can find gratification in work completed instead of endless distraction.

I want to be excited and optimistic, make the most of the countdown.

But I’m not making much out of anything right now. Only making myself sad.

And I’m not usually willing to accept things as is, so I think there has to be a way to fix that.

Still, if all else fails, I’ll be free in three weeks.

Speaking up

I care far too much of what people think of me, and perhaps this post is one of the first public manifestations of a long string of minor subterranean adjustments. That finally I am willing to bare my soul on this subject, knowing full well that people will read this and will disagree, and may feel compelled to tell me in no uncertain terms.

To that, I say I hate arguing. I refuse to engage in a passive aggressive Facebook-comment-esque fight over politics and ideologies. But I do want you to think. To extend a possibility that some of you might not have considered.

I only ask that you make no quick judgments as you read this. Not for my sake, but for yours, and for the sakes of the marginalized. For this whole battle of technicalities we are engaged in, which is pulling us further and further from the real focus.

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Society is changing. Some aspects for the worse, and some for the better.

I personally consider the feminist and LGBTQ movements to be among the better.

Why?

Because, man or woman, straight or otherwise, we are people. Human beings. As a culture, we are moving to find and embrace whatever we are, whoever we are. To get to know ourselves and assert our value despite being misunderstood. We do not fit in a preconceived box or align well with dominant culture. And that is valid. We are valid. Because God says we are.

Believing it for ourselves is harder, though, and that is why I think the major social movements of our era are so incredibly important.

Because God cannot be contained in a box. Should not His people also transcend boxes?

But we are warned about being like the world. Left to our own devices, humans tend toward destructive behavior and we must not compromise ourselves and blend in too much with the dominant culture. But, to some degree, sanitized, Christian, evangelical culture has become like a secondary dominant culture.

And the dominant cultures are still unaccepting of marginalized groups (which isn’t a new phenomenon). We still tend toward forming sanitized, gated communities and wondering why the outliers are so averse to that. We get so stuck in our ways of thinking and doing things that we get too comfortable and stick to what we know, to the detriment of those our systems don’t take into account.

But where is the line between compromising our moral standards and being even remotely relatable to real people? How much is our in-group mindset and how much of the alternative are we better off embracing?

Isn’t lifting people’s spirits good? Isn’t convincing them they matter good? Isn’t it good to fight against cultural and racial and ideological barriers that tell people they should be who they clearly are not, and whose persistent denial is serving no productive purpose?

That is not to say we are to baby people and only tell them what they want to hear. Because that isn’t loving. That’s lame and patronizing, and counterproductive. I’m not saying we should avoid setting people straight when necessary. But we must really think hard about what we’re trying to set straight and decide before we hurt someone whether it is something that really needs to be fixed.

“What feels right” is a term scorned by the conservative, evangelical community I grew up in. But there’s a lot of truth in it. “What feels right” is a valid starting place. Follow your heart, your head. But follow God. He’ll work with you in the spots He’s not cool with.

Learn, grow, keep an open mind. Dare to be wrong for a little while in search for what’s really true. Because I know for a fact that God is very much not cool with stagnancy and marginalization.

But am I getting desensitized? Desensitized to the blatant depravity of the world and its devices? Buying a lie? Slipping to the dark side?

The Holy Spirit lives in me. God guides me, and watches out for me. And right now, I see our sticking to our guns—our conservative, men and women have their places, gays will tear the world apart mentalities—as doing so much more harm than good. It is divisive, and smells too much of “I know your place. Here, let me put you in it.”

The territory’s uncertain, so of course we’d be apprehensive, but we’ve come a long way as a species. And maybe the world will come to ruin. In fact, unless drastic intervention takes place, I believe it will.

Because I see the signs everywhere:

Violence, dehumanization, objectification, and abuse.

No desire to understand, no empathy, no selflessness. No care, no time,

Addiction, destructive sexual habits, destructive relationships.

Unspeakable things done to other human beings out of greed.

Ignorance, arrogance, spite, entitlement, exploitation of the defenseless.

I don’t see self-acceptance, validation, empowerment, protection, or equality fitting into that list.

Anywhere.

If anything, the very social movements I see pushback against are in part solutions to the problem—persistent humanization and validation of people as people, and support as they search, as we all are, for our identity.

In my ignorance, I once invalidated the very people I now defend. And I regret it. I pray that I never do that again. That I never be the person to tell someone their feelings and experiences are invalid.

I pray that I will be open-minded, patient, flexible, and brave. That I will be able to distinguish the key components of my moral compass at all times—that God’s business is God’s business, and love trumps absolutely everything.

I pray that we not become, or remain, “Pharisees,” freaking out about doctrine and technicalities so much that we miss the point and reduce people to mere problems. To poor, misguided souls.

I follow God. The wild, confusing, benevolent, persistent God.

I believe technicalities are not nearly as important as a person, and I will always do my best to keep my current biases and prior conceptions out of the way.

I believe the push for gender equality is so incredibly necessary. For the sake of everybody, not just women.

I believe the LGBTQ community needs to be welcomed, respected, and embraced. They are not a threat to the world order, or to the human race. In fact, we could learn so many things from them about honesty, identity, courage, and self-acceptance.

I believe the American church has some wires disconnected, but that they are beginning to reconnect. I believe we can repair this ostracization.

I believe that men and women are different only in genetics—and the physicality and hormones that arise from that—but that the differences have no bearing whatsoever in their roles as human beings. Biologically male or female or in between, we can be whatever the heck we want to be.

I don’t doubt I have more to learn. I will have more to learn until the day I die and then some, but for now I don’t want to be right.

I want to be real. I want to be useful and nurturing and understanding.

Because maybe all those prayers that this generation would open up their eyes are working.

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I know for some this must be extremely uncomfortable to read. By now, you may be feeling an odd twisting inside your chest, a direct challenge to what you thought was cut-and-dry, a discomfort with the subject and a temptation to retreat and hold to what you’ve already figured out. I have felt it many many times along this journey. We just want things to be black and white, right and wrong—but there are far too many factors rendering such simplicity impossible.

So thank you for making it to the end of this piece. Even if you ultimately don’t agree with what I have said, I appreciate your time, attention, and your willingness to think about this.

Because in such a revolutionary time, there can be no complacency.

There can be no “us” vs. “them.”

Ventilation

I always wanted to be a prodigy. I easily took to things, and if I liked it, I practiced it obsessively.  My phases were rife with flares of thwarted, perfectionistic fury–until I achieved proficiency, at least. I wanted to be the youngest, the reliable, the extraordinary. Not the best, necessarily, but undeniably impressive.

Yet I always seemed to come late to things. Gymnastics, for example. I cared little for the sport until the 2004 summer Olympics. After a single night, something arose from within me, and I knew this was going to become a key passion. Something that would mark the rest of my childhood, perhaps even my entire life.

But I couldn’t enroll in classes right away. My friend did, though, and whatever she taught me, I practiced constantly, relentlessly. Finally, at 12, I was able to start recreational classes. In a fortuitous string of events, I was admitted onto the level 4 team. The typical profile of level 4 gymnasts was 8-10 years old, and under 5 feet tall. I was 15 and 5’5″. I can only imagine what my coaches must have been thinking when they decided to give me a shot. I struggled and fought my way through conditioning. I had such a long way to go to build the muscle necessary to support my adolescent frame, while the younger kids were downright feathers. But despite any pain, frustration, and countless ripped blisters, back problems, and aching muscles, I loved it. And I progressed quickly. In two and a half years, I was training to compete level 8–though the demands of my senior year of high school and college preparation drove me to step out of the sport earlier than I had planned.

Gymnastics wasn’t the only late-manifesting obsession. My interest in drawing became preoccupation when I was a sophomore in college. It not only rose to prominence as a main hobby, but completely changed my career focus. I spent the summer after that year drawing from noon to 5am every day, with the exception of the month I studied abroad in Costa Rica. Sometimes I look back on that time and think to myself. I’m insane.

Science and writing are the two exceptions to this trend. I’ve always been a science nerd, and I’ve been writing fiction since I could piece together words.

Essentially, I need a forte, something to be really good at, along with a network of subsidiary proficiencies. I need to have something constructive available to constantly channel this persistent, nagging drive to pursue and create–a drive which has led me to writing, drawing, crocheting, unicycling, gymnastics, book-binding, biology, Spanish…among other things. My overarching journey of self-betterment and spirituality interfaces with and informs this need as well, but it seems to have its own distinct category.

And sometimes–these days especially–I wonder if my life would be less stressful if I wasn’t trying to pursue so much. In fact, I know it would be.

But my key pursuits are like ram ventilation: I have to keep moving to breathe. Like a shark. (Maybe I’m a shark.) And school has always imposed itself as an appreciated/hated mandatory reality, so it doesn’t quite count for me.

This need to find something to work toward and live for is not uncommon. Perhaps this is something sharks and the human spirit itself have in common. We can’t stay still. Except, with humans, our ram ventilation can get misdirected and land us into very deep trouble, or we run into trouble trying to quell the feelings of suffocation of having stopped. Some humans never learned the necessity of continual movement. Some came to a deliberate halt.

Some, like me, can feel the pace accelerating to a speed far beyond what we are perhaps capable of handling. But we try anyway. We angle ourselves directly into the flow and let the current buffet us. And it’s too much–so much that, interestingly enough, we can’t even breathe sometimes. Moving forward in such a torrent can strain and weaken us until we start to break under the pressure and pain of holding on.

We know we can technically step out of it, find out what it actually feels like to have everything stop. Sometimes suffocating in the cessation looks more appealing than continuing forward.

But we don’t remove ourselves. We stay in the current. In the pain. In the overwhelming hydroelectricity.

Because, despite the pain, it’s still worth it.

Because this is breathing, dangit, and we feel alive.

We feel alive.

Lines Crossed

Andrew sat rooted to the bench outside the principal’s office. Dead silent. Shoulders hunched forward. A scowl intense enough to melt steel trained on the wall across from her as she held a tissue to her bloody nose.

The setting sun threw yellow shapes on the hallway floor from the end window. Andrew kept an eye on that window. If any of John’s stupid posse of wannabes showed up to taunt her through the glass, it wouldn’t matter how emphatically she’d been ordered to stay put. They’d wish they were roadkill when she’d finished with them.

But Andrew would go from probably-grounded to dead-and-cursed-forever when her mom showed up if that happened.

Knowing Andrew’s luck, her mom would arrive the moment she took to beating the crap out of them. And Mom would bring Derek too. Sullen, noncommittal Derek, whose black hair always draped over one side of his face like a funeral curtain. Her adopted brother would have a heart attack coming upon the moment justice was served, and that possibility was the only thing obstructing Andrew’s full conviction of annihilating her idiotic, self-righteous peers.

Why did she wear “boy clothes?” Why was her light brown hair so short? Why didn’t she chase boys and talk about makeup and have really any friends? They asked too many questions. Never in an effort to understand, but to constantly peg her as a freak and a disappointment. Andrew already knew she was some kind of misfit without them rubbing it in her face.

Did it matter she didn’t care about what a lot of 12-year-old girls were “supposed to” care about? Did it matter that she didn’t have a crush on anyone? That her hands bore impressive calluses and she could outrun eighth-graders?

Andrew had tried to be civil. She’d tried freaking hard to be civil. But John and his friends became more and more unbearable by the day. They belittled her, scorned her. Especially when she fought back.

And finally, that day, all the way through the punch to John’s face, all she could think of were her mother’s words. Violence doesn’t solve problems, dear one.

But it was a beautiful sucker punch. And the sheer horror on every one of their faces—especially John’s—was worth the fight that ensued.

The principal just happened to be looking out his office window at the time.

Now Andrew was probably facing suspension. She guessed she was a perfect anti-example of her mom’s pacifistic advice. Mom would be frustrated, maybe even disappointed.

But maybe now they’d finally understand that she would not be pushed around.

Even if she had to break each of their noses twice, they would learn to respect her.

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A/N: A small scene from one of my characters’ childhood. Her tolerance for jerks has substantially plummeted since then, but she puts her angst to good use these days.

The Prolific Writer Type

It didn’t take me long to learn that there are many types of writers. The prolific, the not-so-prolific, those that are good at beginning things, good at ending things, good at short stories, good at long stories, those that write all the time, those that struggle to feel motivated to write hardly at all. The list continues.

I am one of the prolific writers. Perhaps infuriatingly prolific writers. Who churns out pages and pages of content seemingly without significant obstruction.

Because, quite frankly, I am obsessed with it. Not that other writers aren’t obsessed. Writing is hard. We all have to be obsessed with it at least a little to make it a part of our lives.

For me, if I do not write almost constantly, I get heartsick. I tense up, I get restless and unstable and lose my ability to concentrate on anything else. The longer I put it off in favor of homework or other obligations, the worse it gets.

Usually, I take an afternoon/evening Friday sabbath and an all-day Saturday sabbath each week. Friday is to do whatever the heck I want to do as far as wandering around outside, going out to have coffee with friends, watching movies, that sort of stuff. Saturday is writing day. A time to satiate this fundamental, burning need. I’ll spend all day writing, editing, storyplanning (and drawing, because when I say “writing,” storytelling may be a little more accurate).

If you want a better chance of getting me out and about, talk to me on Friday.

Because Saturday is writing day.

Saturday is writing day.

But when my schedule consistently does not permit this? I hate it, for one. Absolutely despise it. It’s cruel and unfair and I cannot get myself to accept such a state. If anything, other things adjust to make room so that writing may remain constant. Other needs suffer in the long run, not writing.

Because there is always a point where it will not be denied anymore. It just takes over.

Like clockwork, this day ends up being Sunday, when I actually need to be working on all the homework I’ve been neglecting. But I can’t do anything until the weight is off my shoulders, out of my lungs, my heart, my brain. I am literally tied up until I have devoted at least a good 2 to 3 hours to some form of storytelling. (Usually through writing/doodling) But even then it’s not enough. Sure, it’s enough to put it off for a little bit, but I can still feel the need, slowly welling back up, constricting my throat, cutting off my ability to think or look at anything as more than a waste of time and energy–even when I value those other pursuits.

(In fact, this blog post is probably a prime example of the manifestation of this writing need taking over when I should be devoting my attention elsewhere, even after I spent a good two hours writing this afternoon.)

I am very seldom at a point where I can purely focus on homework. When I have nothing else needing to be drawn or written. I do homework to get it done. Sometimes I enjoy it. And I hope I learn as much as possible from it. But when it starts obstructing my ability to write, by either sucking up too much time or too much energy, it has severely overstepped its boundaries and needs to learn its place or I will kill it. (I’m at that point right now, actually.)

If anybody has ever envied my writer type, know that it’s a stressful existence. There are few other desires. All time is time to write. That is all I ever want to be doing. It interferes with schoolwork, with taking in new stories through reading/watching things, it dictates my social energy levels and interest. It’s a factor in pretty much everything I do. I cannot relax unless I have time to write. I write because I can’t not.

I can’t function without it. It is breathing. If anything interferes, it is suffocating, draining, panic-inducing.

Perhaps this is why I’m trying to make telling stories–writing, drawing–my career. So I can sustain myself financially the same way I sustain myself emotionally and psychologically.

And 8 weeks remain of my undergraduate degree. 8 busy, writing-choking weeks.

So far, the prevailing phrases in my vernacular are “I can’t be bothered to [fill in the blank].” and “I quit.”

I guess we’ll see what happens. Graduation is going to have to take place at the end of this semester–I will literally not stay here any longer than I have to.

Because I have stuff to write, dangit.

Prioritizing, writing, and biology stockroom surprises

Just rolling by to assure everyone I’m still doing this blogging thing. Even though my posts have dwindled to bi-weekly and consist more of life updates than philosophical musings or cultural commentary. (It will come back sometimes, I swear.)

Life’s just busy. I’m adjusting. I’ve regained some sanity, so far.

And for some reason, my entire evening opened up last night to work on my art school application, so thank you, God. I hope to get it finished within the next couple of weeks. Then it will be completely off my plate and I will be free to not worry about it anymore.

Trying to get over myself is working, maybe. I keep having to remind myself that when I don’t have time on one day, chances are I’ll have time on another day. And if I don’t have much time, I can make time. Anything I can neglect a little in the next week or so will not jeopardize my chances of graduating. I’ve pulled some mediocre exam scores so far, but I don’t care enough and they’re decent, so I’m moving on. I still don’t like prioritizing, but I’m coming to accept it.

It’s probably for the best.

My written endeavors are not suffering too much, though I haven’t really been able to spend whole afternoons writing. Most nights, I write a little before bed, which enables me to whittle away at things and keep that necessity consistent even when my classes get demanding.

I’ve come to find out this week that if I just sit down and bust things out, stuff gets done way faster than when I mill around whining about everything I have to do. (Wow.) So I’ve been trying to do that.

My advanced human anatomy class has been dissecting cadavers the last three weeks. I’ll probably comment on that in more detail sometime later. It’s been interesting. Yesterday during my biology stockroom shift I picked up a supposedly clean bucket left out to dry, and I got an unexpected sickly sweet whiff of preservatives. Cadaver preservatives. It gave me lab flashbacks. Anime style, probably.

Thus concludes a poorly-organized life update. Moral of the story is I’m still going and things are generally going well. I would like to extend a thank you to my friends and family for being so supportive. You make me feel like a cool person and pet me empathetically (or set me straight) when I don’t. Your love, words, time, and encouragement mean the world to me.

Coping with Transition

I am on the line between seasons again. And, as I’ve come to find out, struggling hard during these transition periods is a bit of a trend for me.

Right now, I just want to go, but my classes are determined to hold me here, demanding far too much work, threatening to sabotage my ability to apply to art school, to further my creative pursuits, to possess any sort of joy in my current efforts. I’m having to devote a troubling percentage of time and attention to a waning season. I worry that this percentage is at the expense of the season to come.

I write lists to keep my head clear. Last week, writing my list for the next day sparked an emotional breakdown.

I drag myself out of bed in the dark, trying to convince myself that skipping early morning class is a bad idea.

As I receive two additional assignments in class, panic rises in my throat.

I trudge back up the stairs to my house in the rain, exhausted, shoulders forward, gaze distant.

I think about the weekend and I want to cry again. What weekend? What rest? What respite?

I sit closed off in my room, trying to rise enough above the anger, depression, and stress to work on the elicitors of these emotions. Because I need to study. I need to sleep. But I also need to prepare.

I sleep, but I’m tired. I feel like I’m barely treading water, legs cramping, lungs burning. I begin each day with low energy, and I end it even lower. Breakdown low. I-can’t-handle-anything low. How am I to prepare when dealing with the daily routine of classes and work take almost everything out of me?

Trudging to and from, feeling stepped on, dragged around. Am I just supposed to take it?

I oscillate between brief sparks of “Bring it on.” and much longer fits of “I hate everything.” It’s hard to cram pages of human anatomy in my head when I hate everything.

I don’t want to be optimistic.

I’ve fallen so many times. I don’t want to give up. Due to some inner compulsion, I can’t stop completely. I feel like I can’t do this, but I have to. Because I’m so close. There is no other option this close to the end.

So I have no choice but to pick myself up. As if on strings, dragging myself up from the ground, from the depths of utter desperation. I stop sobbing. I stand up and creep to the mirror. I look at my damp, red eyes, and the futile fatigue in my face. I go to sleep. I start again.

I don’t want to be optimistic. I don’t want to lie to myself. I don’t want to pretend everything’s fine, like I don’t feel trapped, cornered, dominated. I want to be honest with myself and this pain.

But this is not who I want to be—angry, thwarted, pessimistic, so stressed and emotionally unstable that I only want to skip beyond the next three months of my life. What do I do then? Plaster a smile on my face and blatantly lie to myself while my heart fractures under the surface? Let the darkness take hold and drag me down to become something I never wanted to be?

I can’t pretend this doesn’t exist. I can’t run from this if I don’t want to drown.

I’m not necessarily afraid that I will not be able to pull it off. More, I am afraid that I will manage to do what is required of me, but that something much more important will be lost to compensate. That things I need at the forefront will inevitably fall through the cracks. That something will break again.

I avoid conflict, but in matters of my own life and wellbeing, I can be stubborn. Incredibly stubborn. To the point where studying even 2 hours for advanced human anatomy feels like giving in. Listening to an arrogant opponent laugh and taunt me, its foot pressing down across my neck. But I have to submit anyway, however livid, because I am proud and I want good marks. I refuse to let this semester take me over, but my weaknesses are being exploited and I haven’t been handling that well.

Perhaps this is training for reality. Life isn’t fair. I can’t expect it to do what I want, but somehow I expect it anyway. And I’m angry and hurt and disappointed when I can’t control anything or have my way.

I thought I fully dealt with that life lesson in gradeschool…but I guess not.

Over the last two weeks—in which I neglected to post a blog update because it would be pure rant (this is only partial rant)—I have decided that it’s ok if I break down. It’s ok if most days are hard and I just hate everything. The only thing that matters is that I maintain the ability to pick myself back up when it’s over, to take more care to recognize instances—however fleeting on some days—when I am happy despite everything looming over my head. To pay attention when I’m doing ok. Appreciate the fact that I’m still going. Still trying.

Also, it would probably be good to get over myself a little bit.

(Or a lot).