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Archive for the ‘deep thoughts’ Category

Failure

Posted on: 11/12/2011

I am one.

I blame the system! The man is getting me down!

… Actually, school is eating my brain. Over the past couple weeks I’ve had two group project presentations to prepare for, and one ginormous assignment to do. Once I finally finished those, I barely had brain waves enough to enable me to function on the most basic level.

Y’all, grad school is a whole ‘nother animal. I’ve been in school for almost 20 years total (oh dear sweet Jesus, that is depressing) but I don’t ever remember feeling physically exhausted upon finishing an assignment or a class session. Now, that’s a regular thing. Once I finish a class meeting, I feel like someone has literally taken out my mind and strrrrrreeeetttttccchhhhed it just as far as it will go, and then put it back in. I continue to be amazed by just how much stuff the information science field encompasses, and how much I need to know and be prepared for when I become a practitioner instead of a student. I came into this thinking I needed to learn how to have story time for kiddies … things like collection development, censorship and intellectual freedom, computer systems, management, ethics – none of that ever entered my mind. Not to mention my newfound interest in reference librarianship!

And another weird thing? Although the work itself is certainly not easy, doing the work is easier. It’s endlessly fascinating and I enjoy what I’m learning and I’m so eager to learn more, the act of getting my work done and going to class is easier than it was in college or high school. I’m trying my best to finish up and graduate as quickly as possible, but I could easily stay another year and just keep taking classes. I actually felt disappointed at how many classes were offered but couldn’t be squeezed into two years.

What have they done to me, you guys. Who have I become? I DO NOT EVEN RECOGNIZE MYSELF.

That day.

Posted on: 09/11/2011

You know the one. Every generation has one, that day, the one you can ask about and no one needs to know which day you mean. For our generation, it’s 9/11.

I think about it every year on the anniversary, I’m always aware of it, but this year it’s different: this is the tenth anniversary. I was only thirteen years old in 2001. In some ways it seems like it happened just yesterday; in others it seems like it was ages ago. In any case, I remember that day.

It was a Tuesday, an ordinary one. I don’t recall any drama that morning, so I’m fairly certain we all woke up on time and got to school and work when we were supposed to. I think I was wearing one of those Old Navy flag shirts, although I don’t remember for sure. It was my 8th-grade year. Right around this time, exactly ten years ago, I was sitting in my language arts classroom. The teacher, Mr. West, was one of my favorites. It was right around 9 AM, and our teacher’s daughter, who also went to our school, came to the door and said a plane had just hit the World Trade Center. Mr. West didn’t believe her, insisted that couldn’t have happened. He stopped what he was doing and turned on the TV, and there it was. He didn’t even have to change the channel to find it. According to this site, the first plane had hit at 8:46 and the second at 9:02; we heard the news and tuned in sometime shortly after 9:02. For some reason I remember looking at the clock, but I can’t recall exactly what time it said.

We all just sat and stared at the TV. You could have heard a pin drop in that classroom; I doubt it’s been that quiet either before or since. It’s hard to put into words what I was thinking and feeling at that point. No one seemed to know exactly what had happened, or why, and at first I believe I was thinking oh no, what a horrible accident. Of course, it didn’t take long before all the newspeople began talking about terrorists. This may have been the first time I’d really heard of a terrorist, but I didn’t need to ask anyone what it meant.

At first, I watched all of this – footage of smoke billowing over the New York City skyline, people wandering around covered in dust and soot, papers flying through the air, planes buried halfway in the sides of the towers – with a kind of detached sorrow, similar to what you might feel when you drive past a wreck on the road. You can see something bad has happened, you feel sorry for those involved and hope they’re okay, but it usually doesn’t touch you too deeply. That’s how I felt at first. As we continued to watch, however – as the first tower collapsed, as we heard about other hijackings, about the plane hitting the Pentagon, rumors of more targets – that detached sorrow became a very real, deep horror. I couldn’t believe what was happening, and I certainly couldn’t process it all. Before we left that class, our teacher turned off the TV for a moment to speak to us. He seemed just as shaken as I was, as I’m sure we all were. He told us not to worry and assured us that we were safe. I didn’t really feel that was true.

The rest of the day we moved around the school as usual, but there was nothing usual about it. Every classroom had the door open and the TV turned to the news, and I vividly remember the silence. Everywhere you went, it was so quiet. Even the cafeteria had a hush over it, as if we were afraid to be too loud even when we could. No class took place that day; one teacher (a social studies guy that was pretty much universally disliked already) made us turn off the TV while he taught, but none of us heard a word. We were just angry at him for making us miss out on what was happening and eager to get into the next class to see what was going on.

I always walked to my mom’s office after school. It was only a couple blocks away, and in my small town I was never scared. That day, I was. I think I half expected to look up and see planes flying low overhead. I practically ran down the sidewalk, and when I reached Mom’s office I burst through the door and gasped out, “Did you hear?” Of course she had; no one could have made it that far through the day without hearing. That evening my family went to my aunt’s house where we all sat – my parents and I, my little sister, my aunt, uncle and baby cousin, and my grandparents – and kept watching the news. I think we all wanted to be together. That’s all we did for weeks after, watch the news. I’d never been interested in the news before in my life, and now I couldn’t get enough of it. I don’t remember how long it took us to go back to watching anything else, but it was a long time.

The Internet will most likely be inundated with people’s memories and stories today, to the point where I’m sure some will be really tired of hearing about it. I don’t think I’ll ever tire of hearing the stories, and I think if we ever stop telling them, we’ll be doing a disservice to ourselves and to those we lost. Everyone who was old enough to have a memory of that day has a valuable story to share; none of those memories are mundane or commonplace. Where were you? What is your story of that day?

It’s mah birfday!

[Well, it was when I started writing this post.]

[Yeah, I haven’t posted anything in a long time. Shut up.]

Another year older, wiser, prettier. And that last one is not only my opinion, it’s Boyfriend’s too. So ha.

I haven’t yet reached the point where birthdays are depressing or otherwise bothersome. I still get excited, I want to celebrate and have others celebrate with me. It’s fun having a day all your own. I have this philosophy about birthdays, which I’ve had for a long time … how long exactly, I don’t even remember. I believe that you should spend your birthday (as far as you are able) in a special place, with people you love, doing things you enjoy – wherever, whomever, whatever that may be. It’s kind of like that New Year’s superstition that says something to the effect of whatever you do on New Year’s Day shapes the rest of your year. It’s similar: if you have a good birthday, you’ll have a good year. I’ve done well in practicing that philosophy today. I spent the day at home – and really, where is better than home? Nowhere, that’s where. I’ve never gone on a vacation and not found myself looking forward to being home again. I spent the day with people I love – Sister was enjoying her billionth snow day, so we were home much of the day, and I spent the evening with the family, Boyfriend, and one of my best friends. It was particularly good to see my friend, because it’s been about a month since we last saw each other and that is just entirely too long. We used to be roommates, and it still feels so wrong not seeing each other! We got lots of quality time talking babies (she’s due in May!) and I got to squee over her baby bump (so cute!). And of course, I’m always glad to steal a little time with Boyfriend. I always heard people say long-distance relationships were tough, but I had no idea how tough it really was. There was a lot of silliness and hugs, both things at which we excel. Time always flies like you would not believe when we’re together.

Ahem. /mush

As for the last part of my philosophy, doing things you enjoy – besides spending time with the people I mentioned, I got to bake and decorate my cake! Most people probably think that baking your own birthday cake is either pathetic or depressing, but for me it totally isn’t. I love to cook, but I especially enjoy baking, and I’m always glad to get an opportunity to make something yummy and try out a new skill; in this case, I worked on a method of cake decorating I hadn’t done before. Nothing too elaborate, but cake decorating is something I’d like to get really good at so I’m trying to learn a little bit at a time. Plus I got a new cake pan for Christmas (a giant cupcake!) and all I needed was an excuse to use it.

Cute, right? I know! (Ignore the runny white icing. I goofed on that a little.)

So I did that, plus I chose to have one of my favorite dinners, and I wore an outfit I am particularly fond of. Not a bad way to start off a year, if you ask me. Then, of course, I got some adorable cards and some gifts I like – but the day would have been just as good without the gifts. I don’t know if I’ve always been this way, I can’t remember from when I was younger, but at least for me now I’m not terribly preoccupied with birthday gifts. (Don’t get me wrong, I still like them – so you don’t have to stop gifting me. Wink.) I think it’s partially due to the fact that my birthday comes so close after Christmas – so I just got a bunch of stuff and I haven’t yet gathered a list of new things I’d like. But really, and this is going to sound so cheesy so I apologize in advance, just having people to celebrate with me, people who care about making my day special and letting me know that I’m loved, that’s the best part of birthdays.

Hey, I told you it was going to be cheesy. You can’t say I didn’t warn you.

There’s always the obligatory birthday reflection, too. Does everyone do that? I always find myself thinking back over the year, remembering the highs and lows, trying to determine if I’m different in some way today than I was this time last year. 22 definitely had some highs – I finished my bachelor’s degree (that statement totally feels like a big fat lie, bee tee dubs), I met and fell for Boyfriend, I got my driver’s license. It also had its lows but seriously, nothing thus far can even come close to beating the Great Crohn’s Disease Flare of 2009, so the lows aren’t worth mentioning. I think I’ve grown and matured in the past year; I actually feel like a real live adult occasionally. I’m happier with myself in many ways than I have been for much of my life. As far as 23 is concerned, I’m not at all certain of anything it might bring. I’ve got some prospects and possibilities on the horizon, I’ve got things I’m hoping for and things I’m dreaming of. I am fairly sure that 23 will see graduate school and me striking out on my own a bit. There are so many things I want to do, places I want to go and things I want to see, things I want to experience and accomplish, milestones I want to reach – it seems like the list gets longer every day. I’m scared of that list. But as I say goodbye to another birthday and hello to another year, I think I’m more excited than anything.

You guys? You guys. I took my last undergrad final this morning. You guys. OMG.

Ahem. Anyway.

I didn’t plan to go this long without posting anything, but as you may have heard, my brain has melted. And there is just so much stuff to do at this point in the year, you know how it is. I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir here.

Here’s my thing, as far as school is concerned. I’ve never had nothing to do before. If it was during the school year, I had classes to go to or work to do, always some kind of work to do. If it was a break, I knew I had another semester starting soon. This is uncharted territory here. Once I leave work tomorrow, that’s it – I literally have nothing to do. I’ve never been in that place before, and it’s just a tad scary. Especially since I don’t have a job lined up yet, although I have turned in one application already and plan to look for more. And once you start working, you can’t not work. I pay for my phone and it’s not cheap, but you probably know how that is too.

That’s such a first-world problem, isn’t it? I’m afraid I won’t be able to pay my cell phone bill. And my diamond shoes are too tight, wah. But there it is, and it’s an issue. The cell phone, the gas for the car, the toothpaste and shampoo required to retain my status as a human. I’m a little stressy right now.

But it’s Christmas, so really, how sad can a person be? If that person is me then the answer is, not very sad. I love Christmas, y’all. Which I believe I might have mentioned already. I was thinking about it the other day: what about Christmas makes me so warm and fuzzy? And I think I’ve figured it out. It’s the light. Think about how much light is associated with Christmas. Lights on our houses, lights on the trees, lights in the windows, lights in our yards. Even though the days are short and it gets dark before you feel like the day’s even started, it’s never dark during the Christmas season. And really, that’s what it’s all about, isn’t it? Light. Welcoming the light. Spreading the light.

Just sit back and chew on that, now why don’t you. I’m deep.

because I’m brilliant. I thought this would be a good one to end NaBloPoMo, which I have enjoyed doing even more than I thought I would – it ended up being a little easier than I expected, too. But just because November is ending, that doesn’t mean the posts are! Now that I’m in the habit of posting more I’m going to try to keep that going. Thanks for reading! 

One day a few weeks ago, Twitter blew up with the hashtag #tweetyour16yearoldself. I could not resist this one, I had to throw something into the mix. It took me awhile to think of something, but here’s what I finally came up with:

@ladybug_155: Enjoy being single right now, high school is easier that way and it won’t last forever. Your time will come. #tweetyour16yearoldself

Aww, boo-hoo-hoo, right? I know. But in all honesty, that is probably what would have brought the most comfort to my 16-year-old self. (And my 17-year-old self, and my 18-year-old self, and my 19-year-old self …) I loved high school, but it was rough watching everyone around me have romantic relationships while I didn’t. I know now that high school really was easier being single, and I also know that probably not everyone was dating, but it certainly felt that way at the time. But this is not the only thing I’d tell my younger self if I could. Here are a few more possibilites I could have considered:

@ladybug_155: That guy is probably gay. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: Suck it up and get the driver’s license, you pansy. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: I wouldn’t make fun of online dating so much if I were you. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: Try out for the solos. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: You’re as skinny as you’ll ever be right now, so stop whining. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: Hug Papa more. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: Don’t be so quick to dismiss blond guys. You may have to eat those words. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: Talking won’t actually kill you. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: Your girls will still be your girls even when you’ve finished college. Good choices. #tweetyour16yearoldself

@ladybug_155: When your digestive system starts going crazy in a couple years, TELL SOMEBODY. (Also, Google “Crohn’s Disease”.) #tweetyour16yearoldself

What would you go back and tell yourself, at any age?

I don’t have much to say tonight. A very dear friend and truly one of the loveliest and most wonderful people I know lost her mother today. It was a tragic accident, something I know their family wasn’t prepared for. My heart is aching for them, and I don’t know what to say. I turn to writing, to words, when I can’t communicate in any other way, but sometimes there are no words. Anything I might say would only be the same thing everyone else has already said, and I know from experience that after awhile you don’t even hear it. This level of pain can’t be described, so why do we feel like anything we might say could help ease it?

Sometimes bad things happen to good people for no reason. All I know is that tonight I am thankful for who I have. Go find the nearest person you love and just give them a hug. No words necessary.

Visibility

Posted on: 11/02/2010

I don’t have a lot of experience with disabled kids, or disabled adults either for that matter. When I was in elementary and high school there was a special ed class at my school, but most of us rarely had any contact with those students at all. And if I’m being completely honest here, I’m not totally comfortable when I’m in a situation that throws me into close contact with a disabled person, because of my lack of experience. Now of course, I’m talking about people who are dealing with an obvious, visible disability. My boyfriend technically has a disability, and some would argue that with an invisible chronic illness I do as well, but in both cases it’s nothing you can see by looking at us.

Here’s where I’m going with this. Yesterday was November 1, the day after Halloween. When I got to work in the morning I logged on to TweetDeck and looked over the tweets I missed overnight, as I always do. A blogger that I follow, Tanis (known as the Redneck Mommy), had sent out several tweets that really touched my heart. You see, Tanis has a young son who is disabled. He was abused as a baby and as a result is physically and mentally handicapped. What she was tweeting about was her experience taking her three children trick or treating. (She also wrote about their evening here.) Her youngest son, known as Jumby, can’t eat candy because he has to be fed through a tube, but of course she still wanted to include him in the holiday and the family outing. But many people in her town wouldn’t give Jumby any candy. They didn’t see the point, since he couldn’t eat it. They wouldn’t speak to him or interact with him, choosing instead to pretend he wasn’t there.

What would I have done if this family came to my house on Halloween? I hope I would have come down the steps with candy for Jumby and spoken to him just like I would have to any other child. And because I feel I know this family through reading the blog, I’m pretty confident that I would have done that. But what if I didn’t know the family? Would I have been able to get over my own discomfort long enough to think of that child who deserves to be treated like any other child, that mother who longs to see her baby included, accepted and loved for the sweet child he is? I wish I could say I would, but I’m afraid I might not.

This is something I’ve thought about on occasion, especially when reading the Redneck Mommy’s blog or others like it. I don’t think anyone expects to parent a child with special needs, but those babies are born every day. There’s no reason I couldn’t someday find myself in that situation. What would I do? How would I handle it? I’m sure I would love my baby for the mere fact that he was my baby. But how would I cope with the added stress, the extra difficulties that come with caring for a special needs child? How would I react when someone ignored or mistreated my child because he wasn’t what they expected to see?

I just don’t know. But what I do know is that things like this shouldn’t happen. In this day and age our society ought to be more enlightened than this. All children ought to find love and acceptance, because there’s plenty of time for them to grow up and learn that the world isn’t always a nice place, especially when you’re different.


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