Two kids who thought it would be cool to walk to the Farmers Market on empty stomachs and that self control would totally kick in (some egg rolls, lemonades and a cinnamon roll later).
Organic, healthy fruits and vegetables… Riiiigghhhtt.
So I *thought* I trashed a post about seeing The Limineers, because it was too wordy and needed outlined. Turns out it was posted mid-sentence. Yay, new phone.
Ever since we were in high school out west, Joana has always been my most spontaneous friend. Now that she lives one hour east of my college town, I can still expect sudden contacts and a good time. This time, I had one night’s notice that Jo wanted to pre-game before she went to the Limineers concert.
I imagined I’d have maybe two drinks and head to work, where I do phone polls and create my own hours. A half hour before meeting up, she asked if I’d like to see the show for free. I panicked, unsure if I could afford to miss the work and still meet my minimum hours. All in all, I decided this is one of those crazy things you do in your 20s.
Jo came with her brother, six years older than me and just as chill as her. He’d tried unsuccessfully to over-sell two extra tickets to the sold-out show, which especially failed when the venue changed to a bigger space and more tickets came up.
After our third bar we decided the openers were probably done, and we’d drank enough to enjoy the show without buying $5 shit-beer. Then, we met up with the other friend Jo invited - a 30-something guy named Chris who decided he’d buy us both a shot at a fourth bar before walking to the event center.
Fun fact about me: I really suck at alcohol. I’m good at cocktails, I’m building a tolerance so I no longer go for sole-sugary drinks. But straight shots? Nope nope nope. I usually get away with, “Oh no thanks, you guys do a shot without me.” And in general, people aren’t assholes. But when a guy you just met buys you a shot of Powers Irish whiskey out of the kindness of his heart… well I can’t whine about it.
I’ll be honest, it took me two throw-backs. And I felt like that cartoon who has fire coming out of his ears. Alas, I also didn’t waste someone’s money, whine about my low tolerance or cause a scene.
The concert was pretty great. Despite me only knowing two of their songs, The Limineers do one amazing show. It’s hard to explain to my parents that their love of bluegrass/mountain music is more similar to what’s popular now than that stuff on country radio. So instead I try to live that love for them.
After the concert, Joana’s brother only had pizza on the brain, which was perfect. Instead of drinking to oblivion, my body totally just starts wanting food. We also reunited with Joana, who had left in the middle of the show to use the restroom and didn’t get her space back. We didn’t get a cool shot at the show, but we did get this at the pizzeria.
It turned out that with Memorial Day week, my weekly hour minimum was four hours less than usual. And, even though I had to pay by doing surveys all weekend, I’m pretty proud of myself for the spontaneous and memorable night.
There was a hiatus, first because of finals, then craziness with a friend’s college graduation, my brother’s high school graduation, a wine festival and some trips in between.
What was supposed to be Sarah’s graduation day, until rain.
Oh and I got a pixie cut.
And to be honest, for the first time life just felt so worth living that documenting each moment didn’t seem necessary (disclaimer: not counting my Instagram).
It’s been insane, and by insane, I mean those few golden days that you look back on years later and realize that you didn’t know anything then but wouldn’t change for the world.
I came here a few weeks ago, wound up with a saved draft due to graduation prep (which is also way intense and reminds me why we don’t do weddings yet). I came to say how turning 22 was the scariest, most unwanted shit ever. I was scared. To death.
The boyfriend kept trying to relate to my funk, saying the hard part is the “decisions.” I kept getting frustrated because 1.) I’m still an angst-y teen sometimes and just no one gets it and 2.) Why couldn’t I explain this? So we talked this over with our
good friend saint Kevin, who looked at me and said, “nothing’s in your control.”
RIGHT? Doesn’t that just blow your mind? Your body could be fighting a war all of its own, and you don’t even know it yet. Your dad could die tomorrow. The “decisions” and “responsibility” is fine. That stuff is, to some point, controllable. I am capable of living in an apartment my whole life if that’s what pay allows. It’s what you can’t control that increases with age, that feels like a burden over a blessing, that has frozen me up every chance at writing in five weeks.
The good news is, that day I came here to whine, my mother needed me to set up tables and chairs and those fears weren’t published. Later, people that mattered showed up in my back yard to wish my brother well. And after the ceremony, I said I’m “proud of you” on the field without bawling (disclaimer: my eyes hadn’t been dry up until that point).
The next night, before I headed back to the daily grind, we grilled with my parents before sitting around one of those back-yard fire pits (which you should buy every person you know whose having a summer wedding and/or yourself because it’s mobile a campfire for your freaking back yard). We asked all the questions: from how Dad proposed, to what that last campfire with my uncle Kelly was like.
All stories I’ve heard a hundred times, but now I hear them differently, because my parents just stopped being Mom and Dad and became these 20-something to 30 to 40-somethings who had things they couldn’t control every single day. But they don’t have this burden of keeping a marriage with kids, family and occasional heartbreak from the real world. They just, have each other to get through shit with.
And then I looked over, and realized the way the fire light was hitting Dad’s face, you could see the whiskey causing him to sweat. Then I realized it was a tear, rolling down his cheek, and for just a moment, I gaped. I’ve been taught it’s not easy my whole life. That there’s hard work involved, so don’t just get excited about a wedding, because that’s not what it’s about.
But I took that to heart too far. I forgot the joy. The promises. The excitement. Having someone who loves you, with no end. It’s so huge, it’s one of a kind. On the converse, when you got it, fearing it isn’t how to hold it.
Relishing in last minute sources, awesome critique from my professor on where to go and counting down this week’s reflection papers.
I have never drug my feet more during any dead week/finals week. I had zero motivation to write my self-analysis last night and had to wake up an hour and a half before class to write my final story. Which included quotes I’d finally gotten yesterday (I’d scored my main interview last week).
Maybe it’s because my last story included two sources who just would not call me back until the day before my deadline, and now I crave the deadline rush too much. Maybe I’m just weary, which scares me since this is all very applicable to real life. How much can you blame on senioritis, if this is exactly what you’re doing out of college?
Nonetheless, my prof gave it a read and some great advice, making me see my work in new light and want to answer all those questions. One more stretch. No reason to collapse now.
I have The Script on the brain today, clearly.
My week was pretty relaxed, with the exception of that one exam today and that one surprise quiz tomorrow. It might not have been such a surprise if dreary days hadn’t made it so hard to get to this one class. Everyone has that class at some point.
Still, I have a meeting to study with a classmate and the worksheet in tow. I think I’ll be OK.
Everyone over at Facebook is freaking out about the fact that it’s snowing outside, as if it hasn’t snowed every consecutive year in April, with the exception of last year. To be honest, that freaked me out more than the cold weather now. Besides, wearing a pea coat with my hair in a tight bun one more time makes me look more put together than careless, and no one needs to know I was awake a whopping 10 minutes today before leaving the house.
If I can just push through, I’ll be OK. More OK than I make it appear at times, because I rant silly things and think I’m poetic, and really, it could be much, much worse. It would be nice to go to sleep tonight knowing we had no explosions, weird mail sent to our leaders or any of that anarchy just one day this week. And it’d be nice to wake up tomorrow and not see a 1,000,000 Facebook posts with political agendas when the one thing this place is lacking is just love for each other.
Alas, that’s what us college idealists are here for, the same way those silly college idealists spoke loudly some 50 years ago. Those silly, hateful geese will leave the nest someday. Right?
But not scary, tonight.
I want it to consume me, all of me.
I want it to scream uncertainty and doubt, and pour out the trials and attempts, the chances taken that don’t end with success stories and don’t answer much, except it all must be meant to be.
Then settle down, stop poring everything out and just lightly seep into a cool early morning.
I know that was super mushy. I just get so doubtful: whether I do enough, where I’ll find myself and how much I’ll regret.
It’s amazing what solace I’ve found in thunderstorms.
I never know if selfies here are appropriate, but other blogs do it, and then I like it (see: Tam has no self esteem).
So, yesterday was my last of FOUR presentations between FIVE group projects this semester. I also experienced three of my first group-project horror stories. In a partner project, the guy asked for my number but didn’t give me his, emailed me THE DAY before the presentation with what HE made and sent it in PDF - AKA unchangeable format. When I demanded to make changes, he emailed me back at about midnight.
In the second, we had a great group and presentation, but the prof didn’t like our paper. Though we were able to redo it, it left us scrambling for more info a week after the fact. And in another, the group worked great and communicated well, just for the editor to knock us all in peer evals.
The silver lining, for me, is always presentation day. I like looking professional but modern. Taking a dress I’d wear out with friends, adding a blazer or cardigan, some tights and heels or boots. It’s my inner girl wanting to look good in front of people, the chance to put my hair down and tame it for once. Then, standing in front of people showing off what I just spent weeks stressing over, and looking DAMN good doing it.
I’m probably crazy. But hey. It’s incentive to work hard and look presentable, while presenting.
Currently reading: “Outliers” by Malcom Gladwell
Even after two teachers required it, Sarah got through it fast/enjoyed it AND Danae said it’s a must, it was hard to pick it up solely because I don’t do well with required reading.
But one chapter in, and holy hell. It takes deep sociology and makes it simple. It goes against everything I was ever told, but makes so much sense. And I love it.
It has come to my attention this semester has been different in both the life and reporting. My heart and soul is dedicated to getting the sources, stories and enough information yet again. The big differences are 1.) I’m full-on enterprising for a grade now 2.) The grade doesn’t come after multiple discussions with editors, but rather a draft only myself, and perhaps a friend have edited and 3.) No Pay.
I see coworkers from the school paper in the halls who act like it’s been years, because I’ve put budget meetings on hold — I can’t sit in a room and repeatedly not take stories, and I can’t take stories because advanced reporting comes first, with all its lessons and demands.
That’s not to say my mind quiets. It asks, repeatedly, if I should explain to professors that I’m taking a while to learn things and that’s not in my control. It focuses with intent on guest speakers who mention creating a voice on blogs and twitter. With each post to social media, it wonders if this time I’ve said too much, if this is a bridge I’ve burned by posting as a 22-year-old just-making-it-by heart-on-my-sleeve kid with no secrets, instead of the studious, student journalist with a byline.
Maybe this isn’t what I signed up for — not voicing opinions on the hours of subject matter I research, being afraid of the words learning disability or burnout appearing here, because of the damage it could do. This sentence could ruin me, right? Admitting I question, day in and day out, every fabric of what I study, because that could show a lack of enthusiasm, and that is not the presence I should display.
I finally started at about 3. I worked on some reporting for the school paper’s Endowment issue, a commitment made weeks before my advanced reporting obligations, that even among recent pressures, I don’t have the heart to drop. After that, I forced myself to take my notebooks and just write.
I outlined. I never outline. But I needed the organization, now. And it didn’t seem like it could be 7, 8, 10 p.m. And the paragraphs got moved around, most important information at the top, mere opinions at the bottom. Holes I never thought of here and there, and thank God she allows rewrites, and oh the people I’m going to contact first thing after handing this in.
And then it was done. And my head is heavy, and I want that pizza, and this has an oxford. But it’s written. And after all those hours, I still don’t know.
I don’t know if last night’s tightness in my chest and extreme dizzy vertigo was just my own creation or reoccurring I don’t know if I’ll let future babies be tucked in by daddy while I go report someone else’s baby’s fatal car crash at all hours of the night, or if I’ll take an advancement at a research company because it’s comfortable, or if something even more unknown and exciting is waiting.
What I do know is, the light became dark, and I focused and edited, and read just one more time, and couldn’t stop there, because I had to come here to write afterward while I still had energy.
I am here. And whatever got me to this point won’t ever be in vain.
Love and toleration are two very opposite concepts.
You may not be rude to someone. You may not hate them. You just think differently than how they live. So you wouldn’t vote for them to have rights that you have. But you’ve never called them names or anything.
That’s not love. That’s toleration. You can tolerate it. It can exist. It just doesn’t deserve what you have.
If love means treating everyone fairly and holding personal judgment back, if each major religion’s major concept is love, how could politics ever get in the way?
If my God is love, and love prevails, I’d much rather choose to love everyone than simply tolerate their existence.
But when reading the further analysis of the case (in text not the video), I had to commend the law officials who promised to investigate witnesses who neglected to report the crime, and officials who may have known about it.
And then, this morning, I read this. And I screamed for joy, as if the story was about me in any way at all. I even called my mother to relish in the joy.
Let me shoot it straight: Two girls decided to threaten a now well-known rape victim. And their local law enforcement said it is not OK. We know that threatening a victim is not OK. Now, we have officials to enforce that.
In so many ways, this story is about too many people I know, as well as myself. It represents a very small, not-even-close to rape incident that I reported in 9th grade. It involved leaving school via the back door because girls who were very upset, very convinced I’d ruined this boy’s life, waited around for me by the main commons area. And when half your class knows you’ve just called a boy out for violating you, even when minor, the last thing you want is to be beaten up and have more light shed on the matter.
This is about any girl, like one who confided to me, that took one wrong turn at a party and was raped. She never reported it - the attacker was too beloved by his peers and town. Speaking up seemed worthless.
In my hometown, nobody asked what motivated boys who distributed sexually-explicit cellphone pictures. Everyone looked down on the girls, who’d confided in someone they thought they could trust, and were betrayed. In high school, few things are worse than confiding in a young man and being betrayed - imagine your peers and officials following suit.
I owe an indebted apology to those girls, for words like “slut” and thinking that because they didn’t behave or dress one way, they’d deserved a terrible situation.
I pray for the martyr of this case, who had to not only bee attacked, but report the young men and watch her story be portrayed on national television, social media and the blogsphere.
But look what her story has done. It lets girls know that even when we make mistakes - like drinking too much, or saying something we might later regret - we still aren’t to blame for attacks. We’re not merely “snitching,” but standing up for ourselves. And nobody has the right to come after us for that.
I am forever indebted to this nameless victim. I do not know if I could suffer like she has for the good of a thousand others, nor do I know if she realizes how much good her case is doing for our world. I owe the same respect to the law enforcement that overlooked alcohol content, rumors from others and a very successful football team, to see a girl for the victim she was.
You make me a little less worried about raising children someday. And a young, scared 15-year-old who felt like the world was crushing down around her seven years ago is now in tears to know we’ve made this step. All my love, sweet girl. All my respect, law enforcement.