Archive for February, 2010

Tchaikovsky is a Beast!

I’m fairly certain that, if I was a dream talker, Jess would have heard the following statements from me last night:

  • No, I don’t want your Menorah, and get your purse off the table.
  • Yeah, but there are like, seven fucking alligators down there, and they can climb trees!
  • I think they went underground, but I don’t really know.  Oh, and watch out for that owl over there.
  • Updated (because I remembered about it while walking to class): No, don’t straighten your hair; Noah agrees with me that your hair looks better curly.
  • Since this is technically a rocket, if I make it start, which way will the fire go?
  • Stop checking things out; we are not at Walmart.  And stop putting Snickers in my cart, I’m already buying you a typewriter.
  • They just interrupted Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture with Brahms.  That is not fucking happening!
  • At the end of the stairs, let’s all do the High School Musical jump so that they’ll be surprised.
  • None of the doors have handles.  (Guy in dream): I think they’re playing Handel.

What.  The.  Fuck.

I then had Lady Gaga’s ‘Bad Romance’ and Tchaikovsky’s 1812 Overture stuck in my head at the same time.  And when I checked my computer this morning, I was informed that it was negative eight degrees Fahrenheit.  What?

Today is going to be a crazy day.

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I’m a strong believer in the saying, “Fake confidence because eventually it will become reality.”  Last semester, I posted it on the door to my dorm for my house to see, and I still get occasional comments about it from people, especially a young woman in my house who took the phrase to heart.  Late at night, when we’ve finished watching films in the living room and we’re slowly leaving to go to bed, she’ll mention that she enjoys the encouraging phrases.  And I’ll mention that I enjoy them as well; it’s why I put them up.

Today, rather than posting my usual “Stay warm, kids!” or “Have a great week!”, I posted another encouraging dogma that I had forgotten about until recently.  On the door reads, “Sit and walk with good posture–you will feel more confident.”

Oh, how true this statement is.

Two days ago, I was reading through my Guide to Relaxation book that I brought back up to school from home for the yoga guide and stumbled upon a section on correct breathing and posture.  Suddenly, I could remember the little middle school me looking at the entry and taking to heart that I should have better posture.  I remembered sitting up as straight as I possibly could in my eighth grade history class for an entire day and doing the same that evening while on the computer and feeling so sure of myself.  I had great posture during that time, and I’ve occasionally wondered why I had forgotten about it.  So, when I read the posture entry, I set a new goal for myself (to go along with my million of other goals for the next three years).  I started sitting straighter while at the computer to start.  Then, I started sitting straighter in my classes today and standing to my full height before setting off to walk somewhere, making sure that I wasn’t slumping while I stepped around.  And, let me tell you, I feel more confident.  Sure, I’m dressed nicely and am feeling pretty good to start with, but others have noticed in just the span of a day.  People who have never spoken to me saw me today and said “hi” or asked how I was doing; and none of them seemed at all surprised when I said that I was doing quite well.  It was what they expected.

So, here’s my little goal for you: start working on your posture.  If the increase in confidence doesn’t draw your attention, remember that it increases breathing which in turn helps concentration (I’ve never concentrated so well in my experimental psych class as I did today), it strengthens core muscles (tight abs, yo), and it can help prevent back pain.  Those should be some great reasons to start sitting or standing or walking a little better, methinks.

– – –

I do have a lot of goals for myself, though.  None are all that strict, but they are life rules/goals.  They’re things I want to incorporate into my own life in order to live better, and they are not flitty things, either.  They’re very solid and long lasting, which also equates to taking longer to develop.  Like habits, they can take years to set, but once they are there, hopefully they’re there for life.

My first goals started about two years ago with finding myself, which I’ve done a pretty damned good job of.  I’ve found a lot of who I am and a lot of who I want to be which allows me to move on to the next step.

My next step was to start changing some physically.  For starters, I chopped off all of my hair and donated it a year and a half ago, which allowed me to really think about what I wanted.  Of course, it was obvious that I wanted my long hair back, but I was able to start new with growing it out.  I also found what my personal styles were and have been slowly changing what I where and how I dress in order to more readily reflect that.  I also worked a lot on health with becoming a vegetarian, though I’m by no means finished with my eating habits.  I’m still interested in filtering out a lot of the sugars, salts, fats, and non-real things that I eat.  And I’ve also aided health with more stretching and yoga, though it’s still a work in progress.  Really, all of those are works in progress.

My other big goals lie in personality and speech.  I’m often annoyed with myself and the way that I carry on talking forever when half of what I say is meaningless, so I’ve started to work on Meaningful Speech.  There was a section about it in my spirituality text book, and I was incredibly intrigued.  The entry speaks about becoming more aware of your thoughts and then translating that into words.  Or, you could look at it as becoming more aware of what you’re saying and seeing if your mind is even playing a part in this process.  For me, I often just say things to say things.  Like, I’ll make too many comments while watching a movie or just say phrases and jokes that we’d be just fine without hearing.  So, I’ve started working on that.  By no means have I shown any improvement, but I have been catching myself more often.  I spoke to my spirituality teacher about that today, and we agreed that it was a step in the right direction.  Who knows, maybe in a year or two, I’ll be saying things that are more short, precise, to the point, and meaningful.  We’ll see how that works.

– – –

As we all know, mental health intrigues the fuck out of me.  It’s why I’m a psychology major, after all, and I’ve found that I like applying my skills a little early.  So, I meandered onto Yahoo Answers today and started giving advice and counselling to those with mental issues, and I found myself enjoying the different pieces of advice that I could give.  It helped me realise that I’ve learned quite a bit and can already do some things to make a difference.  Sure, most of my posts said that I was a student and recommended going to a psychiatrist/counsellor/psychologist, but I was able to give a whole lot of recommendations and advice that astounded me.  A year ago, I couldn’t have told anyone nearly this much.  Now, things are a little different.  I can’t wait to see what it’s like in another year, or heavens-to-Betsy, in three years.

– – –

The next section has been deleted.  Sorry.

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You know what’s ridiculous?  The seven and a half inches of snow that has fallen in the past twenty-four hours.  Add that to the already nine inches of snow, and we’re talking about the most snow on the ground that I have ever seen in my life.  Okay, maybe not in my life; after all, I did go skiing in Colorado once.  But the most I’ve ever seen in my life in Missouri.  Absolutely ridiculous.

So, the blizzard moved in yesterday evening after a rather warm day (right at freezing is warm, don’t mock me), and being the marvellous person that I am, I developed a bladder infection over night so that I was forced to go to Walmart at two o’clock in the morning.  The roads were fine.  Sure, a little snowy, but it had only dumped two inches at that point, so it wasn’t too bad walking the three blocks to my car and driving around.  I got to Walmart in fine condition and started the epic search for meds.  Well, after wandering the pharmacy section for about ten minutes, I finally found what I needed and went to the check outs, which were sketch as fuck.  Seriously, there were all of ten shoppers at Walmart at two in the morning, and they were regulars.  I knew this when I was line and the checker said, “Hey there Todd, have your usual?”  You’re kidding me, right?  Usuals at two?  Proof that I’m in a small town.

So, I managed the snow and drove back to the dorms, taking my pills and sitting around all antsy like for them to kick in.  I started reading Lord of the Rings until three then internetted around in the lounge, amazing all those who were up (and why were they?) that I was actually awake.  And, after reading some web comics (which you should check out: Head Trip Comics), I finally felt well enough to go to bed around four in the morning.  And I slept until noon.  What a night, eh?

This morning, or afternoon, rather, I called my mum to ask for the doctor exchange since it was a Sunday and called to report my infection and get antibiotics.  They were on top of things, and within twenty minutes, my meds were being called into Walmart.

Well, to give the pharmacy time to get their shit together, I didn’t leave until around four in the afternoon.  Well, the snow was much worse by then.  Walking the three blocks took just about forever, and the snow that was falling was the kind that is cold and wet (remarkable description, I know).  It was the kind that, upon hitting any part of you, immediately melted.  So, by the time that I had gotten to my trunk, my scarf was an extra pound heavier with water, and my hair was completely sopping.  My shins were hurting from the walking, too.  With so much snow on the streets, you had to walk on top of the tracks from cars that had recently driven by.  Otherwise, you’d slip and probably fall.  And since this all would occur in the middle of the street (because who could actually find the side walks?), that would spell bad news.

Once I reached my truck, I threw my bag and scarf into the back and started clearing off the several inches of snow, avoiding the foot or more deep drifts all around the truck–which were actually not drifts and just the actual amount of snow that had fallen.  And, after much snow removal, I was on my slow way to Walmart, where I enjoyed watching others fishtail and go fifteen miles per hour down the highway.  These are times when I am so thankful to have a truck.

Well, my meds were ready for pickup, and I got some ramen and apple sauce for dinner since the cafeteria doesn’t serve anything on Sunday evenings (it encourages the houses to eat a meal together that they make, which is enjoyable).  Then, I drove back, walked in the snow, and got to my dorm room dripping and ready for dinner.

I measured the snow around six, to find that an area showing grass yesterday morning was now seven and a half inches buried.  For those of you more familiar with metric, that would be 19 centimetres in one day.  Which all adds up to 16 inches or 42 centimetres total snowfall over the past week that is now hanging out on the ground.  Wow.  That’s all I can say.

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It’s when the most studying needs to be done that I get the most philosophical and want to absorb all information not associated with what I’m studying.  It’s why, instead of reading my sensation and perception chapters, I’ve been getting caught in a web of National Geographic, Lord of the Rings fanfiction (shoot me), and debates about cutting films short for American audiences (whaddup, Kingdom of Heaven?).  My mind wanders… a lot.  And thinking is my favourite activity.  It’s not actually beneficial.  Dear God, how am I ever going to keep up in university at this rate?

I’ve been measuring my mood a lot during the past week, and things are looking up.  Up in an odd way, but up all the same.  It’s kind of like the days are passing too quickly yet each hour takes an infinity to pass, but you somewhat enjoy it all the while.  And, should I have not procrastinated so much with studying for my psych exam tomorrow, I would be feeling pretty damn good right now.  But, I’ll settle for this good and stress.  The stress tells me that I need to keep up better next time.  And, with feeling more up than I have in the past two months, I’m thinking I can turn that into a reality.

See, with this depression of sorts, it really distracted me from my course work.  I stopped reading, I stopped studying, and I slid by with a B in all exams during that time.  But, after a few weeks of this behaviour, it’s gotten to the point where I can’t slide by as easily.  It will take a lot of work to get caught back up to where I should be in both of my psych classes and my German class.  Luckily, I’m okay in spirituality and physics.

My psych classes this semester haven’t been holding my attention at all.  In fact, I’d be willing to say that they’re amongst my least favourite of courses so far.  I love psychology, really, but I’m taking two very uninteresting classes.  One is more biological and the other experimental–both of which do not interest me when it comes to psychology.  I’m much more interested in learning about why people do things and learning about the counselling aspects.  After all, I want to be a counsellor, so this kind of makes sense.  Luckily, though, these are the two psych classes that I am least interested in, so getting them out of the way during my freshmen year will open up a lot more space for the next three years for classes that I actually do care.  Whaddup, Romantic Relationships and Child Development?  Those are amongst the classes that I am feasting for, slowly waiting for, anticipating.  Throw in some classes on human personality, and I’m set for life.

I’ve given a little thought lately about what I’ll do with counselling.  Marital and family counselling was my plan, and still is, though I’m also looking at premarital.  From talking to my friends, premarital counselling often exists in church settings, but I don’t think that it’s used enough for other couples who are not interested in the church.  Really, it should be mandatory for people getting married to go through some counselling and work through some differences before they’re married.  I think that it would help keep a lot of relationships together, so I’ve been thinking about adding that in the mix of things that I want to do.  Sounds like a fun plan.  I can’t wait to be a counsellor.

There are a lot of things that I can’t wait for.  Getting this damned exam over with, starting my studio art minor, summer break and sitting by the Missouri with a good book.  I can’t wait for my big city dreams and crappy apartment.  I can’t wait to adopt a kitten and name it something special from a book or something in Arabic (I found the word for ‘morning’ today, and I love it: Sabah).  I even can’t wait to open up my own little office beneath my apartment on some cozy lane.  Yes, they’re all dreams.  And dreams don’t always just come true (I’ve learned that from experience), but they are dreams none the less, and they keep me motivated.

I like dreams.  It’s why I live in a dream world about half of the time I’m awake.  It’s the swish of thoughts and music and plans for the future.  It’s soaking up all this beauty around me and dreaming of how to keep it with me for always.  It’s why I paint and sing songs that I make up.  It’s why I drive for hours past farms and keep myself mystified the entire way, enjoying every dead stalk that I see buried in the snow.  Dreams are feasts and lavish curtains and silk bedding and Indian sundresses.  Dreams are the pictures in your mind that turn into movies after reading books.  Dreams are a source of our being when the physical isn’t enough.  They are power.

Dreams are also giant Ents curb stomping cars outside of your window and having your bed shake so much that your room mate turns into Hulk and saves you, only for you to turn into Alice in Wonderland.  But those are the dreams of night, and Lord knows that mine are too crazy for you all.

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When driving between St. Charles and Kirksville, one encounters over 200 miles of rolling hills, valleys filled with fog, and (during this winter) varying amounts of fresh snow.  The drive starts out on Interstate 70, passing the various cities that mesh into one giant St. Charles/St. Peters area before hitting more farms that separate Wentzville and eventually Warrenton.  From there, the mountains start (or hills from the perspective of someone actually living near mountains).  In the valleys, you get heavy fog that will cover the rest of the state if you keep driving.  When the hills start to fade away, you’re left with a whole lot of nothing until you get to Columbia and get passed by every single car with a Mizzou sticker that exists.  From there, it’s a hop onto 63, and you’re driving past farms for the next 100 miles, with short bursts of life from Moberly and Macon, with town populations of 10,000 and 6,000, respectively.  All along the way, the fog picks up, regardless of what time it is, and snow starts to pelt.  The accumulations reduce the four-lanes to one lane each way, and not a single driver cares if they’re driving on the lines.  They just care that they’re driving where the snowplough was an hour before.  It’s slow, and the fog and snow reduce your vision to even less of the farms around you, giving the drive an extra feeling of monotony.  But, eventually, you get to Kirksville with it’s 20,000 population, and it feels like you just stumbled upon a metropolis.

But, if you have some good music, something to drink, and a Taco Bell stop along the way, this is quite possibly the best drive ever.  It grows even better with a car full of fun people, and the snow is just an added bonus of beauty and excitement.  After all, isn’t it a little fun to drive through a snow storm?  I think so.

– – –

This weekend, I went back home to St. Charles partly to clear my mind and also to see my grandmum for her birthday and visit with family.  Unlike most of my trips home (that end in fighting and my wanting to immediately leave), this was actually enjoyable, and I made a major point of getting along with everyone.  It’s difficult for me, very difficult.  Especially with my mum, but I tried, and I won.  Granted, I yelled a little on Sunday when I got stressed, but it was an “I’m in a real hurry, sorry!!!” kind of yell.  So, not too bad.

My family ended up driving down to St. James, Missouri on Saturday night to attend my cousin’s band’s trivia night.  We slightly dominated, though not enough to win any prizes (fourth place out of seventeen tables).  The only prize we got was the one for driving the furthest, which I’m fairly certain my aunt set up just for our table since she was in charge of prizes and knew we were coming.  All in all, though, it was fun.  I enjoyed listening to my grandmum and mum’s conversations during the two hour-long car ride, and it was enjoyable to not have to listen to my aunt whine too much.  She only made a jab at my vegetarianism once, and I still shut her up with the now infamous comment of, “well, I’ve lost six pounds and went down a dress size.”  It works wonders.

I counted up the hours over the weekend to figure out that I had been in a car for 13 hours, sleeping for 18, and awake and out of a car for only 17 hours.  I know that doesn’t quite equal up, but it sounds like a pretty good weekend.  So, maybe I’m still in a valley right now, with a lot of freezing fog and snow blocking my view, but I’ve started taking the steps to get back up the hill.  And that’s what’s important.

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Moving On

Sometimes, a heavy amount of disappointment is necessary in life, and over the years, I’ve been learning to accept my failures and the disappointments in my life so that I can learn from them.  It’s a slow process, but I’m getting better at it.  Not to mention that the thought always ticks in the back of my mind, “Everything always works out.  One way or another.”  And it really does.  It’s just the journey of getting there that I hate.  After all, I’m a big picture person.

Today I’m driving back home.  It’ll be the first time of driving the three and a half hours all by myself, but I’m kind of looking forward to it.  I’ll play some soft music and just think.  Think and think and think.  It’s my favourite activity in the world, and driving and thinking is probably the best thing ever.  So, with those hours to sort through some things in my life that are still bugging me, I think that I’ll reach home quite refreshed.

Yesterday was actually a really good day.  Even with the email, the rest of the afternoon and evening… well, were spot on.  It was a reminder of how much I appreciate the people around me in one north and how much I would have missed them if I really was an SA next year.  Also, the idea of being room mates with Katie is a good thing, and I talked to Katie’s current room mate, Jackie, about it yesterday.  Jackie is a very encouraging person, and she informed me that the room was twice the size of my current room and that I would love it and that she’d have to show me the room more so that I could get a feel for it.  I’m sad to say that she will be living off campus next year, because she’s such a kind person.

I encountered a lot of kind people yesterday.  Everyone had been rooting for me, and I had let them down, but they were compassionate.  I ended up sending comments back and forth with one of my best friends during the morning yesterday, and she encouraged me and kept me going through everything.  Trust me, I was thankful.

So, I’m going to see how today goes, and I’m going to enjoy each moment.  Sometimes, a heavy dose of disappointment is necessary, and I’ll take this to heart.

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News came.  And it was what I expected, though that does not mean that it was what I wanted.  On the bright side, I know that I’m just in the rapids of life right now.  My course in the river is hitting some rocks, making some white water.  Eventually, it will all settle down.  I just need to keep afloat for the time being.

When I returned from lunch, another girl in my hall was in the hallway and asked me if I had checked my email yet, as she had just gotten her email about SA.

“Is it in?” I asked, feeling my heart rate begin to climb.

“Yeah,” she replied.  I asked her if she had gotten the position, and she replied with a no because of her GPA.  I felt bad for her; I had kept a spot in my mind dedicated to her getting SA.  So, we both ran into my room to check my email.  On the computer screen was the email, and I pressed refresh.  There, an email sat.

Dear Melissa Stone,

Thank you for…

That was all I needed to know from the three sentence-long email.  I hadn’t made it.  Another friend walked into the room at that time, and the three of us girls talked a little.  I felt myself getting down, but I knew that I’d be okay in a strange kind of way.  It was like I realised that, I’ll still be with these people next year, and that’s also a major plus.  If I had gotten SA, who knows if I would have even still bee in Mo Hall?  I could have been somewhere where I knew no one and hadn’t any friends to rely on.  Now, at least I know that I’ll be with friends.

I immediately went to my door after finding out to write a sentence:

“Dear Katie, whaddup room mate next year?”

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