Sunday, May 25, 2008

The Road Home...Part 1

*Sigh*. I've been in Chicago for a week, which is why I haven't written anything in a while. This has officially been one of the worst weeks I've ever had to experience. Don't get me wrong, being home has a certain feel to it. It's nice to be back where I've belonged for so long (if you can call my living situation a "belonging"). I know my grandmother is certainly glad there's somebody else in that house with her and that she doesn't have to be alone anymore. But I still miss Dekalb a lot. And it's not even just the town itself, but the college life. I miss being able to go to the parties I used to go to and I miss being able to hang out with my friends the way I did before.

I realized something today that I didn't think I could ever do: I am not as addicted to Facebook and Myspace! Normally when I go over my aunt's house I run straight to the computer because I want to know how life has been going for my Facebook friends. Today, I didn't even touch the computer until much later in the day and only checked Facebook once, and I checked it as if I had been on it yesterday! I didn't even check it before writing here. I was tempted; I went to the homepage and everything, but before I could begin to type my username something just didn't feel right. I couldn't believe my life had come to a social networking site. I mean, you're supposed to be making new friends on those sites, which I don't do. I just find all the people I already know and harass them. What kind of living is that?

Being at home alone has given me a lot of time to reflect and I have come to appreciate the solitary side of me, the side that wants to sit in front of a computer screen with a mug of hot tea or coffee and just pound her life out, or the girl who sits in front of 88 ivory keys and lets her fingers dance up and down concertos and preludes, or the girl who always has her nose in a book especially when eating. I miss the side of me that propped her legs up with a sketchbook in her lap and just drew what she saw, regardless of how accurate the final result actually was. I miss the side of me that paints my nails three times in an hour and combs my hair five times a day and (yes) dances in front of the mirror with the total abandon I could never show to anybody else. Don't get me wrong, I like going out, and I complain a lot about being at home bored. But when there's nowhere for me to go, and no one for me to see, I have a lot of time to explore me. And it took me until just this moment to realize that, when I realized that for as much time as I spent surrounded by the people I love today, I wasn't truly relaxed and at peace until I sat in front of this computer and started this blog entry.

My mind is fighting over what issues to address now. I want to just let the words flow from my fingertips, but I must remember this blog is nowhere near private and there are just some things about myself that can't be known because it will increase my vulnerability. There is an invisible wall, the same wall that goes up every time I try to say something and it gets shot down, the same wall that goes up when I'm in an argument and I can't say how I feel because i'm afraid of retaliation, the same wall that separates my aquaintances and good friends from best friends, the same wall that holds my lips shut when I'd like nothing better than to let it all it. It is the wall that has tormented me ever since I was old enough to experience stress. It is the wall that keeps me solitary, that keeps me safe. And it's so strange...for as many walls and safeguards I put up, it is the only wall that nobody really ever tries to break because they feel it shouldn't be there in the first place. Perhaps this restraint IS my weakness.

I am getting very tired, and this computer screen is beginning to hurt my eyes, and I'm already not in the best of moods in general. It's been a very long day for me (nobody seems to understand that either) and all I really want to do now is forget about the rest of the world and make myself comfortable and watch some television until my brains ooze out my ears or until I fall asleep, whichever comes first. I just want a few moments to myself tonight when I'm not irritated, I'm not tired, I'm not mad, I'm not bored, I'm not tired, I'm not at my wit's end, but just sitting, enjoying a nice cold drink and maybe some chips or a piece of candy, relaxing. Honestly, at my age, is that really too much to ask?

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

I Don't Wanna Say Goodbye

Well, it's almost official now. My mom came up to school to take most of my stuff home. Now all that's left in my room is some clothes, a fan, a lamp, and memories. An entire side of the room is completely empty and it's kind of depressing...okay, WOULD BE kind of depressing if I were there more often. We're coming around the final curve... most people are done with their finals already and I'm happy for them, I just can't show it because I'm too busy with my nose in the books for my own. I took one final on Monday and one today...I've got mixed feelings for both. Today I take my statistics final, and hopefully I'll do well on it...I'm pretty confident, though. Tomorrow is Chemistry, and THEN I'm done. But my work isn't over, because I'll have to be at the dorms around 10 in the morning on Friday to pack the rest of my stuff and get checked out, and then my first year journey at Northern Illinois University is over.

What a year! College was everything and NOTHING like what I expected. Life takes on a whole new meaning here. I've learned a lot of lessons, some good, some I would have rather seen than gone through, and some I'm glad I only had to see rather than go through. I don't know how much of this was a self-discovery trip; I don't really think I learned much more about myself that I didn't already know. The difference here is that I've had to apply my skills in many ways other than how I was used to applying them and in some cases, I wasn't quite ready for that. But I made it. Based off my experiences this year, I know what I'm NOT going to be doing next year and the years after that. 

You think while you're in high school that you're on your own. You think that you're grown, that you make your own decisions. But being on your own in high school is nothing like being in college. This is true independence (for most people). I sure know I was cut off from a lot of the creature comforts of home that I once took for granted, like bathtubs and washing machines and stoves. But college gave me the freedom that comes along with independence that I had never felt. I don't know how I'm going to be able to handle having a curfew again after spending so many nights out until 3 or 4 in the morning. I don't know how I'm going to take not being close to everything I need, from food to the library to just internet access. I'm going to miss taking free public transportation (that is, until next year when it all starts over again). 

I don't know if I've ever written about this, but one of the first experiences I vividly remember on campus was one day in the first week of classes. I had been on campus for probably about a week, week and a half, and everything was still kind of new. I remember walking close to the Holmes Student Center ( the students know this area as the MLK Commons) and for some reason I was compelled to look up at the tower of the Student Center. I felt an overwhelming rush of sweltering pride looking at the peak of the tower against the clear blue sky, and it almost took my breath away. In that very moment I was convinced that there was no other school but Northern for me. No other sight was as majestic or heart stopping as that one moment when i came to a dead stop and just gazed at the tower. Everything became crystal clear: my questions, my concerns, my feelings, everything. I never thought a school building would have that effect on me, but it did. 

I cried when I had to leave home and come to school. My heart sank as I said goodbye to the cute little red house in the middle of the block and hello to the rows and rows of cornfields. I wanted to cry when my mom dumped my stuff in the room, chatted with my roommates and their families, then left. Talking to my grandmother on the phone hurt because I knew she was at home alone and that I should be there for her. I couldn't stop thinking about what I was leaving behind in Chicago. But now I'm leaving home again. For 9 months DeKalb has become my home and my friends, my family. Now we are all about to go our separate ways. Though we will likely hang out over the summer, it won't be the same as when i could walk 10 minutes to see my boyfriend, or walk across the street to see Janet, or even just appear in a lunchroom and see 7 other OhDeez with that ONE person with a meal plan. Trips to 7/11 three times a day will be a thing of the past. Andrew staying in Amardo's room then leaving to go to bed only to come back 5 minutes later will be done. Everyone else has been through this before and knows the drill...but as a freshman I feel like I'm never coming back, even though I know I am. 

See you in August, NIU.

Saturday, May 10, 2008

90 is the New 100

I had a really startling thought today that I thought I'd share with the world. Well, I've actually been thinking about this for a while now but today it just seems clear. I thought back to the days of high school, when I would look at my drunk classmates wondering why in the hell they were drunk and I saw the weed smokers outside and wondered why they would smoke weed and then go to class. But then I came here and my outlook changed. I started experimenting with different things and am now beginning to learn my limits, what I can take, and when to say "no".

But now something has entered my mind. I wonder: once you have gotten drunk so many times, once you have smoked so many blunts, do you ever reach a stage where you are at your full 100% potential? For instance, how many days after you smoke do you go back to normal? I think of life before I drank and before I smoked and I wonder if I could ever go back to feeling the way I did back then. I used to feel so innocent, so pure. The most harmful substance I put in my body was sugar. But now I'm drinking energy drinks to study (something I would have never done before) and jager and bacardi and even beer, which is a liquid I had always sworn I wouldn't drink. And when I smoke, the few times I have smoked, I always can't wait for the high to end because I completely lose control of my senses.

One of my biggest fears was walking around high and somebody being able to tell that I was high. It's not really a fear, but I didn't want people to look at me sideways the same way I did to people who smoked before I did it. But here, in college, it seems that nobody even cares what you do, and if you are high or drunk, chances are they are too so it doesn't matter either way it goes.

When I say is 90 the new 100, I wonder if my 100% days are long over, the days before the energy drinks and alcohol and weed? I wonder if I can ever go back to the good old concentration and focus that I used to exercise so much before I came to college. What happened to my need to go to every class? I kept saying at the beginning of the semester that things were going to change. And I'm not gonna lie, I started out strong. It appeared that I was going to absolutely OWN my classes this semester. BUt something happened. The cold mornings I spent snuggled in my boyfriends arms, the nights I'd drink instead of studying, the afternoons I would smoke and go to sleep rather than writing that paper happened. The good times, the bad times, the arguments, the make-ups happened. Living in the dorms, then basically living at the frat house happened. And all of a sudden, I got swept up in the mayhem and now here I am, three days before my first final, stressing because I don't know where the time went.

No more promises to do better after this next week. Promises are not enough, even when they are simply promises to myself. We'll just have to see how things turn out.

Friday, May 9, 2008

A Lovely Day

Party!!! Well, last night at least. It was the first semi-open party Ohdeez has thrown this semester (and the first one I've been to at all) and Ohdeez did not disappoint. Well, I'm not sure how it went as far as the party downstairs...I'm not gonna lie I spent most of the time going up and downstairs for Jager and various other drinks. But I spent a lot of time talking to some Ohdeez I hadn't really talked to before, so that was nice. I had to be careful because I was wearing a shirt that had a little skirt thing on the bottom which made it look like a dress even though it was waaaayyy too short to be a dress. I was wearing shorts underneath though. Amardo said that he wanted every guy in the room to try to talk to me last night because he knew at the end of the night I was going with him. Still, I kept my distance from guys who were trying to dance with me. I even did a little footwork (in heels, heels!!). All in all, it was really fun.

Now I'm sitting alone in his room, looking at the mess of alcohol bottles on his desk and nasty shit on his floor and wondering how in the world I'm gonna clean all of it up. But I gotta do it because today is Reading Day and I have a lot of stuff to study for my finals, and I need to make the most out of these last few days. *Sigh*. And I'm really thirsty. But...I didn't cry last night!!! Yay!!! I knew it was what I was drinking last time. Plus I didn't have a reason to cry...I was too happy.

Let me start cleaning up this damn room...I'll holla back later. Deuces.