Fear, Love, and Loss


H. Jackson Brown said,  “Remember that everyone you meet is afraid of something, loves something, and has lost something.”  I believe that this is incredibly true.  These emotions: fear, love, and loss are not restricted to concrete things.  On the contrary, they extend to abstract ideas.  I can name both concrete and abstract things for this statement, as I’m sure that most people can.  I’m so certain that most people can because these are natural emotions to have at one point or another in one’s life.  They occur in all people no matter if they think romantically or classically.

Fear.  Everyone has their own kryptonite and they fear coming into contact with the physical or theoretical challenge.  The concrete fear I have is of spiders and of shots.  I hate everything about spiders–from the way they move to the way they just sit there doing nothing.  It’s  a common fear–arachnophobia–and most people intend to never ever face their fear, which I agree with completely.  I feel the same way about inoculations.  They are good for me, but I just don’t see eye to eye with them.  My abstract fears are more plentiful.  I fear not being happy, making mistakes, not trying my best, and failure.  Failure is absolutely horrifying to me because I don’t want to make some awful decision which hurts not only myself but other people.  It is a perfectionist attitude which follows me around and haunts my daily actions.  I wouldn’t consider myself as having OCD because I’m too lazy to actually follow through with repetitive patterns.  I am more of an extremely harsh critic of myself.  An attitude which I have always had is that once I do something really well, I have to be even better next time.  “There’s always room for improvement.” I stopped competing against other people a long time ago, and I just compete against my past self.  It’s a horrible way to act towards things, but it ensures that I do well.

Out of the three abstract qualities, love is the one that I am the most unsure of everyone having.  There are two main things about the concept of love that I want to discuss.  One point being that love is an overused word, and the other being what does love mean.  In order to understand what love means, it needs to be broken down into a dichotomy.  Having love is being on the receiving end of it, and giving love is returning the love to someone else or, more simply, loving something.  This leads into how love is an overused term.  People will say, “I loved that movie,” “I loved that pizza,” etcetera.   These hyperbolic statements are common and used on an almost daily basis.  The overuse of this term makes the word seem less and less meaningful.  It does not sound as rare or as beautiful when said to someone that you fully and truly love.   In an ideal world, everyone has loved something (in the hyperbolic sense) and/or loved someone.  However, there are families where people have not truly loved someone because of the family lifestyle or the people in the family.  Yet, for those in this situation, I have the utmost confidence and absolute certainty that they will and surely love something and/or someone, and will be loved in return.

I know that everyone has lost and will lose something.  Everyone will have reach a horrible time in one’s life because of losing something or someone.  Be it a loved one, a job, or a belief that you had–it is inevitable.  I have lost a family member, family friends, beliefs, and the small things that I enjoyed playing with when I was younger.  With each loss I grew up a bit more, which happens to all of us.  I can immediately draw a connection between fear, love, and loss.  I believe that most people fear the loss of love.

One thing that I fear, love, and am losing is ignorance.  I hate not knowing something important which I should know.  I always feel that I am seen as a lesser person because of it.  But, I also appreciate ignorance.  Sometimes I want things to remain a mystery to me, because the reality is to harsh and saddening.  “Ignorance is bliss.”  I am also losing ignorance.  As I grow older, my ignorance to things grows less and less yet I remain quite naive and uninformed about several things.   As time passes, ignorance maintains an equilibrium.

What do you fear, love, or have lost?

Death and Strength


The strongest person I have ever met is my mom.

The strongest evil is death.

The strongest hero is death.

To explain how my mom is the strongest person I have ever met would take me minutes.  Then those minutes would accumulate into hours, which would roll into days and weeks.  Ultimately, it would take me longer than my existence to explain how strong she is.  She has been the cornerstone to my being and the most reliable and loyal friend I have ever had.  Death is harder to describe.  It has received the denomination of being evil.  It is considered the ultimate, inevitable force which grinds the members of every species to a halt whether it be to their own demise, or to the effects of another’s demise.  Yet, it also is an underrated hero.  It protects and finishes that which is beautiful.  It saves those in pain and suffering.  How do these two incredible forces act with each other?

Life and Death

According to Newton’s First Law of Motion, “objects continue to move in a state of constant velocity unless acted upon by an external net force.”  I have never seen my mom so effectively displaced by the threat of imminent death.  This is not her own death, but her mom’s.

My grandmother was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s Disease 13 years ago.  We found out on Thursday that she is going to be admitted into Hospice Care.  My mother keeps telling me, “It’s been a long road.  Just send her home.”   The past few days have been rough, to say the least.  I have never met my grandmother, except for the time when she held me when I was a baby.  I have no recollection of her, so I don’t know if this qualifies as “meeting.”  I only feel an intense pain for my mom who is hurting.  Thursday night was hard.  She was remembering all of the memories she had with her.  She is coming to terms with harsh realities which she has known but never fully recognized.

“My parents are going to be dead before Papa’s.”

“Time, time, time.”

“I’m going to be an orphan.  Hahaha!”

“What kills me is that she never met you.”

“She may not even know me.”

My grandmother has not really been with us for the past few years.  And now, her partial connection to the world will be over in six months or less.  My distant family is coming together for the first time in years because of this.   I can’t even understand how my mom feels about all of this.  All I can keep thinking is one selfish thought: “Is this how I will feel when my mom dies?”  I haven’t cried for my grandmother.  I don’t even know her except for a few things we share.  We share the same name; we both are deep   chocolate lovers; we enjoy reading several books at a time…etcetera.  I cried for my mom, and for how I will feel when she goes.

On Thursday, when I came home from school I called her at work to check in and see when she was coming home.

Me: Hey! I’m home.

Mom:…Hey, how are you?

Me:…Are you okay?  It sounds like something is wrong.

Mom: No, no…I’m fine.  Everything is fine.

Me: Is it something with work?

Mom: No.

Me:  Is it something with work?

Mom: Katherine, it’s fine.

Me: It’s something with your voice;  you sound off.

Mom:  Don’t worry about it….We’ll talk about it at home.  Work is fine; it’s nothing to do with work.

She came home and told me and my dad everything.   She found out while she was at work and couldn’t bring herself to ask to leave.  I can’t believe that she actually stayed throughout the day.  I would have dashed out of the office and come home and cried.  That’s a strength that I don’t have.  Death is a blessing and a curse.  It saves those who are in so much pain and brings an end to it.  Though it leaves scars on loved ones.

Death and life are not opposing forces, but more of a harmony.   One without the other is not possible.  They create elaborate webs of stories from delicate beginnings to strong endings.  Life is an open door which no one has stepped through yet.  Death is a graceful ending to something that was beautiful, no matter how short of a time it was. With each life there is a new story, a new purpose, a new combination waiting to happen.  And with each death, there is an epilogue waiting to be written.

“A Mind Needs a Book Like a Sword Needs a Whetstone.”


During the long, lethargic summer months, I tend to build a bastion of novels to protect myself from imminent boredom.  These novels create a cage made up of alternate realities and scenarios to feed my imagination and help it thrive.  if I am unable to travel, I travel through pages.  I am transported from the Middle  East to England, and then to an enchanted forest quickly followed by a small, southern town.  Time travel is also made possible by these treasured possessions.  I take away new-found knowledge and unprecedented thoughts and opinions.  In the words of Anna Quindlen,

“And then there were books, a kind of parallel universe in which anything might happen and frequently did, a universe in which I might be a newcomer but was never really a stranger.  My real true world.”

In The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly, I feel completely in my element and truly comfortable due to the plot, setting, and main character which offer me the sage advice to perseverance and to always seek the happy ending.

One key element in this book that made it fel real to me was the main character David to whom I felt connected in mind and spirit.  David is a shy, twelve-year-old boy who has been taught since he was little to read and how to enjoy the stories.  When his mother died suddenly from an illness, David was distraught and resolved to lose himself in the books, in which his mother’s memories were entwined, that littered his parent’s house.  When his father remarries, David feels betrayed and takes comfort in the books he finds in his stepmother’s house.  I have not lost a parent, but I can relate to the strong relationship which David shares with his mother and their bibliophilic manners.  My mother has always told me, “Always finish reading a book, otherwise the characters will be frozen in their places forever.”  Later in the book, when David is trying to find his mother in the enchanted forest where all of these fairy tales come true, he never gives up, no matter whether he runs from his deepest fears in the forest or sees one of his companions die before him.  David has taught me to always persevere and to help whomever I can along the way.

Connolly’s masterfully created setting made me consume the book nearly whole.  The setting of this book is during World War II and in several different locations.  It takes place in London, where David lives in his mother’s house and later his stepmother’s house.  In the garden of his stepmother’s house, he finds a crack in the wall into which he falls after a bomber plane crashes in the house’s yard.  The descriptions of the enchanted forest where all of David’s fairy tales come to life are impeccably written and drag the readers into the plot where they feel as if they travel alongside David while he searches for his mother and the “Book of Lost Things.”

The Book of Lost Things is one of the greatest books I have read due to Connolly’s ability to make me enamored with that world and wish to never leave it.  The ending of the book makes me understand the reasoning behind his departure, but I will always regret leaving the place where I found myself cozy in the binding.  The plot, character, and setting of The Book of Lost Things were so well crafted that it would scarcely leave my thoughts during the day.  It left me with valuable lessons and a case of nostalgia as I saw the fairy tales I read as a child reworked into this dark, phantasmagorical novel.  I am positive that I will find many more books which follow Anna Quindlen’s words but, until that day, I will always find this book to be one that changed how I read and how I write.

Poem II


I missed gym class today, so I had to write a make-up assignment.  It turned out pretty well, so I decided to post it here.  

 

A single bead runs down their temples.

Their teeth grit and grind in frustration.

The noises they make are incomprehensible

While searching for their physical salvation.

 

These machine-like beings run on limited energy.

They seem to have endless power.

However it continues growing aggressively–

Never ceasing until the eleventh hour

 

As their blood, sweat, and tears are committed to physical labor,

I sit still working only one muscle.

My motivation still tells me sooner or later.

My procrastination is ungovernable.

 

In physical education, I feel outnumbered

By the motivated machines, who seem to never tire.

Their confidence has always been upward.

One day I’ll jump from the frying pan into the fire.

 

This physical class offers many different lessons

From endurance, to confidence, to perseverance,

From ability, agility, and many other reasons

My one job is to find the path of least resistance.

 

 

Poem I


Sleep calls

Beckoning me into the abyss

Of dreams forgotten–

And remembered.

Sleep calls

Dragging me head over heels

Into never-ending

Silence.

Sleep calls

Sliding me into the moors

Of velvet black

Which holds me.

Sleep calls

Offering me solace from ghouls

Of troubling thoughts

Which pester me.

Sleep calls

Befriending with drowsy stupor

And bribing Sandman

For my defeat.

Sleep falls.

Aging


Today is my  16th birthday.  I did not have a party where I get dressed up in a sparkly, uncomfortable ball gown to be scrutinized rather than celebrated.  What I did do, on the other hand, was sing at my church choir where I was applauded for turning 16, go home and thank my parents for the wonderful presents they gave me, and then proceed to curl up on the futon where I watched my new seasons of Sherlock.  It has been a comfortable birthday.  Just how I like it.

Most years when people ask me if I feel older, I respond with, “No, not at all.  I feel the same,” with a dash of disappointment.  This year was different, maybe it’s because of the hype surrounding 16.  I felt more introspective and more aware of what was going on around me.  I observed more and analyzed more than previous years.  There was a magical aura that surrounded that one day of the year when I was considered older.  Everything would always seem light and fun.  This year, I felt the age almost attack me over a matter of days.

I thought about my behavior over the years before and how it was different this year.  I almost seemed more cynical, critical, and perhaps bitter.  I do not believe it comes across in my personality, but it is more of a self-awareness more than anything.

An embarrassing yet accurate, example of this is Valentine’s Day which, coincidentally, falls a few days before my birthday.  On Valentine’s Day, I typically become very hopefully for something different and exciting to happen (as most girls do).  This year, I expected nothing.   I was not anticipating anything interesting to happen.  In prior years, I would be upset that nothing occurred   This year, I was unfazed.  Is this a sign of becoming bitter, realistic, or something entirely different?

And Now For Something Completely Different...

Click the picture to animate the gif.

Young children cannot wait to get older.  Yet, when older we all try to turn back the clock.  As The Doctor said,

“People assume that time is a strict progression of cause to effect, but *actually* from a non-linear, non-subjective viewpoint – it’s more like a big ball of wibbly wobbly… time-y wimey… stuff.”

Aging is not to be feared, but to be expected.  It is to be cherished, and not loathed.  Each year brings something new to the game.  I hope that as I grow older, I gain wisdom and perspective.  I hope I do not restrict my viewpoint on opinions.

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in high esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” -Neitzsche   

Reelin’ In The Years


This was an assignment I was given in November for my English class.  The assignment was to create a personal narrative.  I received my grade yesterday, and upon looking over it, I decided it was fitting to be posted.  

Adolescence is complete and utter nonsense.  It is a time in a person’s life when hormones are running throughout his or her system and clouding up any common sense possible.  Adolescence has never been as violent as it is today.  Teenagers in the 17th century did not react as violently towards how they looked or if someone did not like them.  The pressures in today’s society create angst in teenagers which affects them and the people around them.  I will not pretend to be a golden teenager who faces none of this and maintains calm in the face of society’s opinion.  I do not belong to that breed.  I have my regular dosage of hormones.  One moment in particular, which is not my proudest, comes to mind.    

            I have been blessed through my dear mother to have curly, frizzy auburn hair.  For most of my life, I kept my hair in a tight braid, not allowing stray strands to see or feel the light of day.  I had been urged throughout middle school to straighten, to try something new, and to “please let it out for just five minutes!”  I ignored these attempts to release the monster which was my hair, and continued keeping it in bondage.  Of course, high school is tremendously different from middle school.  I began feeling more pressure about my hair.  I was not proud of succumbing to it, but I had to agree that I needed a change.  I remember friends of mine telling me that I would be an old woman sitting at home with my ten cats and with my faded hair still in a braid.  This image further pushed me to do something.  Over time, I began finding ways to let my hair down without it exploding into frizz.  I decided that I needed a haircut, and talked to Annie, the woman who cuts my hair, about what I could do.

            On that fateful day, she told me that my hair was “wild.”  Products like Garnier, or Pantene would not work for me.  She also told me that she would have to talk to a specialist on ethnic hair.  Her observations later instigated comments from friends as well.  I would have to research some sort of “heavy duty” products for my unruly mane.  I walked out of the hair salon that day into the particularly windy afternoon.  As my mom and I were walking home, the wind picked up, blowing my hair back.  The sad thing is that this was the first time I felt the wind blow through my hair.  I loved the sensation, so I picked up my pace and continued walking.  About halfway home, I touched my hair and found that I had a fuzzy pyramid growing out of my head.  People in cars passing by were actually staring.  This was not my imagination.  This did absolutely nothing for my self-esteem, which was already nonexistent.  When I say pyramid, I think of Egypt and of Cleopatra’s silky black hair.  That is something of which I was always envious.  When I say a pyramid was growing out of my head, I had a monument, Sphinx-like, of fuzzy, tangled, hair.  I will not lie: I cried on the walk home due to my embarrassment, people staring, and my lack of model-esque hair.  My mom tried to console me by saying, “It’s really not that bad,” while petting my hair.  This was the epitome of teenager girl angst, and I hate to say that I was the perfect example of that.  When I was younger, I swore to never be this person that I had suddenly become.  It is funny how children can be wiser than teenagers. 

            Thankfully, my hair is now under control, and I have gained a tad of perspective over the months that have passed since that day.  The scary thing about adolescence is that, in a few short months, you can become completely different from what you were.  The ride is horrible, but afterwards you can be happy with the choices you have made.  At least, I hope I will be.  This excerpt of my life offers a glimpse of my vulnerabilities which, I suppose, are not necessarily bad things to have. 

Real


Friendships in high school, life in general even, have two sides.  They can either be real, true friendship which cannot be broken by one (or many) misguided thought(s), or there can be a friendship which has no substance.  Many of the latter are quick to spot and easy to work around; few are hard to distinguish from the former.  I wish I knew a way to separate the hidden fake friendship from the real friendship.  I suppose the only true way to find out is by trial and error.  Most of us have experienced both of these varieties and have cherished one, while loathing and regretting the other.

One of my closest friends, Emma, was talking to me on Facebook  and she sent me this:

Click it to see the gif.

Click it to see the gif.

We commented back and forth about its accuracy and how we did not relate to it in terms of falling in love with someone, but with different emotions attached.  I related to more “falling in love” with the emotions involved in real friendships with people.  My day will become something much more enjoyable when I share a personal moment in my friendship with someone.  When I say personal, I do not mean a huge secret being revealed to a friend.  I mean a very small interaction that I shared with someone, that shows that they are comfortable talking and being with me.  I could just be a sap for emotional things, too.  I believe that these moments are only truly present in a real friendship.  There are plenty of examples I can draw of this.

Before going to my math class, another friend of mine made a point to tell me something funny that happened to him.  He wanted to tell me quietly since he did not want others to hear.  We both laughed when he finished the story and my head rested for a second against his shoulder when I bent my head forward laughing.  He did not move his shoulder away when this happened and we walked into our separate classes laughing.

I know that Emma is one of my closest friends because of how comfortable we are with each other.  She has told me on a few occasions that she does not enjoy being hugged by anyone.  Meanwhile, I am an extremely huggable person (if I do say so, myself).  One day I remember we both were going back and forth about me not understanding what she meant during a conversation and since I am not one of the most patient people in the world  sat exasperated with her in the car.  She asked if I was upset about it still, and I quietly said that I was.  She openly gave me a hug and all was taken care of and understood.  It made me happy that she was comfortable enough to do that.

When I was talking with another one of my closest friends on Facebook, Alex, we were going over our mid-term study plans for the oncoming three-day weekend.  When I told him my plans for Saturday of a full Religion study session complete with note taking and going over old tests he responded with, “You’re crazy.”  We laughed about it and I said, “No…I’m merely concerned.  As my math teacher put it…”  We both sent the same message at the same time: “A Type.”  He knows me well.

Those three examples of personal moments I have with people, make me extremely happy and glad that I have good friends.  In life, these real friendships are to be held onto and never let go of.

I’ve Always Been Weird


A lot of people look at life as a big picture. You grow older; you can drive a car; you go to college; you get married; you have kids; you grow old with the person you love; you die. Details are considered extraneous and sometimes hinder the story. I personally believe that details make the story come to life and constitute vital parts. I love finding and remembering small details of my life and how they contribute to who I have become. The smallest events can contribute to the largest part of one’s personality. There are a few events that I’ve remembered recently that I can’t seem to shake from my memory.

I barely remember pre-kindergarten. I remember two events off the top of my head. On the very first day I walked in and made a bee-line for a girl playing by herself. We became close friends for the next few years. I also remember my mom trying to wake me up at naptime followed by me throwing a fit when she tried to get me to leave.

At the beginning of my freshman year of high school, I gained a best friend. She found out that her aunt actually taught me in pre-kindergarten. Her aunt said that I always colored inside the lines, kept my cubby-hole nice and neat, and I once went up to her and (no joke) said,”This is a very egotistical environment.”

I’ve always been weird.

In the second grade, I remember taking spelling tests on a regular basis. One day I found myself looking at my yellow, lined paper after spelling out all of my words. An idea struck me. I should draw diagrams next to each of the words so my teacher will know what I mean. I proceeded to draw stick figures illustrating the actions of each of the words. I handed in my test, confident in my answers.

Later that day, I was stopped on the stairwell by my teacher. She sat me down and showed me my spelling test. She pointed to the answers and said, “What is this?”

“I drew pictures showing what the words mean.”

“Stop this. I don’t need to know what these words mean. It’s a spelling test. Just stop.”

Don’t get me wrong, this teacher was mean. She was mean to all of her students, but when she talked to me it was softer than usual. She still got her point across, though. Every time I took a spelling test after that, I remember that conversation and how ashamed I was at going the extra mile. I miss her though. I love being able to say that I memorized all fifty states and their capitals in the second grade.

Another detail that I remember is that I was scared of breaking rules. I was always intimidated by those who enforced the rules, and the consequences of breaking them. Even splintering them would make my heart beat race. An example of this is when I was explicitly told to never cut someone in line. I took part in an acting summer camp, and one of my first exercises was to try and cut someone in line. Being six years old, this was a good introduction to the acting camp. I almost cried when I was told this exercise. I kept repeating over and over again, “I’m not allowed to cut anyone in line. I can’t!” Eventually I was persuaded to do it, and I did a damn good job at stealing that girl’s place in line.

I’ve always been weird.

A-Hunting We Will Go


Image

I absolutely love the feeling of college.  I suppose I am slightly obsessed with the concept.

The waiting is the worst part, as is customary.  One of the worst things about high school is that it’s the prelude to better things.  It is the “sala de espera.”  I want it to just end so I can taste freedom.  It’s a tantalizing thing, college.

Since both of my parents have worked in higher education for most of their lives, I have been surrounded with college terminology, aspirations, and persistence.  Also stress.  Plenty of stress.  My whole education thus far has been working up to the culmination of graduating high school and beginning college.  I find it to be such an important decision that I have been thinking about it since I was in the fifth grade.  Whenever there was a library book sale, I would go with the promise of outdated college guidebooks, and how to choose your major books.  I became quite a source of information about college.  Friends would approach me and ask questions about it.  “What is a major?”  “Where do you live in college?”  Slowly, these would grow more complicated.

I suppose another thing that I am working towards and worrying about is the whole financial situation.  I absolutely refuse to let my parents pay for college or for any college courses that I take in high school.  They have already paid far too much.  This makes me even more stressed for the “decision.”  I push myself to the limit in terms of academics in order to receive scholarships and offers. Currently, I have only been given a very small financial scholarship for my high school.  Oh well, my research continues.

I belong to collegeprowler, zinch, fastweb, and Princeton Review.  I have Google Chrome apps of SAT Prep and StudyBlue (possibly the reason to my success).  I regularly receive emails from these operations wishing and hoping for news.

Recently, I have received propaganda in the mail from colleges.  This feeling is undeniable for a “collegephile” such as myself.  I have received propaganda from:

  • Washington University in St. Louis
  • Bay Path College
  • Drexel University
  • The College of Saint Rose
  • Utica College
  • Siena College
  • Providence College
  • Hofstra University
  • Babson College

And the most exciting of the bunch:

  • Duke University
  • Reed College

Imagine my excitement.

This morning I lazily walk down the stairs and find a large envelope awaiting me.  It has my name and address typed on the front, so I know this isn’t a dream.  A large image in the top left corner stating “Reed College” is staring me down.  I hastily open the envelope and find my very first viewbook.  Then I sit down and write this post overcome with happiness of knowing yet another path my future could take.  Over breakfast I read through the viewbook and say to my parents, “I don’t know what is my top choice now!  It’s either Yale or Reed!”

Reed College Logo

Imagine my happiness when I received a poster from Duke.

In conclusion, colleges flirt with me and I am swept off my feet.  I fall very heavily.