Monday, December 31, 2012

A Cruddy End-of-Year Post Because I'm Better at Saying Hello Than Goodbye

This time last year, I was dealing with a lot of uncertainty. I knew that a lot of things would be revealed and decided and changed in twenty-twelve. I would get replies from colleges I applied to and eventually start college. I would get a license and a job and, to my surprise, a boyfriend.

However, in a very un-Stephanie manner, I wasn't nervous about all the impending change. I was confident content, not the least bit intimidated or unhappy. Although the actual arrival of 2012 was one of the least exciting ever (sitting on the couch downstairs, alone and brushing my teeth as the ball dropped), I don't remember it badly. It was just an unremarkable beginning to a pretty cool year.

For a fleeting moment, I was scared and wanted to cling to 2011, but I threw off the feeling and leapt into the new year on purpose.

Unfortunately, I did not keep any of my New Year’s Resolutions for 2012. That’s a little disappointing, but it was a good year anyway. I’m eagerly looking forward to twenty-thirteen now, but first, a quick (ish) look back at twenty-twelve…

I got my second piercing, and a licence. I was in my first car accident, and went to my first dance competition. I went to my first non-Christian concert {about time, right?} and stayed up for twenty-four hours straight. I got my first boyfriend, and had my first kiss.

My first text was from Aaron, who said “Shush, future-girl,” because I’d just wished him a Happy New Year and his time zone is behind mine.

I liked Sleeping Beauty a lot, but I have a few interesting questions about it. How could Aurora dream of a guy when she’d probably never seen a male before? Wouldn’t THAT be a shock to the system. How come the fairies never considered that when putting the whole kingdom to sleep, they might also be putting Aurora’s truelove and only hope to sleep as well? Prince Philip loses the Shield of Virtue and the Sword of Truth while fighting Maleficent. IS that to say that you lose virtue and truth in your quest to fall in love? Or that when you fall in love, you don’t need them anymore?

The first color I painted my nails was gun metal, and the first thing I bought was a McDonald’s hot fudge sundae.

I’m at Caribou Coffee and I just made a condensation puddle on the table into the Playboy bunny.

The first time I saw Sam was at the Super Bowl Party on February 5th, and he was also my first crush, “I suppose.”

It was weird being there. Not scary, honestly not even uncomfortable, just weird. People that would have made me duck down in my car three years ago all looked like potentially nice individuals to me now. I’m sure I LOOKED more out of place than I FELT.

I’m sad to say that I only read seventeen books in 2012. My undisputed favorite of the year was “The Great Gatsby.” What a fantastic book. I enjoyed Fitzgerald’s talking about nothing more than I enjoy almost any other author talking about something. He’s a genius.

Fuuuuuck. There’s no escape, is there? He will always be part of my life. I will never get rid of him. And I’ll never really try.

I cried sixteen times.
Relationships:  6
Anger:  3
Stress {includes college decisions}:  5
Homesickness: 4
{The numbers in the categories add up to more than sixteen because some episodes involved more than one emotion XD}

He looked mildly panicked and said, “No, I don’t remember. Asking me to remember things is like ‘Hey, Stephanie. Spell this.’” Point taken.

I had forty-four remarkable “Personal Events,” which include:
Watching one of my best friends get married
Dating to date Sam
Shooting a gun for the first time
Getting my license
Getting my second piercing
Being in a car wreck

Saturday was PC’s graduation in the morning, and mine in the evening. I was about four times more nervous about his XD Finding the church, his liking the present, finding his family, meeting his extended family, making Sophie continue to like me, navigating the afterwards, looking good…gah XD I was an internal wreck that morning.

I made thirty new friends.

I saw fifty-seven new movies. The highest rated in my opinion were Walk the Line, Gladiator, 21 Jump Street, The Avengers, Horrible Bosses, An Affair to Remember and The Dark Knight Rises.

Of all the years I’ve lived, this one went by the fastest. I guess that’s normal. Time is supposed to go by faster as you get older. Well, it does.

2012 was totally different from anything I expected. As usual, I don’t feel as old or prepared to handle things as I figured I would. But this year was really good. It was a growing year. An adjusting year. I have by NO MEANS figured out how to navigate life, but I haven’t crashed into an iceberg yet either.

{Of course, I didn’t have math this past semester XD}

Twenty-thirteen has a neat sound. I like odd numbers. I like thirteen. I like that it’s a teen. It sounds quirky and complicated. It sounds radical and serious. It sounds like a year to be me.

Twenty-twelve, it’s been incredible. Absolutely wild and wonderful. I’ll always remember you.

But Twenty-thirteen...

Let's do this.

~ Stephanie

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Matt and This Dog

Just as you sit in your chair, a young boy, Matt walks into a still, dark wood. No moon casts its glow. No wind stirs a rough branch. Clouds, oozing a grim rain, dull Matt's spirit. A dark mood haunts this wood, hushing all sound and all souls.

Soon, Matt turns to spy a small animal. It is a small, brown dog, soaking in rain. Curious, Matt stops to think. Approach an odd, dripping dog, or stay away? Both thoughts could withstand logic. Any animal in such a disturbing wood might attack or bring horrid luck. But still, a pitiful, unassuming animal, such as this dog, might want to gain a way out of frightful, dripping prison of wood just as much as Matt.

"It is a good thought," Matt says out loud. "I will grant this dog a way out of such a wood as this."

But just as Matt was walking forward, this dog starts to look right into Matt, into his soul. A chill runs down Matt's back, into his skin, through his stomach, down into his hands.

"What is this dog doing?" Matt thinks. "Is it going to attack? Or is it attacking right now? A soul-bandit, coming to lift my spirit from my brain and body?"

This dog stands. Its right foot shifts awkwardly, as if it is too busy with its own plan to comply with this dog's commands. A horror girps Matt's stomach at this unnatural sight. This dog is awful, odd, pitiful in a most off-putting way.

"I must not stay in this wood," Matt says to this still wind.  "This dog has it in for my soul. I will not last if I stay. I must go, now."

Matt starts to turn his back to this dog, but thinks again. Turning his back to this soul-capturing animal is not a solution. Matt must go without giving this dog an opportunity. Still, Matt knows that a loss of his soul might also follow from looking straight at this dog.

Matt has a plan. Matt will shut his lids and back away slowly, with a hand at his back to touch this passing brush. Matt will go with no sight and no sound, only touch. This dog might not follow. Matt starts to want that most of anything in his world. To go away without this dog at his back--or his front.

Matt follows his plan, backing up for hours, not using his sight at all.

At long last, no brush skims Matt's hands, and this fright slowly drains from Matt's mind. Sight is not wrong now. Matt should lift his lids and look. No dog should follow. Matt's soul will stay in his body.

Matt looks.

No dog did follow him. Matt scans this horizon for a disturbing animal, but nothing is lurking. Matt sighs and starts to think that dog is history, for today, and for always.

So Matt thinks.
Th nd

~Stphani

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Natalie Liebes Me

Yeah, I'm totally aware that that is incorrect German grammar. But I don't feel like getting the German textbook right now. Hm? No, that is NOT it sitting two feet away from me. What are you talking about? Go away.

Edit: *Natlie Liebt Me

Natalie tagged me again :3 Since I just did the whole 11 Facts About Me thing, can I please just...not? 'Kay cool.

Natalie's Questions
1. What is one thing you've never tried before but really want to? Huh. I did not expect this to be the hardest and last question I answered. Probably punch someone as hard as I can. I've never done that. I'd like to know if I can inflict a decent amount of damage before my life depends on it.
2. If you could pick one new instrument to play, what would it be? Guitar. It's not exactly new, since it's the instrument I play the most, but, like, I hardly play XD I'd like to. Next would probably be piano. Or drums. Or fiddllllllle. That's be cool.
3. What is your absolute favorite book of all time? And if you can't pick just one, give me your top three. Thank you for giving the "top three" option XD There's no way I could pick one. I definitely love the Mortal Instruments books. Inkheart is a timeless favorite of mine (I wouldn't continue with Inkspell and Inkdeath though). Lastly, I'm gonna go with Tex. S.E. Hinton is just brilliant. Such a writer.
4. Favorite thing to drink? Well, it used to be Coca-Cola, but now I've given up soda XD *sigh* Maybe...Arizona raspberry tea? :)
5. What's the question you get asked most often and how do you feel about that? "Oh, you're a writer. What do you write?" I hate that question a lot. It depends on what you mean, when I'm writing, how I feel, where I am. If I tell you I write poetry, I'll get a sappy or condescending response. If I tell you I write fantasy, I'll get a dismissive or intrusive response. If I shrug and say, "I dunno, a lot of different stuff," you'll write me off as an attitudinally-challenged teenager. Writers just can't win.
6. What age do you most often get accused of being? Younger than I am. It kind of really irritates me.
7. How did you meet your best friend? Cassidy just started coming to church a few years ago. I became close to her sort of by accident, really. She ended up sleeping at our house a lot because of her dad's weird work schedule.
8. Favorite holiday tradition? On Christmas Day, my family has Christmas Brunch, made of delicious breakfast food, including Daddy's famous buttermilk biscuits. We invite certain families that are really close to us, as well as anyone who's going to be alone for Christmas :) It's such a fun, beautiful time.
9. What's the biggest mistake you've ever made? Not applying to Wake Forest earlier. Hands down. A relatively distant second would be wasting time being depressed about something that would make sense later.
10. How old were you when you realized what you wanted to do with your life? I've never NOT known what I wanted to do with my life. However, it changes every few years XD Now, when it counts the most, I'm the most unsure. I'd love to teach, but not in the public school system. I'd love to be a lawyer, but not go through law school. Mostly I want to dance and write, but I can't put together how to make a living at either/both of those things.
11. What's your favorite thing to wear? Black and gray. Heels. PC's hoodie. Bright colored jeggings.

Aaaaaaaand Alana tagged me back too! Feel free to skip over the rest of this narcisism, folks XD But I'm answering the questions.

Alana's Questions
1) What is one band/artist that you will NEVER grow out of or get sick of? Relient K. They're timeless. Their lyrics, sound, and sense of humor are perfect.
2)Do you prefer matte, glossy, or glittery nail polish? I've never had matte, and I've always wanted some. From what I have tried, probably glittery :3 Nail polish is one of the few venues where I go girly.
3)Favorite Tv show of all time? If you can't choose just one, pick your top 3. Friends, Batman: The Animated Series, and Arthur (the children's show).
4) Favorite Christmas song? God Rest Ye Merry Gentlemen, followed closely by O Come O Come Emmanuel.
5) What do you spend most of you time doing on the computer? Probably surfing Facebook. Or gmail chatting.
6) Cat or dog person? Cat. But I'm allergic. *sigh*
7) Cut flowers or a plant? A plant, I think. I don't like flowers very much, except orchids, and you can keep and grow a plant.
8) Favorite season(in what state?)? Summer in North Carolina :D
9) Are beards (groomed ones) sexy/ handsome on guys? It depends a lot on the guy. But mostly yes, which is weird because I used to really hate them. Like until a couple of years ago.
10) What's something that you do during your week that you'd be lost without it? Dance. I AM lost without it now XD
11) Are you closer to you mom, dad, or neither? ...huh. Prolly my mom now, which, if you've been following for a while, you know is a really massive, unexpected shift.

~Stephanie

Monday, December 24, 2012

Christmas Like A...

As children, the time between Christmases takes a whole lifetime to pass, and the magical season itself lasts for what seems like a year. Everything is sparkles and exclamation points, and the joy we conduct could power a Tanglewood light show. Christmas seems truly magical.

As we get older, the shopping, entertaining, and staying “merry” take more energy than we can muster, much less spare. The magic of Christmas is lost in the tangles of stress it produces. We tend to mourn the lost simplicity and cheer of childhood. I was sure stuck in a rut of confused depression for a few Christmases.

But then I started to understand things differently. As I’ve grown up and realized what a broken person I am, Christmas has started to mean more. It means even more now than it did when it was all sparkles and exclamation points.

God himself looked down through the mystical gauze of time and space and saw how helpless, hopeless I would be. He knew there was absolutely no way in heaven or earth that I could become righteous on my own. But for some reason, he loved me. He loved me with a fierce gentle love. He loved me so much that he would not leave me to suffer and fail. He loved me so much that he sent a piece of his own self to make things right.

As I’ve grown up, I’ve realized just how dangerously imperfect I am. I’ve realized what a phenomenally powerful, forgiving, loving Savior it would take to make me whole. God sending his son to stand between us and death is nothing short of a miracle. It’s even more magical than we realized as children.

Ironically, the gut-wrenching reality check of “Wow, I’m So Messed Up” made Christmas more special and magical for me. Feeling Christmas like a child was beautiful and perfect—while I was a child. But I think it’s important to grow in your celebration of Christmas. God will give us perceptions that match our spiritual maturity. I’ve loved learning to see Christmas like a teenager, and I’m fascinated and excited to see what “Christmas like an adult” will look like for me.

So this Christmas, don’t get too lost in the nostalgia. This Christmas, let God show you what he wants you to see. The magic of Christmas isn’t over when you turn twelve. God has beautiful epiphanies to reveal at every age; we just have to keep our hearts open.

~Stephanie

P.S. Thanks for following, James, whom I can't find a link for! XD

Saturday, December 22, 2012

Liebster

Ginger nominated me for the Liebster Award :D

Answer the 11 questions.
Post 11 facts about yourself.
Ask 11 new questions.
Nominate people to answer your 11 new questions.

Eleven Questions
1. How often do you wash your pillowcases? As often as I wash my sheets, so about every couple of weeks.
2. What do/did you want to be when you grow up? I want to be happy. I also want to write and dance and have kids.
3. What is the most exotic dish you have ever eaten? Did you enjoy it? Hm. Do escargo count as "exotic"? I ate part of one when I was in France. I didn't like it a lot, but I'd be willing to give it another shot.
4. What is the craziest nickname someone has ever given you? My mom nicknamed me "Noosk" for absolutely no reason. Sam came up with "Cinderbelle" once, which is definitely original.
5. How do you feel about reality TV shows such as Jersey Shore? I think they're terrible and stupid and I get sucked into watching them :3
6. On which day of the week where you born? I think a Monday, but I'm not 100% sure.
7. What is/was your favourite school subject and why? English. Always English, because I love everything about words.
8. Least favourite? Math, because it confuses me and I can't remember things that have to do with numbers.
9. Which job would you least like to do? Something involving math.
10. How do you feel about gay marriage? I think it's morally, naturally wrong, but I'm not sure that it's the government's place to enforce that belief.
11. Do you believe painting your toenails is a waste of time? Not for me, because I have hideous, repulsive feet and anything I can do to make them look better is worth every minute.

Eleven Facts About Myself
1. I sleep walk.
2. I recently taught myself to like celery.
3. I've been 9 weeks without soda.
4. I'm trying to read Lord of the Rings. It's great, I just have trouble sitting down and reading the way I used to.
5. I'm sort of trying to learn German. {Which is cool, 'cuz "liebster" is German for "favorite," I believe.} It blows my mind.
6. I wrote a letter to Santa again this year.
7. I saw like 37 snowflakes yesterday.
8. I think I'm done Christmas shopping.
9. I broke my Batman ring the other day.
10. Apparently big changes result in weeks of nightmares for me.
11. I have a bad habit of embracing the philosophies "If I ignore it, it'll go away" and "If I close my eyes, it won't happen."

Eleven New Questions
1. What's one thing you want for Christmas?
2. What do you think our kids will say about the music we listen to? What will you say back?
3. Would you rather be eaten alive by kittens, or lick a hobo clean?
4. If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself? {I stole this question from Ginger's nomination. I love it.}
5. What's one thing you're really bad at that you'd love to do well?
6. How do you feel about bleached blonde hair?
7. Would you rather be a Yankee or a Southerner?
8. Have you ever written a letter to Santa? Do you remember if you got what you wanted?
9. How old were you when you had yours first crush?
10. Do you prefer the country or the city?
11. Do you want to be rich when you grow up?

I'd like to hear these people tell about themselves and answer these questions.
1. Alana
2. Yana
3. Dandalily
4. Furree Katt
5. Natalie

~Stephanie

Friday, December 21, 2012

Revelations of Mundane Size

When I wrote my post about dying happy, it didn't even occur to me how fun and appropriate it was, being near the end of the world and all. That's probably because the apocalypse hasn't been in the front of my mind. In fact, it probably wouldn't be in my mind at all if it weren't for the End of the World party one of my friends is having on the 21st.

{I'm having trouble deciding what to wear. Should I wear my blackish shirt and black pants, my black shirt and black pants, or my black piece of black clothing with black accents and my black pants?}

Yeah, I'm not really a believer. So the ancient Mayan guy got a hand cramp and stopped writing the calendar. I mean, even ancient scholars get bored and tired. Get over it.

But what if the world did end? Am I happy enough to die?

If the world ends tomorrow...

~ I'll have experienced the true, deep, once-in-a-lifetime friendship I always read about in books.
~ I'll have loved and dated only one guy.
~ I'll have finally, successfully dyed my hair red.
~ I'll have had my first kiss.
~ I'll never have gotten married or had kids.
~ I'll never have written  a book I was proud of.
~ I'll have been to seven countries.
~ I'll have completely avoided food poisoning, strep throat, and bee stings.
~ I'll have neglected my relationship with God.
~ I'll have all As and a B in college.
~ I'll have seen a shooting star.
~ I'll never have paid taxes.
~ I'll have written a letter to Santa.
~ I'll have finally found my jeggings.

All things considered, not too bad. If the world ends, I'll die mostly happy. If it doesn't, I'll have time to seize the day and work on my regrets :)

Happy Apocalypse.

~Stephanie

Sunday, December 16, 2012

Hair Personalities

We aren't supposed to judge people. But it occurred to me last night that if you're going to do it, hair is a strangely accurate judge of personality.

My hair is dark, tempermental, and worn natural. It despises authority {no curling iron, straightener, or hair spray can break it}, but will occasionally do beautiful, cool things on its own.

Cassidy's hair is dark, silky, and luxurious. {Basically the most goregous hair I've ever seen, no big deal.} It also refuses to go against its will, but it's consistent and tasteful enough not to be a problem.

Sam's hair is thick, red, and also has a mind of its own. It stands out. It attracts compliments and comments. It never even tries to be understated, but it almost always works.

Sarah's hair is a mature, lovely blonde, which contrasts with her dark eyebrows. It's a little fluffy {which she dislikes}, a little unlucky at times, but the color and quality are phenomenal.

Daniel's hair is dark, short, and closely monitored. It's never too long, and it's really obvious when it's been coached into a certain look. It has trouble looking comfortable and natural even when it actually is.

Bekah's hair is bright yellow and obviously dyed. It's hott and eye-catching, but thin and perfectly straight.

Nicole's hair is jet black, each strand a tight coil of gelled ringlets. It's high-maintenance and not very versatile, but 100% natural. No fronts.

Tori changes her hair color every year or so. However, it's always glossy, perfectly styled, and parted like hairdressers do. A lot of work goes into that hair, and even though you sort of know it's false advertising, it's still really glossy.

What is your hair saying about you? Do you think it's accurate?

On a scale of 1 to 10, how self-conscious have I made you feel just now? XD

~Stephanie

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Santa Chromosome: I Don't Have It

There are twelve days 'til Christmas and I have not bought a single Christmas gift.

Some people, like my sister Sarah, seem to be blessed with elf blood and a Santa chromosome, which allow them to create, think of, and procure the PERFECT CHRISTMAS GIFT every year. {Or if you're like Sarah, five or six of those per person until you have to be cut off by your mother.}

Then you have people like me.

Where gift-giving fills Sarah with glowing light and sparks of passionate generosity, it fills me with feelings of Titanic-sized ineptitude and an irrational annoyance at anyone who has dared to become important enough to warrant a gift.

Luckily, because I seem incapable of normal human attachment/affection, there are only five people in the world whose gifts must be PERFECT AND THOUGHTFUL AND SHOW HOW MUCH I CARE. But when you're an obsessive, deeply loyal perfectionist like myself, five people is plenty enough to give you heartburn and a stomach cramp when December 1st hits the calendar.

I'm sure lof people have trouble picking out gifts, but normal issues/experiences/feelings have a way of becoming extreme emotional hurdles when the ever-dramatic Stephanie deals with them. When I try to analyze my ineptitude at gift-giving, it mostly ends with my insulting myself with comments like, "You just suck at this because you're selfish and lazy and don't love people. Why don't you just go kick a kitten while you're at this?"

My dad says it's hard for me to get into the gift-giving blitz because it doesn't resonate with me personally. I don't put a lot of stock in material things, so thinking of presents is difficult. But that makes me sound like this incredibly noble, wise person, which I'm almost positive I am not. However, Daddy's answer is more encouraging and nice than my version, so sometimes I let myself believe it.

Actually, come to think of it, there's a little bit of evidence to support that theory. A lot of times I get so paralyzed by the prospect of gifts and stores and money and using money at stores to buy gifts that I end up giving homemade presents.

One time, I made Cassidy a Wordle of memories, phrases, movies, songs, etc. that reminded me of her. I made it in her favorite colors and framed it and gave it to her. She liked it. For her birthday, I once wrote my grandma a poem. That was a big hit. Once for Sam, I made a CD of songs that reminded me of him. He liked it, I assume XD

My dad was definitely right about one thing:  personally, I don't put a lot of stock in material things. That's not to say that I wouldn't love a journal with writing in a different language, or crazy eyeliner, or Batman Converse. However, it's the foreign language, the craziness, and the Batman that make those gifts. It's not the journalness, the eyelinerness, or the shoeness, if that makes sense. It's not the actual item; it's the evidence that the gift-giver really KNOWS me, and tried to find something I would like.

It's literally THE THOUGHT THAT COUNTS.

So, in the middle of all this, I'm starting to come to terms with the fact that I'm just really bad at buying people presents. It will probably always intimidate me, and I will probably never be great at it.

But I think if I put real, long-term effort into them, I can give pretty good presents when it matters. I think the people who I care most about will always have enough depth to know when I care, whether it took me $50 or 50 hours to produce proof.

~Stephanie

Monday, December 10, 2012

Pretty Much Describes Us

Pretty much no words necessary.











Happy eight months of being officially the funnest combination of a guy and a girl this world has ever seen, PC.


~Stephanie

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Reactions

When you realize that having your two hardest finals on Monday is actually the worst thing that's ever happened to you, you might choose to:

- Wallow in the floor with your sweatshirt hood up, repeating "This is the worst thing ever."

- Stare into your teacup and blink at relatively regular intervals.

- Think, "Maybe if I ignore it, it'll just go away."

- Procrastinat--oh wait, you've already done that to the point where you've basically screwed yourself over.

- Pretend you've already finished. Pack your things and prepare to leave the campus.

- Give yourself a manicure with your teeth.

- Whimper.

- Write a blog post.

- Study?

~Stephanie

Back to My Roots


Ironic, isn't it? That dyeing my hair has inspired/reminded me to return to my true colors.

This isn't going to be a wishful post, and I'm so proud to say that. I'm not going to whine about the way I used to be, and bemoan the fact that I'm not that way anymore. I'm going to tell you how I AM, and therefore how I AM going to be.

I am going to wear eyeliner again, because I am bold and unique.
I am going to write more, because I'm good at it and it makes me happy.
I am going to take my time when I speak, because my thoughts are worth saying well.
I have complicated tastes, so I am going to feel equally good in Converse and heels.
I am going to wear rings, because they're my favorite piece of jewelry.
I am going to avoid soda, because I'm stubborn and I say so.
I have nothing to hide, so I am going to make eye contact more often.
I am going to sieze new words, because they fuel my soul.
I am going to know God, because he wants to know me.
I am going to drink in languages, because I love to learn.
I am going to spend less time with screens, because the real world is worth investing in.
I am going to love green, because it's the color of new life and Go lights.
I am going to write these down and tape them where I can see.

I'm tired of not feeling right. We're always told to be ourselves, but no one tells you who that is. I'm pretty sure of the things on that list, so I'm going to try to live by them for a while and just see what happens.

~Stephanie

P.S. More pictures in the page next to Awards.

Saturday, December 8, 2012

Re: December Me

Dear End-of-Summer-Steph,

How weird.

I totally forgot you wrote that letter to me. But now it doesn't seem like it's been that long. My first semester went by really fast, and not NEARLY as much has changed as I expected. I expected to feel like a different person. I expected to have different friends, priorities, stories, favorite foods, speaking style, everything. Instead of feeling like Stephanie Part 2, I feel like Stephanie Part 1: Draft 2, if that makes sense.

Sam and I ARE still together, so End-of-Summer-Steph, you can stop stressing out and being paralyzed. Que sera, sera.

Cassidy and I are still best friends. Absolutely nothing has changed there. Don't insult my integrity, End-of-Summer-Steph.

I had to drop the math class, so homework in there was not an issue. I did like 90% of my other homework though, and I got good grades on all my tests. I still have my three hardest finals to go (unfortunately), so we'll see about those. I should do alright though. I always do and you know it.

Your fears of being dumb and behind WERE unfounded. Completely, totally, utterly unfounded. You were among the most efficient, well-adjusted, and intelligent students in every class. However, I might remind you that you ended up with no math or science courses this semester. Next semester you have math, so you will be getting your reality check and dose of humility in there, I'm sure.

I have kept up with my blog and family, not so much with God. However, that's not anything new, and I really, really, REALLY want to change that. I just have no idea where to start.

I have not applied to Wake Forest yet. I plan to start that process over the summer. I want to at least finish my first year here at Campbell, because applying and figuring out all that crap is horrible enough without having to do school work at the same time. But I know that Wake Forest is still what I want, and I don't know that I could ever forgive myself if I didn't even try to achieve it.

The letter did not depress me. It made me laugh, smile, and blush. Interesting. I seem to be blushing more lately. I don't think I like that very much.

~December Steph

Friday, December 7, 2012

Dear December Me

A letter I wrote myself the first week of college

Dear December Me.

Hopefully you had a really happy, productive first semester at Campbell. Right now, I don't even know what that would look like. The thought that I am really starting COLLEGE is overwhelming and frankly a little unwanted. I miss Sam a lot, and the thought of us not being together paralyzes me.

Are you still together? Please don't have hurt him. If he hurt you, remember:  You got over him once before, you can do it again. There IS A guy out there for you.

If you're still with him, I'm really glad. But do it for the right reasons. Whatever that means.

I hope you and Cassidy are still best friends. I hope the distance hasn't been a problem. It really shouldn't be. You guys are two sides to the same soul. If you've drifted apart, pleeeeeeeease try to reconnect. You'll never find anyone like her, and you know it. Don't let being depressed or overwhelmed come between the world's best friendship.

I hope you studied, and did your math homework.

Remember how scared you were of being dumb and behind? Hopefully those fears were unfounded.

I hope you're still keeping up with your blog, family, and God.

I hope you've applied to Wake.

I hope this letter doesn't depress you.

Make good choices. Merry Christmas :)

~ Last-Day-of-2012-Summer-Steph

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Happy Enough

"I am happy enough to die."

That phrase confused me as a kid. If you're happy, why would you want to die? Doesn't it make more sense to die when you're sad?

Well, in a way it does. But who wants a death like that? Who wants to die with a broken soul leaking from his eyes? Who wants to die with a smashed heart tearing its way through his ribs? Answer: No one.

An ideal death--if that can be a thing--is a satisfied death. You leave this world with a smile, and few regrets. You relinquish your grip on life with a confident wholeness, knowing you've done what you were here to do and you're ready to face what comes next. For some people an ideal death might be taking a bullet for a loved one; for others it might be a quiet, anticipated passing surrounded by friends.

But whether you envision your last moments heroic or nostalgic, one thing's for sure:  you don't WANT to die miserable.

Some moments are just beautiful and whole enough to be your last. "I'm happy enough to die" doesn't mean, "Wow, life is so great that I think I'll leave now." It means, "I can't imagine a more perfect ending."

It was just this year that I really began to understand being "happy enough to die." As to be expected {considering I'm ME and everything}, the moment that enlightened me wasn't breathtakingly romantic or overwhelmingly sweet. I think my first "happy enough to die moment" took place in a vehicle driven by a friend. And when I say "a friend," I mean either Sam or Cassidy. We were driving along, listening to music, laughing, talking, whatever-ing, and one of those Well-Shit-This-Was-Definitely-A-Poor-Driving-Decision moments occurred.

I didn't panic. I didn't really feel alarmed at all. I remember continuing to laugh and be happy, thinking, "Well, if I'm going to die, I really don't mind dying with my best friend."

Those moments--when you can close your eyes and feel joy like a tangible thing in your heart--are the moments in which you wouldn't mind dying. There's something satisfying, poetic about your last breath being a laugh, your last glance being full of love, your last words being happy. No one genuinely wants to die crying, full of hatred and spewing cruelty. Everyone wants to die happy.

I think the moral here is clear:  No one knows when death will come, so if you want to die happy, live happy. Sieze every moment, give every smile. Laugh lots, forgive fully, live intentionally.

Live happy enough to die.

~Stephanie

Monday, December 3, 2012

Fragments IV

I hate when people whistle at me. It pisses me off and I ignore it.

Literally, my first thought when something terrible, scary, uncomfortable, or strange happens is, "I'll be able to write about this."

Last week, I felt really weird at dinner. Audria was talking about how her dad would read aloud to her family in the kitchen. Her mom would be cooking dinner, she and her brother would be doing school work, and her dad would read Lord of the Rings to them. I felt sentimental and nostalgic and the only thing I wanted to do was have a family or hug somebody or talk to my mom. It was the strangest thing ever. I think it was homesickness, but a different kind than I've ever felt before.

Last Sunday marked seven weeks without soda and one week of trying not to eat straight-up bread. I accidentally forgot and ate a muffin one day, and I ate a chicken sandwich with the bottom bun still there, so it hasn't been a completely bread-free adventure. It's a work in progress.

I watched a chickflick last night and was giggly and mushy and liked the stupid cute stuff.

"Twist" by KoRn is one of the greatest things ever.

But I still hate Justin Bieber and Taylor Swift. Some things don't ever change.

In one week, I overcame my intense hatred for celery. I just ate it every day despite its nasty taste and now it's one of my favorite foods.

Lately, I've been getting really, really bored in the middle of movies. Like, the climax hits and it's all I can do not to turn it off or leave the room.

I've had "Starstrukk" stuck in my head all day and just figured out what it was. I am enormously relieved and ashamed to say I'm listening to it.

~Stephanie

Saturday, December 1, 2012

Riccardio

About a year ago, Sam and I discussed and began writing a story together. It has the potential to be pretty great {naturally}, but we've put it on hold for a while because we're busy and a little bit lazy.

But around 2AM a few nights ago, we began collaborating on a new piece...

Me: Do you want to make up a ridiculous story?
PC: What do you mean?
Me: Like each say a sentence.
(I'm also really tired, just btw. That's becoming evident.)
Like, there once was a silver pineapple named Riccardio, whose dream was to become a neural surgeon.
PC: He lived in a Canadian gentleman named Robertina, who had self-esteem issues and three left feet.
Me: His wife was a liberated peach from Phoenix, who loved to declare her love in Arabic, causing trouble every time the couple wanted to fly.
PC: One day, they purchased an emu that wore a suit of armor.
Me: It fit inside the Canadian gentleman surprisingly well, but it disagreed with the gentleman's second left foot.
PC: The emu was happy to have a home, even if it did smell like outer space,
Me: The emu's name was Raddish and he spent most of his time dyeing the leg hair of spiders.
PC: One day, a penguin appeared and wanted the emu to share, setting the emu off the deep end.
Me: The emu's shift in temperment made him more agreeable to the gentleman's second left leg, but left the silver pineapple and the liberated peach feeling like failures as radioactive psychologists.
PC: Riccardio eventually had enough; the breaking point came one day, after he realized hewas a pineapple, and obviously belonged iuimderwater.
And I can't do this anymore xD
Me: Yeah, I was just thinking it was right about time to be done with this.

*sigh* We have such potential.

~Stephanie

P.S. IT'S OFFICIALLY CHRISTMASTIIIIIIIIIIIIME.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Dressing Up

Tonight, I dressed up.

Overall, I've been pretty down this week, but tonight, I had to go to a play for Theater 131 credit, and I decided to look nice.

Dark denim jeggings, a silver sequined top, actual jewelry, and silver high-heeld boots. I put on all the makeup I used to love and never wear now, and successfully ignored my chipped nail polish.

My hair looked amazing. It's getting longer than I like, but tonight it was shiney and wavy and pretty.

Maybe it's vanity, but I felt a lot better. Maybe it's pride, but it felt really good to be noticed again. I got five compliments before I even sat down at dinner. A popular guy said hello. Lance hugged me and told me I smelled good. Gerard said I looked nice. Tashinga straight up told me I looked hot, which oddly enough didn't bother me.

Back home, I was never the sidekick. I was never the wallflower. I was never the awkward one, the quiet one, the loner. Tonight, I got to remember how that felt, and I liked it.

I liked it a lot.

But I like to think it wasn't the nice clothes that did it. I like to think it was the confidence that echoed in my footsteps and edged my tone. The mischief that shined through my smile and my carefully-lined eyes. I like to think people noticed me because, for the first time in a long time, I had noticed myself.

I might dress up more often.


~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

"A Dream Within a Dream"

By Edgar Allan Poe


Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow--
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand--
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep--while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

The 90% Theory

I talked to Ellie the other day. {And when I say "the other day," I mean "about six weeks ago."} We mostly talked about college professors and politics, mostly I wanted to avoid the fact that she has a husband. However, eventually a lengthy silence descended, and she broke it by asking,

"So how are you and Sam?"

I told her we were good, and she got very serious very quickly. Marriage leaked into the conversation. Eventually I was forced to say,

"We're really good, Ellie, and I love him, but I don't KNOW that we'll get married. We have a little while."

"Oh yeah, definitely," Ellie said. "Getting married was the right step for me and Brian, but it's not for everyone right now. I don't think it's bad or weird when people wait."

"Yeah," I agreed, raising an eyebrow at the phone. "I don't think I'm ready to be married. We have to be sure."

"I guess," Ellie said in her matter-of-fact voice.  "Although I think marriage is mostly just a decision. I think 90% of people can make it work with 90% of other people if they decide to. You just have to choose to stick with it."

It's an interesting thought, and maybe it's true, but as Ellie and I talked, I started to get the feeling that she'd settled in her life, and she knew it. There might be people out there better suited for her than Brian, people who would make her laugh and be exciting and stretch her as a person. But she could make it work with Brian, and since she had married him, she would have to.

The weird thing? She didn't seem botherd by this, and I know that she isn't. She never put a lot of stock in romantic love, and absolutely forget physical love. {I thought she was going to pass out the first time I confessed that sex didn't sound disgusting.} Actully, come to think of it, I'm not sure she puts a lot of stock in any kind of love.

That's a pretty bold accusation coming from me, the girl who would rather pretend that she doesn't have emotions, and when she does, they're primarily negative. But Ellie...she's always been very emotionally detached. Even when her parents divorced for a while. Even when her brother walked out on their family. Even when we were best friends and never saw each other.

Don't get me wrong, she's very LOYAL. I can mostly count on her to talk to me and help me and reason with me any time I need her, but as far as actual FEELINGS...she doesn't seem to have those.

But she's not a hardened or bitter person. It's not like she went through Hell one time and came out cold and untouchable. She's a healthy, functional person. She just happens to be devoid of emotion.

The point of that rant was to explain why I think she isn't bothered by her "meh" marriage. {I mean, maybe Brian's more fun than he seems, but when you refuse to hang out with teenagers and your idea of a good time is shoving election signs in the ground...}

Maybe Ellie's right. Maybe 90% of the population could marry anyone from 90% of the population and not have it end in divorce. But...

So?

I don't want to marry someone from 90% of the population just because I can. I want to marry one person because I'm crazy about him, and I think we fit each other better than 100% of the rest of the world. I don't want to spend the rest of my life watching guys walk by, thinking "Huh. He probably would have done the trick just as well."

I'm not a hopeless romantic. I'm a cynic. But good gosh. If you don't hope for a marriage that's perfect FOR YOU, what DO you hope for?

~Stephanie

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Fear Me

I'm thankful for a lot of things, as most people are. However, because my friends, family, and food are different and more interesting than most peoples', I'm going to blog about being thankful anyway.

I'm thankful for meals where Sam and Cassidy are with me. If I want to say something but my mouth is full, it's cool because I can count on one of them to say what I'm thinking for me.

I'm thankful for a best friend who does more than complete my sentences; she completes my thoughts with her eyes. We can do more than have eye conversations; we can have vibe conversations. She helps me to make the right decisions, and forces them when necessary {and I love her for it}. She isn't afraid of me. We disregard discretion and still remain unoffended by each other.

I'm thankful for a boyfriend who tells me bedtime stories when I don't want to sleep. We can argue for an hour just for fun, being pretty aggressive in tone, and yet not get mad at each other. He can speak German and make it sound good. He puts up with me when there's no way in hell I can put up with my own self. He's also not afraid of me, which is great.

I'm thankful for a sister who teaches me more than I teach her. She sees the world at a different angle, and sometimes she's right and I'm wrong. She helps me figure out what to wear, which sounds shallow,  but it's actually tremendously practical and important. {One time I wanted to wear jean shorts to a wedding reception where I was a bridesmaid. Apparently that's frowned upon? Who knew. [Sarah did.]}

I'm thankful for a mom who makes sure I have everything I could possibly need. She gives me advice, helps me organize my schedule, talks me through relationship glitches, buys me plastic spoons, and makes more and more sense as I grow up. I'm becoming her, which is something I've always wanted to avoid. I have not decided how I feel about this. More to come, I'm sure.

I'm thankful for a dad who loves me so deeply and unconditionally I can't explain it. We're buddies. He likes to tell me jokes, show me how to do things, engage me in political discussion. He's a big, BIG part of how I became the person I am. He's always treated me like a real little person, even before I could talk. He's shaped me into the intelligent {conceited?}, argumentative, logical, humor-loving Conservative aspiring writer I am.

It isn't uncommon to hear people say that they have the best friends in the world. But I think I can say it with more confidence than most, and with more willingness to challenge anyone who doubts me.

After all, I have a best friend who can read my brainwaves, a boyfriend with nerves of steel, a sister who's wise beyond her years, a mom whose night job is Superwoman, and a dad whose soul is deeper than the pile of homework I should be doing right now.

Oh yeah. Fear me.

Happy Thanksgiving, Pandora :)

~Stephanie

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Paper Heartbeats

In one of my classes, we watched a video about American poverty/hunger.  The documentary followed the lives of three families as they struggled to provide food, clothing, shelter, etc. for themselves.

One family was just a dad and a little boy. Their story was simple.  The father lost his job and despite having a great education and work ethic, he couldn't find another one. He resorted to starting a small upholstery business in his garage.

As interviews unfolded and the camera followed them around their house, my brain went into {over-}analyzing mode. I tried to figure out what they could have done to prevent poverty, or help themselves out. They had a TON of stuff, for one thing. I've never seen so many toys in a kid's room before.  {A yard sale definitely wouldn't fix the problem, but it would be pretty high on my list of possible strategies if I were them.}

Then the family dog came into the picture, and {I'm so gonna lose like 40% of my followers for this XD} my first thought was, "Well, there you go. Get rid of the dog. This is clearly a choice between feeding your dog and feeding your kid. This is not a hard decision." How can people think it's okay to have a pet when they're starving and drowning in debt?

Then a little voice popped into my head and said,

"Would you stop buying books if you were poor? Would you sell your books if you needed money?"

Ooooh. Awkwarddd.

The answer to both of those questions was an obvious and final "NO" for me.

Books are knowledge; books are freedom; books are people; books are memories; books are comfort; books are escape; books are happiness; books are art.

Books are influential; books are beautiful; books are powerful; books are expressive; books are inspiring; books are hilarious; books are helpful; books are necessary.

Telling me to get rid of my books is like saying, "Hey, Stephanie, delete large chunks of your childhood memories," or "Hey, Stephanie, I'm gonna steal some of your soul now," or "Hey, Stephanie, burn your best friend at the stake real quick."

The thought of selling more than maybe three of my books makes my eyes widen and my stomach clench.  There's no way. I would literally fight you for my books.

My family used to be really poor. Our grocery budget was something like $50 a week. We didn't eat out, have cable, buy orange juice, or get name brand anything. Going ridiculously all-out for my family was seeing a matinee movie and buying ice cream on the way home.  Until I was fifteen, the only form of electronic entertainment I had was the small TV in the living room {the only television in the whole house} and sometimes my dad's computer.

But one thing we never did without was books. Now, that doesn't mean that we bought $200 boxed sets of encyclopedias or went book-shopping on the weekends. But it does mean that we probably would have sold some jewelry before selling my mom's much-loved copies of The Lord of the Rings trilogy.

And do you want to know the weird thing? I never knew we were poor. I didn't figure it out til I was like sixteen that we had been on the brink of poverty when I was a kid. I had the best childhood in the world {I dare you to challenge that}. Money couldn't have made it any better, and I would even argue that it would have made it worse.

Why was my childhood so great? For lots of reasons, but I think they all boil down to one simple concept:

The written word.

Books entertained me on dull afternoons.  Books removed me from my childish heartbreaks.  Books taught me how to use my imagination.  Books helped me cope with family arguments.  Books preserved my memories. Books cheered me up when I was depressed or angry.  Books put me to sleep at night, and gave me a reason to wake up in the morning.  Books inspired me to become a writer.

I know that I couldn't give up books, no matter how poor or hungry I was. They're a part of my heart, my mind, my life, my soul. I know that sounds crazy and ridiculous and impractical, but it's one of the truest things I've ever said.

And I guess that's how some people feel about their pets. So hm.

To each his own, I realized that day in class. Who am I to judge? I mean, at least you can hear a dog's heartbeat.

You can only feel the heartbeat of a book.

~Stephanie

Sunday, November 18, 2012

Dear People...

It's a letter fill-out! I love letters. But normally I don't send them. So this'll be different.

Dear person I dislike,
I've already warned you about hugging me. I think it's now fair and appropriate for me to claw your arms off next time you try to.

Dear person I like,
...huh. I know there are people here I like...

Dear ex-boyfriend/girlfriend,
Depending on how you interpret things, either I love you or you don't exist.

Dear bestfriend,
I miss youuuuuuuu. Ermagerd. I cannot wait for Christmas break.

Dear Santa,
Thanks for granting one of my three Christmas wishes last year. That's actually a lot better than I expected.

Dear Mom,
I am becoming you. How very unexpected.

Dear Dad,
You and your iPhone are pretty adorable.

Dear Future Me,
Respect me, don't forget me, but make decisions that make sense to YOU. You're the one who's going to have to deal with the consequences, not me. If you make decisions based on my opinion, no one wins. I don't win, because I don't exist anymore, and you don't win because you went against what you wanted. Be respectful, but be real.

Dear past me,
You're pretty weird. You've made some pretty bad calls. However, I do like some of your writing. Maybe hold a workshop for Now Me?

Dear person I’m jealous of,
It's great that you never do homework, but we both know you're going to bomb finals. And I'm a little bit glad.

Dear person I had a crush on,
I promise I won't tell anyone your real name is Bruce Wayne. Oops.

Dear boyfriend/girlfriend,
Hi, Sam. I've never met you before.

~Stephanie

Friday, November 16, 2012

Assorted Scenes From College

Theater:
Some girl:  "...and hopefully get Hello Kitty shoes."
Me:  "Ooh. I want Batman shoes. Batman Converse, actually."
Tim:  "You should get Batman socks."
Me: "I already have Batman socks."
Tim: "Oh. You should get Batman...er, never mind."
Me: "I have that too."
Tim: "Wow."

Western Civ
Professor:  "Have anyone ever read excerpts from The Iliad or the Odyssey?"
Me:  *raises hand*
Professr: "Good. Which one?"
Me:  "Both of them."
Professor:  "Great. Which parts did you read?"
Me: "All of them."
Professor: "You read all of both of them? When?"
Me: "Last year in school."
Professor: "Well. Wow. That's great."

Wandering Around Outside
Lance:  "Kirsten, I dare you to jump in the fountain."
Kirsten: "No! Maybe sometime. I'd have to mentally prepare myself."
Lance: *looks at me* "You wouldn't have to. You'd do it right now."
Me:  "...that's true. But don't tempt me."
{I never did. But I will. Oh, but I will.}

At Cook-Out
Harley: "I mean, I've gotten drunk once. I'm the funny drunk. Not the dumb one that people laugh at because he can't walk, but the one that becomes naturally funny."
Kirsten:  "That's cool. I can see myself drinking, like once I turn 21."
Me: "I can see you drunk, Kirsten."
Kirsten: "Me too."
Me: "But you know I never will."
Harley: "What do you mean?"
Me: "I'm never going to drink, at all, ever."
Harley:  "Really? Wow."

~Stephanie

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

"PC"

I don't remember if I've ever called him this on Pandora, but my nickname for Sam is "PC." It's his name in my Gmail chat list. It's his label on Pandora. It's the way I refer to him.  It's his name in my phone.

In real life, this provokes more conversation than I ever anticipated.  My roommate, Bekah, was pretty confused for a while. She knew I was dating Sam, but she saw that I texted someone named "PC" kind of a ton.  Eventually she asked who that was, and I told her it was Sam.

A guy named Harley noticed immediately.  We were at a soccer game together on election day, and I was texting.

"Ah," I said. "Romney and Obama are tied for electoral votes. 153-153."
Harley raised his eyebrows.  "Who's texting you this?"
"My boyfriend. Sam."
Harley looked at my phone.  "You call your boyfriend PC?"
"...yes."
"Huh. That's interesting."

It is, actually, and I'm going to tell you how he got that nickname. I think only about three people besides me and PC himself know how it happened.

It was three years ago. My best friend was Ellie {the one who got married in June -_-}, I was still into the Fire Fairy Stories, and Sam was a friend with a crush on me.  However, because Ellie and I were best friends and because Sam had a crush on me, we ended up talking about him a lot.

Like. Most of the time.

However, we already had a Sam in our lives, and he was a pretty big part of our lives. He had been my crush of like five years, he was our best friend's older brother, and he was a main character of the Fire Fairy Stories.  Therefore, everytime we wanted to talk about MY Sam, we had to clarify, and if we ever wanted to talk about both of them at the same time, clarifications added an extra two minutes to every five minute conversation.

So, Ellie and I did what fifteen-year-old best friends talking about potential crushes do:

We gave my Sam a codename.

Now, Ellie and I were already pros at nicknaming people. We had several, including Him, Him 2, Him 3, It, Pyro, and CRB {Christopher Road Boy}.

But the thing about those nicknames is that they just happened. Nicknaming Sam was necessary and intentional. Ellie and I scheduled and conducted a phone conversation specifically with the purpose of nicknaming Sam.

"What are we gonna call him?" I said.

"I don't know," Ellie sighed.  "Red." {He has red hair.}

I glared at the phone. "No."

"Aw."

"What are some characteristics of him?" I said, thinking out loud.

"Well, he talks a lot."

"Yeah. But we're not naming him Mouth or anything."

"Hm, I don't know," Ellie said. "He's smart. He argues with you. He's spontaneous. He doesn't take your crap. He reads. He's funny."  She paused.  "He's pretty much perfect for you, Steph."

"Perfect...like Prince Calvin."

Prince Calvin was a character from the Fire Fairy story. He was actually sort of creepy and annoying because he was literally perfect. He always said the right thing, did the right thing, asked the right questions, knew the right answers. He was perfect.

Ellie laughed.  "We can't call him Prince Calvin. That's awful. And takes way too long to say."

"I know. But maybe we could abbreviate it. Make it an acronym. PC."

"I dunno," Ellie said.  "That sounds weird."

"Yeah," I agreed. "Oh well. We'll think of something eventually."

We decided to use "PC" til we thought of something better.

But we never did. Instead, the name "PC" became synonymous with my Sam. It came to be more than a nickname, even more than a real name. It was a feeling. It was a milestone. It was an IDENTITY. PC was the perfect person for me, the person who completed me and balanced me and enhanced me.  PC was the person who made me more of who I was.

Today, I associate "PC" more closely with the guy I love than "Sam." When I see the name Sam, it's still the tiniest bit ambiguous to me.  My boyfriend is PC in my head. He's PC in my heart.

And he's still the perfect one for me :)

~Stephanei

Monday, November 12, 2012

{emodrama}

The wad of emotions clogs my throat, desperate for release.

It feels as though the firm little hands of tears could—

Oh fuck it. Just because I’ve been reading poetry doesn’t mean I can write it at the moment. I don’t want to be here. I keep screwing up. I feel so sick and so lonely and so freaked out and so lost and I just don’t want to be here. I want to go home.

Home, of course, being translated to “where Cassidy and Sam are.”

I need them right now, but they’re not here, and I’m not there, and I don’t have a car.

If I had a way to get to them, I would. If one of them showed up right now, I’d get in the car, no question.

I’m shaking. I might be cold. I might not.

I can’t do this. Not because I actually can’t, but because I don’t want to, and that debilitates me.

I have to get it together. I have a paper to write, a presentation to prepare.



Yeah, that’s true. Those are truuuue statements. But I’m not going to.

No one can help me either, which is the tragic part. I’d like to be helped, sure, but I’m too stubborn and too depressed to be helped. I couldn’t make eye contact right now if you demanded it. Talking with my voice? I’d like to see someone try.

None of this is okay. *sigh* So far from it. Like, wow.

It’s cool though. I really am a drama queen. I’ll be fine.

Well, I’ll appear to be. But I think unless this gets fixed…I won’t ever actually be fine.

~Me

Sunday, November 11, 2012

College Fragments

~ The weird moment when you can't remember if a phrase originated with you or your roommate, because you both use it now.

~ Guess what? You cannot make purchases at Wal-Mart using a Student ID card, nor will your room key start your car.

~ Shaving your legs is kind of barely a thing in college. No one looks. No one cares. No one will ever know {especially if your boyfriend is two hours away XD}.

~ I was doing my homework halfassedly today, and the age-old phrase leapt to mind, "You're cheating yourself. This isn't going to cut it when you get to college." Only then I realized that Oh Wait, It Is, and now I feel really baffled and lost. Does this mean I'll NEVER have to try?

~ I don't eat much all day, and I feel really good about myself. Then it gets to be like 8pm and I eat as much as I have all day in the next three hours.

~ There are only four more weeks of the semester. I have zero absences. Even though Campbell requires you to attend 85% of all your classes, I could no go to class twenty-five times in the next twenty days. {Edit:  now I have two absences XD}

~ Working on a paper for two hours and feeling really accomplished...then remembering it isn't your paper you were working on.

~ I should be reading Western Civ. I don't even have a good excuse as to why I'm not. I'm not even on Facebook. I'm not even texting. I'm just sitting here, looking around the room, desperate for distraction.

~ Thanksgiving break is in less than ten days.  Christmas break is in less than a month.  My first semester of college is quietly slipping away.  Weird.

~Stephanie

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Levels

Level of Closeness

I guess I was just feeling narcissistic one day and started this post about how I interact with various groups of people.  I found it today and decided it looked like a more fun project than my National Government paper, so I completed it.

As the levels progress, they also include all the traits of lower levels {unless they're obviously exclusive, like making you wave to me versus waving to you first}.

5: Hey, I Just Met You
If I think you might be powerfully awesome or important, I'm relatively quiet and use eyebrow movements as substitutes for speaking. If I think you're pretty transparent and non-threatening, I talk a lot and make obscure references.

4: I Know You, But I Dunno If You Know Me
I make you wave to me first in public.
I feel comfortable carrying on a conversation with you, and will make comments with my voice as well as my eyebrows.
I'd accept you as a Facebook friend.

3: We're Friends
I wave to you first in public.
I have your phone number.
I'd lend you money.
I'd let you role the dice for me in a game if I had to go to the bathroom or something.

2: We're Pretty Tight
I insult you.
I've called you on the phone.
I'd borrow money from you.
You know that I'm a writer.
You've been to one of my dance recitals.

1: The Inner Circle
I insult you and don't apologize.
I forget to formally invite you to things because I assume you'll know to show up.
I'd authorize you to make legitimate decisions on my behalf if I was impaired.
You know where cups, straws, silverware, and ibuprofen are at my house.
You have successfully convinced me to change my mind about anything.
You've seen my writing.

0. Classified {Shh. First rule of the Classified Level...}
You know my passwords.
You know that I struggle with masochistic guehh. {and I know you in real life.}
You've seen me cry.

~Stephanie

Monday, October 29, 2012

{Ember and Coal}

I really should stop doing this, Ember thought with a sigh as she jogged through the Servant Village. It’s irresponsible, unnecessary, not even exciting… She snorted. Everyone probably thinks I’m with Coal. I’m not helping my reputation… She waved absently to a passing sparker. As long as I don’t fall asleep again, I should be alright.

When she reached the place where she’d been the day before, she stopped and sat down. It was midday and the Jeolotian sun was hot and red. It wavered down in beams that seemed almost visible. She collapsed onto her back and shut her eyes. She wanted to dance. Actually, she wished she wanted to dance. She didn’t. She just wanted to lie there until someone came to get her.

“I’m happy,” she told herself, but the words came out defensively, almost accusingly. “I have everything I’ve ever wanted. I am a kachina. I am the best kachina. I have sparktresslings and friends and Coal. I live in the Palace. I eat the best food, and wear the best clothes. The other servants are jealous of my position.”

However, when she said those things out loud, the words did not have the desired effect. Instead of reassuring herself of her own contentment, she only realized how arrogant she sounded.

“I’m not happy.” Those words tasted different. They were sharper, like salt instead of sugar, but somehow they tasted better. “I am not happy. I am proud.”

“I doubt you’ll find a fairy who disagrees with that.”

Ember leapt in her skin, her heart nearly flying off the tip of her tongue as her eyes flew open. The bright sun seared her vision and she squinted before making out Coal standing over her, his eyes smiling. Ember sighed and covered her eyes with a her hand.

“You walk too quietly,” she said.

“You walk too far.” Coal sat beside of her and took her hand, pulling her up to a sitting position. “Is something wrong?” His blue eyes were kind and true, searching. Ember pulled her knees in to her chest and held them with her arms.

“No,” she said plainly. “At least…no.”

“Are you happy?”

“You heard me. Don’t pretend.” Coal shrugged, letting that stand. He thoughtfully traced patterns in the dusty dirt between them, swirls and angles and dots and runes. Ember watched his strong, graceful finger and wondered at how he could be so complete in himself. She had been that way too, not long ago, but it felt like more of her real self was fading every day. The brutal battle she fought to retain herself made her irritable.

“Why are you unhappy?”

She loved his voice. Sometimes it made her blush, if she thought about it very much. It was deep and smooth and boyish all at once. It was competent and sarcastic and light. It was everything Coal was himself, expressed in the tones that issued from his mouth. In the midst of analyzing, Ember almost forgot to respond.

“I don’t know,” she said. “which only makes it worse.”

“Are you unhappy, or discontent, or restless?” Coal eyed his intricate dirt design for a moment before dragging his hand across it, blotting it out. Ember almost reached to stop him.

“All three. I’m unhappy because I’m restless, which comes from being discontent.”

“Perhaps you’re no longer being challenged as a kachina,” he suggested, beginning a new pattern in the dust. “You often speak of how talented you are. Doesn’t that get a bit…dull?”

Ember considered that, making a swooping addition to Coal’s artwork. He nodded thoughtfully at it, pleased. A smile tugged at Ember’s lips. He was such a little sparker sometimes. “No,” she answered after a long silence. “Being a kachina is never dull. I love dancing in a way…in a way that I don’t love anything else. And the Fire Lord is different every day, in his own ways. For instance, he seems more alert lately, more likely to be displeased. Sometimes he’ll be distant for weeks, and sometimes he’s happy.” Coal’s mouth tilted at the corners, which made Ember tilt her head. “What?”

“I know how he is,” Coal said, looking at her with laughing eyes. “I want to talk about how you are.”

“Well, the two are very closely related,” Ember said. “If the Fire Lord isn’t happy, then he isn’t happy with his kachinas and then we’ve got to be careful.” Her eyes lit up suddenly. “Did you know some kachinas in training came to us after training and warned us?”

Coal frowned in confused amusement. “Of what?”

“Of being challenged.” Ember’s lips parted, revealing small, straight teeth. “They want to replace us as kachinas.”

Coal shrugged, looking ever-sarcastic. “It’s what they are there for.” Ember nodded and leaned back onto her elbows. “Just as I’m here for you.”

She looked at Coal then, eyes a bit wider than they had been before. He met her eyes easily, almost laughing. “What a thing to say,” Ember said, looking back at the distant horizon. “Do you really mean that?”

Coal’s mouth twitched. “I’m a spy,” he said. “Do you think I say things I don’t mean?”

She glanced back at him, a tiny wrinkle wedged above her nose, which made Coal laugh out loud. A small laugh bubbled up inside of her, but she closed her mouth on it and settled for raising her eyebrows at him. He grinned and in a quick motion pushed her elbows out from under her, supporting her back as she fell into the sparse grass. He shifted and stretched out beside her, one hand behind his head, the other under Ember’s shoulders.

“Don’t be unhappy,” he said simply. Ember stole a sideways glance at him, feeling his arm underneath her like a row of glowing embers. He was gazing up into the open sky, looking for all the world like he’d orchestrated the day himself. He always looked that way: content and controlled, as if the world could crumble around him and he knew he’d be able to stop it.

Maybe that’s why I like him so much, Ember thought, studying his face. Sometimes my life feels so fragile. It’s nice to know of someone who could hold it together—or at least someone who thinks he could. She relaxed her head and closed her eyes. “What are you afraid of, most afraid of? What’s your biggest fear?”

Coal’s brow contracted thoughtfully. “What am I afraid of…” he murmured.

Ember sighed edgily. “Don’t say you don’t have a fear, Coal Blazings. I won’t believe that.”

“I wouldn’t say that,” he said plainly. “It’s more a matter of choosing between so many.” They lay there in silence for a long moment before Coal said, “Being wrong.”

Ember’s eyes opened and composed themselves immediately into a surprised frown. “That’s your biggest fear?”

“Is that such a strange fear?”

“It’s a strange biggest fear. You don’t have much experience with it besides,” she added grudgingly. “Not on any sort of large scale, that is. It’s your job not to be wrong. If you were very often…”

“Which might potentially add to the magnitude of the fear, don’t you think?”

Ember made a thoughtful sound and shifted, reaching under her back and repositioning Coal’s arm.

“Your turn,” Coal said.

“What’s my biggest fear?”

Coal nodded, still intently watching the sky.

“I don’t know,” Ember mumbled thoughtfully. A million possibilities came to mind. Death…being out of control…losing one of the kachinas…losing Coal…not being able to dance.

“You told me I wasn’t allowed to say that,” Coal said, in a good-naturedly accusing voice. “Come on. Think of something.”

“Either…losing someone I love, or not being able to dance.”

“Am I someone you love?”

“Aren’t you going to ask me about the dancing fear?”

Coal sighed. “No. I understand that, I think.”

“Do you.” It wasn’t a question, just a slightly disappointed statement.

“I think so. Tell me if I do: you love dancing in a deep, breathtakingly beautiful way, like it’s tied into your soul. When you dance, you feel whole and alive and you can forget everything that’s wrong with your life. You might be afraid of pain or loneliness or betrayal—” Here Ember realized with sharp surprise that she was afraid of those things, although they hadn’t occurred to her before. “—but you know that as long as you can dance, you can breathe and live and cope. As long as you can dance, you can survive anything and everything else.” He paused. “Now; do I understand?”

He did. “May I have a turn?” Coal smirked, but not unpleasantly. “I will take that as a yes. Alright. Your turn.”

“You are afraid of being wrong…” Ember closed her eyes and breathed, trying to reach into Coal the way he could reach into other people. “because your entire façade is centered around the fact that you never seem to be so. To be a spy is to be right, to be right when it’s impossibly hard, and you love being a spy. You love the excitement and the challenge and the prestige. Because you love it so much, you’ve let it become a part of your soul, even apart from spying. Being right is no longer simply your job, it’s something that defines you.”

Coal was smiling, which was impossible to interpret. Either he was proud of her for uncovering his feelings, or he was proud of himself for masking them. He opened his mouth, but Ember wasn’t finished.

“But then, there’s the impractical, uncontrollable aspect of being wrong. You like to plan things, Coal. You like to be in control. Suppose you made a plan one day and found out you had misinformation? Suppose you were sure of something that turned out not to be true? The plan would not work, which I believe would genuinely frighten you.”

“Ember,” Coal began, frowning. “As a spy, I’ve been trained to deal with the unthinkable, the unexpected and impossible. Nothing ever goes quite according to plan when spying. It’s part of the reason why great spies such a rare breed, and I am a great spy.”

Ember rolled her head to the side, looking at him with smirking blue eyes. “I wasn’t talking about when spying, Coal.”

His frown deepened. “That doesn’t matter,” he said. “Spy training prepares us for the unexpected in all aspects of life, not only our jobs.”

“Some things are impossible to prepare for.”

“That’s not true.” Coal’s voice was perfectly even, almost gentle. “You have only to be observant. You must listen and think and be constantly on your guard.”

“Are you on your guard now?” Ember rolled towards him, feeling his arm under her spine until she was pressing into him. She supported herself on an elbow, her free hand firmly planted on his chest, eyes gleaming.

“Around you, Ember?” Coal said, his eyes a dark, intense blue. “Always.” He pushed himself up with his hands and their lips met.

{Except from NaNoWriMo novel, 2011}

~Stephanie

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

I Am Not An Outsider Part 1

:)

A week ago today, I was doing terribly. I was furious at the world. I was furious at God, my parents, my friends, and anyone else who I felt had a hand in my being at Campbell and away from what I loved. I couldn't make myself study. I couldn't make myself smile. I couldn't make myself talk to people. I was deeply miserable.

Right now, I'm extremely swamped in school work. I didn't realize that November--and therefore several large projects--was coming up so fast. Good grief. It feels like it ought to still be August, but in reality, September is completely gone and October is quickly ending. My first semetser of college is more than halfway over. What?

But in the midst of school stress, I found some friends this weekend, when I wasn't even trying.

Friday night, Kirsten {one of my best friends from high school} came over and we painted nails while watching 17 Again. A guy from NCSL club named Kendric texted me asking to hang out. I didn't really care to, but Kirsten seemed encouraged by the invitation, so I figured it couldn't hurt to be social for a while.

The two of us went over to Kendric's hall lobby and talked for a few minutes. {He and Kirsten really hit it off. I think he might LIKE her. The feeling is not mutual.} After a few minutes he said he wanted to watch a movie, but he didn't have any.

"We have 17 Again," I said, laughing a little.

"Um..." He didn't seem really sold on that.

"I don't have a lot of movies here," I told him. "It's pretty much either 17 Again or Fight Club, and--"

"Fight Club?" Kendric perked up.  "You have Fight Club?"

That spread through the lobby and residence hall like fire.

"Fight Club?"

"She has Fight Club?"

"We're watching Fight Club?"

So I went and got the movie. Pretty soon there were like twenty-five guys sprawled around the lobby watching Brad Pitt and Edward Norton beat the snot out of each other. It was a pretty fun night. I didn't feel like an outsider for once. Fight Club won me insider points XD

I also like watching guys' reactions to my reactions. I really don't think it's that rare for a girl to appreciate blood, sarcasm, and innuendos, but everyone sure acts like it is.

We were up til 2am, and I was really tired and freezing on the way back to my dorm, but there was a cheesy warm glow inside of me. I didn't spend a Friday night totally alone. There actually IS a first time for everything--and I know it won't be the last.
~Stephanie

Sunday, October 21, 2012

What Makes a Man

The guest pastor at church today promted the question, "What makes a real man?" He had some quick bullet points on the subject, but it wasn't the main point of his sermon, so he didn't analyze it very thoroughly. However, I didn't find his actual sermon nearly as interesting as that question, so I took the liberty of zoning out and thinking about it myself.

Upon much zoning out, analyzing, and even some Googling, I give you my personal opinion of qualities that make a man.

1. Gentlemanly {that's a word, right?}:  Old-fashioned? I mean, yes. And that's not a bad thing.  A real man will open doors, walk the girl home, pay for dinner, and offer the girl his jacket. I would not classify myself as a hopeless romantic, but I guess I am in this respect.

2. Confident:  Different from arrogance, sometimes similiar to cockiness. Cool, calm, collected, and actually able to complete tasks with competence. {So many Cs.} A real man can asses a situation and make a decision with confidence. It really irritates me when a guy refuses to have an opinion or constantly defers to others around him. Man. Up.

3. Protective:  Of both bodies and honor. A man stands up for those he loves when they're being physically threatened, but also verbally. It's every bit as important that a man combat a blow to his friend's character as it is that he join him in a physical fight.

4. Supportive:  As long as he doesn't think something is immoral or extremely unwise, a man should support his friends and family.  He should be encouraging and helpful. Ooh. Helpful.

5. Helpful: I feel like every female has this on her list XD A man should take the time to think of ways to help. Sympathizing is good. Offering to help is great. But actually having a practical suggestion is ten times better, and just going ahead and HELPING is a hundred times better.

6. Honorable:  A man keeps his word {I had "promises" here originally, but a man shouldn't have to PROMISE for you to be able to count on him}, doesn't cheat in relationships, tells the truth, and stands up for what he believes.

7. Thoughtful:  Words are good. Actions are better. Flowers, letters, remembering special occasions. People probably know you care in theory, but it's so important to show it, even {especially?} in ways that might actually inconvenience you.

8. Funny:  Okay, so I guess you can be a man without being funny, but all the best guys I know have good senses of humor too XD

This list got longer than I anticipated, and there are a ton of other things that crossed my mind to put on it. However, the list started to feel really demanding and ridiculous, and it occurred to me how I'd feel to read a list like this about girls. It'd probably make me annoyed and feel like a failure.

Huh.

Soooooo :3 Hopefully this doesn't totally kill the sensitive little boy inside any guy who reads this. And I'd like to offer guy bloggers a change to get "revenge." What qualities make a woman? I'm actually kind of curious to see what your thoughts are.

Any takers? Come on. Be a man XD

~Stephanie