Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Falling In Love With Ideas

It's 12:15 on a Thursday morning in June, and my tongue is burnt. I had an unfortunate encounter with some sizzling hot gluten-free brownie last night, and today I've had to pay for it with a dull sense of taste. Not tasting food to the food's full extent, in short, fucking sucks. My friends and I visited The Autumn Cafe for lunch, and I ordered a cheese omelette. I couldn't enjoy the cheese. Eggs are kind of bland to begin with, but cheese--cheese is meant to be tasted. Woe is me and my #firstworldproblems. But the lunchtime conversation was delightful. Shannon, Lajoie and I discussed Game of Thrones (as I'd finished the last episode of season 4 two hours before lunch), as well as a medley of topics, including whether or not it's okay to love two people at once. Lajoie insisted that loving two people at once is unethical, and that it's important to be honest with the partner one chooses. I.e. if you're dating one person but still in love with another, it's your duty to let your partner know how you feel about the other love. Preferably this discussion would be had before you begin dating the datable one. Shannon argued that it wouldn't be fair to tell the partner how you feel about the other love, because the knowledge of the other love might tear at the partner, or the partner may compare himself to the other love, and that wouldn't be healthy for the relationship you've agreed to pursue. This question, or topic of discussion, inspired a great deal of thought amongst us all. I agreed with neither of my friends and instead my mind wandered to why or how a person might love two people at the same time. How would that be possible?

I for one have not yet fallen in love. Let me qualify: I have not yet fallen in love and received mutual love-feels at the time of loving. In short, I've loved the idea of many a person (and character, if you count those). It hasn't really been unrequited love, either. Just straight up: this person seems super awesome; let me not ever put myself in a position to get to know him fully and instead I'll go on ahead and create the perfect personality for him in my mind. Kapeesh?

It's not healthy. Fuck, it's not recommended. It encourages lots of idle, self-indulgent languishing over what could be. And that, my friends, is unprofitable.

Sure, it's a fun imaginational activity. Creating endless scenarios in which we would first talk/get to know one another, go on dates, fall in love, have our own customs...even how we'd rear children or run a home...but in terms of the real world--it's utter bullshit.

Haha, I typed the word "utter."

Falling in love with the idea of a person is safer. It allows the imaginer to remain conservative and stagnant--no feelings or vulnerability need go out on the line. They stay tucked away in the mind where it's safe. But we shouldn't reside in the womb forever. Having a safe space to unwind in and return to is a good thing, but living there isn't really living. I'm not suggesting that a person should pursue every living being she admires or finds herself attracted to. That would be silly and equally counterproductive. Can we please find a happy medium?

Let us pick our battles. Let us pick our loves. Imagining the way in which you'd like to be in a relationship can be helpful--it may even prepare you for what is to come. But falling in love with an idea won't take you anywhere. That idea is not fertile. It's a vapid, empty space that cannot be filled. This is heartache. We yearn for or miss a memory of a person--but this person is not in fact real. IT'S NOT REALITY, BITCHES. You can sulk in that idea for two months. That's a manageable break-up period, but if you've never even been with that person physically/emotionally, you can only sulk for, like, a week. Ideas are powerful things. Let's not let them take advantage of us.

This became a rant and a half. Hooray for informal, choppy blog posts! Hooray for midnight essays! I'll edit this in the morning.

Monday, June 16, 2014

On Being Alone Versus Being Lonely

I've done this all before: lived at the Lake, lived in the Farmhouse, worked in the gardens, the cabins, fought Pine Lake entropy without losing heart as best I could. And it's nice: I have the same yellow room as I did two summers ago (now flecked with red sparkles; the last girl to live here apparently pledged AOP), a pleasant view of the lake, quiet mornings or afternoons depending on my work schedule, and for the most part relaxing and somewhat fulfilling work: I get to help Pine Lake and the people who love it.

A few of my very good friends, and other friendly friends and acquaintances, are living here as well, either as other summer staff members (I'm in this category), or as summer research assistants.  We're scattered around the edges of Pine Lake--either in the Farmhouse or the Outbacks (with one exception)--the rest of the cabins are the meats and cheeses of this residential sandwich. Some afternoons/evenings I go to the Outbacks to hang out/watch a movie/eat tater tots with Shannon, or play board games with AndrĂ©a, or talk as the nerds we are with Kyle. It's simple, and neat, and good.

But there's a feeling I can't shake.

After a long day of work, I'm tired. If you haven't figure it out already, I an introvert. I need my re-boot time--my time alone to read, relax, think--just be with myself for a while.

Things that tire me, specifically my inner introvert:

  • Being polite to strangers
  • Making surface-level conversation
  • Being in large groups of people
  • Talking to people on the phone
  • Smiling to let people know they are welcome
  • Reading people to make sure they have Pine Lake's best interests in mind 

Things I do for this job:

  • All
Before you get yourself in a tizzy, dear reader, let me explain: I don't mind doing these things. In fact, I pretty much enjoy doing all of them. I love hanging out with people--interacting with them and making them feel safe, comfortable, and happy. But it saps my energy like a succubus at feeding time.

I've been getting enough sleep. I've actually been a party pooper on more than one occasion on account of prioritizing bedtime. And I've been getting plenty of re-boot time--most mornings I have (at least) two hours to myself: I rise, make coffee, read...wake up slowly. And then my lunch hour I have to myself as well. Sleep and re-boot time: check.

And yet.
And yet I still feel off. I figured post graduation I would release a lot of built up feels that I've had to suppress because of the chaos of the end of the semester. Before the summer started, I was aware this might happen--that I'd feel out of sorts for a while. But I also figured being alone would resolve whatever funk I'd get into. Granted, it's still early in the summer--I've got a while to go, and who knows? Maybe this is just a two-week fad (my little raincloud didn't appear until after I began to slow down around the second week of June, in case you were wondering). I'm confident it will blow over. Eventually.

But, it is curious that "being alone" hasn't helped. It usually does--that's how my introversion works: a couple of re-boot hours and I'm set. So, if sleep and re-boot time isn't helping, where does that leave me?

I believe I'm feeling lonely. Not the high school emo stereotype (not to confuse loneliness with teen angst; I'm over that...I think/hope). The type of lonely that makes you miss a time or a place or a person. It's like yearning, but a bit more subtle. It's sort of tender and quiet, but it will move you when you weren't thinking of it--it whispers at you, to remind you that it's there.

The tide is turning; time is shifting. I just graduated college for Christ's sake! You don't know all the things I've experienced--every tiny, minuscule interaction: the smiles, the stories, the body language, the eyes. Or the monumental stuff: feeling infinite, feeling small, feeling oh-so old, feeling terribly young, feeling nothing at all, feeling tired, but feeling incredible in that tiredness. You don't know all the events: the firsts, the dishes, the pot lucks, the contra dances, the dinner parties, the bars, the townhouse gatherings and hang outs, going to fucking France!, the movies, the making of scones, the trips to Pie in the Sky, the Sigma Tau Delta stuff, every Fiction workshop, every essay, every infuriatingly worthwhile Writing Center interaction, failing and succeeding at being an RA, the bonfires, the sugaring, the island, every shared pot of coffee, every late night conversation, every late night conversion, every time I was drunk and ecstatic, every time I was drunk and sorry to be alive, every time I shared a cigarette, every time I walked from my cabin in the woods, breakfasts, indoor guitar music, magic.


And now it's over.
So, yeah. I feel a little lonely.

I didn't write this to inspire people to console me. I'm writing this because I think it's a big deal; it happens to a bunch of people every year--graduating college--and it isn't like it's necessarily traumatizing, but it's a big step--a major change--and it warrants some attention. Life is one big transition. People are always dealing with change. Whether it's choosing to try a new dish at the Thai restaurant, or moving to a different country for a year, things change. C'est la vie. And I want to be present for it, for cette vie--this life. I want to be wide awake when it happens--none of this "wake me up when it's all over" Avicii shit (good song). And that's why I'm writing about it. Because when I write it all down, I can look at it--straight at it--and take from it what I choose.

I'm feeling lonely right now, and that's okay.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

I'm Actually Allergic

I'm not sure what it is, but I don't get burned or tan, exactly. It kind of looks like hives. Red blotches of skin that itch like hell. I guess. I don't have first-hand experience with hell. I try to go about my business. I rub aloe vera on the rashes, and then rub a considerable amount of SPF 45 on those limbs the next morning (yes, 45; I still need Vitamin D).

So, I'm a little nervous about moving to Nice. Nice has 147 days of "strong sun" and 64 days of "weak sun" annually. That's 211 days of sun. I'm used to a 164 days of sun! I will have to deal with 47 extra days of sunshine! Oh my! What am I going to do?!

I'll probably continue to use aloe and sunscreen as necessary. They've proved to be helpful so far. There's an aloe vera distributor in Paris, so if worst comes to worst, I'll just take the 5-hour train ride to Paris, load up on aloe vera, and shoot back down to Nice. No problem.

I'm leaving my undergraduate's environmental campus in late August to go teach English to French college students. It sounds like something fun to do for a year while I "figure my shit out." In other words, I plan to partake in grand objectives, like "reflection" and "listening to my inner self" this year before I make my next move into the "real world." I like the ironic use of quotation marks.

Meanwhile, this summer I'll be at Pine Lake, doing maintenance, cleaning out cabins after renters, and reading. Also, I might make some pie. And go canoeing. And play boardgames. Invigorating stuff.

I plan to write about it all here (my lone motivator to write something this summer). And then I'll talk about Nice, too, once I get there. I'll keep you posted--on my skin condition, of course.