Peanut butter & jelly

I always try to do what makes sense.

Take bread, peanut butter and jelly from the hotel continental breakfast in the morning to have for lunch. (Don’t forget the banana and yogurt.)

10397226_10203581310885364_8723498419017002550_oIf it’s a beautiful day, go outside instead of staying in staring at a rectangle.

Ride your bike to the gym instead of driving. It’s only three miles away.

Getting a master’s in business administration makes sense. Right?

I have seven credits to take before graduation knocks on my door and force-feeds me a diploma. So let’s take a foundations accounting course, get a little math in there, get a taste of what an MBA would be all about. Be one of those few woman CEOs and run an entire company. Make a shitload of money.

…there goes my right brain.

I want to be successful, but maybe there’s another way. Another master’s program to enroll in, another path that is math free and more Emily-esque.

When I hung up from a phone call with the director of the MBA program at my school on Tuesday, I almost cried. Partly because of PMS, but also because I’m scared. College has basically been a walk in the park for me. The mistakes I’ve made have helped me learn and I’ve become a better writer, a better listener and a better intellectual. The idea of buying more textbooks, studying business strategies, solving math problems, stumbling over statistics… well, it scares me. Even though it makes sense. Even though I like the idea of being a boss to many.

For now I’ll save money by making a PB&J sandwich for my lunches with supplies taken from my hotel’s lobby. I’m a “poor” college student who can’t figure out if she wants to pursue what she loves or what makes sense.

Help?

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Diamonds vs. Claddaghs

I’m young. My parents’ generation got married at my age. My mother was married at my age. I’m not even close to that. I get excited about new books and the next tattoo I’m going to get. I get excited when the guy I like texts me, goddammit. So the fact people my age –– especially classmates from high school –– are close to marriage really freaks me out. Here’s one of the results.

“Single” changes to “In a relationship.”

“Who is it?!?” 17 of her 1,042 friends type, and click “post.” “He’s a lucky guy!” 

All 1,042 of you will know as soon as he logs in and changes his status as well. Which will be in, like, five minutes. Hold your horses. Half of you won’t even know him, anyway.  Follow the link and creep. Half of you don’t even know her, anyway.

FacebookLikeLet the Facebook Official (FBO, as it’s often called) nonsense begin, complete with kissy-face photos, longwinded statuses about “the best boyfriend ever!” and vice versa.

I scroll through my feed and laugh at the stupid couple-y messages written on friends’ pages. I did that once, but I know better now. I’m happier now.

“In a relationship” changes to “Engaged to.”

Fuck. Game changer.

Am I the one doing something wrong? Did I miss this memo? Should be meeting someone I can see myself settling down with?

What does “settle down” mean? WHAT THE FUCK DOES “SETTLE DOWN” MEAN?

“Congratulations!” 

“We’re so happy for you!”

“What a beautiful couple!” 

I have a Claddagh ring I switch back and forth on what seems like a monthly basis. Sometimes men want to date you, sometimes they don’t. Sometimes I want to date, sometimes I don’t. That’s college. That’s life. I’m not torn up about it.

“When’s the wedding?”

“Look at that ring!” 

I sip from the Dollar Tree glass I filled with red wine from the box I’ve been working on all semester. I upload pictures from our agency’s trip to compete in New York City. I get tagged in pictures from our drunken escapades the weekend before.

I take another sip.

“Married to.”

Last name changes (maiden name in parentheses).

Wedding photos.

One more sip.  One more scroll through. One more click.

Then I’m back to applying for internships and scholarships, perfecting my résumé, designing the freshman newsletter, writing a story, setting up an interview, proofing students’ papers, (homework?), reading, writing blog posts, updating my digital portfolio, fiddling with my camera.

My 472 “friends” don’t need to know all my business.

Thoughts from one tiny corner of the universe

There are so many thoughts in my brain right now, tripping over each other, colliding into each other, grabbing and pulling at each other, fighting, rioting and screaming.

The pressure to write something on blackbyrd has crushed me for the past three years, once writing got hard. I tried to write something over the past two weeks. Then I tried again. I tried another time. I saved all three posts as drafts. Maybe I’ll open them up again someday and finish them. Maybe not. My struggles stem from credibility. The more credible one becomes as a writer, the harder it is to write and write well. I can’t produce crap; I can’t have any spelling or grammatical errors. One slip up and I’m a hypocrite. What a filthy word.

Until I really complete those drafts, here are brief synopses of each one:

Draft one: With the new strategic communications major here at St. Bonaventure University, plenty of my colleagues have begun writing on their own blogs. I know for a fact a fair few of them get more viewers in a day than I could ever begin to dream of. Thus, sessions of Emily doubting herself and her abilities are born. Does my writing suck? Am I boring? Should I jump on the bandwagon and promote myself more? Should I write about more interesting topics? Does anything I write even matter? 

The last one. Does anything even matter. That’s what hurts the most.

Blogging doesn't have to revolve around viewership.
Blogging doesn’t have to revolve around viewership.

Overwhelmed cannot even capture the emotions I feel when I think about how big the world is and how small I am. Fourteen-year-old Emily didn’t care when she registered this blog as “blackbyrd,” named after her obsession with The Beatles. She sat in her tiny corner of the world, typing away on her mother’s iMac. She didn’t even have a Facebook or a Twitter yet. Self promotion was seemingly nonexistent. She wrote about stupid shit. If she wanted to write it, she wrote it. And she didn’t care how many viewers she got; that’s not the reason why she wrote. She even stopped tagging posts during high school because –– get this –– she didn’t want people reading. Imagine that.

Viewership still isn’t  shouldn’t be my reason for writing.

There. That feels good to get off my chest.

Draft two: I love Miley Cyrus. I was her for Halloween last fall and I’d be her again in a heartbeat. What a public relations genius. I can’t imagine how hard it is to be her.

Okay, I lied. There is no Draft three, but here’s what it would have been: life is too short to let friends fall by the wayside. Sorry about the cliché.

I’m tired of friends fighting for stupid reasons. I’m tired of only hanging out with one or the other. Kiss and make up… please?

Finally, if there had been a Draft four, it probably would have been something about receiving constructive criticism and accepting it with grace instead of with anger and spite. But that’s just me.

Maybe the thoughts in my brain will quiet down enough now so I can sleep tonight. Such wishful thinking.

The cure

I read a fact on Twitter about a month ago. It concerned Facebook and was something along the lines of: “Women with Facebook profiles tend to have lower self-esteem.”

Needless to say, I deactivated my account later that week.

I’ve been off Facebook for almost a month. It has been a refreshing one. I’m finding that I now spend more time studying, reading and going outside as opposed to logging in to see what my friends are up to. I design more on my computer and blog more. I have more ideas now.

I don’t have low self-esteem, but I wasn’t about to start having it. I built my self-esteem up for years and don’t want anything to bring me down. Facebook brought me down.

The people on Facebook make me angry. One time I clicked on someone I was supposed to have known, via the “People You May Know” tool. Boy, was that an experience. I definitely did not know her, but several of my Facebook friends were friends with her. I decided to check her out. I couldn’t help but screenshot (bet she never thought of someone doing that) one of the statuses this girl posted:

Younger teens like this make me not want to be on Facebook at all. The Facebook profile pictures that popped up on my sidebar showed more tweens than I thought possible, and they’re not mature enough to even have a Facebook account. Kids like this girl on the left are why cyberbullying exists and why thousands of kids commit suicide every year after being harassed on the Internet.

Kids at this girl’s age cannot even spell words or use grammar correctly to get his/her useless point across.

Kids at this girl’s age – including this girl – don’t seem to realize that there are privacy settings on Facebook that he/she might want to look into. Anyone can go in and read what this girl plasters on her wall. If the supposed “dumb bitch” referenced in the status ended up going missing or found dead somewhere, based on Facebook evidence, this girl could be a suspect. The status, not to mention the horrible comments that followed, could be the proof that police need. Yeah, bet she didn’t think of that.

I am disgusted by what people post on a network that was built to help people reconnect. Now it’s just pissing people like me off.

We’re not in high school anymore, fellow members of the Class of 2011, so grow up. What really gets me is when I see photos posted from a party in my hometown in which several college kids are featured. Everyone from my hometown claims that they can’t wait to leave the place and go to college… so why the hell are you going back to party with the high schoolers? It is especially incredulous to me when even older kids still party with kids in high school. Stay at college. Party at a place where you don’t have to think about how you’re going to get home to your parents’ house safely. (Dear Danielle, who the hell are you? Sincerely, Emily.)

Another thing about Facebook: It’s a huge brag fest. Everyone’s trying to one-up everyone else. Parents get involved on Facebook and all they do is brag about their children.

In short, I’m sick of the ever-popular “new hair,” tongue-sticking-out, bathroom pic (oh hey, there’s your toilet!), sky shot (where we can clearly see your arms), “Edited” photos in everyone’s Facebook photo albums. I’m sick of the Iam Anidiot Photography pages, where a kid has instagram on his/her phone and then is suddenly a professional photographer and offers services for senior pictures. I’m sick of living with these people (not necessarily the lovely girls on my floor) and then seeing them in their slutty, “Going Out!” pictures when I log in on Facebook in my bedroom.

I deactivated my Facebook. I’m cured.

Learner’s permit indifference

My brother got his driver’s license today.

You know that excitement you felt at 16 (or whatever age it is where you’re from) when you received your learner’s permit? When I turned 16, the thought of driving scared me shitless, but I felt excited about it. The idea of independence is overwhelming at that age.

Adam didn’t feel that when he turned 16. He got his permit and then refused to drive. (It didn’t help that our main vehicle at the time was a giant Suburban.) People used to get on his case about it all the time, especially some of our more distant family members. The joke at every family event became “Hey Adam! When ya gonna get your license?”

…that would have been enough to piss me off, but Adam never minded. He rode his bike or walked where he needed to go. My mom drove us to school every day for his last two years of high school. Adam didn’t care.

The truth is, Adam’s refusal to drive makes him smarter than all of us. When I got my license and car in the fall of 2010, my paychecks started to revolve around the expenses associated with my dear Bubbles. The possibilities of where to go and what to do became endless, but the cost gas tacked onto adventures proved to be a major con. I rarely go to the mall or anywhere out of town because sometimes just the driving can break the bank (especially with gas over $4 now).

Adam rode with friends. Adam rode back to school with our brother Trevor, who, like me, was eager to drive at 16. Adam’s money from our grandparents for his graduation stayed nestled safely in his bank account (until tuition attacked it).

At this point, I’ve already paid hundreds of dollars to keep my car on the road. Adam’s wallet stays fat with bills until he chooses something to spend it on. He’s never had the obligation (or freedom) of owning a car.

My brother got his driver’s license today. He’s almost 21 years old. People mocked him for years, but he is smarter than us all.

He was good enough to push my stroller then, I'm sure he's a fine driver now.

The personal blog gets personal (isn’t that enticing)

Since this is a personal blog, let’s get a little more personal.

My self-esteem took a blow this past week. I woke up Sunday morning not knowing how I got in my own bed. I still barely remember what happened the night before. Then it hit me. Somebody had to take care of me. 

Me. The self-sufficient be-your-own-person know-it-all.

Me. The girl who doesn’t like losing control.

I lost control. I’ve never lost that much control before.

And now, almost a week later, I still feel like shit about it. I hate that people saw me like that. I hate some of the things I said. I hate that I barely remember.

Now I’m doubting everything about myself. Where did the self-confident Emily go? She must be buried deep under old successes I still live for and old mindsets that I currently do not possess.

I feel like every person is my enemy. Just last week, I walked around campus talking to random people and smiling. I looked up as I walked, since my mom always tells me it exudes confidence. This week, I’ve found it easier to stare at the ground (yes, the sun has been out, but it’s not an excuse I can use). Now I feel like each look is a judgment from other people. I’m afraid people won’t like me. I’m afraid I’ve come off too strong. (Emily didn’t used used to give two shits about this before.)

The happy-go-lucky Emily stepped out for the time being. I wish I could call her back.

So, those of you who do dislike me, you can be happy that the self-confident know-it-all is in hibernation.

Those of you who do care, just smile at me when you see me. It’ll help.

“Why don’t you go and blog about it?” he says

Never have I felt so uncomfortable in my life. I sat and stared. Hiding how I feel is a challenge for me, but I tried my best to stifle it.

It’s hard having things you want to talk about with your best friend, only to discover that the time you were counting on is not the right time, place or company. Two consecutive meals in a row.

The second week of the semester was Hell. He hurt her worse than she had ever been hurt before, and her reaction showed the pain she was feeling. We listened to her story and caught her tears.

The first week was awesome. She was happier than I have ever seen her and we had a lot of fun, all of us as a group. I wish I could go back a month and relive that week over and over again. A week where relationships didn’t change and everyone was on the same level. Now we’re all scattered across campus and left hearing the he said, she said shit.

I can’t forgive him for what he did to her. It’s just not in me to forgive someone for something that big. So it came as a big shock to me when the victim forgave the perpetrator.

And now I’m left confused about my feelings toward both people in the situation. It’s impossible to figure out.

 

That Bug

“You and that Bug,” he said, looking at me over his spectacles. It’s the customary look received upon stepping into his office (for me, anyway).

Yep. That Bug and me. The perfect pair.

I had my mom’s Suzuki Forenza today, and she took Bubbles. Why? Because I feared Bubbles lacked room to haul Adam and his belongings back home from Fredonia. Turns out Bubbles would have done the job just fine (Adam doesn’t over pack like I do). Flo (Mom’s car) is nice. She drives well and barely requires a touch of the pedal to get her going.  She even has an aux in outlet, and, with a chord, I can play my iPod flawlessly. What Flo doesn’t have is my personality. Bubbles does.

Bubbles is my baby. She’s a “she” not an “it” and I love her to death. It may seem odd for a person to have such an intense relationship with his/her car. But, if you think it’s odd, then you don’t know me and the way I think.

“You and that Bug.”

Yep, me and that Bug. [Excuse the “me and.” It adds emphasis.]

 

What a best friend does

Friends have come and gone for me over the years and there has only been one who has been my friend continuously since Kindergarten. He and I have had our ups and downs with this relationship, but there have been more ups than downs. That’s what makes a friendship work.

I grew up surrounded by boys. It was only natural that I leaned toward boys when I started making friends. But, when bodies started changing and hormones started raging, those things kind of changed. I still had a group of guy friends and always got along with them better than any girl, but I longed to have a girlfriend that I could stand.

They came and went. I had one in fifth grade. A new one came in sixth grade. Seventh grade brought a whole new group of girlfriends, but by the time eighth grade came around, we had drifted apart. In ninth grade, I had a different best friend, and then, after her, came Katie and it is still Katie.

Over the years of different friends coming and going, I have learned certain things that I look for in a friend.

A best friend…

  • picks you up when you are down instead of keeping you down and kicking you around.
  • defends you in any situation regarding you in a negative way.
  • will decide not to mention what that other girl was saying about you so that your feeling won’t be hurt.
  • doesn’t lie to you.

The truth is, I’m hurt, and I have been for the past couple of months. (And this doesn’t concern Katie – she and I are still going strong!) I don’t want to be lied to anymore. I don’t want to be left out anymore. I’m sick of receiving negative comments, and I hate it when I am not defended. There were more downs than ups, and try as I might, they could not be lifted up. I know that I have a boyfriend, but that doesn’t mean that I am always with him. Sometimes I’m not, but you didn’t even bother to see what I was up to. You just went on your merry way all the time and never stopped to think that maybe – just maybe – I would feel a little left out when you talked about it later in front of me.

I tried. I wanted it to work. Maybe it still can, just not so intensely (which means, take out the “best” in “best friend” and call it good). All I know is that this has helped me realize what a best friend does and doesn’t do.

Showing weaknesses

You know it’s bad when the girl who used to blog constantly suddenly stops pressing the keys on her keyboard. I haven’t felt like ranting; I feel like all I do is bitch and moan. I haven’t felt like complaining about some things because I want you, the readers, to think I have everything in my life under control. I haven’t felt like showing any weakness. I guess that’s my biggest thing. I try so hard to be that strong woman (you know the type – the one that is the breadwinner in the family and still manages to get the laundry done and cook dinner every single night – that type of woman) that sometimes I forget to show my weaknesses.

When I was younger and wrote on this blog (I was fourteen when I started writing as blackbyrd), I knew I could trust those whom I knew would read my posts. I talked about my blog so much that other friends started their own on WordPress. I was the spokesperson for this website in my neck of the woods. My brother had one, I got one, and then around ten other people I know started blogs as well. At that point, I started to wish that I had not told people I know about my blog. There are times when I want to write extremely personal things, but halt with my fingers just over the keys and mull over who could possibly read what I plan on writing. That’s usually when I stop. I think of that one person, and I stop. Then I curse my foolish fourteen-year-old self.

And then I wrote that one post that seriously changed everything. I don’t regret it. I mean everything that I put into writing, why else would I write it? But ever since then, nothing has been the same, and I’ve tiptoed around on WordPress. I’m stuck. I love blackbyrd so much, but have seriously considered getting up and moving. I might just change the domain, but that would change everything. Nothing would be the same.

Blogs used to come so easily for me, but now they are harder than ever. It’s hard to write something when you feel like someone is breathing down your neck, just waiting to criticize every word that pours out.