Indefinitely growing up

Burning the “Boyfriend Box.”

Finding handwritten notes shaped like a triangle or artfully folded into a square and throwing them away without even reading them.

Not getting upset when your dad paints over the height measurements you –– at 13 –– and your ex boyfriend had recorded in brown Sharpie on your closet’s wooden frame.

Putting that sweater in the donate bin –– even though it still fits you –– because you’ve had it since eighth grade.

Realizing the book “How To Get Over the Nerd You Used To Call Your Boyfriend” your mom gave you when you’d been dumped at 13 isn’t relevant anymore because you can now just buy wine. And get drunk.

Reminiscing for two seconds when you find handwritten essays from your favorite high school English classes (and narcissistically admiring your own cursive)…then adding them to the burn pile.

Wondering why it was ever OK for your high school to give out martini glasses and beer mugs as prom favors while noticing you’d never put pictures in the engraved picture frame they gave out two years later when they finally smartened up (THE GLASSWARE PROMOTES UNDERAGE DRINKING, DUH) because, even then in your teenage naïveté, you probably figured you wouldn’t care about that prom date in a few years.

Throwing out bouquets of dried flowers. Bouquets of fake flowers. Bouquets of roses made of feathers. And a giant-ass Valentine’s Day card.

Rearranging your closet –– ridding it of porcelain dolls you find really creepy, making you wonder who got you interested in collecting them in the first place –– and finding just enough room for each article of clothing you own.

Settling in indefinitely
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Going to a job interview.

Getting the job.

Looking for apartments on Craigslist.

Finding the perfect apartment.

Realizing everything you’d done in your childhood bedroom to settle in for the “long haul” has to be done all over again. This time more thoroughly.

Saying goodbye to more clothing that you’ve had since high school that you really don’t need.

Putting more tee shirts sporting your high school’s musical or play or event into the donate pile.

Preparing yourself for the number of complaints sure to come from your parents and brothers when they see just how much stuff you have to move.

Living for a few more days under your parents’ roof, under their care, under their security blanket.

Looking into buying a washer and dryer, a bed and more furniture for your place.

Growing up.

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An awkward wedding

I fell in love once.

 “Trevor, will you marry me?”
Five-year-old Emily asked.
She had known him for
years and really loved him.

They played Barbies,
basketball and dinosaurs
together.

Spent every minute together.
Had sleepovers and played
house.

“You can’t marry your brother!!!!!”
Trevor exclaimed in his
squeaky, 9-year-old voice.

Her future crumbled,
breaking to bits around her.
FINE! I’ll just marry someone
else, then!” She screamed.

Fourteen years later, she’s glad he
said “no.”

That would have been an
awkward wedding.

~EMS 3/10/13 7:31 p.m.

I was 5. Gimme a break. At least I received a taste of heartbreak before the actual demon struck nine years later.

Trevor and my two other brothers, Jordan and Adam, were all I knew for a long time, and I still write about them frequently. (Here’s a link to all my posts boasting the tag “brothers.”)

Screenshot 2014-10-01 20.59.37I even wrote a story in The Buffalo News about them, featuring this line my grandmother loved to quote: “My boys are all grown up, and as much as I want to, I can’t pause or rewind life. They may bring girls home from time to time, but they’re still my boys.”

Turns out they will always be mine, but they can be taken away.

My brother Trevor and his fiancée Kim got married almost two weeks ago. I’m glad it was her and not me.

That would have been an awkward wedding.

14 to 20

My brother’s college professor encouraged his students to begin a blog. LiveJournal, BlogSpot, WordPress…power up your iBook, find the site that works for you and create an account.

So he did.

Jordan started a WordPress blog, called it “Innocence, In a Sense” and practiced his writing. (This is why Jordan is WAY smarter than I am; I just now realized how clever his title was. I’m a year older now than he was when he started his blog.)

Fourteen-year-old Emily wrote poetry.

Fourteen-year-old Emily idolized Jordan.

Fourteen-year-old Emily wanted to blog, too.

Following in Jordan’s too-big-to-fill footsteps, 14-year-old Emily became “Blackbyrd” and started writing about stupid shit. Stupid shit that, at the time, seemed relevant and important. Stupid shit that is, of course, entirely too fun to look back on now.

To go with the theme here, I wrote 14 posts this month six years ago. Fourteen. Now any number over five is an accomplishment because – and you’ve heard me say this before – writing on my blog takes me forever.

Now I put in 43 hours a week at my very corporate summer job. In 2008? Work had no relevance. With food on the table and a pool to swim in on the hotter days, I spent my time reading and, I guess, posting on my blog. Excessively, I daresay.

Twenty-year-old Emily still writes poetry. (She actually slams it, too.)

Twenty-year-old Emily still idolizes Jordan.

Twenty-year-old Emily still wants to blog and tries to as often as she can, but, after actually learning how to write, posting takes her a lot longer than it used to.

Twenty-year-old Emily lives on her own and provides for herself.

Twenty-year-old Emily is fully aware of her upcoming career search, apartment search, friend search, life search.

Still, twenty-year-old Emily couldn’t believe it when this notification popped up when she logged into WordPress today:

Seriously.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers to present Emily, the past Emilys and hello to 2015, fresh-out-of-college Emily. Everything will be okay. It always is.
image

Life, man

Writing is hard.

Writing sucks. A lot (of dick, if we’re going beyond PG here).

Writing takes me forever. 

So that explains my absence. I can’t tell you  how many times I’ve conjured up the “Add New Post” screen, only to look at the clock and realize two hours of writing would cut my sleeping time down immensely.

Writing a post means spending time away from the book I’ve been reading or the people I could get to know. Writing means solitude, a word and thing I’ve been trying to avoid as of late. Writing means having to pay close attention to detail and trying so very hard not to make a mistake I’m sure my “enemies” would call me out on Twitter for.

Three years of college and I’ve made some enemies, apparently. Imagine that.

I’ve spent the last couple days at home, watching my grandparents’ belongings get sold to strangers and Walnut trees fall in all their green-and-brown glory.

Some things are ending, but others are beginning. Like my life. My life, man.

IMG_20140427_114504Seven credits of college classes separate me from what I’m told is actually – this time – the “real world.” They had lied to me before when I graduated from high school. College isn’t the real world. College is the excuse I use for the drunken weekends and the hangover I have on Friday mornings that is too severe to make it through that morning’s class. But the professor understands when I email him. It’s college, after all.

More than 30 credits separated me from life then. Now I’m down to seven. Seven credits. Seven.

I could graduate early. Get a job. Leave my friends. Get an apartment. Save money. Pay back my loans.

Writing is hard, yet I’m trying to make a career out of it.

A career that I can actually see now. A career where an email on Friday morning from a hungover Emily just won’t fly anymore. I’m more mature than most at my age, but I am having difficulty with accepting this.

Life, man.

Oh, the thinks you can think (in 2009)

6/23/2009 –– I know that with every mistake I make comes a lesson to learn, but that doesn’t relieve the sick feeling in my stomach whenever I make one. I don’t like messing up. I am not very partial to making someone disappointed in me; especially someone I care about.

I’ve learned to think before I speak, now I just have to learn how to think before I act. I think I can, I think I can. I will. I am going to. When the next chance arises to act, I am going to think first. It’s time to let that common sense that I claim to possess shine through and help me make important decisions. Wish me luck for my future full of decision-making.

_________________________________________________

Without even meaning to, a friend of mine inspired me to browse through posts I’ve saved as drafts over the years. Again, without even meaning to, he inspired me to read through them and try to piece together what was going on when I wrote the drafts. So here goes nothing.

Adam had just graduated from high school. Here I am with my three older brothers:

My dress was rather revealing and I've always suspected Trevor purposely held his program like that over my chest.
My dress was rather revealing and I’ve always suspected Trevor purposely held his program like that over my chest.

I looked back into my archives and found this post, but I don’t know what half the shit I listed even means now.

2009 was also the year Jordan graduated from St. Bonaventure:

We look thrilled.
We look thrilled.

And Grady, Jordy’s Golden Retriever, looked like this:

Baby Grady.
Baby Grady.

And I even have a screenshot of the music I listened to as I wrote that draft on my mom’s iMac:

Screenshot 2014-01-14 14.49.24

As for the content of the post, it’s still pretty accurate. I hate the thought of disappointing people, especially those of whom I feel immense respect for. Like my 15-year-old self, I don’t believe half of the compliments people give me. I’ll always feel like there’s more I can do, more I can be. I didn’t spend much time on the work I produced for my current internship and cringed every time I saw my boss’s name pop up in my inbox. I thought she’d be disappointed with my work. On the contrary, she was thrilled and even invited me back for a second internship this semester.

Thinking before speaking is definitely a newly acquired skill of mine. Who knew it would take me five years to really follow through on those claims I made in that draft? I also think more about what company I’m in and try to tailor what I want to say. There are so many ways one can offend another person without even realizing it. “It’s my mouth I can say what I want to,” Miley sings. Yeah. But sometimes you really really can’t. Sometimes it’s better to say nothing at all. You may not believe me, but I can be quiet. Except when my mom and I are in a silent church and she makes me laugh. But that’s another story.

I don’t know what was going on in my teenage-girl brain in that draft, but at least I know that my age and my life may change, but my values don’t have to.

 

Draft 1 of 97 complete.

Welcome home

Home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Sure, the dogs greeted me and Weezie the cat made a few appearances, but it’s not my home.

My childhood bedroom with its lime green, sky blue, raspberry pink and orangey orange walls close me in after branching out too far.

I can’t relate to 13-year-old Emily anymore. She’s the one who picked those colors and the bedding. I’m still very colorful, but I shed experiences every time I walk through the doorway. I’m back to the beginning, making the glow-in-the-dark flowers on the ceiling into triangles of Mickey Mouse’s nose and ears. My drawers are full of abandoned poetry books, cellphones and hair accessories. My bedroom door took a beating during my “nobody understands me!”, braces-clad phase. Returning is a bit debilitating and a hit to my morale.

I’m so happy with where I am now.

It’s a new place I am making my own. I’m discovering the area’s quirks, little by little. Thirteen-year-old, metal-mouthed Emily used to gaze in wonder as her oldest brother, Jordan, showed the family around the Chautauqua Institution, an area unbeknownst to us. Now 19-year-old Emily is doing what Jordan did.

I run and check out the neighborhoods. I brought my bike back with me from home this past weekend and discovered a really neat park tonight where I plan to spend a lot of my summer. And you just can’t beat the main, bustling street full of family-owned shops and boutiques. I find something new every time I walk/run/bike down it.

I’m secure with being alone and doing things for me. Running for me. Biking for me. Finding new nooks and new swingsets to swing the evenings away on.

And then watching the sun set every night:

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The post you’ve been waiting for…

It’s been tough, to say the least. 

It would have been three years on the 21st… I was a wreck. I needed distractions that day; my friends delivered.

But when one of our songs came on in the dining hall, I couldn’t breathe. 

A staple I had in my life before is now gone. And I’m at the point where all I can remember is the good. Not the bad. But there were bad times.

There were bad times.

There were bad times.

There were arguments and “we need to talk”s. 

It wasn’t easy anymore. It became a challenge… one I wasn’t up to fighting for anymore.

Maybe –– maybe –– it’ll pick up again. 

For now I just need to be me.

Gertrude, Part II (never let it topple)

I wrote this post as part of my personal anthology project in 2009 during my sophomore year of high school. I was 15.

The writing could be better. But, at the time, my teacher found it good enough to mark a grade of over 100 percent on the grading page.

So the spacing’s a little wonky and the writing isn’t quite up to par, but it’s the post that gets me the most traffic on this site and has for years.

“I bet you forgot about Gertrude McFuzz.
Well, that’s nothing new –– I mean, everyone does!” (Seussical The Musical)

No, Gertrude. I definitely haven’t forgotten about you.

You’re part of the namesake of this blog and get to serve as its banner. You’re the reason why I’m as strong as I am and why I keep pursuing the difficult things in life. You taught me how to build high self esteem and to never let it topple. You gave me confidence.

I brought your book (present in Seuss’s Yertle The Turtle and Other Stories) back to school with me and have it on my desk’s shelf. Its cartoon-y colors stand out among the works of Chaucer, Margaret Atwood and F. Scott Fitzgerald, but it still belongs.

I’ve even thumbed through your story several times, searching for strength in times of need (and soon a quote from the book will be up on my wall).

Your story is still relevant. You taught me to be comfortable in my own skin. That confidence currently thrives within me.

I’ve had lapses. I go through stages where I don’t think I’m very pretty. I change and grow, but smoothly transition to the many shifts. I’ve been practicing since playing the role of Gertrude McFuzz in Dr. Seuss’s Seussical Jr. nearly eight years ago.

I know myself well enough to know the hard times don’t last. One day I don’t want to get out of bed and the next I practically jump out in excitement for the day.

So, no, I didn’t forget you, Gertrude. I doubt anyone could after reading your touching story and taking the time to really relate to it like I did.

As a sophomore in college I am gearing myself up for the professional world. And you, Gertrude, are still as relevant as you were when I was 12.

Another Sunday night

I was typing last night whilst sitting upright in bed and I realized just how much I enjoy the sound of keys getting tapped on a keyboard. So, here I am once again. It’s nearly midnight on yet another Sunday night in my life. Another week is gone and I keep getting older with every second that passes. It’s kind of a scary though, isn’t it?

I had been living in a dazed state up until recently. People didn’t bother me during that short amount of time and I found myself smiling for no reason at people I hardly even knew. However, lately people have been getting on my nerves more than ever. Maybe it’s because of the last week I have lived through that was hellish even without the assistance of the people that keep making their entrances and exits in my life. But, in that hell of a week I lived through I gained and retained friendships with some of the nicest people I have ever met. Everything happens for a reason.

There are some people who I know are living their lives while looking through masks they have molded throughout the years. I’d like to believe that they are the people they say they are, but I know better than to believe a single word they say. I’m sad that they are who they are. I wish I could change them for the better. From now on, I’ve decided to ignore who they are behind their facades and just deal with the people that they’re showing. There must be a reason why they’re hiding everything else, and who am I to expose it and question it? I’ve decided it’s none of my business despite the intense bout of curiosity I am feeling. I’ve decided to take advice from The Beatles and just “Let It Be.”

I’m growing up; I’m moving on; I’m getting things accomplished. I am so proud of myself for that. I’m not going to waste time worrying about the other people that come into my life. People that are only going to leave the next minute.

Oh, that’s original [/sarcasm]

I think I might be growing up. Well, I guess what it is is that I’m certain that I am growing up and developing new tastes in everything.

I used to be intrigued by boys who dyed their hair black and wore tight pants and band tees. Now I want them to get a pair of pants that fit them properly in certain places and to get the hair dye removed. The band tees can stay, I suppose. Until I want those to be gone as well. They think they are so “unique” just because they have the guts to put on some eyeliner. I am over that.

Then there are these girls that have the “scene” hair  and wear makeup that makes it look like they’re dead. Yeah, that’s attractive. Or they have regular colored and styled hair, but they have such a huge side part that they have to tilt their head and whip their hair around just to keep it in place. They all think that no one else is like them and hate on people that “just don’t understand.” They sport skinny jeans and Twilight tees and strut around like they own the world. They are so awesome because they can claim that they are “emo” and “bi” (how do these girls know that they’re bisexual if they’ve never even had experiences with the opposite sex? I can’t seem to understand that) and get away with whining about how “nobody understands me and everyone thinks I cut myself just because I’m emo!” Well, duh. Grow up and get used to it.

Not going to lie, I used to want the scene hair. I thought it was neat and super unique. Now I have realized that it really isn’t. I wake up every morning with my curly bedhead and just insert a clip somewhere before rushing out the door. I don’t have time to get all gussied up and straighten my hair every morning just so I can look like everyone else that thinks they’re unique. I’m happy with my curls and don’t want to chase them away with a straightener. I have three pairs of skinny jeans because I like how I look in them – my other thirteen pairs of jeans are what I think are comfortable. I put on mascara so my eyes don’t disappear and then walk out the door to begin my day.

I used to think I was all “emo” and awesome. Now I laugh at those who think the same thing. I’m over it. I’m just me; original in every way because I don’t do what everyone else does.