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.

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Life, sans explosion

It would be so easy to die.

To stumble into something you shouldn’t have, cross the street in front of a driver who either doesn’t respect pedestrians in a crosswalk or just didn’t see you, firmly grip the wheel yourself and slowly inch into the other lane…

That’s what I thought on Tuesday while driving. Turn the steering wheel a bit, Emily, and everything you’re looking forward to, all your plans… they’re gone.

Let me be clear: I am by no means suicidal. I may have been back during early teenage years, but I never would have had the nerve to actually do something really harmful to myself. These thoughts merely cross my mind from time to time.

While filling up at the pump on the same day, I spilled a little gasoline on my hands and onto my car keys. I had the brief thought of, What if my car blows up when I put the key into the ignition? 

Silly, I know. But it made me pause and reflect as I hit a perfect $36 on the meter. What if?

Would that be okay?

How would the people around me react, namely the creepy old guy checking me out right now?

What would my family do?

What would my friends do? 

I squirted hand sanitizer onto my key and my hands and scrubbed a little bit. I closed my eyes when I turned the key, but Bubbles merely sprang to life, sans explosion. I sighed, opened my eyes, pressed the brake with my right foot and shifted into “Drive.”

Seeing lights in my rearview mirror scares me more than death does. I’d have to deal with the consequences of getting a speeding ticket; if I were to die, that’d be it. Only those I leave behind have to deal with the grief and suffering.

I’m not ready to swerve into the other lane, I’m not ready for this to end… but would it be okay if, by chance, it did? Yeah. I mean, I guess I wouldn’t have a choice; it would have to be okay.

I’ve been on a lot of adventures, I’ve seen a lot of things, I’ve learned more lessons than I can count. I’ve stumbled into love, been forced out of it by my own ambition and life plans and then obsessed over people and ideas I thought were real. I’ve been struck down, tossed around, taken advantage of and then, through careful character rebuilding, been able to bounce back.

The girl who once tried to control everything and fought everything has become a woman who knows her limits, knows when there is no use, knows when to let it be.

A lot can happen in a day. So let it –– whatever it is –– happen. The end could happen at any second.

The Blackbyrd comes in contact with VD

After conducting some research, I’ve reached one conclusion: I’ve successfully avoided writing specifically about Valentine’s Day on this blog for nearly six years. I wrote this post, but it doesn’t count; it’s just a 14-year-old Emily gushing over celebrities that she just so happened to publish on Valentine’s Day in 2009. Definitely doesn’t count.

Thus, the world has no idea how I feel about said “holiday.” (Why does it care? You’re probably thinking. I know.)

Uh, Valentine’s Day sucks.

Ever heard of Sweetest Day? Rolls around every year on the third Saturday in October. I’d rather partake in that than VD (haha, venereal disease, geddit? If you do, you probably only began reading this because of my super enticing and witty title. I flatter myself. I know.).

I’m making a pretty sweeping generalization here, but I’m assuming most girls want to be pampered and treated like princesses come February 14. From the perspective of a girl who has been mercilessly pampered and treated like a princess on VD, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be. Flowers die; chocolates get eaten; I have to sift through the damn mystery box to avoid the nut-filled and cherry-filled ones. Yuck. I’ve even received one of those gaudy, 2-foot by 3-foot cards. It seemed sweet at the time, now I look back and roll my eyes just a tad.

Maybe I’m desensitized because my first-ever boyfriend dumped me two days before VD during my freshman year of high school. I’ve learned to expect less, even when Mr. Wonderful showered me with so many nice gifts for several years.*

Summer's Eve's ad here is about the only thing that makes me thankful for VD.
Summer’s Eve’s ad here is one of two things that make me thankful for VD.

You can hate me for dissing VD, but just know that, like I said in my last post, I can be rather flaky. I’ll probably be crying into a gallon of chocolate ice cream at this time next year. Still.

I don’t need February 14 for a man to tell me he loves me or to confess his true feelings.

I don’t need the giant VD card, the boxes of terrible chocolates, a teddy bear holding a heart or a bouquet of flowers I’ll definitely hang upside-down to dry, only for the dried leaves and petals to fall to the floor, making a mess.

And don’t even get me started on the cheesy, gag-me-please diamond jewelry commercials. A $1500 rock doesn’t tell me you love me; it makes me mad that you didn’t spend it on groceries, the rent or plane tickets to go somewhere warm. I totally just jumped ahead of myself by 10 years, but I think you get my point.

You love me? Show me every day. Don’t buy me a $5 Hallmark card once a year, scrawling your name into it each time without even reading it first.

At least VD-themed Hershey Kisses will be half price at Walmart the day after. I’ll see if I can sucker my guy into stocking up for me. That’s enough to make this Blackbyrd happy.

How I react to those jewelry commercials.
How I react to those jewelry commercials.

Stay tuned: in next year’s post I’ll be mourning the loss of my college career and surely the plenitude of relationships with men that just didn’t work out.

__________________________________________________________________

*Though Mr. Wonderful did once tell me something that made me laugh. He sold more condoms on and around Valentine’s Day than any other time during his, uh, tenure at a local Rite Aid. Haha figures.

Go around or you’ll drown

Trevor refused to divulge his plan. “You’ll see when we get there,” he said.

He probably knew we’d all steal his idea if we had known ahead of time. We definitely would have stolen his idea.

So we set a 5-hour block appointment with our favorite tattoo artist. I had my design; Mom, hers; Kim –– my almost sister-in-law –– hers. Adam’s, of course, had to do with music to start a sleeve on his right arm instead of continuing his left.

But all of our ideas meant something, even Adam’s. Local Natives’s music inspires him, why not have lyrics tattooed on his arm? “Who Knows Who Cares” is a beautiful sentiment because, honestly, who knows anything and, frankly, who even cares?!?

But Trevor’s. Oh, Trevor’s. He won. His idea was the best. His meant the most.

_______________________________

My grandparents had different tapes we’d listen to on the way to Sunday School every week. The last van they purchased had to have a tape player so they could keep playing them. My three older brothers and I loved one particular tape the most out of the others. And even when a 16-year-old Jordan and then a 16-year-old Trevor took over the driving, pushing Grandma to the middle row of seats, we still loved listening to that tape.

A little boy –– I can’t quite remember his name –– went off walking one day, out in the woods to romp and play. He came to a clearing and happened upon a rather large pond. He hesitated. He wanted to get to the other side as fast as possible but wasn’t sure what to do.

“Peep! Peep! Just knee deep!” a group of young peeper frogs exclaimed.

“Better go around,” an old, deep-voiced bullfrog belched and Papa imitated him perfectly.

He thought about it. The little peeper frogs’ way was surely the best –– he’d get to the other side far more quickly and heck, if it’s only knee deep, he thought, why not?

“Peep! Peep! Just knee deep!”

Following the peeper frogs’ advice, the boy waded into the pond and passed the knee-deep level. The water got deeper and deeper and, because he couldn’t swim, the boy drowned in the pond.

“Shoulda gone around,” the bullfrog croaked.

_______________________________

I know what you’re thinking. What a terribly tragic story. But I never thought that; I always loved it. I can still hear Papa saying “Better go around” in his gruff voice while I shrieked “Peep! Peep! Just knee deep!” in my whiny, childish voice.

There’s a lesson in the story that I only recently realized: trust your wise elders and don’t rush life. Take the long way around. Enjoy the journey instead of rushing it to get to the destination. We know things didn’t end well for the little boy that day. He “Shoulda gone around.”

ResizedImage_1390327057953
The cardinals are my Grandma & Papa.

So tears gathered in my eyes when Trevor finally told us his tattoo idea. And when the tattoo artist lifted the needle from Trevor’s bicep for the final time, wetness trickled down

I carry them with me, too.
I carry them with me, too.

my freckled cheek.

Don’t get a tattoo just to get one. Make sure it means something to you. You win bonus points if it makes your little sister cry out of happiness like my brother’s did.

On a shelf

This is where you should be.

Not in a bag in a box on a shelf,

But in the ground.

Where you can feed the soil

you were born on and fell

in love on.

Soil you fought to preserve,

even though you never talked

about that.

 

I want your ashes to feed the ground

I walk on every day and bring forth new

life.

 

But, most of all, I just wish

you were still here.

So I could hear your voice

softly say my name again.

 

To kiss your sandpaper

cheek one more time

and hear you say “Oh, that’s nice”

and memorize that vibration

of your vocal cords.

 

Vocal cords that don’t even

exist anymore…

 

You’re dust in a bag

in a box

on a shelf.

 

 

~EMS

6/25/13

8:22 p.m.

 

Catastrophically minute

I am so self-absorbed.

I think that I’ve had a tough life recently because went through a break up and lost a best friend. But, the thing is, I chose my way. I made my decision and had to deal with the consequences. It makes me sad that I lost my best friend, but I had to have seen this coming. Only an idiot would believe that, despite a break up, a friendship can pick right back up where it left off before the dating began. So when I noticed tonight that he removed me from his Facebook friends, I shouldn’t have been surprised. I shouldn’t have called it immature. I ended it. I made the decision. It’s done. Move on.

And oh, I have.

I have recently been made more aware of the people I’m surrounded by. We live in unison. I’m writing this right now, but someone in the world is brushing his/her teeth in preparation for bedtime, someone else is gardening and this other person is up and on his/her way to work.

Maybe this person’s mom just died. Or maybe, just maybe, that man over there is battling a disease that will eventually claim his body in its entirety.

You just never know.

So I need to stop being so self-absorbed. Because, yeah, Emily went through a break up and yeah, Emily left the cross country team and might not be able to pay for college, but these catastrophic details in my life are minute to someone else. The kid who gets picked on for being gay would rather be in my shoes, as would the man who just got jumped on the streets of New York City.

My problems don’t mean anything. I should stop acting like they do.

Everything

This Sunday night thing seems to be a trend for me lately. I guess it’s the thought of facing a full week of school that just scares me out of sleeping. Going to sleep means that the morning comes sooner, and what fun is that? Not much fun at all. I’m a night owl; always have been. I probably always will be.

We just this past week off from school. It didn’t really feel like a vacation to me, though. Maybe it’s because during our last vacation I was in Florida enjoying and exploring different parts of Disney World every day. My iHome blared a song to me every morning this week at 8:02 AM (because I’m weird and am not okay with waking up on a more regular number). 8:02 isn’t sleeping in for me. Sleeping in means rolling out of bed sporting a beautiful bedhead at around 11 and reaching for luncheon fixings rather than the cereal, bowl, milk and spoon. It was a beautiful week, just the same. The reason why falls onto the shoulders of one person in particular. I bet you’re sick of hearing about him. : )

There, of course, wasn’t a day where we weren’t together for at least a few hours. On a few days, we were together ALL day. To celebrate two happy months together, I surprised him with a picnic lunch that we ate in a meadow he had told me about way back when. After that, I went home. Then, I made dinner for him (everything I made was his favorite) and he showed up with a record I had told him I wanted a month ago when we were at the mall after my All-County concert. He remembered the littlest thing, and that alone made everything perfect. After supper, we went up to my room, popped the record into my record player, and got lost in conversations we had while we were in the Octopus’s Garden (the record was The Beatles’ Abbey Road, in case you didn’t recognize the hint I just gave).

Everything seems too good to be true. Everything is falling right into place. Every morning this past week, I thought about what Robby and I would do later that day and that alone made me happy. Imagine how happy I became as soon as I was in his presence and his embrace. It’s the strongest feeling of happiness I’ve ever felt wash over me all at once. It’s a beautiful thing, this happiness. I never want it to go away.

Tomorrow, I return to a school that finally noticed me for a different talent after the performance I gave the Friday before we left for vacation. But, more on that the next time I get around to writing on this thing, I promise.

For everything there is a season

It was like greeting an old friend as soon as my feet found the pavement. The snow had melted just enough and the air seemed balmy in all its glory of forty degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve always found it amazing just how different forty degrees can be, depending on the perspective you’re taking. When the seasons change from summer to fall, 40 degrees seems like the coldest temperature on earth. But, when the winter chill backs off a bit and lets in some of that 40-degree air, it’s as if spring has come early. It’s the same temperature and yet, it’s different.

I had considered making up a quick playlist of songs I could listen to while I ran, but I opted to leave my iPods at home, instead. The birds sang as I left the cul-de-sac I have lived on my whole life and let my legs carry me out to the main road and down the hill. I was surprised at how good I felt and let that carry me through the pain as muscles were put back into use after remaining dormant for nearly two months. The pain gave me something to think about and something to distract me from the mountain of homework I had to do and the hardships I had been dealing with on a regular basis.

When I was running, I didn’t have to feel anything but the pain from the exertion I was putting my body through. When I thought about it hard enough, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, but if I just let my mind wander and let my legs do my thinking for me, nothing really mattered. I ran by a business that owes my dad money and considered trashing it. But, I didn’t. I kept running and made my way toward the hill that stood menacingly in the not-so-distant distance.

My energy deteriorated once I reached the top, but I kept on running. I reached my halfway mark and kept going. I thought about how natural it is for me to run and how effortless it can be once I am in good shape to do it. I thought about the summer and how the three of us took part of this same route in an effort to be in shape for cross-country season. I thought about how fast the time goes and how it doesn’t make sense to try and cherish every moment. If you’re too busy cherishing, you’re not living. You’re just trying to keep it in your memory forever. A memory should be something you remember effortlessly, not something you save onto the desktop in your brain so you can click on it and wait for it to load.

I decided against taking a shortcut and instead went the whole way around and back to my street. I took a left, ran down to the green Pennysaver box and then took a right, thinking in my head about that last 200m that I face with every race I run on the track. I ran halfway up my slushy driveway and then bent over to catch my breath. I always do this, and then I bend my knees carefully before reaching my full height (5’2″ if you were wondering) and then walking around a little bit, my hands over my head.

I entered through the side garage door, made my way through the traffic blocking my way to the house door (sleds, snowshoes, etc) and shed my running sneakers (New Balance this year – a brand I never really gave a chance until over the summer), grabbed my already-full glass of water off of our butcher block-esque island and downed it in a second.

My ears stung from the cold and my breathing was wheezy with each inhale and exhale I made.

“How’d you feel?” my dad asked.

“All right,” I replied. “I started out too fast and was dead by the end, but it felt good to run. I’m gonna go lay down now.”

I entered the family room and plopped onto our brand-new couch to catch my wheezy breaths. After thirty minutes passed without my daddy turning on the TV, I went upstairs and grabbed The Lovely Bones and continued reading from where I had left off right before daddy had picked me up at the school just barely an hour previously. We sat there, father and daughter, reading our books of choice: his a Yankee book that someone had gotten him and mine a novel that had been made into yet another movie based off of a book. He wore one of his many pairs of $0.99 reading glasses and I wore the sweat and dirt of a girl who had almost made it through one of the toughest weeks of her sixteen years of living, and was coming out on the other side unscathed and perfectly fine.

At 4 o’clock, I tossed my book down and ran the shower upstairs in the bathroom that all of my brothers had vacated and bestowed unto me (we painted it a light brown and pretty light blue and got rid of the old Mickey Mouse theme that had previously reigned).

Before shedding my clothing, I focused on the length of my hair in the mirror. Back in ninth grade, it was a shock of bright-red curls. Now, it’s back to its normal color (brown/blond/red depending on the season and amount of sun received), though the curls have been kept (I have not dyed my hair since November 2008). I’ve decided that I want it to be long for when I take my senior pictures. I thought to myself Oh yeah, it will be long enough by the summer after this one!

And then it hit me.

I will be taking my senior pictures this summer. It’s crazy just how much time flies and how one change in your thoughts can create a chain-reaction of changes throughout your entire mind. At the moment, I am halfway through my junior year of high school. In June, I will sing in the Chamber Choir and watch some of my best friends ever don those white and blue robes and graduate from our little sliver of the universe and move on to bigger (and better) things. This hit me hard because I realized that I haven’t exactly enjoyed my high school experience that much. In recent months, Misery had taken over my entire being and forced me to look at everything pessimistically. But now, happy little Emily is back, and she plans on staying happy and little until she is forced to grow up in a year and a half.

The butterflies have risen!

You know how you have to be in one of those moods to really appreciate artists like Marilyn Manson, Eyes Set to Kill and Every Time I Die? Well, I’m in one of those moods. I had Persephone going on shuffle, and she was doing pretty good until an ETID song came on, and I realized that I am in the mood for them today. I don’t know why; it’s not like I’m cranky or anything at the moment, now just seems like to right time to listen to something that is so beautifully screamy. I just can’t describe it.

I’m feeling pretty damn good, actually. The butterflies are alive again within me (you’d have to be a regular reader of my poetry to understand that reference, and I am the only one that fits in that department) and they flitter and flutter every once in awhile to remind me that they’ve been released from their cocoons once more.

So, there’s this guy. Well, actually, there are several guys at the moment, but whatever. He doesn’t even go to our school (and plus I know the ones from G-Town could never click with me…and the one that actually could has a girlfriend, even though he agrees with me on that subject), and yet for some reason I have a good idea about him. See, I’ve known him practically my whole life. The last time I saw him, he was shorter than me and kind of geeky. Okay, really geeky. We just didn’t mesh. Now, we received a Christmas card from them, and I couldn’t take my eyes off of him. I don’t really know if he’s my type, but I’m willing to find out. He’s tall, not anorexic-esque skinny, but nicely shaped and he plays hockey. Yeah, the hockey thing is what won me over. I like a guy who can play a real manly sport (that ISN’T football).

I told myself yesterday that if he came online in the facebook chat thing, I would say hello. Well, he came online. My heart started beating faster, but I didn’t do anything. Instead, I just kept clicking “Home” to distract myself with the posting of meaningless statuses by my other “friends.” I think that if we were to start hanging out, that’d be pretty cool, regardless of the driving distance between us. It’s only, like, an hour, so so what? Once I get my license I’ll be able to make that commute.

But, I’m not promising anything with anyone. I noticed several different guys making eye contact with me at the dance (will post pictures later, I promise!) and I became attached to one and realized that I wouldn’t mind hanging out with him, too. I don’t want to date anyone, I just want to go on dates and see how it is. Kiss a few guys, take in a few movies, hold a couple different pairs of hands; that’s all I want. I’m back to the “he likes me, he likes me not” thing again, and I am thoroughly enjoying it. This time, I’m not going to sit around and wait for something to happen (with the one exception yesterday!); I’m going to do something about it if I want someone that bad. I’m going to drop hints and be flirty and cute in a subtle way and play hard-to-get. This is what’s fun about being a teenager; fun that I’ve been missing out on for years because I was always stuck solely on one person.

Well, watch out. Have you ever felt that pitter patter of your heart when you see someone walk down the hallway? I have, and it’s not focused on just one person anymore.

Emily’s poetry, a history

I’ve been writing poetry for years. My mother named me after her favorite poet, so why not carry it on? I started out with a composition notebook that I decorated with stickers. Everyone just assumed it was my diary, as if it couldn’t be anything but a shallow notebook with all of my deepest secrets and fears hidden inside. Nobody gave me enough credit. Boys would steal it from me, but I managed to get it back without any harm done. They were only teasing. Teasing is harmless, right?

After that was filled, I moved onto a pink camouflage notebook that had pens attached to the front of it. It was nifty because if I had an idea I didn’t have to hunt for a pen before being able to write it down. The pens were just there. That notebook was also known as my “diary” and even a teacher asked: “why do you bring your diary to school?” To which I simply replied: “it’s not a diary.”

I poured random thoughts and whimsical dreams into those notebooks. Within about a month, the pages started ripping out of the pink camo notebook, so I saved the paper, but threw the rest of the notebook in the garbage. It was time to move on again.

I found a regular old yellow spiral notebook and plastered it with quotes, stickers, drawings, and pop-up sunflowers that I ripped off a thing I had at home. Poetry was transferred from my head onto the pages of that thing for about a year. I entered the seventh grade with the same notebook, and only showed the ones I was proud of to my then English teacher (who is now a teacher in the high school). The boys in my grade grew up a little and stopped calling it my diary, and I continued writing.

For my birthday that year, one of my best friends (we barely speak anymore…) bought me a hardcover spiral notebook with puppies on the front. Said notebook lasted me for nearly two years. That notebook taught me something important. Because I wanted the notebook to last, I only wrote poetry when I really really felt like it and had a good feeling about an idea. I decided that I didn’t have to write about everything – but there are some things that I will always wish to remember. I still have one page left in that notebook that remains empty. If I fill it in, the notebook is done forever. I always want to have the option of being able to fill it up totally. It’s amazing to go from the earlier poems in that book to the last few. It’s like traveling through two years of my life in thirty minutes.

Eventually, I took a little notebook that was a party favor at some birthday party I went to (I think it was Carin’s) and ripped out the used pages. I then covered it with duct tape, and voila! New notebook.

Using the duct tape notebook, I rewrote some of the ones I am really proud of, but I also wrote a year’s worth of new material. I am still busy filling it up with my life, so it’s a work in progress. It’s crazy to see how much I have grown in the past year. There are some poems in said book that are extremely naive and young-sounding. I know I will say the same thing in the future when I look back at what I wrote when I was fifteen (the present… for now), but I like what is exploding out of my pen at the moment. Maybe I will post some examples in the near future (which is defined as: later today).