Saturday, December 17, 2011

Excuse the Bad Grammer, I Didn't Edit Because I Don't Care

I've had a number of blogging freak outs, of various sizes. Perhaps most notably was my first day home sick post. That was a terrible day. I went to class and fought back tears, and then I went home and let them loose. I was so home sick that the sight of 808--the area code from home--made me tear up.

I sat on my bed for a full day, thinking how most of the people who loved weren't even on the same continent as me. And I cried. It has only recently occurred to me how uncomfortable that must have been for the apartment next door. After all, you can hear everything through those walls, and I was sobbing for hours. Part of me feels bad for them. Part of me thinks that they should have knocked on my door and brought me cookies and made sure I was OK.

I haven't been home sick like that for a few months now. I've missed home, but I've been happy. Home sickness became an ache for hugs or a craving for salad, instead of lung crushing sobs.

Until today. Today I went to print off my itinerary and found out that I'm not actually going to be home tonight at 9:30. Nope. At 9:30 I'll still be in Utah. I don't catch my flight home until 3:18 Monday.

A few days ago, when I was desperately studying for astronomy, I looked online and saw that one of my final grades, which was a 99% when I walked out of the testing center, was and 82%. I freaked out. Really. My cousins were unsure how to handle me. I went through every possible scenario, sent an email to my TA and called every friend I had in the class. After about forty-five minutes of panicking a friend explained what had happened and how everything was OK, and I was fine again.

Today was so much worse.

Two days. Forty eight hours. Two thousand eight hundred and eighty minutes. That's how much time I no longer get to spend at home. It feels stolen.

It's been about two hours. My face is stiff with salt, the impatient airline lady assured me it was my fault, my head feels pounded and it is time for me to get out of bed and figure out how to be happy again.

The funny thing is, if I'd always known that I was leaving Monday, today would be a great day. I'd hang with cousins and there would only be two days left until I got home! Just two! Days! Not counting down my months anymore--actual days. But now that's two days that I'm not home.

I've read about so many writers who speak about writing as a compulsion. It's something that they have to do. I remember one woman saying that she had to write everything, otherwise it seemed like it never really happened. It's funny how, in a certain way, we can only experience through words. Any shape we give to the world around us comes through consonants and vowels. That's why, when I was done talking to my parents and done crying, I pulled out my laptop and wrote to you.

What good therapy you are.

Friday, December 16, 2011


Do you remember that Christmas story? About oranges.

That one. The one with the little girl (was she an orphan?) who got one orange a year, and she always looked forward to it--its roundness, its smell, the way the peel broke open and juice squirted out. Every time I ever read that story I suddenly desperately wanted an orange. But no orange I got ever tasted as good as hers.

Last night I had an orange that was as good as the orphan girl's. I hadn't had an orange in six months. They're expensive at the grocery store I shop at, and they always look ill. So I opt for the apples in a stand across the street instead.

But I am now at my aunt's--an actual house with people are not college students, more food than is needed for a week, a fireplace, and a beautiful piano with accompanying sheet music. And oranges. Orange Christmas bulbs in a glass bowl on the counter. I've had one and a half. And I've been here less than twenty four hours.

Am I pathetic?

Don't answer that.

It feels so good to be away from college. Yesterday, at three o'clock (ish) I finished my last final.

My Book of Mormon teacher told my class that when we finished our last final we wouldn't care if we passed or not. We would be delirious with joy. We'd dance down the street, singing, and laughing maniacally. My Book of Mormon teacher lied. I'm still waiting for the delirium, Brother Merrell.

When I walked out of the testing center for the last time I called my mom and consoled myself by spending money and gaining unneeded calories because the (over) twelve hours of studying I devoted to studying for Astronomy did not earn me an A. It's one of the only times I can think of that I gave something everything I had and didn't get what I wanted back. That probably sounds prideful but think about it--How often do you give something everything you have? How many things do you actually do to your utmost capacity? How many times do you work so hard that you literally do know what more you could have done? Not very often, right? Or is that just me?

To do something the very best you can, and then for that not to be good enough... I hate that feeling.

My dad says this is very good for me. I believe him. That doesn't stop me from hating it. In any case, I've had a talk with my four-point-oh and informed it since I know it's going to break up with me when fall semester grades come out I need some emotional distance.

I should have known from the beginning. GPA's like that will only love you and leave you--when you are me, anyway.

It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter it doesn't matter it doesn't matter. Itdoesn'tmatterdoesn'tmatterdoesn'tmatter. It's just a letter. Just a letter.

I wonder if this is what I'm going to be like after a break up? Because that would really stink for my roommates. I hope I go more All-American Reject than Taylor Swift, but who knows. Maybe I'll sit in a corner and cry instead of jumping up and down and screaming to vengeful music.

Man. I started this post with oranges and now I'm hypothesizing about future break ups. I worry about me sometimes. Definitely time for a subject change.

I will be home tomorrow night. Where Christmas is green and bright, and the sun will shine all day and all the stars at night. I can see myself standing outside of the airport, my red suitcase on the ground next to me and my backpack on my back. Eleven hours of traveling behind me. Warm, wet air around me. My family will be late (because they're my family) but when they get there they'll all jump out of the car and give me hugs. I have missed their hugs.

I have this feeling it will be ten o'clock and we'll be driving through the pineapple fields, and Prairie Home Companion will be just going off the air, and I'll the see ocean rising over Haleiwa...

And I'll completely forget that the last six months have happened.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

What We Talk About in College

I like listening to people talk. I really, really do. So I know that my religion teacher (like many older men in Utah) says, "hwhat," and "hwhere," and "hwhen" instead of the usual what, where, when. I know that my popular culture teacher says, "d'ya know" as a filler when he is trying to figure out if we're following him. And that my roommate says "y'all," even though she firmly denies it.

Anyway, my obsession with the way people talk is responsible for the quotes below. They're just things I've heard people saying over the semester. Some of them made more sense in the context. Some of them really didn't.


"I speak truth, you speak ideology."

"Sorry, right, we're talking about Nazi's. Not my cat."

"The guys in black are evil."

"Burning alive from a nuclear thing sucks."

"I get violent when I wear glasses."

"I'm a little squishy on the issue."

"Our attention now needs to be drawn back to Batman."

"Let's talk about the overall organization of hell."

"I look in the mirror and look at these eyebrows and I'm like, 'Wow. I feel like I should be feeling contempt for everyone ever.'"

"Did you eat the muffin? Did you like it? Did it taste like the laughter of small children and water relief in Africa?"

"I stole a golf cart today."

"Dang it--he's on drugs! Good comment! I missed that--I wanted him to just be nuts so badly--but he was on drugs!"

"Superman is basically an eagle scout in tights."

"Lets face it, James Bond should have died by now."

"This marker is potent. I might get high. If I get high just, treat me gently. Sit me down and give me a glass of water, or something."

"His face is just too attractive for Sunday."

"Dating is a socially acceptable lie."

"I don't hate you. I don't want to fail you. I don't want you to loose your scholarships. I'm sure all of your therapists are very expensive."

"The U.S. birthrate is almost down to nothing. That's why we need Mormons."

"If everyone is in debt... where did all the money go?"

"You're walking across campus and suddenly the thought comes to you--kill your roommate. And you think--I should have had lunch."

"It'll be potluck. Heavy on the luck, light on the pot."

"In the West we're greedy, needy, self-serving, egomaniacal, and technologically advanced. It's not a good combination."

"Babies have disproportionately large heads."

"I'm going to say something offensive now."

"My kitten could play that guitar solo. OK, not maybe my kitten, but my fully mature cat could definitely play that solo."

"I read in the National Inquirer that we found Eskimos on Mars."

"My eyebrow hurts so bad."

"Imagine what marriage would be like if you couldn't say, ‘you know, um, sometimes your shoes are ugly.’"

"I'm going to respond to the stink positively."

"He turned back and said in the loudest voice pssible, "I hope you rot in hell." That is love, my friends."

"Things need to add up to one hundred. It makes me feel warm inside."

"He makes the classical music version of rap videos."

"I'm going to kill them, for the record. They will soon find their dorm room violated by my batweapons. I have a utility belt--Don't mess with Texas!"

"I don't agree, and I'm not 100% sure I care."

Sunday, November 20, 2011

A Note From A Worn Out College Student Who Is Tired of Coming Up With Titles

Yesterday the people one apartment over were playing Christmas music. It made me happy because I'd been wanting to set my Pandora to holiday for the last two weeks, but I've been abstaining to relieve my conscious, which is already suffering from the obscene amount of sugar that I've consumed recently and my Friday City Hunter marathon (i blame you, kelsey). However, with my next door neighbors playing Christmas music I can take pleasure in it without feeling any guilt. Bless you, Josh Groban and Bing Crosby fan.

The walls in my apartment are so thin. I can hear my next door neighbor's cell vibrate when it's on her desk. I hear them laugh at two o'clock in the morning. I don't mind that. I'm just slightly wary, wondering what it is that they're hearing from my apartment.

Sorry, neighbors. When they start killing people off in my shows I get angry. Also when my TA's don't update my grades, when I know the update will take me to an A(-). It's OK. I'm sure we all get close by sharing our emotional trauma, and the secrets that slide between the relatively few atoms in the dorm room walls.

One of my teachers mentioned how dorms are never quiet. I hadn't realized it before, but it's so true. It snowed Friday, and I didn't notice (city hunter marathon). When I mentioned it to one of my friends she said, "Didn't you hear everyone freaking out?"

"It was Friday night," I told her, "Everyone is always freaking out on Friday night."

And it's true. They're out there until two o'clock in the morning singing songs that were born in the nineties and, if the world were fair, would have stayed there. Forever. Which is fine with me, as long as it's Friday. Tuesday? Totally different matter. A couple nights ago certain tenants were being unusually rambunctious. I laid there cursing them in my head, until my roommate yelled, "SHUT UP!"

I appreciated my usually mild-mannered roommate screaming, mostly because I didn't have the courage.

It's funny what exhaustion and stress will do to people, though. The last couple weeks I've seen it in my classmates faces. The skin flanking their eyes is black, and there is a sort of hollow look that accompanies anything a teacher says. Something along the lines of, "Wait... You're actually still expecting us to be capable of thought processes more complex than what it takes to work a can opener? This late in the semester?... Are you sure you have a doctorate?"

I think Thanksgiving will do us all some good. My teachers are as ready for a break as my classmates. All of them canceled class on Tuesday, even though the university has made it very clear that cancelations are immoral in nature. No one really cares at this point. We want to get to the turkey.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

I'm Not a Cat

My understanding of football is sort of like my understanding of calories.

With football, teams want to go to the opposite end of the field. It can, apparently, get more complicated

But that's the basics. (i also understand there are fouls. which i can't really comprehend in a tackle sport, but whatever.)

With calories, more is bad. At least, as far as I can tell.

So... that's good right? Twenty-five is good?

In both cases my ignorance is purposeful.

I'm not sure what I'm protecting myself against with refusing to comprehend football (long conversation with football nerds? having to go to games? actually liking it?), but I think my motivation for not understanding calories is pretty obvious.

For example, when I'm drinking chocolate milk (the chocolate milk that everyone has spent the past four months telling me is delicious, the one i bought even though i don't really like chocolate milk, the one that helped me discover... i really don't like chocolate milk). And the girl sitting next to me tells me not to look at the nutritional facts until I'm done (in that same warning voice everyone uses when i say that i'm enjoying the coolish temperature and everyone says, "just... you... wait"). I can look at the nutritional facts right then with relative composure, feeling pity for the girl who understands them and not thinking about my rapidly expanding thighs.

So I'll have to agree that, to a certain degree, ignorance is bliss.

But just to a certain degree. The degree that covers understanding football and calories, but misses the incredible quirkiness of Doctor Who, the crunch of bell peppers that came off the plant ten seconds ago, and the fact that scarves are not fashion statements. They're actually useful.

There are things I don't want to know about. Probably. I can't think of too many. I actually want to know about most things. I want to know about black holes (did you know, they aren't actually holes? they're objects of such incredible mass that their gravity draws everything to it. you can't hit a black hole, but if you get sucked to close you'll be falling infinitely towards it, because its gravity is so insanely powerful that it bends time). I want to know about how to fix cars (there isn't a class for that at my college, can you believe that? i mean considering the seriously weird college courses available, i fell like a car fixing course wouldn't be too out of line). I want to learn about the ideology behind horror movies, and how to make apple sauce, and...

Curiosity killed the cat, but I'm not a cat, so I should be OK, right?

(plus, didn't the cat have nine lives anyway?)

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

one of those days

Hey Peoples.

I don't have anything to say today.

Shocking, I know. I'm usually so chatty. That's because I'm supremely good at complaining. I should win an award or something. Preferably an award that involves a scholarship, broadway tickets, or ice cream.

I don't particularly feel like complaining today though. I feel OK (as in, not like I'm going to throw up). I had fun last night. I have a vase of basil on my counter. Basil is beautiful. It smells good. My wedding bouquet is going to be basil.

I don't have class until two today. And it's my only class. So I did dishes (my kitchen is clean! ish...). I read some Aristotle ("it is pleasure that moves us to do what is base, and pain that moves us to refrain from what is noble"). And ate raisin bread. That I baked.


So today is a good, lazy day. The kind that does not encourage complete sentences, but fragments that drift in and out of consciousness.

My to-do list is long but not urgent. So I'm sitting at my kitchen table, smelling the basil, listening to people who have British accents sing. I may go read a book for fun (what book should i read for fun? thoughts?) or I might make something truly delicious for lunch.

Oh! The possibilities!

This is one of those posts I think about not posting, because, really, why? But I'm going to anyway. Because it's one of those days. Yay!

Man. Three exclamation points in three sentences... I'm going to be mad at me about that tomorrow. But not today. I wish you days like mine, my friends. Everyone should have them every so often.

Friday, September 23, 2011

Disjointed Thoughts of a College Student Who Recently Ran into a Tree

I had every intention of writing you a totally upbeat post this week. It's been a good week. I've made good food (I made a keish without a recipe, which, really, is as far i aspire in culinary genius anyway), I did well on a test, I talked to people, joined a study group, and went to a terrific lecture. But I got home today and I felt bleh. My body had, apparently, decided that it was done with me.

So I finished Bring Me a Unicorn, which happily has nothing to do with unicorns. I mad myself hash browns and eggs, which were surprisingly delicious. I went to see if the vegetation stand was open, because I felt a desperate urging to eat fruit. Unfortunately it wasn't, and my urging did not extend as far as the grocery store. So I ate my roommate's cantaloupe, because I'm a bad person.

My throat still hurts. I think this has to do with running into a tree yesterday. I believe I swallowed some of its leaves. Nobody believes me. Which is weird, because how is this any less ridiculous than trying to make waffles with an actual iron? This is college. Weird and ridiculous things just happen.

I should be writing an essay right now on Lady Gaga and hegemony. But when I called my mom (somewhere in between the hash browns and the west wing episode i didn't mention because i want you to think i kicked the addiction) she told me to find a good movie, pop some popcorn, make some orange juice and not do any school work tonight. I am nothing if not obedient so I'm neglecting my essay for the time being.
Sorry Lady Gaga. You'll have to wait on my analysis for another day.

When I first got to college I was so homesick it was gut wrenching. Now it's softer. It crawls in bed next to me at midnight and snuggles up to my spine. It makes me want the stretch of road by my old elementary school, the faded gold couch in my living room, and the cast iron pans always on my stove. It's a quiet ach, like growing pains.

I'm going to stop now. I actually do have things I was going to write about on this week's post. I was going to write about how I thought people who lived thousands of years ago would feel, watching me write essays on them. Or my testing center fiasco. I was going to review a book and start a college food study guide. I still might. Tomorrow is looking like a long day.

But for tonight, I'll just say good night.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

Moanings and Groanings

WARNING: Look at the title. Good, now you've been warned.

Everyone within a hundred mile radius of me is going to a football game tonight. I see them streaming under my window, a stream of blue shirts. Everyone except one of me and one of my roommates. She is sleeping in the bunk above me right now, utterly exhausted after six and a half hours of serving up pizza. I'm sitting at my desk and not doing homework, going shopping, or doing laundry.

I remember one of my religion teachers telling me once that not a whole lot changes after you die. You don't magically become a good person, strap on angel wings, skim around the stars singing praises. The idea is to be a good person when you go. But somehow we think that big changes in life (like, for example, life ending) make us different. We're usually waiting for them to fix everything.

I hadn't ever really thought about what I would be like after death before. I'm a teenager. I still think I'm invincible. But I do remember thinking that when I got to college everything would magically right itself. In my head there was a whole group of people waiting for me. People who were like me, but not so much like me that it was annoying. People I could call up at any time and say, Hey, I'm bored. People who were cool but not too cool to be my friends.

Kindred spirits is the term. I thought there would be seven or eight soul siblings just waiting on my front porch when I turned up with my suitcases. Unfortunately, as it turns out, I don't have a front porch and I seem to have missed the kindred spirit opening social. Everyone told me I would make life long friends in college, and I kind of feel like I'm missing the boat.

How do you catch a boat? Do you hail it like a cab? I have never successfully hailed a cab. (has anyone else ever noticed how many double letters there are in successfully? it's really fun to type.)

I know it's only three weeks in, and my parents and various other adult relatives assure me that there are lots of other people just like me. We're all insecure teenagers, sitting in our apartments, craving love and affection, doing homework and watching Doctor Who. And while I'm sure they're right (except for tonight when, as previously stated, everyone and their goldfish is going to the big game) I don't find it very comforting. If everyone is just like me then we'll never get anywhere.

Besides, that isn't what I see outside my window. People are jogging together, going to lakes together, getting in their badly parked cars and turning the ignition with a purpose together. They go to each other's apartments and magically have each other's phone number.

That's the part that really confuses me. Where, when, and how are these people getting each other's numbers? It's like it all happens under the table, some black market trade I know nothing about. I turn my back and they all pull out their phones.

I was never popular. I never had a ton of friends. I was that girl everyone waved to in the hall, but no one ever thought of when they were thinking of doing something. And that was fine. I always had a few great friends, the kind that always make things better. I'm turning into that girl again--the wave in the hall girl who no one dislikes, but no one particularly likes either. Except this time I'm missing my soul siblings.

What I really would like is a Laurie. I want a best guy friend/older brother. I never had a big brother and I think it's about time I got one. The whole (failed) romantic line of that Little Woman's story isn't what interests me right now. I want a buddy.

And I have no idea how to get one. It doesn't seem to be the kind of thing you put an add in the paper about (laurie wanted. must be funny, fun, mildly annoying, smart (preferably good at explaining astronomy), and extremely comforting. bow tie optional).

...Now I really want to put an add in the paper.

I'm so much cooler in my head. Really.

OK, pity party over. Thanks for listening. Tune in next week.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

What We Like to Call College Cliches

I have to tell you about this because it made me laugh.

A few nights ago I was sitting in my room skyping with my parents. One of my roommates, Kelsey, was there too, doing homework and being generally productive. It was actually dark outside, so it had to be pretty late when we heard this thud against our window.

Kels and me gave each other a look and I said to my parents, "Wait a second, I think someone just through a rock at our window or something."

We headed over to the window and there were six guys standing there. I didn't recognize any of them. They stood there staring at up us and we stared back down at them.

"You have the wrong room, don't you?" I asked.

They all gave vague indications of assent. Then one of them said, "Do you want some black licorice?" That's what they'd been throwing at our window.

"No thanks."

They walked away and we shut our window, looked at each other, and cracked up.

There are just some classic scenes that seem to linger in our cultural and romantic imaginations. Often they become cliches.

Ah, college. We have our own set of cliches.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Failures of Numerous Kinds and Snobbery

I have skin peeling off the ends of my fingers. Little, white, dead cells clinging in interesting formations where the tips meet my nails. I keep forgetting to buy lotion.

I'm not very good at this living on my own thing yet.

Like Friday night, when I decided it was time to do laundry. It was the mounding bag of dirty clothes and the empty hangers in my closet that gave it away. So I grabbed the bag (i felt like santa, which is an unusual sensation for me), grabbed the laundry thing I spent six bucks on earlier in the week, grabbed my keys and walked out the door.

It wasn't until I got to the laundromat that I realized that my laundry stuff wasn't actually soap, like I'd thought, but softener. Which, according to my roommate, who I called after I couldn't get a hold of my mom, is not the same thing.

So I took all the clothes out of the washer, reloaded them into my santa bag, and walked back to my apartment to borrow some actual soap. Two hours and $3.50 later I'd walked back to my apartment for the fifth time and had decided that laundry was evil and I wasn't ever going to do it again.

...Some days I feel not very smart.

The thing about dorms is that they're full of people who are not so smart in the exact same way I am. This is a freshman dorm, which means that most of us have never lived away from home for any extended period of time... which makes things interesting. I was just talking to a guy who almost burned down his apartment two times this week. Once this was caused by an unnoticed sticker at the bottom of a frying pan, the other time smoke just started pouring out of his oven, and he had no clue why.

My roommate from last term was met with some feeling of anxiety when she announced to our apartment that she intended to make cheesecake for her friends party, mostly because we'd seen her cook before. I asked her where she got her recipe and she said, "Oh, I don't use recipes, because things always turn out bad when I do. Maybe 'cause I never follow them." I sat there and watched her pour in various mixes, including cheesecake and lemon bars, with healthy doses of whatever else was in the cupboards. It ended up tasting OK, though nothing like cheesecake and she took it to the party (at my other roommates suggestion) calling it German Cheesecake.

Honestly, though, I'm just impressed that any of us are cooking at all.

I'm stuck in a round of the same foods over and over again. My diet thus far has mainly been composed of eggs. Salads. Pasta. Fruit. Sandwiches. Cereal. And much popcorn. I had a break down a few weeks back and my mom looked at me via skype and said, "You need broccoli and you need meat. Go." Variety, apparently, is not my strong point. Also, protein.

I am making bread though, if that garners me any extra culinary points. And so far I have not burned down my apartment or accidentally made German Cheesecake. Though actually, accidentally making cheesecake of any sort seems like it could be indicative of culinary genius, if only it hadn't involved mixes.

Does it make me a food snob that I sort of look down my nose at mixes? And what are the chances of me living through college and preserving that snobbery?

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Inner Turmoil and Horses

I have recently made a discovery.

I like horses.

Furthermore, I like riding horses.
I know. It's so cliche. And I spent four years of high school deliberately avoiding, even defying cliches. I didn't go to prom or football games. I had limited interest in boys and next to none in makeup.

But now? I mean, my makeup use is still limited, and I am only cautiously curious about boys. But look at me, I'm baking and riding horses. Me and my little Mormon girl self.

Irony is great in literature, even though most of the time it stinks in real life. But cliches? They stink in the fictional and the un-fictional world.

But here's the thing. I like riding horses. I like feeling tall, because I usual don't. I like being fast, because I'm usual not.

And there is a romanticism to horses. They're tied to knights in shining armor and the Old West. They invoke ancient images, the kind that come with rose colored glasses. So instead of bumping around on the back of a large animal, you're participating in tradition, in the melding of beings, and the planet's pulse.

Oh gosh. I might actually be romantic. The cynic in me is cringing.

It's cliche that I love horses, but is it OK as long as I don't love them because it's cliche?

I've pretty much decided that I don't care. How pathetic would it be if I didn't do things I liked just because they're cliche? So I'm going to keep making bread. And riding horses. Cliches, I defy you by refusing to let you dictate to me. I am not your secretary.

So there.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Parent Poems

Mom cracks th egg
The yolk lands with a soft--Bump
Mom wishes
Our backyard was big enough for chickens
She did not have to cook this Friday night
She adds cheese
Grated and ribboned
Collecting on the sides of the ancient black pan
Leaking into the eggs
Basil, mushrooms, flavor
At the kitchen table
Dad smiles at Mom
Wishes we were not having eggs and cheese
Says prayer,
If we were starving
Our bellies hanging behind our belts
We would be
So happy to have this
Mom rolls her eyes
They were teenagers, once

Six weeks of work

Six weeks of Saturdays
that were not my own.
A long red line
down the second-to-last day of the week
on my calendar.

A final armful of leaves
scratching long red lines down my arm
as I dump them into a scratched up red truck.

Sitting in the pickup with my dad
mandatory country music squeaking out of the radio.
The dump smells sweet with decay.
We sweep out the pickup’s bed once more
and leaves fall like a Hawaiian autumn.

Back in my yard standing
with a stocky glass of lemonade in my sticky hand.
We survey our work—
the looming lack of hedge
sunlight pouring through the gaping hole of not-there-ness.

“You know,” says dad
“I don’t think I like it.”

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Adjectives, Expectations, and Frozen Yogurt

WARNING: I'm thinking of starting all of my posts with warnings. Anyway, this is extremely long. I hadn't realized how long until I posted it. I could go edit and cut it down... but I've been editing an essay all week, so that's not happening. I would recommend skimming. Or you could just pretend you read it and move on.

Some of you might remember my epiphany in the dandelions that came last year about how all adjectives are relative. (i've since discovered that all words are relative, but this disturbers me less.) You may remember how very annoyed I was to discover that the only way I could define myself was in comparison to other people.... which totally stinks because in comparison it is mandated that someone is the loser. And, of course, that someone is me more than I'd like it to be.

Every time I tell someone I grew up in Hawaii they say, "Why didn't you go to college there?" And I say something like, "I just thought I'd never grow up if I stayed at home." Which is totally true. Like, if I hadn't gone away to college I still wouldn't know how to use a laundromat, I still wouldn't own a wallet, and I wouldn't know how much milk costs.

(ok, we'll be honest. i still don't know how much milk costs. i haven't bought it yet. i don't drink it that much. but i know i'm a grown up because i have a wallet and keys.)

What takes more time to explain is that, cliched as it sounds, I'm curious about me.

I mean, I've been living with me for eighteen years, I kind of want to get to know me a little better. You know how you'll know someone for years, at school maybe, and then when you see them somewhere else they're totally different? I thought I'd pull myself out of the context of my life and see what I was like without it. Silly of course. I haven't left behind my context at all. I find myself giving it no matter who I'm talking to. "Back home..." "In Hawaii..." "Where I grew up..."

I thought I was escaping the labels and expectations of everyone who knew me since I was six. Everyone who sat in sunday school with me and said, "she's haole," or "smart," or "weird." I thought once I was away from all of that something would blossom in my stomach and vola! Look! So that's who I was all along. Who knew?

Actually, even thousands of miles away from my context, I'm terrified of setting it down. Because who am I without it? I'm self-imposing all those expectations on myself now and I don't even have my sunday-school mates to blame for it.

This is not where I was planning on this post going. I wasn't going to really delve into identity. (though i do have a question: is there a healthy thing to base your identity on? honestly? if i think of myself as smart and then i am disillusioned out of this and just crushed, or if it stops me from doing things i'm bad at because that makes me seem less smart, then that isn't healthy. but isn't that true about basing your identity on anything and making any judgments about yourself? now i'm just confused...) I was actually going to note a few things that I've figure out about me. 

Of course they're comparative. You see, you thought I'd entirely forgot that I'd opened with my adjective thing didn't you? Nope, see, I was going somewhere for once. I know. Weird. So, from living with people who aren't my family I've come to some (comparative) conclusions about me. Nothing real earth-shaking.

I'm actually pretty clean. I don't take any responsibility for this. I think it's my mom's handy work and is probably a bit over the top right now as I try to prove to myself that where I am living is actually my home. But still. I have compulsions to do the dishes, clean the bathroom, etc. These are compulsions that my roommates do not have and do not understand. I'm mostly cool with that, but I wish they'd let me do it. I don't need them to do their dishes, I just need their dishes done. I'm good with cleaning them, but for some reason they haven't really borded that train of thought.

I go sleep early. Really. I'm going to sleep later than I used to and I still go to bed early. Yesterday was eleven thirty-ish because I had a paper due today. It felt late then and this morning it really felt late. But try complaining about a eleven-thirty bedtime to college students. See if you get away without a social stoning. I haven't really decided what I think this says about me... but I thought I'd share it. So if you happen to be my floor mate who keeps playing the ukulele at obscene hours of the morning, take pity on the poor socially awkward girl who lives across from you and stop. Or at least learn a different song.

I am socially awkward. Which does seem sort of fundamentally unfair. I shouldn't have to be physically and socially awkward. I really must have been at the back of the line when the stars were passing out skills. Because I'm a self-justifying person, though, I have come up with a perfectly plausible reason for why I'm socially awkward. The meeting new people part is because I've lived in a tiny town my whole life, so even people I didn't know knew me. Now I'm in a place where no one knows me... and I don't know what to do. Do I just walk up to people and say, "Hey. I'm Marissa. I'm a socially awkward Asian Studies major, looking for a job and craving sugar?"

Not really, right? There is some secret to this whole meeting people thing that I am just yet to discover. Right? Like a secret password.

... Hey, guys. Now would be a great time to let me in on the secret. Just saying.

I actually have a lot to tell you. Like I bought bubbles because I decided that I couldn't live without them. And I was walking back from blowing them on Sunday and got invited in by people I'd met that day ("hey. i'm marissa....") to eat a muffin. Which was fun. I felt intimidated though, because they were talking about politics. And I know nothing about politics. I do, however, know a lot about China, and I got into a heated discussion with a Pakistani in my ward about it. I met him, told him what I studies ("i'm a socially awkward asian studies major..."), and he leaned forward said, "Do you think Mao was a good leader?" We argued about it for twenty minutes, until he had to go talk to the Bishop.

My father has mandated that my entire family will eat sugar only once a week (with the exception of holidays recognized by hallmark) and it works well. Most of the time. Everyone once in a while I just really.... need... ICECREAM. ("looking for a job and craving sugar...") Tomorrow will be my once a week, though. I'm going to go get frozen yogurt. As a treat for me doing a whole half of the things I was supposed to this week. Because I'm responsible like that.