Vulnerable

There are very few things as humiliating as crying in front of someone. Not the, “I’m tired” cry, or even the “I’m a little sad” cry, but the kind where you cannot contain yourself because you are so raw and weary. And you had to tell that person the truth. And telling the truth made your soul rip and tears fall down. Without control. No matter how carefully you control your breathing, your thoughts, keeping your face, everything else that would normally give you control.

I’m not sure how confession makes people feel absolved. Maybe it’s the penance they have to do. And the only way to receive your penance is to confess. To me, confession magnifies and points out a guilt that hurts more than it helps. Not real confession: actual sins must be told to God. I mean the confession of feelings, responses, behaviors that you are ashamed of.

The impotence of sitting there and revealing your soul and not being able to hold it together and admitting you can’t even harm yourself because you know it’s wrong. There is no vindication. There is even failure in your mistakes.

I was told today that those failures were God’s grace. I felt like it was impotence. But it was Him keeping me from something I’ll regret long term.

I don’t disagree. But right now, my emotions and thoughts are so skewed off reality, I can’t accept that.

Wanting Less

I say

I want. I am not content.

God replies

You will never want. You are complete.

Burning in my unhappiness

I thrust my desires and holes at Him

Demanding His attention

How can He expect

Me to be okay

When all I have are gaps and darkness

How dare He

Not offer me

The few demands I have

In the darkness

He replies

My rebellion relents to see if He will accede to my requests

“You have My Son”

And He ceases

My outrage and hurt bubble over

How can that ever be enough

When I need dust and ashes to complete me

And I am left in quiet

Forced to remember

I have everything I need

So why holes

And hurt

And emptiness

It allows His Son to shine

Through me

And I hate not being sufficient

Needing Him

Wanting less

Frappes to Redemption

For the past three days (aka, the time I returned to purgatory), my shining light of deliverance and encouragement has come in the form of food. And yes. I am also depressed by this fact.

Food is currently the highlight of my day and the one thing holding my life together.

Yesterday it was french fries and a coffee my dear friend Twigg brought me without any warning or request. She is a doll and priceless treasure far above rubies.

Today it was an eggnog frappucino. And all the people said, “Amen”.

 

Guys. I’m glad Christmas is coming. Primarily because it keeps thrusting itself very unkindly on my thoughts that Jesus came to earth. And that thought should not be unwelcome. I should embrace it, and not wallow in my funk. So I am thankful for Christmas carols and that I have a real hope, and that hope is not the coming break or the ending semester of classes I hate, or that there is solace in food.

It is that God cared enough to come to earth, die for me, and not stay dead. And He promised that same life to me.

Take that, purgatory.

Osmometers

Dante forgot to include that the inmates of the inner circles of hell had to construct osmometers constantly.

Osmometers are awesome. They really are. They measure osmotic pressure, as I’m sure you all inferred from the title. That is not why I believe osmometers belong in an inner ring of hell. It is because of how they are created that makes them a torture device of untold proportions.

One must take a small piece of dialysis tubing, fit it over a rubber stopper that contains a long glass pipe, fill the tubing with a solution, clip the bottom of the tubing, then flip the whole contraption over and suspend it in a beaker of distilled water. This allows the free water in the beaker to diffuse into the bag of solution, forcing water up the glass pipe. By measuring the height and speed of that increase, you can track the osmotic rate of particular solutions. What that description FAILS to make clear is the following:

1. Dialysis tubing is about as easy to work with as a cranky, unregenerated, sleep-deprived two-year old that’s been given too much sugar. It’s slippery, won’t stay open, won’t fit over the rubber stopper, flops over while you’re filling it, and generally makes a nuisance of itself.

2. The rubber stopper is a joke. One must make blood oaths to dark gods to make sure the tubing actually fits over the stopper (this is nearly a miracle and took me nearly twenty minutes at one point), and then getting it to stay there by some mystical twisting of a rubber band requires the promised sacrifice of your first born.

3. Filling the (floppy) (non-cooperative) (dingity dang) tubing with solution requires three hands: one to pipette, one to keep the glass tube clogged, and one to keep the tubing upright. I currently only possess two. You do the math.

All that to say, it took me about an hour and half to set up a simple experiment. These are the nights that make me question my future. And my intelligence. We’re talking uber basic lab skills, people. Not rocket surgery.

So I biked 4.5 miles indoors and then ate french fries and a fried chicken patty. That soothed my wounded spirit a bit. Not enough. But a bit.

Highlights

High point of the day: Getting a box full of cardboard in the mail. Yes. I was excited about that.

Out of routine moment: Going to the Den to study Greek, to meet friends, instead of taking a nap.

Low point of the day: My alarm going off. But I was in the middle of a nightmare, so I guess the alarm paid off a little.

Scariest point of the day: Nearly passing out after running on the treadmill only to discover I was horrifically dizzy and discombobulated now that the world no longer consisted of a rotating, rubber belt.

Most productive moment: Going to bed. Right now. Because I have somehow managed to cram all of my responsibilities and assignments into this short, 24 hour period.

Smell of Chalk

Writing on a chalkboard is one of the most empowering things I’ve ever done. Knowing that other people’s lives, grades, GPAs, careers all rely on your deft strokes of chalk is invigorating. Master of futures, dispenser of wisdom.

 

Okay.

So I only wrote a set of simple math equations for a help class. But I got to use one of those clicking chalk pencils and a big ole eraser, so that was pretty great.

Grand, Rosy Romance

Dusky, rosy twilight. The kind of evening made for romance. I smile at the breeze that gently ruffles the trees tinted purple by the odd sunset. Atmospheric conditions and other such pragmatic explanations account for such pervasive twilight colorings, but what really matters is that they exist. I almost feel like I am dancing, waiting for that perfect moment to happen that justifies this glorious, mysterious, colored evening.

I pass a couple and the moment is instantly ruined by her turpentiney perfume. I also realize with a twinge of disappointment that I am carrying a white styrofoam to go box. I am walking in practical, rather worn, black shoes. I look tired and rumpled. I do not and my life does not fit this twilight.

Returning to my tiny, crowded room at the end of an institutionally drab hall, I sit down to eat my prosaic and slightly depressing dinner. Being young and poor and alone is supposedly romantic, although I have yet to see any evidence of this. I am completely shut away from the beautiful outdoors that holds the perfect scene.

It’s the color that could make a simple unhappiness a tragedy that revels in its mourning: justified, inconsolable, perfect. It’s the color that makes a simple smile full of promise and mystery.

 

As I eat my drab dinner in my drab room, alone, pouring over Greek, I allow myself to drift into daydream. He’s there. Dashing adventures. Intrigue. Fog. Long, thin skirts with kitten heels. Fedoras. The smell of newspaper. Anger. Regret. A bridge. Just enough rain to make it perfect. The smell of a shirt collar.

 

And then I wake up. I grab my books. I head outside. It is already dark. The rosiness, the mystery has faded. It is now only black. I hurry away in the cold to the next blase appointment, the next thing that keeps me busy. Distracted. From mourning that violet pale too much.

From missing that romance.

Tree Shower

I walk out of lab. It’s about 9:30 in the morning. Still very brisk outside, almost painfully, but the sun has taken the sharpest bite out of the wind. I look up, trying to see the sky, because I know if I can see the sky, I’ll feel better and regret being awake just a little bit less. The sky holds a lot of promise for me. It’s the first beautiful thing I saw after I woke up, out of the blackness. And it’s so vividly, painfully, loudly bright and existent that it will not be ignored. It forces itself into my brain and makes me accept how blue and shining and present it is. So unconsciously, I tend to look up as soon as I walk outdoors. It’s like a recharging measure for my soul and mental health.

Today, I look up, and because I’m under a canopy of trees, I don’t see the sky right away, but I don’t really mind. I love trees, and it’s autumn, and there are many wonderful colors and that is just as happy as the sky. And then a little breeze came. I love its smell. But shockingly, the breeze does not just affect me. I don’t know why I’m so surprised, but when leaves start rustling down in this huge leaf storm of beautiful, crinkly wonderfulness, I’m breathless. And I walk through a shower of leaves. The sound is intoxicating. I can’t inhale enough of its scent. I can feel the inside of my head opening, uncramping, brightening.

 

I realize a few minutes later that my face is still cracked in a grin too wide to make sense.

And I don’t care.

I Have a Fantasy…

No. Not that kind of fantasy.

I have a fantasy. A dream and a day dream and constant, hopeful desire that has no bitterness at all. And it’s a pure fantasy, because it will never, ever happen. But I’ve had this fantasy for so long, it doesn’t matter that it will never happen, because I’ve imagined it, felt it, lived it so many times, it’s more vivid that reality.

I want to fly.

I’ve never enjoyed the act of dreaming while I’m sleeping. I have too many night terrors and stress dreams to make that truly enjoyable. But the few times I’ve had good dreams, they always include flying.

I feel the heavy, burning mace that fills my chest vanish. Instead, I’m filled with a bright ball of light: glowing, calming, fresh…It makes me weigh less, so that I can just float off the ground. The spines that cover my back fall away. The fetal position I constantly inhabit relaxes, allowing me to roll back my shoulders and look up.

Sometimes flying takes work, like it does to tread water. But it’s so much easier than treading water, more intuitive, more free. Often, I soar, although I am content when my flying skills are nothing more than glorified gliding. I am still happy even when I can manage to hover a few inches off the floor.

The freedom, lightness, joyful quality of flying is everything that my mind is not. In dreams, day or otherwise, there are no boundaries for where I can go or be or see. I can see fabulous landscapes, admire the stars twinkling into the sea while I barely skim the waves, or float through misty clouds.

Each time, I’ll tell myself I’ll remember how to fly when I wake up. I’ve mastered the trick, I know how to rise, I know which muscles to use and how to breathe and it’ll work this time.

And then I open my eyes and as if life wasn’t hard enough, I remember that I can’t fly. I can’t escape whenever I want. I can’t light into trees. I can’t disappear from here, to be free and above and free. Free. Light. Not hurting. Not trapped.

Just free.

Lyrics I Love: Starbucks Reruns

As much as I love Starbucks, their playlist can be a tad repetitive. In my short, five hour stays there, I’ve actually heard the playlist start over. Sometimes more than once. All that is great, except when you can’t get the mariachi, rap, indie guitar fests out of your head. Including this little gem:

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last
Look here

Persecution you must bear
Win or lose you’ve got to get your share
Got your mind set on a dream
You can get it, though harder they seem now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last
I know it, listen

Rome was not built in a day
Opposition will come your way
But the hotter the battle you see
It’s the sweeter the victory, now

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
You can get it if you really want
But you must try, try and try
Try and try, you’ll succeed at last

You can get it if you really want
(I know it)
You can get it if you really want
(Don’t I show it?)
You can get it if you really want
(So don’t give up now)
You can get it if you really want
(Keep on trying)

Think on that a bit, America. That’s some profundity if ever I heard any.