Not an Adventurist.

Thoughts of a quixotic weirdo.

God will find you

I found this post in the drafts of my blog and it’s now a year old. I’m going to post it without changing anything because I was trying to say something at 3am when I wrote this a year ago. If it doesn’t make sense, watch Wit anyway. At the end, I’m going to add a couple thoughts from the present.

This semester I’ve been taking an Introduction to Film class, which has been absolutely fantastic. One of the things we do in that class is discuss the different elements of filmmaking, which is then accompanied with clips from various movies, or the like, to show the elements on screen. Throughout the semester, one film that was consistently brought up in class was the movie Wit. On Friday we were discussing spirituality that can be found in movies, and once again this movie was brought up.

So, after finding out that the entire movie is on Youtube, I decided to start watching it at 1am on Sunday morning.

It was probably, simultaneously, the best and the worst decision I’ve made so far.

The film made me bawl, sob like there was no tomorrow. There was rain flowing out of my eyeballs, just as the storm was picking up outside. It was so coincidental.

I’m now going to take a moment to write about some of the beautiful moments of the movie that really made me think about life, death and happiness, all at the same time.

The main character of the film is a scholar, specializing in the poetry of John Donne. (Upon watching the film, I then researched him and read up on some of his poetry.) As she is discussing her analysis of one of Donne’s poems with her professor, her professor goes into a monologue about what the poem really means and how the punctation makes all the difference in the overall meaning of the poem. This poem ties the entire theme of the movie together, because the main character, Vivian, finds out she has cancer and begins to struggle between life and death for about a year of her life.

Death, be not proud, though some have called thee
Mighty and dreadful, for thou art not so;
For those whom thou think’st thou dost overthrow
Die not, poor Death, nor yet canst thou kill me.
From rest and sleep, which but thy pictures be,
Much pleasure; then from thee much more must flow,
And soonest our best men with thee do go,
Rest of their bones, and soul’s delivery.
Thou art slave to fate, chance, kings, and desperate men,
And dost with poison, war, and sickness dwell,
And poppy or charms can make us sleep as well
And better than thy stroke; why swell’st thou then?
One short sleep past, we wake eternally
And death shall be no more; Death, thou shalt die.

Vivan’s professor explains that the translation is incorrect because there should be a comma where the semi-colon is on the last line.

“‘And death shall be no more’ COMMA ‘death, thou shalt die.’ Nothing but a breath, a comma, separates life from life everlasting.”

I think this is one of the most beautiful lines of a film ever.

In the grand scheme of things, death is just a blip on the plan of eternal life, just has she mentions and explains in the movie. Though it may be subtle, there is definitely a spiritual aspect to this movie. Through faith in God and heaven, death doesn’t mean an ending, all it means is a pause, or a comma.

“Death shall be no more, death, thou shalt die.”

[Spoiler Alert]

At the end of the film, Professor Ashford once again makes an appearance, bringing her wisdom and her thoughts with her. As Vivian lay, almost lifeless in her hospital bed, Ashford, instead of reciting a Donne poem, reads The Runaway Bunny to Vivian. The story follows a young bunny telling his mother that he will run away, however, no matter what he turns into, his mother will find him and continue to be there with him. Professor Ashford says, “A little allegory of the soul. No matter where it hides, God will find it.” This scene is so wonderful and absolutely beautiful because Vivian is found; she has been alone for the entirety of her suffering, and just when she begins to slip into unconsciousness, she is found, much like the way God can find us.

I believe that this is something we should try to remember. I know, some people may not believe in God or life after death, however, I do. I believe it with all my heart, which is one of the reasons I think this movie is so beautiful.

We can be found, even in our loneliest times, when we feel like no one is there for us and our suffering is beginning to take over. I honestly believe that God will find us wherever we may be and He will help us. He can save us.

***

As I was rereading this, I realized how much I needed the point I was trying to make. God knows us and he can and will save us. This is super important for me to remember because life is hard and questions are always there, however, if I can just hold on to the idea that God can save me, that should be just enough to get me through. Right now, it seems somewhat hypocritical for me to post about faith and trusting in God, but God is welcoming to everyone — no matter where our faith stands.

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Year 2: Lessons Revisited

And just like that, another year has gone by.

About a year ago, I wrote a blog post about the things I had learned in my first year of college. It’s pretty interesting to read what I wrote then and compare my thoughts now.

This year old post stressed how important it was for me to be happy and came to the conclusion that I was a happy person. I’d love to say that I kept my advice for myself and kept that same attitude for this past school year, but this year went a whole lot differently than last and anything I had ever expected. This year, it was reinforced to me that I cannot have expectations for people or for my life because sometimes those expectations get shattered into a million pieces and there is no way to fix it.

Throughout my second year at college, I feel like I’ve been through every single extreme emotion any person can ever go through. I started fall semester, ready to start my happy journey as a very (obviously) experienced college student. I moved into my apartment, excited to live with one of my best friends, ready to take on the world. The summer had been alright, but I was ready to jump into this school year with full force.

Very quickly, I felt myself slipping into a state of mind that I had never really experienced. I felt incredibly alone. I felt like I had found myself in a situation where I couldn’t connect with people and couldn’t keep my friendships from falling apart. People fell out of my life and I couldn’t bring them back no matter how hard I tried. I started blaming myself for everything. I was in a place where I really thought I was alone.

The feeling of loneliness is terrible. It spirals into deeper emotions and mental problems and I was devastated. My happiness had been compromised and I didn’t know how to deal with it.

At some point in the semester, something changed.

I got at job at the library because I couldn’t sit and sulk in my unhappiness. I got out of the house and strived to immerse myself in my work. This was so, so good for me. In addition to this, I had been struggling with feeling alone and I didn’t know how to combat those obstacles. Miraculously, people came into my life that I couldn’t be more grateful for. Each of them became some of my closest friends — all in a class that I was going to drop but didn’t because something felt so right. I strongly believe that my pleads with the Lord, late at night, were answered. His timing is impeccable and I was amazed when I looked back and realized that each of these individuals were placed in my life at such a critical and difficult time for me. And none of them knew I was struggling.

Throughout this entire process, I was applying for the Media Arts (film) major. Phew — that was fun. I was stressed out about putting in a application for something I loved because I was afraid, after all the hours I put in, I wouldn’t succeed. My emotional state could not handle that. But, again, by some miracle, I received the news that I was accepted and that was another checkpoint for me. I have never felt as comfortable in a class than the ones I’m taking now, with people that I can really connect and be friends with. I have finally found where I need to be.

Winter semester has been a crazy, busy, beautiful nightmare — in the best way possible. I’m gaining my happiness back and I’m so grateful. It’s absolutely great. It’s not perfect, but that will never be.

This year has been a year of many sad nights and lingering doubts But it has also been one of laughter and Sodalicious and new people and a messy room and short films and obnoxious rants and laughing and discovering who I am. I had to go through that dark time because without it, the reward would have been so much less than it was. I had to know how it felt to be alone in order to be overjoyed in new friends and new experiences. During this shifting period, I relied on the constants — like my family — but also on little things like sunsets and the changing of seasons. I made it through — thanks to a long list of people who never left my life. Even when I felt alone, I wasn’t. Last year’s outlook on life was beautiful, but I’ve learned so much more than what I thought I knew in April 2014.

It’s been a wild ride, but I’m excited to see where I go. I’m constantly learning how to cope with different things and deal with new experiences. I feel as though my “life plan” is constantly changing and that is okay — even though in the moment, it seems as though I’m having an existential crisis. Calm down, Rachel. It’s wonderful that we are always growing, even when we feel like we’re in a rut, we will make it through and learn more about ourselves than we had imagined.

So, here’s to the completion of another school year. Much has changed, but it’s all for the better and I’m so grateful.

The Swelling Tide

Cool breeze brushes the boy’s face as he steps onto the soft sand. Voices from families fill his earnest ears, embracing the atmosphere around him. He grasps his father’s hand as he glances out towards the blue monster, crashing down on the wet shore, taking in whatever lies in its path.

It is magnificent.

The boy trudges through the sand, the breeze makes the tiny rocks hit the back of his legs as his feet kick up the terrain he marches through. The shore has never felt so alive for this small boy of 5 years. His childhood adrenaline pumping, his hair already sticky with salty air — it’s been too long. It seems like forever since his last day of sand castles and saltwater. He lets go of his father’s hand and sprints towards the crashing waves, halting just before he hits the water. His small body is surrounded by the size of a brilliant form of nature. Aware of the fear that comes with the water, his body tenses as he watches a wave crash ahead of him and waits for the settling water to lick the tips of his tiny toes.

His eyes patiently follow the rising tide to his toes and as it reaches his feet, he begins to laugh and jumps up, splashing the water in every direction. Water splits into tiny droplets as they shine in the sunlight. The boy giggles loudly as he puts his hands on his knees to look down at his feet once more. He’s timid as the sound of the loud waves reaches his ears and the sea foam chases its way up to greet him, cold water sneaking up on his toes — tiny in comparison to the sea outstretching before the boy.

The boy’s father calls to him and he squints into the sun to place where the man is standing.

Tide pools. It’s time.

The tide is low and the tiny creatures of the sea are waiting for the boy to poke them all with his chubby fingers. The boy sprints up to his father, sand sticking to his wet legs, and grasps the warm hand once again.

Sand squishes below their feet and the boy is full of excitement, running on the packet of fruit snacks his father gave him in the car. Everything is bright and new and glorious.

The tide pools are surrounded by tiny people carrying brightly colored buckets, eager to find their next treasure. A keepsake for their time at the sea. The boy lets go as his father yells out to him. He can’t go far.

Safety. Water. Rules.

He makes his way around the rocks and shells and rock shells to the nearest pool of water. He crouches down next to the water to watch the seaweed brush against the side of the natural hole. Carefully watching for a sign of movement, his eye catches a small hermit crab, quickly moving from under the seaweed to the indentation of the rock. He points excitedly at the animal and looks up to find his father. He can’t see him but that’s not something to worry about, not now.

Look at the hermit crab.

Happy shrieks catch the boy’s attention and he gazes over at the commotion. A starfish! Before following after the crowd of bucket-carrying children, the boy looks up to locate his father once again. The sun is bright and the light reflects off the sand, making it difficult to see. His father is no where to be found.

The boy begins to worry but is interrupted by the sound of his fellow adventurers. There are things to see. The boy attempts to stand up but his foot slips into the pool. He panics, thinking that he has stepped on a newfound treasure, frantically looks down and finds the situation okay. He crawls out of the pool and tries to brush off the tiny sand particles from his hands but, instead, more is collected in his palms.

A crowd has emerged around the pink starfish. The boy pardons his way through the taller kids and enthusiastically bends over to look at the creature more closely. His finger reaches out to stroke the seemingly inanimate object and as he does so, a small fish quickly swims to the other side of the tide pool. The boy smiles in that moment and then is overcome with the shouts and excitement of the people around him. He’s lost interest and begins searching for a treasure of his own — one without the crowd.

The boy jumps from rock to rock, looking into the pools of water, hoping to find something he has never seen before. He discovers sea urchins and sea cucumbers, each creature being explored with the touch of the boy’s fingers.

Time begins to pass and people begin to retreat back on to the shore. As he is so engrossed with the ocean, the boy doesn’t seem to notice the changes. He continues further out into the tide pools as the water begins to rise. He wonders where his father went, but he is sure his father is just sitting upon the shore looking out at him. Perhaps he’s eating from the bag of potato chips they brought along for the trip.

He bends down to grab a loose shell drifting back into the sea, but misses it by a second as it is taken in by the receding wave. Disappointed, he follows the shell quickly through the wet sand and finds himself knee deep in the ocean. Reaching down to grab the now stationary shell, he loses his balance and topples head first into the water just as a new wave runs into him.

In a frantic state of confusion, the boy attempts to reorient himself, struggling to find what is seemingly the ground and that which is seemingly up. Just as he pulls himself upwards and pops his head out of the swelling foam and salty water, another wave crashes on his head, pushing him back under. With puffed cheeks and burning eyes, the boy attempts to recall the three swimming lessons his father made him take that one time.

The only thing that seemed to stick in his mind was to not place his chin to chest when attempting to float. This doesn’t help. He attempts to open his eyes but can see nothing but the murky, brown California seawater.

He feels as though he has been under water for some time as the water begins to seep into his mouth and clog up his nose, the taste of the salt water bitter on his tongue. His eyes begin to sting and he feels insignificant and terrified.

He lifts up and by some miracle, his head breaks the surface again. He gasps for air, eyes blending the salt water and salty tears into one constant stream of emotion. He begins to cry and attempts to spit out the lingering taste of salt and sand with no prevail.

He dropped the shell. During his battle with the ocean, he scraped his knee on the rocky ground, but that doesn’t seem to bother him right now. He stands motionless, feet sinking into the sand, creating imprints, his father still no where to be found.
He wipes the tears from his eyes, leaving behind sand on his cheeks. His father has done this in the past. The boy grabs his knee, attempting to stop the pain. It’s not too bad. There is more to explore.

The boy makes his way back to the tide pools to find that the water has taken them over once more. The waves crash on the rocks, sending mist over everything and sprinkling the boy’s head. Another child walks up beside him, swinging a yellow bucket in her hand. They gaze out at the waves and the mist, laughing as it tickles their faces.

The boy’s new friend urges him out into the waves further. She assures him that it’ll be fine, that there are sand dollars waiting to be picked up on the sand bar. The boy, timid as he recollects his earlier experience, follows slowly, once again glancing over to the shore, trying to spot his father. As he looks out at the crowd of people, he catches a glimpse of his father’s head and raises his hand to wave. He’s sleeping in a beach chair with a potato chip bag on his lap as n anxious seagull eyes the bag of chips mysteriously and hops closer to his father’s chair.

The boy turns back to his friend as she waves him closer to the water. She’s already ankle deep and the sun is bouncing off the waves as they grow closer to her. A wave crashes directly in front of her, making her lose her balance for a moment before regaining stability and letting out a slight giggle. She again assures him it’s fine, the water’s fine, there are sand dollars out here.
He follows her. Sand dollars are special, he hasn’t found one all day. In his eyes, the ocean is his friend and exploration is necessary. He continues out further into the shallow water, his swim trunks stilling to his legs — goosebumps appear on his forearms. Small settling waves crash into the shore and as they approach him, he jumps over them, a game that never grows old. He giggles and splashes water at the girl, who is about 8 feet ahead of him.

He continues jumping over waves and battles the forces against him as he steps out to meet her. She’s so close, he’s almost there. The water is up to his waist now and he feels at home. He’s gotten used to the temperature, he can now enjoy the water. The girl is 2 feet from him, sanding on a sand bar, attempting to see through the water to the shells below her. She encourages him to come out just a bit further.

He reaches the sand bar, giving him height in the chest high water. He smiles and looks up at his father’s chair. He’s now awake and fending off the seagull with the bag of chips. The boy yells and waves to him, shaking his arms to catch the attention of his father. The sea is loud, filling the ears of all spectators, there’s no room for a small yell of a child.

A wave crashes behind him unexpectedly and pushes him underwater. He remembers earlier in the day and attempts to do what he did before. He reaches for the sand bar but can’t find sold ground. The solid mound of sand bar isn’t as solid as it seemed and has since disappeared. Where is the girl?

The world is spinning, sky and ground are colliding into one confusing cycle of sea and sand. The boy begins panicking, unsure of what will happen next. He opens his eyes and miraculously sees the ground and a white spherical shape. In his haste, he reaches for the sand dollar, which washes away from the force of his frantic movement. He can’t swim well. Another wave crashes above him and his arms are weak. His head floats to break the surface as he tries to lift it to the sunlight. As he does, he hears the shouts of his friend, yelling for help. The waves overcome her voice. He is spinning but somehow he sees the shore. He thinks he sees his father surrender the bag of chips to the seagull as he sprints towards the water.

Just when the boy thinks it’ll be okay, another wave crashes on his head, pulling him under into the riptide.

His father should be here soon.

Pride: An Apology of Sorts

Sometimes I make mistakes and I don’t really know how to fix them.

It’s been a long while since I wrote a sincere blog post about my life and about my thoughts. It’s been a rough ride over the past couple months. We all have those periods in our lives where we just feel like we’ve hit rock bottom, the low of the low — and it’s straight up hard.

This was where I was at last semester. I lacked the happiness that I so longingly desired and strived for every day. I wasn’t the happy person that I once was, or that I once thought I was. I was bitter and angry and most of all, I was prideful. Not in my work, not in my interactions or in my successes, but in the way I treated others. I felt like the circumstances in which I found myself were not of my doing, that they were thrust upon me like good or evil in a comic book and I couldn’t stop them from controlling my thoughts or the way I behaved.

“A man’s pride shall bring him low: but honour shall uphold the humble in spirit.” // Proverbs 29:23

As I’ve always said, personal happiness shouldn’t depend on other people’s behavior towards you, and though I find this to still ring true, when you’re in the situation where choices are made and you become angry towards actions taken to distance yourself from others, you begin to blame everyone but yourself. You begin to say that you’ve tried, you’ve done your best, you know where you stand with them. This is also true. However. This doesn’t justify thoughts or actions of disapproval or even hatred. God forgives so why don’t we.

It’s so incredibly hard to let some things go. I cherish friendship beyond anything in the world, really, and I’m slowly learning that sometimes burning bridges is the only way to keep from drowning. Isn’t that the worst feeling in the world? But I keep turning to pride to answer my questions. To keep me sane and to place blame on others. I need to take my own advice and remove myself from pointing fingers. That will get me no where and I will continue to stay in the rut that I’ve been in.

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: but with the lowly is wisdom.” // Proverbs 11:2

It’s was like a slap in the face when I came to this conclusion but sometimes that’s just what we need. Pride causes contention and contention is not of God. Pride, both in theory and in actuality, brings out the side in us that refuses to acknowledge that we’ve done anything wrong, that we are above blame and that we are better than that.

I thought I had it engrained in my mind that my happiness was solid, it was my rock, but when rough times came along, I blamed myself for being selfish and inconsiderate. I realized that was uncalled for because I still cherish interactions with others, so I began blaming other people, more specifically one individual whom I love dearly. This was also uncalled for. Maybe in some ways it was justifiable to the every day man, however, if I’m constantly trying to be my best self, is it okay to do this?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I don’t know.

Honestly, I don’t really know what I’m trying to say other than I’m sorry.

Poetry: Pt. 2

Our spotlight is
the moon,
guiding us up
as the rugged stage darkens.

Two of us ahead,
instantaneously conversing,
clicking,
the rush of cars;
our soundtrack.

We cautiously lead, follow,
over loose rocks and
awkward steps
shuffling into the known
unknown.

Continuing on,
sharing memories,
no longer acquaintances.
My foot slips;
crumbling the stage.

We reach the end
embracing the cool mist
bouncing off the stone,
gliding through the air;
a silent applause.

Across the valley
the mountains mirror
our moon.
With a starry company
dancing around
the curve of the cliff.

I follow and
waltz down the trail,
gracefully twisting my ankle
bowing,
as the night’s song ends,

with the mountains
as my audience.

Questions

Who are you? What’s your name? What do you do? How old are you? Are you really? Are you in school? Do you have a job? What are you? Where do you go to school? Have you ever walked up the stairs so fast your calves are as tight and hard as the rocks of the Grand Canyon? Did you know that the Grand Canyon is still being shaped? Isn’t that so cool? Do you like to travel? Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Did you go to the north or south rim? Where would you want to go? Is Europe worth visiting, with all that history and culture and people? Can you taste a difference in the air? Can you tell you’re in a different country, or is it just the same with different climates and people? Do you feel like a foreigner? Do you ever feel like you don’t fit in? Have you ever sat in a room full of people and just know you’re not one of those people? Does that make you less human, to not have a connection with people? If we’re all the same, how come we aren’t? Are you meticulous or are you spontaneous? Have you ever jumped off a cliff into the ocean as the wind pushes through your ears as you close your eyes and hope for the best? Have you ever taken a midnight walk? Isn’t the world at night eerie and wonderful at the same time? What’s your favorite planet? Do you ever think about the stars? Don’t you think space is weird? How are there universes and galaxies and planets and suns and black holes and dark matter and energy that we know basically nothing about? What is really out there? Is it like the deepest, darkest part of the ocean where we can’t get to it now, but we might in the future? Is it possible? Space doesn’t end but is there a point where we can’t go any further or study anything past a certain point because we can’t reach it? Do you think that there are different elements that we haven’t even recognized as different? What is different? Are you different? What music do you listen to? Do you like oldies? What about hip hop? Is there music you absolutely hate? Who do you hate? How is it possible to hate someone? Do you really hate them or do you just hate the things that they do? Is it cold in here or is it just me? Shouldn’t it be getting colder outside now that it’s fall? Don’t you think fall is the best time of year, with all the colors and leaves and breezy air and pumpkins? If you could live in a specific season for the rest of your life, what would you choose? Do you think you would get tired of your favorite time of year? Do we really need opposites to be happy? Can’t we live in a moment without fear of the opposing forces working against us? Isn’t that more a physics problem, opposing forces? What really happens when you jump in the air? Are we suspended in a specific place, or does that place move because the earth is moving? Do we land in the same place or is it slightly different? Isn’t the world weird? Don’t you think it’s strange? Does is scare you or does it intrigue you? Do you want to know more or do you want to let the world happen without fear of knowledge of the unknown? How are you doing? How old are you, again? What do you do? I’m so sorry, what’s your name, again?

On Locker Combinations

(The following post is a creative non-fiction essay assignment I had to do for my creative writing class. I haven’t turned it in yet, but I wanted to share it with you anyway. We were assigned to write about a past experience to answer a central question.)

Why can I remember my middle school locker combinations when I can’t even remember what I ate for dinner last night?

I can clearly recall the numbers of both combination locks I used as a middle schooler. I can clearly remember running to my locker to retrieve forgotten binders and misplaced books in the 5 minute passing periods they gave us. The five minutes that gave us the opportunity to test out our Olympic sprinting that we had been training for our whole life. As I glance up at the clock, a ringing bell sounds throughout the room, signaling the start of the five minute race. Bags are zipped, papers are crumpled, feet are out the door. Our training is being put to the ultimate test every day.

4-26-4.

I can clearly recall successfully making it to the girls’ locker room just before the bell signaled the end of the race. I can clearly remember finding my row and maneuvering my way around dropped papers, scattered backpacks and dirty gym clothes. In addition to the five minute race across the middle school campus, we’re given another five to change into our gym clothes, yet another feat worthy of Olympic medal status.

8-24-32.

Every day the routine was repeated. Bell rings, backpack is zipped, out the door, to the locker, down the stairs, next class. Repeat. I kept the same combinations for those three years of middle school and I haven’t forgotten them since. I don’t know what it is about those 6 numbers, carefully organized in a combination to keep my personal belongings from being taken by a up-to-no-good 12-year-old 7th grader, but I remember them like it was yesterday — when in reality is was 7 years ago. I can clearly remember these numbers, and yet I can’t remember what I ate for dinner last night.

4-26-4.

Maybe it’s because I used the combinations every day. Maybe a part of me wishes I was still in the most inept time period of my life. Maybe I long for the day when I can use a lock again.

Maybe it’s because we, as a society, crave nostalgia. We crave the years past and dwell on the things we have or have not done. Unknowingly, we desire the things that we can never get back.

Now, I know. I don’t understand why my innermost self craves the days of clashing colors, failed hairstyles, terrible attempts at makeup, and sweaty pubescent bodies. Why would I want to relive the years from 11 to 13, where boys were still icky but we giggled when they talked to us? Why would I want to visit the days where physical education was still a requirement and people didn’t wear deodorant because they didn’t think they needed it?

The longer I live, the more things I get to experience and it’s amazing, however, those preteen years is this brilliant, unexplainable, gawky moment in everyone’s life that, in a way, unites us. No matter who you are, you had to go through that really uncomfortable stage of life, where you just didn’t fit in, you didn’t know what to do and you didn’t really know anything at all. These years between our childhood and teenage years, though strange and uninviting, are somewhat comforting.

It makes me cringe and twitch when I recall those crayon-inspired outfits and slicked back ponytail days, but you can’t escape the fact that we’ve all been through it. We grow up, we learn, we mature (well, some of us do), we experience our own lives, we make our own choices, but — much like crayons — we can’t erase those years. It unites us as one. It unites us as human beings. When we reminisce on those days, everyone can contribute their own stories and anecdotes without fear of disgust or hatred because we have all done it. We have all lived it.

I remember my locker combinations because I remember middle school. I remember awkward encounters and failed tests. I remember the way I felt when I it was the end of the world, when actuality, there was, and still is, so much more. I remember the desire to grow up, to be in high school, to be doing something with my life. I remember the days before the threat of SAT scores and college admissions. I remember the days where no one honestly cared what they looked like, we said we did and we thought we did — but we really didn’t. I remember the days before life really started happening.

Everyone desires the past. Nostalgia is inevitable and I feel that I have my locker combinations engraved into my memory because of it. I find that the things that we remember seem trivial and insignificant, mostly because they are, and yet we can find meaning in them. We search for the “why” and when we do, we find why it’s even just slightly important.

That is why I can remember my locker combinations. That is why when I pick up a lock, I instinctively put in 4-26-4 before realizing that I’m not 13, I don’t have tube socks on, this isn’t my lock and the combination won’t work.

This is why I think I might have had leftovers last night, but, quite honestly, I’m not even sure I’m correct.

The Curse of the Religious University

I don’t know what it is about religious universities but there’s this weird thing that you notice more here than anywhere else on the planet.

And that is relationships.

Couples are literally everywhere. Public display of affection is unavoidable. It’s disgusting and yet you want it. Unexpected kisses from your significant other while you work on assignments. Ridiculous handholding all the time. (Which I don’t think I could do because sweaty palms are my specialty!) There’s a yearning feeling that is accompanied with disgust. Polar opposites and complementary emotions. These two different emotions show up to the front door of your brain, hand in hand, waiting for you to acknowledge their presence.

I see you. We all see you. Always.

Every day, I watch as couples embrace. Young love (whether it be love or something else) apparently blossoms on my university grounds. Is it something in the water? Am I missing this special love fountain? Maybe. I don’t know.

It’s the worst in the spring. Couples sprout up like the springtime daisies. Beautiful, unexpected, but I must be allergic. My nose itches and my face crinkles and yet I want it. I crave the love that I see in others and yet it’s disgusting.

Maybe I’m a cynical 19 year old. Maybe I’m a hopeless romantic. Maybe I’m stupid and obnoxious. Maybe I’m unreasonable but that’s me.

I embrace the emotions that knock at my front door. I let them in, fully aware of the things that they bring. Doubt, hopelessness, pessimism, yearning and an undying love for the unknown. Because I am a self proclaimed romantic. I’m silently, hopelessly, head over heels in love with the idea of being in love. I’m in love with the idea of being wanted. I’m in love with the idea of intimate conversations in a crowded restaurant. I’m in love with the idea of being able to go on long walks in complete silence and be comfortable. I’m in love with the idea of having stupid conversations because we can. I’m in love with the idea that I’ll find my significant other through an 20th century chat room and we will fall for each other without ever meeting. I’m in love with the idea of spotting someone across the room and feeling a spark. I’m in love with the idea of having your best friend be your one true love. I’m in love with the idea of secretly loving a person you used to despise. I’m in love with the idea of everything cheesy and cliché. I’m in love with the idea of love.

It’s the curse of a religious university. I don’t know why it happens and I sure as hell can’t stop it. I warn you all now, no matter who you think you are before you come to a university like my own, you will all of a sudden be in love with the idea of love. It’s absolutely ludicrous and unhelpful but there will come a time when it hits you.

But let me tell you now that if you’re in my situation of being in a hopeless love affair with the idea of love, never doubt your potential. Never doubt that you’re not good enough. Never doubt that you’re not pretty enough or smart enough or funny enough. Never be unhappy with yourself because you are the only you there is. It’s sounds so cheesy but I love it. Embrace yourself in all your glory because you’re fabulous for being yourself.

Don’t be overcome by sadness if you haven’t been in love. Don’t doubt yourself. That’s unreasonable and if you’re feeling this way, shake it off and forget about it. Be happy for those who are also happy, but be happy for yourself. Focus on being your own and work to become the person you want to be as an individual.

I read this quote a while back and I think it’s a great thing to remember when attending a Christian university like my own, and whenever you’re feeling worthless or unwanted.

“Stop being so afraid of never finding the right person to love you but rather, fear that you may never fall in love with yourself.” -Ming D. Liu

In case you missed it:

I was published on HelloGiggles.com about 2 weeks ago! I was going to post the link, but I completely forgot to do so.

So here it is!

Why I’ve Stopped Hiding My Insulin Pump

I Believe

I believe in late night walks, new shoes, and the smell of rain when it hits the hot pavement. I believe in good and that the world is inherently that — some may say that makes me naive and immature, but I believe that it makes me hopeful. I believe in homemade vanilla ice cream and the happiness a summer day brings. I believe in love at first sight, even though I’ve never been in love. I believe in the sprouts between the sidewalk because it shows that the toughest exteriors can still bring forth the simplest things in life. I believe in the bliss that can be found in a chocolate bar. I believe in the sadness of a lost goldfish because without that sadness, we would never see the joy life brings. I believe in walking barefoot, hiking farther than you should and pushing yourself to the limit. I believe in being alone because sometimes that’s all I need. I believe in the moment when the plane takes off when I feel incredible and terrified, at the same exact moment. I believe in mason jars as cups because I’m human. I believe in television, no matter how terrible it may actually be. I believe in using my bedsheets even in the summer because a part of me is still scared of monsters — even if I’m nineteen. I believe in dressing to the nines, but also dressing to the zeros. I believe in the words that are spoken, written and shown throughout the centuries because stories are beautiful. I believe in missed connections because everyone loves a good romantic comedy. I believe in pillow pets, Disneyland and blank notebooks. I believe in Netflix. I believe in new haircuts, kitchenware and recipes. I believe in baseball and making new friends. I believe in laughing until I can’t hear myself laugh anymore. I believe in freshly baked cookies and ice cold Coke Zero. I believe in the happiness of others because everyone deserves the best. But, above all else, I believe in God and I believe He listens to us, loves us, and roots for us. I believe that God believes in us.

He believes we can do great things.

And I do too.