stories

You Make Me Love Poetry

If hands outstretched

Could cross these highways,

Then surely these restless nights

Would be spent with tea,

Hand holding, and stripping down

To tattered nylons and bed-shorts

Watching October breezes

Blow crisp curtains and,

My hair

Unruly but always yours to hold

And brush past weary lips,

Temptatious freckles, and

Only accept this road between

Us,

With outstretched hands.

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A Happy Life

She often wondered if there was more to her life. She almost had everything she ever wanted; a job, a place to live, friends, a strong marriage. Every so often, she thought maybe she was just settling into a predetermined life.

She sat alone and had these thoughts on the balcony of the apartment, more frequently than ever before, as she waited for her husband to come home from work.

The sun was shining over the city, casting its rays on her stretched out legs, warming her body. Every so often a billowy cloud would float over the sun, creating a hazy glaze in the sky. Eventually, the sun was covered by one cloud that decided to stay.

She watched this cloud. No matter how hard the sun tried to burst through its whiteness, the cloud remained. She could see the outline of the sun, small and bright, but it never could escape the cloud’s presence.

She couldn’t stop staring at the cloud. Why couldn’t it just leave the sun be? All it wanted to do was shine down on the city, make its rounds around the sky. It didn’t need the cloud. But still the cloud remained.

The sun didn’t need the cloud. It was fine without it. It could shine on the city and cheer everyone’s day up, do all the things the sun was supposed to do. She couldn’t figure out why, but staring at the cloud and sun made her realize she didn’t need him.

His sweet and charming smile made her feel shy and small. He floated around the office, passing her desk in quick movements so that she could smell his cologne. She normally talked to everyone in the office, but with him around, she felt her own energy shrinking. Inside she felt bright and happy, but she couldn’t let out anything, afraid to say something she would regret.

She tried to dismiss these thoughts, and told herself could still have a great life, all the things she ever wanted–her husband included–without him. However, like the sun, she couldn’t get away from him. She couldn’t push away his presence, couldn’t forget how he drank coffee like her. Or the way he noticed when she would coordinate her earrings to her blouse.

Just then, she heard the screen door open and her husband walked onto the balcony. She jumped, startled at the idea that maybe he could read her thoughts and know she felt something toward her coworker.

“Hey, did I scare you?” her husband smiled and embraced her, his hair slightly touseled and his eyes a bit weary.

“Oh, no I was just sitting in the sun,” she said, walking inside.

“Huh, it looks cloudy at the moment. Let’s go inside and make some food,” he walked in and she shut the door behind them.

As she was closing it, she looked out towards the sky and saw the sun had finally broken free from the cloud. The cloud slowly crept away, inching itself away from the sun. As it moved, she was sure that the sun looked a little less bright, as if the cloud had given it something that it needed all along.

Maybe the sun needed the cloud after all.

Old Shoes

Sometimes you just find your mind wandering to old memories or things of the past, and you can’t help but sit and think. In the short span of time I have been alive, I’ve figured out some things of relationships. I know I’m not older and wiser, but I know I’ve had my fair share of experiences in the subject, and I’ve concluded one of the worst parts about break-ups or ending relationships is seeing them happy without you.

Even though I know that the relationships I ended were for the best, it still kills me to see them fine without me. I don’t know what I anticipated them doing without me, but I guess I wanted them to miss me like I miss them.

I saw an old friend at the gym the other day, and I couldn’t believe how different he looked. We parted ways years ago, but still inside of me I couldn’t help but feel anger towards him for throwing away the relationship we had. I wanted him to see that I was an older and happier without him, but he wouldn’t look my way. I wanted to be the one that was better off. I wanted him to be the same slightly overweight, fun-loving guy who liked my company and I hoped that upon glancing at me, maybe he would feel something about our past friendship.

I had this friend (ironically one who I am no longer friends with) who said, “Everything happens for a reason.” This phrase gets tossed around so often it’s hard for me to even believe it anymore. But, I have come to realize that everything does happen for a reason, and I wish I could thank her for always telling me that.

It’s hard to live a life where you tell yourself the bad things that happen are for a reason. Maybe your religion tells you that a higher being is doing things for a reason, or maybe you just believe you have this predetermined path set aside for you; either way the bad stuff still hurts for some time.

There have been so many things that have already impacted my life at such a young age, it’s hard to imagine how things will get when I’m older. I know to some I’m young and naiive and I have yet to endure the hardships that others will experience, and maybe eventually, myself. Something I have experienced is the ever-continuing loss of friendships in my life, something I nor anyone else can control.

You can say high school changes people, college, marriage, children; change is inevitable. It’s how we deal with the change that determines the marks we make on the relationships of our lives. Relationships are so crucial to our lives, and it’s certainly not a new discovery. We are taught to share in pre-school, treat others with fairness in grade school, build relationships in high school, and form long-lasting bonds in college. From there, we learn to make meaning of our lives, and then hopefully take the relationships we’ve made along on our journeys.

I’ve had friendships that have been so great and wonderful, but after awhile they just fell to pieces. It’s like a favorite pair of shoes. You buy new shoes and they’re so perfect, and then eventually they become worn down, tattered, old. You want something new, you want to replace the old. But, you know that would be so wrong, you want to fix them and turn them into what they once were. So maybe you try to tape them, glue them, tie them up in a way that they almost look new. This bandaid-technique works only for so long, and then they break again, and you’re left wondering if all that trying was for nothing. All that wasted mending, for what? Sore feet.

I can’t help but think I’ve made mistakes that I will never learn from, but I hope in time I can. Whenever I think that I’ve done something terribly wrong (in regards to my losing of friends) I think of what Demi Lovato did to her circle of friends. After rehab, Lovato turned on her phone and expected tons of texts to flow in, but instead she only had a few from close friends. She took a hard look at all of her relationships at that moment. She realized most of them didn’t have her best interest in mind, so she sifted through them and found her most faithful buddies. I like to think this is what I have been doing all along.

As I finish up the summer, I will enter my junior year of college, which means only two years left of college. I know this is a long time, but still this will go by so fast and before I know it, I will have to be ready for the real world. That’s what life is all about, moving on to the next step. I think relationships are the same way, you either move on with them, keeping up with the fast times, or you let them go.

So, for the friends that I couldn’t keep in my circle, I’m sorry. I’m sorry your best interest wasn’t in me, because I can assure you, you were always in mine. I don’t think I will ever truly forget how I chose to move on. I chose to make my life the way I want it, without you. I chose to end the five year relationship that I thought would only grow. I don’t think I will ever stop thinking about you, about us, or about the mistakes that I made; the mistakes that we made.

I tried to fix our relationship as best as I could, but there’s only so much tape and glue can do.

Sleeping with Lions

I am constantly amused and, in most cases, distraught, at the way my cats behave at night.

I have probably mentioned several times that I have two cats. Florence is only a little over a year old, and Zooey just turned one year.

Cats are nocturnal, which is rather unfortunate for any human who wants to get a full nights sleep. Dubbed house-cats, they certainly have not lost their wild-animal behaviors. They go on the prowl, snoozing all day and stalking at night. The use their fangs and claws, to show they mean business, and they are always ready to save me from a dangerous ant or fly.

They nap a good 16-20 hours a day, sleeping in hidden locations so they cannot be seen by other predators (the vacuum and brush being a common threat).

Then, at night, the hunt begins.

To start, Florence will be napping in her usual 11 p.m. location, which is either one of our couches or under a desk. Zooey comes to wake her partner-in-crime up, typically by going into the kitchen to get a snack before their late-night escapades.

I can respect their sleeping schedules, now why can't they reciprocate the favor? No worries, their cuteness makes me forget.

I can respect their sleeping schedules, now why can’t they reciprocate the favor? No worries, their cuteness makes me forget.

Upon hearing this, Florence wakes up, does some pre-romping yoga and will typically trot around until Zooey is done.

And, just when I think everything will be normal, just for once, they start.

They chase each other back and forth, from the front of the house to the back, clambering into anything that may have gotten in their way. They run up and down the stairs; thump thump thump thump THUMP and then launch themselves around the corner to do it again.

Then they roll around. Zooey will pounce on Florence, and Florence will lunge at her like two lions fighting for the last bit of zebra. As they tussle, toss and turn on the floor, they meow and hiss and growl–and then stop for a brief moment, just to lick each others fur out of their toes.

It’s all good fun, for them at least.

I’m glad they like playing together, but if they could understand human-talk, I would plead, “Do you have to do this at 12 a.m.?” I snuggle into my bed at somewhere around 1 a.m., hearing silence that I have been longing for. But then, Zooey decides to go to the “watering hole,” which in my house is either the leaky sink or the fish tank. This makes more noise, either the clanking of dishes in the sink or the glub glub glub of the fish tank filter being unplugged.

Zooey also picked up a wonderful habit, which includes leaping from a chair and latching onto our hanging basket plant. If I didn’t fear the safety of the plant and ceiling, I would say this Tarzan move is hilarious.

Although domesticated and living in the comforts of our little abode, I can say these felines will never truly lose their wild side. The question is, when will my lions ever let me have some rest?

Confessions of a Not-so-Teenager Twi-Hard

You know that one thing that you have in your life that you know is bad, but you love it anyway? Call it a guilty pleasure, if you must.

Well. I’m here to admit, no matter what I have said in the past, but I have a guilty pleasure, I know it’s bad, but I must come out with it: I’m a Twilight fan.

Let me defend my case here, before you decide you never want to read anything I write again.

I’m going to start by saying the movies have the worst acting, and the books are no literary works of genius. Yes, Edward sparkles and Bella is moody. Yes, their love story is stupid, predictable, and yet unrealistic. Everything about the movies, books, merchandise, you name it, it isn’t worth the time of day.

Bet your wondering why I just admitted to being a fan and then bashed it, right?

The reason I love Twilight is because it’s nostalgic. It reminds me of those painful tween-early teenager years where I didn’t fit in and all I wanted was a “true love.” Twilight stands for a time period of my life where I could read stupid novels and not be ridiculed, both publicly and privately. There was no worrying about whether reading a certain type of novel would damage your reputation, and you certainly didn’t need to hide the hard-cover editions and your poster of Taylor Lautner every time Jessica from gym class came over.

Me, 2010. Camping, somewhere north, maybe? In the height of my Twilight craze, here you can see me crouching as I hunt (I'm clearly a vampire).

Me, 2010. Camping, somewhere north, maybe? In the height of my Twilight craze, here you can see me crouching as I hunt (I’m clearly a vampire).

Truth is, why does anyone care how bad a novel is or a movie? No one is forcing you to watch it, or read it (unless they assign it for English 101). My point is, I’m tired of people looking at me like I’m crazy just because I like a corny romance that just so happens to include wolfish, shiny and/or pale faced boys. I’ve had people say, “You like Twilight??” Hey now, just because I enjoy The New Yorker, Earl Grey tea, and my go-to hairstyle is a coiled bun, doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some poorly written vampire saga.

There are several confessions I’d like to make at this time. Yes, I had a poster of Taylor Lautner, shirtless (I had to take it down once I started dating Colin). Yes, I have all of the books, and I have read them cover-to-cover four times. And yes, I have Twi-hard merchandise, including a “Team Lautner” necklace and purse, and I have a tote bag with Bella and Edward on it.

Did you just lose respect for me? Well, you probably shouldn’t, in fact…you should gain some respect for me. The fact that I love one of the world’s most hated piece of entertainment and I’m not afraid to admit it is pretty gutsy.

I finished Breaking Dawn Part 2 (that’s the movie) and let me tell you it felt good. There were those obvious scenes that I rolled my eyes at, or mocked (Kristen Stewart’s angry voice and “Bella and Edward” having sex) but overall I was happy with how it ended. It’s a little bittersweet, having both the books be completed as well as the movies. Good news is, there is always Netflix or a rainy day for me to start it all over!

So, it’s okay to like things that people loathe. In fact, I think this is what makes us human. I stopped liking Twilight because it’s what everyone else was doing. I figured I couldn’t have people thinking badly of me, so I switched to more popular series like The Hunger Games or to authors like James Patterson. But, I’m a closet Twi-hard no longer. If this is what makes me, well, me, then so be it!

“Death is peaceful, life is harder,”Twilight 

Being a Better “Me”

I do this every year. I claim that I will work out, and be healthier, but it never happens. Do we every truly commit and complete our resolutions? I know I never did. Sure, the month of January would go smoothly with me eating right, but I would soon give up and go back to my bad habits. I think this year it will be different. I decided I truly will be a healthier person. But let me blab to you about my life story, so you really will get the feel of why I want to make a change.

I had a good childhood. I was always the smallest kid in my class, and the most petite. I did have stick-like legs and arms, and rarely gained weight. My friends parents would call me a garbage disposal, and they would always plop extra helpings of food on my plate, trying to “fatten” me up, so to speak.

Then of course, puberty took its toll, and I realized I no longer had that awesome metabolism like I once did. Sure, I could still eat as much as I wanted of all the delicious foods my friends were wary about, but I had noticed I was developing a pudgy tummy. I still was the smallest of my friends though, so I never thought anything of my growing pouch of flubber.

I ran a lot my with my family when I was younger, and we always played a ton of sports that involved getting too sweaty. Both my mother and father were extremely fit back then, and are to this day, even if they are creeping into their mid 50’s. My mother is in better shape than I am, and my father has enough muscle that scared any of my potential boyfriends away.

I joined track in high school, and with all the working out I was actually hungrier than if I wouldn’t have been working out. The good thing was I got toned, and I felt a lot more in shape, even if I did have the appetite as a hungry-hungry-hippo.

Unfortunately, once high school ended, I certainly wasn’t driven towards exercising and eating healthy. I (embarrassingly) consumed too much fast food the year before freshman year. Obviously, this is a huge cause of weight gain, and add on the fact I wasn’t very active (I worked all summer) you can bet I packed on the freshman 15 before school had even started.

Thankfully, college changed my eating habits. I lost the 10-15 lbs just by cutting out fast food altogether (and swearing off the garbage). Since I commuted, I was forced to pack a healthy lunch, or I would be forced to spend $10 on a salad from my school’s pub.

Since I am still a commuter, I spend a good portion of my day running to and from either the train or my house. It takes up time that could be spent napping, relaxing, or you guessed it, exercising. My courses were hard freshman year because I had a lot of classes that had nothing to do with my major, so I often spent most of my free time keeping my grades up. I would go straight home and change for work, or sometimes, go straight from school to work. I always work until 9 p.m. so I don’t have much free time when I get back home. It’s quick eat dinner, get ready for tomorrow, and do my homework or study. As you may guess, exercising was not on my to-do list.

Now, this year, I had a hard time managing my time. I have another job working at my school in the marketing and communications

"Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. " Thomas A. Edision

“Our greatest weakness lies in giving up. The most certain way to succeed is always to try just one more time. ” Thomas A. Edision

department. It’s not a grueling, physical job, but I do have to be in the office for it to count as work. It takes up time that I would probably spend doing homework (or maybe exercising?) but I love the job, and I love the experience I am getting. So, it’s been hard to work in eating right and exercising, on top of going to school full-time, working two part time jobs, and having a social life.

Some people tell me, “I don’t know how you do it, working and going to school.” Sure I love the money, but to be honest, I love the jobs just as much. I always wondered how other people stay active even with a busy life. How do they get up at 4 a.m. and go for a 5 mile run before heading off onto their commute for work? How do they squeeze in working out at the gym after an eight hour day at the office? How do they find time to pack a healthy lunch, when it’s easier to just pick up lunch at convenient store?

Well, they love it. I’d also say motivation. If you think positively, you can pretty much do anything.  I also like to think you need a support group, an entourage, cheerleaders; you name it. Just someone who will be there for you no matter what.

One of my challenges has been finding my motivation. I am lucky to be surrounded by people who only want what is best for me. But, a flaw I have is comparing myself to all my close friends and family, which gives me nothing but doubt.

It’s hard having two extremely fit parents because it seems like everything they do works for them. It’s hard having a naturally in-shape boyfriend, and friends. I look at them and think, why can’t it be that simple?

Every time I have tried to get back into my healthy habits, I have been surrounded by discouragement. Not by everyone, just some people don’t understand. They see me eating carrot sticks and a yogurt and complain, “You don’t need to eat like that, here, have a cookie.” And so I eat that cookie, because they make me feel like I don’t need to eat the healthy food. People are always telling me, “Oh stop. You don’t need to cut back, you’re skinny” or “You’re tiny what are you talking about??”

No. I’m not tiny. I’m not just some insecure girl who wants to be like the girls she sees in magazines and movies. I just want to be a healthier person. It’s not weird to like yogurt, nuts, protein bars, salads, vegetables, or fruits. I sure do love my sweets, my carbs, and my sodium. But I can’t consume it all the time. That’s not me.

I’ve started this “New Madi” thing Monday. It’s only been about a week, but I’m keeping it up. I haven’t gone crazy and eaten a whole cake. I downloaded this app on my iPod called My Fitness Pal, which helps you keep track of exercising, diet, and calories.

It sounds like every other calorie counting app out there, but so far, I have nothing bad to say. When I look down at my iPod and it tells me I ate cookies and cake as my snacks, it’s a slap in the face. It’s right there in front of me, and it gives me the motivation to do something good for myself. So, when I look down and see all these healthy things I have eaten for the day, it makes me smile, and gives me the strength to keep going.

I’m trying to add more cardio, strength exercises, and yoga into my life. Hopefully I can work out at least three times a week for the rest of the semester. I hope to hear from others about their motivation for working out, or maybe if you have a story of how you changed and became healthier!

 

“You are never too old to set another goal or to dream a new dream.” C.S. Lewis

 

The Paper Problem

I recently discovered how sacred printer paper is to college students.

If we held a modern gladiatorial combat with college students, it would be for printer paper.  College students would arm themselves and head into the arena to battle to the death.

I am not sure about other colleges or universities, but at my school printer paper does not come free. Most lounges are supply-your-own-paper printers. Only the commuter lounge, which is really supposed to be used by commuters-only, resources are free of charge. That is, they are free if you know where to look. You still have to walk to a different room to pick up printer paper, and even then it is hard to get. I have gotten many looks from whoever is working there, almost to say, “are you REALLY a commuter.” When you finally get a hold of some paper, you bring back the paper and quickly shove it into the printer.  As you quickly select print, you realize someone else is headed to the printer.  And shooting out of the device comes their notes.  Of course, the paper they just used up was not their own, but they don’t care.  They are in the same rush as you are.  It’s every man for himself!

I’ve never actually gotten mad at someone for using up the paper that I have brought back because I know I can get it for free.  I would be frustrated however, if I brought in stacks of my own paper, and then other students use it all up.  I have seen people literally argue with each other over printer paper.  It’s so ridiculous but at the same time, if people would just respect each others materials we wouldn’t have any issue.

Finals week makes kids go insane. I have seen people hurrying to print out their 50 pages of slides just so they can study.  So it is no wonder students get upset when some lazy student comes in and just prints their papers without bringing any paper.  Some students will have no problem voicing their opinions, and you really see how rude people are on your campus. I had a girl yell at me for using her paper, when I had counted out exactly how many pages I needed and placed them in the printer. She ran over to the printer and whipped out her paper so I wouldn’t use it.  She left some behind, and instead of keeping it, I gave it back to her (although I really think I should have kept it).

Which reminds me, whenever you see printing paper without an owner, snatch it up! I have found many piles of paper that have yet to be used, and hey, if you don’t protect it someone else will!  I have also found that printing your papers at the last minute are never a good idea.  This is just increasing your chances of things to go wrong, which will only leave you stressed and angry.  I also have decided to bring only the amount of paper that is necessary to print my document(s).  This way you aren’t putting extra paper in the printer for someone else to use.  Also, put the paper in the printer right before you go to print something.

I never would have suspected that college students would go so crazy over paper, but I am starting to see it makes sense.  We need so much paper every day, and when people try to take the little resources you have, it can be stressful. Sharpen your elbows students, you may need them!