thinking

Destination

I sit alone in a vacant train station, but its vacancy is only my perception. It is semi-crowded, yet I have this feeling that everyone seems to be far away from me. I try to occupy my mind, but the lingering smell of oiled tracks and trash that has yet to be emptied only adds to the lump in my throat. My iPod shuffles music, and I have the urge to turn it off because every song pulls his face into my mind.

I hope for my train to come on time, anything to get me off of the cold bench that I sit on alone. I’m surrounded by hand-holders, married couples, and young lovers. I avoid looking at them, and instead glance at the clock that seems to keep saying 12:47 p.m. There are billboards across the track that I begin to take notice of, and I realize I’m doing more than just surveying what is around me.

live fearlessThe advertisement I focus on is for affordable health coverage, emphasizing that if I have this insurance, I can “live fearless.” The point is obvious. I’m supposed to think that if I get this health insurance, I can surf the seas, jump off of cliffs, explore the world, or be as reckless as I possibly can. I can live fearless with nothing to worry about.

I realize how often I worry as I stare at this advertisement. I worry about this idea of being fearless. I worry about my life in two years, I worry about where my family will go, I worry about my friends and what road they take, I worry about money and grades and opening my heart to someone new.

I hate worrying, and I hate using expressions about the heart because it seems cliché. The heart is just an organ that beats and pumps blood and keeps us living. So frequently we talk about the heart in pain, the heart swelling, the heart flipping and turning, the heart growing warm, the heart feeling love, his sympathetic heart, her aching heart.

Their hearts beating.

Still waiting for the clock to turn to 1:16 p.m., I picture his face, again, in the window as his train started to pull away from where I stood. My heart feels like it’s breaking, I thought. If my heart feels like it’s breaking, then does that mean being with him is when it is whole? Does it mean my heart is complete when I am with him?

My train pulls up, interrupting the thoughts I had. I still do not know if I can be fearless, but perhaps with him in my life I can begin to have courage and forget about being afraid.

I sometimes wonder if I will find the answers I am looking for. But, in this moment, I am sure of one thing, and that is that I am ready for a new destination.

Class Cancelled

20131022_093946I’m sitting ridiculously on the floor, hunched over this computer. Panic! At the Disco’s new album Too Weird to Live, Too Rare to Die! plays loudly in the background. All I can smell is the hair dye that is on my head right now, waiting for it to turn a shade called Honey Butter. My mom passes by my room, telling me to open my shades and let some sun into my room. It really warms up your room, she tells me. As I obey, sunbeams fall across the candy apple red bedspread that looks all too inviting to me right now. I like noticing this, the color of my bedspread, the way the sun comes in through my cloudy window that I should really clean, the sound of new music, the stretch in my legs as I attempt to sit pretzel-style. Today is not a normal day. I should really be waking up at 6:30 a.m., but instead, just on this Tuesday, I can sit here and watch the sun in my window.

Solitude

Recently, I’ve been taking time out of my day to just stop and think.

That seems like such a silly thing to say because I am always stopping and I am always thinking. But I think what I mean to say is that I’m finding how truly refreshing it is to just let myself be.

Freshman year, I took a Psychology course where my professor taught us how to meditate. At the end of every class, we would take the time to let go of our thoughts and find the space inside of us where we can have inner peace. I always enjoyed these end-of-day rituals, despite that the kids around me thought it was weird we were meditating in a college setting.

"You don't write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say." --F. Scott Fitzgerald

“You don’t write because you want to say something, you write because you have something to say.” –F. Scott Fitzgerald

Sometimes I think back on that class. I liked the way I felt when I could actually stop and let go of what was bothering me. These feelings linger with us; make us exhausted and nervous or uptight and frustrated. I think especially now, in this world we live in (fast-paced and unable to slow down), that it is important to take little moments to myself.

I never used to be alone, and rarely do I choose to be alone. I prefer to be in the company of others, hear the sighs of people in a library, the computers tapping around me, or maybe the sounds of a train station with bustling passengers, with the pages of newspapers turning or music coming out of too-loud music devices. I choose this over the silence.

Now, I try and relish in these moments of solitude. If the sun is out, and it isn’t too chilly (now that fall is here, and staying) I try to go to a small bench in a patch of woods on campus, or visit a bench swing down by a gravel path. These spots are normally vacant, and students rarely pass by. I like to sit in these secret spots, and whether it is a moment I am working on homework or writing for myself, I have started appreciating when I take the time to be alone.

Recent events in my life have expanded my boundaries of writing. One reason is the college course I am taking on creative writing; learning everything from poetry to prose, film to fiction. From this class, I feel more accepting of unfinished sentences and thoughts in the form of broken lines and rhyming stanzas.

I think some of this creativity has come from these moments when I am alone, when I can focus on what I actually want to write, what I have to say and what I want to make meaning of in my world. Most importantly, I think this ability to reflect stems from the idea that I may very well be unbelievably full of bliss. The idea that one person can make me feel this way is eye-opening, life altering, but I don’t think I’d have it any other way. While I am beginning to focus more on taking time to be alone, it’s in these periods of isolation that I think of this happiness, and the person that has brought out everything good about me, including giving me the strength to explore writing even more than I thought I could.

Remember How Important 100 Is

Remember the times in elementary school when we would celebrate the “100 days of school?”

If your school didn’t do that you were missing out. It was a time when school children and faculty and teachers and parents would come together and celebrate the monumentous number that is 100 and more importantly what the number 100 means. In relation to school, 100 meant that the year was almost over, so like any sensible educational system would do, a party would be held in order to recognize what an exciting number 100 is. I remember having to bring in 100 of some sort of small item, like Cheerios or M&M’s. I would count them out at home (ever so carefully) and my mom would double check my math (which was needed). Then we would go to school and do some super-fun activity with our 100-counts of an item.

To celebrate 100 once again, because this is my 100th post on WordPress, I decided to count out, or write out (I should say) 100 things that I want to do (in no particular order of importance). It’s not a bucket list because I don’t know if a) I will want these things to happen in the future or, b) if they will indeed end up happening.

Feel free to skip around, just know I slaved over this for you, and then number 100:

Madi’s List of 100 Things She May or May Not Do

1. Read all of F. Scott Fitzgerald’s books, short stories, etc.

2. Make fairy houses

3. Learn to not be grossed out by raw meat (touching, smelling, looking at)

4. Hold a piglet (again)

5. Buy a ceiling-high bookshelf and fill it with a lot of my favorite books, keeping them alphabetized and following the dewey decimal system

6. Get my license

7. Eat a whole pint of Ben & Jerry’s ice cream in one sitting, and don’t give a darn in the world about it

8. Own three cats at one time

9. Name pets or potential car literary characters or novelists (Zelda, Hemingway, Theodore, Ophelia, Montresor, etc.)

10. Jump off of a high rock, swing, bridge (landing in water, preferably) and yell YOLO

11. Have a bigger closet

12. Complete a marathon, race, or something, all for a good cause

13. Help a chicken cross the road

14. Keep up a blog

15. Learn to forgive

16. Learn to forget

17. Learn to love

18. Marry a really cool guy who will most likely have a good job (or can at least cook and touch raw meat)

19. Cut down on saying “like” and “um” whenever possible

20. Pretend that books are dominos and knock them down

21. Have a lemonade stand for Alex (cancer)

22. Do some yoga

23. Ride a horse

24. Master Magic the Gathering and make everyone think I’m so cool

25. Beat my boyfriend at Mancala (seriously though, he wins everytime time)

26. Pull an all-nighter

27. See Lady Gaga in concert

28. Volunteer at a food pantry

29. Host a writing workshop for kids or young adults

30. Write a novel

31. Laugh at the fact that I think I can write a novel

32. Get a chocolate facial

33. Spend a whole day with my mom

34. Donate money every month to help homeless pets

35. Pet every cat I see

36. Strive for equality

37. Graduate college

38. Consider going for my masters

39. Think of all the people that wronged me, write a song about it, and get someone who can sing better than I can

40. Become Zumba certified

41. Learn how to cook a Thanksgiving dinner

42. (to go with 41) Cook for a big group of people (and don’t cry)

43. Ponder the idea that no one will read this post

44. Donate gently used clothing to help someone who needs it

45. Pay for someone’s groceries

46. Name a ficus fern (0:50)

47. Look for the bare (bear) necessities

48. Travel to Italy

49. Accept the fact that there are bad people

50. Try a raw tomato again and see if I like it

51. Overcome my phobia of stinkbugs

52. Live in a city

53. Become a reporter

54. Write thank you notes to everyone who has impacted my life

55. Be a foster home for cats that are moving from shelter to shelter, and hopefully get some adopted

56. Read Anna Karenina 

57. Do a juice detox

58. Continue to drink immense amounts of coffee

59. Visit places on BuzzFeed’s list of areas to visit before the world ends, mainly stopping at “The Lost City of the Incas”

60. Pick up trash alongside of a highway

61. Learn to crochet

62. If 61 is completed, donate homemade crocheted scarves to homeless shelters

63. Host a 1920’s party and make everyone dress and act the roles of a famous 1920’s character (I’ll be Zelda Fitzgerald)

64. Bake a lot of cookies every winter

65. Save up money so my children can afford (so I can afford) college

66. If college tuition is higher (much higher) in the future, forget 65 and run away to a different country or planet

67. Build an igloo/snow-fort so amazing, an eskimo would shed a frozen tear

68. Get another tattoo

69. Continue collecting mugs (I think I’m almost at 100!!)

70. Listen to a Justin Bieber album (or some other artist I don’t like) and see if I can appreciate their music

71. Finish painting my room

72. Sky dive

73. Bungee jump somewhere tropical

74. Ride on one of the fastest trains in the world (take that Septa!)

75. Climb a tree to the tippy-top

76. Grow a garden

77. Write a short story for WordPress

78. Get my eyebrows waxed

79. Learn to surf

80. Take a road trip after I graduate college

81. Make a quilt

82. Quit my bad habit of biting my nails

83. Go yard sale hopping and try and find really cool things

84. Take a pottery or ceramics class

85. Swim with the manatees

86. Try one of the hottest peppers in the world

87. Go to Nifty Fifty’s (haven’t been there in probably 14 years)

88. Stay in a cool hotel just because

89. Order a coffee at Starbucks with a long name

90.  Partake in a flash mob

91. Convince everyone that I’m actually a princess from a faraway country

92. Visit museums

93. Build a tree house

94. Steal a Madison Avenue street sign

95. Eat at an expensive restaurant

96. Get a book signed by any of my favorite authors (the ones that aren’t deceased)

97.  Be on television

98.  Go dancing

99. Puddle jump in a rainstorm

100.  Be myself

Now that you’ve read this all the way through, it’s time for you to know what you’ve earned…nothing! But in all seriousness, you did get to see how cool the number 100 is. Just knowing that I’ve spent countless hours, minutes, probably well over 100, on this blog is something worth noting. See if this compares to counting out candies for your seven year old to take to class.