Monday, December 1, 2008
"Be not afraid of growing slowly, be afraid only of standing still." - Chinese proverb
"Dreams are necessary to life." - Anais Nin
"Have patience in all things, but chiefly have patience with yourself. Do not lose courage in considering your own imperfections but instantly set about remedying them - every day begin the task anew." - Sain Francis de Sales
Sunday, November 16, 2008
Wednesday, November 5, 2008
I was at Alicia's apartment when I heard the results of the election. My heart filled with dread and I knew I need to return to my own apartment as soon as possible. As my car rolled to a stop at the base of the Bloomsburg University campus, I was horrified to see hundreds of people crowding the street. The police cars pushed them to the sidewalks in time for me to pass through. My heart raced. Panic seemed through me as I raced up the stairs to my apartment. I informed my roommates of the crowd coming our way. Kelsey grabbed her camera and ran to the seen with me. A hundred people had gathered around the fountain across the street from us and a hundred more were still coming. I was in awe at the sight. People of every race were gathering to celebrate the election of our first black president. The crowd began its march back up to campus, but I hung behind. Once my panic had mostly subsided, I stepped out of myself and followed behind the group. Police from our town and neighboring boroughs tried to block off the streets, but they were no match for this jubilant parade. The crowd gathered once again in front of Carver Hall at the base of campus, ignoring the police warnings to move out of the road. They feared a riot, but this was the most peaceful and joyous gathering I have ever witnessed. I leaned myself against a tree in order to take in the sight. Hundreds of college students cheered, "O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma! O-ba-ma!" To my right I heard one guy sarcastically cheering along, "O-sa-ma!" This is as expected. The similarity in the name had been pointed out since the beginning of Obama's campaign. The crowd cheered on. One African-American girl sang spirituals and other songs of peace. As the police became more annoyed, I saw a small group of African-American students running away from the scene. As one female member of the group lagged behind, another called out, "We're the first to go to jail! Don't you understand?" To which this slower girl replied, "Obama has made us all equal!" Then the speech began: "I had a dream..." The words sent chills down my spine. This was the common feeling. The dream that Dr. Martin Luther King talked about so long ago had finally been accomplished. Obama has made us all equal... I hope.
Tuesday, November 4, 2008
I'm typing up my notes from my Deaf Culture class. Ms. Klein used this metaphor about a butterfly. The caterpillar is the process of learning. The cocoon is that time when you face your struggles. The butterfly symbolizes flying free when you know who you are. Who am I? I've never known how to answer that. Sure, there are my textbook answers: I'm a girl. I'm a Christian. I grew up in the South. Then there's all that other stuff: I'm a lesbian, a cutter, a poet. I'm clinically depressed. I deal with anxiety on a daily (sometimes hourly) basis. I can sleep for upwards of 15 hours a day. I'm a wannabe poet. I'm a decent singer (who can't get out of bed to go to choir practice at 12:30 in the afternoon). But who am I, really? This summer, at the CCM house, Jason supposedly described me as "a depressed lesbian." I suppose that's how people see me. Kelsey calls me her "dikey roommate." But is that all I am? I'm white. Is that an active part of my identity? Is my white-ness as important as my gay-ness? Does my 1% Irish-ness matter at all? What about my tend toward obsession? Or the fact that I like being drunk a little too much? How about that I smoke secretly at night? Does my rocky relationship with my parents explain my outburts toward my girlfriend? Why do I act the way I do? I know I should be better, but I don't know how to change. I feel so lost. Not that that's any different from the last 18 years. I'll be 19 in a week and a half. Am I still a teenager? Does it matter?
I'm a bad student. I'm a bad daughter. I'm a bad girlfriend. I'm a bad person. Or, at least, that's how I see myself.
Tuesday, August 12, 2008
Sunday, June 29, 2008
The day we moved was a strange one. The sun was bright in the blue sky above us. I looked out my window and noticed a cloud shaped like a pencil. I had always considered pencils to be extremely lucky objects. I knew the day would bring something spectacular from the moment I saw the pencil cloud.
Paige stalked into the room. Obviously, she didn’t share my optimism for the day.
“Mom says to stuff all your junk in this box.” She threw the cardboard box at me. I ducked.
“Thanks, you could have killed me with that. It was headed straight for my head.” I gathered the box and began filling it with my most treasured possessions. A gum-wrapper with my crush’s phone number on it, a plastic bobble-head doll that I swore looked just like a human version of my dog Samson, and an orange jump rope with three knots in the center were the last things I put in the box. I taped the lid shut and stood up to admire my work.
“Hurry it up, Amy!” my dad yelled up the stairs.
“I’m coming!” I grabbed my Cinderella pillow from the corner and began the long journey of scooting the box down the hall. I hadn’t decided how I would manage to get it down the stairs. I suppose I hoped a genie would appear and grant me three wishes like they did in the movies. I would wish for a unicorn, a secret hideout, and a personal assistant to carry the huge box of stuff for me.
“We’re leaving without you!” Paige called from the car. Somehow her voice traveled farther when she was frustrated.
“I’m coming! I’m coming!” I pushed the boxes down the stairs and out the front door. “I’m here!” I said as I fell off the porch. I landed on my pillow with a soft thump. “I’m all right. Don’t anybody bother calling an ambulance.” I brushed myself off and continued the journey to the car.
Samson barked at me from his place in the back seat. It appeared he was saving the seat next to him for me. I climbed in the van. Having completed my duty of getting the enormous box outside, I handed (or rather, pushed) it over to Dad who hoisted it into the U-haul attached to the back of his truck. In a matter of moments we were on our way.
Paige protested our move to the middle of nowhere with a petition signed by all twenty-seven of the kids in her class, three Spidermans, and one George Washington. She insisted it was “a monstrous tragedy to uproot a girl after her first year of junior high.” Surely they would let her spend the rest of her school years living with her best friend.
Our parents looked at the petition, then each other. Then, to Paige’s surprise, they said together, “No.”
“But why?” Paige whined.
There was no answer, just a stern look from both our mother and father. Paige vowed to never speak to either of them ever again. The silence lasted a record-breaking two weeks.
Sitting in the back of the minivan, I wondered what would become of us. How would this move change us? Would this new life be better, or would we wish we had stayed in our big blue house on
“What do you think, Samson?” I asked my puppy.
“I think this is stupid. Look around. It’s like they never even entered the twenty-first century!”
I glared at Paige. “I wasn’t talking to you. You were saying, Samson?”
“Aarf!” he replied.
“We’re here,” my mother said as she turned off the road and onto a dirt and pebble driveway.
“Whoopee,” Paige said sarcastically.
Exactly three hours and seventeen minutes after leaving the town I had grown to love, I was standing on our new front porch admiring the view. How different would it be living in the country after living in a bustling small town for the first twelve and a half years of my life? I would soon find out.
“Oh, it’s not that bad,” I tried to console Paige.
“Not that bad! Look around. The only thing around here to do is throw rocks!” Paige picked up a stone and threw it across the backcountry road.
“Mom says there’s an ice-cream shop in town.”
“We’re ten miles out of town. How are we supposed to get there?” Paige tossed another stone across the road. “We don’t even have any neighbors.”
I had no answer. Paige had made her point and made it well. There really was nothing around. There were no other kids for us to play with. I would be stuck with Paige all summer. Suddenly, I wished I had protested with Paige. Maybe two angry daughters would have made a difference.
“Paige! Amy!” We both turned toward the house.
“I guess mom wants us,” I said. We gathered ourselves and headed toward the house.
“What’d you want?” Paige asked when we got inside.
“What?” Mom looked confused.
“You called us. Here we are,” Paige said.
“No, I didn’t. But while you’re here…”
We didn’t know it at the time, but that day would be the start of something bigger than ourselves. Something incredible was about to happen. Our world would soon be turned inside out. There was no way we could have been prepared for the things that were to come.