Going

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That’s it. Enough.

I’ve had it with this week. Tomorrow, I quit. I will clock out and just quit the week and leave it behind.

I might even pack my little bags and go home. Home home, not my apartment. Home proper, where my parents live and where my cats are.

What’s that, you say? Thanksgiving Break starts tomorrow, you say? I can’t even go to class on Wednesday because there won’t be any class to go to?

Oh.

Alright, then.

But I’m Doing My Best

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I need a white t-shirt that comes with a black washable-ink marker. In big letters on the front of the t-shirt, there will be the words:

“I’m sorry____________, but I’m doing my best.”

That way I can take the marker and write whatever best applies to my situation in the blank.

“I’m sorry I look like death warmed over, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry my hair looks atrocious because I keep forgetting to get an appointment to trim it, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry the outline was late because I genuinely believed it was due tomorrow, not last week, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t shopped for or put together all the props for the Christmas skit I’m directingbut I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t written you a letter back yet, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t done that full page illustration yet, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t started that 20-page paper because I’m desperately trying to write all these other papers, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I don’t always have a handle on my emotions, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I forget to smile sometimes, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry I haven’t finalized my schedule for next semester because I’m just trying to survive this one, but I’m doing my best.”

“I’m sorry my best doesn’t seem to be cutting it right now, but I’m doing my best.”

Maybe I could just wear the shirt, and everyone would understand why the circles under my eyes are getting a little darker every day. And maybe everyone should have that kind of shirt, just so we can all remember that every human on this planet is, in fact, human, and forgets things, and makes mistakes, and doesn’t always have everything together. Maybe we’d all be a little gentler with each other if we could all remember that, for the most part, we’re all just doing our best. Even if our best, sometimes, is not enough.

Remains of the Day

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The closer you are to holiday, the longer the days get.

And the less time you have to work on all of those important projects. Those really important projects that just need to get done. Like, soon.

Not sure how this paradox is supporting itself. But I don’t have time to figure that out. I have to go work on things. I’m always, always working on things.

Oh, well. Better this than bored.

Writing

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Here’s what I’m great at: writing funny, quasi-meaningful blog posts of modest length in the last remaining fifteen minutes before midnight.

Here’s what I’m lame at: writing four pages of structured, researched content, even when I’m given the whole semester to work on something.

Writing the end-of-semester papers is always a painful process. I’m not sure why. It’s not like I haven’t been writing papers since before my freshman year of collage. They started us off with a research paper my junior year of high school. It’s not like I’m not a writer. It’s not like I don’t know how to put words on paper. I just freeze when I know my grade depends on how well I write.

I’ll stare at a blank page for an hour before a single jot or tittle blots the whiteness. I’m threatened by the tide of information (or lack thereof) sloshing around in my head. I bleed over every sentence, over analyzing the structure, the spelling, the commas, the quotation marks. I can’t just slap something on paper and then go back and fix it. I have to fix it while I’m writing it. I’ve never been able to “rough draft.” I accept nothing less of myself than a perfect first draft. Hence why it takes me so blame long to write anything that I’m proud of. Or of which I am proud.

But, piece by piece, word by word, sentence by sentence, I get it done. Four years of higher education, and I have no clue how I’m doing that.

I just finished the second of the Big Papers that are due before the semester ends. Another is due Monday. The other two are due right after Thanksgiving Break.

Allow me a deep breath before the plunge.

Some Things that Went Right

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  1. I found the library book I thought was missing. I had checked it out with a heap of other books. I thought I turned them all in yesterday, but according to my record on the library’s computer system one of them was still checked out, and overdue. I ransacked my apartment looking for it. I gave up hope of finding it (there’s nowhere to hide in my apartment). Turns out it had made its way back to the library stacks. Without being checked in. Odd. Oh, well, I have it back now.
  2. I finished my other paper for that class. It is done. Done, done, done. And I didn’t even have to stay up all night to finish it.
  3. It was a little warmer outside today. Normally I wouldn’t be happy about that, but it’s been pretty bitter outside recently and I still haven’t transported my tights from home to my apartment.
  4. I completed (almost) all of my assignments before the day they were due. You’d be amazed how much of a struggle that is these days.
  5. I wrote in my journal. Little things.
  6. I got taken out to lunch at a fancy place. Cloth napkins and everything. It was legit.
  7. My windshield defrosted in less than five minutes. A record for this week.
  8. Maybe, just maybe, my face is finally clearing up for good. Maybe I just care less.
  9. Someone gave me a doughnut. Which may sabotage #8. Such delicious sabotage.
  10. Thanksgiving is less than a week away.

Message to the Wondering

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Hey. Hey, you.

One day you’ll look over your shoulder at the past and realize everything you did right. And everything you did wrong.

You’ll see how all the pieces fit together. Every right decision. Every mistake.

And you know what? You’ll be just fine. The catastrophes to today will have taught you how to live in your tomorrow. Today’s mishap is tomorrow’s song. Today’s joy is tomorrow’s happy memory.

It will be okay.

I’ve been there. I know.

It will be okay.

With love,

Rizzy

And Suddenly, Winter

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We don’t do anything by halves here in Anytown.

Our summers are blazing. And humid. And generally disgusting. Walking outside is an invitation for a third-degree sunburn and being crushed to death by the air pressure.

We get a week of in-between. You might call it fall, but fall lasts longer. One week of mild, brisk, golden days is hardly autumn.

Then, winter. Frigid, biting, dry, dark, teeth-chattering winter.

It’s like there’s no middle ground around here. We’re either in Mordor or Antarctica. Right, now it’s Antarctica. You take a deep breath and feel the icicles forming in your sinuses. It’s that stinkin’ cold.

Any more snow?

Nope.

Borax in the Bathroom

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The ants have come in from the cold.

The first morning of really cold weather, my roommate noticed a small cluster of tiny black ants beside our toilet. The cold snap had led them to seek sustenance in warmer climes.No biggie; we squished them and left them behind as a warning to other possible intruders.

Our warning went unheeded, however. An hour later, their numbers had doubled.

For the last few days, their activity has been confined to the bathroom. Today, however, I noticed they had infiltrated the kitchen. The bathroom, I could tolerate. But what precious little food I have I am unwilling to share with insects.

Apparently this is a common problem in our apartment complex. Some of our neighbors are our classmates, and they offered us weaponry with which to initiate chemical warfare on our invaders.

Now our kitchen smells like lemon-scented Raid, and there’s a trail of powdered boric acid leading from the shower seal to an ambiguous spot in the middle of the kitchen. With any luck, the little menaces will take the powdered acid back with them on their boots and poison their comrades back at their anthill.

Mwa-ha-ha.

Hopefully the malicious eradication of ants is the limit of my inhumanity.

One Down, Three (?) to Go

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Paper one is finished.

Well, it’s written. I need to tweak things. Like the bibliography. Preferably after many hours of sleep.

But the thing is done.

That only leaves one more paper for one class (which is half-finished); a paper,a project, and a long bibliography for another; and a 20-page paper on mythology in the novels of Virginia Woolf.

I’m sure there’s other stuff, too. Haven’t gotten that far.

Oi.

Grad Student’s Prayer

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Dear God,

Grant me the grace to be grateful for setbacks,

the diligence to meet deadlines,

the patience to put words on paper.

Help me to be kind to others,

even to those who frustrate me,

and to myself.

Let me remember that no matter how busy I get,

that others are more important than me.

Keep me close to You at all times,

because my attention wanders.

Remind me to remember every moment and enjoy it,

because I only get each moment once.

Above all, don’t let my activities be worthless,

because I know you want me here for a reason.

I know you have something very specific for me to learn.

Don’t let me forget that you love me,

that you’re kind and gracious,

and that your plan is perfect.

It would also be great, God,

if I could get an extra burst of inspiration

while I’m writing this paper that’s due on Monday.

Amen.

Therapy

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I’ve almost written a whole paragraph about the use of the mandative subjunctive in the English language on both sides of the pond.

That’s not really how I’d like to be spending my evening. Thankfully, I am the queen of taking breaks.

I write a sentence, then go for a glass of water. I’ll write another sentence, then look at pictures of fluffy baby animals on the internet. I’ll write two sentences, feel particularly accomplished, and then treat myself to a funny video.

I don’t have as much written as perhaps I should, but I feel so relaxed. More relaxed than I’ve felt in days, which is what Friday is for, after all.

And all I want to do is sleep, which I can’t do so long as I’m trying to write a paper.

I’ll allow myself one night of quasi-productive therapy. A little reading, a little writing, a little food, a little tea, a little mind wandering, and then to sleep.

A Thousand Thoughts, Condensed to Ten

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  1. “Say Something” has got to be the saddest song I have ever heard. If I were laughing so hard that I floated to the ceiling, and if anyone wanted to get me down, all they’d have to do is play that song, and I’d sink like a stone.
  2. Looking at emails set aside in an archive folder is a particularly dangerous business.
  3. It is astonishingly difficult to write about grammar.
  4. It is also astonishingly difficult to take a test about grammar, especially if that test mostly covers structuralism.
  5. Why is it suddenly summer? Again? Don’t you think we had that for quite long enough?
  6. I should take my journal from my junior year of college and turn it into a novel. Fictionalize my life. Like Katherine Ann Porter.
  7. Maybe I should do the dishes. Instead of writing a paper about grammar.
  8. You know what would be great? If my face stopped thinking I am an adolescent and would stop breaking out. That would be fantastic.
  9. it can be Thanksgiving now. I wouldn’t complain.
  10. I’m beginning to think I should be doing my 20-page-behemoth-from-the-Netherworld paper on Katherine Ann Porter. But it is too late. I have resigned myself to Virginia Woolf.