- Somehow, I survived this week unscathed.
- My neck is making new popping noises.
- So much for not drinking coffee anymore.
- I should probably go grocery shopping because there’s dust where my food used to be.
- There are books all over this apartment, but not on shelves where they belong.
- Also, there are shoes everywhere. It’s like whoever lives here is too tired to put shoes away. Huh.
- Should have gone running. Should have gone running. Should have gone running.
- Sixty-four days. Sixty-four days. Sixty-four days.
- I think the knots in my shoulders have knots.
- Yet, in spite of it all…I am content. Life is good. God is great. Grace is astonishing.
Another midnight, another incomplete assignment.
I’m days behind on regular reading and assignments, and only a little bit behind on this paper. The body is written, and all that remains is citations. Why in the name of all good sense did I decide to quote so many people?
After I’m done with those little details, I need to read The Tempest. I’ve read one act of five.
And I’ll be opening the library tomorrow. Bright and early.
This week can end now.
It used to be that 1 AM was when the inspiration happened. When I was a teenager, I looked forward to weekends because weekend nights meant I could stay up late, sit at my desk, and write or draw while listening to music or an audiobook. All of my best drawings and poetry came pouring out of me during the witching hours, when all the world was silent.
Either those late nights are catching up to me now, or I am simply too old to be inspired that late at night/early in the morning. I have 712 words left to write on my paper for a course in modern literary theory. I’ve written 2,288 words that I feel adequately represent my feelings on my chosen subject matter, but the minimum word requirement is 3,000.
It’s 11:30, and I just want to go to bed. I do not feel inspired. I feel tired. Just…tired.
But write I must.
(I feel like I need to get that tattooed somewhere.)
I’m getting married in 67 days, but 67 is just a number. The number doesn’t make it any more or less real.
Even all the planning hasn’t made it real. The dress hasn’t made it real.
The bridal shower kind of helped it sink in a little more.
The first ten minutes or so, I had to keep reminding myself that the shower was about me. I’ve never had a shower thrown for me before. People were piling gifts in my lap, but they weren’t just presents for me–they were presents for me and my fiance that I was opening and gasping over in delight.
I’ve been to showers. I’ve seen the bride in the chair with her maid of honor next to her, jotting notes. I’ve never been the one in the chair. I kept forgetting I was the one in the chair. I was so delighted to see people I loved, but I was always surprised to see them looking at me, as if I was the most important person in the room.
But they were. I’m a bride to be.
I’m getting married.
Suddenly I find myself surrounded by dishes and flatware and linens and suddenly, everything is starting to feel very, very real.
“No, no, no!” she yelled from her director’s chair. She wasn’t the director–I was–but she might as well have been.
“What was wrong with that one?” I asked, more than a little frustrated. We’d gone through a line of fifty auditioners. She had a complaint about every one.
“That one’s eyes were brown,” Malacia said, tossing the feathery curtain of grey hair away from her face. “My husband’s eyes were blue.”
“This is 2065, Malacia,” I replied as gently as I could. “CGI can fix anything. Honestly, if you weren’t so keen on making this film with real actors, we could’ve made a digital version of your husband and skipped the whole thing.”
She rolled her eyes. We’d agreed to disagree on the complete digitalization of films. One more “good old days” rant from this woman, and I would can the project. Without their generous commission, this film wouldn’t be happening anyway. Or if Malacia hadn’t been childhood friends with the producer.
“Fine, then,” I said. “Next!”
Another one walked in. It didn’t help any that the kind of actor she wanted was a type hard to find these days–thin, pale skinned, blue eyes. I couldn’t even remember the last time I saw anyone with blue eyes before the audition process. But the call went out, and they came in droves.
This one didn’t look any different than the rest to me. If anything, he was a hair plainer. We had paraded handsome man after handsome man in front of her, and she had snubbed them all. Said they weren’t nearly as handsome as her husband. This one wouldn’t fit the bill, I was sure.
He looked almost embarrassed to be there. He was thinner than the rest, and taller. He read well, and his lopsided smile was cute, in an odd way. But he was a nobody. And he looked like nothing compared to the rest of them.
I looked over at Malacia. She was on the edge of her seat while he read his lines, her eyelids fluttering a little desperately behind her glasses. It took me a moment to see the tear gliding down her withered face.
“That one,” she said. She smiled. “That one.”
It’s going to be a bumpy ride.
This week, that is. Actually, the next three weeks. Actually, all of the weeks leading up to our wedding. I do not get a real break until June 27th.
I am bracing myself, gripping the keyboard of my laptop with my fingertips, pausing my typing to stare hopelessly at the theory paper that has less than a third of the words it needs to have by Thursday.
And once again I wonder why I do this to myself every year. Why the sleepless nights, why the caffeination, why the tears and the agony?
This is not how I want to spend my last week of being 22.
But that’s how I’ll spend it.
And I’ll get to the end of the week and think, “Wow, that went better than I thought.”
But the beginning and the middle will be awful.
Last semester, I had to write the Mother of All Term Papers in one weekend. I had to crank out 5,000 words in a amtter of 48 hours. I had yet to begin my research.
Well, I did it, and I got a fantastic grade. No brag, just fact.
This semester, I have to write a 3,000 word paper in about the same amount of time. Not as many words, and on a more familiar subject.
Yet I have no outline. My intro is killer, if a bit unstructured. I have no idea where this paper is going, other than that I want to talk about Shakespeare from a feminist perspective, based on what little of feminist theory I have learned int he last few weeks of class.
This week, I also need to put together a presentation on Emerson’s literary theory, finish a translation paper, take a test over the structure of Early Modern English, and read The Tempest.
And my bridal shower is on Tuesday.
Panic mode is starting to engage and will not shut off until next Saturday. I will not sleep. I will eat too much. I will probably not be a nice person to be around or to write the writings of.
Here we go again.
I have no earthly idea what I’m doing.
Nor does anyone else.
I firmly believe that even purposeful people have no idea what they’re doing. The most productive and driven people I know (who are actually getting stuff done in their lives) are just walking through open doors to see where they lead. Often they don’t have so much as a penny in their pocket (or maybe only a dollar or two), but they’re off and going and doing anyway.
And ultimately, no matter how smart or how wise someone is, there will still be something that he doesn’t know.
The world is just too big. The universe is just too wide. Eternity is just too long.
The intelligence and collective knowledge of the smartest person in the whole world is but a drop in the ocean of knowledge that there is to be known.
Compared to God, the greatest man is just a child.
I am 22. I have a college degree. And I have no idea what I’m doing. I have no idea about anything.
But that’s okay.
And I’ll learn as I go.
- Sometimes the only thing that works is chocolate and hugs.
- Always make time for old friends.
- And always carry a notebook, because sometimes smash poetry happens and unless you have some paper nearby to snatch it up with, it’ll flit away and you’re left without your work of utter genius.
- It is either a really good idea or a really bad idea to ask a raging feminist her honest opinion of The Taming of the Shrew.
- Autocorrect doesn’t.
- A little quinoa goes a long way.
- It’s okay to not know what you’re doing. No one does.
- It never hurts to ask.
- When you run out of film ideas, it seems that your best bet is to either do a remake of an old film or a live action version of a beloved cartoon. Or a remake of a remake. Or a cartoon of a remake.
- Tomorrow’s Friday. For now, let that be enough.
I eat clean, healthy, balanced meals consisting primarily of vegetables, occasionally eating whole grains and minimally processed meats.
I said nothing about how I snack.
I’ve tried to be good. I promise I have. I’ve tried to keep sugary, preservative-laden and heavily processed food out of my apartment. I refuse to buy prepackaged cookies, ice cream, dry cereal, crackers, potato chips, or anything too small or munchy. I’m a muncher, and those little calories count. And those little calories are always unnecessary.
I am not the kind of person who is always on a diet. I stopped counting calories ages ago. But I do gain weight very easily, and staying healthy is a part of good stewardship. The junk in snack foods will do long-term damage that I may not notice now, but I will notice later.
Also, I’m trying to make sure that I will still fit into my wedding dress, which fits like a glove.
But after Easter, a lot of chocolate snuck through the door. And pastries. And very, very carby food.
In theory, I could throw it away. But I have this deeply rooted moral opposition to throwing away any kind of food unless it’s gone bad. I offer treats to anyone who walks in the door–even strangers–but not everything is finding a happy home in someone else’s stomach.
All that to say, I just ate a slice of pound cake after offering it to every house guest I’ve had in the last two weeks. It wasn’t stale. It was really good. I couldn’t let it go to waste.
So now it’s going to my waist.
Some of the best advice I’ve gotten lately is this simple phrase: “Enjoy your hormones.”
That came from a doctor. A female doctor much older and wiser than me.
As a woman, hormones tend to be my enemy. They effect my mood, my appetite, how I feel physically, how well I sleep, my body temperature, and everything about my overall health. These hormones exist in a delicate and easily overturned balance. One chemical goes out of place, and suddenly I’m needing to resist throwing the phone against the wall while I’m on hold.
But the thing is–they are out of my control. No drug, no herb, no diet or lifestyle change will ever grant me full control over those hormones. A lot of control. But never full control.
So this lady told me to embrace them. I can’t control them. I can’t control a roller coaster.
But roller coasters are fun. Scary, yes. Stomach-lurching, yes. Worth it? Yes. My hormones are part of what make me female. And I really like being a girl.
My mood swings do not have to control me any more than I can control them. they can get me down, sure, but I always have the option of looking up.
It’s hard to fill spare moments wisely when you’re really, really tired and really, really lacking in the motivation department.
The projects I’m doing right now require long stretches of uninterrupted time. Trouble is, every moment of my day involves a series of transitions. Apartment to campus, campus to gym, gym to apartment, to name a few. (The gym time slot is necessary for my and everyone else’s sanity.)
Every transition means a few more wasted moment spent in resettling. Anymore, those moments are spent doing worthwhile things, but nothing pertaining to the projects I need to be working on. Research on cancer fighting food, for instance. Emptying the dishwasher. Trimming my fingernails.
I’ve trimmed away a lot of pointless distractions, only to meet with new ones that are less pointless, but just as distracting.
And all of them are keeping me from going to bed at midnight.
Seventy-six more days ’till the wedding date,
And a hundred and ten things still left to do.
There are over a thousand tasks–
And even strangers ask
If they can have an invitation too?
Seventy-six more days of my single state,
And a hundred and ten nerves frayed at the ends.
And yet I’ll trade all of this
For countless years of married bliss,
Time itself will soon make amends.
This Saturday was wide open. Free as a bird. I have a mountain of things to read for classes, not to mention a mountain of things to write.
Yet there was grocery shopping to be done. And an obligation in the evening. And a sale at Hobby Lobby for wedding decorations that ended today. And a Shakespeare play to read. and a book for marriage counseling.
So all that reading I was going to get done today? Didn’t get done. I did things. Necessary things. But not school things.
I’m a little relieved that I have arrived at a point in my life where not everything has to revolve around my grades. Yes, school is a responsibility, but it is a responsibility I have chosen for myself. Grad school was not required. Grad school was my choice.
Everything I do is a choice. Even my responses to circumstances are a choice. Pursuing and accepting a new job was my choice. Getting married was my choice. My church involvement is my choice. Scheduling time to work out is my choice. These life decisions are as much my choice as the items I put in my grocery cart today. I will take these choices home, consume them, and let them shape who I am.
Everything I do is my responsibility. Every action I take, I will have to give an account for. Whether it’s five minutes reading an article on the benefits of coconut oil online or whether its four hours chaperoning a dating outing.
The question is no longer “will this activity take time away from my studies” but “will this activity glorify God?”
That’s infinitely more important.