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up too late, no sleep in sight

i’ve just teared up for the second time in a few hours.  the first was because i watched the bucket list, and aside from the point the movie was trying to make, i couldn’t help but be moved by ray’s wife.  it shows in the movie that theirs was a love that had fallen into ruin over the course of years.  yet when he came home finally, she lit up like a young girl.  she was ready to put on her sexy lingerie and make love to her husband…only to have him collapse on the floor and then die days later.  my heart wrenched for her as she came out of the bathroom glowing.  and saw her husband’s twitching legs on the other side of the bed.  to see her smile change to absolute agony was really…affecting.  she’s a secondary character in the film, and i felt like her story was tragic and painful.

i teared up again tonight talking to an old friend.  i’ve known him since 2006 — we were in poland together.  he told me the story of how his girlfriend and he got together.  it’s a beautiful story — they met four years ago and had a summer romance and never forgot about each other.  she found his number last november, and now they’re together, although they live three hours apart.  that’s not what made me teary though…sweet as it is.

karsten told me that i am strong.  he was the second person this late night to say that to me, and it kind of got to me.  today was a surreal day.  got up, was going to go to the arboretum, ended up doing paperwork for tfa and then going to see star trek…in the midst of the hum drum, i got a friend request on my second facebook account from an unwelcome source — a source i blocked on my normal account months and months ago — and a package of very odd easter trinkets from my dad, from whom i’ve barely heard in months.  he called me literally about 20 minutes after i got picked up at the airport last week here.  add to that a couple other slightly odd (but not bad) happenings and a bout of my chronic insomnia, and i was feeling a little less than strong.  karsten went on to say that he’s always thought i was a very strong person.  maybe i am, but i don’t feel like it.

a lot of the time i’m confused.  i don’t know what is expected of me.  i tend to be so blunt and candid that i forget that most people aren’t used to that.  there are all these nuances of human interaction that escape me.  i feel unsure of myself and nervous about how i’m perceived.  and i hate that something so arbitrary as a facebook friend request can send my heart into flutters and tie my stomach into knots.  i hate that i get nervous and a bit tongue-tied and shy.  there is so much to my personality that a lot of people never get to know because i’m afraid to let it show.  it’s stupid.  i’ve come out of my shell a lot, and i really like myself, but even when i feel strong, i never think of others seeing me that way.  not sure why that is.

so i teared up at that.  karsten told me that he thinks it’s amazing that i live my life and do what i need to do, wherever it takes me.  i always figure that people just see me as flighty.  i spend so much time trying to…i guess offer up what i have to give and wanting so much to share myself that i think i’m afraid it falls by the wayside.  not so much that it goes unnoticed but that it goes noticed and unwanted.  it’s almost five a.m., and i’m really not sure what i’m trying to say here.

i guess that…after an odd sort of day…watching a new day dawn from my own bed, i feel strangely hopeful.  maybe there’s hope for me after all.  so many things in my life right now seem to be falling into place.  some neatly with virtually no effort, others that will take work.  right now, at this moment, i feel like every one of them is worth the effort.  so i’ll keep moving forward and see where i end up — with teach for america, with washington dc, with people.  everything right now is the product of months of striving, toil, wondering, planning, hoping, working, and waiting.  and i’ll see it all through to the best of my ability.  maybe that’s strength.  if it is, i’ll take it.

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a note for the naysayers

EDIT:  I kinda hate that I feel the need to include this caveat.  This blog is not directed at the sweeping mass of humanity.  It is me upset after having been repeatedly put down and insulted by someone–only the most recent in a semi-regular stream of people lining up telling me how to live.  This blog is directed only at the people, though faceless to you, who have specifically ripped my life choices apart and belittled me, as well as those who have done the same to people I love.  It’s in defense of myself and my loved ones that I wrote this blog.  I was hurt and upset and insulted when I wrote it–I had just been called names and put down for an hour straight by someone who made a snap judgment.  It wasn’t the first time something like that has happened, and it won’t be the last.  I am a writer.  I get my feelings out by vomiting them into my fingertips and tapping them on keys.  Know all that when you read what’s to follow.  And know it’s not directed at you.

Let’s get one thing straight.

I am not now, nor have I never been, prone to insanity.  In recent days, acquaintances–not friends; “friend” is a word I reserve for those who truly are–have lined up to express their opinions on my move and the reasons behind it.  Specifically, that moving to be closer to my best friend is “nuts,” and that moving at all is “crazy.”  Those close to me–those happy few–are ecstatic and supportive.

But this one’s for the naysayers.  So if that’s you, perk up your ears.

I have led an extraordinary life.  There are two key words in that sentence.  Led is one; extraordinary is the other.  I have put myself through a private university, traveled the country and the world.  And I have done none of that through being timid, nor have I done any of it through being reckless.

I am one of those rare types who sees the world through eyes wide open.  I see the world in a panorama, not through a straw.  I am one who sees the evident potential in my surroundings, both immediate and far-flung.  I am a realist and an idealist.

There aren’t many of us.  We’re the ones you call crazy for moving halfway across the country or the world in pursuit of happiness or a dream that exists outside the canvas of your perception.  We’re the ones you ridicule and jibe–“What, here’s not good enough for you?  Is that it?”  For us, the world is at once a great, shining place in its vastness whilst resting easily in the palm of our hands.  We go where we feel led, to better ourselves and widen our panorama of sight.  We are in a constant state of striving flux–always a paradox that resists puzzling out.  We’re dreamers and doers.  We do because we dream.  We’re rarities, oddities.  We see the world as it is, but we live as if the world were as it should be, to show it what it can be.*

Our lives are our Art.

We may seem abstract; our motivations may elude you.  We don’t fit in your box, and we’ll fight you tooth and nail if you try to rope us and tether us down.

You want to keep us in your box because you fear our success.  Our seeming flightiness intimidates you.  We weave foreign tapestries with the shimmering places and gleaming people we find on our ways.  We traverse our countries and the globe, and that threatens you.  Because we do what you will not admit you can.  We react to our feelings and the inexplicable tugs upon our psyches.  We live an uncomfortable existence, but we live, and we do it the best way we know how.

We understand with perfect, crystalline clarity that nothing worth having or experiencing in life comes easily.  We are not easy people to know.  We understand that great gain comes from taking risks.  We see the potential for growth and movement, and we calculate our paths with careful fluency.  We listen to our intuition, and we do what must be done to be true to it.

We gather to us people like ourselves.  We lead by example.  We inspire.  We create.  We often start–often purposely–with nothing and build with our every day.  We thrive when we beget beauty ex nihilo, when our very existence conceives wonders in its vibrancy, and when we enrich our own lives and the lives of others through how we live.

We move in and out of others’ paths like fish darting in the sea.  And we leave legacies when we go.

So don’t mock us or put us down.  We may fall on our faces.  We may have to wade through the mud before we reach where we’re going.  But to us, life is a journey, and we will get there.  And you will never see us slinking away with tails between our legs.

We are dreamers who do.  We change the world around us.  We may change our course, and things may not work out exactly the way we hope, but we are never guilty of failing to try.  Our success is born from our struggles, like a phoenix sired from fiery ash.

We are writers, musicians, poets, artists.  We are activists and movers.  We are the people you can’t quite grasp.  We follow our hearts and our ideals, and we live in relentless pursuit of the extraordinary.  We respond to the call of the wild.

So don’t try to hold us back.  Don’t label us insane or reckless–rest assured, we know exactly what we’re doing and why.  We do it because we must.  And we must and shall go free.  We are who we are, and your approval is neither desired nor required.

i walk.  i talk.  i shop.  i sneeze.  i’m gonna be a fireman when the floods roll back.  there’s trees in the desert since you moved out, and i don’t sleep on a bed of bones.**

*Joss Whedon, Angel
**Joss Whedon, Buffy