Things Not to Blame Jennifer For:

Today, I discovered that people are not psychic. Said discovery is now safely filed away in a box labeled “Things You Know But Always Forget.”

I do. Always forget.

As I complained about a few posts back, my body is currently insane. INSANE. And my coping mechanisms continue to be curling into a ball and making contorted facial expressions. Unless Jennifer is around.

Jennifer is the bestie. It goes without saying that your bestie is one of two people around whom you should not have to pretend to feel strong. And yet.

Which does both me and Jennifer a huge disservice. I feel like I’m a liar (I am) and he has no idea what is really going on. It only follows that I cannot be resentful for his not being able to discern how much pain I am in.

Or how much being around him helps me stay out of my head, and gives me something other than the pain to focus on.

So, when I text him at 18.00 (my brain likes “military” time…don’t judge me), freaking out that I cannot think or concentrate because I am both physically and mentally exhausted from trying to keep it together while experiencing all this pain, I should not be offended when he doesn’t call me and tell me everything will be okay and he’ll come save me from myself.

Jennifer is not psychic.

The other night, there was a strange man in front of my house. I don’t get home from work until almost 2am, when people are usually in bed and not looking as though they are watching my house. Said man was leaning against my fence, looking at my house, for half an hour after I got home from work. I do not know how long he had been there before I got home. I do not know if he wanted something from me, or from my house, or if he just thought the house was nice and stopped to admire it. At 2am. In 10 Fahrenheit degrees of winter.

Whatever his reason for standing outside my house, he terrified me.

Jennifer came over and stayed with me. The man was gone by the time Jennifer arrived, but Jennifer stayed nonetheless. Once I calmed down, I was able to sleep, knowing that I was not alone.

Maybe that’s my problem.

I feel so alone.

I am trying to be all grown up, and take care of my problems myself. I cannot currently afford to go back to the doctor, so I am just taking the ibuprofen and applying the heating pads and doing things to try and make myself feel better but not really succeeding. I am feeling overwhelmed with school and the prospect of graduating and all that I need to get done before the semester is over, but I am keeping quiet about how overwhelmed I feel. I’m not sleeping like a real person, and I purposefully fail to illustrate how bad the sleeping issue is when people ask. I am tired, and stressed, and in pain. People ask what they can do to help and I say, “Oh, nothing. But, I’ll let you know if I come up with anything.” I say that because I cannot ask anyone to commandeer an MRI machine and kidnap its corresponding technician. But I say that because I do not know how to ask for the things I need.

It only follows, then, that I cannot hold it against the rest of the world for not doing the things I need it to do. The rest of the world is not psychic.

Jennifer is not psychic.

How do you let go of your pride and tell your best friend that the demons in your head are just as terrifying to you as the strange man who was outside your house? How do you tell him that you just need someone to hold you, so you can calm down? No. Not someone.

Just Jennifer.

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Nothing of Any Particular Importance.

Hello, World. It has been a long time. (I do not have anything profound to say to you…so just let me speak at you for a bit, yeah?)

It isn’t that I haven’t been thinking about you. I have been. I have just been spending my time reading. Watching movies. Translating paragraphs from Latin into English. Hanging out with Jennifer, to whom I am almost literally attached at the hip.

Sometimes I think about how great it is that Jennifer does not actively read what I post. I can tell him that I write about him, give a brief overview of what’s been written, and leave it at that. He’s sitting next to me right now, reading the MLA Handbook. Completely unaware of the fact that I am writing about him. I like this life.

****

I’m going to officially change my major, today.

I have been listed as a Political Science major for the past three years. I stopped pursuing a Political Science degree two years and eleven months ago. No big deal.

So, today my major will officially be changed to English, with a concentration in Literary Studies.

I still need to officially add a Gender Studies minor.

Bureaucracy.

****

Today marks Day Two of running on fewer-than-four hours of sleep. How awesome is that? Not. Not at all.

I work from 9pm until 2am. Or thereabouts. I love my job. I do not love the days when I have to be functional before noon.

Essentially, I am blogging in order to stay awake.

****

There are times when my keyboard doesn’t keep up with my fingers, and misspelled words find their way into the draft of my post. C’mon, WordPress. Don’t you know I’m trying to create new words, here? Stop stifling my creative spirit.

Balancing Acts.

My body is at war with my brain.

Some Possibly-Relevent Background Information: A few months ago, I had a four-day migraine from hell. Anyone who experiences migraines knows that ALL MIGRAINES ARE FROM HELL, but there are some that are from a deeper circle of hell than others. The worst Dante could produce brought me this particular migraine. ANywho. On day four of this migraine, I was eating dinner with my family, and trying not to laugh at the funny thing Chuck said because I was mad at him, when half of my face stopped functioning. Literally. The right side of my face was paralyzed. There was a trip to the hospital (my immediate thoughts were that I was having a stroke), where they ran a bunch of expensive imaging tests and told me that I did not have any bleeding in my brain, nor did I have a tumor, but I seemed to have Bell’s Palsy. I spent the next two weeks in doctor’s offices, trying to confirm the diagnosis. During this process, other concerns came up…such as the possibility of Multiple Sclerosis, or a cancer, or a tumor someplace outside of my brain, or a hormone imbalance, or out-of-control anxiety, or a combination of some or all of these things. We are still trudging through the game that is Musical Diagnoses, running tests my insurance doesn’t cover and avoiding running better, more expensive tests that my insurance doesn’t cover. Woot. Anyway. The purpose of this italicized segment was to explain why I am in pain all the time — that is, for reasons unbeknownst to me and possibly you, as well.

I am in Week Two of the Spring semester. We survived Week One. I would like to take a moment and tell you how STOKED I am for the rest of the semester. My classes rock. Well. Most of my classes rock. It has been a very long time since I have been this pleased with my course load. The reading lists for my literature classes are amazing, and have served as a sign from Karma itself that I am being rewarded for choosing a discipline I love.

My classes are brain-food, and my brain is thrilled at the possibility of being sated.

Of course, it only follows that because I am being intellectually satisfied, my body has to revolt. Couldn’t be a whole, happy human being now, could we. Nope. I spend one moment in a state of brain-bliss, and then I am yanked back to Corporealville by intense amounts of random, currently-inexplicable pain.

Is it too much to ask for a little balance?

****

In other news, I learned today that I could possibly graduate in a year. I was planning on at least two-and-a-half more years before I could graduate with my Bachelor’s degree. However, even with my minor, there is a possibility that I could finish up next spring.

In the 2.5-more-years world, I was headed straight from my undergrad to pursuing my graduate degree(s). However, if I am going to be done with my undergrad work in one year, I think I want to take some time off from school.

Travel? See some other segment of the planet?

We’ll see. It’s both exciting and terrifying, to think of life after my Bachelor’s degree has been completed.

I don’t know if I’m ready to grow up.

Necromancy and Parallel Universes.

When I was younger, I used to think I could write my father back to life. Life played out just like a novel. The big events, strung together, comprised the plot. But the beauty of the narrative was in the details. As a rational human being, I know that not even the written word has the power to bring people back from the dead. But it doesn’t stop me from trying.

My alternate history. The family formerly known as the widowed and the fatherless.

We live in the same place. My parents are proud of the little house they paid cash for, even though a loan had to be taken out to afford the remodel. One bedroom doesn’t house three growing boys very well. My dad went back to school, after the cancer was gone. Got his teaching certificate, and then a job at our local high school teaching English. Or history. We don’t live a life of luxury, but we appreciate the stability of a tenured teaching position. It beats the short-lived stints at insurance companies, followed by months of unemployment.

Because this is an alternate history, I avoided the years of cutting and pill-popping that were my actual junior high experience. I got a 4.0 every semester, went on to be VP of the Freshmen class, because the gpa requirement was higher for vice than for president. I was not, by any means, the obedient daughter I was raised to be. But I was open about it.

There are no secrets in our family.

Today, I am in my final semester at Princeton. Chuck is about to start his second semester at USC. We are both on full-ride scholarships. Evan is a musical prodigy, who has absorbed Dad’s talent for both composition and playing by ear. Dad even broke out his old recording equipment, and hooked it up to the Clavinova. Paul is Mom’s sport star. He’s a free spirit, and that irks Dad. But Paul gets spoiled, nonetheless.

Mom went back to school and got her Master’s degree in Social Work. She works part-time as an LCSW for a clinic downtown, and talks about going full-time when she and Dad are empty nesters. Dad is still head-over-heels for Mom, and she feels the same way about him. 23.5 years of marriage will do that to a couple.

We all volunteer whatever free time we have to people going through cancer treatment, whether it’s to babysit while they see the doctor, or to read to them so they have visitors, or to stop in and bring groceries to them. We know our family could not have made it through the havoc that tumor wreaked on my dad if it weren’t for kindly people who looked out for us. We do all we can to give back.

And each year, we take one big vacation as a family. We are aware of how short life is, and how dangerous it is to put everything off until someday. Someday never comes. We only have right now, and we intend to use that time with the people we love. We plan on hitting up the Heritage Jazz Festival in New Orleans, after my graduation.

Only Dad and I actually like jazz, but I’ve been lobbying for a Dixieland trip since I went to the Fest in high school.

Dad has been in remission for ten years, come March. Mom says a happy, healthy family is all she could ask for as she turns 45, but Dad’s going to take her to Victoria anyway.

All things considered, life is good.

And it will be, for years to come.

Sounds lovely, doesn’t it?

But despite the craziness that is my actual reality, I do not know if I would trade in this story for that one.

I would like to think, on some level, that doesn’t make me a terrible human being.

But, all things considered, life? Life is good. And I intend for it to continue to improve.

For years to come.

The Name’s Anxiety.

Today marks the beginning of a new semester, and I am NERVOUS.

For those of you who experience this pre-semester anxiety on a regular basis, I commend you for pushing through it and attending class in spite of it. I do not get nervous about school. Ever.

Imagine you are in first grade, and your teacher asks you to draw a picture of what you want to be when you grow up. My picture is of me sitting behind a desk, in a classroom, with a backpack full of books at my feet.

Imagine you are in junior high, and your guidance counselor asks you where you want to be in ten years. My immediate response is, “School.”

Imagine you are a supposed-senior in college, and you are supposed to be graduating…but you aren’t, because you changed your major. Six times. That is my life. Am I losing sleep over it? Not really, because I would choose to be a career student for the rest of my life, if I could find some way to do so.

I want to get paid to learn things and take classes. Dream job, right there. Ideally, learning things and taking classes would also involve an extensive travel itinerary to places like Tuscany, and The South of France, and Santorini, and London, and Prague, and more places that capitalized not because they are proper nouns but because they are such cool places.

I go to school. I have a job on campus. I spend more time at school then I do anyplace else. Not only are the buildings home to me, but Academia as an institution is my home. I have social anxiety. I don’t to well with people. I am clumsy, so physical activity is not my strong point. I am smart. Curious. Books have always been close friends of mine. I have always excelled in school. It is where I am most comfortable. Where I am in my element.

So. Tell me, please. Why am I nervous about beginning a new semester?

****

I am attempting to unwind and calm down by drinking Crio Bru (my new favorite beverage) and watching Supernatural. Drinking stimulants and watching “scary” things. I know. I am aware of how that sounds, in terms of plausibly calming me down.

Don’t judge me.

However, the watching of Supernatural is being delayed by the Wii console, which needed to update itself right this very second or it would have initiated self-destruct sequence. I’m back at my place, which has a Wii console. At Mom’s, there is an Xbox 360, which is preferable to a Wii. I am on round three of attempting to perform the Wii system update, and I am doubtful that the attempt will actually work.

I just want my fix of Dean Winchester, okay?

****

I spent most of the weekend at Jennifer’s. He is back safely from the great Canadian province of Alberta. Hooray!

We have been watching James Bond movies. We started at the end of last semester. I had only seen four James Bond movies (The Living Daylights, Die Another Day, Casino Royale, and Quantum of Solace. In that order.), and Jennifer would not let that continue. He loves the James Bond series. So, we started a marathon. From the beginning. Early last night, we finished up through Die Another Day. *30-second dance party*

Daniel Craig is, of course, the best Bond. That is not up for discussion. It is the truth of the universe handed down from the Bond gods. Timothy Dalton is next, in all his awesomeness. And then Pierce Brosnan. Sean Connery is next, though there is quite the gap between him and Pierce. I’ll put Roger Moore after Sean and George Lazenby last…however, I feel I should let you know that I fell asleep during On Her Majesty’s Secret Service, and cannot give you a proper critique of Lazenby’s Bondness. Roger Moore is a terrible Bond. Utterly deplorable. For those of you who consider Moore to be THE Bond: get over yourselves. Just because he was in the MOST Bond movies does not make him the best.

I plan on watching the first two Daniel Craig Bonds soon, here. I want to see Skyfall before it leaves the normal theaters and enters the dollar-ish ones. I waited too long to go see The Dark Knight Rises, and was left with a dollar-ish theater as my only option. I got decked in the face by some lady, and then she decided to sit right next to me. There were only six other people in the theater, with Batman and Jennifer as my witnesses, and the crazy person punched me in the face and then sat RIGHT NEXT TO ME.

We want to enjoy Skyfall without any similar incidents.

My Brain as a Medical Drama.

I’m back. So soon? you say. Yes. I cannot sleep. A mixture of fever and panic attack and my usual insomnia. I sufficiently freaked myself out, and now I’m in that 45 degrees reclined position that you sit/lay (lit? slay?) in when you read, with a heating pad against my neck in the hopes that it will relieve some tension and allow me to sleep.

I have a terrible habit of reading myself into every text I interact with. Text, of course, is extended from the written word to include movies and music and such. Anyway. I was watching Parenthood on Netflix, because that’s the show I watch when everyone else in Mom’s house is asleep. Jennifer comes home from his Holiday family visiting experience at some point today, and I was thinking about how…quiet? my life is when he is gone.

And then I realized that I have done it again. And I panicked.

 

I was thirteen. I finally spoke to this boy. James. Such a beautiful name. I had plans for that name. I’d become best friends with the boy, and some day I would name a child after him. James. I was thirteen.

James became my entire world. For eight years, James was my universe. And then he wasn’t. And I was so…alone.

I promised myself that I would never let myself be in that position again. I would never let one person be my entire universe. And now I am awake at 4:30am, having a panic attack and blogging excessively, because I watch too many sappy TV shows and I realize how lonely life is when Jennifer is gone.

I broke my promise to my commitment issues, and I went and made one person my entire world.

Fricking genius move, on Dani’s part.

He isn’t. My entire world, that is. But he is a big part of it. And that terrifies me. Because I am learning, slowly, that in spite of their best intentions, people do not stay forever.

How do you cope with the fear of your world being thrown off its axis, concurrent with the fear of being unable to trust people? Person. Jennifer. Who I do trust…more than I trust anyone else, or have ever trusted anyone else. How do I let myself be vulnerable when I am petrified of how broken my life is going to be once Jennifer can no longer be the integral figure in it?

And so I’m having a panic attack. I will be fine, and I’ll see Jennifer tomorrow or the next day, and life will be good. I’ll remember to not over-think things, and I’ll remember that Jennifer is the commitment phob — not me. I’ll remember that if my world falls apart, I can pick up the pieces.

I’ve done it before. I can do it again.

In the meantime, I’m going to try my darnedest not to push away my best friend with my craziness. Perhaps attempt to sleep. Most importantly, have more 30-second dance parties.

Because I’m secretly Meredith Grey and my dark and twisty needs to be alleviated by some dancing.

I guess that makes Jennifer, Cristina.

Resolve.

I hate New Year’s Resolutions.

Every year, I make three lists of resolutions. I have resolutions I’m supposed to make, resolutions I need to make, and resolutions I want to make. Resolutions I’m supposed to make are things like: I will lose ten pounds. Need to make looks like…I will sleep for more than five hours a night. Resolutions I want to make? I will take a semester off of school and travel around Europe. I will…be impulsive. Do something stupid.

I hate resolutions. Every year, three bulleted lists of ways in which I will fail to change my life. More things to panic over. More reasons to feel defeated and worthless.

So, this year, I’ve resolved to not make any resolutions. Except that one. No resolutions.

Here’s to a 2013 that is better than 2012 was.