Really feeling this right now.
Saturday, November 22, 2014
It should be said that I am a strange mixture of incredibly shy and obnoxiously talkative. I have yet to figure out how I can be both, or contain two very different personalities, but here I am. Call me a social anomaly. My theory is that because I use humor to mask my (often) crippling social anxiety, many people in my life do not know that these are issues I struggle with. Humor is the only way out, from my standpoint.
It all came to a halt as I stood there in the midst of students heading to their next class. There was nothing, nothing I could think of.
It's not difficult to guess, then, that I don't "put myself out there" very often. I am far too concerned with the worst outcome could be, convinced that the worst is exactly what will happen. And then I'll spontaneously combust or the world will stop turning. Or something.The first time I tried putting myself out there is, funny enough, also the most embarrassing event in my life. It happened when I was a junior in college. Maybe I was feeling old and mature in all of my 21-year-old glory, or maybe I was tired of watching all of my friends get engaged around me. Who could know what motivated me this particular time, but it was six weeks in the making, all unraveled in the vulnerability of a single minute.
I have changed the name of the ignorant to protect myself, in my account of what seemed to be a harmless crush. It started because Justin was a nice guy—pretty cute, and more importantly, he was smart. Captivated and intrigued, I was drawn to his intellect the way an insect is drawn to a fluorescent light.
Because I saw him every day in my classes, I worked to create different schemes, different reasons for us to talk to one another. As I sat in my desk each day and packed up my books, my stomach churned and my mind raced, trying to think of something to say before Justin left for the day. I asked him what teacher I should take for Advanced Research next semester, even though I had already planned out my schedule. I lagged behind after class so we could talk about the technology proposed in Jurassic Park, and how probable it was. I sat through and absolutely hated every bizarre minute of Being John Malkovich, just because Justin recommended it.
Though these predetermined situations provided fuel for my social cannon, I was upset; I had betrayed myself so I could have a three minute conversation with the guy. But even in my state of regret, I was smitten.
It made me happy, talking to him, and I realized that I wanted to take things to the next level. I thought Justin was worth it, so I made the plan. Having discussed Tolkien in the past, my friends and I decided to have a movie night where we would watch Lord of the Rings: Extended Edition, and I would invite him to watch with us. It seemed like a perfect way to take advantage of our common interests—an innocuous way to immerse him into my world.
It was a beautiful friday in early June when I built up enough courage to make a move. After class, I tagged along with him as we walked down the hall. Using the recently released Hobbit movie as an introduction, I rambled on as we turned the corner, completely unaware of the words coming out of my mouth; my sporadic heartbeat made me all too conscious of the act I was about to perform.
“So anyways,” I began, feeling as if I was plunging into a deep body of water. “My friends and I are watching Lord of the Rings tonight and I was wondering if you wanted to come?” There. It was out, finally. I could only wait.
An odd expression came over Justin’s face, one that slowly turned into a curious smile. Was it surprise? Surely by now he had to know that I liked him. Was it...embarrassment? It was only a movie with my friends. Completely impersonal, not even a date—we didn’t even have to sit on the same couch.
“I’m married,” he answered, grinning awkwardly.I was paralyzed with shock. Looking at nothing in particular, I stared off in the distance as my mind flew through the past six weeks, searching for a clue, any indication that would help me realize my mistake. Was there ever talk of a wife? Not that I could remember. How could I have missed his wedding ring—I would have checked, right? I was 21, going to a Mormon private college. Being single felt like you had not received your invitation to some exclusive club. We were of a rare breed. And more importantly, you always knew to look for a ring.
It all came to a halt as I stood there in the midst of students heading to their next class. There was nothing, nothing I could think of.
Realizing that I needed to respond, I tried to brush it off.
“Oh, you are?” I asked truthfully, quickly glancing at his left hand. I was right—there was no ring. “It’s just, you seemed cool...” I trailed off, unsure of what to say, where to go from there.
“Yeah, I keep that part of my life private. I’m flattered though,” he started, obviously trying to appease my embarrassment.
“Yeah,” I remarked. Still staring off with eyes wide with panic, my hand brushed the back of my neck. I knew I had to get out fast. “Well, I gotta go,” I said in falsely cheery demeanor, and I immediately turned to head down the stairs.
“Oh...kay...” I heard him say as I walked away, understandably confused.
I walked outside in a daze, my eyes wincing as the sun shone bright. Grabbing the straps of my backpack, I held on tight as I walked, uncertain of what to do next. I could hardly think, but I pulled out my phone and called my best friend, Brianne. In a somewhat secluded cement corner on campus, I tried to bury myself into the wall—his rejection, a metaphorical dunce cap hanging over my head.
I couldn't contain the sobs as I explained the situation to her. People walked by, some looking on with intrigue, and others uncomfortably trying to ignore this weeping girl. Brianne offered kind and supportive words, but they weren’t enough. As I stood there, absolutely mortified, it seemed like there was no possible way to recover from what I had done. I wanted nothing more than for gravity to stop working, so I would fly off the face of the planet.
Though, in my head, I knew I hadn’t done anything wrong, I still felt like a homewrecker. Vacillating between anger and guilt, I cried, overcome with a shame that should not have been mine to take on.
“It’s his fault!” My friends cried. “He should have known what was going on. I mean, what kind of married guy has a friendship like that with a single girl?”
I didn’t care. Or I cared too much. But I figured that we were either both at fault, or neither were, and as upset as I was, I didn’t want to place blame.
This event haunted me all weekend. Every minute was flooded with all of those little moments that we had shared—the little moments that had brought me such joy only days earlier. Those two days were spent trying to figure out what to do. Monday would come, and I would have to see Justin again. And the day after that. And every miserable day after that for the next seven weeks until the semester ended.On monday, I intentionally arrived to class a few minutes late, quietly slipping into my assigned seat next to his. (Of course, this was the one class in my entire college career that had assigned seating.) Focusing my attention on the board in front of us, I took notes with a diligence that my teacher had never seen in me before.
After an excruciating hour, I packed up my things, finally facing him. Apologies tumbled out, one after another, as we walked down that same hall. Justin was kind and understanding about the whole matter, but all of the kindness in the world couldn’t carry the embarrassment resting on my shoulders. I never wanted to see Justin again, but here I was, in the same spot as the friday before, asking him, "Can we just be friends?"
I had no intention of being friends.
Thursday, November 6, 2014
I have a ton to catch up on, but I wanted to say this: it's my birthday tomorrow, and I turn 23.
This is a strange thought. Mostly it's because I thought I would feel older, but now I understand what my uncle means when he writes, "Happy birthday! Now you're almost as old as me!" on a card every year.
I wanted to make some sort of record of being 22, because this might have been the craziest year yet.
1. I graduated college with a degree that I wasn't totally miserable about/didn't fill me with unsatisfying regret, AND I didn't end up in the hospital once due to a hernia or malnutrition. Then two weeks later, I got an email from school saying that I was three credits short, and I would have to take an online class.
That news almost put me in a hospital.
Hooray for class of (December) 2014.
2. I survived the first year of being without Brianne, the light of my life, while she is on her mission. Madisen was gone too, and I said goodbye to two more friends because of missions. Kelsi got engaged and that was harder than I thought it would ever be to deal with. But here I am today, a little bit better at being alone than I used to be. (At least, I'm crying about it less. I feel like that part is worth mentioning.)
3. It was only a little bit, but I did some traveling this year. Last year it was San Francisco with Brianne, and this year it was Portland with Chris for Kelsi's wedding. I wonder where next year will take me?
4. I moved back home to California. Then I moved to Utah. This move was maybe one of the top three most spontaneous things I've ever done. As I was driving home from work yesterday, I was thinking about this. Do I feel like a Utah resident yet? I think the honest answer is no.
I still respond (mouth agape) with a, "at my old school, we never...." when someone tells me shorts are allowed on BYU's campus. But I spent my whole life in California and then the past four years in Idaho, and those two hold very special places in my heart, so I excuse myself of this annoying behavior.
5. I got a poem published in Sonoma State's magazine. And I didn't let anyone read it because there was a flippant line dedicated to my Relief Society president who lived downstairs at the time that I wrote it. It said the word "Hell," thereby confirming the fact that I am not a perfect person, but instead, a passive-agressive person. Thank you Garrett Sherwood, for introducing me to the world of slam poetry. And thank you, Jim Richards, for making me submit your poetry as your T.A., and consequently teaching me about how to submit my own stuff.
6. I got pulled over for the first time ever, for speeding home from Shari's (this is Idaho equivalent of Denny's, only with better pie). I'm glad I had a car full of friends with me, otherwise I might have cried. In fact, I would have.
7. I had a job at Zupa's. And then I quit after two weeks and got my current job. Utah's "free to quit suddenly without notice" rule is the best and the worst thing that's ever happened to me. I got my first credit card (something that I hate/fills me with anxiety) and started paying my own rent and groceries and other terribly adult things. I make up for this by listening to Disney soundtracks on the way to work.
8. My hair caught on fire. (Did I tell you?) This is about as horrifying as it sounds, and smells twice as bad as you would think. My bangs are about two inches long and I just pretend that I'm punk rock and gutsy enough to get a weird choppy haircut like that.
9. I bought guinea pigs so I would have living things that depended on me for life. The goal was to help me feel less lonely after I got here, but more than anything, they gave me crazy anxiety. And really bad allergy reactions. I only had them for a week, and I only just told my mom about it.
10. I started doing the things that I love again, like drawing and reading and music things. In the last few weeks, I've even started writing some of my own stuff, which is something that I've never had the confidence to do in the past.
I'm still working on learning how to spend my time wisely so I could accomplish everything that I want to do, while simultaneously telling myself to chill out and have some unscheduled, unstructured time to do nothing. Included with this should be the idea or the hope that getting back into these would help me figure out what I want to do my life and get me on that path. (Stay tuned.)
11. I was called to be a temple prep teacher earlier this year at church. This was completely bizarre to me because I had never gone through the temple, and had no immediate plans to. There were a few lessons where I was generous to release the class a few minutes early. (This is really because I ran out of things to talk about.) But over the summer, I felt that I should start preparing to go through the temple. I don't have a date picked yet, but it will be happening in the next few months.
12. I made a Christmas cover cd. It was really fun and I loved putting it together. I'm going to redo it again now that I know what I'm getting myself into so it will sound better, but I'm going to add a few songs to it, I think. If I have the time.
I know there are probably a ton of things that I am forgetting about, but I feel like everyone should take inventory of their year, just to see where you've been and who you've become.
It's been a wild ride.
Sunday, November 2, 2014
Last friday (the 24th) I went to Velour in Provo to see Midas Whale play. Påndo opened and I had never heard of them, but they were really talented and I really enjoyed their stuff, and then Ryan Innes finished off the set. The atmosphere was so cool. I was just standing in awe of the decorations and lighting and whatnot. It got me really excited about the music scene here.
I went alone, and I honestly don't know if I would have enjoyed it more or less if I were with a group. I've been going to things alone a lot lately, (especially since I moved to Utah) so it gets easier each time. I would say it really started last fall when I was up at school and Kelsi was engaged and Brianne had just left on her mission, and I knew that I still wanted to do things and go places even if there was no one to go with me.
I hope that feeling doesn't prevent others from doing what they want to alone, because going solo isn't always so bad. I made a friend at this show and I ended up having something in common with her, and it's something that I don't find myself having in common with a ton of people, so it was cool that she understood. It was cool that I met her.