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Forbidden Love

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I went to Istanbul a few weeks ago. Those who know me know that it’s a place I’ve always wanted to go. The history calls to me like nothing else, both for its Byzantine roots and its Balkan connection through the Ottoman Empire. The Ottomans were a force of nature. There’s an insane amount of resentment in the Balkans enduring as a result of their hundreds of years of rule. They were Muslims encroaching on Christian territory. It's the standard conflict.

Every family has a love story just this side of a storybook. Here’s mine. Our family only found out about it in the past twenty or so years. It took place around 1903 in Montenegro, when Turkish influence still lingered despite being in heavy decline. Christian and Muslim relations were far from stellar, and god forbid some kind of love happened between the two people. Speaking from the Christian Orthodox view of the time, for a Christian man to freely be with a Muslim girl was uncouth. But for a Christian woman to freely be with a Muslim man, well that was unheard of. Gender politics was still something heavily underdeveloped, unfortunately. No respectable Christian woman would out of love and her own choice sully her family’s name through something as scandalous as running around with the enemy. Men had a different sort of power, so it was easier to excuse.

But before I get derailed with the unfairness of it all, enter Mara. She was born in the hills surrounding my mom’s hometown, which for all its widespread farming lands was a community of close-knit people with a strong faith in Christ. She was a model young woman who took care of the family sheep, and every day she’d take them to the spring by the old graveyard so they could have their fill of water. Unsurprisingly, she wasn’t the only one who used it. It was there that she eventually met Mumin.

Mumin was a servant, one of many to a local Turkish representative. The Turk ran a hotel and liked to use water drawn exclusively from the very same spring Mara would frequent. Mumin, a Muslim, was in charge of fetching it.

It’s easy to guess the rest. I’m sure at the beginning the two of them were apprehensive about each other, but societal prejudice is only interesting for so long, and young age tends to breed boredom. They probably got to talking one day, figured out the other wasn’t so bad, kept meeting, and eventually fell in love.

But, like I said, the spring wasn’t a secret. They were caught one day by an old man who immediately separated them, took hold of Mara, and marched her right down to her parents. Mara was forbidden to ever see Mumin again. If she did, he’d be killed.

Time passed. Everything seemed fine. Mara stopped seeing Mumin, and the people went along their merry, intolerant ways, knowing no other life. An old man died and the whole community went to the funeral. Except Mara. She had to watch the sheep. They did leave a hobbling arthritic grandmother to watch over her, but I wonder if they were kicking themselves in retrospect. The woman couldn’t even walk to the cemetery, let alone do any kind of watching over Mara. To make things all the more frustrating, the old lady ended up dozing off. When she woke up, Mara was gone.

Meanwhile, Mara was back with Mumin, dressed for travel, and running away with the love of her life. They eloped in secret and moved to Turkey. Mara sent back her Christian clothes as a sign of her acceptance of the Muslim faith, and her dear brothers promptly burned them. She was disowned.

She lost her family and became a source of shame and disgrace, but she was happy…probably. Years later her descendants would open a store in Istanbul named after the hills around my mom’s hometown. A store that some of our family friends would see, and wonder, and tell us about and finally lead us to the rediscovery of Mara and Mumin’s love.

When I went to Istanbul a few weeks ago, my mom and I had a little goal: find our lost family. Unfortunately, Mara being disowned has resonated much farther into the future than we thought it would have. And without Mumin’s last name, there wasn’t much we could do. Istanbul is a city of fourteen million people. We had a few leads, but even the vendors in the Grand Bazaar could only tell us so much.

So we didn’t find them. Maybe we deserved not to. But in some ways I’m okay with that, because it preserves the myth surrounding Mara. It’s like our personal story of Romeo and Juliet, except that in our version, they lived. It’s a nice idea.

Maybe I’ll try again someday, and harder. I’ll root through the old records of my mom’s hometown and find some use for the history degree I’m getting. Until then, this nostalgia is the kind you treasure, I think. When I meet her descendants, this will all become real. Until then, it’s a legend.

Connection

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I went to France about a week and a half ago for five days. It was reading week at UofT and a few good medievalist friends of mine just up and went to France. Being that England is so damn close, I joined them. We went to Bayeux first, saw the Battle of Hastings tapestry, and spent too much time talking about why certain images were the way they were, which prompted a couple of people to shush us as they tried to listen to their audio guides. At the risk of sounding snobby, they probably could've learned more just from listening to our conversation. Four history students vastly outweigh one fast-paced audio guide only pointing out the highlights.

But yeah, we were totally the nerds standing there reading the Latin and translating together.

After Bayeux, we got to Paris...and here's where things turned.

We got to our dirty, overpriced hotel and finally got a hold of internet. I checked my messages and found a long one waiting from a very good friend back in Toronto. I scrolled up to the top and started reading, and the words were like a punch to the gut.

My friend back home passed away. I wasn't that close to him, but I was close enough to remember his smile, and the guy who messaged me was one of his best friends. The people I was with immediately saw things weren't okay, but when they asked me what was wrong, I couldn't reply. Everything I could think to say sounded shallow and trite. Nothing could successfully translate what I was feeling. It hardly scratched the surface of what this actually meant.

Eventually I just showed them the first few lines of the message, then I sat on a bed whose covers I didn't trust and kept reading. I haven't had a death happen this close to me in years. I've forgotten what it feels like. When I called my friend to offer condolences and honestly just cry with him on the phone there was still so much disbelief in my mind.

One thing that became immediately clear was that I don't believe in the afterlife. I don't believe in souls or heaven, or at least I don't care about them. It isn't very comforting to me to think that they're happy somewhere else. Maybe because I don't think that's possible. If I died tomorrow and went to a "better place", to an afterlife of awareness and waiting for others to join me, I'd be miserable. I will have left behind everything I loved. And even if happiness were possible, I want my friends and family happy here. I want them somewhere tangible, where I can call them up for coffee or catch up over beers. I want to be able to have conversations with them or laugh at stupid jokes or cry over the sad things in life or get unreasonably angry when somebody insults them. It doesn't matter to me if, after death, they've just gone somewhere else. What good is that to me? And what good am I to them while they're over there and I'm still here for however much longer?

I know it's selfish. I won't make excuses for it, nor will I apologize for it, because life is made up of interactions with people and once those people are gone, it's changed forever. Nobody has a choice in the matter.

Two days after this happened, I went to the outskirts of Paris to see some family I'd never met: my dad's uncle (who I actually had met before, but was too young to remember), his son, his son's wife, and their little daughter. I was a bit wary of the whole thing, because I felt like I was intruding on their peaceful Sunday, forcing them to pick me up from the train station and make a big lunch. But once I got there, and once we all got talking, it became so clear how happy my great uncle was to see me. And everybody kept repeating that they couldn't believe I'd take the time to come all the way out to their place for the day when there were so many things to see in Paris, and how good I was for it. At the end of the lunch, a raspberry tart was brought out with the candles 64 on it and I found out to my surprise that it'd been my great uncle's birthday just three days before. So we celebrated his birthday as well. And I just looked around the table and saw everybody so happy, these people I'd never met until that day, who'd had no idea who I was but made an amazing lunch in my honour, who'd waited for me to celebrate a birthday. Twice, I was almost moved to tears but forced myself to keep them at bay.

All I could think was, this is what family means. And it's in times of death that I realize that I am so, so grateful for it. That I could go to someone's house with only some blood and a marriage tying me to them and leave feeling like I've known them all my life. Such open arms are rare. I couldn't believe my luck.

Anyways...this post was pretty brutal to write, and now that I'm crying again, I should end it. If there is an afterlife, I hope my friend is relaxing, cracking his easy grin like he used to, and letting go of all of the people still here so he can begin to truly enjoy it. If not, then let his memory live on with us.

Rest in peace.

Backup Plan

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So it's my second week of classes, and they're freaking amazing. I'm taking Medieval Dream Poetry, 16th Century Scottish Lyric Poetry, and Pop Culture in the Late Middle Ages....and I know it's really only the last one that sounds fascinating, but they all are. Small seminars, close readings of texts, most of which are in Middle English or Older Scots...I love it.

Last week there was a clubs fair at the uni and holy shit. There's a club for everything. They even have a freaking skydiving society, which was, alas, too expensive for me. A lot of people consider these clubs a support system for what they eventually want to do. Many of the societies foster students with dreams of the Olympics, or world tournaments, or volunteering in different countries. So taking my cue from these inspiring individuals, I, naturally, joined the Pole Dancing Society.

Dear god everything hurts. The second lesson was yesterday, and I have the upper body strength of a five year old. Which became very obvious throughout the lesson. Especially since I shared a pole with a guy (yes, guy, you read that right) that trains Taekwondo and could climb up the pole like a monkey, spinning down to the bottom and getting his feet back under him with kicks and backward somersaults. It does something to a girl's self-esteem when a guy is better than her at dancing around a phallic symbol.

But it's so much fun! It's a bit like gymnastics, actually, except that everything you do revolves around a pole. It takes a fair amount of coordination and control and confidence to commit to a move and keep from flinging yourself into the ground, or the pole itself (which I discovered and can prove with a few clumsily acquired bruises), but once you do get the move down you feel kind of badass. The people that have been doing it for a while look so freaking graceful. Lewd history aside, pole dancing's actually quite beautiful when it's done well.

Anyways, being the idiot that I am, in the evening after the lesson I went and swing danced for three hours. In low-heeled boots. I'm really stupid. But that, too, was incredible. It has been too long.

So my body's pretty dead right now. Ah but my soul is full!

And really, at the end of all this, when my artsy career prospects finally fail me, well, at least I'll know how to pole dance. I hear those places pay in cash.


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I'm in England!

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Right now I'm in Nottingham, chilling out with my sister in an awesomely quaint apartment on the third floor of a house. I'll be here until the end of June studying Medieval history and English, and I am beyond excited. I start school next week and I only have classes on Tuesdays and Wednesdays, which leave a five day weekend wide open to whatever sorts of travel my little heart desires. I promised a friend of mine I'd actually write some post-y things to keep her updated, so here we go!

My sister's visiting for a week. I haven't seen her since September, so it's great to have her here to hang out and make stupidly embarrassing mistakes with me as I settle in.

For example. Bus fare to the centre is £1.70. For the past few days my sister and I had been giving the driver £2.40. You know, "for the both of us."

It wasn't until today that we realized we've been cheating the transit system out of a pound each time we took the bus...

But I think that's more embarrassing for the actual drivers. I'm thinking they get distracted by our accents.

Our neighbours are brilliant. The day after we got here they rang our doorbell, introduced themselves, and invited us over to an amazing home-cooked dinner.

What an awesome freaking place. Everybody's so damn friendly. Even the butchers waved us into the shop today with huge grins on their faces. Let's hope it lasts!



Rich Etiquette

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It is so strange to me that upscale department stores are the norm for some people.

The other day I set out to find a dress for a wedding, and after I come back home with one that's a bit flawed (but could, I think, be easily fixed by a tailor) my mom immediately starts yelling at me for buying it. Which I get, with the whole “why spend money on things of bad quality,” but come on, it was on sale, it was really nice, and it would take a person ten minutes and a sewing machine to fix it.

Anyways, she somehow convinces my dad to take me to Holt Renfrew to buy “a proper freaking dress”. Holt’s, as you may or may not know, is a classy department store where clothes have been known to cost the same as plane tickets to Europe. In other words, not my first shopping destination. I go along with it, though I’m scowling the entire time, glowering at the prices and not really looking very closely at anything, until I feel pressured by a saleslady to just choose something already and try it on. I end up actually finding a pretty stunning dress and at my mom’s over-the-phone insistence, my dad buys it for me. As I’m changing back into my clothes I hear the saleslady talking to him.

“So when’s the wedding?”

“No clue,” he replies. “This weekend, I guess.” [My dad has an endearing lack of investment in the sundry things I do in life.]

“Well aren’t you going with her?” she asks.

“Why would I? It’s her school friend.”

And she gets this confused look on her face and goes, “Oh but aren’t—”

And then it dawns on her:

“Oh! Oh you’re her father!

“…Yes.”

“Oh haha but you look so young!

Which may have been the most poorly veiled “I thought you were her older gentleman lover!” I have ever witnessed.

When I leave the change room and join them at the cash, she laughs it off and leans towards us and in this conspiring, whispering tone she says, “Older men come in here all the time with younger girls, and you don’t want to ask if he’s her dad, you know?”

And yeah, I guess that would be a lot more awkward, because it’s not like she could save herself with “Oh but you look so young!”

Ahhh...the etiquette of the rich. How it makes me facepalm.

In other news, I discovered this lady the other day and she just…oh my god. She has the lightest, most entrancing silvery voice ever. I can’t really compare it to anything. It just floats. And I can’t understand her lyrics, nor can I find translations anywhere, and from what I have read half of them are gibberish anyways, so her music is the biggest mystery. This song is just so lovely. There's also a video of her on Youtube busking in Strasbourg that's a few years old. Apparently the response to the video was what made her actually record herself. It's mind boggling to me that she hadn't considered it before.

So yes. Just wanted to show it to you.





Back to homework!

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Not ready

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I had this dream about a year ago and just rediscovered that I'd written it down.

I was going to be sacrificed in a ritual. I wandered around, unsure of how I should feel. On one hand, I knew it had to be done. On the other, my selfish will to live clashed with responsibility. I saw an older woman that was also chosen sitting near me, looking serene, consoling the people who were weeping around her. I moved closer to listen.

"I have no regrets," she said. "I spent my life in love."

And then she pulled out a tangible representation of her love; an old brown map with six or seven gold bands scattered on the land. I peered over her shoulder and watched them glitter.

"These are all the men I loved," she said. "Every one of them. But this one," she pointed at a band more brilliant than the rest, locked with another, "this one I loved most."

I left her side and sat down on a rock. I pulled out my own map. On it was one ring made of dull blue metal, sitting alone. A man walked up to me to tell me that it was almost time, and I immediately began to sob. He gently helped me stand as I stuttered pleas for sparing my life. My map slipped out of my hand as he led me to the meeting place. He rubbed my back in attempt to console me, but it didn't help. He meant nothing to me.

When I woke up, my will to live had never been so strong.


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Italy

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I went to Italy in June. For those of you who know me, you'll know what a big deal it was for me. It was a family trip, three weeks long, and let me tell you....it was phenomenal.

The problem with being in university for Medieval Studies in Canada is that, excepting some books or stray pieces of parchment, maybe a few artifacts on display at museums, it doesn't exist in this country, because the history I'm learning didn't happen on this continent. Learning about things at a distance creates a sort of wistful image of what these places might be like in person. I saw the pictures of Rome and Ravenna and they looked breathtaking, but there was also a part of me that wondered if perhaps it was just photo magic; beautiful framing that made things look prettier than they actually were.

It wasn't. In fact, photographs don't do these places justice. Because walking through the streets of Rome, you're not just seeing the cobblestones, you stepping on them. You're tripping over them, falling into the potholes created by empty spaces, risking your neck if you try to wear stiletto heels. You can feel them beneath your feet. And going into that church, you experience the whole building with all your senses. There's a choir singing; you can taste the candles in the air; you can smell the incense; your vision isn't restricted to the confines of a picture frame; you can touch.

It was the touching part that got me. Seeing things or hearing about things is fine, but sometimes the lighting isn't the greatest and people lie. But to walk into the Basilica of San Vitale in Ravenna, to look down and see that you're standing on a carpet of intricate squares flowing through complicated patterns, to make your way to the apse and see the stunning 6th century mosaics with the portraits of the epic Emperor Justinian and his badass ex-courtesan wife Theodora with the colours so vivid it hurts... And you move your gaze to the dome of the basilica and just know that at some point, that was decorated in a similar manner but has been lost and replaced by unimpressive Baroque frescoes that are peeling and going dingy grey in some areas. You turn back to the golds, blues, reds of the apse and it's just....damn. Then you walk up to a marble column, see it slightly pockmarked with time and age, put your hand out and touch it... and have it hit you. This place is 1500 years old. And you are in a building through which Ostrogoth kings and Byzantine emperors once passed.

I'm going to admit here that I was so overwhelmed I cried. And while I'm kind of embarrassed by that, seriously, look at this place!



Basilica di San Vitale

To read about these places and to learn of them in lectures is wonderful. But to experience them in person makes them real. They stop being stories. The people that inhabited them suddenly become so much easier to imagine. You can see where they did the little things; where they sat, worshiped, or ate their dinners. While in Rome we visited Ostia Antica, a two and a half thousand year old abandoned port city. The entire place is a complex of ruins. And as you're walking down a road paved millennia ago, you can follow a map that lays out the plan of the city so coherently it's as if it were made yesterday. Then you turn a corner and you come across Roman equivalents of fast food restaurants. And then you keep walking and find a row of latrines where people used to go to the washroom.

And because you and your sister have no tact, you proceed to do an incredibly inappropriate photo shoot centering around indigestion and drinking too much the night before.

Photobucket                  Photobucket


It was the most amazing experience because while I was in constant awe with everything I was seeing, the trip was so effective at demystifying the past. It was so easy to see how people back then were still people, they just lived in a different time. Yes, they had art and buildings that can be so different that they're hard to relate to, but I promise you. All you need to do is give them context. Suddenly, it's not just frescoes and architecture; it's rivals trying to outdo each other by building the more magnificent structure. The Virgin Mary in the picture is actually a portrait of the friar's illicit secret lover and the Christ Child on her lap is his son. The statue of a conqueror is less about aesthetics and more about the propaganda geared to make people think they'd be lost without him.

It's so easy to forget about people on an individual scale. To be so used to something in its completed form that it seems it was always there. But somebody built it, or painted it, or designed it, and everybody, everybody, has their own personal motives.

And it's those motives that I find absolutely fascinating. Because I truly believe that if you can answer the question of "Why?" your understanding of the human condition has increased exponentially.


Always bring extra pens and pencils.

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Or, "Why I'm a huge idiot: part 1 of many."

My friend made me feel guilty that I haven't posted in months and that my most recent one was boring.

So here's a riveting story of student self-preservation and my idiocy on the subject.

It's the end of the school year and I wrote my first final exam today, on Petrarch's Canzoniere. The thing about university exams is that the atmosphere is pretty damn tense, and understandably so, and it's kind of a time that's very much "every man for himself." For a lot of them, especially if you go to a large uni, you're in a huge room packed with people writing on various subjects (my friend wrote his physics final today just a few rows from me) and you have a couple of clocks on the wall and hopefully there isn't a cold going around or else half the room is sniffling and you're in danger of catching it. There's hardly ever any real silence; somebody is always rustling papers, or some chairs are always creaking, or, if you've had the unfortunate luck of sitting near an asthmatic, there will be frustratingly loud breathing going on.

The most prominent feature, however, is how in this room, for two hours, everybody becomes selfish. It makes sense, because it's their GPA on the line, and they don't want distractions, so this is entirely reasonable.

But god forbid you forget a writing utensil.

I had two in my bag; a pencil, and a pen. The pen has served me well so far, and it holds a special place in my heart. I got it in my frosh kit in first year and never really wanted to use it because it brazenly displayed information about the UofT Sex Ed centre, complete with numbers and URLs, and as an ickle froshie I felt more comfortable sticking to my classic blue-inked BIC pens.

And then one fateful day halfway through autumn I had to write my first ever midterm, and it was in Art History, and it was a second year course. And all I had was my Sex Ed pen.

Since then, it's become a bit dear to me, and holds great memories of getting me through tough essay questions and subway travel with newspaper crosswords, so when I left the house this morning and checked for writing utensils, it was with a fond smile and a skip in my step that I tucked away my lucky black-ink pen.

I went to lunch with my friend and we did some last-minute review, and as we walked to the gymnasium in which we'd write the final (yes, gymnasium) I told her about my awesome pen, and how much it's gotten me through, and "Haha wouldn't it suck if I ran out of ink?"

Ohhh our conversations are always a riot. I just love it when foreshadowing happens in real life.

I got into the exam and it was one of those where you must write in ink and the first time since I've had it, I doubted my pen. I turned to my friend, who had three blue ones lined up in front of her, and asked if, just in case, I could borrow one. She gave me the one with the least amount of ink.

So the exam started, I read over the questions, and began to write my first answer: "The Ascent of Mt Ventoux is a perfect way for Petrarch's coll---"

And then my pen ran out of ink. Hardly fifteen words in.

So I switched to the blue one from my friend.

This is what's left of it:

empty pen

You can probably make that out. If not, that's an empty, empty shell. And it happened just as I finished writing my exam.

I cannot even explain how stressful it is having to write essay answers with very little ink left.

A similar thing happened last year. I showed up to an exam with just a pen, and it was all supposed to be filled out on a Scantron. With an HB pencil. And I had no friends in the room with me. I had to walk around like an asshole asking people for a pencil. And nobody would give me one. I understand that, I suppose, because your spare pencils aren't there to be given out. They're there if the worst happens and by some chance even the second and third fail you. I don't know; maybe you drop your pencil case a lot and the leads are prone to breaking easily and you didn't bring a sharpener. Whatever.

But there was this one girl in particular....She looked so pathetically undecided, because she wanted to be nice, but didn't want to fail her exam if all her pencils broke and she was left with nothing.

Except that she had ten of them lined up on her desk. She was practically supplies closet. Don't even get me started on how many freaking erasers she had.

Finally some chick gave me a break, probably because she'd been watching me going from person to person like a beggar, and gave me one of her mechanical pencils.

And there was half an inch's worth of lead in it.

Half an inch.

But beggars can't be choosers, and since giving away a pencil during an exam is apparently a saintly deed, I wasn't about to ask more from her, so I had to fill in over a hundred Scantron bubbles with half an inch of lead.

I managed, but just barely. It involved crazy faith and a lot of miserly coaxing. And maybe throw in the possibility of fairy dust in there, too, because I really don't know how I did it.

Moral of the story. Bring your own damn writing utensils to university exams. Because chances are, nobody will want to give up theirs.




Also, I am an idiot.



Indigenous Literature

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In the past year I've had the pleasure of taking a class on Indigenous Literature. I have to say it went beyond my expectations. Going into it, I wasn't entirely sure what to expect; the stereotypes? Loads of reading about residential schools and how terrifying they were? A lot of talk about the wrongs that were done during colonization?

Well, there was some of that, but there was also a fair amount of...normal. With all the preconceived notions I had, I was worried that it would be a really heavy course. But most of the readings were just...readings. It was literature.

This was the point of the course, I think; to expose us to the fact that though horrible pasts contribute to a culture, they do not define it. There's humor and love to be found in every existing corner. And there's a certain flavour to all the readings. In the same way that Western literature will drop in allusions to popular myths or events that I don't think twice about, things like trickster spirits and medicine (the Native equivalent of of magic) are mentioned with no fanfare. As they should be, because the moment you make a big deal about something, it seems like a thing that's exclusive to that piece.

Anyways, reading these books and short stories and poems gave me a really good idea of what indigenous literature is; that is, literature that speaks of issues, social norms, spiritual ideals, and historic events in ways that can range from passionate to matter-of-fact, righteous to accepting, complex to simple, and serious to satirical.

In other words, it does what all literature should do; educate, enlighten, and, of course, entertain.


Here are some of my favourite reads from the course. Mostly I've found that I gravitated towards the short stories. They were phenomenal.


The Truth About Stories, by Thomas King

The Moon of Letting Go, by Richard Van Camp

Love, Medicine, and one Song, by Gregory Scofield

Red Rooms, by Cherie Dimaline

The Undiscovered, by William Sanders

Borders, by Thomas King

Motorcycles and Sweetgrass, by Drew Haden Tayler

Monkey Beach, by Eden Robinson



So long, teenage years...

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I'm turning twenty in three days! I'm kind of freaking out. Uni starts up again tomorrow, too, and I haven't looked at anything in over a month. My plan to catch up on readings for my full year courses hasn't exactly been realized, mostly because of too many fun times with friends and too much playing Skyrim alone in my basement. Gotta counterbalance the wild social life somehow, right?

Anybody who knows me knows I'm not a big fan of change. I'm hugely nostalgic about things, most of the time before they even end. I've already started fretting over where all my closest friends will be when we finish school, and that's still a few years down the road. There are also times when I look at things, wishing they were as they were a year ago. Even if I know that they're done, and there's nothing to look for anymore, memories keep me chained to them.

I'm sure this isn't unique to myself, but it's still a mean kind of heartache. Emotions can be so easily confused, and when something's lost, the transition between loss and acceptance is so muddled by longing that it obviously takes time. It doesn't help that this in-between is a constant flip-flop. One moment, you think you're fine, and you feel at peace with fate. The next, you're running in circles trying to make sense of things that intrinsically can't be understood.

There is a part, though, that I consider dangerously close to denial. It's the stage of "I'm just sad because it was fun and I miss it."

When you're in this stage, you have to reach deep and ask yourself: Is that really why you're sad? And do you miss it because you've accepted that it's gone? Or are you just waiting, dormant, for it to come back? Do you miss it because it was fresh and new and uncharted and that kind of thing is too brilliantly fleeting to ever happen again anyways? Or is your sadness a veiled jealousy, you feeling territorial over things you were so secure about once, where even if you could only reinforce it bits at a time, you felt like you had your whole life to explore it? Back when you'd be grateful for four days uninterrupted and say so, and receive the answer that four years wouldn't be enough?

If you think back to those moments and feel a kind of reserved regret, followed by thoughts of bad timing, and fun while it lasted, and soft smiles and special places in your heart, then maybe you're okay.

If, instead, you're sitting at your computer typing "Why Why Why" you're probably not in as good a shape as you thought you were, no matter how many times you tell yourself you're fine. Or tell others you're fine, trying to convince yourself. Or how many people you try to reassure to protect them from guilt of total helplessness in your plight.

So.

Why, why, why.

I guess we'll see in the future.

Twenty in three days!

In lighter news, I went to a swing dance workshop with a friend of mine a few days ago. I didn't know it when I signed up for it, but it was for aerials. Aerials, my friends, are those things where you're thrown around constantly at risk of dying.

I have trust issues. They're not emotional trust issues; I tell everybody about my shit (to the annoyance of some others). These issues more stem from not being comfortable with, you know, flying in the air unfettered. With hardwood floors beneath me. And only human limbs to break my fall.

Long story short, it was terrifying. I had to do handstands against my partner and each time I saw my life flashing before my eyes. There was one moment where I almost died, which consisted of my teetering on my partner's shoulders and watching people around me freak out and lunge over to catch me. Watching, from six feet in the air.

Still. Loads of fun, even though I have four epic bruises from some silly clumsiness and my muscles still ache because of my lack of fitness. Though to be honest I was surprised they hadn't already atrophied. And I guess, in the end, I do have more confidence in myself with these things.

This, by the way, is the move we learned:




We didn't get it to anywhere near that smooth, but we weren't too shabby either! Actually, of the six couples, there was only one that had it almost as smooth as that. And the girl was just over five feet tall and the guy was huge and muscly. So. Just saying. If you can toss your partner around like a rag doll anyways, that is a great advantage.

...What bitterness? :P

ALSO!!! PUB[lishing] CRAWL launches tomorrow! That link is the to the Twitter account that used to be LTWFblog, just the name is changed, so if you already followed before, you should still be listed as a follower. Be sure to check it out! It's basically LTWF, but new and improved, people! We have some amazing new members, so come join us!


Peace out my homies! Till next time!