Despite the things I’ve been through, I normally have a very positive outlook on life. I have learned to take the little things in stride, to accept what I can’t change and seek out what makes me happy.
Then some days are just bad.
Today is one of the bad days.
It’s 1:30 am, I should be in bed. I have class tomorrow and I’m struggling to keep my eyes open but I hate going to sleep when I’m upset. Something about lying in bed in the dark by yourself just makes bad feelings infinitely worse.
Grief is a strange thing. It can hit you at any time, and it the weirdest ways. The knowledge that it could render you completely miserable at any given time – watching a comedy, eating out with friends, etc – even over a year later, is awful. It’s easiest to not think that way, to focus on being happy, on the present moment, but then it happens.
And sometimes it’s just weird. Today I was walking home to change before going to a basketball game with my boyfriend and some friends. I was listening to happy music and enjoying the nice weather, feeling good. And suddenly I felt like crying. Not emotionally; all the sudden I was just fighting back tears. It was purely physical.
Now, several hours later, the emotional part has suddenly hit me.
And I want to go back to Glasgow, but I want to go back to before my dad died. But stay the same person that I have become. Mostly I just carry a lot of sadness and wish I didn’t have to.
And to anyone reading, the next post will (most likely) be about my recent trip to Puerto Rico. Much less depressing, so stick with me.
A year ago today I was at my dad’s funeral.
A year ago today I was in a different relationship.
A year ago today I was best friends with a girl who prioritized seeing her boyfriend over seeing me in the wake of my father’s death.
A year ago today I was lost.
Today, I still grieve. I’m in a new relationship that makes me incredibly happy. I’ve finally gotten enough sense to cut ties with my supposed best friend, and I’m not lost. I know who I am better than ever, and I am proud of myself. After a year I am still in so much pain that sometimes I feel like the wind has been knocked out of me, but I also feel like a more whole, complete person.
Today, I know I can do anything.
It’s been a really long time since I’ve updated this this thing, but I felt like writing. More specifically, I felt like writing something very honest and important to me and putting it out there where anyone can find it.
This year has been the hardest time of my life but I have also had the best experiences. I have gotten to know myself better and I am a happier person for it. I carry a lot of sadness and I still have days that make me want to curl up in the fetal position and never move again, but I am a better person now. I am more comfortable with myself, I appreciate people and experiences more, and I love more deeply.
When I was trying to decide what exactly I wanted to write today, I took a look at my old thirty day challenge list to see if anything caught my eye. Number 27 couldn’t have been more perfect: a quote you try to live by.
So, let me tell you a story. It isn’t a happy story, but it’s true and it’s mine and that’s the best I can do.
On December 28, 2011 I slept in. As I got ready for the day, in my head I went through all the errands I needed to do to prepare for my semester abroad in Scotland. I had a lot to do in the six days before my flight. I was brushing my teeth when my mom called me downstairs.
I expected a funny squirrel out the window or my dog doing something cute. Instead I found her standing by my dad who was in his normal chair, sleeping.
“I can’t wake him up,” she said.
It’s amazing how calm we can be in the face of emergency. I guess it’s more shock than anything, but we got through the motions of what we needed to do: getting him out of the chair, her calling 911, me performing CPR.
Those next few days are a terrifying blur. Anger, sadness, disbelief, confusion, fear. Angry at him for not going to the doctor when I told him to, beyond sad that my dad was gone. Disbelief that he would really never walk through the door again, and confusion over what to do, how this could happen to me. Fear, terrible fear of what the future held. I was supposed to be leaving the country, but nothing was set in stone anymore. I had so many reasons to stay: my support network was at home and I would know no one in Scotland, I felt guilty at leaving my mom when she needed me, I didn’t want to ruin what was supposed to be an amazing experience by tainting it with grieving.
Several people told me to go to Scotland, including my mom. And though there were real reasons for going, like I would probably lose the semester if I stayed and end up living at home, I just saw more and more reasons to stay.
My mom told me that my dad had written the message they put in my senior yearbook, and I was flipping back to find that when I happened to glance at another girl’s senior ad and see the quote that changed everything:
Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sail. Explore. Dream. Discover.”
I really took this to heart and thought about it, and without it I do not think I would have gotten on that plane. It was the scariest and most difficult thing I have ever done, and I have not once regretted it. I have seen and done amazing things, met incredible people, and grown so much as a person. This year has presented to me all the extremes of life, and I’ve learned to accept everything for what it is.
I can’t bring my dad back, so instead I’ll live my life the way he did, by seizing every opportunity. He was a man who loved to travel, and I inherited that trait from him. His favorite places were Thailand and Israel, and I have plans to travel Southeast Asia this coming summer. I will not sit idly as life passes me by, but will do everything I can. I will also remember that people, even the ones you don’t know, are the most important thing in life. I will nurture my existing relationships and continue to form new ones, because that is what life is about. People will always surprise you – like Dave, the Irishman I met in Oslo. But that’s a story for another time.
So, I leave you with pictures of my travels, and one more – the most important of all.
And finally, I may not show you myself, but here is a man who deserves to be recognized: my dad.
Someone I’m seriously impressed by is John Green. He’s an author and vlogger. After being pushed by my friend Sara, I’ve read all his books (I wasn’t so hard to convince after I’d read the first one), and he’s really a brilliant guy.
What really strikes me about his books is how at first glace they appear to be your typical teenage fluff. They’re very quick reads and are about high schoolers and their relationships and problems. What I didn’t expect was the depth with which he handles these usually trivial topics.
My favorite thing about his characters are that they’re very real. Usually when you read a book like that you have the main character who you love and then the antagonist(s) who you, of course, hate. But with John Green, all of the characters are flawed. All his books have main characters that I can never quite decide if I like. It challenges the reader’s notion that you the protagonist is inherently good and that you should be rooting for him/her and that the antagonist is being evil just for kicks and giggles or because they were raised by Satan or something.
He also deals very well with his subject matter. Most authors make high schoolers too immature or too mature – it’s not easy to understand the strange stage they’re in. Even the “best” person is going to have immature characteristics that jump out at you if you don’t happen to be the same age.
John Green also slips in some pretty brilliant quotes. For example:
“We find it difficult to understand that other people are human beings in the same way that we are. We idealize them as gods or dismiss them as animals.”
That’s from his book, Paper Towns. I think right there in those two sentences John Green just summed up all the world’s problems. Could people have enslaved each other if they truly empathized? Whipped them? Tortured them? I for one don’t think so.
There’s a quote I think fits in nicely from Orson Scott Card’s Ender’s Game. This may be a tangent from my love for John Green, but OSC deserves love too:
“In the moment that I truly understand my enemy, understand him well enough to defeat him, then in that very moment I also love him. I think it’s impossible to really understand somebody, what they want, what they believe, and not love them the way they love themselves.”
Back to John Green:
He’s also a very funny guy, both in his books and in his vlogs. He’s a self-proclaimed nerd, like me, so I can’t help but like him! And he’s signing the first printing of his upcoming book (which means I’m getting a signed copy, since I pre-ordered one!), which is completely awesome. Though I do feel bad, as he’s injuring his hand by doing so.
I’m really excited for the book, even though I won’t be in the U.S. when it comes out. I’ll be studying abroad in Glasgow, so it’s going to be sent to my home address and I’m going to get my mom to send it to me there. 🙂
I’m kind of disappointed I didn’t stop by to listen to the Pit Preacher today. Apparently he taught some valuable lessons. My friend who’s a freshman and evidently had never heard Gary speak before took the following picture of him today and captioned it:
“I really hope it’s the former. Maybe one day he will mistake you for one of his mistresses and conversation will somehow include me. At which time an epic friendship is struck up because he likes that I like him for more than his basketball prowess, as surely I will. Presently we will be best bros and I will get to go to all the games and sit by the team and we will tweet inside jokes when he is in the NBA and I am the professional writer with it. And here is how it gets back to you: you as my editor. We all live rich and happy besties, and I get to wear his championship rings, notice the plural rings, as I please. Or something along those lines.”
So. Um. Hi.
While in the shower a few weeks ago (I do my best thinking in the shower. Probably because I can’t be distracted by Facebook or Twitter) it occurred to me to start a blog. Mostly this was out of a need to just vent sometimes, but really I think part of it was a little bit of an ego-trip. I mean, I could just start a journal, but I had some notion that maybe the world would be interested in my life.
Which is really quite silly, when I think about it. I mean, I don’t even know how anyone could find this. I’m not telling anyone about it.
Anyway, the Internet, by some twist of my imagination, seems safer. This is probably completely illogical, but considering my mother read all of my journals and poem books (note: I am a nerd) as a kid, I feel, for my life, it kinda makes sense. Except for the fact that I’m at college and there’s almost no way my mom could get a hold of anything I write without me actually handing it to her.
Anyhoo, my idea basically was for a blog where I just write. I know that seems unimaginably simple and whatever, but this means no re-reading (at least initially) and definitely no editing. And no rules for how often to post or what to post or anything.
This may still seem silly, but you should know that I’m an English major, and the whole editing part will not be easy.
So, in case anyone actually happens upon this blog (I don’t know why you would), here’s a bit about me:
My name’s not really Amy. I didn’t want to use my real name because the egocentric part of me worried about everyone being able to trace this back to me in case, in some freak occurrence, I developed a readership. The name Amy doesn’t hold any significance to me, either. It was a bit of a play off of “Honest Abe.” Abe Lincoln doesn’t hold any significance to me either – it just seemed like a good (lame) idea for a blog.
So, now that I’ve got the obligatory introduction out of the way, I’m going to have at it. And yes, I’m going to end this blog post and immediately write another. Oh, that’s not how blogging works? Well, another thing you should probably know about me is that I don’t necessarily do things right. I just do what I do and sometimes it works.
By the way, I already broke my no-editing rule. This is going to be harder than I thought.