Northern Lights

Northern Lights

Sunday, March 30, 2014

This I Believe #11

No class this week but don't forget to post your essay!

14 comments:

  1. It was in the middle of my run on a Thursday night at 11pm that it hit me like a brick wall (or, if you’re a fan of Miley Cyrus, you may prefer the term “wrecking ball” instead). The stress of upcoming finals, the worry I hold for my mom, the sting of pain that’s still fresh when I think of my Pepaw. So, I cried. I cried a lot, and I did it in the middle of Limestone and Main. Granted, I couldn’t be too embarrassed by it, because it was so dark that people were less wondering what I was doing, and more annoyed by the fact that I was running at night with dark colored clothing on and thinking, “What the heck is this girl doing running in the dark? She can get ran over like that!” because I know that’s EXACTLY what I say when I see someone doing it. Little did the drivers know, my heart already felt like it had been ran over, so the physical pain coming from actually being ran over by each of the four tires with the tread worn down and (probably) remnants of a dead opossum or something all over it, or chewed up bubble gum, at the very least, wouldn’t have caused much more damage.

    So, I ran and ran and ran. I ran until I couldn’t breathe, I ran until I had to stop and sit on a low window sill on a tan stone building.

    So, I cried and cried and cried. I cried until I saw a man walking past, because I didn’t want to alarm him by making him think I was some sort of creeper who had lost my mind, and then him call the police on me only to find out that although I may have actually lost my mind, I don’t think I could really be classified as a creeper, but merely just a lost college student trying to figure out her life.

    So, I made my way to Gratz Park, and sat on the ground in front of the bench so that I could look at this fountain that I had never really stopped to look at before. What were these figures even doing? Weird. I did not get the fountain. I still do not get the fountain. Then, I cried out of frustration that I could not understand this fountain. Of course, that could be because I only saw one side of it. I didn’t move to look at it from the front or the opposite side, because who really takes the time to understand other people’s perceptions of something?
    So, I got up and jumped into the fountain. Calm yourself, I did JUMP into the fountain itself, but I didn’t say there was water in it. It was still drained for the winter, so instead of a cold splash greeting me, which probably would have given me pneumonia again, I merely landed on pale blue painted concrete.

    So, I layed down on the cold concrete in the bottom of the fountain that should have been filled with water. In which case, I would have drowned myself, but fortunately for me, again, there was no water. I watched as the huge winds kept blowing and blowing the tree branches. I gazed at the stars. I noticed the blue paint peeling on the inside of the fountain, and figured I’d help it out by peeling a little more off, obviously it didn’t want this mask on top of it. Cutting the natural beauty of the concrete apart, only to show through where the paint had worn off and cracked. Suffocating it in a way, I felt like it wanted someone to peel off the paint, the mask.

    I believe in running. I believing in loving someone so much it hurts. I believe in living without a mask.

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    Replies
    1. What a beautiful reflection, Sara. I hope that you decide to record it as your TIB 2014. I too believe in running. I too believe in loving.

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  2. I feel like I’ve pretty open with my feelings about being a senior. I am unmotivated, exhausted, and mostly annoyed. I am so ready for classes to be over and to move on the next part of my life. However, I am much less excited to say goodbye. This past weekend while watching SNL, Derek commented on how many more episodes there were in the season. I became instantly sad. Suddenly I realized how fast the semester had been moving. I only have five more days of regular class. Five. I can count that on one hand. I can’t even process that. On the drive home, I cried. I cried so much that it blurred my vision and I had to pull over. When I had finally come to a stop in a Kroger parking lot, I sobbed and sobbed and sobbed. I was crying for roads traveled, for friendships, for numbered days, and for saying goodbye.

    Like every boy I’ve ever dated will tell you, commitment isn’t really my thing. I let them in just enough to get to know me a little before I shut them out and push them away. But what they never really understood was that it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be committed to them, it’s that I didn’t want to get attached. Because being attached means that one-day you might have to break it off. You will have to say goodbye and I am horrible at saying goodbye. That is why realizing just how short six weeks really is has me crying in Kroger parking lots in the middle of the night. While at Transy, I have opened myself up to new experiences and new friends. I’ve become attached and now I’ve reached the dreaded saying goodbye. I don’t know how to prepare myself and I don’t know how to feel. I just know that six weeks isn’t very long at all.

    I believe that crying is good for the soul, but I don’t believe in goodbyes. I also don’t believe in leaving, but I know that’s something that we all have to do.

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  3. I was six years old. My brother cut a window in the front, and I painted an accidentally intermittent red line around it. Lowered over us this refrigerator box became our Never Land, and we spun tales that were no doubt incomprehensible to everyone including our closest friends and our own mother who naively told us to upend a hat outside the theatre walls for charitable contributions. She created our entire audience through her own commitment to community by starting a little league baseball team. My father leveled the field, cut the grass, built a backstop and maintained the grounds. In the winter, he would build the only ice-skating rink in our county atop this same patch of grass rich with dandelion and broad-leaf weeds. The ice-skaters were there to watch our puppet show seven months before he would first stoke the fire and prepare hot chocolate to warm them from the inside after their eyelashes froze together in the moisture of trapped breath—caught between their raised scarves and lowered hats all crocheted by grandmothers who used yarn to express unconditional love. The baseball players were there with their parents, and we heard their laughter from the edge of a long driveway that led to the one-room schoolhouse my father escaped from to fish with his best friend Bert Griffith.

    Jed Hubbell and I would swing into the river from rope hung on branches not selected by my father for makeshift fishing poles. The years were kind to the trees and I found “Louie loves Carrie” carved into the bark fifteen feet up nearly fifty years after little Louie Snyder was forced to sweep the schoolhouse as punishment for his indiscretion. Louie prepared the stage for our puppet theatre by sweeping the street beneath it, and he continued sweeping both of streets that were blacktopped until the day he died. Carrie is held forever in my mind, rocking in a chair that Louie made for her on the front porch of her house just four doors from the school house where they first met. I once tried to sell her candles for a fund-raiser and still hear her reply as if it were yesterday, "Candles? Damn no, child we have electricity here but wait are they moving away over there (gesturing wildly across the street)? Is that a U-Hell truck I see?" and then with the dexterity of a cat Carrie snatched one of the sample candles, darted into her house and lit it before I had a chance to think. After a few painful moments of taunting that nearly brought me to tears Carrie came out with money for five candles. To pay for hers and one for anyone of her neighbors to damn cheap to help a "cute little Gohde girl"--she found unending joy in addressing boys as "little girl".

    My father will die within ten miles of his childhood home and the one room schoolhouse which became an oddity and museum the day he left. I have lived away more than I have lived near this—my ancestral home—dating back to my great, great, great uncle Dorr Webb, a traveling salesman with a penchant for postcards and flowery language, but I know there is a place for me in the graveyard less than half a mile from that hat my brother and I turned upside down for charitable contributions. There was not a single coin in the hat when we finished our grueling back to back performances inside the poorly ventilated puppet theatre. We had received payment long before either of us was born.

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  4. I believe in naked ladies parties.

    Except there are no naked ladies, but fully clothed women who arrive muttering bawdy jokes but who are, in reality, too focused on the business at hand to take each other’s jokes a step further. The business at hand: sifting through piles of someone else’s clothes that used to fit or were meant to fit, but never did, or went out of favor, or, somehow, for no known reason, lost their sparkle.

    Except someone else’s rejects can become your favorite new pair of burgundy, patent-leather Doc Martens. Two mismatched over-the-knee socks with navy-blue stripes hold promises for transformation that rival this year’s spring, already too long in coming. And then there is the jewelry: red berries floating above seafoam white.

    But the best part by far is helping others look for clothes their size and getting help from them. “Size 10, anyone?” a red-haired woman waves a purple skirt over her head like a flag and you know that today sizes mean just that: what might fit whom.

    Except the best part really comes afterwards, in the kitchen. We relax into chat by the tall table. She tells me she quit a job that was too stressful in order to do more of what she really wants to do: volunteer full time, even if they miss her paycheck at home. A Hasher joins in with her own tale of traveling around the world, sleeping on friends’ couches, and not missing a steady job. “In Europe, lots of people get by on a lot less than what we’re used to,” she says. Certainly true of my Europe.

    So, yes, it’s a party, but more like a quilting bee, where the goal is something larger than a piece of fabric stitched to another. “Where are you from?” a woman asks me.

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  5. Even before I chose to attend Transy, I knew more than anything I wanted to study abroad while in college. However, the thought of visiting a foreign country for an entire semester made me rather anxious. Besides dance camp, which lasted a little less than a week, I had never been away from my best friends and family for so long. Whenever I heard that Transy provided the option of a May term where students could study abroad, my decision was made.

    Freshman year passed with no May term study abroad trips that truly felt like they were meant for me. Sophomore fall term arrived and registration for study abroad trips in the following May term had finally come. There were several options to choose from, as the year before, but this time there was one trip that I could not pass up. It was a study abroad trip to France where the students have the opportunity to cycle through the city of Paris and southern France. Although I had never been to Europe before, there was something about France that particularly intrigued me since I was younger. While my dad was exceptionally excited at the thought of me being able to have such an experience, the thought of traveling abroad in a foreign country to my mom scared her. Nevertheless, she agreed as long as I was not away longer than a month or so. After calling my dad and telling him all about the trip, he said he only had two concerns. One, I have zero experience with the French. Two, I have not rode a bike since I was about 10 years old. I laughed and told him it would be an experience to learn from and that I would not mind a challenge. He agreed and told me to sign myself up.

    It’s been four months later since then and the cool weather is finally beginning to leave and let the warm weather roll in. I just bought my very own bike for the first time since I was ten years old and could not be more excited to ride it around everywhere I go. The trip is now less than a month away. Although “Bonjour” is still the only French word I know, my cycling training for France is now in full swing biking about 20 miles every other day. I believe in the country of France and what it has to offer me this May term.

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  6. I rarely get my haircut. While I know I should stick to the trim every 4-6 weeks as suggested by my stylist I can never seem to find the time. As a result, I always have split ends and my highlights look like I pulled a do it yourself ombre dye job too high on my scalp. However I do make time to treat myself on occasion. I usually get a hair cut after I’ve had a hard exam or just after a stressful week. I email Shelby at FleetStreet and she always manages to squeeze me in.
    Today, I am getting my haircut, despite the fact that more stress lies ahead of me than behind. I have a 10 page paper due on friday, which will most likely require me to pull an all nighter on Thursday. My motivation level won’t let me complete the paper any sooner than that.
    Despite the craziness, I will take the time to let my mind numb itself as I sit in a chair while someone attempts to manage my mop because I have a formal on Saturday. Considering it’s my last one I thought I should look presentable. So over two hours, from about 1:45-3:45, my hair will go back to a glossy medium honey blonde, the cut will be shaped around my face and the split ends will be clipped off just at my shoulder blade. I will look like myself again.
    I believe in pampering. I believe in the snip and trim, and getting rid of the bad. I believe in that awesome scalp massage that only someone else can give you as they wash your hair (Trust me, when I have headaches I have tried to replicate this with severe failure) I believe in strutting my stuff on a Tuesday because I feel fabulous.

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  7. I check the time, complain that it’s still too early for me to get up, so i go back to bed and sleep for about another five minutes until i have to force myself out of bed. Feeling like a zombie, i put on my socks,put on my gloves, then my tights with butt padding, and then this screaming yellow highlighter colored jacket with reflectors on it for drivers to see me when they wanna crash into things... Looking like a dumb clown, i go down to the kitchen and eat a light breakfast before heading out. Once i’m out, I check out my girl and make sure it’s ready for road and then put on my helmet. I then take two puffs of my inhaler because thanks to this air polluted world and other problems, I have asthma that makes me sound like a heavy smoker sometimes. But anyways, i never let that stop me from doing what I want. I put on my earphones and blast it to Van Halen’s ‘Little Dreamer’ and off i go. To where you may ask, I sometimes don’t know. It can be until my legs fall off or until the sun begins to go down. But i ride, and i ride, and i ride, and i keep on riding. I ride when i want to get away from this world and explore the nature around me. I ride when i need to cool off my brain after a long week. I ride when i’m stressed, i ride when i’m happy, i ride when i’m sad, i ride when things go well and i ride when things go bad. Sometimes i ride so far my legs cramp up and i begin to get scared because i’m so far away from home that i don’t know how the heck i’ll be able to make it back. I sometimes feel like Forrest Gump whenever he ran miles and miles for no particular reason. I too sometimes just ride for no particular reason as well. Hopefully i am able to maintain my body in good health to keep on riding, but as long as my lungs don’t fail me, i’ll keep on doing something. I see my body as wet concrete waiting to harden, so i have to keep on mixing it and mixing it so that it stays fresh for as long possible. Once it hardens, im done.
    As for now, i believe in riding and i also believe in more riding, and more riding...



    ...and then some more riding!

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  8. I used to believe in staying young forever. Like the night when a shadowless boy flies into your room and promises you an everlasting adventure with pirates, mermaids, and indians (actually, native americans) where you can remain a kid for the rest of eternity. However, that dream of mine never came true and I have always remained on the normative path of becoming just another boring adult with a boring job and boring bills to pay.
    My Freshman year of college, I almost denied the idea of coming close to graduation where counting your class credits and bank loans mattered. And now, I have arrived to the final weeks of my sophomore year– just a two year stretch from full-on independence. I promised myself that I would make the most of my years here, in finding that ultimate path of happiness, and although I have found a new respect for myself, my parents, my peers, my friends, and my professors, I have remained unable to answer that one question that always remains stapled to the back of our minds: what do you want to do with your life?
    Within the past 4 days before my fall semester registration, I have contemplated the kind of path that I want to make in my life, whether I want to base my future happiness on financial worth, take a stab at political change, or just devote my life to research and report writing. I still remain unable to make this decision.
    However, I have begun to figure out that it doesn’t matter what other people tell me are the choices to make. It doesn’t matter if my mom doesn’t think I will find a job that pays or a job at all. My only goal in life to make the rest of my years worth while. I believe in change now, but change for the better. My future doesn’t have to be consumed by boring, but filled with what will make me happy.

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  9. Big Blue Nation. #BBN. UK. University of Kentucky basketball.
    Wildcats. I love my cats and yes, I bleed blue.

    I was raised as a fan of Kentucky basketball. The members of my family
    are die hard UK basketball fans. If someone asked them what their team
    was, there would be no hesitation in their answer. When it's
    basketball season, we eat, live, and breathe UK. The love I have for
    the game and UK is unreal. The past couple of years, I guess since
    I've been living in lexington I have become more invested than when I
    was still living at home. I like to think my growing interest comes
    with living here in lexington and being able to experience the love
    and direct presence that UK has on it's city. In 2012 you best believe
    I was on state street when we beat Louisville and then on limestone
    when we won the championship. I have no experienced anything like that
    in my life. The support and love shown for the players, Calipari, the
    program, and the university was unreal. Yes there was some couch
    burning, flipping of cars, and spraying of made haha but it was all
    worth it and just shows how much the fan base truly cares and believes
    in the Cats.

    This year has been crazy going through the tournament because our
    season was not what we had expected it to be. We are a very young team
    this year so I guess the sloppiness we have shown should be expected.
    However through all the things we have went through this season we
    have shown that our age doesn't matter because have amazing players
    that know and love the game of basketball along with having a coach
    that knows what he is doing.

    If anybody hears Kentucky, basketball automatically comes to mind. I
    love that my state is truly invested in something and that most of us
    love the Wildcats.

    I believe in Kentucky basketball and I sure as hell believe that we
    are gonna make it to the championship.

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  10. Raised in D.C., through the government. Surrounded by those who up hold the laws of this country. I learned. I learned that while those who where born here constantly complain about the government and its officials and the way they run things, there are people who dream about living here. Who are willing to die to get here, even if not for themselves then for their children. That the freedoms we have here are not available everywhere. We who are born here do not truly know of the freedom with which we are blessed. I have talked to those who have left their home country, became an American citizen and how they feel so lucky to be a part of this beautiful country, with its diversity and its freedom. I am glad that they showed me how to be grateful for what I was given at birth. The freedoms people are willing to die to receive are bought at exactly that death. Growing up in the government, with a father who protects not only those who are a part of this country but also the freedoms with which we are proud of, I know the cost. Not only do the men and woman protecting us willingly give up their lives, they give up the birthdays of their children, the holidays with their families, they miss the milestones that we take for granted everyday. Our freedoms are not free, they come at the cost of lives, of milestones, of absenti parents. Growing up in the government, learning the importance of our freedoms, learning their high cost, I realized that I a child of the government, a product of our freedoms, will in turn lay down my life to become one of the proud men and woman that protect our freedoms. I will follow my fathers foot steps and join the F.B.I. The only reason I am willing to give up my life, to miss the milestones and to live with the possibility of being absent, is for my belief. For I believe the freedoms, their cost, the people and the colors. I believe in my country.

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  11. I believe in secret promises.

    When I learned that my father was giving up his dream once again, I did not make any open promises. I did not promise to give him the home he wants. I did not promise to help him with his dream. I did not promise him anything. This is because the moment the phrase, “I promise...,” completely passes through my downturned lips, my father will sigh and say, “Maybe it’s all for the best that I didn’t.” He dismisses my promises kindly. He never tells me that I can’t follow through on what I say, but he does tell me that I don’t need to make him promises. He doesn’t want me to sacrifice for him the way he always does for me.

    When I learned that my father was giving up his dream, I tried to tell him how sorry I was. How many times has he had to do this? A war stopped his dream once, family has twice, and his jobs have always prevented him. He sets what he wants down, always planning on returning, but I know he won’t always be able to pick it back up; one day, his dream will be too heavy.

    When I learned that my father was giving up his dream, I made secret promises that he cannot brush aside. Dad, I promise that you will go back. I promise that your work will finally be honored. I promise that I will help you with your dreams because you gave them up for me.

    I cannot ignore what he has done. He cannot ignore my promises.

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  12. I believe in Kentucky.

    Slowly but surely, Kentucky has proven to be the state of opportunities for my family.

    Its where my oldest sister moved to work, where my next sister found her home and family, and where my final sister goes to school.

    And I suppose I’m here too now. For no apparent reason, Kentucky has given exorbitant amounts of southern hospitality to my family.

    Kentucky has shown itself as place of great education, a place to work, and as a place for new beginnings. But for me it has shown me who I am.

    There is no doubt that in the past two years at Transylvania I have grown—I broke the mold of how I acted in four years of high school and have started to realize I’m becoming the person I’ve always been reaching for. I’ve become the preppy girl I’ve always felt like, gained the friends I’ve always wanted, and am working on being the community member to be proud of.

    And behind all of this is Kentucky.

    Kentucky has been an outlet—providing my family and I a place to run too—even if we all came at different times for different reasons. Kentucky has been a sanctuary—a scape goat from my hometown and a place where I see a whole new glimpse of the world.

    I believe in Kentucky. I believe in the tall mountains to the south and the tall buildings out my window. I believe in big hair, sweet tea, and saying y’all. I believe in the southern folk, country accents and hell, even the horses. I believe that no matter where I go in the future, Kentucky will follow me.

    But most of all, I believe in my Ol’ Kentucky home so much, I might just stay.

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  13. When my body was younger, I would often accompany my family (2 parents and two brothers in still-younger bodies) on trips to lake Cumberland. It was a sever-hours drive away and we would cross many signs living much quieter lives than ours; only to quietly reach the dock where we kept a boat. There were several hundred slips used to keep assorted watercraft, however, it was usually just us with the handful of full-timers on their respective houseboats: lake people, not entirely unlike one would read about in fantasy novels.

    There were likely only 30 individuals on the dock on any given day, which made about as much financial sense as us investing in a boat ourselves. There was a gas pump which attracted the occasional off-season excursionist – with an adjoining store and restaurant which was always either closed for near-perpetual renovation or only open for take out pizza.

    Anyway. One afternoon my family and I were quietly swimming at the dock with our boat parked in its slip (none of us could be bothered to take it out evidently) when I suddenly dove headfirst into a pole hidden by the green-black-glow that lake water tends to give off.

    I reemerged with a lumped skull, lots of well-deserved bloodshed and a fractured nose, which, never quite healed correctly (my left nostril remains vastly inferior at delivering oxygen to my lungs). I include these fleshy bits for thematic integrity: not because I find my physical suffering particularly noteworthy when compared to that of others.

    Anyway after a trip to lake Cumberland regional hospital, many stiches to ensure I look as if nothing happened, and some ice cream, I was sent to fetch water from the general store on the dock. I recounted what happened to the intrigued clerk – the owner of the dock – and she said things I will never forget:

    “Were you wearing a life jacket? You could have passed out.”

    I indicated that I was not wearing a life jacket at the time; conceding that it was relatively interesting to be not-dead given the circumstances. She followed with:

    “yes, well, I’m so glad nothing happened to you – that would have been very bad for the dock.”

    I realized what she was trying to say: “Don’t fuck this up for us. The dock won’t survive with any bad publicity. We’re barely around as is.”

    I’ve kept that in the back of my head for the past several years. A gentle reminder that my life is not my own. My own physical suffering is entirely the tip of the iceberg. It too, is not my own.

    I believe that sometimes it takes diving into a pole at a quiet, down-n-out-luck dock on Lake Cumberland to realize pieces of one’s spirituality. I believe there was more Zen to be learned from that rusty metal pipe than from any book.

    Ha.

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