The Weight of Love

“If you have the ability to love, love yourself first.”

— Charles Bukowski

Over the past year or so I’ve spent a lot of time alone. They say that that’s supposed to help you to “find yourself”. Well, I call bullshit. I’ve known myself for 25 years now. Sure, I learn new things about myself everyday, but that’s a part of the human experience, right? You’re supposed to learn from the trials and tribulations that this wonderful thing called life puts us through. I guess the good news though is that we’re all in this together and no one gets out alive.

But I digress…

I’ve been alone for more than long enough to get to know myself properly. I know what makes me happy, what makes me tick, what can demolish me in a second and what can build me up when I need it the most.

But now, I think I need, or at the very least, want a giant spoon to scoop out all of the heaviness that’s wrapped itself around me, both internally and externally. I don’t want to be sad anymore.

This year marks the five year anniversary of my dad’s death. Two days before the anniversary I’ll be on a plane coming back from a two week trip with my classmates. In almost five years I haven’t been near my dad’s grave or to his house that had to be sold upon his passing.

In the years since his death, especially this one, I’ve contemplated going to his house or to his grave. However, now I’m not so sure about going to his gravesite since it’s just a box under the ground. Whereas at my dad’s house, provided if the new owners will let me on the property, my dad’s spirit is still there and things that he has touched and built with his own two hands are there. My family said our last goodbyes to him there. It only makes sense.

I’m not entirely sure what I’m looking for at these places, but something inside of me is telling me that I should go if I can just to find out what it may be.

I’m not entirely sure what I need to do to get this leaden armor off of me or to stop the gnawing in the pit of my stomach to go away, or even the void in my heart to go away. I just know that I want it gone.

Since I’ve been in college I’ve been trying to find ways to get these feelings to go away. I’ve tried to be as least self-destructive as I could be. So far I’ve seen a counselor, I’ve been told to get medication twice now and I’ve also attempted to get out and be social. However, that’s a bit of a problem  when you’re a person that never stops thinking no matter how much they try to shut off their brain.

If it’s not one thing, it’s another.

Though upon reflection, maybe trying to ease my wounds by throwing myself into one of the most stressful environments that a single person can willingly throw themselves into wasn’t the greatest of ideas; but here I  am. 

With one year left of school and the rest of the world at my feet I want to try to go out into the world and not be weighed down by sadness.

Edit: It’s been four days since I’ve published this post. Today I called one of my dad’s closest friends and who was basically one of his main caretakers when he was sick. He (his friend) is going to get me the number of the guy that currently lives in my dad’s house so that I can go out there this summer on the anniversary of my dad’s death.

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On Chivalry.

Chivalry isn’t dead, not really.

In fact it’s alive and well and here’s how I know.

Tonight at work I covered a shift for a friend and I came in feeling particularly drained thanks to this semester. All of a sudden I hear the distant noises of an acoustic guitar coming from one of the corridors and it was one of my (guy) friends just casually strumming his guitar. You know, how boys do and such.

All of a sudden he sits down next to the chair by my desk and starts to sing a tune that sounds oddly familiar to me but I can’t quite place it, until finally he starts to sing the chorus and I realized that it was Tom Petty’s  “Free Falling”. I don’t think that I’ve ever loved an acoustic cover of a song more than in that minute right then and there.Oh how  wrong I was, because after a short tuning after “Free Falling” he started to sing “Hurt” by Johnny Cash and I more or less melted right then and there since Johnny Cash and Tom Petty are coincidentally two of my favorite artists.

So yes, chivalry is actually alive and well, despite all of the overwhelming evidence against it in today’s ridiculous society. The secret to finding some is to know where to look. I know, I know, it’s a bit of a process. I wasn’t even expecting anything like that to happen to me tonight, but here we are.

However, when/if ever you are lucky enough to catch a glimpse of this rare bird make sure that you mentally photograph every tender moment of it. Remember everything in that moment. Everything from the color of the shirt you were wearing, what the presenter of whatever chivalrous moment you just experienced was wearing and how lucky you are to be in this moment, even if it is purely coincidental or even accidental.

Enjoy these serendipitous moments when they happen to you, because for that moment in time, no matter how long it lasts your life is a movie. Or at the very least a lot like one. Drink in the moments like these because to quote Sarah Louise Delany, “Life is short , and it is up to you to make it sweet”.

So, go forth my lovelies and be chivalrous and sweet and loving to everyone around you because everyone deserves moments like these in their life, even if for a minute.

 

A love letter to Chicago.

Dear Chicago,

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In the four short days that I’ve been here you’ve made quite the impression on me. So much so that I shudder at the thought of returning home, though I know that’s what I have to do.

Ever since I’ve been here I’ve felt like a completely different person. I mean, my anxiety is still hanging above me a little bit, but it’s no longer the foreboding dark cloud that it normally tends to be when I’m home. It’s turned from being fearful of being alone to not being able to get back to my friend’s apartment and navigating the trains. Those pale in comparison to the anxiety that felt like it was literally melting off of me on the train here.

Though it’s a little early for me to say this with confidence I’m pretty sure that traveling (especially solo) is doing wonders for my mind, body and soul.

Since I’ve been here I’ve done more walking than I have in a long time. Which is sad, since I walk around my school’s campus and to work everyday but I think the air is cleaner and brisker here so it fills my lungs and happiness is left in it’s place. Not only that, but my legs are gaining their definition and tone back, which is always a good thing. I’ve also never slept harder. My body is too tired from traversing the city for my insomnia to even have a chance at creeping up and making my night sleepless.

Also, since I’ve been here I’ve written more in my journal than I usually did while at school. Probably because my entries at school were uber-depressing and I was lonely and bored. However, if you read my entries from the past two months up until now you would think that they were written by two different authors. Thank you for that, Chicago. I am forever in your debt.

One final thing that I’ve fallen in love with in this city so far is how genuinely nice the people are here. Sure there are some jerks, but those are everywhere. I just have yet to encounter any so far in my trip and I hope that trend continues for the remainder of my stay here.

Also, in exactly two months I leave on my first airplane ride to Europe to present research in Athens, Greece. Hopefully that trip does just as much for me mentally and physically as this one is doing. Something inside me says that it will be just fine and that I’m continuing to over think things a little bit.

With a mere three and a half days left here I intend to suck the marrow out of this experience and just let anything that’s bothering me about, well anything, go into the infamous winds of Chicago.

P.S.  My desire to move here one day has won out over my hometown of Kansas City and the wonderful agency of DEG Digital. Sorry Kansas City.

P.P. S. Only two and half more years or so and I shall return with a one-way ticket instead of a round-trip ticket.

Love always,

Nicole

2014: Now is the Time to Grab Life by the Balls

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I’m going to go ahead and say the thing that you aren’t exactly supposed to say about 2013; and that’s that it sucked. A big one.

With an hour and fifteen minutes until the new year begins I’m going to try to beat the clock and write that obligatory end of the year post.

I’m going to be honest and say that 2013 was not my best year, at all. Sure, there were things that  were good and made it all worthwhile. For example;

  • I met John Green and Rainbow Rowell and they are just as amazing in real life as they are on paper and on the internet.
  • I went to a Nerdfighter Meetup with some of my best friends and we rocked out to “Wrecking Ball” and other wonderful songs the entire drive down.
  • I found out that the The Fault in Our Stars movie is going to come out on my 25th birthday. So that’ll be a fun birthday. (More details about that day to come)
  • I went on a free trip to the Omaha zoo with a handful of some of the smartest and coolest kids in my school and I got to be an “on location” reporter of sorts.
  • I finally got a computer that I’ve wanted since I taught myself how to use them in the Newsroom of my school.
  • I passed my Macroeconomics class that I was sure that I was failing up until I took the final.
  • I interviewed one of my favorite people on the internet for a class project.

Other than those wonderful things I’ve fought one hell of a battle with depression and loneliness this year. I blamed my isolation on a lot of things. From my class workload to my lack of a boyfriend and to my moving into a new dorm on campus that allows me to have my own space (but looking back now those last two were a cop out).

This year I intend to actually keep my resolutions that I’ve made for the year and to expand my horizons both intellectually and travel wise. For starters, I will be going on the trip to Italy, Greece, London & Malta for conferences with my advisor and fellow Communication majors as well as my Journalism friends. I am also starting to plan my spring break, a little early I know, but it’s going to be great.  There’s a very high chance that I will get to meet my Twitter crush too while I’m there.

So since it’s officially the new year here’s my list of resolutions that I’ve actually been trying to work on all year. So this list shall just serve as a friendly reminder to myself of what they are.

  • study harder
  • have more fun
  • go to the gym and do more yoga
  • drink more water
  • drink less coffee
  • write more: in a journal as well as my blog
  • get closer to my goal GPA of a 3.0
  • eat more fruits & veggies
  • read more of the books that I own before I buy more
  • travel more
  • let love in

So yes, these goals can be reached as long as I don’t let myself turn back into the miserable bump on a log that I felt like I was over the past year. I can already tell that it’s going to be a lot of work, but it’s also going to be worth it and I know that everyone says it but, this year will be my year. I won’t settle for anything less than having almost all of it.

Happy New Year everyone. I hope your new year is wonderful and filled with extraordinary things and lots of cupcakes and wine.

Seeking Stability in the house of a Single Parent

I’ve been the product of a single parent household for most of my life. 

My parents were never married when they had me and according to society’s standards I am considered a “bastard child” but I say otherwise. 

When I was born I had a hole in my heart that threatened to kill me if I wasn’t operated on abruptly.  Without even blinking an eye my parents came together and made the decision for me to have the expensive yet life-saving surgery because their love for me meant more than anything that they had experienced before. 

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  After my first surgery I had four more sporadically up until the age of 14. During the years in between my first and fifth surgery I lived at both of my parent’s houses throughout the years. My dad was a bachelor with a good job as a cement contractor that he soon turned into his own business and a daughter. My mom was a single mother that had put her own dreams on hold to care for perpetually hospitalized ass. 

Fast forward to early 2007-08 and my mom and dad are happily married to two very different and wonderful people. My mom, to a cement contractor with his own business. My two little brother’s have already been born by this point and they are loved immensely. My dad married a wonderful family friend that used to live near his old neighborhood. She had already had six children of her own from a previous marriage and lived in a beautiful house that we soon moved into. Shortly after my other little brother was born and my dad set out to build his dream house in Smalltown, Kansas. Which he did and my step siblings, stepmom, my dad and I lived in our modest house on a buffalo ranch and things were great for us. Until they weren’t. 

After five years of living in Smalltown, Kansas my stepmom passed away unexpectedly and my stepsisters and I fled to live with our respective mother’s, mine, and father’s, theirs. 

When my dad, who was basically my rock, passed away in 2010 and I decided to go back to school I haven’t really had a lot of stability and neither have my two little brother’s and my mom. 

What I wouldn’t give to have stability in my life again that isn’t fleeting. 

 

I know that once I graduate school I’ll probably get some back, but for right now it’s just not happening very much.

I wish I had a “person”

Meredith Grey had Christina, Lorelai had Sookie and Rory had Lane…but I feel like I have no one.

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At least that’s how it feels anyways. I probably do have someone that is my “person” that I can tell any and everything to, but I think that the fog of my mild depression that I fell into last year is still lingering. Even though I have my own room and am trying to do more to get involved at school this year by doing RHA and participating in our 48 hour film festival later this year but ever since I moved out of my community oriented dorm I have felt like I am missing something, even though I do work there there’s still something that feels off inside of me. I just can’t put my finger on what it is and it is killing me!

Now, I do realize that I am surrounded by a bunch of wonderful people and that I have access to resources that can help me sort my stuff out like counseling and RA’s that are supposed to be there for you, but on those tough nights where you need someone to just hold you and tell you that things will be okay, they can’t be there for you, because some are much older than you and they aren’t really your friend’s they’re your confidants.

I realize that I’m probably overexaggerating (I have a tendency to do that a lot) or that I’m probably just being a big baby, but looking back over the years of my college experience I’ve only had one really great year and that was freshmen year with a bunch of random wonderful things up until this point and I know that I need to work on making myself happy before I even begin to entertain the idea of getting into a relationship again one day and I really want to be happy. I just don’t know how to get there by myself.

“No, it’s not so bad. I’m lucky, I know. I just. . .I feel like I’m never gonna have it. . .the whole package, you know? That person, that couple life, and I swear, I hate admitting it because I fancy myself Wonder Woman, but. . .I really want it – the whole package.”

– Lorelai Gilmore (who has been like a second mother to me this week & for a good portion of my life)

What do you do when you’re feeling extremely vulnerable?

Fuck it, let’s get married!

In the grand tradition of growing up it’s no longer a strange thing for us twenty somethings to see our best friend’s from high school and/or college running off to get married or popping out babies at the speed of light. But for some of us, especially people like me, that  tend to accidentally throw our own independence and hopes and dreams into the faces of those that are hitched, it can get a little difficult to bite our tongues and not keep our comments and opinions to ourselves.

Earlier today I went to a friend of mine from high school’s bridal shower. She has a beautiful son, a great future husband (though I’ve yet to meet him), a beautiful house and an amazing and supportive family that is behind her all the way. I would be lying my ass off if I didn’t say that I was a little bit jealous of her in some ways, but all of these good things couldn’t have happened to a more deserving person.

As much as I “hate” on the whole institution of marriage and stuff I’m a total hopeless romantic that probably just has a chip on their shoulder because I haven’t been around a lot of healthy relationships in my 24 years. The evidence is shown in various facets of my life on and off line. For example, my Pinterest account has an entire board dedicated to Love alone. My Tumblr is rife with sentiments about love and a whole lot of literature related things, so clearly it’s something I really want, but it has to be with the right person.

But I digress, maybe I’m just bitter because one of my former best friend’s got married to a guy that rubs me the wrong way and she didn’t care what I thought and decided to marry the jerk anyways, and I wasn’t invited to the wedding. Probably out of fear that when the priest read the line, “if anyone objects to this marriage speak now or forever hold your peace” that I’d be that person that objected. I probably would have for the simple reason that her and I were going to do great things with our lives and not let men/boys get in the way.  Yeah, I’m a bitch. This is probably why I’m still single too. Damn that whole having standards thing!

I really do love my friend’s married, pregnant or otherwise but this whole being patient for a love of my own is making me a little antsy.Apparently the Love Bug is in the area and he hasn’t even come near me.

All I have to say is that whomever is the guy that I’m supposed to be with he better be a good one.