Wednesday, October 30

Monticello, Virginia, and Sophie

Last spring, I got a phone call from my sister. I knew already that she was supposed to find out whether or not she got into the hardest school she applied to, but what I didn't expect was a phone call from her as she logged into her account online to see if she got in. I squeezed my eyes shut and bit the inside of my cheek until it bled. I was completely nervous and went over in my head what I was going to say that would be encouraging if she didn't get in. Sophie, you're wonderful and everything happens for a reason? It's UVA's loss, not yours? You did everything you could? Those sort of things. I waited impatiently as I heard her type in her user name and password in silence.

More silence.

"Sophie?" I asked.

And finally, I heard laughter. A sort of surprised kind of laughter that came in short breaths like she was figuring out for herself how she was feeling. I wasn't sure if she was experiencing the laughter you feel when you get bad news leading to hysteric tears or if it was a happy astonished sort of laughter.

"Sophie!? Did you get in?!" 

I swear, it was one of the longest moments of my life. And then she said the six words I'll never forget that in my 19 years of being an older sister to her exemplified everything I knew about her in one question.

"Why would they let me in?!"

It wasn't fake and it was completely genuine. She said it through her continued laughter and her disbelief perfectly showed how humble of a person she is.

Whereas I am sometimes self-indulgent and idealistic, my sister is humble and selfless. She worked ten times harder than I did in high school and got one hundred times the reward. She deserved everything she got because she earned it. The school that is her perfect fit is the one she was accepted to and given a hunk of change to fly across the country to attend. Last weekend, my Grandma, Mom, and I all hopped on separate planes and got to visit her in Virginia where she's now been for two months. I finally got to see her in the place where she didn't believe she stood a chance of going to. 

Sophie, I am proud of you. But I am (also) absolutely and sincerely happy for you. I am so happy that you got yourself to Virginia and created the life you have now for yourself. I only got to see a snipet of your life and I'm sure there is a lot I will never know about it. But from what I saw of you there, you stood taller than I've ever seen you. You fit there. And it is exactly what you deserved to get.
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Sunday, October 27

cats, calories, and crazies

The cats:
Afterlight
Afterlight
Afterlight
The calories:
Afterlight
Afterlight
The crazies:
Afterlight
Afterlight
The past week:
Visiting the humane society on a Friday afternoon, creative writing classmates who dress up as cops prior to reading their short story, lemon drops, out of control drunk girls who leave their boyfriends to jump on your present male interest ("Is he any of your girls' boyfriend?" "Nope, have at him girlfriend!" lol'ing for days) and then being passed off onto you when he shrugs her off of him apologetically, french toast and pumpkin pie pancakes with your mom on the most perfect fall Saturday in Idaho, and dying over how full and happy life has been this month.

Wednesday, October 23

"you're better than you think you are"

Long time no blog!

I know, I know. I suck an enormous amount. And I'm not apologizing to those who read my blog, but rather my future self who will have no record of what happened between October 18th and October 23rd. I even neglected my journal so quite seriously no written documentation of my life was recorded for a solid week minus two pathetic blog posts that really just kind of scratched the surface.

And now I'm going to mostly ignore everything that happened minus one thing, because all of those other things do have photo evidence of happening and deserve to be accompanied by pictures because I can't do them justice with only my words.

Last week, just before I hopped on a plane to Virginia, I finished my midterms and applied to creative writing workshops. And I realized mid way through revising my pieces I chose to submit that I was applying to 400 level workshops. Which are the last creative writing workshops I can take.

I remember the first time I ever took a workshop. I needed some writing in my life. I needed to be forced to write so that I would write something other than lab reports and complaints about people that were annoying me in my journal. I didn't really know at the time, though I think unconsciously I knew I also wasn't just taking "one workshop for the heck of it" like I told myself I was, that it would result in changing my major. I know now that what I was doing was trying it out to see if I was actually good enough and as good as the other people in my classes. After a semester, I didn't feel like I was, but my wonderful teacher at the time told me to apply to apply another. So I did. And I still didn't feel "good enough" at the end of that one, but I kept going because it was so much more fun than the classes I was taking. And I've learned and grown and been humbled many times by the words of my classmates. But this time around, applying to my last workshops as a creative writing major, I am not sure I can say I felt "good enough" but I felt like I deserved a slot amongst my peers I've been writing alongside for two years. I may not be better than any of them, in fact I don't think any of us are better than anyone else, but I felt like I could stand among them finally. I wasn't nervous. I submitted my best work. 

And then I made the dumbest mistake. THE dumbest mistake. Of all things you could do to mess up your chances of getting into the quasi-competative workshops taught by the best faculty in the program, I did the worst thing. I didn't read the flyer completely. I turned in my submissions three hours late. THREE. I didn't read the bold writing that said "late submissions will not be reviewed or considered". I was sleeping on my living room carpet at the moment they were due taking a pleasant unnecessary nap. When I realized I, excuse my language, FUCKED UP SO MAJORLY, I sat in my room and wrote lists of what I would do with my time to continue writing. I could make myself continue to write, but workshops have made me better. Honest feedback has made me see my writing objectively and welcome critique. I couldn't imagine life without a workshop. 

.... And then I went to Virginia. And came back. And my friend texted me and said we both made it in. I made it in. I got in even though I shouldn't have and deserved not to have a slot next to the other names that did turn in their work on time. At first I jumped up and down and then I felt sort of guilty when I looked at the long list of people wait listed. I texted my mom and she said something that was sort of perfect in the moment. She said that for whatever reason, the professor thought my writing was good enough and chose me for a reason. She said I needed to give myself more credit. I really fucked up, but for some reason this professor thought I deserved a spot nonetheless and chose me to be in his workshop. So now I'm saying this, after two and a half years in workshops pushing myself to the point of tears and frustration at 3 in the morning the night before a 500 word essay is due that I swear I hate, after misses and nose dives, and after a few minor successes- I do deserve my spot. I can stand among those other square glasses and sweater vest wearing classmates of mine I have grown to love and respect. I will probably never fully believe I am better than I think I am, but I need to think I could be to get there. I have to challenge myself and be better than I think I am. It's the doubt that pushes me further with every piece I write and I know I'll never look at another classmate and think I am better. I finally have the confidence that I fit. Rather than thinking of myself as less than everyone else, I can think of myself as equal and start to believe in what I can do to make myself better than I was yesterday. I made a mistake. But I'm here for a reason. I'm still here.


Thursday, October 17

PLL, HH, and trumpeters

It has been quite the week.

Midterms. What is with this last round of midterms? I actually pulled of straight A's on every single one of them? I mean, I know. English major. It's supposed to be easy. But it absolutely wasn't. I was trying to explain to my roommate how my english classes ranked amongst my old biology classes and the difficulties in each. Being a biology major, I felt tested every waking moment of my life to cram as much stuff in my head as possible. Being an english major, I feel tested to think deeply about material that's given and push outside of myself to interpret history and language. The material itself feels easier but the thinking aspect of it is completely different. However, I did well. Very well. And the best feeling I've felt in my college career so far was getting back every paper and midterm knowing that this is something I'm good at that I also love.

The new Head and The Heart album was actually, finally released. It's beautiful and unexpected and my best friend put into words better than I can what it means to have another new album of their music to assign life occurrences to.

I chose midterm week to start watching Pretty Little Liars. I almost cancelled a date this week to watch it. Almost.

Missoula got an ULTA. Which is a beautiful, beautiful thing. I may have gone twice opening weekend just because I got a coupon for starting a rewards card and running out of both eyeliner and mascara this week. 

I made a fool out of myself at the UPS store. More on that later.

I learned that trumpeters make good kissers. Maybe more on that..... way later.

I realized more and more that if I had gotten a job this semester, I would have been a much less happier person. Here's the thing: I should have a job, but I don't need one because of photography and Internship stipends and scholarships. I sat in my advisor's chair this week and she said, "Well, you only have 18 credits you need to complete next semester. That'll be easy for you since you're in over 20 now!" To which I replied, huh????? And then realized, oh yeah. I'm taking 22 credits and had to get that overwritten last year. That is why it feels like life hasn't slowed down in almost 6 weeks.

I counted down the days to TODAY because today I get to fly across the country to see my little baby sister in her dorm room and meet her friends and see the life she's created for herself. I am more excited for this than I have been for any Christmas morning. 

Sunday, October 13

a Tinder tale

It's Friday, I said. We have to do something! I aced every single one of my midterms this week and we have to celebrate the fact that I managed to pull that off when I've spent my every Saturday night staying awake until the wee hours of the morning making it incredibly difficult to study on Sundays. I mean, it's time to quit while I'm ahead, you know? One last night of fun and then a productive weekend of getting stuff done...!

Where's the fun at tonight? My friend wants to meet up with us downtown and he says it's his friend's birthday, so we should join!

Shower. Put on cute-ish shirt. Minimal makeup because I'm only looking to have fun with my best friend who I laugh with more than anyone else. Skip the eyeliner. But yes on mascara. Bangs are much too long and even straightening them does nothing to prevent them from parting down the middle. Pants, for once. Because it has dropped to under 30 degrees at night for the last couple weeks.

Bus ride downtown. A guy I recognize from the cafeteria freshmen year directs us to the bar where friend and friend's birthday guy are hanging out. New place. Never been here before. People I think I've seen sleeping in tents by the river on my jogs are swing dancing in Carhartt jackets and plaid next to a jukebox. They've never proved to be harmless. Shrug. Ain't above having fun with ANYONE.  A poker game is happening and I are so happy you didn't wear a short dress or lipstick. Okay, so I might be above having fun with the poker players who look older than your dad.

See friend.

Wave hi to friend excitedly. Hug friend. Friend's friend whose birthday celebration is under way turns towards me with a drink in hand smiling. Immediate recognition. Wonder if long bangs can hide my eyes and if my glasses are that recognizable. Nope, nope. They definitely are.

"Maggie, haven't we been talking on Tinder?" he says.

Crash the birthday party of someone I've only talked to through 2 truths and a lie games in a chat window of a dating app.

Friday, October 11

enough with thinking already

Out of sheer panic, I called my mom yesterday.

She asked me three questions:

(1) is he nice?

(2) are you excited to hang out with him?

(3) do you think he is attractive?

The answer to all three, of course, was a resounding YES! All of the above were true. Zero hesitation. My mom is a smart lady. She told me to relax and that like usual, I was putting unnecessary pressures on myself to overanalyze a situation that didn't need analyzing at all. Her last words were, "Just roll with it."

Just roll with it.

The funny thing about life is that a few years ago, the start of any relationship/dateship I had was the result of wanting to jump a guy's bones because they liked the same band I did or liked to watch scary movies. There was a high level of desperation and urgency to be with that person and be with them now. In fact, I don't think I ever really became true "friends" with anyone I dated until we were already "a thing". I've never dated someone who was my friend first and I've never gone through the stages of getting to know someone as a friend first. It's almost feels, like, partially grown up or something to start from scratch with someone new like this who I'm just starting to get to know. I don't know how to just roll with it because I never have. I've only just pushed for things to happen and fallen asleep listening to Taylor Swift song willing them to happen. There is a lot I don't know how to do yet - I don't know how many dates you go on before you're exclusive, I don't know how long it takes until you should have the define the relationship talk, and I don't know when or if there's a moment where you just know or if it's supposed to be a gradual thing that develops. Or maybe it's a little of both? 

It's different this time, though. Despite all of the things I've learned, I still struggle with just letting time do its thing and sort out what everything means. I'm impatient. My mom reminded me of the things about myself that hold me back, including that impatience. She was right. I'm excited about the possibility of something- end of the story. Different is good. Different is the result of learning about what I don't want over the years. 

Wednesday, October 9

in which i complain about blogging a lot

Lately, I've felt kind of itchy about the whole blogging thing. I haven't found the same enjoyment from coming here to write about whatever I'm thinking about on a given day and I haven't felt like I've used it to write about what I really want to write about lately. I'm not just talking about private details of my life, either, I'm talking about the things that have annoyed me lately, which include blogging.

Blogging! Blogging. I have felt strange about blogging for some time now. Maybe because it seems like it's "over" but maybe for other reasons, too. I feel like maybe feeling out of touch with the blog world is partially my fault because I've noticed lately that the blogs I loved for years that are in my blogger feed have appealed to me less and less. One might say that I hate-read quite a few blogs. Which, let's be real, is pretty fun most of the time. But reading the same blogs day after day just to roll my eyes over has started to bring out the bad in me. It's brought out the cattier side of me that should just take my own advice. So I'll just say it: I've gotten sick of the same blogs that fill my feed. I've gotten sick of blogs that seem like they are just trying to be someone's more popular blog and mirror someone other blog's voice. There are so many more blogs now than there were 3-4 years ago and I don't think I'm the only one who thinks it's sort of overwhelming. I've gotten sick of blogs that are transparently trying so hard. I've gotten sick of people who have lost their credibility over the years of making mistakes and being hypocritical about over-sharing their personal life but not listening to criticism. 

I guess I should stop now and admit to my own faults. There have been times when I've wished my blog was more like someone else's. There have been times I've wished my life looked like someone else's life in pictures. There have been times I've tried to make my life look certain ways because gosh darn it, I wish I could look that cute in Jeffrey Campbell boots standing in an alley eating a cupcake (Jeffrey Campbell's will never be cool on me).  There was a long period of time I myself shared a lot about my relationship and while I don't regret that, I regret the way I dealt with it afterwards. Passive aggressive blog posts are not okay. Lesson learned. I am not the perfect example of someone doing it right but I think I've felt so in the dumps about blogging for the past 6 months because I have only been focusing on the negative parts of blogging. I quit reading as many blogs that relate to my life and whose writing I admire. I've felt so over-saturated by the amount of information about people's lives shared on social media that I haven't taken a step back to filter what information I should be paying attention to. Yes, most of my complaints are my own fault for letting them annoy me.

So I'm changing that. Not in the hopes that I'll feel more connected to my own blog, but in the hopes that I can hate-read less and find writing out there to be inspired by again. Because as an inspiring writer myself, I should be reading things that make me say, "This is why I want to be a writer."

Here are some blogs that have reminded me what it means to write well and have a real blogging soul:
- my friends: Katy, Debbie, and Danielle
- the queens of doing it right: Kaelah Bee and Elanor 
- the best writing: Chelsea Talks Smack, Brissa
- recent fashion blogs I love: zippedtriple threadJen, Melina, Signe, Veronika
- people who are awesome: becca, megemma janeshawneeabbey,
the entire blogger family: blogger fam
-
This is a small list. Send me your favorites! Please & thank you.

Tuesday, October 8

word-blocked

Currently, I am being word-blocked. By myself.

There are things I want to write about. Feelings and revelations, even. But it isn't time to talk about them. I'm afraid of telling too much too soon, making a bigger deal of something before it proves to be that big of a deal, jinxing the future, or being too presumptive. 

That's the thing about public blogs, I suppose. I want to be honest and I'm not trying to be dishonest, I just am not ready to oust the last three weeks of my life quite yet. All I can say is that they've been good. Everything I want to say about it is at the tip of my fingers but for now they're locked in unpublished drafts.

Otherwise, and completely uninteresting comparably, I studied for my hardest test of the semester for the past week straight and when I finished it an hour early, looked my professor squarely in the eye, smiled, and said, "Thank you." He really tried to fool us and make life horrible. It was horrible. But I did it. I could tell you everything you wanted to know about colonization in the Americas and Puritanism. 

My good pal Danielle has turned my bedroom into an oasis. Seriously. I've needed a Danielle for the past three years in college. All of my things are organized into dividers, bins, folders, drawers, and rings. Instead of four blank white walls, I now have some color and life on them. My bed is my favorite place in the world after I got a new mattress pad on sale and new sheets. Having a cozy place to relax makes my nerves and anxieties so much less scary.

See? All I have to say about life other than the undisclosed topic is that I finished my midterms and my bedroom is awesome.

I tried.


Saturday, October 5

i guess i should have showered this morning

Things that happen when you don't shower on a Friday morning, figuring you will when you get home two classes later, and wear what you slept in to class:

  • A boy asks for your number in that one class you have together when it was so plainly obvious to everyone in a four desk radius (at least to you) that you liked the other boy that sits in front of you many weeks ago. The same one who you figured out you actually have 2 other classes with, all back to back, so you can't really not walk with them to those classes since figuring that out. Hence, stalling after class by putting everything back in my backpack realllllly slowly and taking a century to put on my coat. Sorry, man.
  • The day is too beautiful to be spent inside reading a book or even catching a nap and when the invite to a soccer game arrives in your text inbox, you can't say no. 
  • So you end up sitting for an extra three hours in your sweaty post work-out unshowered filth, meeting some people you may have talked to on Tinder, and being asked if you're sick.
  • At the end of the game, you met your friend's good friend on the soccer team who you have never met but has incredibly kind parents that say, "Who are you?" and immediately go in for a hug when you're standing outside the circle. Um, the girl that's friend's with your daughter's friend? Anyway, we are all best friends now. And hug circles happened twice. 
  • The game ends up getting out so late that you only have 0.5 seconds to change so a shower is not possible and you run around town with your BFF whose parents are in town and are taking you out for dinner. At least I allowed 0.1/0.5 of those seconds to be spent with my deodorant stick.
  • Dinner turns into the bar scene, in which you are still greasy and disgusting, but at least it doesn't really matter at a bar. When you're there with your BFF and her parents. That film of unshowered grease is only noticeably by you. So, you know, the story ends alright.
  • Being the DD, you are completely entertained by your BFF's parents who get carded and at the end of the night, board the party bus to see what it's about. 
  • Midnight ice cream alone in bed. Eh, who needs to shower on Fridays anyways?

Wednesday, October 2

sun still rises even through the pain

Things are happening/changing in my part of the world.

The tips of almost every tree has some amount of color to them. It's cold enough to wear my favorite fleece lined Lindsay Weir green coat but not cold enough that I have to wear gloves so I don't freeze on my walk to school. 

My first round of midterm papers have been completed and turned in. My first midterm is next week. My classes so far have been fun, interesting, engaging, and have made me feel like my education actually makes sense for my life. 

Head and The Heart's new album is days away. And they just released two new songs off their new album and the amount of emotion I experienced in my bedroom at midnight last night over listening to the album I'll be listening to in the car and while I walk around Missoula for the next two years until they release a new one was unreal. Favorite line? "Sun still rises even with the pain".

I got a new comforter, new sheets, a new mattress pad, and new pillows. It was time. My bed is quite seriously my haven and I'm so happy to fall asleep in it every night. Also, no more neck cramps! My mood has dramatically increased solely because of that fake Tempur-Pedic pillow I bought, I'm certain of it.

I booked my first wedding after second shooting a few weeks ago so officially my 4th of July holiday next summer is taken. Also, other things are brewing in the wedding photography business as well. I'm thankful it'll be two years since I started taking pictures that I'm getting into weddings. I feel lucky and excited to do it, but it is hard stuff. I'm glad I know my camera, have taken a class, and will be ready. 

I am back to running! Running is so good. I forget how much more I feel connected to this little city and the environment when I run. I forget how slow the world feels when I run and like time is actually tangible for those precious miles on the trail. I'm so becoming my mother. 

A couple weekends ago, I hiked to the top of a mountain at 2am. I went swing dancing last weekend. I stayed up until 5:30am watching New Girl. Today I ate pancakes at lunch. This weekend plans have been made. I'm smiling.