Friday, December 30, 2005

An Itch I Can't Scratch

I have the itch to write and I can't scratch it. I haven't had the chance to write much since I've been home for Christmas. If I was brave enough to tell my family that I have a blog I need to keep up with perhaps I could ensure some privacy while I write - after all, four out of five of us have blogs. My mother has been blogging for a year, and hers is the only one I know the address to. My dad and my brother both have private blogs - that I have one shouldn't be that unusual.
But I don't want to tell her I have one. I don't know if she'd ask for the address to it or not, or if she'd go searching for it. I don't think she would. For some reason I don't want to risk it.
And I thought I was getting so good at taking risks.

My mom and I stayed up until 3:30 am a few nights ago, talking. We talked about family mostly...My brothers and the trouble my mom is having in letting go, in wanting to control their lives and the choices they are making. One experiments with pot, one is having sex with his girlfriend. Neither of those things seems very smart to me, but I am able to accept that I can't do anything about their choices. My mom can't quite grasp that yet, and I'm not very sympathetic because I can't understand why.
We talked about the possibility that we might not like the girls my brothers marry. That is something new to me. Before I just assumed that I would get along great with their chosen mates, but now I realize I might have nothing in common with them. And I'm realizing that I have to work on my relationships with my brothers. I have to work to have relationships with them, because Mom and Dad are no longer so involved with our lives as to be the automatic glue to hold us together.

Later -

I am on my way to bed after having spent the day driving. I drove with my mom to get my dad when his heart started bothering him at work (he works at a hospital so at least he got checked out before he left), and then I drove to town, again with my mom, to see "The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe" which I enjoyed and she didn't. She thought it was a movie without soul. My only big problem with the movie was Aslan's voice. He could've had a deeper, bigger voice. I think that would have made him seem like less of a tame lion. Even with that, I liked the movie.
With everyone asleep now would be the perfect time to write a short novel on here, but I'm tired.

Sunday, December 25, 2005

Merry Christmas

I have been at my parents home for a week - well, it will be a week in several hours. The time has flown by and I'm glad I have another 10 days or so before returning to that wonderful but difficult life that I own.

It has been a stretching experience to be 'home' again. I've forgotten many of my family's daily idiosyncrasies - like how my dad will interrupt any activity I'm doing to show me something that doesn't interest me at all but he thinks is fascinating, and how when my brother has an opinion no amount of logic can change it. These things annoy me and it shocks me a bit for some reason.
It's a good thing there are the good things I'd forgotten too. How often my dad tells us he loves us. How my brother likes having me there to talk to. How much better food tastes when my mom prepares it.

We had Christmas early this year because the 23rd was the only day when we were all at home. My dad had to work today and my eldest brother goes back to the grindstone tomorrow. It was weird to have all of the gift opening without any "Merry Christmas"'s, and a little odd to be wishing Merry Christmas's on people today without the rest of the rigmarole.
My mom and I were talking about our lack of Christmas tradition. I had to think about it and I realized we aren't completely devoid of traditions. My mom makes Peppernuts (a Mennonite Christmas food - like a really little cookie, I guess) and Butter Tarts, we always have a black box of Pot of Gold chocolates and, of course, Toffifee. We get Christmas cards from our maternal grandparents and put them in the Christmas tree to wait for Christmas morning. Another thing that I really like about our Christmas morning is how we open gifts. We take it in turns not to open presents but to give them. I like the focus that gives the morning.

I've been reading a book over the holidays called "Walking on Water" by Madeleine L'Engle. It's been the perfect book for me to read right now, where I am in my life and art. I think it has helped me to see past the little things that could seem really big and remember why I came home for Christmas. Even though I wrote home in quotation marks before, this is a home for me, as much of one as my little room in my little town of fellow artists.

I wish a peaceful Christmas on everyone out there. Merry Christmas.

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Making Myself Heard

Yesterday evening I went to a friends house for supper. Actually, the same friend with the unrequited love issues, which I am realizing I know only one dimension of the story there, but that's for another post. He made chili with potatoes in it and people gathered and it was good. We ended up talking about a medieval supper one of us had been to and one thing led to another and pretty soon we were all eating our chili with our fingers and shouting 'Aaaayyee!' like Vikings or kings from the Middle Ages. I had a lot of fun, and realized that I haven't hung out with my non-roommate friends for far too long.

The night before that I sung in front of people for the first time since I was six, and the first time ever on purpose (that I can remember...although I've been told I was a pretty performative little kid, so who knows). I sounded so quiet in my own ears that I was sure no one could hear me over the piano, but I couldn't figure out a way to make the sound louder - my body couldn't push the sound out any more so I decided that the song would just suck this time and I'd work towards a better job next year sort of a thing. Well, not only could people hear me and discern the words to the song, they liked it! That was eye opening and it gave me so much confidence. I've always been told I have a nice voice and now I think I'll start to believe it. And I'll have to learn that my volume is going to have to be measured by how it feels in my body, not how it sounds in my ears.

This week my dad spent two days with me. The fact that he went out of his way to come and spend more time than he scheduled here just because I wanted him to is a big deal. It did a lot to repair our relationship, which wasn't by any means collapsing into chaos, but did have some important holes in it. One of those holes is starting to heal over now, because he spent time here and we had a very important talk. He heard me, really heard me and accepted what I had to say.

For some reason, being heard feels like a new and amazing experience, and it's happened a lot this week, in many hither-to unconnected aspects of my life.

Or at least, I thought they were unconnected. I guess there really is no such thing as coincidence.

Saturday, December 10, 2005

Ready for the Weekend

As I am writing this, my eyelids are trying to fall down to protect the burning orbs that once were eyes. My shoulder muscles are pulling on my neck and jaw, trying to meld my entire upper torso into one shapeless, mindless lump. I have not been this tired since yesterday...which makes me laugh for some reason. Before this week, I didn't know that a person could be so tired even when getting 9 hours of sleep a night. Before this week, I had no idea that performing could be so draining.

For some reason, the powers that be at this wonderful art school schedule classes either right before or right after our student show. I understand that there are no other times in which to place these necessary classes - but it is so hard to go to a class when all I really want is an extra hour or two in bed, sleeping the sleep of the dead. Of course, now that I have some time I'm not sleeping, I'm writing here, but it is the weekend tomorrow, and once again I will skip church to sleep and do my own thing. Sundays are pretty much my only day of rest (Saturdays are school days and Mondays, the end of my personal weekend, I devote to homework). Plus I'm sick to death of people by Saturday evening and the idea of cutting short my sleep to voluntarily be among a crowd doesn't appeal to me at all. I joke with my friends that I am becoming a heathen but I wonder if I am indeed missing anything important in my spiritual life.

This summer I pretty much boycotted church. I disagreed with almost everything the local pastor had to say and didn't feel like I was getting anything except a cynical attitude and muscle tension out of the Sunday excursion, so I stayed home and played computer games. Or cleaned the house. Or read, or slept. I didn't feel like going to church but I felt like I was missing something important, and I didn't know where to get it. When I came back to school, I found that the church here answered the need I had but now I'm back to staying at home sleeping.

Do I answer the physical needs or the spiritual needs?

Right now, I'd say my body is winning except that I'm here at the computer expressing myself in a way that meets some other need I have - something that answers a question my body wouldn't ask.

I didn't come here to wonder aloud about church. I came here to complain about school and how much stress I'm experiencing. I have never before gotten stressed out, which sounds like bullshit but I know I'm stressed now and I've never had this kind of a response to stuff. How did I go through a whole year of school and not feel stressed? I don't know but last year I managed it. Maybe now it's all making up for lost time.

I've had three migraines in three months and if I don't go get some sleep, I'll be begging for #4.

Or maybe it's a sign from a vengeful god...

Wednesday, December 07, 2005

Bottles and Unreciprocated Love

Today I went on a bottle run with a friend of mine. Bottles are not something I particularly like, and recycling isn't something that is very close to my heart, but the particular situation I am in requires me to deal with the bottles in the town where I live, and recycling seems to be the approved-of method. Not that I have a problem with recycling. It just seems that a car-full of bottles should be worth more than $30.00.

On the way to the bottle depot, my friend told me about his difficulty in getting over a girl. He's been battling with this for a while - their relationship was always muddy (are they dating? are they friends?) but it has been over, in her mind at least, since the summer. He still refers to giving her space and I don't know how to respond. You give people space when you are in a cooling off period, right? Not after breaking up. Part of me wants to slap him up the side of the head and tell him, look, it's over! Get over her already! Because she is getting over him, and he can see it and he doesn't know what to do.

How can I give advice to a friend when I've never been in his shoes? I don't think I can. And I don't want to either, because I happen to be friends with her too and her side is a lot easier for me to understand. I always come out of these conversations with him confused. I think he just wants me to just listen but I'm never sure how to.

Part of me wants to be able to help him, to say something so profound and wise that it will aid him in his quest to free his heart, or whatever it is that keeps getting stuck when he sees her, talks to her, works with her.

I'm realizing that relationships are complicated and I'm not sure that the perks outweigh the hard side of things. Relationships with people in a small town certainly don't seem to be worth it. I came here with the decision to keep romance out of the equation and so far that has been the case although I can't claim all the responsibility on that one. Even though sometimes I wish that I had the option of being a couple, in my saner moments I don't think that I could handle it.

Which doesn't help my friend much but hey - it does help keep the bottle pile under control.

Monday, December 05, 2005

Chameleon words

Today in my email I read a quote by Learned Hand, who was an American judge. He said "Words are chameleons, which reflect the color of their environment". Not only did that make me learn how to spell chameleon, I had to decide why that was important enough to regurgitate here. And in my first post, no less.

Words are something that I have spent most of my life hiding in and behind. I am only just now realizing how inadequate words are in expressing the real and true things in life. That sentence would once have been the equivalent of heresy to me. There are so many words, how can they possibly fail in expressing something? That is their whole purpose, and as you can see, I can claim mastery over a vast army of them. But there are things that my mind cannot put into words, and where once I would have then written those things off as worthless, I am now finding out that those are the things that make some of the most profound differences in my life.

I am an aspiring actress. I am learning so much in my search to become a whole artist and a whole person and words fail me with astounding regularity. My body, movement and emotion, are becoming a recognized tool in expression and I don't know how to use them yet. It scares me because I have lived in this body for so many years and yet I have never just let it move before. And even now I only have moments of being able to let it move. Most of the time my brain, with its words and intelligence - the source I have relied on all my life - interupts my primal instinct and screws everything up.

And now I have to let go of my mind and stop thinking so much in order to succeed. That is the anathema of all I have ever been.

It is frightening and exhilerating all at once.