Saturday, December 26, 2015

thank you, tolkien.

i have a little book that i've kept for a few years now. it's filled with quotes that i collect, usually on tumblr or from pieces that i read.

having a break in between semesters has allowed me the time to collect quotes. it's been
a good few months since i've opened the little book.

this past week, here are some that i have collected:

You want everything so much and when you get it it's over and you don't give a damn.
-Ernest Hemingway

I own myself, I own my leaving.
-Jorie Graham

I needed my mistakes in order to get my here.
-W.S. Merwin

I write best when I am either, 
Falling in love,
Or falling apart.
-Rudy Francisco

We should meet in another life, we should meet in air,
Me and You.
-Sylvia Plath

Let's face it. We're undone by each other. And if we're not, we're missing something.
-Judith Butler

I've read about that in books, but I never dreamed I should feel it myself.
-C.S. Lewis

and my favorite of all -- something i am consciously and currently
trying to teach myself at this phase in my life:

It is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.
-J.R.R. Tolkien


i love each of the excerpts. i found them all at random, yet they tell a story that is entirely accurate to my life at the moment. so, once again, i am reminded that words are a lot like magic.

but that last quote unnerved me when i read it.
so i have looked upon it several times over this past week. 

it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life.

"it is no bad thing."

tolkien could have said that it is a good thing to celebrate a simple life,
but the word "good" leaves room for an opposing side -- with good comes the possibility of bad.

but to state that it is no bad thing doesn't just bring reassurance that a simple life is a good life.
to say that a simple life is no bad thing is to completely exclude any possibility of the bad, and to make room solely for the good.

it is no bad thing to celebrate a simple life --

and with ten words tolkien completely 
stripped me in all of my fears of the future and what i think it should look like.
and the goodness of ten words combed together to articulate a whisper of reassurance and truth 
has anchored me in this quiet changing season of life.

Saturday, December 19, 2015

san francisco + you

on the first date we went on, you walked the streets of san francisco with me for hours.

i told you how much i loved the city.

how i had left for a year only to learn that everything i loved most was home.

you didn't say much that first day.

i usually do all of the talking:

1/3 of it due to my incessant curiosity,
1/3 of it due to a habit of saying too much, which i have carried since childhood,
1/3 of it nerves, because as much as i do talk i mostly wish to listen to someone else talk for once.

i did most of the talking, but you listened well.

you said you liked the city,
and that felt good enough for the then and there.

sometime before ten p.m. we crossed the bay bridge
and you showed me the view of the city from the hills of berkeley.

the only issue was the fog had already blanketed itself around
the buildings, leaving us to look at the flickering lights from beneath
the fog -- a sea of yellow across the bay.

i didn't care.

you were a stranger then,
but you were there nonetheless.
that's what mattered.

i thought you'd kiss me.
but you didn't.

i would be leaving soon and you didn't know if i was something
that you wanted, something that could work.

i leaned in close,
partly because i was chilled to the bone
but mostly because you were handsome.

you didn't kiss me.
and i felt my heart sink like the transamerica building
was sinking more and more beneath that mass of flickering fog.

a connection with a person is a wondrous thing.

and we had that.

you showed me greek row instead of kissing me.

and i wondered, as a result of each of my assumptions, what goodnesses you had within you.

you let me leave san francisco that night with the only answer that distance was too much.

but by the time i was well on the 101 you changed your mind and said
you couldn't just let me go. you set all worries and questions aside and said yes.

i didn't know in that moment that we had two and a half years ahead of us.

two and a half years of me learning about your goodness,
two and a half years of being loved well,
and being heard and supported.

i think this is the aspect of life that might drive me crazy someday, not knowing how two and a half years (or any amount of time) will pan out --

i can't see what lies ahead, and i so eagerly spend my time trying to figure it out.

we spent two and a half years of dreaming,
and we had damn good dreams, too.

if anything, you taught me more about myself --
my flaws, my shortcomings, my excessive stubbornness, all of the wild things
about me that can nearly drive a person to insanity, and you loved me more because of all of it.

last night you told me that you knew i was fickle but you didn't think i was capable
of such unpredictability. and i had nothing to say to that.

nonetheless, for two and a half years you let me shock you with the things i said.

and you fell in love with san francisco.

which probably meant more than anything.

here's the thing,

when you met me, i was broken.
i was fresh off a plane from a month in eastern europe,
and i didn't know who the hell i was. i still don't. but i am one day closer to nearly getting there.

after over a year filled with therapy, moving, traveling, growing, and overcoming,
i was imperfectly stitched up into another version of what i had been before.

and i wasn't sure if i liked me. i had a feeling i might, but i didn't know yet.

and you saw past that.

i am forever grateful for humans like you whose goodness
is flexible enough to compromise when compromise seems premature,
and blind enough to see beauty.

because you would have compromised so much to make room for my wild dreams.
and you would have chosen to be blind if that meant seeing past my imperfections.

and men like that don't come around often.

so when i said that i was in love with san francisco,
you eventually loved her, too.

the city was a platform for a foundation that always pulled me home,
and i know it will continue to pull me home.

in all of its filth,
and imperfection,

it was a home.

and it is a home.

and across the bay is where you reside,
and i couldn't be more proud of your brilliancy,
compassion, determination, and goodness.

all of that goodness taught me how i might be a better person someday.
because, like i've always said, you are the better human being out of the two of us.

when i walked away you said to me,

please find yourself so that you don't do this to any other man. i hope that no man ever has to feel how you have made me feel.

i thought i might lose sleep over a statement like that.

the last time i had a statement made to me like that, it was also pouring rain and the man before me swore i'd end up unhappy and divorced. he told me that the next guy would get what's coming to him.

and i lost sleep over that statement for nearly the whole year i lived in oregon.

but i'm not afraid anymore.

maybe i'm afraid of time.

maybe i'm afraid of the future.

but i refuse to be afraid of myself.

and i know for a fact that you didn't get what was coming to you.
in fact, i believe that there is more, way more than any dream i ever could have nurtured for you.

god doesn't waste brilliancy and creativity on people, and he certainly won't waste it on you. i know those dreams and your goodness will manifest within you, and that is a wonderful thing.

there is always more.

as for me, it might take quite some time to intertwine my dreams with another human being,
but that isn't because i'm afraid that i'll hurt another man.

it's because i've learned that dreaming with another human being is one of the most intimate things.

i also can't bear to have another memory with someone on the streets of san francisco turn into a ghost. because san francisco now has enough ghosts that i will have to learn to see past.

you will exist in union square, in every statement i made about hating the touristy spots in sf -- i much prefer the sunset district, 24th & market, valencia, the neighborhood where the divisadero is, and noe valley.
you will exist in that diner west of chinatown.
and in the sushi place off fidi and market.
in the small church in the soma district.
on every stop of the n-judah line,
at the macarthur and rockridge platforms of oakland where you'd spin be round and round
whether it was a crisp morning or the middle of the night because you didn't care what i looked like dancing around you.
or on the embarcadero on the pier where i took your photo and thanked god for his goodness.
on ashby, telegraph, shattuck,
and in that eerie theater near the brick breakfast building that i love.
in the asian ghetto where we shared countless meals,
out on sproul plaza,
in the crevices of greek row at those parties where you held me together,
and finally in front of the library where the story began.

i don't know who else will love san francisco the way that my heart does.

you loved her greatly,
but i loved her more.

and i don't know anything else but that,
and the ghosts that i will know for some time,
and that people have been telling me lately that i need to do some growing up.

you know exactly what you want, and what it will take to get there.

and i know that i want a life aligned with god's will, and because of this i really know nothing past
what is before me in this moment. and even the things in this moment are bursting with incomprehensible endlessness.

but san francisco resides,
and so do you,
and so do i.

and we will all be okay.

i have to believe this because time is the only thing that tells, and we know how i don't listen well to the voice of time.

my whole heart wants to believe that falling in love is just too pailful to engage in ever again,
but i am reminding myself of san francisco.

how i fell in love with its streets -- even when they were filthy and crowded and dangerous.
how i still love berkeley and will try my best to make her my home in a few years when the time comes to chase a phd. and i hope to god that some man will understand the importance in me doing that so that i don't embark on the adventure alone.

you loved san francisco, too, for a time. and that time was good and valuable.

but there are other places and cities.

and i have my home, and i always will.

but i refuse to be afraid of finding my home away from home. because it will come eventually.

and you shouldn't be afraid of such thing, either.

Friday, December 11, 2015

a friday

i knew i had tears in me when i spent two hours lying in bed, staring at the ceiling.

i had awoken around six, scared shitless that the conclusion of my senior capstone paper did not reiterate my thesis. so there i laid. and thought. and contemplated. and realized that university is slowly coming to a close.

all week i had commented on the cry i knew was in me.

just you wait. once everything is done and it comes time for leaving, i'm going to cry...

i still have tears in me. lots.

i'll save some for when i move to los angeles and the rest for april thirtieth.

i'm not necessarily crying because i am sad.

i'm crying because it's almost over.

deep down, i know i am ready for the next chapter of adulthood.

i just can't wrap my head around each of the potentials of what might happen next.

i need a job. and i hope for grad school. and i hope for some traveling, but to live in and around the bay area {if i can ever afford it--am i right?!}.

anyway, the first cry came when my mom called around ten-thirty.

all it took was me saying hi, mom,

for her to ask, are you okay?

i stayed silent.

i know you don't want to leave, but it will be okay. i am so proud of you.

you know that very human part of emotion? when your throat tightens
and your eyes well up, and if you even try to mumble a fragment of a word
the tears unleash down your face?

so i quickly hung up,

stood there, and let them fall -- just for a moment. 

i had packing to do.

then i drove to campus one last time for now.

checked my mailbox.

and slowly walked away.

i swear in that moment my feet felt like bricks and i searched for familiar faces
so that i could get one last good-bye in. yesterday was filled with those, but today i walked away alone.

as i merged onto the sixty-five, the tears began to fall again.

i kept one hand on the wheel and the other against my face as i leaned toward the window 
and focused my thoughts towards the road.

it's amazing how much a place can become like home if you give it a second chance.

adaptability is something i have mastered while in university,
even when this part of northern california has burned hot, caught fire,
or seemed to span for miles upon empty miles.

today wasn't a bad day.
it wasn't even the official close of a chapter --
graduation day will signify that.

but it was a step towards something other than what i have come to love.

i am grateful for the unconventional nature of my university experience.
i am enthralled by the passions i have acquired.
and i am blessed for the faces of individuals whose lives have stained mine in all of the right colors.

it's just the beginning --
this is what i keep telling myself.

there is always more. 

Thursday, December 10, 2015

goodbyes, again. 6:00-something am thoughts while "roses" by the chainsmokers plays on repeat

as i write, wind and rain are pushing themselves against my open window.

opening a window during this sort of weather brings instant recollection of the windows my roommate and i kept open throughout our whole freshmen year in oregon. even once the winter chill had settled in and the sky cried relentlessly, we would keep it open.

it's that ghostly hour, right now.
it seems as though it's the dead of night, but
you know that the sun is about to permeate the sky.
it's my favorite moment of the day.
i love when i'm the only one stirring in a home filled with people.
it's a quiet goodness, walking amongst everyone's sleepy vulnerability.
and engaging with the morning so early is a kept feeling like a secret.

it is my last full day in this place.

one paper (well, three, if you count the required reflection papers which are five pages in themselves!} and one presentation stand between me and saying goodbye. least i hope those are all i have left! ha

i have had quite a few anxiety attacks this week,
and every one has been about school.

think it's because i care so much.
i get it, a grade is just a number and school doesn't
last forever.

but, i care.
so much.

if i have learned anything while at university,
i'd have to say that these few things suffice in reasoning:

1. i have learned that i know nothing.
2. i have become more articulate {it's amazing how much four years can form a person's writerly voice}
3. i love film. with so many fibers of my being. who knew?!
4. i can live with just about anyone, though not for too long.
5. my parents are my best friends.
6. just because i want something in this life, doesn't mean god doesn't want it, too. those dreams are there for a reason.
7. c.s. lewis is as wonderful as i always knew he could be.
8. jane austen is not my favorite, though i will claim the ever underrated mansfield park as my favorite of her works.
9. asking for help is a sign of seeking wisdom, and not at all an indication of lack of depth, intelligence or strength.
10. know your worldview and stick to your values--doing so will make you stand firm in character.
11. ask jesus. seriously. my famous line in university has been i do relationship with god kicking and screaming -- and the same goes with college.
12. don't settle for less than. but do find a place to settle your heart, in whatever context that may mean.
13. say yes to chipotle. even if it's your fourth time that week. sometimes stress needs to be soothed, not repressed.
14. embrace the tears. they're good for you.
15. do something that scares you. i've found that when i'm scared, i'm usually doing something right. so naturally, each year of college i have moved, thereby terrifying myself over and over. it has been glorious -- and i mean this wholeheartedly and with so much gratitude.

my time at university has not been smooth.
i'm still learning that i do life pretty rough, impulsively, and unapologetically.
but, when you break my time in university down, the parts i have loved far
outweigh each strenuous obstacle, meltdown, uncomfortable transition, and bad cafeteria meal.

Thursday, December 3, 2015

oregon love + hozier(?)

currently obsessed with this song.
and, yes, i'm real late to the party.

but i saw it on a small homemade film that was shot on the beaches
of the pacific northwest.

so, that coast + this dazzling melody = beauty.

i spent quite some time tonight talking to an old friend from oregon.
i miss those oregonians of mine dearly--

and those green trees that encompass the mountains.
and that brief, winding drive up and down the 99.
and the pitter patter of the rain against my face at the wake of morning, and how it drummed on into the night against my hollow window, singing me to sleep.
and the way the sun's brightness was held by the reflection of every dripping leaf on every dripping tree--i swear that if heaven is plentiful with water it must feel and taste like the purity of air that has been rained on for days on end.
and the chai from chapters on the corner of downtown newberg.
and the portland skyline.
and that evening at dusk when a friend and i took the backroads home headed toward the 'berg,
and mount hood stood tall and pretty in the background so we stopped the car and walked amongst the over grown grass in the hilly field, and i could have cried from how full my heart was then in the present, in nostalgia.
and those faces that i collected for a year. those beautiful faces that carried me through some of my worst days. they smiled at me, and laughed with me. and cried with me, too. 
but that glorious oregon air, and the sun that shines the prettiest up where northwest is best. 

i'm happy now.
but i miss it all.
i cannot believe i'm nearing four years since having moved there.

p.s. i'm really struggling to write my paper.

the end.