Sunday, December 31

Frickamuttering new years.

I never do have anything particularly uplifting to say for the New Year. Once I announced that I was emotionally broken, once clinically depressed, another that I was just plain homesick. (These things would be more dramatic if they were less predictable.) And before that I wrote in my paper-and-leather journals.

This year I can't complain of anything but youth and ignorance, which are both entirely too curable.

I've promised myself I'd actually begin thinking about living somewhere. It's going to take a major shift in thinking, for me, since I'm used to transience and it is what I'm familiar with. I wonder if I could always be ready to get up and go . . . it's rather nomadic. My recent group of friends is not used to the expatriated lifestyle I'm used to living, and they find the ideas of constant adventure a bit wearing--one of them went so far as to say it was wrong, that no one could have relationships that way. But really, their lifestyles are strange. A constant routine sounds so odd, to me. Maybe it would be comforting. Maybe I'd get my memory back. Anyway, I'll think about it.

The pretty colours, shiny lights, and consistent crises that carousel through my brain are keeping me occupied, but they can't hide the feeling there is a wind that roars in the hollow places in my heart of hearts. I'm cold when I'm by myself. I'm not ever going to be enough to fill myself with meaning and reality. Even my ego isn't that big:)

But even after reading this and knowing a small part of me, you still won't talk to me about it, and I will keep it guarded and yet free for you to see. You won't talk to me about it because it would require the kind of conversation that talks about emptiness. That means clich├ęs and an itchiness that may or may not lead to a sure conclusion. It would mean that you would already have to have a basis of trust with me that would allow you to use that kind of vocabulary. There aren't that many people who do, just because the subject, thought not inappropriate or off-colour, is an odd one.

It's only almost 6 p.m. and I am exhausted. What am I going to do with myself.

Be myself. I hate that answer.

It's midnight. I'm already thinking badly of the new year.

It's 2 o'clock in the morning. I hate consequences and misunderstandings and blocked up kitchen sinks and nice hairdryers and everything about love that makes us want to test it.

Also I should go to sleep before I feel like blogging any more. It's only downhill from here.

Wednesday, December 27

Merton, Hopkins, Daniel, Duns Scotus, Norton, and me.

Once again I find myself in Robert-Louis-Stevenson-mode, feeling bloated and sore-chested. I woke up this morning and immediately coughed up a mouthful of blood and phlegm. Yay: I'm home. As usually happens when I become ill this way, I feel like reading poetry. Sonnets, in particular. (Gerard Manley Hopkins rocks.) Shakespeare is too much of a summer picnic for my mouthfuls of phlegm and swollen eyelids. I rarely feel as if the clean modesty of beauty has rested on my face, and today is markedly not one of those moments.

In case you didn't know, I've been wondering these past few months what to do with myself, and why I am where I am, and where I shall be led from here. Because my beliefs are all there should be of me, I am not going to dysphemise my vocabulary for those of you who don't don't want to understand what "prayer" or "hope" mean.

With that marvellous introduction to this post, I promptly became very dizzy and looked around wildly for the nearest trash bin. Yay. But no such luck; I'm still in my chair and just rested my head and hands for a moment. I hate this feeling; my mind is so trapped inside a mess of bones and hair and blood and skin that doesn't function correctly.

As to my identity, I've been reading some Thomas Merton (proffered by a friend of a friend, and accepted with much gratitude and a tardy note of thanks) and some Hopkins. They use terms like "inscape" and "instress" that I'm not sure how to use correctly quite yet. In my Norton Anthology (2nd. vol., 7th ed.), the notation on Hopkins talks about the ideas he took from Duns Scotus, whose name came up in our medieval philosophy classes as one of the Irish who knew Greek, and was one of the only original thinkers in blah yadda I don't remember without my notes.

It kinda fits that I have once again found my answers through relationships and medievalism. Which basically sums me up.

From Norton: "[H]e felt that everything in the universe was characterized by what he called 'inscape', the distinctive design that constitutes individual identity. This identity is not static but dynamic. Each being in the universe 'selves', that is, enacts its identity. And the human being, the most highly selved, the most individually distinctive being in the universe, recognizes the inscape of other beings in an act that Hopkins calls 'instress', the apprehension of an object in an intense thrust of energy toward it that enables one to realize its specific distinctiveness. Ultimately, the instress of inscape leads one to Christ, for the individual identity of any object is the stamp of the divine creation on it. In the act of instress, therefore, the human being becomes a celebrant of the divine, at once recognizing God's creation and enacting his or her own God-given identity within it."

In regards to the "stamp of the divine" and the end bit, I've written about this before when I said "It is an awful thing to seem".

So, basically, the idea can be summed up with a quote from Merton: "The special clumsy beauty of this particular colt on this April day in this field under these clouds is a holiness consecrated to God by His own creative wisdom and it declares the glory of God."

Hence the cheery encouragement to "be yourself!" turns into something rather ominously beautiful.

I am being myself. I had faith that God would lead me someplace and he has and it is a university in Ireland for a year. What that means is beyond my ken. However, looking at the future . . . if my purpose is to be my self, then maybe my PhD and my writing is not in vain. My shyness and my clumsiness are to a purpose. And my sickness must be also to a purpose.

In the process of typing, I have somehow produced a mountain of balled-up tissues. Time to go find a nap, or a bubble bath.

Sunday, December 17

Joe's death is still so very close, and it is Christmas.

It is good to be in a place where I can mourn for Joe and not be alone. Being unable to share grief is almost as bad as having joy and not being able to share it. It's comforting to see someone else's tears instead of my computer screen and a chat window.

Saturday, December 16

Sleepy blogging from Venetian train stations.

I petted the cat in the left luggage room and now I can't bite my nails any more. Petting the cat was calming, but it just doesn't compare with the supreme calming effect of making my hands look really gross. And I think I have to pay millions of euro to wash my hands in a clean bathroom. And I usually bring hand-wipey things with me on account of my penchant for not wasting chocolate, but I don't have them this time. Belgium.

Generally speaking, I like night trains. To remark specifically on the subject of tonight's train, I am in love.

I slept for an hour last night between 2:30 and 3:30 and unfortunately could not make it to sleep on the plane from Dublin (a middle-aged punk with bleached hair in several different styles at once thought it would be cool to explain precisely why the water at Huntington Beach is not swimmable innable; he was Irish) or the bus from Treviso (Sufjan Stevens and his Christmas carols kept me giggling, which greatly perplexed the deliberately casual-looking German next to me). I get to sleep tonight.

What makes the whole deal even cooler is that I get to wake up to Italian caffe, and other stuff that makes life worth living, like sisters and Naples and that I will have new jeans when I get home and won't be wearing the ones I am now (they used to be too big and stretch and now they have no stretch and are MUCH too big). A long hot bath and an extended conversation with my cat/dragon are also in order, but something tells me I won't kill two birds with one stone if I try and consolidate the desired events.

By the time this is posted, I will probably be downloading the updates I've neglected for so long, and dealing out mince pies and bad news and hugs and stories to anyone in the close vicinity.

That is very exciting. Especially considering that I have about 3.5 hours left to wait for my train.

I am blogging to keep awake, I think. I could be reading, but the stuff about Courtly Love is actually starting to be interesting to me for reasons I can only explain away as a bizarre madness that has to do with a footnote related illness that insists on adding ligatures wherever possible. And I'd like to stay away from getting too engrossed until I absolutely must admit a mild interest.

That probably made no sense but I'm not going back to edit it because I'm too sleepy. Oooh! I know! I'll buy a coke! Then I will be jittery and sleepy and have a funny taste in my mouth.

The feeling of going home is an odd one, especially when I am so out of step with reality and sleep.

Monday, December 11

Jon . . . we were wrong; I don't think I'm afraid.

Mmk, darlin's. I just had one of those formin'-stormin'-normin' talks with some of the folks I hang out with. (Not only can you tell since I just told you outright, but they both talk like that, too; all southerny and comfortable and not what I'm used to.) What I mean by that is that in group dynamics theory, there are stages that every group goes through: forming, storming, norming, and performing. Look it up on wikipoo if you doubt me. Anyway, it is useful to know.

We are all polite human beings and inordinately concerned about each others' feelings, so the forming stage was easy, the storming stage not as bad as it could be and more informative than anything, and the norming is going to surprise all of us in hopefully delightful ways. Most of tonight we just nodded and made noncommittal noises to show we were listening and taking in the new info even if we didn't agree with it or didn't know what to do with it.

And so we are fairly much in the norming stage. Which is nice. I get sick of only ever playing at the first two stages with immature people who flip out when it gets itchy. Not that it happens all that often, but it is hard to get to the third stage when the time spent together amounts to little less than an hour a week (say my flatmates, for example).

And what we chose to talk about was romance. Of all things. In that, we all have widely differing backgrounds, too, which is hilarious fun. I who have never dated, one of them who is about two years out of a four year relationship, and the other who is one year out of an eleven-plus year marriage.

Commitment seems to be a big thing among them and their kind, tied to ideas of casual dating and simply the basis of attraction. They don't talk so much about choice as I would when talking about love (even in general, beyond romance in specific, which is only a tiny itsy part of Love).

Issue number one which I am still thinking about: One of them brought up the point that it was odd if I never "just feel attracted to some guy and think 'hey, I'd like to spend time with that person alone to see what they're like'?" I don't even remember what I said, but I think it had to do with going to extremes (I do go to extremes. I cannot find such a happy medium.). Anyway, I say now: sure. But . . . what's the point?

* * * * *

And now I just finished a long chat conversation in which many things were hashed, mostly relating to casual dating and the nature of love in relation to people you don't know well. Also friendship. So I don't really need to rehash it here to understand myself or anyone else. But it was an interesting conversation, and now I am not going to cram for my Old English final. I shall study it all morning. After breakfast.

Also the nature of love is something that has been keeping me busy for a while, now. It's a pretty interesting subject; showing love in appropriate ways. Very interesting.

Got to go. Morpheus is such a darling.

Friday, December 8

Pan left, close on the steeple of the church: how did I get here?

My day has been filled enough with irony to send me flying into walls, laughs, and tears within the first few minutes of being home. Home. Whatever. This is not my home. My dorm room, I mean. There is nobody here--how can it be home when there is nobody here!?

I need to curl up on the couch with a sister and a cat and some stupid sitcoms or old B&Ws. (I'm not quite at the Breakfast at Tiffany's stage but certes I have reached the Onegin stage.)

I would have taken a long hot bath in the prosaic style of all modern damsels in distress, but that's particularly difficult with only a shower stall in my bathroom and only sporadic hot water in our building.

It's funny how odd my life has become. I've taught a child not mine her first words. I've walked out to my locked car at night to find a rape victim inside huddled on the back seat; she said "Your mother said you would take me home". I've tended the heartbreak of very dear friends. Josh and Joe and Kelli have died in the past 8 months. I've seen a family member and a few friends go to war. I've been in the middle of a messy church split. And yet I still worry about my exams. The dramatic irony just hurts.

And also there are really funny drunks outside my window. I don't really want to get up and get myself a coffee (I think I need a boyfriend; people are telling me they do those sorts of things--either a boyfriend or a cappuccino machine in my room).

Tuesday, December 5

I am not bald.

Freak- INFJ
20% Extraversion, 93% Intuition, 46% Thinking, 73% Judging

Well, well, well. How did someone like you end up with the least common personality type of them all? In a group of 100 Americans, only 0.5 others would be just like you. You really are one of a kind... In fact, I do believe that that's one of the definitions for the word "FREAK."

Freak's not such a bad word to describe you actually.

You are deep, complex, secretive and extremely difficult to understand. If that doesn't scream "Freak!" I don't know what does. No-one actually knows the REAL you, do they?

You probably have deep interests in creative expression as well as issues of spirituality and human development.

You've probably even been called a "psychic" before, because of your uncanny knack to understand and "read" people without quite knowing how you do it. Don't fret. You're not actually psychic. That would make you special and you'll never accomplish that.

You're also quite possible the most emotional of them all, so don't take this all too hard. Nevertheless you most definitely have the strangest personality type and that's not necessarily a good thing.

My test tracked 4 variables How you compared to other people your age and gender:
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You scored higher than 99% on Extraversion
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You scored higher than 99% on Intuition
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You scored higher than 99% on Thinking
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You scored higher than 99% on Judging

Link: The Brutally Honest Personality Test written by UltimateMaster on OkCupid, home of the The Dating Persona Test

On how to make P soop.

Fry one onion in butter until it gets translucenty, then add a handful of chopped-up celery and let it get a little discouraged.

Then add whatever spices you want (I just used a bit of salt and pepper today). And also a carrot or three, chopped up into bits that would fit into a spoon. Stir around for a few seconds, and then add a couple of handfuls of split peas (3 handfuls for every person) and then the water/broth (about three times as much the amount of the peas) and anything else you may have forgotten.

Boil or simmer until the peas are soft. Maybe a half an hour. Or a little more. Maybe less.

Then eat it.

Ways to spiff it up include a dollop of sour cream, a lovely piece of crusty bread, and a glass of fresh apple juice (NOT NECESSARILY IN THE SOUP but with it).

Nice lunch--warming and filling and enough of a meal to keep you going. Also it is very simple. And it makes you look really good when your roomies come in with their "handmade sandwiches" from the cafe on the street that uses bad tomatoes and papery bread and lots of mayonnaise. That is when you gloat.