Inspiration

I received an email last week from the Sawyer Free Library here in Gloucester, announcing a woman named Wendy Johnston, who hiked all 2,700 miles of The Pacific Crest Trail, would be giving a presentation on her adventures at 2:00pm on a Saturday. I immediately made a date with one of my besties, Heather, to go. We love hiking, and nature; this was right up our trail (get it? Get it? Instead of “right up our alley?”…I know, that was lame).

Despite a hangover thanks to my friend Kim’s birthday celebrations the previous evening, I rallied, and met Heather at the library. I half-emptied a big purse of mine so we could smuggle our coffees in. The presentation had just started, so we quietly crept to the back. It was full, only a few empty chairs sprinkled throughout the room. There were some chairs stacked in a corner which Heather was able to quietly and gracefully pull from the stack: I would have made a hell of a noise and knocked the whole thing over had I attempted this, which Heather knew.

Wendy talked for half an hour about her reason for undertaking her adventure, followed by a slideshow of absolutely stunning photographs, set to music. Several people commented on how well her choice of music gelled with the pictures.

A Q&A session followed. First, I must add that the older woman in front of me backed her chair up practically into me for most of the presentation, effectively cutting off my personal space – I guess she didn’t realize there was someone behind her? I didn’t have much room to back my own chair up, as being in the last row, I needed to keep space for people to walk between me and the wall. I should have asked her to scoot up, but didn’t want to be like the rude whispering people who were standing against the wall behind us. They were oblivious to the shut-up stares being thrown their way by various audience members. WHY do people think that whispering is NOT disruptive?

When everyone’s questions had been answered – including mine, which someone else had asked – Wendy went through 6 pairs of sneakers on her hike – I turned to Heather and asked, “Would it be weird if I asked for her autograph?” To which Heather replied, “Go for it!”

We went up and got into the short line of well-wishers. I handed Wendy a pen and envelope I had dug out of my bag, and asked for her autograph – she was shocked! “Do people ask that?” I said. She told me that sometimes she’s asked to sign the calendars of photographs she has made. After scribbling her name, she someday sheepishly handed me back my pen and envelope, saying, “That’s so bad! I need to work on my signature!” I assured her that it was fine. We hugged, and then Heather and I bought some calendars Wendy had for sale.

Later that night, I jumped on Wendy’s blog, movingtowardsfreedom.com….and there was a post about me! “to the sweet woman who asked for my autograph today.” Wendy asked for my name and address and apologized for not writing a nice note, leaving her email so I could contact her.

I, in turn, was flattered and happy that I had made her happy. We ended up chatting through Facebook messenger.

I will leave you, dear reader, to learn about Wendy’s 5 month journey up the Pacific Crest Trail, from the border or Mexico to the border of Canada. Visit movingtowardsfreedom.com. She also has free upcoming presentations at various libraries around Eastern Massachusetts:

North Andover Public Library, Sunday January 11, 2-3:30 pm

Norwell Public Library, Tuesday January 13, 6-7:30pm

Pepperell Public Library, Thursday January 15, 6:30-8pm

Framingham Public Library, Thursday January 22, 7-8:30pm

Andover Public Library, Thursday January 29, 7-8:30pm

I also urge you to check out her Etsy shop, where you can purchase her photographs and homemade jewelry:

http://www.etsy.com/shop/CardsJewelrybyWendy

I do not know if I will ever undertake a hike as ambitious as Wendy’s; however, her message of following your heart, and feeling at peace and grounded in nature, resonates with me, and I’m sure you will find her inspiring as well.

Happy Trails To You ūüôā

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Heebie-Jeebie Ouija

I was practically in tears when I begged one of my youth group leaders to NOT bring a Ouija Board to an upcoming sleepover at the church. She said it was “just a game,” although I did think it was rather ironic because:

1. She was the Christian Education Coordinator at the church – wouldn’t that mean she was required to believe in life after death? How could the Ouija Board be “just a game” if spirits existed? and
2. Wouldn’t the church NOT want us to communicate with ghosts (other than the Holy one) in the actual church?

The Ouija Board never appeared at the youth group church sleepover – I can’t even remember if the sleepover actually even happened. I hadn’t had any exposure to a Ouija Board yet – only an overactive imagination, and warnings from my dad that they were not to be messed with.

And then I messed with one.

Fourth of July when I was thirteen, two of my girlfriends – Nicole and Amy – and one of my eleven-year-old sister Jaime’s girlfriends, Sarah – slept over. We started out in the pop-up camper in the driveway. Either Nicole or Amy brought a Ouija Board.

Jaime and Sarah watched as the three of us older girls whispered questions to the board, fingers lightly resting on the planchette, accusing each other of moving it to spell out answers. I don’t remember what we asked, or any of the answers, although I do remember Nicole teasing me about Bloody Mary trying to talk to us – she knew I was terrified of her.

Eventually, we got bored, or spooked, or maybe a little of both, and put the board away. Jaime and Sarah decided to sleep in the house. Nicole, Amy, and I curled up on one of the beds in the trailer to try and sleep.

Before long, we heard some animal-like movement, and panting, outside, which would make sense…if we had a dog. I GUESS it could have been a raccoon, as we lived on the edge of the woods. Not knowing, though, gave us the heebie-jeebies. So, a few minutes later, when I had to pee, there was no way I was leaving the trailer and running down the long, dark driveway to the house.

“I’ll just go pee in the trash can on the other side of the camper, there’s a plastic bag in it,” I whispered to my friends.
I hopped on over to the can and took care of business as quickly as possible, as the three of us giggled. Because peeing in places other than toilets is awkward and funny. Then I scrambled back into bed.

A few minutes later…

The plastic bag that lined the trash can started to rustle.

We heard footsteps, and felt a slight sway, as if someone was walking around at the end of the trailer Jaime and Sarah had wisely abandoned.

“Do you hear that?!” I harshly/loudly/panickedly whispered.
“Shhh!” Nicole replied. “I’m trying to listen!”
We didn’t last much longer.

My poor mother had to leave the comfort of her bed to escort three screaming-crying thirteen-year-old girls all of twenty feet, from the pop-up to the house. Nevermind that she had to wait for one of the brats to unlock the trailer door, to find her daughter holding a baseball bat, poised to strike any bad guys/aliens/ghosts. (In our defense, we were simply being safe by locking the door and having a weapon on hand. And what if a ghost was imitating my mother? Hence the position I had taken, ready to swing).

Mom ushered us to my bedroom.

“What’s wrong? What happened?” she asked, bewildered.
“We’ll tell you in the morning!” I wailed.

The next day, or two days later, Amy and I used her Ouija Board, in her room in her house, to try to figure out who/what had tried to haunt us. We were much braver, as it was the middle of the day. What we got was someone/thing named Victor, that taunted, “So scared, weren’t you?”

That camper gave me the willies until my parents sold it and bought a newer model a few years later.

I know some people might say, being three hormonal teenagers, Nicole, Amy and I had let our imaginations get the best of us, and assigned supernatural explanations to normal noises.

Or, perhaps some bored, but not-evil ghost, had seen us messing around and decided to have some laughs.

OR, did a former owner haunt the trailer, and become offended when I peed in the trash can?

I hope it was one of those theories, and not something more sinister.

Whatever the case, I haven’t, and don’t plan to, touch another Ouija Board.

One Man’s Junk Is Another Man’s Treasur

“Will you marry me?,” my boyfriend jokingly asks one of my girlfriends. She is zipping around her new place, cleaning, while the three of us are hanging out.

Ouch. That hurt. Point taken: I should be less-cluttery and clean more, like my friend. I’m not dirty; I just have a lot of stuff. And am easily distracted.

One of my uncles nicknamed my bedroom “The Abyss,” when I was a teenager. One could easily get lost amongst the piles of books, clothes, and other teenage schlock. In college, I had no problem sleeping in a single bed, surrounded by books and clothes. Today, my things sleep on the floor and dresser next to my side of the bed.

I have decided that I have Organizational ADD. I just made that up, but it fits me perfectly. I have only ever been diagnosed with anxiety, and wouldn’t say that I have ADD – except when it comes to cleaning. I’m a bit of a procrastinator; most certainly NOT a perfectionist; and don’t finish every project I start. I have read many times that creative people are inherently messy, and this gives me a bit of hope.

But.

If you know my father, then you can see where these tendencies come from. A junk collector, he knows the inherent value of the gadgets and doo-hickeys he finds at the dump, and, more importantly, how to fix them. At one point during my childhood, the living room, kitchen, and three bedrooms each had a TV my dad had found and repaired. His mechanical knowledge has also kept many family vehicles on the road for as looooong as phsyically possible.

The yin to this yang is, a cellar and
garage filled and overflowing. And while the yard that surrounds my parents’ garage is any junkyard dog’s fantasy, it is a bane on my mother’s existence.

On this subject I understand both of my parents’ points of view:

Mom: works hard to keep the house clean, and Dad doesn’t do his part to keep his things orderly

Dad: is nagged and nagged, but after work and other commitments, there are hardly enough hours in the day to organize!

Yes, both of them work full time – and at retirement age. So, one could argue, Mom finds time to clean and organize when she’s not working – why can’t Dad?

Different strokes for different folks. My Dad was diagnosed with ADD – sometime in his 50s. And yes, he takes medication for it. Magical pill that got him to part with his collection? Hell, no!

Two other theories on why he has amassed his own personal junkyard:

1. (I believe from Mom): after he left home – for college, or the Vietnam War, or something – he returned to find his mother had thrown away the contents of his bedroom, and had reclaimed the room for her own purposes. Hence, he is now afraid to part with things.

2. (According to him): He can’t give my family vast amounts of monetary wealth…so he collects things that were once of value and refurbishes them instead. (We were/are super-rich in love, though!! ūüôā

I analyze this part of my father, and how it works within the context of his relationships, because I am him, in this way. And I’m sorry, but it can suck.

It’s embarrassing when your friend’s almost-five year old walks into your home and says, “So this is your messy house?” Or when your boyfriend expresses disappointment. You can’t blame him, though. Although it’s not like a failed promise, because you never stood and declared, ‘I will keep a clean and orderly house, mark my words!’

And when you do find motivation and clean, he says something like, ‘This is how I’d like it I be ALL the time,’ you think wistfully to yourself, ‘So would I.’

Because it doesn’t feel good to be disorganized, and/or have piles of books and mail and art projects and whathaveyou spread around the house. One tends to feel guilty, and wonder if the “neat and tidy” chip is missing from her brain. And when she does bring herself to watch “Hoarders,” it’s with equal parts revulsion and sympathy: How could they?!; and, Could that be ME someday?

Seven or eight years ago, I was living back at home with my parents, and Dad asked me to clean my room, I think because he had to venture in there to fix my TV or DVD player or something. It caught me off guard, because 1. He had never before asked this of me, and 2. Wasn’t that like the pot calling the kettle black?

A friend remarked, “Ha! If Kim goes to clean her room she will just disappear for hours, and when you go to look for her she’ll be reading!”

Which has happened before.

Call it creativity, call it ADD, procrastination, laziness, whatever: I would rather be reading, or writing, painting, watching a movie, trying a new craft, or hanging out with friends, than cleaning. Don’t most people? Probably, but something in me makes me DO all those things before I tidy up. And I inevitably fantasize about being a Neat Freak, or doing something drastic, like getting rid of all of my possessions.

I know I’m not alone in this, as there are countless books about How To Be Organized, and de-cluttering, some of which I have started….and then I find something else more interesting to read.

There are worse things I could be, and do. There are so many things I want to learn and experience, why waste time and energy on a spic-and-span house?

It would be like starting each day with a clean slate.

I would feel more grown up and responsible.

Maybe I could find something I thought I’d lost.

I’ll get there, someday. It’s something to strive for.

For now, I’ll consider myself some kind of Creative Genius. ūüėČ

Make-up

I started wearing make-up in the seventh grade: heavy, coal-black eyeliner; dark, vampy lipstick; foundation, blush, powder, mascara – I’d layer that shit on. My clothes weren’t all black, but my dark hair and preference for darker-than-dark maroon lips and nails made this period of my life my “Goth Phase.” I wasn’t obsessed with death, per se, but I did (and still do) have an appetite for the spooky and supernatural, including vampires – long before Twilight and True Blood. Although I am secretely pleased the world has jumped onto this bandwagon.

My parents did a stellar job in raising me and my younger sister. We lacked nothing. Yet nature took it’s course, and by the time I was twelve, my “horror-mones” were in Crazy Teenage Mode. Like every marketer’s dream, I bought into the media-produced notion that I was not Good Enough, and I needed to consume make-up, hair products, clothes, to transform myself into who I should be.

I decided to become Cool, less goody-two-shoes: I quit any worthwhile pastimes, such as piano and ballet lessons (except reading: I never gave up reading). I tried to fit in, adopt an “I don’t give a fuck” attitude, all the while torturing my family with my angst and moodiness. I danced at the edge of “the wrong crowd,” although I was never brave/dumb enough to get into drinking, drugs, or promiscuity.

And I wore make-up. Every. Single. Day. Except if I was going to the beach, to swim, it was super-hot out, and make-up would meltily slide off my face. Only if it was physically impossible would I not put on what my uncle endearingly called my “War Paint.”

Fortunately, for my thirteenth birthday I received a much-needed make-up application lesson at Elizabeth Arden. So then I had that going for me.

Around fifteen, my horror-mones became less horror-ble (at least according to me), and I threw myself into Drama Club. I also made some pretty cool friends, who loved me for me, embracing all my dorkiness and quirkiness. I began to play with make-up, using it not to hide behind, but to have fun with. I didn’t wear it 24/7…maybe 20/6, but it was an improvement.

In college I started expressing myself through piercings and funky hair (tattoos came post-college). But still. Make-up.

BUT:

In the past, say, six months, something’s shifted in my perception of myself…and I Don’t. Wear. Make-up.

Call it laziness, call it maturing: I call it an accomplishment. I’m proud of myself! I was never into expensive make-up, but I certainly shelled out lots of moola on it. I wouldn’t feel complete, or ready to face the world, without painting myself each morning. It was my emotional addiction, so to speak.

I feel so free now, choosing not to wear it. Giddy almost, like I’m getting away with being naked in a public place.

I’m starting to realize that I’m enough.

Safe Haven

We all have certain spaces that are sacred to us at certain times throughout our lives, places that make us feel completely safe and loved and at peace. A childhood home, a favorite beach, a particular room, maybe even a car.

Something – I forget what – had me thinking about how awesome and magical my parents’ bedroom seemed to me when I was growing up. My parents still reside in my childhood home, for which I am continually thankful for. They’ve lived there for the past 34 years, and have had the same bedroom for the past 32.

Growing up, my younger sister Jaime and I shared the other two bedrooms: we both slept in the smaller one; then we shared the¬†bigger one; then I had the bigger one to myself; then I traded with Jaime for the smaller one. It was always fun setting up whichever room we occupied at the moment, moving furniture, decorating, setting up the “vibe.” On several occasions, one or both of our parents would wake up to odd noises in the middle of the night as one of us was rearranging. The bigger bedroom at the front of the house became a canvas for our colored pencil drawings around my thirteenth year. It was hella cool we had that freedom of expression.

My parents’ room remained mostly unchanged. When you walk in the room, you’re facing the wall with two windows that look out over the driveway. There is a desk¬†next to¬†the windows on the right.¬†The queen sized bed has been in the same spot, headboard against the wall to the left. (Right side of he bed Mom’s, the left, Dad’s). The clothes dressers are on the wall opposite the windows. On the wall to the right, perpendicular to the desk,¬†there’s one very spacious closet with two wooden-slated sliding doors, where clothes and shoes are kept. There’s a smaller, one-door closet lined with shelves in the back left corner, next to where Dad’s bedside table used to be – that space is now occupied by a bookshelf. Mom has a bedside table, on which her alarm clock sits. Her favorite childhood teddy bear, Atticus (yes, named after Atticus Finch in her favorite book, To Kill a Mockingbird), also used to sit on this table, with his very¬†beady eyes (his stare used to freak me out). And there is a small TV facing the bed, sitting on a filing cabinet or end table in front of the windows.

Playing in our parents room was one of our favorite pastimes. It was a great place to hide when playing hide and seek Рso many options! Either closet, or under the bed,  if you could maneuver the boxes full of stuff and squish yourself into a space.

Just exploring what was stored in the various boxes and containers in the closets and under the bed was akin to being a pirate searching for treasure. I was fascinated by what magical, mystical grown-up things could be hidden there! Sometimes I’d expressly ask my mom for permission to go play in her room; others, I’d sneakily sneak in to go spelunking, hoping not to get caught.

(Happily I never found anything unsavory on my explorations).

At one point, the tan duvet Mom made for their comforter had a hole in it big enough for me to fit¬†through, and I’d crawl around between the cover and the comforter for as long as I could get away with it. I can imagine how comical it would be to walk in and see a child-sized lump cavorting around under the covers. It was a magical place to me, probably because I wasn’t supposed to be there in the first place. And probably also¬†because I had trouble trying to find my way out, so there was a small element of danger there.

By the far the most awesome aspect of my parents’ bedroom was the all-encompassing feeling of Pure Love. Yes, the whole house permeated this….but it was amplified in this room. I could always run and crawl into my parents’ bed if I had a nightmare, or my imagination got the best of me – which was a lot, actually. Sometimes I’d be placated by sleeping on the floor next to my Mom’s side of the bed. When my parents tried to wean me off of this sleeping-in-their-room-whenever-I-awoke habit, one of them would end up laying on the floor of my room until I fell back asleep. One night, my Dad laid on the floor in the hallway between my room and theirs. When I was old enough to have a TV in my room, he tried to convince me that turning to the local cable station with classical music would soothe me back into dreamland.¬†I had this irrational fear that ghosts were going to try to scare me. I insisted on keeping the¬†light above the bathroom mirror¬†on all night in order to ward off Bloody Mary, or any other nefarious spirits that might try to break through. And I DEFINITELY couldn’t sleep with a mirror in my room, alone, for the longest time.

After¬†I learned about¬†sex, if I ever awoke to my parents’ bedroom door closed, I’d be filled with a righteous indignation: how dare they use their room for that! GROSS! Their room is supposed to be a holy, innocent, virtuous place, it’s door always open and welcoming! (I generally block this particular facet of my parents’ room out¬†when recalling childhood memories. I don’t even know why I’m including it, except to maybe highlight my sense of ownership of¬†the¬†room).

Safety was my parents’ bedroom. The bed was sooooooo comfy, and the best place to rest if I was sick or didn’t feel well. It was/is just a very healing, safe, sacred, comfortable place.

I think as adults (or in my case, I’ll use the word “adult” with quotation marks), we try to recreate these safe, comfortable, peaceful spaces, and it can be scary. We may not have the tools, or the confidence, or even the simple knowledge that it is even¬†possible. But it is, and I’m learning how to do it.

And it’s actually a little fun trying.

 

Epiphanies/ A Pep Talk to Myself

Several ideas popped into my head today. They were kind of like epiphanies, but kind of not – they felt like truths that I had always known, that were always inside me, just buried, or dusty.

1. I NEED to be Outside
I was always upset, growing up, to leave the camping vacation we went on every summer. I know that in part it’s because it was such a visceral connection to my childhood. What I realized was, for those one or two weeks, I lived in nature. I think there is a biological reason that I (and MANY other people) feel so whole, and at peace, when outside, in nature. For 99% of history, we lived organically.

Now, I’m only part-hippie, and I’m not vegetarian (I tried), and I won’t preach about going organic or diets or lifestyles. I just need to be outside as much as possible, for my own sanity.

I had to take myself out for a walk *literally* around my parents’ house one day this past winter, because I was completely restless being inside all day. I believe my sister’s words were, “You have to take yourself out for a walk, like a dog?”

YES!!!!!!

2. I Must Follow My Instincts
There was a very good reason that I left The Corporate World, luckily after only two years, and went into Early Childhood Education: Love. I LOVE the connections I make when teaching or talking or playing with kids. I am a cliche, and followed my heart, gut, instincts, whatever.

I’m so happy I did!

I feel useful, and helpful, and like my work has meaning and is worthwhile, as opposed to a job that does not serve a greater good, or takes connecting with people out of the equation (i.e. CORPORATIONS).

And why spend a great chunk of time doing something you’re not crazy about? WHY? The pay cut I took to follow my inner voice was absolutely worth it. I felt lost and had horrible anxiety working in a corporate office. Now I feel like ME, like I’m where I’m supposed to be right now.

3. Faith
I never had a set Life Plan, and questions such as, “Where do you see yourself in 10 years from now?,” scare the crap out of me. BUT – I’ve always had faith that my life would unfold as it should. For example, when I quit my office job, I did not have another job
lined up. Foolish, I know. Yet I had a feeling that I’d find something I’d really enjoy.

Two weeks after leaving, I found a job at a preschool.

And ended up loving it.

I still have moments of helplessness and terrible fears and anxieties. I just have to keep faith (the word “Faith” is tattooed on the inside of my left wrist as a reminder), and trust in the Universe. It’s ok not to have all the answers…

But I’m gonna have a hell of a fun time trying to find them!

In the Middle

Richie put on the PG Rated movie, Rebound,¬†tonight. We’re Movie People – we watch practically EVERYTHING. We stick to family-friendly movies when his 11-year-old daughter is around, although she was more interested in her iPod than this particular movie.

So, the movie stars Martin Lawrence as college basketball coach, “Coach Roy,” who lets his love of endorsements come before ¬†his love of the game. After losing his job, Coach Roy finds employment at the middle school/ junior high he had attended. He leads the school’s misfit team to glory, and of course finds his real purpose in life (and a girlfriend), refusing to take his old job back when it’s offered. It’s a comedy with morals…and you bet I laughed at all the stupid, corny jokes!

There were a bunch of other really cool recognizable actors that made Rebound¬†super-fun to watch: Breckin Meyer; Horatio Sanz; Megan Mullally; Katt Williams; Kimora Lee Simmons; Steven Anthony Lawrence (Beans from that awesome Disney show, Even Stevens); Fred Stoller (you’d know his face, he’s been in so many things, just Google him); Cody Linley (Jake Ryan from Hannah Montana). Every time a familiar face would pop up, I’d hit Rich in the arm or leg and exclaim, “Look! It’s THAT person!”

Then the strangest thing happened while watching Rebound:

I felt nostalgic for…wait for it…

MIDDLE SCHOOL.

I know, WTF, right?! I, along with most normal people, cringe at the thought of the awkwardness of our middle school experiences. (Well, the Popular Kids probably recall it fondly). Sixth, 7th, and 8th grades were awkward, embarrassing, confusing, melodramatic, and filled with all new sights, smells, tastes and textures that were both wondrous and horrifying.

It occurred to me that perhaps it was this straddling of the two worlds of Childhood and Adulthood that I was feeling nostalgic for. The first taste of what’s to come is amazing – you dance in the spaces between Innocence and Knowing, Carelessness and Responsibility.

Maybe it’s the raw emotions, exposed like nerve endings, that make every moment, look, touch, experience, feel utterly important and meaningful. It’s like you’re a scientist discovering and exploring a whole other planet. You try on different looks, personalities, activities, friends. I went from Nerd, to Too Cool For School, quitting both piano and ballet, to baggy clothes, huge hoop earrings, clown-face make-up, to skateboarder-wannabe.¬†From Pop, to Hip-Hop/Rap/R&B, to Alternative/Grunge.

The soundtrack to my life at the time consisted of TLC, Salt-N-Pepa, Green Day, Oasis, Aerosmith, Mariah Carey, Live, Alanis Morissette, Goo Goo Dolls, the albums from the movies Mad Love, Reality Bites, Batman Forever.

I became obsessed with Stairway to Heaven: it was always the last song played at the monthly school dances, and when I found the song on tape, I played it over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over again on my Walkman.

I went from dancing in¬†The Ballet Theater of Boston’s Nutcracker, to listening to Howard Stern and reading¬†Generation Sex by Dr. Judy Kuriansky.

Middle school was filled with Firsts: kiss, cigarette, joint, Dance, boyfriend, concert, alcoholic beverage, hardcore crush. I started shaving, plucking, and dyeing. I practiced flirting, and learned to recognize that being female means having a dangerous kind of power over others who may be attracted to you. Heady stuff.

I still watched Nickelodeon Рremember SNICK, Saturday Night Nick? Yet I was discovering MTV, Beavis and Butthead, 90210, Saturday Night Live. I was Angela Chase from My So-Called Life.

Currency was handwritten notes on lined paper, folded into triangles or squares, passed between classes or between hands when the teacher was distracted, sometimes hidden from others, sometimes shared. I still have a box of them, proof of life back then.

I loved going to Boston, imagine I’d live there someday. I loved the diversity, all the different people and restaurants and stores and things to do, places to explore. I was becoming more and more aware of the wider world, where I might go, what I could do, who I might become. And I felt safe enough to explore this awesome, frightening, overwhelming, lovely World, lucky enough to have a loving home and family I could run back to if things got too yucky. (You don’t realize this part, though, until you’re older – at least I didn’t).

So yeah, as ugly and uncomfortable and uncertain as Middle School was…it also wasn’t. (I felt a similar, exciting, coming-of-age/discovering-things type of feeling in college as well). It’s innocence being shed, or seeing the world from a new angle or in a different light. It’s everythinghappeningallatonce.

Which is just the way I like it. ūüôā