Poem: I Fall Short

I apologize, Readers, for my extended absence. I have been working on a special project that I am very much looking forward to sharing with you all, and it’s taken up much of my attention. I also have been endlessly, soul-crushingly job hunting. I believe I have now applied at thirteen or fourteen places, and only two have even bothered to respond in order to reject me. One of them was something of a dream job for me, and for once I was completely qualified for it, and they did not even take two full days to tell me they had no interest in me as a candidate. That job listing is still up, which almost seems worse, because it’s like even not knowing what kind of applicant they might end up getting is better than giving me an interview. It has been an incredibly disheartening effort.
So today, I am going to share with you an old poem that rather sums up my feelings lately. It’s so strange to me sometimes, to re-read some of my old poetry and remember what inspired me to write it, but then to realize how well it has come to apply to different things at a different time in my life. Apparently I was an insightful little punk haha.

I Fall Short

I stretch my hand
my fingers feel a phantom brush
a butterfly kiss on my skin
that isn’t quite there
again

I hear the wind sigh around me
just a little farther
and it tries to lift me up
granting me half-formed wings
but I always fall short
it seems

The wise trees nod their heads
wisely
their gnarled countenances unsurprised
their green leaves tsking in agreement
the whole copse swaying disappointed
a picture of bereavement

The river runs swiftly by
sighing rippling sighs
babbling and laughing over rocks
at me
playfully teasing my failure
with fluid hilarity

The emerald blades below
ripple with disapproval
tickling my feet of clay
so I will leave the ground
and finally
be on my way

They keep misunderstanding
like if I reached a little farther
jumped a little higher
worked a little harder
it would be easily in my grasp
nature is demanding
don’t quit

Yet the earth just doesn’t get
I can see the blue of the sky
but I will never feel it
my visions always exceed my range
I am tired of always leaping
for something that will never change

So I fall short
back to the earth
a hostile, unwilling host
to gaze up at the sky
a stunningly blue, eternal almost

Just a quick PS, I have created a tumblr page to post my writing on, so if you are on tumblr please go and follow my tumblr page!

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Ruminations on College Graduation

It’s a bizarre feeling to be completely done with college.
It actually took me a bit longer than my fellow graduates, because I had to fix all the citations in my senior seminar paper before I turned it in, and they were a shambles. I just hit the send button on the email containing it, however, and now it is completely, 100% official- I am done with school FOREVER.
I wrote that sentence with the aim of sounding dramatic, but honestly it doesn’t to me. That’s because it seems surreal. Truthfully that’s how much of last week seemed to me. I was doing all these things that you do in your last week of school, but it just seemed like it was all fake. I was going through the motions that someone was telling me to go through. It didn’t feel significant; I didn’t even cry at all the day of graduation. My mind just feels like, Yes, summer! See you next semester, college! And I want to say to it MIND YOU ARE WRONG IT IS OVER. But apparently, I have done school so long that my mind just can’t comprehend not doing it. So here I am, a college graduate, resembling a rudderless boat cast adrift in the stormy seas of life.
But let me go back a little, and share my week leading up to graduation.
Finals week was surprisingly easier than I expected. The way my school does it, the last week of school consists of regular class on Monday and Tuesday, and then finals are on Wednesday through Friday, just depending on what classes you have. But for various reasons, my three finals were on Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, so I was done early in the week. That just left me with the monster paper. I planned to spend all Wednesday night working on it, but then Oklahoma weather stepped in and we almost got smashed by a tornado in my college town. My sister and I chose to evacuate home to our parents, and I’m glad we did because my school lost power for the night. I was able to get a little bit of work done, but not as much as I would’ve liked to because we were busy being concerned over whether my car (still at college since I rode home with my sister) was going to be pummeled by hail or sucked into a twister, along with the majority of my possessions. Luckily no tornado was forthcoming, at least near my college, and my things remained unscathed. That was an enlivening way to spend a day in finals week, friends.
The next day was by far the most difficult. Thursday was my last day at the daycare I’ve worked at for the past three years. I basically grew up and matured there, and some of those kids I’ve seen grow up as well. One of my absolute favorite kids was barely one when I started working there,  and now she’s a rambunctious four year old. It’s hard to believe how much has changed within me and within my life because of that job. I had a party with the class I’ve been working with this semester, the older school age kids. We enjoyed some delicious ice cream and partied it up with paint. When the day was over, and I’d cleaned and closed down my room for the last time, I stood in the dark for a few minutes and just cried. Then I got myself together and said my goodbyes.
Thursday night was crunch time. I graduated the next day, and that meant my paper needed to be finished. I went to the library for the last time, and stayed there until they kicked me out at 2am. Then I went back to my apartment, sat down at my living room table, and I wrote the rest of my paper. I finished at around 6:15 in the morning, with a grand total of 33 pages. I didn’t know then, and I still don’t know now if those were quality pages of writing or not. My brain simply said, That’s enough. And I said, Yes, brain, whatever you say. I don’t think I’ve ever been so tired before that I actually felt drunk, but when I got in the shower at 6:30, and I closed my eyes to tip my head back into the water, I started falling backwards and had to grab the wall of the shower. I literally could not keep myself upright without the structural assistance of my shower. My legs were like jelly after not moving for four hours, and I had to sit down a few times. It was a bit rough. Sadly, by the time I laid down, I was so tired that I had trouble sleeping. I snatched fiveish hours of poor quality sleep before I had to get up, and get going. I was running around like a crazy person trying to get everything done before I drove home to get ready for graduation. After that, everything started moving in fast forward. We met some of my friends and family for dinner back in my college town, but it seemed like a split second before it was time for me to get to the school so we could take pictures before graduation. Putting on my robe and cords and sashes just seemed bizarre, like I was dressing up for a part in a play. My fellow graduates and I ended up loitering around in a hallway waiting for our pictures to be taken, and I got to see a bunch of my friends. Some of them were people I had gone to school with all four years; some were new friends. But all of them seemed a part of some dream. My school does two graduations for the different types of Bachelor’s degrees, so sadly a number of my friends graduated at 6 and I didn’t get to see them, including my roommate and best friend, Tiffany. I remember thinking, gosh, I’m probably never going to see them ever again, but I just couldn’t get upset because it seemed impossible. It still does.
Actual graduation itself was strange. It was in our tiny auditorium, since we didn’t even have enough graduates to fill up the front four rows of it. Our president talked forever, and honestly, I didn’t even really listen. My sister said it was mostly about how getting a Bachelor of Arts degree was dumb, so I guess I didn’t miss out. The graduate next to me in alphabetical order was Paige Simpson, and I think the best part of graduation for us was counting how many professors fell asleep during our president’s speech. You see, all the faculty was on the stage, which we were facing, and we basically were staring at them throughout the ceremony. And lord, they were dropping like flies, and it was truly one of the most hilarious things I’ve ever seen. At one point I had to demand Paige stop talking because I was on the verge of exploding with laughter in the midst of our graduation because of her comments about the sleepers. A number of professors rubbed the bridge of their noses during the ceremony, the way one does when pushed nearly past all bearing by some sort of mind-numbingly unpleasant situation. One of my favorite professors looked as though his brain was simply melting out of his mouth, which was slightly agape, matching the expression of utter boredom on his face. So to the professors of my college, I salute you. You made graduation intensely more entertaining that it probably otherwise would’ve been.
When it actually came time to walk, I was in the second row. We stood up, moved to the steps to the stage, and then it was literally over almost before it happened. I handed the vice-president the card, he announced my name and that I was graduating Summa Cum Laude, I heard a roar of people cheering for me, made sure I didn’t trip or walk too fast, smiled until my cheeks hurt, and then I sat back down. And just like that, I was graduated. It was bizarre, especially compared to my high school graduation, which had between 550 and 600 graduates and took around three hours. The rest of graduation was pretty standard; they told us we were no longer students but graduates, and everyone cheered. Then, a really cool part, they announced the Outstanding Graduates from each division, and mine was first. The faculty had to all exit the auditorium before we could, so we were all smiling at them as they went down the middle aisle. I was in the second seat, and so I was really close to them when they went by. One of the highlights of my graduation was when one of my English professors, Dr. Rees (who is the unanimously acknowledged badass of the English department), saw me, and then leaned over seats and past Paige to give me a hug. She said something encouraging but I basically didn’t hear it because I was so overwhelmed with how awesome it was that she was hugging me. Then my senior seminar professor, Dr. Simpson, who is pretty much the coolest dude around and was right behind Dr. Rees, saw me and said “You better just stay there” and I got another hug.
Almost before I knew it, we were walking out. I looked for my family everywhere but never saw them in the auditorium; I met them outside. A confusing whirlwind of pictures and hugging ensued. I had so many friends and so much of my family come out to my graduation, it was simply amazing. I felt so loved and blessed from all their support and the wonderful gifts they got me. We went to a reception, and I got a hug and chatted with one of my other English professors, Dr. Rodgers. She told me that I had to call her and Dr. Rees by their first names. I told her that I could not do it. Then I ate cookies, took some more pictures, and it was over.
Just like that. Seventeen years of my life. The main purpose I strove for during the majority of my time on this planet, and suddenly, it was accomplished. Done with. I graduated college.
I guess I never realized just how much school has dominated my life. In school, I always worked hard to get good grades so I could get a scholarship to college.  I feel like I’ve often been defined by school, because I was typically one of the kids who made better grades consistently, and people tend to catch on and classify you by that. Any time we had to fill out things or do writing assignments where we talked about where we saw ourselves in the future, my answer was always, without fail, getting a scholarship to go to college. It was weird enough when I actually accomplished that, but it was lost when I thought of the years of college I had to actually get through. But now they’re gotten through.
I know graduating college is a relatively common experience. I know maybe it seems like I’m making a really, really big deal out of it. But Saturday, I had to move out of my apartment for the last time. We rushed frantically to get everything packed up and loaded by our 2pm checkout deadline. My car was stuffed; my dad had brought home a bunch of stuff earlier in the week, and my mom’s car even had a pretty large load of stuff in it. All the accumulation of four years of college, kicked out of my apartment and stuffed into three cars. The reason that this feels like such a big deal to me, I guess, is because I feel exactly like my stuff. There’s no place for me anymore at school, and now there’s all this stuff that needs a place back at my house that we’re going to have to try to find. I need a place, too, and I’m really feeling the fact that I don’t fit anymore where I’ve always fit. I’m especially scared by the fact that I have to try and find a new place to fit. I spent most of last night scouring the internet for jobs, and I came up with NOTHING. Nothing that sounds even remotely palatable to me. I simply feel lost. One of the aspects about the institution of school that I never appreciated was that it gives you something to do. It gives you  a clear, predetermined next step. I’m beginning to completely understand why some people just decide to go to graduate school- it’s like a bonus level, like Super Mario Brothers when you go down the little pipe and you just run around punching things and getting coins (from what I’ve heard, this is a similar experience to graduate school, except you spend your coins just as fast as you get them).  But I’ve always known that graduate school was not my cup of tea. I recognize that it’s time to do something else with my life, the problem just is that I don’t know what.
So this leads me to a very important question… would anyone be interested in paying me to sit at home and blog?

Stin iyia sas,
Sara

PS I used the Greek phrase for cheers, because as of now, my future is all Greek to me. Also, I wrote a post over my graduation outfit over on my bargain fashion blog, so please check that out if you’d like. Now I am going to spam you with pictures of my graduation. Enjoy:

Myself in full regalia, looking like a rainbow threw up upon me.

Myself in full regalia, looking like a rainbow threw up upon me.

My honorary sister, Kasey and I.

My honorary sister, Kasey, and I.

Myself and two of my foreign guy friends, Joel and Richie.

Myself and two of my foreign friends, Joel and Richie.

My best friend Skye... who is approximately a foot taller than me.

My best friend Skye… who is approximately a foot taller than me.

Myself and two of my former roommates, plus my dear friend Stephanie, who let me be a bridesmaid at her wedding!

Myself and two of my former roommates Becka and Katelyn, plus my dear friend Stephanie, who let me be a bridesmaid at her wedding!

My favorite picture of the night. My sister, my dad, me, my mom, and my nana.

My favorite picture of the night. My sister, my dad, me, my mom, and my nana.

Me and my Boo baby. I've had him since about first grade, so this picture was pretty special.

Me and my Boo baby. I’ve had him since about first grade, so this picture was pretty special.

Crazy Finn cat and I.

Crazy Finn cat and I.

The best card ever- it was a cat playing a piano.

The best card ever- it was a cat playing a piano.

TV Romances Suck Lately, and My Cat Has a Celebrity Twin on Glee

Woe is me, Dear Readers.
TV romances have really been letting me down lately. I have chosen to pretend that Glee ended on the episode before the last season finale, because I cannot accept that Finn and Rachel aren’t together. That was literally the only thing I asked of that show. I accepted shenanigan after shenanigan (including the shameful neglect of Rory, the character played by the love of my life, Damian McGinty), suffered heartbreak, and watched many episodes in pain because of how disappointed I was with the way the storyline was going. But I still faithfully watched, every week, knowing that eventually Finn and Rachel would work out their differences and live happily every after with each other, because they are clearly meant for each other. I simply could not accept in my mind what came to pass, and I refuse to watch the travesty of whatever Glee is now. In my mind, Glee ended with them winning nationals, with their lives before them, and knowing Finn and Rachel would be facing whatever came together, making each other better.
Then, you have The Office. I would argue that Jim and Pam are one of the greatest, most sweet TV romances of all time. And now suddenly, this is being threatened by a (admittedly hot) soundman. COME ON, OFFICE. You spend how many seasons making everyone fall in love with Jim because he so clearly is in love with Pam, and then you throw this nonsense at us?! Uh uh. I’m not buying it. SO JUST STOP.
As for Downton Abbey, which I mentioned my love for, I recently accidentally came upon an enormous spoiler for all of Season 3 (I’ve only watched Season 1). If you keep up with it, then you know what revelations I was absolutely blind-sided by. My favorite heroine on that show? Sybil, partly because of her fabulous romance with the hot Irish chauffeur, Branson. My favorite hero? Matthew (obviously). I rooted for him and Mary to be together since they first met. Come to think of it, I said the same thing about Sybil and Branson. So much promise in Season 1 of glorious romance… and then I hear about Season 3. If I’d been watching Downton regularly, I would have been destroyed. I could never have watched TV again; I could’ve never trusted another show. I have accepted I can never watch Downton again.
It’s a sad day when my favorite TV romance is on The Middle, between Sue, an incredibly awkward sophomore in high school, and her brother’s friend, a dumb but loveable senior. It’s painfully awkward, but ridiculously sweet. I actually really like Sue, and she kind of reminds me of Edith from Downton Abbey, who I also admittedly like (though I can never watch her again). In fact, I kind of feel like Sue is a kindred spirit, because she had this conversation with her brother, Axl, on the Valentine’s episode of The Middle (I’m really disappointed because I so wanted to find this as a gif but apparently no one has made one of it yet and I emphatically don’t know how, so I apologize)-

Axl: She’s at a wedding…something you’ll never be in. I suggest buying a wacky hat and starting your cat collection now.
Sue: That’s not even an insult. I love cats!

Well said, Sue. Well said. Speaking of middles, today is actually my half birthday. I know that sounds like a silly thing to notice, but it’s just crazy to me that I’ve already been 21 for six months. I’m already halfway to 22. That’s just bewildering. Tuesday also happened to mark the two months until graduation point. I will graduate college in less than two months now. It seems impossible. I feel like if you’re American, for your whole life, as you’re growing up, there’s just certain events you daydream about and imagine, like turning 16 and getting your license, and  then graduating high school and finally being 18. And then, far off in the hazy future, you wonder what it will be like to be 21 and able to drink, and somewhere even more removed, you think of graduating college and a final cessation of school…. forever (unless you’re one of those crazy schmucks who goes to graduate school, of course [that was a joke]). But, for me at least, the thought of actually being done with school was so far away as to be impossible, truthfully. Yet here I am, almost to that very point… and it still seems unfathomable. I simply can’t picture a life where I’m not expected to be in school, much less get a job. I was actually job-hunting today, googling jobs in Oklahoma for English degrees. Nothing was coming up. The top results were national articles optimistically reassuring the reader that jobs for English majors really do exist! Unfortunately, they don’t seem too plentiful near where I live. It’s somewhat disheartening. To cheer myself up, I started thinking about things I might want when my full birthday rolls around, and my sister made an excellent suggestion- The CatGenie. It’s a self-flushing, self-cleaning litterbox. I feel like it’s the Holy Grail for Crazy Cat Ladies. Changing litterboxes is certainly one of the biggest drawbacks about owning a cat for me. I dream of a future filled with both cats and CatGenies; a blissful, furry, stink-free world. I think Sue would approve.
In other TV ramblings, I just watched the season finale of the show Gold Rush (which sucked). I never cared even the slightest bit about that show, but my dad and sister LOVE it. The thing that finally suckered me in was hearing about Parker Schnabel, a boy who took over running his grandfather’s goldmine when he was SIXTEEN. I was blown away by this; how many sixteen year old boys do you know that would be willing to take on that kind of responsibility?! He’s eighteen now, and I have to admit that I have a huge crush on him. I am beyond impressed with his maturity and intelligence, and it doesn’t hurt that he’s absolutely adorable and clearly loves his grandpa. I try to ignore the fact that this is a cougar crush, which is lamentable. Also lamentable is that it takes a guy who starts running a goldmine at sixteen to impress me, because they’re pretty scarce on the ground, especially in Oklahoma. Even I might be able to acknowledge that standards like those might be a touch too high.
For those of you who have never watched any of the shows I’ve been talking about, or only a couple of them, I apologize fervently. This post has probably been pretty useless so far for you.  I will now share something that doesn’t require you to have watched a TV show regularly, and instead requires only that you watch a two minute video. Hopefully this video will make up for those of you unfamiliar with the show I’ve been rambling about, so reading this doesn’t feel like a complete waste of time. To preface, I have to tell you that for some reason, I find goats to be just inherently hilarious. Just looking at a goat makes me giggle a little. Last year, one of my friends showed me a 7 second video of a goat screaming like a man. I thought it was honestly the funniest thing I’d ever seen. Then, recently, I discovered this video and realized I had been completely wrong. It’s just a compilation of goats screaming like humans (some of them are actually sheep, but I find goats funnier so I choose to ignore that they are sheep). You may be hesitant and think this sounds ridiculous, but do yourself a favor and watch it. It is the funniest thing I’ve ever seen. I can’t even watch the video if I have to wait for it to load, because I start laughing so hard I don’t even end up being able to see it through the tears. I don’t know if I actually have even seen every actual second of the video; I think there’s still parts I can’t stop laughing long enough to watch.

Well, I feel like this has been one of the most random posts I’ve ever done, so sorry about that. But I’ll share a fun fact to try and loosely tie everything together. I started this post talking about Glee, and I’ll end it that way, like a bizarre, drunken sort of thesis.
Some trivia from my life: my cat, Finn, who I’ve mentioned before, is actually, honest-to-god, named after Finn from Glee. To understand why, you need to see what Finn (aka the actor, Cory Monteith) looks like when he smiles. So for those of you who aren’t familiar with it, observe:

finn (3)

Look at that charming, ridiculously adorable half smile!! I totally fell in love with Finn while watching Glee, largely because of that smile. I have to admit that I really, really love me a crooked, little half-smile (possibly because heroes in novels often have them). But Finn provides a perfect example of one in real-life, human form.
Enter my cat here, who was named Franklin when we adopted him. My mom strongly objected to the name, so we were left trying to find one we could all agree on. It’s not always visible in pictures of him, but Finn (the cat) has a serious snaggletooth. It’s one of the things that made me fall in love with him, too, when I first saw him at Petsmart. It’s very visible in this picture:

2011-12-03_01-37-28_669
It makes for some hilarious pictures of this cat, I tell you, but you’re probably not seeing what this has to do with Finn Hudson’s smile since, you know, he doesn’t have a snaggletooth. But take a look at this picture of Finn (the cat, again):

2011-12-28_15-34-52_376
That’s right, you guys. My cat has a half-smile. It’s pretty much ridiculously adorable. His snagtooth makes his mouth uneven, then he has that tannish patch right above the snaggletooth that makes his mouth look even more uneven, resulting in a charming half-smile, reminiscent of Finn Hudson from Glee. No, but seriously. Compare them side by side:

finn vs finn
You see it, right?! I mean, surely you have to. Their smiles ARE THE SAME. They even hook upwards on the same side, guys. My cat is twins with Finn Hudson. Recognizing this even without helpful side by side comparisons, I pitched the idea of naming the cat Finn to my family, who thought it was hilarious and agreed. And now every time I call my cat’s name, I’m reminded how much TV romance has been determinedly awful lately. Sue from The Middle, I know you love cats, too, but please take pity and go with loving a guy as well- you don’t know how much depends on you. The future of my TV watching may be at stake.

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Sara

PS My goodbye for today is a cartouche that says “Desperately” in Egyptian hieroglyphics, or at least according to this hieroglyphic generator I used. I chose hieroglyphics because they come, obviously, from ancient Egypt, a country that worshiped cats as divine and had their own cat god. I like to think they would’ve appreciated a CatGenie as much as I would.