Monday, February 22, 2010

Reasons to Whine

I'm in a bad mood. I'm jittery and anxious. I have an unstarted paper due tomorrow morning. And the only thing I can stand to do, for some reason, is blog. However, having spent all day driving back to school, I'm in that weird state where my brain is exhausted but my body is restless... so this will come in a list of whiny bullet points.

Reasons to Whine:

--Every February, there's a weekend at OU when students have their younger siblings come visit, and my big brother (an Ohio University graduate himself) made plans to join the little ones this year and come down to hang out. We were all (one of my sisters is here, too, as a senior) looking forward to it for a long time. I was super excited for the last weekend of the month... until I realized that I'd gotten the dates wrong. Sibs' Weekend started this last Friday. The same Friday that I'd made solid plans to meet my boyfriend's family. When I realized my mistake, I hesitantly let my brother know that I wouldn't be in town for his visit... and he was pretty irritated and upset. My brother doesn't get irritated and upset with me. It feels really wrong and sad.

--Before meeting my boyfriend's parents and sister (who are positively LOVELY people; so kind to me and truly adorable), I practically made myself sick, worrying that they wouldn't like me. I'm embarrassed just to admit that, but it's true-- I've always been sort of self-conscious about whether or not I'm liked, and I managed to give my normally clear face four mountainous zits from stress. The worry is over now, but the bumps on my chin and lip remain.

--As my school and his work are located far apart, I don't get to see The Situation a third as often as I'd like to, and saying goodbye really doesn't get any easier with practice.

--I went home for the rest of the weekend, and since a few of my school friends live near my house, I happily offered to drive them, and ended up taking one of my sister's friends with us. And. Well. How can I properly describe this guy to you? When he first entered the car, he was on the phone. Through the loud speaker, I heard a voice ask, "How's Kelly's sister?" to which the boy responded, "Eh, she's like a cute seven." I'm going to assume that he meant that, on a scale from one to ten, I rank at seven. Now, I'd probably call MYSELF a "cute seven," so that alone wouldn't have bothered me much, but this guy went on to give me driving advice ("Wanna pass this truck already?"), respond to questions by saying "word," which I was unaware was something people actually DID, and to make a variety of vile statements which I will not dignify by repeating. I was irate by the time I dropped him off at his parents' mansion, and overjoyed when he found another ride back to Athens today.

--My oldest sister and brother-in-law took my parents on a little mini-vacation this weekend to celebrate their birthdays, and my brother and other sister were at OU, so I had the house all to myself for Saturday and Sunday. I wasn't too thrilled about this, but I was looking forward to having time to devote solely to my friends. I hung out with Lor and Jess for part of Saturday morning, and was excited to inform them that they could sleep over, so we could eat and talk all night. But... they had other plans. Other plans with friends from THEIR school. I don't know. It's one thing to feel left out when you hear about the fun your childhood friends are having without you from several hours away, but realizing that they have a life that simply doesn't involve you, even when you're around, is kind of depressing.

--Due to the previous bullet point, I spent Saturday night all alone, watching old episodes of Sex and the City and feeling very conscious of my loneliness. At one point, I yelled several times for my dog, and she didn't come. She was sitting in the other room. Just couldn't be bothered to lift a paw to respond, even when she only sees me every couple of weeks. Thanks, Lexi.

--My friend James wanted to try a new route back to school today, and I listened to him, because he was the one holding a map. Everything appeared to be going fine, until James revealed that he's dyslexic and had read off the wrong exit number, and we found ourselves in rural West Virginia. I mean, it was okay. We figured out how to get back fairly quickly and painlessly-- but not until after we made a pit stop and were begrudgingly served by a gas station attendant with some kind of personal vendetta against Ohio. "Ya'll lost on your way to Ohio University?" she'd asked. We confirmed her suspicions with a nod, to which she sucked her teeth and replied, "I hate people from Ohio." On the bright side, we all made it out alive. On the downside, it would have made an awesome horror story if we hadn't.

...That was an awful and unfunny thing to say. I'm clearly tired.

Anyway, I wish there were some kind of conclusion to this all, in which I'd tell you how much my day has improved, and how content I am now. But in reality, I just feel a little bit calmer for having let all my thoughts out, and a little bit more worried about that paper I haven't started writing. So. Sorry for being a downer. Here's hoping that tomorrow will be better.

Chipotle burritos this year: 6
Subscribers: 25,084
Nail color: "Taupe-less Showgirls," OPI (discontinued)
Miles run today: 0, but I went for a psychotic walk in my pajamas before sitting down to write this, because I had so much steam to burn off.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

I Found Alaska

The campus gym (I can never say the word "gym" without feeling like a douchebag. It's like hearing people order drinks "on the rocks." I know that's what it's called, but it always makes me roll my eyes) is always especially crowded on Mondays, because it may be the only day of the week on which the majority of students aren't drunk. After my five-mile run (mmm, yeahgurl), I was looking for a place to stretch, and the only available plot was in front of one of those enclosed racquetball courts with a glass wall, and I couldn't help but stare at the people inside the little compartment. It was like watching anatomically complex fish.*

Behind the wall, a girl was sitting on the floor, ignoring the net and balls and whatnot, while a boy stood, talking to her, juggling tennis balls. The boy was tall, kind of lanky, but not uncute, with floppy brown hair and a Ghostbusters t-shirt. He seemed very determined to look casual, but was clearly attempting to impress the girl with his mad skillz. The girl didn't look captivated by his performance, but she seemed comfortable, with her legs stretched out in front of her. She was skinny-but-curvy, and she was noticeably pretty-- in the somewhat emo way, even though her clothes, makeup and hair were all natural.

I'm not a total creeper-- at first, my excuse for staring was that I thought I recognized the girl. Maybe we had a class together? But as I sat there, studying the two of them, I realized my interest was sort of weirdly intense. Why did I care so much? What was so remarkable about these two strangers?

And then I realized. I don't know them, but I know Pudge Halter and Alaska Young!

For those of you who haven't read John Green's Looking For Alaska, I apologize for leaving you out. To make a long and very pointless story shorter: today, I saw some strangers who resembled the main characters of a good book. It was cool.


Not much has happened since I last wrote, but I did have a bit of a shocking epiphany the other day, as I was having my hair done in a fancy salon (thanks, Mom!) by a girl who is my age. She's my age, and she has her Real Job. I'm my age, and I'm picking up change by broadcasting my life to the internet, all while pursuing a career that relies mostly on luck. One from which I could easily never profit. One that makes people put their heads in ovens.**

I'm not asking for reassurance or anything; I'm fairly confident that, someday, I'll be able to make the whole writing thing work out. It's just sort of daunting. I'm no longer that sassy, obnoxious kid correcting her third grade teacher's punctuation. My proud declarations of, "I'm going to be an AUTHOR when I grow up!" have officially gone from stirring reactions like, "Dream big, little girl!" to, now, receiving quizzical looks and comments like, "I see. And what's your REAL JOB going to be?" Sigh. That's a good question, metaphorical adult woman with concern for my future! We'll see!

In other news, I had a very good Valentine's Day. I proudly wore the adorable and thoughtful present that I received earlier this month (as brilliant and attentive as he is, my boyfriend hasn't quite gotten the hang of surprises yet), and pretty flowers were delivered to my door this afternoon! I feel sort of guilty for being one of those gushy Relationship People now, especially because I've been in the shoes of the Lonely and Angry People in previous years, so just know this: if you're resenting the fact that your significant other didn't do anything special yesterday, I've been there before. If you hung out with friends all day, carried on with your everyday life, or sat alone with a book and Ben & Jerry's, I've been there before, too. If you want to punch me in the face, go for it. But, if you're one of the lovely, kind commenters who actually ENJOY hearing me gush, thank you! I have a good man, and I'm happy. :)

Anyway, it's 12:53 AM. PJ's sleeping over, so I'm sitting in the dark, blogging as a shadowy figure, while a cuter, gayer shadowy figure types a cuter, gayer blog next to me. I think it's time to sleep. Have a good night, everyone!

Chipotle burritos this year: 5
Subscribers: 24,888
Nail color: "Symphony in Gold," OPI
Miles run today: 5

*Jess was in my tenth grade Biology class, so, needless to say, I didn't exactly learn anything. I have little to no idea what "anatomically complex" means, nor whether fish have... simple... anatomy. Basically, I wanted to use a polysyllabic phrase that was vaguely scientific to make me sound well-rounded. If, instead, I sound like a douchebag, you have my permission to make fun of me all you want.
**Sylvia Plath. F'realzies.

Monday, February 8, 2010

I Love...

Poetry is a relatively new interest for me-- I was never a big fan until my senior year of high school-- so I allowed this newly discovered love to influence my (fairly impractical) decision to take a lower-level English class this quarter, so I'd have the opportunity to be with my favorite professor one more time, who's an adorable poet. I'm realizing now that it would have been much smarter and more Gryffindorly of me to have branched out and taken on a bigger challenge, but I don't totally regret my choice. I really do admire the teacher, and something about her classroom just makes me feel... (ugh, gag me; I hate this word) inspired. I think I'm the only English major in the class, and I'm pretty good at multi-tasking when it comes to my subject of choice, so I don't feel a whole lot of guilt zoning out and scribbling things on my notebook. Today, when I wasn't silently gushing over Sharon Olds, I covered two pages with a spontaneous list of things that make me happy. So. Here you go.

--I love how little spicy pepper flecks from Chipotle's hot salsa can hide on your tongue, so your mouth pleasantly stings for an hour after the goodness is gone, even after you've eaten an entire cup of ice cubes.

--I love the effortless way Jess understands everything I think and say, even when I don't. (Also, the fact that she keeps a blog containing nothing but lists of the gross things she eats.)

--I love the way The Situation shifts his eyes back and forth when he's making a point.

--I love those times when my entire family is home, and we all become so invested in our conversations that we neglect the table and end up standing around the kitchen counter to eat.

--I love how a line in a poem can strike a part of your brain that you hadn't noticed was asleep before, and you can't rephrase the line or explain why it makes sense, because it's perfect and beautiful in that it says something that's never before been put so well.

--I love driving around with Lor, being able to rely on the comfort and relaxation I've always felt with her, and knowing that her friendship is one solid constant in my life.

--I love talking to Leah on the phone, just sitting in awe of how quickly her brain works, and having someone so invested in me that there is literally nothing I could say that could undo her loyalty.

--I love slipping into Hogwarts, where there are inside jokes and subtle secrets that I get to be privy to, because I've been involved for so long.

--I love the youtube community, and the astounding amount of creativity that comes out of the fiveawesomegirls' Secret Awesome Facebook Thread.

--I love having giggly slumber parties with my grown-up sisters (and sometimes brother-in-law), proving that you can have a law degree and still make jokes about Nickelodeon shows.

--I love when my nails are all long and even and shiny and elegant, so it doesn't even matter what I look like that day, because at least one aspect of my appearance is feminine, pretty, and under my control.

--I love reading comments and messages and watching video responses from people who are able to convince me, through their kind words, that all this writing and filming and spewing isn't in vain.

--I love walking past people in rainstorms, and how it makes the whole world feel like the inside of a bookstore: calm, quiet but for soothing white noise, and like everyone around has something in common, despite the fact that we're all choosing to think silently to ourselves instead of talk.

--I love hot tea, and how it always, inexplicably, makes me feel like I'm in a Dickens novel.

--I love how my father, whom I consider to be the smartest man alive, genuinely listens to me, and allows his opinions to be altered by his teenage daughter if I make a decent point.

--I love the triumph I feel when I make my big brother, whom I admire in a thousand ways, laugh, or proud of me.

--I love that feeling when you read a line in a book that you realize you've always related to, but never consciously thought about before-- like all people are essentially the same, and somebody understands your weird self.

--I love waking up with that sense that everything outside your bed is cold, but, for now, you're combating the elements by snuggling under the covers.

--I love those rare occasions when you catch a glimpse of yourself in the mirror and think, "Oh, damn. I look cute today."

--I love feeling at home with my friends at school, then realizing that I didn't know any of them a year ago. I love thinking about how many other amazing and influential people I'm destined to meet later in life.

--I love lying in summer grass and seeing colors through my eyelids.

--I love having real, adult conversations with my mother, and realizing that I'm becoming more and more like her as I grow up.

--I love the satisfaction of moving my hand and a Bic pen across a piece of paper, leaving behind my nasty handwriting, but knowing that I have permission to not make any sense, because it's supposed to be sloppy. I love the internet for preserving these sloppy thoughts in a legible fashion, so even if they don't mean anything to me a week or year from now, they'll still exist.

I hope your day feels like being under the covers at 9AM in February. Thank you, sincerely, for reading, and for positively influencing my life with your comments.

Chipotle burritos this year: 4
Subscribers: 24,679
Nail Color: "Rogue Vogue," Maybelline (Discontinued)
Miles run today: 3

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Fourteen-Year-Olds and Love

Even though I've been scribbling short stories and creating characters in my head since I could hold a crayon, I kind of consider the beginning of my "real" writing to be when I started keeping a journal in middle school. It wasn't unlike this blog, except that Jess and my first ever Internet friend, Susie, were the only people allowed to read it*. I used it to document every encounter I had with my first (mostly unrequited) passionate "likelike" interest, picking apart his words until they no longer contained any meaning whatsoever, then would write volumes about how frustrated and scorned I was. The practice was melodramatic at worst, invigorating at best-- even when the cheesy writing seemed worthy of a canceled daytime soap opera, I always came away from those journal entries feeling energized and empowered. I was able to trap all my angst into a page. I could come back and observe my old feelings from afar, but they were permanently put away where they couldn't torment me anymore. It was all very emo-- just like this paragraph explaining it-- but writing gave me a way to deal with my emoness then, and has also provided me with the opportunity to still feel connected to my fourteen-year-old self to this day. She was tempestuous and tightly-wound, but she meant well. And she's who I want to write books for.

Fourteen-Year-Old Hayley didn't feel like a lot of people understood her, but I think, at nineteen, that I still get it. Anyway, I'm telling you this in an attempt to clear up any inquiries as to why I so frequently harp on eighth grade. I realize that most of my readers and youtube subscribers are around that same age, and I care more about their opinions than anybody else's. That being said, fourteen-year-old girls, there's one important message that I need to drive home before I can continue with the point of this blog post.

Boys do not lead to happiness. Some people can spend eternity with their high school sweethearts, but most people don't find true love before they're fully-formed, independent individuals. I've had plenty of miserable experiences with boys in the past, because neither of us were emotionally ready for healthy relationships yet. I'm not the same person I was a year ago, and I'll probably be a lot different next February, because I'm young, too. And wouldn't it suck if you met the perfect person now and ended up scaring him away, because you haven't had enough practice?

I truly understand how lonely you are, and I understand how appealing it is to dream that, tomorrow, a boy will appear who completely adores and appreciates you. Someday that will really happen, but both parties have to be ready. And, truth be told, you're probably close to being ready, but boys mature slowly, so he isn't. Until then, try to be patient, and don't allow your feelings to be hurt if you're not asked to a dance or nobody gives you a Valentine. The girls carrying boxes of chocolate around in two weeks will probably feel just as awkward as you do.

So remember that, okay? I've been hesitant to write this necessary post because I was worried that you guys would conclude that my overall happiness with life is due to my new relationship, when really, the fact that this relationship works is due to the fact that I've become a happy person. It sounds lame and preachy, but I can now confirm that you'll never share true love until you love yourself. I should know.**

THAT being said, I've been modest and reserved and cautious and all that other ladylike crap long enough. Without exaggeration, without naivety, without doubt... I'm in love. And, despite what I would have told you a month ago, I've never been in love with anyone else. I've felt deeply about people before, but this oxymoronic feeling of unsettling comfort is totally unique, totally baffling, and totally consuming. Gag-worthy cliches that used to make me roll my eyes keep escaping my mouth, until I find myself saying things like, "I've never been so sure about anything." Because I haven't. It's just surreal.

This man*** (yeah, that title is incontestable and official) finds little ways to blow my mind a little bit more every single day. He is so brilliant, so talented, and so gifted, but he works harder than anybody. I've never met another confident person who is still so consistently searching for ways to improve himself. He's masculine-- it's my job to call him out on the occasions when he's being insensitive or arrogant-- but he really strives to understand people, and he's incredibly caring and observant. I've never before heard somebody end a discussion with, "Okay, you're probably right," without being sarcastic or sounding pathetic, but that's the sort of person he is. He can be strong and gentle at the same time.

And our dynamic is fantastic. Our senses of humor are just in sync, in a way that you can't fake. We don't need to explain to each other why things are funny, and we laugh so much together. The only time we've come close to an argument, we immediately saw and took each other's sides, then spent the rest of the afternoon apologizing, only feeling hurt at the idea of hurting each other. We both choose connecting with people in small groups over parties, and we both need time to just be alone. We're both very immersed in the internet culture, so we can fluently talk about things like BlogTV and editing videos, but our online worlds don't always intersect, so we still have our own space, even within the internet microcosm. He's a male songwriter and I'm a female Family Guy fan, but I'm able to maintain my femininity and feel like a girl, because we balance each other out.

He thinks so highly of me, too! He respects me and looks up to me and thinks I'm smarter than he is. I don't buy that last one at ALL, because I find myself gaping in awe at his intelligence on a regular basis, but our admiration is very mutual. Honestly, the most attractive person I could have ever dreamt up (black hair and dark blue eyes? Like, does that even happen?!) thinks I'm the prettiest girl alive. It's kind of insane. And if you even knew HALF of the romantic gestures he's pulled in such a short time, you'd be calling for the Hollywood movie rights. I looked down at my cell phone the other day to see that he'd changed the message on my screen to read, "I love you, Hayley." He drove a ridiculous and outrageous distance to visit me at school this weekend, then insisted upon buying me food (good, right?) and leaving me with his high school cross country sweatshirt so I can parade his name around like a sixteen-year-old, and surreptitiously smell my sleeve to get me through the day. I know.

Anyway, he joked last night, asking when I was going to blog my heart out about how great he is. (When I received my early Valentine's present in the mail today, after I nearly cried from the thoughtfulness and price and sweetness, he added, "What else does a guy have to do to earn a blog post?") I outlined my qualms about sending the wrong message about happiness to some of my readers, and he said, "One, read their comments. They clearly want to know. And two, you're spinning this the wrong way. Think like a writer. You can write about what we talked about. About all the crap and loneliness you put up with, and how things come around, and how you learn skills that you can use for your 'good one.'"

I told you he was smart.

Chipotle burritos this year: 4
Subscribers: 24,470
Nail color: "Far East Fuchsia," Maybelline (Discontinued)

*This excludes the few purchasers of Red, who have had the misfortune of reading an embarrassing excerpt from my middle school journal, immortalized in print.
***I've now revealed the identity of The Situation on both twitter and youtube, but I'm going to continue to blog about him under a nickname. He matters so much that, when I choose to dip into my personal life like I am now, I still want to keep some distance between Reality and Blog World. I'm more than happy to call him by his real name other places online, but we'll keep him The Situation here. (Like how John Green calls his wife, Sarah, the Yeti.)