Monday, January 30, 2012

i chose this.

Tell me this is not how you feel on Mondays. And this "stranger's nightmare" is what I chose for myself. And sometimes its wonderful and sometimes, it's totally not. I have had this song on repeat. I love the song itself more than the lyrics, but there are a few lines I can't help but feel the hair stand up on my neck as I think, "oh yeah that's actually about right..." and the video some kids made could not have been more of a pleasant surprise. A new day is around the corner. And thank goodness for that!

You shut me up with your long tubesocks
                                          They don't scream, "Hey, let's just be friends" 
Look at both my inkwells brimming 
How many stars you think you possess?
How many in your butterfly net? 
Build me a star in your forehead.
Don't let the bathwater get too high 
You will be a flood of porcelain...
And we're going to flood this house
This is me starring In a stranger's nightmare
-Freelance Whale, Starring

Sunday, January 22, 2012

it's just too bright, as the days keep turning into night

"Well, I have been searching all of my days.
Many a road, you know, I've been walking on, all of my days.
And I've been tryin' to find, what's been on my mind, as the days keep turning into night.
Well, I have been quietly standing in the shade, all of my days.
Watch the sky breaking on the promise that we made, all of this rain.
And I've been trying to find, what's been in my mind, as the days keep turning into night.
Many a night, I found myself with no friends standing near..
I cried aloud, I shook my hands, 'what am I doing here?!' all of these days...
For I look around me, and my eyes, confound me.
And it's just too bright, as the days keep turning into night.
So I smile, and know I'll feel this loneliness no more. For I look around me, and it seems you've found me.
And it's coming into sight, as the days keep turning into night.
And even breathing feels alright. Yes, even breathing feels alright. Now, even breathing feels alright."
-Alexi Murdoch, All My Days

It is January 22nd and I realize this post is a little late. But time is really flying by. I think every one of my journal entries begins with something about how fast time is going by, and it seems I can hardly keep up as these days keep turning into nights. 
I was teaching lessons on "New Year's Eve traditions and resolutions" all week and I can't help but share some thoughts. First of all, I learned that Spaniards don't particularly make resolutions. The word resolution itself is best directly translated as, "propositions." Interesting, I said the first time I heard this. I asked my students, "So, wait, you don't claim you'll miraculously become a new and improved, better person in the upcoming new year?" One student replied quizzically, "No, I mean, that's unrealistic, so why would we do that?" I wanted to end class right there and just chew on that. As I reflect on what my resolutions are this year, I realize that they are all basically the exact same as they were last year. I pride myself in being a very goal-oriented person, like my Mother and I do generally succeed in meeting the goals for myself. But as I have read Thought Catalog's "What 20-Somethings Want," I think about what I want, and its all basically the same things I wanted last year. And just because there are few changes to my Hello 2011 post, doesn't mean that I didn't succeed in reaching those goals last year. It's just that I think I've reached a point where the things I am chasing, wanting, trying to be are slightly more static than they have been in years past and I am okay with that.
Just because commercials cater to Americans thinking they will miraculously muster up the motivation they've been lacking for years because it's time to make resolutions, doesn't mean that resolutions are inherently bad. Even if they're not kept. And that's what I think about resolution making. It's worth your time even if you fall short. What's that cheesy phrase that used to be on posters in our elementary classrooms? I can picture it right now: Shoot for the moon, even if you miss you'll land among the stars. Set goals, make resolutions, create propositions for yourself not just because its the first fresh few days of a new year, but because you owe it to yourself. Self-improvement. Not just in January, but throughout the year. So, this year, resolve to set some goals and then resolve to stick to 'em.

Who knows what 2012 will hold. 

One thing that is for sure is there will be more engagements and weddings than I can keep track of. Mine will not be one of them. Maybe this will be the year that I will fall madly in love again. Maybe this will be another year of funny stories, disaster dates, short lived hotties and almosts. In fact, either of these or a combination thereof, I am perfectly okay with.
2012 holds the secret of where I will be settling for the next three years, perhaps where I will apply to take the bar and perhaps the state where I will call "home" for a long time. That frightens and excites me simultaneously, especially considering I currently have NO clue where that will be past this short list: DC, LA, NYC, Miami, Boston, San Diego, San Francisco, Chicago.
Maybe 2012 will be another year of friendship turmoil or maybe 2011 held it all so 2012 can be about harvesting the good that's left over. Perhaps this year will be another great football season for the beautiful Crimson Tide and perhaps it will be a rebuilding year with a few losses sprinkled into the season.
This will be another year of being a 20-something lost, confused and searching for answers to questions that I have been looking forward to answering for years and questions I have yet to create entirely.
I predict that for a decent chunk of 2012, I will be in the library with my nose dug into a book or staring at this very computer screen until I go cross-eyed. I. cannot. wait.

As for the idea that if you keep your resolutions a secret, they will come true, I think that's pure nonsense. I believe in the opposite. So, here are mine. I hope that you will help me with the following ideas and that you will consistently be on me. If you share yours with me, I will promise to do the same thing. Promise.

LOVE. above everything else. 
keep my priorities in line.
make myself and those around me proud.
Don't forget to breathe.
Pray. Have a faith bigger than my fear.
Run and do ab workouts several times a week
Take good care of those that I love
Make the most of every second and live with no regrets
Read all the NYT Bestsellers
Read a complete book in Spanish
Learn from myself and others
Do something extraordinary
Do something that makes a difference, no matter how small 
Do something new
Read the news several times a week
Maintain my blogs regularly
Break 3 bad habits: snooze, acrylic nails, texting and driving
Make art
Be thankful for absolutely EVERYTHING
Remind people of their loveliness often
Watch all the 2012 Academy Award nominees
Watch all the 2012 Emmy winners
Rationalize with my heart and head instead of siding with one or the other
Keep an open mind
Stay in better touch with Mom's family. Go to Dallas.
Surround myself with people who lift me up, call me to higher living, and believe in my dreams
Gain a pea-sized ounce of patience
Expand my vocabulary and curse less
Less English, more Spanish
Whatever I do, be passionate about it
Look for inspiration
Go to concerts of my favorite artists and other cultural events

And in case I didn't already take up enough of your time today, read this.

Friday, January 20, 2012

i wanna wear my hair up in a mess, cut off jeans, can you get with that?

Source: via Meghann on Pinterest

hey Friday. i choose to spend you however i want. sleeping, pinterest-ing, and listening to great music.
hey to-do list, see ya tomorrow.
download this. its just a powerful jam. so great...

Monday, January 16, 2012

just by folding a map

for the last year and a half, this blog has been a refuge to spill about things in life that confuse, perplex, astound, amaze and impress me. i am continuously surprised at the random people that tell me they read these ramblings, much less when i hear they feel where i am coming from. i am hoping that this next string of thoughts finds you either on my same page, or with the ability to leave a comment that says, "steph, i love you, but you're crazy."
perhaps, it will leave you thinking both, which i am perfectly content with.
In one of the first Death Cab songs I ever fell in love with, Ben Gibbard expresses, "So, this is the new year.
And I don't feel any different. 
The clanking of crystal, explosions off in the distance. 
So, this is the new year. 
And I have no resolutions. 
It's selfish, I panic from problems with easy solutions...
I wish the world was flat like the old days, 
so that I could travel just by folding a map. 
No more airplanes or speedways, 
there'd be no distance that could hold us back. 
There'd be no distance that could hold us back."
Since I boarded the plane to come back to Spain, I cannot shake this feeling that I have been so strictly forced to choose. I hate that I have to choose HERE or THERE. That I am incapable of doing a decent job of reconciling both worlds that are each so important to me, so dear to my heart, so ME. Unable to clear these thoughts from my head, all day at work today (which happened to be particularly frustrating as luck would have it) all I could think was, "what the fuck am I doing here?!" I feel that everything I am doing here is wrong. Not that me actually being here is wrong, but that what I am actually DOING here is wrong.
My priorities are so absurdly out of line.
As Dave would say it, "what I want is what I've not got and what I need is all around me." What I want to be spending time on is not how I am actually spending my time at all, whatsoever. What I want to be learning, seeing, doing is what always seems to get the back burner. This is where the "problems with easy solutions" line comes into play. Well then, I think to myself, I will re-prioritize. I will re-invent this side of my life. I will RESOLVE to get things in order. I will think about how i WANT to spend my day and spend it THAT way. But it's not so easy. I have committed to things, I have made promises, I have tied myself down and I have found that this free bird has actually become acutely aware of the cage she built. Even if that cage is just until July.
I am confident this feeling will be shaken when I have settled back into my routine and I am not on hyper-sensitive mode to the strangeness of things here, the bizarreness of a grueling job i never saw myself having, the inability to see how this is relevant to training i want or need and that my entire mentality is different. but for a girl who appreciates vulnerability and has promised to be a messenger of a variety of emotions and topics, this is one of those posts that's just not quite as colorful as the others.