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Fail

As my friend Morgan and I like to say: Fail.

I failed at Lent. I tried to give up chocolate, but it didn’t work. I succumbed to my need for chocolate.

I also fail at being motivated to do grad school applications and apply for jobs. And keeping track of my homework. And waking up on time for an 8 am class.

However, I got a 97 on a test. This was the test where I watched ice skating instead of studying. Success.

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Life Without Chocolate

For anyone who knows me remotely well, they know that I love chocolate.

I don’t just love chocolate, I’m addicted to it. I could barely go a whole day without chocolate for a friend’s biopsychology research project studying caffeine. So naturally, I decided to give up chocolate for lent.

*CARS CRASHING, PEOPLE SCREAMING, BABIES CRYING*

Yes, you heard me right. I’m giving up chocolate for lent. It will be a long 40 days. And it will be really hard. But for the next 40 days, you will be hearing about my life without chocolate.

Day 1: I miss it.

The College Bubble…

…is a very comfortable place to be. Almost too comfortable. You go somewhere new, make friends (who are also somewhere new), get a routine, never have to worry about where your next meal will come from (because the cafeteria cooks for you), and you don’t really have to worry about a job, because you can always find one on campus! Life doesn’t start at 8 and go until 5. It starts at 11, goes till 2, and then you have a nice break until your 7 or 8 pm meeting.

Your biggest concerns in college are actually not that big. When is the internet going to come back on? How are you going to get home for break? When will the pizza get better in the cafeteria?

No rent, no utility bills, no grocery shopping, still on your parent’s health insurance. Life is good.

But then when you graduate, the college bubble is popped. Now, mind you, my college bubble hasn’t been broken yet. Still comfortable, still easy. But I’ve recently been looking into grad schools, full-time jobs, and thinking about living far from home (well, even further from home than I already am). Heck, just applying for jobs is scary. Cover letters, resumés, salary requirements…

It’s scary, right?

Yellow

At the dawn of 2010 (okay, maybe a few days after…) I made three resolutions:

1. Be more badass.*
2. Be more of a free thinker. (Roughly..I can’t put what it really is for fear of losing friends)
3. Wear more color.

This is about resolution #3. Yesterday I wore mostly black, with a pink headband. Today I wore the most fabulous yellow skirt that I found over break.

It’s amazing how much of an effect the color you wear has on your general disposition! Somehow, when you’re wearing yellow, the world seems sunnier. Like everything has suddenly gotten brighter. When I’m wearing yellow, it doesn’t matter if I feel lonely, or if I’m mad at someone, or if my tummy hurts. It doesn’t matter if I didn’t do my reading and we have a quiz. It doesn’t matter if the cafeteria food is sub-par (which it usually is), or if I have to eat alone, because I’m wearing yellow and I look fabulous.

Does anyone else feel this way? What color do you feel brighter in?

*Borrowed from Allison Lindsay.

In this epic battle, books would come out victorious.

As a child, I read the entire Anne of Green Gables series. Starting with Anne Shirley as an auburn haired orphan being brought home by Matthew Cuthbert when Marilla really wanted a boy, to her friendship with “bosom friend” Diana Barry, to her love affair with Gilbert Blythe, to the birth of her children. And throughout the entire series, I had vivid images in my mind of what she looked like, what her house looked like, what Gilbert looked like, and what her general surroundings were. In 5th grade, I was so sure of Anne Shirley’s life that I almost thought I could be Anne Shirley if I wanted to.

There’s a house in Frankfort, IL, that I call the “Anne of Green Gables House.” Jered always makes fun of me for it, but it’s my most favorite house in the whole area. This is what it kind of looks like:


This is how I picture the house at Green Gables. Except without a garage door or quite so elaborate landscaping. And maybe a bit more colorful. But the general structure, with the wrap around porch and the circle rooms and creative rooftop.

I bet most of you have seen the movie, “Anne of Green Gables.” I have not. I never saw it when I was young, and now I have absolutely no desire to see it. My idealized images of Anne Shirley and Green Gables are too perfect in my head. I spent too much time building that world in my head to have Hollywood show me what it should really look like. I just can’t bring myself to ruin what 5th grade Melissa created.

I feel the same way about the Little House on the Prairie books. I began reading these much earlier – I have vivid memories of my mom reading Little House in the Big Woods and trying to imagine what that winter would feel like – and finished the series in about 3rd grade. Apparently there are movies, but I haven’t seen them. And I don’t want to.

I feel bad for kids now. Unless they are introduced to these great books, they will never have the opportunity to create these imaginary worlds and be transported somewhere else than their backyard or living room.

Go outside. Read a book. Play pretend.

Two thoughts today. The idea of the domestic diva, and the death, disappearance, and changes in chivalry.

Domesticity. That word just oozes 1950s, doesn’t it? When I grow up, I want to have a job, but also be a domestic diva. Actually, I’d really be happy as a housewife, but I think I may feel the need to contribute. Time will tell.

I’m well on my way to becoming a domestic diva. I know how to bake cookies, knit, own a teapot, and have 2 aprons on the way. Here are pictures!

Teapot! Except mine is yellow. It makes delicious tea and I love it!

Apron numero uno. I just love the big yellow roses! I can’t wait to try it on. (:

And this is apron numero dos. It’s vintage 1940s, and I will have it in my possession within the next 5-7 days. Love it!

Part of me wants to be a domestic diva because it’s such a romantic figure (in my head, at least.) I like to joke that I’m living in the wrong decade. I’d much rather be a 1950s housewife than a 21st century professional. Maybe. I mostly just wanted to show off my aprons and teapot, so…moving on.

___

Chivalry. Is it dead? Has it disappeared? Where did it go? Just today, I was walking slightly behind a person of the male gender. As we reached a door, he flung it open and walked through. He didn’t even hold it open for the 2 extra seconds it would have taken to wait. It’s entirely possible he did not see me, just as it is possible that this man is devoid of manners. But what ever happened to holding a door open for someone or offering a jacket? And where have the true gentlemen of the world run off to?

Some people like to say that chivalry disappeared with the advent of feminism. Women were becoming more self sufficient and seemed almost resentful of men who tried to coddle the “weaker sex.” Well, you know what? I want to be taken care of. I want to have someone open doors for me, offer a jacket or umbrella, open my car door, and act gentlemanly all of the time.

Call me old fashioned, but doesn’t it sound nice?

A drop in the ocean…

Do you ever feel like what you’re doing doesn’t matter? Or that you don’t matter? Maybe you’re trying to raise money for a national philanthropy and only  manage to raise $200. This foundation gets donations of thousands of dollars at time! Does it even matter? Or maybe you really want to do something, but get passed over. Do you still matter?

I think yes.

I’ve had my fair share of “pass overs” and I can tell you, it hurts. It hurts a lot. All I want to do is cry, mope, and host a personal pity party, table for one. I heard this quote somewhere…

“People with high expectations for themselves are prone to heartbreak.”

And I’ve been heartbroken.

I was recently talking to a friend about one of these “pass overs,” and she helped me see it in a different light. I may have been passed over on more than one occasion for more than one opportunity (which I really wanted, at the time), but because I did not receive that position, I was able to do more elsewhere.

And while it seemed like what I was doing elsewhere did not matter at the time, that does not mean that people did not notice and appreciate. Perhaps the universe has a different plan for me. And I’m needed elsewhere for that moment, hour, day, week, semester, year. And it’s not that I wasn’t chosen because I wasn’t good enough, popular enough, or qualified enough. But because someone else was differently good, popular, or qualified. That person may do very well or very poorly. But it is pointless to spend time saying, “I would have been better at that.” Because I don’t know that! I would have done things differently, achieved maybe a different outcome, but I can’t say I would have done better. That’s a struggle for me.

The idea can be applied to the modest fundraiser. While the foundation is used to receiving donations averaging $2,000, it is easy to say that they will notice and appreciate a donation a tenth of the size.

Keep trying. Keep doing good. Keep putting yourself out there, but do not be disappointed if it does not go your way. It’s a big world out there, and there’s lots of opportunities for everyone. Be patient, wait your turn, keep your limbs inside of the car, and you’ll reach your destination sooner than you think.