Tuesday, January 26, 2016

goals, airplanes, and graduation

I'm about to graduate. This is my last semester at U.Va. Hard to believe, isn't it?

I'm actually applying for a job. Wow. For those that don't know, due to certain circumstances, I'm graduating two years early. Though this isn't exactly an excuse to be unemployed after graduation, I had been hoping to avoid serious employment for a time just so I could spend time with my family. However, other duties and interests in life have called me, and here I am, applying for a job to teach English in Korea.
I thought it would be easy to develop senioritis this coming semester, but I'm keeping it at bay. I want to do my very best this semester...if this is the end, I want it to end with firecrackers and laughing, not quiet resolution that I can't do any better. Every second is one I can count toward further goals in my future.
Actually accomplishing my sixteen year old dream is a lot to wrap my head around, so I try not to think about it or worry too much about it. I blame my fascination with goals on my parents. Tonight, my mom was telling me about her college experience and education,which ended after she graduated and was married to my dad. I don't think she made a bad decision at all, but I agree with her; sometimes it's sad to realize she will never pursue those other dreams and goals related to her interests.
Tonight I learned from her that if there is something I want to do, I should do it without hesitation.  I might try it and hate it, but if I never try it, I will never know. If I never know, I might regret it for the rest of my life, wondering about what could have been.
That's why, at present, I refuse to let anything, including my fears, worries, or lonesomeness, get in the way of living in Korea long term. I've already fallen in love with the country after being there twice, and a return visit will occur either way. I have a lot of doubts, suspicions, and generally ridiculous fears related to living there long term. I need to dispel those. I need to see how far I can take my adventurous spirit; what is the limit of this interest?
I've developed and changed a lot in my time here at U.Va and no doubt I will continue to do so elsewhere. It's hard sometimes to want what I do so badly. It's just living abroad, right? It's not something that should be hard to do. But for some reason, I make it difficult for myself. I have so many feelings, attachments, wanderings, desires, and they bog me down and confuse me. What do I really want? Do I actually want to travel? What if I just do some research? Get my master's degree? How about just finding a nice guy and staying close to home so I can develop a relationship?
It would all be nice. So why does going to Korea tear at me so violently? I'm not kidding. There are few other things I have ever wanted so much. I've had feelings for many a man, and never have I wanted him more than Korea...I've come close, but never jumped off the bridge. I've had interests and deviations, including art, writing, research, and psychology, but none of them has ever fascinated me more than traveling overseas. Quite frankly, I am obsessed with it, and I have no idea why. It is one of those okay obsessions, those things it is alright to say "I don't care about anything else" and just love (wouldn't life be easier if it were acceptable to be that obsessed with a person? Sadly, it seems that is less psychologically healthy).
This has plagued me since I developed the obsession, but it grew worse in the summer of last year, when I started questioning my goals over friendships, romantic feelings, and new interests. Ultimately, my goal won out. I couldn't abandon that which has become a part of myself. I couldn't turn my back on my hopes and dreams. I want it, and with my languid and quiet personality, it is rare for me to want something this much.
Tonight I discovered why. I know with near total certainty that if I never live in Korea, I will regret it for the rest of my life. I will think about it, feel sad about it, and quietly desire it. What's the point in that? Yes, I could be disappointed. I could have a terrible experience. But I could also have the best one, beyond my wildest imaginations. So I must know. I can't let it go, I can't stop thinking about it, I can't change myself for someone else's whims or insecurities.

Nothing can stop me, because if I stop, I will regret it for the rest of my life. 


Friday, January 22, 2016


The sky is blue like your blood and your veins
Would they give me the permission
To reach out to your soul or make claims
I have disregarded my own decisions
And touch your slender fingertips
Whose empty spaces leave me entranced
Which spirit allowed you to be such a mystic?
What deity granted you sentience?
Your midnight haunts and empty footsteps
Of worlds I cannot even begin to fathom
They draw me in, you are the only order left
Among the chaos, you become a phantom.

Sunday, January 3, 2016

2015 and the Changing Self

A clear memory from December 31st, 2014, is stealing away from the party and the people to find my childhood friend out in the yard, gazing at a pile of dying embers in the chilly night, smoking a pipe. He offered to let me try it. I said yes. It tasted weird. I think that was the most prominent feature of my 2015: I wanted to try everything, even things I said I wouldn't do before. The desperation to try everything which consumed me was almost crazy in its boldness, threatening all of my usual planning, preparing, and risk-aversion. Life was an adventure!
I thought about listing them, but I don't believe what I actually did was very important. It's the take-aways, the lessons learned from the experience, which legitimize them. That being said, I encourage anyone who hasn't tried something yet to try it, provided it doesn't immediately harm your body. If you think doing car spins in an empty parking lot at midnight is unsafe, then don't do them---but after trying it, I think they're fun.
Last year departed in an unusual way, considering the feverish way I moved about the world during it. Everything came to a peaceful standstill. A warm evening with old friends who grew and changed on their own this year. Yet as we drove home, it seemed like everything I did this year was something I had just done. All of those isolated events coupled up and came barreling toward me together, bringing on a mood of melancholy consideration and, later in the New Year, drunken ramblings. The changes I personally chose to experience are nothing short of ridiculous in some contexts, and I was more than aware of that in the wee hours of January 1st. Logically, the next step is to pull away from change in myself. The very experience I was romanticizing two hours before midnight became something I feared by the next evening. I stood outside looking at the stars last night praying for something which was constant to take away my fear, before I realized quite suddenly that God is my constant. Though each year brings changes in my social relationships, personal goals, and self, none of these are things which I should expect to remain consistent. Instead of flailing about wildly, shutting out that which has changed, I hope I can embrace the person who was the nineteen year old me, and has emerged as the twenty year old me.
We make decisions, mistakes, and have triumphs. None of them can be ignored when a new year arrives. We live with our current selves, not the past or future ones. 2016 is just another year. January 1st is just the date we choose to mark the fluid passage of time in our lives.
I'll change anyway, regardless of anything else. 


Saturday, January 2, 2016


I would be running wild with my hair tied back
Cotton shorts with little legs sticking out
White like moonlight on water
Dirty feet wading through the silk grasses
Of our front yard, oh youth
You hurt, you haunt, for I have
Misheard the ruling of a judge in
June with no breeze, the defendants scream but
I remain silent, staring at you and I know
Brown orbs like mine carry nothing
You see them, stormy and irrational as
Strawberry milk words pouring
Out of my mouth, childish tie-dye
Crop-top shirt like Dan's of mine,
Incredulous! Questions sent to fireflies who
Answer not, just blinking luminescence,
His kaleidoscope eyes always
Sparkled at me, the game was too enjoyable
Pricking, poking, dancing, you're mean!
I hid from you in my tiny fort
Wrapped myself up in your taunting, and now
Twist strings about your conscience,
Iain is fleeting constellations, broken telescopes,
Glancing at galaxies like a thief,
Cut the knots we made and travel to the place
Where we are running again
Dewy grass in dusky summer, bells
Toll the approach of the engine
A whistle crying deep in the night.