Cracking

I found a journal entry from three years ago. 

I felt the carefully sealed cracks in my heart begin to reopen, shivering from the sudden wave of cold air that rushed through the fissures. 

I read that, at 21:

I had been to more funerals than weddings. 
I attended my first when I was 4. 

I had held more hands in comfort than I had new borns. 
A friend lost his dad when we could barely spell the word “toothbrush”.

The number of people I knew behind bars was higher than the fingers on my right hand. 

I wrote that I remember learning what the word ‘suicide’ meant when I was three.

I was asked at 20 why I was so happy all the time, and if I ever got tired of it, and I answered that, yes. I do, but when you’ve seen the dice land on snake eyes as much as I have, you learn to use ones that are loaded, so you can only focus on the winnings. 
—-
Now, three years later:

I’ve been to more weddings. 
I’ve held more bundles of life. 
I’ve watched friends and family begin new chapters and write stories of their own. 
I’ve had dreams shatter and be rebuilt. 
I’ve laughed and cried and lost.
I’ve found new dreams, and found myself in the process.
I’ve gained new family and lost others, the circle expanding and contracting like my diaphragm. 

But the rest of my chapters are still waiting to be written

all i know

If you were to ask me what the most used phrase in my vocabulary was,
it would be a tie between
“I’m sorry.”
and
“fuck.”
See, the two biggest fears in my life,
are the fear of being a failure,
and the fear of being convenient.
I hide behind a veil of
“I’m fine.”
and
“It’s okay.”
and
I’m sorry.”
because I don’t know how else to react.
Confrontation is my Beast,
but i’m no Beauty.
I’m only locked in this room of self-doubt
because it’s all I know. 

‘Twas the night before classes

The night before classes and all through the house,
only one creature was stirring, quiet as a mouse.
She poured herself a glass of whiskey with care,
in hopes that sweet dreams soon would be there.
The cats were nestled all snug in their beds,
With visions of catnip dances through their heads.
The roommates abed,
And after cleaning the trash,
I settled down in the water for a long, peaceful bath.
When lo! In my mind there arose such a clatter,
I sprang to my window to find what was the matter.
Then, looking at my thoughts, what did I see?
Nightmares of classes and anxiety. 
My worries all gathered round school and grades,
Though after 4 years an under grad, I should have it made.
But I worried, and fretted, and
overthought all.
Til worked into a frenzy I ran down the hall.
All the books piles high seemed to mock me and stare
When earlier that day, they sat with glee and with flair.
So into my bed I curled up with a gasp,
As old panicked dreams slid slowly from grasp.
When what do my haggard thoughts suddenly hear?
But the laughter of friends and loved ones held dear.
Then I remember that I’m not alone in this fright,
But surrounded by family and friends to hold tight.
For with the help of a few I get by,
And suddenly grad school and grades slip my mind.
So I wander back into the bathroom, now cold,
Pull up a warm bath, and exhale my ol
Fears and anxieties, having them slip my mind.
Because dreams are worth nothing without friends good and kind.
So as this semester begins, keep this thought:
Grades are important, but without love, we are naught.
So I close this story with one final plea:
Study, work hard, then the worries will flee.

An Open Letter to my Sister

Lydia,

I was planning on writing a beautiful, heartfelt letter to you; one that captured this raging typhoon of emotions that has been slowly suffocating me day by day over the past months.
I wanted to show you the concern, heartbreak, anger and betrayal I’m feeling, but now that I sit down to write,

Nothing.

I don’t know where the words I had so carefully selected went, or why my organized thoughts suddenly scattered to the four corners of the earth, but now I just don’t know what to say.
Maybe that’s my problem- I try to over think, organize, analyze each word and phrase, trying to make it perfect, when what I really need to do is just explode onto the paper, and let my emotions lie where they fall.

I’m not going to, though. I’m not nearly calm or drunk enough to allow myself to loosen my grip on my tongue. Maybe after I have a few shots of whiskey, I’ll be able to tell you about listening to mom cry over “where she went wrong.” When my mind’s edges are hazy from the alcohol, perhaps I could talk about how hurt dad is, because he thinks that he’s failed as a father. Perhaps the whiskey will burn away my filter, so I could tell you of the pressure you’ve shoved Phoebe under- Phoebe, the dizzyingly free middle sister, the flakey one, is now the one who’s acting as the glue to hold what’s left of our family’s emotions together.  She’s the sounding board now, listening to our parents and holding their insecurities and fears in some miraculously strong Pandora’s Box in her heart. Out of the three of us, she was always the least likely to end up in that position, what with her temper and emotions, but there she is.
It’s been a month since you moved out, although “snuck out” is a more accurate description, since you didn’t even have the balls to tell mom & dad what you were doing to their faces. I still can’t believe you used me as your excuse, because “Emily is coming back, and I can’t deal with her shit.”
I’m sorry I don’t put up with your boyfriend’s lack of manners and disrespect. I’m sorry that I don’t believe a single excuse you let leave your mouth, and oh, I am the sorriest I could ever be for actually telling you the truth about what I think  of your secret engagement to a boy you’ve known barely a year.

No wait. I’m not sorry at all.

Since you have obviously turned your back on your family, first by continuing to date a boy (because at 19, he is still most definitely, a boy) that neither family nor friends approve of, and second by going behind mom & dad’s back, getting engaged, and then having the nerve to be angry that we weren’t happy for you, I won’t ask you to come home.
Why?
Because I don’t want you home. I don’t want you to be any closer to my parents, to cause them any more heartache. I want to ask you to grow up, get a pair, fuck up your life, and then have the guts to realize it. I want to ask you to think clearly, be an adult, listen to true, solid advice, even if you don’t like what you’re hearing, because let’s be honest- you won’t.

So, my dear, naïve, 19-year-old baby sister, I want to ask of you one thing:
When you make your mistakes, when you realize how you’ve treated your family, I want to ask that you be woman enough to apologize to our parents. I don’t mean I want you to break up with your bf/fiancé, because if you truly think you love him, you won’t. I mean, I want you, with your heart open and conscience heavy, to approach our parents and apologize for the shitty way you’ve been treating them for the past 10 months. Apologize for the yelling, sneaking around, disrespect, and say, as a woman, that you went about everything in the wrong way.

What you’ve done can’t be undone. We’re human, we fuck up; however, treating those we love with contempt is inexcusable.

Lydia, I hope you grow up.

With love,
Emily

 

 

What does “no” mean and how do I learn?

I love being busy- I mean, I absolutely love it.

High school saw me running around KC between high school classes, college classes, work, community orchestra, community theater, volunteering at church, taxiing my sisters around, and sports (off and on)

College saw me shun sleep for choir, concert band, Drumline, orchestra (principle cellist for 2years), cello lessons, theater- both acting, behind the scenes, and volunteering, working at the library- reference and circ, taking extra classes to graduate early, accapella choir, managing the coffeeshop full time, and being on the exec board of 4 different clubs.

Present day:
Full time job
Full time grad student
Master’s thesis in the works
NYDC’s competitive roster
DCH Dragon boat racing, plus now training for Italy world champs next summer
And I was just given the position of a copy editor for the IQA.

I love this, but holy sweet Jesus

Second Place

Second place is bullshit.
Whoever said “it’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game,” lost the game.
Second place is for 1st losers.
Looking for excuses?
Looking for a way to get out? 
Look for 2nd place.
Ask anyone how they feel about 2nd place.
Did they like it? No.
Did Napoleon like coming in 2nd at Waterloo?
Did Hector like coming in 2nd to Achilles? No.
Stop looking for excuses and look to win. 
If your best isn’t good enough, then work harder. 

If you aren’t wearing your insides on your outsides
because you ran so hard you ran out of your skin,
you’re not working hard enough. 
If you can still hear the footsteps pounding on the pavement behind you,
then you’re not running hard enough. 
If your hands aren’t calloused or bleeding after practices,
you aren’t working hard enough. 
If you don’t give 100% in practice,
why the hell would you give 100% in a game? 

You have to know what 100% feels like to give it.