The Bellowing of my Soul

I want so badly to write something cohesive. But I have no cohesion to offer you, dear reader. I have only my scattered thoughts and emotions.

Perhaps we’ll talk about my writing. That’s something I haven’t had the chance to discuss in so long. But maybe it only feels long to me.

I want to write. I was struck with inspiration this morning as I recounted my next story. I could feel the impact of it. I love these characters. I love what they represent. I love their stories.

This is normally the point in the year when I would be planning my next story. NaNoWriMo will soon be upon us.

…but I am not doing NaNoWriMo this year. For the first time in six years, I won’t have a new manuscript come December. It doesn’t feel right.

But even if I were to write, what would it come to? I’m not ready for this new story I’m developing. So, would I write a charming romance? I have no romance left in me. I have been drained of my feelings.

I would likely write a cynical piece exploring political themes and social practices. Potentially the next great dystopian hit? Unlikely.

So I sit here. Not writing. Not even blogging, because I have found myself incapable of finishing the thirty drafts sitting patiently for their moment in the sun. So many ideas, simply…blocked.

Am I stuck?

No.

Am I?

I keep gathering ideas. But I can’t seem to write them.

What did I do today?

I played guitar for the first time in months. As quaint as the ukulele is, I do prefer the guitar. The robust sound permeated my room and gave me the freedom to sing, to yell, to scream.

Perhaps I scream when I play. If the music is lively enough to cover my voice, I increase my tones until every part of me has joined in the making of music, of this song. I can’t imagine what it sounds like outside of my room. But within my room, it is me in the purest form. Playing something meaningful. Singing, not to sound beautiful, but to feel. To say something. Saying something may come with a voice crack, or the scraping of my vocal range. But I don’t care. It’s me, and that’s all that matters.

I wish I could take my guitar back to school with me. There is no place to put it, and it is unprotected in its soft case. And I’m sure no one within one hundred yards would appreciate it.

But how I wish I could be myself.

I only shine through briefly through the ukulele. The light strumming you hear, the gentle tone of my voice. That is a piece of me.

But I am passionate, deep, feeling, everything reaching down within my soul. Guitar reflects that.

I miss writing. I miss pouring myself and my experiences out onto a page under the guise of fictional characters. I miss my Becker and all of his friends. I miss crafting scenes. I miss being who I was. Who I am.

And I wish for the day that I can just be me, and those who would choose to walk alongside me in life would find me that way.

I’ll be the girl bellowing in her dorm room, pouring everything she is into the song she sings.

I apologize if it sounds obnoxious.

But it is who I am.

And if it wasn’t midnight right now, I would pull out my guitar and be.

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Exhaustive

For over a month, with the exception of one day, I have showered at 6:45 in the morning. Without fail, the water has woken me up and gotten me ready to face my day of studying, homework, and classes.

Until today.

Until this morning, when the water did nothing to affect my drooping eyes.

So here I am. Tired. More tired than I usually am.

Somehow thinking that this is an appropriate time to write a blog post.

College is hard, guys. As I told my friend the other day…it’s like preschool, because naps.

But it’s not like preschool, because it brings you to the breaking point in literally 0.06 seconds.

I’ve just been existing in my little disciplined world, desperately searching for the balance between work and fun. If such a balance exists. But it must exist, I simply haven’t found it yet.

No, instead I am waffling back and forth between being an excellent, studious student who studies…and being creative.

For a month, I stifled my creative side. I didn’t let it have a peep, except for a few moments playing an instrument. As it is, most of my creative ventures have been squashed in coming to college. I’m too busy to write a book. The conditions are too restraining to try and cook. I’m not supposed to read for fun (even if I had time).

Perhaps it was natural, then, that my creative side burst through like a ninja kicking through a boarded up doorway of a condemned house. And then took over everything, for an entire weekend. And continues to have a considerable hold on me.

want to be creative. But I want to do well in school, and suddenly, I have three different concepts clamoring for my attention: success in school, success in project, and success in relationships.

Oh, and success in sleep.

Sweet…sweet sleep.

I need to begin my work for the day so I have cause and justification for my afternoon nap.

Rantings of a Tormented Mind

I’m not a fun person.

It’s true, I’m not.

Shocking, I know.

I call myself a “Mom Friend” for a reason. I have a tendency to nag and take on an overly mature standpoint in most situations. There are good points of this too: I remember to bring snacks, and I ask people about themselves and what makes them who they are.

But honestly…I’m a pretty boring person.

I hate that about myself.

I can’t tell jokes in person. Even if the delivery makes sense in my head, nobody laughs. I can write amusing things, when I have the opportunity to edit and refine them. But you can’t refine live conversations.

I don’t know how to flirt. Lots of girls can just casually throw themselves at guys and come off as cute. As a human being, I am not socially capable of just being…girly. I end up being mom-like again.

Even if I was able to “flirt”, as the whippersnappers call it, I’d have no idea what to do with any attention directed back at me. I’m nervous around guys, even though I get along with them much better than girls. I read into anything that happens, and respond to anything immature, teasing, or flirtatious with a few fantastic options: a) give them a weird look, b) outright reject it, or c) awkwardly attempt to subtlety reciprocate it but it doesn’t end correctly?

Generally, I’m just a stick-in-the-mud. I’m too busy thinking about the consequences of fun to actually engage in it. I’d never be caught in a compromising position, no matter how innocent.

I honestly don’t know what kind of a person I am. I don’t know where acting ends and I begin.

I’m the kind of person who will stay holed up in her room to work on a project: be it homework, writing, or planning of some sort. I don’t like to fail. I don’t like to mess up. I don’t like teasing or being made a fool of. I torment myself when I make mistakes. I like to stay on top of things, to think on things instead of explore…

When you add it all up, it makes a pretty boring person.

It makes me wonder how I have any friends at all.

It makes me wonder how long my friendships will last.

I used to think people were just intimidated by me. Now I think they look at me…and it isn’t that they’re afraid. Instead, they’re filled with disinterest.

I’m no good at talking about what I’m good at. If I talk about writing, I sound like I’m bragging. If I talk about Robotics, I sound like I’m talking myself down.

I don’t know how to tell people that no, I don’t want to go on a walk. No, I don’t want to go to the gym. No. I just want to stay in my room or stay in a centralized location and have a good talk or play a game of cards or just make a genuine connection with another human being.

I’m too afraid that no one will want to spend time with me if I don’t compromise.

So I compromise. I go on walks. I put socializing in front of homework in hopes for some good memories.

Because I hate to be alone. I hate sitting in the new dining hall, trying to smile enough that I don’t look angry…but of course, not so much that I look crazy and happy for no reason. Trying not to search for familiar faces. Trying not to feel left out when people sit away from me. Trying to not feel like…I don’t deserve friends.

I’m no good at being friends. I don’t like to do anything fun. I don’t know how to empathize when things go wrong.

This is just a jumbled mess of thoughts because that’s what I am right now. A jumbled mess of thoughts. A tortured mess because I feel terrible about myself and my sensible brain is doing its logical thing to remind me that yes, I am a terrible person. A boring person. I have no one to talk to.

Except my cousin, but he has his own homework to attend to.

What is wrong with me? Do I compromise? I’m sorry that I don’t like dirty jokes or hints of them. I’m sorry that I’m uncomfortable with profanity. I’m sorry that I don’t like going on walks. I’m sorry that my natural reaction is to remove myself from those situations.

I was really excited for college for friends. I honestly was. So far, I haven’t been doing too swell. I don’t have anything in common with people here.

What made me think I could fit in here?

I keep telling myself that once people understand what kind of a person I am…the good qualities that I have…I’ll finally have friends.

But is that what I want? People who see what I’m capable and evaluate me on that? “Hey, she’s doing really well in this class, we should hang out.”

That is if I do really well in my classes.

I’m a cyber schooler. I’m not used to this…live classroom setting. I’m used to chat boxes and knowing people for their intellectual prowess instead of their bodies. I’m used to rolling out of bed and swiveling on my chair, not hiking between buildings.

I’m starting to feel as if I ran away from my hometown. I ran because I didn’t like what was facing me there, so I thought if I moved far, far away and experienced something new, everything would change.

Well, here I am.

Still bad at making friends. Still bad at making connections. Still without people who I genuinely connect with.

Still a perfectionist. Still a “freak about grades”. Still driven by performance.

I’m pretty sure there are cheaper ways to figure out that you’re a boring person and that life just isn’t going to be like you want it to.

I wish grades were enough for me.

I wish I didn’t look around at all the couples around me and hate how unwanted I am.

I wish I didn’t envy the friends the girls around me have made in only a week’s time.

I wish I was content with myself. Truly as independent as I seem.

Because honestly, guys? I’m not. I’m just a boring ole stick-in-the-mud dork who lives in her imagination and analysis and will always remember to bring you a water bottle and a snack, just in case.

The Hike

First couple of days of college have been…interesting. Of course, it’s still Welcome Week, so I haven’t started any actual schoolwork. (Except for combing through the online school module for syllabuses and consequently pre-stressing myself out.)

Yesterday, they decided to have us do challenge courses. As a general rule, I tend to hate challenges courses with everything that is within me. To make matters worse, actually getting to the challenge courses required a bus ride and a hike.

I don’t mean a “walking up the hill” hike. I mean a hike. I didn’t realize how long or how steep it was, and was pretty much out of commission before I even got there.

Once I arrived, we had a little warm-up to the actual course part. The getting-to-know-you games included awkward elevator encounters, dinosaurs, and pool noodles.

Then we got to the low ropes course.

They split us into two groups and had each team start at either end. We would eventually have to cross paths while trying to balance on wires. If anyone fell, everyone started over.

I began having flashbacks of challenge courses past. Dangling from a wall for the third time, bruised and scraped. Ridicule from inability to balance on a log. Repeatedly army crawling through the dirt.

I did not want to go.

But I did. And you know what? I lived to tell about it.

Granted, I didn’t make it the entire way. But I successfully navigated across a swinging log (while desperately clutching people’s hands), across a wire (while desperately clutching people’s hands), and across a set of twisting blocks (while desperately clinging to a rope).

I’d say it was a pretty successful day.

…except for tripping down a steep gravel incline and sliding like a rock star across a stage with his guitar.

Still don’t know what I tripped on.

I’ve just been making great first impressions.

Like yesterday, when I greeted someone I passed along the walkway.

“Hi, how are you?”

“I’m good, how are you?”

“I’m alright, how are you?”

Steve-Carell-Facepalm

I’ve also followed the wrong group (almost into a building), sat awkwardly by myself in a booth waiting for something that I didn’t know anything about to start, and been late for a class.

I’m hoping all the awkward is happening now so it will be a rare occurrence later.

Well, that’s all for now. I’ll write again when I get a spare moment.

…I assume that will be in four years.

My Own Mom-Friend

I thought I was ready for college. I’ve been packing away various items in a large green tub next to my bed. I’ve been planning purchases and ordering books and asking clarifying questions. I’m excited for the new experiences and challenges.

I just took a look at the Welcome Week schedule, and was hit with the sudden realization that I am not ready.

I have been undeniably sad for the past few weeks (months, even). I know I don’t like change and that the upcoming life changes were (and are) hard for me.

I’m not ready. I don’t want to leave my parents. I love my parents. I need my mom and my dad. I need hugs from people I can trust. I need talks with my daddy and reality checks from my momma.

I don’t want to leave my church. Sure, I don’t feel as if I’ve been growing there, but my church is where my mentor is. Some of my closest friends. Some friends I’m just beginning to get to know. Some wonderful adults that still have knowledge they could pass on to me.

I don’t want to leave my Robotics team. Yes, I’m tired of going to meetings and having responsibility there. But I have friendships there that are coming to a close, along with this time in my life. I don’t want them to.

I don’t want to leave my cousin. For goodness sake, any time I give that thought enough genuine time in my brain, I burst into tears.

I’ve already left my school and lost the majority of the shallow friendships I had there.

What kind of psychotic idea did I have to go to a college almost four hours from home? For crying out loud, I had never even put gas in my car on my own until a week ago. I think I’m ready to go off and be an adult, all by myself? Manage my money and my time?

It’s not even that Welcome Week sounds all that bad. It’s designed to acquaint new students with the campus, each other, and to build community. I just keep seeing drop-off day playing in my head. My dad helping to get everything set up in my room. My mom, triple-checking that I have everything I need. Getting in my last hugs, and watching them leave, just like they do every time they dropped me off at summer camp.

But this isn’t summer camp. This is my new life. A tiny room with no air movement. Classes I might not be able to handle. Decisions every day, all on my own. Routines and habits and being my own mom-friend.

Go to bed now, Lexi.

Don’t forget to set your alarm, Lexi.

Twenty more minutes of studying and you can take a walk, Lexi.

Don’t forget to eat, Lexi.

I know you hate communal bathrooms with a passion but you need to shower, Lexi.

And it’s scary.

Goodbye to an Era

Today, I said goodbye to my school. I’ve been there my whole life, and as of now, I am no longer a student there.

I said goodbye to some friendships. I know that even if I try to hold on and keep going, they will slip out of my grasp.

I said goodbye to wonderful teachers. I’m going to miss them and their classes dreadfully.

I said goodbye to an era. It was hard.

It’s harder to know that my school friends are all boys, and they don’t understand the emotions I’m moving through right now. They don’t understand their role in those emotions.

Today, I met so many people that I’ve only ever known as names on screens. I put faces to classmates. Some I hadn’t interacted with in years. Some I call my friends. However, none of my friends were particularly good to me. They have all let me down, one way or another. As a whole, they’ve each left me with the burden of maintaining our friendship.

Perhaps that was why the most striking moment of my day came from someone I never called friend. Someone I never saw eye to eye with.

I was walking back through the halls after the ceremony. I’d collected my diploma and was passing the line of students still awaiting theirs.

He stretched his hand out to me for a shake. “Congratulations, Lexi,” he said.

I’m sure my face reflected the surprise I felt, but I shook his hand. “Thanks, Matt, you too.”

How is it that those I called friend could feel like anything but friends on this day: our high school graduation? And yet, some people I never took the time to know blew me away.

I can’t help but be sad to wave goodbye to a precious time in my life. My sadness doubles when I realize I have no one to talk to about it. It triples when I remember those I should be able to talk to don’t actually care. I’m finally pushed to tears when I acknowledge those I call friend aren’t really friends after all.

It was a good day. Dear friends and family made the long drive to come watch me wobble across a stage in heels. The ceremony was shorter than I expected, and it was sweet. The speeches were humble and honorable. The video I contributed to was well received. I sat beside two wonderful people. However, the greatest part of my day was being called onto the stage with seven other students to receive specialized department awards; being wrapped up in a hug with my favorite teacher. Finally feeling…justified, in front of my peers.

I am ready for the new era. I’m ready for deep and meaningful friendships. I’m ready for college and trying to be a grown-up.

Deep inside, I will always miss my childhood and my school. But I think that it’s a good sign that I feel ready to fly away.

Build-A-World Workshop

As a published author, I tend to think I know some things about the novel writing process.

As a teenager, I acknowledge that I actually don’t know a whole lot.

One aspect of novel writing that I struggle with, most likely from a lack of experience, is world building. There are countless aspects that go into creating your own world. No matter how much meticulous planning goes into your creation, there is always something being overlooked. I’ve put at least a year into my current project, and I’m still nowhere near complete.

Naturally, then, I would be one of the least qualified people to put together a world-building guide. Right?

Right?

Apparently, as a published author, I have an unnatural amount of self-confidence.

As an almost-graduated senior, I have a strong desire to avoid Physics homework.

Somehow, those two aspects came together to make…Build-A-World Workshop.

It’s far from a comprehensive guide, but I think I did a nice job on it. It features one of my favorite fonts; a magical fairy guide; and some amazing creative commons pictures, including one of a unicorn (man, I’m a nerd). Even though it just asks some basic questions, it should be able to spur more thoughts.

Sometimes, people don’t take into consideration how the economy of a country might have to function. The levels of technology available, whether to scientists or the common man. How people get their food. Occupations and how they’re perceived. Gender roles. Where money comes from. What lies beyond the town, the country, the continent, the planet, the galaxy. The history, both of the characters and of their world. The presence of religion, or lack thereof. What cultural differences exist between people. Rich heritage from different places. The vegetation, types of animals, climate, seasons, terrain, and weather.

Can anyone truly capture the insanity and detail that is world-building? Probably not. But I gave it my best shot!

And then I did my Physics homework.

How to Alienate a Girl

I had low expectations going in, not going to lie. Still, I will never turn down the opportunity to spend time with a friend: especially not in this season of life. Despite my fears and dread, I decided to do this. Although, I wasn’t expecting too much.

I’ve known the guy for years. I’d never met him because of the nature of the cyber-charter school, but I knew him. In sophomore year, we worked very well together on a project. He was fun, engaging, and friendly. I knew all about who he was and what he planned on doing some day.

Then junior year began, and he didn’t treat me very kindly. I don’t mean to be rude, but I honestly didn’t know what was the matter with him. He would constantly poke and jab at me, offering derogatory comments–usually regarding something I was already insecure about. I didn’t know why, but I remembered the guy from sophomore year, so I pushed on. I told my one friend who questioned my pushing that “I don’t give up on friendships”.

Perhaps I should have.

Senior year was a mess. He never tried to talk to me. Never asked about me. Never started a conversation. He would simply answer a question within a week or so of my contacting him. So when I had the opportunity to see him, for the first time, I knew it wasn’t going to be great. But I remembered the guy from sophomore year. He was great. The senior version of him wasn’t as wonderful, but maybe that sophomore kid was still in there, somewhere.

Despite my low expectations, the evening was even worse than I had anticipated. I didn’t think that there was much he could do to make the entire situation even worse for me, but he found a way.

And now, I don’t want to be his friend. I have given up on that friendship. I have no idea where that sophomore boy went, but I miss him. I wish he was still around. And I wish I could have met him before he disappeared.

Cherish your friendships before they change. Sometimes the people you care about will disappear when you aren’t looking. By then, it’s too late to get them back.

Why I’m Not Entirely Hating College Anymore

If you keep up with my blog, you’re well aware of my apprehension towards college and higher education in general. I’ve poured out a lot of my feelings, frustrations, and fears into this blog. However, in the recent month, I’ve been almost warming up to college. Here’s a couple of reasons why.

1) New Experiences.

At first, I didn’t like the idea of new experiences. I’m one of those people who has a great fear of the unknown. However, I’m coming to realize that most of what I’m involved with is going to slip away after this year, and what am I going to spend all my time on? Certainly not Robotics. Definitely not camp. I’ve got to start something new to make up for my lack of busyness.

2) Spiritual Growth.

Complete honesty right now: I’m not in a place in my life where I feel like I’m growing a lot in my faith. There, I said it. My spiritual environment has been really weird this fall; I’ve missed a lot of church because I’ve been serving at camp, and my youth group has all but stopped meeting. Not that youth group was an incredibly spiritually growing environment in the first place, but it was something. I’m ready to be around like-minded people and really grow. (This isn’t to say I can’t use the opportunities God is giving me right now to grow. I don’t believe He’s holding me in some kind of “in-between place” where I can’t grow. I need to make the best of the opportunities He gives me.)

3) New Friends.

This may be the thing I’m most excited for, which is kind of funny to me, but it’s totally true: I’m thrilled to be making new friends. As I look over my life so far, I’ve noticed that a lot of my childhood friends aren’t really my friends any longer. Most people I’ve known for this season of my life will be slipping away sooner rather than later. I’m ready to meet some forever friends, guys! If anyone has read the Christy Miller books, you know the kind of friends I mean. I’m so excited to meet some people who will be a part of my life for the rest of my life. I need best friends, and college will give me a way to get that.

All this said, I’m also kind of concerned about how this is going to play out. I’ve been accepted into two colleges thus far, but I haven’t been earnestly seeking where God wants me to go. I guess we’ll find out where He puts me when He tells me. His timing, not mine.

Also, it feels great to use contractions again. All I’ve been writing lately is formal essays for my AP Language class, and contractions are hugely a no-no. I’ll have to return again soon to revel in my literary freedom.

Whipped Cream and Fried Fish

I’m in the middle of my third week of my senior year. It’s been pretty eventful so far. I have three classes this semester: AP English Language and Composition; Probability and Statistics; and Latin.

On the first day of class, my AP teacher essentially told us we were doomed. It was terrifying, as she recounted the stories of honors students the previous year who had ended the class with a C. C. Such horrors, we wished not to comprehend. I quickly emailed my friends and told them that we were going to become the Fantastic Four – whether they wanted to or not. I am Invisible Girl, and the others distributed their roles as Mr. Fantastic, The Human Torch, and The Thing as needed.

On the second day of class, I was actually working at camp. When I came home, I had a series of emails from my buddies that went something like:

“I don’t want to die.”
“I’m sure she’s exaggerating.”
“But what if she’s not and we all fail?!”

The recording of class revealed another bout of depressing doom.

On the third day of class, the Human Torch jumped ship. We are the Fantastic Three, now, but we do have an opening for Spider-Man.

So far, stress has been at every turn. I have so much to juggle, and let’s be honest, I’m a lousy juggler; I can do two at a time, but that’s totally cheating, and the moment you add a third ball in the air, everything comes crashing down.

Best of all, my brain is becoming preoccupied with creative ideas. For example, last night when I went to bed, my brain decided to sing Disney songs until suddenly, I had another idea for another parody. I don’t have time for another parody, but then I couldn’t sleep. Another idea for Robotics suddenly came to me, and my mind was racing a mile a minute. The night before that, I was mentally working on book stuff.

I kind of need my sleep.

I hope to update you in the future with more of my adventures. As for the title, those are inside jokes with The Thing; we are honestly some of the weirdest people I’ve ever known. But I couldn’t think of a more appropriate title.