1. Shutter Island. I was fortunate enough to see this movie before it came out in theaters (thanks to d.w.), which means I was able to form my own opinion of it before I read any reviews. I think people who had the ending spoiled for them liked it less than I did. I headed into the movie not really knowing what the movie was about, but I was completely enthralled in the story and totally did not predict the ending. Some of Leo’s finest acting comes along in a scene towards the end of the movie. I won’t say which scene, in case some of you haven’t seen it, but it’s brilliant. When you see it, you’ll know.
2. Alice In Wonderland. I suppose I’m sort of predisposed to love this movie, with Johnny Depp being one of my favorite actors, Tim Burton being one of my favorite directors, and the original cartoon Alice In Wonderland being my favorite movie. Aside from all that, I just thought it was a really great take on a story that’s so well known and that has been done so many times before. There were some silly parts, yes, but overall I thought it was original and fun and great acting. Rumors are that Tim Burton is set to direct a live-action “Sleeping Beauty” that will be centered around Maleficent (and who is rumored to play Maleficent? Angelina Jolie. I die.). If that ever happens, I will be in heaven.
3. How to Train Your Dragon. For nothing else other than that adorable dragon named “Toothless”. His face just kills me.
4. Date Night. I can’t believe that Liz Lemon is in a movie with Michael Scott. It’s like Hollywood is getting all of my letters and taking all of my advice. There were just so many funny scenes in this movie, plus… shirtless Mark Wahlberg, can’t argue with that. I am pretty sure I peed a little when I saw this in the theater. Sorry, Cinemark.
5. Toy Story 3. Duh. I always get worried with sequel movies, even when Disney is involved. I mean, Toy Story 2 was great as was The Rescuers Down Under, but does anyone remember the many Beauty and the Beast, Cinderella, Aladdin, and Air Buddies sequels? Yikes. Having said that, this movie was perfect. Disney has a brilliant way of making cartoon movies with characters and story lines that are relevant in our own lives. I cried (out loud) on three separate occasions, and if you didn’t, you’re probably strawberry scented and stuffed with fluff.
6. Despicable Me. Either I am regressing in age and getting younger, or cartoons are now better made than “grown up” movies (I think it’s the latter). This movie was amazing. I think it was my favorite of the cartoons this year. And kudos to the writers for avoiding the “annoying sidekick” curse with the minions. They could have gone either way, but I loved them.
7. Inception. While I didn’t love this like everyone else did, it was still an incredibly directed, well-written action movie. With Leo in it. So really, win-win.
8. Ramona and Beezus. Loved loved loved this one. This was another tear fest for me. While potentially disastrous, the script was way good, the acting was great, and the little girl who played Ramona didn’t annoy me at all. Success!
9. The Other Guys. Please put Mark Wahlberg in more comedies. That is all.
10. Scott Pilgrim vs The World. This was a really clever love story disguised as an action movie. Plus, I love Michael Cera.
11. Easy A. I’m pretty sure this is the closest we’re going to ever get to a John Hughes comedy.
12. The Social Network. This is my movie of the year, and Jesse Eisenberg wins my performance of the year. I loved this movie. This has all of the elements that make up a great movie: great writing, perfect direction, beautiful soundtrack, and brilliant performances from everyone involved.
13. It’s Kind of A Funny Story. The book was better (when is it not?), but this movie is worth seeing for Zach Galifinakis’ performance. It was subtly brilliant.
14. Due Date. Thank you, Robert Downey, Jr for making movies. He has recently become one of my favorites thanks to performances like this.
15. Harry Potter and The Deathly Hallows: Part I. These movies are as close to being as good as the books as we’re ever going to get, I’m afraid. They’re just so well executed. Great acting, great soundtrack, aesthetically pleasing, etc. I am not ready for this franchise to be finished.
16. The Tourist. Don’t hate me, but I thought this movie was good. I really enjoyed the writing, my only complaint is that there wasn’t enough of it. I think Angie and Johnny are really great together. I went in with low expectations and came out pleased, so maybe that’s the way to go about it. I figured worse case scenario I end up watching two pretty people be pretty in Venice for two hours. They both have the acting talent to back up their looks, so there’s another plus.
17. The Fighter. Christian Bale is incredible. I am hoping that he will finally get nominated and win the academy award this year. He is unrecognizable in this film. I wasn’t expecting to like this movie much, I really only saw it for Bale’s performance (I have a low tolerance for amy adams so that was a bit of a turn-off), but I ended up loving it so much. If you are not standing up and cheering at the end of this movie, you are probably strawberry scented and stuffed with fluff.
18. True Grit. Well played, Coens. You made me love a western.
One more thing...
Best Performance by an Actor and Actress in a Lead Role (according to me):
Jesse Eisenberg in The Social Network and Natalie Portman in Black Swan.
Best Performance by an Actor and Actress in a Supporting Role (according to me):
Christian Bale in The Fighter and Hailee Steinfeld in True Grit.
this photo was taken in front of the wiltern theater in los angeles. dw and i went there to for nick jonas' solo tour. okay, so that is why i went there. dw went because she is a kind soul and an angel in sheep's clothing. it was way fun, we stayed at the roosevelt hotel, which is this old "haunted" hollywood hotel. supposedly marilyn monroe haunts it, but personally i think that if she were to haunt anything it would be the kennedy's grandchildren or something. the concert was really fun and it was my biggest celebrity sighting thus far in my life. not "biggest", but definitely the most at one time. i still say my biggest and most important celeb sighting was the time my family and i saw paul mccartney at disneyland. take that, jennifer lopez.
this is the sole picture that i have from february. how that is even possible, i'll never know. my little cousin ella had given me a glitter heart for valentine's day. i made good use of it.
MARCH AND APRIL.
so i am assuming that something happened in those months, because i know that i existed. but i have not one picture to prove i existed. there's a line from a format song that i love which says, "pictures only prove you can't convince". i guess i'll have to do alot of convincing, because i've got nothing. i had a birthday, i think. got a cute side bag.
in may my family went to disneyland for the ben folds concert. my dad, dw and i are the ones who went to the concert and it was kind of funny to see two old people at a concert. they were bugged that it was a standing concert and not a sitting one. despite the fact that we stood for hours, we still went to disneyland with the family the next day and had a blast. at the concert, a girl named kate miller-heidke opened up for ben folds and she was really awesome. i met her, bought one of her cds, and she signed it. pretty groovy. dw, connor, and i stayed at disneyland until midnight that saturday which was totally fun. our last ride was splash mountain which, for some reason, always scares the crap out of me and i always end up looking like i am giving birth in the photo they take on the ride. makes it easier for me to decide that there will be no cameras present at the birth of any of my children.
in june we took a fun vacation to coronado. it was so beautiful and so fun there. everytime i go to california i want to move there. why oh why does it have to cost so much to live there. if i didn't have such a good job here, i would pack up my stuff and move there in a second. this photo was taken at the tide pools. i like it because stefan and connor are in it. and my dress is cool, not gonna lie. oh and that is the cool side bag that i got for my birthday, just in case any of you were dying to know what it looks like. on that trip i got a killer pair of marc jacobs sunglasses.
it's hard to "reflect" on a month that happened just last week, so i won't. but i will say that this is a fine picture taken at an adorable restaraunt called ruffler's rooste. i know it has been around forever, but i had never been so it was new to me. my hair is long, guys! my goal was to not cut more than a quarter of an inch every eight weeks. it has taken forever to get where it is, but i am going to continue to grow it over the next year as well. i don't love long hair, but i've never had it. and frankly, i am growing tired of wearing pillow cases and panty hose on my head around the house. i also recently made the decision to grow my bangs out. that will last me until july when mad men comes on again which, i presume, will encourage me to snip them off. good thing i know what i am doing in the fringe department. if nothing else, at least i have that.
Having said that… yesterday I went to the dentist to get a crown on my tooth. A couple of months ago, I would have said that I hate the dentist. Today I am compromising and saying that I have a severe disliking for the place. I’m the person who has a mini heart attack every six months when I get a cleaning. By the way, after yesterday’s crown fiasco, I am all clear in the tooth department and have vowed to brush and floss after every meal/snack/sugar drink so I should never have to get a cavity again. Meaning I should never have to avoid the dentist and let said cavity get so bad that I have to get a root canal and a crown. Fingers crossed.
Other words/phrases I use to replace “hate”:
-“severely annoyed by….”
-“have an extremely low tolerance for…”
And, if I must, “detest”, which I realize might actually be worse than “hate”, but it sounds prettier, doesn’t it?
I will use them all in regards to dentistry. Here we go. I dislike going to the dentist. I am severely annoyed by having to keep my mouth open for two and a half hours straight, and furthermore I have an extremely low tolerance for the shrill noise the drills make whilst dr. dentist is banging round inside my mouth. Now, if you had to picture me saying that, wouldn’t I be in a classy club somewhere, lunching with friends, wearing pearls and lip gloss? The old me would have said “I frigging hate the dentist more than anything in the world. I am going to die” Where do you picture me when I say that sentence? That’s right, standing in line for the crane game at a wal-mart.
Another poor habit I have picked up as of late, is saying that I am going to kill myself in regards to any and every thing. I don’t know where or how this started, I just know that it has become my standard answer for every situation. I remember telling my friend one time that if something happened (don’t even remember what), I would jump off a bridge. (obviously I have no intentions of doing so, but whatever. I’m dramatic.) When she said to me, “you can’t say that!” I said, “yes I can, because no one that we know has jumped off a bridge”.
While we’re at work, my brother makes a game of trying to annoy me. He actually doesn’t have to try that hard because I get annoyed fairly easily at work. One of the ways he likes to bug me is by asking me what weapon I would use to defend myself if there was a zombie apocalypse. (Ridiculous) My answer always was nothing, I would just kill myself. If the world was being over run by zombies, I would just die, the end. I’m definately not going to be some zombie’s play thing. He gets so frustrated by that answer, and I kind of understand because it does ruin the game. The last time he asked me I finally answered, “a baseball bat with glass shards at the end of it…”, and he honestly looked so truly happy that I answered. He had the hugest smile on his face as he said, “that’s a great answer!”. I could tell he thought, “ha ha! I have finally gotten through to her! She has learned well from watching me play video games!” I waited about thirty seconds before I added “… to kill myself with!” I thought it was pretty funny, but he was not amused.
This particular instance led my brother to bring up my habit the other night while my family was eating dinner. He was saying how I say that so often that it has just lost its meaning by now. I guess I didn’t really realize how much I say it and for what types of silly instances. I argued with him about it for a little bit before I looked at the clock and saw what time it was (8:37). I didn’t even think before I said: “If it is seriously 8:37 right now, I’m gonna kill myself”, and that’s when I decided that I say it WAY too much without having any intention of doing so, and that it too needed to stop. I haven’t thought of another phrase to use in its place. Maybe I should just try being happy about everything that happens to me, and say something great like “I have to run for 45 minutes on the elliptical?! That makes me want to run in a field of daisies!” “If I have to go to the dentist, then you might as well sign me up to do charity work at the same time! LIFE IS GREAT!” (side note: my life is actually pretty great, and I am aware of that).
Speaking of the gym… it has occurred to me as of late that during the last five minutes of my run, I become very emotional. I’m assuming this is because I am SO tired and I just can’t hold in any emotions at all, happy, sad, whatever. I watch tv at the gym, and last week I was watching some special on prince William and kate. They showed her with princess Diana’s ring on… I totally started crying. Beiber in my headphones (don’t judge), dead princess’s ring on tv, I’m a mess on the machine. Another example: I was watching the news on Saturday while I was running and all they did was show a clip of the new harry potter movie… tears running down my face. The gym makes me an emotional wreck, not even kidding.
The other night I was going through some old folders and I found a whole bunch of random things that I didn’t even know existed. Stories and songs I have written (do not remember writing songs, but in ’08 I did, and they’re actually not terrible), my quote book, and also a list of new year’s resolutions for last year. It’s totally crazy, but I read over the very modest list of three things, and for the first time in my life, I accomplished them all. I kept looking at them thinking that I must have been crazy when I selected those few things because they are things that are very easy for me now that we are in November. Didn’t I want a challenge back in January? Or was I just so sick of failing that I wanted to give myself a break? I went through my journal and started reading entries from this time last year, and I realized that in January, all three of those things seemed impossible to me. In my journal I wrote, “there’s no way I’m going to accomplish any of these”. I am still blown away that I did it, and even though the changes that those three goals brought about are small, they are extremely significant in my life. It kind of makes me excited to set three new goals for 2011, now that I know I’m capable of achieving them. I’m going to try to be realistic though. (Ex-nay on wishing to lose 50 pounds.)
Thanksgiving is here, Christmas will be along shortly, and then it’s new year’s eve. I honestly cannot handle how fast time flies. I swear, I’ll blink and be fifty. Hopefully not living alone, dressed in a mumu surrounded by cats.
I just wanted to tell you that I absolutely love your blog! I can relate to so many things you have mentioned. At some point or another, I felt exactly the same way you have. And in reply to the post in which you have mentioned that you want to be a professional writer, I truly believe you should be one because you ARE an awesome writer!
Reading your posts have brought a lot of positive change in my life so Thank you so much and keep writing.
So I’ve left the name off of the letter, for privacy reasons. You know, in case this person IS real and really does read my blog. I don’t mean to insult him/her in any way. I’m incredibly flattered and kind of dumbfounded that a person like this exists in the world, and I’m grateful that they would take the time to write to me. These words have inspired me to keep writing and to keep sharing. I keep hidden so much of what I write out of fear, and this pushes me to maybe not be so afraid when I have something to say.
I’m still baffled a little bit. I didn’t really think that anyone reads what I write, and I certainly didn’t think that it made an impression on anyone. It makes me wonder how many anonymous readers are out there. I'm curious how readers find me, and even more curious why they keep coming back.
I don't have any answers, obviously. Just a bunch of questions. Thank you, though. If you’re reading this. Wherever you are, whoever you are. Thank you.
i stumbled upon you and gratefully basked in your rays.
so long sweet slumber
i fell into you, now you're gracefully falling away"
summertime makes me remember. I have a keen memory, sometimes it seems that I am always remembering. It’s a blessing and a curse really, a “heavy is the head” sort of fandango. Anyways, in the summer, my remembering seems more intense. i wonder why this is? maybe it's the heat. heat stimulates growth, and remembering is part of growing. or maybe it's just so hot that i become delirious. who knows really? not me. Lately I’ve been flooded with random memories from my youth. handstand contests in the pool while "i'll never get over you (getting over me)" by expose plays on the boombox.
"as long as the stars shine bright from the heavens,
as long as the rivers run to the sea,
i'll never get over you getting over me"
when i was young, i wondered what that meant. i think that i thought it was two sentences. Like, "i'll never get over you... i'm getting over me". now that i'm older (and inevitably wiser...) the lyrics make a bit more sense as I realize now that it’s just one sentence and not two. i loved that song so much when i was little that i even bought the single on a cd. it was the first cd that i bought, but i don't consider it such bc it wasn't a full cd, just the single. the first full length cd i bought was TLC's "crazy sexy cool", which i bought primarily for their song "waterfalls" i think i ended up liking a few more songs though. the lyrics to "waterfalls" are: "don't go chasing waterfalls, please stick to the rivers and the lakes that you're used to". except if you're me, in 1994, you sing them like this: "don't go chasing waterfalls, listen to the rivers and they'll listen to you, too". i remember specifically eating wendy's one day in the back of our 1993 honda civic (which my mother now tells me was an accord. So much for my fantastic memory), singing that song and having my older cousin nichole tell me that those weren't the words. i didn't start singing the "correct" lyrics though. i've always done things my own way.
summer reminds me of doing drugs, which is odd because i never did drugs. in high school, most everyone around me did, which is maybe why the two go hand in hand. certain songs remind me of drugs. i think it's songs with haunting melodies mostly. almost anything by modest mouse, for example. i was trying to explain to my friend what i mean by that, and she said "i get it, like anything by bob marley". Not really. i wonder if what i mean and what i say will ever coincide. i wonder if i will ever find someone who knows what i mean even when i don't express myself correctly. i don't think there was a point to this except to say my summer days and nights in high school consisted of “drug songs”, and now just listening to them can make me feel drugged. i remember feeling scared. i remember feeling alone. i remember feeling cold even though it was hot out. i remember wallets made of duct tape, driving around with nowhere to go, and listening to soundtracks. in junior high and high school, i was obsessed with buying soundtracks. which is odd, because i never buy them now. "can't hardly wait" was my favourite for years. even now, when i put that cd on, i basically curl up in a ball and start crying. not really because i miss those times, because i don't think that i do. the crying comes more because i remember who i was back then. it's weird to even think that i am the same person today as I was back then.
things were always changing in the summer. i thought once i got out of high school the changes would stop, that things would become more consistent. but every summer I’m reminded that nothing gold can stay, that the things that i hold close to my heart often get taken away, absorbed by the glow of the summer sun. unfortunately, it's not as romantic as it sounds.
are we doomed to recycle our friends? are friends forever? or are they just like clothes, expendable and forever rotating in and out of our lives? when i buy a shirt, i never think about when i'll have to throw it out, although inevitably that day comes. One day, I will get a rush of insanity, of obsessive compulsive disorder. I’ll get a trash bag and go through my closet, rifling through clothes and pulling out the ones that I allow myself to get rid of. every once in a while i'll come across an item that is hard for me to toss out. A black hoodie, or a tshirt that i wore when i hung out with someone i loved. sometimes i haven't worn the item in years. even still, i tuck it in the back of my closet, hoping one day it will fit me again. thinking maybe one day it will be relevant in my life, and that i'll want to wear it. if clothes are like friendships, or friendships like clothes, it’s true that there are some friendships i can't throw out. Every once in a while I’ll go through my life and rifle through the unnecessary or unused people and get rid of them. There are times when I come across a person who is hard to throw out. I consider it, but then decide to tuck them away in the back of my closet where they’ll remain, waiting to be relevant, waiting to be current, waiting to be needed. it's not something i wear anymore, but it will always be important to me. are friends like clothes, forever changing with the seasons to adjust to changes in taste? i want to believe that isn't true. i want to believe it so badly.
deep down, i know i'm singing the wrong lyrics.
-“what are you talking about?”
-“answering the phone like that all the time… it must make her weary.”
I like the way this kid thinks.
He looks at me and says “I’m sorry that you get weary at times. I wonder when your shift ends?”
Some days, my friend, it seems like my shift never ends.
I am young today. Maybe I am three, maybe I am five. My days are long and warm and good. My nights are peaceful and quiet. I sing, I sing all day long. I tell jokes. I make them up myself.
That’s one I just thought of now. Don’t you love it, friend? I think it is hilarious. Do you know what I like, friend? I like purple soda. It has a picture of grapes on the can. It tastes like grapes but not really, it tastes like fake grapes. Don’t tell anyone but fake grapes are better than real grapes. Fake grapes burn your throat as they go down. Fake grapes sparkle. I love swinging. Swinging is the best. It’s great if there is someone there to push me, but it’s even better when I can push myself. I can go higher and higher. I push my legs back and forth and watch the ground get farther away from me, then close again. Far, then close, far, then close. Sometimes I think maybe when I get really high I can jump off. Nope, too risky. Someday I’ll jump. Someday I’ll risk it. Not today though. It’s definitely too risky today.
I discovered something today, my friend. It was a very magical thing. I am smiling right now just thinking about it. It’s giving me butterflies in my stomach! Have you ever heard of that, of butterflies being in your stomach? That is the best feeling. My butterflies come to me when I am very excited about something, or when I close my eyes and spin really fast. Shall I tell you what I discovered? I will! I will tell you because I love you, friend, and I always share my best things with those I love. The beautiful lady and I are sitting at my table drinking the burning purple grapes. I tell Beauty one of my jokes. It is a really funny one, better than the bushes one I told you before. The beautiful one laughs and touches my hair, taps my nose with her finger. You are my sunshine, she tells me and she smiles the most beautiful smile in all of the world. I feel warm and happy, like the sun is shining down on me so bright, like I will never be happier than this. I take a sip of the fizzy sparkly grapes and something not too great happens. I spill a bit of the liquid gold that I love so much. It rolls off of the table onto the white carpet. I watch it drip, drip, drip. I watch the purple on the clean, white get bigger and bigger. The beautiful one hops out of her chair lickety split and grabs a towel. She brings it over and covers the evidence, soaking up the precious purple juice. I am going to tell you something now that I am not too happy about telling you, alright? I’m going to tell you what happened next because we are friends and I love you. I know you love me too and that you will be careful with what I am about to tell you. I know that you won’t say anything to anyone else. While the beautiful one wipes up my mess, I cry. Stop crying, I beg myself, but I don’t listen. I can’t help it. I am scared and I am sad about hurting the white carpet with my purple mess. I don’t like crying, it gives away my tears. Tears are dangerous, friend. You must be careful with your tears. Once people see them, they never treat you the same. I didn’t want the beautiful one to be mad at me. Beauty is so great though; do you want to know why? Because she always does the right thing, and she always knows what makes things better. Beauty looked at me and smiled her beautiful smile. Don’t worry sunshine. That’s what she said as she wiped away my tears. Even though I loved the way her fingers felt on my face, I worried about her handling my tears like that. I worried about her grabbing them and saving them and using them against me. When her fingers touched my tears I wondered what part of me she had taken, and where that part would go. Once my tears fall, are they no longer mine? I wondered if she could read my mind now, or maybe she would start telling my jokes. Would my words be her words? Would she start loving grape soda the way I love it so? Would she sing all day the way I do? What Beauty said next was the most magical thing I had ever heard. Do you want to know, friend? I know you want to know and that is why I will tell you. She said it will be our little secret. A secret! Can you believe it, friend? I have a shared secret with the beautiful one! I said the word out loud just to make sure I hadn’t made it up. Secret. It is the best word I’ve ever heard! The butterflies come again and I start thinking about secrets, and who might have them. I bet everyone has them, and not just one. I bet everyone has hundreds of secrets. Not me, I only have this secret. Just one but it is the best one ever because it is shared between me and Beauty. I start to wonder how I can catch these secrets, how I can make them mine. The butterflies stay.
When the strong one came home, he kissed the beautiful one and patted my head, and ruffled my hair. He didn’t even notice the purple mistake. And Mrs. Beautiful winked at me. Because she knew that Little Miss Sunshine had a secret.
I’m not completely sure what a secret is yet, but I know I want more of them. I want to have hundreds, probably thousands. I wonder when I will get another one. I wonder how I find them. How do I get someone to give me one? I think I must be careful with my secrets though, friend. I need to keep mine for myself, and not give them away. It seems too risky, just like jumping when I am swinging so high. Secrets, like tears, are dangerous gems that fall without warning. I must put an extra layer on so that nothing falls until I want it to.
I will tell you something for free, friend. I barely know what a secret is, but I know that I will be good at keeping them. I know that I will have many of my very own. I am promising myself that I will tell them to no one. I will keep my tears to myself. It is better this way.
I am nine now, friend. Can you believe it? I am nine now, and the beautiful one still loves me. She handles me with care. I still sing, and I still love purple soda pop. I still feel the butterflies. I swing still but I don’t need a push anymore. I can do it all by myself. I haven’t jumped yet, it’s not time. It will be time soon though I think. My armor is getting stronger. I have to make sure that it is strong enough to stand against a fall though. I cannot risk my tears.
Since the day with the carpet, I have not showed the beautiful one my tears, even though there are times when I really want to. The strong one still comes home, still holds me, still protects me. But no one has my tears. They are protected by me. I hide them. I love something else now, friend. I love stories. The beautiful one tells the best stories. She laughs when she is supposed to and cries when she is supposed to and she gives the characters different voices. Some are loud and scary, for the giants and ogres; others are small and quiet for the mice and the birds. She runs and jumps and swings me around. We become the characters. We are strong and brave, we are beautiful and kind, we are loud and we are quiet. We sing songs, most of which are songs I have made up right there on the spot. We live other people’s lives until the strong one comes and tells us it is time for sleep. Sometimes we stop after being told just once, but most of the time we laugh and keep going until the strong one is laughing too. On the best nights, the strong one joins us. He becomes the giant, stretching his arms up and changing his voice. He takes me from Beauty’s arms but I am not afraid. The strong one would never hurt me. He lifts me so high that I touch the ceiling with my fingertips. I touch it as gently as Mrs. Beautiful touched my face that day with the tears. I take the ceilings tears, and save them for later. The strong one places me in my bed and does the covers tight just how I like them. This is where I start doing something else that I am really great at. I start pretending. I pretend I am asleep. Beauty kisses me and whispers that I am her sunshine forever and always. Mr. strong whispers to me, it’s something silly. He is testing me to see if I am faking. I am faking but he’ll never know it. I don’t crack a smile. I am a great pretender I have decided. One day I will see if I can make a career out of pretending. I know deep down that I must be a good pretender. Beauty and Strong have to think I am sleeping. They stand over me and watch me, I can feel them. I can feel their smiles. I must remain ever so still, so that maybe I can take beauty and strength for myself. I must be strong and I must be beautiful. I must be funny. I must be brave. I must jump.
I have a secret for you, friend. I am scared. If I am not strong or brave, funny or beautiful, then am I anyone? If I do not jump, then what do I do? Can I swing forever?
I go to school and I try to make friends. I talk to people, I smile at them. They don’t smile back. I walk up to a group of girls and they walk away. I try with all kinds of people, not just the popular ones. Play on your own and they’ll come to you, Beauty says. I try that, but no one comes. Don’t they know that I am funny? Don’t they want to hear my jokes? Do they know that I am the beautiful one’s sunshine? Do they know how high I can swing? I wonder if they know about the purple stain. That’s impossible, right friend? That is a special secret, one that no one knows. I wonder if they know that I cry. I wonder if my tears fall purple down my white face. I have to stop. No one can know, I promised myself. I promised that I would keep that secret. No one can know that I cry. I catch my tears and put them away. Not now, little guys. You stay put until I come get you. You stay put now, you hear? Tears are tricky things. You can’t let them get away with too much.
I am older now, friend. I am thirteen, to be exact. Isn’t that a magical age? I am wiser now too, but I hope that I haven’t reached my limit on the wise side of things because there are still a lot of things that I don’t understand. I don’t need bedtime stories anymore, which is for the best since Beauty doesn’t have time to tell them and Strong is gone most nights. Nights are my favorite time. I don’t sleep well, friend. Sometimes I don’t sleep at all. But I am still a good pretender, and nights are when I pretend best. Long after Beauty thinks I have fallen asleep she comes in my room and sits on my floor. I love the moon in these moments, friend, because it lights Beauty up so perfectly. The moon knows Beauty really well it seems, because his light hits her in all the right places. Beauty is older now and even though she never says anything, she is tired I can tell. But she is still beautiful, and I am still her sunshine. In these moments when beauty thinks I am asleep she tells me her secrets. Sometimes I think she is telling the moon, too. Maybe that is why the moon knows Beauty’s face so well. She trusts the moon as much as she trusts me, and for a moment I am jealous of the moon. He gets to see everything that I cannot. He has his watchful eye on everyone during the best time which is night. I think to myself about how I might get secrets from the moon. What would I have to do to get him to confide in me? Beauty can never know that I don’t sleep or else she would worry about me. She definitely can not know that I am awake when she sneaks into my room at night, or else she would stop doing it. She would find someone else to tell her secrets to. Do you see now why I must be such a great pretender, friend? Beauty needs me, and I must be there for her. In the quiet of the night I find out things about Beauty that no one else knows. Beauty is scared. Beauty is lonely. Beauty is heartbroken. Beauty cries. She lets her tears fall freely. I try not to flinch as they hit the floor, but I can’t help it. It’s so dangerous. Isn’t she worried that I will find them? Beauty misses Strong, and she worries about him. Beauty wants a brother for me. We had one, once. Strong, Beauty, Sunshine, and Charming. A Perfect family. We were perfect. We were happy. But Charming went away. She cries when she tells me and the moon about Charming. She sings to me, she sings to the moon, she sings to Charming. When she starts singing to Charming, I am so sad that I can’t do anything except hope that Charming can hear her. I turn in my bed so carefully and so quietly so that Beauty doesn’t see. I turn away from her so I can cry too. I cry for Beauty, I cry for Strong, I cry for Charming. My purple tears fall on my white pillow. The wall sees me but I don’t care about the wall. I miss Beauty’s stories. I miss singing. I miss Charming. Beauty misses him too. I know Strong does, but he won’t tell me. He doesn’t whisper things to me anymore, doesn’t lift me up to touch the ceiling. I forgot what the ceiling feels like, so I once climbed on a chair and tried to reach it on my own. I wasn’t tall enough. I stretched and reached, but it wasn’t enough. Alone, I wasn’t enough. Will I ever be enough, friend? Will I ever feel the ceiling again? I looked below and wanted to jump, but I am not ready for jumps yet. Sometimes I feel like at thirteen I should be ready for jumps. Maybe I am just a slow learner. I teeter on the edge for a moment, trying to get the courage to step off.
Beauty found me on the chair and pulled me down. She told me that she didn’t like me up so high. Can’t I just stay out of trouble for one day? Knock, knock I said, but Beauty wasn’t interested. Not now, she says. But if not now, when?
These nights with Beauty have taught me how to be quiet and how to listen. I need to remember to add “listening” to my list of things I am great at. At school I have no friends but I am quiet and I listen. I catch secrets all day long. You wouldn’t believe what people say when they think no one is around, friend! I write them down sometimes, to save them for later. Sometimes I hear them and just let them go because they aren’t worth it. But the good ones I save for later. I think that reading them might make me brave. Reading them will make me smart. Other people’s secrets will make me strong.
Secrets don’t make friends, is what I hear teachers say. What nonsense. Without secrets, how can you make friends? Secrets make perfect friends, secrets make BEST friends. Sometimes I wonder if I don’t have anyone to tell my secrets to, how can I have any friends? If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to see it, does it make a sound?
If my tears fall on my pillow and there’s no one there to see them, do they exist? Do they mean anything at all?
It is me again. I’ve missed you. I am old now, older than I have ever been, but younger than I will be next time I speak to you. I am seventeen. Seventeen should probably be my most magical year, but I hope that isn’t the case, because I don’t feel very magical. I don’t tell jokes anymore, mostly because no one listens. Sometimes I will think of a really good one and tell it to myself, I will even get a good laugh out of it, but then I just feel stupid. Who laughs at their own jokes? If secrets really don’t make friends, I wonder if jokes do. I sing sometimes, but mostly just in my head. Noise irritates Beauty, and Strong doesn’t have time. I have a friend now, and she is what I would call “best”, but she doesn’t feel best. I know a lot of her secrets. Most of them make me sick. At first, I loved collecting them from her. Guess who I love, she would ask me. Guess what I want to be when I grow up? These are the kind of secrets I love. The ones I don’t love so much, the ones that make me sick, are the ones that say guess who I kissed? Guess who is in love with me? Guess who I have seen naked? And even worse, guess who has seen me naked? It was around this time that I made a new partner called jealousy. Who is this girl gaining all these secrets? How is she so lucky? My secrets pale in comparison to hers. I am sad most of the time, unless I am with Best. When I am with Best, I am at my happiest and my saddest at the same time. I am such a great pretender that I don’t know which one I am pretending. When Best would tell me her dark secrets, I would get butterflies in my stomach. This is when I learned that butterflies didn’t always mean happiness. Sometimes butterflies mean scared, or lonely, and in those times I call them bats. When I am around Best I almost always have bats in my stomach.
Beauty is sad now and strong is tired. I can’t even remember what the ceiling feels like or what Beauty’s voices sound like when she tells stories. Beauty stays out of my room now. Sometimes I wonder if she figured out that I was pretending to be asleep all those nights in my room. She never touches my cheek or whispers her secrets to me. I know she still has them though. I hear her sometimes telling them to the phone. Purple hits the carpet then. It stains my cheeks. I thought I was her sunshine. I wonder if the moon is as sad as I am about this change.
I haven’t gone swinging in years but I went today. I pumped myself higher and higher until I could see the tops of the trees. This is the highest I have ever been and I was doing it all on my own. It is funny because all I wanted was for someone to be there to push me. Or at least to see how high up I was getting. If a tree falls in the woods and no one is there to hear it… I wanted to jump. I tried to jump. I couldn’t do it. I dropped purple gems down my cheeks until the swing stopped moving. I walked home alone.
Best has secrets and she has boyfriends. She even has the boyfriends that I wanted first. I let her have them though because I love her. I did let her have them, right? They didn’t choose her over me? I have so many secrets but I don’t have anyone to tell them to. I wish I had someone who wanted to know my secrets. I can’t feel sad for myself though. I have to be strong. I have to be funny. I make jokes, sometimes people laugh, and sometimes they don’t. It’s fifty-fifty. I am not fifty-fifty though. I am always consistent and I always laugh at my jokes. I will always think I am the funniest, probably because I will always be the funniest.
If a joke is told and nobody laughs, is it really a joke? I have stopped catching my tears. I don’t worry about anyone stealing them because nobody notices me anyways. In order for someone to steal them from me, they’d have to be watching me. The perks of being a wallflower: all of my tears are my own by default. I wonder if the moon can see me in this state, and I wonder if he tells anyone how I act at night. Once I asked him to look in on Best and tell me what she was doing with the boy who should have been mine. Moon just looked down at me and smiled that same smile. It’s a smile that I once thought was beautiful and mysterious but now I just think it is stupid and foolish. Sometimes I feel really very lonely even though I know that I am not. I know that I have Beauty and Strong and that they love me very much. I know that I have Best. But still sometimes it feels like I have no one. On those nights, I try to talk to the wall, but he doesn’t say anything back, probably because walls are stupid and boring. Probably because Wall wastes all of his time being jealous of Ceiling. But the real reason is probably because wall has seen all of my purple tears, and he can’t be bothered.
I am going to tell you a secret, friend. This is my deepest and darkest, and it is the thing I want most in the world. I want to kiss a boy. His name is Handsome and he is in one of my classes at school. He is amazing. Do you want to know what is so amazing about him? EVERYTHING. Sometimes it hurts to look at him. Even his hands are amazing. Can you imagine having amazing hands? I have caught myself on more than one occasion wondering how amazing his feet must be. I want him to wear sandals one day so I can get a peek. Handsome smiles at me a lot. He laughs at my jokes sometimes. He even noticed when I changed my hair, he even told me that he loved it. I couldn’t help myself then, the butterflies came over me and I smiled so big that I giggled. One time he asked to borrow a pen from me. He put the cap in his mouth, I watched him. I keep that pen in my pocket now, I think I will keep it forever. I might use it one day for a love spell. I love handsome so much that my body aches. I think the only thing that would make the aching stop is if handsome held me in his arms, or even just touched me. On our way out the door once he ran into me and knocked my books over. He grabbed my hand and I died a little bit inside, but in a good way. He asked me if I was ok and I couldn’t make any words come out. I wanted to be lovely and charming but all I could say was knock, knock because I knew for sure that I was good at telling jokes. Handsome laughed and said that maybe I should get my head checked. He did the most unfair thing in the world at that moment. He winked at me! And then he just walked away. How awful is life if winks from amazing boys are followed by goodbyes?
Sometimes at night, when I cry my purple tears, I imagine that Handsome is holding me so tight and wiping my tears away. I imagine that his lips are next to my ears. I pretend that he whispers to me. Everything is going to be just fine. I’m here now. I will never leave you. And I believe him because I love him more than life. The greatest thing is, I don’t even care if handsome sees my tears! I want him to see my tears, but not so much that I would go up to him and start crying or anything like that. In the quiet of my room with just the moon watching, I tell Handsome that I love him and that I would do anything for him. I show handsome my tears. He must like purple because he smiles when he sees them. I tell handsome my jokes and he laughs. Handsome gets so close to me that his hair tickles my cheeks and the butterflies come bigger than I have ever felt them in my life. Handsome whispers that I am beautiful and that I am his sunshine. Then he whispers something funny just to make sure that I am not pretending to be asleep. Then handsome tells me his secrets. The moon laughs and shakes his head at my make believe. I ask the moon if he can please tell me what Handsome is doing. I plead with him and I tell him that I want to know about Handsome’s secrets more than I ever wanted to know about what Best was up to. But that old moon just looks down at me with that smile that is both accepting of my mess and disapproving of it. The last thing I remember doing before sleep comes is sticking my tongue out at the moon. I wake up lonely, with purple stains on my pillow. Handsome and the moon are nowhere to be found.
It seems as though I will never be older than I am right now, but I know that is not true. I feel much older than I did the last time I wrote you, but I won’t give you a number. Guess what I have done since we last spoke, friend? I hope you are ready for butterflies because I have got enough for both of us. Since we last spoke, I have changed. I have grown, I have evolved. I have kissed. I have laughed. I have cried. I made friends. I fell in love. I have lost friends. I have let go. I have left people behind. I hope I am not the smartest that I will ever be, because I still have a lot of questions. I wonder if I will ever know how smart or pretty or funny I am. I wonder if I will ever truly appreciate myself. I wonder if I will ever think I am good enough.
I still cry, my friend, but not so much for myself anymore. I cry for the lonely and broken, for the beaten and the forgotten. I cry for Charming, my very own brother that I still miss. I cry for Beauty and Strong, and all the pain that they have felt and the time that we have lost. I worry a lot more these days, more than I ever have. I feel as though I am happier now than I have ever been, and happier than I ever will be, though I know that is not the case. I know that there is much more joy to come in my life.
Best is no longer in my life, though at times I wish she was. I wish she could see what I have become. Best, it turns out, wasn’t the best thing for me. Do you know who helped me realize that? Handsome did. Remember how I told you that I loved him so? I was so young but I felt it then. I can feel it now, as if I saw him for the first time just yesterday. I wonder if he knows. If you love someone and do not tell them, does that love count? Can they still feel it? I must remember to ask.
Are you wondering about Beauty, friend? Beauty is still the most beautiful thing in the world. She is prettier than any person or item or treasure or photograph or sunset or moon. Beauty smiles when she sees me, Beauty misses me. She tells me that sometimes she sleeps in my empty room, wishing I was still a young girl, wishing she could still hold me. I wonder if she can see my tears on my pillow. We talk on the phone every day. Sometimes Strong gets on the line, just to say something funny so I will laugh. I still laugh. I think I get my humor from him. knock, knock. Who’s there? Bushes. The bushes are always there. Each conversation with Beauty begins with “do you want to know a secret?”, an offer that I always accept. Our conversations end with “you are my sunshine, always and forever”. I can hear the tears in her voice, as I suspect she can hear the tears in mine, but we don’t hold them against each other. I’ll tell you a secret for free, tears don’t always mean sadness. Sometimes they mean happiness or love, and the people who love you won’t ever hold your tears against you.
Sometimes I imagine Strong lifting Beauty up so that she can touch the ceiling. I haven’t seen it myself and I wouldn’t believe it except that it comes from a very reliable source (the moon).
There was a time when the moon knew all of my secrets. Sometimes I think he still does. The moon knows me well. He sits outside my little house in the quiet of the night which is still my favorite time to be awake. He smiles at me as I sit in the rocking chair, holding her. I hold her gently and rock her softly and sing to her. I tell her my jokes. I nourish her and hold her tight. I listen to her breathing. I tell her that purple soda is the best taste in the world, and that driving in your own car listening to music is a perfectly acceptable way to spend a Friday night. I warn her about jumps and about secrets and about bests. Even though I warn her about secrets, I give her all of mine. She is Stunning. Beauty and Strong think Stunning is perfect, and that’s because she is. She is the perfect mixture of Sunshine and Handsome, with a bit of Beauty and Strong. She will be funny like me, probably funnier. She will be kind like handsome. She will be beautiful and strong. When she is old enough I will tell her stories with all of the voices and Handsome will lift her high to the ceiling. She will be loved and happy and she will not be afraid to swing high all by herself, loosen her grip, and jump.
I don’t want to let her go but I do and when I do, I can see the moon smiling at her, like he knows something that I don’t and he probably does. After all, the moon knows what happens when a tree falls in the forest and no one is there to hear it. The moon hears all of our words unspoken. The moon knows all of our secrets and sees all of our tears. And the moon loves us anyways.
I climb into my own bed and look at Handsome. I tell him a funny joke to see if he is faking. He is faking because he laughs. I am still the greatest pretender, but I don’t have to pretend much anymore. Handsome lifts up the covers and I climb underneath. I take his arms and I wrap them around me. I bury my face in his collarbone. I inhale, I smile. Handsome smells the very best. I feel his hands on my back and I know that I am safe. I know that Stunning is safe. Sometimes I think my name should be Lucky, because that is what I am. That is what we all are; Handsome, Stunning, and me. The Lucky Family. Sometimes I can’t believe that I have Handsome’s perfect hands in my life. Sometimes when he holds my hand I can’t help but laugh, and he asks me what is so funny. Bushes, I tell him. When we lie in bed, he is so close that his hair tickles my face as his lips hit my ears. He whispers the biggest, most incredible secrets to me. No one’s secrets are better than Handsome’s. Handsome’s secrets are the best because they are my secrets. He holds me tighter than I ever thought I would want to be held, as I tell him: your secret’s safe with me.
Things are perfect here in my house that is a home. It is a house filled with imperfections and mistakes and love and kindness. It is a house filled with sadness and happiness and greatness. It is a house where someone is always singing and the moon is always welcome. It is a house where no ceiling is too high, and no one is jealous. A house whose refrigerator is always filled with purple soda pop made from fake sparkly grapes. It is my house, it is my home. It is where I belong. It is where my secrets are told and kept, and my tears are wiped away and not used against me. It is a place where butterflies are just as welcome as bats, because it is important to know the difference. It is a home where nothing falls without notice, and all of my I love you's are heard.
It is a house that is a home with purple carpet.
(Inspiration for this story comes from my childhood, insomnia, a friend, and the songs “secrets”, “a house is not a home”, and “me and the moon”.)
— A.A. Milne (Winnie-the-Pooh)
goodbyes are rough. i don't care how old i get, or how much "experience" i have in this area, they still absolutely tear me apart. it's part of the reason i don't dare move out of state, even though i want to so badly at times. i know i could never ever never say goodbye to my mother. since i am staying in one place, i have taken on the role of "the left behind". i have the wonderful task of watching everyone leave. the reasons differ (marriage, school, jobs, family, missions...), but the end result is always the same: people always leave. sometimes the only thing that dulls the sting of goodbyes (for me) is music. i find myself making mix cds more often than not lately, and i don't think that is a coincidence. i just wanted to jot a few of my favourites down here in case any of you have goodbyes to do.
1. a lack of colour- death cab for cutie.
2. aimee- damien rice.
3. blacking out the friction- death cab for cutie.
4. cautioners- jimmy eat world.
5. globes and maps- something corporate.
6. goodbye, goodnight- mae.
7. goodbye sky harbor- jimmy eat world.
8. hello goodbye- the beatles.
9. last of days- a fine frenzy.
10. long goodnight- the get up kids.
11. sleep- copeland.
12. so far away- carole king.
13. split screen sadness- john mayer.
14. what sarah said- death cab for cutie.
15. wheel- john mayer.
one of the goals that i have really been trying at is the losing weight goal. i am really looking forward to a time when this is not on my "things to accomplish this year" list. maybe it comes from having my foot in a cast for the first two months of the year, because i have to say i've never been more excited to work out than i was the day i took that stinky boot off. the point is, i've been doing really well the past month, and i'm pretty proud of myself. it almost makes up for the fact that i've not gone to disneyland yet. one of the funnest things for me about excercising is where my mind wanders while i'm working out. i think of alot of stuff during that time, it's almost as bad as when i am just about to fall asleep. you know how at night you get in this phase where you're nearly asleep but not quite, kind of like a zombie? that's how i am all night, i don't think i actually ever fall asleep, and my mind goes to the weirdest places. i start thinking about how weird it is that things like penguins and bananas exist in one minute, and then the next minute i'm thinking about how weird it is that babies live inside a woman's body for nine months, which of course leads me to think of being pregnant, which leads me to think about giving birth, which leads me to wonder if i will ever give birth, which leads me to wonder if i will ever get married, which leads me to wonder if i will ever have a boyfriend. ugh. it's exhausting, really. this is what my mind does all night, by the way, which is why i am never surprised when i wake up for work feeling like my head has been under water all night. (my favourite comment to recieve from a 7:00 patient in the morning is: "you look tired today." yes, this has happened more than once, and no, it isn't a compliment.)
i've been thinking alot lately about the stages of grief. some people say there are five stages, some people say there are seven, some people say there are ten. i think it is different for everyone. i may actually have twenty stages of greif. what can i say, i'm a recovering pack rat. five of anything just isn't enough. after researching, i have concluded that, for me (probably for most people) there are six stages of greif. today during my excercise time, i realized that these particular stages apply to excercise as well. maybe that's because excercising gives me grief (no disrespect to grief intended).
stage one: denial.
i don't really need to work out. going to the gym just isn't for me.
stage two: guilt.
i feel like crap for not excercising today. why am i so lazy? what did i do instead that was so much more important? oh that's right, i watched two episodes of dawson's creek (this may or may not be my life at the moment).
stage three: anger.
i hate working out. i hate sweating. why do i have to work out when so-and-so doesn't? why can't i just have better metabolism? i hate working out!
stage four: bargaining.
i'll just run twice around the block. i'll skip today and just eat cotton balls soaked in orange juice tomorrow (do. not. try.). meh, twenty minutes is enough for today.
stage five: depression.
i look like crap. i feel like crap. are these pants getting smaller? why are my arms starting to look like wings? nothing is right here.
stage six: acceptance.
yes, i do have to workout today. yes, two laps is better than none. yes, i do have worse metabolism than some. yes, i will probably have to excercise everyday for the rest of my life. no, i can't just go to sleep early. no, i can't just skip today. no, i'm tired isn't an excuse.
today i had a stage four workout. i stopped working out for a bit to talk to my mom (tip: never do this. you never want to start back up again) and eventually ended up deciding that twenty minutes was good enough for today, and maybe i'd do that cotton ball thing tomorrow.
in life, some days are stage four days, and some days are stage six days. sometimes, i have a two day. the really crap days are the stage one days, where i never even accept the fact that i'm awake. sometimes, i find myself hitting all six stages before lunch (i call those days "saturdays"). i guess if i were to set a goal for myself, i would say that i want all of my days to be a stage six. because really, any day that you're alive, making plans, texting your best friend all day, having lunch with your mom, working and making money, driving, listening to music, spending time with your family, and sleeping in your own bed is a day to be accepted and celebrated.