It’s just as hard to go back to a place you once left as it is to leave again.

Hello nomad.

I’ve arrived at my third home in less than a month. I’ve learned to pack very little in a short amount of time and not to have too much of personal attachment to anything for fear of leaving it behind. I’m not sure how I feel about this aimless living, this self-taught, reality-enforced way of dragging roots and never setting them down anywhere. This internship sets me on course for my future education and career and yet I feel directionless.

Enjoy your stay nomad.

I brought very little with me because I knew that I would be leaving again in 8 weeks. I already have 3 weekends scheduled to leave this hovel-y place and I have a suitcase for my shorter ventures. For a person who puts enormous weight on the places where she lives, this scattered life is hard. I’m used to travelling around and living out a suitcase for a month, but this is slightly different. Maybe it’s because I have to buy my own groceries.

Don’t get too attached nomad.

It’s a shallow existence, this rootless one. I don’t do well in rocky soil and droughts make me thirst for more than a sip of water. This summer is so much different than the last one because at least, I was excited for the last one! The hairs are standing up on the back of my neck and I feel tensed to pounce — but on what, I’ve yet to find out. I want this summer to be over as soon as possible, which isn’t exactly the mindset to have when I have 8 hours in a straight-jacket/lab coat. I’m ready to pack up all my stuff in my trunk again and leave this place of adulthood. Every child feels like that though. I am very much still a child.

Goodbye nomad.

“Someday” can be a thief in the night.

One of my least favorite words is “someday.”

It’s worse than “no” because “no” closes a door and allows you look at other opportunities. It’s firm and direct, a blunt word that strikes through reality and changes things. Or maybe, “no” doesn’t change anything at all. Maybe “no” means that you need life to slowly erode away at you until you become the person that you were supposed to be. “No” allows for any of that but “someday” means you’re in the exact same spot you were with no changes to spot on the horizon. “No” can be the safe option.

It’s worse than “yes” because “yes” can be a dynamic game-changer. “Yes” gives you a new title, a new role to fill, a new relationship. “Yes” can destroy an entire nation with the push of a button or launch the research to cure cancer or spark a new invention. “Yes” means something new entirely, something fun, and something possibly dangerous. “Yes” can be the fearless option.

“Someday” is the day you can do whatever you want, the time when all your goals can be achieved, the moment when nothing is impossible. “Someday” is the day you look forward with innocent smiles on high school graduation day before dreams are dashing on the cold hard rocks of reality. “Someday” is the day you look forward to on your wedding day until the ring on your finger is replaced with the steely cold sting of divorce. “Someday” is like the greasy salesman of life telling you that if you sign your name on the dotted line, you will have everything you wished for and more with a lifetime guarantee if you pay $19.95 every month for the rest of your life.

It’s worse than commitment because there is no guarantee with someday. Someday is fleeting and yet, timeless. Someday is always in the future and yet we can tell when it’s slipped through our fingers. Someday is the most unreliable promise. Someday is full of misplaced hope, unguided optimism. Someday is a subtle “yes” with the inflection of a disgruntled “no.”

There’s nothing worse than “someday.”

Life’s cruelest irony: the lonely times are when you need to be by yourself

I woke up today in an empty bed in an empty house with an empty feeling echoing in my soul.

I feel very lonely today.

I ate breakfast by myself – although the two pairs of begging eyes at my feet kept me company. Once I start drinking the coffee though, they lose interest and go lie down on the couches to live a dog’s life.

I worked on the landscaping outside today by myself. I lugged 30 lbs bags of mulch to a wheelbarrow where I proceeded to dump the contents. I shoveled it. I got on my own hands and knees to push around the chopped up trees. There wasn’t a single neighbor who even noticed me.

I drove almost 3 hours on a highway by myself. I listened to the country music station until I had heard all the songs multiple times and then I turned it off to listen to my own thoughts. When I had heard all those twice (because I had already been alone with them many times today), I rolled down the windows to have the wind toss my hair around a bit.

I got to my friend’s apartment that I’m staying at only to find that she and her boyfriend have gone out tonight and left me by myself to unpack and settle in. How kind of them to leave me with myself.

I never thought I’d say this…

but I’m tired of being around myself for so many hours. I run out of things to say, my humor is dry and brittle, and I’m sick of hearing myself think. Eventually even I run out of thoughts and just want to sit in silence.

It wouldn’t be so bad being alone if I wasn’t so lonely.

I travel light. But not at the same speed.

I was reminded today of two things:
1) Although I like travelling fast, I rarely enjoy running.
2) I’m not a morning person.

I completed my first writing sprint on the other blog that I co-author (link at the bottom) at 8 AM! I simply wake up, plug in the computer and follow this schedule:
Prepare/finger stretches – 7:45
Writing sprint – 8:00
Rest and record word count – 8:15
Writing jog and stumble – 8:20
Rest and record word count – 8:35
Word vomit – 8:40
Collapse on keyboard and record final word count – 8:55

Note to self: in order for brain to work at full capacity, drink full cup of coffee 15 minutes in advance.

There was very little of quality in the resulting 1,723 words. However, I did get several ideas down for character development for my second novel attempt.

For example, I realized that my main character is far too practical to wear Louboutins. Good to know, right?

I also realized all the flaws in my current plotline (better now than in 2 weeks, right?) and the difficulties in the story I’m planning. Unfortunately, there was way too much random dumping crappy words on the page to get the highest count for me to enjoy doing it too much.

I see this more as a refreshing thing to do every two weeks maybe, but never anything more frequent than a weekly basis. That being said, I did it!

Here is the link to the original post.

Localization in the spaces of our intimacy is more urgent than the date.

It’s always warm, with a slight breeze. The sun tickles my toes and I can smell Mother Nature’s perfume lingering on sweet summer’s breath. The birds call to me like I’m Cinderella, but they haven’t tried making me a ballgown yet so it seems that they are appropriately friend-zoned.

It’s my new favorite place to write.

It’s my screened-in back porch.

I’m not sure why, but locations have always held an extreme importance to me. I’m a very visual person. I like to know where things happened; if it wasn’t meant to happen there, then why didn’t it happen somewhere else?

I still remember my first house. And the second. And when I see the third, I almost cry. When I go to my old high school, I have such strong feelings of nostalgia that I can’t even speak to anyone when I pull into the parking lot until I can pull myself together. My high school reunion might be a emotional train wreck…

I’m at my fourth house now. When I graduate, I’ll probably move into a little apartment and become quite attached to the cheap, dingy place because that’s the only I’ll be able to afford. I’m one of those stubborn trees who stick roots down deep into the dirt and cling there like a child to it’s mother’s leg when she leaves for the first time.

Maybe it’s because I know they won’t change.

And yes, I know that they do. The landscape ages like the wrinkles on a person’s face. Give it a few years and you’ll see a new mark that wasn’t there before. Trees pop up like pimples, babbling streams crinkle in the grass like crow’s feet around laughing eyes, and weeds sprout like unruly eyebrow hairs.

But it’s still the same person. Going to a new place is like meeting a stranger for the first time.

We will see how long the inspiration lasts with this new writing haven. I’d say it’s the start of a beautiful and terrifying friendship.

Aren’t those the best?

This post was also found on this site that I co-author with many lovely people.

These flashes of irrational happiness: probably a vitamin deficiency.

Firstly, if you’ve never read Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood, do so immediately. However, side effects include: pondering what exactly makes someone human, wondering about the bioethics of genetic engineering, and bemoaning the two-sided coin of the beauty and sheer ugliness of this world.

If you’re up for that and constant overthinking for about three days on your morals (and enduring some very base language and situations — it is a dystopian society), pick it up.

This dystopian book (a trilogy actually, which I am currently making my way through and am loving so much that I bought it for my own personal collection) entertains the possibility of the extremes of genetic engineering for profit. Without giving too much away, the people in this book are loosely split into two categories: science types and wordsmiths. The goggle-wearing clans compete for the top-paying jobs at the large corporations that have more-or-less taken over the class structure. Meanwhile, the nose-in-book nerds are shuffled around depending on how competent they are at advertising for the scientific discoveries.

Since I do my best to balance on this see-saw, you can imagine how much I connected with this book.

What Atwood does phenomenally well is her manipulation of language. Two best friends (the scientific prodigy, Crake, and the mediocre master of words, Jimmy) are forced to live in this rapidly evolving world on both sides of this interesting divide. However, it isn’t necessarily what is said; rather it is how it is said.

Crake and Jimmy are both romantically involved by the end of the book (no spoilers here). What is fascinating is how Crake is reduced to nothing but the basic human drives: food, water, and sex. There is no description of emotion when he pursues his woman, if pursuit is even the right word. It is all very matter-of-fact and the reader (myself) is left wondering how this relationship is even at all fulfilling.

But for Crake, it is! He is fulfilling a basic human drive. For all this knowledge and all his ability to cut and paste genes into a sequence, he is reducing himself to nothing to but needs. His brain is simply a machine that functions to keep him alive. What kind of life can that be?

Falling in love, although it resulted in altered body chemistry and was therefore real, was a hormonally induced delusional state, according to him [Crake]. In addition it was humiliating, because it put you at a disadvantage, it gave the love object too much power. As for sex per se, it lacked both challenge and novelty, and was on the whole a deeply imperfect solution to the problem of intergenerational genetic transfer

And Jimmy. The entire book is told from his perspective. Can you even imagine the torture of being in this black and white world that’s melting into a cacophany of grey and never being able to find the correct words to describe any of it? Even if you could, words are useless; there are nothing but sprinkles on a cake that has already been genetically modified to thrill your taste buds. What the point of sprinkles when they have no taste or color??

Stupid sprinkles. Stupid science.

When any civilization is dust and ashes,” he said, “art is all that’s left over. Images, words, music. Imaginative structures. Meaning—human meaning, that is—is defined by them. You have to admit that.”

Just as Crake is reduced to nothing but needs, Jimmy is described as being so much more than that. There’s a depth to his life that Crake simply cannot understand.

So here I am, reading this book. I understand both sides. I’m the zebra. Part of me is the white lab coat, data-oriented, goggle-wearing scientist. The other part of me is the tragically understanding pair of reading glasses, the dark writer who broods about what I’m trying to say, the dictionary-toting girl who knows the ultimate power of words.

This post started out about me wondering if my soul overpowers the three basic human drives and I came to the conclusion that I’m a zebra.

Oops.

Imagination is the preview to life’s coming attractions.

It’s the first time I’ve been off the oxycodone and the first time I’ve trusted myself on a keyboard. Not doing so bad, eh?

That being said, I’ve finally decided on the format for the new blog, Gotta be the Genes, and I’ve updated the “About” page. I don’t have any new posts yet, but I included the link here, in case you wanted to see the little preview.

I have also decided to announce the new idea for the book I’m writing this summer! Drumroll, please…

It will be about a girl in her early 20’s (authors write about what they know) who is performing research on sperm. Sound familiar at all? The basic plotline goes like this: after much pressure from her family, she is going on dates to see if she can find “the one.” Needless to say, it always fails. Biologically, she knows exactly how men work (the sperm research), but she can’t seem to land a date.

The twist on the story comes from the research. The sperm will have certain defects that correspond with the issues the female character is having with her male counterparts. For example, one guy is running from commitment and one sperm squiggles away from the microscope lens. Another example would be the alpha male personality as compared to sperm fratricide (a concept where one or more sperm develop faster than the others and the others are killed in order that the maturation process can be completed).

I’m playing around with the title right now but I’m working along the lines of: “X, Y, and Z: a guide to dating” or something like that. It won’t be the dating how-to book but it will be a fictional spin-off of something similar.

Turns out I’ve been pretty productive on the strong drugs! Thoughts?

The worst enemy to creativity is self-doubt.

On the same day that Duchess Kate has named her baby girl, I too have named my fashion blog: Gotta be the Genes.

Get it? Get the pun? Jeans? Genes? I’m sure my mother will approve (the genes are definitely all hers…)

I decided that my niche would be to cater to those in the sciences who can’t dress themselves properly (it’s a wide audience). I’m sure the post titles will be full of science puns and nerdy jokes and I have no doubt that my goggles will make an appearance or two.

I was inspired by my personal style — groundbreaking, I know. But it’s true! I wanted to highlight the aspects of my outfits that make them lab-worthy and be the prime example that lab-appropriate shoes don’t have to be Crocs or tennis shoes (gag me with a flaming pitch-fork). At the same time, one can perfectly add a bit of nerd to everyday style. Periodic table sweatshirt, anyone?

Clothes won’t be the only focus though. I hope to be able to highlight cool links that I found — similar to what I’ve done a few times on here — and point out the collections of a few designers that I find interesting. Accounting for my crazy schedule, I probably will do outfit posts 3 times a week. And if I’m being truly honest, I will probably focus on one statement piece in the winter since it’s almost impossible to do anything outside for a significant amount of time in a Mishawaka winter and I will run out of daylight if I take too long to blink, let alone try and take outfit pictures.

That being said, it will still be a week or two till I get this second little blog up and running. I’m still working on the format — do you know how hard it is to cater to both the creative designers and the black-and-white science peoples??

One Red Balloon will still be up and running this summer since I still plan on writing a book. I did finally choose a topic. Stay tuned later this week for the official big reveal.

And yet, I shall warn you: I’m getting my wisdom teeth removed on Wednesday. Since I’m terrified of needles, I’m sure it will be all hunky-dory and over in a flash. (Lies.) There won’t be too much activity on the blogs for the rest of week for fear of saying something deeply embarrassing on the internet in a drug-induced haze.

Till then, you look great in those genes.

May I kiss you on this miserable piece of paper?

Child, Child
by Sara Teasdale

Child, child, love while you can
The voice and the eyes and the soul of a man,
Never fear though it break your heart –
Out of the wound new joy will start;
Only love proudly and gladly and well
Though love be heaven or love be hell.

Child, child, love while you may,
For life is short as a happy day;
Never fear the thing you feel –
Only by love is life made real;
Love, for the deadly sins are seven,
Only through love will you enter heaven.