The world is blessed to welcome you.

I have 11 different kinds of tea, bagged or loose-leaf, including various varieties and mixes of herbal and black, ranging from 120mg to 30 mg of caffeine.

I have a French press and a Keurig, with light, medium, and dark roasts – decaf and regular.  I even have a medium roast with shredded dried cherries – just in case you were feeling adventurous.

I have cream, cane sugar, white sugar, brown sugar, and honey.  Take your pick of any of the 24 coffee mugs hanging on the wall.  Make yourself at home.

I have white wine, red wine, rose; gin and tonic water; scotch and Irish whiskey; two different flavors of vodka; Jack Daniels, Fireball, apple moonshine.  If you don’t like it straight, I also have ginger ale, Coke, and apple cider as mixers.  My husband has graciously filled a special ice tray with large single cubes – perfect for connoisseurs or people who just want to look “cool.” Enough of any of this, and you might be sleeping on my floor (I did tell you to make yourself at home).

And if you don’t like hot drinks, you better believe I can offer filtered water (for you city folks) and tap water (for those of you country people with cultured, palettes who enjoy the complex assortments of minerals).  I even have ice cubes with separate trays for filtered and tap water that correspond to your preference – although you could mix it all up with different proportions of each.

One could say that we aim to please, in this apartment.

I suggest, that we make everyone try to make everyone feel welcome.

I want everyone to feel welcome.  And this is why I get angry.  And then I get sad.

I want people to feel welcome, so I invite everyone in my small office to lunch.  It makes me angry when certain people wearing gold crosses around their neck mock the vegetarian Muslim man.  It makes me angry when they turn up their noses at the strange smells wafting from the lunch boxes of the two Filopena women I also invited.  And when those people leave, it makes me angry that the Muslim and Filopenas assume that I “simply couldn’t be a Christian” since I didn’t judge them in the first place.

Even though I am.

It makes me angry that my generation is frowned upon for believing in happiness enough to finally go through with following our dreams – and abandoning the American one.  Maybe we don’t want to buy houses, maybe we don’t want to have children, maybe we don’t want to work 9-5 for 45 years in the same office job before we can retire and eat microwaved frozen meals at the nursing home our 2.5 children chose for us.  And if we do want those things, we still don’t have to explain why we are following in our parents’ steps.  Regardless, we shouldn’t have to defend our own choices to you because they are our choices – not yours.

Even though, I still do.

I am angry because politics have to divide everything these days.  And they don’t have to, but we want them to because it’s easier to justify evil-spirited choices on party affiliations than it is to admit that we are actually jerks.  I am angry because when I try to explain to my parents why this current proposed tax plan will murder the graduate student population and the middle class and healthcare for minority and elderly people, they shake their head at me and smile – because what could I possibly know? I’m looking for the freedom to quit a job in unethical corporate America to improve education, and I don’t even have the guts to tell my own mother for fear of judgment and yet another obstacle in our strained relationship.

I am angry.  And now, I’m sad.  Because humans have such potential.

If I were God, I’m not sure how I could keep from wiping the slate clean again and again until we get it right. It’s a good thing I’m not God.

So I welcome everyone.  You don’t have to agree with me about anything, but you are welcome in my 658 sq.ft apartment.  You are welcome to sit on our hand-me-down couches, burrow in our fuzzy blankets, fix yourself a drink, peruse our multiple stacks and boxes of books (still working on getting that bookshelf…..), and choose to light whichever candle you want.  I have 5 different scents so you can pick your own atmosphere of smells.

Life is hard enough as it is, darling.  So you are always welcome here.

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Change is the end result of all true learning.

Hello again, dear ones. I abandon you once more.

But – like every narcissistic lover – I always reappear when you have given up hope on hearing back from me.  I use you for my own selfish purposes: vomiting ill-conceived thoughts on your blank screen, dissecting secrets amidst your black font, bruising the backspace button as the wrong words tumble down.

We both know I’ll leave. Again.

That part of me will never grow up.  I’ve written in my public diary for 3 (nearly 4!) years now and I don’t foresee myself stopping any time soon.  I’ll actually have more time for it, in just 23 days.

I’m quitting my job, you see.  My regular-paycheck-every-other-Friday, PTO and benefits, 8-4 job.  Not that I’m giving up, per se.  Just choosing a different route.  This is my gap year, after all, and I intend to live like it.

I’ll be spending a lot more time on here.  I’ll be free for the next 5 months to type what I wish, when I wish it.  I’ll be focusing on my writing and tutoring part-time.  I plan on doing daily “writing sprints,” where I will post a prompt and write non-stop for 10 minutes.  You have the ultimate pleasure of reading my uncensored thoughts, should you so choose.

I never stopped being a writer.  But I stopped identifying as one.  Well, no more.

You smile.

You truly know me so well, after all this time. And I think that’s why I keep coming back.

I’m remembering what it’s like to be human, again. I’m going to create once more, frustrate myself with my lack of inner thesaurus, drink endless cups of tea, and poke around in dusty corners of my brain.  I’m going to write – not from the heart – but from my soul and discover who I am.

I’m going to change.

Welcome to my new year.

Video

Someday you will get old enough to start reading fairy tales again.

Slap-in-the-face intro: This is a marketing piece for my college to encourage people to follow their passions and search for their calling – their purpose as a human being, if you will.  I had such fun filming with these girls!  They all sat on my lap and looked at my fruit flies underneath the microscope.  I actually got Zahra (the little blonde one) to want to be a geneticist! My mini-me (whose name is Iris) wants to study rocks and be a geologist; I actually gave her a couple fossils from my rock collection as a child.  We’ll see if anything changes as they grow up – even so, I’ll always be proud of my little ones for pursuing their passions.  Furthermore, the video is also supposed to raise awareness and support for women interested in pursuing a career in STEM.

Career and Calling video

It is a basic condition of life: to be required to violate your own identity.

Change is permanent because things are always changing.

Tattoos are permanent because the mechanized needle forces pigment into the dermis layer of skin – since the pigment is too large to be removed by white blood cells, it simply stays.

So here I stay. And here I change.

Here I have a tattoo.

The pale, long-haired, Queen of the tutors pictured in the engagement photos from exactly one year ago looks in the mirror and wonders why this equally pale, tattooed, medical technologist with Zoe Deschanel fringe-banged hair is blinking blindly back at her.  It seems that they only thing they have in common is lack of sleep, coffee breath and winged black eyeliner.

I don’t know who I am anymore, but it’s the first time in a very long time that I’ve been okay with saying that out loud (or at least, seeing the words appearing on the screen). I always forget about the transition states.

In chemistry, the transition state has the highest amount of energy through the entire reaction – in a sense, it’s the oomph needed for the reaction to progress to completion.

transitionstatechem114a

However, it can be difficult to navigate.  You can put a lot of energy into something and still not go anywhere if you haven’t reached the transition state; there is actually a way to make that flirtatious transition state more attainable: enzymes.  Enzymes can lower the activation energy of a transition state in too many ways for me to describe in this little post.

Either way, I always struggle with the transition state.  You can throw the pre-wedding, pre-graduation, pre-adulthood Sydney into a pot with a degree, a husband, and a job in the field (right out of school, with benefits and PTO).  You can add an identity crisis, tear-filled showers, and homegrown herbs on a patio.  You can add a haircut.  But you will not end up with even the remotest semblance of a finished product.

There are so many people I need to become before I end up close to that “finished product.”  In fact, I’m pretty sure I’ll never quite get there.  Regardless, I’ve finally found myself overcoming my social anxiety and introducing myself to the new person I see in the mirror.

She’s actually kinda nice.

I think I like her.

I seem to have run in a great circle and found myself at the finish line.

Let me tell the tale
of a girl who didn’t stop,
who climbed up every mountain
without a pause on the top.
She’d dance until each blade of grass
was clothed in drops of dew,
and the sun knew her by name –
but the silver moon did too.
For a fear had settled in her bones;
a fear of sitting still,
that if you’re not moving forward
it must mean you never will.
So in time her dance got slower
and she looked at all she’d seen,
but found gaps inside the places
that she’d never fully been.
For she was a human doing,
a human moving, human seeing,
but she’d never taken time
to simply be a human being.

~e.h.

 

The soul has a faithful unconscious interpreter in the eyes.

You think it’s funny when you ask me my favorite color and I give you three options because I can never choose, because it varies on the day, or because my mood dictates what I find pretty that day.

The question drips from your lips like honey and I can’t quite find the words to describe my real favorite color.

It’s a humble color, not forceful or piercing as a crisp light blue can tend to come across as. It’s a strong color, but gentle like the breath of the wind that kisses the back of my neck and send shivers down my spine. It’s not a rich color like smooth, chocolate brown, but it’s a satisfying color.

Most of all it’s warm. Welcoming. Like your hugs, but you would laugh if I told you that.

Have you ever seen a ruby and admired the flames that seem to smolder just below the surface? Or have you ever held an emerald and wondered at the smooth coolness that beckons from behind the hexagonal screen?  The warmth of the moon pooling in your iris while the October breeze ruffles under your jacket – that’s how my favorite color makes me feel.

How could ever choose between the two?

Sillage is a terrible excuse to dwell in the past.

After Last Light

A moonless night cliff-side steals the sea
from us. What was sapphire beyond churlish blue

is just howl now: waves darker than closed eyelids
wreck the rocks we also can’t see. Sunlight forgot

the two of us here. The taste of salt, an ungiven kiss
on our lips. And silence is the rush of blood

in our ears, a violent pause between your question
and what I will not say. I have no answer;

My throat is the ocean now.

 

*I found this original poem in my pending posts. Still not sure why I never posted it.  It’s been ruminating for two years now – perhaps it’s improved with age.