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.

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.

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?

The empty vessel makes the loudest sound.

In a charcoal grey 2007 Prius, there is a touchscreen in the console that demonstrates the energy usage between the battery and the electric motor. I’d be willing to bet that all 2007 Prius’ have this feature, regardless of color.

As you hit the has pedal to drive, the electric motor powers the car and charges the battery with the output energy in order to create an efficient system. I’ve noticed that when I get in the car, I have no motivation to drive anywhere. Without driving anywhere, the battery will empty itself eventually.

I seem to have that effect on things.

When I was too lethargic to crawl out of the covers this morning, my dress hung limp on the hanger, hanged by it’s own unmet expectations.

I didn’t eat breakfast this morning and my empty stomach complained all during church. Now the dark chocolate cherry biscotti bag is empty too. And my poor coffee cup has been emptied at least 3 times.

Showering felt like too much of an effort so I decided to fill the bathtub to the brim with steaming water and bubbles. But as a last ditch effort to fill and fulfill something, I partnered a wineglass with Merlot. Now the faucet drips morosely into a hollow tub and the wineglass is sideways in a sink as the bubbles are crushed under my breath and release their own empty space into the mist on the mirror.

Hello is an empty word too if you think about it. The “H” is separated by a wall in the middle, the lonely lines punished like fair lovers in Verona, never to meet again. The “e” is sliced in half by early commitment and the tail-end is dangling in the breeze, desperate for something else to satisfy. The “l” envy the “h” and “e” because Hey, at least they were able to have a relationship with any other line in the first place, no matter how it turned out! But the “l” soldiers on it’s lonely path, parallel to anyone and anything else.  Do I even have to explain the “o” and the way it’s very existence echoes purposely, regardless of the capital or lowercase-ness?

I’m sorry if you’re reading this because I have this sort of effect on things…

Hello.

Forcing through the doldrums is like forcing a fart – you feel so much better afterwards.

4 1/2 cups of flour.
2 1/2 teaspoons of yeast.
1 bottle Honey Wheat Blue Moon ale.
1/4 cup sugar.
1/2 teaspoon salt.
1 jar strawberry jelly borrowed from my great grandma.

Friendships run cheap these days.

I had never seen her outside of a lab coat – I didn’t even know she had 12 different flavors of coffee next to her Keurig until I sat at her kitchen table, perusing her countertop as I pretended not to notice her precarious limp. She could only offer me a glass of water; anything heavier and I’d have to get it myself.

The cuckoo clock (that’s an odd, certainly personal touch) clanged against the lipstick red wall – despite the aforementioned atrocity, she seemed to have strong decorative taste. Until I saw all the flamingo memorabilia on her back porch
in Margaritaville just a few steps out the back.

Perhaps I judged too soon.

She said she would return to work in three weeks.  Although I believed her, I should’ve doubted it when I remembered that she was 52 and scheduled for a hip surgery with two major complications.  Nine weeks later, I feel bad for not having visited sooner.

Until she lets it slip that no one else has come to visit her either.

I arrive at 3:57 pm. I’m late, but after discovering that I am the Christopher Columbus of visitors, I shrug it off. She hugs me 4 times in the course of an hour.  I didn’t get back in my car until 6:31 pm.

I remember chatting the whole time, but I can’t really pinpoint any specific topics: her dog, Pixie, was shedding a lot. Her husband was a Colts fan and – as predicted – they had done so poorly this year that he didn’t even get any satisfaction yelling at the TV, but rather sat dejectedly on the couch wishing the game would end.  Physical therapy was going as well as expected (and by that, it wasn’t progressing at all. Not even in a tango style with 2 steps forwards and 1 back.) The weather was nice, but the air smelled of fall and the leaves were whispering that they would turn soon.

I didn’t think it was very much effort on my part.

But she texted everyone in the department on Monday to send them a picture of her breakfast: homemade toast with strawberry jelly.

Her husband had 3 pieces.

I got two friends for the price of one.

 

 

 

Self-care is survival but self-love is sacred.

There are no wrong decisions.

Somehow I’ve managed to get to my 22nd year in this life and no one ever told me this.

There are no wrong decisions after your tears have blended with the water in the shower as your head is flooded with thoughts between the alternatives, your knees are as raw as your eyelids from falling on the floor and begging God – or the universe, whoever responds first – for an answer, when you’ve typed and printed and dated your resignation letter and hung it on your fridge so you can see it everyday.

When you’ve reached that point, there are no wrong decisions.

Of all the things my mother taught me how to do, taking care of myself was never one of them.  I never realized how important it was to actually love the body where your soul resides. And now, as I tilt my head and listen to the muscle knots crunch over each other, I wonder how long it would take for the neglect to catch up with me if I hadn’t noticed the decay when I did.  The bags under my eyelids are not designer, my friends. But I can remember the last time I felt well-rested!

Tuesday. Two short days ago when I had a day off work.  It was the first morning I can remember when I told my husband good morning before coffee.

I’ve never done that before.

I also notice the pain in my fingertips as a type from nails whittled down to nibs, ripped cuticles wearing drops of blood like ruby necklaces, and the flaking, onion-like layers of the nail itself floating across the keys.

If it were anyone else, I’d scoop them up and wrap like a burrito in a blanket, hand them a cup of homemade hot chocolate (made using my tiramisu truffles from Italy – what else?) and stroke their hair as I convinced them to quit their job – or anything else that made them so dreadfully unhappy.

And knowing that, I have to ask:

Why can’t I do that for myself?