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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How helpless I feel with a full cup of coffee and the urge to sneeze.

“I got a full, doctor and psychiatrist-recommended, fully-functional human being requirement of 8 hours of sleep last night. It rained today and the autumn wind nibbled at the edge of my turtleneck and flirted with the goosebumps sliver of skin above my ankle boots. 

The night before that, I fell into the company of bar flies, procrastinating college students, and penniless writers and went to bed at 2:30 to wake up at 7:15. It looked like a country song: sunny and 75 with girls in short shorts carrying overpriced sugary bean water in cups with a green mermaid printed on the side

Not that it matters what the weather was like – welcome to October in the Midwest. But thus begins the cycle of waking and wanting.   

I take my coffee like myself.  Hot and slightly bitter.  

I take my tea the same way.  Stronger than it needs to be. 

And yet I can wake up in the morning without actually drinking what’s in the mug that warms my hands.  It’s the experience.  It’s the standing in line at the coffee shop, admiring the way the barista expertly pushes buttons, pulls levers, and drips coffee into paper cups but not envying how early they had to get up to do so (they have to be earlier to work than even I!).  It’s simply carrying it to class and having something comforting to wrap your fingers around, the warmth slithering to your veins. It’s the smell and knowing what you have to look forward to, the anticipation of putting the mug to your lips and feeling the slight tink of the ceramic against enamel. 

Take it a step further. It’s the first sip that burns the same place on your tongue over and over, forgetting how hot it was the day, week, month before.  It’s the bitter bite of the flavenoids on the back of your tongue and the churning of your stomach as the acidic coffee hits the chyme. It’s the jitters that course though your fingers and the shake of the pen as you take notes for your caffeine-logged brain to register later.

Like all things, the experience is almost better than the thing.  The relationship is always better than the person.  The person is imperfect and selfish, a student and a tutor with pimples on her nose because she was too tired to wash the makeup off, a student teacher with too little motivation and time to invest in things other than the class schedule.  People are messy but it’s the relationship itself that makes it worth it.  

Coffee leaves stains but it’s the experience that I need.”

She nodded, satisfied as her eyes flitted across the lines once more.  One hand slid on the keyboard to publish the post and the hand wrapped tightly, possessive, and slightly neurotically around a mug of black coffee that glimmered seductively in the low lamp light.

The experience, indeed. big_thumb_f58f2692810eb6f9a6f06f3d5224aea5

 

Whenever it rains, you will think of her.

I found a new poet that suits my fancy and who has wooed me with words that both thrill and hurt at the same time, like the satisfaction of ripping off a particularly large scab: Bianca Sparacino.

I found a new book who’s silky soft pages have drawn me in like the purring of a cat as my fingers revel in it’s fur: the Book of Common Prayer.

I found a new spot in Starbucks in the middle of everyone and it’s like getting lost on stage amidst all the other dancers: the little round table against the wall-length window.

It’s raining. I can hear the pitter-patter of the drops punctuate my swallowing as the coffee slowly seeps into my bloodstream with the familiarity of my favorite drug. What a melancholy day.

It’s wonderful.

All of my new things match my melancholy mood. Grey is a neutral and it goes with everything. Sparacino’s words echo the idea that every person is build upon the foundation of their past and sometimes the concrete crumbles just a bit and makes every moment after that a little shaky. Sometimes you have to paint your life masterpiece on a grey canvas. Not that it’s a bad thing — all the colors seem brighter after that. The hardest part is finding a friend who is enough of an artist to understand that the background cannot be changed without changing the painting entirely.

And the Book of Common Prayer? The words slide off the tongue and splash into our soul like rocks thrown into a puddle. The initial emotional impact gets your attention but it’s the subtle intellectual ripples in the aftereffect that actually make the difference. It’s hard to see a poem that describes humans as fallen and frail human beings and not immediately realize the depressing atmosphere. At the same time though, one wouldn’t be able to appreciate the depth of emotion that drips from the Psalms without first recognizing the contrast.

And the corner table in the middle of all the retired people drinking coffee and reading the newspaper? Well the newspapers are grey enough without the grey window shade pulled down next to me. My mocha sits in the shadows of the table, a single drip clinging to the lid as the empty cup mocks me. No matter. I can still watch the raindrops racing each other down the pane, despite the greyscale wash.

It’s wonderfully melancholy. It’s been a long time since I’ve enjoyed a day like this. That’s the thing about rain. It doesn’t mean that it’s a bad day, an unproductive day, an un-motivating day.

There’s nothing wrong with the rain. It just doesn’t know how to fall upwards.

Polar north can’t escape a magnet. The magnet will find it no matter what.

You ever have those moments when you feel like you really know someone that you’ve never met and then it sinks in how stupid you sound and you finally accept the fact that you will never know them because there is always 1000 miles between you and your “could-have-been-but-not-really” best friend and you wallow in the fact that you still don’t know them?

Anybody?…just me? Okay, that’s fine.

I would love to go have a coffee with Taylor Swift. She doesn’t have to sign a picture. She doesn’t have to take a picture. I don’t even have to put the meeting on any kind of social media. I just want to talk to her and listen to her take on life. And love. And music. And a lot of things.

Unfortunately, I’m not on Instagram and so will not end up like any of these lucky girls:

I’m pretty sure she’s not on WordPress and there’s no way that she will be able to find little ol’ me on this little ol’ blog, but I figured I would share that longing with you all.

And Taylor, if you’re reading…I’m free for coffee at midnight.

The past is never where you think you left it.

First off, I must begin by saying that I am most definitely NOT a morning person. And yes, I still consider 11:00 part of the morning. Therefore, please ignore any spelling errers, any bad punctuation; and any other tpyos that you may find in this post.

Other than the fact that my brain doesn’t function at full capacity until after 12, there’s nothing wrong with this morning. I’m in a great mood. Please ask why.

Why, thank you for asking! Let me tell you: I got to sleep in a bit today, I’m wearing my favorite red cardigan, and I’m excited to read my orgo textbook because I actually know what is going on. My favorite flavor of coffee was served at the campus coffee shop and my bagel was perfectly toasted. I received 2 great grades on my last biology test (yesterday’s feat) and my lab practical (last week’s hurdle). Those are just a few of the things that I can appreciate today.

Don’t get me wrong, today will be a long one. I’m okay with that. It vaguely reminds me of a post that I put up here last year (has it really been that long?!):

https://sydneysheltz.wordpress.com/2014/07/31/time-flies-like-an-arrow-fruit-flies-like-a-banana/

A few of you may remember that I don’t like reading my own work unless several months have passed. That being said, I’ve started to pursue the archives to see what I was writing about a year ago. It’s interesting and I’m beginning to have more thoughts on those posts than I did when I first posted them. (Prepare to see a few flashback posts in the future.) Anyway, I have 2 conclusions about the above link:

1) I had a lot more time back then to enjoy whatever writing I did. I also put forth more effort to check my mental thesaurus for prettier-looking words (yeah, I’m one of those writers). I explored different metaphors and was more focused on the idea of “pretty” writing. Now, I’ve switched to more of a “word vomit” concept — basically, I write down the thoughts that I’ve been wrestling with or pondering or even just the exhausted version of the day because I want to see it from a different perspective.

2) I was just as busy then as I am now and I was happier then. I’m not sure where that girl went. Okay, that’s a lie. She drowned in notebook sheets covered in molecules and she choked on the words she read in textbooks and she was strangled in her bookbag straps.

But today, she has been resurrected in the slightest way and I can feel the unintentional smile wriggling it’s way onto my face once more.

Good morning, my dear readers.

I hate how I don’t feel real enough unless people are watching.

My days run on 12 hours cycles.

At 8 am this frigid Monday, I had already gulped down a cup and half of coffee and had written my name on my biology test. At 9 am, I had already contemplated the concept of molecular orbitals and their effects on conjugation. Add to that, the fact that my orgo professor had suggested that we make a workout video for nerds inspired by the stretching movements of molecules when hit by wavelengths in the IR spectrum (just picture nerds doing a odd type of yoga and you understand perfectly).

By 10, I was sitting in chapel with a couple friends and sipping the rest of that second cup of coffee. By noon, I had started another class and eaten lunch with a few other friends. By the time 3 pm rolls around, I was perched in my fourth class, trying to stay awake. At 4, I headed to my job at the college newspaper. Finish up there, grab dinner in 30 minutes and head to my job as a tutor till 8.

And even then, my day doesn’t end. I spend a few hours checking emails, reading textbooks that sound like they are creating a new language (I’m looking at you, Bio textbook. Who the crap comes up with stuff like phosphordiesterase??) and getting my lab notebooks ready for the next day. Then if I’m lucky, I get 6ish hours to sleep.

I look put together if you don’t look too closely at the dark circles under my eyes. What I don’t understand is that fact that I can do this crazy routine 5 days in a row, but when it comes to the weekend, I’m beside myself trying to figure out what’s going on.

On Friday night, I’m the one doing homework till 9 before deciding that I can afford to watch a few episodes of Friends before going to bed. But when I’m sitting there by myself eating gummy bears and laughing carelessly at jokes from the 90’s, there’s a empty feeling.

A boring feeling.

An itch that I can’t quite scratch no matter how many times I switch positions on the beanbag chair.

What’s missing?

But when my roommates are actually in the room or I’m with my boyfriend on Saturday night, it doesn’t feel so off. I’m not sure what changes.

It’s like I’m only enjoying myself when people are present to witness my personal enjoyment. It’s like I constantly feel like I have to put on a performance. After all, isn’t that what I’m doing here? I type words on the screen, move them around, backspace a few times, decide that some things need to be emphasized in one way and others in a different way — whatever will draw the best response from you! I can manipulate the words to say whatever I want. How does that make you feel?

If I lied about everything I wrote on her, would you still read it? Why do you read what I write? What about this show makes you clamor for an encore?

I suppose that’s the point of social media. Look at me! If you look at me and register that I exist, then maybe I really do! Sounds like Instagram to me — which by the way, I still haven’t succumbed to that yet.

It does make me wonder though. I always thought I was good company until I realized that I was bored in my own presence. But maybe bored is the wrong word. Maybe what I’m looking for is calm. I don’t get a ton of that in my week.

Considering that I’m with myself all the time, I really hope that I’m not boring.

The truly free man is the one who can turn down dinner without giving an excuse.

I realize more in one moment how much I have changed while away at college than in several days of introspection.

I can only spend so much time with my family and under the rules of my parents for so long before my patience is eaten away. I didn’t even realize how close I was to losing until I received another normal insult.

As much as I am dreading this upcoming semester, I’m happy to return to the dorm room that I call home for another four months. I never thought I’d see that day coming. I mean, everyone gets tired of their family now and again. But I didn’t actually think that I wouldn’t be able to handle my own.

Somehow the endless hours of studying are welcoming me back with open arms and the nights of little sleep and early mornings with hot coffee that I always, without fail, spill on myself seem okay to me. Is this what life has come to?

Don’t get me wrong, I love my family but I’m ready to be away from them too. That little part of me that used to be excited to see them is withering away. I’m sure I’ll be happy to see them when Spring Break rolls around. I just need a little bit of room to breathe at the moment.

I’m 19 but I’m still relieved that my mom doesn’t read this blog (although she knows about it, I think she forgot) because if she read this post, I’d die. These would be my last words.

That’s unfortunate.