Tag Archives: Story

I am not an adult. I am a lie.

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For some silly reason, I thought I’d have my life together by now. How hard could it be? However, the older I get, the more apparent it becomes that my life is a conglomeration of fragments held together with crusty masking tape. I am not an adult. I am a lie. I may do my own laundry and have my own bank account, but when it comes down to it, I’d much rather hide from life behind my stuffed animals and neglected dishes. And to think…people my age have families. With babies.

I’m lucky to have kept myself alive for this long. I couldn’t imagine being responsible for something that doesn’t respawn.

In honor of my last semester of undergrad starting today, I thought I would tell you a lovely story about how a senior in college can ruin absolutely everything by ignoring the problem.

SPOILER ALERT

Moral of the Story: Do NOT ignore the problem under any circumstances.

I don’t know if any of my readers are parents, but even if you’re not, imagine this: you get a bill in the mail for $16,000. Oh yes. I neglected to fill out a “randomized survey” that my school sent out. (I say it’s “randomized” because I got selected to fill it out every year. And every year, I made my mother handle it.) I’m a fairly organized person, so when I make a to-do list, I prioritize. Things related to school and work are always at the top. Little things like surveys are at the bottom. My to-do list remained packed full of school and work related items for most of the semester, so I didn’t even touch that survey until my mom called me with news about that little bill.

I forsook the natural order of my to-do list and decided to deal with the problem. One little survey. Easy. If I could hammer out an A-worthy 1200 word essay in less than 3 hours, I could complete a silly little survey. I took one look at it, saw the words “call the IRS” and decided to let my mother handle it. Again. That’s what parents are for after all. She handled the problem (as usual), and I thought that was that.

Until my mother received another bill.

Two threatening bills for $16,000. I had to do it. Not her. Me. Myself. I had to do the thing. I finally worked up the courage to put on my big-girl pants and made the phone call. I sat on that phone for hours trying to get information that didn’t even exist. HOURS. (Note: It was probably 30 minutes.) And then I spent the rest of the week running between the financial aid office and my adviser’s office in tears because I knew my mother would kill me for putting this off. (I should probably add that I put this survey off for at least four months. You might say that I’m a PROcrastinator.)

This whole mess climaxed into a messy explosion of, “I can’t adult!” in one of my meetings with my adviser. How in the world was I supposed to balance this $16,000 mistake with my schoolwork, jobs, and other responsibilities? I wanted to disappear under my flannel unicorn sheets and never come out.

In the end, I resolved my $16,000 mistake. I actually don’t remember how I did it. Part of me wants to believe that the financial aid office became so fed up with me that they decided to let it “disappear.” But there’s a slight chance I did something right.

I’m aware that this story makes me sound like a whiny brat and not a 21 year old college senior. (You’re probably thinking, “They let his girl into college?”) I should know how to do all of this by now. But hasn’t everyone had to learn a “how to adult” lesson the hard way? Suddenly, I turn 21 and taxes, full-time jobs, and pantsuits are a frightening yet boring reality. Real world problems are terrifying, but at least I know how to deal with one of them now.

NOTE: Next week is recruitment week for the sororities at my school. As such, all ladies in a sorority are required to deactivate social media. (There are a lot of rules that go along with recruitment.) To stay out of trouble, I will not be posting next Tuesday. Hopefully you will see me on Friday however!

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Meet the Wanderer: Chapter 1

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A resolution I have this year is to keep my blog on track by writing a few different series. Allow me to introduce the first.

Discovering Yourself as a Writer

I found the image linked above on one of my many Pinterest adventures which aren’t half as glorious as they sound. I like this set of prompts because they allow me to introduce myself in a series of stories. I hope answering a few of these questions makes me seem a bit more human. To most of you out there, I’m a wall of text behind a computer screen. I swear there’s a plucky young bespectacled ginger behind all these words!

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Branding: What single word describes your personality? How does it affect you as a writer? Are you whimsical, gregarious, or fierce?

You know what I’ve always hated? Word limitations. “This essay must be at least 1200 words” or “please don’t write more than 500 characters for this statement of purpose.” I know guidelines are important, but seriously…one little word to describe myself? I’m an incredibly diverse person. I’ll watch gory action films while hugging Percival (my purple unicorn pillow pet). I’ll go shopping…and then pop into the GameStop to see if Dragon Age or Assassin’s Creed is on sale. I’ll wear over-sized sweaters and slinky evening dresses in the same day!

However, recently I completed a job application for a program that allows me to teach English in Japan once I graduate from college. It has been my dream for several years now to teach in a foreign country, and I finally got the application in my hand. I filled almost all of it out in one day…except for the statement of purpose–the most important part. I didn’t write that part the next day either. Or the day after. Or the next week. You can see where this is going…

I waited until the night before I needed to mail it out to even start on it. I wrote a draft and thought I was done. But then I woke up the next day. Hated it. Trashed it. Panicked. Cried in my adviser’s office for about fifteen minutes. Finally, I proceeded to write a new statement and revise it about five times that day with the help of one of my English professors, a career counselor, and a pep-talk from my roommate.

I always say I’ll stop procrastinating, but I don’t. Why  wait? Because I hate writing about myself. (Funny…considering that this is a blog about…me. But I’m not trying to get a job or scholarship from you guys!) I’m always looking for a single word that makes me (of all the people in the world) stick out. There are hundreds of funny, creative, sarcastic, or cat-loving individuals. How can I describe myself in one word or even 500?

(Just so you know, I haven’t heard back from that job yet. They’ll be calling about in two weeks. Here’s praying.)

My writing is as diverse as my personality.

I can’t exactly describe myself as whimsical all the time. Sometimes I write incredibly…dark things. I also can’t describe myself as sarcastic. If I were witty and sarcastic all the time, my readers might not take me seriously or think that I’m not as believable as I should be. I certainly don’t want to become my own unreliable narrator. Saying I’m “creative” would be a cop-out. Writing, no matter what it is, requires a little bit of creativity.

You’re probably thinking…why not go with “diverse?” You just said it yourself about a hundred times, you silly goose!  Well…the answer to that is: even that word doesn’t seem to accurately describe myself or my writing the way I want it to. I don’t think I’ll ever be happy with a single word because I’m always going to be a huge combination of words. I’m not sure anyone out there would count awkward-imaginative-sparkle-tastic as a single word. Any takers? But if someone put a gun to my head and told me that I absolutely had to choose…

Experimental. I always try new things, go on adventures, and jump into the middle of battles. My writing is still experimental. I want to try new forms, new ways of characterization, new plot devices. I want to take concepts that have been done and redo them. My personality is constantly shifting, making room for a better balance of social awkwardness and professionalism. In a way, I’m still finding myself, and maybe I’ll never be that one word.

Or maybe I’m just over-complicating things!

What about you? What’s your “branding?”

Wildly, Passionately, Devotedly, Hopelessly Mediocre

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(Image credit here.)

I thought I would close out this year on a positive note. This semester has been a turbulent one, and I could ramble on about all of my woes, but despite all of the hardships, I realized that through it all, everything ended on a good note. Maybe everyone could enjoy a little optimism at the end of what is usually a stressful season.

I’ve always considered myself a “jack of all trades.” I have the attention span of a squirrel, and my interests change with the seasons. I once looked at a year book and realized that I had changed my hairstyle at least five times throughout the year. I’ve dabbled in everything from robotics to Aikido to fashion design. But when someone asks me to describe in detail my skill set, I can say only, “Well…I went to one competition. I designed the presentation and wrote the paper…” or “I learned the basics for a few weeks. Not a pro or anything…” It’s never enough to put on a resume.

Even after discovering that the full saying is “a jack of all trades and master of none but better than a master of one,” I continued to stress over the fact that I had this repertoire of interests and no mastery. I’m a perfectionist. I want to be the very best at absolutely everything I do, but any sane person knows that such a lifestyle isn’t accessible. Then again, who said I was a sane person? I strove to be a jack of all trades and a master of all, but that pursuit usually ended with my eating an entire gallon of ice cream. It stretched me in every direction until I was completely drawn and quartered.

My first semester back in America was different for some reason. At first, I missed Japan. (I still do to some extent.) However I was also excited for my last year of college and my potential future. What was before me? I didn’t know. What was behind me? I didn’t care. Somehow, I managed time better. I did more despite wanting to do less. I assumed that I had become comfortable in my mediocrity. Yes. Mediocrity was just fine. At least it was stable, but it didn’t mean I could relax especially in choir.

“I think you know what I’m going to ask you.” My church choir director is giddy with excitement as he bounces from section to section, giving out Christmas music like he’s Oprah.

“Well…it can be one of two things,” I whisper. One of the basses sitting behind me snickers. The piece of music my choir director had just handed to me says there’s a solo and a flute part. At this point, I’m praying that it’s the solo I have to sing and not the flute part I have to play. But he doesn’t want me to sing.

Some things never change. They probably never will. I know the power of the word “no,” but I’m still a pushover, and most people know it. But what’s the big deal? It’s just a flute part. Practice a little. Play it. But imagine this: you haven’t walked in six years and suddenly you’re asked to run a marathon for charity. Let’s say this charity helps orphans. You’re perfectly capable of walking; you’re just lazy. You have a few weeks (at most) to go from zero to hero.

You do it. You do it for the orphans.

Well, I didn’t play my flute for orphans. I did it because I was there, and I was fully capable of playing it even if I didn’t necessarily want to. My choir director would have a hard time finding a flutist during the Christmas season otherwise. Unfortunately, I only had a few hours during finals week to practice, so I had to improvise a little.

After all was said and done, I realized that I had survived somehow. I made it through the piece. No tears. No panic. Nothing spectacular happened. I wasn’t suddenly deemed a virtuoso. Crowds didn’t throw roses at me. I didn’t even take a bow. (That would have been strange considering I was playing at a church service.) Afterwards, my choir director pulled me aside as I was preparing to leave and told me, “I always know I can rely on you.” I think after four years of working with me, he finally tired of my dismissing his compliments. I almost always apologize after a performance. But I didn’t dismiss this.

After years of lamenting over the fact that I may never be a master of anything, maybe I was after all? A new year won’t change my perfectionism. I think part of me will always strive to be the very best. I want to be fluent in 10 languages and write 7 best selling novels. I want to be the cool mom that can cook like a pro, work full time, and still have time to participate in every school fundraiser while maintaining the most beautiful fairy tale relationship with my husband. Maybe I’ll never do any of those things, but knowing that I’m reliable?

That is the most comforting thought I can hold onto as my final semester of college approaches.