lifetoast

Month: September, 2013

a beautiful mess

photo-1_thumb2
chalkboard table art inspired by Lily & Val

The ball drop at New Year’s Eve pales in comparison to the feelings of renewal that autumn brings. There’s no hubbub for fall, no sequined skirts or sparklers. I like that. The season is subtle; it creeps up on you with a gentle nip. School has already begun but the air is crisp with new beginnings.

In this year, I want to grow in my appreciation. It is easy to become lost in the trivialities, frustrated at the every day struggles of living. Oh, I know how easy it is to complain but sometimes I step outside of myself and just want to shove those negative words back into my mouth. I want to tell myself to stop. Take those insecurities and worries in stride. Recognize that, yes, life is complicated. (It isn’t easy to get good grades. It is a struggle to maintain a school/life balance, to have time to develop and maintain relationships and really listen when people talk, to repress the urge to multitask because you love this person but you also have a growing to do list and, oh, how the clock keeps on ticking. You want to go out into the world: travel, meet people, eat delicious foods and suck in that life-sustaining air off of sky high mountains but you know going out into the world sadly requires money, which is very real life and not quite so enthralling..)

And then see the joy in where you are and what you have.

In a few months time, my sister Amy will be having a baby girl. Have you ever heard of mudita? It’s the Buddhist practice of sympathetic joy, to take delight in other people’s well-being. Our little family has been in the clouds since we first found out Amy was pregnant. I have been in awe watching my sister’s belly grow quietly. I want to grasp these moments and squeeze them with an intensity to match the burning ache of happiness I feel. Yet what is it about blessings that make me more fearful of the fragility of life? I am shaken by all that I have been given.

Life is a beautiful mess.

our newest roommate

I really shouldn’t be awake. But here I am curled in my blanket as Chibi patrols the perimeters because, yes, a mouse has decided to move in. I haven’t seen this mouse yet but Chibi had been nosing under the radiator for the past week, her too long nails pitter pattering on the hardwood in the wee hours of the night. Then at three in the morning the other day I heard the squeak.

Chibi and I have a strong suspicion our newest roommate is now residing in the small crevice between the sink and fridge. I also came to the realization yesterday that the mouse has a penchant for dog food, which has been disappearing at an alarming rate.

In theory, I like mice. I loved The Rescuers and that song by those mousy siblings in An American Tail pulls on my heartstrings but this is a real mouse. One that has been wriggling about in pipes and carries God know what on its furry little body. And what if it’s a rat? I just can’t deal. That rat from The Nutcracker gives me the creeps and remember The Secret of NIMH? (Yes, all of my interactions with rodents has been through animation.)

But, since I’m awake, I want to say hello and that I’ve baked challah bread today (yesterday?), made and spray painted paper gems, changed my sofa legs with ones I scavenged from my ever fruitful lobby, and began painting a chair pistachio green. Which is to say I have exams next week.

I have..avoidance issues with studying for exams. Exams scare the bejeezus out of me. Especially the first ones. They seem to set the tone for the rest of the year. Do horribly; it’s over. And you know how you talk to a classmate about how you haven’t started studying at all and he/she agrees with you? Then you mention this reading you haven’t done and he/she says how it’s not that bad. Which means they’ve done it. They’ve read it. They’ve started studying. But you really haven’t been studying. And then it’s just a whirlwind of paranoia about how behind you are and doomed to failure.

So I’m working on this thing called positivity. Radiating bliss and happy thoughts and being an overall effervescent soul. The thing is.. I find affirmations cheesy. But I love them. One of my favorite places to scan at the library-after cookbooks and young adult novels-is the self-help section.

I want to add to that.

And so I’ll say this: I’m a wreck about school but I know I can do it. I came here, thousands of miles away from home, with the purpose of getting my DMD and I damn well will. It isn’t luck that I’m here. And, even if it is, I should grab this opportunity I was given, this opportunity two, three years in the making. I made it through first year and it wasn’t easy but I didn’t stress and I made it out fine. I just need to have faith in myself.

Ooh, these words. I want to hide them away. I wish I could give you a bubbly post with recipes and a gorgeous picture or two but I’m just not there yet and can’t pretend I am. I’m still working through this mess of balancing life.

I’ve never felt so confused and yet so here. As much as I’m still trying to figure out who I am, I know it’s happening right now. And I want to catch all of it. Messes included.