Leaving My Heart on the Stage: My First Ignite Talk

“Don’t trip. Don’t trip.” 

These were the thoughts going through my head as I went up the steps to the stage. During pre-show prep, I saw that the carpet where I’d be standing was a little shaggy. I looked at my boots.

“Shit, maybe I should get my flats from the car. My heels will get caught.”

But I didn’t. There was too much adrenaline pumping through my body. I focused on knowing where I’d sit. Remembering my first words. Remembering my last. Forgetting that there were 800 people in the audience that night – not to mention the live stream.

Did I mention this was my first big public speaking gig? I sent the proposal to Ignite on a whim. I’d done that before, and just like the past, I figured I wouldn’t get picked. So many more inspirational people with incredible stories apply every quarter. Why would mine get picked?

It did. I got the email right before Kelly Clarkson took the stage at Key Arena on August 12th. I was already an emotional mess because I’d been wanting to see Kelly Clarkson live for 13 years, so I didn’t even have the time to process the fact that my Ignite talk was accepted. No time to process the fact that I’d be standing on stage at Town Hall in Seattle, baring my soul about a topic I’d kept inside for 20 years.

Not that I had time to process it after. Traveling, work, conferences…the next month was a whirlwind, and right before I got on the plane at Cleveland to head back to Seattle, I submitted my slides for the talk.

“Shit, well, that’s happening.”

On September 17, I listened to 6 amazing people go up on stage and give their Ignite talks before me. I started to lose focus. I had to remember to breathe.

I made it on stage without tripping, grabbed the microphone from Scott Berkun and then was transformed into a Charlie Brown cartoon. My own words sounded like the teacher’s garbled speech, the audience like the background drawings that stay still. I made the mistake of glancing down at my slides once, and it threw me off. I glanced up at one point and noticed my friend’s husband in the back row (but didn’t focus enough to see her.) Three of my lovelies were in the audience that day, plus a few of my friends watching at home.

Once I got off the stage, I sat down. One of the other speakers gave me a hug. I grabbed my phone. There was one more speaker between me and intermission. I tried to hold back the tears. My friends were posting funny screenshots of the live stream on my Facebook. I smiled through the tears that inevitably came down my cheeks. At intermission, my friends found me to give me a hug.

“Did I say words? Were they in English?”

Audience members came up to me, thanking me for my bravery. For sharing my story. The guy who was in charge of the slides told me that I was right on point – I must’ve practiced meticulously.

I remembered that there were 800 people in the audience that night. My knees buckled.

A good friend asked me what made me choose to share my story – this story – now. I told him that it was time. The reason I hadn’t shared it is because I’d been scared, but I have bigger fears I tackle every single day to survive.

Besides, I said I wanted to do more public speaking. What better way to start by ripping my heart out and leaving it on the stage for the world to see?

 

I’m Needy. So Are You. And That’s OK.

maslow“I’m needy. You know this.”

This is something I tell my friends often. When I meet new people, I warn them about my neediness, because I know it’ll come up. My friends know this all too well about me, and they fully accept it.

“You are, but it’s OK,” they tell me.

Of course, there’s a level to my neediness. There have been days I feel an extra surge of insecure energy surrounding my psyche, and if it’s a day I have plans, I no longer hide from it. Read more I’m Needy. So Are You. And That’s OK.

What You Should Know About Dating Writers

*I have been seeing so many pieces circulate the web on how to date a girl who writes, how to love a girl who reads, etc. This was my reaction to them.  There is a reason it’s written in the first person and not as a sweeping generalization. The beauty of us who cherish words is that we each approach our love and passions differently. So yes, find a girl who reads and writes, but then take the time to find out why. This is my take on what you should know about dating a writer.*

I am that girl who always has a book or a notebook in hand, even when I’m having a beer at a bar, because I never know when inspiration will strike. The thing is, while I’m overflowing with the desire to express myself, the words don’t come so easily.

Writing is how I process the world. It’s how I validate my life. It may be surprising for you to find that writing is how I figure out my own feelings. Because it’s how I can separate my own thoughts from the overwhelming impulse to put everyone else’s feelings before mine.

I’m a talker, for sure, but I’m a better listener. I listen. I process. I don’t blow smoke up your ass. Sometimes, you might get an email from me hours, or days after a conversation, because I can finally articulate my thoughts and feel that you should know them, even if you have already moved on. It’s my way of showing you that I listened – even if I couldn’t reply right away.

I read. I consume books. I lose myself constantly in literary worlds but to be honest? There is a good chance I won’t want to talk to you about it. Unless we’ve both read the same book. Then maybe I’ll want to spend some time discussing our favorite moments and if we’ve re-read the book over the years, how many different nuances we’ve noticed in the writing. Other than that? Reading is a personal experience to me. Don’t expect to spend hours and hours talking about literature. But then again, sometimes I’ll be so moved, I’ll want to share it with you. I’m all over the place like that.

I do need you to understand that it’s hard for me to get into the groove of writing, so when I do, don’t interrupt me. Walk by and give me a kiss on the forehead, but don’t try to talk to me. Don’t ask me how it’s going. More than likely, when I’m ready, I’ll ask you if I can read it out loud to you. Let me do that. Just listen. If you want to make suggestions, wait until I’ve finished. Ask me if you can have a copy of it to read in your own time.

I want you to read my writing, because it’s the best way to understand me but it’s not the only way. It’s scratching the surface so don’t be afraid to talk to me. Don’t make the mistake of assuming you will know me inside and out just because you’ve read through my blogs. I will ask you random questions. I want you to ask me questions and I want you to challenge me. There is so much stirring under the surface and sometimes, it’s only through unrestrained exchanges that I can reach the “a-ha” moments of my own life.

Understand that I write about almost everything that happens in my life, in its own time, but that doesn’t mean I don’t respect the sanctity of our privacy. Because it’s hard for me to express myself, sometimes you’ll get a text message from me with my thoughts. I don’t want to discuss it over text. I want you to know where my head is but I want you to look me in the eye when we talk about it. I have a hard time starting the conversation in person – I get tongue-tied. I ramble on. Let me ramble. Don’t interrupt, because it was nearly impossible for me begin talking in the first place.

When you come in to my home, you will see books and notebooks scattered everywhere. That part of the cliche is all too true for me. I will never give up my love for the ability to hold a book in my hand and turn its pages. I will never trade in my library card. Don’t even think about leaving me unsupervised in a book store, because you won’t see me for hours and my bank account will take a hit.

I’m a girl who reads and who writes, but I’m not a cliche. I’m just me – full of never-ending passion for the most random things in life. You won’t find me obsessing over sonnets or the classical literature. I just cherish words.

So talk to me. Be honest and open. Share your passions. Be prepared to be challenged and be willing to challenge me.

That’s all you really need to know about dating me. The rest? Well, we’ll figure that out together.

I LOVE…Fridays: Week 26

Temporary look until I fix the coding on my main theme.

Administrative note: If you have me on your blogroll, please make sure that you have updated it to reflect the new URL…also, if you don’t…why the hell not? And resubscribe to my feed. Just sayin.

Ah…another week, another Friday…

I LOVE…that I will be lying on the beach in 24 hours…Ahhhh…

I LOVE…that we had a wicked awesome housewarming party last week…and I LOVE that I finally got to ‘meet’ people that I’ve known for years through C-Pants & Claudine. (I really shouldn’t have eaten the fruit!)

I LOVE…that our TV has been broken all week so we’ve had pretty chill, quite nights at home.

I LOVE…listening to Tim play the guitar after a long day.

I LOVE…laughing till I cry…over and over again.

I LOVE…walking around the city. I love this city so much, it’s insane.

I LOVE…that I’m finally starting to get my confidence back…and be the person that I used to be…that got buried under insecurities and fears.

I LOVE…sticking to my guns and speaking my mind.

I LOVE…my dad. I really do.

I LOVE…that I get my baby back from the shop next week. I don’t even care that I will be broke for the next two weeks…I just want my baby back.

I LOVE…that I will be taking classes online again soon…God, I’m a nerd but I love it.

I LOVE…that Dean Koontz has a new book out (Sitting next to me RIGHT NOW).

I LOVE…sitting on the couch at 2 AM when the rest of the house is sleeping and having the cats keep me company.

I LOVE…that I finally finished my first short story ever. And yes…you will have a chance to purchase it once the cover art is finished. (But it’ll be really cheap, I promise.)

I LOVE…just how AMAZING my friends are.

I LOVE…not settling. I know what I deserve and fuck if I’ll settle for anything less anymore.

I LOVE…taking a $58 pair of jeans to the register to find out that they are only $14.50.

I LOVE…trying new things…Like rock climbing and facing my fears.

I LOVE…that I’ve made the decision to start going to the gym.

I LOVE…planning girl’s night out.

I LOVE…Poopin Cat. Poopin Cat is my favorite.

I LOVE…that I’m going to the beach. Did I already say that?

I LOVE…my Tumblr.

I refuse to write a post about Michael Jackson. If you want, you can read my comments on f.B and Wicked‘s blogs…but I will say this. Black or White was one of the defining songs & video of my childhood and who I am today. Nothing…NOTHING will change that. No matter what, how can you deny the significance of the message that is being conveyed in this song/video?

Michael Jackson(black or white)

Protection
For Gangs, Clubs
And Nations
Causing Grief In
Human Relations
It’s A Turf War
On A Global Scale
I’d Rather Hear Both Sides
Of The Tale
See, It’s Not About Races
Just Places
Faces
Where Your Blood
Comes From
Is Where Your Space Is
I’ve Seen The LIGHT
Get Duller
I’m Not Going To Spend
My Life Being A Color

RIP
David Carradine
Ed McMahon
Farrah Fawcett
Michael Jackson
The victims of the DC Metro crash.

I hope everyone has a great weekend and remember…You shouldn’t wait for One More Day before you tell your loved ones how much they’re appreciated.

Looking Back At The Remedy

“This post is a part of 20SB’s Looking Back Blog Carnival, and Ben & Jerry’s is awarding free ice cream to lucky bloggers and readers!”

This post was originally written on September 15, 2008

Five years ago, on a breezy September morning, an 18 year old girl drove into the nation’s capital during rush hour traffic. With her windows down and music blaring, she was full of adrenaline. All her hard work had paid off and now she was starting her new life as a college student. Full of hopes and dreams, plans that have been in the making for years, she wondered if she could make it. The next four years of her life was set. Finish her undergraduate years and then move on to law school. Naturally, she’d be working as well…The only thing she had to fear now was losing her scholarship…and surely that wouldn’t happen if she just kept working as hard.

Her first semester went on without a hitch. Dean’s list, 17 credits, 2 jobs. She’d found her rhythm…She thought that she wouldn’t need a remedy because nothing was poisoned…

Now five years later, when I drive into the same city, I’m not that naive girl who thought that as long as she worked hard, things would be OK. I didn’t count for the fact that I would run out of steam or that I would fall in love…nor did I count on the fact that I wouldn’t graduate on time because for once in my life, I’d have to take a break for me. I didn’t count for the circumstances or the struggles that I had to live through and I certainly didn’t count on the fact that I would be strong enough to take on the obstacles and steer my life in the right direction.

Five years ago, I thought that I would be in law school right now, halfway across the country.

Instead, I’m still driving into the city early in the morning, only to go to my full time job. I don’t have my scholarship or diploma but I still have my determination. As long as I’m determined, I will get that degree. Looking back at the past 5 years, or even just 3 years, I can see the tangible change in me, my soul and my dreams. I am still the same overachiever who wants to accomplish 124 things before I die but my perspective on life has changed.

I’ve learned that I’m allowed to make mistakes.
I’m allowed to be selfish once in a while.
I’m allowed to change my mind.
I’m allowed to give myself time to heal.
I’m allowed to be loved and cherished.
I’m allowed to let go…

Life is ever changing. It’s good to have plans but it’s also important to be flexible and sure of your own capabilities enough to mold your life with the changes that come your way.

I refuse to live with “What if”s which is why I usually take risks but I was thinking about the What Ifs of the past 5 years…What if I hadn’t had the obstacles thrown my way…

I wouldn’t have been in pain.
I wouldn’t have had my breakdowns.
I wouldn’t have had to let go of my dreams.
I wouldn’t still be here, trying to finish up my degree

But then again…

I wouldn’t have met my amazing friends who are now such a huge part of me.
I wouldn’t have discovered what it meant to write for an audience.
I wouldn’t have found my voice.
I wouldn’t have started this site.

I wouldn’t be who I am today.

So sure…I am not where I wanted to be in my life at 23…but you know what? I’ve come further in so many directions that one little detour has actually brought me to a point where I am incredibly happy, fulfilled with a long, incredibly journey ahead of me. Thank you for being a part of it…whether you’ve been with me for years or weeks.

This was triggered when I heard the song “The Remedy” the other day…the same song that was playing on the radio on that September morning five years ago…


Do you have a “trigger” song that reminds you of a significant time of your life? How have you dealt with the curve balls of life? What has been your “remedy”?

For One More Day

Yesterday, there was the worst Metro accident in DC history… (My heart and prayer goes out to the loved ones of the deceased and the injured)

Everyone naturally said “This is a reminder for us to appreciate the people we love.”

Why is it that only tragedy gives us the reminder to appreciate the people we are blessed to have in our lives? Shouldn’t we do that everyday?

I do my damn best to do it everyday. So I seem crazy mushy or super needy or clingy or I’ve been called fake…because I show people I appreciate them. As often as I can. Even if it’s just a little ‘Hello’ or ‘Smile’…

(The rest of this blog, I wrote in April, 2008…It felt fitting to post it here today)

Charlie Daniels:

A brief candle; both ends burning
An endless mile; a bus wheel turning
A friend to share the lonesome times
A handshake and a sip of wine
So say it loud and let it ring
We are all a part of everything
The future, present and the past
Fly on proud bird
You’re free at last.

written en route to the funeral for his friend, Ronnie Van Zant of the band, Lynyrd Skynyrd.

I was hit by death early on in my life…In fact, before I was even born. My grandfather died three years prior to my birth…before meeting any of his grandchildren. I grew up, only knowing him through those black & white pictures and stories that my mom and aunts told of him. I felt deprived that he wasn’t physically in my life but his words were a cornerstone of the foundation of who I am today.

Growing up, I had a great uncle who was like a grandfather to me…he filled that void as best as he could. His real grandson was one of my cousins who loved pulling my hair…and because he always had a shaved head, I couldn’t get revenge for the pain that my pretty little head endured. Though we grew up in different cities, we were close. I still remember his giggle like it was yesterday. His life was cut short when he was killed in a freak accident on the first day of school. He was either 6 or 7…I was 5 or 6. He died instantly and our grandfather had to wait by his body until the ambulances could get there. Our grandfather died of a heart attack just a few months later. I was 6 and I knew of death. I had lost two of the most precious people in my life and I kept a picture of my cousin close to me all my life. His mother gave birth to a son a year or two later…he was named after his big brother he could never meet. How I wish that his mother could have one more day to hold her first born in her arms…

What would you do with one more day with a lost loved one?

I’ve been thinking about this since I read For One More Day by Mitch Albom.

I began thinking about the people I’ve lost…Who would I want one more day with? What would I say? I’ve lost two great aunts in the last year and half…the most recent one being the widow of my “grandfather” who died shortly after his grandson’s death. Long years passed and I guess heartbreak can only be held off for so long…

Then I began people who used to be in my life…who are still alive but in my past. Would I want a day with any of them? No…they are in my past for a reason and if I really wanted…I could track them down. There are no lost words between me and anyone who is in my past. This is why I am so adamant and passionate about those in my now…I don’t want you guys to ever doubt who I am & the place you hold in my life. Hindsight is 20/20 but I’m working on bettering my vision so that I don’t have to look back.

I only have one thing to say to anyone who is in my past who may have gotten there on a “bad” note. I forgive you. I forgive you for any pain you may have caused me…and I apologize for any I’ve caused you…knowingly or unknowingly. I try to be very careful with my words, even in fights because I don’t believe in hurting on purpose…no matter how upset we may be. So I’m sorry if I caused you any pain…and I forgive you for the hurt you caused me.

When you hold resentment toward another, you are bound to that person or condition by an emotional link that is stronger than steel. Forgiveness is the only way to dissolve that link and get free. ~~Catherine Ponder

So back to the question…who would be that one person for me? The answer has always been clear…my grandfather. I would hold him in my arms, knowing that in 24 hours, I’d have to let go again. I would just sit there and listen to him. We would go to the park so that he could push me on the swings. We’d walk hand in hand, just taking in the moment. I would look at him…taking in the meaningfulness of his eyes, how genuinely he smiles, his laugh…every line on his face…So that I would never forget. What would I say to him?

“I love you. I hope I’ve made you proud.”

Why is it that we only realize the value of our lives…and those around us after it’s too late? Remember…death is certain. Make sure that you make every moment of every day count.

“The most important thing in life is to learn how to give out love, and to let it come in. Let it come in. We think we don’t deserve love, we think if we let it in, we’ll become too soft. But a wise man Levine said it right. He said ‘Love is the only rational act.'”
~ Morrie Shwartz, Tuesdays with Morrie

So tell me…if you had one more day with someone…dead or alive…Who would it be? What would you say and/or do?

Like A Telegraph To Your Soul

As I felt myself unravel in front of people that I just met Saturday night, I realized that I haven’t been the strong, independent person everyone seems to think I am for years…It’s been years since I’ve lived for myself and acknowledged the things I want to do with my life…

And now that I have the opportunity, I don’t know HOW.

I know how to take care of others. I know how to encourage those around me to go after their dreams. I know how to help them through their insecurities. I know how to make someone feel appreciated. I know how to push others to the top. I know how to please others and I am the best for feeling guilty about something that is not my fault.

I keep making promises to myself that I’ll be stronger, better, confident…I keep promising myself that I am not being selfish and it’s OK for me to move on with my life. I keep telling myself that but I don’t know how to accept it.

I don’t know how to go after what I want. I don’t know how to be OK with being happy because there is always someone in my life feeling unhappy and I feel that I shouldn’t be happy unless they’re OK. I feel like I can’t be independent and strong because that’s wrong…or at least wrong for me.

I feel like I’m TOO passionate, TOO caring, TOO hopeful. I don’t know how to feel things any other way. I don’t want to have to tone myself down for people because they might not understand that this is who I am.

I feel like I should go after what I want…but then I get pulled back because I’m stretched too thin.

It’s time to find who I am…again. It’s time to define who I am and how I want to live my life…even if it’s NOT who others want me to be…

I deserve nothing less than consistency.
I deserve nothing less than respect.
I deserve nothing less than affection.
I deserve nothing less than loyalty.
I deserve nothing less than anything I put my heart into.
I deserve nothing less than to be surrounded by people who accept me and encourage me to follow my heart.
I deserve nothing less than happiness.

“We don’t wish for the easy stuff. We wish for big things. Things that are ambitious, out of reach. We wish because we need help and we’re scared and we know we may be asking too much. We still wish, though, because sometimes they come true.” – Grey’s Anatomy

Woes of Financial Aid

Every year, it’s the same. Fill out forms, follow up with Financial Aid, curse them out under my breath, re-fill out the forms and hope that the financial aid will go through…

Since I lost my scholarship, I’ve been going to school based on how much I can afford to pay, what classes are being offered and whether or not I can work the classes around my work schedule…so my dealings with GW Financial Aid have become scarce but even more of a pain…but I’ve been patient. I know to follow through, make sure I had in all of my paperwork and get on their asses till it gets processed.

This year, something was different. I turned in my paperwork on time for the Spring semester and waited a week for it to be processed as ‘received’…Imagine my surprise when I called to follow up and I was directed to a call center.

“Your files are in the DC office.”
“But I dialed the DC number.”
“We are not in DC”

So I went down to the office to find out that they lost all of my paperwork. ALL OF IT. Have you filled out any financial aid paperwork? Do you know what a pain it is? Lesson: Always make copies. ALWAYS. Stash them everywhere. Preferably in a fireproof box.

So I re-submit my paperwork and repeat. This time, I find out that they have switched to a new imaging system where they scan in all the paperwork…and they are missing only SOME of my paperwork. Basically, I submit everything completely and they screw up and do selective scanning.

At this point, it’s around May…the semester is almost over and GW Banner is still telling me that my requirements are ‘incomplete’.

“Call us back in a week…We’re still scanning in paperwork from April.”

“Call us back in a week. We just started on May.”

So I called on Monday because GW Banner was still screaming “INCOMPLETE”.

“Well, we don’t have your paperwork. Is this for 2009-2010?”
“No..this is for Spring 2009…And I submitted my paperwork back in January and they’ve been lost 2 times by your office.”
“I’m sorry but I don’t see…Let me transfer you to an account manager.”
(Wtf is this, Macy’s Customer Service?)
*cheesy hold music that I’ve come to loathe*
“This is Linda, Can I help you?”
“Yes, I was just transferred to you. Were you given information about my issue?”
“No, just your GW Student ID. Let me take a look. We seem to be missing paperwork.”
*NO, REALLY?*
“Yes, because my paperwork was lost by your office and I had to resubmit so my loan hasn’t been processed.”
“Well, it’s actually past the deadline for you to qualify for a loan for the Spring semester…”
*blink blink breathe*
“That may be but I submitted everything on time. I can’t get penalized because your office screwed up.”
“I’m just not seeing…Wait, let me check something out.”
*tap tap tap*
“Oh. Well. There they are.”
“Were they in a wrong semester?”
“Yes…all your paperwork was scanned in for 2009-2010.”
“Even though the forms say 2008-2009 on them.”
“Yes. Well. Wow. That is definitely our mistake.”
*blink blink breathe*
“So, what do I need to do now to get the paperwork processed properly.”
“Well, as far as a loan goes, I can’t do anything for you…”
*BREAAAAAAATHE because she seems like a nice lady and I don’t want to scream at her*
“…I think I’m just going to have to give you a grant.”
“And how much would the grant cover?” *Now, I’m thinking 2…maybe 3 grand*
“Well…you owe us $7415.98…The grant would cover $7400…and you’d just have to pay the $15.98.”
“I’m sorry…how much?”
“$7400. Since this was definitely our screw up, there is no way we can penalize you.”
“Wow, thank you so much. ”
“Of course…I’m sorry that you had to deal with so much pain. I’m sure it’s been frustrating.”
“To say the least…I really appreciate all your help Linda…When can I expect the grant to go through?”
“By the end of the week.”
“Thank you AGAIN.”

I checked my account and there it was…within in the hour…Beautiful number of $7400…

A special thanks to Linda for being so helpful, incredibly patient and understanding. If it wasn’t for her, I might’ve had to burn down their pretty new offices…(No, not really but in my head)

See…what GW Financial Aid needs to realize is that instead of screwing up and paying their employees to spend hours on the phone with complaining students, they should get their act together.

Now, if they want to keep screwing up and continue to give me a free ride until I graduate…I won’t complain.

They already own the soul of my first-born. They’ll be using my blood as ink on my diploma…

But I will get that diploma if it’s the last thing I do.


Alright…bring it…We’ve all had our share of Financial Aid and form frustrations…Share your stories!

Welcome To My Brand New Day

This weekend was nothing short of amazing.  I woke up this morning with a smile on my face, not just for one reason but many. After an emotionally charged week, Sunday was even more emotional.  A weight was lifted off my shoulders, communication was established and the secrets were exposed…I thought moving out was the hardest thing I’ve ever done & I’d won the battle…

It wasn’t until I had the most candid conversation with my Dad that I realized I was fighting a losing war until I let go of ALL of my fears, let the truth come out and let the chips fall where they may.

The outcome is that I have an even better relationship with my dad, I feel free and I haven’t felt this carefree in my entire life.

Back to the weekend?

Friday night was pretty awesome…C-Pants and I did some grocery shopping, I ordered my first Chinese food dinner in the city (Hey, I have been very good all week) and watched Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels with a deprived boy who’d never seen that movie before.

Saturday, I woke up super early (even though I didn’t get much sleep Friday night) and drove to MD to meet with the gang to watch The Hangover. I’ve been waiting for this movie to come out for MONTHS! It was better than I expected, and Zach Galifianakis may just be my new hero. Pumpernickel wrote an awesome review of it, which was quoted in the Express BlogLog.

After the movie, we walked around the lake and chatted for a bit. Around 3, I headed back to DC to get ready to drive out to VA to finally spend time with the bestie in her element and meet my ‘extended family’. Nirmal came out too, which was awesome because my best friend of 10 years met my best friend of 4 years. The result? A lot of hating on me and a lot of That’s What She Said moments…When I told them about my Starbucks order, Nirmal asked me why the 6 pumps of white mocha…When I explained that the usual drink has 5 pumps in it, he said “It’s the extra pump that goes a long way!” to which I replied with “That’s what SHE said…” and that was only one of the moments from the entire night.

The best had to be when I was talking about how I keep getting lost…and that it took me an hour to get out of the city to get to VA because I somehow ended up in Prince George’s County, which was in the wrong state, I felt a bulky object in my hand. (TWSS) I looked down to see a GPS, looked up to see Meg’s bro-in-law who had just placed it in my hand and he said “Here. I just upgraded mine so you can have this.”

o.O

You’re damn right if you guessed that I used that sucker on my way back to the city.

Sunday morning, I woke up to find the roomies (minus Tim) on the couch watching Law & Order…and joined them till about 12 when I finally decided to just head home and deal with whatever it was coming my way. *See beginning of blog* I got home to find ALL the roomies at home and it was the first night we all spent the night together because everyone is finally moved in. We watched How to Make Friends & Alienate People, drank beer in the back while talking about dreams, sleep walking, deja vu and high school memories. Came back inside to watch the movie again and all 7 of us (roomies plus 2 guests) sat on the couch and had one of the greatest nights of my life.

I love my roomies. I really do. And it’s the beginning of the rest of my life…

I couldn’t be happier. DC…you better be ready for me.

Of course, what made the weekend even more amazing was the text messages…starting Saturday morning and keeping me smiling all weekend.

Discoveries of the weekend: Mike’s Hard Lemonade (Cranberry and Pomegranate are the best.), How awesome a GPS is,  the joy of being free, how incredible my best friend really is, the feeling of having a constant smile on my face, & that I’m a cuddler when sharing a bed.

Sting – Brand New Day

I now bring you the greatest super star in the history of super stars…Watch this, worship her and never ever stop reading her blog.

I’m A Young Soul In This Very Strange World

Three suitcases packed standing against a barren wall covered in cracks and scratches…AC unit blowing air into an almost empty room in the middle of the night while the rest of the house is silent…Even the animals are at rest…

And here sits a girl, trying to make all of this real. Because right now, this just feels like a vacation that is almost too good to be true and if I go to sleep, then I will just wake up back in my bed at home…staring at my posters, hitting snooze on my alarm clock hoping that today will be bearable. Day after day, everything stays the same and then one day…

Everything is different.

Can this be real?

I won’t know until my room is fully clean, my bags are unpacked and the walls are filled with my memories and things that make me happy.

The other side of my wall, I can’t hear my brother whispering to his girlfriend how much he loves her. He isn’t there to say good night to me…or to laugh at how much he bugs me sometimes. I won’t hear a knock at my door just as I’m trying to fall asleep…because he needs my headphones. He’s now a phone call away…the phone call he’s reluctant to answer now because I know he’s hurting and I know he misses me. I’ve only been gone two nights and I miss him like an amputee misses their phantom limbs.

I wish I could stay…I wish I could be home and make it work but it wasn’t working. In the last two days, I’ve been able to talk to my mom on the phone without any tension. I can pick up the phone to talk to her without worrying about her pissing me off…or blowing up at her…because being home everyday to listen to her, even knowing she’s unstable…it was wearing me down.

We needed this. We need this.

I do feel selfish because I spent the day cleaning this house. I hung out with my roommates watching a movie at the end of the day. I laughed and I was carefree.

I miss my brother. I do miss my dad clicking away at his Poker game on his laptop while I’m watching TV. I miss my mom napping in the other room. I do.

But I also need to find myself. I need to be the daughter they deserve instead of a daughter who resents being home.

I hope that this will help my mom and I be close again. I hope that this will force my brother to spend more time with my parents instead of locking himself in his room. I hope that my absence makes them a family again by bringing them closer.

So I’ll try to fall asleep in this bed that doesn’t feel mine just yet in a house that feels like our vacation home in Turkey…and wake up to the first page of the next chapter in my life…or back to the first page of the endless chapter of my never ending nightmare.