John and I recently returned from a little getaway in Hiawassee up in the Blue Ridge Mountains just off the Appalachian Trail. What I thought was going to be simply a refreshing few nights with no cell service ended up being four nights where I just fell in love again. I fell in love with John all over again, I fell in love with the sweet morning sounds of birds and the crisp, fresh air of Hiawassee. We laid on the ground one night and just looked up and saw the Milky Way. It felt so close.
I can’t put a trip like this into words or pictures. And even if I become old and senile and forget the details of the trip, it’s okay. I’ve never felt so genuinely relaxed and happy, and I will remember that forever.
The ways that people take for granted the time they have with their best friends are so bountiful.
Going to dinner and texting other people the entire time. Blowing off plans for other friends/boys/girls. Not hugging them enough.
Sometimes I miss Sam so much it hurts. We never know when we will see each other again and the time we have always goes by too fast. I never get to ask her all the questions I think about. I never get to help her get ready for dates, or bullshit on a three-hour drive to no where. Those times we get to hang out are so sweet and so rare that whenever I look back at the few weeks we get to hang out some summers, all those memories are so dreamy, so hazy. It’s unreal.
I wish we could be bullshitting on the beach eating shitty Taco Bell at 1 a.m. “Pick the wildflowers,” we’d say.
Sometimes I have so much going on in my mind. We’ve known each other since we were babies. We were in diapers together. She understands me.
I wish I had dropped my African American thought class when my professor hadn’t replied to any of my emails two months in to the class. She had an illness and at the last minute stopped teaching. I might not pull an A, which only matters now that I’m taking the LSAT, but I feel like I missed out on learning so much. As I enter my last year of education, maybe ever, I just feel at a loss. The first time I have ever had regrets in my life is now, I should have gone to Beijing this summer and I should have taken more English classes that I enjoyed and I should have worked harder in Chinese and I should have done a women’s studies major, too. Now I’m at 100 credits, and my last 9 classes are picked out forever. They’re great journalism classes, they’re great Chinese classes, but I wanted more out of my $40,000 education than this.
People push me through life so fast. I have friends who are 28 and 29 just now finishing their undergrad, and I wish that were me. The way the system is set up is that your advisers discourage you to exceed 124 credits. And they’re right, the expensive education isn’t worth it after a point, but I just wanted more.
I’m taking a new position at the student newspaper in the Fall, but I don’t know how that will go. Very little of our content is life-changing. The pieces we have that could be impactful always fall short. I hope to go into my position and change lives by being helpful and encouraging instead of being another cog in the well-oiled, story-spitting machine. What does journalism mean if it’s shitty and boring?
I have worked all summer to provide only 10 pieces total. I feel like I’ve put hundreds and hundreds of hours into these stories and people for such a small number. But the beautiful thing about these 10 pieces, is that my life has been changed.
I’ve met beautiful people fighting against the bureaucracy. I’ve met Christian women who actively seek to help the needy. I’ve met old dudes who’ve made livings doing what they love. All these people have amazing stories, and that’s where my journalism has changed. I used to work so hard to make my writing the best part of the stories. But now I know that I am lucky to be writing these people’s amazing stories. Journalism is effortless when you are talking to a woman whose eyes glow mischievously while she paints a gourd that she is going to sell for hundreds of dollars.
I’m not the amazing part of the process. And that’s absolutely perfect.
At the coffee shop I see thousands of people each day, some old, some new. I know Miss Bonnie needs a tray for her small red eye and cup of ice because she’s on a walker until the end of the month. I know the White Mugs have specific drinks and are short about their orders, but because they have high stress jobs within the hospital. I know Tony was a cop in Chicago and used to drink a black eye with amaretto and cream then swish some Listerine to fuck with his cops friends and make them believe he was drinking at work.
But sometimes I see a mom crying when her son goes into surgery. I watch a dad quickly take out his son’s new hearing aide because of the loud echoes in the atrium. I see the poor and homeless wait for hours for health care because they can’t afford to see a doctor until they’re dying.
I think what I hate about journalism is the people on the inside. They’re greedy for bylines and good stories and don’t care about lives and the people in the stories. They ask the wrong questions and don’t listen.
People are wrapped up in themselves. That’s always how it’s been, I guess. I hear my friends complain about a stressful test when I hear my other friends joke about dodging bombs on their deployment. I see people drink themselves asleep on bad nights and people who struggle to overcome hardships with positive outlooks. I see people who let life get the best of them, and I see people who relish in life.
Mostly, I wonder where I am on the spectrum.
"While I agree with your point, Josephine, capitalism is an unjust ideal and it won’t work anymore"
panicking about (who knows what, really) so I am organizing my schedule for the next 6 months and double checking that all my classes for fall are doable and applying for a new part time job and preparing to apply for real person jobs because I start applying to those in october!! wow i am not a real person yet!!
In December between Christmas and the new year, John and I went to the cabin on the border of Georgia and North Carolina nestled in the beginning (or end depending on who you are) of the Appalachian mountains. The closest town was Hiawassee, a Cherokee word meaning meadow, and to get cell phone service you had to drive out for 20 minutes. Every day we would cook and every night we would have a fire. It was cold but not harsh and the skies were that dark, rolling gray that was only designed to be the perfect backdrop to dense, green forests. Cows walked in and out of creeks of mountain water. Huge wild hares jumped in and out of the roads, which themselves were molded to be a part of the mountain.
That is the perfect life I want to go back to. That is the perfect life I want to have.
I can’t sleep thinking about the simplicity. And when I can’t sleep, I close my eyes and see the trees.
some girls have boobs that are wonderful and round and full
and some girls have boobs because biologically you are supposed to and there’s nothing else to them
I think the weird number junction between being a teenager and adult holds a lot of meaning to a lot of people. “It’s my last year as a teenager.” I haven’t felt “like a teenager” ever because I don’t know what it is to be carefree as a byproduct of my anxiety. I’m doing everything I can to enjoy my life while putting my cards in line to make “becoming an adult” easier. But at the same time, I don’t even care. I want to work hard to make my workplace a better environment, but I know that in the long run, my influence is going to disappear. I know I need to work at a newspaper but I know that I need money. But does money even matter that much? How little can I survive on and how do I get that while still being happy? But why am I even worrying?
I’m at such an interesting intersection of my life right now. I turn 20 in September, take the LSAT a few weeks later, apply to adult jobs in November, graduate in May and then what?