First Christmas home

I have never been so busy in my life. When I say busy, I mean exhausted. In the past, I’ve had plenty of time to sleep or pursue my interests, or even just go a day without putting make up on. I did not realize how spoiled I was. Working various part time jobs may have impacted my paycheck, but it always left me with this feeling that I hadn’t reached my “peak” yet; there was more to be done on the horizon.

Now, I have this great full-time opportunity at an amazing nonprofit and I’ve come to realize a few things:

  • I need to work freelance
  • I hate working 9-5
  • I’d like to make more money
  • If this weren’t a temporary position before going to grad school, I wouldn’t be here long

But I also love my job. I love the people I work with. I love doing what I do. I really really love my job. I also love that this is temporary and directional.

I would like to keep in mind that I’ve been going to school full-time and working full-time and completing grad school apps all at once. Going forward, I’ve completed my degree (as of this week), and submitted my first application. I submit my second (and 1st choice school) in the next week or so. That’s 2/4 schools done. My next submissions aren’t until February. I’m so grateful and happy. I used the “future memory” of graduation to get me through these last few months and boy, now that it’s here, it’s exactly what I thought it would feel like.

The best news is that my mom is experiencing her first set of holidays home.

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I think because I’ve never known what I was missing, I just sort of assumed the holidays would always suck. I assumed that every awkward gathering would always be awkward. I assumed that every visit would be a full-blown interrogation. This year is already different. There are no uncomfortable, direct questions about her. My life has suddenly become my own.

What’s stranger still is that I’ve been enlightened to how cool my family is and I never knew that before. Last night after we went to my brother’s grandparent’s house, in the car ride home, I was able to ask her about the bloodline relationships that had never made sense to me. She told me stories about my hard-ass relatives that made me laugh and smile. Suddenly, those 2D people became dynamic characters in my life story. I’ve already got mental plans to ask them to lunch. I’m curious to know them better.

I’d never before understood how vital family history is to personal identity. It amazes me how incomplete I felt before she got home, all the ways I’d tried to fill myself up or redefine who I was. It makes sense why I felt the urge to do that now. I really was missing something I couldn’t understand. My holiday gifts have been invaluable this year.

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2:28am

Obligations
Affiliations
Incarceration
Connotation
Bureaucracy and blurred red lines
Sharpness of indecency
I hate this need to fight authority
My stupid desire to break the rules
Has more power over me than I do
This strange contradiction
Fuels my conviction
And I’m faced over and over
The whisper of memories fade
Replaced by rage
I’m not angry

My neck keeps shaking
My Russian teachers always made me cry

I hated bending and twirling
As long as they were there
I knew only good and bad
No compromise

I’m so very clearly there
Pick and choose the parts that make sense
My family says it’s easier to digest
I’m not craving
The Buddha says
But his golden body glows
I’ll swipe green across canvas
And spend hours on circles and spirals and waves
Tiny little pencil marks
One thing out of place
Daylight balance, warm tone, cool
Wipe clean the rules

In a field where the human condition
Is the one and only true theme,
Why did I stick myself in a place
Where identity is destroyed
And smiles quickly employed
And evil ovals stare at me
Across the plastic tables
“Not excused, sorry but that doesn’t count, you’ll still have to pay”
Okay.

2:17am

As I struggle with my own identity over the last few months, I realize that I was so frustrated by being marginalized with my community. People kept seeing me as a person I didn’t associate with directly. I thought sure, maybe there is some overlap but that’s not representative of me completely; there’s more than meets the eye. I realize now that being marginalized is actually way better because it allows me to remain somewhat out of reach. I can pick and choose which part of my community I associate with and which part I don’t. It’s nice because it’s safer there. I have more freedom to flow freely between circles. There is no group with one claim on me. That’s a double edged sword sometimes because it means I hear about things late sometimes but I make an in impression on people so there’s always someone who remembers. In many ways, it’s that same alienation that allows me to stand out. I think it’s silly that this all occurs to me as I’m browsing on amazon for a laptop cover. As a student, it’s those choices that will define how my friends and peers see me. Do I choose to blend in, or stand out? Or is it more so a question of accepting who I’m already perceived to be?

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