12 7 / 2013

Today

Today is a weird day. Today is a sad day. Today is a confusing day. 

One year ago my best friend called me 5 times while I was in the middle of play rehearsal, I couldn’t fathom what was so important. Until she texted me. 

"My dad died."

The next few moments were a blur. I threw off the headset that connected me to my stage manager, managed to blurt out what had happened and that I needed to go, and ran out. 

I remember standing in the parking lot, calling her. She was sobbing, obviously, all I got out of her was that I should come over. 

I snuck into the quiet theater to grab the car keys from my dad, silently explaining why I so desperately need to leave. He wanted me to wait, so he could drive me. In hind sight, I probably should have let him. 

I barely remember driving to her house. I think I was just focusing on not sobbing. 

By the time I got there, Lindsey and her family had left to head to her dads house. 

I waited inside the house with her neighbor. I called my mom to let her know what was up. I texted a few friends. Processed a little more. 

When Lindsey was home, her neighbor let her know I was there and I went into the garage to greet her.

We held each other and cried together until someone with more sense led us into the house. 

There was more crying, mostly from Lindsey, her mother and myself. The men, just her brother and then boyfriend were there at the time, remained quiet and comforted us. 

Slowly people began to arrive. Mostly high school friends of Lindsey and I. Her brother’s girlfriend. Her mother’s friends. 

A lot of those memories were blurry. We sat. We cried. At some point we bucked up enough to tell stories about Bryan, Lindsey’s dad. 

But when the police arrived to ask a few question, the mood dropped again. You could see everyone’s mind churning as they remembered why we were all there.  

It wasn’t just to have a good time. A tragedy had occurred.

Everyone was there well into the early morning. By 1 or 2 a.m. everyone was heading to bed or leaving. 

Andrew, Lindsey’s boyfriend at the time, and myself were the only ones to stay the night. 

We all went through the motions and crawled into bed. It might normally seem weird to share a bed with your best friend and her boyfriend, but there were bigger things than worrying about that. 

We watched some stupid show “50 stupidest accidents” or “25 biggest goofs.” All I remember is laughing. Just trying to feel light instead of feeling the horrible events of the day.

At one point, Lindsey was in the bathroom and Andrew and I were in her room. Something he did made her  phone drop. He put it back together, except for the battery. He couldn’t find it. 

Lindsey laughed so hard at him for thinking she wouldn’t notice her phone battery missing. 

Seeing her smile, at a time such at that, was so beautiful. 

It was early in the morning, at least 3. But we remained awake, chatting, reminiscing, just laughing. The three of us barely got four hours of sleep that night.

By the time it was 8 a.m. we were awake. Remembering the mess yesterday had made. 

The rest of the day was filled with more visits from people, calls informing people what had happened. 

I’m devastated now just thinking of the call Lindsey and her mom made to her dads best friend. 

I stayed with Lindsey as long as I could. But I had to be back at the theater that night for opening night. I returned after the show and stayed the night with her again.

Over the next week there was a celebration of his life at Lindsey’s house, a funeral, many shopping trips to distract Lindsey. 

I don’t know why I wrote that. It’s probably not some of the best work I’ve done. But it’s some of the most necessary. 

A while after this happened, a teacher of ours from high school messaged me. She reminded me that while its important to be there for Lindsey, I have to remember to mourn for myself. 

It was strange to think that I needed to mourn too. He wasn’t my dad. 

But as time passed, I would think of Bryan’s death and become increasingly sad. Or be outrageously angry at him for leaving too soon. 

And then it made sense to me. He was a part of my life too. A part that just disappeared. 

I think writing this and sharing my perspective was just my way of finally mourning the loss of such a genuinely wonderful human being. 

Someone who always had a smile on his face. Someone who made great tacos. Who cheered up five high school seniors when every single one of their Homecoming dates bailed. Who took my prom photos. Someone who was supposed to be there to see my best friend graduate college. To walk her down the aisle. To be there. 

Today I will be there for Lindsey. I’ll bring her something if she needs it, I’ll give her space, I’ll text her words of encouragement whenever necessary.

But this post is for me. For all the things I can’t say out loud. For all the memories that constantly circle my head.

We miss you, Bryan.

RIP 7/12/12 

13 6 / 2013

An Out of Proportion Observation

At the beginning of the quarter I was sitting in the Viking Union, the student union here at WWU, and I overheard a conversation between a couple, that I quickly realized had ended their relationship somewhat recently. Now I’m not going to lie, this conversation was not so loud that I couldn’t help hearing, but the few snippets that I did pick up on were too interesting to not listen. Now, the parts I heard were very strange and also inspiring. I started writing this story immediately after hearing the couple speaking in the VU. Keep in mind, this is complete fiction. I made up the majority of this story; however there are bits and pieces from reality that really inspired me. I hope you enjoy!

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No better place to meet, thought Andrea, back where it all began. She sighs and takes in the memories that surround her as she enters the student union at Western Washington University.

Andrea can’t help but flashback to the story’s beginning, as she’s about to take part in the possible ending of it.

Upon their first meeting, Michael had perhaps witnessed what had been one of Andrea’s most trying moments at that point in her life.

She had never meant to scream at her professor, but the shock that she wouldn’t graduate on time due to one measly grade over took her. Michael found her in the student union as she was finally realized what she’d done.

Well really, she’d found him. She’d never tell Michael, but Andrea wasn’t sure he would have given her a second look if she hadn’t sunk down at the same table he was about to study at.

Maybe, Andrea thinks, those thoughts should have been an indicator that her relationship with Michael was not meant to be. Not supposed to be.

Andrea sits down at the very table that she first heard Michael’s voice. Her stomach flutters with nerves. It’s almost as if the sweet baby boy she carried three years ago is back in her belly.

Andrea shutters at the idea of telling Michael that the boy exists. A part of him and a part of her walking around on this earth and he has no idea.

It had been her idea to have this meeting today. Andrea felt it was finally right to tell Michael about his son. She had been scared to confront him, but it was time.

As Andrea runs through her speech one more time, she turns and sees Michael at a separate table. She’s not surprised that he chose a table different from the one that holds so much baggage for both of them.

“Hello,” Andrea opens with a deep breath, trying to shove down the butterflies.

“It’s good to see you,” Michael replies.

So far so good, Andrea thinks. He’s gained a little weight, and a few more wrinkles around the eyes. Maybe these past years have been as rough on him as they have been on her.

“Nice to see you too,” Andrea agrees.

Suddenly silence swells around the two of them. But, Andrea cannot ignore the look of concern that has come across his face.

“Is something on your mind?” Andrea reluctantly decides to ask.

“It’s just hard to see you,” he replies.

The silence returns, but Michael cuts it off shortly. “That came out wrong.”

“No, I get what you mean,” Andrea says. “It’s hard to see you too.”

She takes a deep breath, seeing this as her opportunity to begin.

“It’s been really hard since you left me, Michael,” Andrea starts.

“I just got really scared,” he cuts in.

“What?” She responds, thrown off by the interruption.

“I just wasn’t ready for the kind of commitment you wanted. You knew that, yet it seemed that I was forced more and more into a serious relationship.”

Andrea has now completely forgotten her original words. She takes a minute to gather her thoughts, so as to not scream in a public place.

“We were together for two years, Michael,” she says as calmly as she can. “We’re adults, a relationship lasting that long is bound to be serious.

“And I never forced you into anything. You stayed with me all that time; you could have left at any moment. Which you finally did, you just left while I was at work. This conversation is moot, anyways. You did what you needed to do and left me broken.”

Andrea finishes the monologue she never intended to have with the big breath. She hadn’t expected those words to come out of her mouth, now or ever.

“I’m fine. I’m sorry,” she says after a long pause. “I was over this upset a long time ago.”

“It’s fine, I guess I understand,” Michael stutters.

Andrea sighs and pushes back the desire to break down and cry. She realizes this is the moment to be brave and tell the truth.

“No, you don’t, Michael,” she barely lets the words escape her lips. “Because about nine months after you left I gave birth to a baby boy.”

Andrea sits silently, waiting for a response. She tries to read Michael’s face. There’s sadness and regret, but shock is nowhere near it. In fact, Andrea is sure shock is thrown across her face.

“I’ve actually known for some time,” Michael finally says.

Relief rushes over Andrea. He wasn’t completely oblivious to his son. He knew about the near carbon copy of himself. He knew.

It takes a few minutes for it to dawn on her. He knew. He knew he had a son.

“How long have you know?” She asks quickly.

Michael pauses, clearly nervous about his response.

“A year.”

“You’ve known a year? An entire year?”

Andrea realizes she’s yelling in a public space. Of course, being in public was her idea for this exact reason. She just didn’t think she would be the one shouting.

“So why haven’t I heard from you in the last 12 months?” Andrea says as calmly as she can.

“I dunno,” Michael says. “It just didn’t seem right.”

“You left me and didn’t even contact me when you found out I was raising your child. I think I deserve a little more explanation than ‘I dunno’”

“I don’t know! I didn’t want to come into and interrupt his life. Your life! I’d been gone for two years, it seemed wrong to spring my presence on either of you. Especially if I wasn’t going to stick around.

“I’m 25, Andrea. I’m not ready to be a dad. I’m still trying to figure out what I’m doing with my life. I have student loans, and a degree I’m not sure what I want to do with. I can’t be a dad. I’m not ready for that responsibility. I’m sorry if that’s why you asked to see me.”

“I wasn’t ready to be a mom. I was 22, I’d just graduated! But when that test came back positive, I did what I had to do. I had to be a parent. I had to take care of him. And I do it willingly, because he’s my son and I love him more than I thought possible.”

Andrea stands, unable to see the need to talk to Michael anymore.

“So, I think you’re right. If you were ready to be a dad, you wouldn’t really care about any of that other stuff. You’d only care about being there for him, everything else would come second. But, you’re still the same stubborn, immature guy I knew years ago.

“Part of me did hope this would be your chance to know him. But I see now I was wrong.  You won’t hear from me again. Goodbye Michael.”

She goes to walk away, when Michael calls her name.

“Andrea, wait,” he says.

She considers continuing to leave, but curiosity gets the best of her. Andrea turns around a looks to Michael.

“I don’t even get to know his name?” he asks.

“No, you don’t get to know the name of my son,” Andrea says sharply before walking away from this chapter of her past.

11 6 / 2013

FINALS WEEK

Wherein I look insane.

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06 6 / 2013

Rules I’ve Learned in College

I tell you more about my experience in college.

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28 5 / 2013

How to Pack for a Trip Home From College

I share my mad packing skills with the internet.

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21 5 / 2013

Questions!

In which I answer completely random questions and continue to make strange faces at the camera.

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13 5 / 2013

Being a Grown Up

This video got done really late this week after a crazy busy week. I basically freak out on camera. Enjoy.

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01 5 / 2013

Family and Friends

In this video, I share all about the glorious friends and family I’m surrounded by.

26 4 / 2013

A Long Time Coming

For the the longest time I’ve been wanting to start a vlog. Today, I finally sat down and did it. This won’t entirely take over my blog, but it will be a part of it.

Here it is, let me know what you think!

09 2 / 2013

The Journey of Friendship

One of my favorite things to do on train rides home is write. It’s such a relaxing setting that all I want to do is pour my heart onto a page, or in this case a screen.

On a whim I asked my best friend, Lindsey, what I should write about. She said herself. So now I will embark on the journey of writing about my friendship with Lindsey without crying in public. We’ll see how well that works out for me.

Lindsey and I met in fourth grade. I don’t actually remember this, but we were both involved in Madrona Children’s Theatre, so I’m sure we met around that time.

Our relationship didn’t escalate to more than acquaintances until 6th grade, when we liked the same boy. Being 11 years old, this was the end of my world. However, by 7th grade I was able to get over myself and form something of a friendship with her.

I say “something of a friendship,” because our relationship was very complicated for nearly fours years.

As it usually is for girls in their pre to early teens, everything about life was very dramatic. We’d be friends one minute and not the next. I wont get into the details of what happened, but it was an incredibly trying and difficult time for both of us. Teenage girls are very skilled at making each other miserable.

Finally by junior year of high school, we were able to put whatever differences we thought we had aside and become friends for good.

The strange, or maybe wonderful, part is that I think all the turmoil Lindsey and I put each other through has made us better friends in the long run.

Lindsey hasn’t just seen me as my usual sunshiny, delightful self. She’s seen me be horrible and mean and words I wish didn’t describe ways I’ve behaved. Those actions have even been towards her. But she loves me anyways and it makes us that much stronger.

Senior year of high school, both of us came to realize that we wouldn’t be seeing each other much in the coming year. I knew I was going to Western fairly early on, and it looked increasingly likely that Lindsey would go to school in Oregon.

On TV shows, where I get all my legitimate advice from, it had been made clear to me that friendships rarely lasted the distance that often comes with going away to college.

I pushed that thought out of my mind as I continued to count down the days until I graduated high school.

It only became very apparent to me that distance could grow between myself and someone I consider my sister, once she left for college, over a month before I would leave for Western.

Much to my surprise, in the year and half that Lindsey and I have been in college, we have grown even closer. Our every day text messages can range from one word texts that only we understand, to funny moments from our day, to pages of emotions being shared.

In April I experienced what I consider the hardest moment in my life. Even when I had to admit to Lindsey the mess that I had made, she was there for me. She listened to me sob on the phone. She’s stood by me as I’ve tried to piece my life and myself back together.

I think this was one of the most telling moments of our friendship. She had every right to be mad and disappointed in me. If she was, I saw no evidence of it. She was strong for me when I couldn’t be, all the way from another state.

That’s what I love about Lindsey the most. She is the strongest person I know. She’s in Salem, taking college by storm, maintaining a relationship with an incredible guy and supporting her friends and family. All while she’s mourning the loss of her father.

If that’s not strength, I don’t know what is. I’m so proud of her and inspired by her willpower to go on every day.

This is quickly getting very mushy, something I want desperately to avoid. So I will leave on this note:

I’ve known for a long time that my relationship with Lindsey would shape who I am. While it wasn’t always good experiences that influenced me, I am so grateful for everything I’ve been through with her. It’s made me into a stronger, more caring, and generally better person. I think that makes the bad times completely worth it.