Yesterday, I hung out with my friend Lisa, and this morning, I received a letter from Sarah in the mail. I've decided to write about both of these things because they've filled me with some much needed good energy. And I think that good energy should always be shared.
My mom has been driving me crazy lately. She's a lot more conservative than I am, and in the past few weeks, has been picking fights with me more than usual. I won't go into too much detail, but I get the feeling that she's disappointed in me for not graduating on time, and just wants me to grow up already. And by "grow up" she means "realize that being so freaking liberal isn't a good idea."
Which is ironic, because now that I've transferred to an urban university in one of the most liberal cities in America and picked up a major in women's studies, I've got even more fuel inside of me than usual. So we clash. And it's especially hard, because we live together.
So I've made a point of surrounding myself with people who are sources of good energy. Like Lisa and Sarah. They have done me a world of good. I'm so lucky.
Lisa and I met last year at SVSU, right before I transferred to Wayne State. She was working at Starbucks on campus, and I was hanging out there, doing homework or whatever. It was a Friday and the place was pretty dead, so she came over from behind the counter to tell me that she liked my shoes. Then she added that she'd seen me hanging out there a lot, and had actually admired a lot of my outfits. She told me that she found my creativity really refreshing, because she thought that Saginaw tended to drain the life out of people.
My response was something like, "Well, it's funny that you should say that, because I do feel like Saginaw's draining the life out of me, so I'm transferring."
We added each other on Facebook and surprisingly, kept in touch, mostly because as it turned out, we know a lot of the same people.
She's originally from Royal Oak, which is about half an hour from my hometown of Grosse Pointe. But she's seldom there. After she graduated from SVSU last year, she went to Korea and then Taiwan to teach. And now she's hanging out at home for a couple of weeks before she starts grad school in Arizona.
Given that we're so seldom in the same time zone, I decided that I was going to take advantage of her being in Royal Oak and spend a day with her before she moves. It could have been awkward; we haven't seen each other in well over a year, and have never hung out one on one. But whatever. When I see a good opportunity, I run with it.
I think that both of us were surprised at the extent to which we understood each other. We were really on the same wavelength with everything: namely our taste in weird healthy foods and habit of getting lost in bookstores for hours.
So that's what we did yesterday: We combed through bookshelves and ate dinner at an adorable smoothie/sandwich shop. Then she stopped at the health food store to pick up some falafel (MY FAVORITE THING), and we ended up trying to figure out whether there are any actual health benefits to steel cut oats, or if it's just a texture thing.
You can't have that kind of conversation with just anyone, you know?
Later that night, she told me that she likes hanging out with me because the fact that I'm good at going with the flow and am generally pretty chill about everything removes any anxiety she has about everything.
That surprised me, because I am super anxious about a lot of things much of the time; it's not really a secret. And that's also why it was one of the nicest things anyone has ever said to me.
I was in a really good mood when I got home last night, and was still in a good mood when I woke up this morning. But then my mom started spewing conservatism at me before I'd had any coffee. So my good mood disappeared. So I checked the mail, and found a really encouraging letter from Sarah.
In it, she said, "I love being out in the woods away from technology--I get so overwhelmed by all the screens in my life sometimes. That's why I admire your wanting to be an activist. I couldn't cope with the need to be connected and in touch and on top of various political happenings; the need to mobilize people, etc. I'd just shut down. But I am really epically proud of your decision to pursue feminism. It isn't easy. But you're brave and tenacious, even if you have to fake both of those things sometimes."
I don't think I need to explain why her note meant so much to me. Also, it was very nicely timed. I'm not going to lie and pretend that I never think about what my life would be like right now if I hadn't transferred and added another major to my degree program. I'd definitely be closer to graduation. I act like that doesn't bother me, but it's hard to watch so many of my friends graduate and not be there, too. If I hadn't left SVSU, though, I'd still be miserable. So it's really validating to hear that what I'm doing to keep myself sane isn't just selfish and ridiculous. I'm sure now more than ever that who I am and what I'm doing is right, even if it is hard sometimes.
Thanks, friends. I don't know what I ever did to deserve you, but I'm glad to have you around. And I hope you are as kind to yourselves as you have been to me.
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