Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Hello February

So I've tried to post an entry like three separate times.. Each time I began a post, then lost momentum, felt like what I was writing was mundane. Or I started on a rant that I thought I'd regret later, and turns out I'm glad I didn't rant on here, because thinking it over, I was in the wrong.
Maybe I should explain. I began writing a post about how frustrating it can be to live as an only child. I went home for the weekend and most of it was spent, well, not at home. That's kind of how it usually turns out. See, my parents are hard working people, they're always out on the farm taking care of the animals, fixing machinery, things of that nature. So when I come home it's usually to an empty house, so of course when friends want to do something I'm totally game. Something I always make sure to do when I'm home is visit my grandma. There was only one time that I didn't have the time to, I was at my friend's too long and for punishment/because of the lack of daylight left to drive, my mom wouldn't let me go over and say goodbye to her. I was infuriated that day. I kept thinking to myself, "what if something happens while I'm at college, what if I never get to say goodbye.." Thankfully she was still in good health the next time I came home, but it definitely drove the point home to me that I need to prioritize. This weekend I actually thought I was doing better with making time for my family than I had in the past.. The day my mom picked me up we went grocery shopping together, made plans to go on a weekend trip at the end of February, and on the way home we took the long way because there were some things she wanted to check out. We ran into my dad on the tractor along the way and we went over to the field with him so I could take photos of him using the corn picker. The snow was like a foot and a half deep and I didn't have my good boots on, so I went trudging alongside the tractor in the snow, barely keeping up, trying to get good shots.. Then when he made his way back towards me, he got out of the tractor and went on and on about my speeding ticket at the beginning of the new year. I knew it was coming, but it was just agonizing to bear through while my boots and bottom of my jeans were soaking through, and I was out of breath from chasing after him for the pictures.. I didn't argue back though, and I promised to stay under the speed limit, yadda, yadda, yadda :P. I know he was right to scold me, it just wasn't a great way to start the weekend. I hung around the house for awhile, then went to Tom's to kick back and relax. I guess this is what makes my family life the most complicated, Tom and his family feel like family to me too.. I recognize that I don't spend enough time with my own family, and I really want to change that; but I think why I spend so much time with my "second family," is because it's so much easier. Basically what I got in a quarrel with my mom about Sunday, was that I don't make the effort to come out to the barn and help them/see them, and I'm always running off with myfriends. I do realize that. And I do want to change that. It's just nice to hang out with people my own age.. not growing up with siblings or cousins or anyone with less than 40 years age difference between them and myself---it's been difficult. Now that I have real friendships, ones that really mean something, it's hard to put them on the backburner for other things, but I need to. I really love my family. I guess the part of the whole thing that did make me feel like the blame wasn't fair, was that sometimes I feel like my parents should try more too. I'm willing to come out on the farm more to see them, but I hope they're willing to try to find time to spend with me in other ways too.. I can say I honestly don't remember the last time we went out to dinner together. One Fathers Day or some kind of holiday, I made my dad a coupon for a meal that'd be "on me" anywhere he wanted to go--he just needed to figure out a day that he could go. We haven't gone yet. I know my parents are busy, I know that they work hard.. Maybe I'm selfish for expecting them to take time out for me when they already have so much to stress over.. We're just kind of a weird family. We never ever eat dinner together because my dad comes in from milking so late.. then my mom doesn't even eat real meals, she usually just microwaves a hotdog and eats some bread and calls it good because she snacks throughout the day. Neither of my parents cook, or enjoy preparing meals. It's all about quick and convenient, and most of the things they eat aren't really things I like to eat. We can't do family vacations because we don't have the money, and my dad can't take time away from the farm.. so overall it's kind of an untraditional set up, so that's what makes it harder to spend time together I suppose.. Tom's family is always having me stay for dinner, and bringing me on their trips, so they kind of fill that void for me, and I love them for that. I love feeling like a part of their family. But I love my own family too. Just because we can't be the traditional family it doesn't mean we don't have anything special. I just need to put more effort into making our time together count. I'm an adult, it's time that I step up.. I could make dinner for them, or help with the chores so they have time to go somewhere.. I'm not doing enough. I felt angry when my mom confronted me about it at first, but now I realize I was just mad because it's true. It put a lot into perspective for me.. It's so hard to achieve the right balance of things, of time, of love.. but the more I learn and the more I accept about the mistakes I've made and the flaws I have, then the better able I'll where it is I want to be. I have to admit though, it'd be easier if there were other kids in the family, if my actions weren't always in the limelight.. it would be nice to have someone else to make effort, to draw their attention. To pick up the slack, to screw up sometimes. I think the most difficult thing with my family is an ability to relate. My parents lived a totally different lifestyle than me. They tell me themselves, they never really cared about going everywhere with their friends. My dad's main priority ever since he was a child has been the farm. He's never left it.. he went to college locally and farmed all through that, he's never held a different job.. he didn't have time for much socializing. Not to say he never did, he has friends, but it was never a big part of his life, farming was #1. My mom was kind of the same way too, she's more like me than my dad atleast, and back home she definitely had friends, but it still wasn't the same. Neither of them understand why I want to spend so much time with my friends, they come right out and say it, it's just one of the obstacles that keep us from fully understanding eachother. Being an only child in my situation makes me who I am though, I just need to learn to step up and make things better, and be more open, and spend more time listening.

While things were a little helter skelter with my own family this weekend, I did have a good time with my friends. I got to spend a full day with Amanda, catch up on the things that are too long for us to text about. I saw my friend Rachel one night who I haven't seen once since we originally left for college, so that was really good.. and Saturday night a bunch of us went to a concert which was totally awesome, and we continued the tradition of going to IHop afterwards and I had chocolate chip pancakes, again ;). It was good to see Julie too. That girl can drink tea like nobody's business. No seriously, two-two-liter bottles on the stuff in one day. I really have to give some kudos to Tom for this weekend too.. He made some money and repaid me in cash for when I covered him in NYC, drove me back to college the Monday morning..DIDN'T laugh at me when I hit a patch of ice walking out of the pharmacy and dropped like a sack of potatoes as he witnessed the entire thing from the car.. he said the only funny thing about it was that I smiled the same smile I had before I fell down once I got back up again :P.. he's a good guy. I say that a lot, but it's true. Things with my family and just stress in general were getting to me this weekend, but hanging out with him definitely made things better.

One of the photos I took for my dad of the corn picker with our valley's mountains in the background.

When I went to visit my grandma over the weekend I was greeted with a nice surprise---the chance to sift through some of her jewelry, and being able to have whatever my little heart fancied :). The first box has most of the items I took, I didn't get everything in the shot, but the silouhette clip-on earrings are one of my favorites, and the other photo is of my grandfather's class ring(1944), the one who passed away in the fall. I'm giving the ring to my dad--but I loved all of the things my grandma let me have, there's a golden shamrock bracelet that I cannot wait to sport in Ireland one day.. and she let me have a beautiful locket that has a photo of her and my grandpa glued inside. It was so sweet.. I'm going to cherish that box forever.

I think I've reached a decision about college. I've been weighing it out over the past week or so, and I think I'm going to keep going to this school for the fall semester atleast, but most likely the whole second year, then transfer out. College here will be different when I have my car, and I'm thinking it'd be better for me to make it through a SUNY school for two years with good GPA's to show for myself before I try to go onward. Last semester I had a 2.8...that's mediocre. I want to do better than that. I'm striving for a 3.6, we'll see how it goes. As of now the school I want to transfer to is a media arts college in Chicago. I've been fawning over that school for a couple of years, I feel like it would be perfect for me, in every way except for the distance.. 15 hours from home. The school I'm at now is a quick hour drive from my house. Sometimes I come home for the weekend and go back Monday morning right before class, it's that easy. Living in Chicago would mean I wouldn't see anyone from home except during breaks. That's a big step. Right now I miss my friends if two or three weeks pass without a visit. Chicago I feel would be best for me as a little more grown up. College is making me grow up quicker, but I don't think I'm quite ready for a big city on my own yet. I need to work on myself here, work on getting journalism experience, work on the smaller newspaper here before I think I can jump right into Chicago. I need more cultural enlightment, the phrase Nicole cleverly coined. I'm only beginning to catch up, I'm only beginning to really read the news, really do my research. Having a way with words isn't enough anymore. It was enough to get me to the top in highschool english, but that's long gone now. Now I have an english class that I'm doing poorly in, yes, POORLY in english. It's so frustrating. I don't get how to answer the woman's questions. A lot of them seem to be asked around her opinion...they're analytical questions where the answer is how she interprets it. I'm used to english having leeway. I think I'll be able to pull through the class just fine, but her quizzes are definitely throwing me for a loop. My other english class on reading literature is just fine.. the teacher is more open to interpretation it seems, and it's more of an open discussion setting than a quizzed one. Anyways, I think I'm going to stick it through another year. Give myself more time to think, plus around that time most of my friends will be ready to transfer out of the community college, so if I go away, I hopefully won't be the only little bird leaving the nest.

Tonight left me feeling sad and shocked because a girl on my campus, actually in my close friend's building, committed suicide. You hear about teen suicides all of the time, but it's an unbelievable feeling when it happens so close to where you are.. It was a floor below my friend, she heard the police, they blocked off the hallway near the bathroom where it happened.. When I was walking to the campus center, I saw a hearse roll by. It gives me goosebumps. I never met the girl in my life, but to think a girl here, a girl I could've become friends with, decided to end her life right here, it's crazy to think about. I can't imagine being the person to find her. Her poor family.. her poor friends.. It's such an all around tragic thing :/.. My friend found out her name and looked her up on Facebook, now I have a face to put to the thought.. I almost wish I didn't. She was a really, like really really pretty girl, and smiling in all of her photos.. I wonder what drove her to feel like she had no other way out. Things like this break my heart.



Natalie said...

This was a lot of words but I gladly read it all. :) Just wanted to make sure you know that haha, because I feel like it would be really frustrating to write all of that and then not know if anyone actually bothered to read it all. You know what I mean haha? Anyways...

What strikes me is how much accountability you take for yourself, and how much you want to spend more time with your family. By how determined you are to make an effort to make time for them, it's clear how much you care about them! So they should be glad to have such a wonderful daughter, hehe. :) I definitely get what you mean, though. There are only so many hours in a day, and it's certainly not easy to decide how much of it you're going to use when and where with so many people to try and please. That is really nice that you have sort of a second family with Tom though. I wish I had something like that. He sounds like a very nice guy to say the least, especially for not laughing at you for falling too much. ;)

That is really neat that you got to go through your grandparents' old jewelry! When jewelry has a story behind it like that, that makes it so much more personal and sentimental and more special to wear.

Good luck getting your GPA up; I know you can do it! Even with the frustrating English class. :P Your plan for the future definitely sounds good to me, though certainly somewhat scary traveling so far away from home. I think it would be quite a fun adventure though!

And, gosh, it really is terrible to hear about suicide even when it wasn't a person that you really knew. :/ I can't even imagine what the girl's friends and family must be going through.

Em [the writer] said...

That's really awful about the suicide. It's such a heart-wrenching thing even if you didn't nessescarily know the person, it still hits you hard.

Anyway, sounds like you've have a good week either than that!

Helennn Louise said...

That's awful about the suicide but sometimes it just happens and even though we wonder why we never work out why.

That was cool about being able to sift through your grandma's jewelry. One day it'll be so important to you :)

Nothing you ever posted could be mundane or pointless, Olive. I await eagerly for your posts.

Thank you for your comment on my blog. It did help cheer me up :)

Allison said...

I always, always enjoy reading your blog, Olive. Just the way that you are so REAL with your emotions is inspiring. Not that I'm like, that much older than you or anything, but seriously - you are so much stronger, braver, and more honest than I was at your age.

I think that family dynamics are really complicated for anyone. What stood out to me the most though, was that despite your frustration over the situation, you have a desire to spend time with your parents, which honestly, is such a mature and beautiful thing. Seriously - I never saw my parents, and as bad as this sounds, I could have cared less about it until like, my sophomore year of college. It is just this year that I've learned that time with them can be really fun and really rewarding, and I enjoy it without being forced. Like I said, you are a much better person than I was at your age, and you have such a beautiful heart.

All that jewelry is absolutely beautiful! How special that you got to pick through it all :) Not only is it sentimental, but it is vintage and completely unique! Win win!

True story, girl - My freshman year I think I had a 2.6 or maybe 2.7 GPA. It was not good, and I knew I could do better, but I just was distracted by partying and boys and having fun. When I almost lost my scholarship and my parents threatened to sell my car (ah!), I started to work my ass off, and I ended up graduating with honors. You can TOTALLY do it - especially since you recognize the need for change, which I almost didn't learn until it was too late. You're an extremely smart girl, and seriously - if you ever have a paper that you want proofread or anything, English Lit is my area of expertise, and I'm a pretty good writer. Just let me know! :)

Suicide is tragic enough, but when it hits close to home, there's something even more haunting about it. I'm so sorry to hear about this - it just breaks my heart that people are hurting so much that they don't see another option. I hope you're okay, dear!

Sorry for this novel - I hope you have a wonderful week (since it will probably take you that long to read this...).