Galleon on Salt Billows

You have been interested in your shadow. Look instead directly at the sun. —Rumi

Cold Feet

It’s one of those nights again in which three layers of blankets over my feet have absolutely no effect. My feet can freeze water.

I believe and trust in science wholeheartedly, but seriously, thermodynamics sure isn’t working right now. When two bodies of matter are touching, heat should flow from the warmer object to the cooler one. Well, to be totally fair, thermodynamics is based on statistical probability and I guess in that case I’m experiencing the lim(x->0):x% chance that heat is reversing flow for an absurdly long period of time. Or maybe it’s just Maxwell’s Demon.

Maxwell’s Demon is laughing in my face from an alternate dimension and I’m just here composing the most pointless blog ever.

Time Waits For No One

All serious writing is on hiatus until I finish something (temporarily) more important – applying to grad schools.

Or rather, applying to one, singular grad school.

When I was in undergrad, I was beyond convinced that I would never go back to school. I was done. I would start working, and that’s it. I would stop paying an institution to study and and instead, get paid to contribute to society,

It appears I didn’t really think that through. It’s one thing to have a vague thought that I would teach at a high school and then eventually teach at a university. It’s another thing to not make the connections that professors need a PhD, and a PhD requires more school. So, I guess it’s back to school for me. It’s time to move on. As my favorite saying goes: time waits for no one.

In my heart, there has only been one school for me. It’s the school I applied to on guaranteed admission as a high school senior. It’s the school I attended and loved for four years of my life. It’s the school that I proudly declare as my own and carry as a part of me everywhere I go.

But I’m afraid. I’m afraid that I can’t get in.

I need to perfect my application. Once again, I must rely on my words.

This time, they need to flow seamlessly in a stream of my convictions and dreams. This time, my words need to fly.

Tackling the Professional Market

I’ve been thinking that it’s time for me to tackle the professional market. Ever since WorldCon 2013, this idea’s been lounging around in my head. I can’t get rid of it. I don’t really want to.

Pen to paper, fingers to keyboard. It’s time to aim for my first pro sale.

Ready. Set. Go.

An Ideal Job

When I was young, I didn’t really know what I wanted to be when I grew up. But I knew one thing: I wanted a job that I would love doing day after day. I would never want to take vacations. I would never dream of leaving it for a better paying job. I would have the perfect life, and laugh at all those CEOs whose lives were for sure devoid of even the tiniest filament of joy.

Then, reality hit.

Actually, no. Not so harsh. Reality knocked on the door lightly. Reality swept into my life like a gentle breeze.

I realized that there was nothing I’d want to do every day like clockwork. A year of working has taught me that. I can love doing something at first, but eventually all the little things will weigh me down. I’ll love it until I’m forced to do it. I’ll enjoy eating candy until it’s being force-fed to me meal after meal.

I’ve always thought that I wanted my career to be something I love love love. Something I couldn’t imagine not doing.

Now, I think that it’s enough to have a job that I just like (a lot), and have time left over to do what I love on the side. That way, I don’t feel forced. That way, I have free time that I can devote to my hobbies rather than to my job.

Yes, I think this is more perfect.

The Rush of the Days

* Racing against dawn, my alarm blares its tireless tirade. I dig under my pillow and push snooze, registering somewhere in a back niche of my mind that it is probably a bad decision. I am too comfortable to care. When I finally persuade myself otherwise, the alarm has rang for the tenth, fifteenth, twentieth time in five minute intervals. It is the worst type of nagging – the self-inflicted kind, the kind that works only after the deadline has passed.

The morning routine never changes. Breakfast, if I feel like being healthy.

The day begins.

The commute to work is either too long or too short. The lights don’t turn green when I’m late or red when I need to check on something. Before I know it, I’m stuck behind a truck that’s going a tiny fraction of the speed limit, and I resign myself to the inevitable pattern of morning traffic.

Eventually, I find myself thrust into the bustle of work. The general excitement of accomplishing tasks that, together, amount to something permeates the air like a patchy cloud. The lingering holes are filled instead with ceaseless thoughts, none of which have ever done me any good: I’m hungry, why is it so hot in here, when will I get a chance to do this or that.

The hours fly by fast when they’ve been forgotten, but creep along when they know they’re being watched – a sardonic sort of observer effect. A break for lunch squeezes itself haphazardly in there somehow, surrounded by various assignments that stack up like a pile of legos.

Work ends. I drive home, and eat either on the way or after I arrive. The cat wants to play, but always longer than I intend to keep him company. I lay flat on my stomach and catch up on the goings-on of internet. More time passes. The nightly routine also never changes. I lay still in bed, and allow the rush of the day to die down. My thoughts still fly around at terminal velocity. I try valiantly to push the residual noise out of my head.

But there. A moment before sleep —

My mind stills. I think about what is important to me.

My dreams and passions. The simple moments. Those I care about. The progress of humanity on this swiftly spinning Earth.

Perfect clarity.

My consciousness slips away like the final rosy hues of sunset, and I let go.

* Repeat.

Simple Truth

I encountered one simple truth today.

All religion aside, here is something I read on facebook this morning:

Image

Read it again.

And now, please allow me to highlight some things in here for you.

“I couldn’t help but wonder if any of the people who oppose same sex marriage or gay couples adopting would have adopted a black baby girl, born to a prostitute, drug-addicted mother and a father in prison for murder.”

I also could not help but wonder. And honestly, no – I don’t think the majority of these people who so ardently speak out against same sex marriage or gay couples would adopt a child like this. Of course I cannot speak for everyone. I am sure that some people who oppose ‘gay rights’ will adopt this kind of child out of love and mercy… but not most. I have lived and watched people long enough to know this to be a truth.

But here is another truth: this baby girl has done nothing to deserve her birthright. She was born blameless.

Let’s try another one:

“…these two men chose to make a change in the world and nurture a young person into a productive, lively young woman. And those men have such kind hearts, they actually consider themselves to be the lucky ones.”

They consider themselves the lucky ones. They love and want to care for this child so much that they consider themselves to be so lucky be have been given this opportunity.

A Jewish man and a Latin man fall in love and wished to be with each other for the rest of their lives. They adopt a black girl who was born on the underside of fortune’s wheel because they want so very much to raise her and to give her joy.

If this isn’t what the best of humanity looks like, I don’t know what is. I don’t know what we are fighting against. I don’t know if any human being can look at this family, truly understand everything that had to happen for them to reach where they stand today, and still be opposed to what they have together.

I am always grateful for people who see and speak the truth. Truth is easy to see. It’s obvious. It’s just that sometimes, humanity can be so blind.

Sorry, Blog

Blog, is that you? You’re still here? Of course I didn’t forget…

Okay, fine. You got me. I am a terrible person. I won’t forget you anymore.

The thing is… I have so many things to write here, but I’m too lazy to compile my thoughts and create posts! I know. Bad. I will change.

I’ll post again soon, blog. No, for real this time. I promise! Stop glaring at me with skepticism! You’ll see. YOU’LL SEE.

I’ll be back.

childhood over

Waiting.

I am waiting for important news. I am too embarrassed to specify what kind of news, but it is very, very important.

And I am frightened to death.

At this point, you assume that I mean some sort of bad news. No, it is nothing like that. I merely took a step out of my comfort zone and dove headfirst into something scintillating and unfamiliar. I hate leaving familiarity, but I did it this time.

Because I had promised myself that this year, I would be more courageous.

This is the first time I am acting on that promise. Of course, this piece of courage didn’t come cheap – I did procrastinate (what else is new?) and had to spend a good amount of blood money for a rush two-day delivery.

My chances are so slim, but I don’t regret it. This is my first step. This year will be a year to remember. I, Diana, at age 23, have in this month of my life decided to embrace courage, to grasp the brilliant future that I had until this point only dreamed of.

But this does not change the fact that I am still frightened to death. Let me try and reason this out:

On one hand, worry never did anyone any good. On the other hand… sits my cat, who apparently can never be bothered to behave appropriately, and is now making me type with one hand. So I guess the decision has been made for me.

Worry less. Dream more. Do some real work or go to sleep.

He Said: “Don’t Turn Out Like Me.”

The first day I saw him, I told him that the new school policy allows facial hair. He told me months later that this news had made his day.

The first day he sat in my classroom, I asked everyone what they would regret not doing before they died. He answered on that index card that he would regret not seeing his grandmother one last time before she passed away. That answer stuck with me.

This is my first year teaching high school. It is also, for the time being, my last.

Yesterday, this boy told me something that settled heavy over my mind and my heart. However, it was not only what he told me that kept me from sleep; it was the way he insisted on telling me, despite my lighthearted attempts to decline this piece of information he offered. I have a curious habit of running from difficulty. I like to live without burden, barely glancing over the surface of any unpleasantry. This time, as if he knew how desperately I wished to avoid the matter, this boy pushed me, forced me into a territory I try to avoid.

He said: “Don’t turn out like me.” And he said it repeatedly, once every few sentences. As if he needed to tell me. As if in telling me, he could repent for his wrong. As if in telling me, he could share his burden with someone he could trust, someone who will understand.

He can trust me and I will understand. But I don’t want this burden. It is selfish for me to think this way, but it was also selfish for him to tell me. I am not angry and I forgive him, for it is human nature to be selfish – and who better to be selfish toward than people who you trust to understand you?

He told me that he needed to fill out this form before the end of the day, but how could he if he didn’t know her birthday? I asked to look at the piece of paper he held in his hands, and he let me – though he said he was ashamed. It was a court document, with a large watermark that said “SAMPLE” printed diagonally. On the top of the paper, I saw that he had written his name. Above that, I read one word: “paternity”. I pretended I hadn’t and gave the paper back to him.

I laughed a little more than I should have. “This is a sample,” I told him jokingly. “You can’t submit this in court.”

“It’s not the real one. They don’t let you take that to school,” he said in the way he usually says things. A classmate asked what it was for, but he didn’t share the information with him. “Don’t turn out like me,” he said again to me.

I gave him a sidelong glance and asked, “What are you talking about?”

“You saw what it said.”

“All I saw was SAMPLE,” I lied.

“How could you not see? It was in bold letters at the top of the page.”

“Because she’s not nosy,” said another student who was nearby. I blushed inwardly. He was coming to defend my lie.

The boy gave me the paper again and told me to read it.

“I don’t want to know,” I told him.

“Read it,” he insisted.

I had to. So I took it. And I read the entire line. He had to establish paternity.

“Oh,” I told him, in a voice what jokingly suggested that he was in trouble. How else could I react?

Class was almost over. We talked a bit more, and I did not try to give him any advice. I thought if I should, but I hadn’t really prepared for this. What could I tell him? To be brave? To live honestly? To call the girl and ask her for the baby’s birthday? Then, the bell rang. Class was over.

I wish that I could have helped him in some way, but I didn’t know what he wanted from me. Did he want advice, or just someone to learn and share in his burden? I can only imagine how lost or troubled he might feel. For the rest of the day, this knowledge weighed heavily over me.

But beneath all my feelings of unease and futility, a small voice within me asks a question. It is persistent, and won’t let me rest. It is an abstract question – more of an emotion, and I can’t quite put it into words – but let me try to phrase it the best I can:

How must he view himself to say something like ‘don’t turn out like me’? It is a sad phrase, one that he should not be saying or feeling.

The way I see him must be different from the way he now sees himself. I see a boy who is still so young, who tries to make good decisions, who respects others around him. I see a boy with heart, a drive to succeed, and a willingness to do good in the world. I see a warm-blooded youth who has waded a little too deep into the waters of life and wishes that he had stayed closer to shore. He is trying to make his way back.

I want to reach out and grab his hand, but I cannot. The school year is almost over. I won’t see him again, not like this, not in the intimate connection of teacher and student. I hope that he finds his way.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.