Tuesday, August 31, 2010
Monday, August 30, 2010
Sunday, August 29, 2010
Saturday, August 28, 2010
Friday, August 27, 2010
Thursday, August 26, 2010
Wednesday, August 25, 2010
Monday, August 23, 2010
Don’t remind me.
Two words, one conjunction (already I can hear the sounds of “Conjunction junction, what’s your function?” playing because I may be a bit obsessed with School House Rock, to whom I owe the name of this blog). Don’t remind me. It’s a desperate cry for forgetfulness.
Today I have used it with approximately 17 people. The interactions usually go something like this:
Nice, Inquiring Person: So Hilary, have you packed for DC yet?
Anxious, Cranky Hilary: NO! Don’t remind me!
Interested, Curious Person: Have you thought about life after college, Hilary?
Hilary: NO! Definitely not! Don’t remind me that there is life outside college! Don’t remind me that there is a possibility that I am going to have to make more choices about schools, loans, cars, apartments, spouses, jobs, music, slow vs. fast food movements, veganism and hedonism, churches, salsa vs. tap dancing, or anything else! Don’t remind me!
Okay, I may be exaggerating here. It’s definitely possible that my response sounds more like, “No, not yet! I’m still pondering my many options and keeping my mind engaged with the pressing problems of my young life!” Okay, maybe my answers don’t sound like that either. But in any case, I have spent the day talking about not being reminded of what needs to be accomplished or thought about.
In most situations, I feel like we want to be reminded. Post-It has made a fortune on the fact that people don’t want to forget things – though who sat down one day and said, “I guess I’ll make these little bits of paper that could get lost anywhere and are only slightly sticky enough to stick to a flat surface and charge people plenty of money for them in ugly fluorescent colors” remains a mystery to me. Is there a Mr. Post somewhere? A Ms. It? Did they marry and create the Post-It hyphenation? Or are they just like all the cool bloggers out there who came up with a title just like *that* (that's my virtual finger snap) and added punctuation (Post It!) for extra flair?
In any case, we want to be reminded. We write ourselves notes, to do lists. We slap our foreheads and curse when we’ve forgotten something. We wish that we could have remembered the new girl’s name. We train our pets to remember commands. We value memory.
So why, then, when something looms on the horizon, do we find ourselves saying, “Don’t remind me!”? Why do we ask, in the moment when we probably need to remember something the most, to forget it?
Right now I’m trying to forget that I’m leaving. Trying to forget that I have a massive amount of squashing things into my suitcase to complete. Trying to ignore the large neon sign blinking, “HILARY IS LEAVING IN 2 DAYS!” that seems to have parked itself permanently above my head. And while I know I would be happy as a clam to forget the entire trip to DC, to arrive at Gordon and say, “Hey guys! I changed my mind! I’m going to stay here forever and live on Wilson 1 North for the rest of my life!” I know that isn’t what God has in mind for me. He has intentions beyond my imagining and definitely beyond my stubborn efforts to forget. He has visions for my life, and a will, and a purpose, that far outstrip my ability to rebel (though I’ll likely give it a try). He is not going to let me forget that I am going to DC. He is also not going to let me forget that this journey is full of His plans.
Friday, August 20, 2010
I’m living in the land of the in-between. I’m in-between three jobs, in-between siblings (older sister, younger brothers). I'm in-between being an adult and not being on my own. I'm in-between wanting to spend all my time writing on this blog and thinking that it's highly unlikely I'll have all that much to say about myself.
I’m in-between my summer season and the fall semester I’m headed to in Washington, DC. Everywhere I turn people seem to be wondering “where I’m at” and “how I’m doing” and “am I getting excited for Washington??” – to which I long to reply, “Yes, I’m excited, I’m doing well, and I’m standing right in front of you!” I know I shouldn’t be impatient. People need to ask those questions, and want to feel connected to the thing I’m setting off to do. But the truth is I haven’t given much thought to my semester other than, “Have I turned in my paperwork?” and “What should I sent to ASP in the big package I have to mail Monday morning?”
It’s been a summer about now. When I write that it sounds peaceful (and unlike me, the Queen of Impatience!), and unfortunately trite. But I don’t mean forgetting the future or the past, or losing ourselves in our feelings or even spending long hours just breathing in one nostril and out the other (although a friend once gave me an article about how that exercise lowers your blood pressure, which I found very interesting). I am all for clear thinking, for driving the cars of our lives straight ahead without crashing into others or endangering ourselves. I am all about movement forward.
But this summer I’ve been at home in "now", my movements strangely cyclical: drive to work, work, drive home, drive to coffee at Starbucks with a friend, go to church… summer has lumbered by me slowly but surely and I am grateful for it. And it’s been about now: am I loving my family well now, am I listening carefully to the story of my friend’s self-discovery in this moment, am I working well within the boundaries I’ve tried to create for myself? And to be completely honest, now that the time to start thinking about the future appears to have arrived abruptly and without warning, I am strongly tempted to plant my feet firmly in the ground and stay put.
But before my legs start growing trunks, and my hands turn green and leafy (have you ever wondered if that could actually happen – like when your mother tells you you’ll turn orange if you eat too many carrots?), I’m left without a choice. I’ll be headed to Washington no matter what, grinding some dust and generally calling it a day in Massachusetts. In many ways I just don't want things to change; I don't want this season to fade away. But as a good friend said to me last night over coffee (I bet if my dentist saw the amount of teeth-staining beverages I consume in a week she would fall over in a dead faint), it matters what we do. I am settling into the idea that, whether or not I feel in-between, unwilling or nervous, what I'm going to do is get on the plane on Thursday morning and fly to Baltimore, MD. What I'm going to do is swallow the huge lump in my throat, grab my two old, tattered suitcases and my staple gray cardigan, and get off the plane. What I'm going to do is breathe in and out and in and out again, and walk forward.
My season of "now" - of the days blurring together into one long sunny stretch of time, of the big belly laughs with my family, of the cupcakes brought to the office to celebrate various birthdays - is ending. My new season: of wearing high heels, exploring Georgetown and waking up to the Capitol building sitting serenely in front of me is just around the corner. And so, as a middle child who finds transition troubling, as an in-between girl, as a lover of "the summer of now" - I'm ready to step out of in-between and into the next season, the next now.
Thursday, August 19, 2010
What is it with teeth, anyway? They’re these little bits of bone sticking out inside our heads. They work. They chomp up our food and send it to the esophagus in manageable pieces. Isn’t that the point?
So there I am, my ankles daintily crossed and my brand-new, still giving me blisters patent Nine West black flats reflecting the beams of that dreadful overhead lamp they use when peering in your mouth – thinking to myself, “Why am I paying to hear, ‘She has a lot of staining – yeah, definitely’ whispered about when I’m right there?” My dentist grins at me. “You drink a lotta tea?” She asks. Well, yes! Yes, I do. My father is from ENGLAND. Tea practically flows in my veins! Wait. Are you telling me that my tea, my warm mug of amber colored joy, has been causing, heaven forbid, STAINS on my teeth!?
I’m now near panicking. Maybe I should stop eating altogether. I mean, stains on my teeth two weeks before I embark on this “adventure” called a semester abroad in Washington, DC? I’m about to walk into a suite of offices in the heart of the city, my new suit still starchy from the Kittery outlet where I bought it, and I could be smiling at my new employer giving him full view of TEA STAINS.
But the dentist has more to say about my teeth. I have three “tiny” cavities. Three! Admittedly, I’ve been avoiding the dentist like the plague since May of last year, partly because of my college student schedule, and partly because I probably suspected long ago that I’d hear the dreadful “c” word and have to come back to have my teeth blasted with sand and filled with cement. When it’s put like that, I have to think to myself, “Am I a road construction site?”
So today, lucky me, I got to go BACK to the dentist to have these three "tiny" cavities filled. And once again I was filled with awe at the lengths I'll go to avoid dental immorality. A drill, an infrared (or something equally impressive) light, a huge suction tube, and some kind of teeth glue have all been put into my mouth today. All I know is that if I saw a child sticking those things in their mouth of their own curious volition, I would scream bloody murder and rush to save them! And instead I'm opening my mouth WIDER so that the drill can drill further. It seems ironic.
The heart of my musings about the dentist is really about aesthetic fears. I've gone to the trouble of having my cavities filled and my teeth cleaned because I am afraid of what a cavity-filled, tea-stained mouth would mean. But when I really stop to think about it, I shouldn't be worried that the people walking the streets of DC are going to smirk to themselves and whisper to their subway companions, "What poor oral care! She really should pay more attention to brushing those rear molars, don't you think?" I am sensitive to the dentist's critique of my mouth's aesthetic appeal, but to comment on another person's mouth would just never occur to me.
Thinking about this in the context of heading to Washington, DC in one week, I'm struck by how much thinking I have to do about what I want to present of myself. If my head is full of peridontal necessities, where is the room for a quick mind, the latest Wall St. Journal editorial, and an opinion about international energy policy? If we fill our hearts with aesthetic fears, where will the exuberance and joy go? As I sit in the dentist chair and worry about how beautiful my teeth are (or how stained, or how crooked), I'm ignoring the truth that the words coming out of my mouth have much more to do with its beauty than my regular trips to the dentist chair. As I make my plans to embark to the city, I hope I can put my aesthetic fears to rest, and focus instead on having good ideas and good words - pearly white teeth or no pearly white teeth.
Yes, I'm only a bill.
And I'm sitting here on Capitol Hill.
Well, it's a long, long journey
To the capital city...