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April 1, 2002

Today is the day our trip will end.

It has been a good trip, filled with much fun. But like all good things, it, too, must come to an end.

It's actually not such a tragedy. We're all ready to go back home. We miss school and we miss our friends there. We're ready to settle back into our routine for another quarter. We're ready to see what 3 a.m. looks like again.

We stopped yesterday afternoon at Eric's house in Nebraska. His mom, who's such a sweet lady, came running out of the house to greet us, so excited that we had arrived just in time for Easter dinner. We spent the next several hours hobnobbing with Eric's extended family, some of the friendliest people I've ever encountered, which we were showered with good food and lots of candy. We even got to hunt for eggs in the yard. I ended up snagging fourteen -- more than Alex's twelve, but less than half of Matt's thirty-one. After emptying our eggs of candy, I was able to score many green apple Starbursts through negotiations. It is good to like the candy everyone else hates.

Right now, I'm sitting shotgun and watching Kim weave her way through the asphalt jungle that is Iowa. We're currently less than 30 miles from the border and just passed under a sigh reading "Chicago." Ah, home sweet school.


April 9, 2002

Much as I am behind schedule today, I thought I'd finally give in to the demands for an update to my site. In that spirit, I'll be uploading this short entry plus one entry from over break. I promise, the rest of those will show up soon.

Today, I'm still feeling pretty sore after IM softball and soccer practices on Sunday. That was a lovely afternoon -- plenty of cold and rain to go around. But it was still fun to be out playing again, even if PARC's spring sports teams are likely to be as awful as its winter sports teams. Another little highlight of that weekend was getting to see part of Kathy and Andy's "photo shoot," which consisted of Kathy posing with some cheap Dominican cigars from Osco while Andy snapped shots with a disposable camera. With her stogie, spiky haircut, and turned up collar, Kathy was truly looking like her "rough and tough" self.

Most of my afternoon has been spent downtown at Wrigley Field watching the Cubs trounce the Mets 2-0. Go Cubs! For those who don't already know, the Cubs were my "home team" when I was little (Erie's too small to merit its own major league team, and I just wouldn't root for the nearby Pirates or Indians). Perhaps it was my cousins' influence or perhaps it was because their logo is a "C," but at any rate, I adopted the team as my own. I still have a little Cubs hat somewhere in my closet at home. And now that I've actually moved to the Chicago area, I've decided to return to the team of my childhood, despite their not-so-stellar reputation. But then, being a Cubs fan, as I have learned, is not really about just watching your team win but, rather, about hoping to watch your team win. And the hope keeps you floating even when Sosa strikes out.


April 11, 2002

Today, I'm finally enjoying the chief benefit of my spring quarter schedule, namely, having only one discussion section each on Tuesdays and Thursdays. True, I did have last Thursday off completely, but I slept all day so it didn't make much impact. And yes, I did enjoy this schedule on Tuesday, but since I was at the Cubs game all afternoon, I really didn't get the chance to just kick back and catch up with myself.

Class earlier was actually rather enjoyable. I had my art history discussion, and my TA for the class seems like he knows his stuff. Today's class was reminiscent of the better parts of my art history class in high school, with the teacher giving us the technical explanations of what's going on in the artwork and the rest of the class given over to the student's discussion and interpretation of the piece. All the stuff I learned over first semester last year is starting to come back to me: line, color, composition, perspective, and so on. I really learned a lot in that class. By our museum trip at the end of term, I could actually stand in front of a painting or sculpture -- even the most abstract modern ones -- and pick up on all the elements at work and interpret their meaning at least somewhat intelligently. Of course, after the class ended all art became obscure to me once again, but now, I think my perceptions are becoming sharpened again. I find it pretty strange to be enjoying the subject of art history so much since I am really not artistic and, except for Egyptian art, have had relatively little exposure to the art world. But something about being able to break the code of these paintings and other art forms makes their study seem very rewarding.

Art history discussion is not the only class I like so far, of course. USSR and Successor States is a lot of fun, too, and I'm glad I got stuck in it. The professor is such a cool guy, so excited about the subject that he seems like he'd be happy to just stand up there and effuse about the vivid descriptions in And Quiet Flows the Don all day. And yes, that's right, that was a novel I just mentioned. It seems I've gotten myself into yet another literature class. Fortunately, this one falls technically into the category of history, so I can enjoy without feeling bitter about my possible doom as a lit major.

In fact, I'm pretty satisfied with all my classes so far. History and Issues of Journalism has interesting discussions and so keeps me occupied through my longest continuous stretches of class this quarter. And certainly it's a given that I'm enjoying my Ancient Egyptian history class. I'm getting some fascinating insights into the culture (even if the prof tends to repeat those insights ad nauseam). I'll share them in a future entry, though, because this is getting long, and I intend to keep entries shorter and more frequent this quarter. But you should probably just wish me luck with that.


April 17, 2002

I too am saddened by the sporadicness of my entries this month. These days, I'm finding that there's just not enough hours in the day to keep up with my work (which I fully intend to stay on top of this quarter), my responsibilities as the dorm's new webmaster, and, of course, my friends while still maintaining a daily chronicle of my activities. I suppose it doesn't matter too much. Any entries I produce now likely won't be of much coherent substance because, in my efforts to keep up with everything, I've been sacrificing sleep. In fact, I might have reached a breaking point in that area today as my exhaustion has reached such a level that I fell asleep in three of four classes today.

But still, for my readers' sake, I want to try to maintain my journal somewhat regularly. I need people to have some insight into my head, and writing alone is always therapeutic. Of course, what I write in here is always complicated by the fact that my audience is made up of many close friends, and I feel like I have to choose my words carefully to avoid causing concern sometimes. So maybe it's less therapeutic than it could be, but my hope is always that through writing in generalities I will eventually work my way up to opening myself completely.

I can hear the ice cream truck making the rounds on University Place right now. We've had a sudden heat wave this week, and as I type this, I'm in shorts for the first time since probably September, with the window and door wide open and the fan on its highest speed. Today seems a little cooler than the past couple of days, when the temperature got into the high 80s (and maybe the 90s). Still, despite the unpleasant consequences of the heat, I wouldn't go back to the cold for anything. I don't care what people say -- you can't just put on more clothes to avoid the cold. It penetrates you, and it affects your mood. There's a reason people become depressed and burnt out in the winter. I can't get enough sunshine.

The sunny weather has encouraged all of us to loosen up a little and indulge our inner children. We've been making several runs to the drug store to buy cheap water guns to participate in what's turning into a full-blown water war. Right now, I have three water guns resting on my desk right beside my computer, full and at the ready. We've also been enjoying many seriously nonsensical conversations. For example, we had a pathetic number of lengthy discussions on the subtleties of our Hierarchy of Evil (and despite my acknowledgment of the sadness of the discussions, I'm still mad about being demoted from Diet Coke to Sprite).

It's almost dinnertime now, and I haven't gotten in the nap I swore I'd take as soon as classes were over. I think I'll be spending the next ten minutes collapsed on my bed. The likelihood that I will arise again is highly questionable.


April 28, 2002

I was just talking to may family on the phone, but they hung up on me. However, they must have thought I ended the conversation because they have not yet called back. Oh well.

I realize it's been a long time since I last updated my site, but circumstances have worked against me for the most part. I've been trying to keep up with my reading this quarter (and somewhat succeeding), which eats up a lot of time, plus spare time I might have devoted to my site in the past tends to go toward managing the PARC web site and mailing list. And of course, I don't want to neglect my friends here, even if it does mean I'm depriving them of procrastination material. On top of all that, I was sick for several days this past week, so I was either at the infirmary or stuck in bed yet again. All in all, I don't have much time to spare these days.

So what's been going on in my topsy-turvy world these past eleven days? Well, I've been sick. And because of the self-centered nature of my ramblings, this phenomenon takes precedence. I started feeling weak and tingly Monday evening, symptoms similar to those I had when I was dehydrated back in March. I stepped up my fluid intake in response, but probably not enough to compensate for the condition, which may have been aggravated by my recent lack of sleep.


April 30, 2002

I am angry without focus.

You should watch out for me. I'll probably take it out on you.

I hate this feeling that pounces upon me at the most unexpected times. There's no pattern to it -- months could pass when I don't feel like this, or it might show up every other day. But it keeps coming, and I have to endure it while it lasts. The problem is that when it comes, it invariably seems like it could never go away, which simply feeds into the cycle of frustration and creates almost a self-fulfilling prophecy.

I feel dissatisfied with myself. I feel like I can't do anything right and incapable of self-improvement. I feel like my impulses are wrong and that I have no insight into what others want or expect. I feel I make choices steeped in weakness and always take the easy way out to avoid being confrontational. I feel inadequate and insecure.

At the same time, I feel unappreciated. As if others must think I'm not good enough while I know I am good enough. I give what I can, I do my best, and I get put down. And it's not right. I don't want that. I want others to realize what has meaning to me, to embrace those things, and to make them more meaningful.

I am self-assured. I know I'm a good person, I know I'm intelligent, I know I have a decent understanding of others. I have confidence. But I can't deal with the less than perfect elements of myself. Small mistakes pass me by in the short run, but they build up in my consciousness and suddenly assault me with a million pinpricks.

Sometimes I don't want to deal with others. I have my own weaknesses to contend with. I lose patience and I don't want to sympathize. I don't always want to work out problems. I have to rely entirely on my head and what I know from experience is the right thing to do. I have maturity, but it contends with my innate desire to shut down and block out the world.

I am independent. I am a self-contained person, capable of creating my own happiness. I don't need others. But I think this may create problems for me. I can't help but distance myself emotionally from everyone. I have knee-jerk objectivity. I build up walls so I can't get hurt, but I think doing that hurts me in the long run by preventing me from developing any true intimacy with others. I laugh, I joke, I have fun with my friends and family, but I never think enough about love and deep bonds. I wonder sometimes if people are just disposable to me, if friends are too easily replaceable, and if this is so, then what the hell is wrong with me?

These are probably ridiculous fears. All of this has been stream of consciousness writing, so it probably makes little if any sense, and the words themselves may not be precise in their meaning. And I don't mean this. I don't understand the thoughts swirling around my head in the haze. I have the general sensation of the world not treating me right, and this is my sulky response. I can't rest in an uneasy peace; I need to scream and shake my fist at the perceived injustice of my life. I am not weak; my strength is internal. I can't put up with the little grievances life gives me forever; sometimes, I have to demand better treatment -- even if I can never receive it.

I have a right to be angry.

 


Copyright © 2002 Colleen Fischer | Last updated October 7, 2002