Friday, July 21, 2006

These last few days, I've had time to think about my life. I always have my "aha!" moments when I'm working on some big project or the other, my mind wonders to everything but the task at hand. So when I spent the last week immersed the most important project of my graduate school life, I did some serious soul searching, and before I knew it, I was curled up in a tiny ball on a chair on one of the engineering labs wondering how my life had come to *this*.

The bottom line is that I just feel trapped. I feel like my career has come to a point where I can't recognize myself as a part of it. Engineering has always been a sore subject for me. I won't make excuses as to why I entered the field, I won't blame someone else at this point for getting into it. But I have to wonder, is it something I consciously chose to do? Or was it just the most convienent at the time? I was desperate to get away from my parents in high school, and a scholarship to do civil engineering in Florida seemed like just the ticket. I don't think it ever became more than a means to live for me. It's never been a passion, never given me anything to really be proud of. So when I have to fight for it, I just don't have the motivation to.

Grad school is a challenge. And pushing my way through the long nights, the ridiculous assignments and the horrible, uncaring professors are slowing killing me. But I've come so close to the end, that it would be a complete waste to quit now. I keep hoping to find my niche, but looking for it admist classes and work has just made me more anxious and fustrated.

I'm just exhuasted of this field, it's always been only about calculations, black or white, right or wrong. There's no room for creativity when it comes down to it. It's about what works, and easiest to make, period. It feels like a sell out, it feels like a cage. And I want it to be over. And it seems the only way out is through. And "through" feels impossible.

Sunday, June 25, 2006

To Sleep for a chance to dream...

It's been about a month since I made any post on this blog, and for the most part it's because I didn't really have anything to say. My life's been on cruise control for the past couple weeks, and I've been perfectly okay with that. Aside from the usual day to day dilemnas and the "What ifs" that have always plagued me when I can't sleep, things have been normal if not a little boring.

Last night I had a dream. It came in a whisper and was gone before I could I luxuriate in it. I was happy, and beautiful and I felt excited and alive. It was enough to promptly jolt me out of the haze I've been in for the last month and make me anxious about life again. The problem is, that now that I'm awake, that I'm left with the huge task of trying to be that person. And Lord, is it exhausting. When you see a flash of what could be, how can you settle for what is?

You can't. I woke up chilled to the bone by the huge difference between who I am and who the woman in the dream was. So, time to start the improvement process all over again.

Does improving really mean cleaning out my closet?

Saturday, June 24, 2006

Chasing Cars- Snow Patrol

Chasing Cars by Snow Patrol
We'll do it all
On our own

We don't need
Or anyone

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just forget the world?

I don't quite know
How to say
How I feel

Those three words
I said too much
They're not enough

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just look at the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

Let's waste time
Chasing cars
Around our heads

I need your grace
To remind me
To find my own

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just look at the world?

Forget what we're told
Before we get too old
Show me a garden that's bursting into life

All that I am
All that I ever was
Is here in your perfect eyes, they're all I can see

I don't know where
Confused about how as well
Just know that these things will never change for us at all

If I lay here
If I just lay here
Would you lie with me and just look at the world?

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Building A Mystery

I love a good intrigue. It excites me to hear about the secret lives of people I know. I love knowing little things that I'm not supposed to. It's harmless really, just like reading a favorite fictional novel. It's more than gossip, it's an insight into people's lives. We all have to admit that our ears perk up when we hear about someone spotting a shy friend coming out of a kareoke bar, or two friends of ours at a restaurant together looking cozy. It makes us think there is some spontaneity and romance in our real lives and that things really do happen unexpectedly.

Usually, I hate being out of control. I hate things popping up in my own life out of the ordinary. I need to know what's going on around me at all times so that I can prevent something awful before it happens. But these little intrigues make life so much more interesting, and it's even better if the people we share our little secrets with are special to us. Is it the dark part of mysteries that appeals to us? The shrouded veil of secrecy that makes us think of midnight meetings and ancient symbols and voodoo dolls makes us drunk with the idea of being chosen to know.

This weekend I went with a few close friends to watch "The DaVinci Code" I had read the book, but a friend of mine hadn't. When the plot of the movie was being revealed he leaned over to us in the darkness and whispered "Can you guys believe this?" Later, over slurpy milkshakes I watched my friends debate the mysteries of the book and movie with wide eyed enthusiasm, with so much vigor it was as if they were unraveling the very secrets of the universe. Despite the fact that millions of people around the world had already seen it, their voices were hushed, as if the cheerleaders at the next table would arrest them for treason, or steal the sacred treasure of knowledge from us.

Why are we so intent on discovering secrets? Why do we love pulling the puzzles of our worlds apart, for better or worse? In an aha! moment I realized that the time we feel most at peace with ourselves is if we're honest , even if that honesty leads to disillusionment or loss. Sometimes it's only by feeling those things that we discover the beauty in the real world. So we pull apart those secrets, unveil what is real, tear at the lies, until all we're left with is truth. At least for now.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Poetry Thursday: Count Up The Almonds

I first heard this poem at an Arts event in college, and was so intrigued I began reading more of Paul Celan's poetry. As it turns out, it was he who fascinated me. He was a German-Romanian Jew who survived imprisonment in a Nazi concentration camp. His poetry is deeply defined by his parents' deaths during the holocaust. He once wrote "poetry is a sort of homecoming", and as I read more of his work it felt so deeply personal I felt like I was intruding by reading it. This is one of my favorite poems of his and the poem that introduced me to his work.

Count Up The Almonds (Zahle die Mandeln)
by Paul Celan

Count up the almonds,
count what was bitter and kept you waking,
count me in too:

I sought your eye when you looked out and no one saw you,
I spun that secret thread
where the dew you mused on
slid down to pitchers
tended by a word that reached no one's heart.

There you first fully entered the name that is yours,
you stepped toward yourself on steady feet,
the hammers swung free in the belfry of your silence,
things overheard thrust through to you,
what's dead put its arm around you too,
and the three of you walked through the evening.

Render me bitter.
Number me among the almonds.

Translation © 2001 by John Felstiner.

Tuesday, May 16, 2006

Beautiful Day

Thanks to everyone who commented on my last entry. You guys inspire me, I so enjoy reading your blogs.
Last week, I visited my parents and my dog in their little piece of paradise in the Carribbean where they moved when my parents decided that they were tropical people and the harsh winters of Wisconsin would no longer cut it.

I started off reluctant to visit, since I had just come off a long semester of work and school and I was really looking forward to throwing myself a pity party and wallowing with my two best pals Ben & Jerry. As it turns out, the week was healing and proof that you really can go home.

Nothing can prepare you for the feel of the sea against your skin. When I'm away from the island I always try to remember what it feels like, but the instant the water touches you it's like heaven. The smooth sand under your feet soothing, the sun is against your face and the smell is of salt and sea and home...Ahhhh.......

I suppose what I took away from this week is that I'm missing the flavor of the day- it's smell, it's taste. While it can get lost in the everyday errands and duties that we all have to live with, it is still all around us. It is in the people we meet, our family, even the food that we prepare so hurriedly.

It was nice to experience and celebrate the good days when it seems like only bad days have been following me around for so long. I hope everyone one of you has a day like that today, and that something in your life touches and heals you and makes you happy.

Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Poetry Thursday: The Journey

I felt this poem deep, it made me want to be better, stronger, braver. I don't recognize myself as the person in it, but I'd like to. I hope the next time I read it to feel a thrill of acknowledgement and familiarity.

The Journey
by: Mary Oliver
One day you finally knew
what you had to do, and began,
though the voices around you
kept shouting
their bad advice-
though the whole house
began to tremble
and you felt the old tug
at your ankles.
"Mend my life!"
each voice cried.
But you didn't stop.
You knew what you had to do,
though the wind pried
with it's stiff fingers
at the very foundations,
though their melancholy
was terrible.
It was already late
enough, and a wild night,
and the road full of fallen
branches and stones.
But little by little,
as you left their voices behind,
the stars began to burn
through the sheets of clouds,
and there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do-
determined to save
the only life that you could save.