{ESC} BOOK EIGHTEEN: FUN HOME

Dear Reader,

I was reading this book the other day in my living room and my mother walked in and said, “I didn’t know you read comics!”

And because I always say obnoxiously snobby things to her (it’s fine, she loves it, she thinks it’s hilarious) I replied, “oh my god Mom, it’s a graphic NOVEL.

And don’t worry, I’m not about to go into a whole big rant about the proper classification of these books, because honestly I don’t think it’s a big deal what people refer to them as or what stigma they associate with them because a story can be told a million different ways. And some stories are told better in the form of a graphic novel while others are better told in a video format–or others are best told by one person on stage with a microphone, talking to drunk people in a comedy club.

That’s why I love this book so much. Fun Home is a great story. It’s written like a graphic novel (with panels and captions and such), but the writing isn’t what you might expect from a “comic book.” It’s written in a really sophisticated way and it’s actually a lot more words than you might think. Some of the panels are news articles or diary entries or things written in scratchy handwritten notes that you have to try extra hard to make out.

So, while it still only took me a day to get through, it was a lot. It made me think and reflect a lot. And even though it’s an autobiography, it tells much more about the life of her father than her at some points. But it’s all so connected and just truly well done.

Also, it’s been reformatted, in you will, into a Broadway musical (a hit, I should add) and I desperately want to see it. So you can just add that to the list of things in NYC that are taunting me.

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Here’s a video of Fun Home’s performance at the Tonys this year that I can’t stop watching.

A LITTLE BIT OF A LATE-NIGHT UPDATE

Dear Reader,

I’m going to try to make this quick because if I write down all the thoughts in my head, it’ll get real deep, real fast, and we don’t have time for that. So I’ll summarize.

First, I have two blogs I just need to mention because they’re written by two very good friends of mine and I’m low-key obsessed with them so I feel weird that I haven’t mentioned them before. But on NYE I asked them if it would be okay if I “promote” them (I guess you could call this) and they said yes so hopefully they remember this and say it’s okay that I’m doing this.

Sad Spotify Playlists is written by my friend Zach and is great for the most ludicrous stories as well as deep thoughts and, uh, vlogs now I guess? (lol)

And Horizon Wanderer is beautifully written by my friend Maddie. In fact, it was one of her most recent blogposts (linked here) that made me want to write this one. I honestly felt like someone was narrating my life–or, rather, transcribing my inner monologue into something worthy of being read.

I mean, THIS: “Casual conversation is a thicket of thorny possible missteps because somewhere along the way I became so concerned with what other people think of me.”

No matter how many times I’ve tried to put that same sentiment into words, I’ve never found the right way to say it.

But anyway, I’ll write (much) more on those two later, but they deserve to be in the update.

Second, NYE was great, in case I haven’t mentioned. Again, I’ll write more on that later, but I just had to throw that in here because those two made up half of the wonderful entourage that invited me to ring in the new year with them and it’s just setting up 2016 to be amazing.

Third, I just saw Sisters with Sarah (typical) and it was hilarious and awesome because the entire time we would just lean over to each other and either say “me” or “you” and then we’d laugh at ourselves.

(Also, in case you haven’t seen the movie, I am Tina Fey who is irresponsible and messes everything up but still refuses to take 100% of the blame because, like, come on, things are hardly never 100% one person’s fault. And Sarah is Amy Poehler who is hilariously and hopelessly awkward with boys and weirdly loves and communicates with her parents even when she is 40. This is accurate representation.)

Fourth, I’ve been writing weird pseudo poems and little things that I might start posting on here but hardly any of them really truly relate to my life so people who actually know me, don’t be alarmed/weirded out/I don’t know what you think of me.

Fifth, I’ve been instagramming a lot more recently which is really not a big deal or deserves to be mentioned, but this means that I am actually taking pictures. And yes I’m also using HELLA filters, but we’re making steps in the right direction so that’s positive.

Sixth, I REALLY want to dye my hair blue (I know I talked about this a year ago, but it’s resurfacing.)

Like this:

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More on than later. (I’ll probably make another “If We Were Having Coffee” post soon.)

Seventh, The Happiness Project is in full swing, people! I think it’s gonna be a good.

Okay, I think seven is a good number to stop on. (Worked for Rowling, right?)

Have a nice night, everybody.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{ESC} BOOK SEVENTEEN: I WROTE THIS FOR YOU AND ONLY YOU

Dear Reader,

Merry Christmas Eve! I’m currently partaking in a Mario Kart tournament so I’ll make this book review quick.

I got the book “I Wrote This For You and Only You” as an early Christmas present (thanks Zach!) and I read it in one night. It’s this book of short poems that are each paired with really cool photography and I couldn’t put it down. I was marking the pages with different bookmarks and writing some of my favorites in my journal and all of a sudden it was 2AM.

I mean, it happens.

I’ll probably make another post with a few of my favorite ones, but for now all I want to say is this book is great. A lot of the poems are so deep and thoughtful and choose all the perfect words to say things I’ve felt but could never articulate. There are also other books in this collection and I’m looking forward to reading more.

Alright, I’m going back to my family now, so I’ll just leave with you with this:

“If all you do is making something beautiful for someone else, even if it’s only for a moment, with a single word or small action, you have done a great service.

Because life can be ugly and frustrating and for so many, it is.”

Sincerely,

Sammy

SOMETIMES I WRITE CRAPPY POEMS IN MY NOTES AND FIND THEM LATER

I often find myself reflecting at night,

Thinking about this diagnosis I try to pay no attention to while the sun is up. 

And sometimes I’ll slip and think, 

“Well, of course. Anyone with my life would be depressed.”

But I know that’s wrong. 

I have so much. 

I’ve been given so much. 

I’m so fortunate for it all. 

The unfulfillment and self-loathing and all these thoughts are separate,

For I recognize my life as good. 

So then I rephrase. 

“Well, of course,” I’ll think. 

“Anyone who thinks the way I do–anyone with a brain that works like mine would be depressed.”

And then I start to get it. 

  

CHRISTMAS IS WEIRD

Dear Reader

The other night I went to a “Friends Christmas.” I was invited last minute because it’s a group of people I’ve been recently growing closer to, but I was so touched to have even been thought of. I watched them open the meaningful, hilarious, and overall very thoughtful gifts they got for one another and absolutely loved it. And the friend who invited me even bought me a gift of my own, just so I didn’t have to sit there with nothing to open (even though I insisted that I didn’t mind).

And this holiday season, I’ve thought a lot about how weird Christmas is. How weird it is that my house has three fake trees in various rooms, covered in lights and tinsel and ornaments that were poorly made by us kids years ago. how weird it is that we have music playing 24/7 these days and, even weirder, it’s songs that are almost inappropriate to play during the other eleven months of the year. And how weird it is that everyone celebrates this holiday.

I mean, look at me. I’m from a family that very rarely discusses religion and hasn’t gone to church in years, yet every year, I celebrate this holiday three times. Once on December 25th with my immediate family. Once with my dad and his siblings and their kids (and now their kids) a few days laters. And once sometime after that with our big extended family.

And I completely understand why religious people can get a little irritated around this time of the year when the true meaning behind this holiday is so often forgotten. And I also understand that it has simply evolved from the time when nations, like the US, were founded on one religion to a time like today where families that practice Hinduism and Judaism and even atheists still celebrate this holiday. Because that’s just what you do. On December 25th you celebrate Christmas, even if you don’t accept Jesus Christ as your savior.

So, yeah, Christmas is a little weird (and I know religion can be a touchy subject), but I kind of love it.

Because every year, I get a family reunion. Every year we get a reason to come home. We get a reason to travel and be with loved ones and all meet in one place and, as I grow up, I realize how hard this may become in the future.

But every year we get an excuse. An excuse to splurge on gifts for your friends and family. An excuse to take a day off of work and school and go home. And you don’t even have to be religious.

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Because of Christmas, I have memories with my family that I’ll never forget. I have stories of my cousins and I wreaking havoc at every hotel we went to because we kept getting kicked out of the one that hosted us the year before. Because of Christmas, I got that night with friends that meant so much to me.

Every year I have butterflies on December 24th because I can’t sleep. And sure, it used to be because I was thinking about Santa and what presents I might open the next morning, but it’s changed as I’ve grown. And now I feel like I have butterflies during the entire holiday season. Because even though life isn’t perfect right now–even though I’m still dealing with things and stressing out a lot–even though my family’s not perfect and can be difficult to handle sometimes, everything’s okay. It’s not, but it is.

It’s like Christmas. Christmas is so weird. And it’s not–it’s all normalized now–but it is.

Have I lost you? I feel like this post was making sense up until this point, but that’s alright. I just wanted to talk about how much I love Christmas and I wanted to express how grateful I am for it this year, because it’s coming at a time when I need it the most. Everything seems to just be better, when not that much is changing at all.

And I think that’s part of the magic of Christmas.

Sincerely,

Sammy

[VIDEO] MY YEAR IN BOOKS

Dear Reader,

Last week I spent way too much time editing and uploading this video of me discussing the 20 books I’ve read so far in 2015 (I’m having a hard time mastering YouTube lol I h8 technology).

Because it’s fifteen minutes long, I don’t expect many people to take the time to watch it, which is why I linked all of my reviews in the description of the video. But, just in case, I thought I would link the video on my blog as well.

Enjoy!

Sincerely,

Sammy

PS. Let me know your favorite books from the year/of all time because all I’m asking for for Christmas this year are books and I’m running out of names to give my family members.

PPS. Is it bad that the majority of my family (myself included) hasn’t started our Christmas shopping yet?

{ESC} BOOK SIXTEEN: BEAUTIFUL MUSIC FOR UGLY CHILDREN

Dear Reader,

This is the story of Gabe, a boy who is about to graduate high school and just got his very own weekly show that he calls “Beautiful Music for Ugly Children.” But the thing that drives the plot of this book is one little detail: Gabe was born a girl.

For as long as he can remember, Gabe has felt like a boy. But because he is in this girl’s body, he is treated differently. He is defined by the people who perceive him as Elizabeth, despite the feelings he has inside.

And isn’t that crazy? That people can be so offended by the way others choose to act? It’s okay to be confused and it’s okay to ask questions and it’s even okay to be ignorant. We all are ignorant at one point or another. There are certain things that you simply may not know until they come up. Until you become educated. But we cannot promote that ignorance. We must always strive to learn–and if we cannot understand, we must at the very least strive to accept.

This is why I love this book. You start the story with a character that you are just now learning about. Someone who has never existed in your mind before. And you see him develop in front of your eyes.

He’s on the air. He’s playing Green Day and Mika.

Now he’s talking to John, his neighbor and idol.

Now he’s talking to a viewer, and we learn his name is Gabe.

We learn more and more about him, this picture of him in our mind is forming, and then, seven pages later, we learn that he was born a girl: Elizabeth.

That’s the wonderful thing about books: we learn the characters from the inside out. And sure, we can learn of their appearance as well, but those are often the details that can be overlooked. Plots are driven by the actions of characters and these actions are driven by who they are and how they think.

And in the case of this book, a lot of the actions are driven by how others feeling about the appearance of Gabe, but that reveals much more about those characters than it reveals about him.

I think that’s a very important lesson that needs to be taught, and I think this book does a very good job teaching it. The characters are vibrant and lovable and the story is heartbreaking but hopeful.

This was a book that I finished in one night, but will stay with me for a very long time.

Sincerely,

Sammy

HOW ARE YOU DOING?

Dear Reader,

I feel like I just came out to my parents. I think everyone does in different ways throughout their lives. The first time you get caught in a big lie. The first time they find out you’ve actually been drunk before–or the first time they piece together that you’ve had sex. You change in their eyes. You grow up.

So now I’m this grown up, living in the same house as my parents for the next six weeks, knowing fully well that they don’t see me the same way they used to. I’m not really sure how they see me now, but it’s different.

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For one, every day they ask me “how are you doing?”

And not in the way that’s like, “hey! how’s it going?”

But in the way where they pick up the phone and call, which is very different than how it used to be. Or, because I’m home now, they’ll knock delicately and come in and kiss me on the head or something and ask me how I’ve been.

But they can’t really expect me to be honest.

I think that’s still the hardest part–I can’t be fully honest with them. You can’t tell the people who made you and raised you into who you are today that you hate yourself. You can’t tell them something like that and ask them not to take it personally.

You can’t tell your parents that you’ve looked at a razor longingly before and still insist that you’ve never hurt yourself. Or that you’ve never thought about killing yourself. Because once it comes out that you’ve kept a secret for so long, they realize you can do it again. And no matter how much I insist that my thoughts have never been that dark, I can’t prove it.

But how am I? Well, I’m fighting with everyone about everything. I’m still sleeping to put off responsibilities. I haven’t been able to write a blog post in days because they all eventually take a nasty and dramatic turn and I end up saving them for my journal. Oh and the dog’s been following me around all day. You know how animals always know when something’s up and are drawn to sick people or people who need to be comforted? Well I just walked from the basement to my room, back to the kitchen because I forgot something, then to Sarah’s room, and then my own (stopping at each place to do something) and Izzy hasn’t left my side.

So you tell me how you think I’m doing.

I know I shouldn’t complain, but it’s hard. I’ve felt so pathetic and weak since I’ve come home, and I can’t remember why I was so excited to be here in the first place.

Sincerely,

Sammy

{TOP FIVE} I LOVE THE INTERNET

Dear Reader,

It’s finals week here at Miami and all of my friends are finding new and creative ways to be unproductive. (I walked in on five of my friends playing on Webkinz at midnight yesterday.) But I normally stick to the basics: BuzzFeed, Facebook, YouTube.

large.jpgAll of these are plenty distracting for me, but they also bring me a few of my favorite things–things that I want to share with all of you. So the following are a few links that either made me laugh or smile or do some deep thinking or whatever. I hope you enjoy.

FOR EVERYONE WHO THINKS HERMOINE SHOULD HAVE ENDED UP WITH HARRY.

This is obviously first because IT IS SO IMPORTANT. I sincerely hope that this article doesn’t personally speak to anyone reading my blog (I’d like to think that we all happily ship Ron and Hermoine), but just in case, I need you to take a hard look at #28 (if nothing else):

“The idea of Hermione ending up with Harry is so terrible that it is literally the result of the most evil magic ever. Literally. Do you REALLY want to support the same ‘ship as LORD VOLDEMORT?”

So I’ll just leave this here.

BILL NYE TO PLANNED PARENTHOOD DEFUNDERS: ‘YOU LITERALLY DON’T KNOW WHAT YOU’RE TALKING ABOUT’

How can you not click on a title like that?

But seriously, I love how Bill Nye was this huge character in our lives (and science classes) growing up, and now he’s just this chill af guy dropping truth bombs backed with scientific facts wherever he goes.

HOW SHIA REACTED TO EVERY ONE OF HIS MOVIES

So I love Shia LaBeouf. I think he is a fascinating and complicated little weirdo and I love everything from Rob Cantor’s “Shia LaBeouf” to Sia’s “Elastic Heart” music video. And I guess some people didn’t know this, but he recently watched all of his movies in a marathon that began with his most recent. I checked in on this a few times (had it in a separate tab during most of my studies) over the three days, but now that it’s over, there are various recaps circulating the internet. I highly recommend checking them out:

http://www.ew.com/article/2015/11/12/shia-labeouf-all-my-movies-gifs

http://www.vulture.com/2015/11/how-shia-reacted-to-every-one-of-his-movies.html#

HE TOOK A POLAROID EVERY DAY, UNTIL THE DAY HE DIED

I read this article at least a year ago, but I still find myself thinking about it every once in a while. It still kind of hurts to go through the pictures, even though I didn’t know this man. But it’s an interesting thing–this project he did. It’s definitely worth checking out.

PEE WEE FOOTBALL TEAM LOSES FOCUS WHEN WHIP NAE NAE PLAYS

I STILL DON’T UNDERSTAND HOW SOME PEOPLE HAVE NOT SEEN THIS VIDEO. I’ve referred to this video, on multiple occasions, as my favorite video on the internet. I stand by that statement.

So those are the random links that I’ve thought about making blog posts about before but I never have. Though I guess this counts.

I hope you enjoy, and I hope you have places of the internet where you can turn when you need to smile or think or reflect. And I hope some of those places lead you down dark, dusty tunnels of the internet that lead you to gifs of Shia LaBeouf laughing at himself.

Sincerely,

Sammy

A DAY I WON’T FORGET

Dear Reader,

I’ve probably written about 5 things this week that could constitute as blog posts, but I keep thinking “stop! what are you doing? this is a happy blog! this is a place where you appreciate the good, not harp on the bad!” But I just don’t think that’s the truth anymore. Maybe I’ve just tried to protect myself from the repercussions of exposing the truth of how I’ve been feeling (for quite a while, actually), but I don’t think I can do that any longer.

So let me tell you about my day.

I woke up at 3AM on Thursday morning and cried for over an hour. I cried over things I couldn’t control and I cried about the parts of myself that I hate and I cried because I’ve been bottling it in for so long.

And these random mantras kept repeating over and over in my head, I think as a way for me to try and calm myself down. I just started thinking, crying about this isn’t going to get better. There’s no use in doing this. This won’t get better tonight.

This won’t get better tonight.

This won’t get better tonight.

This won’t get better.

I woke up a few hours later (huzzah for 8:30s) and noticed that my left eyelid was swollen and a little blue and my eye wasn’t able to open fully.

I think I actually managed to pop a blood vessel because of how hard I cried last night.

But I put on some sweats and tie up my greasy hair in a hair tie and head to my 8:30, looking and feeling like less than a person. But class was fine and I was actually invested in the conversation as we discussed the possible relation between Ophelia from Hamlet and Emilia from Two Noble Kinsmen. Then I started to get a bad feeling.

I thought it was just menstrual cramps or something. They’d never been that bad, but I didn’t know what else would explain the stomach ache and nausea. I tried to manage the pain but it kept growing, so I left the class to go to the bathroom and presumably throw up.

I burst through the door and immediately saw stars.

For those who don’t know, I have a tachycardia syndrome (heart condition type thing) that basically means I’m in more danger of fainting than the normal human being and have to watch my diet and fill it with plenty of water and sodium.

So I run into the last stall and lock the door behind me before collapsing on the ground. My first thought was to call 911 (dramatic, I know, and problematic for so many reasons), but I called my close friend, Kassara, instead. She doesn’t answer, but texts “what’s up? I’m in class. I can go in the hall if it’s an emergency.” I respond. “I’m sorry. Please. Can you please.”

And then my phone dies on 63%.

This all has happened in about 20 seconds and I’m on the floor in this nasty bathroom crying, but I think it’s at this point that I realize that I am having a panic attack. And that I’m alone.

All I can say is thank goodness no one came in the bathroom because I can’t remember the last time I sobbed that hard–ugly and audibly. (Usually it’s repressed, like last night when I was in across from my sleeping roommate.) But I managed to calm myself down somehow and ended up with my head by the toilet and my legs up on the stall door so the blood could flow back to my head.

I was just laying there, staring directly at the dim lights of the nasty bachelor hall bathroom, thinking, “this is what my life has become. unannounced panic attacks and episodes of near fainting.”

It’s a strange thing to feel your tears stream up your face and run into your eyebrows.

My phone turned on about fifteen minutes after it had “died” (my phone is so jank, it’s ridiculous), and Kassara ended up coming to my rescue.

Seriously, I cannot say enough nice things about this girl. She is the absolute best in these situations. She knew exactly what to say, she brought me water and bought me chips, and she made me feel so good as I sobbed to her about all I’ve been thinking about lately.

We both decided it was time for my parents to know what’s been going on.

I had this note written out from the night before that I hadn’t intended on them seeing for a while, but I guess life just doesn’t happen the way you expect it to, does it?

I first sent the screenshots to my mom, and then she ended up talking to my dad about it tonight. They’re both being amazing and supportive and I’m really lucky to have two parents who care and a friend like Kassara. And I’m lucky to be at Miami and I’m lucky to be a part of Phi Mu and I’m lucky for my health and I’m lucky for my finances and I just know it could be a lot worse. Everything could be so much worse, so I don’t know why I’m having such a hard time handling my life as it is right now.

But that’s how my day went. I really hope yours was better. And I hope my tomorrow will be better too.

I think it will.

Now I’m going to actually get some sleep tonight so I can take my geography exam tomorrow with a well-rested brain. And hopefully I won’t cry in front of my professor–though it wouldn’t be the first time. It’s just that I can’t remember the last day I’ve gone without crying.

So maybe it’ll be tomorrow.

Sincerely,

Sammy