On the Steps to Freedom.

I’m laying in my bed after watching Sherlock’s series 4 finale (The Final Problem? Not knowing whether it’s over or not.)  listening to Nick Drake’s “Which Will” on repeat in the wee hours of the morn. I’m crying. Why, I don’t fully know. I cried quite a bit near the end and after Sherlock’s finale, being swept up in it all. But right now, I don’t know why I’m crying. My soul is crying, I suppose. I’ve been scared for the past few months, ever since November. There was a brief period in the middle that I was lulled into apathy/still living in Obama’s Administration. That feeling has been quickly melting away recently.

I understand why I’m crying now. My soul knows these next couple of years are going to be a struggle; they’re going to be tough and dangerous. It’s trying to comfort me, tell me that we’ll fight all of this together. Many others can’t say the same for their immediate safety. Of course, I don’t know for sure how things will turn out, but my soul is assuring me I’ll be strong. Tears are rolling down my face but I feel sorrowfully happy. Like something is ending and another is beginning; another stage of my life. And as I listen to Nick Drake, I think of the movie soundtrack for Saoirse Ronan’s “How I Live Now” I first heard it on, making it feel so poignantly relevant to the internal crisis I’m in right now.

I believe this feeling of melancholy is wanting to be able to be seen by people. I want to be myself. All of myself. I hide it away so well under my asocial, introverted shyness: how funny I can be, and how caring I really am. The weeping is because I feel like I’m ready to take the next step. I’m ready to take more adventures, to be myself and to laugh unashamedly with others. Granted this new me isn’t going to be born overnight. Yet I feel these next two years and on will see me taking positive strides to being more like the person I see everyday in the mirror that makes funny faces and speaks in funny accents, longing to show people who she is, but stopping herself short. But at the same time, I am T E R R I F I E D of being seen by people. I don’t like attention, but can crave validation (funny how that is).

So I’m working towards showing people who I am. Sometimes you just need a good cry to listen to your feelings. Baby steps.

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On Living Tiny.

I got back from an amazing weekend in Nashville, TN spending time learning more about tiny houses with people of all ages a few weeks ago. The Tumbleweed Tiny House Company held the workshop at a not-for-profit campus near Vandy: Art Cormier was the presenter with Brittany Yunker as host. It was so amazing to sit in an audience of people that thought so much differently than the average American and bond over things like what type of roofing we might want, the way we’ll design our interiors, or which kind of toilet may be better for the environment.

My grandfather is one of my main influences on living tiny. He has traveled up to Alaska from Upstate New York every summer of my life. He used to drive up there to fish in an old truck camper. I used to play in it at my grandparent’s house and make believe that I lived there, snuggled in the cozy and mothball-smelling atmosphere. At times throughout my younger years I would bounce from idea to idea of what I wanted to live in: at times, I’d want to live in an RV, others I claimed I’d live in an old bus not dissimilar to the Mystery Machine. Other times, I’d want to live in a tree house. I discovered Tumbleweed tiny houses, my first introduction to the official tiny house movement when I was a sophomore in high school. Jay Shafer and Dee Williams were my heroes. I knew I needed to live in a tiny house on wheels. I was hooked. When I went about telling my family my dream, they rolled their eyes and scoffed with disbelief. I persisted though, learning more and more, devouring people’s blogs when they’d write about the progress of building their tiny houses. Seven years later and a college graduate, I still have the dream of living tiny. My parents and sister have adjusted to the idea, realizing that I haven’t given up the idea that they once thought was just a flash in the pan. It’s given them time to adjust. My dreams became reality last November: Jenna and Guillaume of Tiny House Giant Journey were in Charlotte, NC. I was able to tour a tiny house.. not only seeing one in person was great, but it was the floor plan of house I wanted as well. In my time spent researching throughout the years, I went from wanting to live in an Epu (no longer available at Tumbleweed, it was during Jay Shafer‘s era) to a Fencl. Now known as Cypress on Tumbleweed’s site, it was great to see what I wanted to live in in person. Stepping inside a tiny house redoubled my passion to make my dream become a reality.

Off of that origin story tangent. Overall, the Tumbleweed workshop was amazing and I’m so very glad I attended. I made friends with other tiny house hopefuls and met some that live in my area. From that point when I met Jenna and Guillaume and their hosts and again at the workshop, everyone was so friendly and encouraging. People I talk to about my tiny house dreams are often either discouraging or look at my like I’ve just escaped from a looney bin. Everyone there at the workshop “got it”. (I use those quotations for emphasis, not irony.) We were all so overwhelmed to be surrounded by so many people that were also interested in living tiny that we lost many of our social skills–those of us that had them in the first place.. ;). We were awkward and weird together in solidarity, while also bubbling with excitement. I absolutely will build my tiny house one day: my current projection is that I’ll start in a few years. All I can say is I can’t wait to put all the things I’ve learned through the years to practice.

On Immigration and Expatriatism.

As a college graduate with a BA in International Relations, I accepted a job coaching lacrosse in England. I was a student-athlete in college and played lacrosse all four years. My job with English Lacrosse was a delightful mesh of what I spent the majority of my time in college doing: going to class and playing lacrosse. Recently I found that I may be unable to pursue the job due to visa complications within the UK’s government. I was crushed.

Expat vs Immigrant

Facts on UK Immigration

UK in Trouble

UK Lacrosse

Obviously the other coaches and I hope things will be resolved between English Lacrosse and the UKVI, but I also hope the UK relaxes it’s immigration policy as well, as the economy is growing at a faster pace than in the past and must keep up by hiring more workers. I have hope for my situation that this matter will be rectified and girls and boys will not be without new coaches to teach them a great sport that has changed my life.

If nothing we do matters… , then all that matters is what we do. ‘Cause that’s all there is. What we do. Now. Today.- Angel, Angel Season 2 Episode 16

Gettin’ Whedony up in here. I’ve been thinking of getting it tattooed on my inner arm eventually.

It’s the end of the world as I know it.

My entire life I have identified as an athlete. This term does not apply as simply as it did several weeks ago, when I was sweating under the hot sun in pinnies with my teammates. I graduated college a few weekends ago, and now I am faced with a conundrum. I’ve always loathed running. I’ve never been able to grasp that spark that people speak of, of the runners’ high. It’s ironic that I hate running so much, yet I happily gave myself over to college sports in which you are expected to be in shape almost constantly. I remember dreading getting our workout packets over the summer and winter breaks with detailed lifts and running routines. Sometimes, if I’m being honest, I would toss aside the packet and do my own types of workouts which included more lifting than running. I would so much rather lift weights, etc. than find myself gasping for air on a road or trail. Though I will say, my favorite running to do, if you asked me in college, was half gassers. I’d do those as punishment or for conditioning any day of the week. Suicides? I’d rather puke my guts out on the turf than do suicides. Half gassers would entail the team running (either in groups or as a whole) across the median of the field, there and back sprinting under a certain time frame. But I digress.

I have been playing organized sports since I was 5 years old. At the age of 21 I’m not quite sure what to do with my life now. I have spent my entire life (minus those 5 years where my motor skills weren’t superior enough to actually get me on a field) going to practices, games, team parties, traveling to games, staying in hotels for tournaments, lifting, running, and competing. And now that time of my life is over. I don’t rightly know what I will do once I feel that blow. I have always identified as an athlete. It is a fundamental part of who I am. To lose that part of me may be devastating. My college graduate status and graduation from the team has not yet hit me; I feel like it is a dream, one that I will wake up from once the next semester rolls around and I don’t have to go back to school.

I have given so much of my mind, body, and soul to organised athletics that I have never had time for other things. I have always had a passion for the outdoors, but never the time to explore that passion. I’ve hiked part of the Appalachian trail near my school with my teammates, and slept in eno’s in the woods of Upstate New York with my sister a few trees away, but I have never been able to do many things for myself without thinking of a team that I was a part of, etc.

Thus, I have decided that the way to retain the muscle I have gained throughout my life-especially in the last four years, I will take up yoga and hiking more seriously. Unfortunately I can’t run on hard surfaces like roads, concrete, or sidewalks easily as my Achilles tendon stiffens and doesn’t allow me to run easily unless on turf or other similar substances. I have never been very flexible, so when I have taken yoga classes in the past I have not been able to go that far into a pose. Right now my hamstrings are so terrible that merely sitting or bending down is painful and stretches them. My hammies have never been as bad as this. I intend to relieve the pain by yoga and benefit from the more spiritual aspects as well.

Overall, I have to fight through redefining myself as a person. I’ll have to seek new things that interest me and become a new person that has the past of a college-athlete.

Bottom line is, even if you see them coming, you’re not ready for the big moments. No one asks for their life to change, not really. But it does. So, what are we, helpless? Puppets? Nah. The big moments are gonna come, you can’t help that. It’s what you do afterwards that counts. That’s when you find out who you are.-Whistler, Buffy Season 2 Episode 21

Passion.

Passion… It lies in all of us… It speaks to us, guides us… Passion rules us all, and we obey. What other choice do we have? Passion is the source of our finest moments: the joy of love, the clarity of hatred, and the ecstasy of grief. It hurts sometimes more than we can bear. Passion is the source of hope and the cause of despair… If we could live without passion,
maybe we’d know some kind of peace. But we would be hollow. Empty rooms, shuttered and dank. Without passion, we’d be truly dead.

Angelus; Buffy the Vampire Slayer