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I'm becoming Katie Goodman

It's official. I'm one of those douchey kids who cries over grades. I got my first B on a writing assignment for Professor B and I barely made it to the bathroom in time before I lost it. Nevermind that I got a perfect score on the mid-term, I got a B on an assignment that's hardly worth anything OMG LIFE IS OVER HE TOTALLY THINKS IM STUPID NOW. Yeah, I know. I'm being an idiot. Thankfully my more reasonable faculties are finally in control, but at that moment I couldn't keep a straight face and pretend life was okay. I actually came home and cried again when I took the paper out of my notebook. I then, and I kid you not, hid it under the couch. Yeah. Because it can't hurt me there.

I must be stopped.

Feb. 14th, 2010

I tried to buy wine this morning. Operative word being "tried."

I swung by Whole Foods after hitting the gym, picked the bottle off the shelf and tucked it amongst my milk and orange juice. A clerk approached me immediately.

Clerk: Excuse me, ma'am. According to North Carolina law, you can't buy wine before noon on Sunday.

Me: (try to imagine my brow furrowing and mouth slightly agape) Really?

Clerk: That's right, ma'am.

Me: Why?

Clerk: Old blue laws.

Me: But why?

Clerk: Left over Christian ordinances. Still on the books, I guess.

Me: But they're the only ones actually DRINKING wine before noon on Sundays!

Clerk: I'm sorry, ma'am.

Whole Foods was also out of chocolate. So here I am. Man-less, wine-less, and without chocolate. And one of my dates just cancelled on me.

I hate this day.

I am wholly yours

I had written an "I hate Valentine's Day" rant, but decided against actually posting it. Just writing it made me feel better, even if it's lost forever. You can probably imagine what it said, anyway.

Not a lot going on. I'm home, and looking forward to Sunday - my only day off of school/work. Tomorrow I have a hot date with not one, but three women. One of whom is married. All of us, for whatever reason, and man-less tomorrow. I'm compensating with a short dress and a pair of particularly slutty high heels. We'll be drinking wine, singing and playing guitars, going out to dinner, and then off to see the new Anthony Hopkins werewolf movie. I'm excited.

Yeah, I still hate Valentine's Day, but I'm going to get on with it and try not be miserable. Guitars and werewolf movies are what does it for me, usually.

I got home from work today and did some much-needed cleaning. Now I'm rocking out to the David Crowder Band. Yeah, me and my Christian rock music. I can't help it. In the name if Jesus I rock.

I've got a history paper due this week, and the plan is to turn a draft in on Monday. It's on the Justinian Plague, so at least it should be sort of fun to write.

I wish that we all came equipped with a switch that enabled us to turn off our feelings. *switch*

My heart is an idiot.
Bacteria can do it, too.

I woke up last night feeling like I had ground up glass in both of my eyes, and when I tried to go to the bathroom to check it out, I couldn't stand the light. Like, at all. My first thought was pink eye (eww). I spent the rest of the night with a wet wash cloth over my face, trying to soothe away the pain. When I got up at 8 for class, I couldn't see very well and my eyes were still really irritated (though not inflamed, surprisingly). I went to class (because I ALWAYS go to class), stumbled through the morning, wore sunglasses indoors without a hint of irony, and somehow managed to drive myself to Urgent Care. They told me it probably wasn't pink eye, made sure I didn't have any scratches on my eyeballs, and I then sent me to a real eye doctor.

He examined me and told me that, basically, I have bacteria eating my corneas. Like teeny tiny zombies. Awesome. Probably strep. He said I'm really lucky, because they're not congregating around the center, but in little blobs around the sides. center=blindness. I have to put antibiotic drops in my eyes constantly and I'm banned from contact lenses until further notice. I have to go back in on Monday and 1)make sure my eyeballs aren't melting out of their sockets and 2)get new glasses.

He then told me that I really have no business wearing contacts ever again, and I should consider lasik in a couple of years. I got a lecture about sleeping in my contacts (which I've done for years) and not cleaning them properly (I'm allergic to regular contact solutions and have to use hypo-allergenic saline and soak my lenses every night in hydrogen peroxide. Which I don't because I'm lazy.). Yeah.

In other news...there really isn't other news. I'm starting to do research for my honors paper, which is bringing back all sorts of memories from my Chinese history class freshman year of high school. It's really novel to be examining a non-pagan tradition so thoroughly and to find it so engrossing. I've always thought of Buddhism as being on the other end of the religious spectrum from where I'm standing (and I think it still is, at its core), but it makes a lot more sense to me now and I can understand the appeal where I couldn't before. Plus the history in China is really interesting.

And it's not unlike studying Norse or Celtic traditions in that I still can't pronounce anyone's names.
I have to take an intro class in religious studies because it's part of the major. So far it looks like it's going to be me trapped in a room with thirty people who, in addition to desperately needing an intro to religious studies, also need to spend five minutes with someone who isn't a Christian. Our homework for the first week was to post a definition of the word "religion" on the class message board. Here's my favorite so far:

"Religion is the belief and practice in a higher being or God. It is the belief and thought that there is some higher being more powerful than anything on Earth. Those who practice the religion, “practice” so by attending churches that are dedicated to their God, praying, singing, showing kindness to others, and other forms of worship set out depending on the religion that is practiced. Religion is having faith or trust that there is an all-powerful being that helps guide us to live good, honest lives. This higher being is a symbol for people who believe try to morally achieve. The belief in a higher being or God also provides comfort to people. It can bring comfort for many reasons. It allows people to have an answer to what happens after they die. It allows them to know that no matter what there is someone watching over them. The higher being can be understood to be all loving and understanding, but also having set rules for how one should live their life. Following those set rules, religion is also the belief that a person’s soul has a final resting place; heaven or hell. For those who live a “good” life based on rules set out by their religion will end up in heaven with their God. Those that do not follow will end up in hell away from an eternal life with their God."

I think the worst part is that every time someone makes a post, it gets sent to me via e-mail.

I gave a hostile somewhat dismissive non-definition:

"When we attempt to define “religion” and what it means to be “religious”, we almost unfailingly reveal our biases, and our definitions are overwhelmingly unsatisfactory. Often, the definitions that we do manage to craft rely on unfair generalizations about beliefs and practices, and exceptions are usually glaringly apparent. The very idea that we feel compelled to distinguish something called “religion” from daily life is in and of itself a bias particularly characteristic of Western thought. For many Americans (and others), religion is something that is “other” – something that we have to make additional time to observe, something that momentarily separates us from the rest of our lives, something that divides the sacred from the mundane – but this is not the case in other parts of the world, and particularly in non-Abrahamic traditions. Religion does not necessarily provide comfort, answer questions, give life meaning, make statements related to the afterlife, define social interactions, provide one with a moral code, or even include a belief in a supernatural power. Even the act of not subscribing to a religion (as we might understand it) can itself be a religious undertaking (just observe the fervor of some popular atheist writers). The term ultimately is arbitrary and useful only within strictly defined parameters, and attempts to define it reveal more about the person providing the definition than they do about the subject itself."

The good news is that all of my other classes should be good. My advisor (Prof. A) is on sabbatical, but another professor (Prof. B) has offered to step in while he's away. I'll also be doing honors work for Professor B this term, which I'm excited about. He's easily my favorite, so I'm pleased. My new biggest fear is looking stupid in front of my professors (this one in particular), so this honors work thing has been freaking me out.

Fuck you, William & Mary!

School starts tomorrow and I'm way excited. I'm a 25 year-old nerd.

Classes as of now include:

Middle Ages
History of West Africa
New Testament
Intro to Study of Religion
Japanese Religions
Chinese Religions

I'm knocking out all of my history requirements this term as well as two major requirements (Intro and NT). The other two are electives. The best part is that my classes are back-to-back, so it's just like going to work or something. No down time in between. The first four start at 8 on MWF, and the last two start at 3 on TR.

I'm going to continue kicking ass this term.

I take the GRE in two weeks.

I'm going to fucking get into Duke if it kills me. And other people. I'll also be applying at Chapel Hill (the First Choice, but I won't get in), Indiana (maybe), Penn (NO WAY. Probably not even if I was the only applicant), and Wake Forest (the safety).

This week I've received alumni newsletters from W&M, my high school, and my elementary school (because that's the kind of elementary school I went to). Glad to know that my middle school tormentors are now successful, Ivy League-educated lawyers and med students. I even went so far as to set the W&M magazine on fire. How do they keep finding me, anyway? I move every year and that fucking alumni association still manages to get my address and send me glossy, quarterly reminders that I'm a failure. Fuck you, William & Mary! I'm going to go to grad school anyway, and I'm not going to be an asshole at the end of it.

But enough about that. Yay school! And I've got two of the same professors, both of whom I really like. I also have a new coffee shop hangout. The owner is a regular at Harry's, so we're already acquainted. And new jeans that actually fit me! I could have died in the dressing room. I never buy pants new, but I had to this time because I've ripped the ass out of my only two pairs of pants and I can't fix them. It's impossible to find pants, but I did it!

Oh! I joined a gym. Me. In a gym. And I actually like it. It's cheap, 24 hours (good for my insomnia), close by, and it's full of people in equally bad shape. All of us chug along to TV and bad music, too self-involved to judge anyone else. I run, I lift weights, and I do a lot of sit ups. This is the year that I reclaim the body I lost to my depression.

I should try to sleep now.

Yeah, right.


Things are changing again.

I suddenly have a lot more options with regard to grad school. I don't want to move, but I will if I have to. I'm making a list of schools that have good religious studies programs (it's a lot shorter than I would have guessed) and I'll be applying to many of them. Not all of them are in the United States.

This is the first time in my (lengthy) college career that I've had professors express any real interest in me. I've had two insist on writing letters for me, without any prompting. At W&M I couldn't get any - I was that mediocre. I'm starting to look for something worthwhile to do this summer to boost my cv. I'm updating my passport in case that something involves an airplane and a foreign country.

My band, Ghostdance, has its first show tomorrow and two more booked in January. I think we're actually pretty good, especially considering my depression and total lack of commitment to anything other than school.

Kim just bought a new tent in preparation for FSG. This year is going to be better than last because we're going to bring actual food and I'm not going to bring my phone. I won't be taking the anxiety with me. And I've got something important to offer to the fire this year.

I'm going to Michigan right after Christmas and I can't wait. Going to stay with my aunt feels like the closest thing I have to going home anymore since my parents moved. I don't think I even know anyone in DC anymore.

All things considered, I think life could actually be good for now. There are a lot of mistakes I won't be making again. I've learned a lot about myself in the last several years and I feel like I'm finally getting to move forward.

Save your draft, save your soul

I should be studying for my French oral exam tomorrow, but I don't think one night is going to make much of a difference to my piss poor pronunciation. I've got a pretty solid B in that class right now and I'll be excited if I can finish up with a B-. Shootin' for the stars here.

I have an A in everything else, so I figure my GPA can deal. It's weird, but I've become one of those students that I've always hated. You know the ones who sit front row center and always seem to have something to say? To the point where the teacher stops calling on them? Yeah, that's me. I can practically feel my classmates rolling their eyes behind me. And I freak out if I don't get As on every little thing. I go to extraordinary lengths to make sure my professors know who I am and like me. Needless to say I'm not sleeping very much. But you should read some of the crap I'm churning out for papers and exams - I'm starting to sound like I know what I'm talking about (unlike the infamous "Heathcliff was a werewolf" paper I wrote for my Bronte seminar at W&M). My advisor confirmed my suspicion that I have pretty much zero chance of getting into Chapel Hill, but he thinks I can get into Duke. He's already offered to write me a letter, and it feels really good to have his support. I didn't even have an advisor at W&M. I start a GRE prep class in a couple of weeks (after a month's worth of searching for one I could afford). I will also be applying to the honors program next term. This time when I graduate, there will be stuff in Latin on my degree.

The other day I was reading an article about non-ADHD kids abusing ritalin to be more focused in school (the so-called "study drug") and, where the old Mary would have thought, "Dude, that's fucked up," the new Mary thinks, "Huh...I wonder if that would work..." Yeah, sad.

I'm not playing a ton of music right now. I've still got my band, and we practice twice a week, which is good. We'll be playing shows by January if not sooner. Andrew, out new bass player, didn't like A Grin & a Grenade, so we've been calling ourselves The Ghostdance. Honestly, I think it makes us sound like we should be playing New Age music at some head shop somewhere, but we haven't had a names for ages and I hardly care at this point.

It does feel good to finally have a focus. I'm going to get a degree in religion and then I'm going straight to grad school. If I get into Duke, I'll go there. If not, I'll commute to Wake Forest, finish the masters there, and then go to Duke or Chapel Hill for the PhD. I will then spend the rest of my life paying off student loans and writing books on witchcraft that hardly anyone will read. It's going to rule.


Acoustic Simulator

The semester is half over already and it's a little hard to believe. I made the mistake last week of looking at acceptance rates for the graduate schools at Duke and Chapel Hill and bummed myself out. I'm not allowed to research grad schools until I'm actually ready to apply now. I don't particularly care where I go, but I don't want to have to move. I wouldn't be able to go until the fall of 2011 at the earliest anyway. And maybe by then Cherry Hill will be accredited. I'd still have to go to another school, but it would be a start.

I'm really enjoying State. I like all of my religion professors and so far I'm doing really well. It's pretty exciting to be studying something that I'm really passionate about.

I'm still recording. It's slow going, but it's going. What we've done so far sounds great - I'm really pleased.

Widdershins has been a lot of fun to run and I'm making a little bit of money. Enough to finance my crafting, anyway. Etsy in general has been really awesome. So much cooler (and usually cheaper) than shopping at a big retailer. If you haven't spent any time there, you should check it out. I posted some new stuff on my own shop's page yesterday, including some Wiccan prayer flags that I'm particularly proud of. The inspiration came at Free Spirit, where people had decorated their tents with Pagan-themed flags, but the ones for sale were ridiculously expensive. So I made my own. I'm also now making pouches for tarot cards (etc). Right now there are just a couple of plain velvet ones available, but in the next few days I'll have some really beautiful silk ones up, too.

I'm also hosting a party for Halloween. I'm excited. I'll begin sewing my costume this week.

Not dead.

You know what's weird? When I'm really depressed, I avoid the telephone, don't use the internet, and generally keep to myself. When I'm really doing well, I do a lot of the same stuff. I ignore my phone and go completely without the internet. I may write a letter or two and I hang out with friends a lot, but I don't get on the computer. Consequently, I get a lot more done and I feel like I'm actually living my life instead of just wishing I was doing something else or envying other people.

I start school on Wednesday. I've got it worked out so I can be in and out with a BA in religion in about three semesters. Music school is currently on hold until further notice.

I've got a job at one of the two independent guitar shops in Raleigh. You know those small stores that are so awesome and are run either only by family members or by the owners and you find yourself thinking, "I hate retail, but I could work in a place like this"? I work in one now. And I'm making more money than I've made at any other job I've ever had. No commissions, no busy work, no phony sales pitches, no bullshit "team member" crap, no dress code... It's awesome. I get to sell stuff that people actually want and need, be completely honest with customers, and I play guitar in my downtime. Or I read a book. And my boss doesn't hassle me about it because he's too busy doing the same thing. No one says infuriating crap like, "If there's time to lean, there's time to clean!" Oh yeah, and it's within walking distance and I can get gear for 15% above cost. Is that rad or what?

I'm playing a lot of open mics and I'm finally (for real this time) recording an EP. Pretty soon, when people ask me if they can buy a CD I'll be able to say, "Sure! That'll be six dollars!" instead of, "Sorry, no, and don't bother looking for me on MySpace either, because I'm not there." In the fall, I will also start booking solo shows.

I have an etsy business. You can find me at www.shopwiddershins.etsy.com

Tomorrow I'm using my first pay check to get a bike so I can ride to school and around the city. My car is excited to have a break from the Durham commute. I know. I asked her.

I don't want to say much in case it turns out to be nothing, but I'm also competing in an open mic battle-of-the-bands-esque thing at a local venue. If I win, I'll get to go to Nashville to play for music-industry-label-type people and I'll get some recording time at a local studio. There are basically three stages of the competition and I've won stage one. The Nashville thing is too much for me to get my brain around, so I'm thinking only in terms of recording time right now.

Oh yeah, and I've got tickets to see BarlowGirl in September AND in October. Life rules right now.

In conclusion, I'm not dead. Please don't feel ignored, it's just me being a freak.