Yearbooks

***Update on the ant bite: My bicep still rocks, but the bite swelled and split open this morning, only to close up, turn green in the middle again, and start swelling again… we’ll see how it looks in the morning, now! (And the coach’s bites did not turn green, he said, but one was hurting a lot.)***

We now return to regular programming.

There is a guy working with me who graduated high school with my youngest brother.

I pulled out the yearbook from their senior year today, and had a brief look through the senior photos.

I enjoyed how much hair this guy and my brother both had in their photos, and how they both have almost none now, and both keep their heads shaved (though my brother uses a razor, and the other guy only seems to buzz it as short as possible).

One thing I noted was that their service work locations seemed almost stereotypical for each of them…. interesting, perhaps.

Something bigger, however, was the other people I found in the yearbook.

I crossed names of people whose faces I knew not, but whose names I knew well from my brother – how fun to put faces to the names, even almost two decades after the fact.

And then I realized that I finally had the opportunity to look up and remember my brother’s best friend’s full name – I forgot his middle name a few years back, and haven’t recalled it since…. I just always thought it was fascinating, because he was the fourth with the name, so he had a “, IV” at the end of his legal name.

And I use the past tense here, because he died at the start of their sophomore year of college.

It was drinking and a bit of drugs at a party, and everyone thought he’d simply fallen asleep, but, of course, he hadn’t… I’ve always remembered most that my brother was invited to that same party, but chose to work on his absurd amount of homework, instead (thank you, UT Architecture program [not for the first time]).

And so J—– died at the party, and my brother spoke at the funeral, at the request of J—-‘s family, and he did a wonderful job.

My mom and I also attended the funeral, along with a lot of people.

After the funeral, since J—- had always said that he wanted to go out with pinwheels and fireworks, we (a handful of select people that happened to include my mom and me) went to an open land area across from a movie theatre, and set off a bunch of little rockets and a few big shebang fireworks (the pinwheels had decorated the casket) – it was a true party and celebration to send off J—- and to say goodbye together.

When I came across his name today, I was delighted – I finally have it(!).

And then I gave his photo a good look.

And it was almost terrifying as an experience, though terrifying just is not quite the right word…

It suddenly occurred to me that this was the first time I’d seen a photo of J— since around the time of the funeral – I’d only had mental visions of him since then.

It was weird to think that, u like my brother and that other guy, J— had not aged from this photo… maybe two years’ worth of aging, but that was little different from the boy who sat in the frame that is in front of me now.

These were posed senior portraits for the yearbook, and so they each are looking directly at the camera…, directly at the viewer of the photograph… J—- was no exception…

And it was spooky, knowing that those eyes, so true and almost penetrating in this photo, were no longer here, no longer existed.

And then, it had me wonder how many people in this book, this yearbook are no longer around?

And that was perhaps even spookier…

I had to move on to other things then, both in terms of productivity and in terms of an emotional desire to step away from the increasing discomfort and potential sadness of what sat before me, visually and mentally, at that moment, and so I closed the book, put it back in its place, and walked away.

I soon had tears in my eyes, and the feeling of hollowness just behind the bottom of my ribs was growing.

Now, hours later and many tasks and conversations later, I feel less afraid, and more aware of the fleeting aspect of life, the circumstances that allow us a promise of a chance at everything, and at a chance of it all going away at any moment, in a moment’s time…

On my way up to the house where I am housesitting tonight, I passed their church, where J—-‘s funeral had been… I think of him every time I pass it (though that doesn’t happen too often), because it’s the only thing I’ve ever attended there…

……

I don’t have anything insightful about this… I just wanted to share…

Post-a-day 2019

Babies making babies

How many 18-year-olds do you cross, where you think to yourself, ‘Yes, this person is well on his/her way to being a wonderful parent!’?

And yet, just a generation or two ago, the 18-year-olds were just about to become parents.

I haven’t even considered the fact that I don’t have children of my own, though I’m very post-college-aged, and yet my mother started having children when she was college-aged, and then she had already finished having her children long before the time when she was the age I am now.

I mean, sure, our bodies are primed for making babies when we’re around 20, but our brains seem to be on a different planet at that age.

Just about every male aged eighteen years is a total idiot so far as I’ve experienced… (Remember that I teach high school)… and, while the girls aren’t total idiots, they definitely don’t strike me as the motherly type.

Just a thought.

Post-a-day 2018

Freshly Sliced

I am the epitome of sliced white bread, as I enter campus.  I have on my dance top and shorts and my hipster tie-dye Oakley sunglasses.  I am eating a Trader Joe’s snack bar and holding a large bottle of cold Trader Joe’s electrolyte water, and am walking with a cool green backpack on my back, and my dirty blonde hair in a messy bun on top of my head.

Two black guys are walking towards me.  The larger of the two, a very large and very dark guy, asks me how I’m doing and what I do here.  I tell him that I go to school.  He asks if I do any sports or anything, because I look like I do long-distance running; I look very thin and fit.  I say that I did.  He says that ‘you see there, I was right – you look like it’.  I notice that I’m also wearing running shoes – the ones I used to wear for all my walking and bike riding at my Japan job – and that I haven’t just been doing exercise, despite my complete outfit for it.  He hands me a flyer while saying that they hope I can join them on the 20th, and then I continue onward.  Based on the flyer, it looks like some sort of DJ dance party with stereotypical black advertising and expected attendees.  Not that I’m opposed to the party, but I’m not exactly the target audience of the flyer, making it surprising that this guy would have stopped to invite me…I mean, did he see me?  Again, not opposed to it.  I’m in full support of it.  I’m just a little surprised by it.  However, I recall that this is a college campus, so they’re probably inviting just about any girl they can find (who doesn’t look like a total nerd, that is), and my surprise lessens significantly.

After a few hundred yards of walking onward, I see what I originally think is a dead snake on the ground.  As I approach it, I see that it is a strand of weave, of false hair.  A gurgling chuckle rises within me.  This is definitely not my typical territory, and I feel as though my thoughts of being stereotypical white bread have just been proven by my surroundings of very much black culture  – not to mention the fact that almost everyone I can see is black to some degree – showing up in stark contrast to me.

And then I remember that I also am wearing a drape-y scarf, despite the fact that it is still technically summertime.  I’m even more white bread than I had thought.

Post-a-day 2018

Twenties to remember

As we discuss the concept of drinking alcohol, he says, “[…] What else do you do in your twenties?”

The irony of the statement misses neither of us, as we simultaneously recall that neither of us spent our own twenties drinking alcohol.

😛

I mean, it isn’t that I’m necessarily opposed to the drinking of alcohol, even for myself… I just kind of don’t do it… especially if I am going to be driving, because that, to me, requires a 0.0%.

My friends never mind it, of course, because this has made me a natural and willing designated driver, ever since my first year of college. 😛

Post-a-day 2018

an absence of trust

I know it’s only a small amount of money for a transcript request, but I feel like the organization that feels that the individual applying and presenting his/her own information is not reliable enough not to have altered his/her transcript, such that it wants a copy directly from the college or university the individual attended, ought to be the one to pay for the transcript to be sent.  It is the one who feels that the student is unreliable, and yet the student is the one who has to pay for that?  Just seems a little too ridiculous.  If you don’t trust me, that’s okay.  But do your own research – don’t have me do it for you, when I’m already presenting you with the truth.  It’s along similar lines as saying someone doesn’t trust his girlfriend to be loyal, and so he has his girlfriend hire a private detective to follow herself around.  Sure, it’s a little drastic, but it’s the same concept…

Post-a-day 2018

College

He had stayed home that night, because his program was intense – he had a lot of work to do.  He had been invited, but he didn’t go, because he did work instead.  His best friend went, though.  He wasn’t in such an intense program, and could spare the night off easily enough.  Everyone there had thought that the best friend had fallen asleep.  Perhaps he had.  Eventually, though, the combination of this and that and ecstasy had stopped the best friend’s heart and life.  But everyone thought the best friend was asleep.

He had stayed home that night, but his best friend hadn’t.

Contemplating how things could have gone differently, if he had gone to the party that night, now that is one easy way to go crazy.

So, I don’t.

Post-a-day 2018

I am from…

Recently, in my cleaning out, I’ve come across loads of papers and files and folders and binders from almost all of my years of schooling.  While, I’ve found things from that same school year (lots of them today, actually), I have yet to find the original I am from poem that I wrote about myself in seventh grade.  When I find it, I will share it, followed by the one I wrote about myself during college, as well as the two(three?) that my friends wrote about me from their own perspectives during, I believe, high school together.

For now, though, I share the one I wrote during college about myself.  If you do not know, an I am from poem is essentially a work where one inputs pieces of information related to certain topics.  For example, the format could be as follows:

[First Name]
I am from [three traits you like about yourself]
[three traits you want to improve about yourself]
lover of [two things you love]
believer in [two things in which you believe]
who fears [two things you fear]
who hopes for [two things for which you hope]
brother/sister to [list your siblings]
daughter/son to [list your parents’ names]
resident of [the street where you grew up living]
[your city and state]
[your country]
[Last Name]

The original one I did was longer than that, but the point was just to explain the general format, so I’ll leave it at that.  The following, as mentioned already, is the version I wrote in college, which was following a rather free format that did not have distinct criteria other than being about ourselves (so far as I currently remember, anyway).

……………………………

4 Sept 2011 ED351

Hannah
I am from gentle, caring, lovable, wonderful
I am from sisterhood and subtle observations
from Music and Dance and Poetry
I am from contentedness with what one is given, blissfulness when around music, and the desire to do good
I am from hugs, laughs, and love, and recycling it all back
I am from giving harmony to life, consideration to call, and cheerfulness to one’s surroundings
I am from confidence: one so strong I fear only a loss of things or people whom I love and with whom I share my life
I am from Grace, in name and in action
I am from “How do you say ‘How do you say?'” in as many languages as possible
I am from connectedness and communication: be honest, be clear, be concise, lift up others with what you say, and mean it every time
I am from clarity: now inhale deeply and be with what is and what isn’t – identify the story and render it powerless in what happened
I am from when you’re on it, get off it; when you’re incomplete, get complete with yourself and with all those involved; and when you’re being inauthentic, be authentic about your being inauthentic
I am from live in the moment and remember what’s possible
AND
I am from the long time sun, may it always shine upon you
I am from love, may it always surround you
I am from Woman, the greatest power, and from the one pure light within us
I am from a world to be treated with care
I am from mother: Earth and the human
I am from understanding, consciousness, choices, and freedom of self-expression
I am from mother, all-encompassing, all-loving, and ever-present
I am from God, the World, and the stars
I am from Mother

…………………………..

Post-a-day 2018