Author Archives: sassy2classy

About sassy2classy

always be sassy,classy, and smart-assy

Choices

For the past few weeks I have been on call waiting for his response. Phone next to the bed, notifications on, random spurts of awake during the night to check because of our time difference. I have been responding promptly, ensuring he isn’t waiting, making sure it is clear I’m invested, showing him that games should remain in childhood. When at first I wasn’t getting a clear response from him, I even double messaged, asking again when he would like to FaceTime, throwing myself out there like a fish on land hoping he would make the choice to take my vulnerability into consideration. The responses have become slim to none, spread out so far that I am never awake when they come in, sometimes distancing a week in between. To the girls reading this, know that I do not enjoy playing the fool, but we all need to play it once to realize why we should never put that hat on again.

As someone who works with people I know the power of choice. We make choices everyday- what we want for breakfast, what show we want to watch, what shirt we want to wear, and what we want to do with our time. Choices tie solely to our wants, to our needs, and to our priorities. Choices define our actions in a way excuses never can. You could say I was making him a priority. I have done this dance before, the salsa before the solo. Where for a brief moment you are there together, but slowly it becomes clear that this is a one man show. It’s never any easier the second or third time you realize this is happening. It’s always painful to see you were not a priority or choice, to hear excuses instead of the truth. Simply put, he did not like me enough to choose me. I have made excuses of my own before- I’m not looking for anything right now, I’m busy, I actually try not to be on my phone a lot- but when it comes down to it, they are excuses. 

There is a famous quote by Albus Dumbledore that I have fallen in love with the older I get. It says “It is our choices,Harry, that show what we truly are, far more than our abilities.” It focuses on the fact that or choices speak louder than our capabilities. Dumbledore did always know exactly what to say. I could be sad about this, I could be disappointed, and I could react. I have the ability to choose, to know what my priorities are, but he is not one of them. In the past I may have vented to all my friends as we sat around a bottle of wine sharing war stories of our own about the wounds we collected from other’s choices. But the difference now lies in the power of my choice. Now I see that my time is no longer meant to be spent where it is not reciprocated and this makes me wonder what my time is meant to be spent on. I look internally instead of externally. I think of ways that I have wanted to challenge myself and seek those options. We must love ourself before others can do the same. Maybe I will choose to pick up painting. Maybe I will choose to take that solo trip to South America like I wanted to. Maybe I will choose to write that book. Maybe I will choose myself again, before I got lost in someone else that wasn’t meant to be mine. Like calls to like as we all know, and if I strive to make myself even more interesting, to take this time to challenge myself in more ways, well then maybe once I am done, someone else, one with priorities instead of excuses, will come along wanting to choose me. 

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fish out of water

Where did that scar come from? She asked. Eyes too young to know hesitation.

I brushed it with my thumb. I tore a muscle. A statement, too quick for wind to give time for the story. Too tired to put words to pain. Again.

 

But when you asked me where it came from, when you stopped to look closely at the raised skin on my left shoulder. I stopped. There is company in scars when they have known you longer than most. There is pain in scars that leave an ending unfinished. Threadbare and unraveling. Tell me how healing welcomes Time when they walk around each other in shoes too big to be side by side. For me, healing came first. There is beauty in scars when you forget they are apart of you.

 

When you noticed, I brushed my two fingers on it, feeling strength below the surface. Scars tell stories far more intricately than my words. I sat there, itching. My skin saw your hands and your fingers and your eyes, and it wanted it all. I sat there, smiling because I remembered I had forgotten them.

 

In this place of heat and condensation. At this wooden table surrounded by words I may never know and people I can’t put faces to, I was only blue eyes and the truth you knew. I was not the fish who forgot how to swim, the girl too tired to start over, or the daughter you didn’t realize no longer fit inside the mold. They were a decoration, a splay of freckles on my nose or the small chip of my front tooth. Small patchwork pieces, the stories no longer important.

 

As we stopped to let our words catch up, you paused. Long enough to reach out and touch the scar, long enough to catch my eyes with your hand still there. Short enough to continue speaking as if it was but a bump in your sentence, a comma, a period. We were there with the street, mangos, and moon and had no time to think about how love makes a home out of stitches.

My favorite color is brown

 

Everyone in my family has different eyes. My dad’s are hidden, almost unknowingly blue. You look at him and think hazel, brown, golden, green, until you look close enough between the pursed lashes and see light puddles. There is a black and white photo of my dad’s siblings all 6 of them sitting with sticky hands, his ready for mischievous doings. You look around the photo at the grey of clothes and hair, but fall softly onto my dad’s eyes, the childish blue they were then, the same shade now almost 60.

My mom’s eyes are toasted green. They look like rocks sitting in the sun, the same as her hair. They both make me feel safe like the day time, when shadows and unknown depths aren’t lurking. Sunshine, safe, and calm.

My sister’s eyes are from my mom. Hers curve up at the side in a cat-like manner, listening and observing. I think it is only appropriate that we used to call her Claudia due to the fact that her weapon of choice when we were fighting was her nails. She lines her eyes with charcoal liner, glittery dust, and drapes her eyelashes in mascara. Her face is her eyes. Her eyes are my mom.

My eyes belong to no one. They change color when I cry. They are my favorite color when tears are echoing down my cheeks, sending them into waves of deep turquoise and jade. They must belong to the ocean, storming and liquid. Teal. That is the swatch of paint color I put up to my eyes that matches, but they are lined with a darker sort. They belong to no one, not even my mood.

Of all the colors, I see only brown. They are dark, reflecting nothing, but settled between spindly lashes. They are my favorite color. They are the color of the bricks that laid by the pool, lizards finding warmth after thunderstorms. They are the color of wooden posts, holding shops and smoothed by palms finding balance by the uneven roads. They are the color of toasted charcoal and embers, sand at dusk, sunshine shadows. They are the color I see when I close my eyes and look up at the sky. They are all I remember from a face I once met and a smile I hope to know. I saw them look to strangers and invite them over, lonely in their solo travels. I saw them settle softly on the back of a stray cat, fearless with love as you placed it in your lap. I felt them look at me, as we exchanged words about our family, the fear of settling, and your year at sea. They had no exit or entrance, a treacherous puddle for wanderers, a gaze I did not hesitate to meet. They looked down often at your hands, trying to find words or hold them back. I saw them look around a room, searching for a mirror, searching for color as the lights dimmed. Rock and sea, storm and clouds, ice and mountain. Blue and brown.

When we all come back

As I sit here in the Sacramento airport, after crying into the phone for reasons that may have to do more with the aftermath of picnic day than the fact that I’m feeling nostalgic, have made me realize how special and truly crucial it is to have friends in your life. Transitioning from college to the real-world doesn’t have a play-by-play guide book. It doesn’t have a yahoo questions page, and it isn’t the same for every person; so in short it’s frustrating. It’s at time almost too much, and it’s lonely.
College is a phase of your life where you are guided from high school to adulthood through a smooth transition filled with friendships, beer, fun classes, and jobs that may just be time fillers. College gives you the resources for the future and it teaches you how to make friends, and also how to keep the good ones. College teaches you that mistakes and failing are necessary for growth and that there is a time limit to most things, though at times as humans we often ignore this factor. With graduation comes gifts and sweet blessings about your new life and about all the potential you have. You are merely a seed and the world is waiting to see what you become. But like any seed or living thing, we must go through the pain and uncomfortability of growth.

I read once that change is similar to a seed sprouting- you feel the weight of the world on your shoulders and at times not even you are sure what is happening. But without that weight and pain, we can’t grow or break through the phase we are currently in to become something partially or new altogether.
So even though referring to yourself as a seed is not the best metaphor, it makes more than enough sense. Being back to Davis and seeing all the familiar faces made me sad at first and jealous of the friends who are still here living through their undergrad. It is now that I see the small bubble we were all in together and that I see more clearly how now we are scattered, following our passions, and though we may feel lonely, we are all doing the same thing. Though some may have moved home with mom or dad, or paying way too much for rent, or living with crazy roommates, or staying up late wondering what the f they are going to do with their lives still, we are all just trying to break through that surface, to grow, and to become what college has prepared us to become. I am still sad and I do still carry this uncomfortable sense of nostalgia in my stomach, but I realized it isn’t the place that brought this, but the people I was there with. Davis will always be there. Schaal pool will be filled with swimmers, divers, and polo players. The DC will continue to serve grilled cheese and a burrito bar and Froggies hopefully will continue to be the “talk and sit” bar. But what does change, what continues to shift and change, is the people that inhabit this place.
I feel lucky to have made relationships with people where a year can pass and we are suddenly time warped back to sitting around a table discussing our plans for the future. I feel lucky that though we are all living in different cities following or trying to follow our dreams, feeling sometimes unbearably lonely in doing that, that a phone call away someone is feeling these same things. I think though no one really mentions that your 20s are some of the scariest years, that you won’t know what you are doing most of the time, and that no amount of post-it’s can help you map out what will come next, there is still a silent bubble we are all in together, spread out farther than the boarders or YOLO county. As I sit here typing this, I still don’t have a word to describe how I feel, perhaps the opposite of lonely? Maybe it’s that sadness that comes with remembering something great. Maybe it’s the fear that is always with me about what next year will look like. Maybe it’s the excitement of the unknown and the idea of learning more. Maybe it’s that small twinge of happiness of realizing that picnic day can be celebrated differently next year with friends. Maybe it’s the realization that we are all actually growing up. I can’t help but smile at this one.
Though it’s been less than a year, I continue to be inspired by the amazing things my fellow Aggies are doing. The world welcomed us with open arms and we are continuing to carve our own path into it. I read recently that redwood trees can grow up to 300 feet tall. Though this fact is astounding, this is not what intrigued me. Redwood tree roots are very shallow and extend over hundreds of feet and are intertwined with one another below the ground. These trees literally support each other and help each other stand tall. I like to imagine this same idea for my friends and myself, we are all growing at this time, trying to reach our own potential, but we are all doing it together, intertwining with one another. Seeing it this way it makes it almost impossible to stop. To stop staying connected. To stop staying in each other’s lives and fundamentally, to stop growing ourselves.

Good Habits

A few days ago a school counselor came into my fourth grade class that I am student teaching in and began the speech about saying no to drugs. She went on about how saying no is cooler than saying yes and that just because all your friends are doing it doesn’t mean you should. She even threw in the good old saying about if all your friends were jumping off a bridge would you do it? I laughed a little wanting to question back well how deep is the water and which of my friends are doing it. I even heard some of the kids mutter “well…” under their breath, already beginning to understand the plan we have laid out for them all. The point of this all is that they were all given out packets where they were asked to fill out information, information regarding short and long term goals. Realistically a long term goal for a fourth grader is something that they will do within the next hour, so as you could probably guess these goals were a little askew.

What stunned me out of all of this though wasn’t their short term goals of high school and college (such a commonality now these things are, as if they are engraved to write these), but instead their dream jobs, what they wanted to be when they were older. I got asked to spell a technologist, what a technologist is I am not sure, but you know what Sally, yes you can be it! I got asked to define what the job was that decorates cakes and cupcakes for a store (pastry chef I am guessing). I was left puzzled when a young boy asked me what the equivalent of a warrior on the Walking Dead would be in real life, but before an answer left my lips he yelled “SWAT team!” I think this is an accurate fiction to non fiction connection. I was even asked by a boy what he could do because he wanted to work with kids (well if you are 9 what is your actual definition of a kid), but at the same time he wanted to do something where he can see real life “guts and stuff.” I shuffled him towards the idea of being a pediatric surgeon, too many episodes of Grey’s Anatomy.

I walked around the room getting answers from future engineers, surgeons, physical trainers, and pastry chefs, but what I never found was any shred of doubt. These are kids, but at the same time they are humans, only been alive for 9-10 years, and in that time no one has told them no yet, no one has told them the reality, no one has taught them to hesitate. They didn’t want to be a veterinarian because they thought the income would be sufficient and that owning their own practice was a plus and in this economy people can still afford to pay for vet visits. Can you imagine a 9 year old spewing all of that bs out of their mouth? Well I for one cannot. They want to be things because they want to be things. Magic right?

Imagine waking up and deciding to do things because you wanted to, and stopping things because well you didn’t like doing it anymore. Welcome to the life of kids. I would like to say that I follow my heart in most aspects of my life, but after working with these kids, I am so very wrong. They don’t double guess, they don’t measure the impact of this event or this choice compared to the rest of their life, they simply do and if they mess up and realize it was a mistake, well then they just don’t do it again.

So many times I have looked toward choices and wondered will this help me in the future? Will this help me get to where I want to be? But what if for a few of these choices, we just did them, just because we wanted to. The passion these kids have for their dream jobs is not faulty, it is indeed pure. They want to help animals. They love food. They love playing video games. They like babysitting. I often laugh at the simplicity of their ideas and the things that come out of their mouth because they say what they feel when they feel it.

Just today students were preparing for a music recital for their parents and they were switching instruments with their peers (each student gets their mouth piece, remember coodies still exist) and one student refused to play. The teacher called on the student and asked her “Why aren’t you playing your instrument?” Her response “My mouthpiece smells like poop.” The instructor plucked the mouthpiece out of her hand and told her “It smells no different than mine.” Her response “It smells like poop to me.” She stood her ground, didn’t even hesitate in the face of a teacher. Bold I tell you. I had to turn around the avoid the students from seeing me bust out laughing, but also the complete shock on the music teacher’s face was something I keep replaying in my head. She was honest, and he had indeed asked her for the reason why she was not playing. It turns out the mouth piece smelled like the cleaning product he used, no different from the rest of the student’s mouth pieces, and for the rest of the recital she played with a pinched nose. It’s simple really, to say and do what you feel, but we often complicate it. I am lucky to learn everyday from 9 and 10 year olds, the few members of society who still feel the power they have and the limitless opportunities. Is it the same for all of us too? Do we truly have a limitless world? To be optimistic, yet realistic, I believe we do, but in the end I believe its us that gets in the way. The worrying, the future, the past, the what ifs. We were kids not too long ago, what’s stopping us from bringing back some of these good habits we have broken over time?

the girl and orphan on the train

Note to reader: Do not read two books about trains one after the other, confusion/character displacement will occur

I was recently introduced to the idea that time itself is always chasing us. Like the famous crocodile in Peter Pan, our lives are always echoing  the continuous tick and tock of what is to come and what has already happened. It was after reading these two novels that I found this idea once again relevant.

“The Girl On the Train” left me at many times feeling hungover, not only due to the fast paced narrative, which I indeed appreciated and connected to the title, but also due to one of the narrator’s inseparable connection to the bottle. There was something quite compelling and easily relatable about a female drunk in love. No, I am not referencing the Queen B herself, but instead the idea of escaping emotional pain and yet at the same time trapping yourself in it. The relentless guessing games I was left to solve, the murders I was not sure were wine induced hallucinations or clear conscious revelations, and the female drama packed characters left my hands glued to the rhythmic turning of the pages. I was taken away instantly, or should I say swept away (get it, like on a train). Furthermore, I believe this book deep down allows all of us to relate to the lead female narrative, stuck for a time in the past she so desperately wishes to return to; however, like most good things in our life, we are only aware of their brilliance when they are gone. So fellow readers, hop aboard, and please, for the sake of your sanity and stomach, remain sober when reading.

“Orphan Train,” yet another novel with the famous locomotive in it’s title, was one that I thought from the beginning I could predict its ending. As an avid reader we often are familiar to the common themes and plot lines most authors present before us, allowing us to be brilliant, yet annoying TV watchers, especially when having to do with criminal law, the endings are oh so predictable. I was drawn first to this book because I was told by a friend that it was based on true events, something that sounded to me as coming straight out of American Horror Story. To my surprise, this book ended up reminding me of another novel I had recently read in which the current, much younger narrative, connects with someone from the past in order to realize something in their own lives, whether it be a personal calling, journey, or answers to life questions. To return back to “Orphan Train,” I left captured by the life long message we often hear that is is never too late. The trains may come and go, but ultimately there will be more, more chances, more passengers, and maybe even more time. In comparison with “The Girl on the Train,” this novel relates less to the midlife crisis and more to the callings of the heart we often suppress. It is a story I would give to an elderly lady sitting on a park bench or my mother to read in her book club, ironically I do believe she read it in her book club. Not to say “The Girl on The Train” is too raunchy or perverted, it is a book that is devoured, drank, and sucked dry, leaving only the pages and one’s interpretation left. It is a simple train ride to and from a location.

Will these books be added to my top 10, most likely not; however, I will not lie and say I forced myself to read these two novels. I stayed up past 2 am finishing both of them on separate occasions, so yes, they were quite enjoyable. So as Kline stated in her novel: “You got to learn to take what people are willing to give,” whether in terms of my reviews, or relating to life in general, it reminds us that we are only in control of our own time.

What I wish they told you in your 20s

I wish they told you that you are going to be clueless. That just because you have a degree and 200 units under your belt does not mean you will know what to do now, or in the near future. That you will be lost, completely and perfectly lost.

I wish they told you that the amount of friends you have would decrease after graduation. That the people you are used to seeing on a day-to-day basis will become merely status updates, Instagram photos, and phone calls. I wish they told you that one friend you studied with, that person you never texted but always ran into, and the roommate who lived 2 feet away and now lives 9 hours away will cause small holes in your life, some of which may take 6 months to fill. I wish they told you that out of 20 people you will find yourself only staying in contact with 3, at least then we could have been prepared.

I wish they told you about the so-called “post graduation depression.” I wish they told you that you would wake up in the morning and feel disoriented because you aren’t in your room with those pictures and quotes or facing that window with the broken blinds. I wish they told you that craving places and familiar situations could feel like missing a loved one. I wish they told you that graduation is not a step in unison, but a solo jump into the real world. I wish they told you that feeling this way won’t last, because there are many more solo jumps to come, but that you will be more prepared next time, that it will be a little easier.

I wish they told you that moving back home is not easy. I wish they disclosed that moving away from your small college town that has been your home for the past four years would end in tears and craving that one sandwich place by that one bike shop. I wish they told you of the pains of saying goodbye to the freedoms you had in college. That you will feel out of place even surrounded by family members who you lived with for 18 years. That you are no longer the same person you were in high school and that your house no longer feels like you fit there. I wish they told you to get to know your parents for a second time. To become best friends with them again because you will need them when that whole starving artist thing falls through.

I wish they told you that being in your 20s shouldn’t mean we know what we want to do with our lives. I wish they told you that it’s okay to not know how to make the perfect resume, how to make something other than Trader Joes frozen orange chicken, and that scooping ice cream to figure things out is okay. I wish they told you that they went through the same thing, that knowing what you don’t want is better sometimes than not knowing what you do want. I wish they told you that you aren’t in this by yourself, that you don’t have to grow up right now, and that they will still help you schedule your Doctor’s appointments.

I wish they told you that being in our 20s will be the most confusing time of our lives and at the same time, the years giving us the most clarity. I wish they told us that we should drop everything and travel, write, paint, teach, or do that one thing we have always wanted to do, but not just say it, mean it. Support it. Come with us. I wish they told us that careers and jobs and passions should all be the same thing and that what you love should not come second to a salary or social status. I wish they told us to make a plan B or C or even F, for when we find that living, as a traveling writer no longer holds the same place in our heart or bank account.

I wish they told us what they were doing in their 20s. I wish they told us how they felt graduating and realizing that though they were all in it together, they were also flying solo. I wish they told us that they were wrong when they said college was the best 4 years of their life, because it was in their 20s that they realized college was only a little piece of what was to come. That college showed them who they were, but that their 20s showed them what they were capable of.

I wish they told you that in your 20s you are young, hopeful, creative, and craving to touch and make a difference in something and that in this moment the world needs exactly that. I wish they told you that the best medicine won’t be staying out till 3am drinking anymore, but calling a friend or babysitting someone’s dog, this will save you a lot of money. I wish they told you that telling people you are thankful for them and that paying for some stranger’s coffee will make you happier than that grade you once got on that Chaucer paper or that guy randomly texting you.

I wish they told you that being in your 20s is nothing but open space, that nothing is permanent just yet, and that this is the time to fail and try and fail again. I wish they told you to just breath, to keep fighting, to stay hungry, and most importantly, to not lose sight of what we love doing. I wish they told us that we are too young to be completely serious, that quitting our first job isn’t the end of the world, and that we are far more than what few lines our resumes have summarized us to be. I wish they told us to read more, to take ceramic classes after we graduated, to look for best friends rather than a spouse, and that adopting a pet is not a natural step in growing up, but merely late nights sleeping in the laundry room with 8 week old Smokey. I wish they told us to stop worrying so much about what is to come, we are after all only in our twenties. I wish they told us all of this. Type it up in a nice letter and send it out with each diploma, but then again would we listen, for isn’t it in our 20s where we figure this all out.