I write to you now from the beautiful Huntingdon, Pennsylvania. I'm about nine to ten hours from home, where I grew up, where I've lived my whole ilfe, where most of my friends remain. Is it hard? Oh yeah, it's hard. And I've only been here two days! After my parents left on Friday, I spent time setting up my room, meeting with my CWS group (a hilarious bunch — I'm looking forward to that class this year), went to dinner with my roommate and her already-large group of friends (how does she do it? I wonder), and skipped out on some other festivities that evening (a book discussion on the summer reading, a party over at Tussey and Terrace) so that I could finish unpacking and setting up my space, then curl up in bed and cry, talk to a few friends online, cry some more. It was tough. People tell you that you'll be homesick, that you won't be the only one — I wonder if anyone else is as homesick as I am?
Luckily yesterday, my crying was minimal. I got up, got pancakes with my roomie, took this lame freshman survey, and then lounged in my room until lunch time. I mostly just wanted to be alone, cried a little, but then decided that if I'm going to mope and wallow, I might as well be productive — so I got out my novel and proceeded to continue with revisions. My roomie and her friends came back around noon and I left to go eat lunch with them. Our CWS groups met up again, this time about this tree project we're doing — our entire class (as in class of 2012) is planting a tree, whoo. We walked out to the tree orchard they've got going, roamed around while we wondered what it was we were supposed to be doing, then walked out to the Peace Chapel — which is nice, yes, but it was incredibly hot and thus we all became very grimy, sweaty, icky. After that, I went back to my room to change and chill and read before "dinner with the student government" (which I assume meant that they just paid for it — because nobody from student government made themselves known at dinner, haha). I went by myself and made myself be friendly and ask someone else if I could sit with them — and the two people I chose ended up being so supernice and wonderful and they schooled me on Western Pennsylvanian slang and wondered why I don't have a Kentucky accent and I hung out with them and a big group of people that they know the rest of the night. I felt special, knowing that if I put my mind to it I can actually make friends.
Of course, what am I doing now? Sitting up in my room on Sunday morning writing this (though I did take a quick break to go with my roomie to the Help Desk and then to "brunch" which consisted of pasta and pizza — delicious, right?). My roomie and I are taking a shuttle to Wal-Mart later this afternoon so that we can buy a bookshelf and one or two more power strips. Honestly, we have a wonderfully large room, lots of closet space — but shelf-space is incredibly minimal! We each have a shelf in our closet and that's it! So a bookshelf will be wonderful for, you know, books, as well as our TV and DVD which we have yet to set up (though last night we found the cable hook-up! Yay!). But until then, I kind of just want to chill in my (finally cooled-down) room and work on my novel revisions a little more and perhaps read a bit, too. People have told me that it's important to get out, make friends, socialize — but I think my peace of mind requires this alone-time. And peace of mind is something I plan on keeping this year, especially now when I need it most.
Classes start tomorrow. I'm excited.
It makes me believe in hope, love, magic, beauty, dreams.
Yesterday (though it still feels like a today to me) I went to Bloomington, Indiana, with Michelle. We went for the Unlimited Enthusiasm Expo, with Math the Band, Uncle Monsterface, and Harry and the Potters (and an extra band, called Good Luck). I just finished writing my post-show e-mail to Harry and the Potters — what can I say? It's tradition.
Usually, I write thanking them for the amazing show, say something... I don't know. I think it's just basically an extended thank you for omg so much wonderfulness and omg I loved it so much and omg omg omg! (I get weird, okay? But that's nothing new. And I don't think I usually put in that many, if any, "omg"s, but I probably sound pretty silly nonetheless.) This time, though, I got sort of personal. It's probably weirder, and creepier (I am sort of a creep though — this is my sixth wizard rock show, sixth since seeing them for the first time in August 2005 — seriously, can you say obsessive obsessive obsessive? I freak myself out a lot when I think about this too much), and all sorts of unnecessary. But tonight's show was different than past shows. Tonight's show was something I can really, truly, actually call an experience.
Here's the e-mail that I sent to them:
Yeah, I guess I'm keeping the tradition of e-mailing you all post-show and thanking you for the amazing time, even if you didn't come to Kentucky this year — the excursion to Bloomington was way worth it. :)
This show was the most uplifting experience of my entire summer, I think. Michelle and I played a show (as The Wands, yay!) with a few other bands on July 21st, and it was beautiful, fantastic, amazing, etc. But something about attending this Unlimited Enthusiasm Expo, my sixth (ghfuijsk I feel so obsessive and creepy, haha) Harry and the Potters Show, and just absolutely losing it and dancing and rocking and singing and shouting — it all opened my eyes and my heart so much to the fact that this, this is how I want to feel every day, and that it's not too hard to get to that feeling.
I had told Paul that I wrote my college essay last year about wizard rock and Harry and the Potters — actually, after the show in Louisville last July, I went home, stayed up for a few hours just writing and writing, putting together what would end up that essay. The final product was all about how wizard rock started off as fangirlish obsession but it's turned into so much more. It's become a way to connect with people, to really express myself with the help of and through music, to discover confidence and push away insecurities. Tonight helped me see that all of this, all of what I find in wizard rock music and shows, is strengthening. I can truly say that I had a blast and that it was the most fun I've had in so long. So many smiles and laughs and crazy dances. Really, I don't think I've ever danced like that before at a show or with friends or anything. It felt so good to forget about any worries or frustrations that might have been on my mind, and to simply have fun. This is what wizard rock does for me, and I'm just glad that I've had the opportunity to experience and be a part of all of it.
I think I found my unlimited enthusiasm, and yeah, I plan to hold onto it.
Thanks again for the wonderful show :)
Sitting in the car tonight, making our way back home from Bloomington, Michelle was sleeping and I couldn't stop thinking about what I had written in my college essay last year, how true it was, how truer (more true? truer? I like truer.) it is now. But I'm rereading it and thinking that as amazing as it was to experience such happiness and to write such an essay a year ago, the obsession part is now less, and the confidence/self-esteem/life-altering part has grown tremendously.
I can confirm that wizard rock is not just a fangirlish obsession. It's something that helps me find confidence in through that which that I've grown to love and adore and cherish. It's something that lifts my self-esteem, something that allows me to give all of myself to happiness and rhythm and smiles and nerdiness.
Tonight's show in Bloomington was the most magical show yet (sixth one for me, like I said before, my goodness — yes, you can still say obsession, because it's still too, too accurate). When Harry and the Potters finally came on, I was shouting, dancing, laughing, everything. And when I say dancing, I don't just mean the silly self-conscious moving-back-and-forth-a-little-bit thing that I usually do (and that I mostly did for the bands beforehand — Uncle Monsterface saw a little extra, I think, but the others — the ones unfamiliar to me — were a bit jipped, I'm sorry to say). No, I mean dancing, actually shaking and moving and jumping and losing myself in the fun and the music and the sheer joy emanating from the crowd and the band.
These past few weeks, I had been wondering if it was worth all of the effort in trying to set up the plans to make it to first Cleveland and then to Bloomington, trying to figure out times and whos and whens and whats. But it was, is, all worth it. One bit from my essay still applies all too much to my current self: that at a wizard rock show, you'll see a side of me that doesn't seem to exist anywhere else. At a wizard rock show, insecurities fall away, self-esteem lifts, happiness overcomes nervousness. At a wizard rock show, I find what it is I constantly search for: the beauty of life. Nothing in life is more beautiful than finding something to love, something to hold onto — and, most of all, finding out what makes you you, what makes you run, what makes you tick, what makes you continue on day-to-day smiling and laughing and breathing.
Over the past four years, the past three years, two, one, I've gone through the ups and downs that every teenager experiences. I can see the awkwardness of freshman year, of trying to find out where I belonged, who I really clicked with, what kind of person I was; the drop in sophomore year of becoming so intensely dependent on friends that the slightest change could set me off into sob-fests and anger-sprees, into freak-outs that nobody, not even I, understood; to junior year, in which I fell apart, found help, and began to find out that my friends weren't who I was, that my classmates (yeah, even the people I'd gone to school with since sixth grade) weren't scary; and finally senior year, the year in which I think I grew the most, because it was the year I realized that presentations in class aren't scary, that I can meet and talk to people and not be scared, that I can perform songs in front of an audience and smile all the way through, that I can simply survive reading a piece of some of the post personal things I've ever written.
That sophomore year was the year Michelle and I first started writing songs as The Wands, and then later as The Ancient Inanimate Objects (the first version of The Literatures, in which we wrote songs about Shakespeare's Julius Caesar). It was a tough year, but that was the year that I saw Harry and the Potters three times — the week before school started, once in March, and then the next time a month later. I was discovering that, no matter what was going on at the time with me, I was shaking and dancing a little bit more at each show, and that it always put a tremendous smile on my face for longer and longer periods of time. In fact, it was the night of that April show that Michelle and I, back at my house, wrote and recorded all of those Julius Caesar songs. (Our Eulogy for Caesar is still our favorite.)
Junior year, we had to write a speech for english and then read it to the class. I... we won't go into what happened. But let's just say that confidence levels and self-esteem didn't exactly make it out to be an easy task. But when Michelle and I sang to our classmates a few of the songs we'd written about our summer reading books, my teacher came up to me in the hallway and told me that he loved the songs and he was just so amazed at the fact that in class, I'm so shy and scared, but when it came to the singing and music, I suddenly opened up and seemed to become a whole 'nother person. I wasn't so sure I understood that back then, but now, I can see what he meant. Senior year, I became able to do group presentations for english, as well as read aloud pieces I wrote. This whole crazy wizard and book rock thing that Michelle and I took part it became a way to prove to myself that I can be good at this, I can be good at writing and sharing this writing with others, I can be good at making music and having fun with music, I can be good at so much if I just put my mind to it. If I can keep a positive outlook, if I can tell myself, "You can do it!" instead of beating myself down — then sheesh. I can do just about anything.
Tonight's show? Just another step — a huge step, though — that shows me how far I've come. Because even a year ago, at the show that inspired the college essay that introduced Mr. Liimatta to wizard rock and caused me to burn him lots of CDs only to lead me to writing about "Save Ginny Weasley" for the music research paper — even at that show, I didn't dance as much, I didn't shout so much, I didn't exert as much energy. Tonight was proof that this positive outlook and this music adoration and this, this life is what I'm living for.
Yeah. I'm living for life. I'm living to experience life and all that comes with it. Do I really need any other reason?