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I couldn't believe what I was watching. The show was called "Fourteen Children and Pregnant Again," and they weren't joking. The parents married at 17 and 19 and popped the first one out 4 years later. They had saved a lot of money and decided that they wanted to have "as many blessings (read: Christian for children) as God gave" them. Within 16 years they had 15 kids, including 2 sets of twins. The kids all play violin and piano, are home-schooled, do their chores, the family has never been in debt, and they are, of course, still devout Christians.
Christi and I drove up 22nd Street and into the very crowded community center. We got in line for district 526 and waited. After the 2 hour wait, we cast our votes and drove home in silence, both of us praying Amendment 1 wouldn't pass, and avoiding talk of the impending election decision (she thinks Bush should get a chance to finish what he started; I think he had his chance). It is now 1:30am, and I have been glued to CNN.com for hours with no relief yet. Who will win Ohio? I guess I'll find out in the morning.
The chalk writings, which yesterday boasted neon messages encouraging students to vote Kerry, had been muted by feet. It was weird how even they looked dejected, like much of the usually boisterous crowd around Cooper Hall did. Eyes of passerby's met, and we were all thinking the same thing- "Damnit!" I couldn't believe that all the money and time and effort spent campaigning was lost to a forfeit. It was like Kerry just gave up. "Hey man, Ohio's taking too long, so you can just have it for another 4 years." My first time voting, and nothing went my way.
"Four more years!" they chant, "Four more years!"
Four more years, indeed. Four more years of secrecy in the government. Four more years of a war we no longer understand. Four more years to add far-right Supreme Court judges. Four more years to have to listen to Michael Moore banter. Four more years of praying for Roe v. Wade. Four more years of fighting amendments banning gay marriage. Four more years of poor sex education. Four more years of unnecessary teen pregnancy. Four more years of religion shoved down our throats.
Four more years of wishing I lived in Denmark.
I was sitting in Amanda's room watching TV when I thought I heard a knock. After a few seconds I thought I was hearing things, but then it came again. Still lounging in my tee-shirt and underwear, I went to glance through the peephole. Just as I was leaning up to the door, the lock turned and in walked two men. I ducked into the kitchen as they walked back out laughing. After donning pants, I discovered that they were maintenance men checking fire alarms. They laughed their way through the apartment as I stumbled back to the TV, red-faced.
Denise and I made ourselves at home while we waited for my grandparents to return. They'd left the door unlocked, so we sipped juice and talked. When they finally got home, Meme joined us as we debated the fate of "four more years." Mem always knows just how to phrase things, and when she said "Politics and religion never should have been made bedmates," she hit the nail on the head.
In keeping with well-said quotes of the day, here's one from _Saved!_.
"If God made us all so different, why would he want us all to be the same?"
Last year during our hunt for Christmas presents, we were waiting at a stoplight on the corner of OBT and Sand Lake Road. We noticed a one-legged man hobbling through the traffic on a crutch, and Kyle eloquently proclaimed, "That's gotta suck."
This year on the same hunt at the same intersection, a one-armed man walked through the traffic. Kyle and I stared, and turned to look at each other in disbelief. Perhaps there is something to be said for not trying to walk across intersection that large, especially while weaving between cars. Your limbs might not make the trek.
Religion and Pop Culture
Anatomy and Physiology II with lab
Introduction to Psychological Sciences
Languages of the Stage
Or so I hope. It will be weird to stay here for one random extra semester, but it'll work out. It will mean I get more than a full year in the apartment on which I've worked so diligently, and another full year of living near my friends. But I am going to move if I get accepted. If I want to spread my wings, I need to find my wind.
I guess I assumed that with all the technological advancements we've made, and since they cured the cancer, that they could make the breasts look normal. And some of them did. Some of the lumpectomies left a small scar or indentation, nothing too bad. But the double radical mastectomies left nothing but two long pink stripes across the chest. Some of the women had reconstructive surgery, but the differently shaped breasts and tattooed nipples left a lot to be desired. So my breasts may be huge, but they are symmetrical and lovely, and I have a new appreciation for them.
I was nervous about the interview, mostly because I felt bad even asking the questions. Anorexia seems more private to me than sex, and I know she struggled with some of the answers. The longs pauses and shaky voice on my tape recorder revealed that much. Though she is better, she still battles the disease every day. She said it is a day-to-day struggle to remember that health is more important that skinniness. Had I known her better, I would have given her a hug. All I could offer was a look of empathy, but I think she understood it.
We'd been through it before, but had never came to a resolution. His threatening to listen to his kids' conversations and read their email scared me; I believe kids are entitled to a certain amount of privacy. It's especially weird since we just went through it; are still going through it. He savors his privacy. His excuse was online predators. Naturally, there was a documentary on the very subject when we got home. Maybe he had a point, but so did I. There's a fine line between discipline and control, and I never intend to cross it unless absolutely necessary.
I never meant it to hurt him. I didn't say it to hurt him. I just notice little things. Things that don't matter much now, or things that don't seem so bad now. Through their traits, boyfriends give clues about what they'll be like as husbands. The need to be in the position of authority. The need to know what I'm doing all the time. Questioning my motives when I go out. Proclaiming authority over kids we don't have. Being private and prying in the same moments. I can live with disagreements; I will never live with a potential batterer.
Kyle finally took _The Vagina Monologues_ away and made me choose a GRE book. I sat in one of those big, enveloping chairs in Barnes and Noble and began the quest for a good standardized test score. After sifting through several books, I settled on the tried-and-true Princeton review. Their approach to analogies impressed me, and I began getting into it. I haven't tackled the math section yet, but I'll have to face it before Friday. I can't say that I'm looking forward to spending four more hours of my life standardized testing, but it gets me one step closer.
I told mom I didn't know why I'd become sad and withdrawn this semester. And I really didn't. All I knew is that I was, as well as irritable, and I felt guilty for it. I felt guilty because of every person who has it harder than me and doesn't complain. I always do; I got that from my dad. She said between my and Kyle's relationship, dropping A&P, talking about moving out of state, trying to get accepted to yet another college, gaining weight, and still missing my dad, it's no wonder I'm stressed. But I still feel guilty.
It always creeps up on you. Deadlines, finals, term papers, homework, journals, exams. Last thing you knew it was October and you had weeks to get everything started. Then, out of nowhere, it's almost Thanksgiving! And that means it's almost finals, which means it's almost the last week for papers and stuff to be turned in. My sorry excuse for a comp professor decided to assign all 6,000 of our Gordon Rule words now; I have 6,000 words due on the 2nd for WST, a few thousand more in journals, and 16 chapters of stats homework. Long live the procrastinators.
I walked away from "Living in a Global Economy," "Women, Crime, and Criminalization," Social Science Statistics chapters 2-12, even from the cheesy romance novel that turns me on despite my better judgment. I walked away, because I needed to. I stripped down completely, even my watch, which Kyle will begrudgingly tell you I never remove. I ran a very hot bath filled with lavender and body oil, then let the tub fill around me. I let the hot water cover me, the oil make my skin silky, the fragrances drift over me. I relaxed, for the first time in months.
I sleep in a very specific way. I only use one pillow, and it remains squarely under my head the entire night. I sleep with my right arm under the pillow, with my head on the part of the pillow that's on the crook of my arm. I lay on the right side of my stomach, with my right leg straight and my left leg bent at the knee. My left arm wraps around Kyle's teddy bear. Everything is under the covers but my head, so I feel protected but not suffocated. If I sleep another way, I have nightmares.
From my presentation about anorexia- "To distinguish between a healthy desire to excel and perfectionism, Hendlin uses the example of a runner who wins a meet but does not beat his own personal record. The perfectionist focuses on his failure, while the achiever revels in the moment of victory and uses the good feeling to fuel further successes. Nobody's perfect, but anorexics think they should be. In the largest study of its kind, researchers examined the relationship between anorexia and perfectionism in 322 women. They concluded the extent of perfectionism was directly associated with the severity of victims' anorexia nervosa."
I took the Graduate Record Exam (GRE) today, and I'll be damned I didn't have bad luck form the beginning. I was supposed to be 30 minutes early, though I didn't notice that when I read the instructions. I also didn't realize that the GRE website gave me the USF address, not the testing center address. So I was actually 30 minutes late. Luckily, they let me take it anyway. I went in blind and came out with an 1130, which isn't bad. I can't believe I'm choosing a career where I'll have to take standardized tests every two years.
Things that made me happy today:
Buying the perfect hoodie- blue-jean blue, fits just so, thumb holes sewn in the cuffs, soft as a bunny.
Buying the perfect jeans.
UF beating FSU and those last few seconds while Abby and I held our breaths over the phone.
Finding out that Christi is still quite virginal.
Things that made me sad today:
Realizing that no satin nightgown will ever look becoming on me.
Watching _Stepmom_ and hiding my tears for a dying parent.
Christi making fun of the movie.
Realizing that I'll never be able to cry in front of Christi.
Why is it that the best holidays are at the end of the semester? I've always thought that this was unfair. As of now, I have a 5-page paper about globalization to write for Comp II, a 10-page paper about anorexia to write for my women's studies class, a 5-minute speech about that paper to present to my women's studies class, a stats final, and a final for my other women's studies class, all in the next two weeks. I also have 5 cities across the state that expect me for various celebrations. I better get some goddamn good presents.
I am beyond ready for this semester to be over. I'm ready for the writing to be done with, ready to forget about stats homework. Ready for a real break. I studied to the point of seclusion over the summer, and didn't even have grades to show for it. An A, 2 B's, a C, and an F that should've been an incomplete. I'm tired. Exhausted. I dropped a class, for Christ's sake. My comp prof didn't show up for class again today, and I am over it. I just want a long break with a lot of bubble baths.
I don't know if it's hormones or what, but I've been veering from melancholy to cheerful all week. I've been bad about my birth control. I hate it, for a reason that I can't quite put my finger on. It is no longer something I think of affectionately. I'm tired of the moodiness, and scared about my fucked up ovaries. I missed callbacks for _The Vagina Monologues_ today because I was driving down to Pembroke with Kyle. I emailed the girl in charge, but this awful feeling of guilt washed over me and I couldn't shake it all damn day.
As an only child, I'm used to being taken seriously. My parents always treated me like an adult. Kyle, on the other hand, has always been the kid. He's never been taken seriously because Corinne was much older. So when Corinne and Sean's relationship is treated seriously, and marriage is spoken of lightly, I am jealous. Though we've been dating more than twice as long and will probably have kids first, we are still treated like kids. We're thinking marriage, they're thinking CHILD. It had me on verge of tears all day, and then I couldn't even take myself seriously.
Kathy, Lydia, Terry, Leslie, Alex, Alex's dad's ex-girlfriend, her fiancée, her best friend, Lydia's guy friend, Terry's mom, Corinne, Sean, Kyle and I gathered around the table. Baked brie and mango daiquiris were appetizers. Then came two turkeys, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, green beans, creamed spinach, corn casserole, stuffing, cranberry chutney, and red wine. Dessert brought pumpkin pie, derby pie, apple pie, chocolate mousse, and coffee with Irish cream liquor. We opened presents, played Cranium, and donned "I'm with Stupid" shirts, a joke we've been plotting against Kyle (whose favorite word is stupid) since March. It was an excellent Thanksgiving.
We were telling the story about the time dad walked in the room naked when Aimee and Aly were teenagers. We were all laughing thoroughly enjoying the story when my uncle made the face that my dad always made when he did things like that. It was that dazed and confused, "How did I end up here?" look. When Steve did it, and perfectly, my mom's laughter faded into wrenching sobs. Steve felt guilty, and held on to me for a very long time when I hugged him goodnight after mom left. It's those moments- those moments make me ache.
I'd already asked Steve to come visit me so he could fix my disposal. So when I caught him before he got in his truck and asked if he'd do me a favor, he jokingly said "What now?" I replied, very simply, "Will you walk me down the aisle when I get married?" He hugged me for a long time like he had yesterday after mom left crying. He said of course and then jumped back, asking when I was planning on getting married. I assured him it would be a couple years, and the disposal would do for now.
Picking out a Christmas tree has been a much anticipated event ever since I can remember. We traditionally picked one out on December first every year, but we had to suffice with today because I have finals to study for. We walked around the Frazier Fur lot for a few minutes before finding me the perfect 2-foot tree for the apartment. Mom and I always pick a tree that has personality, but is not necessarily perfect. So today we chose a tree that was nearly straight up and down, and very cheerful (albeit silly) looking. It's been a bittersweet weekend.
Our little four-foot blue cypress Christmas tree stands proudly atop the couch end table, covered top to bottom with red garland, multi-colored lights, and miniature ornaments. The lights cast a beautiful shimmer over the red, green, gold, and silver balls; the garland gives it that old-fashioned look. The balcony railing is covered with the same colored lights, and the glow makes me very giddy. The kitchen is full of gingerbread décor, and will soon be full of the smell of fresh-baked chocolate gingerbread cookies. Tomorrow I'll decorate the wreath with cranberry garland and snowflakes. ‘Tis the season to be jolly!
Today second callbacks for _The Vagina Monologues_ were held. There was only one monologue and one skit left, and I got to audition for both of them. The skit was about an M-to-F transition and her life story; the monologue was the infamous "Reclaiming Cunt." I did a really good job in both, and I would absolutely die if I got the parts. They are both really powerful. Christi and all her friends already want to come see the show, and I know Kyle and mom will. Abby, you had better make Amanda drive you down here when it's playing.
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