Friday, August 20, 2010

"Do any human beings ever realize life while they live it? Every, every minute?"

Taken in Plain, WI, at dusk, summer 2009 -
I love this photo, and this place. I hope I will return some day.

I'm not really sure what this will be about.

On July 12, I said goodbye to Iowa City, packing what little I brought with me back into the Prizm, saying a tearful goodbye to my host family (I still miss you guys) and the city itself. Iowa City gave me more than I knew it had; it wasn't until I came home that its hand print showed itself ingrained upon my heart and soul. But more on that later - I am home now, with my family, and have only a handful of days to go until I am once again uprooted and return to Parkside for what I'm anticipating to be a fulfilling, exciting, and challenging year.

Home feels good. This is the longest stretch of time I've spent at home since the summer after my sophomore year of college. That's not too far off, of course, but it's long enough to make this return a special one; more specifically, it's been a wonderful one. I admit I had my apprehensions about returning - left to my own devices at home, I am anxious. I can't stay in, I cannot focus, I just do. not. function. here. At least, not before. This summer, though, home has been "home" in the truest sense. I am not constantly leaving the house in search of ways to occupy my mind and time, warding off unnamed fears and unnecessary mental traffic that so often accompanies my time spent here. Instead, I am content to watch the hours crawl by in the shade of the porch, drinking coffee and reading anything I can get my hands on. I am so happy to be spending time with my parents. They are the greatest in the world, and there's a lot I could not do without them. I feel focused on preparing my future, but immediately content to be in the present. The past is the past, of course, and pops up now and again as the past does tend to do, but it just doesn't bother me like it used to. Everything is here now, and all of it is moving forward.

I am moving forward.
Okay, that's what this entry is about.

I can't really say when the last time is that I've suddenly been thrown into an uncontrollable fit of happiness for no concrete reason. Actually, I can't really say that this is something I've ever been known to do at all. But in the last four weeks of being home, I have been overcome so powerfully by things as simple as a beautiful sky, or a song on the radio, that the positive energy of that moment has carried me through entire days and given me comfort I cannot describe. For the first time in a quite a while, especially in the last year, I feel extremely connected to my emotions and, more importantly, am not afraid of them. My feelings are worth something. I am worth something (and when is the last time I was able to say that??). And with this knowledge fresh in my mind, I have felt free from so much unnecessary baggage that has followed me for the past few years. I am, at last, able to say that I value myself for being me, and am proud of myself for my accomplishments and, though it's a stretch, am ready to give up my overly-critical attacks against myself.

Well, okay; baby steps here. We'll see what happens when I get back into school and am actually feeling the stress of my school work/projects - but I'm feeling pretty optimistic about the whole darn thing.

But let's get back to discussing the sky. Seriously. Have you seen it? I mean, have you really ever taken a moment, on your walk down the sidewalk downtown (in any town) to just look up and get lost in layers of cloud and strands of sunlight shining through to earth, and just think "Holy crap this is beautiful. This, right here, is a moment that I've got all to myself"? I was driving through the East Towne Mall parking lot on my way to work and actually stopped to watch the clouds drift by for 15 minutes last week, and I'd say it was one of the best 15-minute segments of that week. And each night when I get home from work, I relish the time it takes me to walk from my car up onto the porch, because I get to see the stars and listen to all the little critters that scurry through our gardens and the cornfield, and it makes me feel so incredibly lucky to be where I am and know, at least in the short-term, where I'm going.

And the sky will always be there when everything else around me gets too close for comfort.

I am bursting at the seams with positive energy and so much love. Thank you, Iowa City, thank you to you and your city dwellers, to the out-of-towners like myself; to my parents, my sister, and my cat; to my wonderful friends, old and new and everyone inbetween: this summer has been the cure for all maladies of the heart and mind. I am ready for anything. Thank you.

[My entry title is a line from "Our Town."
It is the truth of all things. Therefore, read it]