Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Crazy Girl

There is a common misunderstanding that all women are crazy deranged soul-sucking vampire avalanche women (yeah I like comparing women to weather, we are catastrophic & elemental, accept it.) Rest assured though, the world is full of kind, sweet, mentally-stable, devoted angel women; women who your mother would approve of, women who do smart things, who make the right decisions, who always get home before the clock strikes midnight and shit starts turning into pumpkins. There are plenty of sensible, pleasant, white-toothed, silky haired, pearl wearing women in the world (ok, maybe the pearls are a stretch)...but I'd like to let you in on a little secret. Get ready. It's a big one. It might destroy the carefully constructed idea of the perfect woman you have in your head. (just kidding, you're not that creative)

Are you ready?...Are you sure?

I promise, promise on all the little life experience I have, that a crazy girl will bewitch you (body & soul), steal your heart, captivate your mind.

Sane girls are boring. That's right, I said it. You were all thinking it, shut up. It's the truth. Oh you're not mildly bipolar? Cool, you will probably never turn someone's life upside down and rock their world, you will never be the one that got away, but I mean good for you, way to be stable. You might marry a normal girl, think she's nice and take her home to your parents, you'll love her, you'll call her honey bunches of...Zzzzzzzzzzzz

Now don't confuse crazy with mean, I don't mean grumpy, miserable human beings. I mean straight up Crazy, with a capital C. Girls that make you reevaluate the entire basis of your existence, girls who fall off the wagon and go into dark spells, girls who have read too many books and have too many ideas about the way the world should be, girls who have issues: trust issues, past issues, commitment issues, claustrophobia issues, sleeping issues, daddy issues, ISSUES, girls who have no qualms about nudity and lots of qualms about gender roles. I mean the girls that captivate you from the get-go, catch your eye, break your fall, leave you turning in circles like you just stepped off a wonderful merry-go-round.

A crazy girl might drink too much, she might smoke too much, she might be wildly religious and on your case 24/7, she might have been hurt really badly, she might have too many tattoos for your taste, she'll be really indecisive and really demanding, she'll be really cold and distant and lock herself away in ivory towers. She might be so crazy that it takes you a solid month before you realize, wow this girl is a whack job. You will have absolutely no idea what the hell to do with her, how to help her, how to make her smile, how she's going to act, how you're possibly going to tame her. But that is the fun of it. There is little to no chance of keeping a crazy girl in your clutches, but you'll probably bust your ass to be in that 10% that catches one.

Crazy Girl...what is there to say about her? She's always different, she's always the one who changes everything, she, as John Mayer once said, will put the colors inside of your world. Fall in love with a Crazy Girl, enjoy it, lap up the inexplicable, incomparable magic that she sprinkles onto your snowglobe. Marry a normal girl, sure whatever you uptight ass, but fall in love with a Crazy Girl.

To My Fellow Crazy Girls, congratulations, you are the reason love stories continue to exist. Everybody has a Crazy Girl who slipped through their fingers...or, perhaps, stayed.

And to men like my daddy whose Crazy Girl stays, god bless you & your hair. Your life will never be dull.

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

The Girl Who Wanders In

At some point in every woman's life, she finds herself as the girl who wanders in. The girl who wanders in is smart, adventurous, full of life and ambition and magical healing powers; she doesn't pose any measurable threat to your heart because her heart has already been there, and its not going back. She doesn't want to love you or marry you or bake you cupcakes or call herself your girlfriend; she's just healing like you. In her, you find some solace.
The girl who wanders in does not write you a great, epic love story, she does not meet your mom & if she does, she is just a friend. You meet her at a party, through a mutual friend, and in some random, awkward twist of events, you end up talking, and you can't stop. You'll have great, deep conversations, more honest and open than you expected from a stranger. She is full of ridiculous stories and completely enthralling, you'll probably tell her all the time, "if only I met you before," or, "maybe one day down the road." You'll laugh because you both know it's not true, yet you always find yourself wondering when she wanders in. 
The girl who wanders in is usually a bridge, the journey from a broken heart to a heart ready to love again, the journey to the woman you'll spend the rest of your life with. She comes when she's supposed to, and yet, she has no idea that this is her job. You'll probably kiss her once or twice & find yourself on the verge of deciding that maybe, just maybe, this girl is what you really needed after all. Maybe that crazy, hurricane of a woman that turned your world upside down before was never right for you. And right when you realize this, a hurricane will come back, from some other time, some other planet, drenching you, consuming you, reminding you how amazing torrential rain feels on exposed skin, and that moment of indecision, apprehension, that precious solace that wandered into your aching heart, is swept away by passion.
The best part of the girl who wanders in, though, is that you don't need to tell her, she already knows. She's a hurricane too but you'll never see that side of her; she's not your hurricane. She knows love and she knows crazy; she is not bitter or angry or resentful, she is your friend, remember? You laugh at her remarkable ability to give you peace, even when its at her own expense, and you go on without her, immersed in the all over love, the love we crave as thirst-seekers.
The hurricane will be angry and riddled with jealous rage at the slightest mention of the girl who wandered in; yet, she won't be able to hate her. The hurricane will find that the girl who wandered in is just her, in another time, in another place, in another soul. At some point in her life, the hurricane was the girl who wandered in, and she knows exactly the feeling. The girl who wanders in does not seek to fulfill you, she only seeks to help you as you help her. She does not seek to replace the hurricane, she knows that hurricanes come rarely & cannot be reenacted. The girl who wanders in, wanders out, onto greener pastures, onto create her own storm.
You won't forget her though. You'll remember that vivid creature who provided hydration in the midst of a drought. You'll remember her when the hurricane is hurricaning and you're trying to find oxygen, you'll remember that calm serenity she brought to you, and you'll wonder why the hurricane doesn't have more of that in her.
The hurricane will only shake her head at you, for only she knows that she & the girl who wanders in are one in the same.

Sunday, October 21, 2012

Big girls, Little girls, and all the ones in between

From the time we reach about the age of four, we want to be big girls, we want to know things, we want to see things, we want to grow up, we want to wear high heels, we want to watch rated R movies, we want to get big girl jobs, wear big girl makeup, and fall in big girl love. We want to buy our own big girl houses since Mom keeps telling us, "When you buy your own house you can do whatever you want in it, but not in mine." Big girls are the epitome of everywhere we want to go, be, see, and experience, with great boobs to fill it.
And then eventually you stop wanting to be one and start feeling like one. Big things happen, some you probably weren't ready for and some that couldn't come soon enough. There are these great moments: the time you drove your car home by yourself from the license bureau, the time you got baptized fully clothed, in broad daylight, at eighteen years old, the time you put on high heels and a great black dress and went dancing with your girlies, the time you got accepted into college and then got a kickass scholarship to boot, the time someone you spent your entire life being impressed by told you that they were impressed by you, and the first time you really fell in love. And then are those moments that rock you to the core: the time someone important to you dies, the time you almost or actually get arrested, the time you break someone's heart, and the time someone breaks yours all the way to the core. We don't all have the same moments, but we all come together in that moment when we realize the only rational thing to do is call your mama and cry your eyes out. When I called my mama and cried, she told me to pray, to grow, to keep going, to remember, and to write it down so I don't forget. The thing is, the bigger girls we grow into, the more we realize how precious that hopeful, bright, enigmatic little girl was, how much we could learn from her, and how important it is to never leave her behind.
She didn't know much about guilt or worry, only that if you cut the cat's fur, it might take a while to grow back. She didn't ever have to worry about girls calling her mean names, I mean, I'd take fancy pants over bitch any day. She had great hair, it wasn't colored or straightened or too short or too long, it was just great natural hair. She was quiet and good at listening, sometimes too quiet though. She liked writing stories, kissing the neighbor boy, swinging on swings, and playing Marti and Coswell with her baby brother. She liked Limited 2 and Harry Potter and then the Greek Festival and making collages all over her walls and more than anything, getting A's. It all happened really fast and somehow she fell away before all of the cracks could get filled in and all of the bruises didn't turn into scars but man, some of it really did hurt. She'd be proud of me on most days and really disappointed in me on other ones. I didn't become a mermaid or seduce Daniel Radcliffe and these would be unforgivable to her.  I hope in some other universe, she doesn't have to go through some of the experiences I had to, but then again, if that happened, she'd never become me. Yeah, on most days I  hope she'd like who she became.
My favorite days, though, are the ones where I realize we are still the same girl. I'm not a little girl or a big girl, I'm just a girl who is constantly growing and evolving and letting life spill out all over her canvas, messy as it may be. Its probably going to get much messier and, sometimes, much darker, but what is there to be afraid of? It's a big world, and when I want to be, I am a big girl; so let's get on with it...

Monday, September 24, 2012


" I have a tendency not only to see the best in everyone, but to assume that everyone is emotionally capable of reaching his highest potential. I have fallen in love more times than I care to count with the highest potential of a man, rather than with the man himself, and I have hung on to the relationship for a long time (sometimes far too long) waiting for the man to ascend to his own greatness. Many times in romance I have been a victim of my own optimism.”
Elizabeth Gilbert, Eat, Pray, Love 

I stumbled upon this quote today and couldn't help but realize how disturbingly reminiscent it is of my own tendencies in life; I have a bizarre, ignorant tendency to hope for the best in people, the writer in me, rather than the scientist. My life has been sprinkled with a few wonderfully broken individuals, beautiful train wrecks who could make such a difference in the world if only they realized their own potential. I become so attached to these people, so determine to make them see their righteous path, the path that they could so easily stumble unto if only they changed their footing slightly, that I often take much of their burden on myself.
I spent a lot of my teenage years in nursing homes, designated driving, pulling hair back from toilet seats, writing papers that weren't mine to write, and trying to convince people that they were in fact worth something. I'm not complaining or asking for sympathy or even saying I regret these decisions, I don't for a second. I probably did grow up a lot faster this way, and if my mom had had her say it might've gone down a little differently, but I now know that being that person, that endlessly giving, constantly sacrificing friend/girlfriend/sister/etc. has its consequences.
Growing up, I watched my mom counsel her siblings on the phone for hours on end, constantly playing the shrink, the voice of reason, the shoulder to cry on, the vessel upon which some weight could be unloaded, only to constantly be let down by them in the end.  My mother strives to make everyone feel loved and accepted and welcomed in every possible way, she gives beyond herself, and for that I admire her infinitely. However, I've also been the person who keeps her secrets, who listens to her rants or disappointed meltdowns, the person who tries in every way possible to fill all of the voids the others refused to. Watching my mother be so open and giving and infinitely kind has made me different, I am cordial to strangers but I do not greet them like old friends. I don't tell people things, I don't confide in anyone. I am a closed book, my trust is not yours to gain, my heart is not up for bidding, but to every rule there is some exception.
And so, I gave in for my train wrecks, I loved them unconditionally, did everything in my power to heal them and build them up, even though it often left me completely drained. Yet whenever they did reach some resolution, I was always left in the shadows like some crutch or brace that is only needed during times of healing. Although I always gave, gave, gave, my train wrecks only took, took, took. Whenever I thought they would turn and say, "After all along, you are still here with me, my wonderful friend," they only marched forward without looking back. I wrestled and wrestled with these demons, of expectation and longing, and found that again and again, I came up from these matches empty handed.
My dear best friend once told me, "You have so much in front of you, why do you even care what they do?" I don't know why I care, but I do. What I have learned, however, is that caring does not mean giving. I can care, and I always will, but I have nothing left to give to the train wrecks.

Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Things I've Learned My First Week in Pittsburgh

1. When running do not ever, Ever, EVER, EVER take your eyes from the sidewalk. Not even if there is a fire. These sidewalks are not even, they are not kind, they are not sympathetic of your new "barefooting" shoes, nor do they care that you come from a very small, flat part of Ohio. You will trip, you will fall, you will get skinned up knees and hands, and the other runners will laugh and say, "Oh, she must be new."

2. When wanting to go out to your first college party, plan ahead. By "plan ahead," I mean do not wander aimlessly onto Pitt's campus at 9:30 with your two fellow freshman friends and hope for the best. You will have a conversation. It will go like this.
Boy with water bottle full of mysterious substance: You guys looking for a party?
Us: Yes
Boy with water bottle full of mysterious substance: Follow me.
Us: *tentative glances and remembering things are mothers always told us not to do*
Boy with water bottle full of mysterious substance: Wait...are you guys trying to get onto Frat Row at 9:30?
Us: *crickets*
Boy with water bottle full of mysterious substance: FRESHMAN!

3. "If someone smiles at you, just nod, do not smile back. You do not know why they are smiling."
-Orientation Leader

4. "Wanna go to Razzy Fresh?" will be asked a lot. You should always say yes.

5. College professors are not mean, they are not unkind, they want you to succeed and do well, and they'll even help you out if you ask for it. But when they begin going on long rants about whatever it is that they choose to rant about it, it's called a lecture, and you're supposed to write things down from it.

6. Chatham girls don't dress like other college girls, we are usually the ones in dresses and sweaters/ blouses and appropriately hemmed skirts. We are classy.

7. The term, "chesbian" is sometimes thrown out referring to Chatham women...I'll let you take from that what you please.

8. Living with someone can be hard and a difficult adjustment, but at the end of the day, you know your roommate will always be there for you. Whether it is to zip your dress, tell your that your stomach looks fine in that high-waisted skirt, or just to make you laugh before you fall asleep--roommates don't have to be best friends, but they can be great friends if you let them.

9. Jaywalking is not a bad thing; it is accepted and encouraged. Everyone will do it, you should do it too if you ever want to be on time.

10. The Chatham cats are truly dependable, reliable friends. From what I've gleaned, they are not gossips at all.

11. Always have friends in your hall who are readily accessible and welcoming who will take you in if you come home to your roommate plus one...in bed.

12. Be on time to class. Be early for class. No one wants to be the awkward late kid, even on the first day.

13. Always, always, always have your student id and room key on you. ALWAYS. Even if that means running with both stuffed in your sports bra...not that I've done that or anything.

14. Get used to hills. Everything is on a hill, near a hill, down a hill, towards a hill, etc. Hills are totally normal to native Pennsylvanians, they don't know why your calves are so sore or why you are crawling.

15. Be where you are supposed to be and do what people tell you to do, even if it doesn't sound fun, even if it isn't where you presently want to be. In the end, it'll probably benefit you more than you expected and if it doesn't, at least you can say you did the right thing.

16. Signing up for every club at the Activity Resource Fair may seem like the right thing to do, especially if you are an overachiever, but in the end, this will only clutter your email and your brain.

17. Pay attention to street signs. If someone tells you that Walnut St. is just a little ways down Negley, they don't mean forty minutes down Negley and Walnut St. hasn't disappeared, you are just not observant at all.

18. Shared bathrooms are just as gross and unappealing as you thought they would be, you would be amazed at how much hair can dwell in a drain...vomit.

19. Coffee is even better in a place where you have to walk a few blocks to get it.

20. And last, but not least, however far away, your family is still probably the answer to most of your problems. Whether its advice, Skype dates, care packages full of money and pillows, or just texts throughout the day to remind you that they still love you and value your existence (even if few people in Pittsburgh are aware of it), they will find a way to make you feel better or to enhance the good that you're already feeling.

Monday, February 27, 2012


I've been meaning to write to you for a while now, but between cheerleading, Madrigals, work, school, college applications, and life, I just haven't made time. I've been meaning to ask you about Heaven, about God, about Chris and Bawky and Bean and your family, I've been wondering if the potato salad in Heaven really is better. I've been meaning to follow your rules: to not take anyone's shit, to keep my head held high, to never let anybody tell me I can't do anything...but let's be honest, when do I ever not follow those rules? I've been meaning to be stronger for Poozer, to be the one person who doesn't put everything on her shoulders, but I'm usually putting the most on her shoulders. I've been meaning to hug your little woman harder, to still make her feel like the most special woman in the world even though you're not here to tell her she is anymore.
I've been meaning to do a lot of things, but I guess sometimes I get so caught up in life that I forget to, that's really not fair though, huh? I could make a million excuses, but I know you and I know you'd call bullshit on me. Most days, I just try not to think about it, I try not to remember last February and the day God took you home, that overwhelming void in the room, that feeling that life as we knew it had forever changed. I remember the last time I ever kissed you, it was my birthday and you had the flu, you were trying to get me to go get money for myself out of the play room and I kept blowing you off. I remember you just smelled different, not like you, I remember asking that night if death had a smell. I wish I could go back to this day last year and just sit in your chair with you for a while, listen to you muse about things or tell me about teaching Jackie O how to ride a horse or maybe just bitch and moan; I'd just like to tell you how much I love you one more time, I'd just like to hear you sing to me one more time.
You taught me to be a stronger woman than that though, you taught me about passion, about capability, about laughter, about loving people hard, and how to swing a golf club. You taught me more about life than anyone else I know, yet for the majority of mine, you were sitting in a recliner. So I know you wouldn't have wanted me to cry every day, to sink into a whole with no light to lift me out, to even miss you; you would've wanted all of us to go on like you were still here to lift us out of the darkness and kick our asses into gear, because that's just what you did.
So I hope you're having a hell of a time up there: drinking an uncomfortable amount of Wild Turkey and flirting with Marilyn Monroe, tell her I can't wait to meet her. I hope you're catching up on all the time you lost with Chris and Bawky and your dad and Josephine. I hope you're hugging and squeezing and kissing your little Blonde Bear every single minute of every single day, because she really needs it. I hope we're all making you proud down here and if we're not, I hope you're having some talks with God about our behavior. I hope you're still feisty as hell and swearing and screaming at everyone, and then loving them into submission; there needed to be more angels like that anyway. I hope you're not disappointed that I chose medicine over professional golf, but I was always much better at bandaging you than I was at hitting balls and that ridiculous contraption you bought me. I hope you're looking down on your baby girl and just shaking your head and smiling: she's just too damn impressive. I hope one day I fall in love with someone who loves me just like you loved Nanny; too much and too hard and diamonds should be involved too, just mull that over for me, will ya?
Thanks for all the cashews and all the coke and for being the best friend I ever had; thanks for everything, just not leaving before you turned 106 ;)

Love Ya to Pieces,
Your Doctor