Monday, June 29, 2009

Fire Heals Quicker Than Time

Heartbreak is rough.

Lump in your throat. Pain in your chest--sometimes ribs. Exhaustion. Weight gain from the gallons of ice cream consumed. Puffy eyes from salty tears. Wet pillow from crying yourself to sleep. The list of side effects runs longer than some cheap anti-depressant, and it only gets worse the more you allow yourself to sit in silence.

But, as my friend has realized, nothing heals the pain of a heartbreak quite as fast and as effectively as burning her ex-boyfriends' possessions.

(Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned.)

Despite it being 85-degrees on this summer night, at exactly midnight, she gathered everything he gave her, everything she planned on giving him, and she wrote his name a thousand times on several sheets of paper. After finding matches she went outside and let it all burn by the pool. His smell dissipating in the air and being consumed by the oxygen-hogging phenomenon. The flames turned purple and her eyes softened. For that moment, at least, she was not thinking about how she wasted almost an entire year on someone who actually told her he did not care about her. For that moment, she was just focusing on the flashy warmth in front of her. His name crusting and turning to ash in its grasp.

It reminded me of a bonfire I attended once--not the one with my church recently, but one a year or so ago. Everyone in the large group stood around the fire pit and was told to write a secret down on a small sheet of paper. The secret could be something small, but the youth leader was hoping that you would write a profound secret; one that ate away at you from day-to-day. We all did as we were told and threw the secret into the fire and watched it burn. I felt as though a weight had been lifted off of my shoulders. I did not have to carry it around with me anymore. It was over.

Fire has the incredible knack of healing quicker than time. Eventually, feelings will flood back to her, as they did while we talked this morning, but for the time being, she is feeling better. And the fact that she actually burned some things that he probably will want back when he remembers she has them gave her a small feeling of triumph. A small triumph which overpowered her previous glee of having the last word and then hanging up on him.

She will be fine. As she is finding out, heartbreak is just a part of life. No one wants it, but everyone eventually experiences it. One day she will find the one that is truly worth her time. I made sure to remind her she is too young to worry with finding Mr. Right; he will find her, and he will do so at the appropriate time and place.

Thursday, June 25, 2009

China and Other Travels I Envy

(It's a pen that Ellen bought in China for me. She said it reminded her of Junior from Yu-Yu Hakusho. If only he had a pacifier...)

While China made headlines in America, my friends, Ellen, Katie, and Laura Leigh, made some smaller headlines in China with the Spivey Hall Tour Choir.

Ellen told us stories today about the haggling made in markets full of designer clothing and accessories, the food with the animal heads still on the plates, the temples that Disney's Mulan did not distort, and the Great Wall with its many stairs. It all sounded dramatic and fun.

Envy may be one of the Seven Deadly Sins, but I am definitely feeling envious of her recent travels. One day, dear followers and fellow bloggers, you will see me posting about my own travels in between my other entries. I want to see the world and I am going to make it happen. And no offense to the Chinese, but I have always been more enthusiastic about a trip to Japan than I have been about a trip to China. I do eventually want to see the Great Wall of China, though.

But until then, I am daydreaming and avidly reading some of my most favorite blogs--particularly Ryan Runs Europe and Beat Below the Street. Maybe I could do something that gets me out and about for the summer. It would be nice to learn a few things. After all, I have until August 12 before I have to move in my dorm for school. Too bad my adventurous spirit will have to wait.

It is raining off and on, but it is at least soothing my rather cranky mood. I have been with friends a lot this past couple of weeks, and being home is a nice treat, for once. I really do not want to do anything else this weekend. Good thing I am stuck indoors.

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Happy Father's Day

Happy Father's Day everyone! Today is a time where family gathers around the head honcho and gives him some encouragement for all he does for the ones he loves. Your family could be like Justin Wilmot's whose opinions never quite settle with your own, thus like he, you find yourself alone and quite reserved at gatherings. Or, you could have family that supports you in everything like Adam Freeman's father, Papa G. Regardless of who your family is, be happy you belong to one.

In my immediate family, I am nowhere near reserved. I voice my opinions, I play, I bicker, and I laugh--all things that should be condoned, to a degree, in a healthy household. And though my father makes mistakes like any person, he has always put my brother and I first in his life. We eat before he eats. He works, we play--which is not very fair, but my current situation has left me no time to find a job that will hire me for a mere month; and my brother is only thirteen. He is an all-around good dad.

Even from the time that I was baby, I was a Daddy's Girl. My mother may have resented it, but I was unwilling to change sides. He has given me common sense and valuable wisdom and reason to go after what I want most. It is because of my father that I have what I have and I am who I am. Words cannot truly express how grateful I am.

Today is not about the musical Superman card from Hallmark that I signed. Today is not even about the lemon meringue pie that Shanna plans on baking. Today is simply about the good my father has done and respect I have for him.

It is my hope that those reading do not have a rough relationship with their father. If you do, I am sorry, but I hope you can recall at least one special memory you have of your father to help you as you celebrate. Remember: everyone deserves their day.

Thank you Daddy for all you have done for me! I love you!

Friday, June 19, 2009

Family Fun

If there is one thing I love about being with Melody's family it is that they are not Melody's family, they are my family. Whenever I am with them, I have a good time. I hope everyone has at least one to call a best friend. Even if you do not find a "true love," love for a best friend is just as vital. If you can, find a best friend with amazing parents. If the Boggs did not treat me as their own, I probably would not have gotten as close as I have to Melody.

After spending time with some of my closest friends, I returned to Melody's house only to go on an impromptu shopping trip with her family. I never mind, though. Mom had a rough day at work and was a little cranky. Dad helped her crack open a bottle of wine, and she loosened up enough to have one of her infamous political rants as she watched the news with all of us before leaving. Her mixture of color and actual insight make for what would seem the perfect skit for either Saturday Night Live or Mad TV.

The open-container laws in Georgia mean nothing to Mom either. She took her glass of wine with her on the open road--Dad drove, thank God. First stop: Pizza Hut for supper. While Melody and I, the actual recent graduates, have gotten over some of the less-appealing aspects of this year and graduation, just like any devoted parents, Melvin and Debbie have not. Anything that should not have been said, especially above a whisper, was said, and at many times at inappropriate "outside-voice" decibels. However, their commentary is what helps us heal. It reminds us that these bumps in the road are, by no means, the end of the world. Time heals all but humor is the Neosporin--with a cooling-sensation--to any burn.

The rest of the night, we spent in vain, as we made our way from Target with what seemed a good router purchase, only to spend close to four hours trying to network her Mac to her computer through their wired connection. I even asked my friend, Tom, for a little tech-support, but even he with his vast knowledge could not help. Dad was of little help as he tried to make sure our tiny brains could actually understand the straightforward wiring. Tom thinks it is the router. I think that the Boggs need just to get themselves a nifty wireless connection. This is more trouble than it is worth. We plan on trying again in the morning.

It is now 1:39 AM, and I have borrowed pajamas from my friend and am now spending the night, again unplanned. I have been doing that a lot lately. At least I am not wasting away in the confines of my room this summer. I always regretted doing that during my middle school years.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Another Family Outing

The Gleasons set out for yet another little outing. This time our destination was sure to not be disturbed by roadside superstores. After the gathering of necessary folding chairs and fishing equipment, we set forth to Indian Springs State Park. I was happy to escape the house, as a family, and drive far from the entrapment of my room. And seeing the mural in the square that had crumbled Thursday gave me more reason to leave.

(Source: Lee Cox, Henry County Times.)

I have always loved that mural. Granted, the painting is not that old, it has still been in this town almost as long as I have. You grow attached. I guess part of me hoped when we arrived back home, it would be fixed. At least I was able to get some pictures with the mural last year with my modeling friend Kayla.

The whole ride I set my iPod to my British playlist and my mind was soothed by the sounds of The Arcade Fire. I needed some sort of distraction. I watched Army Wives for the first time this morning and was in a sentimental mood. I needed the jagged rhythm of each song to rip me out of that state. We crossed over the interstate and drove for close to 30 minutes, and the kid in me sighed with relief. We were there.

There are a lot of similarities between Jackson and McDonough with one exception: McDonough does not have a Piggly Wiggly to my knowledge. I guess we are too big-city for one.

My dad, stepmother, and brother spent an hour fishing, which I opted out of knowing that no fish would be biting--my family conveniently did not hear every person with rod and reel in hand complaining by the bank. But I am not a picky person; relaxing by the lake with the cool breeze was fine by me. Catching nothing, my family gave up and with no gracious luck left, we drove around looking for an unreserved pavilion, finally hitting the road.

We drove to a local barbecue place called Fresh Air Barbecue and waited for more family to arrive. Their sweet tea was superb! With a restaurant that prides itself on its quaint country atmosphere, the sweet tea can usually say a lot about the actual quality of food. And "quaint" may be the nicest thing to say about the overall structure of this old building that has been standing since 1929. But I love going to places like Fresh Air Barbecue. It is timeless. Thanks to the kind servers with true southern hospitality I was thoroughly satisfied. The sauce available for their meat was a little vinegary, but I thought it was filling.

State parks are not always that spectacular. Indian Springs is okay. The main thing is that we were outside in the fresh air and making the most of our Saturday spending time with one another.

Sunday, June 7, 2009

No One Cares About Your Blog

After reading an article on blog failures, I found myself reminded of the saying that has been printed a thousand times on notebooks, bumper stickers, and even those cheap shirts sold at Wal-Mart, "No one cares about your blog." Once one enters the blogosphere and gets acquainted with many networking communities, it would seem as though cyberspace is full of several prospering online journals. The reality: with as many blog-savvy people on the internet, only a small portion is successful.

I stopped caring about blogs close to a year ago, but I continue to post my thoughts. Writing on my off-time helps me tone this viable skill, and it allows me to speak out when the world is frustrating or inspiring.

It is nice to get feedback and comments on my blog, but I do not expect it. The article mentioned that many assumed by blogging they would receive lots of feedback and would make it big as a wealthy online connoisseur without ever having to leave the comfort of their home. Does this not seem to reflect on another idea of humanity? People are lazy! They can fritter and Twitter their whole life away and the minute it does not come easy for them or they do not receive several pats on the back for their work, they get bored and drop it before it can ever become a real interest. News flash: it is just a blog!

If the Associated Press or Tosh.0 decided to reference a blog, I could understand the reasoning behind being proud of the entries posted. However, with as many of the earth's population currently connected online, the likelihood that someone is going to stumble across a blog, or any website for that matter, when the creator has put no real time or effort into advertising their ambitions, is very slim.

I thought it was odd that one of the blogs referenced in the article was actually on a free basic account with Tripod. You have to spend money to make money. If a person wants their blog to get noticed at all--because people do not care about true inspiration anymore, they only care about what makes a good product--they have to buy a premium account and make the blog look interesting so it will attract a real audience. But, who am I kidding? Do what feels right! If blogging seems easy, go ahead and try. Just remember: no one really cares about your blog.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Outreach Show

Tonight was an Outreach Event at church. The pastor, Chuck, uses this time to invite new people to come meet members and enjoy a nice day outside. In the ampitheatre, a barbecue dinner was prepared and laid out, and the band played country music spanning from Johnny Cash to Conway Twitty.

I always enjoy events hosted by my church. Our worship band is full of talented musicians, and as ridiculous as some of the pieces chosen were--some less ridiculous than others--we all had a good time joking around with friends. One guy even had a cooler with some grass and a fake snake inside that was rigged to look as though it was popping out at whoever opened the box. Many people spent time tricking one another to open the cooler and all but a couple were startled by the rubber creature.

Despite having to leave early because my father was getting restless, it was a good night. I am going to miss it when I am gone. I hope I can come home and see these people more than some.

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

Graduation Day

I held my breath. It was all I could do. My nerves were acting up, and my mouth was gaping open. Graduation day--it had finally arrived. Friday, May 29, roughly 350 students from Ola High School graduated and took that long walk across the stage. That long walk petrified me.

Pomp and Circumstance was playing; a pause, and Mr. Iddings, our principal, introduced the class of 2009 to those sitting and standing near the bleachers. We marched in two single-file lines and made our way through the gate. The closer we got, Alex, Brittany, and I could see the plethora of parents, relatives, and friends that packed out both sides of the stadium. Adrenaline rushed through me, and I thought I might faint. I have always had horrible stage fright and loathed being the center of attention--this was no different. My arms locked up from what I believe was a slight panic attack. But I could not stifle my excitement.

Luckily, on this crisp, May evening, the wind blew just enough to keep me from burning up beneath my emerald robe. "Breathe," I kept reminding myself. I have lived eighteen years, and just graduated after completing twelve years of schooling, and yet, remembering to breathe was the hardest task ahead of me as I walked along the field and to my seat. The administration went through several ceremonious speeches, the senior chorus students sang a song, and then, row-by-row, each one of us rose together and walked to the stage to--as tradition and our practices have taught us--shake hands with a few important people and receive our diploma holders. I was standing at the edge of the steps and my heart was racing. I could hear Brittany behind me saying, "Oh my gosh, Jennifer, we have made it!" Assistant principal, Mr. Shedd, called out the name "Jennifer Lynn Gleason," and I took my first few steps across the stage.

My family, Melody's family, and fellow classmates that still sat waiting for their turn, cheered. Chills ran through me, and a bright smile covered my face--despite the fact that my insides churned and I felt like I could have vomited on Mr. Iddings nice shoes. I walked to Mr. Iddings, shook hands, took my diploma holder, continued on to shake hands with two more people, and walked down the steps on the opposite side of the stage. It was over. That was my moment. I held a nice pose for the photographer, and then proceeded to my seat.

We sat patiently as the other half of the class did the same. We all stood at our seats as the administration congratulated us, and the chorus sang our alma mater.

Raise your voice, for the days of Green and Gold we proudly lift up high.
Through the years sharing tears and laughter, our memories never die.
All our dreams and hopes begin here and continue through our lives.
We will always remember our days at Ola High.
We will always remember our days at Ola High.

Our class president took the stage and gave us a speech on doing the best we can, and together, we moved our tassels from right to left. Cheers and screams emerged from the class and we threw our caps into the air in celebration.

It was easily the most exhilarating and rewarding day of my life. After twelve years, I finally got to hear my well-deserved, "Good job, we're proud of you."