A Long Update

I’ve finally got some time and I’m bored so I figured I’d update y’all about my life. I’m currently listening to Otep’s new album, Hydra. It’s pretty good so far. I don’t know. In case you’re wondering.

Well, I’d say my life has been pretty eventful since my last update on here, since I got back from Christmas break.

First, my classes.
I’m taking Intro to World Literature, Turkish, an earth sciences class about the planets, sex & gender in the ancient world, and French 101. So far they’ve been pretty good. My world literature class will be interesting I think. It’s immigration focused and the books we will be reading look interesting. We’re even reading a book by Kundera, and I really like him! I’m undecided how I feel about my professor though. I was expecting a professor I had last semester to be teaching this class, but she up and moved to Switzerland or somewhere, so I have someone different. She’s Italian. I mean, so far so good, I just haven’t decided if I really like her yet though. We’ll see.

Turkish is Turkish, same as always. I’m really really behind on French though. I’m doing individualized instruction, so I don’t have a real class. I learn the material on my own and then schedule appointments with instructors. I completely procrastinated the first couple weeks of school and now I’m playing catch up. I think everything will be okay. Everything is online, and at first I really hated it, but after a series of emails between me and the head instructor, I think I’ve finally got everything figured out, and it’s not so bad. I think I may actually learn a decent amount.

I’m not excited about my planets class. I do have a genuine interest in the planets, but I was hoping this class would be all lecture, but it has a ton of class activities and we have to do math. Ugh. I haven’t done math in 3 years, so even though it’s only basic algebra, I’m just kind of out of it.

My sex & gender class has proved interesting so far. It’s a ton of reading but at least the subject material is interesting. We just finished up learning about greek pederasty (male-male relationships) and are now moving on to female homoeroticism. I’m happy that the class is decently literature based, even though it’s for my history requirement. It’s right up my alley.

So yeah. Those are my classes.

I also got my apartment rented. The apartment I was raving about over Christmas break turned out to be kind of crappy in real life. It definitely threw me for a loop. I’d put all my hopes into this one apartment, and I didn’t like it at all. I was allowed to view 3 apartments during my appointment, and luckily for me, my mom convinced to go see 3, even though I didn’t have 3 I was interested in originally. It’s lucky for me because that 3rd apartment I added at the sole urging of my mom, the one I thought would be crappy, is actually the one I wound up renting.

It has its pros and cons. It has a very open feeling floor plan that I really like and it’s decently big for a college apartment, though it is lacking a lot of natural light – something I kind of wanted. It comes with a dishwasher – a luxury in college apartments – but has no laundry and is 3 blocks away from the closest laundromat. It’s close to campus though, something the apartment I originally wanted couldn’t really claim. All in all, I think I’ll be really happy in this apartment. I just can’t wait for it to be August so I can move in!! I’m super excited. Dorm life is wearing me thin.

Hm. I can’t decide if I should get my rant about my ex out of the way right now or fill you in on other notable events right now. Let’s go with my ex.

As you know, he really wanted to see me when I got back from break. He even went so far as to say that he missed me!! And we saw each other, and it went well, but now, now I just feel ready to be done with him. The messages he’s sending me are so mixed and so frustrating, I’m tired of being on his bipolar roller coaster!! There’s this girl in Turkish class who he’s really good friends with. They have the same academic interests. And I’m almost positive he has some sort of feelings for her. They hang out a lot, he looks at her constantly in class and treats her the way he used to treat me when we were dating. And his body language seems to indicate that he has feelings as well. When he sits next to her, he sits super close, a couple times even leaning on her chair. She’s a grad student so she’s several years older than him. I’m not so sure she has any feelings beyond friendship for him though. At least, that’s what I hope.

Anyways. I mean, I guess I could deal with that, but I’m still caught up in his web. The other day he texted me and was like “I really need a friend to talk to right now”. Of course I went to him, but he wanted me to make him feel better and reassure him that all his academic goals aren’t pointless. I find it odd that he went to me for reassurance. But in class, he treats me like shit. One day, he was in a bad mood and didn’t give me a hug before he left (something we’ve been doing since we broke up). It didn’t help I was kind of mad about his whole flirting with that other girl, but I texted him about it (albeit a little confrontationally) and he got mad at me! And today, I asked him about his netflix because I’ve been “stealing” it and I couldn’t log in anymore. You know, it’s fine if he doesn’t want me to use it anymore, but what he said and the way he said it really kind of hurt. He said “Well, you’ve probably been blocked” or something like that. I don’t know. There are much better ways of telling someone you don’t want them to use your netflix anymore other than “you got blocked”.

I don’t know. These are only a few recent examples. He’s been kind of treating me like shit from the get go. I’m also just really disappointed in the lifestyle he’s chosen. The amount of drugs and intoxicants he uses is ridiculous!! I can understand alcohol and weed. Those are “normal” college drugs. But on top of those, he does acid and molly and shrooms and vivans and whatever else. And it seems to be almost constant. He seems to always be putting some sort of chemical into his body. He says he does it to have fun and “find enlightenment” but I really think he’s just running away from all his problems. I can’t be around someone like that. I’m not that kind of person.

~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~  ~

Well, I just had to get that out of my system. My ex has been wearing on my nerves for a while now. His presence makes Turkish class much less enjoyable. On to other notable occurrences in my life.

The most depressing comes first.
My cousin died this past friday. I wasn’t really close to him and I haven’t really let myself cry about it any. Being in Columbus really helps to separate myself from the sadness. His death is notable because of how he died. Keep in mind he was only in his early 30s. But he got put in the hospital before Christmas because of a bad case of pneumonia. He actually had 2 different kinds. He was always getting sick, and originally, he was diagnosed with a genetic immune disorder. But as his condition worsened in the hospital, they (re)tested him for HIV. My cousin was bisexual/gay (I’m not sure which) and it came back positive. They couldn’t give him medicine for his HIV until the pneumonia was gone, but with his body compromised, the pneumonia never went away. His lungs got so weak, they had to put him on a ventilator, but he was on the ventilator for so long, that it wound up puncturing both of his lungs. My aunt and uncle made the decision on Friday to take him off the ventilator and he died shortly thereafter.

I could go on a huge rant about peoples’ reaction after he was diagnosed with HIV, but I won’t. Maybe some other day, but not now. I feel sad even recounting his death. I hate death. He was too young. And it’s weird to think that I will never see him at our family gatherings again.

But anyways, before I start bawling, over that same weekend, on Sunday, I got my first speeding ticket. Because of the long weekend, I went home with my friend and I was driving us home on Sunday. My friend is basically legally blind and it’s really hard for her to see at night so I was driving. I was on the highway going 80 in a 65 zone and got caught by a lovely fucking speed trap. $148 ticket. And I can’t pay it until I get paid. I only have $8 in my checking account right now because I had to pay the deposit on my apartment. And I don’t know when I’m getting paid.

It sucks that I got caught. I didn’t really think the amount I was speeding, on the highway at least, was that big of a deal. I mean, I was speeding. I was technically breaking the law and I accept the consequences of my actions, but I’m starting to understand why so many people hate cops. And you want to know what I learned from getting a ticket? I learned the only reason I probably got caught was because I was being a line leader. Apparently it’s bad to be the front or end of the line, which is dumb. Sorry if I don’t want to be stuck in a giant mass of cars on the highway and drive fast to keep that from happening.

So that’s that.
I have resumed meeting with my Buddhist group on campus, and even got my friend to come to one of the meetings. Tonight we read the heart sutra, and it was a nice look at Mahayana Buddhism for me.
My comparative studies group that I’m the treasurer of has also resumed meeting. Last night we had our first meeting. The actual meeting only lasted for about 45 minutes, but the 3 of us who showed up wound up sitting in the library for 4 hours just talking. Mainly about philosophy, but also about school and classes and what not. It was really nice. And at one point, the other people suggested meeting up again, just the 3 of us, to hang out. Wait, what?!? Did I just make new friends?!? I’ll admit, that moment made me kind of happy inside. Plus, the guy who was there….he was kind of attractive. I don’t know. Really his intelligence was more attractive, because holy crap could he rattle off some high level philosophy! He intrigues me…we’ll see if the 3 of us actually hang out again. We’ll see.

All these meetings have been interfering with my gym schedule though. The first week of class, I went to the gym 6 days of the week!! I was really proud of myself. But all these meetings are during my gym time, so I’ve had to miss the fitness classes I normally go too. I’m going to have to rework my schedule so I can fit absolutely everything in. I’m determined to keep up with my new year’s resolution and go to the gym as much as possible!!

But yeah. That’s about it. I actually could talk about more stuff, but I feel bad because I know this is really long blog post, and honestly if any of my readers make it this far, I’ll be impressed. But I just had to get some of that stuff off of my chest and figured I’d just go ahead and give y’all the full update.

I hope all y’all’s lives are going well. I’m going to bed. Good night.

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I can’t wait!!

So today’s big excitement consisted of going through everything we pulled out the attic for my future apartment and deciding what I actually wanted and what I didn’t.

I’m feeling a little less…annoyed about having to use handmedowns after seeing what all we have. I’ll have a (mostly) complete set of dishes and silverware. So that solved the matching problem. I decided it’s really not so much unmatched rooms that bother me, but unmatched sets. Like I might would have to throw a little fit if I had a hodge-podge of unmatched dishes or whatever, but I won’t so it’s okay.

But the dishes I’ll have, they’ve grown on me, and I actually really like them. They have a light green border with real gold trim. They originally belonged to my grandmother. I’ve decided I can match my towels and stuff to the green in the plates. That matching, coupled with the nice, light green color will create a harmonious kitchen, I think.

Well anyways, I was browsing around on amazon today (that’s what I do when I’m bored) and I came across these really pretty (and cheap!) elephant statues that might make good decorations for my apartment. And then I was struck by inspiration! What if I had an Indian/oriental theme to my apartment??

I don’t know. I already have my Buddha statue. And we’ve got this carving made out of cork of an Asian garden scene that I’ll probably take with me. It wouldn’t be too hard, would it??

I don’t know. I can’t really plan anything what with not actually knowing what apartment I’ll wind up leasing and what the floor plan looks like. Plus, decorations will be the last thing on my list to worry about financially. But it’s an idea.

I just don’t know how well Indian and oriental will mesh in terms of style. I mean, I think of India and I think of bright, garish colors and Hinduism. When I think of “oriental”, I think of minimalism, understated colors, and Buddhism. Those styles are kind of the opposite of each other.

Ideally, I’d just like to create a space that focuses on and emphasizes my Buddha and the eventual shrine I plan to create for it. I won’t have a TV in my apartment, so I’d like my Buddha to take the place of the focal point that the TV would normal occupy. I just want to create an atmosphere that is such, when I walk into it, my mind immediately becomes peaceful and thinks of Buddhism. My own little spiritual sanctuary.

I briefly browsed through some feng shui books on amazon; going with the theme of harmony and peace, I thought feng shui might help me design my living space in an appropriate manner. But after about a 5 minute search on google for information, I decided feng shui was too complicated. And honestly, when you get into serious feng shui, it’s all numerology and stuff I don’t really believe in. I can create a harmonious living space on my own, thank you very much, without the help of feng shui.

But I really am excited about having my own apartment. I can’t wait until all the logistic stuff is over with and I can just focus on making it my own. Granted, decorations and stuff may have to wait for a little while, as I save up the money for them. It’s a little…inconvenient to realize all the spending money I’m making now with my job, which I’d normally spend on frivolous things like decorations, will be eaten up paying for rent. Oh well. It will just make my decorations that much more meaningful – because I might have to save for a long time to get them.

Ah but I’m excited!! I hope my excitement isn’t just naïveté clouding over any difficulties. I don’t know. My parents have been worrying so much about this, I worry they might know something I don’t!! Haha (they know a lot that I don’t). But I’d like to believe they are the worry warts and everything will go fine and smooth. My fingers are still crossed with hope and anticipation!!

I shall fall asleep tonight dreaming of all the wonderful things my apartment could be.
Good night y’all!!

Looking towards the New Year

Well Merry Christmas y’all.
This Christmas has felt very un-Christmasy to me for some reason. I think it has something to do with it being on a Tuesday. I don’t know. And I guess because we won’t be getting together with my mom’s family this year, and my dad’s family I don’t see until after Christmas, it really hasn’t felt quite like Christmas this year. It kind of crept up on me.

I know last night I was in a really yucky mood about Christmas. I still kind of feel that way, though greatly diminished. I think most of my dislike for Christmas this year, comes from the fact that as a Buddhist, I don’t really have much to celebrate. I mean, the fact that I’m “in the closet” as a Buddhist is the main reason. I can’t be open about my religion. Though I have to admit, we did very little “Christian” stuff this year. Like normally we have a devotional on Christmas eve (or on Christmas day, I can’t quite remember) and we didn’t do that this year.

I don’t know. I mean, Buddhists have Bodhi Day, which celebrates the Buddha’s enlightenment, on December 8th, but that’s so far away from Christmas, I hardly consider it a “replacement holiday”.

I actually found a pretty cool website on ways to make Christmas more Buddhist. I might steal some ideas from there when it’s time for me to decorate and celebrate Christmas on my own.

I didn’t get much in terms of quantity of gifts this year. I got some chocolate covered sunflower seeds, a package of kit kats, a bracelet, a mug with a matching plate to put it on with some hot chocolate, a target gift card, and of course my new iPhone. I’m not really complaining. I didn’t really ask for anything this year and my parents warned that Christmas would be small this year because of money. That’s okay. I was just glad my parents liked their presents.

I was mostly worried my mom wouldn’t really like her gift. I mean, she would like anything I got her because I got it for her, but she seemed genuinely happy with the candles and stuff I got her. And of course, my dad liked his coffee and gift card (he already knew he was getting a gift card though).

But yeah, that was Christmas. We ate pancakes. I took a nap. Then my sister and her husband came over for lunch. I ate a lot of butter peas and creamed corn while they ate lots of meat. I mean, I did eat some meat but it was a tiny piece and I covered it in au jus to cover up the flavor.

Then we had played a board game that my sister brought. I can’t remember the name of it but the board is a map of the United States and you have to build train track routes connecting different destinations. It was pretty fun but I found the rules to be frustrating. After that game, we did more presents and then my sister and her husband left. And that was Christmas. Super exciting.

I don’t know.
I’ve been thinking about the new year and what I want it to be like. I hesitate to call my goals new year’s resolutions because in my mind resolutions have a negative connotation of something that is always broken; but I really want 2013 to be a year of health and spiritual growth.

I really want to focus on growing spiritually in Buddhism and getting healthier by going to the gym. I’m really on the fence about smoking though. I know quitting would be the healthy thing to do and there’s the added factor that quitting would be the “Buddhist” thing to do, but the addict in me isn’t quite ready yet. I don’t know. I haven’t decided. My ex said he was planning on quitting, and if he quits I’ll most likely quit too (because he’s my only smoking buddy) but like I said, I don’t know. It is a strong addiction.

But like I said I really want to focus on Buddhism and health. Buddhism especially because I feel it will help me become a happier more balanced person.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t want to be in a committed relationship in 2013, but I’m hoping that by focusing on myself and getting myself in order, the committed relationship will come to me. You know what they say about love finding you when you stop looking for it. So that’s the approach I want to take for 2013. Focus on myself and let love find me however it may.

This is only slightly off topic, but I’m really excited because today I found a book on Amazon I really want about Buddhism. It’s called Chanting from the Heart: Buddhist Ceremonies and Daily Practices and it’s written by Thich Nhat Hanh (a preferred writer of mine). Well, according to the description, it’s full of chants and recitations for meditations, daily rituals, and special occasions. I have been looking for a book like this for forever. Information on chanting and the ritual aspect of Buddhism is hard to find, but it’s the one area I’ve been wanting to learn more about. I can’t wait to add this book to my collection, though I should probably read all the other books I have first. Haha.

But yeah. That was Christmas. I’m excited for the new year. I think 2013 will be a really good year and I look forward to all the challenges and opportunities it will bring.

So Merry Christmas and Happy New Year everybody. :)

Confessions of a Confounded Twitter User

Well I have good news!!
I got my phone out of the rice today and it’s back inworking order!! Seriously, the only evidence of its swim in the toilet are a couple of tiny black lines on the screen. Other than that, everything else is fine!! The external sound is even working again.

I’m quite relieved about this, even though I’m still pretty sure I’m getting a new phone for Christmas. Apple really does know how to make a long lasting, durable product.

Hm. My mind is drawing a blank about what to write about.
I mean, I finished my Christmas shopping today and went to the grocery store, buts that’s hardly interesting.

I guess, the latest thing that’s been on my mind (meaning in the last couple of hours) is the conundrum of twitter. I have a twitter, but I still don’t really feel I’m using it effectively. I don’t know.

I want more followers on twitter but I post nothing of value that would warrant more followers in my opinion. I have no trouble thinking of things to post on Facebook, but I turn to twitter and my mind goes blank.

I guess that’s partly because I feel the stuff one posts on twitter should be relatively meaningful, whereas Facebook can just be filled with the dregs of daily life.

I just find myself lacking inspiration.
Like on here, I don’t know if y’all have noticed, but I always start out with boring stuff before my brain finally seizes on something interesting to write about. With a 140 character limit on twitter, I don’t have the space to do that. My inspiration doesn’t come compressed in small packages.

I don’t know why I attach this strange importance to twitter. I suppose this relates back to my social media post from a couple days ago. Worrying about the number of followers you have on twitter is a problem unique to our social media society.

Still, we all seek validation in certain ways, I seek the validation of total strangers. I always have. I always will. That’s why, as much as I lament the failings of social media, I will continue to use it and use it frequently.

I know I’m not the only person who seeks validation from total strangers. That’s another byproduct of our hyper-connected society. But it is what it is. I am what I am.

I just feel like I could have such inspiring and interesting things to say, if I could only figure out how to get them out of my head and onto paper. This problem isn’t unique to twitter. I feel the same way about writing a book. Writing a book is on my bucket list, and I feel I could write a really good one, if only I could find a way to organize and mesh all my thoughts into one coherent theme.

This may sound cheesy, but it’s the truth; part of me really wants to become a famous spiritual person. Like the Dalai Lama, but on a smaller scale. Like Jack Kornfield or Deepak Chopra (with less of the wishy-washy new agey stuff). Anyways, you get my picture.

I feel like social media and the Internet could be a great way to get my spiritual ideas out there, but I just don’t know how to organize them. I don’t know how to be inspiring on a daily basis. Being inspiring is hard when you have life to worry about.

I suppose they say, if you can dream it, you can do it, and maybe my problem is I’m just not making myself do it. I think spiritual inspiration is like a lot of things. In the beginning it’s difficult, but as you do it more and it becomes a habit, it becomes easy. Maybe that should be a new year’s resolution for me?? To post one inspiring thing on twitter a day. God, it sounds hard even thinking about it.

But I suppose most things worth doing are hard.
I don’t know if you can call posting to twitter “something worth doing” but trying to be inspiring or spiritual is. It’s for my benefit and anyone else who happens to read my tweets I suppose. Just to help me get and stay in that mindset of being spiritual is a good thing. I so oftentimes feel disappointed in myself for my lack of focus on Buddhism in my daily life. You’d think with as much as I love it and find it to be a source of inner peace, I would spend time studying it every day. But alas, normal life gets in the way and I can always find so many excuses.

Maybe that should be my new year’s resolution. Spend more time focusing on Buddhism. I know I’d be much happier for it.

I just find Buddhism to be so inspiring and wonderful. That’s part of the reason why I want to be a famous spiritual leader or twitter celebrity, I want to bring Buddhism to the masses!! I know not everyone will want to convert to Buddhism like I did, but I feel if I could just expose them to some of the ideas, the world would be such a better place.

Sometimes I really wish I could convert the whole world to Buddhism. Haha. But then life wouldn’t be any fun would it?? Diversity is the spice of life!! :P

Night y’all.

Oh yeah, and after all this talk about twitter, if you really wanna follow me, I’m @emilleejoyce

A Rant about the People at my Church

I really don’t know what to write about today. After I got home from church and ate lunch, my day literally consisted of not moving from the couch except to eat and use the bathroom. Super exciting, I know right??

All I know is that I can’t take 3 more weeks like today. I hate just sitting around not doing anything. It makes me feel like a bum. Not to mention it makes my back hurt.

Going to church today reminded me how much I dislike church. It’s boring and everyone there seems so fake. They all seem to put on their perfect little Christian faces so they can sit around and talk about god and pretend they’re such little Christians. Bleck.

I did a presentation on Marilyn Manson in my English class this past semester where I analyzed his music. And the people at my church, those are the people he sings about with such distaste. “They’re white and oh so hetero and their sex is missionary.”

My issue with their religious beliefs doesn’t help.
I wish I could shake all of them, make them wake up. See the world the way I see it. But it would never work. Just like I’m convinced of my ideas’ and opinions’ superiority, so they are also. As much as I think they’re wrong for believing so fervently in christianity, so would they think I’m wrong for being Buddhist.

Oh well.
It’s just disappointing to think that if I tried to engage most of them in some sort of intellectual religious discussion, they wouldn’t be able to do it. They live in their little bubble of Christianity and never step outside of it to explore or learn about other religions. Which I suppose is the saddest part.

I have complete respect for Christians who are educated about the various world religions and science, yet still choose to believe in their god. But those Christians who believe so blindly, without hardly any knowledge of the outside world, those people I have a problem with. You know I have to question a religion which endearingly calls it’s followers “sheep”.

I don’t know.
I’m tempted to digress into a rant about my issues with the religion of Christianity and why I don’t believe it’s real/true, but that would go against my fundamental tolerance for all religions. These people have made their choice, I must respect that choice, even if it bothers me. Even if I secretly believe they’re all idiots.

But surely others must understand my frustration??
I was thinking about it in church today; why do I find it so difficult to stay awake in church when staying awake in class is no problem for me?? And I think it’s because of the lack of discussion.

Oh yes, the have discussion in my Sunday school, but it never deviates from the accepted norm of Christian belief. They muse about “god’s plan” and “God’s purpose” but no one ever seems to question what they’re being taught. I suppose I’m looking in the wrong place if I want to find dissenters, but it just seems the attitude of the church favors “sheep-ism” over intellectualism.

I would love to play devil’s advocate in Sunday school but I don’t out of fear of judgement. If I played devil’s advocate, not only would it reflect badly on me, but it would reflect badly on my mom. “She hasn’t been a proper guide for me, she’s failed some how.” That sort of stuff.

And then I wonder why our pastor always seems to be making a call to action. I think I’m right in assuming most of our congregation are converts. Even if they’re not converts, they’re still required to make that monumental decision to “ask Jesus into their hearts”. That’s almost as big as deciding to convert. So what happened to that old adage about converts being of stronger faith?? Why does everyone in the congregation seem so complacent??

Maybe I’m jumping to conclusions. Maybe they’re not complacent but I just can’t tell because I don’t know their inner life. But I don’t know. I just examine my own enthusiasm for Buddhism and wonder why that doesn’t seem to translate appropriately to converts of Christianity.

I don’t know.
That’s my rant for today.
I still live in mortal fear of my “true” religion being found out. I think I would die if people at my church found out I’m actually Buddhist, even though sometimes I find myself wanting to scream it from the top of my lungs.

Like today in church, we were doing our meet and greet section of the service and a guy from our Sunday school came up to me. I’m horrible at making conversation so once the formal niceties were out of the way, I made an absent minded comment about how I almost didn’t come because I had to wake up early.

Oops!! Bad idea!!
The guy launched into a discourse about how sad it is that we put god so low on our priorities, that we can’t even wake up early for him. Stuff like that. While I understand where he was coming from and stuff, I was internally mortified because I’m not Christian, and the only reason I did come to church today was because of the societal expectation that if I’m home from college, I should be in church.

I felt like I was on trial, while at the same time, relieved that he seemed to believe my accidental lie about being Christian.

*sigh*
The stuff I put up with to conceal my true identity.
It really does make me sad that I feel I can’t share Buddhism with my family. It’s such an integral part of me now. I feel like people back home don’t really know who I am because they’re missing that part of me.

But they’d never understand anyways…

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