Monday, April 16, 2012

5 Year Anniversary

This day 5 years ago will forever be implanted in my memories.

I started writing this by reliving my day 5 years ago, but while the feelings and horror of that day are something I will never forget, I do not want to dwell on the evils we all faced, but instead on the people we lost, and my fond memories of times spent with them and what I have learned from this loss over the past 5 years,

Ryan Christopher "Stack" Clark and Michael Steven Pohle Jr. were friends of mine from Virginia Tech. They were both killed in the shooting on April 16th 2007. Their initials now adorn a banner carried by sparrows between Hokie footprints along my left calf.
Stack was a triple major, played in the band, was a resident advisor and an active member of our Circle K club. One of my favorite memories was him and another friend of ours walking between classes together- we all had Molecular Biology together, and then we all had separate classes in the Chem/Physics building afterwards. Wed gossip about relationships, people we saw walking around campus, wed talk about the upcoming/just finished tests from class or about community service projects we were looking forward to. Stack had an infectious laugh, and I can't remember a time when I spent time with him that I wasn't smiling and laughing. Like the time he helped my former roommate iron her pants- She was still wearing them and he stuck the mini ironing board up the pants leg.
Mike was a kind man. Despite the nature of going to a class we all hated, he never failed to say hello to each of us in the group that sat together- in that very same Molecular Biology class I had with Stack. We would talk and make jokes over AIM- about people in class, about the class itself and about the teacher. Ive never really admitted this, but he had a crush on me for awhile as well. He admitted it to me one afternoon when we were chatting online, nothing ever came of it, but I often thought of him afterwards. He loved sports as well. Played Lacrosse for a club team at Tech, and everyone who knew him seemed to like an respect him greatly for the way he treated people on and off the field.

I have heard many great stories about the other lives we lost that day. Although I don't know how much more loss I could have dealt with, sometimes I wish I could have known more of these bright minds that were taken from us.

What I have learned in the past five years, especially considering the events of my robbery, is that we need to face the dark time, we need to think about them- with sorrow and fear, but also with hope and optimism. Ryan and Mike have taught me kindness, courage, dedication, friendship, and charity amongst many other admirable qualities. The Hokie community now lives for the 32 lives we lost that day, we more gallantly support each other because we know what it is to lose- our friends, our families, and our sense of peace and safety. But these terrible acts can never make us lose ourselves, can never cut us off from one another, from love, from community.

We Are Virginia Tech. We will Prevail. We live for 32 and We will neVer forgeT.

Friday, April 6, 2012

Home Sweet Home

For Valentine's day part of the gift from my boyfriend was a couple of CDs filled with country music which we both adore. One of the songs really struck a chord with me. 'Home Sweet Home' by The Farm exemplifies how I feel about my life right now. Its funny cause it fits his situation so perfectly right now as well.

'My world's a roller-coaster and my life's a traffic jam
All this mess ain't even close to bein' who I am
I've been dreamin' Carolina, catchin' craw-dads by the creek
But I'm stuck here in this prison, cell phones and city streets

I need a little time, I need a little space
I need a little gone, a little out of this place
I wanna get back where I can breathe
Where I feel free, yeah

Take me back, I've been away too long
Take me back to my home sweet home'

Anyone whos read any of my posts can obviously tell how much this fits. I HATE living in the city. Maybe its a product of my upbringing living in the country down a gravel road, probably its exacerbated by my fears from the robbery. But I this is I what I really need. To be back in a small country town, where life is a little slower and the stresses of city life abate.

I was in my home town the weekend before last. It was my lovely cousin's bridal shower (Which I of course threw being her Maid of Honor). It went so well, she had a terrific time and got plenty of great gifts. I think her son - my 'nephew' even enjoyed himself.

I was certainly not relaxed by any means, my mother and I had a ton to do to get everything ready, yet somehow I was much more at ease about everything than I am in my city apartment. I didnt worry about checking my surroundings before getting out of my car when we were out shopping, I had no qualms about walking around my parent's yard even though it gets so dark you can barely see the ground youre walking on (I get nervous every morning leaving my apartment for the 20 yard walk between the building and my car). And maybe most importantly, I was able to fall asleep and stay asleep all night. In my apartment every little noise wakes me up- including my roommate and his weird hours- going to bed around 1am. Yet I never heard my father getting up at 4am and getting ready for work, I didnt hear the alarm, him opening and closing doors as he got ready and took stuff out to his truck, or rummaging through the fridge and pantry to get his lunch.
Despite the incredibly uncomfortable twin bed that my parents have in my old room at their house, it was probably the most relaxing night's sleep I've had in ages.

All of this leads me to believe I'm getting better, but moving back to the country might get the process moving on more quickly.

I likely wont do that here in VA, the traffic on I95 would drive me insane, but the more and more I start thinking about the possibility of a move to Michigan, the more and more I think I should find a place to live further out in the country and have a little longer commute. I think it would go a long way to helping my mental health.

Monday, April 2, 2012

Conflicting Feelings

Im so happy its finally April! My 28th birthday is in 11 days, the boyfriend's 29th is in 22 days and he comes home to visit for my cousin's wedding festivities and a week of vacation in 32 days! So Many Countdowns!!

So over the past month/month & a half, we've had a lot of very serious conversations- like where our relationship is headed, religious ideals kinda serious. And last night thanks to a boost of confidence from some Jameson he finally admitted he's falling in Love with me, and has kinda been tossing these feelings around in his head for about a month or so (serious conversations coincidence- doubtful lol).
Can I just say Thank Goodness! Seriously Ive been feeling the same way over the same time period and was just worried about saying something too soon into our relationship. But now its out there, and I couldn't be happier! (yes i kinda cried a little haha).

Also not a coincidence... Ive been considering the inevitable move to Michigan. I cannot wait to see him regularly and just be together like a normal couple, I have no qualms or worries about moving to another state for a boy, because he's not just some boy. I have never felt so safe, so appreciated or so adored by a man other than my Father ever before.

I am however Terrified of:
1. Detroit- A city in the top 25 of most dangerous in the US (compared with DC which I'm petrified of and that doesn't even make the list). I worry about home invasions (again with my jumping to the worst possible scenario)- especially if I was living by myself. He says he's not crazy about the fact that I live with a guy, but I do feel like having a male roommate helps make me feel somewhat safer when I go to bed at night.
2. People- not of them, but meeting new people, making new friends, having friends of my own outside of the people I have met through him. A lot of times I don't feel like I have a close connection with that many people here around DC and I know plenty, Im worried that might be exaggerated by moving to a new place.

and maybe most importantly
3. Job(S)- What if I cannot find a job out there!? Obviously I wouldn't dream of moving til I already had something figured out, but what if I can't find a job? The job market is bad enough everywhere else, with Michigan in a much worse economic state than many other places, I fear that will also contribute negatively. Im also terrified of the idea of settling for a crappy job that I'm either not interested in, or underpaid for just because I can't take the distance anymore. (It is so so hard being so far away from him). Ive only found one job that really interested me and I was pretty well qualified for at this point. (In Ann Arbor- not Detroit which alleviates that worry if I were to work there instead)
I also worry about the state I'd potentially be leaving my current job in. Theres some weird political stuff going on behind the scenes in our center, and while I cannot wait to leave that behind (Because as my boss fully admits I've been pretty much abused by the people at this place over the past 5 years- not my company but the federal clients we work with) I worry about the destabilizing effect that might have on my company's position within the center, and the company in general (Wow I feel very self-centered saying that- but everyone who knows me and what I do at work will admit its completely true). I worry about making sure to stay on great terms with my boss- he's an amazing reference for me, and someone who's shown nothing but confidence in my abilities and been there for me over and over again.-- He's worried about me rushing into things and moving for a boy, and the benefits out company has that id be losing... I know he's just saying these things because he doesn't want to lose his employee, but when he mentioned about the job thing and the benefits, thats what hit me.

So its been an emotional roller coaster. I had a bit of a freak out this afternoon after the discussion with my boss. But even though its scary, I just know things will work out with all of my worries. I know I will find a job that I can excel at, that my boss will support what he knows will make me happy, and that I will have my boyfriend there for me every step of the way.

(I thought talking to my boss was hard... the really difficult part will be having the same talk with my parents!)