Welcome to my brain.

total whack-0

I would first like to apologize for being a terrible blogger. Here's a list of things that have happened since February:
1. Scott Avett e-mailed me. This was a big deal.
2. I finished my third year of school. 
3. I've gotten stuck in mud 3 times.
4. My little brother (the youngest of the four of us) graduated high school. When all of his class mates were emotionally hugging their families, Matthew patted us on the head. All four of us will be in Lincoln, at least for a semester. We will tear the town apart. (Not really, all four of us are incredibly introverted)
5. I went to India. I served with the Missionaries of Charity in Kolkata. For those of you who are not familiar with the Missionaries of Charity, it's the religious order that Mother Teresa started, lived, breathed, and died for. I got to pray at her tomb every morning in the Motherhouse, which is in the heart of Kolkata. The trip was full of many graces that I could write an entire book about. You know, finding purpose in my art, finding authentic joy, finding myself...things like that. Ask me about it, it's all I talk about these days. 
6. I decided that I'm taking Ian to Spain with me next summer to do the Camino de Santiago.
7. I got back from India and now my brain is mush and my stomach hurts all the time. I write really strange poems and hang out in meadows and I think that I'm a hippy.

That somewhat catches us up. 
Today has been exceptionally full of dopiness and for some reason I feel compelled to write about it. A little background:
      Last night, I was actually crying my eyes out. I really think my eyes were about to fall out of my head. And snot. So. Much. Snot. I really don't think I've ever snot that much in my young life, at least not that I can remember. It's the first time I've really let myself cry like that in a really long time, so it was good. And it was good. At first, I was crying because I was sad. Because, as I said, my brain is mush right now and I don't know what's going on. I'm very confused about most things, especially my relationships with human beings and friendships. I have found that, since I've been back from India, being alone is my favorite thing. For almost a year, I dreaded being alone, because I associated "alone" with "lonely"--but when I got back from my trip, I had messages from 14 people asking me when I would be back, when we could get coffee, and simple messages of them saying "miss you, come home safe." And when I went to mass at the Newman Center for the first time, even more people were welcoming me back with warmth and (I assume) genuine gladness to see me. Over the past six months, I've come to realize that I have friends. Which is new and strange and confusing and I'm still figuring it out. 

      So I was sad because I've been back for two weeks and my head is still scrambled eggs, that and I miss the hell out of Johnny. 

      I had to sit up because the snot was pouring out of my face like some kind of fountain or waterfall or man I don't even know. I started thinking about the people I've allowed into my life this year, and how wonderful they are and how they have helped shape me into something much better than I could have imagined. I started thinking about the meadows that I have been meandering around in, and how beautiful and green and lovely they are. I started thinking about my faith and wow how much I've come to realize that I love it so much. I was thinking about all of these amazing and beautiful things that I go out and search for and welcome and then I thought, "Why don't you love yourself the way you love the rain, why don't you love yourself as much as you love your little sister, why don't you love yourself the way you love walking in muddy water?" --as strange as it is, I really love walking in muddy water. Hot damn, I deserve to love myself so much more than I have been loving myself for the past seven years. Since my freshman year of high school, I have had it wired in my brain to not love myself. Seven years. Of course a thousand other things played into that as well, but hey I'm in charge of my own brain these days. 

And in being alone, I am discovering how to do exactly that. I've gotten my coffee with my friends and I see people every once in awhile, but majority of the past 16 days, I have spent by myself. I have deleted all but one of the social media apps on my phone, because they are rotting my already rotting brain. I have walked in groves and meadows that I didn't know existed. I have figured out how to get to the Platte River where no on can see me. I have hiked 12 different self made trails which aren't actually trails because I made them up and I'm actually lucky that I didn't get lost. And I've done it all with my rosary and bare feet. It helps that I was just serving the poor in a third world country, because I've also been able to use this alone time to not only figure out how to love myself, but to grow closer to God. Which will ultimately be the source of my happiness and self-love. 

And today. 

Last night I went to bed and I was very excited to wake up this morning. I wanted to wake up so that I could actually live my life and not just exist in it anymore. Which is a great feeling by the way, if you haven't yet, you should try it. I woke up, ate my yogurt, put on my new dress that Noelle made me buy (which was from Goodwill, so "new"?), grabbed my keys and left. I was out the door at seven in the morning and drove for a long time, because driving is my favorite thing to do. It really is. I'm not very good at it, and I don't like driving if people are with me, but when I'm by myself and I can turn my music up louder than my speakers want me to, that's it. That's all I need in my life. Nebraska is a fairly boring state, but if you get yourself on the right roads in the middle of summer, there are rolling hills full of wild-flowers and trees that are full of life. I don't plan on staying here and one could say that I am fairly disdained towards Nebraska--I have no attachment to it--but I would be lying if I said that it didn't have its moments.

      My car has no air conditioning and it's a 100 degree day out, and I had no idea where I was going when I left this morning. I got off the Gretna exit and drove towards the Holy Family Shrine and then drove past it down into Schramm State Park. This road is one of those nice roads. It's like one that you would see in an indie road trip film (I usually pretend that I am in an indie road trip film. I even have a playlist for it on spotify. It's called "If my life were a movie" because I am super clever with naming things). 

     I parked and walked a ways down the road past the park, I probably walked for 20 minutes before I headed into the trees towards the river. There was no trail, but I knew the river was just on the other side of the trees, and for those of you who don't know, the Platte River is my favorite part about Nebraska, if I could pick a favorite part. I could imagine people watching this barefoot weirdo in a dress climbing over fallen trees and slushing through puddles and wondering what the heck I was doing. But that was best part: no one was there. No one could see me being a whack-o. I got to the river and climbed my way down into the water and walked half way across to a sandbar. 

Where I did calisthenics. 

That's no joke either. If I'm going to work out, I'm going to enjoy the view. I also hate gyms because I don't like that people can see me when I'm fumbling around. So this was actually perfect. There was no one. And I was wearing a dress and I was soaking wet and I was doing jumping jacks. Then I sat down in the shallow water of the sand bar and I prayed. I prayed for Jolene mostly, and for Jolene's family. I prayed for the usual things, and then I sat and imagined myself from the other side of the river. I knew that no one was there and no one could see me, but I could see myself. I could this girl sitting in a dress in the middle of the river with a rosary. And I wondered why the heck I'm not an indie road-trip film.

I got sunburned and I have rocks permanently in my feet. It's incredible. After about an hour and half of hanging out in the river, I went for a walk down one of Schramm's trails. And then I drove home and showered but didn't wash my hair because I'm trying to wean off shampoo and let the natural oils take care of it. I had to put that in there so that you could see why I think I might be a hippy. I also like quinoa and hummus more than most things and have been picking wild flowers for my latest art project. 

I have been sitting in the Meadowlark (coffee place) for awhile now. My art was hanging in here for two months, and one of them sold for $200, which means that I can actually pay rent. And I got a phone call from Helen Zajkowski, who is a contemporary Catholic artist from Eastern Europe. This is the first time I've heard from her in 7 weeks, and I like her voice and the way she talks to me like I'm her grand daughter. I met her for the same reason I met Scott Avett.

This is the first day that I don't think I would change anything. Here's some pictures of my excursion.   


living poetically