Last Night: A Short Story

I had never seen myself as a girly-girl, until last night when I almost fought a man over my hair. It sounds dramatic when I put it long story short, but I feel like if you heard what happened, you’d see it was warranted.

WARNING: THIS STORY CONTAINS CONTENT SPURRED BY ALCOHOL.

After being out and about downtown, a friend of mine (we’ll call him Rainy for story purposes) invited me to a pool near his apartments after bar close. I accepted the invitation and found myself drinking a gin and tonic at Rainy’s apartment with him, a I guy we’ll call Lester, a girl with the code name Karen, and lastly Stan. We changed into our swimsuits at what seemed to be the same moment as a storm started rolling in. But, did this stop a group of youngins in their early 20’s? No.

We walked out of the apartment to find a middle-American land hurricane. It was a torrential downpour. And the indoor pool we were headed toward was a good distance to get soaked. We nominated Rainy to lead us to the pool because it was dark and the rest of us had never been there before. He took his new position to heart and started running across the courtyard to a street that crossed over to the pool. I heard screaming in the rain ahead of me and looked up to see Rainy wipe out in the middle of the road because he tripped over the curb. (This street was a dead end and it was early in the morning, don’t worry he wasn’t going to get ran over.) I burst into laughter and made sure he was okay before we continued on to the building.

Once we got there, Lester and Karen, who didn’t know each other but left the bar together, decided they wanted to head back to the apartment to get dry clothes for later. They left for a good minute while Rainy, Stan and I chilled in the indoor pool. They were in the pool and I was standing on the ledge. Lester and Karen came back to announce that Rainy’s door was locked and they couldn’t get into the apartment. But, before they could announce it, Lester ran and pushed me into the pool. Me and my brand new high lights hit the chlorine water before I could scream “no.”

If you’re not familiar with the risks of being in chlorine after bleaching your hair, it has a tendency to turn the blonde green. Not only did I pay a pretty penny to get my hair done, but I also have a wedding to attend on Saturday. A wedding that my ex, that I haven’t seen in two years, will be a groomsman in. The following couple weeks I will be a bridesmaid in a different wedding. This was not the time to have green hair people!

Okay, back to the story. I got out of the pool to find a towel for my hair and Lester and Karen had already taken Roy to the apartment to let them in. At that point, it was just me and Stan grabbing everyone else’s clothes and cups to take them back to the apartment. As we cleaned, I ranted to Stan about the important events I had coming up. He patiently listened and kept telling me how he understood why I was mad.

We crossed the street and the courtyard back to Rainy’s apartment where Rainy and Lester are standing in the airway. My trek across the yard was enough for me to decide that I had a few extra words for Lester for throwing me into a pool. By words, I mean I  came at him with my fists up.

I screamed at him, “Do you think we’re in high school!? I’m a grown woman! I paid money for this hair! And you just want to horseplay!?”

Rainy and Stan make an effort to hold me back by stepping in between us. Lester put his hands up in defense.

“Why are you so mad!?” he screamed, “it’s just a pool!”

Stan pushed Lester into the house and Rainy stayed outside to try to calm me down. Remember, Rainy initiated this after party and had been drinking enough to not remember this conversation this morning.

“What happened?” Rainy asked.

“What do you mean what happened!?” I questioned. “You were there! You saw him push me into the pool!”

His eyes got big and he started to look mad.

“He pushed you in the pool?” he asked.

“Yes!” I screamed. “That’s what this whole fight is about!”

He stumbled to the door and screamed for Lester to come outside. I could hear Lester refusing before Rainy counted him down like a child to come outside. Lester made it clear he was coming out because he wanted to, and not because Rainy was making him. Rainy stepped up as the mediator in our argument until we settled on Lester agreeing to pay for my hair to get fixed if it turned green before the wedding. Lester happily agreed and apologized for acting like a child and messing around with people he didn’t know.

In hindsight, I had woken up yesterday morning complaining that I was cranky. Maybe I shouldn’t have gone out when I woke up knowing I wasn’t capable of tolerating ignorance.

Lesson learned.

“What’s wrong with Nickey?”

For all of you who were gracious enough to give me advice on my housing situation, I think a plan may be falling into place. But first, I need to get you caught up on some of the events that have happened since 2017 began.

The initial “impasse” I mentioned with my landlord turned out to be a foreshadow of what was to come. Things came to a boiling point toward the end of Christmas break. Harsh words were said, tears were fled, and I lost my bed. (No I’m not a poet, but I liked the way it sounded.) Essentially, we came to the agreement that I didn’t want to be there and he didn’t want me there.

To avoid going into detail, I spent the week before last with my belongings in three different locations and slept on a couple couches. I missed two days of work and fell behind in classes. I started questioning what kind of person I was to have become the homeless girl in this college town. You might be thinking, “Girl go ahead with that studio apartment you talked about!” Well, it’s not that easy. I had already gone the day before everything blew up and signed a lease for August because my lease at my old place wasn’t over until the end of July.

Thankfully, I have an amazing support system where I work. “Family atmosphere” is an understatement when it comes to my coworkers and myself. As soon as I told them my situation, one of them opened up her home to me and gave me her spare bedroom. I collected my things from the places they were spread out over and moved in last Monday.

I can’t explain my gratitude to her because there are no words to say to someone who is willing to open their home to me. She thinks I ignore her, but I’m just trying to process everything that’s happened this semester. I’m trying to get caught up at work, in school, and make sure not to neglect the friends who helped me move. I have a hard time opening up and showing these emotions now because I’ve done nothing but show my emotions for the past two months. It’s become hard to express anything but stress. And I hate it.

I’m sure I will open up to her eventually. But, as for now I’m just trying to figure out where to go next because she will be moving in May. At first, I thought about this with the ultimate dread. I’ve been up and down the streets of this town, meeting every landlord possible for the lease I signed in August. I couldn’t fathom trying to run back through that list and ask if they would accept temporary tenants. But, luckily, I don’t think I’m going to have to.

Today, I sat in a study abroad session. They talked about the experiences, the food, and the wonderful people they met. They discussed the financial ease it is to be able to go through the university for exchange student opportunities. They showed me the options I have to fund the trip and the many places I could go. So, what if what I thought was doom and gloom was just God’s way of answering my prayers to travel?

With no rental commitments for the summer, it seems to me the best opportunity to become the gypsy I’ve always wanted to be. Maybe Thailand? Maybe Jamaica? Maybe Czech Republic? Having no obligations other than work, which can be worked around, for the summer might be exactly what I asked for.

So, I promised you a plan. It’s a loose plan. But it’s a plan. First, live with my lovely coworker until May, then be a gypsy, then move into my (beautiful) villa in August.

Honestly, what else do I have to lose while becoming a woman in college?

 

I Couldn’t Make It Up

Like usual, I woke up in an optimistic mindset about my day. I got dressed, danced in my mirror, kissed my boyfriend and was off to class.

Except, I wasn’t off to class. When I went to crank my car, I found my key bent in half by some unfathomable force. This is a good time to mention that the class I was headed to has a zero tardy policy.To be more specific, the classroom door will shut and lock at 9:30 a.m. Naturally, I panicked and emailed my professor with a picture of my key and a description of my situation. I never got an email back.

I finally roped a friend into giving me a ride to class. However, when I arrived, my worst fears were confirmed. It was past 9:30 a.m. and the door was locked. I knocked and knocked. No one came to my rescue. Finally, I sank to the floor with my ear against the door, trying to get some sort of education today.

I laid there listening for about 10 minutes until a girl finally opened the door. I fell in and the entire classroom stared.

I stood up and said, “I’ve been sitting out here for so long, can I come in now?”

All my professor said was, “Oh, we didn’t hear you knock. I got your email, yes you can come in.”

I couldn’t get to the prime seat I had assigned myself the first day of class because my tardiness lead another student to take it. So, I sat my rear-end down in the back of the class and considered it a good day just to have gotten to be there.

 

First Week? I’m Weak.

“No drinking or eating in my classroom…no cellphones on the desk…don’t be late, this is your job…you will be penalized for late work..”

The majority of high school students around the country are getting lulled to sleep by the monotonous speeches of syllabus week. Oh how I miss that lullaby.

This semester marks the beginning of my junior year of college, and if there’s anything I’ve learned over the years it is that a collegiate syllabus is the bible of a course. Unlike high school, the syllabus is referred to MULTIPLE times throughout the semester. They have valuable information like deadlines, office hours, and study tips that I’m sure I’ll be panicking over later in the semester. They are a professor’s form of a contract in which they like to say, “well, you had the syllabus! You should have known!”

The only question I have, after an hour of losing my sanity from combing through these documents is, “how many times do you think we’ll hear the professor say ‘check the syllabus’ this semester?”

Time will only tell.

 

 

 

 

 

Craving a Mentor

When we were little, adults placed a huge emphasis on having a role model or “hero.” It was important for developing individuals to have someone to look up to and help guide our decisions. I remember writing stories about the people that influenced my life. We even had a specific date where we would bring them and introduce them to our peers. My question is, why have role models become few and far between for young adults?

The argument could probably be made that role models eventually shift to “mentors” when speaking of young adults. But when observing my peers, I don’t see the half of them even having mentors. I, myself, don’t have a mentor. Of course, I am still influenced by the people I called my role models long ago, but I am in a different place in life now, both physically and mentally. Now, I have tried expanding my search for a role model from just my family members to those I interact with daily.

When I look around, I don’t see any one person that I truly would want to learn from. I don’t see any one person that shows humility, charity, love, enthusiasm, diligence, expertise in an area of my interests, a willingness to teach, etc. Those whom I have attempted to look up to have shown their quirks. They’ve appeared to be a “selfless do-gooder” but eventually show themselves as having an ultimate self-righteous goal.

Am I naive to think that there is someone in this small town community that exemplifies the majority of the qualities I am looking for in a role model, and ultimately myself? Should I focus less on finding the seemingly perfect person and realize that everyone has flaws? When do I draw the line between “it’s just a flaw” and honest bad character?

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I am disappointed that I haven’t been able to find any one person that I return to for guidance in this life. I feel like I’m striving to be a better friend, citizen, student, employee without any direction from a mentor. I’m specifically seeking a mentor that doesn’t attempt to force their own agendas, but genuinely cares for where my future is headed and how they can impact my life, how they can make me a better citizen for this world.

I am willing to learn. I crave a source to ignite passion for my major and my community. Who in this college town can sacrifice their time to impact a developing adult? The emphasis on wisdom from an outside person shouldn’t stop at adolescence, but in this case extend beyond even becoming a woman in college.

Image

Transparency

I just got out of bible study about 10 minutes ago. While there, someone said something to me (who does not usually attend our specific bible study) that really got to me. I join a certain group of people every Thursday to talk about how to include God in the midst of being a college student. The reason I continue to go back to this group is because of the transparency of our relationship with one another. In the time we spend together, we discuss the details of life that “regular” churches don’t like to touch on. We discuss alcohol, sex, different religions, drugs and anything else that is often hushed.

I can honestly say, because of the opportunity this group gives me to be open and honest about what I am going through, my relationship with God has been strengthened, for lack of a better term. To be more clear, our relationship has grown in ways that I didn’t think possible. I think I connect this clarity of relationship with the transparency of my bible study. To give an example, I once heard someone say, “I struggle with physical attraction to women. When it comes to pornography, I can’t stop myself. What can I do about this?” And for a man to come out in the midst of women, our youth group leader, even God Himself and be that honest showed me that that was what God meant by brothers and sisters in Christ. We should be able to come to one another with anything, just like we should be able to go to God with anything. We are supposed to listen to one another and help one another, each of these being aspects of relationships, worldly and Godly.

Tonight, our topic was relationships, worldly and Godly. While discussing with my group, I was told I was “getting too personal.” That is something I most definitely have a problem with. How in the world could I be too personal with a being who physically created me? We, as Christians, go out and tell the world that “God already knows everything. We can’t tell Him anything that He hasn’t heard before. Go to one another, in Christ, and lean on one another.” Then we tell each other that something being said is “too personal.” Listen here, buddy. God knows when I pick my nose, when I fart in public and when I get my period. There is NOTHING that I can say that would be “too personal” for Him to hear. As far as who I worship with, they’re going to have to deal with the flowery parts as well as the raunchy!

I think this is part of the problem with Christianity in the churches today. We try to act as if we’re not humans who struggle. We sit around, quoting the bible, acting high and mighty when everyone knows so-and-so went out Friday night, and brother so-and-so has a drinking problem, etc. Have we ever stopped to think that if we addressed what we were struggling with – our PERSONAL problems – that we wouldn’t have such a hard time overcoming them? Have we ever stopped to think that our attitude towards hiding the bad parts of life is why people shy away from church?

Here’s a little challenge for my Christ followers out there: this week, talk to someone about the gross parts of your life that you’re struggling with. Talk to someone about why your heart is broken, or why you’re mad at God or the addictions you face daily. From personal experience, that is what helps grow a relationship with God. As far as those that shy away from church because of that judgmental atmosphere, call me up. You have a place with us college kids that like to take things personal.

Who knew I would get so heated while becoming a woman in college?

Music Appreciation’s Greatest Lesson

At the beginning of my freshman year, I had a course titled music appreciation. The first class was tainted with unease when my professor made a speech about the amount of freshman we had in the class. He told us that many of us were not ready for the amount of life that was about to fall into our laps. He told us that there would be plenty of bad things to happen to us, one example being that at least one of us in the room would lose a close family member over the course of the semester. He told us to remember, in those times, that life must still go on. We must continue to make the most of our education and come above the hardships that were sure to come our way.

At the time, we had all stared at him with confusion as to why this man was telling us such horrible things. Last night, I understood. At 8:38 p.m., I found out my uncle had passed away. It wasn’t a huge surprise, as he had been in and out of the hospital for the past couple of months with cancer, pneumonia, and everything else that makes you gasp when someone says they have it. It also wasn’t like I was best of friends with the man, as he was my great uncle. But, he was my family nonetheless. He was someone I remembered wrapping my arms around at special times of the year. He was someone who made the family laugh when things got too serious. He was someone that made me who I am.

Today, I woke up unable to understand how the sun still gets to rise when my uncle doesn’t get to see it. I sat through my first class wondering what the point of it all was when death is sure to be the answer. I ate breakfast without tasting the food. And I typed this blog post finding it hard to form my mourning into words. However, the point is that I did see the sun rise, I did go to my first class, I did eat breakfast and I did type my blog post. I remembered what my music appreciation professor told me that very first class period and continued to make the best of my education. With that being said, I feel as though I took a huge step today, not only in handling the hardships of life but also in becoming a woman in college.