Monday, December 7, 2015

Wish me luck.

My day was long and plain. Nothing special. Until the end. At a stoplight, I saw an old man get punched in the face and knocked to the ground. He had gotten out of his car to argue with a pedestrian who he nearly hit with his speeding car. As he was arguing, a stranger who saw what had happened sprang from his car, ran across the street, leaped into the air, punched the old man in the face hard enough to knock him to the ground, kicked the pedestrian in the shins, and then darted back to his car in perfect time for the light to turn green. And all within 30 seconds. Then our car continued on, end of story unknown. All over the world, nameless, meaningless hostilities are proudly, gracefully layered on top of other nameless, meaningless hostilities. When I got home, my nose started to bleed for the first time in maybe 15 years. It didn't last long. Hopefully the old man's didn't, either. But my head still hurts a little bit. Then I had an interview to become an ELF next year. I hope it works out and I can go somewhere soft and peaceful. Somewhere where I can make meaning out of the events around me. Somewhere that probably doesn't exist.

   

Sunday, November 1, 2015

Irony

For Halloween, I wore a brown sweater, brown slacks, and brown shoes. I was a stick in the mud. I thought it was dumb and funny and I had hoped my friends would think so, too. I'm a stick in the mud! I was going to say whenever anyone asked what I was. Well, not really a stick. More like a thick branch. A log. I'm a log in the mud, haha, I would say. And these are mud puddles. Here, try one! I'd say, smiling and lifting the pan of peanut butter cups I had brought along. That's what I imagined would happen. I had it all worked out. And I know things never go how I imagine, I know people have their own ideas, their own plans. I've learned never to expect what I imagine. In fact, it's weird when it does all go as imagined. Like some kind of fake 50's era sitcom. That's my imagination. But I'm stunned by how well my costume suited me last night. And nobody ever asked or ever knew what I was dressed up as, they just know what I already am. I was sitting in my own apartment by 9pm, sleeping by 11. For irony's sake, I wish I could say "sleeping like a log, haha," but I can't. Because I never sleep like a log. More like a stick. A flimsy little twig, flailing in the wind, struggling against the bigger branches. Waiting for the pruners to come set it free.

Sunday, October 18, 2015

All over the world

I've been thinking about next year a lot. About what to do. And whenever I do, a subtle throbbing swells up in my chest. It makes it just a touch harder to breath. Because no matter what I choose to do next year, it's going to hurt some. The worst part about living the way that I do is leaving. It's always there, hanging over my head, occupying some small corner of my mind. Some day, I'll have to leave this place and these people. And that thought hurts, especially knowing me and how bad I am at staying in touch. Especially knowing how easy it is, over time, for everyone to move on and slowly forget who we were while we were there, in a place, together. The comfort of good memories fade until you're eventually nearly strangers again. I think that's the saddest part. Being so closely connected to a tiny, unexpected part of the world for a while, making a life there with friends and hobbies and knowing the best places to walk and eat, feeling like you belong, at least a little bit, there. And then it's time to go, time to move on, and once you leave, the magic of you living in that place will never exist again. At least it hasn't for me. And it's sad to know that that time for Turkey is approaching.

Even if I were to decide to stay in Antalya for a fourth year, it would still hurt some, as it does every year that I choose not to move home. One of the hardest parts of leaving Reno 8 years ago was leaving my then 4 and 5 year old brothers. I knew I'd miss a lot of their childhood, but I had no idea just how much I'd miss. I figured I'd be gone for 2 years, then I'd roll right back into their lives like nothing happened. But it's 8 years later and for the first time today, TJ asked me over skype "So what have you been up to?" Prior to tonight, he had never asked me a question, he just made faces at himself on skype while minimally answering all my stupid questions, like any little kid would do. But tonight he asked me a question and it led to a conversation and if we're having conversations that means he's not really a little kid anymore. Then he went and picked up his ukulele and strummed out Over the Rainbow for me, and I've missed too much. We're not practically strangers, but I've missed too much.

And my mom moved to Las Vegas just this weekend and Reno will never quite feel like home again and I wasn't there to help her or even to pack up my own stuff that she's been keeping for me for the past eight years. Big things are happening in the lives of everyone I know and love and I'm never there to be a part of it. I'm just gradually becoming more and more of a stranger to more and more people all over the world.

And this is turning in to a weird, depressing, disjointed novel so I'm gonna go to bed.           

Wednesday, October 7, 2015

The Graveyard.

There's a large graveyard in the center of Antalya, very close to where the new school is. I often go there over my lunch break. It's the quietest, calmest place within a mile or two. All of the graves face the same direction, towards Mecca. Some of them are fairly new. Many of them are quite old. A few of them are very small, and most of them are above ground. I go there and watch the trees sway and listen to the call to prayer and leave bread crumbs for the birds and pet the stray cats and walk among the stones and think about their names and dates. It doesn't bother me as much as it does some of my work friends. The place is almost deserted. I walk and I breathe and I imagine the stones and the sidewalks and the layers of earth slowly crumbling away, until all that remains are the bones and me. My future and their past. All in one place, all hopefully at peace. At least for a few minutes.

Saturday, September 12, 2015

I came back.

I came back. Over a year ago, I wanted to leave Turkey and stay gone. But then I wanted to stay and stay a while, so I came back for another year. And then came back again. So I'm here. And here for a while. But what I thought would take at least a year to figure out somehow, sadly, strangely took three weeks. And I'm left wondering if I really am different. And I'm left wondering if it would have been better to have stayed gone and always wonder what could have been. Or is it better to know and mourn and feel so sad about the way the world and the people on it, myself included, work. I don't work well. As a human, I don't work well. I am quiet. I am weak. I am proud.
Designed to be alone, selfish woman. You were designed to be alone.  

Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Blink

I had a dream that every time I blinked, a day would whirl by, so that I would flash forward to a random moment the next day. Washing dishes at the kitchen sink with Ira Flatow introducing his show in the background - blink - walking carefully up the stairs at work with my full coffee cup in my hand the next day - blink - laughing about puns with my team mates in our tiny office the next day - blink - opening the door to the gym and holding it for the stream of sweaty people leaving the next day - blink. All of these days went by in less than a minute. By the time I woke up, I was 70. Every baby I had met had become a parent. Every animal I had known had died. Every war I had heard of had been won. Or lost. Or ceased to be fought. And I had been there for mere seconds of it. A ghost flashing through picture frames, floating in space, fading into backgrounds.  

Monday, August 3, 2015

A Made Up Memory

Somehow I've reached a point where it's hard to believe that I used to be a little kid. A baby. I used to scream and cry in public and people didn't mind, they accepted it. I used to stare at things for forever and eat dirt and crawl around on the ground and everyone thought it was cute. I used to know nothing and added only goofy sounds to conversations and people thought it was normal. My mom used to cradle me in her arms and feed me and sing to me. My dad used to hold my hand and help me open Christmas presents and put the toys together. My sister used to teach me games and build forts with me and protect me from the monsters. They all protected me. I used to have people who kept me alive, and I don't really remember any of it.

None of the memories are bright and crisp enough to seem real, though I feel like they happened. Even when I see pictures of myself as a little kid, the smiling or crying or curious little face looks like a stranger, a friend's baby, somebody else being held by my young mother. Not me. But I know that it is me. That it was me. Pictures don't lie. That moment really happened, whether I can remember it or not. Pictures do strange things to the mind. Or does everyone feel this way and I'm just now getting weirded out by it?

In fact, some of the memories that stick out the most from when I was little are the silly little scenarios I day-dreamed up, the ones that never actually happened. Like going for a walk and imagining I was a giant, stomping through forests and skipping over mountains. Or imagining long, emotional conversations with my cat. I remember those memories, those day dream conversations, quite clearly. But where have the real memories gone? They must be there somewhere. Does my brain value make-believe more than reality, and has therefore clung to the moments it once wished would happen, while ignoring the ones that did?

And does this mean that in another 30 odd years, when I'm wrinkly and gray and slowing down even more, wanting to retire and rest, the memories I'll recall of these days will be mostly the meaningless, made up conversations I have in my head, and the random dreams I envision for myself all the time? Will the memories not include the real world swirling about outside, the real people moving and breathing around me, the real stories unfolding, of life and death and love and hate? Will it all be lost on me? It's sad to think that I'll be living in a world of memories that never happened, unable to recall the actual life that I led, or the real conversations that I had, or the wonderful people that I loved, and that perhaps loved me, too. The real people that I loved, but never quite understood. Never quite got to know... because it's difficult and a little bit terrifying to try and comprehend a life story your brain didn't invent on its own.