Heartstrings

I reach out

The tendrils, vines, my heartstrings

Stretching, reaching out

I shout

but it is really no more than a murmur

Undectable in the fuzzy screen of time.

I climb

My muscles contort bizarrely though I cling

I sing

My peculiar melody stands out and I am derided

Men confided

I heard them, and lent mine arm under theirs.

Up the stairs

My heart-tendrils reach and stretch

and try to grow

but no.

Seven vile oceans on the landing

whirl madly and press me down.

I drown.

No kindly fishermen to save me,

like clement kings

My heartstrings

Wrap about my body and my battered heart

And buoy me to shore.

No more.

My tangled vines bid farewell

and releasing me, decease.

I am at peace.

‘Neath balmy sunset I walk

forever. I needn’t shout, my song is heard

In Perfect Harmony with all the others.

My brothers

lift me up, we speak of joyful things,

My heartstrings

Fade in my memory like paint in the sun

but I know they saved me in the end.

 

–APS

 

 

 

Not to be used without permission.

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Mother’s Day Thoughts

I have learned over my lifetime that few people deserve as much respect as mothers.  The pain they go through: giving birth to us, raising us, watching us go off and wilfully make dumb decisions; they deserve so much credit and so many salutes.

I’ve learned to be in awe of the portly middle-aged ladies who have soft hands, loud voices, and a knowing seen-it-all look in their eyes.  They are champions, because they have raised good and successful children.

I am inspired by the young mothers with glowing skin who are on their second or third child and busy themselves cooking nutritious food for their offspring and husband.

Here’s to the mothers who had their hearts broken over and over again by a negative preganancy test or who, once pregnant, suffered miscarriages and could never seem to bring their baby to term.  God bless you, especially those of you who adopted children who certainly needed you as much as you needed them.

Let us drink to our grandmothers, who cooed over us as infants and spoiled us when our parents weren’t looking, and later on taught us to crochet, to not care what people think, or to make the BEST chicken ‘n’ dumplins.

Full respect for the single mothers who fought the world to make raising their children as good, functioning people the priority and who worked crappy jobs just to make ends meet.

Shoutout to the godmothers who faithfully pray for their godchildren and work hard to be an example and a supportive mentor for them.

To my own mother: I think the world of you and admire you so much. Thanks for raising me to not be ridiculous and to respect others.  Thank you from the bottom of my heart for all the support you’ve given me over the years, above and beyond what I required.

Happy Mothers’ Day, moms.  You are great warriors without medals or trophies, and I love you all.

Peace,

Anneliese

It’s Pascha

Christ is Risen!

For the first time in my life, I was able to take Holy Week off from everything else and spend it going to church every day.  Having my own car is kind of amazing.

So I did it all: Bridegroom Matins, Pre-Sanctified Liturgy, Holy Unction, the 12 Passion Gospels, and everything else that is entailed in an Orthodox Holy Week.  It was exhausting, challenging, at times downright painful, and 100% totally worth it.  The services are beautiful and have depth and meaning not often found in this world.  It went quickly though, and now it is the Feast of feasts, Pascha, Easter, the Great Passover, the Glorious Resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ.  I highly, highly, highly recommend everyone experience Orthodox Pascha at least once in her life.

I left my parish’s Agape picnic but a few hours ago.  These folks really know how to party, and I love them more than words can tell.  There’s always a little sadness at leaving the picnic, because unless you’re fortunate enough to have a super flexible schedule or to be a monastic, this means a return to the ordinary flow of life.  Tomorrow I shall be inquiring, “And would you like fries or tots?” while my mind wants to yell jubilantly to my customers, “Christ is Risen!” (Side note, I have discovered that driving with the windows rolled down and blaring “We Are the Champions” is a huge mood boost.)

But it is Bright Week, and my heart is full and I have much to look forward to.  And there are some things I fear, but time and prayer are their only cure at this point.  I hope everyone who reads this finds some time to be at peace this week.  To be quiet in the soul, and to be okay.

God bless!

Some Stuff

Here I am, on a Thursday night, jazzed up on coffee because I’ll be fasting until the pre-sanctified Liturgy at noon tomorrow and I don’t want a caffeine headache.  I have neglected this blog for many months, and I don’t feel bad about it.  It’s not like I have readers.

I turned 18 last month, so that’s a thing.  I’m going to college this fall. Strange to think that I’ve had this blog since I was 14.  I’ve grown so much since I started it.  I still work out, I’m still single, and I still dream of becoming a fantasy author.

I want to start writing on here more often, and I don’t necessarily need my posts to be political or mind-blowing or controversial.  I want to write about things that make me happy.  I might even work up the nerve to post poetry, though I’ve always avoided that in the past because I was paranoid about it being stolen.

So, since this is kind of (but not really because I won’t commit) an “I am back” post, I’m going to share some links that have impressed me lately or that I’ve really liked.

1. Darebee: Fitness on Your Terms.  I discovered darebee a few weeks ago whilst searching for nerdy/geek-themed workouts.  It’s really neat-o because there are countless programs and workouts to choose from for people on all different physical levels.  Plus, they are infographics, so your pace and your music are completely up to you, unlike with workout videos.  Don’t get me wrong; there are some great workout vids out there that I really enjoy (blogilates!!) but the bubbly pop music isn’t my favorite.  Maybe I enjoy working out to Fall Out Boy or intense battle music.  And darebee gives me that opportunity.  AND they have story-driven workout programs, which is perfecting for motivating your friendly neighborhood indoorswoman to work up a sweat.

2. Personalized Shampoo & Conditioner. Now, I just found this today, and I don’t have the money for it anyway.  But LOOK.  You can take short hair quiz to determine everything you want from your hair care products to get your ideal formula.  You can then choose a scent (or leave it unscented) and a color.  You can even decide how much dye you want them to put in to change the shade of the goop! AND YOU CAN PUT YOUR NAME ON IT. I definitely want to try this someday when I have cash to spare.

3. Amon Sul podcast: This brings my Tolkienite heart much delight. There are hundreds of podcasts, blogs, vlogs, Facebook pages, and documentaries devoted to examining the works of J.R.R. Tolkien.  There are even quite a few looking from an Orthodox perspective.  But Amon Sul is new and I’m hooked.  The first few episodes have made me cry, laugh, and look at certain story elements under a different light.  So wholesome.  And it provides fodder for more Tolkien conversation with my Tolkienite, Orthodox brothers and sisters at church.  Recommend. (:

Overall, I’m doing well.  I’ll post something else soon.  Whoever’s reading this, I hope your well and living your best life.

Ciao,

Anneliese

High School is Hard

Images and memes like this trigger me.

congratulations-high-school-graduates

Because these are complete and utter bullshit. High school is hard.

school-sucks

Look, from a mature, adult perspective, maybe school is easy. If you were thrown in the middle of high school right now, you would probably be fine, because you’ve been there. You have years of experience, you’ve seen the other side of the tunnel, and you know that life is more complicated past high school. You pay bills and do taxes and rock your adulthood (sometimes). And you think that high school students are carefree and can’t see past the moment, and don’t realize how hard adulthood actually is. Fine.

But these high school students are not 35 year-olds who have 9-5 jobs and mortgage and spouses.  These are hormonal, inexperienced teenagers, who are still trying to find their place in the world.

  • The percentage of high school students who reported thinking seriously about attempting suicide in the past year is on the rise, after falling substantially during the 1990s and 2000s, reaching almost one-fifth of students in 2015 (18 percent).    –childtrends.org

High school will likely be the most difficult thing children have experienced up to that point in their lives.  Saying derogatory things about how easy kids these days have it creates intergenerational conflict and is just plain hurtful to those millions of teenagers who struggle just to make it through each day.  Are you saying stuff like this to make yourself feel important or wise?  Is it working?

Also, high school today is a vastly different experience than say, high school in 1986. There was a whole other set of difficulties in the ’80’s, but the advent of social media has made it sooo easy to have unrealistic expectations of what life should be and to become discouraged or frustrated when reality doesn’t live up to the celebrity instagram portrayal.  I won’t even get into cyberbullying.

My point is, life is not easy. For anyone. It isn’t even easy for celebrities, as you may have realized by the number of deaths due to cancer or drug overdoses.  We each are fighting different battles, and it doesn’t matter what age you are, or how you confront (or avoid) your problems.  We are all suffering in one way or another.

So be understanding, supportive, and kind, not judgemental or condescending.  Celebrate the hell out ofyour high school graduation, because you made it, and not everyone does.  And to the rest of you: Teenagers are people too.

 

Respect one another.

Peace Out,

Signed– Your fellow homo sapien.

The Cost of Education is in My Way

I have recently become enamored by Boston University, which I stumbled upon on Cappex.

It seems perfect for me in every way; reputable academics, nice location, beautiful campus, etc.     But (with the assistance of my mother) we calculated the cost of attendance, and even with financial aid, it comes out $58,000 a year. That’s insane.  Of course, I am going to contact them and ask questions. Perhaps that is just counting institutional aid.

It’s distressing to me because I have been a good student through three years of high school. My GPA is roughly 3.9 and I made a 29 on my ACT. Nothing extraordinary, but decently above average. BU isn’t even Ivy League. The cost of education is preposterous and doesn’t make sense.

I’ll probably just end up going to a state school, and I will probably end up liking it. I’ll take a semester abroad my junior year and not stress over cost because it will still be less than Boston University. I’m just sad right now.

Yes, I’m whining again. So sorry.

 

Can Men and Women be “Just Friends”?

I want to know why this is a debate. Because to me, the answer is simple: of course.

But a lot of people disagree with me on this, and swear that if a man and woman are “just friends” either they’re lying or one of them is gay.  My dad says that women can view plenty of guys as friends, but a male will rarely if ever engage in a friendship with a female he wasn’t romantically or sexually interested in.

But then how do you explain inter-sibling relationships, or the way you feel towards your opposite sex cousins? Most people are not romantically attracted to close relatives. We know there is a boundary there. And yet we can be really close to those people and call them friends. So why can’t that work in general? If you know a girl/guy is off limits, you should be able to look at them platonically. And sometimes I think this involves a conscious choice not to act on an attraction. There will always be that time when one of them internally questions whether or not they could be more than friends. And if the friend resists these thoughts, I fully believe that the friendship will thrive and become deeper.

It’s good to have friends. And male-female friendships have a unique value in letting both parties see into the other’s mind and perhaps grasp a greater understanding of the opposite sex.

I really want to know more people’s opinion on this, so drop a comment and let me know your thoughts.

 

My YouTube sources:

Also, since school is out, I’m going to try to make more posts, but no promises because I’m lazy and Skyrim exists.

The Perks of Being a Wallflower: Review

CONTAINS SPOILERS

Today I sat in the local mall, sipping a butter pecan cappuccino and being vaguely aware of a man in a blue shirt conducting job interviews about 30 ft away.  I was finishing The Perks of being a Wallflower by Stephen Chbosky.  I know it was published in 1999, so it’s not exactly hot-off-the-press, but I knew very little about it less than a week ago, until my friend whom I have yet to assign a pseudonym to thrust it into my hands and ordered me to read it. This is my impression.

The Perks of being a Wallflower  is an easy read, and is told in letters from the protagonist, Charlie. Every letter begins with “dear friend”, and ends with “love always, Charlie”. The identity of the friend is never given, and I personally interpreted them as being addressed to me, the reader. The book tells of Charlie’s first year in high school and is divided into four parts.

Charlie is a highly sensitive, highly intelligent 15 year-old. From the beginning it is apparent that he has some deep emotional issues. He doesn’t receive much affection from his family, and he is anxious and afraid of almost everything. Despite all of this, he has a kind heart and genuinely wishes everyone to be happy. He misses his aunt Helen, who was one of the only people who treated him like he was special. We later find out that Helen sexually abused Charlie, who had apparently locked away those particular memories of her. Soon after school begins, Charlie meets Sam and Patrick, seniors who are siblings by marriage, and they soon become friends. Charlie instantly has a huge crush on Sam, and I kind of want to explore this.

Sam may be the most interesting character of the lot, and I don’t mean that in a very positive way. Soon after she and Charlie are acquainted, Charlie approaches her and confesses that he had a dream they were naked together. Charlie begins to cry and apologizes. Sam sort of just laughs it off. She did however, tell him that she was too old for him and that he must not think about her in that way. However, near the end of the book, she essentially contradicts herself and tells Charlie that by not going for what he wants and doing what he wants to do, he is not being honest with himself or his friends.

“You can’t just sit there and put everybody’s lives ahead of yours and think that counts as love.”

I feel like this whole little scene was supposed to be one of the most poignant parts of the book, but when Charlie takes his friends advice and proceeds to kiss her, she tries to initiate sex with him. I understand that a lot can happen in nine months, but Sam had just gone through an emotional break up and she was about to head for college. She had no business screwing around with a freshman whom she had previous told not to think of her “like that”. And aside from this advice at the end of the book, she really gave Charlie very little. Sure, she was nice to him. She encouraged him when she wasn’t busy with other things.  Whereas Charlie spent much time and energy trying to please Sam and to be there for her.  I can’t be the only one who thought this. Bashing aside, I understand that she was molested as a child and that she is a complex female character, which is a rarity.

I’m really too lazy to go through all of my thoughts on this book, so I’ll just cover one more thing. Charlie’s relationship with music. He seems to have a broad musical taste, even though a lot of it seems to be in the vein of Pink Floyd and Fleetwood Mac.  I believe Chbosky used Charlie’s taste in music as an extra way of fleshing out the character. Charlie likes music that says something (can relate!) and has a knack for finding the right song for a situation or time.  He obtains most of his favorite songs from his friends, and nostalgically links nearly every song with an event, person, or time period. I like this.

The Perks of being a Wallflower is definitely not on my top 20. I think this is partially because I have never been in the public school system and all of my friends have high morals and obey the law. I cannot relate to Charlie. I have experienced a small amount of sexual abuse from a close family member, which I didn’t realize until I was older, but I seem to have coped fairly well. Anyway, I would recommend this book for most teens and young adults, because it can be revealing of the complexities of teenage life. Now I am off to watch the movie.

School has Become Nigh on Hell

Is this title an exaggeration? Sometimes I think it must be, but I keep coming back to it. I used to love my school. It was a haven, the place of friends and happiness, and I was highly sentimental about it. I am sorry for the way I am about to criticize people, and I want my readers to know that every day I am trying to forgive and forget. There are plenty of excuses I could make for my teachers’ behavior based on their backstory, but since that is not my information to share, you must trust me when I say these are not wholly wicked people. Nonetheless, here is a basic description of my reasons for leaving my school after this semester.

Every day I hope I’ll be sick, or that it will snow. I am growing to hate that which I loved for years and which I must now always consider a formative part of my coming-of-age.

My grandmother works there, and that I do not regret. It’s a major reason I ended up there in the first place. She works with the elementary students though, and I’m going to try to stay away from that for awhile.

I’ll start with the teachers, since they are basically ruling the school in whatever way they want. The only one who has a college degree obtained her degree from a Bible college. So not a lot of education with the folks who are supposed to be my educators. Now I have to give them pseudonyms, hmm…

Okay, so there’s the Kraken. Let me back up a bit and explain: my school shares the building with –and is in fact a direct root off of– an Assembly of God church. And the Kraken is married to the pastor of said church.  She has always been the most respectful of my differing religious views. She used to teach drama, and she has grandchildren. In pretty much every way, she is a respectable lady. But she does not enjoy being contradicted and can be quite nasty when provoked. She breaks down in tears on an almost weekly basis, often talking about God’s grace or Jesus. This wouldn’t be a problem if it was just occasional, but it happens ALL. THE. TIME.  If she isn’t crying about Jesus, she’s talking about religious matters in a slow, histrionic tone, which drives me absolutely nuts. It’s so excessive and cringy! She also likes to turn everything into a sermon, whether it’s an intricately patterned beetle, Les Misèrables, or 9/11. I mean sure, it’s great if you can see God in everything, but you don’t have to talk about nothing but God. And PLEASE stop crying about it.  One more thing on the Kraken: Last week, she directly told us all that it is a parent’s utmost DUTY to know everything their child is thinking, and that this ABSOLUTELY extends to reading their diary.  She told us that she always read her daughters’ diaries. I believe that is a serious breach of trust and privacy. Is it wrong for a teenager to have one place where her thoughts are secure? It really pissed me off because she acted like any parent who didn’t do as she did wasn’t really a good parent.

This is going to be longer than I thought. Next up, let’s discuss Mrs. P.  She is the principal’s wife. She dyes her hair platinum blonde, wears a boatload of makeup every day, and is obsessed with her figure; she is always on a diet. When angered, she gets really passive aggressive. Once, I mentioned in class that I believed Mary the Mother of God had remained a virgin all her life, and Mrs. P probably wanted to scalp me. She was very rude to me. She once said that she would hate to see a Muslim become president. She is judgmental of people who have tattoos, multiple piercings, or simply wear a lot of black. Mrs. P absolutely WILL NOT listen to your opinion. She, like the Kraken, cries nearly every week, but mainly when remembering people or animals that she loved. Despite this, she has a great love of art, she is passionate about her husband and grandchildren, and she reads more devotionals than I care to count. As the volleyball coach, she encourages everyone to do their best, even if they really suck at volleyball.

Mr. P, our principal, shares many of his wife’s political views. He too doesn’t appreciate offbeat styles, not even brightly dyed hair. He is awfully conservative, he hates cats, his ideas of gender roles are borderline archaic, and he won’t abide anything he doesn’t approve of to be in his school. His rules often seem to have no purpose. Today I was angered when I heard that the one of the teachers in the special needs class was conduced to leave because she had not found a church home among the plethora of local Protestant churches in the area. (It is a requirement at my school that you are a regular church attendee). It’s not that she wasn’t a Christian; she was, and she was a high-principled woman. Her sons had to leave the school also, which is why it was particularly upsetting to me. I had been getting closer to her oldest son, who might have become my friend if he hadn’t been whisked away so suddenly for such a trivial reason. I have digressed, but you get the picture, I hope. He has told other students and volunteers to leave based on personal style (one volunteer wore nothing but black; a student dyed her hair pink) and has angered a lot of mothers. When a group of students (including myself) took a college history course last semester, he lorded over it and assigned the professor’s assigned work to be done early, plus extra work that he thought would help us. And yeah, it might have been the right strategy for some of my classmates, and a few loved it. But I hate being micromanaged. This is COLLEGE WORK, after all, and college means you’re on your own. I grew to resent Mr. P and had a lot of anger burning in me for the entirety of Autumn. He had a rough childhood; I get it. He served in the Navy; I am grateful. But gosh darn, I wish he was a little more sympathetic.

Of my primary teacher, Mrs. B, I cannot complain. Sometimes she is hard to communicate with because she displays emotion less than the average human. But I know that she loves me, and I am quite grateful to have her as my teacher.

I’m getting tired, so here are some more summarized reasons I am beginning to hate my cozy little Christian private school:

  • Tuition is nearly $700 dollars a month for both my brother and I. I know this is low compared to many private schools, but the education we’re getting is not worth that.
  • The curricula. All students either complete the majority of their homework online, or they work in “paces”(which are basically the most factually inaccurate, obnoxious Protestant Christian propaganda you ever saw). The elective choices are extremely limited.
  • I participate in choir, but they only ever sing Christian songs. I can’t drop out though, because I’m an “asset”.
  • I lose one hour every day to the morning “care group”, and another hour daily doing work-study to try to bring the price of tuition down.I spend more time doing extra Protestant-y things that I don’t need than I spend doing actual schoolwork that I need to graduate.
  • School uniforms. I wouldn’t have a problem with this, but almost all of the secondary students wear their sports hoodies every day, and it looks sloppy.
  • A lot of separation by gender. A lot of stereotypical gender role talk.
  • Teachers are hugely underpaid because the school is a “ministry”.

Maybe someday I’ll write a post about things I like in the school. But it will have to be after I’ve left, so that I can look back peacefully. I feel like I’m just whining right now. Forgive me.  I do sincerely love all the teachers at my school. They frustrate me to no end, and yet they surprise me sometimes with their goodwill. Please comment your opinion on this situation; I’d like to know.

Collectorofsoulsandindependent

Loyalty is what now?

So apparently I am a loyal person.  I never considered myself as such. It isn’t a very pretty word, and I associate it with golden retrievers. Being a cat person, this mental image wasn’t appealing to me, and I had a subconscious notion that loyalty is a weaker trait. I will emphasize at this point that fidelity in marriage is of the utmost importance to me. It seems that in my mind there was sort of a disconnect between the word ‘loyal’ and its meaning.

But the sudden revelation that the term might be applicable to me when my counselor remarked on my being loyal to my friends.  Even though I see my school friends every day, share laughs with them, and love them dearly, my church friends will always be my best friends, and the closest one is 45 minutes away.   I do not require daily communication to maintain my relationship with these friends. I mean, I relish every moment (well, most) with them and sometimes after not seeing them for a week or two I feel gloomy.

My favorite book, color, animal, movie, and others very rarely change. I have been in love with one guy for two and a half years, even though I haven’t seen him since October 2016(he just texted me a late happy Valentine’s day, so I am super jazzed). I have a preferred gas station. When I think about it, there are a lot of little things that I will always choose over another.(i.e., Crayola Crayons[but isn’t that everyone?])

Maybe it is more a matter of habit than of loyalty.  What am I comfortable with? What have I always done?

Then again, I am very emotionally involved and will defend to the point of ridiculousness Star Wars, Claude Debussy, or whatever else I love that people attack.

Do I genuinely just hate the word loyal? I have no problem with being called trustworthy, steadfast, or devoted. Why have I just now realized that I am loyal? And why do I hate the word?

I solemnly swear that my posting will be as infrequent as ever. But if you took the time to read this, you’re one of my favorites.

May the Force be with you,

Collectorofsoulsandindependent