Today, I woke up feeling rested, and I listened to the heavy rain pouring from our tired gutters. I was very convinced that it was going to be a good day.
I made a dent in The Memory Keeper's Daughter, which has been a dull and obnoxious book that I can't justify quitting, but I'm am glad to be approaching its end. I have precious little time for book reading, and to just let this poor tortured novel sap my spare moments away is unbearable. I'm moving on to Going Bovine. "Do you love it?" Or perhaps Cry, the Beloved Country. I mention that so you'll affirm my choice, tell me what a wonderful, hope-filled book the latter is. Or in the case of the former, totally hilarious. [I've read the acknowledgments page already. I know it's hilarious.]
I turned to my enormous to-do list, too, my fresh-faced effort at utilizing procrastination to get things done. I've been dreading writing these American Legion assigned topics, though I have research and outlines enough to produce some passable first drafts, and the competition being in less than two weeks and all. But that dread helped me to best a bunch of little projects that I'd been putting off. Tackling Flylady-style all the places I let clutter build up, while performing odd jobs I'd continually let slide until "tomorrow." I wasted very little time today. I was somewhat disciplined. This is only an intellectual realization, however. It doesn't feel like I did much.
But while drinking in the clarity of a task completed, and washing the dishes, I had an argument with Maggie. Way to go.
From there I took inventory of memories from the past month and further got wrapped up in an MIT psychology lecture when it came on my iPod shuffle during one of my brief organizing projects. It was about gender differences and evolutionary psychology, and it was all very interesting. Coincidentally, I got Mardi's booklet in the mail today via Rebecca, and yes, I love rain. Is there anyone who doesn't? The seal on the envelope makes me smile.
When my mom arrived home from work, I was confronted with the full scope of my laziness: here I am, a senior in high school, with my math course hardly bearing a dent. And so I was banned from Facebook, television, and movies as punishment. And I was glad. Does that defeat the point of punishment? I just so desperately need to be punished, to be snapped out of my senioritis and forced to work hard. Confronting my laziness on my own has been inconsequential and ineffective. It was strangely wonderful to experience a forcible intervention.
Later, Dad gets home from visiting with Grandpa, who has lost two of his siblings in the past nine months. Dad told how Grandpa had received an awkwardly worded sympathy card from a niece, who pointed out that the deceased brother had died exactly five months after his birthday, and the deceased sister had died exactly five months after her birthday, and gee, wasn't his birthday nearly five months ago? I laughed and laughed -- who says that in a sympathy card?! Thankfully, it's past five months after my grandpa's birthday and he is decidedly still alive. At the point in the day, I also contributed to my developing double chin with the Rhode Island flavor Hood ice cream, and it was worth it.
Before my mom went to bed, we talked some more. About school and college and the American Legion competition. It was cathartic, but somewhere towards the end I said something to make her angry, or upset, and I'm not really sure what it was, but I just feel awful again. Despite the fullness of everything I accomplished today, there is no rest or peace or comfort in the prospect of going straight to bed now. I can say, with limited hyperbole and a significant measure of certainty, that disappointing my parents is one of the worst feelings I've ever known.
So much of my short, foolish life has been a quest to not feel bad. Going along with the flow, taking the easy way out, letting things slip through the cracks, glossing over conflicts with slight deceptions, burying ugly feelings under layers of apathy. No, not all of the time, but a little bit, sure. Doing what needs to be done to not feel bad. Sometimes the methods of doing so were good. Sometimes they were bad. I seem to be doing all the wrong things to not feel badly lately. And now I feel bad again, and don't know how to slip back into a cheerful, mellow existence. I miss living like I'm free.
Today wasn't so bad. It was in most respects a very normal day. Nothing earth-shattering, nothing heart-renting. But it seems as though so many little events from this past month are coming to a point. I'm not having an emotional crisis, and I'm not experiencing some significant self-molding milestone. But I wonder, would you please pray for me?