December 30, 2010

A Look Back on 2010

What a year this has been... Wow.
Last new year, I was in Vail with Jackson celebrating a new year. I had gotten into Cornell University with a Navy ROTC scholarship, and was enjoying senior year while he was happily halfway through his sophomore year at Cornell. We talked of the coming years finally together at school - a new, exciting stage of our relationship. Once he went back to school, I got back into the second half of my senior year.

In February, I performed in my last show at Vail Mountain School. I played Beth March in "Little Women." After so many theatrical productions, it was really nice to be in such a well run show. It went off without a hitch and all our voices sound beautiful. It was my favorite show and I will always treasure that experience. I have the poster with everyone's signatures framed which is so special to me.

Then third trimester began. It was a crazy semester. I finished out my AP courses - got a 5 on BC Calculus and Physics - and wrote a historical fiction novella. I enjoyed studying about Meriwether Lewis's death on the Natchez Trace. It took me back to my Southern roots and my childhood trips up and down the Trace with my grandparents, Bill and Barbara. I have always loved historical fiction so it was really fun to do. I was proud of my final product, and hopefully will get a copy published, just for my own sake one day.

April 4th marked two years for Jackson and me. I am hoping for so many more. Although we couldn't be together, it was a great day. I'm really lucky to have such a great guy in my life.

At the end of May, it was time for graduation! We had a mother-daughter brunch the Sunday beforehand. Then Wednesday brought Class Night which brought me a Presidential Scholarship Award which was a pleasant surprise. Thursday was Senior Dinner Dance which was absolutely wonderful. It was such a great night with my high school class. We were all really close which made the night fantastic. Friday brought Field Day (Team America! 2nd Place!) and then Graduation. I had a really pretty white dress with blue flowers. Graduation went very well and I got to give two speeches. One to award the 2010 Alumni Scholarship Award to JC and one about Mr. Aldrich as a recognition from our graduation class. He was always been one of my favorite teachers which made speaking an honor.

In June, the Domke family moved on down to good old Mississippi. It was a long drive, but made for a relaxing, pleasant summer. I loved being in the south with family and having no commitments before heading to school. We ended the summer in Missouri to pick Emily up from Kanakuk, then my mom, my grandma, and I packed up the car and drove North to Ithaca.

Then came one of the hardest weeks of my life. NROTC Orientation. I guess I should have expected it to be difficult, but it was much more mental than physical which I was not expected. The whole point was show us what Basic Training is like for our enlisted, but I was almost not tough enough. There was a lot of stress, a lot of yelling, and very little sleep. My feet and ankles were raw and I had never been so scared in my life. In short, I'd say that when Friday's graduation came, I was really proud of myself for pushing through, and I was REALLY looking forward to some sleep. My dad was there on Friday which made everything easier. What kept me going were the friends. I have made the most wonderful friends with my4/C buddies. I am so grateful for them. Beth and Steven especially.

I met Lisa and Paige, my roommates, and thus began my college orientation week! We have been a great set of roommates, and I am so grateful for their friendship and support and understanding (especially with my 5 AM mornings with NROTC...). Lisa was always there with thoughtful advice or a pep talk, and Paige always had something fun to say and a smile on her face. I doubt I would have gotten through without them.

Then came a crazy semester. I took Naval Science: Fundamentals of the Navy, Multivariable Calculus, Applications of Operations Research, Introduction to Computer Programming Using Java, Sailing, The Great Pleasures of Short Fiction, and of course NROTC Drill Lab. Beyond that, I became part of the Society of Women Engineers (I was awarded a Chair Position in the Outreach Directorship), as well as the Cornell Synchronized Skating Team. Between those, classes, NROTC, and friends/Jackson, I was busy constantly. It was a hard semester but it was worth it in the end. I passed all my classes despite some scares, and I feel proud of coming away from my first semester successfully.

I had a few little health scares, including a stress-induced heat rash on my feet, a boil on my leg, and then bronchitis which resulted in a diagnosis of asthma. Hard to believe but knowing that has cleared up a lot regarding my chest injuries. I hope next year has less doctor visits. You know it's bad when the pharmacists start recognizing you.

I went home with Lisa over Thanksgiving which was fun (even though I'd have loved to be home). I got to meet her wonderful family and get off campus.

I am now home. I love being here and seeing my family again. I am gearing up for 2011, feeling stronger from this year. I'd attribute that largely to NROTC. It still terrifies me, but I feel a little bit more capable of doing it. I have always had a fear of the unknown, so I doubt the worry will ever completely go away, but I hope that I can get through it. I will come out a better person and will always be proud of myself if I can.

Next year brings sorority rush, Synchro competitions, an even heavier courseload, and CORTRAMID. Should be quite a year. I'm excited, nervous, anxious, and happy all at once. But 2010? Will always be one for my memory. I wouldn't change it for the world.

Tomorrow? New Years Resolutions. Goodbye, 2010. Thank you for everything.

December 26, 2010

There's No Place Like Home For The Holidays

Funny enough, this is my first ever post from our Mississippi home. I've been home for a week and a half now. It has been wonderful - I have caught up on sleep (I woke up on my own!), visited with my family, relaxed, celebrated (a surprisingly white!) Christmas, and read some. Christmas was wonderful. Mama kept going on and on about not getting to excited, but I thought it was a very good year. I got some cold-weather running gear (which was put to good use this morning running with my parents and Nigel as it snowed lightly), lots of new shoes, a purse, some Navy ornaments for the tree, a beautiful Vera Bradley garment bag, a Ralph Lauren robe, along with a few other things. Christmas Eve we went to the candlelight ceremony at the church which was really nice (despite Pearson sleeping in my lap through the whole thing, haha). We all enjoyed each other's company and Genie and JJ's as well Christmas morning. We had wonderful family dinner Christmas Day with everyone over at our house. I was sad to go to bed that night since Christmas is my favorite time of the year.

I've started to overlap with my grandma a little bit - and I am hoping that my mom was right... that I don't seem grandmotherly, I just have personality. I mean, I am who I am, but sometimes I worry that I am too worrisome (ironic, isn't it?) and quirky.

We took some beautiful photos for Daddy for Christmas. One of his residents's husband took them in the park and at Aunt B's house.

Three Generations

Daddy's Women

I have to say, I have only really lived in Mississippi for a summer, but it feels like home. It really does. I was telling Emily the other night that somehow this house feels like my childhood home, it's a place I look forward to bringing my kids to one day. I have learned a lot about what kind of parent I hope to be just from the past few months. I know that sounds vague - when I figure out a way to word it I'll write up a post with my thoughts.

I am not very excited about Emily going back to school and everyone getting back into work mode and Genie and JJ leaving because when I'm alone I think too much. I miss Jackson because I feel like we were together constantly at school and I could just pour out my thoughts. I mean, I still can, but it's not quite the same over text. I worry about the upcoming semester and I worry about distant-but-not-really-that-distant Navy life. Sometimes I really wish I was stupid and my brain didn't run around so frantically. Perhaps I will find nerdy occupation for myself working on a Google or iPhone App (yes, just for fun). I also better start working out a little harder so that my inventory PFA when I get back to school doesn't quite kick my butt.

I plan to be pretty regular blogging so that I have a record of college life and so I get into the habit for when I go into the "Big Navy" and want to let everyone know how that is going. In the meantime, I suppose my posts will be relatively boring and insignificant, but it always makes me feel better to write even if it doesn't really go anywhere.

First Semester GPA: 2.843. Not great, but definitely not awful!

Maybe I'll write a few more thoughts before the close of 2010. Actually, I will for sure. A recap of sorts, if you will. After all, it's been quite a year.

Until then, lots of love from my red checkered chair. Xox.

December 9, 2010

Chip On My Shoulder

Earlier, Nina Simone was belting it through the room: "Birds flying high / You know how I feel / Sun in the sky / You know how I feel / Breeze drifting on by / You know how I feel / It's a new dawn / It's a new day / It's a new life for me / AND I'M FEELING GOOD." That's always one way to kick my mopey butt into gear!

So I'm studying for CS/procrastinating by buying Christmas presents and listening to music. I was suddenly motivated to buckle down when Legally Blonde (the musical)'s song, "Chip on my Shoulder," came on. Even if its goofy and Broadway-y, it is a good outlook: "I got a chip on my shoulder / and it's as big as a boulder / with this chance I've been given / I've gotta be driven as hell." I'm gonna do great on CS and I'm gonna pass math. I'm gonna make people proud of me. I'm gonna be proud of myself.

A few things grazed my conscience today. Another song-inspired moment: Charlotte Martin's "Beautiful Life": "The sun may come up / the sun may go down again / I still swear its a beautiful life" after and up and down crazy emotional day. And after commenting to my dad that Ithaca is like Alaska. Also, while in the doctor's office to get a prescription renewal, all I could think about was going home. I was having all these moments of remembering past doctor visits - from my embarrassing H1N1 puking episode, to knee appointments which involved coloring on the protective paper with my wonderful mama.

Ah, and now the Beatles's "Here Comes the Sun." Sometimes I think that my iTunes can read my mood. Exam tomorrow? Bring it. I'm happy and I'm keeping it that way.


December 3, 2010

Blue skies smilin' at me! Nothing but blue skies do I see!

I will be leaving in 20 or so minutes for my LAST class of my first semester of college. Golly gosh gee! Even though I can't say "I MADE IT!" just yet, it feels so much closer.

Today has been good. I woke up for Rainbow PT and we went for a beautiful run up to the water tower as the sun rose. There is still a small crunchy layer of snow on the ground which made it surreal. The sky is beautiful blue today, and even though it's cold, it was a perfect day. It reminds me of the best days in Vail. Who knew that I, of all people, would miss Ski Friday. Oy.

In the most recent Glee they sang "The Dog Days Are Over" by Florence and the Machine. It was the most perfect representation of my mood, and was therefore stuck in my head all day. It is perfect and I was bouncing and singing to myself all day.
At least it kicked out the Harry Potter Literal Parody trailer, haha. But that is for another post. For when I'm feeling silly and it's stuck in my head.

I don't have any life-observations today, unfortunately, but I am just in a generally good mood which feel so fantastic since it contrasts so sharply with the last few weeks. I'm not completely done with work, but this weekend will bring everything to a close.

Oh, and just as a reminder, 12 days until home! Hot coco, snuggling, Christmas... Everything good :-)

November 29, 2010

Some Strikingly Remarkable Interesting Title

Warning: I do not expect this to be a particularly uplifting entry.

I'm sitting in the A.D. White Library (the "Harry Potter" library, if you will) forcing myself to work. It's so weird to be at Cornell when Jackson is not, and I'm trying to get as much work done as possible so this week will be less painful. I am also trying to keep busy to distract myself from the fact that I am epically lonely right now.

I had a pretty bad night last night. I cleaned my
room, did homework, and went to bed at 10. Sounds splendid, right? It could have been peaceful and calming and relaxing, but instead it intensified my feeling of aloneness. I definitely do not feel alone often here at school (kudos to Mama for telling me to get a triple - I'm so grateful for my roommates), so it was a bizarre, unwelcome feeling. I laid awake until about 1 AM (keep in mind I had to be up at 5 for PT), by myself in the room, trying to turn my brain off. I'm not sure what exactly I was thinking about, to tell you the truth. It was just an extremely lonely feeling. I am looking forward to roommate dinner tonight and then Jackson getting back from Seattle tomorrow. Perhaps the feeling sprang from a couple weeks of a lot of person exposure. I spent a lot of time with my NROTC buddies, then
Emily was here (and with me constantly - yay!) and then I was with Lisa's family all weekend (which was wonderful, by the way, Black Friday shopping, picking a REAL Christmas tree, etc). Knowing me, I would have thought I would have welcomed the me time. Guess that didn't happen the way I would've hoped. Oh well. It has passed (mostly) and now I have a pretty view of Lake Cayuga from my nook in the library where I have be
en futilely banging my head into my keyboard trying to prevail over my difficult Java project (building the game "Breakout" - you know the one with the ball bouncing off the bricks and making them disappear?). We have never had a project that required us to make something move, and my paddle is not cooperating and my TA-boyfriend (ha) is being all brilliant and interviewing with Microsoft instead of helping me. I'm so proud of him, but I can give him crap, right?

I wish this post was coming out a little more poetic/life-changing/epiphanious (is that a word?), but it is nice to just write instead of workworkworkworkwork. I'm planning on writing Emily a letter on my new stationary too. It was so nice having her here - I'm so glad that we started to get along better the last couple years. We had such a good time, even if she was sick. I'm feeling pretty icky, so perhaps it is my turn now. I hope I can hold out for the week: last week of classes for the semester which means my Java project is due, a math assignment, an Operations Research assignment, an English paper, and my Naval Science final. Oh joy.

I'm meeting with my math professor this afternoon about my bad prelim grade. I'm nervous but I'm also hoping I can show him that I do know the material, that I am studying hard, going to the supplemental class, and working so hard. It is so disheartening to put so much time and effort into a class and have absolutely no proof of it. I can follow lecture and I do relatively decently on my homeworks - so why do my tests suck so much? I just need to pass the class. I have a D and I need a C-. Guess who will be spending study week in the math support center? Making fun of myself for a moment, who ever thought I would be so horrendously terrible at math? MATH of all things! Silly 3-Dimensions. Let's stick to the xy-plane and I'm golden.

The tree outside the window I'm at looks like a Harry Potter tree. The movie was amazing. I want to re-read all the books now.

On a more philosophical note, in spite of all the madness that is college, I have learned to take better care of myself for the most part. I am incredibly homesick almost 24/7, but I am not pushing myself beyond my means and I am sleeping as much as possible and I am working hard. I know I always wanted to go to college, that it was all I ever talked about. And I am really happy to be here. I truly feel that Cornell is the right fit for me: good, trustworthy people, smart people, beautiful campus, etc. It feels like the right place. But I will admit, some days I look up the Ole Miss transfer application because I never thought I'd miss home this much. I always knew that my family is remarkably close, but I never thought being away from them would be this hard. I am so ready for Christmas break. I am not letting them out of my sight for the entire month that I am home. TSwift said it just right: Just try to never grow up. Silly me, after all that wishing, I want to be 12 again.

This ended up being a lot longer and ramblier than I had anticipated. I suppose it is an accurate representation of my mind at this moment, anyway.

Love. Hugs. 16 days.

November 18, 2010

The Emily Itinerary

In four-point-five hours, Emily Ann Domke will land in Ithaca, NY. I am so excited.

I have received some amazing texts from her recently, including a running hourly countdown (starting as far back as 75 hours in advance), as well as "Start spreadin' the news... I'm leavin' today... I gonna be a part of it, Cor-nell cor-nellllllllllllllllllllllllllllllllll!" and, my personal favorite, "And I would fly to detriot, and I would fly to Ithica, just to be the girl who took two flights and showed up at your dorm! Dada da da! (Dada da da) dada da da! (Dada da da) da da da da da da da dadadada!" Those have been quite cheerful texts in the midst of the current chaos I call my life. Ha.

So here's the plan. This weekend is going to be madness, I have no idea when I'm going to get to do next week's homework, and I am going to be utterly exhausted on Monday... But it's all worth it.
Thursday (18 Nov):
Math discussion & OR lab currently stand between me and Emily. I'm picking her up at 4, coming back to Balch to drop off her stuff, and going to Appel to eat with Lisa, Beth, Paige, Nick, Steve, Charlie, and Josh. Then I will do some mad cramming and go to my MATH 1920 -Multivariable Calculus prelim. Following that butt-kicking experience (my goal is no lower than a 50%!), Emily and Paige will meet Lisa and I and we will stroll down to the legen-wait for it- dary Insomnia Cookies for chocolate chip amazingness. Then back to Balch for an ironing party, come work, and then sleep!
Friday (19 Nov):
Emily and I will go to my 8 AM math lecture and then meet the peeps at Trillium for breakfast. At 11 Emily has her Hotel School info session and tour to which I will accompany her (I'm wondering if she ever got ahold of anyone...). With whatever time we have left, we'll go back to Balch and hang out and chat and do girly things (I'll probably check my mail and get stuff together for CUIDC). Then we have to be at the unit at 5 for setting up the Drill decks and then shoeshine party with the fourth-class, pizza, and The Hangover. Then it will be off to the Anything Goes show to see Jackson! Then back to Balch and bed early to prepare for...
Saturday (20 Nov):
Report to the unit at 0520! Emily may or may not come at that time - otherwise she'll come at 0630/0730 to see our 'performance'. She can hang out topside while I run around for the rest of the day doing concessions, trash duty, and Platoon Basic. I am going to try and convince Paige or Lisa to climb the clock tower with Emily to hear a chimes concert at noon. Closing ceremonies are at 1730 and we will most likely be out of the unit by around 2000. We'll see though, and play it by ear. We might go to Jackson's show a second night, or just hang out and relax.
Sunday (21 Nov):
I have to be back at the unit at 0800 for clean up (Emily's presence is optional). Hopefully it wont take too long, so that we can go to Collegetown Bagels (CTB!) for brunch and then to St. Luke's for church at 10:45. Then we'll do the classic college campus tour and hopefully hit up the clock tower, bookstore, and libraries. Then we will do Holly Birthday dinner at Boatyard Grill with Jackson. Back to Balch to hang out, do work, and be happy.
Monday (22 Nov):
Emily's departure day! *sob*. I will skip math in the morning to hang out with her a bit more. I have class from 10:10-11 but in that time Jackson will pick up Emily from north and then get me at Goldwin-Smith for transport back to the airport. Goodbye, Emily! I hope the weekend was amazing! I loved having you here!

So that's the Holly-logisticified weekend. Standby.

November 16, 2010

When You're Smiling, When You're Smiling

My Computer Science professor - the legendary Professor Gries - just made my morning. He opened the class talking about laughter, about smiling, and how "Nothing is really all that important." He then played two different version of "When You're Smiling" which clearly lifted everyone's moods.

I started to realize my performance mentality about life. It all started with my dance teacher always saying, "Take every criticism as your own, regardless of if it was directed at you." I've learned that is an extremely effective way to improve yourself. I do my best to implement it every day. Although criticism isn't as straight forward as in ballet class anymore, there is always a way to improve by learning from others. It is applicable to NROTC training as well - you learn what kind of leader to be by observing others. Her other piece of advice was that when performing, there is always someone watching you. Never assume that all eyes are elsewhere when you are not the center of attention. No matter if it is one or one hundred people, there is always someone watching you - so always perform your best.

I have mentally settled into seeing my Navy career as a bit of a performance. We change into our 'costumes' (uniforms) and we 'perform' (execute our duties/responsibilities). Somehow, this makes everything easier. It makes everything a little scary. In fact, it makes it a little fun.

So don't forget to smile. Life is supposed to be a grand adventure. Perform.

November 9, 2010

Life Crisis

College is somewhere where you learn a whole lot about yourself. A lot about how tough you are, how well you handle stress, how you respond to adversity. It’s a little be scary, but I realize that in the long run it’ll be good to know these things about myself.

There is a joke about Cornell: How many Cornellians does it take to screw in a light bulb? Two – one to screw it in, another to crack under the pressure.

It’s darkly funny because it’s true. Cornell is freaking hard. Coming from an engineer in the midst of prelims, trust me. I feel like every single complaint I had about high school work was ridiculously trivial. Of course, I was having much more fun in high school so at least it balanced out the stresses of everyday life. Not to say that I’m not having fun here. I love the people, the campus, the atmosphere. But I certainly don’t have as much time to myself. If any. I am working CONSTANTLY – and not to get ahead but simply to keep up. It’s maddening sometimes (especially when hanging out with Arts & Crafts – er, I mean Arts & Sciences – majors). The divide between the workloads is deep and wide.

The other hard part is how smart everyone is. It’s the most bizarre feeling to be in the bottom of your class – where I currently sit in the class that was my intended major coming into college. It’s not that I’m stupid (also something I’ve had to tell myself), it’s that everyone else is brilliant.

I’m determined. I refuse to give up. If I fail, it will be in spite of my best efforts, not because I didn’t try. That is my resolution.

November 2, 2010

The People Who Have Shaped Me

I could not name them all if I tried. But today has been rough - I feel like I'm failing in a lot of aspects - and the only thing keeping me going are these people. I am always tired and stressed, but remembering those who have shaped me is always helpful.

I only have a few minutes - I have more work than my brain can even begin to comprehend - but I just wanted to express my gratitude for the people in or previously part of my life. I find myself on the Facebook pages of various friends - both past and present - and realizing what a big impact they've had on me. I hope that they all know how blessed I feel. I hope they know that I miss them and am grateful for their influence on me.

I am doing it for them.

November 1, 2010


It's been a wonderful day. In the literal sense of being full of wondering thoughts.

Do you ever think about what people will write about how society is right now in the future history books? I feel like every generation has been stereotyped by their collective actions in their teenage years. But there is nothing collective about us right now. It's ok to not go to college, but nearly everyone does. People major in all sorts of things. People pursue jobs regardless of race, ethnicity, and background. We are a mix of perspectives and emotions. We are so incredibly unique. There is no blanket characterization that will do us justice.

On a different note, what goes through people's heads on a daily basis. I mean, I know what goes through my head, but what about others? What do they think when they recognize people? How do they approach conversations? Do they marvel over the weather and the scenery like me or do they walk forward without a sideways glance, contemplating something that has not once flitted across my conscience?

It's all so curious. It's all so mysterious.

I think a lot and it prevents me from sleeping. It has become sort of an issue. How do you avoid thoughts just enough to turn off your brain, but manage to think enough during the day to keep up? It's all very jarring to the mind.

October 28, 2010

Oh, darling, don't you ever grow up

Growing up is scary. It's really scary. I spent so much time in high school making plans for my future - just itching to get out in the real world. I was convinced I was ready. I was convinced I could handle it.

I was right - somewhat. Yes, I am ready: I am equipped with good morals and a sense of right and wrong, I am independent and capable. And I can handle it. I just don't want to sometimes. Sometimes it takes everything I can to not cry because of how much I miss home. That sense of home - gone in an instant without every really noticing. Things will never be the same. I'll never come home to my parents and sister again every night and just sit and talk and watch shows. I didn't realize how quickly I'd be gone. How fast everything would change. I miss my family so much. I miss our dynamic. They are absolutely amazing. I am so grateful for the way they raised me. Even though I miss them desperately, I miss them because they prepared me for now. I just wish I could sit on my mom's bed with her and watch David Tutera or take a long drive and talk with my dad. I wish I could curl up on my sister's bed and talk about her day. I wish I could have stayed home forever.

I'm glad I'm here at school. I'm making my family proud. I'm going to do big things - for them, because of them. I love my family so much. Sometimes I just want to be seven and home and carefree. I can't believe it's essentially gone.

It's so sad. And so scary.

October 24, 2010

Sleepless Nights and Restless Thoughts

Some of my biggest pet peeves:
- people who have no courteous awareness of the world around them (yes you, the guy with his feet up on the chair next to him on the packed bus)
- surveys that ask you to answer a 'yes' or 'no' question on a scale from "Strongly Disagree" to "Strongly Agree"
- when people don't appreciate their parents

Just a random sampling of thoughts from one very stressed mind. I'm stressed, tired, and trying to not go crazy (I've ridden the line a few times already). Everything feels heavy and endless.

The fall here in Ithaca is beautiful. I love the colors and the temperature (most of the time). And I love how long it lasts. But it does make me want to go on nature walks, take pictures, stare out the window, and explore, instead of focusing like I should.

I should be writing my 6 page paper. Instead, I'm trying to not fall asleep or get distracted...

Hello, candy corn! Hello, beautiful trees! Hello, exhaustion!

October 15, 2010

From A Window Seat

It's a strange sensation - feeling like you've grown up. I feel like I've changed at school. I've become more mature. I've learned much about myself.

People are so fascinatingly strange. I love and hate them all at once. They can be so hard to understand yet impossible to ignore. I feel quite anonymous here - it is still to be determined if that is a good or bad thing.

I'm scheduled. I'm determined. I've stopped caring so much about making sure that I look any particular way. I do what is important for me. It sounds selfish but I've never done that before. It's refreshing, in a way. I've learned to be a self-advocate.

I'm strong. I may struggle, but I will always know that I am strong. No one can take that away from me.

October 14, 2010

The Night

Standing, hands in pockets,
Head bowed innocently -
Waiting, listening, looking.

The stormy orange night sky glowing
Above the chapel's peak
Cues fleeting nostalgia -
Of home, of wintry anticipation, of safety.

The bus arrives - late -
Its headlights sharply contrast
The pavement, the air, the night.

The voices clash and simmer -
Hiding innocuously beneath the
Impersonal lights -
Mingling, learning, expanding.

The doors open to the misty air,
Thrown into the night once again
Which engulfs, inspires, and warns.

Climbing the stone steps
Towards the safety of home
The nighttime swims, sways, and shifts,
And releases me - unharmed.

October 11, 2010

Sleeplessness, Stress, and Studying - The 3 Ss of College Life

I spend a lot of my time thinking - which some would consider a virtue and others a fault. I, myself, am torn between the two. Thinking so much means that I hardly ever miss any crucial decision, but it also means I am constantly vacillating. I spend a lot of time making mental Pro-Con lists, panicking about everything, and focusing largely on the future.

The main source of worry is NROTC. It's hard and it's scary and it's overwhelming. I get this built-up dread every time I think about Battalion PT and I spend almost every morning stirring restlessly, worried I might miss Drill or Remedial or PT. It is such a mental strain that some days I truly feel as though I've gone mad. I am constantly waffling about if it is the right thing for me. I love my fellow 4th Class Midshipman. They are all wonderful and supportive and I do believe I would have left a long time ago if it weren't for them. I am trying to power through the semester so that I can get a sense for unit life without Drill, etc, but I am worried that with only Wednesdays spent at the unit (with the dreadful Battalion PT and slightly intimidating but not nearly as dreadful Drill Lab) I might dislike it even more. I hate feeling so undecided but I also hate that I dread waking up some mornings. I don't understand why it is so scary for me.

Then there is my health which seems hell-bent on staying unkempt. On some level, I wonder if God is trying to get me away from NROTC but then I also wonder if I only tell myself that so that I have an excuse to get away. I am so tired of feeling sick and weak but it simply won't go away. I feel like I am permanently broken.

I also worry about money. I never want to ask for any but I am running out and don't know how I am going to pay for things without an outside job which will just add to my mental distress. It's frustrating to know that I am paying to be at a school that it costs to live at and I am giving up so much by doing NROTC which doesn't even cover everything. Sometimes I want to just have a normal college student life. But what is that, anyway?

Of course there is also the workload of being a Cornell Engineer. Who knew? That's pretty self-explanatory though.

I am thinking all the time. I am panicking, stressing, dreading, and not sleeping all the time.

I miss home. I love Jackson and he makes everything so much more bearable, but I miss my family. I miss the simplicity. I am terrified of the sheer responsibility, the somberness, the intensity of the Navy. Sometimes I want to drop out of school, move back to Mississippi, and live a simple life with a small country house, sweet tea, and a back-porch swing. There is something so wonderful about that prospect. I know that it is silly and that I would regret not finishing school, but you can see the appeal, can't you?

I don't know what to do. I don't know how to calm down and feel better. I don't know how to stop dreading NROTC. I really want to like it... Really I do. I have moments that I am so proud to be serving and being part of something so noble. But sometimes it's just so darn scary.

I wish I had some uplifting words or a resolution to bring to this entry. Unfortunately, it has served more as therapeutic than as inspirational. I am growing up - fast - and I want to be strong and make my parents proud. But sometimes, it's just so hard.

I am so excited to start going to church next weekend. That will help immensely. For now, I leave you with this verse:
Therefore, we do not lose heart! Though outwardly we are washing away, inwardly we are being renewed day by day. For our light and momentary troubles are achieving for us an eternal glory that far outweighs them all. So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but what is unseen. For what is seen is temporary but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4:16-1

March 30, 2010


Oh how the month has flown. And after break and excepting Jackson's week here, it has not been the best month of my life. There is so much running around my mind and I want to slow down but at the same time I so badly want to speed up. Goodness I'm confused.

I feel ridiculously out of place here. I can hardly relate to anyone, my friends are wonderful but we don't have a ton in common. I miss Jackson when I'm not with him. No one feels the same way I do about education and knowledge and the pursuit of all there is to learn. I can't relate to partying. I feel like I've lost so many friends. I want my book to turn out perfectly but I'm running out of time. I am scared about next year and how I'm going to pay for it. I'm nervous to move but I know it's right for the family.

I want to cry. I want to curl up and just release. I hate feeling cooped up and chased all at the same time. Why can't I fix everything?

March 12, 2010

Remember Me

Remember me for the happy moments.
Remember me for the love.
Remember me by singing.
Remember me by smiling.
Remember me.

I just got back from 'Remember Me' with Rob Pattinson and Emilie de Ravin. I came out of it feeling shocked, aware, happy, sad, and moved. When I got home, I found out that Cornell has had two suicides in the past two days. The combination of that knowledge and my emotional, cathartic state has put in my a very sober mood. I'm not what I would define as sad, but I'm incredibly touched and feeling particularly vulnerable.

Everything is going to be ok.

"Your fingerprints never fade from the people you touch." -Remember Me

March 8, 2010


I keep freaking myself out. I had such a peaceful, contented Spring Break but I haven't slept hardly at all the past two days. I think way too much about the future and "what if" and everything that will happen some distant day from now. It just feels like time is moving WAY too fast in some regards and not nearly fast enough in others. It's hard and it's scary. I need to stop thinking. I need to thinking only of what is happening now. Where are you? Here. When is it? Now.

I am excited for school tomorrow. I want to get started on my senior project. I'm thrilled for what third term is going to hold. It's all so excited. I don't have anything profound to say but I have noticed that I sleep better if I write before going to bed. I hope it's true. I need some sort of mind clearing therapy. I scare myself sometimes.

March 5, 2010


I'm finally home. And having more or less eight hours to be lonely in airports and on airplanes gave me way too much time to think. When I think I get sad, scared, lonely, and nervous. I think too much. I need to be here, now. I need to stop worrying. I need to stop thinking. I need to live.

I always feel like that girl in The Secret Life of Bees who takes on the weight of the world and nothing can stop it. She just wants everyone to be happy. She wants the world to make sense. When it doesn't, it is overwhelming. Sometimes I worry about how sensitive I am. I don't mean to be emotional and touchy, I just want to make the world just, happy, and safe. Why is that so hard?

March 4, 2010

Identity Crisis

We leave Mississippi tomorrow. I'm exhausted.

Plus, I'm feeling sort of forgotten. Even my dad has hardly texted me the past few days. My family seems to have forgotten my name (I've been called every name EXCEPT Holly - even HARVEY, the dog). It's almost like everyone is moving around me and no one is listening and no one is noticing. We tried to watch the school production of Little Women tonight. No one paid any attention. Everyone was rushing about going "Yea, yea, that's nice." The only song they sat down for was Clare's and while I love Clare and her incredible voice it still hurt to feel like my family really didn't care that much.

I'm glad I got to see Pawpaw. Pearson may be crazy but he can be really sweet. Beaty is not as bad as everyone makes her out to be. Aunt B is lovable in that way only aunts can be. But I would like to stick out to someone. I don't want to just be that good, reliable kid that can just be walked over. I will always be her, but sometimes it wears on me.

I know that I mean something to Jackson. He's had a rough week and is awfully stressed and below average on the cheerfulness scale, but at least he knows me name. That counts for a lot right now.

I'm terribly sorry for complaining. I just needed to get my thoughts out.

See you in Colorado.

March 3, 2010

Nothing Special

I do not have a lot to say. Well, I'm sure I do actually; however, all my insight and thoughtful moments from the day seem to have escaped me.

I got to go shopping on the Square in Oxford. I save my money all year for when I get to look through all the little college town boutiques. I got some fabulous new clothes and I enjoyed perusing. I also got to visit my favorite book store on the planet - Square Books. I collected a stack of thirteen books ranging from non-fiction, to historical, to memoir, to fiction, to romance, to suspense, to mystery. I had to collect my stack at a table in the small upstairs cafe and narrow down my selection. I thoroughly enjoyed listening to the banter of the employs - lively, intelligent, and interesting. I finally managed to pick four books: House Rules by Jodi Picoult, Girl Trouble by Holly Goddard Jones, The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano, and If There Is Something to Desire (a collection of poems) by Vera Pavlova. Having finished my new favorite book (Mary Ann Shaffer & Anne Barrows's novel, The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society) I was in need of some new finds. I love being in book stores. I hope that I may retire early and open a bookstore to feed my literary thirst for the rest of my life. I will called it Bug's and it will have bean bags and free coffee. It will be perfect.

I'm starting to realize that tomorrow is my last day here in Mississippi. I've had a very wonderful, revitalizing break - but I'm terribly sad to be going. I love it down here so much. I hardly am ready to leave having just got settled. I will be headed home armed with my Ole Miss shirt/hat/sticker/shorts, bringing a little slice of the South home with me. I'm going to miss it. I hope to be back soon.

I've reached a happy level of contentment. I'm feeling lonely but not desperately. I'm feeling proud of what my life has been and excited for what will hopefully be many full years ahead. I sound so old saying that but I feel calm and safe. It's a good feeling.

I wish I could have a calling, like cooking or justice or medicine or poetry. I may dabble here and there and impress the select few who care about me enough to pay attention. But I'm just me. I'm not really anything special. And I think I'm ok with that.

March 2, 2010


I put my head to my pillow and closed my eyes. That's when my head started reeling. I started having one of my awful "eternity/infinity" panic attacks. That's when I realized how much writing every day has been helping me.

I'm scared and I'm tired - two things that should not ever mix. It makes my mind run wild. I remember all the other things that used to bother or scare me and I am just hurled into a world of chaos.

I want to find a way to bottle everything and make it last forever. And if I can't do that, I must find away to move forward and not think about it and love what moments we have in our brief appearance on earth. That is was scares me the most. It makes me sick with worry and disbelief. It makes me want to cry. It's nights like this when I absolutely hate being alone.

I don't really have anything interesting to say. Today brought no moments of clarity and no epiphanies. But maybe that is where the beauty lies. Finding inspiration in the midst of mental fury and disorder. Today, we visited William Faulkner's house - it was very beautiful. We bought our yearly supply of Rebel gear at Rebel Rags. We got my dress altered by a nice lady named Peggy. I got to see my cousin Jake and Uncle Scotty for the first time in ten years. And thinking about every moment makes me happy but it also sends me down this wild, sad ride. I get desperate to slow everything down. I get so scared. I don't know what to do.

I should sleep, but every time I close my eyes I feel like I'm on one of those roller coasters, gaining speed and watching time rush past me. I have to open my eyes to keep from screaming. I'm so scared.

March 1, 2010


I was in the driver seat of my grandma's Escalade today for about twelve hours. And what a beautiful twelve hours it was. My grandparents were the only passengers as I set the cruise control and we drove leisurely up the Natchez Trace from Tupelo, MS all the way up to Meriwether Lewis's gravesite in Tennessee. We stopped and took pictures, hiked to the highest point in Alabama (a grand whopping total of 800 feet above sea level, ha), and explored the beauty of the trace. We stopped at a picnic area called "Holly" and took a picture of me under the sign to match one of me when I was about seven or eight years old. In the old picture I am climbing up the sign posts, suspended in the area below the brown park sign. In today's picture, my head is against the sign, and I'm just thrilled to be with my grandparents. We came down to Mississippi for spring break with the intention of essentially saying goodbye to my grandpa but I can see that he is doing so well. Today I got to see the sprightly, happy, wonderful grandpa that seemed to slip away there for a while. He is still old, hobbling around and coughing more than usual. But he is happy, full of anecdotes, and smiling plenty. He used to be in such a rush to get everywhere - he never stopped to look around. Now that he is in the veteran's home, he cherishes every chance he has to get out for day. He must have thanked me seven times for inviting him along on my research journey. I loved having him in the back seat to bring back up memories and tell me old stories. He is hard of hearing so my voice is nice and sore from nearly yelling to him, but it was more than worth it. My grandma is hardly old - she is still completely aware and totally sane. I still remember driving down the Trace with them from Nashville when Emily and I were young. They used to bicker and fuss. They still had the occasional "Barbara!!" and "Bill!!" moments today, but from what I could see, they thoroughly enjoyed the chauffeured journey along one of the most important highways of their lives. I certainly didn't feel like we were in the car for twelve hours. At the Olive Garden in Tupelo after the trip, I sat in the opposite side of the booth from them, watching the two of them eat. They seemed like the perfect happy old couple. A couple that had been through a lot together but have had a wonderful time in the process. They looked like the kind of couple you'd see across the room and say "Awww." This is how I want to remember them. What I saw today made me believe that they could both still have a while left here, but you never know what may happen. I hate to think of that, it makes me utterly upset and entirely sad. But seeing their happiness today made me see just how much every moment has meant. They remind me of the couple in the Notebook. I hope that I can be that way when I'm old. Happy, still mentally clear, and content when my life. They really mean a lot to me. I'm doing my best to only think of the NOW with them.

February 28, 2010

"We're just visitin."

I love the idea of visiting. I love thinking about days of past when people just came over for a pleasant change of company and for a spirit-lifting chat. I believe I began to notice this driving around my aunt's Oxford, Mississippi subdivision. The South is horribly stereotyped as "stupid rednecks" and "bigoted snobs." Sure, the South may have made a few wrong turns but who doesn't? It makes me sad that they don't really hold much place in people's approval expect by those who have been here firsthand.

I must credit the South on having some of the warmest people. And you can tell even by their houses. About 90% of houses around here have at least one open porch with five or six rocking chairs just for visiting. I'm reading The Gurnsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society and I believe that they properly know how to visit too. Vacations and visiting didn't have to revolve around things to do and places to see. It was ok to come by for a month or two, take advantage of the wonderful hospitality apparent in nearly every person, and just enjoy the change of pace, scenery, and personalities. The South, though greatly transformed from olden days, still holds onto that sweet sincerity. Every porch is open to visitors. Every home is open to travelers. It's alright to wake up late and wander down to the sun room (I love the idea of a sun room!) just to say hello and to chat pleasantly. I consider it a character flaw when people do not appreciate the art of amiable conversation and the beauty of comfortable silence. I love that there are still places around the world where it is ok to take your time - it's ok to not have something to do all the time.

I'm probably just rambling but being here really gives me time to think - good think. I sat on the porch all by my self, wrapped up in a quilt, for about half an hour this morning. I felt the crisp air on my face and I took deep long breaths to relish every bit of Mississippi air. I thought about Gone with the Wind and people just dropping by for weeks at a time, just to be with those people who's company they most enjoyed. There was no such thing as "a quick overnight trip." I love that whole idea. It seems so romantic and friendly and good for the heart. I will never undervalue the important of "just visitin."

February 27, 2010

Mississippi ♥

I feel like I've come home. I grew up in so many different houses and it has always felt like Mississippi as been my one anchor. I come here and feel so content and at peace with my life. Everyone is so kind and thoughtful. The area is stunning. The houses are absolutely beautiful. Everything is so rich with history and love. The sunsets here are happy and warm. The sunrises are welcoming - I got up and watched this morning at 5:15. I love sitting on my aunt's porch in her wicker rocking chairs reading to my heart's content. I smile constantly when I'm here.

Today we went to the Ole Miss baseball game. It felt like such a supportive community coming together. I am so glad I've felt this feeling. It makes me so much happier with life. People really are good. Oxford is such a wonderful little town. I cannot wait to go walk around the Square. There is something so satisfying about being in such a kind community. I feel happy and content and safe and at home.

I know I will probably never live here - as much as I would LOVE to live in one of the beautiful plantation homes seen everywhere. But I do plan to visit regularly. It really truly recharges my soul.

February 22, 2010


"We were given: Two hands to hold. Two legs to walk. Two eyes to see. Two ears to listen. But why only one heart? Because the other was given to someone else. For us to find."

I really believe I'm the luckiest girl in the world. How I managed to get Jackson, I may never know. What is important is that he loves me so much and I owe him the world. He takes care of me and he listens. He cares so much. He is smart, special, unique, and amazing. Next year cannot come fast enough.

I know that he is my soulmate. My puzzle piece. My best friend.

"I came apart inside a world made of angry people.
I found a boy who had a dream, making everyone smile."
-Colbie Calliat

February 21, 2010


Why is it so hard to get motivated to study? Oh I know, I'm already into college. Ha.
But really - my last VMS exams (except one in the spring) and I can hardly bring myself to study. I know it's terrible but it's what happens. Globalization tomorrow, AP Physics and spanish on Tuesday, AP Calc BC and English on Wednesday. Then off to Mississippi! I'm trying to get into my usual productive study mode but I'm doing a particularly terrible job. Maybe I'll wake up in the morning and all of a sudden feel the urgency. Let's hope.

I may be meeting up with a girl named Amelia tomorrow. She is going to be in my Cornell class next year and she is here for her spring break. Should be interesting. I'm excited but also really nervous.

I've been thinking a lot about NROTC today. I know I'm going to have to work out tons this summer and the unknown-ness of it all is a little scary. I know that SO much good will come out of it - but there is also so much I know will be very difficult. I know I can do it. I know I can.

Anyway - I should be sleeping but the caffeine seems to disagree with that option so I suppose I'll just go lie in bed and see how that works out for me.


February 20, 2010

Ready to go (178 days)

I have 178 days until I get to Cornell. I cannot stop thinking about how much fun it is going to be. I am constantly researching clubs and all the things I may want to pursue.
On Tap tap group?
Chimes Master?
Dance classes?
Will I even have time with NROTC and a possible double major?
I've been researching sororities. I'm not a party person but I think I would love to have a solid group of girlfriends. From what I can tell, I think I'd like Kappa Delta, Alpha Phi, or Pi Phi would suit me best. But Jackson seems a little hesitant so we'll see. It's practically a year away anyway. Why rush (pun not originally intended!)?
I'm really excited about signing up to live in Balch. From what I can tell, I will really really like it. I'm a little worried about making friends (probably why a sorority would be a GOOD idea) but I know that everything will all work out ok.
I hope I'm not overzealous - I'm just excited!