Monday, January 26, 2015

Memory Monday

A memory that I revisit often is from the end of my Junior year in high school. It was my final exam week, the day before the last day of school. I'd gotten out early and planned to spend my free time with Claire and M.

We went to a nearby outdoor shopping center and got some frozen yogurt. The day was so beautiful, warm and sunny and clear blue sky. We sat outside and talked until M choked. M has this sort of issue where she'll choke on liquids from time to time and though it's not funny...it also sort of is. The face she makes is so comical that all I can do sis laugh when it happens (I know, I'm a big jerk). ON this day, I was laughing so hard that I peed my pants (also something that happens...ahem, from time to time). So here was Claire, sitting mortified at an outdoor table while one of us was choking and spitting up across the table and the other was creating a puddle beneath her seat!! Luckily, no one was around so I think we went unnoticed but Claire was pretty mortified. We didn't even leave after the chaos had been resolved and I had to let the sun dry my pants (TMI? Probably.).

We had to be home by a certain time because that evening my medical class at school was having an end of the year surprise dinner for our teacher. It was being held at a restaurant literally right up the street from my house so I didn't have to go far but I did need to change my clothes ;). I decided to wear this bright orange/red fiesta style sun dress that Claire approved. I took a shower and braided my hair to the side. I then bid farewell to Claire and drove to pick up L. The dinner was so much fun, we totally pulled off the surprise and had a great time.

After I dropped L off, I got home to some sort of drama that had been unfolding. Apparently, E was mad because she didn't get to go get ice cream with us earlier since she'd been in school and now my parents were going to appease her and take her. M went with them while I elected to stay home and study for my last exam the next day: Anatomy and Physiology. I was a really lazy student that year and I needed to do well on the test but I'd hardly studied. I went up in my parents room for a quiet calm environment. I made flashcards and went through them methodically to the quiet hum of the ceiling fan. It was so peaceful and I can remember the feeling of the information finally clicking in my head, I felt capable for once. I felt that I could do well if I just put in the effort. It was so peaceful, laying in my fiesta dress, the last light of the day glowing through the window. I think about it often.

-G-

Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Quiet

Today is my last "free day" for a while. As of next week I'll either be working or going to school every day. It's definitely been a blessing to have some time to get back into the swing of things before having commitments every day.

I love sitting here in my quiet house. Solitude. It makes me remember those long days in my dorm room. I do miss it sometimes because it was so very peaceful and I always had time to get everything done and still write or do art.

I am an introvert so nothing really calms and relaxes me like alone time. I need it and I love it. I probably won't have much of it for the next month or so but I know I'll get into the groove of things and I'll be earning money so that's a plus :)
-G-

Friday, January 16, 2015

Back at It

Well, today concludes my first week back at school. This semester, I consolidated my classes into just Tuesday/Thursday and will be working the other three days. I took it easy on myself this week and just worked today. It's been busy but good busy :)

If you haven't already noticed on my book page, I've read three books in 2015! Three so far is a really good start and I'm working on the fourth. I wrote a lot of my book over break but once more, my writing for pleasure has stalled now that the semester has begun. I'm going to try my hardest to keep the momentum going though and at least work on it during the weekends.

In other news, this weekend is shaping up to be a fun one :). Tomorrow we're having movie night and hopefully going out to dinner to celebrate my mom and my uncle's upcoming birthdays. Sunday I have choir practice and Monday is MLK day and my mom's birthday so we're sure to do something fun with our time off.

Back soon!
-G-

Friday, January 9, 2015

Thoughts on Jojo Moyes, Me Before You

SPOILER ALERT THIS POST CONTAINS MAJOR SPOILERS ABOUT THE BOOK

*For the sake of this post, I will be referring to the characters as if they are real people.

I read Me Before You in about five hours last night, I read it so quickly partly because it was an a amazing book and partly because I knew it was going to devastate me and I wanted to get it over with all at once. When I was finished, I couldn't quite accept the ending.

A brief synopsis of the book: Louisa Clark is 26 and jobless, desperate to help out her family, she takes a job as a "companion" for quadriplegic man Will Traynor. As it turns out, Louisa was mainly hired on suicide watch as Will had previously tried to kill himself. At first Will is difficult and Louisa wants to quit. Eventually, they develop a sarcastic banter and basically become friends. Louisa then finds out that Will has plans to go to Switzerland in 6 months to kill himself at a "Death With Dignity" center. Louf then promises both herself and Will's family that she will try and spend those months convincing Will to live. In that time they travel together and fall in love. Spoiler alert: Will kills himself anyway.

So that's what I can't seem to sort out and accept. I don't think that Will should have done what he did but let me lay it out with the facts.

Will was an extremely active man before the accident. He was rich businessman who got a lot of action and did a lot of adventurous travel. Clearly, the accident was devastating to him or to anyone who has ever been under those circumstances. I am NOT diminishing the suffering and many adjustments Will faced. At the end of the book, one of the last arguments Will makes in defense of his decision comes in response to Lou telling him she loves him and wants to stay with him forever. It is as follows:

"The thing is, I get that this could be a good life. I get that with you around, perhaps it could even be a very good life. But it's not my life. (...) It's not like the life I want. Not even close." (Moyes, 325)

So ok, I understand this. I mean, Will doesn't identify as just a personality, he identifies as a man who does things. But here he says outright that he has the possibility of a GREAT life. So what if it isn't what he planned, can't he learn to love his new normal? People have to adjust to poor circumstances every single day. Do mothers want to carry on and live a different life after losing a child? No, they don't want that heartbreaking change but they continue, for others and for the sake of themselves because beauty can be found after suffering.

Will then goes on to say that he wants Louisa to live her life to the fullest, that he feels he would be holding her back. That he can't love her in the way he wants to and he doesn't want her to someday resent him. This argument, bugs me perhaps most of all. I don't buy the whole "I have to leave so you can live" bit, I've heard it many times in other books and movies and I think it's a load of BS. Suicide, is never for the benefit of others. It's just not and I dislike how Will would say that it's going to be a good thing for Lou. I doubt there will be a day in her life when she doesn't wish Will was still alive. She WANTED him to live, she told him this. Why must he think he knows what she wants and needs?

And now, here is the kicker. The conversation between Will and Lou right before she says goodbye for good:

"'It has been,' I told him, 'the best six months of my entire life.'
 There was a long silence.
'Funnily enough Clark, mine too.'" (Moyes, 359)

I don't know how to explain why, after having a better six months than any time he was able bodied, Will would proceed to end his life. If he saw that he could be happy, if he saw that he could have good, even better times than ever before, how could he reconcile his decision? It doesn't make sense to me. 

Finally, my last bit of argument. Will did not head the advice he so often dolled out, not even close. When urging Louisa to branch out of her comfort zone, Will says, "'You only get one life to live. It's actually your duty to live it as fully as possible'" (Moyes, 194). How can Will tell her this and then four months later, end his own life? Louisa spent so much time and energy trying to show Will that their could be happiness and fullness, even if it looked different than before and even Will admitted this above. So how, I ask, does he say this to Louisa and blatantly go against it. Not only has he spent the last two years wallowing and certainly not living to the fullest, he kills himself! That's his idea of what to do with his "one life to live"???

I suppose it all comes down to the fact that Will was, like all of us, imperfect. He couldn't learn to accept his circumstances, he was too stubborn to try a lot of new things and he selfishly left behind a lot of people who loved him. I felt that he even let me, the reader, down. 

Ok, I have to stop now. I have to say that the book was beautiful, the characters were written in a complex and realistic way. I loved this book, I loved the writing style, I loved the clever dialogue. I loved Louisa and I loved Will. I just didn't like the ending and I don't think Will should have died, what do you think??

-G-

Thursday, January 1, 2015

Welcoming 2015

Like last year, I spent this NYE with Claire and our other friend T. We went out to eat and had a giant board game tournament. Despite coming in last (boo) I did manage to win the trivia game Bezzerwizzer. It was one of the first moments of 2015 and I decided to take it as a good sign for how the year would go. I then realized that life is all about little moments, little victories and times that make you smile. I am always so very focused on the big picture that I have trouble appreciating those moments. Among other goals, this year I pledge to enjoy those moments, to live completely in them.

I'm excited for this new year. I like the sound of 2015, it's a nice solid number and I like writing 5's. I have resolved to not make my goals lofty ones but to simply get the ball rolling on a few things. I have a few things in mind :)

Here's to the next 365 days, may they be good ones!
-G-