12 August, 2014

In a Field of Extroverts

At the end of my freshmen year of college, we were asked in my English class to present an autobiography. For a long time, I had always described myself as an introvert in a field of extroverts, but I never paused to consider why. I was sitting in Starbucks one day when I had an epiphany, and I finally understood why I was an introvert comfortable in an extrovert's world. After presenting the following words to my English class, I was begged to begin a blog (and even write a book!), so I went home and created this URL. It is just now that I dig out my old journal and transpose this message.

My story is incomplete, as I am constantly discovering new things. So please, my friends, come and enjoy. I welcome you into this crazy life of mine. Here's a little introduction for you all.

***

Having a childhood swarmed by groups of people sure leaves a person lonely. Thank God I discovered how to be on my own at an early age, and also that people are effervescent while stories are eternal. How I longed to be fictional! How I wished to be alongside Lucy as she discovered winter lands behind a closet door or solve mysteries with the renown Nancy Drew. Perhaps it was fiction I wished to drag into reality. So here I am, composed of books and stories yet lacking an enchanted wardrobe or a penchant for mysteries. An introvert in a field of extroverts, constantly living in a story while waiting to complete my own. But how is this possible? How have I handled people who are more than 26 letters on a page? Has this effected my relationships in any way?

Absolutely.

You see, I've never really had a lasting friendship.While that may sound sad and pathetic, I understand life moves on and the world is constantly feeding me new people. I get it. I don't need to be told yet again. Of course, I have friends but none that have truly lasted. Well, with one or two exceptions...(hey Jack). But even then, Jack and I don't really speak all the time; but when we do, we banter like brother and sister. No matter how long it's been or how far apart we are (currently I'm in Tennessee and he's in Wyoming), we just pick our conversations back up from where we left off. Essentially, we just exist in each other's lives. (Still, you're super rad, Jack. And your cat's chill. Maybe we're such good friends because we love cats. That's probably it, right?)

Okay. So why am I this way? Why is it so hard to maintain friendships? Who is to blame?

Now I don't think the blame goes to anyone. There is no need for blame, because nothing is wrong with me. I am who I am. We are all different, and I think that's wonderful. That's beside the point.

The point is I know what has caused me to be this way.

Books. Books and theatre.

You see, while Lucy was a part of my life, I was never part of hers. Not even for a second. I poured out my emotions, by heart to her--with her--for her, never to have that returned. Same with theatre. I put myself in the shoes of another, thinking and feeling everything for them. It's easy for an introvert to do, because all of that energy comes from within. Books and theatre also makes for a life of affairs. Once the cover of a book is closed, once the curtain falls, POOF! The magic is gone. The story is over. The story that you've been investing in for these past days and weeks can never be experienced in the same way. My mom and I have always agreed it's like a part of you "dies" at the end of every show. It's a constant investment and loss in the lives of hundreds of individuals. These books and scripts have made me a great friend. I am  fantastic at pouring myself out emotionally for another person. I can really feel for what they are saying or doing.

So what's the problem?

The problem is that I have no idea how to accept that love in return. While I am great at being a friend, I am awful at being a friend. All those years of one-sided, 26 letter friends has left me incapable of understanding how to respond to friendship. That's the problem of living in a world that's not my own. My 26 letter friends have lived and died while I remain standing. This leaves me with the one conundrum we all inevitably face...

Where do I go from here?

I don't know. We have this saying in the theatre, "the show must go on." I guess that's the best part, the fat that I can always move forward. My story isn't over yet, so I am still making it. The mystery of the future is terrifying and daunting for some, but I welcome the unknown with open arms.

The words of a childhood friend ring in my ears still to this day. C.S. Lewis wrote in The Last Battle:
"Come further up, come further in!"

That's exactly what I am doing. I am an explorer of the unknown, and this is my story.

06 August, 2014

London Calling

I am hopelessly missing London tonight.

It's nearly midnight here in Tennessee, which means it's nearly 5:00 in London. I'd be just about to wake up on any normal day. The construction workers across the street would be arriving in about two hours. No one else in my flat would be awake, and I would bask in the sweet silence of early morning London. That silence was so comforting. It was a new day; the world was coming alive beneath my feet.

This must be what it's like to be homesick.

Now that I've been home for a little over a week, I'm back into the swing of American life. I've been to work (and survived tax-free weekend. Thanks, Tennessee), seen some friends, driven my car, and eaten some massively disappointing take-out. It's still strange to think I lived those three weeks never once stepping foot into a car or having to calculate for the tax prior to a purchase. Those things seemed completely normal while I was in London, while they're unusual to consider in America.

Since I'm feeling especially nostalgic tonight, I've compiled [yet another] list. These are ten things I've been missing most this past week:

1. The Underground. Seriously, nothing beats London's public transportation. I miss my Oyster Card, bus stops, moving sidewalks...heck, I even miss Waterloo Station (and anyone who knew me knew I didn't fancy that station).

2.Walking. Sure, I can walk here where I live. I mean, for goodness sake, I live in the mountains. I could go on a day hike and walk until my heart's content. BUT IT'S NOT THE SAME! I walked EVERYWHERE in London; I had no choice. I could actually walk from Point A to Point B in that city. Here in Knoxville, not so much. I have to get in my car and drive twenty minutes before I reach anywhere I want to be. Phooey.

3. The Food. Ugh, British food!!! Less grease, more flavour, different options. I especially miss that first part. British chips (American - Fries) are so superior to the American alternative. Plus, there was malt vinegar at every table. Perfection! I miss savoury pies and the Borough Market and Tesco and Pret...oh man. I really miss those little grocery shops and cafes. I could go on and on about the food. My mouth is watering just thinking about it. I better stop myself before I go crazy.

4. The coffee. Closely related to the last one, I suppose. I don't know what it is, but Brits sure know how to make a proper cup of joe. It's so strong, so hot, and so good. Even the 99p coffee from Pret was great. Also, Europeans sure know a thing or two about foam. Not many baristas appreciate foam like the Brits do, and I sure am glad they do, because honey, I love foam. Kaffeine was definitely one of the greatest places I've ever visited. (Google it.)

5. The weather. Sure, it was really hot while I was in London, but not like it is in Tennessee right now. I do miss the foggy mornings and the rain showers I experienced as well. Also, I miss the nearly constant breeze that ran through the streets. And no allergies. I guess I'm trying to say...I miss the atmosphere?

6. No mosquitoes. Need I explain further?

7. My dorm. Okay, this one's a little cheesy, but I really do miss my little dorm room with it's bed and desk and tiny water closet. I even miss the smelly community kitchen where I could look out the window and see the Shard down the street. We were so spoiled at Manna Ash.

8. The Museums. I could spend weeks in the museums and still not see everything they had to offer. London is so rich with history, and peeking into the past was a delicacy.

9. The people. I met quite a few people in London, and they were all spectacular. The people I met in queues for shows were some of the most interesting people I've come across. It was a joy to talk with people who shared the same love for theatre as I do! The people who worked at the Pret on the corner knew me by the end of the first week. I loved visiting them every morning. Really, London has some fascinating and friendly people, and I am glad I got to meet them.

10. The Theatre. Uff da, this is a big one. I miss Leicester Square and The Cut and all of the little theatre pockets throughout the city. I miss having seemingly endless possibilities of shows I could see on any given night. I miss being in a city that takes theatre seriously. I miss the people who adore theatre and are willing to get up early and queue for the special tickets or put their name in a raffle and hope to be drawn for tonight's show. I miss the buzz all around the theatres each night when the shows would close. Theatre was one of the best parts about London for me, and it was a difficult part to leave behind.


Even though it was absolutely exhausting, I miss London. Having this taste of travel and experience has increased my wanderlust and given me more of a heart for travel than I had before. I'm looking forward to wherever I get to travel next, even if it's somewhere in the United States. I do truly hope that I will be back in London someday, if just for a visit. My heart is happiest when on the move, and it's ready to leap. Here's to new experiences and always keeping an eye on the road ahead. I'm ready to go.