Nostalgia?

One of the interesting parts of living where we do means that it’s pretty audible whenever anything is going on at the high school. Tonight happens to be graduation.

As I listened to the cheers and the names be announced, I felt some unnameable emotion welling up in me. Nostalgia? Sadness? I don’t really know. When I thought about it, I realized that by no means did I wish I was still stuck in a seven period day, in a dirty, underfunded school with a large amount of people who didn’t care about much of anything, particularly not education.

I think I kind of envied all of those seniors though. Because I remember my grad night two years ago – the elated feeling of being done, the feeling of freedom to do whatever the hell I wanted and have all the possibilities in the world open. Granted, I’m technically no more tied down now than I was then.

I think sometimes I forget what weird stuff I do with my life, how unusual all of this is. My sisters have been heckling me of late to move out of our little town, and no matter how often I run down the laundry list of the great, radical, unique things we do here, that doesn’t change the fact that this is what I live day to day. Being immersed in something 24/7 tends to make it feel much more normal than it may really be.

When the newness wears off, I guess it’s easy to get nostalgic, to pretend that it was a “simpler time”. In reality, at the time of my graduation I was burnt out, jaded, had lost almost all of my relationships, and my relationship with Alex was tenuous. So it seems silly to feel reminiscent about it.

I love where I’m at. I’m happy with what I’m doing, who I’m becoming, and the people I get to count as friends (and a significant other). But there’s still a base instinct in me to look for adventure and newness.

Fake it til you make it

Some of the fruits of my labor today

Overall, I’d say today’s been a good day.¬† Over the course of the summer, I’ll be doing bulk baking about once a week and this week was a test run for me to make sure everything went smoothly. There were a few bumps here and there, but in the course of about 8 hours I churned out four loaves of bread, three cakes, two pies, and a batch each of muffins, brownies, and cookies, with two more batches of cookies in the fridge to make tomorrow.

As such, I feel like I’ve had a productive and fulfilling day, but I am pretty tired and my feet are sore. I was a little more terse toward one of our guests tonight than I should have been. I’ll be honest, this person seriously grates on my nerves. I don’t know if it’s just a clash of personalities, or because we started off on a horrible foot, but I’m at the point where whenever he walks in the room I fully expect him to be obnoxious – and because I expect that, it becomes a self-fulfilling prophecy.

Particularly today, as I’ve felt my patience waning, I’ve tried to draw my attention to the positive and specifically tell him thank you and compliment him for a good job, more for my benefit than his. My patience finally ran out this evening though, and even mid-sentence I knew I would regret what I said and would have been embarrassed to have any of the other novices hear me. My words weren’t particularly hurtful, but I know it was clear that I was irritated and not feeling very friendly.

I ended up retreating to my room to cool off and think, and returned a few minutes later to apologize. I admit that a little part of me was hoping he’d be a jerk so that I could feel justified in being angry and crabby. I think he was trying to crack a joke to diffuse the tension, and am going to assume he was trying to accept my apology graciously instead of being unpleasant, but I don’t actually really know.

I’m not wholly sure of what to do from here on out; this is someone I’ll be living and interacting with for awhile, and whose social skills tend to make what might be an attempt at friendliness or humor into something much more similar to whining and annoyance. There has to be something between always assuming the best and always assuming the worst, but that line is tricky to walk.

For now, I guess my strategy is the title of this blog – fake it till I make it. Continue trying to notice the good more than the bad, make a joke when I feel like getting irritated, or even just leaving if it gets too bad. Not for the sake of being fake, but because, from what I’ve seen of his interactions, straight on conflict doesn’t go over particularly well and I’m not great at it either.

The couple staying with us has a phrase for when they’re angry to ease some of the tension, which for them is “you’re silly” said in joking way. I guess that’s kind of my philosophy for this situation as well; if I can break the tension and get myself to laugh or think of something positive it might help keep the situation low key.

And now, gratuitous baking picture from today – how can you be angry while looking at a freshly baked apple pie?

Week 13

I am so close to summer I can almost taste it. And it’s delicious.

Monday – egg wrap

Tuesday – sausage and pasta bake

Thursday – egg wrap, sausage and pasta bake

It’s probably worth pointing out that often, a lot of the food I eat isn’t something¬† I bought. Whether it’s eggs from Summer and Joshua, leftovers from communal meals or sent up from our soup kitchen, meat from my parents, or as with this weekend, a random chicken dropped in my lap by Patrick; at any given time a good chunk of the stuff in our fridge isn’t something either Steve or myself personally paid for.

A few years ago, I would’ve chalked this up to the goodness of God to provide for us. Now, I think it’s worth to add on a piece about community. Sure, maybe before I would’ve had a random stranger give me food, but I probably would’ve been pretty weirded out and not actually eaten it.

So, ironically, as my last post was about my shrinking social circle, this is about how much I value relationship. I don’t think those are conflicting though; as my circle of close relationships gets smaller, I value those relationships more. Makes sense to me, anyway.

—————————

Have you ever looked back and realized that there were a few really, really important times in your life that everything else hinged on? Maybe everyone else’s lives are more complex than mine has been, but already in my incredibly short life there’ve been two times that if something had gone just a little bit differently, I would likely be a much different person.

I’m coming up on my two year anniversary of leaving modern, conservative Evangelicalism and embarking into this postmodern, kinda-emergent, whatever we are. That, paired with the friendship stuff from the last week, has gotten me thinking.

I was recently told by someone that if I hadn’t joined the Abbey and moved in here, they would be exactly where I am right now. Honestly, I think the reverse may be true; if I hadn’t come here, I might be exactly where they are right now. Whether it would be the Chico party scene or 30 units and two jobs, or some ghastly mix of them both, I’m very doubtful that I’d be in any sort of healthy situation right now.

I guess I can never really know the answers to all those “what if”s, or what might be different if one Sunday morning in 2008 I hadn’t looked at the girl next to me in church and said, “I don’t belong here.” If there are infinite parallel universes and somewhere in one of them there is some overworked, exhausted, still-drunk-on-Monday-morning Rachel, I wish her luck – she’ll need a lot of it.