Saturday, October 31, 2009

Halfway Point or, Rome is UnReal! or, Put Down Your Camera. This is Your Life.

So, I was all ready to have this big Halfway Point blog entry, right? I was gonna reflect on my time here and have all these quotes about making it through and being strong and I was gonna talk about things that I discussed with my parents over the phone and it was gonna be poignant and beautiful and amazing. And was suddenly November 16th, I was sitting in front of my computer and I began to realize that I'm in it now. I'm living it, doing it, being here and I have just over a month left until I go home for the holidays and only about a month after that until I go to a WHOLE. 'NOTHER. CONTINENT and take the Holland Experience to a WHOLE. 'NUTHA. LEVEL.

Well, it's not surprising to me either than another landmark flew by as I was flouncing around being an American student in Europe. I was expecting my anniversary (3 years being clean of self-injury) to be Friday the 13th which is also To Write Love on Her Arms Day and I wanted to participate in both and knew that I wanted to go to the Great Synagogue (the Jewish Museum) in Rome that day. Well, in all the hustle and bustle, I totally forgot about both but I did go to the Synagogue and had a WONDERFUL time. It was sad and moving, but also inspiring (as was everything else we saw in Rome!). I was so mad, tho, when I realized this morning I completely forgot about my anniversary, so I went back to my calendar. A smile crept through when I learned I hadn't counted since July 25th and my anniversary was actually November 12th!!!!!!!

I am very happy that everything happened the way it did. I've been wishing for the time when self-injuring will truly be a part of who I was (not who I am) and I think this weekend is a real landmark in my movement towards that goal. I'm so happy about it and while I need to find a way to commemorate it, I am excited that my life dictate the commemoration rather than me trying to create it synthetically :D

Okay, that having been said, I think I'm gonna split this up into a set of three plaugs but I'll keep the title anyway cuz I like it.

Here are some musings from the midpoint:

- Shall I remind you, dearest Holland, that the reason you care so much, sometimes even worry so much, is because there still exists between you and life, a passionate love affair. And because of this, everything's going to be just fine (TUT)

Things are really good, I just have a lot of anxiety here, which some say is attributed to a little bit of culture shock. What I've learned recently is that I have a very strong sense of self. However, I think I need to do exactly what others are doing or need to make them happy or be something specific for them (perfect): that outweighs my sense of self and confidence and I get anxious.
…”if I did it their way I would be succeeding because they’re succeeding.” (Mom)

- “Never underestimate the beauty and the power of a dark, grey day.” –Dad’s phil prof (prof cotton) "I once had a garden filled with flowers that grew only on dark thoughts but they need constant attention & one day I decided I had better things to do." (Email from Rachel)

The lowest of the low means that a fantastic high is coming. It's what I've learned from Buddhism and what I am experientially learning here in Prague.

- I do believe, Holland, that if people would just start by saying "it's fun," when it seems hard; "I'm happy," when they seem sad; and "I know," when it seems as if they don't, they'd finally discover that it really is, they really are, and they always have. (TUT)

- Sometimes u just have to be homesick and skype until the cows come home!!!!!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Look at this stuff! Isn't it neat?

Ran into a flea market today. I had seen glimpses of it and always just figured it would be around the next day and then it wasn't. I finally went today (it's the last day for the season - meaning until it gets warm again - meaning not while I'm here) and it was FANTASTIC! I walked out of there with a great present AND a fantastic coat! This has made me realize that, especially when one is abroad, they should take EVERY opportunity that comes along. You never know when something is a one-day-only kinda deal.

...especially when it's in Czech.

Monday, October 19, 2009

So, now that I'm gonna have internet...

I'm gonna miss the experience I'm having right now: finding a random internet cafe and staying here for 3 hours as I try to sew up the holes that internet-less life has left.

In fact, for a Virgo, that activity is very satisfying.

Oh wait. I haven't plaugged in a while, have I?

Mmk, so updates:

1.) Sir? Please stop looking at me so lecherously.

It has come to my attention that Czech men, or at least the ones I've come into contact with, have very lecherous faces. That needs to stop. Whether they really are looking at me that way (like the guy who asked me something in Czech that was probably 'come home with me' on the tram this...3am...) or not doesn't matter. It needs to stop.

2.) ITMI: In This Moment I...

Here is what I told a friend recently: "Well, in this moment I am doing amazingly well. I feel so happy that my trekking paid off (I have a month's worth of internet that begins tomorrow) and I have arrived at the perfect internet cafe where the waitress is sweet, the tea is original and I have my own little shrine in the corner with pillows and space galore.

Conversely, in the recent week or so I've been tackling MAJOR self-woes that have dragged me down for years. Meeting European classmates and learning from how they handle stress/adult life has opened my eyes to new ways of dealing with myself and I finally feel like I'm breaking through into adulthood. other words, I'm good. How are you?"

So, I suppose that sums it up best, hm?

Every moment is completely different here and, though I won't admit it out loud, that's exactly how I like it.

3.) The Benny Five

This seems to be the Tried and True self-affirmation that got me through a WHOLE LOT in Oberlin. I've moved in and out of a lot of sayings because positive self-talking is NOT my strong point. I've moved through Sister Goddessly chatting, Nam-Myoho-Renge-Kyo, crying...lotsa stuff, and it's all helpful.

I have found something new, too. "I AM OKAY." I simply repeat it over and over to myself until I believe it or until I really am OKAY. I mean, it can vary, depending on the situation: "I am loved" "I have done nothing wrong" "I am making the right choice" "Look at how much you've done!" "I am completely perfect in every single way."

It's really been helping, and I'm glad because it's been a tough road to being able to surpass anxiety. I'm not saying this is the end-all-be-all. I'm just saying that this is working right now in this time and space and I'm feeling SO good about it.

4.) And there is so much more...

God, I'm just learning so much here. I mean, that's what I cam here for, right? That's what I set out to Europe to do. To learn as much as I possibly could about a the many zillion things I don't know. I am growing up before my own eyes and everyone here is helping me to get there. I want to travel and I affirm that it will happen soon. I think it's all so difficult to take in because I know that I have a whole 'nother semester abroad, and yet I'm very homesick. I don't know if it's the pull of New York City or what, but I miss pizza and 24 hour delis and late night cookie dough ice cream dates with Kyle. I miss Steak and Shake and watching the wall for hours at a time. Everything here is BIG. I wake up to BIG WIDE WORLD of adulthood everyday in a completely new place with a totally different language. I don't think the homesickness is overwhelming anymore, which is a start, but I do know that it's there. I think I want to share this beautiful city with people from home. That's what it is. I'm loving being here AND I really want people from home to see it and see how I am changing here. I can't wait to live more here so that I'm even more changed by the time I get back. I will still always be Holland, but just like when I got home from Oberlin, I'm going to be infused with the experience of Prague. I can't wait to share it, I'm just bursting with excitement over that. So, is it really homesickness? Maybe not. I think it's home-giddyness.

Aight, welp. I have internet at the apartment now. A great thing for a night like this when I'm having a lot of trouble sleeping. To add to the Plaug about stages: so the third was being 'okay' with being on my own. I think I've conquered that a little. I need to get better at it when taking naps. Naps I think also freak me because I feel like I'm wasting my time - which I'm almost sure comes from living in New York. Since Prague reminds me so much of NYC, I feel like I have to be occupied - no, overbooked - every second of every single day. I have trouble relaxing. Ok, fourth is the moment when I try to insert myself back in the home situation (either by visiting back home or talking with people from home a lot) and I realize that, in fact, I've created a rhythm in the new place that gets interrupted if I focus too much on home life. This of course doesn't mean I don't love home or the people there (I miss people like crazy!) - what it means is that I may be able to make it another couple of days without constant home contact. It's cool. I've been chanting for a rhythm for a while and I am moving towards a pretty good one, which means I won't have to depend on home peepz AS MUCH, which gives them a little breather as well. Mom and dad may or may not be included in this breather. Perhaps because I'm an only child.


The point is, I feel like I was knocked flat on the ground for a good month here and I'm slowly brushing myself off and getting back up to my feet. I won't forget anything or anyone (though I sometimes worry about the reverse. of course its bogus...I'm just a worrier!) but I am beginning to stand on my own.


Saturday, October 10, 2009

Filmmaking: Not as Glamourous as the Movies

So, um. I will probably blog longer later, but I am so excited right now because I'm sitting in one of my favorite wifi spots with none other than the infamous ANITA HOLLANDER!!!! Of course, we're sitting with our computers in front of our faces, but we have DEFINITELY talked it up this weekend. Since Hope came to visit a little while ago, things have roller-coastered. Actually, come to think of it, since filmmaking way back in the day (meaning last weekend, when we were making Project Two - was that a week ago now?) I've felt like things have begun to move SO fast. After this week of classes, we get a week off to work on PROJECT THREE, which, as of yet, I have not been cast in. It's really disheartening and making me feel all kinds of bad about myself, but something else I'm learning is that feeling that way is actually all right. It's something I'm probably gonna feel over a thousand more times in my life (hopefully not for long each time) and so if I just let myself feel it - really go for it - it will go away eventually. Fighting it doesn't make any sense. Some other thoughts on that: mom and I had a conversation about how we only spend a total of 60-100 seconds doing things we fear. The time we spend angst-ing before and retching afterwards is more than we spend actually DOING those things (for me, it's usually telling people something that I'm unhappy with). SO. TRUE. Especially as I begin to realize that, since getting here, I've spent more time worrying about what other people are thinking as I have just enjoying the company. I wonder why I do that. It really begins to get to me.

The OTHER thing is this: If I am going to be the 'stand-out,' unclassifiable actress (short hair, RED, curvy, Queer, young and old looking at the same time) then I'm just gonna fucking BE. IT. I'm not going to waste my time trying to be thin, European and drop dead gorgeous with long flowing hair because, in the end, I'd be unhappy with trying and I'd get back to Oberlin feeling like shit because OH, GUESS WHAT? My girlfriend loves me just the way I am now and so do a BUNCH - nay, shall we say a zillion? - of friends and family back home, so who was I really trying to impress? The filmmakers and actors who I'm really only gonna see for this semester? The casting director who runs our program? Myself?

So I'm the fattest girl in the class? Hell YEAH I'm the fattest girl in the class!

Isaac (spelling?), one of the cinematography teachers apparently pointed me out in one of his classes as a committed actress. I think it's time I commit to being myself rather than what I think everyone else wants me to be. Yes, you heard me. What I THINK everyone else wants me to be. God, I need to find a way to get out of my head here.

In any case, Hope being here was just all kinds of amazing. We went to a Sherlock Holmes bar and sang Cher at a Gay Bar Kareoke night. WHAT?!?!?!

Having mom here is incredibly de-stressing. She has a lot of insight that I probably wouldn't think of in the moment and it's just good to have someone to talk to (for free!) who I've known forever and don't have to 'be' anything for. I'm all out of small talk, so having someone to just 'dive in' with is SO. COMFORTING.

Wow, that was a lot longer than I thought I would talk about all that.

Ummmmmmmm. Every moment is different. One second I'm great, the next I'm crying about home, the next I'm out and meeting with people I never thought I'd find (like some girls from Smith who are into Musical Theater). Also, Jay Deyonker from SURFLIGHT days is here and living AROUND. THE. CORNER. FROM. ME. Finally, a gay boy I can gush with!!!!!!!!

Mmk. 'Longer Letter Later' as it goes. LOVE! <3