Free Write: Kombucha Tears

There is something so sickly sweet about the mixture of lust and earnest interest in someone.

Someone who might not feel the same.

It tickles your tongue like sugar

and stings the roof of your mouth with a vinegar finish.

You can’t tell if you like it

or

if it just hurts.

You want to hold onto every

last

drop

even when you are sipping air.

You want to believe it is all good, but the unrequited emotions bubble up.

More and more.

You seep out the edges, upset because this spill seemed preventable.

Drip

drip

dripping in disappointment.

You won’t entertain accidents, even though that’s what it actually is.

Instead, you let it keep trickling down your throat, trying not to choke.

 

Fly it high

I’ve cried more since the early morning hours of November 3, 2016 than in the collective years since that was my only form of communication.

That’s probably an exaggeration, but anyone who knows me knows my hyperbolic use of the phrase “I’m crying.” But, finally, it’s been used correctly whenever I have typed that since the Chicago Cubs won the World Series that early Thursday morning.

To many of my friends, especially those I met in college, they probably find it strange that I almost exclusively save tears for sporting events (well, and maybe a few to stupid boys who don’t deserve them and sleepless nights fretting over making a magazine). You are right; it is weird because they are literally super publicized games that can also be played by children (or by an infamous Backyard Baseball player named Pablo Sanchez).

 

This was more than a game, though. Not just in the sense that it was a championship because I’ve seen a couple of those brought home to Chicago (thanks Blackhawks). There were droughts that needed quenching on both sides, though the Cubs’ was the most notorious. There were loyal fanbases on both sides who knew what it was like to push through seasons upon seasons of sad scores.

Being a fan of the Chicago Cubs isn’t typically just a fair weather or bandwagon situation. It’s been instilled in you that you will toil season after season with not a lot to show for it, while your White Sox friends might laugh or heckle you on sports jersey day in elementary through high school. For me, it meant going to Mizzou and being surrounded by die-hard Cardinals fans who never let me forget just how many rings they had in comparison to our win not long after the turn of the 20th century. For me, it was memories of attending games with my dad, grandpa and brothers (me in my pink Cubs visor and pink-accented jersey) and eating frozen chocolate malts in the stands. For me, it was memories of watching the sunset over the ivy or getting nearly caught in tornadoes on our way out of storm-delayed games.

For most of us, it’s not just fandom. It’s heritage. It’s love. It’s family.

That’s what made me collapse sobbing on the floor of my apartment around 1 a.m. after having to leave the Chicago bar here in Atlanta because I was so nauseous with nerves that I literally puked outside of the door. That’s what made me text my grandfather “I haven’t stopped crying yet. GO CUBS” because I knew that this meant even more to him than to me. That’s what made me cry thinking about the people that didn’t make it to see this win, like my Papa Giggy and my Grandma Virg who loved the Cubbies because they were cute. That’s what made me tear up in a Starbucks watching the parade and rally livestream because I just wanted so badly to be surrounded by people who all were connected by this same type of love.

Being the true journonerd that I am, I had to live vicariously through the quality media that was being put out after this historic win. I also had to spam my FB feed with all of it whilst crying again. I miss my favorite city so much, even though it has been raw, broken and seemingly numb to the violence and hurt. But this win means that for once the city could just be full of joy. The city can just love its inhabitants purely.

But it wasn’t just the city that needed this win, the nation did. Sure, a baseball game can’t solve everything. It doesn’t have to, but it can let us find peace and happiness and avoid the politics that have been plaguing us for months upon months (P.S. Make sure you vote; it’s almost over, folks). And it’s OK to allow ourselves to be consumed by baseball emotion for a little while.

Although it’s been an emotional journey (I was sobbing again yesterday), it’s one I wouldn’t trade for the world. I would just trade where I was living right now to be amongst the Cubbie fray. Thank god I didn’t need to be somewhere specific to watch Anthony Rizzo sing and twerk on SNL, though. That just added to the buckets of tears with some laughing tears. Now if I could only I could trade places with Rizzo’s girlfriend…

On your marks…

It’s been nearly two months.

It’s been nearly two months since I walked across the stage to a chorus of cheering and vuvuzelas (courtesy of Naif Bartlett), giggled at Dean Kurpius and promptly returned to the mini Prosecco bottle under my chair that I smuggled into Hearnes between my boobs.

It’s been nearly two months of waking up in my pink and paisley patterned walls of my room in my family home, always slightly confused that my bed is the same from my East Campus apartment.

Trying to figure out what light I am supposed to bear.

Trying to figure out what light I am supposed to bear, tbh. I don’t know if I am part of “the wise.”

For someone who uses the phrase “I’m crying” as often as I do, it takes unexpected timing and random things to actually make me shed tears. I didn’t cry during or after either of my graduation ceremonies (my makeup looked to good to do that, honestly). I didn’t cry when hugging the best friends I made and the ladies that lived with me for the crazy school year (we had our apartment pet dildo sign a travel journal and danced to One Direction’s “Drag Me Down” instead). I even held it (mostly) together when I drove home alone in my stuffed car when sad or overly reminiscent songs popped up on my mix CDs.

A T-shirt made me cry.

An oversized, disgusting neon Mizzou Student Health T-shirt that I was pulling out for my pajamas my first night home made me sob. Classic.

Pretty accurate description of me before gathering my Tiger's Lair troops on game days.

Pretty accurate description of me before gathering my Tiger’s Lair troops on game days.

I thought I had been adequately preparing myself for the big rip of the Band-Aid. I had been slowly becoming more and more “irrelevant” in the Mizzou world. I finished out my last season in charge of the football spirit section, Tiger’s Lair, and picked my new successor. I had already split from live-in ResLife duties, said goodbye to my favorite rickety hall, Jones, and was finishing up my duties of giving tours through Defoe-Graham (partially in an ankle brace). I welcomed the new class of Summer Welcome Leaders and did my crying about missing those times last summer. Except for being honored as a member of the 2016 class of Mizzou ’39, I was successfully starting to fade into the black and gold background. I thought that made me ready.

Shoutout to the legacy of ladies that make up one of my favorite traditions.

Shoutout to the Dobbs area and the legacy of ladies that make up one of my favorite traditions.

But, in actuality, that was my least favorite question to answer. I could easily converse with people that asked “What are you doing after you graduate?” and tell them how I wasn’t exactly sure but applying to this and that and had confidence that I would figure it out. I would always fumble when asked “Are you ready to graduate?” Of course, I was ready to leave the stress and schedule of classes and extracurriculars. I’ve always been slightly apprehensive of approaching change, but this was one I knew was coming and was too busy to even fully worry about it. So, instead of letting myself even contemplate that question more, I just ripped the Band-Aid off by leaving behind a lifestyle I was comfortable with less than 12 hours after receiving my diploma cover.

Although I would spend some days at home shaking and slightly holding my breath to try to stifle a panic attack or hopping on my bike to ride miles away from job applications, I don’t think I could’ve done it a different way. I’ve been trying to write this post for a couple weeks now, but there have been times where I couldn’t really grasp what all the different transitionary feelings meant. I wasn’t always sure what I was scared, excited, anxious or ready for. I just knew I felt different.

But, I’ve been lucky to have such a supportive family that let me come back home and gave me time to figure things out. I’ve been lucky to have friends who sent me job postings and wished me luck for interviews. I’ve been lucky to land a job only a couple months after graduating.

Looking at my little magazine children.

Looking lovingly at my little magazine children.

But, even when that landed in my lap I didn’t know exactly what to do with it. It’s a job, I should just want that, right? The people were cool and the company vibe seemed right, but it was different than what I thought people thought I should be doing and in a place I had only spent a maximum of a week in. Part of me didn’t think I deserved the offer and that I wouldn’t be good enough. It took two days of walking around Columbus, Ohio, and watching RuPaul’s Drag Race for me to really listen to my gut and accept the job.

Completing my education has taught me a lot more in the past couple months than probably my last month of college. Things don’t always have to be exactly what you imagined to be right. And I’ll always be kind of scared of change, but I know that in the end it will all work out. I didn’t work my butt off for four years to not feel like I deserve this. So, whether I am completely ready or not, I’m going to start this new race.

Creativity Reflection 15: Iowa and back

Sometimes creativity is a spur of the moment thing. Sometimes it is born out of an immediate need. This past week for my capstone presentation, it was a little bit of both as we hustled at 4:30 in the morning to figure out how we wanted to split up the part of the presentation that one of our team members who overslept wasn’t able to do.

Creativity sometimes comes at not ideal situations. This wasn’t ideal. I honestly just wanted to sleep since it was 4:30 in the morning and I went to bed at 1 a.m. because I was so stressed. But instead, I had to take on a new part of the presentation and look it over. I feel asleep for bit because my body won out over my racing brain. The missing team member called not long after I woke up and apologized. My creativity kicked into gear to have me not sound like an incredibly bitter and upset person and instead I had to solve the problem at hand. My team member couldn’t get to Iowa to present with us at Meredith Corp. because she didn’t have a car so we had to take on her part, but I had to make sure she wrote us detailed notes so we could take on her parts without sounding like idiots.

When we got there, we presented and it wasn’t too obvious that we were missing someone. Sure, us explaining her parts weren’t as smooth as I would’ve like it but we improvised so our diction and syntax made it seem smooth and part of the presentation. All in all, our content and idea for our magazine capstone project was what got the judges excited. That creativity shone through and it proved how a good idea and hard work can really come to life.

Creativity Class Reflection 15: Last ever

Lately I have been more peeved with being in attendance for my Creativity class because of a lot of outside stressors. Heck, I skipped once last week because I thought I was going to pass out from anxiety overtaking my body if I went there instead of working on the multiple things I had to finish in less than 24 hours. But, for the majority of the semester, this class has been a much needed escape.

I went into the last ever Creativity class (before we present during finals week) on edge about my capstone presentation I had to give to the publishers at Meredith Corporation about a magazine I helped create with four other people. But this last ever Creativity gave me the clarity and ease of mind that I needed to go into the crazy Friday I had ahead of me. We meditated for a bit and were asked to summon our muse and see what they showed us for the future. We have envisioned our muse multiple times this semester and my muse is feminine and almost made purely of light. This time in my time of need she gave me a bottle of this elixir that acted almost like a prism. All the negativity and stress was filtered through it (and mostly taken on by her) and then streamed as light and good vibes. The overall feeling was harmonious and calm and hopeful.

This encounter with my muse and then me drawing her out and what we envisioned for the future was probably the best way for me to (temporarily) calm down before my presentation. Walking around and see how hopeful most of my class was for the future through our drawings was encouraging. It shows how this class has opened our minds to creative solutions to problems that could plague our futures, thus making us more hopeful.

I just want to thank this class for being something different. Although some days were long and sometimes I felt like they were pointless, they helped me break away from my academic routine and improved how I thought about other classes. Creativity class changed me, and I couldn’t be happier.

Creativity Reading Response 15: Based in history

There was a book I had to read/use multiple times for summer reading assignments for my honors English classes in high school called How to Read Literature like a Professor that had multiple chapters over how almost all literature alludes or draws from the Bible, Shakespeare, etc. I know from studying fashion that almost all clothing that goes down the runway is part of a cycle of a trend that was around maybe 20 or so years ago. They are all creative takes on tried and true stories and outfits, but they aren’t completely original. It’s hard for anything to be completely original as we continue to build upon existing technologies.

Ogle says in Smart World how we are all “children of the Renaissance” (56). According to the reading, “we all routinely rely on a whole web of cultural and social practices and knowledge to guide our behavior” (54). It makes sense, honestly. We all use experts or models to help us figure out what might be the best path for us to solve our own problems or create something of our own. Even basic creative enterprises, such as crafting or knitting, have people using patterns or tried and true techniques and stitches. These give us the base to be able to play, develop and be creative. It’s hard to conceptualize a house until you have the foundation laid (or at least know how big that will be).

For us to go forward into the future we have to be able to learn from the past. Geniuses like Einstein, etc. learned from their predecessors and in turn we must use what they gave us to create a new tomorrow. The possibility of flying cars can’t even be thought of if it weren’t for Da Vinci thinking that humans could fly in the first place.

Creativity Reading Response 14: Mathletes

I am not awful at math. I actually was in honors math classes in high school but they weren’t the highest level I could’ve been at. My brother who is a year younger than me was in the same classes at the same time. Actually, all three of my brothers have been better at math than me all of my life, so I have always shied away from fit because it never felt like my place. I found it interesting that Piirto said that “first-borns make up more than half of active scientists” because I am a first born but all of my younger siblings are definitely more science-minded than me (257). I could always edit their papers or do other more creative pursuits.

I guess, technically, math and science can be considered creative. Piirto in Understanding Creativity talks about the process of mathematical insight, saying: “First there is the mental preparation. Second is the incubation. Third is the illumination. Fourth is the verification” (253). This is very similar to how you go through creative processes and creative problem solving. You use arts and math to solve a variety of problems and math formulas are innately creative. How? Because someone had to go about many different processes to figure out what could best work consistently to explain phenomena.

Gender has been tied to arts vs. math since the beginning of time, which I think has entirely to do with how we are socialized. Women are not consistently welcomed into the STEM sphere, which affects how much they want to develop their ability in those areas or not. Piirto says it has to do do with how more women are low in ego-assertiveness and most men are high in it, thus women don’t have “the drive” for math and science. I think that has completely everything to do with the fact that men have always been given more of a voice in the classroom and workplace. Most young girls feel unsure or turned away from STEM by the time they hit middle school because they are pushed to be more artsy and let the boys be good at math. I think the world needs more of the scientific and mathematical creativity that women bring to the table since they view things in different ways than men.

Creativity isn’t really defined by subject matter, so those subject matters shouldn’t try to define who can be creative within them.