Sturm und Drang

One of the things that I really want to get in the habit of doing this year (note the deliberate non-usage of the word “resolutions”) is writing something, somewhere, every day.  I am by nature a writer. I can often get a hold of feelings and thoughts, find words to match what’s going on in my head and heart, only when I start writing.  When I go for long periods of time without some space for just myself, my journal, and a nice cup of coffee or tea, I tend to get antsy, angry, lonely, and misunderstood.  And I’ve come to realize that this loneliness and misunderstanding is not a need for other people but a deep need for, well, me.  So far, I’ve done alright with my goal of writing, even if it’s just a small snipped of something I’ve thought or a quote I find some resonance with.  But for the stuff that I find really interesting or something that I think other people might enjoy hearing about, I think I’ll write that here.  We can all see how well I did with keeping up with this blog from last semester (i.e.– I didn’t).  I’m going to give an honest effort to ensure that’s not the case now.

School ate me alive last semester.  It chewed me up into pulp and I felt beat down, defeated, and worthless.  I didn’t realize how low I had actually gotten until I went home for Christmas and I felt happy, alive, and aware.  My eyes began to focus on things again instead of just glazing over.  I made eye contact with people.  I’d become so ashamed of myself and my lack of skills over the semester that I walked looking down, sharply and constantly, so I wouldn’t have to make eye contact with anyone.  And in all honesty, I still do it.  But I’m aware of it now– not that I really know what to do with it, but I’m aware.  I’m trying to set little goals to help the overwhelming feelings of… “overwhelmed-ness.”

This week’s goal:  When I find myself walking, sitting, etc, with my hands in a fist– let them go.  Sometimes just making myself stretch my fingers out let’s my whole body relax when I didn’t know I was tense to begin with.

I’m not expecting this semester to be a walk in the park.  I’m not even expecting to enjoy it.  What I am expecting, however, is that even if my classes or my career path aren’t fulfilling to me or if my head gets too in the way or any number of different distracting or uncomfortable things happen, I will find something stable, enjoyable, and fulfilling to do as well.  My self-required 4 hours a day of library time and hours of practice will not be my excuse not to have a life.  I’m still not sure I can say that I’m “ok with” not getting A’s, but I’m willing to balance the enjoyment I get out of other things with the degree that I dislike spending 4 hours studying music history.

“Strum und Drang,” translating to “Storm and Stress” is a movement of literature and music in Germany from about 1760-1780 where extremes of emotion were given free expression.  It’s heard usually in the minor mode, deeply expressive, melancholy, and yet incredibly beautiful.  That’s how I’m trying to think of this time in my life.  Not focusing on where it will go, what I’ll do later, what all I’ve done– just right here and now.

(A quote I find reassuring, by Ludwig von Beethoven: “I am not satisfied with the work I have done so far. From now on I intend to take a new way.” It was after this statement when he wrote his Symphony No. 3, ‘Eroica.’  There is hope for all!)

All this being said, I’ve found some really wonderful things in the last few weeks or so.  I’ve rediscovered a love for yoga that I can’t quite describe, even to myself.  I can’t imagine why I ever feel out of the practice at all.  More on this later.  I’ve also begun to bake bread.  Lots of bread.  Lots more on that, too.

All in all, in this moment right now, even though it’s super late and I’m going to regret staying up so late writing when my 5:45 alarm goes off, I feel hopeful.  I’m happy, right in this second.  I have something to look forward to tomorrow (and I’m not thinking about all the things that I don’t want to do tomorrow).  And so right now, I’m going to close my computer, pull the covers up, turn on a Friends dvd, and fall asleep– hands unclenched.

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