Saturday, December 24, 2011

Life and Death in the Times of St. Nick

Christmas is finally here! Well, in another six hours at least but it's Christmas Eve and so that has to count for something. It's one of my absolute favorite times of the year and always has been. Probably always will be. But this year it's for some additional reasons. My perspective on the holiday season is still very much the same: the red and green decorations, too many ornaments on the Christmas tree, my dad's fantastic lasagna that gets made exactly once a year but at the same time I find myself less concerned about the holiday and more with the fact that everyone is together and I am home.
I relish that sentence. I am home. I am home. I am home. I've missed my friends and family more than I thought; even my younger brother with whom I have previously shared mutual feelings of standoffishness. When I turn off my lights at night, the room actually goes dark instead of the quasi-darkness that living in the city institutes. I haven't heard a single siren since I've been home and I love it. Maybe I'm the only college kid who doesn't really want to go back but I doubt it. And if so, it's a title I wear proudly.
Also, being around old friends and family makes me so very aware of how lucky I am and how quickly life goes by. In a blink of an eye, my first semester of college is over and it doesn't take that colorful of an imagination to realize that life will flash by with the same frightening speed if I'm not careful. I've had the absolute joy of babysitting/visiting with my two year old neighbor recently. She laughs and giggles at everything and even her adamant "No!"'s are adorable. I love watching her face change expressions as she discovers something new and I'm proud to say she's in love with my pup, Jack, and that he loves her right back. Being around such a young person with such a bright future ahead of them brings a certain lightness to your heart.
On the other hand, my high school graduating class lost their first member this week. I didn't know the kid well but you don't always have to. It's an odd feeling, knowing that someone you went to school with for four years is now suddenly gone, no longer walking the streets, laughing, driving a car. He was just a kid for God's sake, one whose locker was right next to mine, who sat next to me in freshman history and made me laugh in junior chemistry. And now he's just another blinking star in the sky, lost in the infinite universe we can't quite figure out. My condolences go out to not only his family but to everyone who is suffering the loss of a love this holiday season. To those hurting and those in pain and those struggling through the foggy numbness as they try to find the right path in life. It's no easy thing and it might take years, if not decades, but I truly believe that in each one of us lies the strength, something the holiday season convinces me of each year.
I'm sorry for such a somber post so close to the holiday. Laugh and smile and hug your parents and kids and tell them you love them and then maybe tell them a knock-knock joke. Wear a silly hat and take a picture of it. Teach your dog a new trick. Anything to make your day just that much brighter, not only for yourself but for all those who can only see the dark and for those watching from above.

~M. T. Rossi

Monday, December 12, 2011

Friendships: Disney Princess Style

It's the beginning of finals week. Otherwise known as: the week in which my brain goes on strike against everything I've learned this year, throws out all useful information, and then locks the door when I try to put the info back in. It's been a long couple of days. Two exams tomorrow, one on Wednesday, one on Thursday and then I am gloriously free for an entire month. There are many thing I am looking forward to doing over break. Like sleeping. And going to my favorite gym. And...I actually haven't thought past those things.
Anyway, I was lying in bed last night at about two in the morning, unable to fall asleep due to a foot injury and lack of prescription drugs. Kidding about that last part. Kind of...
My mind wandered as minds tend to do at two in the morning and it stopped it's gallivanting when it reached my pictures that are hung on my wall (you can see just how far my mind is capable of wandering). More than a few times, I've had to explain several pictures to people here at school and what never fails to amaze me is the downright complexity of my many friendships. Seriously, I am such a lucky person to have so many great friends and it's really hard to categorize using the typical best friend, not best friend, acquaintance, classmate, enemy spectrum. So naturally, I turned to a more practical means of organizing: Disney movie characters. You're interested aren't you? Yeah, if you're procrastinating from more studying like me, my revelation here just became your new best friend. You're welcome.
So it goes like this. I have several best friends and when I say that, I'm being honest (When explaining high school friendships to a college friend it went like this: "Oh yeah my best friend is _____. Oh wait! I also have _____ who is my best friend. But _____ and _____ are also my best friends).
From here on out, my best friends will now be thought of as Disney Princesses. There's Ariel, Cinderella, Aurora, Snow White, Jasmine, Pocahontas. And yes, I do know who is who but I'm not giving away names ;)
Those are the easy ones. Then there's someone who is family but really is also a best friend so I decided she would be like Rapunzel from Tangled who is a recent day princess in my opinion and fits right in with as a not so standard best friend.
But what about all those friends who are your good friends but not really best friends? I mean, c'mon, they can't all be princesses. No worries, I figured that out last night too. These friends are akin to the sidekicks of the Disney Princesses: the seven dwarves, Flounder, Sebastian, Cinderella's mice...you get the idea. They love the princess, they'd do anything to help the princess, but you know, they're not princesses themselves.
You're probably thinking, but what about my guy best friends? Well, duh, they are the princes/male love interests (don't worry, you don't have to fall in love with them) so they are dubbed: Prince Eric, Flynn Rider, and I'm just gonna throw in John Smith because everyone likes to think of him.
And because I really don't want to go study biology and medieval music, I'm just gonna say that if you want to think about your enemies as the "bad guys" aka evil witches (Ursula, Cruella DeVil, The Queen, Maleficent) that's okay by me. I will not confirm or deny whether I think of certain people this way. I'll just leave you with your own thoughts on that one.
So what do you think? Was I on target? Do you agree with my careful planning of my friend-life?
I actually don't really care what you think (remember, it's finals week) but I thought these carefully posed questions might add some authenticity to this blogpost since the rest of it is kind of ludicrous. There's a good chance it doesn't make any sense (I just spent 6 hours debating abortion and learning the Shapely Shubik voting method) but I hope you had fun reading it cause I kinda had fun thinking of it.
You know, in a it's-two-in-the-morning-and-I-really-just-wanna-sleep kind of way.

~M. T. Rossi