Welcome home

Home doesn’t feel like home anymore.

Sure, the dogs greeted me and Weezie the cat made a few appearances, but it’s not my home.

My childhood bedroom with its lime green, sky blue, raspberry pink and orangey orange walls close me in after branching out too far.

I can’t relate to 13-year-old Emily anymore. She’s the one who picked those colors and the bedding. I’m still very colorful, but I shed experiences every time I walk through the doorway. I’m back to the beginning, making the glow-in-the-dark flowers on the ceiling into triangles of Mickey Mouse’s nose and ears. My drawers are full of abandoned poetry books, cellphones and hair accessories. My bedroom door took a beating during my “nobody understands me!”, braces-clad phase. Returning is a bit debilitating and a hit to my morale.

I’m so happy with where I am now.

It’s a new place I am making my own. I’m discovering the area’s quirks, little by little. Thirteen-year-old, metal-mouthed Emily used to gaze in wonder as her oldest brother, Jordan, showed the family around the Chautauqua Institution, an area unbeknownst to us. Now 19-year-old Emily is doing what Jordan did.

I run and check out the neighborhoods. I brought my bike back with me from home this past weekend and discovered a really neat park tonight where I plan to spend a lot of my summer. And you just can’t beat the main, bustling street full of family-owned shops and boutiques. I find something new every time I walk/run/bike down it.

I’m secure with being alone and doing things for me. Running for me. Biking for me. Finding new nooks and new swingsets to swing the evenings away on.

And then watching the sun set every night:

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The squeshed bug

I don’t think it’s possible to outgrow sidewalk chalk. It doesn’t matter what age or gender you are. It’s something for children, but kids in their upper teens can enjoy it, too (ahem, like myself).

For our first Easter together, I put a basket together for Robby. I put a pack of Crayola sidewalk chalk in the basket and Robby thought it was odd. I think he thought we were a little too old for it (he was 15, I was 16). Then, one beautiful day in July, I took the chalk and started drawing. A zoo erupted from the chalk:

Robby even joined in after awhile. We’ve done plenty of chalk drawings since then. He drew a house for us up on a mountain, and I drew ants below it (derived from Ingrid Michaelson’s song “You and I,” which is one of our favorites). We’re not the most talented chalk artists, but we have fun with it.

Today brought warm(er) weather, forcing us outside to ride our bikes, sit on the porch and, finally, break out the chalk and dust it off. I decided to draw my car (Bubbles the Bug…she might need her own page on Blackbyrd pretty soon…). While I was drawing the car, Robby drew a comet just above Bubbles, ready to crush her. Then he wrote “= SQUESHED BUG” (‘e’ in “squashed” instead of an ‘a’ – I got a kick out of it).

It turned into a war with chalk. He drew different ways to destroy the Bug (one even included a fly swatter), and I came up with ways to fix her up again. It got way out of hand when I “set fire” to his bike by drawing flames on the ground all around it. His comeback was by drowning MY bike.

You’re never too old to have fun with sidewalk chalk.  Just remember that.

Me, sitting in my Bug

It’s nice to have her back

I’m weird. That’s what I have learned over the past few days.

I had a few birthday parties to attend this past week (because it seems that everyone’s birthday falls on the SAME DAY). I had to celebrate my grandma’s for a few hours before attending the first one, so that’s what I did. We ate my mom’s special dessert, and I was itching to go, so I hopped on my bike and away I went. I arrived and they were watching a movie. And a really stupid one at that. I’m not a fan of stupid humor movies, so I obviously really didn’t like Airplane. I was also busy focusing on the boy behind me who was hugging me and running his hands through my hair. That can be distracting.

Because I’ve discovered just how much I love being all in my lonesome, I hate being around people. Even people I usually enjoy being around. I couldn’t wait to go home (well, of course, I stopped by my grandparents’ before going home).

The next day is when I found out how weird I am.

I went to another friend’s house (and was kind of dreading it because she doesn’t exactly invite all of the greatest people in the world), and was seriously like a little social butterfly. I went from group to group, just talking to everybody. I suddenly turned into my old outgoing self. I haven’t seen that part of me in quite awhile. It was nice to have her back. There was a specific group I hung out with (with didn’t include my boyfriend, oddly enough), and we even walked to my house to get my Pretty Pretty Princess board game we’d been itching to play. So, we did. In the dark of the trampoline. And swore at the game to make it more exciting.

After a summer of just wanting to be alone, feeling the urge to mingle and be around people was nice. I found a best friend in a girl I haven’t taken the time to talk to lately, and we’ve made plans to hang out all the time. I’m sorry I dreaded what turned out to be an awesome night.

From death and funerals to stem cell research and abortion

Cross country season picked back up again. On Monday morning I was awakened by a song coming out of my iHome speaker at 7:30 (which is much too early to meet my approval, I’ll let you know). I got up, showered, grabbed some Cinnamon Toast Crunch and put it in my bag, and then was out the door and on my bike, heading for the high school.

We started running. That’s what you do in cross country, if you didn’t know. We ran up prison hill. Some were encouraged to go on and run around the entire prison (the prison that Lindsay Lohan’s dad was kept, oddly enough), and I was one of those encouraged. I felt great. I had started out in the way back with a couple of my fellow teammates on the girls’ team, but little by little I had inched all the way up to the people that had fallen behind from the leading pack. I passed two newly instated runners and then fell into pace with the smartest kid in our entire school. My plan was to catch up to the leading pack which consisted of my best friend, my boyfriend, and another friend, but instead, he (being the smartest kid) and I started talking. We started talking about stuff that really mattered. Important issues, problems, and beliefs. It was nice to have an intelligent conversation, and it distracted me so much that I didn’t even notice when we passed another kid that had fallen behind from that same leading pack.

Our discussions ranged from death and funerals to stem cell research and abortion. It was like we went through the entire endless cycle of life during that one discussion we had during our run. I told him about the funeral I had had to go to recently and the unfortunate situation it had to be under, and then he shared how once when he was younger he had two funerals in one day to go to. We discussed how we both are not sure if there is a God up there and the hypocritical actions that are associated with members of the Church.

Then came the abortion topic, which then lead to a conversation chock-full of stem cell research. I had heard about it, but wasn’t exactly sure what it was all about. He informed me of everything about it (seeing as how it had been the topic he’d chosen for the recent research paper he’d had to do). What I don’t understand is why people are against it. And, it ties in with the abortion thing. I think that women should be allowed to make the decision of whether or not they want to abort their pregnancy. Let people frown upon a mother’s decision to abort her pregnancy, but if that mother is not ready to be a mother, then why not? If that girl is carrying the baby as the result of a rape she doesn’t want to be reminded of, why not let her make the decision to rid her body of that growing embryo? And, if every woman or girl that decides to have an abortion also donates the stem cells within them, that could initially save lives. You go from “killing” something that doesn’t quite exist yet to saving someone whose liver is failing or is in vital need of a heart transplant and just needs a donor.

Let stem cell research carry on! Let it save lives despite the many frowns of disgust it is receiving! We were put on this earth somehow and are now being plagued by disease left and right. If we’ve discovered a way we can cure, why not carry on and finish it? It means having one less child to feed, sure, but it also means one less person hanging out in an isolation room in the hospital just waiting for that heart or liver or lung or whatever to come. I say that science makes more sense than God. Science can save lives when God obviously can’t.