For everything there is a season

It was like greeting an old friend as soon as my feet found the pavement. The snow had melted just enough and the air seemed balmy in all its glory of forty degrees Fahrenheit. I’ve always found it amazing just how different forty degrees can be, depending on the perspective you’re taking. When the seasons change from summer to fall, 40 degrees seems like the coldest temperature on earth. But, when the winter chill backs off a bit and lets in some of that 40-degree air, it’s as if spring has come early. It’s the same temperature and yet, it’s different.

I had considered making up a quick playlist of songs I could listen to while I ran, but I opted to leave my iPods at home, instead. The birds sang as I left the cul-de-sac I have lived on my whole life and let my legs carry me out to the main road and down the hill. I was surprised at how good I felt and let that carry me through the pain as muscles were put back into use after remaining dormant for nearly two months. The pain gave me something to think about and something to distract me from the mountain of homework I had to do and the hardships I had been dealing with on a regular basis.

When I was running, I didn’t have to feel anything but the pain from the exertion I was putting my body through. When I thought about it hard enough, I could feel my heart pounding in my chest, but if I just let my mind wander and let my legs do my thinking for me, nothing really mattered. I ran by a business that owes my dad money and considered trashing it. But, I didn’t. I kept running and made my way toward the hill that stood menacingly in the not-so-distant distance.

My energy deteriorated once I reached the top, but I kept on running. I reached my halfway mark and kept going. I thought about how natural it is for me to run and how effortless it can be once I am in good shape to do it. I thought about the summer and how the three of us took part of this same route in an effort to be in shape for cross-country season. I thought about how fast the time goes and how it doesn’t make sense to try and cherish every moment. If you’re too busy cherishing, you’re not living. You’re just trying to keep it in your memory forever. A memory should be something you remember effortlessly, not something you save onto the desktop in your brain so you can click on it and wait for it to load.

I decided against taking a shortcut and instead went the whole way around and back to my street. I took a left, ran down to the green Pennysaver box and then took a right, thinking in my head about that last 200m that I face with every race I run on the track. I ran halfway up my slushy driveway and then bent over to catch my breath. I always do this, and then I bend my knees carefully before reaching my full height (5’2″ if you were wondering) and then walking around a little bit, my hands over my head.

I entered through the side garage door, made my way through the traffic blocking my way to the house door (sleds, snowshoes, etc) and shed my running sneakers (New Balance this year – a brand I never really gave a chance until over the summer), grabbed my already-full glass of water off of our butcher block-esque island and downed it in a second.

My ears stung from the cold and my breathing was wheezy with each inhale and exhale I made.

“How’d you feel?” my dad asked.

“All right,” I replied. “I started out too fast and was dead by the end, but it felt good to run. I’m gonna go lay down now.”

I entered the family room and plopped onto our brand-new couch to catch my wheezy breaths. After thirty minutes passed without my daddy turning on the TV, I went upstairs and grabbed The Lovely Bones and continued reading from where I had left off right before daddy had picked me up at the school just barely an hour previously. We sat there, father and daughter, reading our books of choice: his a Yankee book that someone had gotten him and mine a novel that had been made into yet another movie based off of a book. He wore one of his many pairs of $0.99 reading glasses and I wore the sweat and dirt of a girl who had almost made it through one of the toughest weeks of her sixteen years of living, and was coming out on the other side unscathed and perfectly fine.

At 4 o’clock, I tossed my book down and ran the shower upstairs in the bathroom that all of my brothers had vacated and bestowed unto me (we painted it a light brown and pretty light blue and got rid of the old Mickey Mouse theme that had previously reigned).

Before shedding my clothing, I focused on the length of my hair in the mirror. Back in ninth grade, it was a shock of bright-red curls. Now, it’s back to its normal color (brown/blond/red depending on the season and amount of sun received), though the curls have been kept (I have not dyed my hair since November 2008). I’ve decided that I want it to be long for when I take my senior pictures. I thought to myself Oh yeah, it will be long enough by the summer after this one!

And then it hit me.

I will be taking my senior pictures this summer. It’s crazy just how much time flies and how one change in your thoughts can create a chain-reaction of changes throughout your entire mind. At the moment, I am halfway through my junior year of high school. In June, I will sing in the Chamber Choir and watch some of my best friends ever don those white and blue robes and graduate from our little sliver of the universe and move on to bigger (and better) things. This hit me hard because I realized that I haven’t exactly enjoyed my high school experience that much. In recent months, Misery had taken over my entire being and forced me to look at everything pessimistically. But now, happy little Emily is back, and she plans on staying happy and little until she is forced to grow up in a year and a half.

The cherry on top

I had two choices.

Either I lose my sanity and do the musical this year, or I keep my sanity in check and just focus on school and running instead.

Guess which option I chose?

If you’re thinking the first one, you’re an idiot. I may be crazy enough as it is, but I still have my sanity. I think.

Anyway, they changed the musical to “The Wiz” and I was like, “see ya!” And, that’s that. I’m done. I chose my road, remember? It doesn’t involve the yellow brick one that probably appears in “The Wiz.” I chose the lovely red brick one.

So, instead of spending my nights at the school, I’ve gotten stuff done. Good stuff.

I did a project on the novel Jane Eyre. It definitely had the “wow” factor to it. I made a powerpoint, and modeled the sentences after the Dick & Jane books. (Ex: See Jane. See Jane run. Jane runs fast. Run, Jane run!) The best part? Because I was trying to get the point across that Jane Eyre is, in fact, gothic literature, I used Emily The Strange as Jane. Yeah, that’s right. 13-year-old Emily starred in my little movie as Jane Eyre. I was so proud of myself, and I could tell that my AP English teacher was impressed. The icing on the cake? The cherry on top? “Aha!” by Imogen Heap accompanied Jane (Emily) on all of her little adventures. I will never tire of that song. Ever.

Ever since I decided not to be involved in the musical, my life has gotten better. I have no unnecessary stress. Right now I’d be down at the school, but instead I’m here. I’m writing for two newspapers, a website, my blog, doing homework and running cross-country…I don’t have time to participate in silly musicals. There’s no point. It’s hard to walk away, but what’s done is done. My presentation wouldn’t have turned out as well as it did if I had had to be at the school rehearsing last night. And, that’s that.

Procrastinate no more

All of my classmates are complaining about the Anthology that we got assigned. This massive project is homework for three months(?) and due in May for every sophomore class that passes through my high school. My oldest brother did it, my middle older brother did it, and my youngest older brother did it. It includes reading, analyzing, interpreting, and relating to pieces of literature that you as a reader and individual appreciate. For me? Easy as cake. For my classmates? It’s just another assignment that they can whine and stress over. I’m enjoying every minute of it.

The day it was assigned I went home, dug out my poetry books, and then proceeded to read every single poem in my Emily Dickinson book, my Romantic Poets book, and my Robert Frost book (again). I bought an Edgar Allan Poe (Major Tales and Poetry) novel, and got started on that as well. I made a checklist, and have been in deep thought about every work I want to add in ever since.

I have a good ten or eleven works done already (I have a system where I type in school, copy and paste it into a wordpress draft, and then copy and paste from the draft into a document on my computer – VOILA!) , and they are already compiled into sleeves in the order that I currently want them in and are settled into my draft binder. Just last night I stayed up until three in the AM working on a work that I suddenly had a brilliant idea on. It’s three pages long (and the minimum requirement per work is two paragraphs – hehe) and I am extremely proud of it.

My Anthology is going to be awesome. I can already feel it. I have my title, I know what’s going to go on my title page, I have my chapters named, and now all I have to do is fill in the gaps with¬† more works. I’m organized, I’ve been looking forward to this for six years, and I believe that I am better off than anyone in my class. Bring it on, Anthology.