Making a Mess

What’s the biggest mistake you’ve ever made? I’ve been trying to think of mine recently. I can think of a lot of things I’m ashamed of doing, and a lot of things that were stupid to do, but what have I done that really messed up my life irrevocably?

 

albany

The illustrious party school of U Albany

 

 

When I was a young, foolish knave of a high school senior, I applied really randomly to colleges. Throwing a dart at a list of schools blindfolded would have probably created more of a pattern. I visited approximately one school. When it came time to choose which to go to, I just chose the one that gave me the best scholarship. I didn’t actually set foot on campus until orientation.

Mistake. While my randomly selected roommates were thankfully some of the most awesome individuals I’ve met, I was a crying, mopey mess. The University of Albany was a great school, academically‚Ķ just it needed to NOT be in Albany. I shivered as the sun set earlier and earlier everyday. If I managed to see a speck of blue sky before the gray clouds claimed dominance for the day, I considered it to be a victorious day. I SAVED HOMEWORK SO I WOULD HAVE SOMETHING TO DO ON THE WEEKEND.

I shuffled after my roommates to the parties off-campus, that were all in a dilapidated, falling down area known as “the student ghetto”. Signs were posted on every other building, requesting information on the student who had been shot dead the year before. As I tried to choke down a solo cup of cheap beer, I was hyperaware of every bump and footfall. There were the preteens that jumped around a corner at 2 am, mooning us before running off (okay, that was kind of funny, but who lets their kids out that late?). And there were the two gaunt and pale, wide eyed little girls who trailed after their Eminem look-a-like father. He eyed us up and down, muttering lecherously under his breath.

This was certainly not Kansas, Toto. But it just as certainly wasn’t Oz, either.

I ended up going to the weekly mass that was held in the campus center. It became the one social thing to do that wasn’t partying on the weekends, aside from our exciting trips to Walmart. Mass actually was a good experience. With them, I volunteered at the local domestic violence women and children’s center. Honestly, Albany wasn’t a terrible experience 100%, but it was a classic “me mistake”.

There’s not really a point to this. My general optimistic spaciness mixed with neurosis leads me to make snap decisions. Then I get entrapped and tangled up in complications that everyone but me foresaw. And then I cry and mope and freak out like a spaz because I’m like, the biggest idiot ever and RUINING EVERYTHING EVER.

Usually things aren’t really that dismal.

I need to remind myself that there are countless ways to live a life, and it’s always okay to take a breath when I’m lost in life’s woods and can’t find my way out. It’s okay turn around, and backtrack, and find another path through the forest.

Love always,
Gabriele

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Accomplished! Renaissance Faire

Dragging along my brother on adventures, as usual

Dragging along my brother on adventures, as usual

 

Something that’s always been on my bucket list is to go to a renaissance faire and over the summer, I finally did! The Renaissance seems like almost a time of magic and celebration and embracing the very wonder of life. It has always fascinated me.

When I was around 10, I started reading Shakespeare, disappearing into my mother’s giant collection of his works, a book that felt like it weighed as much as I did. (Aside: can we please go back to saying “do you bite your thumb at me?” or any of these?) It was only a few years later that my friends and I started nicknaming each other after Tudor royals. And hello! The Renaissance, aka Rinascimento, came from my motherland of Italia! How could I not find this time period to be the stuff of fairytales?

So now I’ve crossed that off! Twofold actually, if you count the Icelandic Viking festival, which I totally do.

The closest Renaissance Faire is held every weekend in August into September in Tuxedo Park, New York. To be honest, it was a little more gimmicky and consumerism-driven than I was expecting. Still! There was fun to be had. I dragged my mother and brother along with me, and we explored. We went to a birds of prey show that convinced me a hawk or owl or turkey vulture would be a snazzy pet.

After I have my tortoises, of course.

 

tomato

 

And there was a guy who taunted at you, while you threw tomatoes at him. I did not partake in that. We wandered the shops, on the hunt for swords and knives (this is how my family operates) but were disappointed. Oh well. It was still pretty there! I loved all the costumes and the maypoles, their colorful ribbons streaming in the air.

I think it would have been more fun if I was actually part of the faire, or in a group of people who all dressed up, or if this particular faire hadn’t become so Disneyfied.

Next time, I’m just going to invent a time machine and go back to the actual Renaissance for the real deal. Feel free to join.

Love always,
Gabriele

Embrace your weird

When I was in high school and the first half of college, I tried to fit myself into the cookie cutter ideals of the peroxide-blonde, Uggs and valley girl speech of the place I grew up. But you can’t really fit inside a cookie cutter when you’re following an entirely different recipe. And I was trying to be a cookie, when I was clearly a cupcake.

The weird started young

The weird started young

Anyway, leaving our culinary metaphors back in the kitchen, the point is that I made myself miserable convincing myself that being like everyone else was what I wanted. I starved myself, and wore clothes that were too short/too tight, rimmed my eyes in black eyeliner, and tried to affect a bubblier voice. My body became very sick and I dragged myself through the end of high school like a marionette with its strings all tangled, tripping over myself as I became bones and checked out mentally.

Luckily, I wound up at an arts college. Here, the weirder, the better. Our yearly events consisted of an annual drag queen’s ball and a zombie prom. There was the boy who would sit on rooftops to write his poetry, the one who biked around playing opera music from a radio in his basket, and not to forget the LARPers, who were actually a little too crazy, God bless them. They’d have NERF gun wars in the Humanities building every Monday night and if you happened to stroll by, they’d halt their game, yelling “CIVILIAN! CIVILIAN! CEASE FIRE!”.

And of course, ZOMBIE PROM!

And of course, ZOMBIE PROM!

No matter how weird you thought you were, Purchase would one-up you. So you had to embrace it. One of my roommates said she had clothes her mom said could only wear at school, because they were Purchase-normal, but not upper-middle-class Jersey-normal. Every boy you ran into was likely gay and even the straight ones looked like Brooklyn hipster poster-children. They wore plaid shirts and had fierce beards that would make a lumberjack cry in shame. The girls’ hair colors flaunted the colors of the rainbow like a set of My Little Ponies. Their sense of wacky, innovative fashion earned us a spot on the front page of the New York Times style section. Represent, my fellow weirdos. Represent.

You could always tell who the commuters were – especially the girls, because they still looked like Westchester preppy copy-and-pastes. Not all commuters, just the ones who were only at Purchase because it was the only public, non-community college in Westchester County. They tried to hang on to their sense of normal, rigid social rules as long as possible, but the happiest ones were the ones who gave in and embraced that they could be whoever they wanted to be at Purchase. No judgment.

So, since becoming an official type grown-up, I’ve taken Purchase’s life lessons with me. I’m not a party girl. I’m a read books, and go out to movies that make you think, and try interesting cuisines, and go on nature walks, and plan on traveling the whole world over, type of person. I’m a geek. I think dying pink streaks in your hair, learning Swahili, and living on a vegan commune is a perfectly acceptable way to live your life. You do you.

Now I’ll just ramble on to anyone about the original 150 Pokemon, or my prideful defense of the Hufflepuff house, or how we really need to make the Canterbury Tales a necessary read for students. I don’t keep that stuff under lock-and-key anymore.

I recently started a job in an industry where I thought everyone I worked with would be equally as dorky as me.

Nope. I’m the biggest nerd there. And you know what? I rock it. Because life is more fun when you stop worrying about what you look like to other people and actually just enjoy yourself – all your quirks and eccentricities. There’s billions of people on the planet. How boring would it be if we all acted exactly the same? There’s no one right way to live your life.

One thing I’ve done to make my life more fun is I’ve switched out all of my contacts with pictures of the pokemon I feel best represents them. And it’s awesome to get messages from Pikachu, Jigglypuff, and Snorlax. Another thing? I changed my work wallpapers to these awesome pictures of turtles eating strawberries.

I aspire to this level of happiness every day.

I aspire to this level of happiness every day.

So don’t let fear of looking normal hold you back. Normal is boring. Be marvelous, be brilliant, be fantastically weird instead.

Love you little weirdos always,
Gabriele

All quiet on the bucket front.

By golly, is it a new post? I think it is!

 

Even Sashi is surprised!

Even Sashi is surprised!

 

I know I haven’t been bringing any new buckets in many, many moons, but the bucket fairy has promised me a new batch soon. In the mean time, I think it’s nearly time for me to share my own bucket. It’s not really fair of me to ask random strangers (or just harass my friends) for theirs without sharing my own brilliant bucket.

Life has been a little busy with a new job, but jobs should not impede any of us from filling up our bucket lists. Or sharing more bucket lists with any lovely readers out there (or more likely, just the vast blogosphere cosmos).

So let’s hang on tight for some more list goodies. They’re a-coming.

As for what’s been going on in my life since I last checked in:
– New job that has me trekking in, out, and all about our lovely Manhattan
– Multiple neurotic ‘oh-my-goodness I am an actual adult’ realizations, though my inside age is still totally a five-year-old
– Trying out the paleo diet and starting to eat like a slightly more normal human being
– Coming to terms with the fact that I am one, very strange, very peculiar, spastic Piscean cookie. And rocking it.

Love,
Gabriele