Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Nostalgia

I never realized how many memories I have tied to Utah State and Logan in general until I came back after my 18 month absence; I remember that my first week back was one continuous chain of "Oh yeah, I remember when..." moments. And I discovered something new about myself: my Cache Valley memories seem much more tied to strong emotions than my Bountiful memories. In general, anyway. Maybe because they're a little bit fresher, or maybe because I was a little bit older, or maybe just because Logan is a little less familiar, but I've found myself encountering some very unexpected sensations of latent emotion walking through campus---teary eyes, burning heart, bittersweet recollections...

What's strange is that I find myself longing for some of it again. But logically, I know I really don't want it. I want now. Maybe that's what "nostalgic" really means, anyway---an inexplicable longing for the past, a painting-over of memories with rosy hues.

I remember stopping under a yellow-leaved tree one morning behind the Geology building to write a poem before class, just because I felt like it. I sat wedged between an outdoor vent and a metal box and wrote a spontaneous poem about loss. Or as a freshman, I remember carrying around a sketchbook (the last time I've done so) to sketch the campus statues between classes, slightly encouraged that my artistic talent was not as dead as I thought. As I pass the ivy-laden wall of the University Inn, I remember the time that I stopped and watched the birds fly in and out of the leaves for 20 minutes, mesmerized, as students swiveled their necks at me and stared.

I pass locations that bring up heavier memories---breaking up with Bradford in front of Bullen Hall, walking with Carter around the Quad and talking about life after death, having a talk about "our future" with Todd in the lounge of the TSC as we watched the sun set out the window. I never realized how drenched in memories Logan was until I came back to it...and I don't know why, but it's actually HARD for me to remember things. Let me clarify that: it's not hard for me to pull up the memories...but it is emotionally hard for me to think about them again, because even my happiest memories seem to always be tinged with sadness. Maybe because I generally know the outcome of most of them.

I always thought I didn't remember much. But maybe I was just in the wrong place for remembering.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

Not a Good Month to Hold Halloween

Today I went to the gym for the first time in a month. I have been trying to convince myself that because I walk to and from campus and to and from work several times each day and don't eat a lot in general that it was okay to have large quantities of ice cream, cookies, brownies, Dove chocolates, or whatever new treat my roommates concoct whenever I did decide to eat...However, the scale apparently did not justify my decisions as well as I did (it obviously lacks the advanced justification capabilities of my brain) and I was a bit horrified to find that I've gained about 6 pounds in a month. Now, perhaps this wouldn't be so bad, except for the fact that my doctor told me about two months ago that I should LOSE ten pounds...So, using my brain's also-advanced calculation abilities, I have come to conclude that I now "should" be trying to lose 16 pounds. Boo.

I probably would have kept ignoring the problem, except for the fact that I climbed a fence yesterday. Now, for those of you who don't see the connection yet, I will explain: I was running late for class, and walking at my abnormally fast pace as usual, when I spotted a possible shortcut to class--the cemetery. So I pop in at one of the side entrances, congratulating myself for my brilliancy, and then notice (after crossing the whole length of the cemetery) that there didn't seem to be any exits. While I was searching for the quickest way out, I happened to pass by the cemetery keeper's house three times; after the third, a man in overalls walks out and asks, "Ma'am, are you lost?"

My brain processes the 'Ma'am' before anything else (wondering when I possibly could have changed from "Miss" to "Ma'am") and then finally gets around to muttering out a "No" to the rest of the question. Looking at my cell phone, I realize that class starts in 30 seconds, and there is basically just a fence between me and getting there. The kindly caretaker points out the nearest two exits (which are at opposites ends of the cemetery) and then suggests, "Ya know, if you're real brave, you could just climb the fence." I decline the offer and start walking towards the exit that will roughly put me out in the direction of my class, which is not-so-conveniently located in a trailer at the farthest end of campus (thank you, budget cuts).

When I'm out of sight of the caretaker, I spot my trailer about a block away and make a split decision: I am climbing the fence. I look left, look right, then whip my jacket off and drape it over the top of the chain-link spikes. I hoist my right foot up and attempt to wedge it into a little space about the size of a teacup. Reminding myself that this used to be easy, I eagerly try pulling myself up in one fell swoop, even though the fence is swaying dangerously under the unexpected load. Disaster: my jacket falls down (on the wrong side) and I have to come back down to throw it back over again. I am now officially late, and sweating much more than I probably should be. I make a second attempt at the fence, which starts to go much more smoothly until I realize that there's no way I'll be able to hoist myself over the final part with my backpack on. So I do an awkward grip-with-one-hand-to-the-fence-and-wrestle-the-backpack-with-the-other thing and somehow manage to send my textbook-laden bag over to the other side. And then, Voila! I jump over the fence. Well, kinda. I apparently was not as light as I remember or as easy to self-hoist, and so I only marginally missed the spikes poking up at the top with my body, but I sure got a good feel of them with my hands before I thumped down onto the ground, panting and bleeding. I was out of breath for the next five minutes and sore for the next hour or two. I knew then that something had to be done.

So today I went to the gym. I don't remember ever noticing before my belly fat jiggling as I jogged on the treadmill, or the way that my once-cute dance pants had gotten so snug that they gave me "muffin top." I have hardly ever had any body issues in my life, and all of a sudden, it was like I realized I wasn't as skinny as I used to be or as skinny as I secretly thought I was (as if the fact that I had to buy a whole new wardrobe wasn't evidence enough).

I asked Kayla jokingly as we were walking through Walmart if buying a Shape magazine would motivate me to lose the weight, and she said, "No. I think you just want an excuse to buy a magazine." Hmmph.........True.

So today I unofficially started The Diet. I talked myself out of buying steak (my favorite late-night dinner) and made myself pay the dollar extra for the lean beef. Then I cursed the world for holding Halloween in the same month that I had finally decided to try dieting for one of the first times ever.
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