Saturday, August 4, 2012

the queen is dead

Its been ages since I've done much of anything really. I have no desire to pursue any hobbies beyond reading - and then, I really just want to worry about the problems of Westeros in lieu of my own. I have no desire to paint, to clean, to get dressed in the morning or wander outside the walls of my little blue apartment. I'd be content just to sit here in my bubble, in my cage, and pretend that nothing  in the world has changed. That everything is the same. Sometimes I close my eyes and imagine I am in Stephenville again, its summer and I'm hiding away in my bedroom, or running down some jagged hill with a troupe of friends, or staring out at the ocean with eyes made of glass. Those days are gone, though. 

Its amazing how quickly people slip into and out of your life. I have made so many friends over the years, and now some fall into my acquaintance pocket, or are enemies, or have simply ceased to exist. Right now I feel like everyone I've ever known is gone and I am just left to fill up all the holes they've left. This is the loneliest time I've ever faced in my life. Which is sad and strange, because I've purged so much negativity from my life, and I am exactly where I hoped I'd be this time last year. Theres one major difference, of course.

On June 5th my very brave and beautiful mother lost a very short but fierce battle with lung cancer. Watching her slowly deteriorate over the course of that year is the hardest thing I've ever had to witness. Always a tiny woman, she dropped to a meager 80lbs, her skin was yellow and raw, and she had a look of pain on her face in the last few weeks of her life that I will never forget. In the last few weeks she was here, she was reduced to silence and suffering - strange to see, for a woman that seemed to talk and laugh almost incessantly. Some days she didn't even seem to know me - I was a stranger to her and she was almost a stranger to me. It is a strange experience, to watch the place you came from - the woman that made you, hair and cells and skin - to crumble away before your eyes. Nothing instills you with more hopelessness, nothing tears apart your spirit more. 

Its been almost two months now, and I can't say how I'm doing exactly. For the first few weeks every time I woke up and remembered that she was gone I would burst into tears. After awhile it got easier. Now its harder again, and this time I find I am kind of retreating into myself. I don't want to go anywhere or do anything or see anyone. I'd be content just sitting home playing video games and staring off into space. Wallowing in my guilt and regret, feeling sorry for myself & my family and angry at the rest of the world. 
Another facet of dealing with this is that for the first time in my young life I am confronted with my own mortality, something I thought I wouldn't face until I was gracefully middle aged. Yes I, Sierra Skinner, am going to die someday. I might get hit by a bus, or fall from the sky. I might do it willingly. I might die for months on end like my mother while my family tries to hold back tears. I might die an old woman in some nursing home, 98-years-old and surrounded by smiling nurses. However it happens, I just know for the first time in my life that I am not immortal. I am going to die. Youth is immortality, and I feel like my youth is gone forever. 

Meanwhile, what am I left with? How am I ever going to come to terms with the loss of my mother, to start living again? After all, despite being mortal I am alive for the time being, and I have put myself into a kind of stasis. I have closed my doors for the season, shut down. I don't know how to face the world feeling as I do, and I don't know how the world can accept me feeling this way. I wish it was as easy as it was at first - paint a smile on in the morning, talk about it unflinchingly, so bravely people would say. Now even thinking about my mom kills me, and the only image of her in life I can conjure up vividly is of her in a hospital bed on the last day of her life, struggling through each of her remaining breaths.

I feel completely alone, completely lost. I am drifting off to sea.


Wednesday, March 14, 2012

from the back of my head

Since I have neither the energy or the cognitive ability to write a real post, here are just some tidbits from my thought process from the last few weeks. I've been so busy that my greatest joy is just having five minutes to sit down and shut my brain off... I now understand how my cell phone must feel some days.

1. Educationally, I still have quite a path to follow. I'm going to be finished my PCA program in exactly 48 possibly delightful, probably exhausting hours from now. From there, it goes: PCA < LPN < BN... MD? We shall see where life leads me. Goddamn, would I ever love to be a doctor. I admire the level of knowledge doctors have, as well as the responsibility that goes with the role. And yes, I understand that it requires about a thousand years of school, a lot of sacrifice, money and stress. Especially the stress. After the last two months, I feel as though theres nothing I can't do. I'M INVINCIBLE.

But really, my work term has taught me a lot of really valuable things. I am going to be a great PCA, but I yearn for something a little more. I intend to climb to the top of the health care ladder, wherever that ladder may end for me.

2. Sometimes, I feel like my boyfriend can read my mind. More than you'd think. It scares me sometimes.

3. I miss reading. And writing.

4. I long for the time to actually work on real artistic projects (as moaned about in my previous entry.)

5. People make me want to burrow into the ground.

6. Bread is amazing and I want to bake some homemade bread again real soon. Sarah, care to cross a goal off your birthday list from last year? I know your new list has begun, but its never too late.

7. Its strange to me that the most important words in my life used to be big, beautiful words like "empyrean", "verisimilitude", "azure", "voluptuous", "velvet"... lush, artistic words that softly massaged the senses and hinted at some big, dreamlike thing.

Now the most important words in my life are shortened little stencil like things... V/S, qid, DNR, bip, MRSA, adb... medical abbreviations, mostly. Though I have found a lot of beauty in medical terms as well. I like big long latin names,  particularly the ones for pathogens and diseases. Words like aphasia, dyspnea, cognition, etc... these all appeal to my word-loving nature.

8. Things that most people find moving or tragic have no affect on me. I find sometimes when people tell me sad stories, I have to fake my reaction. And I don't mean things like "I got a 50% on my last exam", I mean things like "I saw this story on the news about an entire family getting killed in a plane crash". I've never understood why. Maybe its because very little surprises me anymore.

9. I'm worried that in 10 years from now, I will be an orphan. Maybe less.

10. Sometimes, I try to summon up a postcard-perfect glimpse of my life in five years from now, and I just can't do it. When people talk about the future I sort of shut down because I can't get that far ahead. I can't dream because I'm scared of the disappointment involved with dreaming. Also, I feel like my life is on such an unpredictable course right now that theres no telling where I'll end up. I don't even know what, ideally, I'd want my life to be like in 10 years. I really don't.

And that is all for tonight folks. Where is everybody's head at these days? Is it in the fog, in the clouds? Is it hiding behind the sun? Is it asleep or loud or troubled or moonlit?


Tuesday, March 6, 2012

stuck in the middle

The other day I was cleaning my perpetually messy bedroom, when I found my tiny tower of history stacked lonely in a dark corner, collecting dust. My precious notebooks. They date back to 2003, and I have dozens in different shapes, sizes, colors, materials. Each is filled with messy, tangled masses of beautiful words, thoughts, images. They exude a certain confidence that I didn't know at the time that I possessed. Reading them again I was shocked,  moved and naturally a little embarrassed (revisiting your mind at 15 is always a painful experience). I could write. I was confident that I could write. I knew my thoughts, they had patterns.  I seemed to know these patterns like maps. I was constantly inspired & moved by things, even the darkest aspects of life.

At the top of this pile, there are five notebooks. Each one is blank. Underneath this quintet of empty vessels, there is a diary that I began in 2010 and ended around this time last year. And it might as well have been written last week. My thoughts are the same - indecisive, apathetic, angry. I haven't changed a bit. My train of thought is identical. I was talking about doing things that I still haven't done yet. And still talk about doing. I don't mean big dreams like visiting Hawaii in the summertime. I mean simple achievable things like "I want to reorganize my closet and find a better job and take up cooking".

My whole life, I've been giving up on things. In fact, I'm pretty sure I've given up on everything I've ever tried. Either that, or just talktalktalked about doing something and never tried it at all. Exhibit A - notice the infrequency of my blogging, compared to the fair level of consistency it once had. I don't know why I do it, really. I adopt things for a few weeks, sometimes months, and then just slump back into being a ghost. This applies to both activities and hobbies. I bought running shoes swearing to myself that I would start jogging. I said I was going to learn Swedish. I've finished one painting in the last two years. I never study. I never write, the exception being the only two thoughts I've had for the last three years apparently: "I WANT TO BE A NURSE AND MY BRAIN IS EMPTY". The fact that I still have a job & have great marks in school absolutely astounds me. I get tired of listening to myself saying things like "I had this great idea!" or "I want to..." because I know its bullshit.

For years I've been trying to figure out what my problem is. Its been suggested that I just don't care. In remembering that in my youth I used to care about things far too much, this almost makes sense in a way - a sort of defense mechanism against disappointment, perhaps? I feel like I care a great deal about a lot of things, but maybe I'm just lying to myself. At the same time though, is it really possible to care about nothing? Or have I just changed into someone I don't want to be and I can't accept that?

I long for confidence. I long for the drive to do things, to feel satisfied about doing them. I long to stick to things when I make up my mind to do them. I long for the ability to make decisions, to argue, to know that I'm making the right decision. I long to be present, to be somebody, to be remembered. I honestly feel like a ghost and I can't live with it. But how do I fulfill these longings?

Is this just part of growing up, or is something wrong with me?


Wednesday, February 15, 2012

stare into the sun

I am still among the land of the living, to those that have been curious. I also now have the internet, which means my life has leveled up! I am making a return to blogging as of now, though I'm not quite sure what sort of direction I want to take my blog in now. I'd like to do start doing more artistic, crafty things. I have a scanner now, so I guess thats another point on my technology card (and a cellphone? are you kidding me?) We shall see how events unfold! 

The last few months, I have been struggling. My life has been nothing but school work school work school work. Doing the exact same thing everyday for months on end wears on the spirit. In addition to this, my mother is sick. I am missing all my friends who have flown off to the edges of the world like crazy. I even miss my friends that live in town that I rarely see. 

And winter is cold and white and lonely. This time of year, my brain dies and shrivels to dust. It will bloom again when the flowers do. Its the hardest thing of all to deal with, simply because its like a magnifying glass for all the other awful things that are happening in my life. If I wasn't doomed to spend 5 months of every year being depressed and cynical and angry I might be able to cope with all the other stuff life tosses my way a bit better. 

Anyways, that is all for now friends. Just wanted to say I am here, I am alive. And there will be more words soon. Always more words.


Friday, September 30, 2011

my frantic life

I felt like I had to follow up my last very pessimistic blog post with some happier words. Truth is, I am having the hardest time I've ever had stress-wise and financially, but there are so many little moments of happiness thrown in amongst the hardship that it makes it a little bit easier. I've come to terms with the fact that this is going to be a very poor semester for me. And that I am very rarely going to see my friends throughout it. But in the end, I feel like I am working towards something for the first time in my life AND IT MAKES ME FEEL SO GOOD.

So far, my PCA course is going great. I am learning a lot, and my instructor is hilarious, very straight forward, has awesome (frightening) stories and dispenses amazing advice. I've only had a week of class so far and I've already learned crazy amounts. My first test was this afternoon, and I've never had an easier time with a test in my life. I flew through it and there was only one question I even momentarily hesitated on. I guess being genuinely interested and excited helps with the studying. Also - my classmates? Love them. I have so many smoking buddies, and they're all so sweet and nice. You can just tell that we're all going to be a little family by the end of it. Makes me less nervous about the group work, for sure. 

As for my life outside school, I don't have much of one at present. Still volunteering at Planned Parenthood once a week. Still working roughly 26 hours or so a week. Work is oddly a nice rest from school, where I have to be all professional-like and watch my mouth - at work, I can curse up a blue streak and act as silly as I want. I had a fun adventure with friends before the havoc of school got into full swing which was nice - hiding in the park behind my house eating 2 pizzas and 2 garlic fingers in under 10 minutes? We be class acts. It was lovely. 

One great set of tips our instructor has given us so far was about time management - particularly, that saying "no" to people is hard but sometimes you just have to do it if you want to get anything done or have any time to yourself. This is truth. I am the worst person in the world at this, as I feel guilty saying "no" to anybody, but its something I have been trying to start doing already. That, and trying to go to bed early. Lifestyle makeover, much. 'tis a hard thing for a lazy procrastinating girl so set in her ways. 

Tonight: six hours of work, and then coming home to drink beers and watch The Muppets with the boyfriend before wonderful, wonderful sleep. Despite the fact that I will be working for almost 21 hours of it, I am going to try and enjoy this weekend as much as humanly possible.


Friday, September 23, 2011

the adults are coming! the adults are coming!

Monday I am starting my PCA program, and I am nervous. My class is very small, maybe twenty people. Many of them are older than me. Many of them have kids. Many of them seem a bit snobby and uptight, and I don't know how I'll ever be able to relate to them. I'm a weird duck. I have the hardest time connecting to other people, and I wish I didn't. 

Its partly that I'm shy. And its partly that I just don't care about people. I'm too awkward to start a conversation with someone, but as soon as I muster up the courage to do so they start talking about their car payments or bitching about daycare and I regret opening my mouth. I just smile and nod. Just once I'd love to strike up a conversation with somebody random and have them tell me a good story, or something funny. Most people just like having somebody to complain to, complained Sierra Skinner to the digital world. 

Also: I am scared because these people are adults. I am barely an adult. I am very childlike in many ways, and I never realize how naive or inexperienced I am until I get put into a room full of adults. I don't have a car, or a house. I've never had a real job before. I don't have a husband or children. I just move from day to day - cannot relate to anything there. And I find a lot of adults just pity you because you're not "there" in life yet. My sister and her friends still talk to me like a baby sister, because they feel bad that I'm not "there".  And so I shut up like a clam because I feel like a big insignificant baby.

I'm sure it'll be alright though, in the end. I just want to do well in my program, get good placement reviews and rock my way down to Eastern Health. I'm hoping I'll be making the big bucks by this time next year. The thought of $18-20 an hour plus 60 hour weeks and having all kinds of time off makes me drool all over myself, really. If being an adult means having a comfortable wage and a good job, then fuck you Neverland, I'm out of here. Er, well...

Of course, I am terrified of the future. Is this the right path for me? Will I be happy? Will I regret not taking one of the other thousand roads before me, and will it be too late to turn back if I change my mind? Growing up is scary, really. Just gotta take it as it comes, I guess and not worry too much about the who and the how and why and the where of things. Thats what makes people stress out and go crazy. Life is good for now, very good. I shall worry about the bad stuff when it gets here.

For now, I leave you with The New Pornographers, because I cannot stop listening to them ever.


Monday, September 19, 2011

look closer

Dave and I are the silliest little science kids ever. While he leans moreso towards dealings with chemistry and electricity I am - as you well know - all about the life sciences. I heart biology and medicine. I like the way giant latin names sound rolling around on my tongue. I like looking at plants, or body parts, or anything and being able to dissect them with my eyes - knowing what each part is by name and what its function is. Its a joy. A sweet, nerdy joy.

So I pretty much turned into a squealy schoolgirl when I came home from work the other night and found this beauty sitting on my coffeetable, with a very enthusiastic "EARLY BIRTHDAY PRESENT!" written on top of its packaging: 

(Picture not taken by myself, of course.) Okay, so its from 1993. Parts were missing from the kit, and it only goes up to 80X magnification but STILL. I love looking at things under a microscope, but it always hurts my eyes after awhile - now it doesn't have to! I can just look at a screen! The microscopic world is so fascinating. Its just incredible seeing the individual building blocks that make up life. Being able to see things on a cellular level is such a different experience. Whenever I used to look through microscopes in bio lab, I'd always look up  from whatever I was staring at avidly and have a moment of surprise when everything just looked stationary and concrete.

To show the beauty of magnification:

A rose.

Rose petal cells. Do they not look like an abstract painting? 

So my goal for this little present is pretty much just to get the most enjoyment I can possible get from it. I'm going to be making slides of pretty much anything, so watch out for your hair and fingernails, friends. Everything is prey to the MICROSCOPE. The whole world shall be going on my slides. Also, I might get into doing some drawings again too - trying to follow the exact rules of specimen drawing, of course, which I forget. I wish I hadn't tossed out my old lab manuals. Sigh.


Thursday, September 15, 2011

prot├Ęge moi

I've noticed that lately, my musical choices have been extremely nostalgic ones. I've been drifting back to bands and songs I listened to in high school, and its like stepping into a time machine, and its all just beautiful images without all the weight and tired trembling.

Its amazing how much emotion and memory music can evoke. The way lilac bushes smelt on a particular damp morning - walking home alone in red heels on a summer morning - the sound of the ocean surging, just as the sky is starting to wake up. I just close my eyes and I'm there, in tiny pictures between the notes of songs. Music is really the best way to climb into the past. Music sort of plants its roots in me most when I'm on a walk, on a mission, alone with my thoughts, so many of my best musical memories concern walking - to something, away from something, smiling, in tears, just walking for the sake of it, walking because I'm too drunk to go home just yet. 

Everything changes, doesn't it? I wonder what my soundtrack for this particular year of my life will be. I guess we'll have to wait and see.


Wednesday, August 31, 2011

my little cavern

Hello! Its been awhile since I've blogged, forgive me. The last few weeks have been an epic whirlwind of fun. I had an amazing journey with my lovely Sarah, filled with amazing food, tasty drinks (jellyshots & homemade berry wine = love), hilarious television, smoking galore and many, many outbursts of song. Oh, my sweet Sarah. I can't even put it into words. I didn't stop smiling. I ever so needed to get away from the city for some R&R and it was truly that. If the blueberries had been ripe, it would've been almost too perfect. Trust me, we looked (in our PJs). Best vacation ever.

Since I've been back, I've been mostly working, but I've had time for a few adventures. David and I embarked on a sunny, early morning adventure for breakfast and Johnson Geo Centre times. The Geo Centre is like, a museum devoted to... scientific history, one might say? There are exhibits about human evolution, space technology, the planets, oil, genetics (and the Titanic, but that gets a bit old after seeing it three times for me, really... though I love the old furniture). As you can imagine, we pretty much died of happiness. I was especially awe-struck by this:

This, my friends, is an Amethyst geode, and its pretty much the most beautiful thing I've ever seen. They had big enough for me to put my hand in at the Geo Centre, and it made me ache with sparkly purple love. They had one in the gift shop actually, but sadly it was $300. Someday! We also came across these adorable little buggers there:

OH MY GOD THEY'RE MICROBES. They had so many cute ones there, which were also mostly pathogenic! Yes, yes, their gift shop is kind of nerd heaven.  our day also featured apple walnut french toast, coffee,  strolling in the sunshine, yard sales, odd encounters and lots of giggles. It was pretty much magical. The boy is gone to Stephenville now, so I have my whole apartment to myself. I cleaned the entire house from top to bottom, and have been spending lots of time bonding with my bedroom - right now I have nice lighting, comfy clothes, candles, incense, the smell of clean sheets and music. I couldn't be more relaxed.

I must head to the land of dreams, sadly, friends. Overnight inventory with my boss tomorrow night, which should be a treat. Also tales of graveyard adventures, painting and desserts. There is love.


Wednesday, August 17, 2011

somebody cure the skies

Today has been rather wonderful so far, despite the fact that it began for me at 7am. Or perhaps its so lovely because it began at 7am. I woke up to kisses and coffee and sunshine, and took the bus downtown to Water Street West to get the last part of my TB skin test, a tetanus shot and some forms signed by the oh-so-sweet nurse Stacy. I love that particular part of downtown so much, and its a shame that I never go there. I still haven't been to the train museum, and I can never seem to get down there when the antique shops are open, but I want to explore both in the near future!

Afterwards, I decided to treat myself to a good breakfast, it being 9am by this point, and my belly still empty. So I dove into Atlantic Place, picked up this month's issue of Wired (James Franco. IUDs. Medical ethics. This issue was more or less made for me!) and went to Cora's, where I had some delicious combination of cottage cheese, a poached egg, toast and of course DELICIOUS FRUIT. It bore the oh-so-cute title of "Peggy's Poached". I was looking for something light and delicious without any grease, and it was pretty much perfection. 

It pretty much looked exactly like that, except with more nectarines! MMMM NECTARINES <3

One thing that - well, I can't say "bothered" exactly, since nothing could cramp my style today, really - but amused me, I guess, was the INSANE weather. When I left my house this morning, I wore shorts and a t-shirt. It was 22 degrees and sunny out. When I left Cora's, it was pouring outside - like the sky had basically just ripped open and flooded the streets. You know the sort of rain where you stand outside for under a minute and you're drenched to the skin. This went on for about an hour or so. By the time I got halfway home on the bus, the sun was crawling out from behind the clouds again and the sky was blue. Its been raining on and off since, really. So weird. St. John's, your skies are ill and confused.

I've spent my time home watching Weeds and doing laundry. I have also enveloped a special special to be mailed to Ms. Jarl very soon! I had funny times at the Post Office buying the envelope, they are so nice there! 

So all and all, I had a good day. This is what you do when you have a silly schedule and the weather is schizophrenic - keep a smile on and make the best of it. It was really a beautiful day. 

What's your favorite thing to do alone on a summer's day? 


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

from the top of the mountain

I just finished reading Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine's book "Last Chance to See" (for the second time in life) and I am so depressed now. The book is a collection of tales about their travels around the world to look for endangered species, and is essentially about what humans can do to help protect and save these beautiful creatures. If any of you have ever read Adams' "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" series, you know what a hysterically funny guy he is. The book is filled with the same kind of humor, except picture Douglas Adams himself, say, in China drawing pictures of condoms for baffled store clerks because him and the crew need them to cover a microphone with so they record underwater noise. 

What makes me really sad is the fact that since the book's publication - in the late 80s, early 90s - some of the species they went to look for in the book have actually gone extinct. Like the Baiji river dolphin, which is what they went to China to find. The dolphins were almost entirely blind, since they lived in very murky waters anyways and relied almost entirely on echolocation. But, because the river became filled with traffic from boats and hence a whole lot of noise, the dolphins echolocation wasn't so useful anymore and they started getting killed by boats. And getting caught in nets. And often eaten. Sigh. As of 2006 - almost 6 years ago - apparently they have gone entirely extinct.

Then theres the mountain gorillas - oh, the poor mountain gorillas! While they aren't extinct, as of last year there was only thought to be around 800 of them. Which may seem like a lot, but that number is probably dwindling as I type this. They live in Africa, which is not the easiest environment to live in considering its extremely hot and incredible war torn. They are being poached and their habitats are being destroyed. Also, because they share so much of our DNA, they are susceptible to many human illnesses. They are beautiful, curious, sociable animals. Douglas mentions in his book how he was sitting near one, writing something on a notepad when the gorilla came over and touched his pen and paper. Not to take it, just to see what it was and to see what it felt like. 

Sigh, I want to sit with gorillas just once before I die. It seems like such a beautiful experience. So strange to be around creatures that are so like us and yet so very different. Hopefully, somehow, they'll be around for a long time to come. I want to live in a world where there are still lions and tigers and gorillas and elephants and whales when I'm a little old lady!

I'm done with my rant for today. Save the animals, friends. Save the animals!


Friday, August 5, 2011

skin and bones

I barely feel like I'm in school anymore! Well, as of yesterday I'm not I guess. But despite the fact that I had an incredibly lazy academic summer post-intersession, I still have that stupid stressful school ache at the back of my head. You all know the one. So its exciting to know that I have a bit more time to myself.

I need novels to read. And good ones. People, please make suggestions! <3

Since I made my lovely book purchases yesterday, I've more or less decided that a scientific reading binge is in order again - I go on one every so often. So I will probably be reading (and re-reading) some of the classic ones I have lying around: my new acquisitions "Gray's Anatomy" and "College Zoology", as well as "The Third Chimpanzee" by Jared Diamond, and I've also had a copy of "The Origin of Species" by Charles Darwin forever and haven't started it yet. When did I become so illiterate? I started re-reading "Last Chance to See" by Douglas Adams and Mark Carwardine today and I am dying, really. Its one of the funniest books in existence, and also one of the most interesting. Douglas Adams was so cool, sigh. If you like his "Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy" books you'd pretty much fall in love with this: think the exact same kind of humor, but him trekking through the jungle with people and having no idea what's going on and looking for komodo dragons and fat birds and things. So wonderous.

Other books I have a hankering to read:

... its better if you just don't question it. I am really sad about this summer, I feel like its senseless to even keep hoping for consistently nice weather, so I guess I have to enjoy the rain before the snow comes? Damn you, Newfoundland. I am going to make the rest of it count just as much as it would if it were 30 degrees everyday and all my friends just wanted to hit the beach and get ice cream every waking moment of their lives. I'll just do it with sweaters and jackets and good books and hot drinks instead.