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After feeling deeply uninspired the whole day by the Writing 101 (one-word inspirations) prompt as well as everything else I had ultimately accepted my fate of failure. Only 3 days into November and I would fail my “blog-a-thon”. Just. Three. Days. So of course feeling defeated and still very uninspired to do anything I turned to one of my sweetest escapes, music.

Music is something that has always been a constant in my life, and although I am not the most musically inclined person, I am completely infatuated with all the ways it makes me feel. It makes me feel alive. It makes me feel in love and angry and heartbroken and endlessly happy all at the same time.  Music puts meaning into the meaningless, makes the ugly almost beautiful and it makes feelings become tangible and real. And so as I thought one last time about the one-word inspirations listed, I thought of the third. Home. And as I thought of home I thought of one more word. Music.

I hope to integrate music into many aspects of this blog, and I knew a playlist would make its debut sooner or later. Here are some songs that make me feel at home.

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(These Are a Few of) My Favorite Things

Today’s Writing 101 prompt is to make a list. Although I wasn’t initially planning on following the prompt this morning I decided to take a page out Maria von Trapp’s book a la The Sound of Music, and list a few of my favorite things (and then some not-so-favorites).

The Favorites:
1.Handwritten letters (and getting them in the mail)
2. Museums! Especially ones with dinosaur skeletons
3. Japanese 3-D stickers
4. Going to concerts
5. Looking at really expensive mansions online during our house hunt
6. Stationary and school supplies
7. National Parks
8. Going to the movies just so I have an opportunity to wear that sweater I really like
9. Pastel colored anything
10. Broadway Musical soundtracks
11. Milkshakes and fries. Together.
12. Flawlessly executing Busta Rhymes’ verse in Look at Me Now
13. Watching old Hollywood musicals and eating brownie batter with my grandmother
14. Pet names that include puns
15. Long layovers and airports
The Not-So-Favorites:
1. Burnt marshmallows
2. Those sad Humane Society commercials
3. Broken slippers (you probably call them flip-flops)
4. Waiting in lines
5. Warm beverages- unless of course they are hot beverages
6. People don’t use turn signals
7. When pages of a magazine get folded or crushed
8. Cockroaches
9. Not finishing a book before it’s due at the library
10. Clothing you really like that is too expensive even on sale
11. When my calculator is out of battery
12. Running out of tissues
13. People who call and don’t leave a message
14. Cats that hiss at you for no reason
15. Different colored playdoh that is mixed together

Why I Write

My short response in the form of a haiku:

the words from my pen

are ones I cannot say but

have always longed to 

My short response in the form of a quote:

“Why does one begin to write? Because she feels misunderstood, I guess. Because it never comes out clearly enough when she tries to speak. Because she wants to rephrase the world, to take it in and give it back again differently, so that everything is used and nothing is lost. Because it’s something to do to pass the time until she is old enough to experience the things she writes about.” – Nicole Krauss

My long response:

Why do I write? The earliest memory I have of me falling in love with writing was in 1st grade when our assignment was to create an 8 page water color picture book about an animal. I, naturally, chose a pig who didn’t want to become bacon and started a revolution on his farm which he transformed into a nightclub for animals who didn’t want to be eaten (I later found out the first part was practically a retelling of Animal Farm by George Orwell. This was the first time I was proud when I was told “Great minds think alike”). The only problem with my story was that it could not be contained to only 8 pages of single dotted lined sentences and so I created the longest ever water color picture book in the First Grade of Fort Washington Elementary School. I wrote (and very poorly illustrated) 82 pages over the course of 5 weeks of missed recessed until at last my pig had the most bumpin’ nightclub in all of Indiana. (Don’t worry, I am looking for the remnants of this masterpiece when I head back to where all my old school files are stored)

I tell you this story because when I first thought about the question ‘Why do you write?’ my immediate answer was narcissism, which technically is true but probably shouldn’t have been. Writing was the first I thing I liked to do that I didn’t totally suck at. Before totally immersing myself into writing I tried everything else. Literally. I was in 4 dance troupes because I wanted to be a dancer, when that didn’t come easily I joined musical theater. I thought that I just had to be good at musical theater because of the amount of time I spent watching musicals with my grandmother. ERRRR. Wrong again. I tried drawing and baking and soccer and softball and painting and even math until I realized that everything I enjoyed doing, everything I thought I could have making a living out, everything all my friends were good at, I totally sucked at.

My final option for me was reading. I was good at reading, I mean everyone at my school was, we had a great education but I couldn’t make a living off reading, right? I immersed myself in books, I was reading three grade levels above me by second grade and I could name every single Lemony Snicket book in order. (There’s 13 of them, that was a big feat for a 9 year old). I never even considered writing as a career, it was just a subject I was good at in school, until the 6th grade when I took Language Arts with Mrs. Meyers.

The funny thing is that my first encounter with Mrs. Meyers wasn’t on the first day of school in the daunting classroom in the Middle School left wing. No, instead Mrs. Meyers had been a constant in my life since many years before. She went to high school with my mother and her kids were in Sunday School with me. I had frequented her house many times before and I called her husband by his first name, Rich. It’s funny now, looking back at it, I had no idea the amount of inspiration and faith she would instill in me as a clueless 11 year old. She was the first (besides my family) to tell me I had a business writing, and that I did it well. I still have my journal from that year, I look at her comments even now when I get discouraged. I write because some one took a chance on me 5 years ago and said “Hey, you’re good at this. This makes you happy. Don’t ever stop, okay?”. And everything was great, until I moved. The summer after 6th grade but before 7th.

I am home-schooled. I obviously wasn’t before, all the way through middle school, but I am now. What is the reason some one usually home schools? I wouldn’t know. I hadn’t known a single homeschooler before I started on my own. But the reason I am home-schooled is also the reason that I write. Before I was home-schooled and after the year in Mrs. Meyers’ class I went to a private, International Baccalaureate school here in Hawaii. School was fine, I got good grades, I had nice friends and I didn’t dread waking up every day. But that was before I developed anxiety. There are multiple ways you could categorize my life one being, BM and AM (Before Move and After Move), the other being BA and AA (Before Anxiety and After Anxiety). Although I am aware that my anxiety had always been present I can pinpoint the exact moment when it became Anxiety with a capital A and began severely interfering with my life.

It was the second quarter of English class in 7th grade. My favorite subject, English and my favorite teacher, Miss. Baxter (She got married when I was in 8th grade so I guess now she is a Ms.). We had an assignment to write a poem about something so I wrote mine about Disney movies, it was easy and fun and I had no problems. We were told the day before we had to read it aloud and I was fine with that like I always was. I never had trouble speaking in front of people. And then it was my turn. I stood up there and everyone looked at me and I remember smiling, excited to read my poem because it had some funny parts that I knew my classmates would laugh at. And then IT happened. All of the sudden there was this tightening feeling in my chest and my stomach did a flip flop and I couldn’t open my mouth. It was like there was a string attached to my tear valve (or wherever your tears come from) and if I were to say anything I would burst and the floodgates would be open. I ran out of the room, Ms. Baxter and my best friend right behind me and there was this horrible noise that came up from my throat and I sobbing started. It wasn’t the type of tears triggered from an emotional movie but rather those ugly fat ones that come with that nasty sobbing noise that sounds halfway between a cow and a screeching monkey. I didn’t know what was happening, I was so confused and I was crying because I was confused and embarrassed and because I couldn’t stop crying.

For the next three years my anxiety or what I had initially labeled as “Stage Fright” crippled my every move. (I no longer call it stage fright because I do not experience when I am on stage in drama class. That is the only time I don’t experience it. Weird, huh?). I would have trouble answering simple question from then on in class, my cheeks would get hot and my eyes would tear up. I’d get that tight chest feeling and stomach flip-flop every time I thought we were going to be late which caused me to cry. Every time I had to do a report I would hype myself up only to be talking between sobs before I even finished the first sentence. It was something that could only be conquered by facing it head on and so my legacy was crying in every single Humanities class, every single day because that was the only class I was absolutely required to speak (and I had a lot to say). It’s funny though, how my mind would be clear and I knew exactly what I wanted to say even between sniffles and cries. It was getting better though and that’s what mattered.

9th grade. My last year in “traditional” school. I had come to terms with my anxiety and let it play out as it never failed to do. But by the second semester with all my work piling up, trying to overcome this demon became to much. When I first started having these speaking troubles I had become acquainted with depression and the ugly things it brings along with it. Well, in 9th grade that old fiend came back and it was worse than ever. I lost all motivation and I was endlessly tired. I couldn’t sleep and when I managed to get a little shut eye it was because my eyes became too heavy with tears to keep themselves open. All the positive energy that I put towards overcoming my anxiety instantly disappeared and I was stuck with my thoughts and the words I wanted so badly to say. Even if it was just a simple “I think this…” or “I’m doing well today because…” or “The latissimus dorsi is located…” I could no longer manage it. I was drained of my energy and willingness and so I eventually stopped trying because it was just too hard.

I am not homeschooled because I gave up. Homeschooling allowed me to open up and grow on my own terms, it has been so beneficial in dealing with my anxiety among other things. I am homeschooled because the community I was in was not beneficial for me or the disorder I was struggling with. I am homeschooled because I could not stand having to be silent when I had so much to say. I am homeschooled because I have words spilling out of my brain leaving in trains and planes and busload that I finally feel comfortable letting out.

I write because the community I was in was not beneficial for me or the disorder I was struggling with. I write because I can not stand having to be silent when I have so much to say. I write because I have words spilling out of my brain leaving in trains and planes and bus loads that I finally feel comfortable letting out.

I write because I am.

Savannah x

“I am. I think. I will.” – Ayn Rand

(This post is in response to Blogging University’s Writing 101 Day 1 prompt)

Better Late Than Never, Right?

Don’t worry I didn’t forget you. Well… almost. There’s exactly 45 minutes until my clock strikes midnight and it will be November 2nd, but I think I can make it. This morning I woke up with a killer headache after only 3 hours of sleep (it was Halloween, can you blame me?) and headed off to work. I spent the rest of my morning covered in glitter while trying to explain to my preschoolers that not every story in the Bible is about Jesus (they don’t agree). My parents stayed true to our recent Sunday routine:

7AM: Drop Savannah (that’s me) off for work

1PM: Wait for Savannah to get off work

1:15: Argue about what we are going to eat for lunch

1:20: Realize we can’t agree on anything

1:25: Drop Savannah at home

1:30: Parents visit every single open house on the island

Savannah takes a nap

5PM: Parents come home with food

Savannah eats said food

8PM: Savannah realizes she didn’t do her debate homework

11PM Savannah is still working on her debate homework because she hates it

Which bring us to where we are now 11:30, Savannah opens email and realizes she did not post today like she promised. . Although, today’s post did not/is not going as planned, I am so excited about this Blogging University seeing as I got the emails when the east coast clock struck midnight and they sent out the prompts. I’ve spent the past hour reading through other bloggers first posts and am feeling wonderfully inspired so I decided that since I am signed up for both Writing 101 and Blogging 101 I will use the Blogging prompt today and save the Writing prompt for tomorrow and so it goes…

WHO I AM AND WHY I AM HERE

This will be more of a who I am than a why I am here mostly because I will address the latter more tomorrow with the Writing Prompt as well as the fact that I’m purely running on fumes right now. I’ve never done a formal introduction anywhere on this blog including the about me so I will start off with the boring basics.

My name is Savannah, and I am only 16 years old so please keep that in mind when my posts are not to the mind altering likeness to that of Dostoevsky or a Bronte sister. I live in Hawaii and am not scared to share that information because 1. I will mention a lot the fact I live on an island and 2. because I know at least four other Savannahs living here as well. My favorite color is pink which I denied all the way up to 9th grade when I finally realized that favorite color is not a merit of one’s worth and also eff gender roles.

85% of the books I own are memoirs and 100% of those were bought at the local library bookshop for only 50 cents. Half of my favorite movies are Sci-Fi but then again my favorite movie list changes from one all time favorite (Alien) to ‘Here is every single movie I can name off the top of my head and smiled at least once during’. My dream vacation will always be Disney World and I firmly stand with the belief that Disney Princesses are 100% beneficial in a young (or old) girl’s life. There will probably be an essay coming on that soon. I change my future occupation at least three times a day and I cry when I have to think about college and/or the decisions I will have to make in the next two years of my life. I already have names picked out for my dogs that I will own one day (it will happen) and I already have two cats, one of which is named after Janet Jackson and the other after a very emotional movie.

I cry. A lot. And I hate that I cry a lot and I cry because I cry a lot but I also laugh a lot, and yell a lot and smile a lot. There’s a lot of things I do and a lot of things I don’t. I do cry watching High School Musical, I don’t cry at weddings. I do like watching shark week, I don’t like swimming during shark week. Do you see the pattern? It’s hard for me to write about myself because a. I keep watching the clock and I only have three minutes to post and b. because there’s not a lot to say about me that’s very ‘WOW’ and ‘COOL’ but there is a bunch to say about me that is very ‘Um, ok.’ and ‘cool’ with a lower case c which doesn’t help me very much.

I know I am going to revisit this tomorrow and not be impressed with what I wrote but as Ernest Hemingway says “Write drunk. Edit Sober.”

(Don’t worry though, this is a metaphorical drunk. Drunk as in “It is 11:59 and I have one minute to post and my words aren’t coming out properly and my thoughts incoherent and it would not be safe for me to drive right now”.)

Happy Reading!

Savannah x

NaNoBlogMo? Blogging University?

Whoa, It’s been a while. Well, if you count almost 10 months just “a while”. This would usually be the part where I fake formalities and ask you questions about how you’re doing as if you’ll respond, and then I explain why I’ve been gone for so long and blah, blah, blah. Truth is, I do not have a single good reason why I never posted after that initial first post. Sue me. The thing is that when I had written that post I was going through a lot of emotions (if you read it then you would know) and had to release all the words racing through my mind that were tripping over each other, subsequently causing a minor mental break down.

No worries though my dear readers, because I have come back and boy am I (feeling) better than ever! After realizing that I hated those hand cramps you get from journaling and that blogging offers much more variety and option I decided to come back to this Pepto Bismol colored online space! The only problem; What the heck am I supposed to write about! Do I just stick with my original plan of writing from inspiration (we all know how that worked out)? Or do I set a schedule and figure it out as I go? Alas, an angel came to me one night while I was sleeping, disguised as an email notification on my phone, and sent me one word- well actually plenty of words but just one that was of use to me, NaNoWriMo.

Now here’s the thing for those of you who know NaNoWriMo you’re probably thinking ‘Uh. Does she know that it’s for writing a novel not blogging’ and for those who don’t your thoughts are most likely ‘Why is she using an onomatopoeia created for DC Comics’ superheroes?’. And so I shall explain to you this ________ (insert highly positive and affirming word here) idea! NaNoWriMo stands for National Novel Writing Month which is an event where people from all over the world connect digitally to write their own 50,000 word novel. The idea here is that you should establish a goal and work EVERY DAY towards achieving that goal. Notice how I capitalized ‘every day’? You did? Good. I did that because what I decided was to do a NaNoBlogMo!!!

Yes, I understand that with the placement of Blog where it is it would stand for National Novel Blogging Mo which doesn’t make sense, but I just really wanted a cool acronym to use while I did this, ok? My idea is that I would just marathon blog and post something everyday. It doesn’t matter the content (as long as it’s good of course) but it would encourage me to start a steady consistency so that when November was over I could either continue with it if I pleased or I would just be in the right mind set to stay consistent when I blogged. TA DA! Welcome to the brilliant mind of me/my want to actually do something with this quite nice URL of mine.

“So Savannah… if this starts in November why are you telling us now, couldn’t you have just waited until the first?” Great question, imaginary audience member made up in my mind so I can address the next point! Notice how in the title it also says ‘Blogging University‘? Well, as I was setting up this blog and becoming more active in the blogging-verse I discovered that WordPress was hosting classes to help amateur bloggers (like moi) get their running start… FOR FREE! Naturally, I signed up right away without even checking the details but it turns out that BU (Blogging University) will give prompts everyday of November through the 27th and other tips and tricks for good quality posts and a nice aesthetically pleasing blog! Hoorah! Now instead of me having to decide what to write about everyday, I’ll have some very generous help from my good ol’ pals at WordPress.

Before I go I though, I would just like to recap for you what I had stated in the previous 5 paragraphs in case you missed anything or were to lazy to actually read it all. Pretty much, I am going to be posting every single day of November! Wow, how easy was that? Also I decided that amongst my rambling and sometimes incoherent thoughts I would also love to post book reviews, playlists/music recommendations, and maybe even some DIYS or other middle class, suburban mom shiz. Who knows? There is a world of possibilities and I’ve decided I want to explore them all!

If I don’t write until November 1st, I wish you all the very best! I can’t wait to write again, cheers to November and everything in store!

(And also to the rest of October, I mean HALLOWEEN?! Can’t get much better than that).

Happy Reading!

Savannah x

9:07

It’s currently 9:07 on a Friday night and while many of my friends are just beginning their night mine seems to have been dragging on for the past few hours. In my mind I’m debating whether I should just retire back to my bed now or spend just a couple more minutes browsing through my various go-to procrastination sites (i.e tumblr, youtube, my junk mail). But about an hour ago a wave of intense wave of nostalgia hit me. I found myself staring at a stunning view of New York from some person’s hotel room and in less than 39 seconds the browser had switched from tumblr to my cousin’s old wordpress.

This past winter break I got to fly to the east coast and spend two weeks in NYC and Philly with the people I love most (my cousins Paul and Mikayla, my grandmother and my best friend Tai). Not having been back for 5 years I had to spend every second appreciating the breath taking city of New York and the opportunities I had while exploring it. Paul had been living in Spain while I’ve been in Hawaii and had recently moved back to America where he now works in DC, but his mom and dad are still in Philadelphia so he spent the holidays at home. We took the train up along with my cousin Mikayla (who lives in St. Louis) from Philly and spent three days cousin-ly bonding and huddling for warmth. Those few days in the big apple were probably my favorite of 2014, just thinking about it makes my heart pitter patter, so when I saw that random picture of New York on tumblr I instantly started missing my stay there and immense happiness it brought in my life, being there with Mikayla and Paul.

Paul is one of the most influential people in my life. He has this extraordinary talent for knowing what he wants to do with his life and going out and making it happen. In the past, maybe 7 years of his life he’s become a world class traveler, pro photographer and airport connoisseur. I was lucky enough to be able to have him close to me for the first 10 years of my life but in 2011 everything changed, and we found ourselves headed in two totally different directions. He moved to Spain to teach kindergartners English and I moved to Hawaii where (unfortuantely) my depression heightened and my anxiety started taking over my life. While Paul was in love and in Europe I was in this deep pit I didn’t think I was strong (or tall) enough to climb out of.

Bringing it back to present time, I was just about to exit out of the word press when I couldn’t help my self from scrolling down just a little bit more. All of the sudden my glasses became foggy and my cheeks hot. Not being able to stop the tears from falling I expanded the post addressed to me and I laughed. The post was a simple question to 11 year old me from Paul about how many continents there are in the world (apparently Spain doesn’t really know what’s going on) but what made me cry (for the first time in months) was his reply to my answer of 7. A simple I love you. (Well, not as simple as that it was all in caps with many exclamation points).

Now, this post seems crazy irrelevant and all over the place (I know, I don’t think I ever finished a single thought), but this little blast to the past, reminiscent party has obviously affected me a lot. And I have finally come to the conclusion why (which is the reason I wrote this in the first place). The first reason I’ve decided is because I want to lead a life like his. Now that doesn’t necessarily mean moving to Spain and teaching children but rather, I want to live a no holds barred, its my life kind of life. The type where your happiness is the number one priority, not income or money (that can be third or fourth) and family is the second. I want to be able to say ‘hey I want to go to South America’ and the next week I’m on a plane headed to Argentina. And to have friends all over so where ever you go its a family reunion (and you don’t have to worry about booking a hotel). I want to be able to live my life and use my gifts like he has, I want to be able to impact and inspire people and make them smile.

Secondly, going through Paul’s blog inspired me to finally start my own. My loves for words and writing and sharing is what got me interested in blogs but I could never get that push to start my own (unless you count the one I made in 6th grade that has a single post with three sentences on how awesome I am). Blogging, for me is a way to not only improve my writing skills but also to inspire and reach out to others, kind of like how Paul’s did for me. I hope now that I have posted my first post that the rest will come easy (and more often).

Finally, what this roller coaster of the past hour and a half has brought me is a new sense of love. Love for Paul, of course but more than that love for my life (and well…me). I’ve spent too much time hating my self, and this world. Hating where I live, how I look, even my friends. I looked at life so negatively and though I’ve tried not to its become a constant problem in my life. Recently though, I’ve become more accepting of who I am and who I want to be. I’ve recognized my faults and imperfections and instead of trying to correct them completely I’ve learned to accept them and turn them into something good. If I want to lead a life I love, I’ve got learn to love my life how it already is first and love the person whose leading it.