Tuesday, July 04, 2006

a verse, and a verse, and refrain

Hi, reader. Happy Independence Day.

Some of you out there already know why the Fourth of July is so important to me, but for the rest of you, a bit of background might be in order. Fifteen years ago today I had a pretty terrible bike accident that resulted in three broken limbs, including a fractured growth plate above my left knee that stopped growing. Ten years ago this summer, I had a corrective lengthening device placed on my left leg to try to regain some of my lost growth. It wasn’t entirely successful, so I’m still a little uneven. I compensate for it fairly well, though every now and again someone will ask me why I’m limping when the truth of the matter is that I didn’t even notice that I was. I wrote a really great message on the 10-year anniversary of my accident, and re-reading it, I can’t help but feel that the me of five years ago was a little more put together than the me of today.

To be fair, in July 2001 the tragedies of September 11 were still two months away—the biggest crises in my life were my lengthy German assignments for summer school class and spotty dial-up internet access in my sublet. I had Future Plans and Post-College Aspirations, but I still had plenty of time in which to sort things out. Heck, I wasn’t even 20 years old yet. Now, at not-quite-25, I have OCI bids to evaluate and rank, my entire future career to sort out (to some short-term extent, at least), and a procrastinatory streak a mile wide to fight in getting all of this done. My 19-year-old self was SO convinced that she could do absolutely anything she set her mind to. My 24-year-old self is not so persuaded, as some things (standardized test scores, assigned professors, forced grading curves) cannot be changed no matter how stubbornly committed you are. I’m a little more cynical, a little more pragmatic, a little less naïve about how the world works nowadays, and that’s sort of a shame, but it’s also inevitable with the passage of time, I suppose.

I do wish, though, for a little more freedom: freedom from self-doubt, from bad habits, from unpleasant people, from injustice. (Maybe I should’ve picked a different profession.)

I wish I had something more uplifting to say, folks. I’m really sorry about that. Maybe I’ll have regained some of my limitless optimism in five years’ time. Maybe I’ll be less worried about how the leg-length discrepancy will affect my aging process. Maybe I’ll be satisfied with how I spent my 20s and eager to turn 30. Maybe I’ll have found success in my job, or at the very least, I’ll have had more concrete work experience behind me to inform my future career plans.

Right now, though, I just feel… transitional. And that’s keeping me grounded. Someday soon, maybe I can take to the skies, like those beautiful fireworks over the lake last night.

Soon. Someday. Not yet. Not quite.

4 comments:

trunger said...

um...kat...don't feel bad about having nothing uplifting to say to us, your loyal and bored at their computer readers. i don't expect you to be all happy go lucky all of the time, that'd be kinda disturbing imho. even if you feel that you are at a low point, you have friends and family that are ready to through you back up where you belong when you aren't looking or some facsimile to that. besides, in a couple of weeks you're gonna be elsewhere relaxing listening to some great folk music. that's some r&r i think. so chin up or something akin to that. don't blink. cause next thing you know, you're gonna see clouds right next to you. yeah. we're sneaky like that :) cheers


"my 10-year old self would totally crack up at my 23-year old self."

-- a really good friend of mine

trunger said...

five words:

Nathan's Hot Dog Eating Contest

nuff said :)

Anonymous said...

So you’re going to be 25 this year ehh? I think when I met you I thought you were older than you really were. You are right, you did seem to be well put together then. Not in the sense of an old soul, but in the sense of mature, confident, knowledgeable. A peer. And as you know I pretty much double you in age.
Do you remember us going to the used music store on Granville that time and you asking me for recommendations? I felt so insecure next to you then…and it takes a lot to make me insecure about music.
But do you also remember the next time you came out and I saw you at Mike’s? Ok, first of all there was that "Room , Arbie. Arbie, Room" which I confess terrify me. But I picked you out because there was no one else in the room that I wanted to see again more than you and I made my escape over to where you were. I love all the people who were there (including my lovely wife) but I seriously could not wait to get back in your presence. Or you back in my presence. Whatever. I fear I may have even scared you slightly. I don’t know that I have ever felt that way about someone I wasn’t in love with. Why do I mention this now? I don’t know, I really have lost my point. Ok, I like to tell stories on myself but mostly I guess I’m just trying to tell you what a good person I think you are.
To be honest though, with the benefit of my many years of honing the ability to watch everyone around me, I was surprised that you have made it this far without these doubts and re-assessments. I assumed I had missed it in the last while when I didn’t know you had this Blogger thing going, or that you just didn’t say anything about it at the time. Self reflection is a good thing, keeps us humble for one, as long as it is a tool to move on and not to stall. Twist it’s arm and make it be a positive.
No doubt you have come quite far from the girl you were five years ago. If you are a little less naïve, a little more pragmatic, even a little more cynical, well that’s probably good. For one thing, I always thought you were such a good loving person I was afraid for your heart.
I always hope that knowing how strongly others admire you and believe in you and care for you will help (and I always think it is worth stating even if it doesn’t), but I know that in the end the only opinion on you that matters is your own. And the only one who can put roadblocks up or toss them aside like so much Nerf furniture is you.
Sorry if this is a little muddled, clarity and conciseness are not my strong suits. I suspect it reads a bit like I should sign off as ‘your secret crush’ but ummm…no.
I am
as always
your friend
*hugs*
~Arbie

supermarj said...

uplifting comment (i hope) in your other blog.
for here, i just wanted to say: nice title :) the chapters are endless, and they're always the same.
ok, also, i have faith in you that you'll end up doing something cool! for serious!