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Archive for the ‘Epiphanies’ Category

Ayres HallFor some reason, May is a month of change for me.  Graduations are everywhere, professors and parents are sending off their young ones, preparing them for a world of work, education, and challenge.  They may not always make it known, but parents always have a spot in their hearts yearning for their children to come back home someday.

Parents don’t always know it, but sometimes the lessons and values they teach their children stick with them.  The warm feelings of hot chocolate on the couch during a cold wintery day and homemade potato soup for a sore throat stay with us for a long, long time to come.

Those warm feelings, memories, smells beckon me back time and time again to the country town where everyone knows each other on a first-name basis, if you run out of gas someone you know isn’t too far away, and there’s only a scarce few red lights you can run at night when no one is watching.  The smell of Red Door on a big sweater never fades; the smell of Old Spice mixed with old man never ages on a white button-down shirt, nor does the sound of Dad’s radio in the garage grow silent.  Things like that never go away.

It’s been three years since I graduated from high school and moved to Knoxville for furthering my education at the University of Tennessee.  Most of those three years I beat myself up for coming here over a guy I ended up breaking up with halfway through my sophomore year.  Sometimes I still regret my decision, at least, until Sunday night.

All students here at UT have thought about, at least once, about going on the roof of the esteemed Ayres Hall on the Hill.  It’s easily the highest point on campus, and it looks over all of downtown, campus, the Fort Sanders area, and beyond; it truly is a sight to take in for yourself.

My friends, Rob, and I (after roasting marshmallows at the Torchbearer, another UT landmark) roamed over to the Hill and parked.  We walked up the road, and since Ayres is under renovations and fenced off, we had to find a way through the fence.  We did, and after finding a way into the building, walked in.  We walked through the main area, up the flights of stairs until they ended on the third floor, then found an alternate, metal staircase that took us up to the fourth floor and ultimately the bell tower.

I have a fear of heights—and immense, horrifying fear of heights.  At this point, it was obvious that no one should have been allowed into that portion of the building, and I was getting nervous.  We were SO close to the top, but I couldn’t manage to muster the courage to climb the last few sets of steep stairs to the “dark room,” then the roof.

I just knew I wasn’t going to make it, and I would have stayed at the bottom until everyone made it to the top, then came back down.

One of the girls in the group came back down the stairs and gave me a pep talk.  “I’m not going to leave you down here alone,” she said, “but I’m not NOT going up there, either.”  Basically, I had no choice but to finish my climb and make my efforts worth something.

It was dark.  I was scared.  With what little light there was, I could see straight through the stairs and all the way to the bottom.  It was a long, long way down (for me, at least).

To her (and my) surprise, I decided I was going to finish my journey to the top.

I followed the people in front of me, and when I felt the rush of fresh, cool air hit my face I knew I had made it.

I climbed out of the hole and onto the flat roof.  The first thing I saw was Neyland Stadium below, then the sparkling river reflecting the light from the moon and stars, then Downtown Knoxville, and then the faces of the people I had made it with.
A smile crept across my face the way we crept around the Hill from the community service officer below.  And then excitement hit me.

If it hadn’t been for the fear of getting caught, I would have yelled from the roof top, “I’m the king of the world!”  It felt like I’d just climbed Mount Everest, and every time I pass by Ayres I smile and think of that night, the mischievousness,  the fear, the accomplishment, the view.  I was on top of the world, and after that I knew I had come to UT for a reason, if only for staring my fear straight in the face and conquering it.  Of course, I met the love of my life here, and I wouldn’t trade him for anything, but I feel like somewhere down the road we would have met anyway.

Since that night, I’ve been thinking a lot about the person I was when I graduated from high school.  I’m not the same person.  She would have never done anything like that; she was too timid and never did anything wrong.  The person I am today knows that life isn’t worth living if you can’t take risks, but knowing which risks to take is half the battle.  Some rules are meant to be broken.

But, sometimes in life, you need to go back home to get in touch with your roots, know where you came from and never forget it.  Remember the morals and beliefs you were raised with, because they are your foundation.  My brother once described my mother in one word: port.  She sends us off into the world, however, she’s always the place we go back to for stability.  For me, she’s the lighthouse.  She warns me of dangers nearby, but gives me a light to follow to come back home.  She’s my stability, my rock, my foundation.

Mom, I love you.  Always.

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So lately I haven’t had much of a drive to do anything that I used to do.  Before Thanksgiving, I seriously kicked major bootay.  After Thanksgiving, I realized something that I hated (and still hate) about myself:  I depend on those twirpy little twats that have testosterone pumping through their veins, otherwise known as the male species.

Hello.  My name is Brittney Moore, and I have a problem… I am addicted to guys.

Now wait a second, I don’t want to send out the wrong message — I am in no way a whore.  Nope, nada, no way sir.  I stick to one man at a time and am quite the loyal girlfriend.  All I’m saying is that I never had the chance to adapt to that mystery called the single life, and I take all the blame for it.

It was my mistake… but my favorite one at that.

Do you hear Sheryl Crow in the background now?  I do… “You’re my favorite mistaaake…”

Cool beans.  First step done, now to do something about it.

There is no way that I would trade my amazing man for anyone else in this world, please understand that.  In fact, I give him full credit in almost single-handedly helping me realize my fear of being alone, or at least taking it head-on to get over it (thank God that he’s a psychology major, right?).  Just by being half a state away from me during the summer was something huge that I had to get over.

But I’m finally getting over the fact that he’s at home, and I’m stuck here… without him.

Oh cry me a river… oh, wait, I already did…

Something hit me in the face this evening when I was talking to my mom about all of this.  I realized that I didn’t have my drive anymore; nothing seemed to matter to me no matter how much of an impact it had on my life.  I didn’t care about class, work or even my own health.  I had lost that drive to stay on top and ahead of the game slowly over the course of one year… It’s amazing how much drama a few people can cause.

But, I’m over it.  I’m done, and I’m climbing back on top.  I’ve got my to-do list for the summer… and hopefully I’ll stick to it for the rest of my life.  It goes something like this:

  1. Get confidence/self-esteem back.
  2. Reach 120-130 lbs.
  3. Gain back my muscles!
  4. Figure out my major (journalism vs. graphic design)
  5. Run two miles (or three) straight.
  6. Learn to live without a guy… or at least stop being so needy for one’s attention.
  7. Go to eating all-natural/raw foods.
  8. Go without wearing make-up for a week (I know, it might have an effect on #1 but it saves time in the morning!).
  9. Learn to ride a bike in traffic.
  10. Get tan (I’m white as a ghost, dearies.).
  11. Take a fitness class (I’m feeling yoga, kickboxing, pilates, cycling…)
  12. De-stress my poor little self!

Seem reasonable?  I think so, too.  Plus, I hear guys dig self-confident women. Rawr.

I am climbing back on top.  The butt-kicking me is back, baby, and as fierce as ever!

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It always seems that my life plays out like a never-ending romance comedy, you know, like the ones Drew Barrymore always play in—at least I’d like to think it does.  Perhaps I’m too dramatic.

Why is it that when we let go of something, or try to, rather, we can’t seem to truly and honestly completely let go of it… especially if that something used to be a huge part of us?

What if that something isn’t a “thing,” at all, but a person?

It just seems that lately a lot of my time has been spent trying to maintain friendships with everyone around me before we all move our separate directions when the semester ends.  It seems that something keeps haunting me…

…those little, “What if?” questions seem to always flutter around in my mind.

No, I have no regret nor will I ever for how I’ve lived my life.  Sure, I’ve made a lot of mistakes, but I don’t regret them.  Mistakes are just tender learning moments in our lives that we can look back on and hope to God that our children and grandchildren (and great grandchildren if we live that long) will never find out about them.  We find elderly people to be wise for a reason—has your grandparent ever once told you about getting drunk that one night or totaling their first car?  Not unless they’re teaching you something, and they need credibility to prove that they know what they’re talking about.

But then, those little “What if?” thoughts in my mind go away when I’m comfortable with myself and accept things for the way they are.  I know things will never be the way they used to be, and I’m OK with that.  Really, I am.  Some things are meant to be, and others are like fireworks; they quickly fly up in a spectacle in the sky, light up for a short while, then gradually dim and fall back to the Earth as we all watch from below.

Some things become nostalgic memories we’re fond to look back on and cherish, but we know that our lives can never be the same again.

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You know that old saying, “The other side of the tracks?”  If not, it’s kind of like saying “The grass is always greener on the other side.”  It’s pretty much along those same lines.

Anyways, I saw first-hand in my backyard that it’s literally true:  sometimes depending on what side of the tracks you live on can make a world of difference.

Right now, a portion of Interstate 40 running through Knoxville (conveniently located next to the exit I take to go home) is going through Hell and back, otherwise known as “Smart Fix 40.” (Might I add that someone changed the name a bit… it’s a tad vulgar to put on here, but it’s a play on another word beginning with “f.” Let your imaginations run wild with that one.)  The locals, i.e. myself, absolutely love construction around here… especially when you take the wrong exit and end up in the ghetto side of town.

I’ve done this twice.  I hate road construction, traffic, and basically any obstruction that lies in my path.  I’m a fast driver, I speed, and I like to get places as efficiently as possible.  In other words (but some might disagree) I’m a smart driver.  My brother once told me that there’s a difference between being a smart driver and a careful driver.  This, I’ve witnessed, has truth to it.  Hesitation kills, people.

So, when I took the wrong exit my mistake put me in a sketchy, shady, ghetto part of town.  At first, I was a bit scared—I’m a young white female driving alone in her probably-not-so-hard-to-break-into car—but after realizing that most of the people living there wouldn’t harm me, I didn’t feel so scared anymore.  Instead, I felt sadness rush over me.

There are so many homeless people right across the tracks from me, and I do nothing to help them.  Instead, I complain that I don’t have enough money for all the luxuries I want to afford, but I’m fine.  I have parents that help me out, friends to confide in, food to keep me more than satisfied, stylish clothes to wear, shelter over my head and a car to get me places I need to go.

They have nothing.  If they have anything at all, it’s perseverance.  I’ve never had the opportunity to test mine—I mean really, really to truly test my perseverance.  Quite honestly, I have high respects for them because I know they’re stronger people than I could ever be.

My whole life I’ve been pampered.  Everything has been provided for me on a silver platter.  It’s all been so easy so far in my life, but I know a time will come when I won’t have my parents or friends to help me out… and I’ll be on my own.  Then, my perserverance and strength will be tested.

Sometimes the not-so-green grass on the other side of the tracks can teach us something about life; it can make us realize what the most important things in life truly are.

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I had an epiphany looking at a dead rose today.

For Valentine’s Day, my sweetheart bought me a dozen roses. Almost a month later, I’m finally discarding of most of them, but I was thinking about saving a rose or two, so I began to compare each of them, looking for the best-looking one to keep.

I decided to keep three of them, and then I proceeded to take the petals off the blooms I decided not to keep. As I was peeling away one dried petal at a time, I noticed they kept getting smoother, sweeter smelling and brighter.

It reminded me of that phrase, “Don’t judge a book by its cover.” Although it looked dead on the outside, the dead petals were preserving the ones not yet harmed by the outside world; they were protecting its inner soul, keeping it as pristine as the day it blossomed.

However, not all of them turned out that pristine on the inside. One in particular looked more attractive on the outside, but on the inside it was brown and dead.

Once again, don’t judge a book by its cover.

Considering that, a comparison could be made between the dead roses and people. For instance, some individuals have a better outward appearance than an inner one. Some guys, for example, have the face of an angel but the heart of a demon.
On a better note, the opposite is true, too. When someone lacks in looks, usually their personality makes up for it.

The roses taught me that, or rather, reminded me of that conclusion I made a long time ago.

Another way of looking at it is that sometimes life and beauty can come from hard times, like dealing with death. Even the seed must die to grow into a redwood.

Sometimes before accomplishing our greatest triumphs we have to hit rock bottom to appreciate them more, to appreciate the struggle and hard work to get there.

That’s life for ya.

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Over the last month, my world has been turned upside-down and every which way imaginable.  Granted, it was I who put it all in motion, but I’m rather glad it’s all happened.

Learning isn’t always easy, especially when emotions are involved.  I’ve learned from seeing people around me, two in particular, that letting go is the hardest part of growing up.

But, if we dont’ let go, we never mature.  If we don’t let go, we never learn to walk on our own.  If we don’t let go, we never grow up, and we’ll continuously rely on others to make our lives easier.

Some people just never understand that concept until you ignore them completely.  No matter how much you try to explain it to them, they won’t let go.  That’s when all connections must be cut and let them learn the hard way.  That’s tough love.

Experience is the greatest teacher, and don’t let anyone tell you different.

Writers become immortal because they write.  Musicians become legends because they sing.  Artists become famous because they’re inspired.  Dancers become prima ballerinas because they practice.
All of the above require experience.  Experience requires making mistakes.  Mistakes give way to knowledge.

You can’t gain experience when you can’t let go…

I’ve had to make adjustments this holiday season.  Working an hour from home resulted staying in Knoxville three days out of the week and driving back and forth to spend time with my family just so it can feel somewhat like Christmas.  My roommates went back home in Middle Tennessee, leaving me all alone.

One thing I’ve learned from coming home to an empty apartment at the end of the day is that I need people; I thrive off of people.  Growing up in a family of five made me used to having people around, and being the youngest, I’ve seen my family of five transition to a family of three then to an empty nest.  It wasn’t easy, but I got used to being the only one around.

Now I have to get used to, if only for a short time, being the only one left in a “family” of four.

Perhaps this will prepare me for when I move to NYC and live alone until I meet the man of my dreams … I’ll look at it that way.  Maybe I’ll submerge myself so deep in my career I won’t have time to think about it when I’m climbing my way to the top to be editor-in-cheif of Vogue (granted, the magazine still exists in 10 years. Epiphany: I need to take web design classes).

Either way, being alone is something we all have to cope with at some point in our lives.  But, being alone gives you time to discover something about yourself you’ve never known before.  I’ve learned that being alone inspires me to write blogs like this one.  It gives me time to think, to consider events in my life and to reflect on them.  I have time to finish reading a book or get caught up on The Office.  Even so, I thought I’d be perfectly happy alone.  Instead, I’ve discovered that it sucks.  It sucks big ones.

It’s not easy, but it’s part of growing up.

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