Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘Knoxville’

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.

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Yesterday morning I had to do one of the hardest things I’ve ever done in my life…

I drove for 3 hours 200 miles in the opposite direction my heart wanted to go in.  It was the single most painful thing I’ve ever done…but I’m sure it won’t be the last.

If anyone has ever been in a long-distance relationship, I’m sure you know exactly what I’m talking about.  It was all I could do to keep the car heading where I knew I had to go…all I wanted to do was turn the car around, drive back to his house and jump back into his strong, secure arms.

But, this is all part of growing up, and I have to be a big girl now and deal with it.

Right now, I’m dealing with it by listening to his Goo Goo Dolls Greatest Hits CD and crying like a freakin’ baby typing this thing up.

Hold on, before it’s too late, we’ll run til we leave this behind…
Stand on the edge with me, hold back your fear and see nothing is real til it’s gone.

Chatting on Facebook one night I expressed to him worries that I shouldn’t even be worrying about, sticking true to my nature of course.  He told me something that night that I’ve been clinging onto for comfort and to serve as a reminder to me…

Come back down to earth with me.
It’s all going to be all right.

God knows I needed to hear that.  He hates when I can’t stand to be away from him…but it just takes me a few days to adjust.  At least this time it’s easier; I’m getting used to the fact that Knoxville isn’t his home right now.

I guess now would be a good time to tell our story, from my perspective at least…I wish I could tell it from his point of view—he’s a much better story-teller than I am.

It all started last November when I ended my 2 year relationship with a previous boyfriend.  Rob and I were in the same French class, and we had chatted a few times after class and on Facebook, so we were decently good friends before we dated.

One night I invited him over to work on homework and bake cookies… according to him, we “found each other the sweeter sight.”  He’s right.

Our first kiss happened that night, too.  We were sitting on the couch, and having finished our hot chocolate and pumpkin cookies long ago, continued our conversation that started as soon as he walked in and my guard was down.  I was hugging a pillow close to me, and he noticed that I was doing so.  He was quite the smooth operator, leaned over to me and said he usually cuddles with people.  I, being the innocent naive one, allowed him to take the pillow from me and put his arm around me.  We started holding hands as our heads continuously got closer, and then we looked up at each other.

He kissed me, and my feet haven’t touched the floor since.

Oh, that man… I’m telling you it scares me…it scares me to death.  I can’t think of anyone else that I’ve been so attached to, where the moment we part for a long time I feel like a part of me is missing, where as soon as I see his face my heart skips a beat…

I’d give up forever to touch you, because I know that you feel me somehow.
You’re the closest to Heaven that I’ll ever be, and I don’t want to go home right now.
I just don’t want to miss you tonight…

It hurts.  I’m not going to lie…but I think it’ll make me a stronger person.  I never knew what it felt like for my roommate to do the same thing I had to do, but for an entire year.  At least he’ll be back in August.  If I can last that long, then I think I’ll be OK.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

So I’ve been wanting to blog for some time now, and I recently just posted one I started working on… Wednesday I think?

Eh, anyways, I have to say that today was a good one. Fridays always are for me. I was supposed to take an oral exam in French, but unfortunately it was postponed until next week. Unfortunately, our professor has strep throat. Which sucks. Big ones.

So, instead of butchering the eloquent French language today, my other half and I spent some time in Downtown Knoxville before he had to go to work at 4. It was fun.

The first place I took him to was J’s Mega Mart (please check out the awesome blog entry on it) on Gay Street (which is NOT where a lot of homosexuals hang out, fyi).

This place, if I may say so myself, is freaking AWESOME. They have wigs. They have extensions. They have hats (see below).

They have food, toiletries and home decor. It, in every sense of the phrase, is a mega mart. It’s a Wal-Mart not on steroids. It’s amazing. In fact, today was the second time I’ve been there this week; yesterday I went for work to compose a blog. Unfortunately, I can’t post it until I get pics on there. Meh.

{meanwhile on the farm…}

Speaking of Downtown Knoxville, I’m beginning to spend some serious quality time down there. I’ve always been a fan of old bigger cities (than Wartburg—anything bigger than Wartburg is a big city to me), but Knoxville holds a special place in my heart for sure. For years of driving on the Interstate to Dollywood from my hometown we would always go through a portion of Downtown. I can remember looking out the van window (we had an awesome ’90-something blue Dodge Caravan. Word.) and wondered if the Sunsphere was a giant golden tee-ball Knoxville won for being awesome in the sport, and then I would look longingly to be amongst the old towering buildings and perhaps someday live in Sterchi Lofts.

My fingers are crossed that I might next year. With a cat. Possibly, MAYBE, a roommate, room permitting.

{sigh}

There’s just something about Downtown Knoxville that entrances me. I’m not quite sure what it is—the atmosphere, friendly faces, art, culture, businesses, extravagance of downtown living, old buildings, walking—but it gets me hooked every time.

I just feel grown-up down there; I feel independent and like I’m finally living my dream.. or one of them at least.

Looking back just even a few years ago on my life, my thoughts, my perspectives, I can remember an earnestness, this burning desire, to be downtown somewhere, anywhere. Granted, Knoxville is NOTHING like New York City, but it still gives that home-y downtown vibe.

{epiphany}

That’s it! Eureka! Downtown Knoxville feels like home, keeps me there, because it DOES have a home-y-ness to it!

{word}

Dang it, if I’m not meant for urban, city living then dang… If I can’t afford it I’ll just take a cardboard box with me when my lease is over. That’ll work. My gym has showers.

Read Full Post »

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.

Read Full Post »

So, I wouldn’t be a college kid if I didn’t procrastinate.

Tonight’s procrastination actually proved productive. This time, instead of facebooking, I made a “pot” of coffee (hazelnut from Golden Roast) in my French press, sat down in a big round chair bundled in a blanket with my favorite mug, a pad of paper and a pencil.

While jazz music played over and over in my head (and from iTunes), here’s what I came up with:

Cold, chilly weather
I am warm inside, bundled in sweaters
The lights are low, the room aglow
I sit, cuddled on the couch with you

Laughter from the room next door,
Hearts ablaze, and I pine for you
Your love, smile
Stay, for just a little while
Before lofty dreams I wander

Feels like home,
Wherever love roams.
From side to side,
Friendship abides
Letting life’s journeys take us.

Most of you that know me know that I love coffee. Well, I wrote a love poem for it… haha…

Coffee.
How your spell binds me
tortures me.
I am a creature of habit —
Aren’t we all?
Addict? I wouldn’t have it!
So relaxing are you, bittersweet to taste
Sipping you on a night such as this—
cold, dark and cozy.
Pair you with jazz and I could stay all night
I’m a fool for you, you know.
Lead me to a good coffee shop, and I may find love
Food may be the way to a man’s heart,
but love, coffee and music are the ways to mine.
Lead me to intellectuals, musicians and philosophers,
Peace-makers and artists.
I thirst for culture, diversity,
Open minds and free spirits…
…a home-y warm feeling…
Lead me home.

Yay poetry. It’s a nice change.

Read Full Post »

Have you ever had one of those days? You know, the ones that you wonder what could possibly happen next, hoping all the while that things wouldn’t, couldn’t get any worse?

Today started off innocent enough. I drove from Wartburg to Knoxville this morning, battling traffic, or slow beat-up trucks doing 50 in a 55 rather, for a math final. Typical for Morgan County. Might I add there’s usually never a good time to pass?

Right, so I got to Pellissippi OK and (hopefully) aced the final and finished it around 11:30. That gave me just enough time to head over to Gay Street for WDVX’s Blue Plate Special. Today featured Miss Tess and my favorite, Christabel and the Johns.

Great music and great crowds gathered in the Knoxville Visitor’s Center make for a great warm, June afternoon with not a cloud in the sky (except for those nice white fluffy ones). Basically, it was just the perfect summer day and to make it even better, I had no set schedule to go by.

After Blue Plate was over and the DJ said his closing lines, I headed out for lunch at Tomato Head (all the talk of food made my stomach growl, plus I hadn’t had any real food to eat).

Upon arrival, I walked in the restaurant, ordered my Kepner melt with fruit and water to drink, then sat down at a table with a MetroPulse. After reading a good few articles and realizing people coming in after me got their food and all I had was a lemon-less water, I decided to see what was up (nicely, I might add). It seemed to be they forgot to make my lunch, but the nice lady offered me free dessert of my choice to make up for it. I’m not a stranger to sweets, so I accepted.

My food came (along with a free vegan coconut cupcake), and I went to Coffee and Chocolate for a drink to go with my newfound sunshine.

Afterwards, I walked back toward my car, tea and cupcake in hand (I would eat it at the Beacon while laying the paper out tonight). Only one problem…

Is that my car? I thought I parked…. there….. no…. couldn’t be… surely….

Holy….

Mother….

MY CAR IS GONE!

I am an emotional being that is very attached to my belongings (1. Car; 2. iPod inside car). Immediately I freaked out, but tried to keep myself calm while asking the ladies standing there if they’d seen a silver Focus, only failing by sobbing almost uncontrollably while big hot tears rolled out from under my sunglasses. One blessed woman asked if I’d parked in the first slot on the bridge we were looking at. I had. Apparently cops like to park there, too.

In my depression and unbelief, I also threw away my uneaten, untouched free cupcake.

Thankfully I knew my brother would be working at First Baptist Church in Knoxville that afternoon, so while on the phone with Mom (who helped tremendously) I made my way there…
…only to discover he’d already left. And doesn’t answer his phone.

So now let me paint this picture for you. Imagine yourself a young lady alone in Downtown Knoxville. Not too bad, nothing you can’t handle, right? OK, now imagine yourself a young lady alone in Downtown Knoxville with no transportation, no friends, no family, or no one to call on to take you to the KPD Impound lot to rescue your baby. At least, no one within an hour drive that will pick up the phone.

At this point I’m wishing I hadn’t thrown my cupcake away; at least it would’ve helped to make me feel better a little bit. I start telling myself that maybe some homeless guy found it… there’s a reason for everything.

At this point, I just want to be alone, so I find the most remote part of the church and lock myself in a bathroom. I slide down on the bathroom floor and just cry.

Just…. cry.

Then, I snap myself out of it, muster up some maturity, and head back out into the world. And you know what? Brandon does answer his phone sometimes and is kind enough to rescue his little sister… and the “baby.”

And you want to know what else? I finally had my cupcake — and I made it all by myself.

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »