According to Ali:

The universe revised and edited as necessary for sanity.


Today's Offering:

Life in a Parallel Universe


Ok, there are probably about six people in the world who don't know that I've just finished my first year away at college. Those six people don't count. They can't even hear me when I scream (which means that they definately do not live in Guam). Anyway, I managed to survive two semesters, and now I'm back home.

Allow me, if you will, to elaborate on the significance of that final statement. I had a semi-official plan, towards the end of school, to stockpile dining hall rations and lock myself in the closet as a preferable alternative to my hometown. Unfortunately, my evil RA (I love you, Sarah!) discovered the plot and personally escorted me to my packed-up-to-the-visors car. So, here I am. Stuck. In G'ville (is that a suitably vague name for it?). Curse the luck.

Don't get me wrong. I love my family. I treasure my friends. And not having to wear shoes in the shower is a plus, too. But I did my bit in high school. I was the classic overachiever-clubs, grades, everything. I didn't much care for the consequences, namely that very few people here know me well, or want to. Misconceptions, anyone? I was thrilled to go away--college is the great equalizer, where for the first time you can not only discover who you are, but who others are, without outside pressures like cliques and teams and all the other assorted high school hang-ups. Best of all, it worked. I made some truly wonderful friends... who I'm currently very homesick for. But that's not my point here, is it?

Today at work I saw a cross section of everything I left. The guys--I would have given anything for their respect at one point. They were on a similiar social level to me; we ran with mostly the same people. But I was always clearly defined as outside. It was odd. We sat there talking, joking around. They were the same duo I'd always known, but the topic of conversation was change. Who had changed? How? Then we got into the serious stuff--love, relationships, you know the drill. It was eerie. I can't figure out exactly why, but it was almost like I was looking at them across a chasm. We were on opposite sides, and down at the bottom were the four years we'd just experienced.

The social diva--she and I rode the same bus for five years. I saw her at school, with her friends. Blonde hair, manicure, perfect fashion sense. I envied her even as I dismissed the shallowness of her life. She and her boyfriend were searching for clothes for some country club event. I pointed them out, and they were gone. It's really quite remarkable. I don't think she even recognized me.

The old classmate--debate was a drastic, mind-altering experience. Anyone who lived through sixth period in good ole room 101 knows exactly what I mean. Anyone who didn't... well, I'm certainly not a good enough writer to describe it. Debate was really my first encounter with other "weird" people. Oddly enough, at first they didn't really believe me. I don't look weird. Makeup, my own sense of fashion... I prefer to keep my nails done and my hair dyed. Then I stay up all night messing with Star Wars, computers, and intense psychological analysis. My friend, though... he never really believed any of my "normal" pretenses. He's had a hard time the last few years. His brother was killed, he had a failed marriage (I'd seen the ex and her new boyfriend earlier in the day... more old schoolmates), but he still had a big smile and wanted to hear how my life was going. We discovered that we'd probably even been in the same places at the same time during the year. I was smiling when he left.

The friend--during my period of angst (hey, we all had it), she was my lifeline. We weren't really deep friends, but I knew that if all else failed, I could fall back on her. During four years of the same math class and enough team activities and football games, we drifted apart, but I didn't get worried until she signed my yearbook. I think subconsciously she was saying goodbye, something I wasn't ready for. We didn't keep in touch during the year, and I finally called her at home the other day. Rumors (everyone's favorite summer activity) said that she was radically changed, and I was fed up... I wanted to know, one way or the other. She wasn't home. She called back today--she'd been in Europe. I wasn't really sure what to say; I didn't know if we still existed or not. It took a full five minutes--then I realized that just like before, a few minutes managed to reestablish the connection. Warm and fuzzy moment.

The best friend--she's the only one who successfully made the transition from my high school world to my college world. She's also the one who showed up at lunch just to hang out, who managed to have me laughing about 30 seconds after I saw her. She's so much better at the whole connecting-to-people thing than I am, and I always get the feeling that she's much closer to the Grand Universal Truth than me. She's my social conscience, my ego-booster, my unconditional support-line. Somehow, she manages to make a world here. I don't know if I can.

Bedtime--I can't sleep. My mind is full of today's emotions. I feel like I'm living in limbo, not completely a part of three worlds. There's family, school, and G'ville, and I'm not able to totally commit to any of them. Whenever I think I finally have the balance down, a day like today comes along and takes great joy in kicking me in the behind. In high school, I usually used the Rogues as an escape and an ideal. They knew what they were doing. They knew they were part of a group that supported each other absolutely. They had their lives on the line, but they knew it was a life worth living. Sometimes, sitting at a traffic light or folding the laundry or sitting on the curb in a group of "friends" feeling invisible, it's easy to question whether or not that sense of belonging is possible. The Rogues never seemed to have two worlds cross, never seemed to get kicked from one sphere to the other. I was busy drowning in a morass of self-pity when I realized the difference. It's not so much that the world treated them differently or that the rules were different in their universe, but that they attacked life head on. When you have half a second to live or die, you learn to live in the minute and enjoy what you're doing. To paraphrase Janson, if I wait for everything and everyone in my life to merge and conform just because I want that, I'll never get what I want. Alternatively, if I make my life what I want it to be and actively choose the elements of my spheres that are worth keeping, I'm setting myself up for what I truly want.

Ok, I think I'm done internalizing now.
Yikes, I kinda feel like Corran.


Canon According to Ali.


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