On Feeling Something (With a capital F and a capital S)

Alright folks, it’s time for me to get super existential. It’s necessary. Really.

As humans, we have this amazing capacity to feel. Sometimes (like when you drop your ice cream or break a bone or feel betrayed) it isn’t all that amazing. But, as we all know but fail to realize in the awful moments, it’s the fact that we experience such intense sadness that allows us to deeply feel and appreciate the wonder that life brings.

Okay. That was my spiel. Be thankful I didn’t start quoting Thoreau.

Anyway, all joking aside, in the last ten days I have had so so so many moments that have made me Feel Something. It’s Melanie’s list-making time! On your mark…..Get set (in no particular order)….GO!

1. I’ll Give You The Sun by Jandy Nelson
Oh. My. Goodness. This. Book. First of all, the cover is beautiful. The book itself is beautiful too. Nelson’s writing style is beyond beautiful. IT’S JUST WHOLLY BEAUTIFUL OKAY. Colors are very special to me (in fact, I described every day of last summer using colors…maybe I’ll put that up sometime). This book uses color spectacularly. Much of the story surrounds art. It made me wish I was an artist. Seriously. This book describes the vision, the urge, the need to create. It makes you want to go outside (or inside) and make something, mold your life into that which you have imagined.

2. Roomies by Sara Zarr and Tara Altebrando
This book is about two girls who are assigned to be roommates when they head off to college at the end of summer. They converse via email to decide who brings the microwave and mini fridge and end up getting to know each other very, very well. It made me think about how different people approach relationships (both romantic and platonic), a topic that has been on my mind all semester. Initially, I was shocked by how open they were with each other considering they were strangers. I have issues talking to people I’ve known for years! I’m now thinking that, sometimes, it’s easier to be open and honest with people you don’t know very well since there is less investment on both sides. Huh.

3. Christmas
I should make a correction to several of my aforementioned statements declaring my love for Christmas. I love the Christmas season. The day itself? Not so much. We usually have Christmas at my house so actual Christmas is filled with stress and cleaning and more stress. Once the evening comes, however, everything is great again! I had a simply lovely Christmas with people I feel comfortable and warm and fuzzy with. I listened to Christmas music nonstop. I made some Christmas treats with my mom. I became very acquainted with cleaning supplies. But you know what? My house is now glowing and Christmas was a huge success (with a generous amount of yummmmmy food!).

4. Presents vs. Presence
I’m not a little kid anymore. I don’t know when it happened but suddenly I’m not so interested in toys and dolls as I am in technological gadgets, music, books, and clothes. Actually, I have always, always loved books. Point is, as people get older, they’re way harder to buy presents for. Usually, though, I appreciate it when they try. And overall, it bothers me a bit when people don’t try. Sigh. This is a hard topic to talk about because it’s really easy to come off sounding like a whiny, ungrateful adult-who-should-not-be-acting-like-a-child. Let’s just say I had a kinda disappointing Christmas morning but lucky for me, my real present arrived starting at 6:30pm Christmas Day. Everyone I’ve grown up with is now scattered across the States being awesome at their colleges and universities. 6:30pm Christmas Day is when everyone I’ve grown up with started showing up at my house so that we could all spend the evening together. This wasn’t a surprise, I knew they were all coming since we invited them. But it wasn’t till we were all huddled in a circle in semi-darkness (the power went out mid-party) passing around plates of food and laughing and joking like we see each other everyday that I realized how very lucky I am. How special that is. So many families are broken up. So many people don’t even like their families. So many people have to spend Christmas alone. So many spend Christmas grieving. So, basically, hanging out with people I love to the moon and back and watching Guardians of the Galaxy and thanking God for safety, health, stability, and happiness was the greatest thing ever. Yeah, guys, I had MAJOR feels.

5. Napa
After Christmas, my fambam and I went on a little trip to Napa and San Francisco. Day one was devoted to Napa. We did what everyone does in Napa: wine-tasting. Since it’s winter, the vineyards were not a magnificent green. More like a dusty brown but still pretty impressive! One winery we visited was built to look like a castle. And it had a resident cat!!!!!! I was really excited about the cat. It was so furry and warm and whiskery and furry, omg I love cats. Yeah. I also discovered that some companies will centrifuge wine to separate the alcoholic and non-alcoholic parts and then bottle the non-alcoholic parts! I thought that was pretty cool. I had some and it tasted mightily decent. Thumbs up for alcohol-free wine 🙂

6. SF: 1 lb. Sourdough Loaf of Boudin Bread
This is glorious bread. It is love at first sight. Actually, you don’t even need to see it. You just need to smell it. Mmmmm, divine. The crust is perfectly crusty and the inside is perfectly soft a fluffy. Plus, Boudin SF has a giant window where you can watch the employees making all the bread! (I did have some qualms about this since it can’t be fun to be watched nonstop but it was also really really cool). I saw them make a teddy bear bread and olive bread and soup bread bowls. I could’ve stood in front of that window for ages.

7. SF: Clam Chowder
Speaking of soup, SF is the place to obtain clam chowder. The one I got did not disappoint. There are few things that rate so high on my scale of favorite feelings as “steamy, hot, creamy soup on a chilly day with bread that is perfect in every way.” It’s a rarity. Soooooooo good.

8. SF: The Lights on the Bay Bridge and Lights in General
Have you had the blinding realization of your own smallness and insignificance hit you in a single moment? That’s what happens when you look upwards in the hotel and are greeted by 300,000 Christmas lights falling from the ceiling. It happens again when you’ve just climbed a nearly-vertical San Francisco hill and stop at the top to catch your breath (wooo, revel in that cardio!) and look at the what seems like the whole world spread out underneath you, tiny pinpricks of light symbolizing the thousands of people in the city who are laughing or sobbing or something in-between. And it happens one last time when you’re on 101 and you twist around in your seat and see the Bay Bridge lit up like nothing you’ve ever seen before.

It all brings me back to my favorite song.

“Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you.”

Always,
Melanie

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