Friday, August 17, 2012

What she doesn't see

You'd think that on an evening of your life when you'd rather just curl up into a ball and cry over the state of absolutely everything, you'd purposely contain yourself to your bedroom. That's what the lock is for - to keep things out when you need your privacy.

Lord knows that yesterday I needed privacy. It was one of those days when nothing makes sense and I had trouble even understand my own thoughts much less what was going on in the minds of others. It was an illogical day, a difficult day, the kind of day that makes you take extra long showers because that is the only way to truly achieve peace sometimes.

But I chose to stay over at my grandma's house. For most, staying with a grandparent is like getting free pampering. Because older people tend to subscribe to similar patterns - of early meals, early sleep and minimal adventures during the day (lest they involve going to the supermarket or the library) - going to the grandparents' isn't much of a strain on the mind or the body.

You don't know my grandma.

Going to her house is like setting yourself up for a day as a contestant on Project Runway (in this situation, she's the judge and I'm the budding young designer) or Cooking with the Stars (my grandma is the awesome cook and I'm the sad, talentless star). There's always a project. Or there's always somewhere to go.

Whatever you do is not subject to your own whims, and sometimes it might consist of a decathlon of random events. Only one thing is certain, there will be no sitting down.

I don't want this. Not on a day when I feel the uncomfortable need to sit around and watch Parks and Recreation all day. Now that I'm done with interning for the summer, do I not deserve to go back to doing absolutely nothing like the sore, poor college student that I am?

Yeah sure, sometimes I'd rather be that kid who sits around at their grandparents house because the family has nothing better to do. In fact, that's what I'll be doing in Florida when I go there pretty soon to visit my grandparents.

I've seen both sides of the coin... which is why I've taken it upon myself right now to tell myself why it's good to A. appreciate having an awesomely spritely grandparent; and B. not sit around when you're feeling blue.

Part A: Seeing the good in my hilariously excitable grandmother

There was a time when I would walk around the mall with my grandma and she would instigate races. We'd approach a fork on the second level of the building, and without warning she'd start sprinting down one path, saying "I'll get to Macy's first!" before I even had a chance to react. 

A few minutes later I'd be at Macy's, perhaps beating her by a couple of seconds. She'd praise me profusely like I had won a gold medal in the Olympics or something. These were the kinds of games she played. 

She was that way with everything. Once I was singing and she was amazed at how long I could hold a note (she must have been out of her mind because I have a horrible lung capacity). She then challenged me to a contest, as we respectively sustained our singing voices and somehow I managed to beat her in that too.

It wasn't winning or losing that was the achievement here, though. It was the bond that was forming.

And I think, even with the strains that are placed on our closeness by a mutual stubbornness, this is what characterizes my relationship with my grandma. She's always trying to challenge me to be bigger and better than other people, even her. And it's facilitated our relationship for years.

Nowadays she gives me cooking, knitting and sewing lessons. She asks me to drive on the freeway for her and then yells out what she thinks I'm doing wrong (because apparently I do the same to her and this is her way of getting back at me).

Through all our experiences together, she's constantly teaching me. And on a day like yesterday (and today) that was a necessary distraction from the stagnancy of griping on the past that I was subjecting myself to. Which brings me to...

Part B: Getting up and moving

I didn't realize yesterday that I was doing exactly what I needed to do to feel better.

When things aren't going so well, the best thing is to just get up and move and walk away from it. It may not be that simple, but it certainly can be. My best distraction is and forever will be my grandmother, because she doesn't give me a second to think about what's going wrong in my life.

She doesn't realize what she does for me because she preoccupies herself with her own goals for how to improve me as a person. But she subconsciously forces me into situations where I can't keep considering issues that don't matter. It's like a rehabilitation system except the only cost to me is some note-taking and labor in the kitchen.

It was ages ago when I was having issues feeling adequate at school. I was overwhelmed and overworked. All I wanted to do was sit back and surf the Netflix Instant catalogue.

That's no distraction from the difficulty of every day life. If anything, that's a constant reminder. Sitting alone and doing practically nothing reminds you that you're alone doing nothing.

From now on when I know I'll have free time and I know I'm not in the best of all places, I know who to call. It's comforting to realize I have that in someone, even if she doesn't necessarily see it.

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