Book Review: The Princess Diarist

And now for something completely different.  I’ve decided to start reviewing some of the books I read here at ol’ Kim Who Lives at Home.  Hope you enjoy.

Let me start by saying I love Carrie Fisher.  I’ve read her other two memoirs, Wishful Drinking and Shockaholic, so I was super excited when I heard she had written a third.  I was also sad to learn of her untimely death and her mother’s shortly after.  She was a fantastic writer and I’m sorry there won’t be any more.

The Princess Diarist did not disappoint.  I love Fisher’s writing style.  She’s so witty and self-deprecating.  In this one in particular I thought she sounded, well, a lot like me.

In this memoir she goes back to the time of filming Star Wars in 1976.  I wasn’t born then but that didn’t matter at all.  She was a nineteen year old girl just starting her life and not sure what she wanted to do with it.  Even though I’ve never starred in a movie-turned-phenomenon, nor had an affair with my reticent co-star, I found her wholly relatable.   She has printed some of her personal diaries from the time and she sounds just as confused and scared as any of us at that age (or older).

I definitely recommend Ms. Fisher’s last literary outing.  I recommend her other memoirs as well.  I can’t speak to her fiction but I’d love to get around to it someday.  She really was a renaissance woman, huh?  So if you’re a Star Wars fan seeking more info about the filming or just love a good memoir, I suggest you pick it up.

 

Deep Water

Back in December a friend of mine suggested that the members of our church group ask the Lord to give us words for the coming year.  Mine were growth and friendship.

Now, I knew better than to try to predict what the year was going to look like based on two words.  But I admit I thought it would look something like God calling me to serve somewhere in the church and I would build deeper relationships with my friends at group.  My dog died in March so I thought maybe that was a sign God was going to send me somewhere. Or send me someone.  I wouldn’t have any strings.  I could go anywhere and do anything.

After seven months of 2016, I feel more isolated and alone than I think I ever have.  I feel distant from my group.  I don’t feel any call to serve at the church.  I haven’t been on a date in over a year and I feel really rejected.  All I want to do is read and write and sleep.  I’m moody, snappish, fatigued.

And somehow, I feel like I’m exactly where I should be.  When I read, I feel like me.  When I write, I feel like I’m moving forward.

I can feel myself changing.  It’s almost like gears and cogs moving around inside me, making me into something new.  It’s very hard to describe.  It’s like I’m becoming a hybrid of my hard, surly teen self and the much more loving and compassionate twenty something self.

I know I’ve been chosen for a different path.  I’ve always been different from everybody else.  I’m getting better at appreciating that.  He’s leading me somewhere.  I know it.  I just can’t see it.

This is deep water.  This is where a lot of Christians fear to go.  It’s much easier to go to church and visit God than to bring Him home with you.

But this is where you find out who you are.  When it’s hard and uncomfortable and you can’t see any point in it.  When the water is over your head and you have nothing but Jesus’s hand pulling you up and Him saying “Oh, ye of little faith.”  This is where you let Him pull you out.

This is where you walk on the water.

Remembering Mrs. P-D

Back in December we lost one of my teachers. She was young, only in her fifties I would guess, though I don’t actually know. She was my eighth grade Algebra teacher and the mother of one of my classmates.

We really did call her Mrs. P-D because her hyphenated name was kinda long to say all the time. She was a good teacher but not my favorite. In fact, I thought sometimes she was unnecessarily harsh but I owe a lot to her. I’m an accountant and we don’t use Trig or Geometry or Calculus. We use Algebra. And that’s what I learned from Mrs. P-D. It was hard at first. I struggled for a while but Mrs. P-D was patient with all of us. She knew it was difficult for most of us to grasp the new concept of math we were learning. She used to say, “It’s not hard, it’s just different.” And she would go over a problem three times if somebody still needed clarification.

What I remember most about her class though, is it was the last period of the day and some days she would let us turn on music for the last few minutes while we packed up and waited for the bell to ring. Sometimes we’d turn on “My Girl” and dance the shag. Sometimes we’d turn on the live Barry Manilow album and laugh at the medley of advertising jingles. Like with Coach R’s classes (and all the best ones), it was the things that happened outside the curriculum that mattered most.

She leaves behind a husband and children and a lot of students whose lives she touched. She may not have been my favorite teacher, but she was a good teacher and I imagine a good administrator though that was after my time. There aren’t enough of those. Cherish the ones who made an impression on you. She wasn’t perfect but she cared for her students and worked very hard to make sure we all got a good foundation to carry us through high school, both in Algebra and in life. God bless you, Mrs. P-D. Rest in peace.

15 Things I Wish I Could Tell My 16-Year-Old Self

1.      Things do get better but not always how you think they will.

2.      There are people like you.  You just find them on the internet and not in your real life.

3.      You are not God’s gift to academia.  You will almost fail chemistry in college.

4.      You are not Daria.

5.      Don’t be such a hardass.  We all do the best we can.

6.      Hard work doesn’t always pay off.  And that’s okay.

7.      Not knowing who Tom Waits is doesn’t make someone an idiot.

8.      Clogging is not as important or as awesome as you think it is. (Seriously, stop clogging.  You’re going to ruin your knee.  Too late.  Shit.)

9.      You will see these people again.  On Facebook.  Don’t worry, sometimes that’s a good thing.

10.  You will never completely rid your life of terrible people.  Get used to it.

11.  Learn to love exercise.  (Man, that would have made things so much easier.)

12.  Teachers are just people.  They’re not trying to ruin your life.  You’re not that important.

13.  You are more naïve than you think you are.

14.  People will always surprise you.

15.  You’re right.  Being a teenager sucks.  But it doesn’t last forever.

Back to School is Getting to Me (And I Don’t Even Go to School)

It happens every year.  After July 4th here I am thinking about fall and school.  I’ve been out of college for four years and still when I see those “Back to School” commercials and posters it makes me cringe.  Why?  I do not know.  I don’t have kids, I have no plans to go back to school, and I’m fine with my field so it seems odd that it would bother me.  Maybe because we all spend so much time in school in our early lives that it just embeds itself so deep in our subconscious that even as adults we can’t shake those anticipated first-day-back jitters.  Or maybe it’s because I was so burned out on school when I graduated that even thinking about taking another test made me sick to my stomach.

When I was in school I would have stress dreams about being late for class or failing a test or getting in trouble for something.  It made sense at the time.  Those were things I was dealing with on a daily basis.  And now, four years into my working life, I still have those dreams.  My stress is now coming from deadlines and deadbeat clients but it still manifests in a dream about not being able to find the right classroom.  Even weirder, I recently had recurring dreams about being contacted by my high school and told that I shouldn’t have graduated because I needed one more class they forgot about.  The only way to fix the mix up is for me to come to the school in the middle of the day and take that class with the current students.  I then stress out about trying to get my boss to let me take the time off for it.  I always awake from these dreams extremely relieved that’s all they were. 

What it comes down to is how your memories affect you.  I always remember hating the “Back to School” stuff because it meant my wonderful solitude was over and I had go back and see all those people I disliked.  Don’t get me wrong, my school experience wasn’t all bad.  There were some good times but I have no desire to relive any of them.  I’m just glad that now when those commercials come on and my heart rate goes up, I can just take a deep breath and ignore it.  I’m much happier dealing with the dreams than the real thing.