Lyrics from songs I like that I've recently come across again and occasionally describe my state of mind

"Thoughts meander like a restless wind inside a letter box" (Across the Universe, Keane Er. The Beatles. Yes. Yes. The Beatles.)

"And I can't stop now/
For no one/
The motion keeps my heart running" (Can't Stop Now, Keane)

Good thought-provoking blog posts by friends

On the future of education

How to fix the developing world for sixty million dollars

Blog, senior year of high school:

...I'm still not good at music, but I'm slowly starting to play it more. In orchestra, we're attempting to struggle through a Joplin rag - it's a cello quartet... we all agreed that a Joplin rag was the coolest cello quartet we had ever seen. It sounds great, too. If we ever learn how to stay together, that is.

I've got a keyboard (I'm actually fenced in by it- there's a Melcave that consists of the desk, computer desk, heater, and keyboard/bed that contains my computer and needs to be climbed into to be accessed) and occasionally play things at night when Sharon's not listening. I'm a lot less self-conscious than I used to be, but there's still a little residue of it behind, which I'm attempting to exorcise. I still think I'm an idiot, mostly because it motivates me to try harder not to be an idiot.

I write occasionally, and draw sometimes, but most of my energies go into reading science books or hacking things apart in the workshop with some sort of sharp blade. The rabid thirst for nollij (although rabid may be a misnomer, as rabies makes animals hydrophilic, I think) has intensified a thousandfold. It's overtaken the desire to sleep, and, on occasion, eat (I've read books straight through any semblance of dinner, and then just nuked some oatmeal or had a candy bar afterwards.)

I'm looking forward to college, hopefully at somewhere the people aren't too sane; currently planning to go into Mech E, which I really think I'll love (and which my parents are very happy about), but we'll have to see. I probably ought to learn moderation and how not to always be pushing myself harder and harder- but right now, I'm sixteen and don't really care about rationality that much.

Present-day Mel: Music is one of those things I keep on coming back to. I like that. I want a Melcave again. And probably, if I'd been smart and playing to my strengths, I would have gone for MechE - but that's not what the dart hit when I threw it.

Blog, freshman year of college:

I love my hall. I love my school. I love the people here, and I want to stay here. I want to come back and teach here. It's funny. Even if I'm an aromantic, I fall in love with things so readily. Just not in the icky sappy way. But it's very easy for me to care about things, and very easy for me to see the good side of them, very easy to want to help them and make them a chunk of me. It goes for both people and the things that people make (...vague descriptor, I know... I'm talking about things like projects or classes or buildings or schools.)

I'm not anti-love. I'm just anti-sappy. Aromantic. I'm not going to go gushing out with flowers to everyone, but I'm trying - I've always tried - to show it in other ways. I think it's better if you don't tell them. If you love something, you shouldn't have to trumpet it out. People will see, if you really care. It'll come through.

[Some time later, in the middle of talking about how much I love Olin] ...anywhere that can make me feel completely relaxed, accepted, free, and at home within a month, and anywhere people really care about me and push me to do better and help me reach as far as I can - a place that does this is a place I'm willing to throw my entire self into.

More blog, freshman year of college.

Another thing.

I think I shall always be a little bit lonely.

This is okay, though. It's the way things are. I'll try to find a way to become more a part of things, but even with the greatest people, and with folks who care about me and vice versa, I'll never be able to be a part of things like most people are. I'm a bit withdrawn and somewhat aloof. Maybe it's because of my hearing, maybe it's because of the way my ears have shaped that part of my personality, maybe it's my personality in general - but you know what? It's all right this way. Because I'm still right in there, but I can also see things from a bit off - lets me understand stuff from a different perspective, sometimes get a handle on it better. Maybe I'd rather it be this way. I think I could get in there if I tried. So I guess it's me not wanting to. Though that's odd, since companionship is a good thing, and I feel that need for sure on many occasions...

Sometimes I feel that my brain is too analytical. More machine than person, except the person tries to get through so the machine doesn't work quite right. (Doing math homework, for instance.)

I want to push my brain. I want to strain it as far as I can. I'm not doing that now. I'm nowhere close to doing that now. But I wonder if I'd actually be able to let myself sprint; I like being human too much, I think. I like being part of this world, I like being able to understand it and have it understand me. I doubt I'm even smart enough to push past the point where I'd rise above the average, even if I flogged my brain half to death. I would have liked to be here last year - it sounds like they pushed them something awesome (yes, I am masochistic) in the beginning. While I don't think I would have lasted longer than anyone else, I would have liked that experience. I've never reached my breaking point, even if I feel like I've nudged close to it a few times - I would like to break. I want to know exactly where my limits are. Maybe I can push them then.

The last paragraph was rather introspective, which is a good indication it's time for me to go to bed. (No longer do I need the sunrise to tell me to sleep - I have my Overly-Philosophical Brain-Alarm!)

Other more different post, freshman year of college.

The folks here are already starting to take care of me - actually, we take care of each other a lot. People bring each other tea at night, make each other noodles, instruments and books get handed around, anyone will teach you anything, more or less... it's awesome. We had hug-huddles today in the field between capture-the-flag games to keep people from getting cold. It's open. I feel free. I'm not scared of messing up. I learned how to play 12-bar blues on guitar today because of Sean. Do you know how it feels, when you've been very inhibited about something for years, how to just have that suddenly go away? I can play music now... I'm not afraid of it any more. This is fun.

Present-day Mel: It can suddenly go away, but the same fear can come creeping back. The story of my life includes a good number of relapses. Timidity in music is a common theme.

Wait... later on in this post it mentions driving my cello and keyboard up to Olin. When did I ever have my cello at Olin? Was it just for a few weeks frosh year? Must have been, because I got my piano - Hector, an upright with a multitude of sores and scratches and wonky-off keys - sophomore year... and I wouldn't have done that if I had already had a keyboard around. And I suppose I didn't play my cello on campus enough to warrant keeping it around. And I remember being terrified of sucking too much to even audition for OCO, so I didn't - and ended up not playing music much at all, save for playing with License Server and several occasions of messing around with sounds.

Also, I have a tendency to get drunk on happiness. Inhibitions go away when I'm really, really happy. I want that to happen again so I can, for a while, not freak out over physical contact with other human beings. I wonder if more glorious music with glorious new earbuds with glorious glorious bass will do the trick - I just lay back on my bed tonight and listened to Beethoven and Beethoven and Beethoven and Ray Charles and floated away between the grace notes and WOW.

More from frosh year:

It appears as if I'm not human; Erin said it wasn't possible to sleep so little and still be so chipper, and then Miks couldn't find my pressure points at SMAC (Tae Kwon Do) Tuesday. Perhaps I really am The Frosh From Planet X. Though I do hope wherever I come from has a better name than the most commonly used algebra variable.

Parting shot from frosh year of Olin:

I'll always keep my IMSA friends and the memories we made, and I'll always be grateful for what the school did for me, but Olin's my home now, and I think it will be to me what IMSA is to Sharon right now. The years you'd choose to live in forever if you had to pick a time.

Present-day Mel: I think there'll be better years yet ahead. Life tends to keep getting exponentially better the longer I stay in it, so I'll be around as long as I can - it's too interesting now to stop.