Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"I'm in repair. I'm not together, but I'm getting there"

Dear Richard,

I so badly need to write this and the only way I can get it all out is through a letter. To you. A letter that you’ll never read, but one that I’ll write again and again because its how I’m positive its all real.

Trying to comprehend that you’re actually gone is a completely foreign action for me. I’ve never actively felt the loss of anyone in my life, and I realize now how fortunate I was for that. How fortunate we all were for that.

I’ve never been good at keeping up with people. I let people reach out to me over and over before I start to try, and I’ve never been more aware of that now. We haven’t kept in the best touch the last year, but never once did I consider you anything less than a friend. You were the epitome of a stand up guy. You were hands down one of the most intelligent, caring, and genuine people I’ve ever had the fortune of knowing. I rarely, if ever, told you how much I admired those qualities in you. You treated each moment as an incredible adventure, and you were right about that. You had a noticeably positive effect on people just by being around, and I only hope that you knew of even a fraction of the love for you that everyone had, and will forever have.

Tonight at your memorial was the first time all day that I was able to remember all the hilarity that ensued any time you were present. The first time I met you, you gave me this up-down look and said "So you're this Kelly Fine I hear so much about. Well i'm Richard. And I think we'll be friends." And we were. And your giving nature is something I’ll carry with me forever.

This feels like a giant tidal wave of perspective over, and over, and over. I hope that all of those you’ve impacted—more people than anyone could have realized—can take away from this horrible situation a lesson in love. I hope I can be more like you. I hope that I’ll remember to tell people how much they mean to me, and often. I hope that your sense of adventure will continue to live on in the hearts of your friends. I hope that we can all learn to forgive the little things, because if we're to learn anything from this it’s that you never know how much time you’ll have.

I can’t stop thinking about the unfairness of it all- no one should die at 19. No one should lose a friend, a son, a brother. But it happens, and it happened, and while grasping that is one of the hardest things that any one of us has ever had to do, I know that eventually, we’ll all be okay. Because we have to be. And because from up in the dance party that I’d like to imagine is your heaven, I think it’s what you’d want for us.

Everyone on the street looks like you. I don’t know if that’ll ever stop, but I hope it doesn’t. Because I’d like to believe that every person has a little bit of you in them.

I miss you already. I’m so much better to have known you.
Kelly Fine

p.s. We all wore yellow in honor of your birthday today. It's definitely the sexiest color.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

sunday best

Recently, the college-student ability of sleeping straight through the morning has left me. So every morning I wake up at 8:30 and not a second later, and then I get to wonder why i'm awake three hours before my classes start on weekdays or ten thousand hours before campus is awake on weekends. But mostly, I'm okay with it. It takes twenty three seconds to apply makeup to the circles under my eyes, but that's a small price to pay for feeling like I own something, this silently still time in the morning, for a little while.

it's the time after that small part of the morning that i've realized is both out of my control and totally in it. The thing i've realized about college is that it's so easy to forget that while i've been here, enjoying the freedoms that come with this suspended- reality, the world outside of my forty acre campus hasn't frozen. Not in the large ways- natural disasters and political movements, but in the smaller ways. It's hard to imagine that the people that made up my Plano life haven't frozen in place, anxiously awaiting my return in May. The whole idea that college is supposed to broaden your horizons, at least in this one way, is harder than you'd imagine.

But in other ways, college really does broaden your horizons. The things that terrified me in high school- not fitting in, fitting in too much, being disliked, being liked for the wrong reasons, to name a few, are so much smaller here. There will always be people that don't get you. No one is going to be liked by everyone they meet all the time, and it's a safe bet that the things you're insecure about are, in fact, defining you a little. But at the same time, there are so many people that WILL like you. and they WILL "get" you, at least to whatever point you allow them to. and i've been so homesick lately that my stomach actually hurts but i'm learning to see austin as home, at least a bit. right before I leave.

So I guess what i'm trying to say is that as scared as I was this time a year ago, life has gotten a lot less scary. For every one person I meet that probably finds me a little (or a lot) annoying, there's someone else that's willing to listen to me whine about my music class or laugh at me when i've had so much caffeine that i can't form rational thoughts, let alone sentences, and like me for it. I didn't realize it as it was happening, but i've managed to find people here that make the ten page literature papers and hours of biology outline making seem like only a fraction of my freshmen year. And while this chip on my shoulder might never fully go away, at least i'm filling it in. And that's pretty lucky.

This was incoherent as ever, so I guess i've just really missed writing.


also: ADH, you're the nicest, most genuine, most intelligent human being i've ever met and as small as i'm terrified that you're feeling right now, you're still HUGE HUGE HUGE HUGE to me. and I love you. And I'll be home so soon and we can watch the history channel and complain about everything and i'll let you be sassy on whatever day you want with absolutely (probably?) no consequences. <3

Friday, March 4, 2011


My mom reminded me recently that I used to talk myself to sleep. She says she would say goodnight, leave my room and almost immediately hear me telling myself stories, rhyming words, spelling anything and everything I could, laughing when I knew I was wrong.

I only vaguely remember that. What I can remember was demanding the door be left open, just a crack, so I could hear the rest of my family settle down. Through our shared bathroom I could hear my oldest sister on the phone, hear her petering around her bedroom doing whatever it was that teenage girls did long into the night. Across the hall I could faintly hear radio disney coming from my little brothers room, recognize the repetitive beat of "The Hamster Dance" that lulled Michael to sleep immediately but kept me up for hours. Downstairs, my parents talked quietly or my dad's keyboard clacked, working on what I could only assume was extremely pressing and important work that was changing the world. My mom turned pages in the office that shared a wall with my bedroom. I counted as high as I could, trying to time my yawns with numbers that ended in two. 

As I got older, the sounds changed. Kristin went to college, and the mechanical whirr of her blow dryer was replaced with a faint banging coming from the loose screen on her window. Radio disney turned to ESPN radio, recounting the night's basketball games in detail regardless of the fact that Michael was long asleep.  My mom read later and later into the night, and my dad's closed door shut out the sounds of his TV shows. The family dog walked around, settling onto the couch for an hour, then on the stairs for a while, until finally all I could hear was the clinking of her collar as she roamed around the downstairs. I must have stopped talking myself to sleep, because at some point I realized that my quiet house was entirely too large and entirely too silent and  sleep was entirely not an option. 

At some point, I stopped talking myself to sleep and instead turned towards an endless inwards narrative. When you're young, you can talk to yourself without sounding too crazy. But if that was the only change, we'd all be better off.

It seems like when you're ten, things are just...less crazy in general. Before braces and hair product cure you of your awkward phase and wine coolers and pretty glass pipes rob you of your innocence, you're capable of seeing things with more clarity. Whoever said that ignorance is bliss was on to something. 

But the fact is, we all grow up. Some of us slower than others, if the sounds of mario cart coming from down the hall are any indication. We're going to have to get a degree, or several, and find a job. Make decisions that will affect more than wardrobe or our Saturday night. We can't just talk ourselves to sleep forever. But sometimes, when i'm not paying attention, i'll catch my lips moving, silently verbalizing my thoughts.

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Stars

There's something really humbling about the sky.

Besides the fact that it's large and we're small, and besides the fact that it's old and we're new, the fact that the sky is this vacant, looming infinity always reminds me that i'm still tiny, no matter how big I feel.

I was thinking about this at Feed my People this morning. I do my best thinking at 4:45 am. That's a lie, I do little to no thinking at 4:45 am, typically. But this morning, watching the homeless people of Austin get their coffee (with lot's of creme and lot's of sugar, as i've learned) was so reassuring. No matter how hard of a week I've had, no matter how many pathetic emails I send to my mother or whining sessions I have with Allie, Feed my People is the same. There will still be a few hundred people waiting outside of the church on Tuesdays and Thursdays, waiting for what probably will be the most sufficient meal they have until the next Tuesday or Thursday. They will still stand in line for coffee, and they will still fill their cups halfway with creme and sugar, spilling everywhere. And when i'm not there, someone else will hand them their tiny styrofoam cups and wish them good morning.

Knowing things go on without you is like a simultaneous slap in the face and firm shaking. We aren't that important. Life does, and will, go on, whether we're conscious of it or not. There's no need to take yourself too seriously because in the scheme of things, we're milliseconds on the hands of time. There's so much less pressure when you realize that in ten years, the mistakes and the decisions you made will be memories, and 100 years, they'll be even less than that. In a thousand years you'll be smaller than a grain of sand on a beach and there will be new people, with new worries and new choices, realizing just as we have to that none of it really matters.

But about the sky. It's nice to know that even when you forget to look up for a while, it's still there, ever expanding. We see a star's shine long after it's dead, but humans don't get that luxury. It's a blessing and a curse, to be this ephemeral. But regardless, we're small. And we can't change everything. And all in all, this life is precious and shouldn't be wasted, but it isn't so fragile. It doesn't need to be protected, it needs to be embraced.

All we have is tomorrow


kelli fuqua I'm sorry this isn't exactly what you're looking for... <3

Monday, October 18, 2010

Things We Used To Know

We're taught so many things when we're little. Before our brains were taken completely over by lyrics to songs we don't even like and the little geometry that we still remember and names and faces of friends we had, we knew things. And somewhere along the time line of our lives we forgot everything we knew to be true when we were six.

We forget to remember "if you have nothing nice to say, say nothing at all." Instead we talk-- we gossip, we lie, and we say what we believe to be fact with a malicious convinction that, left unsaid, could have saved someone. We intentionally hit people right where it hurts, and once we've created a visible bruise, we find something new to talk about. We're on to the next, and we don't always even realize we've done it. Worse, when we do realize, we don't apologize because that shows a weakness we all like to pretend we don't have.

We ignore the golden rule. Surely the kids that filmed their Rudgers university school mate didn't consider "do unto your neighbor as you want him to do unto you" before exposing his sexuality through a sex video all over the internet. If they had, maybe they would have considered the consequences. Maybe they'd have posted it anyway, but I like to hope that if someone, anyone, had reminded them of the golden rule they'd have stopped. Now, suicide after suicide confirms that we don't consider the consequences of our words and actions and we don't do unto others as they should do unto us.

We've forgotten to walk the metaphorical mile in someone's shoes before we insult. We forgot that "everyone is special," and when we finally remembered it we attached a negative connotation to "special." what we once considered comforting began to reaffirm our negativity. Unique has become synonymous with evil, or bad. And so has different. Eventually, we have to grow out of this stage we've settled into where anyone that isn't like us is against us.

I can remember when the life lessons taught to me by my parents were something I held as universal truths. We can't allow ourselves to outgrow morality like we outgrew our beanie babies. What this world needs right now is a few more six year olds.


Monday, September 6, 2010

Burnt Popcorn

smells really bad. My roommate burned a bag in our bathroom (where the microwave is...?) earlier and my dorm now smells like a gross mixture of burned paper and burned popcorn and flowery febreeze that isn't really doing it's job.

And all this burned popcorn got me thinking about ideas. Which is a weird thing to think about, because to me that sounds like I'm thinking about thinking which is confusing. But more specifically, the burned popcorn made me think of how this whole hall probably hates me. There's no way they can't smell it. I can practically feel it seeping into my hair and my skin and the carpeting and it's convinced me that I should get used to having this stench around because it's not going anywhere.

Which is why I thought of thinking. Because so often I'll get an idea in my head and once it plants itself, there's no going back. And I so over think everything that eventually I don't even remember what got me so worried. That doesn't make me stop worrying. In fact, it makes me worry just a little bit more.

Mostly I worry about the future. I'm majoring in Journalism, which I keep joking to people is like majoring in unemployment. I'm trying to make light of it, but really, I'm mostly serious. Which is sad, because it sucks that once I finally find something I want to do, something I'm more than just okay about, I can't get out of my head that I'm putting something in the future at risk, something so far into the future I don't even know what it is. And then I worry that I don't even want this. That I'm going to spend 4+ years getting a degree in something I might not even love.

I know I like reading. And I know I love writing. And editing. But it seems like part of growing up might be finding something substantial and coming to like it.

Is this the disillusioning part of growing up? Seems like it to me.

I need to escape this foul smelling room before I forget what actual oxygen smells like.


Thursday, September 2, 2010


I'm sitting in my dorm room right now, ignoring my roommate's weird music and feeling like a college student, and I'm so surprised by how normal it is.

I think I imagined i'd be miserable here, and would cling to the "I wanted to go somewhere far away but pretended to be okay with UT" thing I do, but now that i'm living the Austin life and seeing all these cool things UT has to offer, I'm really glad to be here. 

Which is good, since being glad to be where you are is definitely a good thing.

So here's the breakdown of my classes, for anyone that is reading this/cares/doesn't care:

Biology, Ecology, and Evolution:kind of hard.
Sociology: pretty cool
Critical Issues in Journalism: I want to be friends with my professor because his sense of humor is super dry and makes me laugh too long when everyone else has moved on.
Rhetoric: English class, so good.
...and last but not really least, Modernity, Anxiety, and the Art of the Uncanny: really really freaky. But interesting. Mostly scary. We watch scary movies and read unsettling literature and think about what it is that actually scares us and why. Other than when we had to read Freud, which made me feel stupid, but I'm sure as soon as I stop being terrified I'll like it.

It's so weird being here and accepting the fact that I'm not a highschooler because this hasn't stopped feeling like a field trip yet. I think it's because there are West kids all over the place, so it's like any minute Homez will pop out and be like "alright back on the bus" and I'll have to stop hanging out on the drag and go back to Plano.

Which I kind of miss. I liked knowing who and where everyone was. I liked how it was quiet, usually. 

So there's a summary of my life, which I hate doing because I like when this blog goes months and months at a time with angsty post after post. Those are the best.

okay well when I think of something profound, or not, I'll write about it.

Hey Kevin.