Just Rocks

I thought taking Physical Geology would be fun. Good for me. A knowledgeable experience. I chose a Bachelors of Science because I’d rather learn about the Earth than spend 4 semesters in a foreign language I’ll never really master, and probably forget the moment I graduate. So, I signed up for Geology, because rocks.

Do you remember in grade school, how they would teach us Sedimentary, Metamorphic, and Igneous rocks? I always loved that unit. I love staring at the cliffs lining highways and the crazy lines running across the cut faces. I thought I could handle this class….after all, it’s 10x better than Biology.

Oh how wrong I was…

My TA looks like Glenn from The Walking Dead. This is the only thing going for him, in my opinion. He’s awful at teaching. He doesn’t answer questions, and when he does, he tells me in vague replies that don’t suit my learning style at all. I need you to show me the difference between Fracture and Cleavage on a rock and explain why it is so. Half the time, we ask him a question about a rock, he picks it up, flicks it around a bit, then tells us “this is a nice specimen. good cleavage.” or something like that, then walks away. Knowledge gained=zero.

On the first lab day, he informed us that we would be having a Midterm Practical the week before Spring Break (TODAY). He didn’t lie to us at all. Apparently less than half the entire Physical Geology class (all sections included) passes the Practical. Now, help me out here….WHY WOULD YOU CONTINUE TO GIVE A TEST THAT NO ONE CAN SEEM TO DO WELL ON? I’ve heard of professors like these who love to watch students retake their classes again and again. I even know of one who dresses up as Satan on test days. Why.

Upon realizing the test was a week away, I immediately set out to make my trusty flash cards. I figured that if I could memorize how to characterize the rocks and minerals before tutoring on Friday, I could go in, get some pictures in my head to match the characteristics, and continue studying over the weekend. I did just that. I felt so good about everything after tutoring! I had been studying twice a day all week, had the rocks and minerals pretty much down, and I still had two more days to go. Then came Saturday. My brain was tired…I couldn’t handle the flashcards. Sunday….no flashcards. Today, I resigned myself to whatever fate was in store for me. If I knew it, I knew it. After a weekend of seeing flashcards with Dolostone, Calcite, and Gneiss pop into my head with little information to follow, I was ready to be done with my Practical.

As I waited outside to be called in alongside lab mates and students from other labs, I heard a group of girls discussing the Practicals they took last year. Because, you know, they didn’t pass last year. Because this class sucks. My lab group was shocked to hear the test would not be multiple choice after all. (HE. PROMISED. MULTIPLE. CHOICE. Damn it Glenn!!!) I set down my flash cards and stared at the wall until I was called. Resigned.

There was no way I could have been prepared for this. This Practical might seem easy to majors who have spent they’re entire college experience categorizing rocks, but not a lab of non majors who only meet once a week for 2 hours. Every week we were introduced to a new batch of about ten rocks with a new batch of characteristic terms and identification tools. I’ve spent a month in this class, there was no way. At each table there were about ten different rocks with one or two questions associated with them. Some were naming, some were about technical texture terms, some were about placing the rocks on the Hardness scale.

At one point I got to a rock that had two questions to it. I don’t remember the questions. I think I only answered one. I remember dropping to eye level with the rock and staring at it for a long time, because there was no way for me to characterize it. My brain had failed me for at least the twentieth time in that hour. To me, it was just a rock. It had no name other than rock. Because, in all honesty, that’s all they are. They’re rocks. You pick up a rock on the side of the road, and it may be comprised of minerals with names, but this was just a rock. I could have seen this very rock in my front yard back home. There was absolutely nothing special about it….so I sighed, stood up, and moved on.

Not much later, I was on the final table. I picked up a rock and immediately knew it was Hematite. Two questions belonged to this rock, to which I knew the name of. Do you know how often I absolutely knew the names of the rocks and minerals during that test? Once.  Hematite. You want to know what questions belonged to Hematite? Not “what is the name of this rock?” I can assure you. I knew it was Hematite. I didn’t know its economical uses or whatever the second question was. At that point, I wanted to begin writing all of the knowledge I had gathered on my answer sheet, because I have knowledge in this class. I know things. That….I didn’t know. It frustrated me to no end. I moved on.

Halite, Calcite, and Quartz look very similar. Calcite bubbles in acid and Halite tastes salty. I’ve tasted Halite before, just out of curiosity, but I wasn’t going to lick it in the middle of my Practical. So I stared at it for a minute or two, playing Einie-Meenie- Minie- Mo in my head. (Get ready to be proud, mom) Then I remembered “You can see daylight through the Halite”, decided this mineral was clear enough to be so, and wrote it down. That’s about as confident of an answer as I was gonna get on that test.

I left a few blank. I guessed on too many. I probably only got a handful right out of fifty questions. The point of this pitiful story is….don’t take Geology if you don’t have to. It’s not just Sedimentary, Igneous, and Metamorphic anymore.

A Testimony for the Outsiders

It started when I was born a girl and handed to another family. A very Christian family. It built as I entered school and earned myself a seat in the ranks of quiet onlookers. It continued as boys and girls alike began to understand what little of the world they could when their ages were barely double digits. I was mocked for being a Christian. For carrying a mini composition book in my pencil bag to write my random inspiration in. For being too trusting. For not having an older sister present to teach me how to dress and act.

I was pegged as a target for pranks, games, and teasing. Someone who could take it and would still be your friend.

I always thought I was different. A black sheep in the family and my tight-knit group of friends. It wasn’t because I was adopted, because my sister (who is also adopted) has always fit in quite nicely. I just can’t seem to blend in with the crowd like I so desperately want to.

But I’ve clung to my groups all my life. I needed them. I still need them. All my life I’ve been ridiculed, pinched, poked, and prodded, and I still need them.

The same friends who defended me against the sick boys who laughed at me for being a Christian took up the habit of stealing my lunch and passing it around the table until I only had less than 10 minutes to eat. They often ganged up on me; whatever one said, the other swiftly followed. So, I left my usual lunch table to sit with my best friend who had long abandoned us for her new GT friends. (GT is an advanced program for kids in elementary and middle school who get bored in Pre-AP and regular classes) I had no place there. I was stuck. It was a small table even before I arrived, and I was just a desperate middle school-er taking a regulars spot.

Boyfriends came and went in grade school, monopolizing on my romantic nature and sweet disposition. I was used, abused, and manipulated. I was ridiculed yet again by the people I placed my absolute trust in. One even got bored with me because I wouldn’t Skype him at all hours of the night and left me for a few days to pursue another girl. I forgave him and took him back, only to find out a few days later he had tried to ask out one of my friends. I desperately wanted love. I forgave them. I was infatuated.

My opinion never mattered. Not even in my family. I was so sheltered, I didn’t really know much anyway..only what I had read and analyzed in my books. As I grew I even started sleeping in a tiny ball on the very edge of the bed so as to not bother my sleeping partner. I never got any sleep unless I slept alone. Being the introverted, nerdy, sheltered girl I am, I’ve been attached to the internet for a while. I spent hours on the kitchen desktop, posting to Facebook and exploring the webs while my mom cooked. One time we got a virus that downloaded fake porn apps to the computer, and my mom was furious because she didn’t believe I would never do something like that. In the Chat-Roulette/Justin.TV era, I found people around the world who never teased me like my “true” friends did, but instead talked to me as if I was an actual person who felt things. I was respected. My opinion mattered. My obsession with the internet and the world progressed.

After being the forgotten girl in a crowd of loud Theatre kids in High School, and constantly trying to find validation from parents who just couldn’t sympathize with my ever-growing awareness of the world, I was ecstatic to find a troop of true friends who understood me. I idolized them as gifts from God to make up for the constant struggle. Safe havens. I forgave them every time they pranked me as a collective. I forgave them when they made me feel like a child. I forgave them when they discounted my feelings. Summer came and I was the only one crippled by the separation, despite the shit I had dealt with throughout the year. I tried daily to keep conversations up, because I missed them and wanted to stay in their lives. I realized I was the only one trying. I was the only one trying, and when I did I only got rude remarks back. I stopped trying. It only took a few days of analyzing my past year to understand that recognize the patterns I had lived with my whole life. Even in college, we were still playing childish games, and I was still extremely naive.

I have yet to find more than 3 people who see me as more than entertainment. More than the giggly, blonde girl who is nice to everyone. I study and read to learn about the world. I have opinions. They matter. I contemplate life and enjoy the views and experiences Earth has to give me. 3 people have tried to dive deeper to witness those moments.

If there’s respect, I don’t see it. If there’s understanding, it isn’t being applied. As a Christian trying to follow in the path of Jesus, I’ve tried to live a life full of love and selflessness, and the only thing I get out of it is abuse of that trait. This is my wake up call. If you’re an outsider who can relate to these instances, you should wake up too. My advice? Find reciprocation. It’s draining to give and give without anything in return. You will burn yourself out. I’m burned out. Something needs to change.

One Sunny, Sunday Morning

As it was Labor Day, and I’m a college student, I went home for the weekend. The main purpose was to rendezvous with my fellow bridesmaids and our bride (aka: sister dearest) to pick out the bridesmaids dress. However, as is my tradition when I go home, I informed my boss at the church I would like to work on Sunday. This is a natural concept to me because I love my group of children, and who doesn’t want to get paid? I mean, I would be going to church anyway; why not spend my time earning money while building the bond with my kids? No-brainer!

Or so I thought.

As the familiar families trickled into the classroom, I was met with surprised “hello’s” and questions such as “how is college going?” ‘Well, I’ve only been in school for a week so…’ I was astounded by the amount of times I was asked “You came home for the holiday and you’re here now? Wow! I wouldn’t!”

What. Wait. Hold on….we’re in church. On Sunday. What do you mean you wouldn’t go to church? You wouldn’t jump at the chance to play with kids, including your own child? Floored. Absolutely floored. But you know, I just smiled and laughed each time it was brought up, because what else would I say? ‘yeah, my plans to go to Europe fell through, so here I am!’ Like that’s even an option.

But let’s go ahead and address the important issue here. As Christians, we should enjoy gathering and praising God. As parents, we should be grateful to have kind-hearted people there to love on your child while you socialize. (because we all know church is more of a social situation than a religious one these days) I understand we’re all human and church might not be our favorite place to go, especially at 9 in the morning. Regardless, Christianity is more than simply showing up to church on Sunday’s. It’s service, love, and teaching our next generation to love as Christ did. Being a Christian is not a part-time job. ‘Job’ shouldn’t even be anywhere near the description. Just because I go home for the weekend doesn’t mean I need a holiday from church. That’s ridiculous! The fact that these parents were shocked by my commitment to their children and our church bothers me to no end. What has our religious body become? Or is it simply the fact that I’m a college student who, by stereotype, shouldn’t even be out of bed before noon on weekends unless it’s to puke out my hangover?

Do you have an opinion on the matter? Similar thoughts? Opposing thoughts? Let me know! I love discussions 🙂

Perspective from the Road

Something about the woods here always makes me recede into my thoughts. Staying inside too long makes me feel like I’m in a cage. As I didn’t have a balcony last year, I often descended the stairs to a landing between the 2nd and 3rd floor, where I could think in peace. There I could watch cars pass on the street below and breathe in as much fresh air as I needed. Now, I find myself drifting to our little balcony when my mind wanders, but it’s still wrapped up in the confines of the apartment. When the balcony can’t ease my unrest, I go to plan B. Driving.

If you’re a fan of the TV show Supernatural, you’ll understand what I mean when I say my truck and I have a profound bond. (and in case you were wondering, I ship Destiel. It is most definitely a thing!) Every drive is an adventure, even if it’s across the highway to wreck havoc on Walmart. It’s hard to match the elation I feel when I drive, especially when I’m alone. I usually turn the volume as high as it will go, because it makes me feel cozy and surrounded by my favorite music. That phrase “so loud I can’t hear myself think” doesn’t apply in this situation, for some reason. See, this moment is where my best inspiration comes from. It’s like the combination of the road flying by and the blasting lyrics releases all the pent up thoughts and worries in my brain.

Now that you understand my therapy methods, we can dive into the gorey details. My therapy began last year (obviously) when I didn’t need to drive as much as I did back home. I was helped to discover the winding back roads and freedoms of our town, and I used them frequently. Then, I left for the summer and I welded the door to the fidgety 18 year old shut. I abandoned my “aimless drives” as my roommate would call them, honestly, because I no longer needed them. I went out more than before, I found my own peace, and I thrived.

In a town so small, everywhere I turn I’m thrown into a memory. Cars I don’t know take my mind to another time. I make turns in intersections then immediately look in my rear-view mirror for that familiar figure, just in case they might be near. The more errands I run, the more I’m drawn to the back roads to stay out a little longer. My brain scolds me with thoughts of my dwindling bank account and the needle that drifts closer to ‘E’ every time I turn on the engine. My heart needs to fly. I need to watch the towering trees pass in a blur. I need to feel speed. Most of all, I need to feel connected. I don’t think I’m ready to admit what to. The emotions, the suffocation associated with my trips was buried so deep, and with my return it’s slipping out like smoke.

It’s part of my Wanderlust, and one day it will be satiated. For now I battle with life. And small spaces. Did I mention I’m claustrophobic?

This Is One Of Those “Don’t Even Get Me Started!” Moments

30 Topic Challenge: Day 2- Something I feel strongly about.

I want to tell you I spent days mulling this one over, but it took a matter of minutes for my brain to flip through all of the things I feel strongly about. It was a matter of what is censored, what doesn’t have enough content, and what I feel like writing. So, I’ve come up with something really good. Let’s start with a quote.

“No fast food worker is worth $15. Not even management.”

Dear person,

your face isn’t worth $15. I hope your servers have the instinct to spit in your food. That comment deserves so much bad karma.

So, why is this important to me? Because, even though I don’t think the minimum wage should be that high (maybe $10), I still believe a human life is worth so much more. And all people here to do any service for you should be treated with respect.  Had he said “no fast food JOB is worth $15” I might have let it slide. And maybe that’s what he meant. But he didn’t. He made it sound like fast food workers are the scum under his precious, gold shoes. So this is a post about service for all the faces of ignorance out there.

1. Fast food isn’t a job for slackers. We might all think it is, and maybe it’s where a lot of slackers turn, but it’s not a job FOR slackers. One of my favorite quotes from a favorite movie, Stardust: “There are shop boys, and, there are boys who just happen to work in shops for the time being.” Do the math and $7.25 makes a little less than $14 grand. And that’s working 9-5, every weekday without holidays. We all know it doesn’t work that way. Now you big, weathered adults tell me if a single person can live off that, let alone a family. They’re just people like everyone else trying to make their way! They probably hate their job too, or maybe they’re really interesting and they actually enjoy working there. Who are you to judge? They’re happy. They’re trying. It IS a career, by definition.

2. There’s been so much debate at my university about tipping waiters. Now this is extremely infuriating to me, because I’m close to a few servers and former servers. Every time they get stiffed, it’s not only a punch in their face but a punch in mine too. It’s extremely distressing to go on the floor every shift and pour out all you have, just to get 5% sometimes. If that. Some people like me and others I know try to help out with that and give a little more than 20% so our hardworking servers can have a good day. Again, they’re just trying to get by. So the debate. Question 1: “why should I tip well all the time? I’ll tip 18% if they’re above and beyond, but if they don’t do well they don’t get a tip”. Always remember; servers have to give a certain percentage of their tip to the hosts, busers, and bartenders. Don’t make them pay you to eat. That’s not how it works, guys. 15-20%, all the time. I don’t care if they were the worst server you’ve ever had, don’t go below 15%. Question 2: “I don’t have money for a tip after I pay for my meal.” I hate this excuse. You shouldn’t be eating at a restaurant if you can’t afford a proper tip. Especially when you sit there and eat like a pig. Yeah, I’m talking to you, lady who ordered 4 bowls of rice. Servers depend on tips for their income. If you can’t afford said tip, go some place where they don’t need it. Like McDonalds. I hear they get paid a whopping $7.25, a whole $5 more than servers!

3. Nobody, not janitors, not cashiers, not burger flippers, not servers, not sales people, not teachers, are beneath you. Ever. End of story. They are there by choice, to provide service to you whether they need the money or like the job. They are not your slaves. Courtesy will get you ever where, I promise. To this day I’m extremely disturbed by stories I’ve heard of rude behavior such as snapping to get their attention and leaving large messes for them to take care of, knowing they will have to because “it’s their job”.

All in all…treat your neighbor with respect. That’s what I feel strongly about. Nobody is higher than the other in the totem pole.

Check back next week for the next topic: a book I love! It’ll be a short one, so maybe I’ll fit in three next week. Who knows?

The Beginning

30 post challenge Day 1: 5 ways to win my heart.


5 reasons I fell in love with the quirky man I now call Home.

But let’s start with an introduction. Why a challenge? I can and will tell you that it’s a celebration of my 10 first blog posts ever. (woohoo me! It’s not just a phase!) Now I’m going to be frank. It’s a celebration, but it’s also been on my mind for a while. Honestly, I need help spicing my life up a bit, and a challenge seems like the perfect way. So here I am. Baring my soul. Again. For 30 posts. I might sprinkle in some random rants as the inspiration comes, but the 30 challenges will come every week without fail. That is my promise to you! ….and me. So, without further ado, 5 reasons I fell in love with my man.

5. We began in the world of technology, and he would have a way of using Skype emoticons and this stupid, adorable squirrel to talk. Once we had a whole conversation with emoticons/those little picture things. Of course….when we explained our trains of thought they had nothing to do with each other…but we tried, right? Point: he made me laugh with the simplest gestures.

4. We had been friends for a while. So he’d already gotten to the good friend stage. Once he opened up, I saw something very beautiful.

3. We talked….and talked….and talked…you know, I’m not sure we ever stopped talking for a while there. Unless I fell asleep, which I did a lot, in which case I can’t really control my vocal chords.

2. He inspires/inspired me in my art, in my life, in my dreams. He makes me want to be bigger and better than I am. He makes me want to explore my limits in all categories and push them harder.

1. Through everything over the years, he is unconditionally faithful. He surrounds me with his love and support and never tears me down. He picks me up when the world throws me on the ground, hands me a mirror, and tells me I am worthy of every precious thing in the world. And after 2 years, I believe it.

I don’t need to sit here and list the ways to my heart. What a waste it would be for the public, because he has it completely. He is my best friend and my #1 supporter. I look into his eyes and see someone who would move mountains for me, and that is how I know he is worthy.

Post 1 done! Look for the next one this weekend: a rant about something I feel strongly about! ….now I have to find something I feel strongly about…

Just Another Stupid Phase, huh?

You think it’s stupid, but I enjoy it. 

By Shelby S. 

They call it a public online journal. Well, isn’t that what a blog is? Some tell me I need to internalize….but when you’re me, internalizing will eventually lead to the destruction of me and those close to me. Believe me. I’ve been there.

So, here I am. My own therapy. Judge all you like, but you’ll thank me later when the world doesn’t explode.

When I was growing up, I imagined myself a cup. In this cup was every smack in the face, punch in the gut, heart plummeting moment I would gather as I went about my life. When something went wrong, the negativity went straight into said cup and I plastered a smile on my face. No harm done, and everyone got their happy Shelby. Well, as everyone knows…a cup has its limits. Depending on the circumstances, I would have about a week or two to just be before everything would pile up too high. At that point I would let it run out for a few days. These were just miserable days. My depression days. I’m sure everyone deals with something similar, I’m no different.

At some point, I think in the middle of all my high school shenanigans, I switched it. I became insanely open. Probably so much it’s unhealthy. Now I have more frequent moments of random distress, but I’m naturally smiley and bubbly because of it. It’s never fake. It’s surface level, but genuine all the same.

I wanted a blog because I feel the people in my life don’t really know me as well as they think they do. Maybe if they see a little deeper, they won’t be so shocked when I show bits of true colors.  And yet, I still feel trapped. I’m stuck in this horrible mind set that everything must be censored and image is all important. It was drilled into me since I was little, but maybe I want my dirty laundry sitting out on the line so people know what they’re getting into. Seriously, why is putting up a front so important? Why does reputation even matter? The key to having close friends and being happy is just being yourself and letting people in. Not sharing choice details and flashing a perfect smile. But here I am, with so much to say about my life, and I’m still worried of what all of you will think about me when I’m done. It’s pathetic. You’re not living my life for me, so why should your disdain matter? I’m not fake. A little crazy,and I should probably go get checked out for bipolar disorder, but I’m not fake.

I felt like putting that out there because it needed to be said. And you’ve now received another piece to the Shelby puzzle. Put them together and you get a prize! …maybe..