Everyone greeted me when I was outside the Meeting House. Went in and Ann and Liz and Chris greeted me, asked if I had any questions, helped me out, etc. Liz walked me in and I sat next to her.
For the first half-hour or so I just sat and went inward, relaxed my body part by part to get my breathing on track (realised it hasn't been for about a month) and do the chakra exercise and personal guided visual because it makes me feel centred and at peace.
Around that time a man stood up and talked about his son leaving his job with the NHS, and how a party was thrown for him and his boss had said, "And I love [the son]" how there had been some twittered laughter and then "No, I really do love [the son]" and how the party had become a love-fest with everyone expressing love, especially for the son who was leaving. It reminded the man, the speaker at the Meeting, that love should be acknowledged and named more often. (There was a wedding that afternoon, so a lot of thoughts were on love.)
A few thoughts entered my mind but I wasn't ready for them, so I did the tree exercise and pretended that when I had a thought it was a heavy leaf that then fell, acknowledged as a leaf yet gone, able to be picked up long later if I needed.
A woman stood and talked about how she had had difficulty with the idea of love and the idea of "God is Love" until first she had seen a girl with a patch that had "God is Love" in a big Q (symbolic of a question mark) and until she heard the idea expressed that we must look for what is loveable in each other.
A thought overwhelmed me. Well, less at thought and more a memory with the emotions still very closely attacked. Playing uke and singing Hallelujah in the corridor with Matt and Harry last night, the first night I had memorised the song. I smiled at the memory and let the leaf fall. Apparently my crown (in those moments I am thinking of myself as a tree) didn't like that idea. I got this electric/white-light feeling seemingly above my head and then down rooted into my brain. I ignored it and went back to breathing. The tingling and white light electricity feeling continued down my neck. I took deeper breaths and calmed. Then my heart started beating more. I put a hand to my heart and calmed my body, but the feelings stayed. I stood up (which I knew meant speaking) and it felt right.
I said something like, "I'm teaching myself to play the ukulele. Last night I taught myself my first full songs. I went out into the corridor and saw two of my friends doing press-ups, which they've being doing together since Lent as a friendship and community activity. I sat down and started playing ukulele. When they finished I stopped, so we could converse and be together. My friend Matt said, 'Oh, please don't stop, I love that song!' so I started over and we all sang Hallelujah together. It felt wonderful. It made me think that a song amongst friends is love too, and I'm so glad I callused my fingers learning to play that song." I sat down and felt normal again, loosened my body and continued through the service. I was glad people had smiled at me while I was speaking, given it was my first time there and goodness knows what moved me to speak.
At the end of the meeting a woman stood and gave the announcements. When it was time for newcomers or returners to stand I stood and said, "Hello, I'm Kiwi, like the fruit or the endangered flightless bird in New Zealand. I was raised Unitarian Universalist in America and I'm looking for a home community. I...er...play the ukulele?" smiled and sat down. I had meant to mention that I was a student at Uni Reading studying Applied Ecology and Conservation, but I figured if I hadn't thought of it at the time it wasn't meant to be.
After meeting we had tea in the back room and I met quite a few people. Watched some of the snails that are kept around. It all felt very FUSF-y, minus a few hoards of people and quieter in service. It felt good. I saw a lot of parallels between the way we run our congregational meetings and the way the Friends did. It also reminded me of Rowe, because at Rowe chapels are run that way--a topic is given or emerges (a loose one, really, anyone can say whatever is thus inspired) and silence is the main course, with people speaking when they are thus moved. It felt like that when I stood up, which is to say it felt good in the same way. I love Rowe chapels. I used to go every night. Those services were always one of my favourite parts of Rowe. So I think in a lot of ways I was prepared for a Quaker service. It felt right and good.
I walked into town and bought the things I needed, then let myself explore some more. I had my music and I was smiling and dancing and lipping as I walked. I actually cried at how beautiful and lovely everything felt. Took the bus home, scarfed a lunch, came upstairs, hung 'round.
We went in for Bella Italia to celebrate Sass' pool win and friendship and the last semi-fearless time before exams. A 50% off coupon again, of course. It was a lovely meal. A lot of joking. Godfather desserts at the end.
Came back and I copied down some more uke songs, some Lion King and Fields of Gold, which I've been obsessed with and known to sing at random since 8th grade. Need to get the right strum patterns and re-listen to the songs and I should be set.
We watched Friday the 13th in Sass' room. I was doing my ecology field notebook as we did it, so I wasn't paying strict attention to the film, which means I jumped and yelled a lot, immediately followed by laughter. It made Jack and Batgirl jump, which made me giggle further. I joked the whole way through but we all did. It was such a silly film. The end had us all jump and the room was filled with laughter.
I remember at Bella Italia when I mentioned that The Godfather was the best life gave (sitting there with brownie on my tongue and a look of bliss on my face), Jujubean gave me A Look. I said, "You're about to tell me to have sex, aren't you?" and she admitted she was. I told her, "It's not as though I haven't tried." She told me to do it myself. I said, "I try that too, but I get bored and say 'sod this, I'm going to go actually work.' It's pathetic when personal fun is the only thing that can lead someone to revision." She assured me that I wasn't the only one but that she didn't really get the need for it anyway. I asked her when her first experience was, and she said 16. I asked her what she would feel like if that had never happened, if none of it had every happened, and now she was 19 with nothing under her belt and having it be all anyone else can ever talk about. She said she could understand it a bit more. She and Batgirl told me I should go find someone.
I rolled my eyes and laughed. They agreed that it must be easier when someone is straight and actually interested in people her age. I'm the girl who falls for the teaching assistant, instructor or professor, because the cute girl a chair over doesn't capture the interest long enough. And on the off chance the older woman was not straight, and further on the VERY off chance the woman was not straight AND was interested, I wouldn't want to do anything ANYWAY because I would never want to put someone in that position of red lines and deciding what's right in that arena. So I'm the girl who falls for older woman and probably won't see much opportunity until she's 25, and I'm 19, so I've got a while to wait.
Hopefully I'm wrong. I would adore being wrong, would feel no shame in having to admit, "Hey, I was wrong, look at me and the fun I'm having!" but at the same time if it doesn't happen, I won't be heartbroken. I'm stable. I draw my identity from myself, when I so choose to have an identity. I feel secure and balanced without someone. A lot of my friends tell me they don't feel entirely like that when they're not with someone, that they're not completely whole. They get clingy in relationships, text over tabletops while at meals with friends, spend all their free time together.
I am whole. I am looking for one plus one equals two, a close two, a beautifully entwined two, but two nonetheless. I am not looking for one half plus one half equals one, not looking for a situation where a break means "going back" to being half a person, looking for another half to secure for wholeness.
So in that way I'm fine, lovely, happy waiting for this dance of romance to commence at a later date. It will be nice eventually to have common ground and personal understanding of these things I speak of so frequently with friends (I am still the go-to for relationship, love and companionship advice despite my sorely lacking history) but all is good and happy currently.
Tomorrow is my first day of the full week of revision. Going to try to get my ecology packet done today and tomorrow morning so that it can be passed in before Friday and be off my chest. Then commencing revision of Exploiters and Exploited, Plant Diversity, Structure and Utilisation and Genes and Chromosomes.
I'll make it through this somehow.