sunshine dayjoûr'nâl, vt.
1. a daily record of happenings
2. a diary of a person's life
3. a day's work; a journey

Fumbling Into Grace: Chronicles of A College Co-ed
A haphazard collection of thoughts that is not quite a diary, but not far enough from Doogie Howser's online log to not be called something similar. She's just a girl in the world.

- January - February - March -

January 1, 2001
There's this guy.
Oh, but doesn't it all start that way?

I hate having been caught in such a ridiculously cliché situation, but when you're a female, it's inevitable. I firmly believe females make clichés cliché. I think it's part of our maternal instinct to smooth things over, and when you can't find the words to express it, metaphors come to the rescue. You don't hear men using clichés unless they're related to a sport or car. And this is probably one of the fundamental differences between guys and…waits where was I?

Oh yeah, there's this guy.

I am scared of guys. I've been hurt so many times in the past that I developed an actual fear of anything stemming beyond hanging out and watching a football game. But most of that hurt I suffered is my fault because I gave a piece of my heart away too quickly. I invested a level of trust blindly, hoping that that person could take it and keep it safe and warm.

But that didn't happen.
And so now there's this guy.

It's not about love.
It's not about a boyfriend.
It's not about dating.
It's about trust.

And he's wonderful. Amazing. If there were ingredients for the total package, he could be a model for it. I don't believe in perfection, but he makes me want to change my opinion. So I'm looking for a flaw.
And I can't find one.

And it's driving me insane.

With every passing day I get a little deeper, a little stronger, a little happier. I didn't think that one person could make such an impact. Rather, I didn't think one person could make such a positive impact. I don't want to think too hard about it, or to analyze all the fundamentals of our relationship. I'm so afraid it will dissolve into nothingness.

But I like where I am. And I like where he is. And I like where "we" are in this big mess.

And I like this mess, it's comfortable. Comfortable like that old battered recliner that I used to curl up into at my grandparents' house. A warm and inviting entity. A security I haven't had, but always searched for.

There's this guy…
And here's this girl.

January 8, 2001
I am not going to let him distract me from the most important semester of my life. No way. The utter hilarity of fall semester commences tomorrow. As a technical senior, I dread being within Wal-Mart or Target during this week. I loathe walking around campus this week. I hate waiting in line at the Financial Aid Office.

I despise freshmen.
And freshmen rule this campus for a week and a half.

Tomorrow I plan to conduct my way in the most efficient way possible. I plan to walk quickly to each class quickly, avoiding all the typical freshman routes. I am not going to walk near the Hub, nor will I even come close to infiltrating the Reitz Union.

No, I will go to class and avoid all human contact.

I have a full day tomorrow; one that runs from 8 am to 7pm straight. No breaks, and no mercy for a 21-year-old public relations senior. But that is the life of a college student. No fear.

No sleep.

And when I do return home to my futon that sleeps like a hard board…I will crash and burn like Maverick and Goose in their Mig. I will dive like Greg Lougainis into the downy comfort of my blanket. Oh yes.

I will not do homework - because after four years of college, I know that tomorrow is a new day.

January 19, 2001
I think that the big one just hit.

My mom always said I'd know love when I felt it. I thought that was a lame cop out, I mean, couldn't she come up with something a little more descriptive than that? I'd just feel it? I feel it when I trip over a crack in the sidewalk and rip open my entire knee and bleed. It hurts. Badly. So is that what love is supposed to do?

Hurt badly?

Maybe.

I've heard the horror stories. I've read the embittered anecdotes of countless women testifying to the fact that men are the devil incarnate. Am I destined to become that? A girl who fell a little too far, a little too fast?

If this is love, Robert Browning can take his poems and shove it.

February 2, 2001
There are a few defining moments in a lifetime that can change the course of one person's walk.

Sitting at the top of the stadium, maybe the world, I could feel the weight around my heart disappear. It was a dissolving, like mixing Jell-o® crystals into hot water. High in the stands on the 50-yard-line it was like a movie vignette.

Just he and I.
Just us.

We could have talked forever, I am sure of it. There is never a single moment of forced words, just sheer interested conversation. There were terse moments of reflection. At those points the silence was overwhelming. Not a tense quiet, but the kind that hangs in the nighttime air with all the meaning of words. An understanding that fades into the sky like a child put to sleep.

Words came out that I didn't know existed. Memories that erupted through my mind spilled forth, lying in a pile of words, interrupting the calm with dissonance. He was a good companion, supplementing correct words, smiling despite his inability to understand. It was all I needed.
But he then said that his emotion was worthless to show. I refuted and debated, constructing an argument against his own that could have put a lawyer to shame.

Game over, I win.
In one swift motion I saw the tear streak down his cheek and felt an ice descend over my own body. It was chilling to see someone who is so strong and unemotional open up. Finally releasing floodgates that were long rusty. I wanted to reach out, to just put my hand on his shoulder and let him know it was okay to cry.

To emote.
To feel.
To hurt.
But my arm was glued to my side and his to the leg of his khakis. We stared off into the nighttime sky, waiting for saline to evaporate. And as if to further symbolize the moment, the moon that had slid from beneath a hazy cloud cover for just one minute, slipped back under.

The moment just passed us by.

Returning home four hours later, I was a bit shaken up. What had happened? I mean, really happened?
Because that unspoken electricity that charged at the stadium had left me more than just confused.

It left me helpless.

February 10, 2001
I spent the better part of the five o'clock hour of evening delving into the personal thoughts of M@ when I should have been sleeping. By M@, I mean Matt "from the Real World" Price. But somehow having to add that extra disclaiming "from the Real World™" seems demeaning, so I'd rather refer to him by his own nickname.

I didn't feel so bad talking about Boy Wonder when I read all the journal entries of M@ - he seems to be prone to gushing about his love life (sometimes lack of). But besides his ever evolving drama that centers around "Meredith" and himself, M@ always sticks our Lord and Savior in their to keep it real. I love that about him. He's very good at sliding in religion where it doesn't really belong, but does it with such precision; even the biggest atheist has to give a shout out.

M@ is cool. M@ reaffirms my own stupidity. He's such a complete dork that was made a celebrity by television. He knows he's a dork. He admits it. And that makes him one rad guy. Being said, M@ represents everything that a typical college student is, but doesn't own up to. He is the closest thing to "real" that The Real World™ will ever get.

February 14, 2001
You might been hurt, babe - that ain't no lie…

I think it's odd when you look on a situation from the outside in. I have a good friend who was debating the whole "'tis better to have loved and lost, than never loved at all" concept. She decided that she was indeed at a loss for not having taken many chances at trusting, whereas I stood on the opposite side of that fence. Having been screwed over various times has left me a nice shade of jaded.

You've seen them all come and go…

I mean, honestly, how many chances can you give one individual before you just scrap any attempt at formulating a system of trust? It becomes oh-so-governmental, a foundation of checks and balances. A "hey, I did this for you, so you owe me this…" or the ever popular, "what the heck, you were supposed to be there for me…"

So you start to separate yourself from that antagonism and pain after awhile. Don't put yourself in the middle of a battle that can't be won. I did. I used to have a great amount of blind trust. After nearly 18 years of not letting my emotions show, I finally started to let them out. And somehow they always wound up spewing forth into a mass at my feet. Not pretty. And I wound up alone again, with a mess of emotion to clean up.

And remember you told me that it made you believe in no man, no cry…

Boys aren't good with tears. It only took me 21 years and re-mending a heart repeatedly to figure this pearl of wisdom out. In fact, every time the waterworks have started for me, I could virtually hear whatever boy I was with zipping up his packed bags and getting ready to head out of Dodge. I don't know if saline just eludes men, or if it triggers instant fear. Whatever reason, I know for a fact that if you are female and you cry in front of a boy - it better be about a mishandled snap, or you're not getting any sympathy.

Maybe that's why every little thing I do, never seems enough for you… Crying aside, I have had good opportunities arise because I put my faith in someone else. Granted, I have been hurt too - but taking those chances was worth the hurting. So my friend and I decided that there has to be a happy medium between our two opinionated views. And as a side note…we both like *NSYNC's "It's Gonna Be Me."

SFebruary 27, 2000
Go Gators.

It's that time of year again. Spring drills approacheth. I stand on my soapbox now, preaching the religion that I live by during the fall months at the University of Florida.

Thou shall not like opposing SEC teams
I hate Tennessee Volunteers with the fire of a thousand suns. In my book, neither Auburn Tigers or Kentucky Wildcats are not known for their athletic or academic fortitude. Those Georgia Bulldogs pretty much could be consumed in a hurricane, and I don't think I'd blink. 'Bama proves their inability to do anything correctly just in the fact that their mascot is an elephant and moniker is the Crimson Tide - which don't correlate whatsoever. I'm not even going to bother mentioning the rest of Southeastern Conference teams, because their piddly existence is not worth the effort.

Thou shall applaud Spurrier
Many hate him. We love him. All respect him. The only coach to lead UF to a National Championship in 1997, Steve Spurrier made the Gator football program an intimidating one. Before him, our team was a literal joke - if the Gators were in the top 25, it was a good season. Now if we're not in the top 5, it's considered a failure year.

Thou shall only be quarterback if thou be good looking
Um, this really isn't a cardinal rule, but it certainly helps. Media wise, it is the best thing a college could have in terms of free promotion. I mean, who wants to spotlight a gross looking player if there's a charismatic and adorable one waiting in the wings? I thought so…
Anyway, the legacy of Florida signal callers in the Spurrier era is one of great prestige. It is also one of aesthetic highs. Consider the renowned quarterbacks - Shane Matthews, Danny Wuerffel, Jesse Palmer.
All handsome.
All talented.
I'll do the math for you: CUTE + GOOD ARM = UF QB

Thou shall be obnoxious to rival fans
I hate FSU more than I hate Tennessee. Enough said.