What wakes me up when I’m home are my chickens (pictured) and my neighbor’s rooster; at school it’s the quietest alarm I can manage, though sometimes I’ll wake myself up right before for no reason. I am a person driven by stress more than I would like, although I do appreciate the work ethic this anxiety has left me with. To fight it, I’ve taken up knitting, yoga, and the occasional run, and I spend a lot of time drinking tea.

My current happy place is on a giant beanbag in Hart 203, where I live with three girls from my freshman hall who have become my closest friends. We have a host of plant children that includes my babies, Phineas and Fern (this summer I had a mint plant named The Colonel but it died tragically before I came back to school). My goal is a life filled with good books, good food, friends, and (non-jealous) green things, so I feel like I’ve got a pretty good start here.

One form of media that’s come back into my life lately is the journal (is a journal a medium? I’m counting it). When I was abroad, I journaled constantly and shared it with friends in my creative writing-themed LLC who did the same. Since I’ve come back to the States, though, I’ve been having a hard time feeling like the things I do are worth writing about, so it’s nice to start thinking about my life narratively again.

8 Comments on “Meredith”

  1. Oh, I’m so glad you’ve resumed the PoJo because I find all your thoughts intriguing and enlightening. I love that you’ve named your plants and hope some day to meet them. I used to have the blackest thumb around until a few years ago, when I visited an old grad school chum. Her house was full of healthy, gorgeous plants, and I asked her what her secret was. She said she waters them once a week. Now Sunday is my plant watering day, and my plants have had a much better survival rate based on this steady, predictable diet. But I’ve never managed to keep an orchid alive. I’m working on my first bonsai. Will you help me name it? I’m tempted to call it Hokusai, but we once had a hamster we gave that name, and he lasted less than two weeks.

    • I’d love to help name it! I think your instinct on recycling the hamster name is a good one — names really can take on energy like physical spaces can, and it’s good to cleanse things out.
      Thanks for the tip on watering weekly! This fern is the biggest plant I’ve had yet (it’s almost as tall as me), so I’m really trying hard to keep it alive.

  2. Loving the nature friends, both animate (such as the chickens) and inanimate (the plant children). Journaling is great as well! Such an awesome way to reflect and consciously grow from day to day.

  3. Hey! I love how you describe journaling! I feel the same way a lot… I haven’t been able to journal consistently since coming to Davidson, though I love to read my old journals and know that down the line I’ll regret not writing. It’s funny, I guess… even though at the time stuff seems boring/ not worthy of writing about, later it will probably be really interesting to read. I’ve loved reading your creative writing in the past. It’s always so beautiful and provocative! I look forward to reading more of what you write this semester. Also this is an amazing picture! Where do you live? What’s it like to hold a chicken?

    • Yes! Journaling is so hard for exactly that reason — you’re writing for yourself in the moment, but also for a future self, and it’s hard to balance the two. I’ve found that the journal entries I’ve forced myself to write are often the least enjoyable ones to read later. It’s hard to know which “you” to write for!

      I live in Southwest Virginia (NOT South West Virginia), which is a lovely place to live and which I would recommend much more highly than chicken wrangling (I’m making that face in the photo because Ethel had just tried to eat the flower out of my hand). Chickens are incredibly dumb but also surprisingly soft.

  4. The main thing that struck me in this is actually the very beginning. I always wake up within 3-7 minutes before my alarm goes off. I have no idea why, maybe my body anticipates? Whatever it is, it is so frustrating because those 3-7 seem like an eternity to my sleepy eyes. I like how you described your journal as thinking about your “life narratively.” I’ve always thought about writing in a journal, but never knew where or how to start. Your description makes me more inclined to try it out.

  5. Meredith! Hello!
    Two things…
    1. I want to be honest with you because I think that’s important so, I must tell you that when I was reading your post to myself I erroneously pronounced the “k” on knitting and I’m not sure I’ll ever be the same again.
    2. The second thing is that I am really really afraid of birds, especially chickens and I’m hoping getting to know you (and your chickens vicariously through you) will help me overcome that.
    3. Bonus third thing… you’re wonderful!

    That is all!

  6. I totally know the feeling of that love-hate relationship with anxiety. It’s gotten me where I am today but it’s also like “wouldn’t it be nice to just not be stressed for a little bit?” I knit too (I find it’s really great when I’m reading on the computer because having something to do with my hands helps me focus), I really like making hats and I’m currently knitting sock monkeys for two of my roommates birthdays (who hopefully are not going to decide to poke around this class website within the month). Also if you’re in the market for some secondary happy places I totally recommend a trip to Asheville. There’s the tea and spice exchange, and then the champagne bar/used bookstore. I bought a copy of Emma when I was there just because I was so enamored with the idea of buying a classic book and sitting and reading it in such a beautiful space and it was a wonderful decision. Do a day trip, and you’ll be back on your beanbag with fancy tea and a new book by evening. Also in terms of journaling, I’m sure being here isn’t quite as fast paced as being abroad, but maybe instead of thinking of journaling narratively you could think of it as a way to puzzle through questions or write about a line in a book that you loved and why? You have such fascinating insights–maybe your day to day life isn’t always that interesting, but your thoughts are.

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