Bugging Out

bugging out

Unlike with sharks, there is no classic musical interlude that warns you of an approaching creepy crawler. Without warning, you simply turn your head to the unseemly sight of too many gangly hairy spindly legs. Cue the cardio burst towards the door and the declarations to the gods above that if they slay this monstrous beast you shall present to them your first born child.

Then, right as you run up to little Timmy’s room and snatch him out of the crib to be raised Simba-style to the heavens, the bug flies out of an open window and you are left apologizing to a grumpy toddler while laughing nervously to displace the blush spreading over your cheeks.

Because it’s foolish to be afraid of bugs, and we all know it.

And yet most all of us are scared witless at the mere mention of the b-word.

And why?

  1. Because they look ugly? So do I every Monday morning. Eye-gunk can be just as disturbing as pollen-gook
  2. Because some are considered poisonous? Put down that Big Mac long enough to consider what’s really killing you.
  3. Because we don’t understand them? I don’t understand my teenage brother (though admittedly, there are times I’d like to swat him).
  4. Because of bad past experiences? Once I fell off my bike. And yet, like most functioning members of society, I am not thrown into a panic at the sight of bicycles.
  5. Because of the movies? Please, A Bug’s Life is a cinema classic that teaches you to root for the underbug.
  6. Because you suffer from arachnophobia? OK, that makes sense actually.
  7. Because others are afraid? If my mom wears corduroy overalls does that mean that I should too? (That line just caused more chills than any bug could ever have done).
  8. Because they’re tiny? Take two big steps in the opposite direction of the insect. It will now take them a month to reach you.
  9. Because they look different than us? So does absolutely every single thing on this planet. My cat looks different than me, but when she’s not hissing in my face I still love her oh so much.

singing bug

There are so many reasons to dislike bugs. And there are so many reasons why those reasons are stupid.

Let’s just hope I can remember those reasons the next time a spider crawls out from under the couch and I’m tempted to trap it under a bowl until I can reach little Timmy.

Traditions and Terrapins

umd testudo in front of mckeldinAs some of you may be aware, the University of Maryland holds a deep affinity for its mascot, Testudo.

Testudo is a Diamondback terrapin, but we all affectionately call him a turtle, and warn others to fear him (Fear the Turtle is something of our battle cry). testudo mascotThere is a whole history regarding UMD’s relationship with Testudo, which you can find HERE, but all you really need to know is the major Maryland tradition that Testudo plays a crucial role in.

Before I can explain that tradition, I have some bad news to share. You may believe that the four leaf clover you found as a kid was lucky, or that heads up penny you rescued from the grimy Metro floor, but for true luck, you need to visit College Park, MD and rub Testudo’s nose.

testudo overlooking mallThere’s a statue of Testudo sitting in front of McKeldin Library at the head of our mall and a couple more statues strategically located around campus. When students are in need of some luck or self-confidence, they run for Testudo and rub his nose until it’s good and shiny (which it already is after years of use by desperate students). Before finals, people will leave him offerings in hopes of increasing their favor in his eyes. What Testudo would want with cups of coffee and sugary treats, I’m not really sure, but I know he loves the attention.

The bottles of alcohol are never there for long...

The bottles of alcohol are never there for long…

When tours pass by UMD the potential Terps are encouraged to rub Testudo’s nose, just as the students around campus do. I always imagined myself as too cool for this silly tradition, but how ridiculous is that?! I absolutely LOVE that I’m somewhere that celebrates both history and community, and since I’ve arrived and gotten over my big head and my embarrassment,  I’ve rubbed Testudo’s nose like there was no tomorrow and can personally attest to his powers since I’ve had the best luck and the most fun while attending college.


Letters to Soldiers

Every Monday people from my dorm gather together for Manicure Movie Monday. We paint colorful designs on our nails, laugh at classics like Bruce Almighty, and enjoy each other’s company. But this past Monday, we added something a little more special to the agenda. We wrote letters to soldiers deployed overseas.

At first I was nervous about what I was expected to do. The idea that my words would be responsible for a soldier’s entertainment or relief from their current circumstance was daunting. I delayed writing my letter until my nails were painted. But after I had applied my last coat of Ruby Ruby, I was still afraid of scribbling some words onto sheets of colorful construction paper. I delayed writing my letter until Bruce found true happiness and contentment being himself.

Yet, even after the film, I was still unsettled by the notion of having to write; something I’ve enjoyed doing since a young age. I didn’t want to create letters that lacked originality, purpose, or creativity, and I knew that the soldiers who would be receiving my letters deserved much more than I could provide for them. But, then I also realized that those brave men and women did deserve something, and who was I to take away what they’ve so clearly earned?

I wrote 6 letters that day. They didn’t contain much, just my deepest gratitude for the courage they’ve shown in service, and some random tidbits about the crazy Maryland weather. I tried my best to lace my words with emotion and appreciation, but even if all they take away is that it was snowing here at the end of March, I think that’s a job well done, because they know that someone, somewhere, is thinking of them.

letters to soldiersThis isn’t our box of letters, but I’m grateful that other people are dedicating their time to supporting such a worthy group of individuals.

Thank you soldiers!

Judgement at the Gym

With the first semester of my Junior year over, I’ve found myself 15 pounds heavier than I should be. (Don’t worry this isn’t going to be a weight-loss blog, I just need to explain a bit more.) I’ve been struggling at the beginning of this year to take charge of my situation and do what needs to be done for the sake of my health. For the past two weeks I’ve been eating better, going to the gym almost regularly, and fighting off nightly temptation. There hasn’t been much difference yet but I know my plan is in its infancy, and I’m still proud of what I’ve accomplished.

Even though I’m not always eating right and consistent exercising is a tough habit for me to start, I’ve always tried to make it to the gym  for their weekly BodyPump class. Everyone grabs a bar with various weights and does weight training and resistance-type exercises to great tracks with songs like Welcome to the Jungle and Summer of ’69. Though I love the music and the sense of accomplishment, mostly, I  just go to socialize with my friends. I have about 4 or 5 good buddies who always join in and laugh along with me when another member of our group is totally out of rhythm or unable to use much weight. And after, we all sit around eating fruit smoothies.

This past Friday, after a rockin’ session of BodyPump, instead of going right for our fruit smoothies, my friends decided it’d be good to head to the weight room and do some ab exercises. Not good. The weight room is full of ripped guys with intense grimaces and torn shirts, drinking protein shakes, talking sports, and other manly stuff. Meanwhile, my stomach is bulging, my shorts are too tight, I already worked my butt off, and the last thing I want to see is a room  full of big, bulgy men who are probably laughing at my body. We find a machine where you sit on an incline and lift yourself up to work your abs. I think people are watching. I don’t want to do it. I’m nervous I won’t be able to lift myself up and people will laugh. I’m scared and uncomfortable.

But, that’s not the worst of it. A few minutes in to our routine (rotating between ourselves) a beefed up guy in a sweaty, dark blue muscle shirt approaches. He briskly asks us when we’ll be done because he has been cycling between machines and needs this one. Right away. We all look at each other, then back at him to politely explain how we are a group who all want to take turns. He huffs and puffs and gets into it about being rude that we are going to monopolize the machine. “Excuse me, the gym is packed, you’ve never encountered the problem of someone using your machine before? With all the steroids you’re on, you can probably stand to miss one rep on this machine. Why don’t you go flex for yourself in the mirror instead?” He left, but kept giving us death stares while on another piece of equipment.

But, once my anger towards the insensitive jerk abated, I felt nervous about using the ab machine. I obviously wasn’t in shape enough to use it (like Muscles McGee), let alone be in the same room with this intimidating equipment.

Isn't this intimidating? But, definitely not enough to cause a scene over...

Isn’t this frightening? But, definitely not worth causing a scene over…

I politely passed on my opportunity to use it, and after confused and slightly concerned looks from my friends, we went to get our smoothies.

Now for reflection time. I feel like I am perfectly comfortable with who I am, but sometimes, when confronted with things I don’t like about myself (my fitness level), I get nervous and upset.  However, this situation should not have merited those feelings. Why did I feel so uncomfortable? Who really cares what I do? There probably wasn’t even anyone noticing me! I need to get out of my head, accept all of myself, and be fearless in the pursuit of being “true to myself”. Largely meaning doing what’s right only for me. Heck, I’m the girl who took pictures of the artwork in the lobby! I’ve been trying my best to be healthy! And it’s just a stupid machine! While I may have failed in the moment, looking back on the experience has shown me that I really shouldn’t care about my weight, fitness level, or bulked up gym comrades. All that matters is how I perceive myself, and the rest of the world can readjust itself to suit my perceptions.

IMG_1783 I know, I’m basically a rock star.

Artwork and a Carefree Attitude

I was walking to one of my Communications classes in the Art-Sociology building when I made it to the lobby and noticed a couple sculptures made out of cardboard, littered over a little seating section. Everyone was looking at them in admiration and passing on by, their eyes rooted to the pieces until their feet carried them on, but luckily I had to wait outside for a bit and got to enjoy them longer than the passersby.

I have seen a few things like this over my years at Maryland, big, wooden boxes, large and colorful flowers, and my favorite of all — sheep! I was walking past that same building about a year ago and saw wooden sheep with cotton ball bellies in front of the building doing various activities. One was riding a bike and another was attempting to retrieve a kite from a tree, in what looked like a pretty unsuccessful attempt. Everyone was laughing and pointing at those sheep, and their presence completely brightened my day! But, I was too much of a coward to take pictures of them.

I know it seems lame, it’s just a picture, some other people even had their phones out snapping images. But, I just wasn’t comfortable going against the norm of pretending not to care and just going about my day. Yet, in reality, I really loved seeing those sheep and I instantly regretted  not taking any pictures of them. I let the stupidest bit of stupid insecurity hold me back in an effort to not seem enthusiastic, how most kids want to appear. Well, that’s stupid. And I’ll tell you what, I took pictures of those sculptures. People looked at me a bit, but I truly didn’t mind, they just wish they had the courage to care about something and make it known.

ImageImage<– I really like this wolf, I think he is so cute and possible something that I could figure out how to make.

They had a lot of other things, but I didn’t really care to take pictures of them. I like the gramophone though –>

I think the two most popular were the guy in the nifty orange costume and the Maryland Terrapin. I am so proud to have gotten pictures of both. I feel a bit ridiculous using the word “proud”, but I accomplished something and got over my insecurity, and now I have these wonderful memories to reflect on. Now I can only hope the sheep make a reappearance.