I try to be good enough

(Jason Gray—Savior Please)

Sometimes I am really proud of myself. On Tuesday when I tried to explain something as me being a picky eater, someone said they knew I wasn’t a picky eater because they’d seen me eat. To me, that was the hugest compliment she could have given me!! I have been working really hard to earn that comment, and hearing it made me realize something about myself I hadn’t realized before.

I have always been an exceedingly picky eater (yep, I have even refused to eat mac and cheese because it was the wrong brand…my mom was so frustrated at that one, because my favorite food was the kind in the red box…except she was at a different store and she looked all over for the kind in the red box and didn’t realize it was a different brand that also came in a red box…it didn’t taste the same and I didn’t eat it). I was the one who stopped eating lunch in the school cafeteria because once they took out the free vegetables, I was paying the exorbitant school lunch price for a pile of food, of which I probably was only going to eat the one noodle at the edge of the bowl that didn’t have gunk on it. The lunches were already excessively overpriced to make up for the people on free lunch, and were even more overpriced once you considered how much of it I would eat. I tried for a while only buying school lunch on days the menu sounded good, but then they would have last minute menu changes and I’d be stuck, I liked chicken strips if they weren’t soggy, and I’d usually at least try to eat chicken nuggets, but I couldn’t even make myself try chicken giggles after the first time they were served, and to the school, substituting chicken giggles for chicken strips was one of the most benign changes they ever made. Moderately unrelated, but I really wish I could have documented a fake milk allergy, because a documented milk allergy earned you an apple or grape juice for free every day and I LOVE juice, but never got permission to buy it a la carte…especially since I wasn’t eating the other stuff I was paying for anyway…

So anyway, that paragraph got a little off topic, but the point is, it never really bothered me to be a picky eater until partway through college. Sure, I recognized life would be easier if I ate a wider variety of foods, but it never was a big deal to me or anyone else. It wasn’t anything I felt was at all important to change. It wasn’t at all tied in to my self worth. I ate what I ate, and that was the way things were.

Then things changed when someone used the fact that I was a picky eater to support her made up argument that there was something wrong with me. At first I fought it, but then eventually it wormed it’s way into my heart as something that made me not good enough and something that would keep people from liking me and something that made me less than. Because I am constantly meeting new people this year and because of my unstable living situation, it became especially important to me to learn how to be good enough and eat what everyone else eats. I wanted people to like me.

Some people think of picky eating as a kid thing, and the fact that I already LOOK like a child made it all the more important to me to be able to eat less like a child…a difficult proposition when goldfish, animal crackers, and cheerios are favorite snacks and I’m still constantly in possession of snacks because food security keeps my anxiety from returning. As I have grown older, not a lot has changed with my picky eating. Sure, I learned to tolerate things that are hard for me instead of whining about icky smells and crying about having to try things I didn’t like (useful skills since today the person sitting next to me decided to eat lunch in front of her computer and it smelled REALLY strongly of salad dressing and I wanted to put my nose and mouth inside my shirt and run away). Unfortunately, what I actually like hasn’t really expanded, so yeah, I’ll try a slightly larger number of things, but I won’t like it.

I think of food as on a continuum. One side is foods I like, then foods that are “meh.” I don’t particularly like them, but I don’t dislike them. Continuing down the continuum you reach foods I do not like and then at the opposite end, Not Food. Things like ketchup fall into that category of not food. Asking me to eat a fry with ketchup on it is equivalent to asking me to eat a fry with conditioner. Neither belongs on my food or my fingers or anything, but if I am starving I will attempt to find a way to wash off the not food to get to the food underneath.

I have been working really hard on this and doing a really good job on increasing my ability to eat. I am proud of myself for the hard work even though I have still felt like I wasn’t good enough. A couple days ago, the lunch served to me was grilled cheese and tomato soup. Luckily the soup didn’t look like the picture on the can of Campbells tomato soup, so while it was right on the border of not food, I was willing to put it in my mouth and try it. Grilled cheese also falls firmly into the category of scary foods I do not like. I wanted so badly to be able to just eat and not just throw perfectly good food away, so I incentivized eating. I took the container of emergency skittles out of my bag and for every reasonably sized bite of grilled cheese in my mouth, I got a skittle, and for every spoonful of soup I got a skittle. I got through the entire sandwich and half of the soup that way…but I couldn’t make myself eat the tomato chunks in the soup, and eventually I just couldn’t force any more soup in my mouth or else I was going to cry which would be really weird in the break room in front of the people who work at this rotation site, so I threw the rest away. Today’s lunch was more successful. I could peel the vegetables off of the cheese and pull the cheese off of the chicken to get most of the nutrition in. I used skittles to get some of the bread in, but the bread tasted like butter and there wasn’t really any way to eliminate that taste, and after a couple bites I just couldn’t do it, so I gave up and had cake instead—hey, it’s really just bread with a little extra sugar in it🙂.

Someone suggested that maybe the issue is texture. At first that made a lot of sense—a lot of the things that really bother me are similar textures (salad dressing, ketchup, mayo, mustard, barbecue sauce), but some of the things I really like are the same textures (applesauce, pudding). Texture also doesn’t fit into the picture because I like applesauce watered down a little with water or juice, but applesauce with mandarin orange juice in it made me cringe. Similarly, I love clementines, but the actual pieces of mandarin orange were still gag worthy a month or so ago when I attempted them. I can’t figure out anything that ties together the things I don’t like. Someone suggested sour tastes, but I LOVE sour patch kids and lemon.

It is really frustrating that I work so hard and make what seems like so little progress, but I am learning that people liking me isn’t for what I do and don’t eat. Having to re-learn that is one of the things that makes me really wish I had been able to escape sooner before the abuse sunk in so deep…and I ‘spose I am also learning that scary foods won’t kill me. I am strong.

It would be helpful, though, if alcoholic beverages did not fall into the category of things that smell really disgusting to me. It’s another thing I am learning to tolerate, but the older I get, the more often I am exposed to people drinking alcohol in situations in which it is inappropriate to put my hands over my nose and mouth to protect myself. Just sayin’

Totally unrelated like for reals, but my intuition can be scary accurate at times…after just a couple days with this one person who really gets on my nerves, I thought maybe she was on the autism spectrum…and then I found out she actually was…glad to know it isn’t just me thinking that…doesn’t change how much she gets on my nerves and how hard it is to hold my tongue when she is mouthing off and telling everyone around how wrong I am when I know I am 100% correct, but I suppose it is good to know that it isn’t necessarily that she is trying to be hurtful. She just isn’t very good at her job and probably feels threatened by having someone around who does know what is going on. I am learning to keep my mouth shut and nod and say mhmm and keep my frustration bottled up inside. Lol…did you know that apparently according to her even if your kid is throwing up you should be sending them to school because they aren’t supposed to miss school for that? Did you also know that apparently the endocrine society doesn’t know anything about treating vitamin D deficiency? Oh, and apparently 10.7 – 4 is not less than 7…who knew?! I am learning so much!! (True statement, I am learning how to hold my tongue. In fact, I was pretty impressed that my judgement told me in time that I shouldn’t make a joke that the very literal person sitting next to me would interpret as an insult…). Oh, but on the positive side, it is awesome to not be the last to get a joke or pop culture reference!! Yep, I definitely did laugh at something I recognized as a sex joke and then listened to her whine that we all needed to slow down so she could understand the joke. (We’re going to ignore the fact that it isn’t that appropriate to laugh at sex jokes, and revel in the fact that I got it and she didn’t–see, I am not hopeless…and maybe my lunchroom lessons by a certain person who made it his job to “help” me learn that kind of crap were moderately useful).

Also completely unrelated, but I am really glad I use wordpress hosting, because I have exactly zero access to blogspot hosted blogs on the internet here unless I take a walk to the park to get on some normal wifi. I can access SOME wordpress hosted blogs, and although my own blog is not one of them, I can access my wordpress dashboard to be able to check stats and create posts which I wouldn’t be able to do with blogspot. The wifi here is a bit frustrating. Usually facebook has absolutely no pictures, but once in a while the pictures come through. Pinterest, twitter, and Instagram are completely un-accessable without a walk to the park. I do still try to get on every day just in case I get lucky, but so far I haven’t (gotten lucky that is). I miss all the blogspot blogs that I was following, and I miss the possibility of one of my favorite pasttimes—soft research on blogspot.


Who I am is moving on

(Josh Wilson—No More)

I know exactly what I want to say, but not how to say it…which if you read the rest of this post you will understand why that is a very common experience for me…lol, intro sentence introducing the topic…

I read this article today and I think you should too. This is eerily similar to my story and makes me think maybe the SM (selective mutism) I saw on a differential for me in my records wasn’t too far off. Sometimes I knew exactly what to say, but couldn’t make words. Sometimes even now, writing someone a “quick” email can take hours of deliberation and maybe a couple days to psych myself up to hit send (thankfully not constantly—mostly just when I am stressed out for other reasons). Sometimes even the nonverbal communication arena was far outside my abilities. If you didn’t know me then, I do want to put out a quick disclaimer that I know people who primarily saw me in silence wondered how I managed to make it through life, but it definitely wasn’t overly unpleasant. When you live that way you quickly learn how to survive and even thrive with minimal communication. I also was very lucky that the classroom was one of my most comfortable settings so even before I was much of a talker, I never had too much trouble with academics (aside from speech class…I have passed most speech classes with insane amounts of efforts to at least pass the speeches combined with doing anything possible for extra credit to boost my grade into the safe zone…let’s just say that most people probably don’t practice their speech until it is good enough record it on an mp3 player and listen to it on repeat during nearly all waking hours for the month prior to the speech, but that is how I passed my college speech class because there weren’t extra credit opportunities). Now I am a talker and it is thrilling to be able to communicate a lot more readily. If I am being honest, I still have a lot of roadblocks in my way. Some of them were not placed by my brain, but I would be lying if I said that I am 100% extravert 100% of the time. I do still sometimes fall into the role of observer. I do still sometimes watch from the outside wishing I were on the inside. A lot more texts get written than get sent. A lot more words remain thoughts than are shared.

This is going to sound like totally off topic, but someone remarked recently that younger people have to be able to learn a lot faster than older people have ever had to learn. Every day new things are discovered about the world. Once we are older, we mostly just need to keep abreast of these new developments, because we have learned the baseline knowledge already. Younger people, on the other hand, are still working on the basics while all these new things continue to be discovered and there is infinitely more in that baseline than there ever was for us because it now includes all the things that have been discovered daily up to that point, yet education is still supposed to be completed in the same or a similar amount of time.

So to bring it back to clearly on topic, I thought about that and realized it is kind of where I am with communication skills and social skills. I have always worked hard to learn these skills, but in middle school it started being obvious to me that there must be some secret to these skills that I was missing and I was falling behind. Retrospectively, I think that secret was the lack of social anxiety. (I could be wrong—maybe there was another secret and because I didn’t know the secret and didn’t have good skills the anxiety developed secondarily—I didn’t really experience it as anxiety until probably late high school because I was an avid avoider and mostly didn’t have to face the situations I was bad at…it really only manifested as frustration with myself until late high school). Anyway, my peers still learn more about how to effectively communicate daily, and I am behind and having to try to catch up because I am missing a lot of the basics they mastered over a decade ago. It is really hard sometimes, especially because as my social skills grow, so too does my awareness of how far I still have left to go, but thinking about that statement about younger people needing to learn more rapidly, it makes me really proud of myself. I have worked really hard to be where I am today. While I may not be at the top of the heap socially, people who are just meeting me generally no longer have any reason to think there was ever a time I wasn’t able to communicate on a reasonable level. I certainly have plenty of room for improvement, but the difference between my peers and I is no longer so wide that I am discounted before I am ever given a chance. That is probably the thing that bothered me the most when I wasn’t a good talker. I hated being told what I couldn’t do or being excluded to my face. It might have been harder for me, but I wanted a chance to try. I may have needed a little adaptation or a little flexibility in how “good” the verbal skills had to be, but I wanted to be included. Inclusivity has always been really important to me, and I think it is very much because of how often I was excluded either unintentionally by people not realizing I wanted to be involved or not knowing how to include me, or intentionally when people didn’t want me or assumed I couldn’t do it anyway. I am sure some of that was a well-intentioned attempt to not place me in situations in which I was bound to fail or otherwise was certainly not intended to hurt or limit me at all, but the result was that I learned how it feels to be on the outside and developed a passion for preventing others from being left out.

I refuse to be ashamed of where I came from, because I worked hard to get to where I was even if it wasn’t quite good enough, but I am so proud of where I am now. I certainly wish I was better than I am now, but I also know I have worked hard to get where I am, and that is something to be celebrated. I refuse to mourn where I am not when where I am was such an accomplishment. This concept seems hard for some people to grasp, and I have likened it to the learning of a child, but another example would be that while the straight-A student might be devastated with a lower grade and not be that proud of that grade or even their other grades because that one grade is not so good, the straight-C-with-occasional-D’s student is thrilled to be graduating and celebrates his or her accomplishment with pride. It is all about perspective. If you had told me a few years ago that today I would be asked to give a presentation about two minutes prior to the presentation and I would be able to confidently say that the presentation went pretty well, I would have told you that was a lie. Actually, no I wouldn’t, because I would be busy laughing my head off. Or, no, I probably wouldn’t, because I would be so terrified I would just stare at you blankly and try really hard to smile politely. That is just something that would very likely not be possible at that point, and I don’t think I really believed the light at the end of the tunnel was that close…I actually don’t think I realized at that point that even an AWESOME communicator could even do that. It was just so far out my realm of reality and possibility to even be considered as an option. But yeah, that is a true story. My preceptor told me her idea of something for my to present to the pharmacists. I agreed to do it and asked when this presentation was going to occur and the answer was in about two minutes. I quickly brainstormed what I was going to say, then I presented it with no practice run, and no preparation aside from the previous two minutes. I really did rock it! I was so proud of myself. I can’t say I would ever volunteer to spontaneously give a presentation, but it was incredible to realize that I could do it, and it was probably really good for me to have another opportunity to practice presentation skills. In reality, not having the topic and details in advance or even knowing it was going to happen more than two minutes before it did happen meant that I didn’t spend hours upon hours working on what I *should* say or obsessing over whether it would be good enough. It saved me tons of practice time and re-working time. It is definitely a little more nerve-wracking to go into a presentation so blatantly unprepared, but at the same time knowing that my preceptor anyway knew that this was impromptu (even if I’m not sure anyone else did) greatly decreased the stress level as I knew that with the minimal guidance on what was expected and the minimal prep time that there was a definite limit of what could be realistically expected of me. I think I actually might like the idea of an impromptu presentation, because it evens the playing field a bit, because I doubt that there are more than a handful of people who would choose to do a presentation without first practicing, so it is taking anyone out of his or her comfort zone. Side note that I was so far behind on communication skills in high school that even impromptu speeches couldn’t bring me all the way up to where everyone else was—even though I did practice in whatever ways I could prior to days I knew there might be impromptu speeches. God has done some pretty incredible things in my life.

Stones inside your hand might be small

(Giants Fall–Francesca Battistelli)

Y’all, my brain is spinning with the list of things I need to do in the next day/week or so…so it seemed like a good time to take a break…before I actually started anything…umm…someone (me) didn’t think this through very well…

So this is going to be a series of short thoughts about a variety of things so that I don’t spend too long writing on any one thing since I don’t have time for that.

Sometimes in hindsight I can recognize that I didn’t make the best choice. A few days ago, I saw a bag of capsules in the parking lot as I walked to my car. I was in a hurry. I pretended I didn’t see them and kept walking. They were in an unlabeled Ziploc bag. They were pretty non-descript. I didn’t know to whom I would bring them. I was afraid if I picked them up they might be an illicit substance and then it would be in my possession and I would be in trouble. I walked away. In retrospect, I should have brought someone’s attention to it. Someone might have been looking for them and by the time they found them perhaps they had already been destroyed by being run over. Or maybe they were illicit but if I’d brought attention to it I could have prevented someone from obtaining illicit substances. I know that ignoring it is almost definitely the wrong choice.

I think I have now seen like everything. A couple days ago I saw a man walking along the sidewalk pushing a stroller. The stroller contained a…watermelon. Strapped into the 5-point harness as if it were a child. I did a double-take and then laughed my head off (jk…I did laugh, but my head remained firmly attached to my neck).

I was sad on Tuesday when I found out that there was no Cru, but it ended up not being a bad night. I didn’t do the homework I was planning on doing, but I did spend some time with someone who needed a friend to hang out with, and I wasn’t up nearly as late as I would have been had I stayed for Cru. Also I learned what mochi (sp?) is, and it is good.

Also today I had a lot of adventures. First this morning I stopped at a gas station and it took forever to figure out how to get out of the parking lot when I was done. I don’t think I have ever seen a parking lot with so many one way signs. Then about a block down the road I saw another gas station that would have been easier to get in and out of and was 10 cents less per gallon. Fail. Well, kinda, because I also really did need to stop ASAP because I was getting really low and didn’t want to be a hypermiling jerk. Then on the way to school it was a Very Good Thing that I got to leave way earlier than I asked. Because in about half an hour or so I went about a mile on the freeway. I could have missed my turn and taken a different road and gotten to school in half the time or I could have walked and gotten down the road faster. So that was unfortunate and frustrating. But on the positive side, I did arrive at school on time.

Also, I found out today I am presenting tomorrow, so that should be interesting with exactly zero preparation so far.

I love life. I love rotations. I love me, and I love you🙂

And the last words you’ll hear tonight will be ‘I love you.’ Love takes us all of a lifetime to tell

(For he grants sleep to those he loves—Michael Card)

(written at church as an excuse to stay where I feel loved a little longer…posted at home after using the drive time to make sure I wasn’t posting something that was going to get me into trouble later)

I’m not as think as you dumb I am…lol

So last night I wrote on my to do list, “directions.” This morning I saw that and was like no problem, I totally know where I am going, I probably just was super tired and needed to remind myself to bring my directions notebook to my car in case I need it.

Lol, story of my life, as it turns out, I remembered why that was on my list about the same time that I noticed the “road closed” sign. Oh no…so yeah…and that is how I got lost…and how I ended up running down the sidewalks as I realized that I had parked a mile away from where I was currently sitting and could not apparate into the drivers seat…

Luckily, I miscalculated how long it took to get to church from where I was parked, and it worked out. All is well that ends well.

Except, now I should leave church, but leaving is hard because I have friends Tuesday and Thursday and Saturday, but Sunday and Monday and Wednesday and Friday I am alone. I know that changes starting tomorrow, but that is more stressful than a relief of stress, because I tried really hard to be an adventurous eater, but the most adventurous I got was mandarin oranges. And even that was still a challenge as of last week when I was eating them not to cringe each time one went in my mouth.

And then in a week I will be driving to another state where there aren’t any days that I have friends.

I get to have a million friends here at church, and I never want to leave, because I go home to no friends.

In the past, I was still going home alone but it was a needed break after having friend time all day 6 days of the week and I was totally ready to go home and have Sunday all to myself. But then I became a big girl who doesn’t spend all her time at school anymore. I don’t like the real world. Actually, I probably do like the real world—I don’t like moving every five weeks and therefore not having friends at the place I spend most of my time. I miss going to work in the morning and having a million friends there and stuff.

Finally, two quotes that have been sitting on my list of ideas for a while.

“It’s like being on the 100th floor of a building with only stairs and needing to sign an important document. The problem is, all the pens are on the first floor. You know you need a pen, and you know how to use one, but when you’re up at the top, it’s difficult for you the access the pen and therefore, the skill of using it.”

I love this quote. I can’t remember where I found it or to what it was originally referring. I love the analogy. It is so true that sometimes I have the skills and knowledge but not the ability to use them. There are a lot of directions I could go with this. I think the biggest one that I run into on an unfortunately somewhat regular basis is in the arena of communication. Because I was a little late to the game in learning these things, a lot of the time I am completely at a loss as to how to handle things that are in that arena. I studied really hard on the mechanistics of conversation, but studying for one, didn’t tell me the details that I really needed, and two, flies out the window when I am faced with a situation that feels over my head, because I can’t really take five minutes working on my “correct response” to a friend’s wave or conversational comment. A lot of the time once the instance of needing to respond right now is over, I know exactly what the right thing to do would have been, but in the moment I was on the 100th floor, and the pen was on the first floor. I didn’t know how to get myself there.

“Damaged people are dangerous. They know they can survive.”

This quote was channeled from Kati Morton youtube’s best online therapist and just a really awesome and caring person whom I would love to meet in person some day…not in the context of therapy, but she is actually awesome enough that I could probably feel safe in therapy with her without a warm up period to make sure she wasn’t another one out to hurt me. She got the quote from Mark Suster who has adult ADHD. And probably child ADHD he just didn’t know about it yet.

Oh yeah. I hate the term damaged people. I just think it sounds kind of derogatory. Damaged things get discounted because they aren’t worth as much—no one will pay full price for damaged goods. The pain in my life doesn’t make me worth any less than anyone else. Being hurt deeply by someone doesn’t mean that I deserved it or was less than in any way. Fighting my way out of severe OCD, and social anxiety that bordered on selective mutism means that I do some things a little differently in life, but different isn’t wrong. Experiencing how people responded to the girl who was often on the sidelines but not often by choice gave me a lot of opportunity to learn how to do the same for others. I might not reach everyone, but I can reach someone. Like that starfish story, I might not be able to make a difference for each of the millions of people who need someone, each one counts. “It made a difference for that one.”

So anyway, the point is, at first I looked at that and was like, what?! As I thought about it, it is true. I totally do know that I can survive. I can’t be destroyed by hurtful words and actions or other adversity because I know I have made it through some pretty tough stuff (things way worse than anxiety disorders). I know I can survive. Bravery isn’t not being scared, it is doing it, scared. Because I know I can, I have developed tenacity and resilience. I still see more trees than forests, but I know when I see the tree that a forest is out there. Lol, speaking of forests and trees, I can recognize first that my rows of straightened chairs have a little zig and zag in them, but I can also recognize that when I walk into church I absolutely do not notice the chairs that aren’t quite straight until I see someone straightening them, because I don’t come to church for the chairs, I come to church for the people and to worship my wonderful Father. Doesn’t mean the church should look like a tornado came through, because in the eyes of a visitor that would probably be super confusing, but also doesn’t mean that I am a failure of a volunteer because I can’t make the chairs look perfect like everyone else does.

‘Cause you’ve been layin’ a foundation

(Ryan Stevenson—All Yours)

“The scars you can’t see are the hardest to heal.”

This quote opened a blog post I read recently about ambient abuse. This article contained a list of traits that make someone an easier victim and therefore more likely to be abused. Wow. Most of that list characterized me pretty well. I know that it doesn’t describe everyone who has been abused (and that certainly doesn’t negate the fact that the abuse happened or make it any more or less their fault—it is NEVER the victim’s fault. No one asks to be abused). It does, however, describe me for the most part, and reading the list made me feel like maybe it wasn’t my fault that I got abused. Yes, I know I just got done saying it is never the victim’s fault, but it is infinitely easier to say that and believe that cognitively than to believe it at the heart level. I know intuitively and logically that it is SO not my fault. I know that being abused is not a reflection on who I am as a person. It is a scar I bear, but is not a self-inflicted wound. Sure, we could go through if then statements until the cows come home that all point to something I could have done differently that would have changed things, but at the end of the day, I did what I did, and what happened in the past cannot be taken back. A lot of the things that could have changed are just not who I am. I do let people take advantage of me. I do overlook people’s issues and try to find the good in them. I do value developing others more than I value my own comfort…I guess that developer part of my strengths is pretty accurate. So basically, yes, if I were someone else I might not have been abused, or it might not have been so bad, but I am not someone else. I am me, and I like me.

I also read another post recently that resonated with me. (http://pro.psychcentral.com/art-private-practice/2016/09/the-1-factor-in-private-practice-success/)

“Picture this: You’ve just finished a grueling work day…You’ve not driven far before your car starts sputtering and eventually rolls to a stop…Like any normal person, you assess your options. I mean, your back seat would make a pretty decent bed. You realize you could maybe fit a nice cooler in your trunk and fill it with ice purchased from the gas station across the street. You figure, there must be a library nearby, so you could get a new book first thing in the morning. Who needs that dirty ole bath anyways? Your car would make a perfectly reasonable home…Wait? WHAT?! No, no, no. You wouldn’t do that…Yet, when it comes to [our lives], we so often get discouraged, confused, frustrated, impatient and simply give up.”

The article goes on to assert that it all comes down to perseverance. In the car we have a clear achievable goal in mind, making it easy to persevere, because we know our time, money, and intention will ultimately get us where we would like to be. In life, however, it is easier to settle for the side of the road because we don’t know what is ahead. We don’t know if all the effort we put in is going to do absolutely nothing but frustrate us. The going gets hard and we decide we didn’t really want what was ahead anyway.

Maybe it is just me, but while I am stubborn up to a point, eventually I give up and just accept where I am as where I’ll always be. I loved that analogy—so true and really makes you evaluate where you’ve been giving up. I have to admit I am not always ready to jump right back in, but acknowledging the problem is the first step in solving it.

Open Up My Eyes

(Wake Up Wake Up–Everyday Sunday)

Some days are hard.

Let me amend that.

Some nights and mornings are hard.

So, on Sunday I went exploring, because God created this huge world for me and I pretty much only venture as far as the kitchen and back to my room. This was not a very well thought out plan and it was HOT outside and very bug-y…and I wasn’t wearing sunscreen or bugspray. Luckily I stayed in the shade, so I didn’t really turn bright red, but the bugs LOVED me.

Last night I was so itchy that I couldn’t fall asleep…and this morning I noticed I had scratched one of the bites so much that the area was a bit scabby…oops.

Maybe I’m the only one that does this, but if I’m exhausted and I haven’t gotten out of bed yet in the morning, I might dream even though I am definitely awake. So that happened this morning.

So there is this one person whom I had not seen since May…actually a lot of people, but one particular person who was in this dream. For lack of a better moniker, I’ll call this person Shoe. Don’t ask me where I came up with that…it was pretty much just the first word that came into my head as I looked down to come up with an object as a name…Lol…

So anyway, in the dream, I was sitting in front of my laptop at my desk at the hospital at which I am on rotation. I glanced up to check if there was anyone around who might need something from me. I saw Shoe. I was terrified and angry and scared and upset. Not much more happened in the dream because that was so upsetting that it shocked me the rest of the way alert and out of bed. Even though I knew it was a dream, it left me feeling really scared and uneasy. I guess distance made me forget how painful the memory of that person is. Also, that situation is pretty much if you’d asked me the worst thing that could possibly happen on rotation, the situation that I would have come up with. It is pretty typical of Shoe to find a way to completely violate me even if it means being somewhere I am that it would be a challenge or at least an inconvenience for Shoe to get to.

By the time I recovered enough to work on homework it was time to shove food I my lunch box and shove feet in my shoes (note the lack of capital letters to denote literal shoes versus the person…I definitely did not think this through when I picked a random name. So much for going through things in the morning.

Anyway, all day a thin blanket of anxiety about it has been clinging to my shoulders. I feel frustrated because I don’t want this person to have so much power over me. If I could just stop reacting it wouldn’t matter what this person did (or in the case of dreams didn’t do…).

But I am not a baby. I saw this person in real life today and it wasn’t all sunflowers and ponies or anything, but it actually wasn’t that bad. Plus this person totally left me alone today in real life(!!!!!), so maybe this person FINALLY has moved on from trying to make my life harder. Yay!! That is one of the most exciting things that could happen!

I got something the devil don’t want

(run devil run–David Crowder)

First off, I heard this song for the first time on the radio like yesterday…but it might have been the day before yesterday, which is very different from the day after tomorrow when the world freezes in a really cool way…but anyway, I loved it and y’all should look it up on youtube even though the video isn’t nearly as awesomesauce as the description of the video made it sound like it would be…

This section written yesterday:

Lol, I suppose from last night’s post, you can see A) how (not) well I do with staying up late and B) what it is like to occasionally have remnants of OCD come back…

Yep, I’m totally fine…I was exhausted because…you guessed it, I hadn’t slept in a while…funny how that works…

But I woke up in the morning still in need of more sleep, but otherwise just fine and no longer freaking out…and not sick…lol…

So: things I have the devil don’t want: OCD, and resilience. Oh, and God. The devil doesn’t want that either…

I love life…well, at least the times when I am not going off the deep end over something really stupid like that…

This section written today and totally unrelated aside from the fact that it is also written by me…

It is a lot of fun to be me sometimes…and embarrassing, but mostly fun. Last night after FCA when I was walking to my car, this guy with long black curly (or maybe dreddy I didn’t get  close look?) hair kinda laughed at me…which was embarrassing but also kind of a good thing, because I was so entertained by pressing the button for crossing the street that I had totally missed the fact that the light had turned green…if I hadn’t gotten laughed at I would probably still be standing there hanging out pressing the button…(mild exaggeration…but I was having enough fun I would have been there for a while).

Also there are some things I don’t like about school, which is probably true about anyone who is being honest…but one of the things I actually do like is that especially if I go South of school, I can walk wherever I want whenever I want and not worry about it being dark because I would guess that although I have never been awake at midnight to test this assumption that even at midnight it isn’t dark outside. I do know for sure that around 8-10pm it definitely is not dark. It is awesome first so that I don’t need to bring flashlights or anything like I used to bring to work with me a long time ago when I had to walk home in pitch black on Sunday nights, and also because people tell me it is dangerous to be outside in the dark…there might have been something about being alone in there, but the other thing about being in a big city is that you pretty much can’t be outside alone…there is ALWAYS someone else sharing the sidewalk with you.

Also, I learned this week that reading a church’s statement of faith is kind of important…so I decided I wanted to be in the car less than 10 minutes to get to whatever church I picked in the state I am moving to next. That meant that despite the promise of awesome treats, the church I picked out was on the ixnay. I was going back through my list of 2nd choices that hadn’t originally made the cut to be the one I was going to the first week. The one that was originally number two seemed super awesome…until I actually read the statement of faith…umm, yeah, all was well at first with statements that went way over my head and sounded nice and church-y…but then there was a statement that I read and went “um, pretty sure I actually understand that AND am 99.999% sure that it is NOT in the Bible.” So yeah…I guess having a really awesome logo which is how that one made the cut isn’t a good reason to pick a church.

So the one that is now number one doesn’t have a cool logo, but also doesn’t have weird stuff in the statement of faith. It also doesn’t promise me awesome treats, and doesn’t have a sample of their music to let me know if it is good okay or lousy, and doesn’t have much in the way of pictures or details at all, but it does meet the criteria of not being very far from the hospital (and therefore will be close to where I am living though I don’t have an address for that). Plus, the lead pastor’s cell phone number is on the “I’m new here” page and that made it seem like somewhere welcoming. So unless I come up with some new criteria or uncover something else I don’t like, I now (again) have picked a church for my next rotation.

Lol, I suppose if anyone has any ways to choose a church that don’t involve evaluating logos and treats which I realize are pretty superficial ways to pick, I am all ears…actually, that is not true. Regardless of whether or not anyone knows anything, I still have only two ears and also have a head, eyes, feet, arms, etc…I am definitely not ALL ears…LOL…

I wish I could just be in charge of the nursery at a church somewhere…’cause then it wouldn’t be a huge deal if the church was very good as long as they gave me enough latitude that I could love on infants…but something tells me people probably would prefer to have someone as a volunteer before putting them into a position of leadership whether formal or informal…particularly if said person moved into town that week…but seriously, I go through child withdrawal constantly and crave an infant in my arms…

Another option, I suppose, is if anyone wants a FREE babysitter so they can go on a date night or something and I can have some kid time…my age preference is the 5 and under crowd, particularly the birth to 6 months crowd, but I totally can (and have) been in charge of older kids…I just find it less rewarding as they get older…my happiest place is a room of infants where I am outnumbered (but not by so many as to make it stressful) and if anyone else is in the room then they are a good person to be around (AKA not someone who is super stressed out by there being one more kid than adult, and not a my-way-or-the-highway person).

Also, I poured my milk two hours ago and it is still sitting on my dresser, so it is time to stop writing and actually remember to hit post this time and then drink my milk, because it is not the shelf stable kind…

Goodness you have in store

(Thy Will Hillary Scott)

I don’t really like how much time I spend driving, but there are some positives. By leaving my room, I have seen some really incredible skies that I would never have seen otherwise.

I also have a lot of opportunities to pray for people that I wouldn’t have ever encountered to pray for. Like yesterday I saw one of those trucks that holds lots of cars and someone was laying under it like trying to fix something or something and I could pray for him that everything would work out, because that has got to be stressful. I saw a car with a flat tire and could pray for the driver of that vehicle. Also I have lots of chances to be very thankful that those situations are not me. Also I see some hilarious things like a guy holding a cell phone to his ear while listening and to his mouth while talking…like dude, it’ll pick up both things from one location…

And being directionally challenged gives me a lot more chances than most people to see awesome signs. Like one that said “Jesus changes things at 10:00 Sunday morning” to which I thought yes, and any other time he feels like it. It also gives me lots of chances to be proud of myself. Yesterday I might have gone west when I needed to go east, but I was able to piece together how to get where I was trying to go. And today, I didn’t need no stinkin’ directions to get to the hospital. I did it all by myself…with what I thought were the directions in the passenger seat next to me, but were actually not the directions…

I want this to be a positive post, so I’m going to end it soon, but please pray. I am very afraid that I am getting sick. I didn’t wash my hands at all between all the things I was doing at the hospital and then all the things I was doing at school and then eating. I even used a paper towel from the bathroom as a napkin because it was closer. I used the same spoon for everything I ate for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. And on top of that, I stayed up way later than I intended to stay up because there were some awesome people at Cru AND someone brought a baby! So lack of sleep both contributes to my ability to think logically and to a weakened immune system. And someone called out sick today at the pharmacy. And I feel like I am getting sick…and I know there are so many other possibilities for why I feel like I do, but with my past, I am terrified of getting sick. I am not currently moving from the fear to compulsions or to researching…mostly because it is bedtime…but I am super scared, which just makes everything worse.

And now I really have to end it because I am starting to think even with the logical side of my brain that I might be getting sick, and either I really am and should go to bed, or the writing about it is giving it to much credence and I should stop and go to bed…so either way, I need to go to bed…’cause either way it is definitely bed time…

LOL…I suppose if I am actually sick and can’t make it to the hospital in the morning there is a very good chance you’ll hear from me again…I have learned enough communication now that it probably wouldn’t happen, but in the past I definitely have had mornings where I threw up and went to school anyway, and that is basically what the hospital is for me is school…

…although most of those times I am pretty sure in retrospect that the issue was stress so even though my stomach hurt and I was scared of getting sick and therefore babied my stomach, in all reality I was fine and just needed to suck it up buttercup…lol…I suppose that is another sign pointing to testing anxiety since it was always big test days…

I’m livin’ in it and that’s how I say it

(Say it–Britt Nicole)

So as I was walking out of the hospital this afternoon, I saw an obviously angry person. I don’t know what was going on, but someone who appeared to be his friend said something like “you could try talking to them about it.”

That was all of the interaction that I overheard, but I was thinking “yes, talking about it, whatever it is, probably is a good solution.” It is hard sometimes, but talking about issues usually is better than ignoring them…and generally a lot more likely to lead to a solution. For example, I was super frustrated about a partial power outage a few days ago. On Saturday I expressed what had happened and Sunday I got an electrician and then the electric company to fix it. Now I have warm water and don’t have to constantly reset the clocks in the house.

But when I got an email that really frustrated me this afternoon, I wanted to ignore it and hope it went away. My first thought when I heard I needed to be fingerprinted was frustration that I didn’t know where to get it done (which was a valid concern given the difficulty with which I found somewhere and got fingerprinted). My next concern was that I would send in the cards and they wouldn’t think they were good enough. That one was valid as well. I got an email that my fingerprints aren’t very good and they probably need me to re-do them. I was SO frustrated. If my hands hadn’t been full with a snack, I might have thrown my laptop at my bed to express how frustrated I was (but keep me and my surroundings relatively safe).

Instead, remembering the conversation I had overheard, I sent a polite email letting them know that the last time I was fingerprinted the prints were done a zillion times and eventually the conclusion was made that my fingerprints are not that great. Something tells me that isn’t going to be a valid excuse, but it felt good for a few minutes anyway to know that I at least was not ignoring the problem.

If you are a praying kind of person, pray that they don’t make me re-do my fingerprints. It was hard enough the first time, and I feel like I already paid my dues by paying for it and taking the time to do it once. It’s not like I am going to magically have different fingerprints next time so it is really a waste of everyone’s time to have me re-do it, but other people don’t seem to understand that–they want to see it for themselves…I am not everyone else. I just want people to give me a chance and to believe that I know myself. To me, being asked to re-do it is on the same level as the people who tried to take me off of the greeting team in high school because they thought I couldn’t do it. I wouldn’t have signed myself up if I thought I couldn’t do it…and I wouldn’t have sent in crappy fingerprints if I could do them better, but I wanted to and I couldn’t and so I did. (Wow, that was a really awkward sentence…but you get the idea).

There’s no stopping us, we’re fearless inside

(Walking like giants–stars go dim

Sometimes when I’m not fighting big battles it seems that a series of small battles are fought instead. I am exhausted and would very much like a break.

On the positive side, I really love my rotation, it is just a TON of work. I am a bit overwhelmed and not totally sure how I am going to get this all done in the next now less than three weeks…YIKES…I have a lot of difficulty concentrating. That is my biggest issue right now. I know I can read more than one page in a couple hours…and yet that is the rate I’ve been going at. See, I start a sentence, start daydreaming about what I will eat for lunch tomorrow, get distracted, start the same sentence again, start daydreaming about when I will do laundry, get distracted…and the cycle frustratingly continues…and now I am writing a blog post…

Also on the positive side, I was talking to the girl who lived here before me and found that it is not just me. It really is a LOT more work than either of us realized to take care of cats…and also a lot more disgusting…she joked that probably some of the vomit stains were from her taking care of the litter box or cat vomit…I am so glad to hear it is not just me struggling with those things. I kind of thought maybe it was okay for those things to be challenging, but I wasn’t sure, because the owner of the cats made it sound like it was no problem whatsoever.

Less positive…well, with just a few of the things that have gone wrong in the past 24 hours, so it was dark outside last night and it was hard to see either the street signs or my directions. I successfully got going the right direction despite starting on a street that was not on the directions sheet, and soon I was on the freeway I needed to get home…and right about the time I felt assured I was on the correct freeway going the correct direction, I realized that the exit I needed was about a mile ago…oops…luckily I remembered I had directions from somewhere else that I could piece together with an exit a couple miles further down to get where I needed to be…crisis averted…temporarily.

Due to last night’s unintentional detour, there was no way I was getting all the way to Saturday before I put gas in the car. I stopped at a random exit marked to have a gas station and eventually did find said gas station. Not somewhere I intend to ever return. Aside from the sketchiness of the area, it was super frustrating that after three receipts I still had only like half a tank of gas, because the pump was not working correctly and kept stopping.

I also needed to get fingerprinted ASAP and my directions said to take the cards to any police station. So I did. The lady at the place I went seemed really put out to have to do her job. After plenty of eye rolls, she told me she needed proof I was a resident of (inselocation) before I could do the fingerprints…I explained that was going to be a problem because I am staying somewhere nearby, but am a resident of (completely different state). She clearly wanted the conversation to be totally over at that point, but not in a mood to be trampled on when I couldn’t just not do the fingerprints and really needed them done ASAP, I asked where I could get them done. She seemed to be choosing a location randomly, but a phone call later, and as it turns out the people at the place she said were actually very polite, professional, and helpful. Three things she was not. The place she mentioned cost $10 but the gas in the car (and time) to go all the way back home would be way more than that so I looked up directions and went there. What should have been a 10 to 15 minutes inconvenience in my day took over 3 hours, but I now successfully completed getting fingerprinted…and  got home just in time to receive an email asking me how much longer until I’d have the fingerprints in…

Now I just have to get them in the mail…that whole getting them was a lot more stress and effort than it should have been. I should have never gotten so frustrated that driving over 1000 miles over the weekend sounded like a possible solution. But it is done!! And I am proud of myself for staying polite but not giving up. Guess who isn’t a passive pansy anymore?! I was going to insert a state reference, but considering I try not to reveal my location, I am going to leave that out…

And I asked a clarifying question to school a few days ago on my rotation presentation, and it became two projects…and the overwhelm went higher…I should stop writing and get back to attempting to work on that project. Lol. Let’s see if I can read a whole page before I crash and go to bed. Hey, a girl can dream!

So yeah, all these battles are tiny, but I saw somewhere that you can’t compare battles very well, because your current battle is hard because it is the one you currently have to live through and everyone else’s battles and your previous battles are easier because you don’t currently have to live through them.