Monthly Archives: March 2014

I am still completely unaware of what I did to make you love me

What did I doStephanie Pauline

I don’t do anything to make me worthy of love. I don’t deserve the care and love that I receive, yet people continue to love me regardless. That is community.

I love the feeling of living in community. Due to my developing social skills, my experience of community has changed significantly over the past few years and even more so over the past few months. I used to feel deeply connected in community by passively observing people communicate on blog communities. I very rarely if ever participated actively, but the sense of community and caring and trust and genuineness and love I felt towards and from these people felt really good. One of the communities I connected to was (in)courage ; these people were so real. I also felt so close to Gitz (Sara) that when she died I felt like I had lost a real friend. (Don’t feel too bad for me though–again because of my social skills I expected/still do expect people to eventually just disappear. I am used to relationships simply ending, and contrary to what my counselor last year tried to tell me, it does not make me hesitant to bother forming relationships; on the contrary, it causes me to jump all in quickly because I don’t know how long I will have this person in my life. This is why I sometimes meet someone one day and the next day they quite literally have my life story waiting for them in their facebook inbox…if you seem like a decent person I might as well jumpstart the relationship so I have as much time with you as possible if the friendship works out. I am getting a little better as my social skills grow at feeling out the relationship before just throwing everything out there, but I still am very quick to welcome people into my circle). Anyway, after that long tangent, at that time I also extensively used facebook. It has taken me a long time to figure out why I was doing it, but I have now realized that really what I was doing on facebook was having my equivalent of a conversation with people. At that time if you posted anything anywhere on facebook there was a very good chance I would see it. Because I didn’t have the social know how to really meet people in real life and keep up with them, I learned about them via the internet. I also am really bad with names, so some of what I was doing allowed me to at least learn which people are grouped together even if I still had trouble matching the names to the people.

Since then I have gotten a lot more comfortable socially. Blogs are still a major source of my community, but I am a lot more likely now to take an active role and actually comment on other people’s posts. I love that I can say what I am thinking and people will respond to my thoughts. It is incredible to be able to see that people really care.

The internet is wonderful for creating community between people who may otherwise never have the chance to communicate with one another. One really neat example of this was an article I saw on Yahoo about how American charity is wrecking Africa. Someone who actually lives in Africa commented on this noting that actually it is very necessary and appreciated. If clothing were not donated and sent to Africa for re-sell, there are many families who would not be able to afford to clothe their families. Additionally, the people who re-sell the clothing in Africa need the income in order to feed their families. Even if Africa had it’s own textile manufacturing industry, it would not be able to support as many people as the American donations are currently supporting, and ultimately it would make life more difficult for these people. While I already agreed with this person’s perspective, I loved that this person who has actually lived the life being discussed could add to the conversation that really the rest of us could only conjecture about. I hope he opened some minds to the fact that without living that life we can’t truly know what it is like.

While online community is fulfilling, it ends when someone shuts down their blog, dies, makes their posts private, the computer battery or internet fail, or the content becomes otherwise unavailable. Online community also cannot offer the same level of support that (in)RL (in real life) community can offer. One thing said of Gitz was that she chased after community. At one time in her description of herself she said that she used to write to make a living and now she blogs to make a life. She was homebound due to her illness, and people of her online community incorporated her into their offline lives even visiting her in her condo…so while online community can involve hugs and gifts and meals, this is something more commonly available in real life community.

This year, actually more specifically just these past few months I have begun to have the social confidence and ability to really be an active participant in real life community. I love it. Although my social anxiety makes me appear to be extremely introverted, on the inside I am a huge extravert, and the extraversion in this girl makes me crave community, and the real life community that has been forming around me has blessed me so much. I am starting to feel community wherever I am. I still communicate best with those outside of my peer group, but even amongst my peers I am becoming much more verbal.

A few weeks ago someone was telling me about how almost every ministry at my church spends the largest amount of their budget on hospitality. I really wasn’t that surprised. What I love about this church is the incredible sense of community, and to me, hospitality is the core of community. Holley Gerth posted on her blog that hospitality is opening your home the same way you open your heart, and I really think that giving people a safe place to congregate is the keystone in forming community. Church is actually the first in real life community I ever experienced, and Christian blogs (and facebook) were my first real experience with online community. I believe this is likely because of the way church people love others and accept them unconditionally. I am not saying non-Christians can’t act that way as well, but it has been my experience that Christians are more likely to stop and think about “the least of these,” and not avoid people who don’t have as much to contribute.

Ever since my first year in the city I currently reside in for school, people have been telling me about how awful this city is. I never fully believed them, though I took their concerns into consideration. Lately, though I have been reminded just how wrong all those people have been. I have seen incredible caring lately from people of this city. I am so amazed and have never seen this kind of thing before. A couple weeks ago, for example, someone noticed I had an out of state license plate and honked at me to get my attention to ask if I needed directions anywhere. I didn’t, but I really appreciated the thought. Another example is that last week someone I have never met stopped as I was walking along the sidewalk and asked if I needed a ride anywhere. I can’t even make this stuff up! Someone I’d never seen who’d never met me just offered me a ride! I turned him down because I was just going to Lot B to get my car and was only another block away in the opposite direction this person was going, but once again I was just so amazed at how a complete stranger would want to bless me. Another example I wanted to share that both involves this sense of community and my evolving social prowess was last week a couple girls started a conversation with me on the sidewalk, and I responded the best I knew how and we were going opposite directions so the conversation eventually stopped as we got too far apart to hear each other, but it was cool that we randomly could start talking and wish each other well…so yeah…

Okay, I know this is probably getting a little ridiculously long, because I intended to give myself a half hour break to write this, and it has now been nearly two hours, but there was one last thing I wanted to mention…Right now I am in the process of getting to know someone the “normal people way” and it is really cool to be able to do that for the first time. It is really cool that I have never been on this person’s facebook page, nor have I ever seen her blog (if she has one), but I have been able to get to know her over the past few weeks and she has gotten to know me, and I really like being able to actively participate in community building. That just shows how amazing my God is. It is hard to believe that at the beginning of this school year I was rarely even talking to my counselor and on the rare occasion I actually said something it was usually yes or no and had to be repeated multiple times before I was understood because it was so difficult for me to get the words out. Now I am able to talk to my counselor and be understood, and even interrupt and attempt to finish sentences, and I am learning to do the same outside of counseling. I love it…I had a lot of other things I wanted to write about community, but it is past time for me to stop writing and do at least a little studying before I crash for the night.

Have a beautiful day community members, I love you 🙂 (In a non-creepy kind of way)

You used to have me stumbling and tripping again and again but I’ve been studying and now I know you like the back of my hand

(breakthrough–Britt Nicole)

Alternatively titled: What if my blessing comes from raindrops, what if my healing comes through tears?
(Blessings–Laura Story)

Sometimes I find success when I least expect it. When I feel like I am on top of the world, can conquer anything, that is a great success, but sometimes success comes wrapped differently. Sometimes success comes when I am tripping and falling into my pit again.

Over the past few days I kept thinking I was hearing people talk about stomach flu. I was struggling a little, but it was SO successful that I was able to use uncertainty to my advantage and manage to not fully go into crisis mode. Oh my, I was so excited about that! Yeah, I was a bit anxious, not really completely normal, but I was not in full on panic get me out of here the entire world is trying to kill me mode either. The fact that I could at least outwardly stay pretty normal was HUGE! So exciting.

On Wednesday one of the few people who doesn’t know that germs are a huge issue for me casually mentioned that someone was not around because she was puking…umm thanks for that…at that point I could no longer use uncertainty to my advantage and I despite my best efforts was slipping quickly into crisis mode. It was interesting looking at my journal because over the course of maybe half a page I had gone from writing that I was really stressed out but I wasn’t going to fall into crisis mode to writing that I couldn’t do it. I wasn’t drinking and I wasn’t eating and nothing could change that…So I was drowning in anxiety. All I could do was rock and try to calm myself. I finally got myself to write an email asking to be told to eat b/c I was pretty sure I could do it for someone else. I got an email back requiring me to eat and drink. I was so frustrated, but as it turned out that was a good thing. Combine my stubborn-ness to my desire to please people, and I was determined to do whatever it took to succeed.

I ate lunch and then went to patho where we were learning about infectious disease. That totally could have been a lecture that threw me further into crisis, but I got lucky and it was more about how our bodies are designed to resist disease. It was really good and what finally allowed me to start calming down. The ability to go from complete crisis mode to being willing to cautiously drink that evening while I was STILL AT SCHOOL was a HUGE success. I wouldn’t have even imagined that had anyone suggested last year that I would be doing that this year. That was amazing…I still am pretty anxious; it certainly didn’t cure my OCD, but I am now running at a much more manageable level of anxiety. As of this morning with proper nutrition and hydration I am able to actually do real studying. I am definitely not at 100%, but I am doing pretty well, and I am happy with this. I may have OCD, but OCD doesn’t have me!

“A breakthrough is coming, coming for me. ‘Cause my heart was made to fly, destiny can’t be denied. I can’t wait ’cause I am overdue for a breakthrough.”

We’ll never let them say you’ll never get that far

(Anthem–Superchick)

Before I get too far I feel the need to put out a disclaimer. This post has the potential to be very negative. Because of something that happened in my past I like to be extremely cautious when sharing anything negative. This is something on my heart that I want to write about right now, and yeah, part of the reason I am blogging is because I promised myself no more getting up for at least another half hour and my notebook is no where near me…but I need you to know that I am not, nor have I ever been suicidal. I am not going to lie, sugar coat things, or misrepresent myself, I will admit that at times I have been at the boundary of suicidal and not suicidal not too worried about accidentally falling over the line, but right now I am no where near that line. I may act dangerously because the adrenaline helps me regulate my anxiety, but the dangerous behavior is not in any way intended to harm myself.

Okay, so enough with the disclaimer 🙂

I wanted to write a post about what it is like living with OCD. I wanted to share the pain, but I also wanted to share the joy. The past few days though have left me feeling very defeated. Right now I wish I could say I wouldn’t believe someone who told me I’d never be able to live normally, but honestly right now I’d have trouble believing anyone who thought I would one day be able to put this behind me.

There are many times that I pray for God to take me away. I would honestly rather not live some days. I feel like my life is so unredeemable that it is not worth asking God to fix it…and sometimes I wonder if I even believe if it is possible for him to fix it anymore. In my head it is hard to see that there could be any resolution to the problems I am facing and the pain I am feeling besides just escaping this life.

So what triggered this particular episode?…Well, I had my counselor over to my apartment. She was touching things and I was getting anxious, but it really wasn’t a big deal. I am used to being challenged. It is really hard, but I get over it and know it is what I need to do to fight OCD. Except that I am usually really good at hiding how much pain I am in whether physical or psychological. And I have started feeling safer with my counselor and when I feel safer with someone it gets harder to hide how I am feeling. And she had just finished telling me she felt ?????left-out????? because she hasn’t seen me cry, but my best friend at school has. And I decided it was okay to let go and cry in front of her. I guess she never realized how hard things have been for me, because when she saw me start crying she told me to clean after she left. And I felt like a huge failure. The whole point in having her over was to get my apartment dirty and not clean it, but I immediately cleaned it. And my grades are awful and I feel like there is no hope in fixing those. And I practiced so many times in my head how to be a good hostess but I couldn’t even say hi, and when we walked in I immediately walked away from her and left the room…yeah, things weren’t going so well. I was so upset that I had failed that I cried most of the day…and the next day…okay fine, and on and off the day after that which is where I am now…Today my counselor came back because I really needed some kind of success to pull out of this. We didn’t do a lot of contamination, but she pointed out that even just allowing anyone into my apartment was evidence of progress, and I made a phone call. Not one that was supposed to be overly difficult, but something that I could count as a success. I didn’t do a very good job, but I got through it…which sometimes getting words out of my mouth is a success in itself. Thankfully having some sort of success pulled me off the floor of the pit I was in so that I could see that I wasn’t trapped in there. I am still pretty upset with myself, but life goes on. Maybe I will fail my classes, maybe I am not so good at ERP, and maybe I will never be able to use my words, but I can survive…and maybe one day I will again believe that I will reach my goals.

On a week when just getting showering and putting on clothes in the morning takes an hour it is hard to believe life will ever be easy for me the way it is for everyone else. It is really hard for me to see people navigating the world without even finding it difficult when for me so much of life is a challenging feat that I must work hard to pull off. Sometimes I just want to say “Yeah, that thing you want try might not be that hard, but at the end of the day if we think about my energy as currency, even if what you want me to try only requires one cent and I have that one cent, if I give it to you for that activity I may not have the last cent I need at the end of the day, and it isn’t a sustainable practice to continually borrow against the next day even if it is “only one cent.”

How to Love an OCD-er

I always love reading posts about how to love people and have wanted to write my own for a long time…write now I am feeling so drained that I do not have the energy to make this the awesome post I had planned, but I wanted to start with this picture that really sums up the most important part.
incourage
Simply offer a place of safety, love, and grace. I may be OCD, but I am also a person just like anyone else. I might react differently to things, but really I ultimately just want to love life every day. You don’t have to understand everything about my OCD, you just have to understand that I really do want to have meaningful relationships and get through the day.

So what does that look like?

Well, this is the part that I am feeling too drained to really do justice too…helpful, right? Haha, but a few basics…

I really appreciate when you take my struggles into consideration. It is really nice of you to offer assistance when you see I am having a hard time. It makes me feel so blessed when you go out of your way to make things easier for me.

Don’t tiptoe around me. I am not fragile. I am not going to break. I understand that the world does not revolve around me and other people do not live the way I do. Obviously intentionally triggering me just for the sake of doing it is not nice, but just because I refuse to get a drink from the drinking fountain doesn’t mean you can’t do it. If what you are doing is too much for me to handle I will find a way to accommodate myself. I might excuse myself to just take a break or let you know I am feeling overwhelmed, but it is not your fault. OCD has control of my life, but I don’t want it to control yours.

Don’t sell me short! I might have trouble with some things, but I also want to be independent. There are some things I might need help with, and I might appreciate you doing things for me occasionally, but I want a chance to try for myself sometimes before you jump in to do it for me, and I don’t want you to write me off and tell me what I can’t do. If I think I can do it please give me a chance. If I have gotten in over my head and am obviously failing by all means feel free to try to rescue me, but sometimes I am ready to challenge myself, and other times I need to try it for myself to accept that I wasn’t ready to handle that.

Feel free to challenge me. Unless you are my counselor it is not your job to challenge me, so you don’t need to do it, but if you want to then go for it. I might not be ready for what you are asking, and might refuse, but I love that you are trying to help me. Similarly, if you choose to challenge me, be willing to back down. I really want to be able to make you happy and do whatever you have challenged me to do, but when the tide of panic starts rising please let go and let me bail, don’t force me to drown in it.

It is okay to ask me questions. I know I am different. I know my behavior may seem crazy at times. If you want to understand, I would love to give you a glimpse into my world. I know it might not make sense. It doesn’t make sense to me either sometimes, but that doesn’t make it any less real.

Please let me know if my rituals are impinging on your life. I really do not want to pull you into my world. It is not fun, and I wouldn’t even wish it on the people who annoy me to no end. I can’t promise I will be able to completely stop the behavior, but I am very willing to work with you to figure out how I can accommodate your needs without sacrificing my sanity.

Finally, please be aware that my progress might not be linear. Things can change on a daily, hourly, minute-ly, or maybe even a second-ly basis, and what I could do with ease yesterday might be nearly impossible today. I know it is baffling and I know it is frustrating; I feel it too, but it would mean the world to me if you would be willing to continue to stand beside me and walk with me as I battle for my life. That is what I really need: someone who can be a constant in my life, loving me despite my flaws, and not being scared away by my bad days. Thankfully I have been blessed with people in my life who are willing to be flexible to work around what I can and can’t do, and have been supportive through my many trials. My heart is so happy for these people God has placed in my life.

You hear the music play but you can’t sing

(Broken Girl–Matthew West)

Broken girl is a song that has resonated with my heart for various reasons this whole semester…a lot has been going on…

Look what he’s done to you, it isn’t fair. Your light was bright and new but he didn’t care. He took the heart of a little girl, and made it grow up too fast. Now words like innocence don’t mean a thing. You hear the music play but you can’t sing. Those pictures in your mind keep you locked up inside your past. This is a song for the broken girl, the one pushed aside by the cold, cold world, you are, hear me when I say: You’re not the worthless they made you feel. There is a love they can never steal away. You don’t have to stay the broken girl. Those damaged goods you see in your reflection, Love sees them differently, Love sees perfection, a beautiful display of healing on the way tonight, tonight. Let your tears touch the ground. Lay all your shattered pieces down, and be amazed by how grace can take a broken girl and put her back together again.

Oh my, I just want to soak in those lyrics. I have felt so broken and torn down in so many ways and for so long this semester. Some of it has been things outside myself, but the one I want to talk about right now is OCD. I just want to be me and have fun and love life every day, but OCD has made me need to think ahead to the consequences and what-if’s of my actions. My carefree heart has taken on responsibility beyond my years to force food and water into a girl fighting against it. I see all the things I want so badly, but can’t have. The fear telling me something bad might happen keeps me trapped in my self-made prison looking in on the world of normalcy where people are not tormented by fear day in and day out.

OCD might make me feel like I am not good enough, but I am not letting myself stay marginalized and helpless at the bottom of the pit. My God of Love values me the way that I am. He doesn’t see hopeless waste of space that can’t do anything right. If I can let go and stop trying to hold the shattered pieces of my life together, he wants to work through me to put it back together and make me whole again.

When I started writing this post it was intended to be a really hopeful post…the past few days I have been struggling and really feel more in the mood to post this as a Debbie Downer post, so I am going to stop here before I let myself loose to write about how badly things are going.

Got 100 Steps to go Tonight I’ll make it 99 :)

(One More–Superchick)

It feels like I have lost this fight. They think that I am staying down, but I’m not giving up tonight. Tonight the wall is coming down. I am stronger than my fears. This is the mountain that I climb, got 100 steps to go tonight I’ll make it 99. One more. Go one more.

I have everything to lose by not getting up to fight. I might get used to giving up so I am showing up tonight. I am my own enemy a battle fought within my mind. If I can overcome step one I can face the 99.

So I had a lot to say besides quoting lyrics, but then over the course I’ve been processing things through Microsoft Word then deleting them again when I am done, so though I don’t have a paper trail anymore, most of the thinking is done…but I decided I still wanted to write about this…

So what I mainly wanted to write about was baptism. I am 21 years old, and grew up in the church…specifically I grew up mainly in an E. Free church which is Swedish Baptist (I am not Swedish though), and now my family attends a Baptist church. Based on that history it would probably shock you to hear that I have not been baptized. It is not that I don’t believe in the power of the Holy Spirit, rather, there have been barriers.

When I was around eight years old I decided that for my birthday I wanted to attend a baptism class…and I have two younger brothers so they got dragged along as well. When I found out that it was required that I share my testimony to be baptized I was so done with that. My brothers got baptized, but I didn’t. At that point I was really too young to care a whole lot one way or the other. It wasn’t a huge deal to me whether or not I got baptized, I didn’t feel any pressure to do or not do it.

Then I started to feel too old to get baptized…and then I started feeling a little pressure to do it. There was no way I was going to be in front of so many people though, and by the time I started feeling pressured I was at a church where they make you were hideous stupid clothes to get baptized and there was no way I was possibly doing that. As I started feeling more pressured to do it I resisted, but to reconcile the pressure I was feeling from people with my refusal, I claimed that I didn’t believe in a God who was so picky about where I get wet that if I didn’t do it at church that was a problem, and if the goal is an outward display of faith then that is dumb because as a Christian I should already be living in such a way that Christ lives through me, and if God can save people who die minutes after they believe in him, then certainly he can save me without ever being baptized no big deal…I really thought I fully believed this and really believed that baptism was completely pointless, and I guess I really did…until a couple weeks ago.

The church I go to at school does baptism a couple times a year, and I guess because it is kind of I guess I would describe it as a college-aged hipster church most of the baptisms are adults, so I don’t feel like I am too old to do it at school. I am still completely terrified of being in front of everyone though, and pretty scared about the germs in the water.

A few weeks ago was baptism weekend, and I actually thought about doing it, because socially I have seen so much improvement this year, and it would be really awesome if I could go against some of my fear and be in front of a relatively small group of people (the church I go to at school is pretty small). I didn’t do it though b/c I was really scared…no big deal, I don’t need to do it, I just thought it would be an awesome success if I could…

Then because of the weather, the next week baptism happened again. Having this happen for a second week I knew was God’s way of telling me it was time to conquer my fear and do this–but I couldn’t. Sitting in church that night I realized that I had essentially re-written my belief system to accommodate my fear. I am all for accommodations while in crisis to make life live-able, but outside of a crisis situation I HATE when I feel like I am being pulled around by my fear and having to accommodate the fear into every decision that I make. Honestly, this really isn’t about being baptized or not being baptized, it is about realizing the world that my fear ahs kept me from. For years I went through life not even knowing there was a world out there besides the one I was living in. Through working with my counselor first year was the first time my eyes were opened to the possibility of a bigger world than the one I was living in. It seemed unattainable at times, and I frequently chose to act as if I didn’t really believe it was there, but the spark had been lit to burn a hole in the fence keeping me within my world.

I think for a long time as my world began to actually shrink that I still believed that my world might be ever so slightly different but wasn’t really holding me back, because if I admitted that my world was a tiny pile of smoky ruins I would have to admit that I had contentedly lived in a prison for years and didn’t know how to walk out.

This event finally let the fence be burned down so I could see how much bigger the world was than the one in which my fear had me living. I still need to safely cross through the rubble to reach the bigger world, but I now must admit that the bigger world truly does exist.

For so long I was perfectly content with where I was. I had no idea whatsoever that there could possibly be anything beyond the normal that I lived. I mean, I went to counseling first year because Dave told me to try it, and I planned on one-and-done…the only reason I continued was that I didn’t know how to get myself out after I got myself in…Dave had mentioned when I asked why I should do it that it would help me socially. I didn’t think I had a problem socially. I was shy, but that was just who I was.

So if I wanted to be done, why did I start making plans to keep going 2nd year even before I knew Elisha was going to tell someone to initiate with me if I didn’t? Well, partly to people-please, because that is what I am good at, but also because Elisha had opened my eyes enough for me to at least see a deficiency-orientation that my social skills are not good enough by other people’s standards so I should work on them. I occasionally at that point wanted to be like “the popular kids” but for the most part I didn’t see that as who I was and so it didn’t really seem like a realistic thing, just a nebulous ideal. As the germ issue became prominent I suppose I had to admit that I had a problem and needed some help, but I didn’t see it as anything that was limiting me–just something that was kind of a nuisance. I did pro-actively set up help for this year, and fight for my help to continue, because even though I absolutely hate my time in counseling, I know that all the fear and frustration I feel as I get thrown into difficult situations is the price I am paying to go one more step towards recovery and even though being “like everyone else” seems a far-off, overly lofty goal, each step I take will get me closer to that goal, and eventually I will be close enough to reach out and touch freedom…and that is why I torture myself every week with counseling…now that I’ve glimpsed what my world could be, I want it desperately and am willing to do almost anything to get there…

I wish I could still be totally content with where I was, because that was WAY easier, but I know once I reach the end of this journey I will be glad I left that place behind, because my world will be a much nicer place, even though the journey itself is awful.

The microwave is fast when it cooks food…and Nike’s

(planes, phones, microwaves–Go Fish)

This post is not actually about the microwave in particular…just about the things I have learned this year about food…it kinda makes me laugh once I get past the frustration when I discover things that perhaps should have been obvious that I didn’t know…Here are a few of the things I have learned…

1. So here is a big one I learned at the beginning of the semester: potatoes do not last forever…particularly potatoes still in the sealed plastic bag in an apartment that you might not have the air conditioning on during the day (oops…well I wasn’t going to BE there…)…the potatoes start to smell weird, and when you open the bag for the first time, little bugs crawl out…for this germ phobic girl that is a terrifying discovery…forget about the cost of the potatoes…the idea of little bugs inside my apartment even if they are mostly contained by a plastic bag is pretty scary.

2. Yes, it does matter that the inside of the milk carton is lined with metal…Yeah, so the milk accidentally froze so I decided to microwave it…and it started sparking…after that the milk was mostly still frozen but tasted burn-y…so yeah, that was kind of gross and another thing I threw away…

3. If your refrigerator doesn’t really feel cold then maybe it isn’t…and maybe that’s a problem…it took me at least a week to figure this one out…as in I didn’t figure it out until the fridge had been room temperature for a couple days…

4. Almond milk that has not been refrigerated properly tastes like acid. However, if you are so used to forcing down milk that tastes disgusting because it took many years before your parents tried out soy milk and discovered it could take the fight out of drinking milk, you will still drink it before realizing it was a problem…luckily I didn’t get sick from that…

5. The salami on sale for super cheap at the grocery store might be super cheap for a reason and might not taste very good…it also might not be good if you decide to spend a couple hours making a couple packages of it into bacon and try to freeze it…yeah, it turned into frozen meat-leather that wasn’t any good warmed up either…

6. Ramen should not be creamy (even if you added meat or vegetables to it). This is something that happens when you make it, and put it in a fridge that you haven’t yet realized has a problem…it will taste gross when you attempt to eat it, but this time you opt to throw it out…which, by the way, bowls of ramen smell pretty bad going down the drain in the sink as well and probably will need to be washed twice to get the smell out…

7. Carrots require refrigeration, or at least not 80 degree temperatures…Yeah, after a week in a nonfunctional fridge you will be really glad the bag of carrots is still sealed, because it turned into pretty orange foam sorta like sweet potatoes…I don’t like sweet potatoes, and I don’t care to find out if I like carrot foam…

8. Crackers do not last forever…So I bought a bunch of food before first year for when I needed food when the cafeteria wasn’t open, and I had a lot more than I needed…this box of crackers traveled back and forth every year, and I finally decided I wanted some crackers this January (I do love crackers, but it seemed like such a commitment to open the box…). Well the box smelled kinda weird, but I figured that was from my ice brick that exploded on it the summer prior to first year…umm yeah, I maybe should have realized there was a problem when the smell got stronger upon opening a sleeve of the crackers…but it didn’t actually occur to me there was a problem until I was ready to eat lunch and realized that the crackers smelled like gasoline and when I put them in my mouth they didn’t taste right and it felt like I was pouring super concentrated sour stuff on my tongue…luckily I was smart enough to not continue eating the crackers…

9. You should probably seal the bag of crackers before putting it into the trash pile, because most people probably don’t work on convincing themselves that the smell of expired crackers is the smell of home for a few weeks until the smell dissipates (hey, don’t hate on my inability to take out the trash in a timely manner)…

10. There is a reason there are directions on the packages of easy-mac…and you should probably follow them…If you don’t follow directions and decide to pour the cheese in at the same time as the noodles you end up with macaroni soup…which actually is not very good…although if this happens at a time when you aren’t really drinking water much yet, it is probably beneficial to get some liquid in that way…

11. No matter how frustrated you are with how difficult a can is to open, DO NOT hold it upside down to try to get more leverage on the can opener to get the stupid thing open…because trust me, when you finally do get the can open, you will not want it positioned upside down…also makes it rather challenging to determine how much seasoning to throw into the chili when you just spilled most of the sauce of the pre-seasoned ingredients onto the counter/floor/yourself and also wasn’t really sure how much to use in the first place…

12. “Lifetime supplies” probably aren’t…yeah, at the beginning of the year I thought I literally had a lifetime supply of candy/sugar laden items and of pop…I didn’t…The supply of pop is now 4 cans (so about a month’s worth since I only use it for post-counseling treat). The supply of sugar has gone from a big blue rubbermaid box to a sorta pitiful looking drawer in my kitchen…unless you count the sterilite box of skittles next to my bed, but those are only for after making phone calls until I completely run out of sugary snacks…and most of the candy drawer at this point is gum and mints which I try to save for times I need it to control nausea since that is less intimidating than meds (and possibly more effective for anx-induced nausea?)…but since the biggest goal of the sugar is to control anxiety and nausea contributes to anxiety, that will definitely get used if necessary…and I don’t think I have another pop and candy supply back in my room in MN anymore either…

I feel like I had some really good mishaps and stories, but I actually can’t remember most of them anymore…might need a part 2 someday…I gotta get back to studying, because one of my grades in particular really needs to improve, because as much as I can pretend I don’t care, I do. I still am pretty upset about my micro grade. I don’t feel a lot of hope about my grades anymore, but I want to believe it is still possible to redeem myself.

Psalms

So an awesome person God has put into my life challenged me (well not me specifically–she was addressing a group of people) to write our own psalm. I wasn’t so sure about how well I could do that, but I tried it…might not be very good, but I think it captures the anger, frustration, and confusion I have been feeling, entwined with the tiny little fragile threads of hope I have left.

God I need you.
Are you even still there?
Have you forgotten about me down here?
Do you not see how much I long to be pulled into your arms?
I feel alone.
What did I do wrong?
Why do you keep letting me jump from crisis to crisis?
I know you are up there.
It feels like you keep pulling me up halfway to remind me you are there.
But then I fall back down again.
I am broken God.
My heart feels like it is running dry.
I want you to take me home, but I’m running out of hope.
How much longer do I need to wait?
I don’t feel like I can take this much longer.
How long do I need to be patient?
I can’t live apart from you.
When does this end?
I want out.
Thank you, Lord for listening to the cries of your daughter.
Hold me upright while the world falls apart around me.
Help me endure for your timing.
I don’t understand what you are doing, but I love you and trust you to make things right.
Thank you for holding my hand.

Sticks and Stones

I have had my first real experience with online bullying today.

First there was a not so nice message on facebook, but I responded kindly letting the person know that we had a difference of opinion but while I respect that I have the right to express my own opinion. The other person apologized and it was done (and after re-reading what I wrote about my opinions mattering and not being able to please everyone all the time I realized I really needed to start listening to myself more often)…until this evening when someone decided to start a thread on facebook calling me ignorant.

I don’t really enjoy being called names, but I can honestly say that while I was mad for a couple minutes I quickly realized that someone has to be the bigger person. If you want to attack me for a few like then you can go for it. You have the right to your own opinion as much as I have the right to mine.

Honestly, there are some names I would take offense to…mostly ones that would hit a little too close to home, but the person attacking me on facebook decided to call me ignorant…now that is a quality that depending on the situation I either whole-heartedly embrace with no shame whatsoever, or that I know really doesn’t apply to me. It isn’t a label you can hurt me with no matter how hard you try. For example, I know nothing of sports, but I am perfectly happy going through life without knowing what sport popular teams play or even what the popular teams are. Nice try bully, but you can’t hurt me like that…better luck next time.

The one thing that did upset me about it is that I have always felt that my school, while filled with a lot of immaturity, did tend to be a somewhat supportive environment for me. When people have differences oof opinion they usually work it out by talking civilly to each other rather than ignoring it or fighting. It really bothers me that a member of this community would choose to be a bully. I am thankful that she chose a target (me) that could handle it. I am glad to keep someone else from being beaten down, but I just wish people would be nice to each other. I was always told that bullying decreases as you grow up, but I guess that isn’t always true.

Do you wanna get out of the big fish?

(Big Fish–FFH)

I heard an awesome presentation on Jonah and the whale by a couple of my friends last week. I feel like if God directly told me to do something I would do it, but what he says is not so direct…but what if that is what God was doing with Jonah. Do we know that God spoke out loud and directly to Jonah, or were these directions just a thought kinda playing around in Jonah’s mind that he was scared of so came up with a way to ensure that wouldn’t be what he was supposed to do…What if the thoughts in my head are really directions from God and the reason a lot of things have not been going well lately is that I haven’t followed directions?

This semester I wanted to be really focused on school, and also use some of my time to really conquer some of my challenges. Well the very first day of school my plans were challenged when my first class was cancelled ten minutes before it was supposed to start. I cried and tried to calm myself down. Then that same class was cancelled–again 10 minutes before class started. In between those things I also had sat on and touched the bathroom floor and then been told someone had vomited in there…so that happened…so yeah…the day that class got cancelled the second time I slept over with my friend for a little challenge since I felt like I was failing at everything else and this was something I could be successful at. Well, my friend started vomiting in the morning…a little more challenge than I planned on. So a couple weeks later I was getting pretty close to at least a normal exterior to my life when I found out someone had thrown up for 15 minutes in a restaurant bathroom back home…I struggled but was determined to not let it set me back too far…About a week later I found out my counselor’s husband was sick…so now the germs were striking again and even closer to home…then a week after that the girl I sit next to in two of my classes messaged me that she was sick…at this point I was so determined not to let this affect me so much because I was feeling so squashed and defeated from living in fear for so long that I managed to pull through that so that I was only avoiding germs extra for that day then was pretty close to normal besides the fear…Oh, but that wasn’t enough either…last night I found out from Lori at church that we might have a snow day tomorrow…and then this morning I found out that the case that I spent Friday night and most of Saturday working on the teachers decided we didn’t have to do anymore…and that the other thing I’d really been focusing on this weekend, studying for a biochem exam, was useless too because the exam was being postponed…at least that studying is something transferable to later when I do have to take the exam though…oh, and the list of the stuff life has been throwing at me wouldn’t be complete without acknowledgement of the nastygram I received on facebook this morning.

So yeah, this semester has been not so good. I can’t help but wonder if God has thought that I put too much value on my grades. I was really upset last semester that my grades weren’t so good because of stress and I was going to do better this semester, but it hasn’t worked out that way yet. Is the reason so much junk has happened because I didn’t listen and I continued to value my grades? Also, last night was baptism at my church. I haven’t been baptized. When I was around eight years old I decided that for my birthday I wanted to go to a baptism class with my brothers. They ended up getting baptized but when I found out that we would need to share our story, I was no longer interested…as it turns out they decided that kids didn’t have to share if they didn’t want to, but I didn’t find this out until years later…I was out when I refused to write my story. After that I felt that I had gotten too old to be baptized and would be really embarrassed to do it. Since then I have felt that with the story that I have of God helping me to find my voice that perhaps I may be able to use that and eventually feel ready to do it, but right now the germs are also an issue. Last night I felt that I really did have the social ability to finally do it, but the germs were standing in my way. I know that my germ fear is holding me back and I want free of it, but I couldn’t overcome that to just do the baptism thing I mean I had other reasons, like clothes that had just been washed and the fact that I was wearing contacts and stuff, but really I knew that the fear of germs needed to stop holding me back.

I can’t help but wonder if God is punishing me for valuing my grades too much and for not getting baptized by throwing these obstacles into my life in hopes that I will get the idea…I wish God would be a lot more direct with me. I am really struggling right now. I absolutely hate my school. I never intended to go to this school, but have usually been able to say that despite a few challenges that it has been a good place for me, but at this point I feel SO angry at my school and while I am not ready to throw the effort I have invested so far and start over somewhere else, I am really upset. Is this anger really their fault though, or did I bring it on myself by not being a good enough Christian?

And with that I need to get some studying done because school isn’t going to wait while I have a pity-party over here, and now that I’ve stopped crying I will actually be able to see what I ma trying to study 🙂