Category Archives: Life Lessons

Whatever Comes Our Way

(Walking Like Giants–Stars Go Dim)

Pre-tip: if you actually hit post, the whole blogging thing works better…not that I wrote this around lunch time and never hit post or anything…

Also, September 7th was my best day for likes. Yay! It’s the little things.

Here are some tips for life…taken and/or modified from a video on how to use a journal that I just watched. I have no intention of actually using those directions on how to use a journal, because that would probably last all of about 3 days before I quit…cross that out…make that about 18 hours at the most. I tried really hard to use a planner for a long time. It worked really well for a few years. It pretty much stopped working somewhere in the past year and a half-ish when putting things in the calendar kept getting put off too many times to the point I was putting the event or assignment in the calendar right about the time I was supposed to be turning it in and/or getting myself to the event…and because things weren’t necessarily in the planner I stopped really looking at the planner…which meant I was even less likely to put things in it…which led to not getting things into the calendar until they were over…maybe even over for weeks…at which point I eventually gave up and am now 99% calendar free. Calendar free seemed really awesome until I realize I have very little concept of time and something four days away can feel like forever away so I forget about it and suddenly forever away is “I need to be ready in 42.3 seconds!” Or maybe I should have been ready last week. On the other hand, next month feels like 10 minutes from now and I might have next month planned right now…although by the time the time comes the plans will likely either no longer be practical or be completely forgotten. So yeah…giving me ideas on how to use a journal that requires I actually know where it is every day AND open it up to write stuff is probably not that practical…but I do really love the pretend friendship of the person who made the video so I watch it. (See, I am able to differentiate people I don’t know in real life from people who are real life friends…I just choose to think about online people as just as much my friends as the ones I do know in real life. I love having friends, and the more there are the merrier!)

So anyway…

  1. If you force yourself to use a single page for every to-do list for a month you won’t have much space. STOP. You don’t need a bigger page or to write smaller. Your space is limited, because you know what else is limited? Your time! (I thought this was super profound…because on the rare occasions on which I actually make a to do list like I should, I definitely am a culprit of the million-ty item long to do list that there is no way I could possibly complete).
  2. Something that works super awesome when you are hyperfocusing on it (which isn’t really focusing, it is really an inability to effectively switch one’s focus) is not something that is likely to work in every day life. So I have deleted a lot of pictures of my car…that were pretty much a waste of time. See, I had this great idea to take a picture of my car when I got out so I could look at it when I’m ready to leave to find my car again. On the surface this sounds like a rocking awesome idea…in reality, it was an epic fail. See, this relies on a lot of remembering. First, one must remember to take a picture of the car. For this step to work, one must also remember to leave enough time to take said picture, know where one’s phone is, and have remembered an umbrella to protect the phone if it is raining. Next, one must remember that the goal of this picture is not to remember what color the car is or that the car has wheels. That is, the picture must actually identify where the car is. Third, one must remember upon wanting to leave that the picture exists. This tends to be more useful when one remembers prior to getting off the parking garage elevator on four different floors and wandering around for a while on each or before walking three blocks one direction only to remember that the car is parked in the complete opposite direction. Side note that it is actually a time saver sometimes to park where no one else wants to, because you can park in the exact same spot every time and not have to wonder where you may have misplaced your car. On the other hand, if you are already running late, parking in the first available spot that everyone else wants is usually faster in the short term…soo…you might have to pick your battles.
  3. And then something silly that was also in the video: then put your contact information and a promise of a reward on it in case you lose it…but not your address unless you really want it returned. In person. At 3am. Lol…that wouldn’t bother me, but I also do not tend to have the best “safety skills.” Online safety, check, offline safety, umm nahh.

And Every Angle is Covered With Just Another Bandaid

(Relient K–Falling Out)

Well, not really…but Monday was like a six-ish bandaid day…’cause bandaids fall off if you can’t consistently keep them dry. Tuesday was only a one bandaid day. Biggest difference is really just that I was at home instead of at work. Not constantly handling boob money and sock money (among other icky things) means I don’t wash my hands as much…not to mention the amount of dishes I do (or don’t) do. See, in theory I hand wash the dishes daily at home, but in reality I have no problem cutting an apple this morning with the same knife I used last night which means that it doesn’t make sense to wash the knife that I know I am going to use again, and even after that I can improvise enough that the stuff that doesn’t require the dishwasher probably won’t be missed for a little while even if it is dirty. At work it is a different story. I often end up doing dishes there multiple times per day because we have a limited number of supplies and constantly use them, and while graduated cylinders can be re-used without washing, the ability to do that depends upon knowing what was in there before which isn’t always possible when we are constantly taking turns in different positions depending on what needs to be done, and mortars and pestles can pretty much never be reused without washing, because most things require that they start dry…except amlodipine which is best made by turning the tabs into little marshmallows…no one told me that the first time I made it, and I probably spent a good hour trying to crush these rock hard tablets (it was a success, but also a waste of time).

Tuesday I got smart and put ointment on the bandaid before putting it on so I didn’t have to yank off the skin that was becoming enmeshed in the bandaid every time the bandaid lost it’s stickiness. That was awesome because it meant Wednesday there was actually enough skin left after removal of the bandaid to allow a bandaid free day. I tried wearing one when I rode my bike to keep the dirt out, but it fell off…also when I was biking I got hit on by some boys who looked like they were probably in middle school. Lol, I would like to have a family of my own eventually (honestly so far more the kids than the husband part) but just a hint, if you want my number before you know anything about me or even my name, then I definitely don’t want you. Apparently I am “hot” in a t-shirt and a pair of hand-me-up shorts from one of my brothers…Not to mention these kids were swearing up a storm and blocking traffic by crossing the street against the light. I pretended those kids didn’t exist, but that next light could not turn green fast enough.

Speaking of life right now, I was thinking that I kind of fail at adulting. I know that laundry is supposed to be sorted into a minimum of 4 piles (cold dark, cold light, warm dark, warm light) but in reality, I pretty much just wash everything in cold water and then if I do sort it tends to be by texture with the soft things in one load and the not soft things in another, or by tops versus bottoms…yep, adulting fail. Also, I guess the fact that I have no problem drinking juice from a cup at breakfast and then using that same cup to hold my apple slices for a snack and then my goldfish for my next snack before it goes in the dishwasher…it’s all about efficiency—time is a commodity.

I don’t really use time very well sometimes. I am very much aware that I should be preparing for my next rotation and I should be writing letters of intent and other stuff for my residency applications and I should be unpacking the piles of stuff in my basement so I can re-pack again, but in reality I watched all of the episodes of SVU that were on hulu free, and I listened to audiobooks on hoopla (also free) and I’ve been watching J House Vlogs on youtube. I used to think law was super boring and dumb and I still do believe that we really shouldn’t need laws because people should just treat others with respect, but they make being a lawyer actually sound like a lot of fun…plus there are kids on the channel which is how I originally fell in love. I still want to be a pharmacist (okay, and a social worker, but we know that isn’t going to happen), but now on the list of things I wanna be that are not going to happen, we can add lawyer. Lol, if I’d gone to my dream school I really could do both, because they offer a dual degree program (although I would have likely had to figure it out a lot sooner than this to get all the credits in, not to mention my plan was actually to go for five years and do the dual PharmD/MPA program, and something tells me that a triple degree if it is even possible in general would not have been possible in five years). IDK, being a lawyer just sounds like fun, but not fun enough to start all over and get a law degree. I think one of my cousin’s names might be JD, and that is the degree I could have gotten at my dream school. When JD is a person’s name does it still stand for jurisprudence doctor? Just wondering…let me know in the comments below…lol…literally…

I guess the reason I needed a bandaid was also an adulting fail. So I was making hamburgers (which I love to eat, but do not love to make) and I wanted to put the lid upside down on the counter. The lids do balance that way, but when I set it down, I didn’t set it down flat so it was about to fall on the floor which would have been a big problem, because besides the mess to clean up, my mom is very protective of the floors, so I caught the lid…with my wrist…and apparently the lid can hold a lot of heat, which means the area of impact didn’t even really have much of a chance to blister because the skin was just gone. Oops. I know how to cook…I just don’t always use my noggin…so basically, cooking is like everything else in life—I am all in until I am distracted and am all out.

The Lesson That’s Won Learning

(Let’s have  a Race–Thomas& Friends)

A long time ago I had a really awesome coworker (actually I still have a really awesome coworker, more than one of them in fact, just not that particular awesome coworker) who would turn around, close her eyes, and say “I love my job I love my job I love my job” when she had to deal with something going wrong. I still remember that sometimes when things are going wrong in life…I love my life I love my life I love my life…

If things outside of academics could just go away while I was taking finals that would be awesome…

Or just not taking finals would be cool by me too…

And I wouldn’t complain about an open-note, open-partner final…

Also, after being in college for almost 5 years, I think in 50 minute hours…so when you say something will last an hour and starts at 4:30, for example, my automatic mindset is to expect I will walk out around 5:20…it takes conscious adjustment to realize that in the real world, an hour generally means SIXTY minutes…that is something I will miss in the real world when almost everything is measured in 60 minute hours rather than school where most hours are the 50 minute variety with a ten minute grace period to get to the next event/class/meeting…it greatly decreases how much you can schedule in your day when an hour takes an entire 60 minutes…

Also, I was doing homework Thursday and literally LOL’ed…so I was calculating ICER values to determine the relative usefulness of various things, and according to the homework assignment the monthly cost for counseling was $100. Wow…I’m not even sure in what alternative universe that question was designed…also, you know the author’s stance on counseling when medication costs half as much for the total duration of therapy and is twice as effective in the question…

Yesterday I discovered that two of Anne Jackson/Anne Marie Miller/Flowerdust’s books are on Hoopla which is the app I use for listening to audiobooks. I started listening to “Permission to Speak Freely: Essays and Art on Fear, Confession, and Grace” yesterday…obviously doing the audiobook rather than the ebook or the actual physical book means I only get the essays, not the art, but there are so many wonderful quotes. I kinda want to do another book review but I definitely have no time for that since my most important final is in just a couple more days and also it doesn’t feel fair to review a book with art without seeing the art, and I mean, yeah, I saw most of the art online during the submission time before Anne changed her blog and got rid of the old one yet again, but that was a very long time ago…so one quote that I really connected with. “We use the F-word: fine. Everything in life is fine. But it’s not. And guess what, it is okay that not everything in life is fine. In fact, it is okay that quite possibly in your life right now, nothing is fine at all.” I tend to use that f-word, and the associated G-word (good). I started justifying it, because, I mean, my heart is still pumping oxygenated blood and my limbs are still all attached—I am so blessed. I guess sometimes it is just hard to admit that I can be both very broken and hurting yet still so blessed and loved. God really provides every day. I showed up at school Saturday with a bagel but no lunch box. Someone noticed and had enough money in her meal plan to get me some food. I had mini-cupcakes, cookies, and a few handfuls of puffcorn for dinner. Later I went to a goodbye party and there was actually real food there which was also super helpful.

Saying goodbye is really hard though. Not because of the words and my socially anxious history, but because I have learned to hold on to people and have real relationships, and saying goodbye means people leaving my life. I only had maybe two people at the point I graduated high school that saying goodbye to would have been hard—but I didn’t really have to, because I we all knew I would be coming back. There had been a couple people prior to that it had been hard to say goodbye to, but for the most part I really only had circumstantial friends. If someone sat at the desk next to mine they were my friend. If someone let me sit with them at lunch regularly, they were my friend. When the trimester ended and they weren’t next to me or letting me sit with them at lunch, then the relationship was over. I learned more about real relationships in college…and was surrounded by a lot of the same people for at least a year if not more than a year to make it easier to learn to hold on to them. I don’t want to let go of all my friends, but gradually they, too, leave. I miss people, but life goes on. I go on.

 

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I am a yes-girl. I say yes a lot…which is how I have spent a lot of time recently driving people places…I mean, I am the person who agreed to take some kid whose name I didn’t even know to some random store one day…as it turns out he came back an hour later and had decided he didn’t need to go to the store…but I did say no once Sunday…that I wouldn’t hang out before my final. I was super proud of myself. It makes me REALLY happy to make other people happy, but sometimes I need to say no and protect little pieces of myself from the world.

I am also proud of myself because despite the fact that I usually feel more comfortable hanging out with the kids I remained with the adults the entire evening instead of excusing myself to play with the kids and totally neglect the whole party thing. Not that I’ve ever totally missed the whole party thing before…oh wait…yeah, I did skip the entire TA Christmas party this year, opting to play with the kids instead. I am not proud, however, that the little bit of anxiety that has crept back into my life meant that I wanted to take selfies, but didn’t.

I already wrote part of this post last week and forgot to post it, then I wrote notes on what I wanted to write about in the like two minute down time I had Saturday. I have no idea what half of my notes mean.

How you know it is time to start getting ready for bed despite the clock not telling you to start thinking about bedtime: when you start getting obnoxiously whiney at yourself about wanting to wear the fireworks t-shirt that is definitely not among your pile of clean clothes OR in the laundry basket…and is probably, but not necessarily, in a stack of clean clothes at home a few states away…I sure hope it didn’t end up in the giveaway pile a while back when my mom was letting me use my shirts to buy rewards because she wanted me to give a lot of them away and I refused…but probably it wasn’t in that pile, because it is one of my vacation souvenir shirts…I mean, yeah, it was partly stress, but it was definitely also a sleep issue, especially because I woke up still stressed out but not whiney over which shirts were available for wearing.

I should probably stop here before I get too whiny or say too much and regret it later…but I have so much to say.

Made this little house a home

(Fighter–Jamie Grace)

Not the recommended method of dishwashing
Not the recommended method of dishwashing

So after a half hour of trying to warm up the water for dish washing and getting frustrated because it was still cold to the touch, I decided to heat some water on the stove in which to do dishes. This might not have been a lousy idea…until I figured the hotter the better and let it start boiling. If I were going to write an autobiography today it would be titled “Don’t Boil Your Dish Water, and other things I should have known.” It really means you will have to re-wash things, because you can’t really scrub when the water is so hot, so you might have really clean peanut butter in the crevices of your measuring cup, but you still need to clean it off…I’m not really sure why I’ve had problems getting hot water the past few days…but I think I am going to go back to microwaving water when my patience runs out instead of using the stove, because I think that might be a little safer…luckily I was smart enough not to submerge my hands while it was actively boiling, so there’s that.

Actually, I think I kinda do know why there have been issues getting warm water…it seems I have a new neighbor who constantly does laundry…like this person has no concept of what the QUIET part of quiet hours means and I hear the person doing laundry at 3:30 in the morning. Like seriously, quiet hours means be QUIET, not that it is quiet and we need someone to fix that. Why in the world are you playing loud music and slamming your door five time in a row at 3:30 in the morning. I get that laundry needs to be done sometimes so I won’t complain that you shouldn’t do that even though I do wish I could have a warm shower, but being quiet is NOT that hard. Trust me, during the day people complain I am too loud, but anyone who has been a roommate of mine has commented on how quiet I am in the morning. I am getting really glad that I am moving out soon…especially because I have also been reorganizing which means that every single night it is like sleeping in a hotel because things have changed so much again…I gotta stop doing that…but reorganizing is kinda fun…and also why I am currently living out of a pile of clothes on the floor…

You know you might have a little problem with keeping things when you spend ten minutes sitting on the floor trying to decide if you need a bright red post-it note from spring 2013 with the number 53 on it…you’d think that for something so small if I was still emotionally attached it would make more sense to just keep it and move on, besides it is still sticky as if it were brand new!!…but if I just kept all the tiny things to save time, I would probably need like 10 u-hauls by now to move out…and the goal is to throw away, give away, or sell enough stuff that almost everything fits in my car with just a little left for my dad and brother to move out in my mom’s van the next week…most stuff falls into the throw away category…the dumpster and I are getting well acquainted…A please give us money for a fundraiser two years ago is not something I need even if the picture is kinda pretty and I got to see a baby a couple hours before I got that paper…especially since I am not about to give my money to pay for people to play golf…not that I have anything against golf, but I feel like there are more important things I can put my money towards…like people who need care more than they need hobbies if I want to give to something…I’ve never even played real golf (unless you count on the wii) and I think it seems kinda boring…if I was going to support a sport it would be swimming…but even then, I don’t think I will ever feel called to fundraise for sports…

I like to eat eat eat

(Apples & Bananas—The Wiggles)

So a few years ago I did a funny food tips part one and never did part two…I can’t remember what I was going to write in part two, but I definitely have lots of experience in things that (don’t) work

Sometimes you have to redefine success…I might have learned the hard way that some apples you can cook forEVER and they will never soften enough to make applesauce (or at least won’t soften enough in the 25 minutes I cooked them plus 15 minutes of trying to mash them up)…but if I pretend my goal was apple pie filling, then I was wildly successful…and, I mean, if you have teeth then applesauce and apple pie filling are pretty much the same thing anyway…now if I remembered what kind of apples those were so that I could make a mental note not to use that variety for applesauce again that would be even better…

Don’t stick your fingers in the crock pot after it has been cooking all night. No, it is not hot enough to burn you the way boiling water would, but it is very hot and kinda hurts…

Cutting boards should most definitely not be balanced on a corner of the counter mostly supported by your left hand…unless you like cleaning up cut up food when the last cut comes down a little harder than you expected thus catapulting the entire board onto yourself and the floor.

Speaking of cleaning up, make sure there are no holes in the bag of ramen before smacking the bag to break it apart…also messy…although ramen noodles are easy enough to vacuum up if needed and don’t leave the floor slimy or sticky until mopped.

There is a pretty good chance this one was also on part one, but it stands repeating to turn off the water when it is not pointed at either the sink itself or some other appropriate water containment device…which would not include the floor, the trash can, the bed, or the clothes you are currently wearing…among other things.

Similarly, do not turn a pan full of water sideways to clean the inside at a better angle…unless you would like to change clothes…

Don’t buy bags of frozen vegetables that are already conglomerated into one big popsicle of peas…by the time you are ready to use them it will be near impossible to make them into small enough chunks to fit into your bowls.

Always pack a spoon. Even if you think you don’t need one. Just do it…that way you don’t realize too late that you forgot a spoon and will have to use and wash a metal spoon that can’t even go in the microwave…yeah, not really sure what the point of metal spoons are for things besides ice cream…why would I want a spoon that I can’t microwave?? (Well okay, it is more economical to use a metal spoon and wash it, but when spoons are like $2 for 100 using and tossing doesn’t seem like such a big deal…also, I saw somewhere that they were making edible spoons…that would be so awesome…although I can see that going very wrong, like if you lost track of which spoon was which flavor and using a spicy spoon for your ice cream…

One college student living alone doesn’t need 70ish plastic food storage containers…it seems like a really great idea when you see all these containers in the store that seem so awesome, but it is a lot less awesome when you start thinking about having to pack all of them to come home and have two ginormous boxes of plastic food storage containers…I have used at over 90% of them at least once…and there are like 23 that I use pretty much every week…but I could definitely live comfortably with significantly fewer containers…although judging from the supply at my house, that is a problem that won’t last forever…my mom is always buying new containers and there is never anything to pack my lunch in…(mild exaggeration, but not by a lot)…

You were bruised, yeah you took great pains for me to breathe now

(King of Failures–Remedy Drive)

Church last night was about suffering and about loving your enemies and not suffering in silence. I almost cried, because loving your enemies is hard y’all. What if you are so weary, so bone-achingly tired of loving your enemies. What if your enemy keeps making use of your vulnerability and makes love increasingly difficult each day. What if you are suffocating and feel like you will drown if you have to keep loving much longer. What if the silence is so deafening and so painful and you have done everything in your power but your voice and your pain have been muted. What if you wake up each morning to another day you’re not sure if you can face, another day where you know you’ll be torn down again and again and have to bear it with a smile on your face. What if the forbidden fruit of community feels like it has been just out of reach for so long and you’ll never get to touch that freedom for which your soul yearns. What if you are close to ready to give up and walk away from your dreams because it hurts too much and you are being crushed underneath the weight of your unshareable burden.

There is something I have skirted around the edges of for a long time…I don’t want to write hurtful things about anyone, so to process this I am going to keep the emotional components the same and tell a different story.

This is Emily. Emily is a special needs third-grader who communicates using a communication app on her tablet. Emily uses a one-to-one aide to allow her to be mainstreamed all day. Last year Emily was only mainstreamed 90% of the time and the other 10% of the time she was pulled out in a special class with Mrs. Kaycee. Mrs. Kaycee has been stressed out at home and for the entirety of their shared time at this elementary school, Mrs. Kaycee has been doing whatever she could to make Emily’s life harder but make it look from the outside as if she were an angel helping Emily more than anyone else ever could. Emily is such a sweet girl, and sees Mrs. Kaycee’s pain and wants to make her feel better and really believes that if she makes Mrs. Kaycee feel better that life will get better for both of them. Mrs. Kaycee sees her kindness as vulnerability and continues to seek out ways to make Emily feel hurt. Last year, Mrs. Kaycee repeatedly broke Emily’s tablet, rendering her almost completely unable to communicate. Finally, Emily realizes she cannot handle this on her own and asks her aide for help. Her aide wants to protect her. Emily could sense a possibility of change at school and worried that Mrs. Kaycee would start teaching third grade and that she’d be placed in that class, because she was slated to be in the class with the new teacher. Emily communicated with her aide who agreed to talk to Mrs. Kaycee. Mrs. Kaycee claimed that she was going to be teaching at the middle school across the street next year. The aide relayed this to Emily, and Emily was so excited and proud to move up to third grade without this person in her life. Everything looked pretty hopeful. That is, everything looked hopeful until the first day of school. Emily walked into school and saw Mrs. Kaycee. “That’s weird” she thought, “but maybe she just needs to grab something she forgot in moving her belonging from her office or she had a meeting and is on her way back across the street.” Always the optimist, Emily clutched her tablet tighter and closer to her body and was determined not to let that ruin her day. As Emily walked to class, Mrs. Kaycee seemed to be getting closer and closer as if she were following Emily. Emily slid into her seat next to her aide a few minutes before the bell, and wondered where her teacher might be. Then the bell sounded, the class recited the pledge, and Mrs. Kaycee began class. Emily was trapped in the cycle again. If she left now, it would show she wasn’t really ready for mainstreamed third grade, but to stay was to have her voice taken away day in and day out and to be pushed to her limits every single day. Emily felt the sting of betrayal yet again. Emily became so strong on the outside, yet on the inside she was becoming merely little more than the shell of the positive, bubbly, friend to everyone that had previously permeated her being.

Just a side note that this is the story that came into my head to process my thoughts, but I really hate the term “special needs.” Doesn’t everyone have special needs? I would argue that my needs are not identical to yours, nor are yours identical to the person who sits at the desk next to you each day. Apparently, my needs aren’t special, because I don’t have a diagnosis that keeps me from functioning independently in the classroom without official accommodations.

I read somewhere that sometimes love feels like loss and looks like surrender…and it is true. But God has big plans for his children, so he calls us to do big things. Loving our enemies doesn’t feel right; in fact, it would feel a lot better sometimes to get revenge, give people a little taste of their own medicine, yet we do it anyway, because while we were yet sinners, while we were hurting the very one who created us, Christ sent his son to die for our sins, to pay the ultimate sacrifice to forgive us of the wrongs we were committing against him…

This is why I was close to tears in church. I was on the emotional edge in addition to being hangry and tired and just generally stressed out about a variety of things. The arms above my head success moment of the early morning had been replaced by a long day of unproductive studying that a bit of friend time hadn’t fully mitigated, and I was just ready to get home, eat, mop the floor, take the clean clothes out of the dryer, and go to bed. And I messed up. I am not proud of myself, but I am in awe of God’s goodness.

I start pulling into a spot and this lady starts yelling at me, so I stop, because I am lousy at parking and wasn’t paying that much attention so maybe there is something behind me I am about to hit. She tells me that I can’t park there because her friend is going to park there. There is no sign of any other cars on the road in the area (and I am lousy at parking and this was a reasonably sized spot) so I politely tell her that I am parking there and her friend can find another spot. She doesn’t like that and stands behind my car so that I can’t park. I politely ask her to move and she doesn’t despite someone else coming who watched this happen also telling her to move. I am immature and sit there for a few more seconds before giving up and praying I can find somewhere else to park. As I am pulling away she screams that I should have done that in the first place. That is the last straw, and I snap and yell back at her that she is very rude. Completely inappropriate, and certainly not a very Christ-like way to act.

I am ashamed of my behavior, both because I immediately know that was not a loving comment, and because I realize I did almost the exact same thing I hardcore judged someone else for doing a couple years ago. I may have done it with a feisty grandma-like lady whereas the person I judged did it to a gang member, but either way, a parking spot is not worth fighting over. I definitely should not be running my mouth over a piece of pavement. The audience notwithstanding, it was wrong and stupid.

I did find another spot. It was smaller. I struggled, but I parked there…and I was afraid to walk past the house the person was in front of, so I sat in my car and prayed both for protection and forgiveness. I heard screaming, but couldn’t make out the words. The woman starts banging on my window. I pretend to be on the phone and I don’t know if she sees through this guise or just doesn’t care, but she keeps banging. I am terrified, but not knowing what else to do at this point and really thinking about asset management, I roll it down just a little, valuing my car over my life…and she starts apologizing.

It was all I could do to not start crying while she was talking. You guys, I should have been apologizing to her for losing my temper and not taming my tongue, but she apologized to me. The spot I wanted remains empty, but as soon as I was out of sight I started crying…not angry tears, not frustrated tears, but tears of if that isn’t showing grace and loving your neighbor I don’t know what is. That woman looked past my wrong to apologize for hers, and I have to believe that God placed that woman in my path not just to humble me, but as a reminder to keep holding on. As a reminder that love doesn’t have to be easy, yet it covers a multitude of sins. Do I need to be more careful not to run my mouth? Indeed I do, but God is a gracious God, and gives me the strength I need to live for him, unending forgiveness for my sins, and deep abiding grace that lets my heart be filled with the joy of salvation.

A breakthrough is coming, coming for me, ’cause my heart it was made to fly

(Breakthrough—Britt Nicole)

I had two big breakthroughs this morning…(assuming that this=Saturday…I currently have a large number of half written posts and am planning on posting or deleting soon in between cramming a billionty jillion things about therapeutics into my head for the exam Thursday afternoon)…

#1: I spent a long time trying so hard to be good enough. Someone was creating a standard that bounced like a ping pong ball back and forth across the room, while I tried to chase it, almost catching up before it changed directions and went way over my head to the other side again, like a frustrating game of monkey in the middle with two professional baseball players throwing the ball and a barely crawling toddler as the monkey trying to intercept it. I tried harder and harder even as I was being kicked around more and more. I just wanted to be good enough, and thought maybe if I tried just a little harder I might get there…and when it failed I just became even more determined to do better the next time. And I’d try again and fail again and try again and fail again, never really making any forward progress. I couldn’t accept that the standards were impossible, instead determined to be good enough and prove that I could do it. If I were good enough maybe she wouldn’t text and make phone calls and hang out with friends while supposedly talking with me. If I were good enough maybe things would get better. I learned to blame myself—of course she doesn’t like me, because I couldn’t be good enough to meet her standards. Sure, one day the goal was to write nothing negative and after trying that for a while the goal became to write nothing positive, but surely there was something I was missing to know in advance what the goal was and even if there wasn’t it must somehow be my fault that I didn’t know the entire game had changed.

Even once I broke free of that relationship (thank God), I didn’t realize it until this morning, but I have still been trying to be good enough. Now I need to be good enough at hiding so that I am not ever seen and followed. I have to be good enough at school and life that no one can say “I told you so…I told you you’d never make it.” I’ve been chasing good enough, not even knowing what exactly good enough would mean or bring me. I doubt any amount of good enough would ever truly be enough to build positive rapport with someone who is not interested and would rather build more walls (with one way mirrors to follow me without my knowledge)…yet I’ve been chasing it anyway…it is time to leave hope behind. Hope is helpful short term, but it hurts long term and it was time to say goodbye to hope and just put my head down and get through life.

I can’t protect my friends to the extent that I would like, but I can protect myself from future hurt, and to do that I need to stop chasing good enough and just accept that things are how they are. Hope was good for a while, but eventually hope just creates more hurt and it is time to let go. I have learned that maybe later means no enough of the time that it is better to let go of hope and maybe be pleasantly surprised later than to hold on and let my balloons keep being popped.

#2 Inclusion is SUPER powerful. I spent two hours studying totally alone in my corner of school. I was getting frustrated because I wasn’t getting very much done. I spent 30 minutes half tutoring, half hanging out with my friends and half studying (yes that does add up to more than one whole…math is hard…). I made more progress in that 30 minutes than I had in the previous two hours. How does that happen? Inclusion. Feeling like I belong instead of feeling isolated is hugely important and helpful in getting things done. If I wouldn’t be totally in the way, I would set up shop right there all day every day. It might not be exactly where I’d like to be, but it is so much closer than the corner where I usually sit. I can be at least partway involved. It felt so good. If I thought I could get away with it, I’d find a chair tall enough to use the edge of the counter as a desk and an extension cord for my computer and call that space my new home…something tells me that if I tried that I wouldn’t make it more than a few hours before someone told me I was in the way and needed to move…until then it would be quite thrilling though to be sorta included.

Also, not a breakthrough, but just an observation: you are probably too tired to be grocery shopping when you get stuck in the frozen vegetable aisle because you don’t know what to do because they are out of the ones you were planning on buying…it’s not like I really had much of a choice when to grocery shop since I completely ran out of vegetables as of dinner today, but I probably need a new plan, because grocery shopping after church means it will be around 7 by the time I get there and my brain will be shutting down…it shouldn’t be that hard to figure out that all I need to do is scoot over and pick a different brand and put it in the cart.

Life has just begun

(Kings and Queens—Audio Adrenaline)

I’ve got a lot of living left to do…Some days I realize how naïve I still am…

I have no idea what to say to someone I barely know who just asked me why a girl likes him…which prompted him to ask me if I am always awkward…yeah…I think we’ll just go with yes on that one.

I told myself that someday I would find and buy shorts that were bulky enough to hold my pants up but also tight enough to not get bunchy underneath my pants…umm, yeah or I could go looking for pants that stay up on their own. Maybe someday I’ll be blessed with a store selling black pants with both an elastic waistband and pockets. That would be my mecca of pants…but not falling down would be a good start.

I thought I was really organized…then I took a look around me…and realized that most people would probably identify this as a hot college student mess…but LOOK, I found my pencil! (It was moderately lost which is what prompted me to realize that I was not as organized as I thought I was…

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I feel like I know myself, but then I was thinking about love languages and I realized I had no idea which was mine…I remember taking the quiz five times a while back and averaging the results and ending up with time, service, and words all ranking pretty much equally but not overly highly and gift and touch rating lower…but I thought it would be interesting to do it again now that the OCD and social anxiety are over and see if I can figure out what my love language really is. As I suspected, touch shot way up. See, it is hard for the questions to measure how much touch represents love for you when interaction with people is hard and some days you’d prefer to live in an impermeable bubble, so I expected my touch score to increase and wondered if my time score would decrease since now that I can talk, I don’t wanna feel silenced just sitting by someone. What I did not expect, however, is that I am now even further behind in figuring out what my love language might be…now everything except gifts is pretty much at a tie…but I also know that I do appreciate gifts…so yeah, I guess I still have a lot more to find out about myself…but I think the gifts being low makes sense, because while I do appreciate the gift itself, the thought and time that went into the gift and the words accompanying the gift are often more important to me than the gift itself…that makes me feel bad about myself though, because to me it is letting people down if the gift itself isn’t the central thing I am receiving…and of course there is always the awkward situation of happily unwrapping a CD only for my parents to see it still shrink-wrapped on my dresser a month later…there is very little music that I dislike, but if it doesn’t have words, then to me it is like nails on a chalkboard…and even if it does, it is so much more convenient to listen to digital music or even tapes than CDs…the concept of CDs and DVDs never really caught on with me. Why would I ever want to lose the ability to take the tape out, put it back in, and be in the exact same spot I ended at? Youtube fixes that problem as long as my computer doesn’t decide to shut itself down and as long as I don’t accidentally close the window…or have a quiz on stupid lockdown browser and have to close out of youtube to make lockdown browser work…

On that note, if I could find an online quiz somewhere, I’d also like to re-take the MBTI and strengthsfinder quizzes now that I have grown up significantly. The naviance “shampoo assessment” that gave us our MBTI type was a 10th grade activity, and strengthsfinder was an activity my first year of college…a lot has changed since then. I don’t really know for sure how much my MBTI has changed, but I do know that although I still think that my top 5 strengths define me pretty well, there are a few other strengths that I think may have been in hiding originally 2/2 the anxiety problem. I suppose it might also be interesting had the test not been taken down to re-take the MMPI and verify that my scores have improved since first year, because the primary categories I scored way out of range in were anxiety and social introversion, so I want to see where they are now.

There are actually a lot of things that I don’t know…like why do I have to have all this stupid formatting and stuff to show where I got my information from. It seems to me that it would be easier to just copy and paste the URL, because then you have a direct link to the information, which in my opinion, is a much more useful way to see the information. If I see a paper that has cited other papers and I want their information, it would be infinitely easier for me to just click on a url than to have to interpret their stupid citation to figure out where the information came from and how and/or if I can access it. In my opinion, this is really just a space saving trick left over from the time of print resources and typewriters that avoided constantly creating new lines to designate title, author, and edition number…I really want to do what I saw this morning and draw a picture of my head…’cause in reality with this paper, I decided what I wanted to say, then I found sources that agreed with me. It doesn’t exactly take a genius to figure out that NPH is way old and therefore way less expensive than insulin analogs but isn’t as good, but generics tend to greatly reduce price and therefore generic insulin analogs would be super helpful…also, this verbose girl had a really hard time editing her paper down to only 500 words…that sounds like a lot, but it is really just barely over half a page of 12pt font and standard margins. I feel like at this point my paper sounds like I forgot what I was writing about, but I couldn’t figure out how else to reduce it to 500 words…Also, as much as I hated the Wildcat Style Guide, it was at least a lot more descriptive and helpful than the one page reference guide my teachers want me to use for this…

I think my textbook no understand how percentiles work…I was under the impression that a percentile was a ranking and thus a maximum of 15% of people can be at or above the 85th percentile…and last time I checked, 1/3 was approximately 33%…which means that if you define the upper limit of normal weight at the 85th percentile then it is a mathematical impossibility to follow that up by saying that 1/3 of people are overweight or obese…not sayin’, just sayin’…and, umm, dear Micromedex, if the drug is only for post-menopausal women then why do you list a contraindication for patients who are pregnant or nursing? I was also under the impression that at menopause women could no longer become pregnant and therefore would not be breast feeding.

Someone asked me recently why I would ever go to church. My brain went—umm, well, because that is what I have always done every week, but before I could blurt that out, I realized that church is so much more than just a routine. Just a routine would have been given up a long time ago to make room for more studying and maybe a little free time. I go to church every week, because I have friends there. Like the place I volunteer, church is a place where I feel like I belong. Yeah, there was that one week when DYL was getting married that there was like no one at all at church and I felt lonely and disconnected, but the majority of the time, I go to church to love and be loved on, and to worship my creator. I don’t feel like I have much to give back, but I so appreciate everything that the people at church have given to me. Church is more than a safe place to run to escape the hurt places, church is a community of people who are willing to embrace me brokenness and all and let me just be…but I am a coward and I didn’t say all this to the person who asked. This person believes that it doesn’t count as having ever attended a party if you haven’t had alcohol, so this person has a wildly different worldview than mine seeing as how I have had fun at numerous parties without ever drinking alcohol, so my answer was simply “because I need my friends…and God.”

In some ways though, I am realizing recently that life hasn’t just begun…in fact, I have already lived quite a lot. Things that crushed me years ago are little more than memories. I can remember, reminisce, and put the memories back in their little mental boxes without being bent out of shape. The empty match box in my drawer from my old church at home is still very near and dear to my heart as a remnant to hold on to, but it isn’t with me constantly, out of sight but not out of mind, anymore. I still remember the pain of being torn away, but remembering and flashing back into the pain are totally completely different things. I didn’t use to know it was possible to remember without again being crushed, but now that is a situation that I remember without renewed hurt. God is good. He brought me through that trial, and will walk with me through the difficult things thrown my way now and in the years to come. There is no shelf-life for pain, but when God is good and ready he will take it away, because he loves me.

Last year I learned that when making popcorn on the stove one must put a lid on the pan if one does not want popcorn flying all over including behind the stove never to be seen again. This year I learned that while it is possible to make soap suds in the microwave, that it is not an overly useful nor advisable way to speed up washing dishes, because as soon as the microwave stops the bubbles go away, and also the water is deceptively hot and WILL hurt if you stick your hands in it…and I learned that using a measuring cup or something is a very good thing even if only for the fact that you don’t accidentally pour about a cup of oil in your macaroni…a little bit of oil is a good substitute for butter and milk…that much oil is just a mess. (I have not required hands on learning though to know that dark chocolate milk is probably not a good choice in macaroni…but it is a good choice in my mouth when it is on sale…it might be on the lower limit of the calorie count I will spend my money on for milk, but it makes me so happy it is worth it…the other flavor I really want to try however, caramel coconut, only has like 50ish calories…sounds like a waste of money to me if I can get twice the calories in dark chocolate milk…

I almost texted someone today to ask if they would still like me if I got Cs and a few Bs this semester…but then I thought of this, and not only does God’s love not follow a dose-response curve, I am fairly certain that while my friends would be sad with me the same way they would be excited with me if I miraculously got the (currently mathematically impossible) grades that I desire…the friends that I have right now are not fair weather only, dependent upon my good grades or lack thereof to determine whether I am worth friendship.

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Wait what did you just say? Okay, okay, see I misplaced my masterplan courtesy of my attention span, but Imma be okay.

(Jamie Grace–With You)

In one of the books I have to read for one of my classes it mentioned that the character recognized the problem, remained calm, and solved the problem…I am not consistently good at a single part of that sequence…well, maybe recognizing the problem, I suppose in some ways I am good at that, but at the same time there is a reason my nickname in high school was “specs”…and it had absolutely nothing to do with whether or not I wore glasses…and when there is a problem I frequently react first and ask questions later…and if I do recognize a problem and remain calm that doesn’t mean I have any semblance of resolution to the problem…I am your ‘yes’ girl. I am hilariously bad at saying no. Twice this week people have asked me if I ever say no and one of them was like let’s practice…she said “I want a cookie” I said “I want a cookie” She said “you’re not getting it, tell me no” and I said “but you want a cookie and I have two cookies left in my lunch box.” (etc)…I somehow managed to agree to drive someone to the store whom I had met about an hour or so earlier…as it turned out he went to his room to grab his wallet and came back and had determined he actually didn’t need anything, but yeah, this is probably why I yell at myself wondering what I was thinking third year when I seemingly chose to stay when it seems like why didn’t I RUN…I (and probably some of the people who know me well) know when my yes is really a yes and when it is more like I just can’t say no…there’s the hesitation, the determination, and then the people-pleasing (but possibly wishy-washy if I still think I might be able to change it later) yes…although I suppose some of the accidental yeses are actually because I will respond and say yes if I think that is what is expected of me even if I didn’t really hear or understand what it was that I was being asked. That sounds really bad, but if I am having a for real conversation I’ll usually actually get clarification if I don’t know what we’re talking about, but when someone asks me something as they walk by or other situations like that I figure if it is really important and/or if my response doesn’t make sense then they’ll stop long enough that I’ll know I need to revise my answer…

So anyway…that was not at all what I thought I was going to write about…also, I discovered that while I complain about other people being way off topic in group discussions that I am not always the best role model for group dynamics either, because I start talking about one thing, get halfway through the discussion then forget we are talking about that and start asking about something else sometimes completely unrelated…I try to stick to one thing, but sometimes people are going so slow on that one thing that I can’t help but move on to the next thing, but that isn’t very helpful…

Yesterday I had the thought “all I did is go eat a cupcake and now someone is dead. What did I do wrong?” Clearly, children dying of brain cancer is not my fault, but that wasn’t exactly what I wanted to see immediately upon opening my computer to resume studying…and so I didn’t (Resume studying immediately that is…). Instead I wrote this:

Dead.

No longer living.

Passed to the other side.

Void of life.

Why?

I know that working in pediatric healthcare and even just being a living human being I will encounter death; particularly death of children. You never get used to the news, the grief, the finality. It doesn’t get easier. Each death is just as hard as the last.

Death happens every day. I know that; but when it strikes in someone who already was facing so many challenges in life it is hard to comprehend.

This one was a vibrant, full of life, elementary aged non-verbal boy with retinoblastoma. The seizures perhaps were painful, and I know from personal experience that living with communication differences can be really hard, but he isn’t supposed to be dead. He is supposed to be playing Hot Wheels Criss Cross Crash and going to school.

This would be an example of me not staying calm…although perhaps it is reasonable to be a little upset as long as it is for a confined period of time after someone dies…also, I am not 100% sure that Criss Cross Crash still exists, but I really want to play that right now…I am kind of craving the sound of the whirring motors and the cars falling off the track…I usually lost at that game because I generally picked the pretty cars which usually aren’t the most balanced cars and therefore mine were a lot more likely to fall off the track in someone else’s zone, but when I played all by myself and therefore on all four teams I had a lot of fun…

Some of my problems are easily solvable on my own if I actually cared enough to solve them…for example…I was whining at myself that it is uncomfortable to wear shorts under my pants to keep them from falling down, but it is also annoying when they are falling down or when I am trying to keep my shirt pulled down over the top to keep them up…umm…easily solved by taking the time to find pants that fit if I care that much…I outgrew an awesome pair of pants in like middle school that had an elastic waistband, and have never since found such a comfortable and convenient pair of black dress pants…if it were up to me, all pants would have either elastic or draw string waistbands because zippers and buttons are annoying and people don’t come in exact sizes so pants shouldn’t either.

Also, I did think there was too much stuff in my pencil bag…but I intended to solve that problem by cleaning out the junk that accumulated in there rather than by leaving my whiteboard markers at (school I do not attend but had to go to for a field trip 😦 )…

Someone posted criteria that they suggested that young adults meet before being allowed to go to college…I am thankful that no one applied that list to me, ’cause I would still not be “ready” for college with those criteria, nor do I believe I would ever be ready. I understand that the criteria were designed to minimize the threat of lack of emotional maturity or mental health disorders impinging on the college experience, so things like understanding that calories from alcohol do not count towards nutritional eating and having an ability to tolerate anxiety makes sense to me, but I am very much not a fan of the criteria of using ketchup/mayo/salad dressing comfortably. I do understand that the intent behind that criterion is for students who may be leaning towards/already experiencing an eating disorder to get help for that before being released onto their own and potentially spiraling downward when no longer supervised, but using that criterion I will never be ready for college, because this girl is a picky eater who refuses ketchup, mayo, and salad dressing (among many other things). Just because I wipe the salad dressing off the vegetables before eating them (if I eat them at all after they have been adulterated with the dressing) and just because I peel off the bread that touched the mayo doesn’t mean I am eating disordered any more than you would consider your Similac fed infant to have an eating disorder because she refuses Enfamil. I think the concept is good, but some of the criteria need refinement before it is a practical list. I also believe that while it is a nice idea to think that it would be best for students to be emotionally mature and at very low risk of mental illness before going to college, I think that college is a time for students to learn more about who they are apart from the constant supervision of grade school, and having or being at risk for having a mental illness shouldn’t preclude a student from attending college as long as they are controlled well enough to be aware of their own needs (as in someone who is currently completely psychotic and delusional probably isn’t ready for college, nor is the student who is severely underweight yet refuses to eat and has no desire to change that behavior). Our brains don’t fully mature until our twenties—that’s something that car insurance people know and capitalize on—so yes, many students will make bad choices, but that doesn’t mean that they failed at the college experience. Unless their bad choice caused them to die, chances are it allowed them to learn to make better choices in the future and boosted their maturity…and let’s be honest, there are full-grown adults who make bad choices—that’s why we have conflict in our lives and in severe cases what we have a legal system for—if people can’t go to college until they meet all these criteria then what are we going to do with the ginormous cohort that will eventually be 90 years old and have never attended college? How will we maintain our society when we have maybe only like one or two people ready for college directly after graduation and we thus have a significantly reduced work force to take care of a growing number of people? Just sayin’ It is also kind of like red-shirting. Sure, you can keep your kid out of kindergarten for an extra year so he or she is more likely to be at the top of his or her class and has more time to mature before entering kindergarten, but at the end of the day, eventually you are legally required to enroll your child in kindergarten and the teachers are trained to help 5 year olds learn how to function in a school environment, because they know that a lot of kids are coming to them not knowing yet how to sit in their assigned chair all morning (or afternoon as the case may be) and to raise their hands before speaking. They don’t expect the kids to know that yet…and let’s be honest if some of those kids are like me, they become comfortable with the school setting and still don’t always wait before talking, and nothing bad happened except for occasionally being told to be quiet, but most teachers appreciate the participation even if it isn’t preceded by a hand in the air.