Category Archives: Life Lessons

I wish I could be so much more

(Broken Things – Matthew West) 

Before I even knew the name of this song, I really liked how it sounded. Now that I know the title, I like it even better. I feel broken sometimes. 

Today (Saturday), I learned something really important. Do NOT paint on both sides of a page in a notebook. It is a good way to wreck three pages of pictures (and/or words, but all there was on the pages I messed up were pictures…)…I suppose an alternative is not to use water soluble colors on your pages…I learned that painting this picture…which was also frustrating because it isn’t anything like the picture inside my head.

 

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Castle (grace) with gate. Girl, sad, standing forlorn behind gate. Standing in a puddle of tears.

Anyway, I certainly do wish I could be so much more. There are so many ways that I look at myself and feel frustrated about how I am not good enough. I am trying really hard to reframe these things, but the reality is that there are a lot of things that have been hard in my life, and that colors my experience. Someone recently commented that some people think their stories are boring, but other people wish they had that kind of story. I really connected with that idea. I would be thrilled to have a boring story. My story is more like rollercoaster meets tangled up ball of yarn meets train wreck. I don’t want all that “excitement.” I didn’t want to be separated from everything and everyone I knew to go to a new church part way through high school…especially not a church where there wasn’t a choice what class I wanted to take and my assigned class was a clique that didn’t include me. I didn’t want to be abused in college…and I definitely didn’t want to be forbidden from talking about it or letting anyone know that I couldn’t talk about it. I didn’t want to end up at the end of school without a residency. I didn’t want to lose my job…I would be thrilled to have all these things taken out of my life. Boring would be so much better.

But I decided this morning (Friday) I am ready to hope again. Not a lot, just a little, but that is a really big, really scary, step forward. Hope is terrifying. Hope means opening yourself to vulnerability that can allow deeper hurt. When you’ve been living with deep grief for months and have been fighting to get through day by day, allowing the possibility of further hurt is one of the scariest choices you can make…but it is also something I know is probably really important to really healing.

There are a lot of things about my life that have made the grief more devastating already. It wasn’t *just* the loss of everything I had wanted and planned and it wasn’t even totally about being in an unknown. A big part of the loss was that it made me feel unwanted, rejected, alone, worthless, like a failure – the same things that had been drilled into my brain via the abuse. I had worked through some of that stuff before, but this situation was so difficult that I believed those lies were true. It didn’t seem like a feeling anymore; it felt like truth. It felt like identity. It made me think that maybe instead of abuse it was just someone being brave enough to tell me the truth – that I really don’t matter and would never be worth anything no matter how hard I tried. I know now that isn’t true, but it has definitely been a journey coming to this place of understanding, and even though I am here today it doesn’t mean I will feel the same way tomorrow. I wanted to prove to everyone that I was good enough and instead it felt like I did the opposite; I showed everyone how unwanted and worthless and stupid I really was. 

But I am not a worthless failure. Sure, I have lost almost everything that mattered to me, but all is not lost. The same day I hit send on an email to my best friend that I knew I so desperately needed a friend but I don’t really know how to make them without a place to volunteer and I have neither a place to volunteer nor a schedule that lends itself well to volunteering…and not only that, but no one would want to be friends with me while I am struggling so hard to make it and therefore even less of a good friend, God sent someone to be my friend. That is huge. That is God showing me that I really am good enough at communicating to make friends. That is God showing me I am worthy of community. That is God showing me that I do matter to him. 

It doesn’t mean that life magically became awesome though. It is still hard, and I can still definitely tell that I am working harder than I should be to get through each day. For example, yesterday (Friday), I went to the grocery store because I had maybe like a tablespoon of frozen peas left and then would be out of vegetables and the only fruit I’ve had in weeks was juice…but the grocery store was out of the bags of frozen peas that I was going to buy, so I got overwhelmed and gave up and went back home…yeah…I am not so stupid that I couldn’t figure out that there are other vegetables or other brands I could buy, but in that moment the one thing I needed to get done just seemed impossible and there didn’t feel like there were alternatives…this is what happens when so much brain space is taken with struggling that there isn’t space left for processing and responding to practical situations…so I’ll go to the store today and try again…or maybe I’ll find an ATM and then try the farmers market…or maybe I’ll order a pizza and call it a day…we’ll see…like the song Piece of Heaven by Go Fish says, “sometimes it’s hard; sometimes it’s the middle of the night.” I’m learning to give myself grace and celebrate the successes in this period of grief, because being angry with myself was adaptive at first to get food and fluids in and keep going through the motions, but now I am doing well enough that anger just uses up energy that could have been used for something else…and energy is certainly at a premium…it’s not as bad as it was in March/April, but it definitely is still something that isn’t completely back to baseline. 

Y’wanna know what excess stress sometimes causes in my life? OCD resurgences. Right now, it luckily has not reached crisis mode, but there are definitely some thoughts in my mind that shouldn’t be there. I’m scared of the world because I read a news article about enterovirus D68 and how it is causing a lot of respiratory illness this year, and I also read that the flu is predicted to be worse than usual this year…not is worse, just predicted to be worse…and that was one more reason to not travel over my birthday weekend.

 I hadn’t announced it yet, but I was strongly considering road-tripping over my birthday weekend to say hi to friends, especially since I didn’t go over labor day weekend like I originally planned. If I was going to go, this weekend was the cutoff I set for myself to ensure that I had enough time to plan and let friends know I was coming. And so today I decided the answer is no. I want to explain it away as being a combination of little things that make it not the greatest time to go, but if I am being really honest with myself, it is mostly that I feel like no one really wants to see me and would just be inconveniencing themselves to be polite to me by trying to make me feel welcome. I know that is not true, but knowing and feeling are different. If I were having an awesome day today, the story would probably be different and I’d probably excitedly be packing my bags way too far in advance…but the story my life is writing right now is one of being so used to rejection that I can reject myself before anyone else does to save them the time and me the pain of being rejected. It has been really hard because of some things I have seen on facebook. In March and April it was sometimes really hard to be on facebook because everyone was announcing how excited and hashtag blessed they were getting their first choice for residency. Their excitement at getting something I could not even have a tiny piece of was in painful contrast to the sorrow that swallowed up my world. As much as I wanted to be happy for them, it hurt and was a reminder of what I didn’t have…and the whole hashtag blessed thing was really bad for me. I didn’t really believe God was good and I didn’t really believe God cared anymore. I guess I had a pretty skewed view of God through the lenses of my pain, but from my view, if being blessed meant having a residency then clearly I was not blessed and God didn’t really care about me. No one wanted me, not even God. It was painful. It still is painful. 

Now people have started complaining on facebook about their residencies. Oh, how I would LOVE to have a residency to complain about. I would do almost anything to be in their places. I did everything in my power to get myself a residency. I paid application fee after application fee. I traveled to interview after interview. I prepped and interviewed and prepped and interviewed. I tried so hard, and no one wanted me. They just wanted to use up my time energy and money so they could crush me later. It might have been easier to be rejected upfront and not be driving all over the place and buying plane tickets and staying at hotels and airBnB’s than to be given the illusion of opportunity and be strung along. They didn’t care about me, they only cared about themselves and their own enjoyment laughing about me later…okay, so maybe that isn’t exactly what they were going to do, but after the large number of residencies I applied for and interviewed for and was told I was a strong candidate for just to still not have a residency, it sure does feel like perhaps their goal really was to see how high they could get me in order to see how crushed they could get me later. No one wants me. Especially when the whining is all stuff like OMG they made me work the 9-5:30 shift on Friday and it is not fair because I wanted to get out of work sooner to hang out with my friends. I just want to comment look at how blessed you are to have a residency. You should be thankful. There are a lot of people who would be thrilled to be in your shoes and would gladly work 9-5:30 and wait a little longer to see their friends if it meant having a residency. 

Anyway, speaking of facebook, it is often a place where I have to remember that I don’t need to agree with people to be friends with them. It seems that recently a lot of Christian’s have forgotten the command to respect those in authority over you. Even bashing people who kind of deserve it sometimes bothers me because I know how it feels to be bullied and excluded and don’t want anyone else to feel like that, but bashing people who are doing everything they can to advance society, keep us safe, and protect justice is something appalling to me. It has been rampant on facebook people bashing other people and talking about how wrong they are and how unfair it is. Unless you were at the scene of the crime, you do not know what happened. And a jury is for the benefit of the defendant. If the defendant does not feel he (or she) needs a jury then it is perfectly legal to forego that right. The evidence that I have seen does clearly point to innocence. While I am the kind of person who would be more likely to let someone beat me up than to fight back and defend myself, police officers certainly have the right to use force when necessary to protect themselves from a real threat. Someone reaching for a gun is a real threat. People are even speaking as representatives of the church bashing authority. I don’t think God said that we should respect those in authority over us unless they acquit someone the media portrayed as guilty. I am pretty darn sure that last half of the phrase wasn’t in the Bible last time I checked. And someone posted a long story about how the police are so awful. He describes going into a park after it was closed and the police coming and questioning him and his friends before letting them go. He repeated over and over how they weren’t doing anything wrong, but the police acted like they were being kind by giving only a verbal warning not to do it again…my thought is no, the police are not so awful; you were breaking the law and they could have imposed fines or written you up, but instead chose to show you grace by letting you walk away free…and the way you reward their kindness is by bashing them on the internet. 

We live in a strange political climate right now. That strange climate is one of the reasons I have given myself as a “real” reason not to travel. Because my license expires on my birthday, to travel then, I would be traveling on a temporary license. In this political climate, it is not very safe to be white in St. Louis. To be white is to have a target on your back that says protesters, please attack me. I firmly believe that rioting is NOT an appropriate way to express your opinion. If you can express yourself using your big boy or big girl words then go for it, but to use violence to express yourself is wrong. I don’t understand how you can claim racism if a white police officer shoots a black person who was threatening him (or her), but think it is okay and not racist for a group of black people to vandalize an innocent white person’s home and injure multiple innocent white police officers who are simply doing their job of trying to keep EVERYONE safe. That is disgusting. Y’all, we learn in elementary school that humans are different from other animals because we work together to accomplish great things. If you are gonna act like toddlers and throw a tantrum when you don’t get a cookie you didn’t earn, then maybe you need a reminder of what makes us human. So yeah…driving through St. Louis as a white person sounded like a bad idea if it wasn’t necessary, and doing it on a temporary license sounded like asking for trouble…it might be better to wait until people screw their heads back on a little straighter before I go. It seems like the more news I read, the more ashamed I feel of the people I share the world with…

 

I had some other things to say, but I feel like I’ve probably already said too much…

 

So I’ll leave you with this incredible youtube video from Inside Out

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I did a really stupid thing

(Cage – Plumb)

 

So yeah…I did do a really stupid thing… so I’m too short to be able to see the numbers on my combination lock on my storage unit. So…ummm…my solution to that issue was to climb up and use the front of my car as a step stool…I am so stupid. Umm, yeah, I felt it kinda fold under my weight…I guess the more even pressure of wind or whatever is what cars are made to support, not the uneven weight of my feet. I am an idiot.

 

But, it is not the end of the world…there are a lot worse things in life than a slightly dented car…like having to stand next to someone who’s nametag says social worker on rounds…I really do know cognitively that I am not under any threat during rounds, but my body and mind don’t understand that. It was not an ideal first experience with rounds at my new job. I can say that while this job is not my favorite that the clinical shifts are definitely a LOT better than the order entry shifts though even if I do sometimes have to stand next to a social worker…I guess that kinda tells you how frustrating the order entry shifts are…if I could do only clinical it would be a lot easier to hold on…but anyway, I guess that was one more reminder that I can’t put the whole abuse thing behind me without actually doing some work to really get over it. I guess it really isn’t something I can just avoid forever.

 

Also, speaking of really stupid things…here are some of the things I have done today that were stupid…leaving bubble wrap with big bubbles on the floor in the kitchen – when you are walking to the shower in the morning and suddenly here “breaking” sounds it is a bit disconcerting and concerning. Also, skating while pulling a wagon behind me – it doesn’t give me much ability to slow down without running into something…lol…Also, standing on the hinges of said wagon to reach the lock since clearly I have now learned that I really really shouldn’t be standing on my car…

 

So, I guess that moves either a step stool or a lock with a key instead of numbers up the wish list so that I can stop being so dangerous…but on the positive side, I was smart enough to remove my skates and socks before trying to stand on the wagon, and I also was smart enough to not try to skate under the garage door as it closed…

 

Further in the song Cage, there are lyrics that say “why you tryna pretend that I’m fine that everything’s okay someday I’ll be alright.” I feel like every day I put on a mask and play my part in the play of everything is awesome, but it feels like it will never be true, that I will never feel okay again. I want to be happy. Not just superficial like momentary happiness from like a really awesome one-time event, but deep down life-happy.

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.