Category Archives: Thankful

I’m a Warrior

(Toy Soldier – Stephanie Pauline)

 

Today I have a lot to be proud of. Usually the key to my success at the grocery store is to have a list of no more than three items, preferably just one or maybe two. That is all well and good except that my day off is only one day and I wanted to make bread and there were still at least 6 things I can think of off the top of my head that I didn’t have that I needed…and no, multiple trips in quick succession is not generally an effective workaround.

 

And I had a coupon for $5 off if I could spend $30. Considering I usually spend $10-20/month on food including both groceries and eating out, spending $30 all in one day, especially considering my usual shopping abilities was going to be a stretch goal, but I wrote a list and figured if I really couldn’t do it I would extend myself some grace. As it turns out, the price of chicken was 20 cents per pound more in the store than the advertisement said it would be and that threw off my list and I almost gave up, but I am so proud of myself for persevering. Because of that I had to alter my list a little and I was a little off on where I was at so I spent a little more than I intended and am the kind of person who definitely won’t tell the cashier that I’d like to put something back, but ending up with a full cart of groceries is something I have never done before ever!! (I mean, unless you count when I am shopping with my mom and I am pushing the cart but she is the one picking out groceries). I am so stinkin’ proud of myself!!

 

I didn’t do a perfect job, but sometimes my best is good enough. I might not have gotten the best deals in the world (in fact, I know some of the stuff I could have gotten for cheaper elsewhere), but I figure that after the coupon it probably works back out to at least reasonable prices so it really isn’t a big deal. And I didn’t necessarily pick out the best groceries…hashtag the flavor milk I wanted was only available in the 30 calorie variety and usually I won’t buy unless the calorie count is above 100…except I couldn’t find any milk at this store that met that criterion and so I picked the one with the most calories I could find; 60 calories in original almond milk…I figured it was DIY vanilla almond and the sugar and vanilla extract I will add will probably at least add back some of the calories the manufacturers forgot to put in. And I couldn’t find butter flavored Crisco so I called my mom to ask what the difference was between that and the other kind. Umm…duh…the flavor. So if I ever decide to make cookies, we’ll see how that situation works out, because I am guessing that in the case of greasing things it doesn’t matter much but in the case of making cookies it might make a difference…but on the other hand, cookies have enough sugar that the butter flavor might not be THAT important. It was super weird though seeing white Crisco when I opened the container though…that threw me for a loop. Also, just some advice that is probably obvious to everyone but me, but 5 pounds of flour, for example, weighs 5 pounds, and two of them weighs 10 pounds. I am not really sure why I decided I needed two 5 pound bags of flour, but I did…and that (and all the other things I bought) is kinda heavy. If I were smart I would have put the heaviest stuff in the bag on my back, but I am not smart, so I put it in tote bags to carry home…which is why I was late to the event I go to at church on Tuesday mornings that I don’t work, because I had to stop a few times on the way home to re-adjust…well, that and I spent most of an hour at the grocery store…

 

Also, today I used my big girl words and actually participated in conversations. I am proud of that too 🙂

 

Today I also had lots of opportunities to use my creativity and problem solving skills. I didn’t take a lot of pictures because it isn’t just OCD making me clean up and wash my hands after (or in the middle of) every single ingredient…it’s because I am not sure there is a single ingredient that didn’t spill at some point. Maybe the salt? But I didn’t have a big enough cutting board so a piece of foil and the other cutting board side by side and it kinda sorta worked. Not ideal, but you gotta do what you gotta do and I wasn’t about to go to the store again and get a bigger one. (I might update the post with that picture, ’cause it’s a little funny). And of course I only have the kind of cookie sheet with walls on all four sides which means I made a huge mess trying to get the bread onto the sheet and also I guess it conducts heat differently than the fancy kind my mom has so the bottom got a little burned…and of course the timer was going to beep in like 2 minutes when I realized I didn’t have a cooling rack. Doesn’t everyone pull the metal shelf out of the microwave and lay it out across an open drawer with a placemat underneath to catch crumbs while cooling things? (Umm, no…I’d never even encountered a microwave with a shelf until I moved into this apartment, and I can’t imagine any time the shelf would do anything in there except get in the way and cause my popcorn to burn even worse than usual). So the bread looks a little ugly and is a little overdone on the bottom, but it still tastes awesome! So we’ll count that a success 🙂 .

 

And I also have always wanted to have people over to my apartment…that is a slight exaggeration since there were some periods of time third year during which my OCD was so intense that being around people was a struggle and there were definitely not going to be any extra people in my space if I could avoid it…but aside from that, I would really like to have people over, but inviting them is super hard for me. Last night I did it when I realized I’d been waiting for small group for over half an hour and invited the one other person there to my apartment to hang out for a little while, and today I did it again trying to invite people over for dinner.

 

Also I am super proud of all these successes, but this is not actually what I sat down to right about. I actually was going to write about forgiveness. I still want to figure out what that means. Since it is now almost time to go to bed, I am going to skip over the rest of what I was going to say and just skip to something I found today that could be a paradigm flip but could also be one of those things where I just have to agree to disagree. I don’t yet know my opinion and I am a processor so sometimes it just takes me some time/space/thought to figure out whether I agree or disagree. This site on the internet claimed that if a person willfully and hurtfully sins and refuses to admit their wrongdoing and make it right, God will not forgive them and we don’t have to either. Using this remark, I don’t need to forgive. I’m not sure though that God ever doesn’t forgive us or gives us permission to not forgive. I think I need to see if I can find anything in the Bible to support or not support that.

 

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I’m gonna lift your name and let this flame get higher

(Fire – Krystal Meyers)

 

I have a really awesome God.

 

I have described the resiliency/determination/motivation drive inside of me as a fire, and God has been incredible in helping me keep the fire burning.

 

My fire had really just started growing again from the embers. I was healing really well from the grief and was finally at a point where the fire was pretty darn close to fully functional. Then life threw water on my fire when I got the voicemail that I lost my job again (that I didn’t actually fully have back yet…). The fire almost went out, but first, of course, there was the little flare that initially happens when you put water on a fire.

 

That evening I could use the back-up gas can to have a good time with my family. The can was running very low by the end of the night, but Saturday God put me with people who could throw some extra kindling on my fire to get me through the afternoon.

 

By Sunday morning I was running on the fumes from the gas can…and I was somehow supposed to make it through going out to lunch with some people. My fire was getting close to burned out and I didn’t know how I was going to make it work. But God is so good. On my own I would have given up and come up with an excuse to go home or I would have gone and not eaten, but I don’t serve a God who leaves me all alone. God had some extra logs and matches to make it through most of lunch and actually eat it!! By the end of lunch the fire was starting to burn down again and I was totally overwhelmed with the prospect of finishing lunch and eating dinner later.

 

But God didn’t leave it at that. God knows how hard I’ve worked to gain weight and how much I don’t want to have to remake all that progress. In the afternoon God continued to throw little bits of paper and sticks onto my fire to keep it from burning out. I started being interested in eating fry bread tacos for dinner…Well, I couldn’t figure out how I could make that possible, but while I was attempting to shop I got an idea…

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Fry bread tacos…nailed it…okay yeah, it’s an asiago bagel with a tomato bit in half and some taco seasoning sprinkled on…so I had a single baby tomato, a sprinkling of taco seasoning and an asiago bagel…and it took over an hour to eat it, but I have now eaten something and that is a lot more than nothing. I might not have gotten all my errands done this weekend, but nothing was a real emergency. They say you shouldn’t go grocery shopping hungry, but my opinion is that if you go when you aren’t hungry then what motivation do you have to put forth any real effort in picking out groceries? I feel that grocery shopping is difficult enough already so the best way to be successful is to go hungry so that you have a good reason to end up with food at the end of the trip. (My other tip is to only have 2 or 3 items on the list)…so going grocery shopping when eating is such a battle was not something I was going to make myself do, because setting myself up for failure when I’m already struggling isn’t a good plan…

Painting on a smile like it our covers our need, no thank you I’d rather bleed

(Almost 17 – Stephanie Pauline)

 

God is always working things for good. Even though it doesn’t always feel that way.

 

I try to pretend that I am okay, that I am moving on with life, that this doesn’t really bother me. I paint on a smile in hopes of it hiding the gaping holes in my heart and cover the tears that have so recently fallen and will yet fall again.

 

On Thursday, one of my friends emailed me something that really spoke to me.

 

I have tended to be more of a Stand in the Rain kind of girl (Superchic[k]). When hard things came my way I hid away the pain in a box and put the box in its little cubby in my head and tried not to let that box spill over. Tried not to let that box by seen. But sometimes I can’t stand up when it’s all crashing down, and if I stand in the rain, I will drown. Some days my anthem has to be “No, we’re not gonna die tonight, we’re gonna stand and fight forever.” (Not gonna die – Skillet). Standing and fighting in that sense isn’t standing in the rain; it’s continuing to eat sleep drink breathe. “I won’t give up I refuse.”

 

One email. It wasn’t a long email – one line intended to show caring but not to change my life or anything…but it made an impact. A big impact. My friend gave me permission to be upset. I’ve been trying to hold it together for so long. It was freeing. I might not be comfortable just crying openly at work or church or really anywhere, but her words let me know it is okay to hurt. It is okay to grieve. It is okay to not *really* be okay. If where I am is crying almost every day, it isn’t a failure. It just is. That felt really good. It was validating and comforting to know it was okay and that I wasn’t inconveniencing everyone when I couldn’t (can’t) contain the pain and tears. Letting go is hard, and that’s okay.

 

It is such a different message than I’ve gotten in other places. In the abusive counseling relationship, the one time I slipped and cried in session I earned myself extra hurtful words and actions. I got the message loud and clear that crying was unacceptable and bad and something I should definitely avoid. I learned that it was wrong to hurt and no one would want me if I showed any signs of pain. Even elsewhere in life, society has shown me that crying should stop, preferably before being seen. I mean, how else can you interpret being asked to go on break (alone) that first day back when I started crying…or that day on rotation being asked to take a few hours off to calm down before being given alternate activities that kept me away from the students…okay yeah, partly the goal was probably intended to be caring, but the point is, what this friend said was so other to the message I had been living and believing for so long. I had struggled to hide my pain. Felt like even more of a failure when it overflowed, but I don’t have to do that. She doesn’t need me to throw a smile on to hide the storm inside…and neither does God. She wasn’t condemning me when the tears overflowed and the pain stole away my voice. She didn’t see me as the failure I wrote myself off as.

 

It’s okay. I don’t have to wear the Christian ‘I am so blessed’ mask. It is exhausting to keep that mask on. Does that mean that I will suddenly feel totally comfortable walking around town crying…umm, I doubt it…but maybe sometimes with one or two friends I can stop painting on a smile when I’d rather bleed. My really close friends kinda saw through some of it anyway – it was never a very well-maintained act even when I wasn’t crying. And I don’t have to keep putting on that play. I can stop trying to hide away from all the pain that [I] feel…maybe making me bleed will be the answer that could wash the slate clean (When She Cries – Britt Nicole). Maybe slowly letting people in and talking about the pain will not make it more real than either of us could bear but instead be an avenue of healing. Maybe facing it with a friend by my side will make the pain more manageable. I am so glad for permission to hurt. I have been frustrated with myself for the breaks in character where people saw the pain underneath, but these simple words gave me permission to live in the pain and really feel it without worrying about it being not what others want.

 

That is such a huge relief for this girl who has been running a marathon with a backpack of concealer on her back, berating herself for being too slow and for sweating off the makeup and letting her true feelings show through. It is such a burden to be able to let go of for this people-pleasing girl who just wants to make everyone genuinely smile and know how appreciated they are for putting on a bubbly smile to not be an essential part of the role anymore. It is “living life with a different set of rules” (Rebel – LeCrae), and these rules make the game so much less overwhelming, and more fun.

 

Also, another friend who doesn’t know much of my story yet told me a few weeks ago that she was praying for bravery for me…I don’t really know where that came from, but it reminded me that bravery isn’t being unafraid. Courage isn’t not being scared, it’s doing it, scared…which reminded me of the Mary Kate and Ashley song, bravery…which I drew out the last line from today…because when you live alone and don’t spend 85% of your waking hours at school anymore, and no longer have homework to fill your time, you start realizing that the majority of the inside things you can do are either getting old (trying to find something to entertain me on the internet) or are a lot more fun with another person (playing games)…and sometimes the effort of putting on sunscreen and stuff just feels like too much so outside isn’t an option.

 

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It’s a sand pail sitting in the sand, but filled with bravery. It says “I’m brimming with bravery. It’s scary.”

But today I did find a video with which I connected.

 

Imagine if this video were real life…but instead of the lies and hurtful words happening on the internet it is happening via email and verbally between people when you aren’t around. It is a big, but not very well-kept secret. I might not have been around to hear it, and obviously I didn’t tend to be included on the emails, but I knew it was happening. I guess it is kinda like during the times at the beginning when the girl in the video was without her laptop but we both knew there was stuff going on about us that wasn’t positive. Other people knew and heard it, but I didn’t. I just knew it was there. Anyway, this in a lot of ways was a really good image of what life was like after I broke free of the counseling relationship with my abuser. A lot of broken relationships with people who didn’t want to be my friend anymore – or only wanted to be my friend when no one would see them. A lot of relationships strained nearly to the breaking point when I was hurt so badly that I couldn’t be a good friend anymore. I didn’t attempt suicide, but I did hurt deeply. I am thankful though, for the people who saw through my pain (both the I’m fine façade and the pain-induced responses) to the girl underneath who just needed someone to acknowledge that she had value. Abuse is really painful. Stalking isn’t a victimless crime. I am totally serious when I say that there were times I kept the alarm at the place I volunteered right next to me because I was terrified of how far my abuser would go to find me and hurt me. Eventually I determined she wouldn’t come find me there and it became my safe haven. The one place I could go and know I wouldn’t be followed and watched. Anyway, I pushed away the hurt and most of the time I was okay…but when the profound loss came this spring, it brought with it the pain of the abuse. The words came back just as vividly as when it was happening. Worthless. Stupid. Never going to make it. Unwanted. Annoying. Not good enough. Failure. Loser. That is just a sampling of how I was feeling and what I believed about myself. Abuse doesn’t go out like a birthday candle. Neither does grief. But I don’t have to be a happy plastic person…with smiles to hide [my] pain. (Stained Glass Masquerade – Casting Crowns).

 

I leave you with the closing lines of Stained Glass Masquerade, when the song slows to ask these very real questions that hurting people are subconsciously asking when walking into the church room where everyone seems to joyful and perfect and like they have it all together living in paradise, or at least a lot closer to paradise than I am…Sometimes the happiness everyone else exudes makes me feel even more like an outsider. I knew no matter how hard I tried that I couldn’t match their zest for life. I was the black cloud in a cotton ball sky no matter how hard I tried to scrub off the color to match everyone else.

 

Is there anyone who fails?

Is there anyone who falls?

Am I the only one in church today feeling so small?

No one tells him company’s coming use your fork and spoon

(No one tells the president – Mary Kate and Ashley)

 

Today I got a feeling that I’ve never really felt before in this sense…I cleaned (not sanitized) my apartment. It feels successful. Like hey, I’m winning at adulting. I vacuumed, mopped, cleaned the sink/shower, did the dishes, wiped down the counters, did the laundry including the towels/sheets/pajamas…and an extra load for the one towel that hadn’t been unpacked yet…and even took out the trash. Taking out the trash is still a hard task for me, but I told myself that we either have to consider whether OCD is back or we have to take out the trash, because normal people don’t wait until there is a box of bags of trash in the corner to take it out so just because you happened to make an online purchase that came in a nice box doesn’t mean you get to revert to filling it up like you did as a third year. So that is a success, but the bigger success is that I cleaned without sanitizing. With all the stress this year it would have been easy to stress-clean which for me means stress-sanitize. Instead I did it the normal people way. Yay!!

 

I also mostly finished unpacking and decided that it is good enough for the foreseeable future. It isn’t perfect, and that’s okay.

 

Speaking of cleaning up, I came across this today. It wasn’t at all what I was expecting having read the title and preview, but it definitely gave me something to think about…and not just that barbecue chips smell bad and I don’t think I could have a useful therapy sessions with the smell of barbecue chips surrounding me…although where I am right now I’m not sure I could have a useful session regardless of the situation…but anyway…I would most definitely not be interested in eating chips that had been on the floor in a public place. Perhaps at my own apartment where shoes are not worn past the doorway and I know exactly when it was last cleaned, but certainly not in a public place that is rarely if ever cleaned. Is that a problem? I don’t mind throwing away a chip or two that fell off my plate…now if it were skittles, that’d be a different story. Skittles, are able to be rinsed off and I also value them a lot higher than a chip…

 

And speaking of OCD, see the remnant of OCD leftover here? (Not my hands…)

 

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Yep, the marker and cap are labeled dirty. I’m guessing this marker is from first or second year and was brought into the bathroom to mark off the chore chart and even just going in and marking the chart and leaving again was enough for this one to be clearly segregated. It is incredible how different life is now…a LOT more functional!! I mean, first and second year except for when there was some kind of trigger, I was usually just barely on the clinical side of the line, and even like that I was marking things dirty that were hopelessly contaminated…

 

Things haven’t just changed in the OCD realm…unfortunately…I am still really struggling with the loss of the possibility for residency, the loss of my dreams, and most recently the loss of my pediatric job and all the things that come alone with that. Today I got a text from my now-former manager. I was so happy to be included and re-connected with my coworkers. The ecstatic thrill was awesome while it lasted…and then I was crushed and running across my apartment trying to outrun the tears…I don’t know why I do that…but anyway, I was crushed because I am not *really* part of the team anymore and the reminder became too much to handle. I don’t know how I am going to get through Wednesday without crying in front of my coworkers who are also some of my best friends in this state.

 

Changing gears a little bit, I will admit that I have too many treasure, so periodically I go through my treasures and try to find things I can let go of. In the process today, I have been feeling so loved. It is incredible going through the stuff I found in a file folder from 2nd year and realizing I don’t even know who some of the people are anymore who wrote those notes, but I made enough of an impact that they wrote me a note to let me know. What was even more amazing (And why I stopped to start writing this…) was going through a pile of things from fourth year. That year I was facing both the continuation of the abuse as well as the worst of the punishment and fall-out from the abuse. So much of that year was spent in tears as I tried to piece my life back together even though I’d been torn away from a lot of my friends and had started believing that I really was unlovable and unworthy. The summer prior to fourth year was the first time I had really believed that death would be so much better than life, and while by the time I got to the school year I was past that point and ready to rebuild and show everyone I was a conqueror, I was still certainly struggling, trying to learn how to cope with big problems at a time when this girl who previously trusted anyone and everyone could not trust anymore. And I have so many super sweet notes from people that year. Notes from every single person at the wonderful counseling center at which I volunteered, from other friends, from “anonymous.” It is a good reminder, too, as I am going through another big trial (and okay, still working through that one…) that even though I might feel really alone and it might seem like no one gets it, I am more loved than I realize. By other people and by God. I just gotta keep doing my thing and someday I’ll look back and have made it through and be even more able to see the people holding me up the whole way. I am so so thankful for all the incredible people God brought into my life. There might be people who don’t value me and even intentionally want to hurt me, but there are also people looking out for me who just want me to let them in so they can love on me. I really really really miss my counseling center buddies. They were the best friends that I had in that state. I would very much like to come back and just soak in their presence again.

 

Also, totally unrelated, but in the process of unpacking I found my adult coloring books. I have never done an adult coloring book before so I decided to try it out. It was super hard work. It took forever. It was kinda frustrating…but it also was kinda addicting…many many many hours later I have finished my first adult coloring book page…and started a second page.

 

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Okay, one more thing before I start picking up in preparation for bedtime…someone told me that after you graduate from college you aren’t allowed to buy ramen anymore. That is seriously crimping my style. It might have been cheaper to buy a loaf of bread and eat peanut butter and jelly, but I only did that as treats in college…which was dumb because twice my jar of jelly went bad to the point of being inedible and had to be thrown out…but anyway, the point is that I lived on ramen. I make regular ramen. I make peanut butter ramen. I make Japanese ramen. I make pepperoni ramen. I make stir fry vegetable ramen. I use ramen as the base for meatball soup…basically like 52% of my meals in college were ramen, probably 39% taco meat, 8% potatoes, and 1% other (chili, pb&j, pizza, macaroni)…so starting to take ramen off of the menu since I only had like 10 packages left upon moving into my apartment really takes away my meal possibilities…

I was ruined by the world but I blamed it on the Son

(Take the bullets away – We As Human)

 

I absolutely love this song…I found when I was pretty close to the bottom, and it was a good empathetic cry song. Now I adore it because it is also SO hopeful. I was resistant to the hopeful message at first because from my perspective, hoping was just a way to be hurt more deeply. It felt safer and less painful to separate myself inasmuch as possible from hope. Now I am ready to slowly give hope a chance again. It is scary, but I think it is good and necessary. Being hopeless is also difficult.

 

I also really connect to the screamed demand in the refrain “Take the bullets away.” Once a bullet is shot it cannot be taken back. It cannot change course. The pain cannot be simply ended. Yet I ask God and pray that he will take it away. I so badly want to go back in time to that Friday in March and open my email to something that doesn’t hurt so much. I want my dreams back. I want hope back. I think it would cause more problems than it would solve for me to die right now, so I am no longer praying every day for God to take me home, but I so desperately long for God to come back so that I can leave this place of pain. But I can’t have what I want. The train left the station without me leaving behind only my now impossible desires and plans. I know God works all things to his glory, but I don’t understand how putting me in this place could ever be for his glory. How could the deep pain of loss work for good? How could rejection be his plan? How could completely severing all ties connecting me to my dreams be something he allowed to happen? I feel so hopeless, helpless, frustrated, and alone.

 

Today in my frustration I screamed that maybe God doesn’t even want me to pray. Maybe God really doesn’t want me. I know it is really bad to think that and totally not the Sunday morning Christian thing to admit it, but y’all know I’ve never really been very competent at playing the social game and believe that sometimes it is okay to just be myself. So what prompted this outburst besides just the grief that I can’t outrun? Well…I was listening to the VBS tape “Treasure Hunt Sing and Play” and had just flipped the tape over to side 2. The first song on that side is “Let us Pray.” (Let us pray let us pray, everywhere and everyway. Every moment of the day it is the right time. For the father above, he is listening in love and he wants to answer us so let us pray). Except it only got a couple lines in when it suddenly stopped. At first I thought maybe something had accidentally gotten recorded over the top of the tape or something, but when nothing was happening a few minutes later I investigated further and this is what I found:

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Yep, it’s broken. And I got frustrated. Sometimes it seems like everything I want gets taken away from me.

 

But I need to believe that God cares. I need to believe that he loves me and has power to work his plans in my life. He really has done a lot even though I still really hurt. Maybe I do still cry more days than I don’t, but most of the time now after a couple minutes I can calm down and be okay. And last week I was writing about how I wanted three things that logically shouldn’t be THAT big of a deal, but seemed just as impossible as everything else in life. Those three things were a decision on a church to attend, a friend in or near the city in which I live, and an opportunity to serve. I am now 97% sure I have chosen a church. I kinda sorta have a friend and I don’t think I am just her little charity project. I had an opportunity to serve. It might have only been a couple hours rather than a continuing relationship like I’ve had elsewhere, but considering God did all those things that seemed so overwhelming in a week, I can’t be too picky about how he did it. I am so thankful for what he did do even though it is super easy to see all that he didn’t do.

 

I am definitely still struggling and two hours on a Saturday of almost fitting in isn’t really enough to totally eliminate loneliness from my life and certainly doesn’t fix the grief, but when you are fighting to get through every day, sometimes even the littlest things can seem really big. A kind word on a hard day can make an enormous difference. Also, today I saw a baby who I would approximate at around 6-9 weeks old. Super adorable. Although I longed to hold her, even just getting a chance to see her made my heart feel good. Birth to 3 months is really my most favorite age, especially the first few days and weeks of life. I would love if someone wanted to share their infant with me. I super miss my infants in the nursery.

Am I worthless? Am I filthy? Am I too far gone for a remedy?

(We As Human – Take the Bullets Away)

 

I’ve been living with the intense pain of grief for a long time…and before that the abuse…and long long before that the bullying. I know rejection. I know being unwanted. And so many other hard things life has thrown in my path. I am familiar with pain, but it seems to follow me and want cuddles like a small naughty puppy that I can’t get rid of. It doesn’t feel like there is a way out. I tried to create a timeline of when I could get back to my dreams. It was good to try to create an end to work towards, but even on the more magical completely unrealistic timeline, I still will be fighting through this for another year…and if we’re being really honest, even if we pretend this timeline is practical (it’s not) I am not naïve enough to believe the pain will completely disappear upon starting a new path. Sure, it will likely be super helpful, but it won’t be like flipping a switch. It won’t remove the previous rejection and wipe the slate clean. The more realistic timeline is a minimum of two years. The idea of holding on that long is overwhelming.

 

It is hard not knowing why no one wants me. It is hard feeling so much rejection. It is confusing to be chosen for a big girl position even over people with experience when I was rejected from all the transition roles I tried to get, especially when the same organization didn’t even give me an on-site interview for the residency to which I applied. It is hard hearing people tell me how great I am and then rejecting me later. I’d rather you were just honest and said hey we don’t like you instead of leading me on just to let me be crushed later. I’d rather instead of being polite you told me what was wrong with me so that I could change and improve. Am I so worthless that I do not even deserve the respect of being told the truth? Am I really so lousy that there is nothing I could do to even be close to good enough? And why doesn’t God love me enough to finally just say yes to one of my prayers and let me leave this pain? It is hard to reconcile this pain and God’s power with the goodness all-knowingness of God.

 

I’ve heard that when a Christian woman wakes up in the morning the devil says “oh no, she’s up again.” It’s not just the devil thinking that when I get up. It’s me too. God doesn’t seem to ever want the same things that I want. I keep crying and praying that God will take me home because I can’t take this pain. I can’t keep living like this…and God keeps saying no. I know God cares and I know God loves me, but it is really hard to understand how it could really be love to leave me here. It hurts so much. Why won’t God take me to forever home where I don’t have to deal with this? I have already struggled so long and I don’t want to keep fighting. I want to go home. When the bravest thing you do every day is get up and keep going, it is hard to keep up with life. I FINALLY got my authorization to test from the Board of Pharmacy…and I know that just trying to make it day to day has drained so much of my energy that I really haven’t put nearly enough into studying…and since it took so long to get the authorization, I probably only have one chance before my job gets taken away. I feel like I am probably going to fail…then I’ll have nothing but an expensive apartment in a city where I don’t have any close friends…

 

But I keep fighting. I keep trying. I get home and my ears hurt from the multiple media sources at full volume to which I am listening as I drive to minimize the tears so I can see where I am going to get home…because I can pretend life is awesome or at least tolerable when I’m with people…but put me alone in a car and it is very possible I will struggle – time alone with my thoughts and emotions, kinda trapped there. So especially if I’ve been reminded of the pain I am pretending doesn’t exist prior to getting in, I am likely to have a hard time. Grief doesn’t have a calendar. Grief doesn’t know that it has been over three months and is time to give me a break. Grief doesn’t have empathy. Grief doesn’t know I am exhausted and just want to be able to move on and have this whole thing disappear.

 

How am I? I’m doing the best that I can. I know the basics of life enough to know what I need…and God has been doing good things even if he didn’t give me what I want. I usually burn practically just by thinking about going outside, but I didn’t wear sunscreen and biked to my friend’s house and back last week and the burns were pretty mild. Yesterday, I did put on a little sunscreen but was outside about 4 hours (biked around 40 miles) and didn’t reapply…lol, you can look at my hands and see exactly where there was zero sunscreen on though…but anyway, last night I knew I was on the border of being too dehydrated (vs just dehydrated enough to mute some of the pain and tears as long as there aren’t any reminders). So I gave myself two choices: water or ice cream…I didn’t want either, but the trying to be a good girl half of me was stubborn long enough to win, and I did eventually pick one of the options…picking nothing seemed so much easier, but that wasn’t one of the choices. Protip: ice cream is always the answer. No, ice cream didn’t solve my problems and I was too far gone for the sugar to help pull me back in, but at least it did kinda sorta make me feel a little better about myself because I was also getting calories in at the same time…

 

There is a long road in front of me. Soon I will be moving a couple hours away and be even more alone. I am thankful that I make friends easily, but worried because I can’t exactly expect someone I just met to support me the way that the friends I have made over multiple years have…and I can’t expect to immediately be invited into other people’s circle of friends as the new girl. It is hard being new. Some people are willing to let you join their friend group, but other people are like the girls in my grade at the new church who never really let me join their clique. Sure, the moms sometimes tried to invite me, and sometimes I tried to push myself into their circle, but I wasn’t dumb, I knew that most of them really didn’t want me there and it was easier for them to preserve their little friend bubble by writing me off and keeping me out of the circle. I probably should have asked to join the girls in the grade above me who were a lot more welcoming and had already invited me in…but when I had the opportunity I was still in denial that I couldn’t just go back in time and make this whole nightmare end so besides the fear of using my words to ask or even of having someone ask for me, I denied that because I didn’t want to admit that I would be there long enough for it to matter. It wasn’t until almost my senior year when I finally let go and realized that this was for real and wasn’t changing any time soon…and by then the girls in the grade above me were graduating and moving on. They invited me to the grads group, but that didn’t solve the Sunday morning problem. (But the grads group was a lot better place for me than youth group ever was. Smaller and more inclusive was super helpful for me…no one cared that I was the farthest behind academically…it was awesome until the rest of my class joined and it gradually became more and more exclusive…a few years later I took my brother and he noted that every time he said anything it was as if he hadn’t said anything but the person next to him could say the exact same thing and people would respond. I hadn’t really noticed much because I didn’t talk much anyway, but it is definitely true. They would express excitement that someone new was there and then completely ignore whomever was not in their little friend group). Lol…all that to say that I appreciate however much my friends are willing to tolerate me while I am a lousy friend in return, and I do know how blessed I am and that having friends like this is nothing to be taken lightly.

couch

Speaking of my new place, last week I bought this couch (yes and the pillows in the picture)…might not have gotten the best deal of anything, but it is red and the place I am getting it from seemed to have a super flexible delivery plan which is helpful not immediately knowing when I’ll be available to receive the delivery…

Rise above the hurt and listen to these words

(Beloved – Jordan Feliz)

 

Recently I have been re-listening to the awesome books “The Essence of Resilience” (Kathleen Parrish and Tanya Laurer) and “Resilient Grieving” (Lucy Hone). TBH mostly I’ve been re-listening because I needed something to occupy my brain during my breaks at work and I still had a few days left of those book downloads and don’t have any more downloads left until June, but they are really good.

 

There were a couple quotes from “Resilient Grieving” that I heard the other day while driving home (yes I was listening to a book and the radio at the same time in the car…if one thing is good, two is better).

 

“Let me not die while I am still alive”

The idea behind this quote being that while Trauma or grief events often completely change our lives making us a distinctly different person in the before than the after, it doesn’t have to mean that the rest of our life is not worth living. Although I do still believe that death would be better than this, it does lead to the next quote…

 

I have wanted one particular job and had one particular career path in mind since elementary school. The story I tell says 4th grade, but in reality I am pretty sure it was sooner than that, but the story was altered at some point because I was told it was more realistic that way. Anyway, the quote is:

“Option A is no longer an option, so let’s kick the s**t out of option B.”

I would say that I am a lot further along than option B. I think option B would have been getting a different residency in phase I (and we could probably break that down further to particular programs being B and others being other letters, but that get way complicated way fast)…Option C would be getting a pediatric PGY-1 in phase II. Option D would be getting any PGY-1 in phase II. Option E would be, well, there at least being a pediatric residency to which to apply in the scramble. Option F would be getting one of the residency programs to which I applied in the scramble…I don’t really know what letter I am on at this point, but like I mentioned previously, I am learning not to let go of my dream, but to let go of some of the pain. It is a very slow and non-linear process, but I know that someday this will not be the all-consuming factor in my life. I still remember the pain of changing churches on August 10th 2008, but I don’t think about it every day anymore. Most of the time if I do think about it, the thoughts do not lead me to feeling pain, and if they do the pain goes away quickly and most of it is more remembered pain than acute pain. I have to believe that someday that will be true of this situation and of my abuse…I think both of them are pretty well tied together right now, so they’ll have to be disentangled before one can be healed without the other.

 

After the first match, I wrote that I planned to get another residency and be the best resident they ever had and exceed expectations so well that other programs were jealous they didn’t have me. My mom saw it and wanted me to delete it, but I refused. Maybe that plan didn’t work out, but now I can be the best clinical pharmacist ever instead…there are some things I am giving up. Among other things, I am giving up staying close to my friends, I am giving up focusing on pediatric critical care, I am giving up teaching opportunities, and I am giving up being able to commit to leading my 0-3 year old VBS class. There is one thing that I gain though…I don’t have to do a residency project or a bunch of presentations this year. TBH, the residency project thing is the one part of a residency that does not sound at all appealing to me…well, that and some residency programs require going back to midyear, but it is possible that this job will also require that, so before I get too excited I’ll have to find out whether that is an expectation (or a strong suggestion…) or if I really do get to skip it.

 

Oh yeah, I wanted to wait until I’d actually been officially offered the position, because I unfortunately know that seeming promises of employment can fall through, but now I am ready to announce that I have accepted a full time pharmacist position. I was kinda hoping for a pediatric position (especially the NICU position to which I applied) and I was kinda hoping for a schedule with longer hours (like 7 on 7 off or 10-12 hour days) because I prefer having a lot of time off a few days than working a few hours every day, but I think I will like this position. I have very little adult experience, but that will make this a good growing experience, and my preceptor on my acute care (which I’ve been calling adult care) rotation at least got me to a point where caring for adults is still not my forte but isn’t so scary anymore. I know that I can, it might just take me a little longer to get to the right answer, and that is okay…and really, although it isn’t the path I wanted, I think getting adult experience will be good, because I definitely still do avoid checking prescriptions for kids who are starting to become adult sized. For NICU that is no problem at all, but for my other dream of emergency and because you can’t really only be competent in one area and make it as a pharmacist, it will be good for me to gain some confidence in treating adult sized patients.

 

And I have realized that while my heart is in pediatrics, I really do love pharmacy. Someone texted me yesterday with an adult pharmacy question, and I loved problem solving. It was a question that played well into my pediatric knowledge since it was a formulation question, but it was for an adult patient, so I guess maybe it also showed me that some of the things I love about pediatrics will make me a valuable resource in an adult setting.

 

So with the exposure I was working on…it actually went okay. It was really hard, and definitely intensified the pain that I still feel every day, but by the end of Monday it wasn’t nearly as bad as it was Sunday morning to be walking around in a logo shirt. I could definitely feel how much extra emotional energy I was using to make it through the day, but it will be worth it if the end result is after the down-trending now that I will have a few days while the shirts are in the wash is better desensitization and numbing to the pain. It might exacerbate the pain for a little while, but if it works how I want it to, it will be worth it in the end, and right now I have enough distraction in my life to be able to handle a little bit of exacerbation and stay relatively safe. I slept nine hours last night without even waking up at 2am like I usually do to get a drink…it makes it a little harder to get up in the morning when that happens since I’m too dehydrated to feel totally awake, but sometimes I guess my body needs that sleep because the emotional energy leads to real exhaustion. Post-exposure, I am doing really well. I did cry today, but I also had some moments when the pain was less crushing than it has ever been since the first match failure. I am really thankful for that. Right now I am struggling, but even a few minutes of not feeling so bad is a good reminder that maybe eventually this won’t be so all-consuming. Someday this will just be the way it is and I’ll be able to talk about it as if it is no big deal (even though it kinda is).

 

One last thing from Resilient Grieving that I missed the first time and I think is really relevant here is about Post-Traumatic Growth (PTG). Growth doesn’t have to mean that you are a better person or that life improved after loss or trauma; The growth might simply mean that your path has changed and you are now going in a different direction. We are different people after grief has re-written our stories, but if all you know is PTSD you will live a self-fulfilling prophesy and your grief will spiral into PTSD. If you understand PTG or even if you have a spiritual background you are more likely to recover more quickly. The implication that loss could be beneficial is a painful thought, but the fact that it can change one’s direction is less threatening.

 

I liked that imagery, and agree that the idea of loss making me a better person is something that is like salt in fresh wounds. I like the idea that growth can occur but that it doesn’t make it okay that the pain happened. I don’t like when people try to minimize big losses with but look now you have this good thing…sure, but now you are essentially asking me to value whatever good you see that I have now over the good that I had before and value it as worth the pain it took to come to this place. I don’t like that. Given the choice, I don’t know that I would necessarily value these things more highly than what I had before or highly enough to suffer as much as I did for them. On the other side, it is undeniable that grief, trauma, and loss have changed not only who I am, but my direction in life…beyond the fact that there are still people who probably think I graduated from Drake University…To allow the concept of growth as a shifting of paths allows me to acknowledge that yes, I am growing without discounting that this isn’t what I wanted to happen and that the pain is still very real and very relevant. I am resilient and I am strong, but that doesn’t mean that I think being hurt is okay and it doesn’t mean that I never experience pain.

See the Sparrows in the Air; Not a Worry not a care

(Alright – go fish)

 

Actually, no I don’t see the birds in the air, I see the ones dead on the sidewalk. There are a lot of them. Maybe those birds should be a little more worried…but I do say hello and goodbye to all the dead birdies on the sidewalk. I might have a hard time making friends my own age, but I am good at making friends with the dead birdies on the sidewalk…they tend to be there for a long time and they don’t judge if I stumble over words and only use the same two phrases. Their expressive love language is quality time, my receptive love language is basically all of the above, so it works out pretty well (as in I tend to get a pretty even score across all five love languages…I just like being loved)…I wish I were better at knowing how to make people friends that were as good as dead bird friends…I do have some awesome people friends, but it certainly isn’t because of anything I was doing right.

 

Tuesday I got my first official NO to my applications since phase II. Sure, I had the passive no of positions that I hadn’t yet heard yes which essentially meant no, but this was the first actual emailed no. The first time that the no had been more than implied. It hurt. I mean, I already wasn’t doing awesome, but it definitely wasn’t a happy moment. It is complicated though. It confirms that no one will want me. It really hurt…and then I am not sure if I was numb or in emotional shock, but it is like the world turned off and it wasn’t like I had energy to do anything but at least the pain was less intense and I was able to go to bed and get some sleep. The past few nights, despite the crying and pain during the day, I have been getting a full night’s worth of sleep. That is super rocking awesome. Emotionally I am certainly struggling, but physically I am doing SO much better.

 

But yes, I have been posting random pieces of life on facebook…yes it is an attention seeking attempt to get little red notifications….no I am not ashamed of attention seeking…it is adaptive to seek attention when you desperately need people. My opinion is that as long as you are doing it in a way that is not hurtful to other people and not intrusive or obnoxious it is perfectly fine to use social media to help yourself. If a few little red numbers on the screen are what it takes to get me through the day successfully then I’m going to do it, and I really don’t see a problem with it. Attention seeking is certainly stigmatized in our culture, but it shouldn’t be, because it generally is something people only do when they legitimately need the attention. It seems to me that filling a legitimate need shouldn’t be scorned, mocked, or punished.

 

Although, maybe my opinion doesn’t count…I did show up to class after lunch break with a container of peanut butter, a spoon, and some bubble wrap…it might not be a “normal” way to get protein to eat peanut butter with a spoon, but if it gets the calories and nutrition to my mouth, it counts as a win in my book…and I might have popped some of the bubbles during class, but I did refrain from being obnoxious enough as to get told off or even get the stink eye from the teacher…that was not an attention seeking attempt though…that was just my impulsivity saying hey, there’s some bubble wrap, that looks fun! and not thinking about that people like to not listen to me pop bubbles in class.

 

After class, my original plan was to immediately heat up my dinner and then go walk to my happy place. That plan got derailed for a variety of reasons. One is that no one is going to fail because they didn’t have the appropriate clothing or the appropriate type of time keeping device…not on my watch!! I found some students who needed stuff that I had, so I ran to my room and handed out what they needed. I think it is utterly ridiculous that a teacher would fail someone over the way they keep track of time as long as they do keep track of time, and I really really think it is dumb that a teacher would fail someone over what they are wearing (within limits…clearly there is a problem if you show up without a shirt on or something), so I’m going to provide whatever you need to pass. No, wearing a student ID is not part of being a professional, nor is wearing a watch with a second hand or wearing a white coat…among other things…My opinion is that being a professional is about how you act, not about your appearance. My opinion is also that on a skills-based assessment your appearance should not be considered because the color of your shirt does not generally impact your ability to perform a particular skill. Not sayin’ just sayin’…okay, actually I am sayin’, ’cause this is important to me.

 

Once I finally did leave, I turned on an audiobook. It is pretty good. One of the first sentences of the book was: “routine teaches our brain that normal exists…whatever normal looks like in a life that has been changed forever.” That is so true. It isn’t just the busy-ness that helps me make it, but that I am doing things that seem normal. That is probably part of why Monday and Tuesday were hard when class was cancelled. I needed to be in class not because there was so much to learn (there certainly is) but because I needed life to feel normal. I mean, Monday was also hard because I was having a hard time with applications on Sunday and therefore procrastinated so much that I didn’t finish with enough time to really calm down before going to bed, but the lack of normalcy definitely didn’t help. It is also why I desperately need people, but while there are times I need to talk, there are other times I just need to BE so that life feels more normal.

 

The loss was more than betrayal. It was more than the loss of the plans for my life. It was more than not having income. The loss took away my identity. There is very little I am good at. I have been told so much I would never make it. The one thing that made me good was that I had known what I wanted to do since fourth grade and wasn’t going to let go. Then I didn’t get that one job that was part of my plan. If I’d gotten a different pediatric PGY-1 in phase I, I think I would have been a little sad but mostly okay, but without that particular job and then without a pediatric PGY-1 and then without any PGY-1 and then without any job, any little remnant of my identity was gone. There are so many ways that it hurts. I know I can make it through though. If I can get through what happened at school, I know I can get through anything. My all of me hurts, but I will be okay.

 

I have always needed like three times as long in the morning to make up for staying up late, which is almost exactly what I took this morning…I stayed up late trying to text my friends, and eventually after staring at the blank screen for way too long, I had to admit that I probably wasn’t going to come up with the words that night and it wasn’t an emergency. I don’t think it is JUST staying up late exhausting my body though…there are three things right now that help me dull the pain even just a little. Being with people helps, but I often don’t have the social ability to ask for what I need, and even if I did, the world doesn’t revolve around me and I can’t expect my friends to let me be with them all the time; that wouldn’t be fair to them. Eating (Especially Dominos or candy) also helps…but occasionally eating is still hard, and eventually you reach a point at which eating no longer feels good. That leaves being in motion. Someone commented on Monday that I must really like exercise because I’ve been walking a lot lately…actually, I do not like walking. I do not detest it as I detest running, but it certainly isn’t something I normally choose. When there isn’t a line you better believe I will take the elevator to get up or down only one floor. Being in motion makes the emotional pain hurt less…but most of the time when I am not grieving I spend 90% of my time laying on my bed in front of my computer. My body isn’t used to being in motion so much. It doesn’t physically hurt, but I’m sure my muscles are tired and needed some rest.

 

I don’t have a scale, so I literally can’t use numbers talk right now to talk about how I am doing physically in terms of food, but I can say that my guess would be that I am doing well. I have been eating a lot of food…like three donuts and a chocolate chip panera bagel for breakfast yesterday…and eating dinner twice because food was available and I was hungry again…I have certainly been doing my best, and that is all that anyone can get from me.

 

Interesting story…so I was walking back to school yesterday and suddenly there were police cars driving erratically all over. I used my thinking brain and stood still well away from the edge of the sidewalk. There must have been some donuts somewhere because the cars were randomly driving down one street then parking then turning around and driving down another street, parking, and doing it again until they all chose one street and all parked their cars there, got out, and seemed to be having some kind of party…lol…once they were all out of their cars, it seemed safe to cross the street without being smooshed by a police dude not paying attention so I minded my own business and continued back to school. Maybe I should be a police officer so I could have donuts too. Plus, I am super indecisive also, so I could totally turn around like three times trying to choose where to park…although my parking ability is lousy so I’d need to do it a lot more slowly which would probably take away the thrill of slamming on the gas and steering like a crazy girl….

 

I also used my thinking brain before that. I ALMOST used my fingers to strain my noodles…I figured out just in time that I should probably not do that. My fingers appreciated not having hot water poured against them…

what do I have that I wouldn’t lose?

(Heart Like You – Love and the Outcome)

grateful-for-pdf-nitro-reader-3
hashtag I know the picture isn’t totally centered on the background…I had issues trying to get the picture to even show up in the post…
  1. Well, I don’t post names except of online friends…which means it isn’t cheating to just say that I am super thankful for my friends. I texted a couple of them yesterday, but there are so many others that are not any less important to me…just that I picked a couple to express my thanks then got distracted.
  2.  I have been learning to eat a lot of things that I’d usually reject. I can even do it without cringing. It makes life around the dinner table a lot easier.

3. skittles. yum. (but seriously, as much as I love them, I have 5 lbs of them left at the moment and my clothes haven’t grown with my waistline).

4. meeting my best friend’s baby at only a handful of days old. Can I cheat and have a second thing: having a picnic with my best friend this summer. What can I say? People are important to me…both the children and the community.

5. My new sweatshirt jacket with thumb holes. I’ve never had a shirt with thumbholes before and I love it so much.

6. I was worried about having somewhere to sleep at night this year. I have had a place to stay every night, and probably will continue to have a place to sleep.

7. I am resilient. I haven’t let huge obstacles keep me from my ultimate dream. Perhaps some of the midpoint goals and desires have been forfeited, but the biggest goal still has the potential to come true (pediatric critical care pharmacy, here I come).

8. I am never not enough. I am always exactly who I was made to be, and that is enough.

9. I graduate in 170 days. I will be free!!!!! I’ve been looking forward to this day for almost two and a half years now.

10. I may have initially resented the comment by Certain Someone that I would probably only ever fit in at church (the implication being because those people are more accepting than the general population) because it was a way of telling me I wasn’t good enough and a way to belittle my firmly held religious beliefs. After three years to get over it and to experience more of the world, I am thankful that I do belong at church. I fit in not because no one else would want me–in fact I make friends easily and I do have friends with beliefs that differ from mine and even friends with no religious beliefs…but it is because these people are different that I fit in. These are people that truly love their neighbor and are willing to show compassion and consistently show kindness to a girl whose ability to trust was shattered. These are people willing to take the time to see past the everything is awesome façade to see that sometimes I’m so busy filling everyone else’s bucket that I’ve convinced myself mine doesn’t matter. These are people who, like Jesus, saw me lonely and invited me in, saw me scared and comforted me. I will never forget one of the first times as a fourth year I let my fear show and instead of being shamed and threatened and manipulated, was surprised to be met with kindness and concern…I was still scared enough that I chewed on my towel in front of a bunch of people, but that’s not the point. The point is that God has used his church to surround me with people who show me what it means to be loved, even in places where I walk in knowing no one.

 

 

We’re all dealt our lumps of coal; what you do with it can turn beautiful

(Nice Naïve and Beautiful–Plumb)

Sure, there are a lot of frustrating things in life, but there is a lot for which to be thankful.

I am thankful that I am not as stupid as some people…I read in the news today that there are some people suing Chipotle because they thought the burrito was only 300 calories but when they ate the whole thing they “felt excessively full.” First of all, what kind of idiot thinks that a Chipotle burrito could possibly be 300 calories? The rice alone probably has more calories than that before you even consider the meat, tortilla, toppings, etc. Second of all, the dude had options besides eating the entire things. Perhaps when the full feeling started instead of continuing to feed their faces they could have stopped eating. Bam. Problem solved…and not only that, but then there would be food security for the next day without any additional payment! What a concept! Just watch these people win themselves some free Chipotle for a year for complaining…Oh yeah, and I am thankful that I am not a whiner even if it means I have to obtain the things I want the polite and responsible way.

I am thankful that I can go with the flow. On Tuesday I was supposed to have a meeting at 1pm. I had an assignment at like 12:15 that I really wanted to get information for before I left. The assignment would probably take at least 30 minutes if not more to do well. The meeting was about 20 or so minutes away. I also needed to at least get some food heated up to eat on the way as I was hungry and my blood glucose at 12:30 was 75mg/dL (yep, my rotation partner now is convinced that my skittle habit is not a problem…I had chocolate cake and apple pie for breakfast that morning). So anyway, all that to say I was only about 1 minute late, but as soon as I arrived, I found out the meeting had been moved to 2pm at school…another 40ish minutes away. It was actually kind of nice to have some extra time…or rather it would have been if it hadn’t taken nearly the whole down time to get the computer turned on and logged in.

I am thankful that people seem to become friends with me before I even think about making friends with them…even if that is why my clothes don’t fit. I will admit that going back to 110 pounds which is probably what I would need for the dress I wanted to interview in to fit comfortably wasn’t a good or realistic plan…I don’t think I have ever been that small in my adult life…but the dress fit me well at 115 pounds before it shrunk in the wash…A lot of my clothes don’t fit primarily because when I went to South Dakota I made a bunch of friends and the main way I was able to spend time with them was to go to what was essentially a buffet three nights a week…that on top of getting meals from the cafeteria that were high in calories and generally low in nutrition…and that on top of the fact that I brought enough food with me that I probably could have gone most of a semester without so much as a grocery run with really only being a little deficient in the calcium category…and of course I come back to school area and am fed so much food. Having friends feels so good that I am happy with the trade of friendship in exchange for pounds…

I am thankful that I do not own a selfie stick…because that means that I am not a self-absorbed jerk. Not that owning a selfie stick necessarily makes you fall into that category, but just saying that I don’t really see the appeal outside of that category…

On a more serious note, I am very thankful for a safe place to sleep at night, and for that I am 172 days away from freedom. If it weren’t for how hard it was to find somewhere to live when I moved out of the res hall a few years ago and to find somewhere to live this year, I wouldn’t appreciate having somewhere to sleep nearly as much…and if it weren’t for how much school has put on my plate and what graduation represents, I wouldn’t be nearly as thrilled about graduating. I am very blessed.

**Just going to note that I still think the idea of listening to the names of all of my classmates and walking across a stage still seems like torture to me. I still have no use for that pointless ceremony. In my opinion, just throw my diploma in the mail and you can save both of us the effort of showing up and pretending this exercise is enjoyable…on the positive side, I am very thankful that it probably won’t be a zillionty degrees like the you have four years left at this place ceremony was…yeah, I don’t see much point in celebrating the fact that a month ago you started making me wear an uncomfortable jacket to most of my labs…dude, nothing changed from the year before except that now you are dictating my clothing choice…I wanna dress myself like a big girl please, and big girls don’t wear white coats…