Anuncio- ¡Me voy a mudar a Puerto Rico!

Mi vida está a punto de cambiar. No estoy tratando de ser dramática; solamente sé que, al mudarme, mi vida cambiará. ¿Por qué me voy a mudar? Pues, mi carera tiene tres pasos. No solo tengo que graduarme de la universidad con un Bachilleres en Ciencias de Nutrición y Dietética (hecho), pero también tengo que hacer un internado y tomar un examen de licenciatura. Estoy en el segundo paso.

Estudiantes aplican a internados durante su último año en la universidad. Podemos aplicar a todos los que queramos, pero hay costos que motiva a la mayoría de los estudiantes a que apliquen a solo cinco o siete. Yo apliqué a siete. Diez ubicaciones en total. Mis primeras tres opciones eran cerca de Dallas, en donde he vivido toda mi vida. Mi cuarta opción era la única fuera de Texas. Como saben por el título, la cuarta opción es la que me aceptó. Internaré con el Departamento de Salud de Puerto Rico durante el próximo año.

La gente me pregunta si estoy emocionada. No lo sé. Tal vez tengo emoción en algún lugar. En verdad no siento mucho sobre ello. Sólo estoy dejando que la vida suceda. No lo creía al principio. (¡Esa entrevista fue la peor en toda mi vida!) Ser aceptada parecía una broma cruel. Pero fui a la orientación hace varias semanas (una semana antes de mis exámenes finales, ¡te diré!) y se que esto es real. Me mudaré la primera semana de julio y, aparte de dos semanas en el invierno, no regresaré a Dallas hasta julio 2019.

¡Es una locura! Voy a un lugar que he ido a una vez. En serio, cuando la directora me hacia la entrevista y me preguntó, “¿Por qué Puerto Rico?” yo respondí “Oí que el clima es placentero”. *SUSPIRO* Claro, la temperatura está a 26.7 grados Celsius todo el año, pero tuvieron un gran huracán, ¡por Dios! ¿Mencioné que fue mí, pero entrevista en TODA mi vida? Voy a vivir en un país extranjero por un año corriendo por la isla tratando de llegar a mis rotaciones.

Es similar a la residencia de un doctor en que nosotros internados vamos a diferentes profesionales en nuestra área y observamos su trabajo. Si el dietista con quien trabajamos nos decide competente, nos dejan hacer su trabajo. Las tres áreas de rotación son Comunidad, Clínica, y Servicio de Comida. Pero, con que el internado complete el requisito de horas en esas áreas tienen la libertad de incluir otras áreas. Algunos hacen desordenes de comer, cuidado de mayores, y otros. Creo que el mío hace media.

También nos dan proyectos, tareas, y presentaciones que hacer. Este año ha diez de nosotros. Tres son de Puerto Rico y el resto de nosotros somos de los Estados Unidos. No he empacado, comprado un boleto de avión, o empezado a comprar útiles en caso de un huracán. …Esto será divertido.

 

P.D. La foto es la misma que esta en la pagina “Mi Vida Ahora” porque es la vista de una estación de tren en Puerto Rico.

Announcement- I’m Moving to Puerto Rico!

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL AQUÍ

My life is about to change. I’m not trying to be dramatic; I just know that, by moving, my life will change. Why am I moving? Well, you see my career has three steps. Not only do I have to graduate university with a Bachelor’s in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics (check), but I also have to do an internship, and take a licensure exam. I am on that second step.

Students apply to internships during their senior year at university. We can apply to as many as we want but there are fees which encourages people to apply to around five to seven on average. I applied to seven. Ten locations total. My top three were close to Dallas, my hometown. My fourth was my only option outside of Texas. As you may have guessed from the title, that fourth option is the one I was accepted into. I will be interning with the Department of Health in Puerto Rico for the next year.

People ask me if I am excited. I’m not sure. Maybe there’s some excitement in me somewhere. I don’t really feel too much about it. I’m just letting life happen. I was in hard denial when I got the news. (That interview was the worst I’ve ever had!) It seemed like a cruel joke. But I went to the orientation several weeks ago (a week before my finals, I might add!) and I know this is real. I will be moving the first week of July and, expect for Holiday Break in the winter, I won’t be back in Dallas until July 2019.

That’s crazy! I am going to a place I’ve been to once. Seriously, when the director was interviewing me and asked “why Puerto Rico?” I responded “I hear the weather is nice”. *FACEPALM* Sure, the temperature is about 80 degrees Fahrenheit year round, but they had a major hurricane last year for crying out loud! Did I mention that was my worse interview EVER? I am going to live in a foreign place for a year running around the island to make it to my rotations.

It’s similar to a doctor’s residency in that us interns go to different professionals in our field and observe their work. If the dietitian we are working under deems us competent, we also get to do some of their work. The three main rotation areas are Community, Clinical, and Food Service. However, as long as the internship program includes the required number of hours in the three fields they are free to include other areas. Some do eating disorders, geriatrics, and others. I think mine does media.

We are also assigned presentations, projects, and assignments to complete. This year there are ten of us. Three are Puerto Rican and the rest of us are from the United States. I have not packed, bought a plane ticket, or even begun to buy hurricane prep supplies. …This should be fun.

 

P.S. The photo above is the same as on my My Life Now page because it is of the view from a train station in Puerto Rico. Sneaky of me, right? 😀

Week of May 22nd 2018- Back to Work

Monday, May 22nd- First Day Back at Work

I forgot how much work work is. I woke up around 8am to give myself time to get ready before my shift that would begin at noon. I had a bagel and talked myself into watching an episode of House after writing the blog entry for yesterday. By then, I had less than an hour to get ready.

Work itself was interesting. I saw lots of familiar faces. This is my seasonal job, so I’d worked there just four months ago in January. I also met a few new people. One guy… Let’s call him Mr. G, since I really can’t remember his name. Well, Mr. G gave all of the customers fun facts. There was no end! He was cashier and I was bagger. It was great, because it’s my first day back and I just took over and started bagging like a pro. He’d never seen me before since he was hired after I left for university in January, so he must have first assumed I was new. That is until I sped past a couple customers. Ha! I liked him. Most of his fun facts were about animals. I used to be a huge animal nerd.

After working with him for about an hour I was sent to a meeting where all of the department managers in the whole store meet. Two other co-workers also graduated this year, so the three of us were recognized. In case you are confused: I work at a grocery store as a cashier. Though sometimes the managers have mercy on me and let me bag groceries. I say have mercy because I get pretty bad social anxiety.

My psychologist recommended I let my managers know about my anxiety and that I am susceptible to panic attacks (I’ve had a couple on the register in past years) before I’m in the middle of one. So I told my head manager. I told her how I get physical symptoms. Shortness of breath, and generally that it’s not all in my head if it manifests in physical form. She responded by saying that many other cashiers have anxiety. ~Thanks. I feel listened to.~ Either way, I survived the shift. Next one is on Thursday.

Tuesday, May 22nd- Lazy Day at Home

No work today, so I woke up late, texted people, and watched several episodes of House. Really, that’s all I did today. I remember how exhausted work would make me in past summers and winters. Working as a cashier goes against my personality, just like RHIM (Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management, my first major) went against it. Link to the post about how I decided my college major here.

The thing is, working with people tires me out. Once I’m through with a shift, I can’t deal with people anymore. It puts me on edge. Pray for me, guys. It’s been three years, and I only stay for two reasons: 1) money 2) I hope it will force me to confront what makes me uncomfortable and help me get better at working around people. It has, but it’s still not easy.

Wednesday, May 23rd- Learning to Make Soup

Another lazy day here at home. I woke up around 4pm…again. Maybe, these changes happened too fast, and I’m just trying to adjust. Or maybe, it’s always been this way. I think it’s the latter. I just get bored at home. No school or responsibilities to focus on. Other than getting myself to work on time, I can do what I want. Which mainly consists of watching T.V. at the moment. There are definitely things I would like to do. That’s why I have ten billion hobbies. But at the moment… I don’t feel up to doing anything but lying on the couch and watching medical dramas.

Oh! My mom did teach me how to make fideo soup. I asked her to teach me a recipe or two per week while I’m at home. We started with a staple for your household.

Thursday, May 24th-New Faces and Old at Work

Well, I went to work. And watched more T.V.. Really, this is why I fear not having something to work towards. If I don’t have assignments and deadlines I don’t know what I have. Right now, my only responsibility is work. Ha, guess what? Maybe my manager did listen about the anxiety thing I mentioned to her. Another manager who was not there when I mentioned my anxiety sent me to a register today with a disclaimer… to tell her if I start to feel overwhelmed. *sigh* This is why I hadn’t told anyone before. I hate the special treatment.

Who cares about that though?! I got to see two old work buddies! Two good ones, in fact! Man, it was nice to see friendly faces! There are soooo many new people. Too many. More than usual… Oh well, can’t mourn people yet. I don’t ever know who is still here, who’s just on vacation, and who just hasn’t come back from academic break yet. By then, I won’t remember to mourn. That’s always been a silver lining in my seasonal job: amazing people. But, according to Panic! at the Disco’s song, (Fuck a) Silver Lining! …Yeah right, this is my fourth summer working this job. I’ve had time to go for gold.

Friday May 25th- Conversation Convictions at Work

I didn’t write this blog this night… Ahh, Now I can’t remember if anything interesting happened this day. I just remember going to work and feeling numb. I’ve accepted my fate. I hate being on a regular register. Express registers mean less items and thus less time with each customer. That also means more customers, but I don’t mind that, as long as I don’t have to spend too much time with each one of them. On a regular register though, orders are long. That means a lot of awkward silence from me.

Or that’s what it used to mean. Now it’s more like cold quite from me. I just don’t care anymore. I can’t afford to care. If you talk to me, I’ll talk to you. But I’m not going to try to start conversations and go all out to be someone I’m not. It drains me. And the customers aren’t worth it. I love connecting with customers and having genuine points of connection, but I refuse to force it. For me that means all you get is a “hello, how are you” and “have a great day”. I’ve even trained myself to fake smile as I say the golden phrases. It’s still exhausting.

Saturday, May 26th- Inspiration and Old Work Connections

I write when I get inspired. The best way to gauge this is when I get stuck on a thought or idea. I woke up with enough time to write my latest blog post titled Why I am Self Conscious of my Belly. It’s very personal, but I published it anyway. I seek to be honest. As if that would make my other sins forgiven… But, yeah, I just kept thinking about a question Richard had asked me. So I wrote.

Other than that, I went to work. I ignored people the best that I can for being on a big register for eight hours. Well, technically 7 and a half because one of the managers had mercy on me and let me clean registers for thirty minutes before my shift ended. I saw my ex. That was weird. Even for him. Background: we met at work a couple years ago, dated long distance for nine months, and broke up last summer. I also saw some more old work buddies. I love seeing more familiar faces among all the new ones.

Sunday, May 27th- The Day of Sleep

Soo, I stayed up all night… By 6 am, I decided I might as well do laundry while I watched my medical drama. So I loaded the washing machine and curled up on the couch to keep watching my show. By now, I was beginning to fall asleep against my will. Ohh, this can’t be good. I had my dad drive me to work. It’s the day before Memorial Day so it’s not like us lowly workers are allowed to park in the customer’s parking lot anyway. Plus, I was not in a condition to drive. Somehow though, I was deemed competent enough to price and accept people’s money. Yep, on a big register again. Not all day though!

I made some side remark to one of the managers about not being ecstatic to get back to my register and he told me it was okay as long as the person who had gotten on my register while I was on break was okay with it. He- thank heavens!- was. I bagged groceries, took out trash, and got on one of the express registers. I was nice to talk to my co-workers more than the customers.

Then at home I attempted to watch my show. My mom likes to watch it with me, so we sat on the couch and put it on. I got comfortable and fell asleep. Yeahh, I hoped to make it to a somewhat reasonable time like 9pm, but at 5 or 6pm I went to my bed to sleep. Geez, I’m not in college anymore; I have to stop doing all-nighters.

 

Los Brincos de Tiempo, Lagunas de Tiempo, y la Normalidad

Originalmente Publicado 8 noviembre 2017

Un día, como todos los días, me despertó mi alarma. Y como todos los días, de pronto presioné el botón de repetir. Devuelta y devuelta lo presioné hasta que apenas tenía suficiente tiempo de prepararme para ir a clase. Y después, lo presioné una vez más. Cuando desperté de lo que aparentaba ser un sueño profundo ni un minuto había pasado. Estaba asombrada, pero pronto descarte el pensamiento y me aliste para mis clases. Desde entonces he notado que caigo en estas lagunas en donde el tiempo no fluye. Solo se sienta ahí hasta que emerjo. Frecuentemente, las lagunas aparecen entre estados de dormir y despertar.

También en estos momentos mágicos ocurren los brincos de tiempo. Esos son los instantes cuando he puesto una alarma para despertarme temprano y estudiar, pero al cerrar mis ojos y abrirlos de nuevo, horas han pasado y he faltado a la clase. Los brincos de tiempo suelen pasar mucho mas durante el día a cambio de las lagunas que usualmente requieren un trance como despertar o crear arte en una manera que me saca de mi cuerpo. Es como perder la gravedad o estar atada al piso.

Entiendo que ambas de estas cosas tienen explicaciones lógicas. ¿Quién no ha estado consumido por un video juego, libro, o serie de tele al punto que nada se pone en el camino de ti y tu gozo de esa cosa? Quien no ha alzado la vista de su actividad preferida para notar que el cielo ahora esta oscuro y varias horas han pasado sin nada de esfuerzo. Adicionalmente, ¿quién no ha estado en una clase que te adormece de aburrida en donde quince minutos parecen una hora? Normal, ¿verdad?

¿Lo es? ¿Por qué es normal? ¿Porque gente aparte de ti lo ha pasado? ¿Puede cualquier cosa ser normal si convences a suficientes personas que lo hagan? Yo creo que sí. Por ejemplo, convenciones. Adultos vestidos como personajes ficcionales. Seguido los he visto caminar por las calles en disfraces repletos de color abordando trenes como si nada fuera extraño de un hombre con peluca morada y alitas de Pegasus.

Vean escuelas. Niños de cinco años separados de sus mamas por horas a la vez. Aprendiendo describir su mundo con números y colores. Un mundo que nunca entenderán completamente. ¿Porque que es normal, pero lo que creamos que sea normal? Haz tu propio normal afuera de la idea retorcida de la sociedad. Estaríamos más felices así.

Por supuesto, todavía tendríamos que complacer los términos de la normalidad según la sociedad. Sí tienen consecuencias para los que violan sus términos. Piensa cárcel, materialización social, y menos oportunidades de avanzo. Pero después de complacerlos, vamos a hacer lo que queramos. ¿Por qué deberíamos sentirnos mal por no pensar como los demás de esos borregos humanos? Raros o especiales, es nuestra decisión que llamarnos.

Why I am Self Conscious of my Belly

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL AQUÍ

May 26, 2018

I need to stop talking to this friend of mine. He can be really invasive. And I like that. It’s nice when someone wants to get to know you better. It’s even nicer when they want to know about the ugly, damaged parts of you too. It means they want to understand you. They care about you enough to want to know more than just the good things about you. So, I welcome probing questions from friends. I take it as an honor to be asked.

He thought I would be upset with him for asking. But he asked anyway. He asked, “why are you self conscious of your belly?”. “Because I have gigantic scar”, I should have said. But this wasn’t the first time he’d asked. No point shrugging his question off. I gave my typical answer first about societal pressures to be thin and beautiful. He asked for more. So I thought a bit more about it. In my mind, I usually stop at the society reason. I think it’s more than enough reason to be unsatisfied with my body. But it wasn’t enough for him.

After a few moments, I pull a slimy, repressed memory from its hiding place. It wasn’t even terribly hidden. Imagine a ratty stuffed animal poking it’s ears out from behind a dingy pillow in a corner of a room.  When I was young, I was skinny and beautiful. I was even popular in school, imagine that! Everybody loved me. Or so, that’s the way my mother tells this story. Though she just uses the word pretty (not skinny) to describe me back then.

However, the fact remains that once I was not skinny, I began to dress myself in slouchy too-big shirts and muck colored clothes to hide my outwardly growing body. This is when my mother would reminisce. She’d say it with a yearning as she tried to motivate me to do something about my appearance. What she refused to understand is that I would not dress any nicer unless I was comfortable in my body. And to be comfortable in my body, I believed I needed to lose weight.

My dad isn’t completely devoid of involvement either. He used to tease my brother for being overweight when I was young and thin. I saw that and partook. I still feel bad about it, though I understand that I was only mirroring the behavior around me. That’s when I learned that fat isn’t favorable. I also learned through the media, through T.V. shows and books, that fat people get bullied. I was only attempted to be bullied on once. Because of my freckles, someone called me a cheetah in second grade or so. I smiled real big and thanked the kid who made this clever observation. I used to love running around and my dad affectionately called me cheetah. And I’m so glad for the coincidence. No one ever tried to bully me again.

…Well, there’s the guy that would spit at me on the bus in middle school, but he was just weird. It wasn’t personal. Thanks Dad, for sparing me the cycle of bullying. In my later years I reflected back on the cheetah moment and some helpful tips on T.V. and books that recommended laughing in the face of bullies. The sources said bullies seek a reaction. You don’t give it to them and they won’t want to mess with you. You won’t be fun for them. Somehow, this worked.

What I mean by this long, rambley post is that I learned at a young age, through various sources that thin=success. It equals happiness. My mom would talk about her weight regretfully. Say my dad prefers thin people. As if the T.V. screens weren’t screaming this preference of thinness loud enough at me. At the same time she and countless others sang me praises when I did lose weight in high school (only to gain it back the summer before college). So, it became something to resent, my belly. It became a sign of my failures. What is keeping me from success. Because it’s much easier to think “all I have to do is lose this weight and then my life will fall into place” than the reality, which is that life is multifaceted.

If I want to be successful, I have to go to the dentist, continue learning everyday, brush my hair, spend time with friends, and a billion other things than just diet and exercise. There are so many parts to life. While it is important to health, why should weight loss be (ironically) such a huge part? It’s usually my first item on goals I want to accomplish. It’s not that I don’t know how to lose weight. I practically have a Bachelor’s degree in that. (My Bachelor’s is in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics.) There’s other personal factors in the way, like the fact that I put thinness on the pedestal of success. If it’s so important, it’s also very intimidating to work on.

I don’t know what is best: working on the underlying issues or the problem itself. I am medically obese. I know, doesn’t help my credibility to admit that. Who believes fat people? They’re just lazy bums. (<– A half joke.) I don’t know if I should work on changing the way I think or pushing forward and adopting a healthier lifestyle. I’m afraid that by focusing on my thoughts I’ll only come to accept what can actually be adverse to my health (mainly being overweight and having a sedentary lifestyle).

Obesity is a precursor for many diseases like heart disease and diabetes and puts you at higher risk for certain cancers like breast cancer. I don’t want to be comfortable in my excessive weight. But, I also fear changing my life to a healthier one where I am within the normal parameters of weight for me and am physically active. I fear looking successful, but still being broken in my beliefs. I don’t want to change my outside if my inside doesn’t change too.

So, I am at an impasse. The solution, as I see it, is to work on both my faulty beliefs that thinness equals success and on my unhealthy habits like not exercising. If only it were that easy. Thank you. I sincerely thank you Richard for asking that invasive question. By answering you I find the answers to my indecision. I’ve been stuck in this place of wanting to do something about my weight and not wanting to do anything without knowing why for years. I see now that it is a matter of opposing factors (my perception of thinness, what it means to me, and the reality of weight as a factor in correlation to health).

Now I just have to convince myself to start. Maybe I’ll go on a run and then compliment myself for taking the initiative. After all, progress (not thinness) is success.

La Advertencia

Publicado originalmente 26 octubre 2017

¿Sabes ese momento cuando esa persona se para para hacer una presentación? Sabes de quien hablo. Él es el chico que se sienta a la orilla del salón. No atrás, pero tampoco al frente. A la orilla- como él. Contribuye a veces, pero mayormente el apenas llega a clase a tiempo y parece sacar las respuestas de la nada. Si te habla es para preguntar si había tarea. Ese chico. ¿Sabes el momento cuando ese chico se para a presentar? Cuando camina hacia el frente del salón con pasos lentos y cuando notas vagamente que se ve bastante bien en una camiseta de botones y pantalones de vestir. Ese momento cuando abre la boca y toma- no, se roba- tu aliento con su confianza cegadora, su elocuencia, y la profundidad de sus palabras. No esperen eso de mí.

Yo soy esa chica tímida que decisivamente se sienta en la segunda fila cerca de la puerta para asegurar una salida rápida en caso de avergüenzo tan severo que aniquila su alma. Yo soy la chica que habla más rápido que un carro de carreras cuando le da la valentía de decir cualquier cosa en clase. Pero más al punto, yo soy esa chica que se para en piernas tembladoras para dar su presentación de dos minutos. La que se siente obligada de explicar por lo largo de cinco minutos que está extremadamente nerviosa y que lo siente mucho que tengan que escuchar sus palabras. Y esto es mi versión de eso.

No te agotaré con los detalles, querido lector. Solamente quiero que sepas que nadie te esta forzando a estar aquí. Viniste por tu propia voluntad y te puedes ir a cualquier momento.

A Long Winded Journey to Deciding my Major

Versión en Español Aquí

I came into college undecided on a major. I had fuzzy thoughts of becoming a neurologist. Then I considered nursing. Then I considered half a billion other things. Seriously, ask me. I considered careers in most fields. My sophomore year however, I officially declared a major. I studied for Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management (RHIM) with a middle/high school teaching certificate and Pre-Occupational Therapist (Pre-OT) coursework for a semester.

Yep. I found out pretty quickly that I did not have the personality to work in hospitality. People stress me out. As much as I enjoy people, they stress me out. I still yearned something in the science realm. I had been working towards a medical career since sophomore year of high school through the clinicals program. However, I did still want to work with people. With thoughts of a science career with a human aspect, I stumbled upon Nutrition Dietetics.

I already had a minor in RHIM from my semester majoring in it and I would be majoring in Dietetics. But I still wanted something. I wanted to study abroad. So, I added a Spanish minor. I thought, my university has a campus in Spain. It should be easy to get a study abroad there. …What can I say? I got busy. I went to one meeting to find out about study abroad before adding the Spanish minor then pretty much forgot about it. I kept the Spanish minor though.

So, Dietetics major, RHIM minor, and Spanish minor. Cool. Plenty of classes to keep me busy, right? Wrong. My spring semester of my junior year I saw a tiny gap where I could add one more class without going over the semester class limit. I was excited to take a psychology class for fun. It was between Personality and Abnormal Psych. I chose Abnormal Psych. I was so excited! I’d taken general psychology my first semester in college and absolutely loved it! I couldn’t wait to go back into the fascinating world of the human mind.

I went to one class. Yeahh, the professor told us we could either come to class and watch YouTube videos and participate in class discussion or simply read the textbook. I already mentioned the strained relationship I have between enjoying human connections and being overwhelmed by them. To make the decision easier, I also met one of the officers from the Pre-OT club I was in during my short lived semester as a RHIM major. I went to the library, got on a computer, and dropped the class that same first class day.

Then I sat there and contemplated if I should add a different class for fun. The Personality course was full. I looked at my transcripts and saw that it’d only take three more English classes to get an English minor. I had three semesters left… So, on a whim, I took a Linguistics class. I was fascinated! So, I decided to go through with this spontaneous new minor.

 

Long story short, I ultimately majored in Nutritional Sciences and Dietetics and minored in English, Spanish, and RHIM (Restaurant, Hotel, and Institutional Management).

My Fears

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL AQUÍ

Originally Posted December 10, 2017

“What are you so afraid of?” he asked.

My ex, my parents, and most recently my roommate have asked me this. I shrugged them all off. Except Richard.

My roommate (whom we will call Richard) convinced me to go on a walk with him one night. I was reluctant due to the late hour, but I went anyway. As he walked calmly while I, in a paranoid tizzy, nearly sprinted, he asked the pivotal question. “What are you so afraid of?” Upon my silence, he suggested “Murderers? Rapists?”. I shook my head and answered blandly, “Not rapists, but yes, thieves and murderers.”

Silence once again. Nothing but the sound of cars humming by and our footsteps occasionally crunching over dead, dry autumn leaves. After a few moments, with a kind and curious breath, he asked “Why? Has anything ever happened to you?”

He said it so sincerely, without a hint of malice in his voice, so I considered it. For the first time, I did not dismiss that wretched question with a haughty attitude. Before I could gather my thoughts though, he shared his own experiences. “I’ve been run over by cars. I’ve been shot at. Chased by dogs and people. That’s why I ain’t afraid of anything.”

He was so causal in the way he confessed this. It was as if he’d told me the time of day rather than deep personal situations from his life. I considered his words for a few moments more. “I was in a car that spun off the highway once. That’s my only near death experience.”

We continued walking with soft crunches at our feet and gusts of wind breezing past us in the wake of the dozen or so cars still on the road at 10 pm on a weekday night. Occasionally, I broke the trance to add, “Well, an acquaintance of mine once pretended to kidnap me. Though, of course, I didn’t know he was pretending at the time.” or “I was pretty sheltered growing up. Nothing really terrible happened.”.

That makes sense doesn’t it? If you haven’t been exposed to danger or trauma, when something new and unexpected happens that threatens your safety, your body will begin to shake with fear and anticipation. Then you break.

Not always.

Sometimes, you feel that shaky mess of trepidation so many times that it begins to feel normal. It’s like lifting weights. Maybe you start with five pound shoulder presses as an out of shape slob and it feels like Mount Everest on your trembling, flabby arms, but after weeks, months, or years of that same five pounds it feels as if you have no weight on your shoulders at all.

Why? Because you’ve done this before. Our bodies love to learn through experiences and they are experts at it. Never cared for a baby before? Have fun getting peed on. Grew up with half a dozen younger siblings and raised five of your own? People will be throwing fussy babies at you to deal with.

The same goes for negative experiences. After enough encounters being hit on by creepy men, I’ve learned that kindness only encourages them, even if it is a polite kindness. I’ve also learned that anyone who shows you their knife collection before you’ve known them for at least a month or before you drop any hint that pegs you as a knife aficionado is best given a swift goodbye. That being said, I am not afraid of creepy guys asking for my number as I try to pick out some skittles at the store. This has happened before. After this and other situations, I know how to deal with creepy men.

What I don’t know how to deal with are thieves and murderers. Rapists too I suppose. I have never been in a situation where I have been chased by a dog or shot at, even with a water pistol. I have no prior experience to rely on and no self defense training or other prevention strategy to depend on. I’m not scared of random dog attacks because I grew up with dogs and I know how to behave around aggressive dogs. I am scared of random murderers roaming the streets looking for a thrill because I’ve hardly dealt with angry people, let alone murderous ones.

The unknown and unpredictable. Chaos and helplessness. That’s what I’m so afraid of.

But how to prepare for the unknown and unpredictable? Do what you can now and trust or hope that you will be astute and strong enough to endure the rest.

By the time I came to these conclusions, Richard and I were a couple paces from our apartment. We hadn’t spoken a word for a long while and we didn’t start then. Instead, we went up the stairs in silence, him none the wiser of my life changing revelations.

The Time Jumps, Time Pools, and Normalcy

VERSIÓN EN ESPAÑOL AQUÍ

Originally Published November 8, 2017

One day, like most days, I was awoken by my alarm. And like most days, I quickly hit the snooze. Again and again, I hit the snooze until I had just enough time to get ready for class. And then I hit the snooze one more time. When I awoke from what seemed like a deep slumber not a minute had gone by. I was amazed, but soon dismissed the thought and got ready for class. Since then, I’ve noticed that sometimes I fall into these pools where time does not flow. It only sits there until I emerge from it. Often times, these pools appear when between states of waking and sleep.

Also in these magical moments are the time jumps. Those are the instances when I have set an alarm to get up early and study but upon closing my eyes and opening them again, hours have gone by and I have missed the class entirely. The time jumps occur much more often during the day while the time pools usually require a trance-like state such as emerging from sleep or creating art in a manner that takes me outside of myself. It’s like losing gravity or being chained to the ground.

I understand that both of these have logical explanations. Who hasn’t been so consumed by a video game, book, or television series that nothing gets in the way of you and your enjoyment of that thing? Who hasn’t suddenly looked up from their preferred activity to find the sky is now dark and several hours have passed so effortlessly. Additionally, who hasn’t sat though a mind numbing, boring class where fifteen minutes feel like an hour? Normal, right?

Is it though? Why is it normal? Because people other than you have experienced it? Can anything be normal if you convince enough people to do it then? I think so. Look at conventions. Adults dressed as fictional characters. Often I’ve seen them walk through the streets in colorful costumes and outfits boarding the trains as if nothing were strange about a grown man in a purple wig and pegasus wings.

Look at schools. Children on average at five years old away from their mothers for hours at a time. Learning how to describe their world with numbers and colors. A world they will never fully understand. Because what is normal, but what we create to be normal? Make your own normal outside of society’s convoluted idea of it. We’d be happier that way.

Of course, we’d still have to appease society’s terms of normal. They do have consequences for those who violate their terms. Think jail, social out-casting, and decreased advancement opportunities. Having appeased them though, let’s do what we want. Why should we feel bad for not thinking like the rest of those human sheep? Weird or special, it’s our choice what to call ourselves.

Week of May 14th 2018- Graduation!

Woot! First weekly blog post! I am very excited to begin a new form of blogging. Like I said in my Thoughts and the Past section, I’m used to blogging as if I am journaling. It’s going to take some getting used to showing more than telling. Anyway, with that being said, let’s get into it. Hmm, I’m sure the format will change, but how about we go day by day for now?

Monday, May 14th- Impromptu Breakfast and SnapChat

After a few weeks of not seeing my friend Sherri, we met up for breakfast. Or that was the plan. Instead of going out to eat though, we went to the store and bought eggs, sausage, and other breakfast-y items and made food at my apartment. I live with a couple: Richard and Mariah. This morning Richard was out presenting a final project for the semester, but Mariah was home to have our impromptu breakfast with us. We made eggs, sausage, potatoes, and a nice blenderful of berry smoothie. I think we were all aware this would be one of the last times we would be able to do something last minute like this. I didn’t ruin the moment by taking pictures.

The other “big” thing that happened this day was that I got a SnapChat account. Ha! My best friend had been begging me to make one for ages! I know I now have this blog, but that desire to stay in touch is strong. Especially with friends I’m so close to now. I can’t bare to let them drift away even faster than time already will provoke simply because I’m not well versed in social media. Soo, yeah. That’s been a ridiculously fun learning experience.

Monday, May 14th Part 2- Dress Shopping and Nutrition Counseling

… because I am losing my days and somehow thought the following events took place on Tuesday… which doesn’t make sense because it is Tuesday night as I write the following day’s events. Monday! This section is still Monday.

The girls and I went dress shopping today. Remember that my graduating wasn’t guaranteed? I was doing very poorly in one class which may have been a motivating factor in deciding to attend as many little graduation ceremonies as I can if I did end up graduating. Well, I roped Mariah into this. I convinced her to attend a Hispanic Convocation on campus so that we could be in the same ceremony. (She studies Natural Resource Management and I study Nutrition Dietetics, so our official graduation will be at different times.)

Anyway, with another ceremony, we went in search of a dress to wear. We went to the mall and a small secondhand shop. No dice. So, we got a bite to eat and called it a day. Sherri went home and I bugged Mariah and Richard for the rest of the day. I feel bad nowadays to spend too much time alone. I feel like every moment I’m not spending with the two of them is a moment lost. Like I said, hanging out won’t be as easy once we graduate. Life is going to change. A lot.

The last eventful thing that happened today was that I began nutrition counseling Mariah. Background on that: I took a nutrition counseling class this semester and I loved being in the position to teach someone about nutrition. I have a passion for education and I thoroughly enjoyed doing it on an individual basis. It was so satisfying to see my client for the semester take in the information I gave them and apply it. I was so proud of our work and look forward to being able to help someone out this way again.

Thence comes Mariah. She and Richard have been together about four years. They have a wedding date set within the next two years. Hmm, someone wanting to lose weight and someone about to graduate in nutrition. Like I said, I loved the counseling experience. One small problem though. I am not a licensed dietitian yet. Despite this, I offered my help to Mariah. I let her know, I am not an official dietitian and that other than that brief class experience, I am a complete novice in counseling someone. With the promise not to sue me for malpractice or anything else, she took me on. I am grateful for the practice and, of course, to help her achieve some of her health goals. We had our intake session this night which left me wanting to join in on the fun by focusing more on my own health journey.

Tuesday, May 15th- Graduation Photos and Last Hiking Trip

…Now it’s Tuesday. How is it only Tuesday? I thought it was Wednesday!

We took graduation photos. Well, as best as we could. Sherri, Mariah, and I headed to campus around midday to get this checked off the graduation to do list. Before snapping any pictures though, we stopped by our club’s office to visit the staff. I was a part of Mentor Tech (a mentoring organization on campus to help students transition into college life by providing them connections to people on campus such as professors or staff members [mentors] and undergraduate students [PAC Leaders]) my four years in university, but I must say that this year I finally let some walls down and got attached to the staff. I will truly miss them. I brought them thank you notes and an invitation to the Hispanic Convocation on Thursday. As a bonus, I also brought a flyer for my blog and a balloon dragonfly to promote my site. Ha, those management classes are coming in handy now!

After the visit, Mariah and I attempted to pose for our novice photographer (Sherri). I deliberately say attempted. Neither of us are decent enough to even be called armature models. We took photos at a couple of places on campus before getting hot and discouraged. To hydrate, we stopped by my old workplace for some water. We ran into my boss of three plus years and chatted a bit. After promising to return for one last visit with my family on Friday we left.

Later Mariah and Richard headed out to go on one last hiking trip. I went to give a friend a book that kept making me think about her then grabbed some food and went back to my lone apartment. Mariah and Richard are camping tonight and returning tomorrow which means I have the place to myself. I love being alone for a few hours at a time. I sing at the top of my lungs and watch all the T.V. I want! It’s been great! I’ll be glad when they get back though, but for now, no one can stop me from blogging at 1am while listening to Eye of the Tiger by Survivor!

Wednesday, May 16th- Road Trip Call and My Favorite Aunt

I was awoken by a phone call. Sherri has this habit of calling me when she goes on long road trips. I think it’s really sweet…when I’m awake. Well, I took her call and we chatted for little over two hours with a couple of disconnects as she drove through the towns with spottier cell service. We spoke about a party she had gone to with her classmates. First impressions? A ton of Chemical Engineers to be sitting in a room awkwardly not talking to each other. HA! Then we spoke a bit about boys as the topic tends to get derailed among girls. Who knows what else we talked about. I just know it ended with me giving my word I’d go check in on her cat.

My roommates still weren’t home so I sang some more songs with ridiculous high notes and belts. I called home and worked on this blog. Ordered some pizza, because cooking for one? Yeah, no. Soon after my roommates came back I got to talk to my favorite aunt. Her name is Melody. We each shared some life changing news. (I will announce mine soon. Her’s I will respectfully not share.) She’s the aunt who always has something positive to say, not matter what she is going through. I proudly seek to be like her in this way. She’s taught me to embrace change and keep living no matter the situation. And not only to live, but to enjoy life. I admire her so much.

Thursday May 17th- A Shower Serenade and Saying Goodbye

Mariah woke me up with news of a surprise party for a staff member from my club. It would be Rudy’s last day as he is moving across the country this weekend. Before even thinking about this, I goofed around for a bit then got ready. I picked some good belting songs and had a great last shower singing session. Tomorrow both Mariah’s and my family are coming for our graduations. This is the last day I have of my normal college life with her and Richard.

So, I serenaded them. A sort of goodbye and I hope you will miss my too confident cracking high notes. After my little concert, we left for the Mentor Tech office. There we had one last get together with fellow staff and PAC Leaders. We said goodbye to Rudy. Once everyone had left we took some stuff to storage one last time. So many lasts.

Finally, we attended the Hispanic Convocation. With Richard and Sherri in the audience we heard reminders to remember our roots and be proud of our culture and our accomplishments. After the event the four of us played a quick trivia board game then set to packing when Sherri left for her place. I’d been avoiding packing. If everything still looked normal, maybe I could convince myself that my college life isn’t about to end. But it is. No use denying it anymore.

Friday May 18th- Packing and Protege

Packing. That has been most of the day. Other than putting all of my belongings into boxes throughout the day, I went to say a final farewell to my boss. I was supposed to bring my family, but they hit traffic on the way and couldn’t make it on time.

Afterwards I had dinner with one of my freshman proteges from my club. It was so nice to be invited to meet up. We ate and had some delicious ice cream amongst delightful conversation. I can’t believe I only had them for a year. Some background: In Mentor Tech, participants (called proteges) are assigned a PAC Leader (or Protege Advisory Committee Leader who is an undergraduate student usually in the same or similar major). If available, they are also assigned a mentor who is a staff or faculty member at the university usually in the field the protege hopes to go into. This academic year I served as PAC Leader to five wonderful freshman. I hate goodbyes, but it was so nice to see Sue one last time. I am so proud of them all.

Saturday, May 19th- Graduation Day and People Invasion

I graduated with my Bachelor’s in Science today. Yay. I’m just glad it’s over. Maybe it’s the fact that my parents and Mariah’s parents both came into town yesterday. I don’t have a problem with any of them. My issue is forgotten social anxiety. Anyone else forget things are a problem for you until you are put in that situation? Like, I don’t know. Maybe you have a dog and he/she is a huge leash puller, but you’ve been letting them run around the yard for exercise and haven’t taken them on a walk in a while. I’ve done this. One day I get the brilliant idea to take my dog, Misty, on a walk because “you know, how bad can it be?”. Then…it’s bad. And I’m stupidly surprised by how bad, because it’s been too long for me to remember the last time. Yeahh. That’s my social anxiety.

So, my room has been invaded by my wonderful family. I love them, but they are in my room. They won’t leave. Part of the reason for that is that Mariah’s family has invaded the living room and common areas. My family, as a whole, is also socially awkward. So, my room is full of people, just like the rest of the apartment. Everywhere I turn: people! Aghhhh…

Anyway, on with my day. I woke up early to go to Mariah’s graduation at 9:30am. I was with her family and Richard until about an hour before my graduation where I switched people and was with my peers one last time sitting in an arena waiting to be called to graduate. Then I went out to dinner with my mom and brother. Then I escaped my family a bit by…. sitting in the living room with Mariah’s mom, sister, and nephew, in addition to Mariah and Richard. This was still stressful. Then I came back into my family-infested room and have been sitting in a corner singing to cope. *sighhhh* Why am I like this?

Sunday, May 20th- Goodbye College Town Hello Hometown!

It was a sad day of farewells. My family woke me around 5:30am. Looks like they were ready to go. We began taking stuff down to the vehicles alongside Mariah who also meant to leave this day. When it was her time to go, we stood awkwardly between her packed car and my semi-packed van. Then she hugged me tight and must have said some parting words. I couldn’t hear over a voice in my head screaming to break the hug. The tears were already forming. It was too much, too long. Too painful. So, I pushed her away. When she wouldn’t let go, I hugged her again then forced us apart and ran back up the stairs, my throat tight and tears streaming down. The last words I heard from her were “I’m so confused”.

My family continued packing. I did not want to participate. My life is ending. Well, my college life at this point has, indubitably, ended. It ended the moment our parents came into town. Then Mariah and I (and all the rest of my friend’s at university) weren’t each others. We were then at the mercy of our families. I love getting sidetracked on my musings, don’t I?

Back to the day’s events: my family continued packing. Sherri came to pick up her house key, so I was able to say goodbye to her. I think I was so emotionally drained by then that I could not mourn her. Then came the goodbye to Richard. My mom and I were taking the last of the stuff down to the cars when I told him this would be it. He just looked at me and said “What do I do now?” Ha! At this point I shooed my mom away and told him, “you mail anything I left behind to me.” He stood there a second then offered me a hug. I denied it.

Context: yesterday I’d requested a hug from him because I thought that’d be the last I’d see of him. I did not expect to get up so early. So, I denied him. Like he had offered to me the night before, I put my fist out for a fist bump. The perfect words danced in my head for this though I did not say them aloud. As our fists met, I wish I’d said, “None of that emotional crap. We’re bros, remember?”. He was always so chill with me and treated me like one of the guys. I miss him already.

The rest of the day was quite mundane. We drove about six hours back to my parents house where I’ll be staying while I work over the summer. I fought for my right to do my own laundry. (My dad insisted he’d wash it while I insisted I just lost my whole way of life and I wanted to be able to do something, anything for myself!) Then I began watching a new television series and went to sleep. I miss my old life.

 

Talking to myself…out loud blog version:

I want to post my whole week’s happenings at once, but I also want to write daily so I can remember the details. Seeing how I skipped a day in the middle of the week and managed to imagine an extra day, you can see how important daily blogging will be. Maybe I’ll post half of my week first then update on the same post when the rest of the week is over. Or I’ll post on a new “weekly” blog every Monday and update on the same post daily. It just seems like a waste to make a new blog post for every day! OR I could wait till Sunday to post it all at once. NAHH.

It’s a learning process.

 

Notes:

(1) Balloon design by Gustavo (Balloon twisting and photograph by me)

(2) As always, all names are pseudo names. (except Misty…That is actually my dog’s name.)

(3) I have gotten permission from the director of Mentor Tech to use the organization’s name. If you are thinking of going to university at Texas Tech, I highly recommend being a part of the organization and becoming a PAC Leader. The club helped me grow as a person and holds a special place in my heart.

(4) Next weekly post…expect it on Thursday or Friday…?