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The Happiest I’ve Ever Been

I have four unfinished drafts. I haven’t written in four weeks… or more. I get four new ideas every sleepless night. There’s too much and not enough going on in my life. And I can’t take it anymore. I’m writing at 3 am and decided to publish whatever word vomit I create. A friend of mine once suggested (likely out of pity) that my readers must like the honesty that these sad writing sessions are born from. He said this after I expressed confusion that one such word vomit post did infinitely better, views-wise, than a post I spent upwards of eight hours on.

 

Audio of this post:

 

The Best Four Months of My Life

 

Living on my own, therapy, love, and more…

I want to write. I do. I used to fight for myself. I did very well- surprisingly well- the first semester I moved into an apartment on campus by myself. Sure I had apartment-mates, but I saw them each no more than three times that whole school year (they were worse recluses than me!). It took until finals time to falter. That semester in group therapy I gave more advice than sought it. My life was great and I ran with that. Literally. That was when I started running. I wanted to do a 5K. About two months in I was pushing myself and that was the only area in my life I would not be satisfied with. I wanted to continuously improve and did.

I loved my life that year. It was the best semester of my life. Best three or four months of my life. I did things because I wanted to and that was that. I tried the whole vegetarian thing. I was looking into studying abroad. It was glorious. And, of course, I was in love. My first boyfriend. That’s pure. Completely the wrong person for me and that became blatantly apparent in the next few months, but for that brief beginning… it was glorious. I didn’t know I could be so happy.

 

Friendship, Healthier Coping, and Constant Support

That was the semester I began a friendship with one of the most caring people I’ve ever met- Mariah. I’d never had such a close friendship with someone before. It’s incredible she’s still my friend. That was also the semester we both turned 21. Every other weekend we’d get together, just the two of us (well with her boyfriend playing video games on a nearby couch), at her apartment to hang out and try different types of alcohol. Not the wildest college drinking stories. Not even close. But the best I could have asked for.

I’ve had issues with emotional overeating since I was about 10 years old. That semester? Not until finals time. It was like I imagine nicotine cravings are. Awful. Constant. And gnawing. Obviously, it wasn’t without a couple slip ups, but until I gave up during finals week… it was amazing. I sang so much that semester. Constant music. That’s what they always say. Therapists and other positive role models I’ve had: replace negative behaviors with positive ones. It’s so difficult. Sounds simple, but a song isn’t as effective as a donut for me. Not at first. That’s the semester I learned to be okay with crying. I’d been told crying isn’t shameful since I’d started therapy two years prior to that semester, but on my then boyfriend’s shoulder I accepted it.

It was my first semester as manager at a little food shop on campus. I met my coworkers I’d be friends with for the remainder of my university career. I was so nervous about my first leadership role. The boyfriend was constant support through anything and everything that semester. I’d never had that. With him, my therapists, my friends, and a pinch of belief in myself I learned I could be happy. I didn’t have to keep punishing myself for something I felt I deserved.

 

Beginning to Like Myself and Learning to Enjoy Life

I can’t underestimate this next part. I’ve hated the way I look, especially my weight, over any horrible thought I’ve ever had about my intelligence or other abilities. I never in a million years thought I’d look at myself with anything but disgust and shame. That semester, sometimes I’d wish I looked like someone’s reflection or shadow I’d catch at the corner of my eye then I’d realize that reflection or shadow had been mine. It was extremely confusing and alien at first. I began wearing tank tops for Pete’s sake! I liked how they looked… I almost can’t believe I got to that point. I was by no means skinny. I’ve dreamt of being skinny for more than a decade at this point. I didn’t weigh myself that whole semester. Maybe once for a class, but I think I refused to look at the time. Yet, I’ve never been happier with my body. Sometimes I would look in a mirror (I hate mirrors) and like how I looked! Actually looked at myself and felt good- confident even!

Unbelievable! That whole semester… And I enjoyed the heck out of it. As I experienced it I knew it likely would end. I was terrified. Like an unsavory indigestion I kept swallowing down. Yet, I pushed it aside and had the best three or four months of my life. It doesn’t sound like much, but when you’re used to wallowing in sadness sure that that’s all you’re worth- pain and disappointment- four months is infinity. I regret nothing. I lived. I loved. And I sure as hell made the best of it.

 

Where Am I Now?

Wow. That was certainly not the direction I expected this to go. Usually when my mind wanders it reminds me how unhappy I currently am. Getting creative, Brain. You jerk. Well, since I doubt I’ll finish up those other four drafts anytime soon, here’s the summary.

  1. I used to publish just whenever I was inspired on my old blog which was about once a month. I’m done making promises I won’t keep. Not to be rude, but I can’t keep disappointing myself. I’ll publish when I publish. Sorry.
  2. I hate living at home. My friend offered to let me move in with her, but she lives in West Texas about six hours away from where I currently live. I said no. I regret that at least five times a day. Okay, maybe only three times a day.
  3. I’m codependent without anyone to be codependent with. That’s what those four drafts said in a nutshell.
  4. The fourth kind of overlaps with the friend offering her home thing. It was a pros and cons list of moving out or living at home with my parents.

 

I hate my life right now. I have plans to make it better. I hope I follow through with them. It’s kind of difficult at the moment to find motivation. But what choice do I have? It’s fight for myself or be miserable. I know I’ve written something like this at least five times before, but that’s what I’ve found life to be: a repetitive pep talk where I have to convince myself I’m the most qualified person to care and put in the work to make my life enjoyable. I don’t know what else I can do.

I’ve given up on people before and I will never forgive myself for it. I’m terrified of what will happen if I give up on myself completely. I’ve seriously let myself go, but I know there’s some line I’ve never crossed. I know I haven’t reached rock bottom. Things can be worse. And I’m afraid. I don’t want to get there. I won’t get there. Stupid pep talk after stupid pep talk- I won’t let myself get there. Thanks, Fear. Thanks, Unhappiness. I will only let my life get better because of you.

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The Most Romantic Date I’ve Been On- Meeting Chance for the First Time (Part 2 of 2)

Welcome back! At long last, I found the inspiration to do the final half of this night justice. If you haven’t read part one, I recommend you click here to read my perspective or click here to read my date’s perspective. Either way, it’d be good to read the first half (in whichever perspective you prefer) to have context into this post. Thanks for making it to part two and enjoy! 🙂

 

Waiting Out the Rain in a Parking Garage

Where were we? Oh, yes. The rain. The drops of rain slick on both our faces. Chance removing his glasses to reveal soft, kind, caring eyes. Us walking calmly and unrushed to shelter from the rain. Once we reached the end of the path leading away from the castle, it was a short walk to the nearest roof. The first space we found was tucked beside a plaza and in it was an elevator and a young woman, also waiting out the rain. We walked past her who didn’t seem to notice us as she was too busy leaning against the wall and gazing out the entrance at the drizzling rain.

There wasn’t much else in this little space. The woman at the entrance, and elevator inside to the right, and a few steps beyond that, also slightly to the right, was a set of stairs. Naturally, Chance and I settled to our left against the only wall not occupied by any objects or other person. There we came upon the topic of movies. I asked what his favorite genre was expecting to hear action or horror as most guys and friends of mine had responded before him.

 

An Anecdote on Movies of the Drama Genre

Instead he surprised me with “drama”. “Drama?! Did you say drama??” I asked trying to catch my breath. Had I heard correctly? Had he just said my favorite movie genre, the genre all my college friends had groaned about whenever I tried, unsuccessfully, to suggest a movie for us to watch and that indubitably did not get any votes when it came down to making a decision or if it did by some miraculous circumstance get chosen, it ended up being a drag in everyone’s eyes except mine which were glued to the screen through every 20 minute monologue.

“Yeah, drama is my favorite movie genre.”, he confirmed. I was beside myself! Who sent this man to me? I don’t know why this means so much to me. Maybe it’s because my friends were so against it. And my family, especially my dad. My dad would say there was too much talking and it was boring. My friends echoed these thoughts. They craved explosions and high energy scenes. I saw those things as artificial and over the top. I wanted raw and real. I wanted to learn something of the human condition through a movie, not just see pretty explosions on the screen. Maybe I thought this inquisitive thoughtfulness about humanity translated to him due to his answer. I don’t know, but I was taken by him more by the second.

After explaining that I’d never met someone who responded that dramas were their favorite movie genre and that it was my favorite movie genre as well, we wandered over to the elevator and wondered where it might lead. As we stood there, we glanced to the right there the woman remained leaning against the entrance to our little sanctuary watching thousands of droplets fall from the sky. I wondered out loud where the stairs to our left could lead to which Chance replied this was the entrance to a parking garage. I said we should explore until the rain let up and pranced over to the stairs leaving Chance a couple steps behind me trying to decide if to stop me or join me. Half a second later he was coming down the stairs with me.

 

Into the Parking Garage

As he had said, the stairs did lead to a parking garage. A huge, cavernous, underground one that turned my mind to spooky thoughts. I asked Chance, “have you ever snuck in somewhere creepy you weren’t supposed to?” He thought about this a second as we walked through aisles of cars up a slope heading to the parking garage floors above. “No, I don’t think I have.” he concluded at last. I smiled, a bit disappointed, then shared my story. Here’s the super short version: in my last year of university I snuck into an abandoned dorm on campus. A student was stabbed there several years before my exploration of it and the place was then quarantined due to asbestos. It was creepy with half the endlessly long quiet halls with most doors closed and others cracked open to reveal desolate, empty rooms. Maybe, I’ll write about that some other time.

By the end of my story we reached a green stairwell to our left. At its entrance was a sign that read, ” No access after 7pm”. Chance and I checked our watches at the same time. It was almost 9pm. Chance started to turn away from the stairs as I shrugged, smiled and asked him with raised eyebrows “Are you going to let a little sign stop you?”. I felt rebellious and alive after my recount of the abandoned dorm. He looked at me a little shocked, but not off put by my reaction to the sign and followed me up those forbidden steps.

 

The Forbidden Stairwell and the Kiss

Five or so steps up the staircase cut to the left at a right angle and continued up until reaching another 90 degree angle to the left where there stood the entrance to a sort of bar/outdoor seating area. It was beautiful, with string lights and plants weaving around the place. There were a couple of people in dark, classy uniforms and black aprons tied at their waists who seemed to be closing up for the night. The metal door at the top of the stairs was locked with heavy chains and a padlock and carried a sign that said “Closed after 7pm”. I crept down slightly to avoid being spotted by the employees and turned to smile at Chance about our mischief before motioning him, who was a couple steps below me to head back down.

We walked down slowly until Chance reached a wide, flat platform dividing the top portion of the stairs with the bottom part. Here he turned to me, still a step above him, and asked, “Can we stop for a second?” We stood on this staircase that jutted out of the parking garage looking at each other with genuine smiles as cool night air blew on us balancing out the incubating warmth we’d felt in the parking garage. A second. No more, before he asked, looking up at me on the next step,

“Can I kiss you?”

“I thought you’d never ask.”

Pause. I am not making that up for romantic effect. I actually said that. (*FACEPALM!*) I think I rolled my eyes at myself a split second before our lips met. After that, there was nothing to cringe about. It was natural. Our kiss had dept, in the best possible way (none of that tongue down an unfortunate soul’s throat stuff). Then, another tentative touch of his lips against mine to which I responded gently, but fully accepting. Our lips danced and slid slowly as he huskily said, “step down”.

I did take the final step to meet him at the platform in the middle of this hidden staircase as he grabbed hold of my waist with both of his hands and pulled me closer to him. The heat emanating from his body, not an inch away from mine, was almost as hot as the kisses we shared, coming a bit faster now. Eventually, we parted and gazed at each other with oxytocin induced bliss.

 

Final Date Components: Walking the Streets of Old San Juan, Cuddling in Front of a Guard, and a Late Dinner Picnic (kind of)

Alright. Time to be real. This post is getting long and I do not want to make a part 3 (though I very well could). So, it’s super speed recap time! We sat on a step where we kissed, cuddled, and stuff for a bit before heading back to the parking garage and then outside since by now it had stopped raining. I thought this would be the end of the night but I’d told Chance I had to leave at 11pm. Remember, this was a Tuesday night and I had work the next morning. It wasn’t 11pm yet though, so we walked around the beautiful narrow sidewalks and crossed the brick lain streets of Old San Juan holding hands or with one of Chance’s arms wrapped around my waist before he suggested getting something to eat.

I could eat and wasn’t ready to let go of his hand, so we drove to another section of Old San Juan where he planned to introduce me to something tasty (a tripleta which is basically a sub with three kinds of meat). The stand was closed though. It was after 10pm at this point, so instead he lead us over to some benches in the area. However, I did not make it to the benches before I was called by the sea that could be seen from a concrete barrier that came up to my waist. I leaned against it trying to get closer to the water when Chance came up behind me and enveloped me in warmth. We spoke about humor and held each other. I found out he has the same dark humor as I do. At some point, a guard started looking at us funny which Chance said was pure jealousy as he pulled me to him for a final kiss for our only fan.

Since most places were closed, Chance and I passed by a fast food place and then had a sort of picnic outside my apartment in a little conglomeration of benches. It was sweet. A little late night picnic, just the two of us. Maybe not the most romantic end, but it felt peaceful and right. With a final kiss at the end of our meal I bid him a good night and waited for him to drive off into the night before entering my apartment. A girl has to keep a little mystery about her. 🙂

I fell asleep with a smile thinking that the last few hours of my life felt more like a dream than anything I would experience that night.

 

I hope you enjoyed my recount of that night. If you are interested in Chance’s perspective of the last half of our first date, click here. Otherwise, thanks for stopping by! Look forward to more adventures with Chance in my weekly blogs posted every Monday. 😀

 

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Best and Worst Experiences during Clinical Rotations in High School: Why I’m Not a Doctor Part 1

I wanted to be a doctor when I was younger, but I gave it up because I didn’t want to lose my humanity. In high school I, essentially, took a year long, intensive, crash course in anatomy and (more so) physiology. I was a sponge. I absorbed everything. (Except vitamins and minerals. Those were not interesting to me at all.) It’s amazing how knowledgeable I became from that one year. I remember sketching anatomically correct hearts and coloring them for fun.

I also remember going into clinical rotations the following year (11th grade) and feeling incredibly awkward about it. I was wicked book smart, but catastrophically inept when it came to people skills. (Still not great at it…) Which means 90% of my clinical rotations went like this:

 

Dr.:

“…and that’s what we do in [insert area of hospital here].”

Catastrophically Inept at Social Skills 17 Year Old Me:

*nods*

Both of us:

*AWKWARD SILENCE*

 

It was almost worst if the medical professional I was shadowing tried to converse with me. Most of my answers were short and direct. Example:

Dr.: 

“…and that’s what we do in [insert area of hospital here]. What area do you want to go into or what are you interested in besides medicine?”

Me:

I’m not sure yet. Um, I like to read.

Dr.:

Oh, that’s okay. It takes time to figure that out. What kind of books do you like to read?

Me:

Uh, really anything as long as it’s fiction.

Dr.*Sees I am most definitely not the conversational type*:

…that’s nice. Yeah, when I was younger [insert personal story here to fill up my silence]

 

The worst example is when I made a conscious attempt to be more conversational because I had read somewhere that it’s good to take interest and ask questions. That gets people talking according to some self help text I read. So, I mustered up some anxiety ridden courage and asked the cardiologist I was with that day a question (who, to make things worse, happened to be the father of one of the girls in my clinicals class). It went like this:

 

Dr.:

So, we evaluate patients using a stress test.

Me.: *Thinking: Don’t let the silence hang. Say something! Ask a question! Show him you are interested in the topic and want to know more!*

So… what does a stress test consist of? (…yes… I actually spoke this very formal way back then. Even around friends. It was sometime this year that I began simplifying [read: dumbing down] my speech.)

Dr.: *Stares at me for a second* *Responds in a this is completely obvious, I don’t know why you asked that question tone*

It’s a stress test. We put the patient on a treadmill and stress the patient.

Me:

*feels stupid* *silent for the rest of the day*

 

…But I digress.

Before the flood of vile flashbacks, I planned to recount my best rotation. For that, let’s backtrack a bit. In high school, I didn’t study. I just learned in class. And retained all of the information. When it came time for a test I simply reviewed (read: quickly read through) my notes from class and presto! high A’s. Here’s the best rotation I had:

 

Nuclear Medicine Dr.:

See here?

*points to a patient scan with some mass or other abnormality*

This patient had [insert some diagnosis that I’ve long since forgotten]. Do you know what [insert some medical term related to the patient’s case] is?

Me: *Enthused this isn’t a personal question and is something I can answer with much more ease*

Yeah, that’s [insert correct answer].

Dr.: *Intrigued I got it right*

Right!

*Continues discussing case* *Brings up new scan*

Now this patient had [insert some other diagnosis that I’ve long since forgotten]. Do you know what [insert some medical term related to the patient’s case] is?

Me: *Glad for another question I can answer*

Yeah, that’s [insert correct answer].

Dr.: *Very intrigued now*

What’s [some medical thing]?

Me: 

[insert correct answer]

Dr.: 

What’s [some medical thing]?

Me: 

[insert correct answer]

He was rapid fire quizzing me now and I was gaining confidence with every correct answer. A couple questions later:

Dr.:

Where are the thyroid glands?

Me: *Nervous because thyroid glands were only briefly mentioned in class. Once.*

*Hesitates then uses both index fingers to point to my throat on a fuzzy educated guess*

Dr.: *Satisfied at last, asks with genuine interest*

What area do you want to go into?

Me: *Still buzzing because I got the last question right* *Confidently answers*

I want to be a nurse.

Dr.:

A NURSE?! You have to aim higher! It’s better to struggle at something difficult than to excel at something easy. Don’t you think?

Me: *Thinking about doing very well in my regular level classes and just well in my AP and IB classes, but learning things on a much deeper level*

*Thinking about the fact that I took those higher level courses because I truly believe it’s better to challenge yourself and do okay than not to and breeze by.*

*Tentatively* Yeah, I think you’re right.

Dr.: *Gives me an encouraging look and a hint of a smile*

Don’t conform with being a nurse. Be a doctor.

 

Then he gave me his business card and urged me to contact him if I ever had any questions. I assure you no other doctor gave me their business card. Nor did I ever impress another doctor. Not surprising, since I probably said as many words to the Nuclear Medicine doctor as to all the other doctors the rest of the year combined. And no, I am not omitting his name for privacy reasons. (I’d give him a pseudo name, if that was the case.)

I actually lost his card sometime after that school year. I was not able to remember his name, let alone call him when I began doubting the whole doctor thing when I began university. Not that I would have called him anyway, because… you know… severe anxiety. I did go over to the nuclear medicine department at that hospital sometime before going off to university though. I had hoped to run into him, but I didn’t see him and I didn’t even know his name to leave a message. :/

 

If you’ve read the My Life Now section of my blog, you know that I’m here in Puerto Rico as part of a dietetic internship instead of in med school.

I’m sorry, Nuclear Medicine Doctor, high school clinicals teacher Ms. Dee, all of my clinicals classmates who expected medical greatness of me, all of my teachers that swore up and down I’d go on to excel as a doctor, my AVID teacher Ms. Dar, my parents, and myself. I’m sorry.

~*~*~

My next deterrent from medical school wasn’t the crushing fear of losing my humanity. (Though that was always present.) It was a wrong click when I enrolled to university. Come back for part two next week to read about fateful click!

Note:

Picture is of my physiology class material sophomore year in university.

 

 

 

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What I’ve Lost and What I Should Not Find… Yet Or Maybe Ever.

Originally Published February 26, 2018

It’s hard to live life missing something, but it’s almost impossible and tangibly painful when you are aware of what it is you are missing. What I am struggling with is common. Boys. Ick! I never really cared for them in a romantic sense. They were my buddies growing up. I associated girls with drama and guys were so much more chill. It was easy hanging out with them. Sometimes, yeah, I’ll admit often times, I’d flirt. In my last year of middle school I discovered the joys of flirting. It flustered guys and that made me feel good. It made me feel powerful. Influential. Important. Though, I did not date in my school years, I flirted. Still today, I’m a big flirt.

It was like a game to me. How to make the opposite sex blush. Because that’s often how it would go with the boys in my league. They were shy and quiet types. Often intellectuals. On one of these occasions I got an offer I’d never gotten before. A next step, if you will. By this time, I was 20 years old. I’d gone on one, I repeat, one (there was no second!) date. And now I was offered a relationship request. The last time I had been asked to be someone’s girlfriend was in fifth grade. I ran off the playground and left that kid standing there with his heart in his hands! So you can bet, I considered this request.

In the end, I accepted. This changed my life in too many ways to count. The one change I’m struggling with now is simple. I, for the first time in a romantic sense, got love and affection and attention. Up to this point, I lived my life solitary. It was my normal. It wasn’t a problem. It was just my life. I didn’t know another way… until my first relationship. Yes, my first relationship was at 20 years old. Actually, a month before turning 21! I just barely committed to someone before having my first shot. Also, yes, I did wait until I was 21 to drink. This tells you even more about the type of person I was… maybe still am.

My long winded point being that by experiencing a relationship I got to experience all the wonders that come along with it. For the first time in my life, I had a person. My person. Someone I trusted with all of my secrets. I trusted him with my whole being. I never felt judged. This was HUGE for me. As you lovely readers may have picked up on, I’m wary of people. I don’t open up easily. I have a twinge of paranoia about everyone and everything. I surprised myself with him. I gave myself totally and, arguably, gave more than I had to give.

In return, I got love. Love so deep and beautiful that I had never experienced before. People have loved me before. My parents, friends, and family members, of course. But never an other. Never someone completely distant. Never a stranger who owed me nothing. Never someone who I could not explain away his care for me. Because before we were in a relationship we were strangers. He had no reason to love me. But he did. We clicked. We understood each other. That was one of the biggest things for me. No one had ever tried to understand me. Not my friends, or even my parents. He not only tried to understand me, but I sincerely believe that he did.

Aside from understanding, and genuine love, I got something I had never experienced with anyone before: physical affection. Since I had gone on one date in my life prior to this relationship, I had not done so much as sit next to a boy before him. With him, I learned the beauty of holding someone’s hand and crying in someone’s arms. I was so jittery in the beginning. I could not sit still. I didn’t know how. He taught me it’s okay to just lay with someone. Just lay together and enjoy each other’s presence.

I don’t have that anymore.

It was okay before I ever had it, because I did not know what I was missing. Since I didn’t know, I did not feel like I was missing anything. Back then, love and hugs were like a fairy tale to me. They were this mythical creature that I’d run into in the future. Not a concern of the present. Even after breaking up, I wasn’t too torn up about this. I went a bit extreme. That, “I swear off boys” phase. I really was done. No hugs, no love? I really did not care. I did not want it. I had it and it hurt me. It was not worth it.

But now…

If no one had poked my bubble. I would have done fine on my own. I was adjusting well back into singledom. But someone popped my bubble. Now I crave. I want. I need. But I don’t have. And it’s killing me.

I know I let him pop my bubble. It’s just so hard to say no when I have seen life outside this wretched bubble. But it is not time. This is not my hand to hold. I need to remember, and accept, that my life is meant to be alone. I need to be my own best friend. My own support. My own care giver. Then, and only then, can I think of a partner.

Please, wish me luck.

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The Mock Interview

Originally Published February 18, 2018

Look! Another old blog draft. You’ll probably be able to tell where the draft ended and where I added the ending, but I hope it’s still entertaining. Here it is:

Let me tell y’all a story…

Today, I went to my university’s career center to do a mock interview. It’s for a class and not a big deal. So, I wake up early. I think, “Yeah, two hours before my interview is enough time to shower and get ready for this thing”. Fast forward to 7:00 in the morning. Snooze. Snooze. Snooze. I didn’t get up until 8:15 am. My interview was set for 9:00 am. Yep. I got dressed, lazily printed out a couple of resumes and searched my whole apartment for a belt and decent jacket. Finding neither, I start walking to the door. I have approximately twenty minutes to get to my interview which is, conveniently, a mile away. Now, I live relatively close to my university, but a mile is a mile.

I shyly slide into my roommate’s side of the apartment hoping not to catch her as she’s brushing her teeth or (like a couple weeks ago) watching YouTube videos au naturel. Luckily she was doing neither of those things. She was just going through her closet like a normal human being when I asked her about the parking situation for the building I was heading to. Upon discovering that this would not be an option for me I start to walk away. Like the good human being that she is though, she scolds me about not taking a jacket and goes ahead and gives me one. She also gives me a belt for bonus points.

Quick side note about my roommate. Let’s call her Mariah. She is one of the sweetest most caring person I have ever met. But she believes in tough love. You’ll hear more about this in coming blogs, I’m sure. Alright, back to the story.

So, with borrowed jacket and belt donned, I take off. 17 minutes. That’s okay. I planned to ride my bike anyway. One mile has nothing on my Huffy Cruiser! I cross the street and go to grab my bike, but it’s not there. That’s when I remember I moved it closer to my college. It’d be more convenient I had said at the time. Great. Just great. 15 minutes now and still .8 miles to go. I could sidetrack and get my bike but that’d be about a quarter of the journey I already had. No! I decided. I will walk! I will walk, and I will make it on time!

Somehow, I do arrive exactly at 9 am. But, what’s this? This isn’t the career center! It’s hospitality services. A few paces ahead: student housing. Oh gosh. I’m late.

After this whole ordeal to make it to my mock interview I end up flying through it and getting multiple compliments and a few pointers for the real thing. It was extremely surprising to hear that I have nothing to worry about in a real interview. The mock interviewer said I seemed relaxed and natural. I’ve never thought people skills come naturally to me, but it’s moments like these that make me pause and think, “hey, maybe anything is possible…”.

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Why Be Happy?

Originally Published February 18, 2018

Hey guys, I found a draft from a post I was working on during winter break. It’s got a tiny story moment so I figure why not post it. I’m doing better in regards to the happy issue, but that’s today. Here’s that old blog:

Y’all deserve a happy blog. But, I am not happy. I feel like I should be. Not for myself. That seems like a nice perk though. I feel the need to be happy for those around me. After all, who wants to hang out with someone who is sulking in the corner? In public, such as when I am walking around campus (background info, I’m a senior in university), I used to feel pressured to hold a light smile. Why? People in high school would periodically approach me with a concerned look on their faces and ask if I was okay. It’d baffle me every single time. First, that someone was talking to me as that was rare in those days. Second, by the question itself. “Yeah, I’m fine. Why do you ask?” was my common response. The answer? Infallibly, it would either be “You looked really sad.” or “You looked really angry.”.

This didn’t end in high school. Once, maybe a year or two ago, I was on campus looking for the electrical engineering building. There was a meeting for the software development club that afternoon. Now, I’m not an engineer or a programmer, so I gave myself ample time to find the building. By the time I did, I still had at least fifteen minutes to spare. So, I did what any sensible socially awkward person would do. I sat outside a side entrance and waited in blissful solitude. It began getting dark when a young woman exited the building and approached me with that same concerned look I’d forgotten about. She asked me if I was okay. Baffled as always, I replied I was fine. She looked at me a second longer and explained that I looked very sad. Just as quickly, she gave me a kind smile and walked away. I sat there dumbfounded under the setting sun before deciding to head inside despite the likelihood of social interaction.  (I never went to another one of those meetings.)

Why do I feel the need to be happy around co-workers, subordinates, friends, and family?

***

I don’t want to be a burden. I don’t want to be the weakest link. The last resort. I want people to want to hang out with me. I want to promote friendships. I don’t want people to equate me with a boring or sad time. In high school I dedicated myself to my studies and only my studies. I was quiet and sullen. No one talked to me unless I had cupcakes, it seemed. (A strong factor in why I learned to bake, I’m sure.) 

Being positive and happy around co-workers makes people want to work with you. It makes work more fun and easier. Around subordinates, it helps to get work done because people are generally more receptive to orders given with a smile than a furrowed brow. With friends, positivity makes you a good option to have fun together. Same with family, and all the other categories.

It all comes down to this: Looking happy (even if you don’t feel it) builds relationships. It lets others know that you are receptive to fun or positive experiences and thus, encourages people to invite you to have a fun, positive time with them. Happiness is a social beacon. 

I don’t know about you guys, but I want to attract happy, positive people. Even if they are people like me who may not feel like that all the time. That’s okay. I want to be able to put aside any pain or pessimism in my life and be able to have fun and be happy despite it all. And I want to find people who can do that too. 

So, I’ll continue to smile, even as I cry, because I want people around me to know that those two things are not mutually exclusive. I hope you reading this can find a smile within you today and all your days to come (no matter how small or fleeting that smile may be). Take care, friends. 🙂

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The Time I Snuck Out with a Boy to the Library

June 22, 2018

I’ve been procrastinating on writing this story. I really didn’t think anyone would vote in the survey, but alas, I have given my word. This is the story of the time I snuck out with a boy to go to the library.

 

Sneaking out is a harsh phrase. It’s not like I climbed out my window in the middle of the night or anything like that. We were supposed to be in school. Noo, not even as bad as that sounds. Classes had ended for the day, and he and I were expected at a practice with the math team. I was a junior in high school and had, miraculously, continued going to practices even though math was not a huge passion of mine. He, on the other hand, (let’s call him… Colton) was part of the math team for the same reason birds fly. It was just natural to him.

I don’t know how much to tell you. The essence of the story is that us two nerds on the math team once skipped practice to go hang out at the library. Really. That’s as exciting as it gets. If you knew me back in high school, you’d know I was not a risk taker at all. I was the quiet type, who kept her head down and avoided all the trouble she could. For this reason, I rarely skipped math team. In fact, it’s probably the reason I was still on the team even though I never placed more than fourth in local competitions. Whenever I missed a meeting, my math team coach (uhh, let’s say Dr. Hib) would ask a ton of questions. He also occasionally preached about how much better our team would be if we had a daily class like some of our competitors.

I’m getting side tracked. Point is, skipping, even an extracurricular activity, was unheard of to me. Maybe if there were extenuating circumstances, but on purpose? Never! …Except that day. I’d been wanting to hang out with Colton for a long time at this point. Part of me is terrified he’ll read this story someday, but I’m going to pretend that that doesn’t matter. We’d had a sort of falling out that year and I really wanted to set things right.

Super long story short, we had been talking (flirty puppy love) all of sophomore year, but we never officially got together. I’d never been interested in someone this way before, so I was completely and utterly lost on what to do with my feelings. So, I just denied everything. Can you guess what my favorite song at the time was? “I Can’t Say I’m in Love”. You know, the song from the Disney movie Hercules? Yeah, that probably should have given me a clue, but not even a smack on the head could have jogged my brain enough to realize what was going on back then.

Well, when the library thing happened, we hardly talked at all. During our prime we’d email like teens text nowadays. For hours, whenever we had a spare minute. During the summer? Gosh. The email people had their work cut out for them. And then junior year began, and those conversations began to seem like rosy delusions in comparison to the snappy arguments we began having over lunch, and later the meaningless waves in the hall. Seriously! We began to argue about everything.  We once argued about the role of mosquitos in society! So, when I finally convinced him to take me to the library with him, I had no problem missing math team that day. It was a sort of last ditch effort to be friends again.

I don’t remember exactly what the situation was, but for some reason he’d go to the library after school to be picked up by a family member and driven home. He’d told me to just show up one day if I really wanted to, but I wasn’t about to go looking for him and risk him giving me one of those casual waves and nothing more. I must have annoyed him about it, because eventually he broke down and told me to meet him after school so we could walk the two or so blocks to the library together. Once inside, we went to the little teen area with computers and tables nestled between bookshelves and windows leading to some other office-like space.

I remember it being like old times. We talked, goofed around. He even helped me prank another friend of mine that I emailed at the time. (We’ll call him AJ.) We did nothing and everything I could have asked for that day. It couldn’t have been more than an hour before I said my farewell and began walking back to school. It’s not like I’d told my mother where I was. All she knew was that it was a math team day, so I trekked back on campus and casually sat under my favorite tree until she arrived. No questions asked, and none given.

A couple of years later, when I was sure she couldn’t get mad about it anymore, I confessed what I really did that day. To my surprise, she didn’t even bat an eye. Quite the opposite! She essentially scoffed at me! She thought it was funny that I was so proud of my most rebellious teenage moment! And it was. That’s the truly sad part. This was probably the riskiest thing I attempted before turning 18. Ah, to be young and innocent again. Young and blindly rule following, more like.

And what ever became of Colton? I’m not sure. In high school, we eventually stopped talking altogether. I remember two times in particular. One was where I’d said hello to him in the hall, but he either really didn’t hear me or pretended not to. It was an empty hallway, so I firmly believe it was the later. The second, was in a busy hallway where he refused to turn around and acknowledge my existence. So, I gave him a quick hug from behind instead. That was the last time I spoke to him in high school.

Yes, I did say in high school. We emailed a few times after we graduated and even went on a date some time after. However, now the fact is that we have not spoken or emailed in over a year and I’m not sure if we ever will again. Sometimes I wonder what he’s doing or what he ended up studying/dedicating his life to. Like I said, he was wicked smart, and I suspect he still is. Only time will tell whether our lives will ever intersect again. *

 

Notes:

  1. Of course, I had to end with a math reference! ^-^
  2. All of the names in this post are pseudo names. If you happen to know the actual names of the people I refer to, please grant them the same privacy that I have by not naming them or otherwise making them identifiable.
  3. I hope you enjoyed the story. Thank you to everyone who voted in the survey. I hope this story was worthwhile. Maybe I’ll make another survey someday with some of the rebellious things I did as an adult. I’m no daredevil, but life has a way of forcing excitement into our days. Explore my blog for more stories (Thoughts and Past tab) or to keep up with me (My Life Now tab). Thanks again!
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Need or Want?

Why do we love? Do we need people or want people? I was in a therapy group called “Understanding Self and Others”. There was a participant there who seemed very cut off from people. It seemed like he hadn’t dealt with others in years. He was in recovery for drugs or alcohol. I don’t remember which and he often referred to women as a separate species. He wasn’t my favorite. But, he kept going to group. As did I. And one day he said something that still intrigues me to this day. He was looking to better his life. Going textbook. I used to be like this.

I used to do things because I was told. I didn’t have a drink of alcohol till I was 21 because I was taught it messed with growth and development along with all the other nasty side effects. I did not date in high school because my parents frowned upon it. I didn’t start dieting until I turned 18 because of the consequences to growth and whatnot. I didn’t graduate early from high school because people told me to enjoy my youth and not to speed it up. I went for advisable. Safe. Boring. I don’t drive or leave the house unless I have to because my mother installed an unhealthy fear of car wrecks in me. And you know what I am most regretful for? That I allowed it. I allowed others to decide my life for me. I trusted slogans and chimes from transient people more than myself. Then I didn’t.

Then I went to college. I went despite my father’s wishes. I went on a camping trip that first year and stayed quiet as a friend who’d been sleeping the whole car ride decided to drive on the last leg back to campus. I stood there as the current driver hesitated to hand her the car keys and looked at me for confirmation, a reaction, something! And I stood there! Didn’t say a word, until I was in that car swerving on and off the highway when I was screaming “STOP!” as I clutched on to both overhead handles in the backseat.

After that day, I expected my life to change. I expected to value my existence or suddenly see all the beauty in the world that I had missed. I didn’t. I was disappointed. I was confused. It took me several more years—It took me until now to appreciate that moment. I understood it, intellectually, since it happened. I kicked myself for not speaking up. It’s one of my character flaws. Yet, I continue to rely on others and keep my mouth shut. It grates me to depend on others. It’s what I’ve done my whole life. But people are wrong. Or sometimes they are right. The one thing they never are, is me.

So, when they tell me not to drink before I’m 21, or to value my family, they are speaking in generalities. They don’t know what’s best for me, even if they wanted that for me. I don’t either. I don’t know if I want what’s best for me. I read a book for my high school English class either sophomore or junior year. The Picture of Dorian Gray. All I got out of that was a new vocab word: hedonist. One who lives for their sole pleasure. And with that new word, I got a new life philosophy. A fantasy. I still care about others and that’s what is killing me miserably.

The guy in the “Understanding Self and Others” therapy group asked if people, friends specifically, were necessary for life. I don’t remember if he said a good life. I think he just meant in general. My response to that, and many others chimed off with agreement, is that friends-people- aren’t necessary. Life goes on with or without them, but with is much more enjoyable. So, he became quiet, having the answer he sought, and the rest of the group watched with worry and sadness as we saw a calm, hushed fuzz come over his eyes. There was the smallest glimmer of disappointment that faded into his meaningless stare. Just because something isn’t necessary, doesn’t mean it isn’t worth pursuing.

Since that semester, fall of 2016, (reinforced by the fact that it was the semester I began dating my first boyfriend) I have had a complex between the binaries of want and need. My argument firmly on want being more important. Allow me to explain. Humans need water to live, but we don’t love it. We want soda and juice and tea and coffee and a myriad of things that pollute that which we need-water. If we wanted water instead of forcing it upon us as a necessity, I argue that people, as a species, would do exponentially more than we do now to preserve and protect this jewel of our planet. More than we do now that we need it.

Likewise, if I need someone, I use them. Maybe I keep them around for emotional support, maybe they have a car and I don’t, or they feed me. Whatever the reason, if I stay with them because I need to, because I must. It’s not really my choice. However, if I want to share my feelings and thoughts with them, I want to spend time in the passenger seat with them, and I like the food they make, it is my choice. I don’t like being forced into things. Even if they are the things I would have chosen myself. But there is no clear distinction between want and need. I never know if I am talking to a friend about something because I want to have a conversation with them, because I like them, or because they were the best person for the job.

And what if they are the best person for the job? I wouldn’t go to my grandmother for sex advice! Is it wrong that I go to my best friend? No! Of course, not. Want and need are Venn diagrams. There is overlap. Often times more that I would ever wish. I don’t know. I don’t know how to classify everything I say or do. I don’t know why I do anything or nothing. I don’t know if I want the life I have, or if I need it. All I know, is that I have the life I have, and I can either do nothing or something with it.

Our bodies instinctively do what they must to survive. If we need water, we get thirsty. However, when we get thirsty we decide whether to drink water or vodka. Or anything else. I can choose how to handle my needs through my wants. That’s why it’s so important to keep a balance. All vodka and no water makes Jack a drunk boy. But, only water makes him almost inhuman. We need variety. Or do we want it? Either way, it’s the human way of life. I refuse to listen to every piece of advice I get from parents, teachers, religious figures etc. and follow their instructions. But, I also refuse to ignore them.

This mentality has gotten me into trouble. Listen, then decide for myself. I’ve been doing it for a few years now. It got me into a nine-month relationship, a year of exploring different kinds of alcohol, and much anguish. It also got me to go to college, have a pet turtle for a year, and start this blog. Whatever my philosophy in life, good things will happen, and bad things will happen. I’d rather make my own decisions and be there when it’s time to take pride or take responsibility for the fall out.

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Mis Miedos

Originalmente Publicado 10 diciembre 2017

<< ¿A que le tienes tanto miedo? >>, él preguntó.

Mi ex novio, mis padres, y recientemente, mi compañero de cuarto me han preguntado esto. Los ignoré a todos. Excepto a Richard.

Mi compañero de cuarto (lo llamaremos Richard) me convenció ir a caminar con él una noche. Me sentía reluctante por la hora tarde, pero fui de todos modos. Él caminaba calmadamente por lo mientras que yo casi corría por la paranoia que sentía. Eso es cuando preguntó la pregunta crucial: << ¿A que le tienes tanto miedo? >>. Al no contestarle, él sugirió << ¿Asesinos? ¿Violadores? >>. Negué con la cabeza y respondí débilmente, << No violadores, pero sí, rateros y asesinos.>>.

Silencio una vez más. Nada excepto el sonido de carros zumbando al pasarnos y nuestros pasos ocasionalmente crujiendo sobre hojas de otoño muertas y secas. Después de varios momentos, con un aliento amable y curioso, preguntó, << ¿Por qué? ¿Te ha pasado algo?>>.

Lo dijo tan sinceramente, sin ni una huella de malicia en su voz. Entonces, lo consideré.  Por la primera vez, no descarté esa pregunta desgraciada con una actitud arrogante. Pero antes de poder colectar mis pensamientos, él compartió sus propias experiencias. << Me han atropellado carros. Me han disparado. Me han perseguido perros y gente. Por eso no le tengo miedo a nada.>>.

Lo confesó con tanta casualidad. Era como si me dijera el tiempo de día en vez de situaciones profundas y personales de su vida. Consideré sus palabras unos momentos más. <<Estaba en un carro que se salió girando de la carretera. Esa es mi única experiencia cercana a la muerte.>>.

 Continuamos caminando con crujidos callados a nuestros pies y ráfagas de viento pasándonos detrás de la docena de carros todavía en las calles a las 10 pm entre semana. Ocasionalmente yo rompía el trance para añadir, << Pues, un conocido mío pretendió raptarme una vez. Aunque, por supuesto, yo no sabía que él estaba pretendiendo cuando lo hizo.>> o << Fui muy amparada de niña. En verdad, nada tan malo pasó.>>

Eso hace sentido, ¿no? Si no has estado expuesto a peligro o trauma, cuando algo nuevo o inesperado pasa que amenaza tu seguridad, tu cuerpo empieza a temblar con miedo y anticipación. Después te quiebras.

No siempre.

A veces sientes ese revoltijo de trepidación tantas veces que se empieza a sentir normal. Es como hacer pesas. Tal vez empiezas con dos kilos como un cerdo fuera de estado y se siente como la montaña Everest en tus brazos flácidos y temblorosos. Pero después de semanas, meses, o años de esos mismos dos kilos se sienten como nada.

¿Por qué? Porque lo haz hecho antes. Nuestros cuerpos les encanta aprender por experiencias y son expertos en hacerlo. ¿Nunca haz cuidado un bebé? Diviértete cuando se mie en ti. ¿Creciste con media docena de hermanitos y tuviste cinco propios? La gente te lanzará bebés berrinchudos para que los cuides.

Lo mismo aplica con experiencias negativas. Después de suficientes encuentros con hombres raros haciéndome ojitos he aprendido que la bondad sólo los motiva. Aun si es una bondad fuera de cortesía. También he aprendido que cualquier persona que te enseña su colección de cuchillos antes de un mes de conocerlos o antes de que les des alguna pista que eres aficionado de cuchillos, es mejor despedirse de él con rapidez. Haber dicho eso, no tengo miedo de tipos raros pidiendo mi numero por lo mientras que intento comprar dulces en la tienda. Esto me ha pasado. Después de esa y otras situaciones, yo sé como tratar tipos raros.

Los que no sé tratar son rateros y asesinos. Violadores también supongo. Nunca he estado en una situación en donde me ha perseguido un perro o me han disparado. ¡Ni con una pistola de agua! No tengo experiencia en mi pasado en cual depender y no tengo entrenamiento de defensa propia o cualquier otro tipo de estrategia de prevención. No temo ataques de perros porque crecí con perros y sé como comportarme cerca de un perro agresivo. tengo miedo de asesinos paseándose por las calles buscando una victima al lazar porque no he tratado con gente enojada, mucho menos con gente homicida.

Lo desconocido y impredecible. Caos y impotencia. Eso es a lo que le tengo tanto miedo.

¿Pero como te preparas para lo desconocido e impredecible? Haz lo que puedas ahora y confía o ten esperanza que serás lo suficientemente astuto y fuerte para sobrepasar el resto.

En el tiempo que llegué a estas conclusiones, Richard y yo estábamos a un par de pasos de nuestro apartamento. No habíamos dicho ni una palabra por mucho tiempo y no empezamos a ese momento. En vez de eso, subimos las escaleras en silencio. Él sin enterarse de mis revelaciones que cambiarían mi vida y yo con una sonrisa leve en mis labios.  

 

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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.