When Life Gives You Citrus

If I said I hadn’t gotten behind in life, I would be lying.

I’m one month away from finishing my generalist practicum-which means from here on out, it’s Chaos City. Client sessions that need terminated, logs to fill out, papers to write, and a book to finalize (I’m in the final stages of edits and I am SO thankful for that!).

As I’m wrapping up my practicum, I was asked to reflect a bit and I wanted to talk through that with you lovely folks.

Stress levels are a funny thing. I always thought of them as something you could just feel. Physical symptoms that let you know about your mental wellbeing. But as I’ve come to understand, stress doesn’t always look like one thing. Sometimes it’s getting to the end of your shift and realizing you’ve had your shoulders clenched for 8 hours. Sometimes it’s being fine all day and then as someone else comes in, you bolt out the door because you need some air. Sometimes it’s the knotted stomach too. But nihilism is a really comforting thing if you think about it. Everything ends eventually. As for coping strategies, well, I’ve outgrown a couple, reintroduced a few and discovered the difference between routine maintenance and self-care. I spend every weekend doing a face mask and meal prepping because it makes me better. That’s routine maintenance. I take breaks in my day and color or take pictures of beautiful things or work magic or do social activities or work out. That’s self-care. I tell my clients that they have to allow themselves to be human. Strong emotions aren’t bad emotions. They are deserving of being felt and acknowledged. If I need to cry, I do so. If I need to scream, I do that too. I keep a journal, I listen to what my body needs. And that is something I’ve never done before, but will continue to do. 

I took a partial shift at one night and in the span of 3 hours, I had to deal with 4 crises. I kept waiting for the moment I could catch my breath but it didn’t come. Each crisis was interrupted by another one. And I kept wondering if I was cut out for that. But at the end of the shift, I couldn’t help but smile because I’d knocked it out of the park. Had I made some mistakes? Absolutely. Did I do my job? Sure did. And that’s when I realized just how much I’d changed. I mean, last year I was just coming out of law school and I had no confidence in myself whatsoever. I thought I was going to ruin people’s lives and that I couldn’t possibly handle things by myself. And here I was, rocking a crisis cycle like an old pro.

I start my clinical year in just 2 months. And I know that’s when I start my specialization (and career goals). I go into it ready (which is SO nice).

Coming up for me this summer:
Finishing my generalist
Finishing Summer Classes
Moving
Family visits
Clinical Orientation
Clinical Year
Finishing my novel edits (and then its time to get hyped!)
Bringing y’all some sweet previews and spoilers for that novel

I’m still here. And great things are coming.

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In Five Years

Five years ago, I opened this blog. I took a chance on letting the world see my inner thoughts. From there, it became a place to rant, to escape, to process. I changed majors, graduated college, moved across the country, began and ended law school, started a masters degree and have made some beautiful memories.

I wanted to do a little “back in the day”, just to see how different things really are.

Big Things in 2014:
Top Movies: American Sniper, Maleficent, Captain America: The Winter Soldier
Top Songs: Happy, Dark Horse, All About that Bass, Blank Space
Culture Phenomenon: The Ice Bucket Challenge
Oldest Human: 111 year old Alexander Imich (who survived the Holocaust and Soviet gulags)
Internet: Bots outnumbered humans for the first time (this would be relevant in 2016)
Time’s Person of the Year: Ebola Fighters

I feel like the fact that this was only 5 years ago blows my mind. So much has changed since then-far beyond the top entertainment. Who knew that in just a handful of years, I’d be politically savvy, I’d be trauma-informed and interning as a master’s student?

The journey has been wild, folks. But that’s how you know it’s gonna be a good story.

This One Has an Update In It

I figured it had been a while, and I wanted to make sure I wasn’t leaving anyone high and dry.

I’m now successfully beyond the caffeine-and-preservative withdrawals. I’ve been off soda (pop) for 2 months now and it’s going well. The longest I’ve been without it is 6 months, so still a while to go before I beat my record, but darn it, it’s a start. Next steps: remove the sugary drinks from my life: like pre-made tea. This one is going to take a WHILE. Especially because I actually enjoy them for taste not energy.

I had a super successful KissPitch-with 5 likes on a single pitch! I’m approaching 4 weeks on a few queries and I’m (im)patiently waiting. But I’m also writing a new book, just in case I get lucky!

What else? Apart from the snow days, my MSW placement is going super well! I’m learning a ton and I really feel like I’m reaching new levels of awareness. I told everyone in my private life and now I can talk about all the reasons I left law school with all the people who want to know.

And speaking of school, I’m closing in on the halfway point of my program! It feels like I’m ready to get out there and make changes. B got into his PhD program! So this summer we’ll be moving once again (for the last time for a while). We’re both super excited, and I look forward to getting back to culture!

I’ve been focusing on self-care lately, and it’s been paying off. I’m mostly just ready to be moving along in the process.

Anyway, I just wanted to pop in and say I’m still floating!

I’ll have more fun articles soon!

It’s Been A Beautiful Journey

Change is hard.

When I started this blog, I had hopes that it would be like a journal to track this amazing progression. From not knowing anything about life to making my life into something great. And it’s been a really wild thing. I went from abstract writing pieces to mental health advocacy to political work to coping mechanisms and then some. And that’s been really cool.

But I can’t justify keeping this blog open for the nostalgia of it. I start more blogs than I finish, I post once a month and I’ve lost my passion somewhere along the way. And that’s not what I wanted. Now I’m at a crossroads. I can try to “fake it til I make it” and put fluff pieces up until I feel real again, or I can say goodbye.

I started out with great intentions. I wanted to be edgy and hipster and fantastic-with pieces that changed people’s minds and opened their hearts. But somewhere along the way, I lost that. And I can’t wait for it to come back. I have to go out and find it.

So this isn’t goodbye forever. This is goodbye until.

Until writing makes me feel alive.
Until blogging is passionate.
Until I discover what it is that I’m searching for.

Change is hard. But I was never meant to live on the sidelines anyway.

I’ll check the comments for a while-because I’ve made such wonderful friends along the way and I don’t want to lose you. I just don’t want y’all to feel like I dropped off the face of the planet without notice.

Live well.

Tale of the Cursed Hot Pants

So this story is purely for fun, but it’s true and it happens to me a pretty substantial amount, so I’m convinced what I’m saying is fact.

My parents live on a farm in the middle of nowhere, and everywhere around them is a bunch of farms. Population: some people, many livestock. So it’s not uncommon for farm clothes-including clothes which you would not wear out in a large public venue. Enter hot pants. They’re grassy green athletic shorts, so not quite hot pants. But let’s break this down. I’m a large person, wearing what can only be deemed to be booty shorts. They’re not super revealing, but I definitely wouldn’t wear them in public. And they are cursed.

Anyway, my dad always treated everyone with respect, and still does. I definitely am glad I had that as a foundation in my life. And that extended to solicitors at our house.

This is where the story gets interesting. So I had been working out at my parent’s house and was sweaty and gross. I was walking around the front of the house to go in and get some water when who should appear but the two Jehovah’s Witnesses that frequented our house.

Now, of course, I can’t just outrun them and pretend I didn’t see them. So I go inside, grab a towel and by that time, they’re at the door. So I open it and step outside. And they proceed to stand SUPER close and have an extended chat. Great. I try not to be rude, but a teenager in short shorts next to a married couple in Sunday clothes isn’t really what I had in mind. Plus, I stunk. So they show me videos and I wish them well, and then I lock the door and take a shower.

Speed up to this past week. The note on my door said the pest control guy was supposed to show that day, but it was going on 4 and I assumed he’d already come and gone. I’m unwinding from classes when all of a sudden, there’s a knock at my door. I think “Oh, the pest guy was running late.” And holler out “Just a minute!”. I take the dog and put him in the room, and throw on a hoodie. I swing the door open, and who should it be, but the Kansas Jehovah’s Witnesses. And take a guess about what the state of my legs was. That’s right. The same cursed shorts that I’d kept. Great.

And of course, I stepped outside and we all chatted like it wasn’t anything. Except for these two women in floor length skirts and me, in my green athletic shorts. Thankfully, they were much quicker about their message than the ones my dad befriended, but boy was I glad when they left.

So long story short, I need to salt and burn my shorts. Because I’m gonna develop a reputation.

Save The World

I think that for a great many people, there comes a point when your dreams are forgotten. And I’m not talking about asleep dreams. I’m talking about passion. About what wakes you up to push hard enough to fall asleep in exhaustion.

I think it looks far too specific when we’re young. What do you want to do when you grow up? requires a specific title. Doctor. Lawyer. President. Ballerina. Veterinarian. But what is lacking from that question is the follow up: Why? I think it’s there that people (myself included) run into trouble.

If you’d told me, at the ripe old age of 5 (or 10 or 15 or even 22) that I was going to be a lawyer (student) at 24-what would my first question have been?

Why?

Image result for passion free

When I was younger, I would answer that first question with mortician. Not because I particularly liked the idea of working with dead people, but because I’d seen a couple close up at funerals and they looked terrifying. I wanted to make them look like they were sleeping, to catch the bad guys, or something like that. I wanted to help people. I was told that that wasn’t a proper job for a lady (which is absolutely wrong), and looked further. Doctor? Pediatrician? And then much (much) later: Lawyer?

It was hard for me to give up the idea of working in medicine. By the time I was old enough to decide what field to go into, I hated the idea of going into it. I was still trying to fit my heart and soul into that lab coat I’d been metaphorically carrying around for more than a decade. Why was it so hard to let go?

Because no one told me that there are a thousand ways to save a person.

I wanted to change the world, save lives, help people. No one ever really explained to me that saving people is possible in nearly every job-you just have to see the possibility. I learned that saving the body may not save the heart and soul, may not heal the pain and ease the burden of the baggage they carry. I learned that while I wanted to fix bodies, there was much more to a person than just their skin.

So in the wake of all the bad news that’s burst through televisions, over radios and across paper these last few weeks, I have to ask.

How are you saving people? Are you living your passion?

Law School Month 2.5 (3) In Review

I’m taking a moment from my homework to reflect on how far I’ve come in three months. That sounds absurd on the surface, I know, but if you consider that there are almost a thousand miles between who I was an who I am now, I think that’s a pretty reasonable thing to sit down and process. I’ve been meaning to do this for a while, but why not procrastinate with a little self-reflection?

The Road So Far:

No matter how many blogs/articles/lists/prep worksheets I absorbed, not one told me that moving 15 hours away from my whole life would be lonely. I know-again, on the surface obvious. My husband, dog and I all made the journey and I thought once law school started, I’d make friends, enjoy life and blah, blah, blah. What I didn’t expect: times when I felt jealous that people could see their families on weekends and mine only existed in phone calls. Things I knew-but the gravity of was lost on me.

I hated change. The first week or so here, I hated it. I hated the way it smelled, the way my face puffed up because I’d never been exposed to the extreme quantities of prairie grass pollen, the way everything had seemed so cheery online but so dim and sad in person. I hated how unfamiliar everything was.

Then I started law school.

I loved how new everything was. I could be exactly who I wanted to be, no baggage, no debates, no one to call me out for embarrassing things I’d done in middle school. I was Misha-the coffee guzzling, pop culture referencing student who just wanted to fit in. I found a group of friends who were delightful and I immediately loved all the change.

I settled into the first month the way I think runners collapse into bed after a marathon. (I don’t know, of course, because I don’t run, but I like to think this exists.) I was exhausted, I felt that I had no time to do anything and I couldn’t manage to convince myself that I really could go to school and volunteer or work or anything else but sleep.

Month two was filled with secrets made open. This group of friends I’d only met a month before suddenly knew things about me that it had taken years for my “home” friends. We began to rely on each other for things outside of law school-clothes shopping, excursions to parks and for coffee, funny snaps to brighten days. We knew that there wasn’t so much competition between us: it was us against everyone else.

And now, month three is coming to a close.

I’ve gotten through my first round of exams (and man-what an eye opener!), managed to hand in a legal memo, survived a couple law induced break downs (and helped friends do the same), helped a friend move, and met a ridiculously cool mentor (who makes me feel like I don’t have to change everything about myself in order to succeed). But what’s more-I’ve learned how to debate, draft concise documents, read a bajillion pages in a few hours, set aside time for myself and how to swing a couple splurge moments that helped save the day. I know it’s wildly early to say “I got this.” but it’s a lot better than it started out as. I have a rhythm, I’m making it work.

At the end of the day, I’m not sure how I feel about Kansas. But I do know that I’ve had my eyes opened more often than I thought possible and I don’t hate change anymore. If you recall, my goal for this adventure was to be comfortable being uncomfortable, and I think I’m finally getting the hang of it.

And for three and a half months, that’s pretty good.