Thankfulness, Day 21

It’s taken me all day to think up a post for today. I feel like I’ve done a lot of great topics already. Did I cover everything? Certainly not. Am I done being thankful? No. And as seems to be my style, a story would benefit.

I can name a dozen ways to explain why I am the way I am. Sagittarian. First born. Cat person. Daughter of the eclipsing moon. INFP. Born-again pagan. College student. Vegetarian. Wife. 

All of those things affect a certain portion of who I am, but it isn’t an entire picture.

Who I am is a legion of people, all crammed inside one body. I am the one who fulfills duties, fulfills roles set out because of the choices that I have made (daughter, wife, sister). I am the one who devoted my life to learning. I am the one who chooses not to eat meat. I am the one who desires the company of a select few in place of being part of the popular crowd (maybe I am a cat). I am the one who looks within, observes more than judges and is left with more questions than answers. One who is born under an eclipse is more likely to be one who is driven by passion and consumed by it (A binary). I am the one who is many.
  Part of the reason I’m having so much trouble finding things to write about is because it is the end of the semester and I just can’t. I know that there is much stress, but it’s more than that. I’m not saying this because I want a bunch of people to reach out and say “You’ve got this.” I’m writing it because I promised to always tell the truth. And to tell only part of the truth is telling a lie. 

I can never tell the full story of my life, because it is not over. I wake up each day a new person, someone I was not the day before. Because I keep fighting to make myself better. And therefore, I am different each day. Not necessarily better or worse. Just different. But the thing is, it’s exceptionally easy to just get caught in the moment, in the same rut that consumes me each time and have to stop. It’s like making your way through the desert because you need to get out, but coming back to the same oasis because you can’t seem to find your way.

I feel like a burden. Like I ask for help more than I am able to give it. I make up for that in my mannerisms or at least I try to. But at the end of the day, my attempts take quite a bit out of me and I am reduced to being the same girl I was in high school: insecure, broken. Last night, I kept my very accepting husband up for a while because I had conviced myself that I wasn’t pulling my weight in our marriage. I was reduced to tears, wondering why it fell to me to be the one who had so many opportunities and advantages, but to be unable to use them.

I am smart. I am confident. I am succeeding in life (as much as I can, anyway). But not one single ounce of that mattered. My life became defined by a series of counter-facts: I am worthless. I am stupid. I am never going to succeed. And it’s a trend that I always feel coming, like a black cloud hanging low. Sometimes I forget words, or replace them with the wrong ones (yesterday I replaced “crutches” with “stilts” and couldn’t remember the word “sandwich”). Sometimes I just go blank-like a robot without emotions. And sometimes it’s like my entire life has been a lie and if I was happy-it surely must have been all pretend. I couldn’t understand why someone with dreams, goals and aspirations could be broken into someone without hope, happiness or inspiration. In the grand scheme of things, surely it wasn’t fair.

And that is what I focused on today. I’m not thankful for the hard times. To be that way would be ridiculous. No one wakes up and says “Oh thank goodness today is a really shitty day. I’ve had far too many good ones.” Instead, I am thankful for small things. A warm cup of coffee with chocolate chip cookie dough creamer. Rain hitting the window. It’s hard for someone like me, with so many binaries (like being introverted, but wanting to make friends/wanting to feel everything deeply, but not wanting to be consumed by feelings) to not get overwhelmed by days like yesterday. But in the end, I have to remember that there is only one truth that doesn’t ever change.

                                  The sun will rise again.

  That quote may be my tattoo quote, with an entire portion of skin dedicated to the most serene sunrise a tattoo artist can make, but we’ll see. The point is, I’m not thankful for bad days, hard days, or even the days which never end and suck you into a thick black depression. I hate those days. But what I am thankful for is the dawn. I am thankful that all things come to an end. And I am thankful that I am there to see the sun rise once more. 

Thankfulness, Day 20

More and more I find it hard to be an extended conversationalist. I write better than I speak some days and when I am at a loss for words, it is truly an off day for me. However, for the first time in far too long, I had a friend date today and I found myself stagnating in coversation. It was by no means anything she did. It was simply that I was so in awe of how amazing the friends I have are. And so, it is for her that this post is dedicated today. I may have taken over the conversation at some point, and I am eternally grateful for your unfailing listening abilities.

I am thankful for closed doors. 

Our generation is one that is afraid to make a commitment, to say “no” because that could mean an opportunity lost. Opportunities come infrequently for 20-something college kids and so we keep all feelers out, just in case. But there are benefits to being able to decide and take a stand. When you close a door, you are devoting yorself to the possibility of something better. You are taking the chance that you trust yourself and your decisions enough to make a change. And what is even better is that you’re approving your confidence. 

Not making a choice is making a choice. When you remain neutral, doors will close around you. And those are the worst kinds of closed doors-the missed opportunities. Wouldn’t you much rather have made decisions to stand by (even if they were wrong) than never know if you made a large mistake by not making the mistake? So yes, I most definitely am thankful for closed doors. 

But I’m also thankful for open ones. For example, it was a very large struggle for me to get out of bed this morning. It was warm, comfortable and my bed doesn’t care if I want to be in pajamas all day. But I knew that if I just got out of bed, I would get to enjoy time with my oldest friendship. And I took that chance. I had someone listen to my problems, and I listened. I was introduced to what is now my favorite coffee spot in Columbus and I walked 2 miles today. The thing is, I was scared. I was going somewhere new, somewhere I had never been in order to have our friend date. It would have only been too easy to blow today off and apologize with some lame excuse. But my heart needed a friend and in the end, I gained a great deal today. 

I talked to my friend (it was more like “fellowshipped” but po-tay-to, po-tah-to), found a great coffee shop (where the coffees are delicious, cheap, and named after authors-I had a Jane Austen and the guy made hearts in everyone’s coffee!!!) and faced my fears. All in all, very successful. Because I closed the door on my excuses and opened the one to my possibilities. My heart is full, my day was fantastic.

  

Thankfulness, Day 19

Nineteen is my favorite number. And although there are loads of things which are my favorite, I thought today’s post should be something special. So here goes.

Cool, crisp flowing sweetly

The hum of nature’s course

No one could ever deny the power

Of the unending force.

Maybe I should have done something a little more awesome. Like just come out and yell I FREAKING LOVE WATER.

But then again, maybe that doesn’t quite get it right either.

So today’s post is about water. There’s a quote (not sure who by) that goes something like “All things can be healed with salt water: sweat, tears or the ocean.” I love this quote, because for me, it is the most basic truth. Water is a force to be reckoned with, but it’s also the calmest of calms. It’s transformative and stationary. And water is magickal. As always, I have a story.

Once upon a time, I went to North Myrtle Beach. It was rainy the entire time, but that wasn’t so bad. From the parking garage, I could smell the salt water. It was something I had never before experienced. But my time was only just beginning. The first day we (myself and the group) went out to the ocean’s edge and I took a deep breath before removing my shoes and bolting for the water. It was freezing. But as the human body is a marvel, I acclimated and began to swim. I have a loose interpretation of swimming, as I didn’t go far-maybe 30ft.

It was the second day, when I woke up to see the sun, which led me to the most spiritual experience of my life. It’s my favorite story of all times. It was rainy, the waves were huge and not many people were out. I went (with a buddy) out in to the water, and just let myself drift. I went until I was nearly as far out as the boats and just stopped. My feet could not touch the bottom, the current was moving all around me and I have absolutely no idea how to swim (apart from keeping my head above water). I stopped and just began to breathe. Words cannot describe how it felt to be part of that moment. I sent out a prayer to the universe and just existed. My internal hum matched the roar of the waves and my heart thudded with each crash. I looked at the sky, smelled the salt and reached the closest thing to unadulterated bliss I may ever know. I looked back at the shore and couldn’t see the way people looked at the sea, or the way their hair was done or hear what they were saying. I was so far out that it felt like it was just the ocean and I. In that moment, I understood what life meant, and it really just wasn’t any more complicated than being alive. (Very zen, I know.) It sounds really crazy, but it’s exactly what I thought being religious would feel like. You know, the people always say they felt enraptured and convicted and moved? That’s only eclipsing how I felt in that moment. I went to sleep that night and the sound of the waves filled my ears and as I focused on my breathing, it was like the ocean was inside me too. 

Anyway, the story is much better in person. My point is that I never knew how powerful water could be until I was there, in that moment. And I am surrounded by water all day. Water bottles, water fountains, dishwater, toilet water, all kinds of things. But do I even appreciate it?

I started to after that moment. How many people do not have access to clean water? What kinds of trials do they face? How much water is wasted? How are we at 2015 and there are still people who have to choose between drinking water and taking a bath? I’m sorry the world has let you down. It’s time to rise up. Everyone deserves clean water. Everyone.

  

Thankfulness, Day 18

I’m not sure if I’ve done this topic, but you know what? If I have-there was a good reason. And since I’m going for it now, there’s adefinitely good reason.

F.R.I.E.N.D.S.

Not the TV show, the real life people.

I consider myself to have a limited selection of friends, not because I’m picky or high maintanence, but because those are the people I trust. I’m friend-ly to everyone, but I reserve that title for those who truly mean it. And right now, as the time would have it-I have 3. That isn’t to say I have abandoned all the others, but right now, my life is blessed with those three and it will come a time when the number increases.

I was the weird geeky outsider who managed to retain some popularity as a high schooler. Not entirely sure how that works, but I think it had something to do with me being nice to people. Everyone knew I would help unless I needed time for myself, which I tried not to take often (except as a freshman. But you all know that story.) Still, by the time I started college, I had really only a couple friends left. I would say after graduation I went from 5 or 6 down to 2 or 3. And when college started, that number went up to 7 or 8. But now, I have three-one that I met in college, one that I didn’t really talk to until after college started but I’d known her since high school  and one that I’ve known for practically our whole lives.

The thing is, that length of time really doesn’t change all that much with friends. It’s about who they are as people. I may not see them all the time, or hang out every week, but if a text arrives, I shall answer it. If a phone call comes in, I shall do my best to remember where I put my phone before it goes to voicemail. My friends know I’m always down for coffee and wine (but I never D+D). I love heart to heart, meaningful conversations-sometimes lasting until bizarrely odd hours of the night.

They are the people I tell things to, that  complain to, that I listen to. They are the people (apart from my husband and family) that give my life meaning. And the thing is, we’re not all carbon copies of each other. I don’t want them to feel exceptionally put out there, so I’m going to call them A, B, and C. And I’ll pop in a little synopsis of me just for focus.

Me: I like coffee (a lot). I am an anthropology major with my eye on international affairs. I lived in a very small town with dirt roads and I used to work fast food.

A: Known since college started: In a love/hate relationship coffee, is dating a guy I helped set her up with, majored in history with an interest in law. Lives in a small town and has worked food for a little while.

B: Known since HS, met in college: Lives on coffee, is married with an ADORABLE little girl, works for Dave and Buster’s, really great artist.

C: Known FOREVER: Committed relationship with coffee, very devout Catholic, nursing major, lived in a small town and used to work in food.

Now you wanna know what’s crazy about all this? Even though we all met at different times, we all live within a half an hour of each other (or at least we did before 2 of us moved). Three of us went to the same high school, I took driver’s ed with C and only two of us frequent “curse words” as common vernacular. Interesting that we all could have known each other at various points in our lives, but it was at those particular moments that we met and stayed. And I am beyond blessed to have the three of them, who understand my level of crazy and have no problems adding in their own. Honestly, I would be lost without them. 

Thankfulness, Day 12

Today has been a struggle. I’ve been in class all day, there’ve been great expectations and I didn’t slep well last night. So when I remembered I had a blog to write about being thankful, I was quite the grumpus. Why should I be thankful for being exhausted and stressed and busy? What do I have to be thankful for today?

And the answer came in the form of homework: diversity.

I study it, as a major and also as a human. I love finding differences and similarities, especially in opinions. But what makes me even happier is the very existence of differences.

I’m a white girl, you can tell it’s me by my Starbucks and messy bun. I live in a college town, so what are you gonna do? But I am much more than my label. I’m a first gen college student (in direct family) and I got married young (which seemed to be a scandal for most people). I graduated as Salutatorian in my high school (with a GPA of 3.98) and the quickest way to my heart is kittens (or coffee. or good food.) But that is just my perspective.

What about the middle aged single mother from Korea whose father was a prisoner tho his own government? (My husband met her today.)

What about the young man who plays football for the college and shares the same major as me?

What about the family with six children, where both parents work?

What about the people who live in Siberia? Kenya? Spain? Australia?

What about people with physical impairments? Geniuses?

The poor? The rich? 

I am always humbled by the way my views seem so grand when I have them, but when I look at all the other possibilities, I am a single drop in the ocean. And that is wonderful.

One drop raises the sea. I hope I can be that drop. And I want to give that chance to other drops too!

Thankfulness, Day 9

  
I first read The Fellowship of the Ring when I was in middle school. I was captivated by the story, even if it was just a smidge over my head. But this particular portion of thebook was lost to me completely. It wasn’t until the movie came out and the internet boomed that I even recalled ther was a poem. This is the most widely recalled line, and for good reason.

Today’s theme is aimlessness.

A few years ago, I did a facebook post on this very day about being thankful for being aimless. And I found it today, believing that I had been a genious. You see, in the end, it isn’t really the destination, is it? It’s always been about the journey. But so many footsteps are solidifying for me that I am enthralled by my own wanderings.

I started college Autumn 2011. I had to immediately withdraw (within the first week) because I listened to my peers and drank far too many energy drinks and my kidneys couldn’t handle it. I was in the ER multiple times, my PCP (Personal Care Physician) too and it was determined that my energy drink habits were killing me. Before that fall, I’d spent my summers drinking Monster BFCs (Big Effing Cans-the equivalent of 4 Monsters in one can) and Rockstars and Venoms (these were my favorite). I was always seen with one in my hand. Now it’s coffee and the occasional soda for me, marginalized by gallons of water.

I didn’t return to college (or technically even start college) until Winter 2012. We were still on quarters then. I was a bio major, determined to be a pediatric oncologist. My entire life was dedicated to this. Only my heart didn’t seem to be. For two years, I fought with deciding if I was doing the right thing with my life. Ultimately, I wasn’t. I had the heart for the job, the brains too, but it wasn’t what I longed for. And so I became an anthro major.

Even then my wandering (and wondering) was not over. What kind of anthropologist would I be? I couldn’t decide, wanted to do everything and ultimately picked cultural. But that isn’t to say I haven’t had a couple moments where physical sounded like a much smarter idea. Even this left some questions.

What would I focus on? People was far too broad a focus, culture wouldn’t work either. Religion. Now that could work. But what about it? Eventually, I landed on something both practical and interesting. Religious Extremism and Violence as a Diplomatic Interference. Now that sounds snappy, doesn’t it? I only really settled into that idea. Now comes the new wave of questions about jobs and such.

But as I said: it’s really all about the journey, anyway, isn’t it? Sometimes the lights have to go out, the path needs to disappear before we can find ourselves. There isn’t really a way to make it easier, or less scary. You just have to take the plunge. Interesting.

Thankfulness, The Sixth Day

I’ve been at this almost a week, and I came to realize that I’m not the same person I was last year, or the year before that. I mean, obviously I’m biologically different, but my mind has grown as well. I had planned on writing today’s post about coffee and conversations, but then a song popped into my head. It’s a pretty common occurrence for me, and yet that song made me pause. 

Chances.

The song is by Five For Fighting, it came out in 2009. I really didn’t appreciate it when it first came into my life. But then again, when do we appreciate things immediately? 

This semester, I’ve been pushed to my limit. Classes with no posted grades and crazy attendence policies, professors with no filters (and bad manners), time that never seems long enough, money that never stays. I’ve changed schools, changed addresses and changed jobs in the last year, not to mention, vehicles and personalities. I’ve missed opportunities because of depression, passed on opportunities because of anxiety, taken opportunities and made mistakes. But just when I’m about to close the door on something (or the door closes on me), something happens.

Chances.

Looking for a job, grad schools, a car, really anything that can be looked for (my marbles?), it’s so easy to become discouraged. So many things seem just slightly out of my reach. I’m not quite good enough. And the thing is, that’s how it’s always going to be. But I am good enough. I know that. I just have to convince everyone else (or do I?). And while it’s easy to get frustrated at all the things I’m not quite ready for, the lyrics come back to my mind.

Chances lost are hope’s torn up pages

Maybe this time

Chances are we’ll be the combination

Chances come and carry me

Chances are waiting to be taken, and I can see

Chances are the fascinations

Chances won’t escape from me
Chances are only what we make them and all I need.