Futher down the path of self discovery

As far back as I can remember I have been curios about things. About the world, about people, about the way things work, about myself, about a greater meaning. At almost 30 years old the few wrinkles I have are on my forehead, Todd says it is because I have an “inquisitive brow”. My brow is frequently raised in question.

Last night on the drive home we discussed movement and time and inertial frames. I asked Todd why when in a car going 65 mph we do not feel that we are going that fast? This may seem like a dumb question but the truth is I was curious and I didn’t quite understand. This led to a very interesting physics conversation and I am sure it further deepened the wrinkles on my inquisitive brow. That’s OK, there is a cream for that. ūüėČ

This morning I started my next book. When in Chicago a few months ago we were in a bookstore at the hospital downtown. I wandered into the section where all the psychology titles are kept and stumbled into a book that immediately captured my attention., Dr. Elaine Aron’s The Highly Sensitive Person. Todd was off somewhere in literature or history so I took the time to start reading. I got about 13 pages in when it was time to go. I decided not to purchase the book at that time because I had 3 at home I needed to get through first. Well I got through those 3, as well as a few more I added to the list, and am finally able to start this one.

I have been excited to read this book in its entirety as just the few pages I did read raised so many questions for me. Based on what I have read and researched on my own, I easily identify with being a Highly Sensitive Person. I think most INFPs given the information probably would, I think it just comes with this personality type. We are intuitive, at times hypersensitive to our surroundings whether it be sight, smell, temperature, or even the change in a person’s mood. This coupled with the fact that we are feelers leads to a higher level of sensitivity naturally.

Although I am finding this book to be quite interesting and as I am reading I find myself nodding my head in agreement with many of Dr. Aron’s findings I still have a level skepticism about it. I think it mainly comes from the fact that the book is written to the HSP. It is written with the assumption that you are reading because you are highly sensitive and looking for insight into yourself. Therefore the book reads almost as a self-help.

I do not know why but for some reason I have always had a funny taste in my mouth about self-help books. I am sure they can in fact be very helpful but I think it is the whole idea of confirmation bias that bothers me. For example, anyone that is feeling a certain way about anything could go find an article online or book that validates how they feel and then suddenly any opportunity for growth is extinguished because “it’s not me, it’s the rest of the world”. Ya know?

I think it was Aristotle that talked about an educated mind is one that can entertain a thought without accepting it. I feel like that is how this kind of thing should always be approached. Stay curious and always ask questions. Like I said that is what made me interested in this book to begin with. Sure, I recognize a lot of myself and my personality in what I am reading but the real reason I am intrigued by this book is the questions it raises in me. Questions I have to answer on my own. I don’t necessarily buy all of what Dr. Aron is selling here but it is a jumping point for further exploration and hopefully an opportunity for continued self-awareness and growth.

I carry my soap box with me

Todd is not an activist, it’s not that he doesn’t care about social issues, he just doesn’t get riled up enough to vent and take action. This is an area where we differ greatly. I get riled up. I see discrimination or something that isn’t right and I pull out my soap box and go off. He jokes that I carry my soap box with me everywhere I go just in case I need to jump on it. I guess I do. I am sure for those of you that have read certain posts I have put out there you have noticed this about me. I have opinions, opinions I will voice. At the same time though I believe in being respectful. My opinions are not everyone’s opinions, I am aware of this, and I am not arrogant enough to believe that just because I have a certain opinion that it is necessarily right. It is just my perspective on a certain situation, it is what I believe to be right or wrong and it is subjective. Which is why I voice my opinions here, or with Todd or anywhere else where the time and place are appropriate. I would never force my opinions on anyone just like I do not want other’s opinions forced upon me.

With all of this being said, I am mounting my soap box because I have something to say.

Yesterday afternoon while on break I was listening to a radio show I always listen to, they cover news topics. It is not exactly the news, just a talk show that covers certain stories and it is more for entertainment value. So yesterday they were talking about this new app that was created by a couple of women that allows other women to log-in through FB and rate/comment on the men they have been with. Whether it is ex-boyfriend’s, flings, or any other guy that they have come in contact with in their lives. As far as I can tell there is no regulation forcing these women to be honest, they can go in and say whatever they want about these guys and there is no recourse available to the men. It is done anonymously (we already know how I feel about that). There is apparently a picture of the guy posted with his name and God knows what written about him.

How is this not cyber bullying??? How in the hell is this app allowed to exist?! This is a colossal invasion of privacy and if I were one of these guys I would be looking into my legal rights.

I am ashamed of the women that are actually participating on this app.

OK, so maybe a guy broke your heart, I get that I have had my heart-broken, but this is not the way to deal with it.

Maybe it isn’t that the guy broke your heart, maybe he is just a prick and you feel an obligation to warn other women. I get that too, there are plenty of pricks out there, but again this is not the way.

I don’t care what your reason is for wanting to dog this guy out or exact some kind of revenge, THIS IS NOT THE WAY.

THIS IS WRONG.

I was so infuriated listening to them talk about what this app is about. I went online to learn more about exactly what we are talking about with this thing and it is every bit as bad as it sounds. I read some of the¬† comments about it which to my relief were mostly negative and were posted from both men and women. One was from a girl who said her Dad ended up on there and random people were just going in and saying nasty things about him. She couldn’t do anything to get him taken down. How awful!

I am completely disgusted but even more than that I am just sad.¬† Is this really what we are coming to? How cool would it have been if this app came out and everyone saw it for what it is was and completely rejected it? Once again this idealist is let down. This isn’t how we should be treating each other. I have been let down by men, I’ve been lied to, I have had my heart-broken but I do not wish anything but good things to each one of those men and I have gone out of my way to let them know that. Harboring ill-will is just allowing a cancer to fester in your soul. In trying to hurt them you are also hurting yourself.

we may not get fall but we get Flame trees

chinese-flame-tree

The weather has finally changed here in Central Florida. Of course all us locals know better than to get excited though, the first bout of cool weather is always temporary. It will come for a day to let us know what we are missing and then it will be gone again returning us to the 90 degree weather we are accustomed. For today, and the last few days, it has been beautiful though. This morning we decided to get up early for a bike ride around town. Before we moved into the new house we rode our bikes all over the east side of College Park. Now that we live on the west side of town it was time to go exploring, we had just been waiting for nicer weather.

It was a great ride. We discovered a lake we had not been by before and all knew beautiful houses we had never seen. The whole time talking together about the vision of our dream home. Last week I noticed Chinese flame trees are in bloom. This morning on our bike ride it seemed as though every other yard had a Chinese flame tree in it. Everywhere were spectacular pink blooms. In Florida we do not get a traditional fall, no real color change to speak of, and this has always been something I don’t like about living here because I feel like I am missing out on something really beautiful. Today on our bike ride I was thinking, “well maybe we don’t get the red and orange leaves but at least we get flame trees”. They are similar to Golden Rain trees which are also stunning when they bloom and because both trees have lantern-like seed pods that fall and spread where there is one of these trees there is usually many.

Last night we stayed in and watched scary movies. I had a long day at work and was not in the mood to go out. Fridays are always busy because inevitably we will get a handful of “stat” patients that cause our schedule to run behind. We don’t mind it, it just makes for a busier day. On the topic of work, it is going great. I am right back into the swing of things and am very happy with the work I am doing.

This weekend we will get some yard work done, I have homework and studying to get through along with the usual chores. That is all fine with me, the week is so loud with ringing phones and constant conversations I look forward to the quite on the weekends. Tonight we are going to a costume party though. Todd is dressing up as a doctor, again. He does not like to dress up so a few years back my girlfriend that works in medical as well got him a pair of the standard scrubs and a disposable stethoscope. This is his go-to costume when forced to dress up. I on the other hand love to dress up, specifically I love to wear wigs. I think they are so fun, I have a bunch in a wide array of colors. Tonight I am doing blue with black highlights and I am dressing up in my candy land costume. I wore it a few years back and have not worn it since. It was custom-made so it would be nice to get a few wears out of it, tonight is the perfect opportunity.

“I” is not the only letter in relationship

Have you ever been in a situation where you haven’t talked to someone for a while because you were both busy and then when you do finally get a chance to catch up it feels like you are being blamed for the lapse in communication?

It’s all about perspective. To this person the time not talking meant something where as maybe to you all it meant was you were really busy. It doesn’t really matter what the reality of the situation is because each person has already accepted what their own reality is based on their individual point of view.

In life it can be really difficult to stay objective in the relationships we keep. I mean how much room is there for objectivity in a personal relationship anyway? It’s a pretty subjective thing. Objectivity is key when having a difficult conversation or involved in a disagreement for sure but what about just everyday interactions? When making plans for example, we are typically thinking of ourselves first, “How does this work for my schedule?”

I think it is human nature for people to be somewhat egocentric in relationships, not even in a selfish manner, I think as people we can’t help but think about how things affect us.

Conversations I had with two different pregnant women in the last week is what led me to thinking about this.

One of them is one of my best girlfriends and the other is a coworker. They both mentioned feeling a little overwhelmed by an overbearing friend or family member who is maybe just a little over zealous about the bundle of joy. In both instances the excited friend/family member isn’t exactly respecting boundaries and although they mean no harm by it, they are just excited, it’s still uncomfortable for the mommy’s in the equation.

I understand the excitement friends and family are feeling for these two girls, I am surging with excitement for my friend who is in the hospital as we speak getting ready to deliver. And Yea, I¬† would be thrilled to go see her and the baby at the hospital but I get that this special moment is not about what I want, it isn’t about me at all. It is about my friend.

I made it clear to her a week ago to just give me a call when she is ready for visitors and that I would not be bugging her before then. I know if it were me that is how I would want people to be.

Listening to these two stories that mirror each other in the last week just served as a reminder that in relationships and interactions with people it’s not all about the “I”. Instead of thinking about what I want, what I need, how I feel, what I think, how this impacts me etc, it is important to remember to look at the bigger picture.

Keeping perspective that is not skewed by subjectivity is crucial to being well-rounded. It is unrealistic to think we can be this way at all times in every moment of our lives but it is definitely important to take a step back every so often and realize how much of our reality is real and how much is just our perspective.

hiding behind the veil

The popularization of the internet has made room for a new breed of coward, Mr. No Name. Anonymity many times is used for ones own safety, like in the event of having to report a crime or some other wrong doing. The hope of law enforcement is that people will be more willing to speak up when they see something if they do not have to reveal their identity. Anonymity has also been a useful tool over the years in other ways, think anonymous donations or anonymous good deeds. People who want to do something for someone else just because they feel it is the right thing to do and they do not want a big show about it.

In recent years however, I think the word has become more synonymous with hiding ones identity while on the internet and for me the word now has a bit of a negative connotation.

I was having a conversation with my girlfriend Tuesday about my blog, she was surprised to hear that I¬†use mine and my fiance’s names in my posts. I understand her concern, the fact that I do this does make me vulnerable for a few reasons. The main two being;

1. There is no denying that this is me. That is my exact reason for this decision though. My name keeps me accountable for my words. I cannot type anything on here that I am not 100% willing to explain if asked about it outside of this forum. My name forces me to own what I am putting out there which in my opinion is how it should be.

2. It makes it much easier to be found by persons I may not want reading my blog.¬†In truth this did worry me in the beginning. The first post that I wrote that made me feel truly exposed was hard because I was making a difficult admission and I was concerned about judgement if “the¬†wrong people” ever stumbled across my writings. As time has passed I have become less concerned. I do not like to edit myself, it makes me feel uncomfortable and allowing myself to be vulnerable here has been therapeutic in a way. If someone from my past did find my blog and actually chose to read it I have no control over that. I made a conscious decision to put myself out there by posting my words to the internet and I own all of what I say.

Overall I do not regret my decision to be me on this site. I do try to keep a level of anonymity for my friends and family when I talk about them on here but honestly I am not always very good about that either.

I have been thinking about the internet anonymity issue for a few weeks now. It started when I was watching the Brene¬†Brown/Oprah interview a few weeks back. Brene¬†Brown was talking about the level of criticism she received after her Ted Talk and how hard it was for her. The thing is, these anonymous comments that were being posted about her online had nothing to do with her actual talk, people were making cruel comments about her weight and physical characteristics. I don’t get it. Why? Are some people just¬†so miserable in their lives that they sit around on the internet behind their shroud of invisibility and¬†pick at others like this? Brene was admitting that at first she was hurt by the negativity but then saw it for what it was, cowardice. The way she sees it is that if you can’t put your name on it then it doesn’t count. If you can’t say it in front of my kids and own it, it doesn’t count. She went on to say something to the effect of “if you do though watch out, because I will come out swinging”.

The Brene¬†interview started¬†my thought process about the topic¬†but then it was the most recent case of Bullycide¬†locally. Like so many cases in recent years it was the internet harassment¬†that pushed the girl over the edge. I do not know the details of this specific case well enough to say if the bullies did their bullying online anonymously or not but either way it is the same idea of hiding¬†behind your computer screen and not truly owning your words and actions. I can say with certainty that in the research I did last year about the bullying epidemic that plenty of “kids” (I use this term¬† VERY loosely¬†because in some cases we are talking 20 somethings and in one case it was a parent) do hide their identity online when abusing their victim.

What brought this topic home for me and ultimately led to this post is my realization that this really is a big issue. I am talking strictly about using anonymity as a way to be negative or abusive and not take ownership for your actions. I understand, for example, that some bloggers rely on being anonymous because they are talking about the work they do and being honest about aspects of their job that maybe their employer would not appreciate. I do think that is slightly different. Yeah, a piece of me still feels like they are not owning it but I completely understand why. However, for some people online, and offline for that matter, this ability to be invisible is like the highest form of passive aggressiveness.

Look at the woman in Canada that sent the anonymous hate note to the family of an autistic child, in my opinion she is an absolute coward. Own it lady.

How about the Catfish of the world? It may not be the exact same issue but I still say you need to own it sirs and madams.

Or the multitude of critics just¬†spewing general negativity all over the place. Oh you think JcPenneys shouldn’t be working with Ellen DeGeneres because she is gay? That’s fine. By the way, I didn’t catch your name.. That’s what I thought.

It really is everywhere and it is a cancer. Unfortunately as opinionated as I might be on the topic I don’t have ideas on a solution.. Well except for maybe the obvious, people owning their words and actions.

The Eruptive feelings of an INFP

I have made mention before of how strong I score on the “F” part of my INFP personality. I have also mentioned through much work I have become better at controlling my emotions, negative especially. A few minutes ago I burst into tears at my desk because of something I saw online and while this is not uncommon for me anyone other than Todd that would have walked into the room at that moment would probably be completely befuddled by my current state.

At times I can become deeply effected by the sights, sounds, smells and other sensory details of my environment. For example, I can be driving along and everything is great. Maybe I got an A on an exam that day and was very successful by my standards at work and am on my way to meet Todd for date night. Then all of a sudden Let It Be comes on the radio and I am crying. Not sob crying but crying none the less. This song does this to me every time because of the association my brain makes with a memory that is sad. Anyone who sees this situation from the outside would be lost. “Wait, you had a great day? What’s wrong with you?” The answer is nothing. I just cannot help but be impacted. My emotions are strong and can come on without warning and there I am crying in the car.

The reason I bring this up is because today while on Pinterest looking for an  Ellen Degeneres quote about compassion that I like I came across something that led me immediately to tears.

What I was looking for was this, compassion

 

 

 

What I found first was this, lennox.

 

I just started crying. Poor Lennox. Even as I read this he is no longer here. Poor thing probably never even knew what was going on. I am sure some people think this is ridiculous but it is really that easy.

Yesterday when I was driving home from work I drove by a park near my house and braked as a man who looked to be in his early thirties crossed the street to the park. When he got to the side-walk I watched him put both arms in the air. I was puzzled. That was until I looked a little further down the sidewalk and saw the happiest toddler hobble-running towards his daddy, his little blue super hero cape blowing in the wind. The sheer look of jubilation on this little boys face from seeing his daddy just hit me. I just got to witness a private moment between this father and son and it meant something. As that little boy gets older I bet Daddy will never forget the special moments like that.

And this season on Project Runway (my favorite show) I cried during the finale when I Heidi announced my favorite designer had not won. I felt for him in the moment so much. He was the sweetest thing, so gentle and kind. He is the kind of person that you just want everything wonderful for. When he went back stage to see his family his mother told him how well he did and how proud she was of him and how just by being himself he made so many people fall in love with him and she was right. We, as a society, and moreover as a human race, are lucky for the gentle ones. The people who do not take, who never ask for anything and only want to give of themselves. It was impossible not to fall in love with the sweetness and the sincerity of his character.

In a previous post about my former battle with acute depression I made mention of how I have gotten a handle on my emotional outbursts but that I still cry pretty regularly but that I am OK with that because sometimes I just need to let things out. This is exactly what I am talking about. Small things like this, everyday things invoke such a strong emotional response from me I cannot control it. Furthermore it feels unnatural and wrong when I do. It is not a sad cry it is just me being effected by my environment and allowing myself to feel.

“True Compassion is about not bruising the other person’s self-respect”.

I am reading The Reason I Jump by Naoki Higashida right now and it is extraordinary. Naoki Higashida is a 13-year-old from Japan who has autism, this book is him explaining what it is like to live with autism. He answers questions that are quite direct like “Why don’t you make eye contact when you’re talking to me?” with such honesty and so articulately that it allows the reader to see the world in a completely new perspective. I find myself completely consumed while reading, hanging on every word. It gives new insight to my relationship with my nephew and what it must be like to view the world from his perspective.

I am happy to report that I not only made it through my few days back at work in tact but I surpassed even my own expectations for myself. The first day back I helped by answering phones and either placing calls on hold for the girls or taking the call if the request was something I felt comfortable doing. I limited myself to film requests and things of this nature. I wanted to take notes and be more like a fly on the wall the first day back, just taking things in and letting the memory of these skills come back to me.

The second day back I began scheduling “easy” scans. What constitutes an “easy scan”?

a single MRI (versus multiple scans ordered for the same patient)

No CTs (certain CT scans have very detailed instructions for the patient and require a lot of follow-up by our office)

“Easy” Insurance (Which just means either insurance that does not require authorization for an MRI or insurance that gives authorization without a lot of extra work on the part of the facility, such as providing clinical notes etc)

And finally the diagnosis.. There are a lot of contraindications for MRI scans so we go through a long list of clinical questions to make sure it is safe for a patient to have an MRI. If I see a diagnosis like “S/P aneurysm SX x 3 mos” this tells me that this patient more than likely had aneurysm clips implanted in their brain in the last 3 months which means I am going to have to do some research about this surgery and the clips used to make sure it is safe for the patient to go on the machine. Where as a diagnosis of “HA” tells me the patient is being seen for headaches and hopefully when I call I am not going to find out that they have any medical issues that will be a contracindication.

Now, this is not to say that any patient, scan, diagnosis or insurance that does not fall in these guidelines is “difficult” per say, it just means that a little more work or attention to detail is required during and after scheduling and it is not something you give to the “new” girl. I need to brush up on some “easier” scans before I take on everything else just to ensure I do not make any errors. This is for the safety of the patients, the efficiency and liability of the facility and my own butt. Because ultimately “I didn’t know” or “Sorry I am new” is not an excuse if I forget an important detail and a patient ends up in harm’s way or the facility is put in a compromising position.

By the third day I was scheduling anything and everything that came across my desk, with acute accuracy I might add! The few mistakes I did make I caught on my own and corrected which felt great. It feels so good to get back into the swing of things. I love the scheduling process. I love being on the phone with the patients, building rapport, listening to their stories, and just helping. I love building this relationship with the patient during the scheduling process and then getting to meet and help them in person when they come for their scan. It is what makes this job for me. All the other nonsense that has ever come with it was worth it for this part of the job.

It was a great first week back. There is a lot of work to do and I am excited about digging in and getting it done.

School is going OK as well. We do not have class on Tuesday due to a conflict in the instructor’s schedule, however, she loaded us down with assignments for the weekend to make up for the loss of class time. My girlfriend from class and I decided to get together this morning to pound out the assignments. It took us no time to get through everything.

Tonight we are going out for Todd’s birthday, I am very excited. I love going out with him, we have so much fun just the two of us but it is nice when we have the chance to go out with friends as well. It will be a fun way to cap off a busy week.

Time moves quickly

I cannot believe the night before I return to work is already upon me. I am a bit wound up in anticipation but it is not the normal new job jitters we all get, I am just excited to see everyone and be busy again. Too much time on my hands just does not work for me, I don’t like to be idle for long. I can feel my “J” already kicking in. As much as I identify with the “P” in my INFP personality it has nothing to do with who I am at work. I am structured, organized and very hard on myself to catch on fast and excel.

In my normal life (on a day where I don’t have to be anywhere) I wake up in the morning put on whatever feels right, go about my day, take a shower in the afternoon or evening, and go to bed when I am tired. I am completely unstructured and do what I feel like (with the exception of waking up at the same time everyday).

When I am working I wake up at least and hour and a half before I need to be up to allow time to get ready without rushing (this also allows for things to go wrong without potentially making me late), I already know what I am wearing and how I will do my hair as these decisions are made the night before, I make my lunch, get ready and leave for work early to allow for traffic or any other unforeseen issue that could make me late. At the end of the day I come home, do what I do in the evening, pick out my clothes for work the next day and go to bed no later than 10.

There is a stark contrast between the two and this is just a small example of the pressure I put on myself to perform. I can already feel it starting again but for the moment I don’t mind it. I know I have a lot of new information to learn in my first few weeks back, some things have changed since I have been gone. I just hate that transition period at the beginning when I have my training wheels on at a job. I like to know my role inside and out and do it the best. That is not to say I find myself competing with anyone, I compete with myself. “Oh I scheduled 20 patients today? Tomorrow I will schedule 25.” I’m not looking at anyone’s numbers and work but my own, there is only one person I want to beat. It’s neurotic, I know. But I own the fact that in this aspect of my life I am more to an extreme, I am a perfectionist. It has always been hard for me to balance at work and not be so hard on myself because I want to be my best and I am constantly trying to redefine what my best is.

I balance just fine between personal life and work, I just don’t know how to be anything other than a perfectionist while at work.

Regardless,  I am excited about tomorrow and we shall see how this all goes.

Our weekend and the week ahead

I am feeling very refreshed from the weekend. I have two more days until I return to work and there really isn’t much dread or anxiety about it like I thought there would be. We had a great weekend, a perfect mixture of work and play.

I had a girls night Friday night with one of my best girlfriends.

Saturday we started the overhaul on our backyard.. Our backyard is a bit of a jungle, it is beautiful, but it is consumed by monstrous tropical plants. Only about 1/3 of our property in back is even accessible. For us this layout is just not functional. We have way too many gatherings that take us out back around the BBQ for games and we need the room. Not to mention that the kids always want to play outside when they come over and it certainly does not allow for that. Plus at some point we will want to get a dog and will need the room.

Saturday we were having our morning coffee and watching a recording of the Daily Show when I decided it was time. We have both been very intimidated by what our backyard currently is and the amount of work that will go into its transformation but I got it in my head that it was time so I jumped in and started. I started hacking down elephant ear leaves and roots until finally I could actually see the fence in back. Sunday Todd came out and chopped up all the big roots and we hauled them away together. We were both exhausted and covered in dirt by the time we called it a day but the sense of satisfaction made it well worth the trouble.

Saturday night we went to dinner at my favorite restaurant and then to a concert downtown. After the show we went to the bar where we had drinks on our second date after dinner. We had not been back there since our second date. It was a perfect date night.

Sunday night we did our grocery shopping, made an awesome dinner, folded laundry and watched The Walking Dead.

It was a great way to spend my last weekend before things become quite busy. This week is jammed packed already.

This morning I got up early to start my chores. I want to have everything done for the week today so I don’t have to worry about it later this week when things get busy. This afternoon I am having my girlfriend from school over for tea and to get to know each other better. I am looking forward to it.

Tomorrow after class I have lunch plans with one of my best girlfriends. She is pregnant and due any day now. Technically her due date is Thursday, which also happens to be Todd’s birthday, however her doctor is certain she will go longer. This will be our last chance for time together before baby girl comes and I start back to work. I can’t wait to see her.

Wednesday I start back to work and then Thursday is Todd’s birthday. Tomorrow after lunch I will get the few last-minute things I need for Todd’s birthday.

Then next weekend we will go out to celebrate him. I am very excited.

 

Restlessness while preparing for more change

When I was 7 I had a white canopy bed made of ornately carved wood and covered with a pink ruffled fabric. I loved that bed. It was my first real big girl bed, it was quite special. At night I had trouble sleeping, however, because the pretty pink ruffled canopy would cast strange shadows on the walls. I would lay in bed awake trying not to notice the unusual shapes dancing on my walls as the ruffles rustled tirelessly thanks to the gusts of air my ceiling fan created.

These are my first memories of the restless nights that have plagued me most of my life. My brain has always had trouble shutting off at night. I have always been sensitive to light and noise at bed time but even in a dark room absent of sound my mind will buzz and click with inane information until finally it falls silent releasing me into slumber. I have learned tricks over the years that help but nothing that has resolved the issue completely. It’s funny the things that become woven into the fabric of who we are.

As my return to work gets closer I notice it is already becoming harder for me to fall asleep at night. I know it will get better once I have been back for a few days though. The constant conversations completely drain me and by the end of the day I don’t want to talk to anyone and I am ready for sleep. This is where I dance that line between introversion and extraversion. I enjoy the interactions but it is not where my energy comes from.

I am slightly anxious, as I always am for my first day anywhere, but also very much looking forward to return to work next week. I am excited to work with my patients again, most of whom I have not seen for years, plus all the new patients I will meet. I also feel like I have something to prove to myself in going back to this employer. When I left I was in the midst of my depression and although somehow I was able to keep the turmoil of my personal life from running over into work I still felt a bit defeated when I left. In a way I felt like I let the place get the best of me and I was disappointed in myself. I know that not much has changed since I have left and so I have a good idea of what to expect when I return. None of this reflects my feelings about the people I will be working with, they are all lovely and I have kept in touch with almost everyone since I left. The issue has always been on the policy and procedure end of things.

I look at my brief time back with this employer as a personal challenge to maintain authenticity to myself while dealing with the stress and politics that come with working in this office. I did pretty well last time but in keeping true to myself my spirit was broken a bit (it’s a long story for another time). This time I want to maintain my resolve, like I previously did, but not lose confidence or become discouraged in the process. I am curious to see what the outcome of this quasi-experiment will be 6-7 months from now.

Impenetrable

No matter how hard we work at life, no level of achievement (internal or external) will ever raise us so high as to be beyond judgement. I had an epiphany while reading this week. A former professor published a book about striving for authenticity, the subject matter suits me perfectly. I agreed to do a book review for him so I have been rereading certain chapters as a way of getting my thoughts together before I begin writing the review.

I have had my fair share of negative critiques in life. This is to be expected, navigating your teens and twenties is a dangerous business, few make it out without some scars. I know for a fact that I have been to blame for emotional scars on others and I acquired a few of mine own as well. I have regret about those I hurt and know that it was not done with intention or malice. I was not, am not and never will be perfect however so all I can do is own my mistakes, apologize for injuries I have caused, learn and grow. The first two I have covered, the second two will always be a work in progress.

The challenge is

– Knowing which critiques are worth processing and which are not worth the time.

– Not always feeling the need to defend ourselves or our actions.

– Understanding that while we may have good intentions in life that is not true for everyone. Some people are just being cruel or catty, do not dwell. Their words have less to do with us and more with them.

– Forgiving those who do mean us harm in their words. They need it.

In life we will always face a level of criticism whether it has foundation or not. The ultimate goal is to face judgement, whether it has constructive benefit or not, and not lose our self-confidence over it. Learn from it, grow from it, but do not allow someone’s harsh words shake you into self-doubt.

Diluting the importance of powerful words and ideas

There are two ideas that have always kind of rubbed me the wrong way, the belief that “everything happens for a reason” and soulmates. It isn’t even that I don’t believe in the two, I just don’t like the way they are so casually thrown around. The whole “everything happens for a reason” thing can be an absolute cop-out, an avoidance tactic of sorts. It is a way to take the responsibility off of yourself to act in a given situation because “oh well it was meant to be”. I do believe in serendipity and signs (which is probably unusual for someone who is not religious) but you will never catch me saying “everything happens for a reason”. I have had negatives experiences with people who have over used the phrase and used it in lieu of accepting responsibility for their life so it hits a nerve with me.

The soulmate strikes a sour chord in me for similar reasons. It just feels over used thus losing its powerful meaning. It’s like the word “epic”, that word has COMPLETELY lost its meaning in my opinion due to overuse and inappropriate use. Parties are very rarely “epic”, a select few may be worthy of the title. The same goes for individual’s failures. Tripping and spilling your coffee does not constitute an “epic fail”, in our house we call that Tuesday morning. The titanic was an epic fail, if you are not on the level of mass casualties and a $400,000,000 boat (by today’s standards) sitting on the bottom of the ocean I would consider another word. “Oops” comes to mind.

Back to the soulmate idea. I like it, I can get behind it. But there are two points that I don’t buy.

1. This whole idea that you have one. That is a lot of pressure to put on your life. The idea that there is only one person in the entire world that is programmed perfect to fit what you need/want. What would the actual chances be of meeting that person in your lifetime then? I think the population is somewhere around the 7 billion mark, and you really think that your one and only soul mate in this world just so happens to be that guy you met in high school. That really would make you the luckiest person on earth, wouldn’t it? Up against 7 billion to 1 odds and he just so happens to be from the same small town as you.

2. That the idea is exclusively attached to a romantic partner. I think the girls from Sex and the City had it right, a friendship is every bit as capable of having that deep meaningful connection. Don’t count out your friends. The term is soulMATE not soul-lover or soul-romantic partner. It is a connection or bond that transcends the superficial level on which many friendships exist.

I feel like in a lifetime you could encounter a countless number of people who you feel connected to at your core. A real, vulnerable, honest connection, one that makes you feel more complete as a person. I also don’t think any of this necessarily has to do with love or romance, it can, but it doesn’t have to. I had a male friend in high school who could finish my thoughts after knowing me for a very short period. We just got each other. He knew how my brain worked, or I guess I should say how my heart worked. Our friendship felt magic in a way, it just clicked. I have had a small number of people come into my life that felt like kindred spirits. It is an understanding on a deeper level that even without knowing each other’s stories you are keenly aware that some how you just know this person and there is something significant and special about the relationship. To me it has very little to do with love.

I bring this up because I made a connection with someone who I feel confident will prove to be significant in this way. We just seem to be linked. Our meeting in the first place was serendipitous and all of it just feels like it means something. It is a friend I have made in Spanish class. We have similar majors and after having a pretty in-depth talk recently we realized something felt different about this. She is very open with her feelings, like myself, so “touchy-feely” conversations don’t make her uncomfortable the way they do to some people. It was funny because we actually came to this conclusion about our meeting and getting to knowing each other being special at the same time. We were having a conversation and she had to walk away and while she was gone I was thinking to myself that I feel very comfortable with her and I feel an immediate connection and that I hope this is someone I could establish a real relationship with, rather than the fair weather friends you make over the years while in school. When she returned she said to me that she really hopes we can spend time together outside of school and remain friends after this semester because she feels a real connection with me. I told her she took the words out of my mouth. What is funny is she was worried that she was going to come off as creepy for saying it. I laughed and told her I admire vulnerability and honesty in a person and that is all that was.

I am very excited about the potential of this new-found friendship. You never know when and where the important people in your life will come in, they just arrive unannounced.

Short, not so sweet

For the record, I am not enjoying Spanish. 75+ homework assignments a chapter coupled with 150+ vocab words not to mention all the grammar rules. Barf. It is relevant and will be useful in the future, I know, but it is boring and tedious. I try diligently to live in the moment but this class makes me long desperately for the near future when I will be done with this subject and will start on my major. Just a few more homework assignments until I am finished and will reward myself with a break to watch a documentary before I hit the flash cards.

 

Post 101: A look back

A little over a year after I started this blog I am at my 101st post. So much can happen in a year, I don’t think I ever really appreciated the truth in that statement until I began documenting my life in this way.¬† In one years time..

I left a job

Returned to school full-time

Completed my AA

My brother and his family moved back to FL

I have had 3 colds and the flu

I have read roughly 8.5 novels (I have a tendency to pick some up and put them down)

Landed on the Dean’s list as well as the President’s list for my grades

Completed my college math courses once and for all

Cut all of my hair off

I have written 3 research papers

Done 40+ hours of volunteer work

Attended one funeral

Participated in one wedding

Become engaged

Todd and I moved into the house we will start our future in together

We have taken 7 vacations

Celebrated one anniversary

Not to mention too many girls nights, date nights, family gatherings and card nights to count.

It was a good year. I have been lucky to have a few of those in the recent past. I have a feeling that isn’t something that will be changing either and for that I am grateful. A lot has changed in me as a person in the last year as well and I am equally grateful for that. I am more excited than I have ever been for the year ahead of me. The next 100 posts see me turning 30, returning to work temporarily, various events leading up to and including my wedding day, the start of the social work program I have been impatiently anticipating and who knows what else. After all, it isn’t as if I can predict the future. Whatever lies ahead of me I at least know with certainty I am on the right path. I think that is about all a person can ask for really.

 

 

 

An archaic notion

I got to school early today thanks to no traffic on the highway this morning. While I waited for class to start I attempted to review the chapter, this proved to be difficult because of a loud conversation taking place right behind me. Normally I am pretty good at focusing in and ignoring background noises when I am trying to read but one of the girls that sits behind me has a very distinct high-pitched nasally voice that is near impossible to block out. So I, as well as every other person in ear shot, was forced to listen to these two nitwits talk about their favorite TV shows. What was worse was the titles they were discussing! It’s bad enough you are distracting me from studying but to have to listen to someone gush about why whatever revenge TV show is the best around, gag. Revenge? Really? I cannot believe there is a “reality” TV show devoted to seeking revenge.

The premise for the show sounds like absolute garbage, “You were mean to me 10 years ago when I was 13 so I lost a lot of weight to prove I am better than you and now I am going to humiliate you in front of the nation!”

What does this really prove?

1. That you (the revenge seeker) are petty and small-minded. – Stop blaming others for your lot and live the life you have. You don’t like where you are? Change it.

2. That your self-worth is attached to your outward appearance. – It is a shame that as women so many of us buy into the notion that someone is more or less worthy based on superficial characteristics. I think the act of seeking revenge says more about a person’s level of self-esteem than them parading around proud to be a size 2.

3. That you are stuck in the past. – I realize harsh words and actions can stay in our minds for a long time but handling the situation in this manner won’t make you feel any better.

I could understand if we were talking about the family of someone who lost a loved one to murder (or some other scenario where a specific  individual(s) was responsible for loss of life). I think vengeful thoughts against the person to blame would be a natural reaction for even the most docile individual. However, I still think that acting upon these thoughts would be a mistake and that the act of revenge will never heal a persons hurt.

It just sickens me that shows like this, as well as so many others that feed on negativity, are on TV.

I would never be able to stomach watching a show where all the person is doing is being self-absorbed and nasty to their family because they have a big head about the fact that they are getting married. This whole idea of “It’s my day, I am royalty, worship me”. Um no idiot, it is a special day for you and your groom and ideally you should be thankful that not only there is a man out there that wants to be with you for the rest of his life (poor sap) but that you have family and loved ones that want to share in your joy.

Or how about the show that is literally just girls being awful to each other  in competition to be the most terrible person.  I mean really?! Why do these shows exist??

In fairness I acknowledge (as I have previously) that reality TV is not real. Most of this nonsense is staged, I get that. What I don’t get is why anyone would agree to go along with it. Money is my guess which is a sad reason indeed.

I also acknowledge that my rant is easily resolved by choosing not to watch the afore mentioned shows. Clearly I choose not to but even just overhearing a conversation about one put me in a bad mood to the point of creating this post. It just shows that negativity breeds negativity, another good reason to avoid garbage like this in the first place.