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Archive for the ‘life’ Category

In years past, I’ve made an effort to make one last post each December that recounts some of the achievements, discoveries, and challenges of the year before.  This usually comes out as a long post that is filled with bullets that I doubt anyone cares to read, so this year, I’ll be writing a shorter one that really gets to the point.

So, what happened in 2012?

  • I started RPing on tumblr in the Fullmetal Alchemist fandom, which meant that I made some absolutely amazing friends and improved my writing of fiction immensely.  I’ll admit that starting to RP seemed like a giant waste of time.  Sure, I was having fun, but I kept wondering what else I could be doing.  I grew worried that I had gotten into something unhealthy, but it ended up working out.  I took breaks when I needed them, went on hiatuses but kept up social contact with the friends that I had made.  I sent baked goods and Christmas cards to the friends that I had made, added them on Facebook, spent hours on Skype laughing and crying with them.  I can’t regret any moment of time, as it was never time wasted.
  • I had my first boy-friend, and I broke up with my first boy-friend.  It wasn’t working out.  We’re still friends.
  • I came out as being somewhere on the asexual spectrum.  There are days when I don’t know if it’s asexuality or greysexuality or demisexuality, when I look at something and just think it’s whatthefuckIdon’tevenknow-sexuality.  It’s strange, and even after a year of thinking about it, I don’t know exactly where I am.
  • Life moved on after Grandma’s death, as it does after any death.  We miss her, of course.  But I promised her that I’d keep living and thriving and loving.
  • I got really sick in March until June with mono.  The mono brought out full symptoms of POTS, which is a secondary illness branching off from having EDS.  I never fully recovered, and I don’t expect to.  Instead, I’ve been learning how to adapt to the life that I now lead.  This has led to many things: diet changes, decisions about delaying grad school for a year, taking life slower, working less over the summer, and knowing my limits so that I don’t push them.
  • I’ve been finishing off the last courses of my psychology major and printmaking minor.  I’m going to miss them terribly–especially art and all of the friends that I’ve made through the art department.
  • I got to see Chris Thile in concert with the Punch Brothers, and I gave him a hug after the concert.  This was a legitimate bullet point on my bucket list that I could cross off.  Do remember that I’ve been obsessed with this guy’s music since he was in Nickel Creek and I first heard their music TWELVE YEARS AGO.
  • I went to Florida over the summer and visited with my dad, brother, both sisters, and their families.  It was a pretty good time, and I wish that I could see them more often.
  • Last, and most importantly, I met Alexander this year.  Words cannot fully describe what this means, and I won’t try too terribly to explain them, either.  Just know that I’ve never loved someone so much in my life and that this is a seriously big deal.  I expect him to be in my life for a very long time, and I’m his as long as he’s mine.

So there you have it: a year in review.  This is about as short as I can make it, but I think that it covers some highlights.  Enjoy; though this list is really more for me than anyone else.  All of my writing is, really.

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As usual, a lot has happened since we last met.  More than a lot, actually.  Life changing things.  December in and of itself was one of the most life-changing months of my life on so many levels–extremely negative and extremely positive.  To start, I lost someone.  And as I lost her, I gained someone.  That’s the simple version.

It was Christmas morning, and my mum popped in to my bedroom far too early with eyes full of tears again.  She was going to the hospital to see her and asked if I’d like to come along.  Of course, yes.  I would never pass down the opportunity, especially when things had been so bad.  I showered quickly, gathered my laptop and a good book, and we left to go to downtown Saint Louis on that beautiful, blue day.

I navigate our way to the waiting room, walking quickly in my high heeled boots to see everyone gathered.  Katie has her roll of toilet paper instead of Kleenexes.  Tammy has brought along Grandma’s peanut butter and chocolate cookies that she had made a few days before.  Cathy is texting.  Larry and Gary are chatting.  Avis is to the side.  Grandpa is there, and I give him a hug.  We sit there, chatting because there’s nothing else to do.  I send a couple texts along as Merry Christmas.

I’m sorry, I’m shaking.

The doctor runs in.  He’s so young; it’s probably why he’s here on Christmas morning.  He asks for Grandpa to come now, and Cathy and my mum run to follow.  Avis runs out.  Katie and I and the men are left in the waiting room.  I can’t remember it.  I don’t know who came back.  But my feet are walking too slowly behind Katie.  I’m entering the room.  I can see her feet, but Tammy says we may not want to move forward.  I can’t.  I can’t move.  I can’t cry.  I can’t breathe.  I can’t move.  Katie is falling into me, sobbing.  I hold her as tightly as possible, wrapping my arms around her and holding on to her for dear life as my knees start to tremble.  She’s crying into my sweater.  And it takes me minutes before I’m crying too.  I hold on to her like a life-vessel; make me cry.  Please.  I can’t handle this all.  What do you do?  What do any of us do?

I don’t remember how I got back to the waiting room.  But I sat there in the corner chair completely still, staring straight forward, tears still pooling in my eyes but otherwise overly calm.  They’re all still in there.  I can’t be.  I just can’t.  I can’t.  I pull away to my bag to find my mobile.

“I’m sorry Marshall.  It’s over.  It’s all over.”

“I understand.”

“I’m so sorry.”

I pull out the book that I had brought along ‘A Great and Terrible Beauty’, and I rip out the flyleaf containing my name and number should the book get lost.  With the school pencil still left in my bag, I start to write.  I write everything.  I tell her how it’s beautiful out.  That it’s her favourite day of the year.  I tell her that I can’t feel so I left them cry for me.  I stare out of that waiting room window and just write down everything that I possibly can and ignore all of the voices around me.

I try to ignore the doctor saying that she’s trying to breathe as a reflex even though she’s gone.  We say not to recessitate.  Her mind is gone, and she’s told us too many times not to let her be like that.  I’m suddenly pulling all of these neurological facts out of my silly stupid brain because I’m such a cognitive psych nerd.  We tell them to give up.

And she finally does at noon.

We leave.  We go back home, and I tell my mum that I’m driving and don’t give her any other option.

We leave without her.  How do we do that?  How can we just leave with one person missing?

Christmas is at our house.  All of the family is there, and we spend a good deal of time just telling stories about her.  Remembering.  Crying over the presents that she got us and wrapped two days before when Katie, Shelly, and I were over to help her.  We laugh, too.  Everything.

And finally, I’m in the corner of the living room, eating that cookie that she made for me and had wrapped along with a fifty dollar bill and Christmas orange, and I’m crying and smiling up at the ceiling because I have so much hope that things can be okay.

I lost one of the most meaningful people in my life that day.

I’m sorry.  I’m shaking too much.

This will be continued at another point.  I’ll tell you how I gained someone at the same time.

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Hey, guys!  I know, it’s been a long time.  I’ve written maybe three things in the past six months, and that’s pretty not cool.  But if you were wondering how I’ve been doing, I feel that this picture pretty much sums it up:

Basically, I have traded in my blood for coffee.

This past semester has been the most difficult that I’ve had yet, and I find myself missing the relatively light workload that I had my freshman and sophomore years.  Junior year is tough!  I basically haven’t been sleeping, and I’ve completely lost motivation to actually get work done and study.  Because of this, I definitely am seeing lower grades than normal.  Granted, low grades for me means that I’m getting more Bs than As, but it’s still two more Bs than normal in a semester.

I’ve just felt like I’ve been rushing with no breaks.  The moment one exam or paper or print is finished, I’m starting another because I’m already behind.  Plus, all of my classes have been more labour intensive than usual, which adds an extra element that I hadn’t really been expecting.

I also moved off of campus for this semester, so I’ve been adjusting to living in a house with Noah and Jess.  Not that it’s a major adjustment, though.  We get along marvellously, I love having a room to myself to decorate and be introverted in, and I’ve enjoyed doing my own cooking.  Sure, I miss the conveniences of living on campus, but all-in-all, I’m satisfied with the change.

This is where I spend the majority of my time not sleeping and instead studying, reading, and wasting my life on tumblr.

Meanwhile, I’ve been having a lot of trouble keeping level-headed and maintaining my weight since August.  I’ve been under a lot of stress because of complications with getting my fake tooth, where everything that could have gone wrong did go wrong, and it put me into a mini depression that ended up rearing its ugly head once course work got rolling.  I spent a lot of August, September, and October absolutely hating myself, and it only started to get better last month.  With every wrong move I’d make, a little voice in my head would just whisper I hate myself. or I hate everything.  I’ve never been the type of person to put myself down in this kind of way.  Sure, I’m hard on myself, but I’ve never felt such a hatred for myself.  It was getting absolutely unbearable, and I’d begin to beat myself for beating myself up.

In the end, I probably needed some sleep.  I needed time to find a sense of self that was healthy.  I needed Thanksgiving break.  Things improved over that time.  I didn’t get ahead on coursework, and I didn’t get a long list done that I needed to in Saint Charles.  But I did get my tooth (finally!), and I picked up a few more articles of clothing that would fit me better, and I finally had time to just sleep and day-dream.  It was such a relief.

I’m feeling a lot better now, but, coming back for the end of the semester is still difficult.  Last week contained most of my finals and papers/projects due, and there were some nights where I literally didn’t go to bed and had to squeeze in an hour around midnight so that I could work during the early morning hours when I feel most mentally awake.

Sunday night: 4 hours
Monday night:  3 hours
Tuesday night:  6 hours
Wednesday night: 2.5 hours
Thursday night: 1 hour

It’s been a bit rough, but I’ve found that I can get a lot done even on very little, if no, sleep.  I know that it’s not healthy.  I know, I know, I know.  It’s just how I operate as a procrastinator and some-what perfectionist.  They go hand in hand, really.  You procrastinate because of the fear that you won’t reach perfection.  But when you don’t have enough time to reach perfection, you self-handicap and say that it’s all right that you didn’t reach the point you had wanted.  After all, you’d had so little sleep last night, how could you have gotten higher than a B on that exam?  (Oh, poor baby.  Bleh.)

I mentioned earlier that I’ve been having a lot of trouble keeping my weight at a stable level.  For the entirety of my life, this would mean that I’ve gained a bunch of weight and am feeling all self-conscious about it… until now.  I don’t know how, but I’ve lost twenty pounds in only three months.  I went from being near 160 to 142.  Everyone I’ve told gives me some type of congratulation as though I’ve been working so hard or something, but I just stand there thinking, But this is not what I wanted!  I haven’t tried to lose weight.  I don’t like that I can’t fit into any of my clothing; I figured I’d be a size twelve for years, so I’d started buying my clothes to last and cost more.  Suddenly, I don’t fit into any of my skirts or pants or bras.  My shirts aren’t tugging in the same ways (hell, I can now wear shirts that I haven’t been able to fit into since I was fourteen).  I look at photos of my face from earlier this year, and I literally can’t recognise myself (okay, this may be because of the prosopagnosia, but disregard that) because I’ve lost so much weight from my face.  My arms look different, my collar bones show more, my cheek bones seem a bit  higher, my legs more defined, my stomach flat.

I am beautiful.  And I am completely frightened.

I can’t stop losing weight, and I don’t know what to do.  I don’t know if I believe the people who have told me that it’s from walking more with living off campus or because I’m cold all of the time and using more energy to keep warm.  I feel bad every time I look in the mirror and think I look good, because this can’t be healthy.  And then I argue with myself because I shouldn’t feel bad about being happy with the way I look.  It’s just an odd situation that I’ve never been in before, and I don’t know how to deal with it.

I don’t really know how to deal with anything, actually.  But… that’s okay.  It’s been okay for about a week now.  Between panicking and extreme euphoria and an excessive amount of work, this past week has been interesting, but I wouldn’t trade it for the world.  I wish I could tell you more at this point, but I’m still trying to find my footing.  Just suffice it to say that something is going really, really well, and I can’t remember the last time that I was this happy.

So, while I leave you on a note of mystery, I hope it was positive.  Because I’m feeling positive, even with all of the stress that I’ve carried for the past few months.  Sometimes, life is pretty good, and there are blue skies, and you can’t help but smile.

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Films

It’s odd, but I get some kind of enjoyment out of watching films alone where I’m able to just sit there and sob all of the way through.  Now, it’s not as though I just literally cry at the site of a film, but I’ve found that I’m unable to cry in front of others when something really beautiful happens.  When by myself, though, it’s so easy to just let myself have emotion, and I end up feeling some kind of satisfaction in being sad.  As though all of those years keeping things pent up are finally over, and that I can be free to just let go.  I’m free to see beauty and realise that sometimes beauty is sad and that there’s nothing wrong with that.

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Simple and Clean

There’s music playing in the background that I used to yell out back in middle school with my neighbour, music from an old video game that we used to play.  It feels like such a long time ago, standing in my backyard by the pool in our long skirts and singing together.  Looking back, I wonder if I should miss it.  She’s no longer a part of my life, and I don’t really mind.  She moved away, we were never much alike, and in that younger kid sense, we easily drifted apart.  But I’m still listening to this song, wondering how it could possible have been six years ago.  Part of me feels like that it was so terribly recent and that six years isn’t an incredibly long time, but the other half of me feels like that was an entirely different life ago.  Like a past life.  Sometimes, things are very hidden away in memories, and when you find yourself catching them, it throws you back into the wall.

I still haven’t figured out whether I can put up with that feeling and feel intact afterwards.  Strange how you encounter your old thoughts and behaviours by losing your breath.

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My sister is getting married later today, and while getting ready, I’ve been watching the History Channel, something I haven’t done in quite a while.  I know, no Food Channel or Travel Channel?  It’s not like I’m straying that far.  But I’m hit with the realisation that SCIENCE IS AWESOME!  Sure, I hit this every time I read an xkcd comic or read news articles about medical break-throughs, but sometimes it hits me just how much we now know  because of simple scientific advancements and achievements.

For instance, we now know without much doubt that the dinosaurs were indeed killed off by a giant meteor 65 million years ago.  How?  Because we stumbled upon a layer in rock beds from 65 million years ago that’s chalk full of iridium, and then we found the actual crater in the Gulf of Mexico using satellite imaging.  COOL!

(On a similar, dinosaur note, we now know that dinosaurs had feathers and that multiple species were actually just the same species at different ages.  Too bad, Jurassic Park.)

Or there’s the whole thing where, through fMRI and other brain imaging techniques, we’ve found biological differences in brain structure for those who are gay or transgender.  The fact that we can find these biological differences means it’s more difficult for people to claim that it’s “just a choice”.  When a three year-old male is showing the brain structures of a three year-old female in a brain scan and claims that he is in fact a she, we can no longer deny a biological reason behind their behaviour.  Once again, science is awesome!

Science teaches us why anti-bacterial soaps harm our immune-system and why driving west on Highway 70 gives you worse gas-mileage than going east.  It warns us about our carbon emissions and why we need enough plants to balance out our planet’s oxygen levels.  We have learned so much in the past one hundred fifty years, and it simply amazes me!  I hope it amazes you, too, since we all use science every day.  Whether you use the internet or take medicine for you high blood-pressure or turn on the television or eat a piece of fruit that wasn’t grown in your area, you’re totally using technology and science.

AWESOME!

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There are few days when I don’t look back on my trip to Germany in 2008 with Sister Cities and think, “Where did that time go?”  It was, in all honesty, one of the greatest adventures of my life.  Three weeks in a completely foreign country with a language I barely knew how to speak and so many wonderful people.  New things to try.  New foods to eat.  Everything new and yet so shockingly old.  A seven hundred year-old home that was still being lived in or a thousand year old church.  I’m still completely enchanted by it all, and I probably never won’t be.

I’ll be going on another adventure roughly four and a half months from now when I head to Chicago and then Denver by taking the train and staying in a hostel before making it out to my sister’s wedding.  I’m excited, I really am.  But there’s this little part of me that keeps saying: you are trying to relive Germany, and you will fail.

It’s something that I don’t want to accept, but the more that I think about it, it may be true.  I spend so much time thinking about those good times and how I’d love to live through them again, and sometimes I think I plan my life around that.  Trying to explore and adventure to new places again and again.  But it is not sustainable.  After a while, you have to move into other aspects of your life and leave adventures behind.  I suppose that many people call this growing up or maturing, but I just find it disheartening.  Why give up your dreams of adventures?  Why not try to relive them or make new memories?

But, because I search so desperately for them, I think that they become doomed from the get go to not live up to my expectations.  It’s similar to how I hated Girls State because I had gone to Missouri Scholars Academy the year before and was just comparing it to something so much greater.  Chicago/Denver cannot be another Germany, but I need to accept that it can be its own separate adventure.  It can be something new.  It can be something wonderful.  And I just need to keep an open mind and throw away that idea that you must ‘mature’ to no longer having fun.

If that’s what maturing is, then I will have no part in it.

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