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one month to go.

13 May

I’m feeling good today, which has been really nice. I’ve been in a rut for the last week, feeling depressed about life while also feeling excruciatingly lonely, so I’m happy that today has been a good one.

I think there’s a whole combination of reasons for my positive outlook on today. For starters, I got to write some articles for BP this afternoon. It’s been a while since I’ve been asked to write for them, and there is no greater feeling on this planet than getting paid for your words. Then this morning I went for a run and listened to I Am America, which was just an amazing way to kick start the day. I also found out Nick is coming to town this weekend, which just fills my heart with glee. To top it all off, the weather is just beautiful (and not sweltering hot like the last couple days), and good weather always puts me in a good mood.

I realized today that I’ve begun to slowly come to terms with The End. The end of school; the end of my time in Ashland. It’s a rather bittersweet feeling. I’ve wanted out of this town for a while (since my junior year, really), but now that the end is in sight I’m sad to leave it all behind. I’ve been reflecting on my definition of “home” recently and have come to realize that, in almost two months, I’m not going to have a home for an entire year. That both scares and invigorates me. Ashland’s been my home for so long; so much so that Portland doesn’t quite feel like home to me anymore.

Anyway, I’ve got about a month left before I leave Ashland. In that time I’d like to revisit my favorite restaurants/bars/coffee shops, say goodbye to all my friends, walk all of Lithia Park one last time, hang out at Emigrant Lake, perform in the Rogue Valley Poetry Slam for my third (and final) time, and perhaps see My Fair Lady or King Lear at OSF.

It’s funny. When I close my eyes I can see my dorm room back when I was a wee freshman; Amanda sitting on her bed in the corner sketching while I watch CSI over at my desk across the room. Things were so different back then. I was so different back then. I was still a kid. I didn’t know anything about the world. And now… well, okay, I still don’t know much about the world, but I know so much more now than when I was a frosh. A part of me feels like I’m just a giant kid wrapped up inside an adult’s body, and I think I’m always going to feel that way, but I can also recognize how mature I’ve become. Nowadays I love cleaning, budgeting my paychecks, grocery shopping, cooking/baking, running/exercising, drinking, writing poetry, and having a job. I literally despised all of those things I just listed when I was eighteen.

The gap between an eighteen year old and a twenty-two (going on twenty-three) year old doesn’t seem like much, but holy hell, it really is a lot. You just deal with so much in that time frame. You try new things. You learn new things. You learn who you are and how you perceive the world around you. That’s one reason why I’d argue the importance of going to college; not so much for the degree and all the student loans you’re guaranteed to wrack up, but because of the people you meet and the interactions you partake in and the experiences you garner. Would I have turned out differently if my neighbor back in the dorms hadn’t slowly transformed into a transwoman before my eyes? If I didn’t gain friends who outwardly enjoy sex, weed, and alcohol? If I hadn’t dealt with friends coming out, friends expressing suicidal thoughts, and friends who went through pregnancy scares and abortions? Would I be the same sheltered girl that I was when I was eighteen, so wide eyed and naive to the ways of the world?

Probably.

This wasn’t meant to be a rant. This was supposed to be a quick update on how I’ve been having a good day, but then I got… nostalgic? I guess I’m just grateful. Despite wishing I had chosen a different college many times throughout my education, if I had to go back I wouldn’t have chosen differently. I’m sure I would’ve had a great time at other schools as well – and probably gotten more for my money – but I wouldn’t trade in the friendships, experiences, and memories I made at SOU for anything in the world.

One more month to go.

Let’s try to make the most out of it.

September, 2008

 

May, 2013

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tea and acne.

11 May

If anything positive can be said about the anxiety I was diagnosed with, now over a month ago, I think it’s that I’m now taking better care of myself. I’m running on a consistent schedule. I’m eating small portions (ie. not gorging,) and snacking less, and eating healthier overall. I’m trying to go to bed at decent times. Basically, I’m treating my body like a temple, and all that good stuff.

So in the last two weeks I’ve stumbled across two things that have made life just a tad better.

1. I have discovered the power of tea.

Don’t go classifying me as a tea drinker just yet (I still prefer coffee overall), but I think I’m slowly being won over. Since my anxiety started, everyone’s been recommending I start drinking tea. Despite my constant response of, “But I hate tea,” I finally caved and bought two different blends: Nighty Night and Breathe Easy (and yes, I bought both based on name/what’s been ailing me, STFU, I know nothing about tea, don’t judge). I was hesitant about both types I bought. In the past, the only time I drink tea is when I’ve got a sore throat, and normally I just drink a peppermint tea which I kind of hate but endure because, hey, it really does help.

To my surprise I really like the taste of both blends, not to mention they’ve both been doing wonders for me so far. Breath Easy really does help me breathe a whole lot easier (the first time I drank some it felt like a weight had literally been lifted off my chest). Now, instead of lying down and trying to monitor my breath whenever it’s suddenly hard to breathe, I just make myself some of this tea and my problems go away. It’s quite nice.

And I finally tried Nighty Night last night, and it was the first time in over five days where I was able to fall asleep in under twenty minutes (as opposed to the two hours of tossing and turning that I’ve been dealing with).

So. Yeah. Tea. I think I might have to buy some more.

(My only real qualm is that, holy hell, it is way too hot to be drinking tea right now. Stupid early summer weather.)

2. I made my own facial treatment.

I’ve been going through a bout of mighty bad acne recently, which is weird because acne’s never been much of a problem for me (I’ll get a zit or two once in a while, but I’ve been relatively lucky in retrospect). I started getting breakouts on my forehead about six weeks ago, which I’ve been linking to stress (especially since it started up around the same time as the anxiety). After weeks of using store-bought products and not yielding a positive result, I took matters into my own hands.

I began looking into different home remedies for acne; researching the different products used in each of them and why certain ingredients were effective. I finally landed on one facial remedy, and christ, it has done wonders for my skin.

All you need is water, oatmeal, honey, and a blender. You basically toss everything into a blender, mix it up, and it’s ready to use. I tend to use more honey and oatmeal in my mixtures, since that makes the facial thicker, which helps it stick to your face. I’ll usually apply the facial and then read for ten minutes, before jumping into the shower and washing it all off. I went ahead and made myself a big batch, which I store in my fridge. That way it’s ready to be used at a moment’s notice.

I’ve been using this facial for almost two weeks now and my skin is just about back to normal. So, if anyone’s looking for a way to fight acne, I highly recommend this!

amazing twenty-four hours.

17 Apr

These last two weeks haven’t exactly gone according to plan.

I went into this term expecting the best. I’m only really taking three classes, which is the lightest coarse load I’ve taken in my entire college career. With an easy term ahead of me and New Zealand not too off down the road, I started this term with the highest of hopes. Spring terms, in the past, have tended to be quite sucky for me, so I was hoping I could break that streak on my fifth and final time.

Then, two days into this spring term, I started feeling bad. Shortness of breath, tingling, pangs of pain, chest pain, feeling lightheaded, etc. When I realized one night my left arm was completely numb I broke down crying because I thought I was having a stroke. Three days later I was in the hospital, prepared for the worst, and the doctor diagnosed me with anxiety. While there are far worse things I could’ve been diagnosed with, I was pretty bummed. So much for my easy term.

The last week and a half has been a trial, though I like to think I’m winning thus far. I realize I haven’t addressed most of these issues with friends as of late, except for the vague Facebook status on occasion (“Feeling great today!” or “I hate this”), but rest assured, things have slowly been getting better. I was, for a while, feeling kind of depressed over the whole thing, but that time has seemed to pass. Right now I feel, for the most part, back to my old self. I’m still having trouble sleeping at night, but even that’s gotten better. I’ve also gone and seen a counselor, and we talked about how my body might’ve had a lot of misplaced stress since I’m not taking as heavy of a coarse load as it’s used to (or, as Nick so graciously put it, I’m anxious about not being anxious (isn’t that just plain dumb?)). There’s also the chance that I might’ve had a pinched nerve that coincided with all of this, and I went to get a massage last week and, man, that has done wonders for me already.

But enough about why this term’s been crummy so far. Let me tell you about the last twenty-four hours.

Last night I went and competed in my second ever poetry slam. The first one I competed in was last month, and I walked away with second place, $30, and a gift certificate to Northwest Pizza. After round one last night I was sure I wasn’t going to place in the top three. I flubbed my first poem a bit and, if I had gotten any lower, wouldn’t have made it into round two. However, my next two poems were really well receive and, by the end of the night, I placed first. I was floored. I waked away with $105 in my pocket, a $25 gift certificate for pizza, and a $20 to Bloomsbury Books. I wanted to cry. I’m not used to winning anything really, so the fact that my poetry was so well received… gah, it’s just astounding to me. It’s amazing to know that people like my words.

Skip to this morning. I got to sleep in, then laze about watching TV for a while. After that, I took off downtown, and was thrilled to find out my financial aid had, indeed, gone through. Looks like someone can afford rent at the end of this month after all!

Not to mention that the weather today is so nice. Today’s one of the first where I’ve actually been able to don a dress. It’s been a good long while since I’ve felt good about myself appearance-wise, but today was one of those days. Plus, as I was walking through downtown, I realized that I wasn’t having to focus on my breathing like I have been all these last two weeks. I guess I really am getting better, and that’s wonderful beyond words.

Next, I hit up the Graduation Fair at my college. As I was making my way to the Fair, my New Zealand playlist (yes, I made a New Zealand playlist, shut up) shuffled to the song “I’m Waiting For My Real Life to Begin”, which was just utterly perfect and summed up how I’ve been feeling about graduating. I got my graduation announcements, my two tassels, and my stole. Then I headed off to the art building, and I was ecstatic to find that the art lab was open and I wrapped up this week’s photography project in under twenty minutes.

Finally, I headed to go meet with my Capstone adviser for Creative Writing (ie. Craig). I was really hesitant about going, and to bribe myself I bought the most delicious panini that I’ve ever tasted (because there is no greater incentive than food). I was hesitant because I hadn’t talked to Craig all of last term about my short story, so I had no idea how he felt about it. It’s a story I’ve been working on for over three years now, and it’s been so long that I’ve sort of lost perspective on it. I went into the meeting telling myself that he was probably going to have a lot of harsh critique, and if I ever wanted to be a professional writer I’d have to suck it up and take whatever he gave me. But the first thing he said to me when I took a seat in his office? “I love this story. I always have.” I was astounded. I wrote the story back in his Advanced Fiction Writing class when I was a sophomore, which was so long ago that I assumed he had forgotten all about it. He went on to give me some notes, mainly that I should cut down on some of my longer sections (since the shorter ones, he noted, pack a much greater punch) and then he had some nit picky things about grammar/spelling/word choice, which is fantastic. But he told me that my story is good overall, and that I’m great at opening sentences and transitioning between sections. It was just really nice to hear, especially when I hadn’t been expecting it.

Then I got home and found the clothes I had ordered came in the mail today. I’ve been pretty good about not throwing money around since I started saving for New Zealand (after this next paycheck I’ll officially be half way to my goal amount), but I figured I could spend a little on myself. I’ve been noticing I’ve been wearing a lot of dark colors recently, which there’s nothing wrong with, but I’ve been nostalgic for some brighter clothes. So I bought a couple of bright tops to liven up my wardrobe.

So, yeah, basically today has been the bee’s knees. I realize this quickly divulged into a diary-ish entry about “I did this” and “I did that”, but I don’t care. It was a damn good day. The best day I’ve had in a long time. I couldn’t ask for anything better.

the new norm.

15 Apr

I’d really like to live in a world where, when catastrophes of this magnitude strikes, the first thing that comes to my mind isn’t, “Not again.”

Shootings in movie theaters.
Bombings at marathons.
Killings in elementary schools.

When’s it going to fucking stop?

my day at the hospital.

5 Apr

Today was supposed to be easy.

The plan was simple enough: stay in pjs all day and don’t leave the house. There was so much I was going to get done. Finishing up my Capstone short story. Getting a start on my heap of homework. Writing up a blog entry about the book vs. film of Jurassic Park. Catch up on TV. Y’know. The words.

But I’ve had a couple things ailing me the last several days. Shortness of breath. Some numbness. Chest pains. Pain all over. Trouble sleeping. Heart pain. Seeing as it’s been going on since Tuesday, I decided to pay a quick visit to the Health and Wellness Center on my college’s campus. I figured it’d be a quick trip that would last no longer than an hour. Boy was I wrong.

The HWC didn’t know what was wrong with me and told me, after about an hour and a half of questions, examining, and an EKG, that I should go to the hospital. This led to me breaking down in tears because – hah – I hate the hospital. It’s only ever brought about bad things for me, and going there is always something I dread. So I went. I had multiple tests done on me. Blood test. A second EKG. Lots of heart monitoring. An X-Ray. I was starting to get worried. The doctor mentioned something about the possibility of a blood clot early on, which scared the hell out of me. I’m a healthy, young girl. This wasn’t supposed to be happening to me.

At the end of it all, the doctor who was treating me sat down and gave it to me straight: I was not dying. I didn’t have a blood clot in my lungs. I was showing early signs of a stroke. I wasn’t at risk of blood poisoning. All the horrible results I had thought over weren’t coming true. All my tests came back positive, and I was still a very healthy person.

What I have is anxiety.

Now, I know I’m an anxious person. I get anxious over the stupidest things. However, I did not know I was this anxious. To actually have physical symptoms and need to go to the hospital. When the doctor first gave me the diagnosis I was highly skeptical, because I don’t feel anxious. My life has been going pretty well this week. It’s an easy term. What’s there to be anxious of? Then I talked to my dad on the phone and he pointed out a few things. I just got off a ridiculously hectic term, and on top of that I’m graduating in two and a half months only to then promptly leave the country.

Then there’s also the fact that I’m, quite frankly, not good at talking about myself. Oh I have no problem talking about the TV shows I’m watching or the classes I’m taking or the things I did over the weekend, but when it comes to my feelings and inner thoughts? Nope. I stay pretty closed off when it comes to that shit. So maybe keeping things bottled up, after all this time, is to blame? I recognized that I was having some pretty bad anxiety last September having to do with something, and I didn’t talk to anyone about it, so maybe that’s now coming back to bite me in the ass as well.

The point is, the doctor recommended I go see a therapist, so I guess that’s what I’m gonna do. Anything to get things back to the way they were. I’d like to not jolt up out of bed in the middle of the night because it feels like I can’t breathe and start crying because my arm is numb and I’m afraid I’m having a stroke. That’s just really something I don’t need in my life right now.

school’s last first.

2 Apr

Well this is it, folks.

My last first day of school starts in twelve minutes.

It’s an odd feeling, knowing I’ll never return. Knowing graduation is right around the corner. Knowing there’s no denying the fact that I am an adult any longer. What’s more, it’s kind of scary. School is what I’ve come to know over years. Three month learning increments. Spring breaks. Christmas breaks. Summer breaks. Midterms. Finals. Late night cramming. Last minute project work. Doodling during lectures. Commuting to classes. Teachers rambling. All of it gone only two and a half months down the road from this very moment.

I’m not a spontaneous person, so school’s always been perfect for me. I like routine, and school is nothing if not routine. Routine is comfortable; routine is cozy. Routine is safe. It’s frightening that in seventy-four days the routine I’ve come to know will be gone forever. Yes, I have New Zealand to look forward to, and a whole future of doing whatever the hell I want. No more stupid classes that mean diddly-squat for my future. No more trying to memorize pointless facts and figures just to pass a test so my GPA will remain at its pristine 3.5 level. No more having to deal with the stupidity of certain people of my generation in classes. Yet still, it’s hard not to feel scared when you’re approaching the end of something that’s been your life for almost twenty years. I started attending preschool when I was three. I’m twenty-three now. Just thinking about my lifetime accumulating an education and how that’s soon ending makes my stomach churn. I feel as if I’ve learned all there is I need to know at this point, but it’s still frightening; the prospect of letting go.

Oh yes, there might be grad school in the future, but I’ve been a bit skeptical lately that I’ll be attending grad school. I guess it depends a few years down the line, where my writing has taken me and what it is exactly I’ll be doing with my life. Only time will tell on that front.

The point of all this is, despite the senior-itis that is bound to hit in, oh, probably the next day or two, and the joy I take in complaining about how I don’t want to be in Ashland and how I can’t wait to be in a different country, I’m going to try to enjoy these last couple months. I’m going to spend time with my friends that I know I wont see much of once I leave. I’m going to visit all my favorite restaurants and shops as often as I can. I’m going to try (though I doubt I’ll succeed) to not take my education for granted and actually appreciate my classes instead of bitching about them. I’m going to try to enjoy every moment, god willing.

The rest of my life starts in seventy-four days.

I am excited.

I am aghast.

I am terrified.

Let’s begin.

TPhoto_00031

lazy saturday morning.

9 Mar

As I’ve already made clear time and time again, this school term hasn’t been a great one. It’s been an example of why I shouldn’t put things off to the last minute, and how horribly I crumble when I bite off more than I can chew. Two and a half jobs, seven classes, light crew, and an art show… Phew. It was a heavy work load, to be sure, which should explain my lack of entries on here as of late.

The term’s not over yet. We’re entering dead week in two days, and then to swiftly follow will be finals week. I’ve still got two portfolios to put together, three short stories to wrap up, and two more papers to write – not to mention three final exams to start prepping for. I’ve got a ways to go before I can breathe easy, and even after this term is over I still have one more term to go where I’ll have to throw myself into both Capstones to ensure completion, while also juggling four classes, preparations for my New Zealand excursions, and starting to make the transition into leaving Ashland, my home, behind. I don’t think I’ll truly be able to rest until I’ve crossed that stage and been handed my faux diploma.

And yet, this morning, I allowed myself some breathing room. I slept in until 9:30am, loitered about watching The Colbert Report and dicking around on Tumblr, and then I did something I haven’t done in ages. I got back in bed and spent two and a half hours reading. Nothing else. Just me and the book. It was glorious and comforting. I mean, there’s not much comfort in reading the A Song of Ice and Fire series (though I’m glad to say, unlike Monday when the book made me weep, today I found myself fist pumping the air), but the act of shirking the work I should be doing in order to escape to GRRM’s fantasy world… it was just nice, y’know? It’s nice to give yourself a break, which I don’t think I’ve done a good job of this term. Compared to the last two months, my work load today isn’t quite as grievous, so I allowed myself the chance to indulge. Everyone should indulge now and again, if only for the sake of their sanity.

98 days until graduation.

39 days of attending classes.

12 days until spring break.

6 days until finals begin.

I can do this.