Mortality

My grandfather is in the hospital. Yes, the one that lives with us, the one who has just been an asshole of a human being to my mother and father, the one that I just kept hoping would die.

I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a little happy when he went to the hospital with pneumonia, something very strange to catch at this time of year. I was. It was almost a relief, that maybe we were finally nearing the end. Of an endless stream of nurses, of my father muttering under his breath every time the nurses had to move my grandfather, of my mother having to sacrifice her weekends to care for a man who was entirely ungrateful for her help.

And so, he is in the hospital, nearing the end. He chose hospice care. We think that after years of fighting so hard to hang on to life, he has finally accepted that he is going to die, in his own cynical way. For a psychiatrist, it’s weird to me that he has such a hard time processing his own feelings and emotions, but maybe that’s not too unusual with psychologists and psychiatrists. My mom and I are only able to guess at what he’s feeling, but we we think he has finally come to accept his own death.

So Mom asked my sister and I to visit him in the hospital, just in case he doesn’t come home. I walked in there, slightly annoyed, afraid, and hungover from celebrating my graduation. I have no connection with this man and I’m terrified of hospitals, so my own feelings manifested in annoyance. Just one more thing this man will put us through.

What I was surprised to find was how I actually felt sad when I saw him. Not pity, but sad. I won’t miss the man, but there’s something so haunting about seeing someone who is, for all intents and purposes, dying. Leaning across the bed, eyes closed, a once towering man now shriveled and deflated, struggling to breathe easily. At the end of his life, despite how hard he has clung to this world.

Mom and I wonder why he has clung so tightly. He claims to be a good Catholic, so shouldn’t he be excited for heaven? We think he is still fighting his own demons. Maybe he realizes he wasn’t the best person while on this earth, and he is afraid of judgement, should it come, should it be real. It just makes you wonder.

It was the first time I had been in a hospital for someone who is dying. I have been when my sister got cleated during the only softball game I went to, I’ve been to Hershey Medical Center when my cousin was hit by a truck, I have been for my own personal health issues, but never for a dying person. There’s something so private, that silence just hanging in the air. No one knows what to do or say, because what else can you talk about? You try to make everything seem normal to give that dying person a sense of peace and, well, normalcy. But that elephant in the room is there, clear as day, as obvious as the IV in his arm.

I do not have any strong feelings towards my grandfather (not positive ones, anyway). But you never want to see someone suffering, someone miserable, someone who is clearly afraid of the next adventure. It’s sad, seeing someone who is at the end of his life. It is.

At first, it was strange to me that these emotions were even touched when I have harbored such negative feelings for him all these years, but the more I think about it, the more I understand it’s normal.

Despite the fact that I don’t like my grandfather, I would have to be heartless not to feel something at the sight of a dying man. It is the first time I have ever really seen him any kind of emotionally vulnerable. And it’s tough to face death. It’s hard to face your own mortality. To think that one day I will be on my deathbed too, and what will I have made of my life then? What relationships will I have sown? What memories, should I still be lucky enough to have them, will I reflect on? Will I be able to let go of my life with grace, or will I be just as afraid?

I can’t quite put words to what seeing him today has brought me, but I think I needed it. In a way, I feel I have come to peace with my feelings towards my grandfather. And I didn’t know I needed that, but I did.

Until that moment comes, I will be there for my mom as she processes her own confused feelings for what will inevitably be the death of her father. I will sow my relationships, thankful that I have been blessed with so many loving people.

Thank you. Love.

Nowhere Bound

Happy anniversary! I released my blog over a year ago, and I love how it has allowed me to express my own personal thoughts and feelings. It seems my blog has turned into a bit of a journal with a hint of poetry in there. And so the saga continues!

The rose-colored glasses remain glued to my face, and it’s causing quite an internal struggle. But even I’ve grown tired of analyzing. The heart wants what it wants.

I was talking about it with Mary the other night, one of the many people opposing our union. Normally I expect the “why won’t you listen to me” attitude that always comes with it (I rarely follow people’s advice), and part of it was still there, but she empathized. I told her how I struggle with letting go when there’s no one else waiting in the wings, and she said sometimes it really does take someone else to get your mind off of someone, for you to realize how good you can be when the right person comes along. It was nice. Different from the usual lecture I get from everyone.

That whole night was just incredible. I came home because Rosie finally came back from NOLA after being gone for six weeks! Heather and Kristen were both working too, and I convinced Mary to join for the evening (she said one drink and then stayed for, like, 5!).

Everyone went to Hollow (even Matt and Cliff – it was nice not to be avoided), where we continued our love fest. I wish I remembered a bit more of it, but from what I remember it was a great time. Heather complimented my confidence, said she truly thought of me as one of her closest friends because of a heart-to-heart we had months ago about religion. She said she hadn’t found anyone else who shared her beliefs, and I honestly hadn’t either until we discussed it. I think it made Kristen a little jealous, but I thought I was going to cry some tears of joy and appreciation. Confidence is something I rarely associate with myself, so for Heather to compliment me on it just seemed so stunning to me. It felt like I had finally finished climbing that mountain.

Rosie and I professed our love for each other, something that has since become easier for both of us. We’ve grown very close over the last year together, and I feel pretty honored to be considered a close friend of hers. She’s had a difficult past, and I feel like I have earned her trust, which, to me, is another accomplishment.

I truly believe that everyone wants love. And with Kristen, I think she doesn’t feel as loved as she wants to be. I think that’s why she was a little hurt at Heather’s words, that maybe she doesn’t fit in as seamlessly as she wants, and I feel for her on that. This is probably the first time in my life that I feel truly accepted and celebrated among people. I want Kristen to have that, to find that, to be happy and loved in the way that she needs. I need to start being a better friend to her, because she’s always there for me, and she is a good person.

Hollow ended with a terrible cartwheel that has since turned into a giant purple bruise on my knee. My cheeks hurt from grinning all night, the air filled with laughter and shouts that fogged my heart and brain. There has only been one other night that brought me such happiness at Hollow, and that was the reunion of the Main Cup legends.

Thankfully this time I didn’t have any redbull vodkas. Although that may be why I first fell asleep in Zeus’s bed.

* * *

I stumbled into your house, the glowing light pantry light illuminating the hardwood floors in golden light, that familiar, musky smell the first thing I notice. I grabbed myself water, knowing my hungover self would thank me in the morning, and followed you up your secret staircase.

I not-so-gracefully made it to your bed, stripped down, grabbed some of your clothes, and fell into your awaiting arms, sprawled sideways on your bed. The snippets of conversation trickle into my head, sprinkled with drunken giggles and lots of love. (There’s no doubt in my mind that drunk you loves me).

Something about apologizing, clarifying from the week before. I finally got to tell you just how wonderful I think you are. You squeezed me so tight to you, your kisses falling on my skin like dew drops. Then we fell into a deep, hard sleep.

As usual, I woke to the sunshine streaming through your tiny window, cursing its light after getting four hours of sleep, my throat dry from salty tequila. I had more room in your bed than usual, even with Zeus on the bed. Everywhere I rolled, your arms were there, waiting. You wanted to be close to me, to hold me while you could. Your comfort. Your safety. Your love.

I was wide awake, moaning about my hangover, your happy chuckles punctuating my stories and complaints. We tried filling in some parts of the previous night, but with little luck. I told you how I missed your dog so much at school that I demonstrated to my roommates how I wanted to hold him. I felt like a toddler fighting sleep, completely ignoring the fact that your parents were home.

Sleep finally gripped me again, and you clutched me close when it did. I dozed off for another hour or so before I finally woke you up with more murmurs and kisses. I laid back down while you manhandled Zeus, and I couldn’t help but appreciate the body that matched your personality. The spark ignited, and I couldn’t help but stare. I’m glad you weren’t looking so that I didn’t have to stop.

You crawled back into the bed under the covers, biting my hip as you did so, and I knew where it was going. I slid the covers over my head, looking at you under its blue-ish hue, afraid to lovingly touch your head as I usually do because of your injury the week before. But you grasped my hand and showed me I didn’t need to be that gentle, though I was still careful.

You bore your weight on me, hugging me tight. Your green eyes stunned me against the blue of the blanket behind your head. You took your time with the kisses, something I hadn’t expected. I guess you remembered me telling you that neck kisses are my weakness. I just wanted to examine your eyes, but I couldn’t do it without blushing, your unblinking gaze striking right through me.

When it was over, you kissed my sweaty forehead, fingers tickling my palms, finding a way to recreate the intimacy while being separated (and cooling down). There’s something so intimate and caring about the hands.

You rubbed my back (you owed me) before you fell back to sleep. I couldn’t tear my eyes away from you. The promise of our next meeting hung in the air, as if you’d stopped fighting me, electric as the promise of a summer thunderstorm.

 

Bartops, Grief, and Good Karma

All I want is to be at the Main Cup tomorrow night for jazz night. Recently I’ve been listening to a lot of Joe Bonamassa, and it just makes me want to go sit in on some live music that doesn’t require jumping, headbanging, or trying to impress anyone with my dancing. I just want to drink a beer and chat with people while listening to good music. And, funny enough, as much as I hated working jazz nights before, some of my more profound, appreciative-of-life moments happen on jazz nights as the music settles down.

Imagine this: you’re finally off your feet after a few hours of non-stop going, you slide into that tall chair, slough the bag off your shoulder, and one of your coworkers gives you your drink for free. The bartenders are very appreciative of the work you do, they give you a smile, try to make sure you’re okay and not exhausted, even though they still have another hour or so of work ahead of them. You have a sip of your drink, pull out your phone, and start to relax. In the background, the guitar is vibing to the constant rhythm of the drums, and you find yourself absentmindedly tapping your feet against the bar’s footrest. You look up, glance around at the buzz around you, the old regulars laughing, most of them already drunk, none of them paying attention to you (and you prefer it that way most of the time). The lights are a soothing yellow, Christmas lights still dangling from the beams. It’s cold outside, but you don’t have to worry about that yet. You wait for your coworkers to get off so they can join you, and you know they will. You don’t know what you’ll do tonight, if anything, but something almost always happens, be it heading to Bower’s or to another bar. You’re on the younger side of those who will join you, a fresh 21, but your coworkers don’t care. They include you on invitations to continue the party at their houses, tucked into the mountains 15 minutes away. Some of your favorite coworkers are in their thirties and have children, but they make time for you, they enjoy talking to you, and you can open up to them. They’re like mentors, not parents, but also friends. The whole scene is blissful.

That’s what I get to look forward to when I’m home. I like to romanticize, sure, but I think it helps me to be an appreciative person, to take in the little things, to notice and love them. I think that’s why I’ve been having such a good bout of karma recently, and I find it easier to smile at the sky, like my arms are so light I just want to reach to the clouds in celebration of being alive, of basking in a humid, cloudy day in March. I wouldn’t say I’ve found a vigor for life, but I’ve found an appreciation.

I will say, that bar held a couple important nights for me. Obviously, my first shift drink for turning 21. It’s where I “snuck” beer from Cliff during the Christmas party in an attempt to stay drunk (succeeded), it’s where I’ve made some of my closest friends, where I’ve networked many of my relationships. It’s where I’ve gained confidence in myself, in my communication skills. I’ve learned a lot about myself, about my coworkers, all around that bar.

I don’t mean for this to turn sad, but there’s something I’ve been reflecting on a lot lately that I feel I need to share, but I don’t know who to turn to. I know that whoever I told would be sad and sympathetic without knowing what to say, which is fine, that’s all I could ask of them. I just want to express it so someone will understand.

Another few important moments that happened at Main Cup included my cats. When we had to put my first cat down, on Thursday, October 2, 2014, I had to work almost immediately after – not a smart move on my end. I remember holding my little boy against my chest and just sobbing while my dad dug the grave. I have never cried this way in my life – not during movies, not when my sister left for college, not when I was cheated on. It was just bone-shakingly sad.

After we buried him, I went to work, trying not to cry. It was the first death I’d ever really had to deal with, and it was the cat I’d had since as long as I could remember (I was only a few months old when we got him), and he was mine. We bonded, he always slept with me, it was so sweet. My coworkers were nothing but sympathetic, and I think my being teary-eyed freaked them out a little because I never show that much emotion, or if I do it’s always happy. It was hard to go through, and I think part of me will always be with him, but it was nice to have my Main Cup family there.

This past September, my other cat passed away fairly unexpectedly. She was old, I think she got bit by something, and it was a long, painstaking ride for her. She seemed like she might pull through, but her meows were just haunting. I was headed home from college that Thursday to work and see her, help her if I could, be there if she passed.

Mom called me on my way home to tell me that she had passed the night before. It was such a dagger to the heart. She couldn’t have waited another day for me to be there. For me, it wasn’t selfishness; I was beside myself with the grief that I hadn’t been able to be with her when she went, as I was for my first cat. It still upsets me that she died alone, that I couldn’t be there.

So I went to work, plastered a smile on my face, tried not to think about it, tried not to cry when my coworkers gave me their sympathy hugs. It worked better than the first time. At the end of the shift, I sat at the bar and tried to put some of my feelings into a Facebook post, I think I may have also written about it on here somewhere, but I also didn’t want to be sobbing at the bar by myself while I waited for everyone else. My friends came and sat with me, and I forgot about it for a little while. They wanted to go out, and I just couldn’t put it off any longer – I needed to see my little girl.

I went home, tired from the shift, from the week, from crying in the car. The house was dark and quiet. I hung up my things, kicked off my shoes, and made my descent into the basement, where Mom told me she had wrapped the little one up in a blanket. I flicked on the lights, caught between feeling anxious and at peace (strangely enough). I think I was scared of seeing her.

I peeled back the blanket, and there she was, my best little girl, 16 years old. And I just sobbed again, silently this time. I couldn’t pick her up yet, so I just petted her, her body already cold and stiff. Cursing myself for not being able to be there for her in her final moments. I needed her to know she was loved. That I would miss her sleeping on my outstretched arms as her awkward sign of affection. It was nice to have that private moment. I found it beautiful and meaningful, no matter how much grief filled the air.

Now, with no pets, I feel like my Main Cup family is what I really have to look forward to when I return home. I’m blessed to have them in my life, to have their love and support.

Thank you for sharing such a personal moment with me. It’s cathartic for me to talk about it, to acknowledge the beauty. And this is just a casual reminder that if you are going to put your pets down, please for the love of god stay with them and let them know how much you love them.

Emanating love

 

Some Days You Think So Much That You Write So Little

I can’t get your smell off me today, just like I can’t get away from you. No matter how hard I try, you’re always there. Your cigarette smell hovers over me, a poltergeist. Or is it the soap? The scarcely familiar smell of your house that I sometimes miss when I’m not there? That rugged and homey scent, the one that wracks my brain for a better name than wood, peace, and sunshine. Normally when I leave, you don’t exist in my head – you just don’t fit together. But today you followed me.

And I didn’t know what to do.

 

Solemn Joy

Break was over in a flash. Those 12 days flew by in a blink of an eye. I was genuinely sad that I would be returning to College Park so soon. I was rarely in my house long enough for me to be annoyed with it, I feel like I didn’t get a sufficient amount of time with my friends (though I got to see all of them in one break which was great — all it took was 12 days).

I took care of my friends animals, and it was wonderful to be surrounded by so much fur. They were all so loving, and having each of her cats purring on my chest gave me the joy of what I think a mother feels when her child falls asleep on her. I guess I’m more of a cat person, and that shouldn’t be a bad thing. I love both species so who cares.

Some unexpected turn of events occurred over break, some that shocked me to my core. My friend’s dad killed himself right before Christmas, and I can only explain it as horrifying for all. I was told right before one of my shifts, and all I could say was “oh my god.” It was so intense, so pure and terrifying. I thought I was going to cry, and I questioned why I would feel so strongly for a man I had only met once. Looking back on it, I think I was moreso crying for my friend. The heaviness in my heart as it yearned to be with him, to support him in such a devastating time.

Our friends bound together in support. Our coworkers put together baskets. Everyone I talked to either went to the viewing or the funeral.

It was incredibly solemn that Tuesday. Dressed in my mom’s black dress, because I didn’t pack any funeral clothes for my trip home. Why would I? My heels clicking through the church, sun trying to shine through the stained-glass windows, I sat with some of my closest friends, and I experienced something with them that I never thought I would have to. I watched as we all dealt with the grief. We all cried while trying not to cry. We listened as our friend delivered a strong, inspirational eulogy for his own father. We watched as Scott’s friends gave their speeches. It was a strange moment for me to watch grown men cry and learn that they cry like I do, that they can’t talk, they have to take sharp breaths, they have to stop and swallow that rock hard lump in their throats.

The entire time I sat in that church, I questioned. I’m not a fan of organized religion, though I believe in a higher power and I’m comfortable with calling it many names, including God. Is this how this man wanted his funeral to go? Was he really saved when the bible says suicide is a horrible sin? I tried not to get too philosophical, tried not to roll my eyes out of respect for this man and his family, my friend.

I questioned whether my friends were trying not to cry in the same way I was. I wondered whether one day we would be up there, delivering eulogies for our friends well before their time on this earth should have ended. As I sat wedged between Nick, Will, and Roeder, I wanted to hug them all. I wanted to touch them, hold their hands, hug them close, but I thought they might think I was being too emotional. Looking back, I should have done it. But I know that we were all trying to make it through without having an outburst or a panic attack.

When it was over, I could see Roeder’s red eyes, Will and I wiping our noses, sparing small smiles for each other, trying to revert to our natural, goofy states in a way that almost felt inappropriate. Nick remained dead-eyed. Sam (who performed a beautiful piano solo) and some others found us, all teary-eyed too. In that moment, I tried to be solemn out of respect, but I think it’s amazing the power of positive energy. How some people’s innate nature is to be happy, to make others laugh. I think it’s the most beautiful power in this world, to laugh and be happy even in the face of such devastation. In that moment it was nice to know that I have that power within me.

When we ventured to the basement for food, we all clung together, sitting together so tightly at those plastic tables that it almost felt like lunchtime in high school. A few of us didn’t say much, but it may have been the hardest I laughed all break. I wanted nothing more than to hold them all there, keep them so happy and lighthearted. And I hope that is a moment burned into my memory forever, when we were so young, too young to experience a death so close to our hearts, to our circle, and everything felt raw and desolate yet happy.

We found our friend, said our goodbyes. The rest of the day went by in a bit of a hollow blur. I cried to my sister afterward, still processing the day’s emotions. The rest of break went by without a hitch. We all kind of huddled closer together after that.

And now I’m back in College Park — too soon, I feel, but I look forward to the promise of Friday, when my friends will surround me again. My Spanish class isn’t the worst it could be (though I did study 233 words for my exam tomorrow). It’s nice to only focus on one class right now, and I might be in for a rude awakening come spring semester. I’m taking some time for myself. I’ve been doing yoga every day because I can’t bring myself to do more than 2-3 aerobic workouts a week right now.

This blog wasn’t exactly what I thought was going to happen, but it felt too important not to share. I’ll get back to you later.

So much love

Rest in Peace Scott

Bones Don’t Stay

The last jazz night I worked was a little different. It went much less smoothly, and I was a lot happier. I was on the verge of tears, grateful for all I had been given.

Tonight went smoothly, but so much has changed in the few weeks I have been gone. The universe keeps drowning me in whatever bad karma I have earned.

My cat died. These things come in threes though, right? That’s the hope I’m hanging onto.

Funny enough, I think the universe is telling me where I should be. Tonight the 400s room was reserved for a surprise going away party for a man named Danny. As I sit here writing this, the jazz band is calling “Danny, Danny we love you, Danny we love you.”

I’m not sure if that’s the universe telling me to go, that it’s sorry but it loves me and this is my sign to get out. It could also mean I should be here in Middletown.

I’m not sure. Maybe the universe can give me some clearer signs without anyone else dying.

Freckled Exhaustion

Between contacts, computer screens, road signs, and crying, my eyes feel endlessly tired.

It has not been a good time for sleep, and normally I don’t mind it. I’ll never turn away the beautiful morning sun streaming through my windows, igniting my eclectic home. I’ll never regret waking early and parting the blinds to peek at the multitudinous hues that color the Appalachians in Middletown. I’ll forever hold in my heart the still and quiet mornings spent reading a new book, contemplating dozing off again for a few hours.

What I will not relish, are painful nights that slither into hollow mornings. I will not welcome the heavy darkness on my chest. I cherish neither the sudden, cold feeling that vibrates through my body, nor the colorless desperation, pleading, and anxiety that sinks into my sheets.

I spent most of the weekend awakened by fear. Misty was left outside, bitten, and might not make it through the week. My bed will be forever empty without her. It’s been a bad weekend.

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* * *

Something has called me to examine horoscopes more closely. I still always look at them objectively — vague terms can only paint such an exact picture. But it’s been fun to learn and interesting to explore.

I think the most unique characteristic of my sign (Taurus), is that it is ruled by Venus, the planet that symbolizes love. Love is the center of this earth sign.

I’ve only had intimate enough conversations to admit this to maybe two or three people, but I came to the conclusion that somehow, love is at my center. It is not my driving force behind menial things (though supposedly money is), but it is what I see as the most powerful entity in the universe. Which is true; everyone wants to love and be loved, and while I don’t emit love for everyone, while I get annoyed, I do still feel I should be spreading love out in the world for those who feel none. I really love to remind my friends of their worth. Sometimes people just don’t see what’s right in front of them, how beautiful of people they are. I like to be the person that gives them that unique compliment, one that actually means something.

It’s probably because of these intimate, minuscule details that I fall in love with things maybe a little out of the ordinary. I love some peoples’ scars, or laughs, or smiles. Some eyes I find breathtaking. Someone’s resiliency. Someone’s ability to love.

This detailed love extends to nature as well. There are so many mental snapshots I take that I wish I could share with everyone. There are snapshots of people I want to share with everyone too, to show them how brilliant they shine in an unimportant moment.

Just a thought.

I’ve had a few people in mind lately.

But for now my eyes are tired.

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Last Resort

Jazz night’s in full swing, I have a buzz from my last shift drink of the summer, and although I’m on the verge of tears I couldn’t be happier.

I’ve had a lot going on in my life, stuff that should make me upset and bitter. But I can’t help but appreciate all that I have going for me.

I have a great job.

I have great friends.

I have had the opportunity to be with nature, to explore the surroundings of my hometown.

I have simply fallen in love with my life.

Of course I have stuff to worry about, I’m also kind of on the middle of my quarter life crisis, but nights like tonight I can’t help but be so appreciate of what I have and who I am.

I have grown exponentially as a person,I don’t know what it is, and while I do feel lost at times, I more strongly feel like the universe and/or whatever higher power there is is telling me that I am exactly where I should be in my life. There is no greater relief or satisfaction than knowing you are where you should be, no matter how lost you may feel sometimes.

Thank you, Bob for all you have given me.

Thank you, friends, for all you do for me.

Thank you for helping me fall in love with my life.

Reflection of a Mediocre Paradise

Romance movies, romance novels, and 90’s music. Sundays are meant for lazing around, and it’s as though the entire month of August has stretched from one long, hot Sunday.

As I maneuver winding country roads, I desperately wish I could print the mental photographs I take in my head. I am in awe of the countryside, gazing, gaping at the rolling hills and copse of mountains that maintain my paradise.

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Mary has helped me pick up a new hobby. I need something to keep my hands busy, something that takes less brain-power than trying to find the right words in writing. I’m steadily learning the art of decoupage in the hopes that I can graduate to something less concrete and perfectionist to something where I can feel comfortable creating images from my mind. I wish I could capture and share the beauty I see, but cameras are too expensive, car rides are too fleeting, and my hands aren’t skilled craftsmen.

I’m a little sad to go back to school. I want to continue to explore without being interrupted by schoolwork (though it will be nice to get back to my own apartment). It’s disheartening to think I’m leaving most of my friends behind to go to a strange place with no job, but maybe I need that push to succeed. I’m determined to adapt well, as I’m hoping to move to West Virginia or North Carolina after graduation. Adventure is pacing on my doorstep, and the handle is finally within my reach.

Something about nature is calling me too. I got to help Mary and Beth feed the calves today, and it was my first time bottle feeding a calf.

Every time I can sneak a glance at the mountainous terrain, I imagine I am in North Carolina, driving home to my private apartment or single story home.

Yet I will miss the connections Middletown has blessed me with. I love feeling welcome at my place of work. I do fear what I will miss (FOMO, as Bob calls it).

As unsteady as the future is, there is only so much I can worry about. It’s hard to worry about it intensely until it is there, ya know? I think I’ll be okay. And I’m still looking forward to it.

I only feel really lost in love. I’m confident he will find me, I’m just too impatient a person. I believe there must be past lives, because it seems I was born an old soul ready to love from the moment I entered the world.

Until then, I have my wonderful friends to swell my heart. I don’t think I’ve laughed so hard so often in quite some time. Love drunk is a true idea, as is laugh drunk.

Also, something I’ve learned about myself; for some reason I love romances in which someone is tragically taken and the other has to pull him/herself together to move on. I don’t know why, it doesn’t exactly resonate with me because I haven’t really lost anyone in that way. Maybe it just seems like a beautiful love story, maybe a past life resonates in longing. Who knows.

Embarking

Able-bodied, able-minded

So much has been going on over the past week. My friends and I are looking for a house tucked into suburban College Park, which would be wonderful since I’m clearly not a big fan of city life. Other than that, my schoolwork has needed my full attention now that we’re winding down.

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I’ve been feeling a bit under the weather recently and my eyes are burning so this likely will be a short post.

I always get so frustrated when I get sick or have allergies. I feel like I have been fighting against my body my entire life. I would always get the stomach bug when I was little, and it became common practice for me to camp out in the bathroom, bring all my blankets and a big chair pillow and be ready the next time I needed to puke. Funny enough, my expertise has been helpful so far in my college career; my roommate was impressed by my bathroom fortress (and my resiliency).

There was a time in seventh grade that I missed 14 days of school because I would be healthy one week then sick the next. I was the kid that needed her homework delivered to her house so she wouldn’t fall so far behind.

I have bad knees that make it hard to run and exercise. I hyper-extended my left knee in high school and sprained my right ankle later that same year. I had plantar fasciitis for the majority of last year which made it difficult to run (and sometimes stand). Now I think I have a torn or irritated muscle in my calf that makes running and HIIT nearly impossible without a limp. I can’t work out the way I want to. I have bad hips that used to pop in and out randomly, though thankfully that has come a bit more under control. One of my ribs is out of place and it sometimes tweaks my neck so that I can’t turn left for about a week.

My stomach problems have carried over into my adulthood, and there’s a very good chance that I have Crohn’s disease, but I refuse to get diagnosed because I hate doctors and it can be difficult to diagnose.

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My mom and I hiking Annapolis Rock summer 2015. She has Crohn’s and has faced insurmountable hardships because of it. Her strength and resiliency inspire me day in and day out.

I’ve been sick with a strange bacteria three times since Christmas, and I think this time it’s mixed with the onset of allergies.

Sometimes I feel like I just can’t win. I exercise regularly, usually seven days a week, and while my eating habits could probably be better, usually my friends joke that all I eat is rabbit food.

It’s very frustrating, not feeling in control of your body. It seems like no matter what you do, nothing will keep it healthy. I’ve had to explain these random injuries to people throughout the years, and I always felt like I was making excuses for my inadequacies, that people didn’t believe my reasoning. They give me a pitiful look and continue on their way.

There was one time in kickboxing that we were lifting light weights, and we were supposed to raise the weight from our side to our shoulders. My mom, a physical therapist, has told me time and again that that move isn’t the greatest for me and strains the muscle in my neck that can cause my rib to move and tweak my neck, and that I should lift from my shoulder to up above my head to release that neck muscle. I, however, hate drawing attention to myself, so I participated in lifting the weights the more dangerous way. After feeling my muscle getting tighter and fearing the worst, I lowered my arms, and the middle-aged woman in front of me (who is kind of prissy) said I shouldn’t be tired since I’m the youngest one there.

That was the first time in my life that I just flashed a grin and didn’t explain my injuries. I didn’t owe her an explanation. I don’t owe anyone an explanation. I am fighting my battle the only way I know how, and it finally dawned on me that I don’t have to waste my time and energy telling someone what they think are made up, bullshit excuses.

While I’m still frustrated at my injuries, I have never let them stop me. For god’s sake, after learning I tore a muscle and shouldn’t do high-impact workouts, I proceeded to run two miles three times that week and go to kickboxing twice (which maybe wasn’t a smart idea, but you get the point). I continue to do my HIIT classes and do some intense cardio nearly every day, and I’m proud of myself for not letting these obstacles prevent me from being happy and achieving my goals.

So to everyone else out there frustrated with how things are working out, just know that you don’t owe anyone an explanation, and that if you want it, you’ll find a way over those obstacles. It’s important to be happy and supportive of yourself and your physical and mental health.

Now, off to find a movie to fall asleep to. The best part of being sick is finally falling asleep.

Cheers!

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Mom suggested we go look at plants after I said I wanted one for my apartment next year. We were just browsing, but I had to snag a picture of my favorite flowers – lilies. Being around so many plants again was amazing; I felt like I was in a jungle!