Words

I think in words. My mind takes information in linguistic form, and this is probably why subjects like math and chemistry never came naturally to me. There’s a lot more to them than the words themselves. The problem with thinking in words is that I label everything. Everything stays in its own linguistic box. Unfortunately, people are more complicated than a combination of letters and spaces. I tend to think of myself in terms of current roles. Graduate student. Friend. Clinician. Single. But I’ve discovered that I don’t fit into that box, and the more I try to label myself, the more I’m at war within my own brain. Yes, I’m a daughter and a sister and a friend, a student and a single woman trying to be comfortable with that fact. But my goodness, I am so much more. I am passionate and capable of so much more than any label could dictate. I may be an emotional train wreck, but I have a great capacity for love and empathy. My bleeding heart may make some events tougher on me, but it also gives me this huge advantage in dealing with people. I’m intelligent, and I love learning. I’m neurotic and a little paranoid, but I have a good head on my shoulders. While I may hold myself to a ridiculous standard, I always manage to accomplish my goals.

And this is all just a mass of words, a linguistic description of an entity who is so much more than a label. I don’t fit in a box. No human does. My life does not consist of roles I serve in the lives of other people. I am a person unto myself, and that in itself is worthy of respect. Everyone deserves to be treated with compassion and integrity simply by virtue of being human. We don’t have to earn that privilege. Don’t take advantage of someone just because you can. People aren’t playthings; they have thoughts and feelings of their own. I’m learning to respect my own feelings and myself as a human. I don’t need to let people take advantage of me simply because I like to take care of people. I’m worth more than a bored text message, and you are too.

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Childhood

I thought we were two puzzle pieces that completed each other. But then I found out that we weren’t even puzzle pieces. I was trying to play house, and he was playing monopoly. Somehow we lost ourselves in the game and forgot what really mattered. Expectations, hopes, and ambition all got scrambled until someone’s heart got broken. I feel just like I did when I asked my neighbors across the street if they wanted to come out and play, but they said they were busy, and then I saw them have other friends over. The girls laughed and played without me, and I just couldn’t understand why they wanted to leave me out. People don’t do mean things on purpose, do they? Why would someone ever want to hurt someone else?

I don’t want to be an adult. I don’t want to be the bigger person. But I refuse to cave in under the pressure. I’m way too much of a perfectionist to slide. So instead, I worked out today. Twice. I only ate one snickers. And I’m going to get my graduate school applications in, and I’m going to make my life so much better now that it ever would have been before. I’m going to be happy with myself and figure out just who I want to be, and I’m not settling for less than what I deserve.

Anatomy of a Breakup

When I was in high school, my friends and I had a pretend band of sorts. We thought of ourselves as clever, creative people who may eventually write music and become superstars. Most of it was in jest, but I think that I wasn’t the only one who wished our imaginative game was more than fantasy.

Anatomy of a Breakup was one of the song titles we came up with. As far as I recall, we never had any lyrics or music to go with it. I felt it was fitting to my current situation as I’m trying to figure out the past, present, and future of my life while still navigating the rough waters of my final undergraduate year.

I feel like it’s time for me to move on to the next step of my “recovery.” For the first month, I let myself wallow. I threw myself pity parties, ate whatever I wanted, and lazed around. I stayed in bed much too long, called my mother at every opportunity, and dumped my problems onto my friends. Now I’ve decided this needs to stop. I’m going to block certain pages, make myself work out, finish my graduate school applications, and regain my social life.

I am in control, not my depression.

Without a cause.

I’m a goal setter. A list maker. A planner. I may or may not actually follow through, but I like to have a clear path to what I want to accomplish. I need to know the end result of something before I even start. Before all this mess started, I had divided attention. School and personal life. My focus was split between my relationship and school, with the obvious goals of marriage and graduation. Now, I’ve lost that whole relationship goal and it’s more of an ambiguous “eventually,” a hope to find somebody who will, like I said before, love me better than he ever did. It’s only a vague hope right now, as I’m listless and lost at the moment. So now I’m shifting all my attention on my career and myself. I need to get through grad school applications and the rest of this semester.

I need a new goal. So I guess my new goal is to become the best possible me. To focus on others. To learn my future profession. To make a difference in the lives of my kids. Because hey, it’s not about me. I wanted to build a life around serving others, so maybe I needed this to set me back on the right track.

Cuteness of the day: We watched Toy Story in the library with most of the grades in the after school program today. I sat down with one of the kindergarten boys. He kept scooting closer to me, until he finally got out of his chair and climbed into my lap. After organizing my arms to make himself comfortable, he wrapped his arms around me in a big hug and kissed me on the cheek.

He’ll never know how much I needed that.

It’s amazing how something small can completely turn someone’s day around.

I Work Out

This post is inspired by Pinterest. Okay, it’s been on my mind way since way before Pinterest, but it wasn’t quite as apparent. Weight loss and fitness programs proliferate on my Pinterest feed, along with recipes, quotes, and DIY crafts that I could never hope to create. There is certainly an obesity problem in probably all “1st world” countries, but most certainly in America. I’m from the South, so I see this on a daily basis. Weight loss programs and lifestyle changes geared towards fixing this major health crisis are all well and good, and I’m glad they exist.

However, there’s also the opposite extreme, which seems to affect a lot more of the females than the males. Now, it’s not enough to be thin. You have to be thin, toned, and tan. Even if you’re not a model, you’re supposed to look like your only job is to workout at the gym all day. Have the perfect abs (but not too much, you don’t want to look masculine!), defined arms, zero body fat.

Not only is this ENORMOUS pressure to put on the ladies of our society, is it even really “healthy”? According to Pinterest, being “healthy” is in. But is being “healthy” the same thing as killing yourself in the gym, and spending a minimum of 6 hours a week working out, counting every calorie, and investing so much time in one’s self? I get it; to some people, working out is a hobby. Going to the gym may be as relaxing as watching tv for some people, or as exhilarating as riding roller coasters at theme parks. But I just can’t help but think that my time would be better spent doing something else. I try not to overeat (too often), and I do try to exercise a few times a week. I loved my zumba class, and would definitely do it again. I just don’t see the point in revolving your whole life around some concept of fitness.

Remember, this is coming from the girl with lovehate-handles and a sweet tooth the size of Montana, so take my words with a grain of salt.

Transition

Going back through old blog posts from high school has made me realize how much I’ve changed. Perhaps some for the better, some for the worst. Rick Santorum seems to think that higher education is a way to brainwash young minds and transform them into liberal Democrats remade in the image of Obama (who isn’t really that liberal, but that’s another discussion altogether), but I like to think of college as an enlightening experience that exposes these malleable brains to a multiplicity of ideas to form a more well-rounded individual. Granted, my public university experience near the heart of the Bible belt isn’t exactly like an education from the West coast or a New England tutelage. However, I’ve realized 15-year-old Lindsay was extremely closed-minded. In 2006, I made a post about America being “One Nation Under God” and went on a miniature rant in SUPPORT of this maxim. Now, after years of “liberal indoctrination” (which has hardly been liberal, as many of my professors are as conservative or more conservative than my high school teachers), I’ve realized just how false that statement is and should be. America is a diverse nation, and if we would actually follow the idea of religious freedom, we’d realize that Americans are free to be with or without a God. This is not a religious statement; it is purely political. I fail to see why so many Christian Conservatives must integrate their religious preferences with their political opinions. No government entity has a right to force (or even suggest) a religious preference on me, so I just don’t understand why the Christian Right thinks it’s somehow okay (or even mandatory) to include their religion in their politics. They may tout “freedom OF religion, not freedom FROM religion,” but that doesn’t mean they can make political decisions based on religious doctrine.

This was a very broad topic, and I probably should have addressed a more specific issue. But I saw that post from my past and felt it was necessary to address it and admit that I have become a different person than I used to be.

Playing Catch-up

Once again, this blog has been neglected for a fair amount of time. My spring semester was light on classes, but heavy on other time commitments. It’s been a rough year for my personal life, to say the least, but that subject matter isn’t entirely appropriate for the public sphere. Instead, I’ll focus on the positives. I continued volunteering at a local elementary school, where I bonded with many second graders and kindergarteners of various personalities and appearances. I participated in a kindergarten readiness screener which qualified young ones for an intensive reading intervention, which I have the privilege of evaluating later this summer. And, for the second time, my significant other left me for San Francisco for the summer, leaving me in Lexington to figure out my faux single life. A little less than a month has passed, so I have a good 70 days or so left to go. I started working in retail (again), but at a different store. While the pay is marginally better, I’m hardly getting enough hours to pay rent.

Well, now my invisible readers are caught up on what’s going on in my life. In other news, the GRE is looming in the near future, tormenting me with intense vocabulary and befuddling mathematics. I really should study, but the books lying on my floor are just too daunting. Instead, I’ve managed to finish up the remainder of the published Song of Ice and Fire series, so I anxiously await George R. R. Martin’s sequels. I may have a master’s degree under my belt by the time the sixth book is released.

I feel like I should find some issue to educate myself on and to become passionate about. I’m a warrior without a cause. I’m big on educational equality, but I see both pros and cons in every “solution” to the problems with the American educational system. There are too many gray areas with the important issues. I’m not a terribly political person, but I am a human rights “activist,” I suppose. On social issues, I lean strongly to the left, which may seem strange for an upper middle class woman from suburbia. I’m just rambling at this point, and my narrative is losing all cohesion. My apologies. Perhaps I’ll come up with a more enlightening, well-researched post later in the summer. Perhaps not. We’ll just have to see.

Dead Faith

In the midst of tragedy, everyone wants their condolences to be heard. They publicly lament the loss of others and utter such phrases as “I’ll pray for…[insert noun here].” Perhaps I have a bitter, cold heart, but these claims ring hollow to my ears. Prayer is only as good as the hands of those who speak to God. In many cases, there is nothing to do but pray. When all hope is lost and only God can intervene, pray away and find comfort with God. But in other instances, YOU should be God. Christians take a vow to BE His hands and feet; Christians should bring God’s love and help themselves, not merely pray. Perhaps God is a socialist who gives handouts. But any educated person knows that socialism only works when each person plays their part. Obviously, in this flawed world, this is unachievable. But as Christians, should we not emulate the giving Creator, who gave his All for us? I want to be His hands and feet to the world, not merely a mouth that utters useless, hollow words.

New Chapter

Last year was supposed to be the big change. A transition from a sheltered, small high school to a rowdy, huge college…that was supposed to be the hard part. But to my surprise, I really liked college. I liked the eccentric professors, the insanely large campus, and the freedom. I didn’t go wild; I just enjoyed myself. But now I’m really facing a change. A change in relationships. Nearly all of my high school friends have moved on. I wonder if they even remember my name. I tried to keep in contact with some of them, but jobs, school, and other priorities constantly got in the way. Other relationships I simply let slide, realizing that we were going down different roads and would eventually lose our friendship anyway. But I wasn’t prepared for this. I wasn’t prepared for the sudden feeling of being stranded, lost without a single friend. I used to have somebody I could turn to, people I could go places with.

I realize that I have friends. I just miss the close, shared friendships of a group of girls who all cared about each other. I have my wonderful boyfriend, who IS my best friend. But I miss female companionship and having a group to rely on. Now I’m being forced out on my own. I need to make new bonds, new friendships. And I’ve never been the proactive sort of person. I usually just let things fall together; I have no idea how my earlier friendships even began. But I’m getting better at this whole friendship thing. I’m making more effort on new friendships, instead of clinging to the tattered remains of old ones.

So this is truly a new chapter of my life.

I’m going out on a limb and hoping things turn out okay.

Where did I go wrong? I lost a friend…

I went wrong somewhere. Multiple somewheres, in fact. I’ve lost friends I should never have let go. I’ve made mistakes that I knew were stupid right when I was making them. I guess this is a public apology. I let my pride speak before my heart much too often.

I guess what really hurts is knowing that it’s all in the past. And the past can’t be rewritten. It’s too late to go back and undo the pain; the best thing to do is just move on. But I feel stuck. I keep losing friendships. Some, I’m not all that sad to see go. Others…well, heartbreak over boys can heal, but losing a friend you thought would always be there for you leaves a crater in your heart.

I have friends. I just miss the closeness I used to have. I miss the ability to trust someone with your heart, share your feelings, and just enjoy each other’s company. I feel even more alone now that it’s summer, and my boyfriend is too many miles away to completely fill the gap.

Thank God I have a bad memory. I don’t think I could handle this if it wasn’t fading slowly into the background.