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Monday, November 22, 2010

The Season has retail world.

Oh man! The crazy holiday season is here...and working in retail, that has a whole different meaning than just those who have to get out and SHOP during this time. Aaaaaaaaaaaand I still have to do that...le sigh. I feel like last year I was so all over my holiday shopping and done by the end of the first week of December--that's SO not going to happen this year! But in good news? I'm all moved out of my apartment and into my new place (which will remain a mystery unless I'm specifically asked by somebody I trust who wants to come visit and/or help me decorate)...but nothing is organized at all! Oh well...this is the week all hell breaks loose in retail world...and I'm working 12-9 on Thanksgiving (excited actually!) and then...Black Friday. If you need me, I'll be curled up in the fetal position in a corner somewhere--haha, just kidding! I'll be sure to keep everybody posted on what funny happenings occur during the holiday season...they are sure to crop up amidst all the people who try to ruin others' holiday season. Stay tuned!

Monday, November 1, 2010

What are the Odds?

This year has flown by...yeah, that makes me feel old to say that. The thing is, this is the first year I've really, truly noticed just how quickly it truly has gone by. May has always crept up and then flown by, then the creep continues until fall and Thanksgiving and Christmas, which are over honestly before you know it sometime. I'm not exactly geriatric yet, but getting older has produced some marked differences in me. I'm still exactly the same--I laugh at crappy jokes, talk too loud, ask too many questions, have random spurts of energy that have people doubting my sanity--but I know that I have really matured in this past year. For one thing, I have tried to become more responsible with my money, which of course is trying at times considering I don't make all that much. I'm definitely doing okay, but I have to spend a little time each week checking my budget to make sure that I have enough in my account to pay for things like gas and coffee. I know, I I work a lot and I need caffeine people! At work, I of course always get a good deal because of my discount, and I try to space out drinking each cup over several hours along with water. Dehydration is my new worst enemy, but I'm glad there is always water close by. When I want something just a little bit different--and seasonal appropriate!--I go to the BP and get their pumpkin spice ridiculously good! A few weeks go I bought one of their travel mugs, which means I get 99 cent refills indefinitely... on anything. It's the small things really. It's also helped that I have cut down on my snack consumption, which seems petty but a dollar here and 3 there adds up fast. I'm still a sodium junkie and I love my chips, but now I'll get one bag and munch on it for a long time instead of devouring 4 within an hour. It's a perk that it just happens to be healthier too. I started back with light running and crunches a couple of months ago and then it got--in typical Chattanooga fashion--stupidly cold outside. The only time it's warm? When I'm at work of course.

Now I know that I trained for my half marathon through the winter but a few things have changed: I'm not coming straight out of cross country season so the cold is intense--plus, I got a wicked respiratory infection freshman year at Ole Miss, and of course I avoided medical help for almost too long (where it would have become meningitis) and ever since then I typically get a pretty bad, but relatively short, similar infection. They aren't typically as bad at that original one, but they can put me down for the count for a little while. My body simply can't tolerate the cold like it used to, which I conveniently always forget when I'm sweating in my car with broken air conditioning during the summer and begging for cold weather. Luckily, the heat in my car is awesome, and they have started keeping it up freezer temperature at work. In their defense, the weather changes so rapidly that I can't say they are hesitant to change up the weather in the case we have a 30 degree night which morphs into a 75 degree afternoon. Problem is, the vents aren't all that great up front and I'm right by the doors. Needless to say, I make a big effort to remember a coat. Part of me is ready to just have whatever respiratory thing I'm going to get hit already, but then again everybody else at work is sick and I hate leaving them stranded. It's rare that I call out, but during the worst day of the infection I typically have to since most people don't like trying to decipher what I'm saying between a hoarse voice and coughing...and dodging whatever comes out of my mouth when the cough comes out of nowhere. Another reason running is different now is because I was hit by a car about 3 years ago (while helping a pregnant woman not get hit instead thank you!) and it hit at my kneed from the side. They thought I tore my MCL, and I very will may have, but while it may have healed wonky...I didn't have to deal with doctors anymore. Going to the ER has started to feel more like going to get a tune-up on your car--they keep telling you things that are imperative get done. Yes, IMPERATIVE. Or, you know, we could just finish up what I came in for and I'll be on my way. Okay, I know its stupid and childish, but whatever. Honestly, with my shit issues anyway, it was only a matter of time before I needed to get the straps that fit under your kneecaps and support it and tendons...on both legs. I just love that the stupid mistakes I made almost 10 years ago are still affecting me to this degree. Without them, my knees throb at the end of each run because the support is faulty. Both of these problems could be solved by going to an outdoor gym and doing a lot of elliptical machine work--but alas, work. With the holidays coming up (seriously, WHAT?) its a crazy time to try to start a routine. I'm going to keep running stuff in my car just in case I ge a chance to actually go...and I'll set up a brand new routine around the beginning of the year. It makes it difficult also that I never say no if they ask me to stay later or pick up a shift unless I truly can't go (like being out of town) ...because they know I need the money and I'm not proud. So yes, routines are tough for me, especially with it being cold. Having to plan ahead to go the the gym is one thing; feeling like you're going to freeze to death before the you can start to run s is quite another. Oh, and I'm still not in that great of shape. Blah. And by the way, it might not seem like it, but 24 is so much older than 17 in terms of what stresses the body... for me at least. Sometimes, I feel 84 instead. I'm hoping I can still make it into the gym at least a couple of days a week, and my Mom was talking about checking out some kickboxing classes (which I used to be OBSESSED with and totally miss), so here's hoping! It would be nice to have one of my off days coincide with one of those warm afternoons before winter hits, but we'll see. I do love to be outside, but I also really do NOT like being cold. Oh, conundrum...

Moving on...For anybody who has ever mocked me endlessly with my obsession with checking to make sure I turned off my lights....shove it. I managed the doozy of that situation. For whatever reason I had my lights on during the day, and since that's, you know, weird, I didn't even check and went up to my apartment and did some laundry and cleaned out the litter box and showered for work. Since it was Brian's (the old cafe manager) last day, I wanted to go in a couple of hours early to get to work with him for a bit before he was over and out. Plus, you know me and that money. Side note: it was so swamped from the moment I got there on that I probably managed to chat with him for a total of 15 minutes of that hour and a half. Fail. Anyway, I go down to my car and nooooope...not going to start. I knew immediately, though it made no sense that my lights were on. Panic mode lasted 5 minutes while I ran around seeing if anybody could jump me off...then I gave up and called my friend. Everybody at work was expecting me, and when it's my idea to be kind of looks bad when I'm not. I hate feeling like I let people down--hell, if somebody comes in early for me (haha like twice but still), I already have plans made. Brandi took me to work (still eternally grateful!) and I was only a few minutes later than I said I would be...and work went well. I played a few rounds of pool with some work buddies and then got a ride home. Crisis averted, right?

So, what are the odds that the only time I park in one of the two parking spots set off to the side, the person beside me doesn't seem to feel the need to leave...for 3 days. Nor do they answer when I knock to see if they can jump me off...though I saw them on the porch. Eh, three straight days of drinking could do I've heard. Honestly, I was only able to do that once during the only Spring Break trip I went on in college; typically, I would never have 3 days off of both class and work to actually do that. At this point in my life, it really doesn't sound appealing either. See? Growing up. Side note: I really have lost that desire to drink often. It kind of went away my super senior year of college and the first year back home, and then the roommate turned 21 and I had a mini reunion of my drinking ways. In all honesty though, I'm just not feeling it most of the time. It's expensive, I now get terrible hangovers, and even the cutest person at the bar looks a little rough after 5 hours dancing and 6 whiskey shots. Of course, that's when everybody wants to take pictures because we all must still look ADORABLE. Every once in a while I'll want a good liquor drink or two, and I'll indulge if it's feasible, but typically a night out is one where a bunch of us from work go shoot pool and drink maybe a couple of beers apiece. Don't get me wrong--I can still party like a rockstar, but I found I enjoy it more when it's a few times a year and a treat with good friends and not the weekend norm. So anyway, my car is still stuck at my apartment, dead. Luckily, my friends are great and have been shuttling me around for the best few days. I love them, but I feel awful about it. I have to fix the car thing today though, because DWTS is on tonight and I work tomorrow morning. Anyway, speaking of being shuttled around, I gotta catch a ride to get back to the car situation. Catch you up on the rest later.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

My 3rd Favorite Month of the Year

So, it has been awhile since I blogged, in large part because so much has played out in my life recently. The roommate and I have not spoken since October 2nd, except for her pointless attempts to try and demand me to do things, such as clean off the porch after Elise left or clean out my litterbox. Please note that I, along with many others, respond pretty negatively to demands, especially those made in a childish way. I don't ask for much from my friends and roommates and I am fairly certain I am relatively easy to live with (on a side note, my litterbox is FINE) and it takes a lot for me to turn on you--but I don't like people being mean to my best friends (and any friends really)...and it irks me when my generosity is so quickly forgotten. In case anybody didn't know, I paid for 2 months of rent BEFORE I MOVED IN. I never would have thought twice about it until true colors were shown. I should have listened to the many, many people that tried to warn me, but I always try to see the best in people, especially those I consider to be my friends. It's like a wise friend told me--I am a giver and she is a taker. I love giving to others and usually think of my friends and loved ones before myself, but not everybody is like that. I guess I thought it was immaturity, but I now think it is pure mean under all that. Maybe one day that will change, but I'm not going to hang around hoping that day comes. There are far too many people that love me and too much good left for me to see to dwell on what could have been. Yes, it hurts that somebody I considered a friend decided to treat me this way, but I know that I deserve far better from my friends--and get it every day. Sometimes I'm sad about it, but I'm really just ready to move on and forget. That is much less stressful.

ANYWAY, this is my 3rd favorite month of the year! The ones that beat it are May--because DUH my birthday--and December--because of New Years' and Christmas and having all of my Chatty people in the same town again! October therefore is my 3rd favorite month...and that's because it's SCARY MOVIE TIME! I love scary movies (2nd here only to Harry Potter, which is in a league of its own) I'm going to be revisitig some of my absolute favorites (Halloween, Pet Semetary, Carrie, The Exorcist...), but I'm always up for new suggestions! I prefer the ones with relevant gore (you know, where it ties into the plot line instead of just trying to gross the audience out for 2 hours), but mostly ones that really make you think...because I think when you delve into your subconscious with a movie and figure out how it relates to you or could happen in real life...well that's far scarier. A great suspense, although not so much horror, movie is Flowers in the Attic (which can be watched instantly on Netflix). It's based on the V.C. Andrews book of the same name, which I have not read but very much want to--along with the sequels which I don't think made it to movie format. For lovers of psychology, it really is a must see, but keep in mind it was made some time ago (late 70s or early 80s I think). Some of those favorites I mentioned are on the list because I saw them when I was very young (Carrie--age 9; Halloween--age 10; The Exorcist--age 13) and they have stuck with me...kind of like a macabre version of remembering a first kiss (Harrison--age 5 or, if you think that one doesn't really count, Michael--age 11). All scary movie buffs (okay, almost all) remember their first scary movie (or the earliest they can recall anyway--some started young). I also remember my first movie (Leonardo Dicaprio) and TV (JTT) crushes. Also, I remember people I wanted to be "just like" when I grew up (Jo from Little Women--book first, then movie--and Cher from Clueless-- oh come on, I was 10). I even remember authors I admired as I discovered my own love of writing (Alcott, Du Maurier, Bronte, Plath, Hornbacher). But it all goes back to the horror movies, because they awakened my senses and made me really think. Pet Semetary made my list of faves because, once again, it made me think. What if you could bring back a loved one from an unfair death? Would you? What if there were no guarantees that they would be the same? Or what if it was pretty much certain that they would be very different? I think most people would have a tough time with that decision, especially when the death is so new and the feelings are so raw. Oh, on a side note, that little kid always totally creeped me out after he came back from the dead. Sometimes, it's also just fun to be spooked.

As for Halloween itself, it falls on a Sunday...ugh. Even worse, my Ole Miss vs. Auburn game day plans fell through, so I wll be here (and probably working) instead of in Oxford. To say I'm bummed is a huge understatement. I do work with some characters, however, so maybe it will be pretty fun. Thus far, I have no real plans for the holiday itself; I'm sure something awesome will come up, but once again I find myself missing Oxford during these favorite times of year. I feel like I complain about this a lot, but I hope to find myself back in Mississippi in the next few months. I miss the people, and the weather, and the state itself. I know I was born in Tennessee, but Mississippi feels so much like home even still.

I'm at my parents house right now, because they are out of town and needed somebody to check on their "dog" (I put it in quotes because she's small enough to be a rat). I'm off work today, and since I work in the morning on Monday and I'm also off on Tuesday, I get to watch both DWTS nights uninterrupted! Small victories....anyway. I'll let the world know what becomes of my Halloween weekend and I'll be sure to update much sooner next time...or try to anyway.
1) & 2) The view I get every night that I work. We have the most beautiful sunsets.
3) From the movie "Carrie". The placement within my blog was accidental, but I think it's pretty fitting.
4) The Exorcist!
5) Flowers in the Attic
6) Michael Myers wielding his knife in "Halloween"
7) Pet Semetary

Monday, October 4, 2010

The Weekend that Flew By

A great weekend has come to a close. I have kept myself busy so as not to get depressed that Elise is no longer here...but coming home after work was kind of sad tonight, and very quiet. It was awesome hanging out with somebody as nocturnal as I am once again. In all honesty, it was just a blast and it's very, very hard not to be sad. This weekend (which I'll get to in detail in a second) finally put in front of my face what I've been trying to avoid for a long time. While I may have grown up in Chattanooga, it has become clear that Mississippi is where I want to be...for a long, long time. The thing is, I like my job most of the time and I have made some good friends here. I love being near my parents and we have gotten so much closer since I moved back home, simply because I get to see them so much more often. But my heart? It's in Mississippi. The friends I have there are so wonderful and they don't even know it. To them, giving of yourself to a friend is only natural...but as I have come to learn, not everybody thinks that way. They are always willing to give whatever they have to others, but it's so much more than just things. I am completely myself around them...and they love me for it. Not just tolerate, but love me. They want me around so much that they constantly remind me that I need to move home. These are people that have lived with me, have picked me up and held me close when I am at my lowest, laughed with me even when it was stupid, and have chosen to keep me in their lives despite everything we have been through (and maybe partly because of it)...and I put them through a lot. We fight, as all friends are prone to do, but it truly brings us closer in the end.

When Elise was here, we watched some old webcam videos we made when we worked at Subway in Oxford together. We were goofy and ate for the duration of almost every video, but that's not what I notice. Though it seems like the opposite would be true, we weren't putting on a show. There are several times when we walk away from the camera to help customers, and you can hear us talking and having a good time. What struck me was how incredibly happy I was. It wasn't contrived, and it wasn't work, it was honesty. I was 21, had a job where I spent most of my time, a roommate that was so much like me (especially in terms of humor!), parties to go to every weekend if I wanted to go (and mostly I did), I was attending a school I adored, and I was almost always broke but never really cared. I was surrounded by people who always had my back as I had theirs, and had been for a long time. After a while, I had forgotten friendships that weren't completely give and take...and to be honest I had few, if any, of those growing up either. Of course, we all always asked each other nicely if we were positive it was okay for the other to get the drinks, dinner, etc. that time...but it always was. There was an unspoken get the drinks this time, and I'll buy when I get paid again. And nobody cared a bit. We all trusted each other, and for good reason. Elise reminded me that these friends, these wonderful, unique girls, are still like that...only now I am very aware that there are people out there who just don't operate that way. I wasn't even allowed to question it when she wanted to get me something. She knew I don't have much money, but she didn't bring it up. She just gave. There are some people here who behave similarly, but I have been subjected to some not-so-nice people who have no problem taking but always expect payback ASAP when I need to borrow anything. It's not that I expect people to give me stuff and help me out when I need it, but that's the whole point. More so than the actual things that they give me, what is important to me is that they always want to. I have always treated my friends (and roommates) that way, and had gotten very used to being treated the same way. I need to move back home.

I am very aware that we have all grown up a little bit, and it won't be like college all over again. Honestly, I don't want to always spend my free time fact, I rarely even want to go out anymore. Getting dolled up has become more of a special occasion and less of a norm, and I love it. I have a blast when I do go out with good friends, but I'm just as content to sit around in pajamas watching movies, drinking coffee, and talking. My friends are intelligent people, and our conversations are often completely random and enthralling. I, quite simply, adore them. Occasionally I don't mind explaining things to people, but afer a while it is irritating. With people like Elise and Kristin, I don't have to explain myself very often and it's very refreshing. Anyway, let me tell you about my absolutely fantastic weekend with one of my very best friends.

Elise had planned to arrive relatively early on Friday evening, but ended up getting here around 11 PM. I didn't mind since it took that entire day to clean my apartment and get some studying done, but I was so excited when she got here. We both got quick showers (well, she took a bath) and then the two of us and Allie went to meet some of my work friends at Diamond's (a pool hall). We had such a good time, and didn't get tired at least, Elise and I didn't. After the bar closed at 3, we dropped Allie off at the apartment and went to Waffle House. We talked forever and ate more than I had eaten on any given day in the past month. Once we got back home, we kept talking and didn't end up falling asleep until after 6 AM. It was awesome. Saturday was spent, in large part, lounging around. I woke up relatively early for such little sleep, and sat outside on the porch with a mug of coffee reading and studying a little until Elise woke up. She joined me outside for some coffee and some more chatting. We didn't end up going out until 8 for dinner, venturing downtown to my favorite sushi restaurant in town, Sekisui. After dinner, we came back to the apartment and got ready to go out. We stopped by my parents house because they adore Elise and my brother was also in town. After talking to my parents for a while, we went downtown again to Hair of the Dog (I love that bar). The night was going pretty normally, until about 10 minutes before last call. Both Elise and I were working on our second whiskey and Dr. Peppers when one of my regulars at work drunkenly struck up a conversation with us. It was somewhat embarrasing, but hilarious. And THEN, a random old man (seriously, gray hair and all) comes up and just stares at us. I could be wrong but he seemed to be on something a little stronger than just alcohol. He managed to say "hi" but otherwise just lurked creepily and then...he sat down with us. It would have been pretty scary if we weren't in a crowded bar and if it hadn't been so funny. I haven't finished a drink that fast since college. Once we left, it was back to my apartment where we once again stayed up until well after 6 AM just talking and reminiscing.

We were even lazier on Sunday, which I feel pretty bad about because we missed both brunch with my family and my brother's new girlfriend (who I still haven't met because she was asleep when we got to my parents' house, having done a triathalon that day) and dinner with my parents later that night. We didn't even leave the apartment until we had "lunch" at around 5:30 PM. Two margaritas, some chips and salsa and cheese dip, and some shared fajitas later, we went back home and did absolutely nothing. Since both of us spend so much of our time working and on the go, it was nice. Later that night (or morning really) was when we watched all of our old webcam movies, which even I haven't watched in forever (I say it that way because they are on my computer) and cracked up for hours. We also talked about how fun it was living together, and the old group of friends having parties, and working, and all of those things best friends reminisce about. Once again, we didn't fall asleep until way early in the morning. There is always a lot to be said between old friends who rarely see each other...and stuff that never needs to be said. We got a few hours of sleep, and then it was time for her to pack up and leave. I forced myself not to cry, because I'm trying not to be the whiner these days. I led her out of town and then went back home and got ready for work. I'm actually glad I had to work because otherwise I just would have moped around...and that's pretty pointless. She made it home safely, thank heavens, but I can't help but think how far away everybody is once again. Growing up can be fun, but it certainly is hard.

There isn't a day that goes by that I don't miss my friends. I decided that I'm going to actively look for jobs in Mississippi, and also graduate schools with good counseling programs, and scholarships to attend them. Maybe nothing will come of my searching. Or maybe I'll find a terrific job here (or 2nd in my field) and stay. All I know is something has got to give. I either need to find a way to move to Mississippi or earn enough money here to visit frequently. Either way, I have to get my happy back. I know that even during those times when I was so happy in Oxford I had very bad days. My mind functions that way, and that's never going to change. But as bad as the times were, they were few and far between. Yes, much of it had to do with the town of Oxford, but it really all came down to the people. I miss them, and since I know life is short and memories are forever, I want to see them more often. Or, you know, everyday. I need to feel good again, because I know I can. And they would say I'm worth it too.

1) Mango and strawberry margaritas on Sunday at Amigos.
2) Karma sleeping on the porch while Elise and I talked
3) Copper snoozed some, too.

Friday, October 1, 2010

The Countdown has hit hours instead of days...

So I made it through my work week, despite some people trying to ruin every single day. I'm so glad there are great people at work to make so great ones matter very little. Still, I can't say it doesn't get me down when people are unnecessarily rude to me. Who wouldn't get a little blue? But I said, the working portion of the week is over for me and now I just have mere hours until my dear Elise gets here! I have been furiously cleaning all through the night, and will continue to the rest of the day...only taking a break to go to the doctor and maybe give plasma...and this of course. Gotta love the blogging. No, seriously.

So far, I have cleaned the kitchen (it's spotless!) and my bathroom, with the exception of the litter box because I'm going to leave that for the last minute so it's really fresh in the apartment. I still have to clean my sheets and continue to deodorize my closet (and the rest of the apartment, let's be honest--we have 3 cats), clean, vacuum and dust my room (and organize my movies, but that really goes into the whole "cleaning" thing), clean and vacuum the patio/porch, and do a once over on vacuuming and what-not the living room. After I clean out the litter box, I'll probably sweep and mop my bathroom floor again. I realize it sounds like a lot to do in just a few hours, but it's really not. I have complete faith in my ability to get all of this done!! On a side note, I really hate trying to party on a budget--who else wants to win the lottery? Even just a little one is all I'm really asking for here. But I digress...

Like I've said, oh, a million times already, I'm so ready for Elise to get here. Once you live with somebody for a year, it's hard to only see them a few times a year after that. It is very nice, however, that whenever Elise and I hang out (the same holds true for Kristin), it's like we live together all over again. I love those friends that really know you, with all of your flaws and strengths, so that you can really be yourself around them. I'm lucky in that I have quite a few of these personally, and I'm glad one of the very best is coming to stay with me for a long weekend! We are bound and determined to have a good time...and we always do. It's like Ole Miss says, "We may not win every game, but we ain't never lost a party!". How true that is of so many of my friendships, and most of all, of my wonderful university. I miss it everyday, but it makes it a little easier knowing that friends will always come and see me, I'm never too far away to visit Oxford, and a little part of my heart lives on there forever. It's a rare thing to keep up with friends from high school and college, and I've managed to do both. For now, I'm going to continue to clean and get ready for my doctor's appointment. I'll talk to y'all on the flip side.

1) When I worked at Subway in Oxford, I marveled almost daily at the beautiful sunsets that we could see from inside. On this day, I just had to run outside and take a picture.
2) Taken from right outside the library a Ole Miss during exam week, I find this picture to be absolutely stunning.
3) Lauren, Elise, me, and Rachael the first night I ever went out and partied with them. Though I look a wee bit fat in this picture, I still love it because it reminds me of great times.
4) Me with my first ever legal drink--a Jolly Rancher Martini from Old Venice in Oxford. Delicious...and yes I know this picture is a random
5) From the book, "Dixieland Delight", which is about a guy who travels to all of the SEC schools to experience their tailgating traditions. There are random lists throughout the book, and this one was of the ranking of Prettiest Girls in all of the SEC schools. It's hard to see, but Ole Miss is ranked #1 here. Yep!
6) A book I found while straightening at work. I loved the boots, so I took a picture. I'm now on the hunt for ones exactly like it, but with a stiletto heel.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The Writing Struggle and A Very Welcome Visitor

Oh man have I been bitten by the blogging bug! Ummm...that even sounded ridiculous to me, but it is true. I don't know how long this overwhelming desire to blog is going to last--I hope a very long time--but until it fades, I'm going to take full advantage. I also hope that I get back that drive to write my short stories and work on my autobiography, but this is all one day at a time. It's true that I miss writing my short stories a whole lot, but sometimes it's hard to get back on track with such things. I find it so refreshing to sit down and write whatever story about whatever type of person wherever they may be hiding, but I have an inkling as to why I have yet to be going full speed ahead on the story writing...and it's not so different from why I pick up my autobiography to work on it over and over again only to set it down without a word added or a phrase edited. It seems to me that I reveal a great deal of my autobiograhy in everyday life--at work, on the phone with friends, whenever anybody asks me about my "love" tattoo on my arm, and especially here on this blog, where I don't feel the need to hold back--even if that seems, and very well might be, incredibly naive. Truth be told, there is a lot I don't say and things I don't mention because they are too hard, or I don't feel as if it's the right time, or because I just don't feel like it. Or because I don't want to cry...this one usually takes the cake. As conceited as it may sound, I do feel like my story is an important one to matter who tells me that I couldn't have possibly experienced enough in only 24 years of life to write an entire book about it. Honestly, I lived through more before I reached adulthood than a lot of people do who are well into middle age. To many it may not be important, or worth reading, but if it helps just one person, then it is all going to be worth it. The difficult times that I have lived through are much more prevalant than a lot of people realize. Thankfully, the (often early) recognition of eating disorders is on the rise, and when people view it as a real disease--a killer--then we all have a much better chance of saving very precious lives. There is still a lot of work to be done, and I know there will always be people out there who think that it is much less serious than it is. The way I see it, diseases that cause 22 year olds to have heart attacks--which are very often fatal--and send others to the hospital with ruptured esophaguses are very serious indeed. Still, progress is being made and that is a positive thing--here's hoping it continues! Self-mutilation, on the other hand, still has a giant stigma attached to it...and we need to change this so that people don't die from this either. I must say I understand why people are seemingly afraid to even broach the subject--it is scary and a little strange to outsiders. Imagine for a second though what it is like for people living with it--in any form. I always know it is the wrong way to cope with problems when I have a relapse--and I know it is odd--but it is a compulsion, an addiction, and it is so very painful to live through. Not only physically, but also--more so--emotionally. There are great organizations out there trying to aide in recovery for eating disorders, self-mutilation, and the myriad of other self-destructive addictions--and I don't want to downplay how wonderful these organizations are and will continue to be. That "love" tattoo is even for one of those great groups! I just hope that more and more people everyday begin to care a whole lot more about the psychological state of our citizens.

So, what does this have to do with the lack of short story writing? Well, as with many writers, I write stories about things that I know--and I know a lot of pain. Don't get me wrong--I have written quite a few happy stories, but the vast majority of them delve right into my life (or the lives of others) and pull out emotions that are still very raw. It is absolutely therapeutic...and exhausting. Most times, it is simply too much...and so I don't write. But I believe I will very soon. Fingers crossed.

Alright! ENOUGH OF THAT!! This week is shaping up to be an excellent one, but I'm most looking forward to the weekend. One of my very best friends, Elise, is coming to visit me for a long weekend...and I ABSOLUTELY CANNOT WAIT. I'm off work all weekend, and the only thing we have planned so far is to eat sushi at my favorite restaurant. I also know we plan to go out, but when and where is anybody's guess. It doesn't even matter to me--I know we'll have fun no matter what! I wish everybody from Oxford could come too, but alas...real life calls. I wish for a day when we could all be reunited, but I don't know when that will happen. Knowing that makes me kind of sad, but I know it is just part of growing up. Because I went to college out of state, it's even harder to see everybody. We're all spread out across the U.S., but I'm happy knowing that so many of the people I care so much about are doing so well. I really am, but that doesn't make it any less difficult. Like many people I'm sure, I need just a tiny "staycation", so I'm uber excited about this weekend. I'm working the next couple days and I also have a lot of cleaning to do...but I don't even care. I studied for a whopping 5 hours last night, so I think I'm good to go in that department for the rest of the week and weekend. Maybe...I don't know. I do like to weird as that may sound. Anyway...if anything new comes up I'll be sure to post, but I need to spend the next few days (starting now!) cleaning and working. So I'm gonna get on that...right now! Have a fabulous day, rest of the week, and weekend!

1) A beautiful sunset on the way to Mardi Gras 2008. I couldn't quite capture just how magnificient it was.
2) My "love" tattoo. I am reminded everyday that I made a very good decision.
3 Me and Elise on my actual 22nd birthday...I had two parties (or outings), but I spent most of May 4th, 2008 with two of my best friends.
4) Elise, Me, and Lauren at the old Parrish's bar. This is one of my favorite pictures from college..and of all time really.
5) Me and Elise out on the Square. I love this picture!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Retrospective and Perspective

I often find myself at odds with the world, though I usually can’t pinpoint why that exactly that seems to be the case. Sometimes, it seems that I want both calm and chaos, silence and loudness. Things that shouldn’t be a big deal become hugely important to me… and I find myself giving hours (literally) of thought to ideas and situations that are, in the grand scheme of things, pretty petty. I worry too much, love no matter what, laugh too loud and at the wrong times, and really just wear my heart on my sleeve. It’s not always a bad thing to show too much emotion, but it can be. That being said, I am grateful that I can (usually) rest easy knowing that the people I love know that I love and care for them very much. Try as I may to not live in the past, I often find myself trying to grasp at a “better” time in life. Of course, it is completely understandable that I like to reminisce about high school and college--I went to wonderful schools and made some stellar friends at both places… but still. I no doubt remember big things--like cross country meets, my chapel talk, graduation, football games, the Grove, Spring Break 2008 in Fort Walton Beach, and the list goes on--but it’s the small memories that I wear like a protective shield. Bus rides back to school after a great run with the team, treehouse adventures with Karen, Jamie, Iz, and Erika (and whoever else was there at any given time), free time spent hanging out in Mrs. Neal’s classroom, movie/hanging out nights with Lauren, Rachael, and Elise, slow nights at work (still love these!) where random discussions break out, exam week at Ole Miss (strange I know, but you meet some cool people at the library when everybody’s brain is fried from studying too much), lazy pizza nights at home when Brent and I still lived there, early morning walks or runs when I happened to be awake, the smell of freshly baking bread at Subway (high school and college), random conversations with random people about random topics, babysitting for neighbors in the summer before I had to worry about a real job and paying bills, the smell of fresh cut grass, kickboxing with Mama, “date nights” with Daddy…so many seemingly insignificant happenings that for whatever reason still resonate with me and make me feel at peace. I am so glad that I experienced enough sadness and heartbreak to truly appreciate what I have in this life.

Sugar Wheeler, the GPS guidance counselor of my day, came through my line at work today and completely reaffirmed my desire to be a great therapist. I was finally able to tell her that she is the biggest reason I decided to go into the field of psychology (other reasons being that I wanted to help people but wasn’t too good at biology and of course my own personal struggles and demons). She is also a big reason I am still alive today. And I’m not being dramatic here--because of the love and compassion of more than a few of my GPS classmates and Mrs. Wheeler’s undying support and belief in me, I did not succumb to my eating disorders or my self-mutilation issues. In the end, it had to be me that wanted to live, but it certainly helped that I had so many people on my side. Even through multiple relapses and a hospitalization (where I had both wonderful and, well, terrible therapists), I still remember her encouragement and loving words. That reminds me, one therapist in particular at Parkwood deserves so much credit. I was there for only a week (and really, it should have been more like a month but I wanted out to be “normal” again), but I met great people while I was there. The therapist’s name escapes me, but he led nearly all of our group therapy sessions (I went to both addiction and depression group, because my issues fall under both categories) and what stuck with me about him--besides his humor--was the way in which he went about accessing our underlying problems and helping us work through them. I remember it was either my first or second group session, and I was in a great mood for whatever reason. My new found friends (because you know I can make friends anywhere and make it a point to do so whenever possible) and I were joking as we entered the common room. My favorite shrink (and I can’t believe I don’t remember his name!!) wasn’t being as…friendly…as he was known to be (hmmm...must have been at least my second session). We all quickly got quiet in response to his demeanor, and he turned to me first with a look of great disdain in his eyes. I don’t remember word for word what he said, but it went a little something like this: Naturally, I found my face wet with tears. As I looked around the room, I noticed a split in the reactions of my peers. Some had their mouths hung open, obviously as astonished as I was by his words. Others look unaffected by what he said. He continued: “You are so weak. And fat. And arrogant. And noisy. You need to starve yourself. You need to make yourself throw up. You most definitely NEED to cut yourself with whatever you can find. You can’t survive without these rituals. You will always be weak, and you will always be defeated by those practices you crave that are killing you.Am I right? Of course I’m right. You have failed to overcome these issues for more than five years (I was 18 at the time). Why even bother being here? These diseases will always win.” It was the first time, on a side note, I can remember my issues being called diseases and not just attention-seeking actions. Around this time, I started to realize what he was doing. He wanted me to fight for myself, to defend what I knew existed in my soul. He wanted me to succeed. So I began to say aloud what had eluded me internally for years.

“I am stronger than all of my problems. I am not defined by my mistakes, but by how I choose to fight them…and what I choose to fight for. I am now seeing that I do not want to die by my own hand, and especially not as my life is just beginning. I want to live. I can overcome these things.” He fought back, stronger than before. After all, if I couldn’t even fight the words, how could I fight the actions? “How can you be so brazen as to think such a weak person as yourself is strong enough to fight even one of your myriad of problems? Who are you kidding, really?” I found myself on my feet, unsure to this day of when that happened. “I am stronger than all of them put together. I know this because I am still alive, and if they haven’t defeated me yet, they aren’t going to now. I did not want to come here, but I needed to…if only to convince myself that I am so worth fighting for. There are better outlets than the ones I’ve been choosing to exercise to vent my anger, sadness, and frustrations.” His face had become softer, but I don’t know when that happened either. “Anorexia, bulimia, anorexia athletica, cutting--these are serious and powerful diseases. How can you be so sure that, when things get difficult, you won’t turn to what is easy and comfortable and familiar to cope? Tell me how you can prevent these from ruling--and ruining--your life again.” I sat back down and thought for a while about how to answer. His face changed again--this time into worry. “I can’t be certain that I will never relapse again (and I have several times), because these are strong problems and they have beaten me time and again. What I do know is that, no matter how many times they crop back up and what form they take, I will beat them because I want to live. I want to have adventures and make memories and laugh and cry and be proud of my accomplishments. I want to feel alive because of the positive effects I have on the world, and not because a knife or a number on the scale tells me it is okay to live. I’m finally okay with taking up space and being a complete human being. I want, so badly, to live.” He got up and hugged me then--one of those genuine hugs that makes you feel like life makes a little more sense. I let myself cry, but not out of sadness or self pity. I cried for all the time I had wasted wanting to go back in time; I cried for all of the people I had hurt; I cried for the irreparable damage I had done to my body; I cried because I was beginning to feel strong. Before that moment, I hadn’t felt so strong and so sure of myself in at least five years. “I’m proud of you. I believe in you. You are loud and your own best friend and a friend to so many and you love people in a way that is to be envied. I very much believe in you.” The group erupted in applause, and I got a standing ovation from twenty or so people who had at least some inkling of what I was experiencing--and why--and I felt like I was in a room of hundreds. They all believed in me. Come to find out later, my shrink was channeling my disorders and speaking to me as them, and he had learned this from a therapist he admired greatly from his time in psychiatric ward. You see, he too has issues- self-mutilation (I believe he was a burner), drug and alcohol addiction, severe depression, almost crippling social anxiety--and you would never know it by looking at him. He was well over six feet tall and weighed roughly 300 pounds. He told us that it doesn’t matter what he looks like, because when he was going through his worst days and addictions, he acted like somebody a fourth of his size and whined like a little girl. It meant a lot to me--and still does--that he was so open about what led him to be a therapist. There is a fine line between overstepping boundaries and self-disclosing too much information and making people feel as though they are not alone--and he is one of my heroes because of how he handled that situation. Originally, he had wanted to be a personal trainer (and I believe he does that on the side), but felt a strong pulling to study psychology once he began to see his own life as worth living. As I prepared to leave too soon after my week at Parkwood, I found myself sad at the thought of leaving a few select staff members who had become like family and the friends that continued to show me that my life is worth living. I had two adopted mothers while I was there, and they were fiercely protective of me (and probably still would be if I ran into them down the road sometime), and many friends I felt had become like siblings to me. My family always worries what a stay in a “psych ward” will look like on my record, but I realize now that I don’t care. That time in my life played a pretty big role in shaping who I am today and setting me on the path to help others, and most days I really like the person that I'm becoming. I became so much stronger as a result of my time there, and I will be forever grateful for the time and effort spent on trying to make me whole again. As I went around giving hugs and exchanging numbers and plans for the future, I started to get worried that my favorite shrink wouldn’t see me before I left. Right before I walked out into the sunlight, I saw him getting ready to go into the building.

“You leaving?” he asked me. “I am. I think I’m ready to start conquering the world.” I laughed and he joined me. “I think you just may be ready too, but if you ever need to come back, remember there is no shame in that at all. Also, remember that I love you and that I will never stop believing in you.” He hugged me and as he turned to leave, I saw tears in his eyes. “Thank you. I love you too. And I will always believe in you.” He nodded a thank you and walked away, and I got in my friends car to go. They joked with me and teased me about my “crush”, but I smiled to myself. It wasn’t a crush (well, maybe a small one--he is a very good looking guy), but it was the realization that I knew, for sure, what I wanted and needed to do with my life. He showed me that I am indeed much braver than I ever would have realized on my own, and he also allowed me to see that my own words could bring a grown man to gracious tears. When I have my own clients one day, I hope that I can do for them what both of my favorite therapists did for me--open the door to realizing that they are worth it and that one person can make so much difference.

Whew! I haven’t let myself think about that time in my life nearly enough in the past few years, and though the words and actions are always on my mind to some degree, it is nice to actually reflect on a time I am now proud that I lived through. It also reminds me of how funny it was the day I got back to campus from the hospital. My friends were understandably unsure of how to act around me--they didn’t know what might set me off and they were also unclear on many of the details of how I came to have to go there and how my time there went. One friend, Jessica, bought me a couple of gifts, and a group of people took me out to eat at Huddle House almost immediately after I got back. We are all sitting at our booth and everybody was beginning to relax when an ambulance blew by the window with its lights on and sirens blaring. My friend Tarah didn’t miss a beat--she looks at me with wide eyes and said “They’re coming for you, Kelly!”. A hush fell over the group, and then I burst out laughing and soon everybody joined me. Relief washed over her face and she hugged me. She said she didn’t know what had come over her, but she wanted to see if I was still the same Kelly as before. I was, of course, and still am--just much stronger and more resilient. How lucky a girl I am, indeed.
At 24--can’t even believe I’m this old!--I am also so much closer to my parents. It seems we have all grown a great deal over the years, and the aspects of me and especially of my troubles no longer irritate them. I think it helps that they realize I was not out for attention (which is a very common misconception), but was and am still sometimes trapped in my own personal hell. It is such a relief to have their support. I love them dearly and am so glad I am their daughter. A couple of years ago, my Mom and I were having a heart to heart and I asked her why they dealt with my problems as they so often did. I was genuinely surprised by her response. She told me when I first began to have my eating issues, I was so little and tiny and so much fun to dress up…and she thought it was a phase I would someday outgrow. After it became apparent that the eating disorders were getting much worse instead of getting better, she told me both she and my Dad went through major denial. When I began the cutting, they shut down almost completely. My father’s sister is an alcoholic (since the astonishing age of 9) and my mother’s sister is severely bipolar with schizophrenic tendencies (the bipolar disorder began to manifest when she was about 10; the other started making it‘s appearance when she was in her 30s and heavily into drugs)…so they wanted nothing to do with mental problems. I can’t say I blame them, because that is a very long time to have to put up with such prevalent problems. When they came face to face with glaring demonstrations of said issues (for me, one such time was when I cut my leg pretty much wide open with a gin bottle and a shot glass; for my brother, he would often fly into rages and punch holes in walls and doors), Both of my parents wanted to believe so badly that both my brother and I had escaped serious mental issues (my brother was diagnosed with clinical depression not long after I was and he took medication for a while as well), and so they just acted like we simply did not have problems. They got angry because they thought they could make them go away by getting mad instead of getting us help. Finally, they begrudgingly put us on medication, and for a long time it made a world of difference. They still chose to be mad much of the time, mind you. It wasn’t until years after I was out of the hospital that my Mom shared another heartbreaking reason for her anger. She told me that, especially with the very physical cutting scars, it hurt too much to accept that I could have done that to myself--that my pain could be so severe that the only way I knew how to deal with it was to carve into my own skin. When both me and my brother were born, our parents spent a lot of time admiring our smooth skin and happy dispositions (we were both incredibly happy babies and toddlers) and seeing those marks on my body were just too painful to accept--so they used anger and aggression to ease and cover up unbearable sadness and regret. I’m glad she told me these things--it humanizes my parents and shows me that the things I do to myself affect far more people than just my own heart and soul. Of course, when I relapse they still get pretty mad--but I go easy on them. I understand them a little bit more now, and that has made all the difference.

My brother turned his aggression into a lifetime of active sports (he was, and probably still is, amazing on the soccer field), an incredible ability to sing and perform, and years of faithful Marine service--he spent a little over 7 months in Iraq and then a few months later another 7 months in Afghanistan. I’m incredibly proud of him, and will always be his number one fan. I “fell into” cross country running after I began to heal a little bit from that first hellish period of insanity (really, I was encouraged by the weight trainer at GPS to try running for a little bit--thank you to her as well), and I never looked back. I’m still friends with most of my teammates, and count their wisdom as some of my greatest lessons learned. I was never the best runner, but it did so much to bolster my strength and release mental tension. Running is still a major stress reliever for me, and I hope I am still saying this years and years from now. My life will contain what I’m sure will be many more relapses, some severe and others not so much, but I know that I will always have people to talk to if and when I need it, advice to fall back on when my own mind is working against me, and my own (sometimes very buried) strength to counter any problem. People with a past of eating disorders and self-mutilation have lives similar to that of any addict--the pain will never fully go away and every day will be a struggle to not fall into old habits. I’m very fortunate that I have so many people who love me in this world, and I try to remember every day that some people will never be so lucky. Knowing that, I am going to try my hardest to do two things: allow the wonderful people in my life to understand how grateful I am and how much I love them and find the people out there who need support and a little faith and be there for them. Pay it forward, right? There is evil in the world, and some very mean people, but there is also so much love and acceptance--my time will be better spent spreading the love and acceptance rather than dwelling on, or passing on, the hatred in the world.

I love writing…in case you couldn’t tell haha…and I’m glad that it provides another outlet for me. It is my genuine hope that everybody can find something that gives them the kind of relief writing gives me in their own lives. There is so much beauty out there, and so many people who need help opening their eyes to it. My mental problems are not the worst of the worst, and I will never even pretend to understand what some individuals have to endure in this lifetime. What I can do, and hope to always do, is be there to listen and help in whatever way I can. We should all do that in our everyday lives anyway, and I hope that I can take both book learning and my own life experiences and use them to help others overcome what pains them the most. Psychology is a tricky field, but one that I believe is very important to individuals and our society as a whole.

Alright! Quite a lengthy blog I’ve got going on here…can you tell I don’t want to clean out the litterbox? Just a few more things and I’ll be on my way. This past weekend was busy, but I had a lot of fun. I closed at work on Friday and then turned around and opened on Saturday, then went immediately to my parent’s house to get ready for Dare to Dance 2010, where I volunteered and had way too much fun. I had to wake up somewhat early on Sunday to work from 11 AM until about 10:15 PM. Now, I’m back at my apartment, getting ready to clean a little and study for a bit. I’m off work today (Monday), but I have a few things to take care of before I go watch Dancing with the Stars at my parents house tonight. I love being active, and I hope to get in a good bit of exercise this week on top of my work schedule. I’ve lost a little over 10 pounds and I’m feeling awesome, so I definitely want to keep this up! When I get around a scanner, I’m going to upload some pictures from Dare to Dance 2010, and show everybody that I do clean up pretty well. Hey, I even danced a little at the event…which is really saying something because it’s hard to get me up and dancing (I think it stems from being embarrassed by my lack of dancing abilities). At any rate, I better get to cleaning and studying. My work here is done…for now. Hope everybody has a fantastic week!

1) The view from the "porch" at my very first apartment (The Links at Oxford). Taken at sunset, it remains one of my favorite pictures ever.
2) Kristin (and her awesome boyfriend) came to visit me for a weekend after she had graduated and moved away...we had too much fun!
3) Elise came to visit me for my 23rd birthday! Rodrigo is always a must for a great time!
4) First ever ChattaNewYears, with Iz (and her boyfriend at the time), Rebecca Taylor (Cross Country buddy), Karen, Jamie, Erika...and Edward (who came from Louisiana to celebrate with us).
5) GPS best friends Christmas dinner (Karen, me, Jamie, Erika)...its a tradition.
6) Mama and me at an Ole Miss football game--isn't she beautiful?
7) Me and Daddy from the same game--they loved visiting me while I was in school, though they didn't get to do it often!
8) My big brother all decked out in his Marine combat gear. Hardcore!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Quick Life Update

*The images pictured are of really random books I found at work...just made me laugh a little!*

So, I'm waiting for my medication to wear off (almost there!) so I can get some sleep, but I decided to fill the time writing a quick blog. I have a crazy busy work schedule this weekend--I closed tonight, I open in a few hours then I'm volunteering for my parents/the dance folk for Dare to Dance from about 6 to midnight, then I work all day on I'm going to TRY to wake up before work in the morning and do a short run (30 minutes or so), but since I'm so NOT a morning person we'll see how this goes. With all the work I've been doing--and I'm so not complaining because I both like work and need the money--I haven't had much time to do much of anything. I cleaned my parents house the other day for a generous compensation and I've worked out twice this week so far. During my few and far between free moments, I've been continuing my progress on Eat, Pray, Love and have found myself rewatching old episodes of Friends--always and forever a favorite of mine--and Buffy the Vampire Slayer--such a classic! Also, the new season of Dancing with the Stars started this week, and I'm already obsessed. Of course, I've also been dutifully studying for the good ole GRE. Oh, the life of an adult.

I've found that when I want to be out with people doing something, it's always fun to go play pool, and often a few of my friends and I from work will meander over to one of a couple of local favorite pool halls to shoot a few games. Both places know us all pretty well, so we either get a major deal on games, or don't have to pay at all. That coupled with the fact that beer is usually about $2 apiece makes it a fun way to get out and blow off some steam. The best way to relieve stress for me, of course, is to run and do crunches, so I really am trying to do that as often as possible...and eat better when my cravings don't turn me into a junk food eating demon of sorts. Last I checked, I've lost around 12 pounds and FEEL so much better, so here's hoping I can keep this up! Alright folks...I know this was random, but I just felt like writing for a bit. Night night!

Monday, September 20, 2010

Books, Movies, Musings

Well, as always it seems, it has been entirely too long since I wrote a blog! Mainly I don't update often because there aren't frequent changes and world altering events in my day to day life. I don't mean this to be taken as I am trying to be derogatory to myself or the goings on in my's just the truth, as I think it is for most people my age. There are always exceptions, of course, but I feel that many who post excessively are just repeating what has been happening since they last posted a few hours or days before. Since I don't care to read blogs like that, it would be pretty hypocritical for me to style my blog in such a way. I find that, in my own life, realizations and maturity comes over time, and sometimes relatively out of the blue. In this post, there are no mind blowing happenings or anything like that, but instead just some of my thoughts and a little update on what I've been up to as of late.

First, I (finally) went to see a psychologist. I was diagnosed with moderate to severe ADHD, as well as Depressive Disorder Not Otherwise Specified, with an anxiety component (personally, I think the anxiety is actually the force driving my depression and not the other way around, but let's not be petty). The ADHD diagnosis really didn't surprise me all that much, though I can't say the same for my parents (especially my mom) and some of my friends. The general disbelief doesn't really surprise me, because, as with so many other things in my life, I'm very good at hiding what I see to be underlying problems within my own psyche. Don't confuse this with hiding the symptoms of a lot of things (like all of my behaviors stemming from the depression), but instead understand that I mean the underlying causes. See, I went to a very small elementary school (my graduating class had 15 students), and then a smallish middle and high school (a little over 100...maybe 106?...students in that graduating class). In elementary school, there was pretty much guaranteed one-on-one time with the teacher at least a few times a week, if not everyday (which was the norm). In high school, teachers always had their doors open to help if and when they were able, and there were even designated help sessions during lunch and the activity period immediately following. Whenever something become too trying or difficult to understand, somebody was almost always available to explain the troublesome topic. That being said, I spent a lot of time in high school acquiring comments such as "Kelly has so much potential, but fails to follow through with assignments" and "Kelly is very bright, but seems easily distracted most of the time" and so on an so forth on my quarterly reports..which, as it turns out, is fairly typical of those with ADHD. Part of the issue, of course, was that I was on a hellacious path of destruction that took many, many years to overcome (at least to a functioning degree...I continue to struggle with those issues and always will). I knew then, as I know even more so now, that these issues played a large part in my educational issues. It wasn't until I went to college that I fully began to understand that there may be more to blame that just eating disorders and the like running rampant throughout my mind. As Ole Miss was much larger than either of the other schools I had attended (though it is, by SEC university standards relatively small), I began to realize that learning didn't always come easily to me, since distracting me from my work was a pretty simple task. For a long time, I blamed work and the ever present partying--which I realize both played a part--on my inability to quickly and successfully complete assignments, tests, and other school related activities. The only classes I truly remember having no problems with were my Social Psychology and Introduction to Fiction Writing classes, and that was only because I loved them so much that it never seemed like work. Observing everyday people and deciphering what their actions, reactions, gestures, words, and so forth revealed about each individual and society as a whole? So interesting and applicable that I would actually be somewhat sad when the assigments were complete. Taking personalized and shared life experiences and using them to construct a fictitious story? Complete and utter heaven to a reading and writing nerd. That reminds me--a common question I have been getting since my ADHD diagnosis is how I was--and am--able to read so much so quickly and retain the information if I had trouble with focus, concentration, applying and so forth. I thought it a bit strange too, until I realized that the types of writing I so eagerly and easily peruse all relate to topics that I very much enjoy (true crime, psychology--linguistics, eating disorders, self-mutilation, anxiety, etc., biographies) and therefore, like with Social Psych and Intro. to Fiction Writing, I never considered them work. When I had to take Shakespeare, Cognition and Perception lab, and others that I didn't enjoy, it was a much more laborious task. If it hadn't been for Sparknotes and the mandatory end of the semester assignment of acting out a scene from one of the plays, I would not have faired so well in Shakespeare, just to give an example! As I said, however, I hid my frustration in my studies pretty well, so most people didn't know that I had any issues at all.

I should have known that I may have ADHD after strenuous exam weeks (even more so because in addition to taking exams for 5 classes, I also had work 35-40 hours that week and of course had to actually study for said exams). I naively didn't give a second thought to what this could mean, and continued to struggle the majority of the time. I graduated, though not with the GPA I had hoped I would have, and didn't really start to worry until I started studying for my GRE... and realized I, quite simply, couldn't do it. I finally relented and went to see the doctor, and (voila!) it turns out there was a reason for my struggles. I've been prescribed medication, and am figuring out my dosage this month to see what I will be on long term--and for right now that medication only applies to the ADHD, because my doctor wants to see if the anxiety and depression depend in large part on my frustration with the ADHD. So far, that seems to be the case, but the possibility of beginning a second medication for anxiety/depression still sits on the backburner. Right now, the medication is helping me a great deal, and it seems that I have gotten more accomplished in studying for the GRE in the past month than in the 6 before that combined. Who knew, right? My psychologist also recommended counseling periodically when I think I may need it (feeling overwhelmed, unprepared, particularly depressed, etc.), but those sessions will be few and far between for me and definitely with a less expensive therapist. Also important to note, my diagnosis came with what was deeme a minor obsessive tendency, which I found relieving as I have always found myself to be slightly obsessive when it comes to certain rituals (such as checking an even number of times to see if my apartment door is locked, my lights are off in my car, that the windows in my car are rolled up, etc.)

In other news, I work all the time...and yet, never enough it seems. I hate living paycheck to paycheck and look forward to the day when I won't have to quite as much...however far in the future that may be. For the most part I still enjoy my job, and love the people I work with. I get frustrated sometimes, but I'm beginning to realize this has more to do with my own desire to be working in the psychological field and less with the job or even my life itself. With the work discussion always comes a favorite topic of mine--good books I've read/am currently reading/ want to read in the near future!

One that I thoroughly enjoyed was The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls. I picked up this book after having at least a dozen people recommend it to me. I either had a day off or was feeling a little ill and decided to read a couple of chapters of it just to see if I would like the style of writing and the story itself...and finished the entire book that day. Walls has a very unique writing style that sucks you in and is most enjoyable to read. Within the story (which is Walls' biography) there are a great number of paradoxical moments and situations, leaving you at times feeling like you have great disdain for her parents and at others like you wish you had been so lucky to live her life as she did with them. I highly recommend this book to those who love biographies and psychology--but also to anybody who just wants to read a very good book. I eagerly look forward to reading Half Broke Horses, which is a fictional work based on the life of (I believe) Walls' own grandmother.

The second book that readily comes to mind is Genie: A Scientific Tragedy by Russ Rymer, which is a scientifically written book about the real life story of "Genie" (her named was changed years ago to protect her identity), the modern day "wild child" who was spent the majority of her first 13 years of life strapped to a "potty chair" (at night, if she was not forgotten, she was moved to an enlarged crib with wire mesh over the top and restraints attached to all four sides). She was not allowed to speak--and was indeed beaten with a large stick or growled at like a dog by her father for vocalizing at all--and she was not potty trained nor could she walk like a normal person (she had a peculiar "bunny walk" with her arms held up close to her chest and her knees bowed inwards). She was only discovered when her mother--also considered a victim...and while I think she was to a large extent, I think she was also abusive to Genie, especially later in life-- escaped with Genie and attempted to receive disability payments for the blind. Social workers couldn't help but ask about the frail girl cowering behind her mother, whom they believed to be no more than 7 or 8 years old and autistic. When they discovered that she was in fact less than half a year away from turning 14, she was taken into protective services and both her parents were arrested. Her mother was found not guilty of neglect, malnourishment, abuse, and so on and so forth because of her own victim status, and her father commited suicide before ever having to stand trial for his actions. Genie became a ward of the state, and in actuality, of science itself. Rymer's explanations of the events, as well as the actions, statements, and beliefs of the different members assigned to Genie's case, fused together an interesting story. Though it contained a lot more science terminology than I was prepared for (but also helped me with some of my GRE vocab words--bonus!), but the story was extremely interesting. I have finishe the book and I'm actually reading it a second time, highlighting phrases and ideas and defining the more difficult words as I go. Genie is definitely not for everybody, but I do recommend it to anybody interested in the human psyche, linguistics, and science in general--but be prepared for a sad, unfair story and "ending" (Genie is still alive today).

For fun, I have read a few books by Lisa Scottoline, and if I rememeber correctly, the one I enjoyed most was Look Again (which was the first book I read by her). Her books are well researched (many have some relevance or connection to lawyers and judges), but mostly just fun, quick reads. After a few of hers, I had to pick up works by other authors, because her books tend to become repetitive (to me of course--much like Jodi Picoult's after a while). This is only my opinion of course, and I definitely recommend her as an author.

A perk of my job is that we sometimes get to read (and keep!) books before they are released to the general public, and at the last meeting I actually got a few good ones, many of which I can't remember right now--sorry! One I do remember is Matched by Ally Condie, which I found to be a quick and relatively enjoyable read--nothing spectacular, but a good light read. Another was The Other Family by Joanna Trollope, which I only read a few pages of but found to have a dull start. Granted, I was on reading overload at that point, and I plan to revisit it in the future. It is now on a National Book Club list, so others seem to have enjoyed it.

Right now, I'm (slowly) reading Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. So far, I really like her writing style and bits of humor she throws into the mix, and the reading is only going slowly because I'm spending so much of my time studying at the moment. I look forward to finishing the book so my mother can read it and we can discuss it together. After I finish that book, I'm going to start the Steig Larsson series (the first is The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo--it is a trilogy, and the 3rd book is currently number one on our Top Ten, as I'm sure it is on others as well). I'm very excited to start the series, though I'm glad I've been told that it is a little confusing for the first 100 pages or so. As of right now, those are the only books I can think of that have made any sort of impression on me. I will try to include my suggestions (as well as those I don't personally care for) for books and also for movies each time I blog--including at least a short, but hopefully not one that ruins the story for you, reasoning as to why I liked the story/film or why I did not care for it.

As far as movies go, I have only seen a few recently. The latest one I saw with my parents and Allie (the roommate if you don't recall) a couple of weekends ago, and I found The Karate Kid to be very entertaining, with enough similarities to the original and a couple of small parodies of big moments from the old ones to touch a soft spot with those who remember vividly seeing the first ones in theaters. Jaden Smith is a terrific little actor (although he comes by it honestly to be sure), and he played convincingly both the humorous moments as well as the poignant ones. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie, though just for a cuteness factor and not expecting to be completely blown away. Similar in the feelings it brought out in me was Beezus and Ramona. Growing up I read and loved every single one of the Ramona books, so I went into the movie with an open mind so as not to be disappointed by discrepancies and mistakes--I shouldn't have worried at all! Though the movie did differ a bit from the book (for one thing, it combined many of the books), none of the changes were dramatic and were, in fact, to be expected for such an adaptation. Joey King played Ramona wonderfully, capturing her lovable charm and unforgettable antics seemingly without a hitch; Selena Gomez has always been a favorite of mine since as of yet she has stayed true to herself while still being a typical teen, and she played Beezus very well--albeit perhaps a tad bit too sweet. All in all, it was a great movie that brought me back to my childhood (making me want to reread the whole series!)...and yes, made me cry.

The next film to mention is Mockingbird Don't Sing, which I won't go into much detail about because it is about the Genie story I was talking about earlier in my book "section", except to say that they remained pretty truthful to the reality presented in Russ Rymer's book, changing only names and a few minor aspects of the film. Tarra Steele, who played "Katie" (Genie), did such a remarkable job that I was at times speechless. I only stumbled across the movie after discovering Rymer's book and reading into the story, and I was thrilled to discover it was on Netflix Instant (my true love)! It is one of those films that I have watched several times because it intrigues me so....much like how I am rereading Rymer's book. I'm an odd one though, so keep that in mind. Also remember, I view and critique movies like this one much like I do with a film like Schindler's List...I find them first and foremost tragically sad and a horrific view of human capacity for evil, but I also see them as fascinating and a learning tool because they feed directly into my study (and love of everything) psychology.

Probably my favorite movie I've seen somewhat recently (if I had to pick just one, especially a mainstream one) was Inception. Much as I enjoyed Shutter Island, I found the many levels of Inception to be comfortably confusing (meaning they took some pondering but I enjoyed the process of trying to figure them out) and after my Dad and I saw it we stood outside the theater trying to decipher the true outcome of the film and also how many levels into the dream world they truly entered. It was a fun thriller that really made you think, and I was once again impressed by Leonardo DiCaprio (in a much different way than I was when I was 12 and saw Titanic for the first time haha) and also by Ellen Page, who has shown remarkable range in films such as this one, Juno, An American Crime, and Whip It. Consequently, if anybody hasn't seen An American Crime, this is one to watch for sure! Inception proved to be all that it promised to be and, for me, much more. I loved it!

Hmmm...maybe now people will realize why I don't blog all that much? I write a ton of stuff and it takes me what seems like forever to finish all of my thoughts...or at least the ones I don't forget until later. I'm not really complaining, of course, because I love a chance to get everything out (the myself as well as others) so I can better understand and handle what my life is throwing at me at any given time. It is kind of tiring, but a very nice break from GRE studying. So, what's next for me? I have a few ideas of what I'd like to see happen in my life in the next few weeks and months, though I certainly hope these aren't all I do and experience and I doubt all of them will be accomplished as planned.

  • For starters, I'd like to take my GRE at the end (but before Halloween weekend, when I will be in Oxford, MS for the Ole Miss-Auburn game and to see some of my precious friends. I fear that if I hold off until after the game, I won't be quite as driven as I am now to study hard, retain information, and apply myself. This means that I'm shooting for the end of the last week in October (probably Wednesday or Thursday).
  • I would like to get a (second) job that somehow, if not completely, relates or ties into my field. Secretarial work or the like is fine, as long as it gets my foot in the door and keeps me thinking about graduate school. This does NOT mean that I want to quit my current job at all, so if anybody reads this and interprets as are mistaken.
  • Speaking of graduate school, I would like to be enrolled and starting in classes no later than the Fall semester of 2011. I would prefer to be in school by Spring 2011, but I'm not sure how that will work out with taking the GRE later in the fall (I'm sure there is a somewhat lengthy waiting period to get results back, then I have to worry about scholarships and loans to go to school, and then getting accepted into school and working all of that out). It would be wonderful if I could complete the program within a year and a half and be out by the end of the Fall semester 2012, but if it ends up being the end of Spring semester 2013, that would be okay (especially seeing as how I will still have to work a substantial amount of hours while in school). A bright spot in all of this is that my parents surprised me by telling me that they are going to pay for the GRE exam! This is a big, BIG relief.
  • I would love to be out and working very closely with a certified psychologist immediately following graduation from graduate school, whenever that end occurs. I will need to figure out how I have to go abou getting certified after I have completed school. I desparately want to be helping people as so many great therapists helped me (don't worry--I had my fair share of very bad ones too--and they've inspired me to treat people exactly the opposite of how they know, life humans).
  • I would like to finish the preliminary draft of my autobiography (the one I've been working on since I was 19), though I don't think I'll try to get it published in the near future....but I want to one day.
  • Similarly, I want to publish my short story from Beginning Fiction Workshop in some sort of psychologically-based magazine, newspaper, or newsletter. Also, I'd like to write several other short stories and see if I might be able to get them published as well. Though a small profit would always be nice, I also want to get at the very least my already written (but yet to be seriously tweaked) short story out for public consumption. I desire this for the feedback, but also in hopes that it will help somebody--anybody--out there who feels a connection to the story. (If anybody cares to see the current copy, let me know!)
  • I would love to begin work on a novel--nothing too serious but more as an intriguing look at life as I see it. Hmm....this will take some thought.
  • It would be nice to get a new (to me) car (I love Dixie, but she is old and not as reliable as she once was) and also a small house to live in within the next few years.
  • I want to save up a little money (haha seems downright absurd right now) and travel a few places; namely right now I'd like to visit my friends in Mississippi a few more times, visit Lauren in Iowa, finally stay for about a week with Karen in D.C., live up to my promise to visit Iz (though not in college like I was supposed to, but in San Fransisco), and hopefully visit Jamie and Erika as well. I'll gain quite the eclectic travel stories if I ever get to go to these places. Also, of course, Ole Miss games at least once a year---gotta hit up The Grove, since it is "The Spot that Ever Calls".
  • Have a little money to help throw some great bachelorette parties for Erika (this December) and anybody else who throws me for a loop and decides to get married.
  • Read at least one book a month, but preferring to make this 2 a month. I want to continue to expand my horizons by reading a variety of genres and authors and analyzing them accordingly.
  • Work out at least a couple of times a week (it'd be nice to say 3 times a week at the least, but I'm being practical) and integrate running back into that schedule--get those bands that support both knees. I miss running and working out in general and I think it will always help me feel a little better, though I don't think it will "cure" my issues as some may believe. I want to say run a marathon, and I do hope to do that in the future, but I'll start small.
  • On a simply fun note, I want to go skydiving (I've been indoor skydiving, and while it was fun, I doubt it compares) and bungee jumping. Preferably both, but if I have to pick one... skydiving.
  • I'm sure I'm forgetting things, as I usually do, but I at least got a good start!

Well, I guess that's it for now. If anybody actually reads this AND makes it this far--way to be a team player! Haha...I'm still always a little bit of a loser...I've learned to embrace this. I'll try--as I always say--to update a little bit more frequently, but only as I deem it necessary to avoid boredom with my life. At the very least, if I read a great new book or see a fantastic movie, I'll try to put just little reviews up on here as well. That is all for now...if there are typos or the pictures get messed up when I actuually post this....sorry. Oh, and here's a picture of my awesome hot pink nails! Just to end on a high note...