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Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Months and months later...

There is no way I could fit in the last 8 months into one single blog, but I'll try to hit the highlights. I have a job at a bookstore that I really enjoy the vast majority of the time--as with any job, it can't be all the time, right? Most importantly, I've made some great new friends here, and have moved into an apartment with one of them (Allie works in the cafe and we have so, so much fun living here!). Bella was lost (yet I believe stolen) and I was devastated by her loss--but Copper and Karma fill the void as much as possible. I still miss Oxford all the time, but it is becoming easier to handle; I do know that a part of my heart will always miss and yearn for that little town. I became so much of who I am because of it, so how could it not? Since I still talk to my friends from Oxford, and my high school Chattanooga friends, fairly regularly, it is much easier to handle.
Oh yes, Rachael (forever Sprinkles or Sprink-a-link to me) is getting married this summer! MARRIED!! I still find it hard to believe, and I am so happy for her. The best part is her happiness, of course, but being handed the privilege of being maid of honor comes in as a close second. I'm nervous about getting all the planning done, and the speech both terrifies me and exhilarates me. It isn't often that you get to make a little fun of your friends, while still expresses as best you can with words just how much their friendship means to you. It's exhausting to think about, but something that I look forward to as a precious gift to write. My parents have been invaluable with helping me adjust to moving again, always offering nights at their house (I think they may miss me again), or dinner, or happy hour (when did this become so normal?) or help with buying food. At 23 (almost 24 but I do NOT want to talk about THAT), I've learned a few things--and I'm fully aware I have much left to learn. In fact, I'm looking forward to it. Oooh sidenote speaking of age--Allie turns 21 in April and I'm stoked about throwing her one heck of a party! I'm just going to pretend I'm 21 again too for a little while. That should work. I got a new tattoo, a simple red one on my wrist that says "love" in cursive, and I love it. I realize it is visible much of the time, but I don't mind. For one thing, the world always needs me love. Second, it stands for--and shows my immense gratitude and support for--the organization 'To Write Love on Her Arms' ( Third, it is a gentle, beautiful reminder that the way I used to treat myself, something that I struggle everyday to continue to overcome, is not the best possible solution. It is often the quickest, yes, but the sense of dread and emptiness later is hard to handle even now. These issues will always remain intertwined in my heart and mind, but I am stronger than them now if I allow myself to be. My friends have been amazing, and there are so many things I could have never overcome without them, but it is me alone that is pulling myself away from that rocky edge time and time again. There is so much beauty in the world, and even when the shadow of the worst kind of sadness overpowers me, I try to look around--at people, animals, the sky and the grass--and realize that there is so much that I have yet to see. Being here, meeting the people I have, learning lessons that are tough but necessary, laughing so hard you feel that breathing is an incomparable task, being surrounded by hugs and love, crying for everything that has ever happened and nothing at all--that's LIFE.

I could live a lifetime convincing myself and others that clinical depression is easy to overcome, and as a therapist I want to have the tools to make it as easy as possible to live with, but the truth is that it never goes away. I'm not sure when it happened, but at some point in time this became a good thing. Every tear and so much worse are slowly shaping me into a person I'm being to like a lot. I'm not perfect, and I'm glad I won't ever have the illusion that this is possible, but I have a lot to teach and a lot to learn. Gifts come in all sorts of packages, and the most beloved are sometimes difficult to comprehend and challenging to explain. You know what? I'm not ashamed of my emotional and physical scars, though I am slower to trust and more forgiving in the reactions of others, and I won't try to hide behind other explanations for how I can sometimes be. I have clinical depression, which allows me to empathize so much with others and build up my own strengths while accepting my weaknesses. It's not a death sentence, but it is certainly not something to be taken lightly.
Well, it wouldn't be a Kelly blog if I didn't wander off in my own mind and discover things. I pray that I never stop learning, and more importantly, that I never want to stop. As always, I hope that I can pour out my strength, love and compassion and only let trickle despair and anger. If all goes according to plan, I will be in a Master's program (for either counseling-with the hope of one day attaining my PhD in Clinical Psych-or starting out with a master's in Clinical and find out what happens from there) by the fall. This means, of course, that I have to find a way to pay for it, most likely with loans that will be difficult to get with my credit history, study for and take my GRE, and make that final decision. Admidst this, I'm officially full time at my job--so hopefully my benefits kick in before I'm off my parents in May--and often work over 40 hours a week (not complaining--I need and enjoy the money), and I also have a 21st birthday to plan for April, my own small shindig in May, Sprinks bachelorette party and wedding in July (and a little something for Elise since it falls so close to the wedding), and small get together for my parents 30th wedding anniversary in August. Even though it nearly makes me crazy just THINKING about it, I know that hard work in every facet in my life will pay off for something amazing. Looking into only the rest of the year, I'm excited to have so many occasions to celebrate life and my family and friends. Harder to imagine at the moment is the happiness that I will bring to the lives of so many, and also myself, in being a therapist one day. It's a job that I have always had a lot of respect for, and I hope that one day I can lead by example.
Oh yes, lastly before I go for this blog and resume at a later time, perhaps the most exciting part of my life since moving back to Chattanooga is that my brother came back safely from Afghanistan--with his humor and compassion still intact. So many people warned me that when he came back, more so from the second tour than the first since it was much more dangerous, he would be so different. Yes, he has matured and has a lot to tell, but he is still the same big brother at heart. He made it back into the states right in time for Thanksgiving 2009, but I wasn't able to be there to greet him because of work and schedule constraints. I fought this over in my head for a long time, but I knew that I couldn't leave work for nearly a week at that point in time. Though sad at first, he of course forgave me. I spent Thanksgiving with my mom's best friend Amy's family (not to be mistaken for my aunt Amy, whom I haven't actually seen in a few years now--but alas another blog entirely) for lunch and my friend Allison's family (not my roommate Allie, mind you, but she also works with us) for dinner. Allie came along for both meals, since her family went to visit family out of state for the holiday and it didn't make sense monetarily or time-wise for her to go and try and get back for work in time. Of course, the more the merrier for me--and luckily for those that were gracious enough to allow us to celebrate with them--and I was grateful to have her along with me for both of them. With a few pretty momentous exceptions, I have been pretty lucky in the roommate scheme of things. Looking back, the crazy roommates just make me laugh at them now, and I hold onto only the fondest memories from the good ones--Kristin, Elise, and Allie. If I wanted to, there are numerous spats that I could dwell on, but why would I do that? Such a waste of time and energy--and space for those good memories.
Brent (the brother) was back in Chattanooga for the Christmas holidays and festivities, and we had a blast. We visited our old elementary school and got to feel at once very old and very young. We went out drinking together and thought of times past and where we've come. He told me a few scary, but mostly sad, war stories. I'm grateful he shared with me, but sometimes I wish he hadn't. While my respect for him grew, I realized the sorrow he had seen and felt, and it was a new kind of sad--kind of like in one of my favorite books of all time, The Giver, when Jonas realizes that in order to feel and appreciate the new wonderful sensations, he must confront and experience the bad. I gave a few friend gifts out for Christmas, most of all to Allie since she was very close to being my roommate at this point, and the family had a pretty awesome Christmas too. I got my Dad an Ipod, my mother a pretty jacket that I'm still jealous of and matching earrings along with some charms for her bracelet, and my brother a Wii. Not that only money matters, but it felt nice to be able to give gifts that were both wanted and appreciated this past year. I got a lot of great stuff--like my TomTom and my pink Ipod--and generally just enjoyed family time, food, and wine. I was sad to go back to work on December 27th, and even more so when Brent headed back to North Carolina, but like I said before, that's LIFE. It happens, and we all have to embrace those fleeting moments and look forward to new adventures. If my past is any indication, my future will be full of momentous occasions, devastating defeats, thrilling victories, and challenges that will test everything I've ever known--with people to support me when I fall and celebrate with me when I triumph. Oh, and to laugh with me--always to help me remember to laugh.

For now, this is all, but I hope to keep up with this with as much regularity as possible. No promises on anything specific--such as a daily or even a weekly entry because honestly my life isn't ALWAYS that interesting or it may be hard to put into words if it is very difficult--but it also won't be 8 months before the next one either. There are parts of the last 8 that I haven't even discussed here, and some that have more detail than others, so I will do my best to write anything I may have missed or explained incorrectly in future blogs--without taking away from what those may say about what's happening now or what hopes I may have added to the stack. I'm going to try my best to live for the present, respect and learn from the past, and anticipate the future without too many whining or angry days.
No promises on that, either.

1 comment:

  1. "Gifts come in all sorts of packages, and the most beloved are sometimes difficult to comprehend and challenging to explain. You know what? I'm not ashamed of my emotional and physical scars, though I am slower to trust and more forgiving in the reactions of others, and I won't try to hide behind other explanations for how I can sometimes be. I have clinical depression, which allows me to empathize so much with others and build up my own strengths while accepting my weaknesses. It's not a death sentence, but it is certainly not something to be taken lightly."

    This literally brought tears to my eyes. Beautiful writing, Kelly. I could halfway relate since I'm manic-depressive. ;)

    I can tell how much you have grown as a person since I've last seen you. And I love the new has so much personal significance for you, not to mention you took something 'ugly' and made it meaningful and beautiful. I'm so proud of you! It seems as though you have learned so much and I'm very happy Brent BC [haha] got home unscathed.

    Let me know if you need any help with Rachael's wedding. I don't know her but a friend of yours is a friend of mine. And I've been married [albeit shortlived] before and had a maid of honor who was excellent. I'd be glad to share with you what was great, what wasn't the best, and any other ideas I have.