Monday, February 22, 2010

no-stalgia, please.

I hate nostalgia. It gives me a bad feeling in my stomach and further proves that things change and you grow. I welcome change with open arms, but I don't need to be reminded just how far I've traveled. It's especially uncomfortable to find myself in the same geographic location I once was years ago.

So why did I take Roxy on a walk through my alma mater today?

I was up at the College of Education to drop off paperwork. Redundant paperwork to prove to the State of New Jersey that yes, I did complete a teacher program. Apparently finishing graduate school and holding a Pennsylvania teaching certificate is not sufficient proof of program completion. I digress.

My point is, I decided to take Roxy with me to show her the place I called home for 4/5 years.
I don't know why I did, because I knew exactly the feeling that was about to wash over me.

It was a whole lot of "This is where"s and "That is where"s, which never cease to make me uneasy, nauseous, and highly anxious.

This is where Patrick and I discovered a mutual penchant for Pee Wee Herman.
That is where my freshman year roommate had her engineering classes.
This is where I spent countless early mornings exercising with professors and fellow crazies.
That is where I slipped on ice and grabbed a stranger to catch my fall.
That is where pain compelled me to starve so my outsides matched my insides.
This is where two people from opposite sides of the country (and opposing political views) became best friends and fell in love.

Le Boyfriend and moi, 2004. So mature.

The memories represent three versions of me, each of which I admire and despise. I am three separate people, defined by numbers and varying self-perceptions. This is why I'm so uncomfortable when I fly to Oregon and encounter faces from the past. I am not who I was. She disappeared somewhere in 2005 (And please don't go looking for her. She's just fine wherever she is).

I am tougher, I am weaker. I am darker, and I'm enlightened. I am more sympathetic, I am more skeptical. I am much more compulsive, but slightly more logical. I have found myself, I have lost myself, and I am trying to redefine myself through various means.

This trip back into time today reminded me I am not where I started, but I have just as much to learn.

Sunday, February 14, 2010

the snow knows

Preface: Hi Mom! Look, a blog!

In the previous post, I wrote out a list of goals that were "within reach" and "therefore more likely to be achieved." After publishing that post, I went into a negative place where I hardly even addressed the list.

I felt like a failure as the days went on and I continued to neglect the things I set out to accomplish. These things I planned for myself were supposed to serve as motivation to get myself out of a mental/emotional rut. And yet they pushed me deeper and deeper into my funk.

I'm happy to say, however, that a freak snowstorm Tuesday night -- which would ordinarily take the sass and spunk out of anyone -- ended up bringing out the best in me. With a handful of snow days to conquer (God bless being a teacher), I knew I had to pull out the big guns to stay positive and productive -- and therefore feel worthy and relevant.

So I cooked, I baked, I cleaned, I donated, I shoveled. I left my bedroom and ventured to the living room for a change, as a change in scenery has always made a huge difference for my mind (as demonstrated in my move from the Pacific NW to Mid-Atlantic in 2004). I read magazines, I wrote birthday cards, I groomed and entertained my dog. I watched copious episodes of "It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia," which I must thank for ironically saving me from insanity through insanity itself.

The most valuable thing therapy taught me was the ability to sense myself falling and catch myself by finding distractions. Sometimes I think my whole life has become a distraction.

All that said, I'm at a funny, mini-crossroads between a couple mindsets I can never reconcile. How can I keep busy without falling down the rabbit hole? How can I relax without finding myself in a rut?

It's the curse of the extremes, and unfortunately I think I inherited the curse at birth. I struggle with moderation in many aspects of life, and it's easier just to bounce between polarities.
But "easy" doesn't get you far in life, I've found. Must find that balance.