STAYIN’ BUSY

“Hey Lizzy, can you hang out tonight?”

“Nothing’s on my calendar!”

“Okay, so that means you have at least four meetings all scheduled at the same time.”

My friend Steven CAME AFTER me yesterday!!! I hate it because he’s right. I am an over-committer through and through. In highschool I said yes to everything because I really liked being involved. Plus once I was home I had my down time! College is a whole-nother story ((I feel like I’m always saying that in posts))

I genuinely do love being involved; I think it’s a total party being able to be involved in so many different facets of school. I’m in an acapella group, I’m in a sorority, I’m starring-in/filming/directing a TV show that I wrote, I’m training for a half-marathon, and attempting to stay on top of school work and still fitting in free time to hang out with my friends.

That was exhausting for my to type, so it must be exhausting to live, right? Two nights ago, I did laundry at one in the morning, because I didn’t have any other time (where washers were open) to do it! ((thank goodness my friends came to keep me company)).

I got really good at time management in high school, so I think I’m a healthy busy bee. But being busy does mean I don’t have a whole lot of room for error. If something goes wrong in my (very tightly packed) schedule. Then something has to go – and I hate cancelling. I am very much a “yes” girl. I say yes to pretty much everything and anything; in high school my therapist made me say no to three things a week just to practice doing it. I definitely know my limits now and what I want to be committing myself to, but it’s college! There’s so much I want to do! And I just want to do it all now! Right???

Sometimes I look at my schedule and wonder how I do it. Like honestly, how am I a functioning human being with all this stuff? Even though I’m doing really well with it all rn, I know that I need to be careful. This could be a slippery slope.

I’m really tired! Like actually completely worn out. I wish I could do it all, but I know that sometimes I just need to sit by myself in an empty fourth-floor lounge and watch Netflix. ((i.e what I’ve been doing the past hour)) This is the first time all week I’ve had genuine down time – and I know I could go out with my sorority sisters and have a fun night out, or go to my acapella group’s girl’s night in, but I honestly just want a nice calm Friday night where I can go to bed at a reasonable hour and prep for the overbooking I have coming up tomorrow.

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Guess who’s happy? Surprise, it’s me!

Wow hello wow! Boy oh boy am I tired! Is this what my brother feels like all the time (minus all the math #cantrelate)?

Every day I wake up and usually dread some part of my day, but then I come home filled with this wonderful blissful contentment that I can’t quite explain. It’s like that feeling of running hot water over freezing fingers or when vibrato echoes in a space.

For the first time in a little while I can confidently say I am happy. Like actually happy. Not just a fake smile in some photo posed at parties I’d rather not be attending. Not just iced coffee dates where I lie and say I’m probably just tired. Not just blog posts where I really try to convince myself that I’m okay.

I am actually happy. Very very very happy. It’s such a fantastic relief to know that I could walk through a dark and not so fun forest where I tripped far too often and somehow still get out with only a couple (a lot) of bruises. To know that all those forests have sunshine somewhere along the journey is something amazing. To know that my heart can withstand a whole lot is very reassuring.

And so what if my room is a mess or if I can’t remember things unless I write them down or if I can only make time for people if it’s on my google calendar? I am happy. That’s the good ole end goal for most, isn’t it? To be happy, to love, to be loved. I’ve got all three right now. Do I still seek self-validation in others? Sure! But I no longer place my self-worth and value in the love I receive from those who aren’t worth it.

Trust me when I say that I have become a whole lot more comfortable with the idea that I could be someone’s least favorite person. That thought used to keep me up at night and really h*cking stress me out. But that fear of needing to be liked and appreciated only turned me into this people-pleasing monster who was not as selfless as she may have appeared.

But here I am, today, in a very comfortable dorm bed that feels oh so much like home, surrounded by the most wonderful of friends; I am where I was meant to be and God knew it all along.

So, hi! Let me reintroduce myself; my name is Lizzy ((very much with a y)) and I am so happy to announce that I am truly happy. My love is a force to be reckoned with and I’d love to prove that to you some time 😉

PEACE OUT MY HAPPY HOMIES!

Bagel Bagel Bagel

Boy do I love bagels! There has never been a time where someone has suggested eating bagels where I’ve gasped at the audacity of their question. I seriously am always dtgabfa (down to get a bagel from Alpine) ((Alpine is the bagel place at my college sorry this isn’t the most #relatable acronym)). Bagels come in so many shapes and sizes and flavors some of em are super spicy – others are real ~salty~. Sometimes bagels are disgusting and like you gotta tell your friends to avoid them, but sometimes they’re really sweet and you wish you could have that bagel for the rest of your life.

Unfortunately, bagels don’t always know what they want. Which is a real pain as a customer. Us customers are constantly confused by bagels and their intentions! When am I gonna find a nice cooked piece of dough that is both honest with itself and with me!

I’m kind of tired of bagels, if I’m being totally honest. I spend so much time obsessing over how bagels think of me and how other people view my relationship with bagels. I kinda just wanna go gluten free for good, ya know? Whenever I have a bagel I always feel kinda weird after. Like I overthink all the consequences – the calories, my gluten intake for the day, the eventual run I will have to go on, the way it sits on my stomach the rest of the day – I’m not sure if it’s worth it anymore.

I used to have a consistent bagel (which was dope); I think I want a consistent bagel again. I’m really tired of taste testing all these different kinds – some have really awful bitter after tastes. I went on a bit of a bagel break earlier this school year; it was somewhat successful ? But I’m thinking I need to go on another one, especially since I’m training for a half-marathon right now. I don’t need any glutinous distractions. The right bagel will find me! I can hope?

((Oh, I see what she did there. She isn’t actually talking about bagels. It’s a clever metaphor for her love life, wow she’s so weirdly creative.))

I will say though, I miss Alpine a lot; I miss all my fellow customers. I miss late night bagel-talks and burnt coffee. I miss electric pianos and microwave s’mores. I miss that one suite that’s adopted me as their little sister. And I sure as heck miss those two girls; one hated me the first time she met me; one met me minutes before I could be found sobbing on a purple mattress.

College is so weird guys, like really weird. But I’m very ready to be back. I think I’ll go gluten-free for New Years.

Happy 2019!

 

 

Potentially Cold, Definitely Blessed

Hi Hello Dear Loved Ones and Strangers!

Welcome to my Blog; can I get you anything? Hot chocolate, a big ole hug, a nice hand hold? Please make yourself at home!

I’m sitting outside of my dorm (up against the brick wall completely burrito-ed in a blanket). I don’t think I’m crazy here, but I really enjoy being cold.

This is gonna be a religious blog post, and despite whatever you may believe, I’d invite you to read! Who knows, maybe you’ll learn some cool things about yourself (or this great big world we get to occupy for a little bit).

I grew up very religious ((shoutout to my Episcopalian middle/high school)). I was raised Methodist by some really cool peeps (my raised-catholic momma (who hates being called mama, sorry) and my preacher-kid daddio (who has never been called that before, but hey I’m trying new things). My grandma is this rocking awesome Methodist Preacher who marches for equality and loves herself a good glass of wine! But the dopest (a really great adjective, right?) thing about how I was raised was the way my family let us kiddos choose what we believed. I know a lot of people who were forced to believe this-or-that and therefore resented it. People don’t really like being told what to believe, ya know?

I don’t have that ~cool~ testimony where God like pancake-flipped my life in this miraculous way, but I’d argue that my journey won’t be over until I take my last breath. No one’s testimony is ever complete until they are!

I grew up with a really strong faith; I had my doubts as most questioning kids do, but I never really experienced a total blackout of my faith. When I was a freshman in high school, I struggled with a lot of mental health issues ((if you’ve read my blog before you might know a lil about that)) like big time anxiety issues. I started to fall into that spiral where I was mad at God.

“Hey God, if you’re so freaking great and loving and all that, then why did my camp counselor kill herself? Why did one of my best friends cut his wrists in the bathroom? Why do I want to not live anymore? If you’re really up there then get me out of this. Don’t let me wake up tomorrow. I don’t want anymore of this bs.”

((my fingers are getting very chilly at this point, so I apologize for these frozen-not-so-poetic words))

I was frustrated and mad and felt as if everything I’d been taught was some watered down truth meant to put a band-aid on all the hurt around me. It felt like religion was an excuse to ignore the real world, to ignore the real issues, to ignore the pain. I was done with the hypocrisy of those around me; I was done with the idea of suffering; I was done with feeling like my anxiety could suddenly go away if I were just more faithful in my God.

I didn’t stop believing in God, but I stopped loving him; I stopped having faith in his goodness. I was convinced that christianity was a whole load of crap, and that everyone around me was just being naive in their blind faith.

Then I went to my favorite place in the world, no not Disney World (even though that is up there). I went to Camp Cheerio, which is definitely the best summer camp in the whole world! It was my last year as a camper and I was not at all ready for those amazing memories to end. It was our camp-out night, a fine Wednesday night, and we laid out under the stars. My counselor gave some devotion that has long since left my mind, but I remember laying there under those beautiful stars and for the first time in almost a year, I prayed. I was sort of at a loss for words, but God has this miraculous way of speaking for me when I don’t know what to say. So there I was, staring at a sky full of hope and wonder counting shooting stars and praying; it was the calmest I had felt in such a long time. I felt the Holy Spirit work in me that night.

Later in the session, I sat in the woods by myself (a fun thing called Solo Night), on top of a fallen tree, with a bible open in my lap. I’d always loved the musical Joseph and the Amazing Technicolor Dreamcoat, so I figured I should start there. I read this story that I’d heard so many times before, but for the first time I felt like I understood Joseph – a man who had everything taken from him, a man who was utterly alone in the universe – I saw how God delivered him through all the bs of life. But the most amazing thing to me was how Joseph was so strong in his faith through it all. That couldn’t be naive blind faith, that was something else. That was an amazing belief in something bigger than himself.

I am so far from perfect and I deal with strife over guilt every day, but I remember that someone loved me enough to die for me. Which in theory sounds like something we would do for any of our loved ones, but he didn’t just die for one of us – he died for each and every one of us. The liars, the cheaters, the murderers, the crooked politicians, the sex offenders, the rapists, the worst of the worst, and the best of the best. How absolutely wild is that? It will never make sense to me. Ever. 

There is nothing in this post that I can say to capture the absolute peace I feel in my God. There is no way to capture his grace. But when I think of the love God has for me and every one of the 7 billion people on this earth, I am overcome with emotion.

I can sit here and type forever, but nothing is going to measure up. Nothing is gonna feel like enough. I encourage you to look at the little things in your life that have gone so inexplicably right, those things that seem like daily miracles, the way your little sister smiles, the way the sky is painted every morning and every night, think of it all. There is something bigger than us out there in that wonderful sky. When I hear the way human voices come together to create the most beautiful and intricate of harmonies, I cannot help but think of the wonderful things God has put in my life.

There is something so much bigger than us; there is something so much lovelier than us. I’m not tryna make any of you religious or anything, but it’s a pretty cool experience and I highly recommend it.

Hosea 6:3
“Let us acknowledge the Lord;
    let us press on to acknowledge him.
As surely as the sun rises,
    he will appear;
he will come to us like the winter rains,
    like the spring rains that water the earth.”

That’s pure poetry y’all.

I’ll do the research, so you don’t have to!

You’re welcome. 

Maybe at the family dinner table this thanksgiving break Uncle Something-or-Other started talking about that dang caravan and those darn immigrants, and maybe you sat there completely clueless. I’m guessing you don’t really know too much about what this caravan thing is? Or why everyone is up in arms about it? Heck, maybe you yourself feel a lil uncomfy with it all, but you’re not entirely sure what’s going on. I was in a similar position when I first heard of the ‘migrant caravan’, so I did what I do best – I listened to podcast after podcast, read various articles, watched videos; I did the research, so you don’t have to.

Let’s start with the what-the-heck :

On October 13th of this year, a group of mostly Hondurans began to flee from the “crime-ridden city” and head to America. They formed what is now known as the ‘migrant caravan’ and were soon joined by others from Guatemala and El Salvador.

What exactly is a caravan? Is it a super fun vehicle decked out for a family-road-trip of fun ! Woo-Hoo? No, definitely not. A caravan is a group of migrants traveling together for the sake of security. So, it’s basically a big-ole group of people sticking together and relying on one another, because at this point they’re all they have.

Let’s get to the why-the-heck?

This is the question I find the most important. Get out those toddler goggles and get ready to ask why a whole heck-of-a-lot.

Why do these people need to leave their homes? Why are they coming to the States? Why should we allow them in our country? Why should I care?

What could possibly be so bad in Central America that thousands of people feel the need to escape?

Central America was plagued with civil wars in the 1980s, mostly in El Salvador and Guatemala. It is clear the the countries never fully recovered from these wars. NPR Reporter Robert Siegle on the podcast “All Things Considered”, asked director of the Washington Office on Latin America, Joy Olsen, her thoughts on events in Central America. When asked about the police presence she responded: “They all technically have police forces but the police forces don’t function very well. Corruption is a huge problem. And the justice systems don’t function very well either. So prosecution rates are incredibly low.”.

Central America is a fairly dangerous place at the moment. There is a large gap between the very rich and the very poor with hardly any middle ground. This means that the very rich live comfortable safe lives away from the violence because they can afford to be protected. Unfortunately, yes, you did read that correctly. Olsen states that “security’s been privatized to a great extent”. The police forces are extremely corrupt and only protect those that can pay their way to safety.

A lot of children are being raised in what is known as a red zone ((“a community controlled by gangs”)). These gang members set up road checks throughout cities and force citizens to pay an extortion racket. (I had no idea what that meant when I first read this NPR article, so naturally I looked it up. It appears to be a sort of fee that citizens have to pay after being threatened by violence, so that’s disgustingly disturbing.) And those gangs are trying to recruit the male children to join the gang and recruit young girls to be sex slaves. One mother said her daughter was 11 years old when the gang requested she join.

Just pause for a second and take that in. Your eleven year old daughter – she’s finishing up fifth grade, she’s stressed about where she’s gonna go to middle school. Will her and her friends stick together? Does that cute kid next to her think she’s cute too? She should be worried about the math multiplications quiz she has on Friday, or what she should make her parents for Christmas, She should be worrying if her best friend is mad at her or what she should wear to family dinner. She should not be worrying if her father will be murdered or if her body will be sold away for sex. Your eleven year old daughter! Your twelve year old son becoming one of the criminals who kills and rapes. Who in their right mind would want that future for their child? What would you do? Would you do everything in your power to get them out of that environment? Would you travel thousands of miles to keep them safe? I don’t know what you would do! But I would do that for my thirteen year old campers, and they aren’t even my sweat and blood in human form. I would do that for my twelve year old neighbors that I haven’t spoken to in three years.

These people are not criminals! If you love a good podcast then I’d recommend “From Mexico, the Reality of the Migrant Caravan” produced by The New Yorker and published on November 1st of this year. It follows Jonathan Blitzer as he answers questions about the week he spent with the caravan. One of his main points is that these people are not violent! He says there have been no crimes committed with the group, no violence, no hatred. The worst rumor that spread was about someone “stealing babies” and then it turned out to be false. He talks about how loving and peaceful the people are; he shares how grateful they are to be leaving such a violent place and to try to provide a better future for their children. He says that most of them have hardly thought about what being in America will actually be like, or even if they will be able to get in. Their goal is not to infiltrate the states, it’s to escape the hell-hole they came from!

Now, I know that we can’t simply let all these people into our country just because they have a tragic backstory. Trust me, I am well aware of how optimistically naive that belief would be. But I do think there is something we, as a country, could do. What that is, I’m not entirely sure, but I don’t think the answer lies in hatred. I hardly think the answer ever lies within hatred. These people need help, and we are so fortunate that we have the opportunity to provide that. So, let’s help them. Let’s figure out something we can do. If the consensus is to not let them into our country as easily, then let’s come up with an alternative plan. We are too privileged to do nothing; we have the ability to help the world, so why the frick-frack are we not at least trying? If America is as great as we claim it to be, let’s prove to other countries that we are compassionate individuals who are not just money/power/fame hungry.

I recognize that this is a tricky situation; I recognize that I do not have all the answers, as I’m sure you don’t either. But I think we can agree that this is a situation we should treat with both our minds and our hearts.

America, the great melting pot, would not exist had our ancestors not decided to take a chance and leave a place they were not welcome. Always remember where we come from, remember our history, never forget.

Sources:

“A Look At The Violence Driving Central American Families To Seek Asylum In The U.S.”
     NPR, NPR, 25 June 2018, http://www.npr.org/2018/06/25/623318845/a-look-at-the-violence-
driving-central-american-families-to-seek-asylum-in-the-u.

“Migrant Caravan: What Is It and Why Does It Matter?” BBC News, BBC, 26 Nov. 2018,
http://www.bbc.com/news/world-latin-america-45951782.

“The Corrupt Structures Driving The Exodus Out Of Central America.” NPR, NPR, 17 July
2014, http://www.npr.org/2014/07/17/332351627/the-corrupt-structures-driving-the-exodus-
out-of-central-america.

Wickenden, Dorothy. “From Mexico, the Reality of the Migrant Caravan.” The New Yorker,
The New Yorker, 5 Nov. 2018, http://www.newyorker.com/podcast/political-scene/from-
mexico-the-reality-of-the-migrant-caravan.

as always, if any of my information is wrong, please let me know and I will update it!

Power Moves Only

You may be asking yourself: hey Lizzy, I’m a cool hip 40 year-old mom, but what does ‘power move’ mean? Well lemme tell ya, you cool hip momma that follows my blogga.

According to Urban Dictionary, when one pulls a stunt that shows she has outdone others and retains complete control of the situation, and dares anyone to challenge this.

I don’t really agree with that, so I asked my sorority sisters! Jonna said “this is gonna sound bad, but, like, asserting your dominance while still being respectful”.  Logan chimed in, adding: “something that makes you feel like a bad b*tch”, and Jess argued, “if you’re not being respectful then you’re not a bad b*tch, you’re just a b*tch”.

So I started to think about the Bad B moves I’d been making recently in my life.

A list of power moves I have done recently:

  • Egg and Cheese on a CINNAMON SUGAR bagel
    • Shoutout to Will Campbell for teaching me this power play
  • GrubHubbing Coffee to my sorority house
    • I may have accidentally put in my dorm as the designated delivery location and I may have had to call the company and tell them to come to the “Kappa Kappa” house.
  • Applied for far too many jobs that I do not expect to get
    • I mean, like a lot a lot of jobs. I like to stay busy
  • Auditioned for like 5000 some musicals/plays/short films
    • I mean, I really like to stay busy

WOW HOW FUN.

Last night I was hanging with some cool chicas, and I was utterly shocked when one of them, out of nowhere, said: “I think Lizzy is the most BAD A person I’ve ever met.” ((She didn’t say the words ‘BAD A’, but this is a facebook-mom-friendly blog, so I’ll let you imagine the rest.))

It’s really crazy to me when people think I’m cool, or BAD A. Some guy earlier this year said the same thing to me, but I trust my friend’s opinion more. Now, I think I’m a coolish gal, but in that weird English-kid theatre-nerd kinda way? I mean, maybe that’s considered BAD A nowadays, but I don’t know.

“Hey, Jess do you think I’m cool?”
“No. Actually yea, I do. You used to scare me. Because you’re really nerdy and pretty and talented, so I didn’t think I was worthy of your friendship.”

WHAT?!? I’M JUST NOW LEARNING THIS! I think my extroverted-ness can be slightly intimidating, but I’d never imagine people actually think I’m cool.

Anyways, everyone should embrace their Bad B side and make some Power Moves®. Happy-Kappy Wednesday

Thank You :))

Hello beautiful wonderful world,

I’m laying with my childhood blanket in a small corner of the world that feels a little less like home than I’m used to.

I feel extremely guilty at the moment, but I honestly couldn’t tell you what for. Maybe it’s not guilt – maybe it’s just a weird nostalgic happiness that I’m not quite accustomed to.

Being at school makes me feel very much a part of something; I feel like an integral part of people’s lives. At home, I feel a little more lonely. Sure, I’m quite literally surrounded by those who love me, but it’s a different sensation.

In high school, I spent my nights texting or FaceTiming – constantly in communication with others. College friends don’t have the habit of doing that, because we can always be together. If I want to talk to someone I just walk into their dorm room. I don’t need to text them a thousand some snippets of sentences to feel apart of their world. I, therefore, don’t know how to text college friends or even know if it’s appropriate to do so. College is a gift for the extrovert.

I think being somewhat alone puts me face to face with the things I don’t want to think about. Loneliness and guilt, accepting I’m thoroughly flawed, knowing I’ve hurt others in irreparable ways. Who wants to think about that?

Being alone, or more-so feeling alone, is the worst. I’m not saying that in a subjective oh this kinda sucks way; I mean it thoroughly hurts like hell. I know I am not alone. No one needs to clarify that for me. But the feeling is real and here and valid.

A year ago, I felt so incredibly loved and supported. My small high school had a way of doing that, and my tight-knit knew-each-other-like-the-sunrise friend group never failed to make me feel cherished. I have tremendous friends in college! I really truly do! But at this current moment ((12:29 a.m)) I don’t feel like I could turn to them. We all feel a bit lonely; me bringing up my feelings would only reflect those in their hearts. I couldn’t do that to them.

My heart is in the process of healing, but she really doesn’t know how to. I don’t know if I’m really letting her either. I think I try to fill my life with love in order to cover up those small scrapes and bruises, but time takes away most scars. (And as much as I hate the whole time-heals thing, I guess I’m gonna have to give it a shot). I don’t know if time is what really heals things, I think it’s patience. And patience does require time, but he’s more of a side character. Patience is what we really need. Patience with ourselves, with our hearts, with others. Patience is a virtue, or so I’m told.

I’m very thankful for everyone and everything in this fun little mess of a world I’ve got going on. I’d like to think my life would make an absurd yet endearing screenplay, maybe one of these days Hollywood will pick it up. The long and the short of it is this: to everyone who reads these glimpses-of-my-mind, thank you. I’m not the easiest to read, and my posts are not always the most cheerful. I am a very happy person, but I cannot suppress my emotions. I write until I’ve figured out what I’m feeling. And if you read these, wow, you’re a real gem.

I think my audience is mostly moms, which is cool hey moms! I hope y’all don’t think I’m too dramatic. I hope you don’t grow to hate me after reading any of these. Please don’t take me too seriously; I am extremely flawed and mess up all the time. I will always try to own up to my errors. Life is about growing in patience. If you ever read one of my posts and feel compelled in some way, please reach out to me. It’s nice to know who the anonymous eyes are every now and then.

Thank you for letting me express myself so often. Thank you for loving me through my words and heart and soul. Thank you for being a part of my life, even for just a few paragraphs. Everything will work out in the end; what is meant to be will find a way and I’m just gonna have to be patient enough to let it.

Chooo Chooo!

I love trains, something my beloved father and I have in common. I have made at least one trip on the famous Disney train on every trip I’ve ever taken to the happiest place on earth. ((Disney please do not sue me for plagiarising your phrase,, I love you more than you will ever know and I wear your coordinates around my neck every day)) I think one of the major reasons I like train rides is because of my Dad. I think about him a lot when I’m choo-chooing into the universe.

You see, my Dad is one of the best people on this blessed earth. (Tied with my fantastic Mom, of course). He and I have a lot in common, more so than I would sometimes like to admit. We both overthink practically everything and strive to love others with as much power as we can muster. If you have the honor of knowing my Dad and the even greater honor of being loved by him never take that for granted. If Richard Campbell is in your life, count yourself very lucky.

My Dad has always valued my opinion. He has never spoken down to me or assumed my thoughts are invalid because of my age. He has always encouraged my brother and me to learn everything we can and to approach life with curiosity and love. And don’t even get me started on his sense of humor! That man could make you cry, laugh, and wish you could speak like him all in one prayer delivered in front of the family. He is the most amazing man in my life and has taught me everything I know and love about this world.

College constantly reminds me of how lucky I am to have such incredible role models in my life. When I come home from college, my Dad has the goofiest grin and most comforting hug. But he doesn’t just want to hear about my fun college adventures, he genuinely wants to know my thoughts on the world. I have so so so much respect for him. He’ll ask me my thoughts on current political issues, and though we do not always agree, he always respects my opinion. ((See guys, it is possible to hold respectful political conversations with your family)). I think about him a lot – every hilarious pun, every time I hear myself saying something I know he would say, every morning breakfast he’d call a feast – I think about that wonderful music-making man all the time.

When I sit on trains, I understand why he loves them so much. The world moves past you in the most beautiful way that a car just can’t quite capture. It isn’t like flying, where you feel so small compared to the great big world around you. No, you feel like you are one with the world and everyone sitting at your side.

My senior year, I found myself on trains quite a bit. A wonderful person in my life lived a little far from me and train-rides always seemed to be the most efficient way to travel to his corner of the world. I often made small talk with those around me; college students traveling home for the weekend, high school teachers who let me help grade their quizzes, boys who edited videos for hours before falling asleep against the window. I always felt like one with the world.

Travelling is one of the most fulfilling experiences, even if you’re just traveling a couple hours to a different town. Trains make me feel like I’m going on a great big journey, where I will learn something new of myself whilst being away from the worn-out views of my city. I plug in my headphones and pretend like I’m some character in a movie, ready to take on a new conflict and face the trials of life with a dimple on her left cheek.

I wonder if my Dad ever thinks about that, about feeling refreshed in a new place. I know that he consumes himself with his work; he, quite like myself, never accepts failure. If he knows how to do something, and knows he can get it done right, why wouldn’t he just do it himself? Why bother trusting someone else with a job we could easily accomplish on our own. I think we both have some room for growth there. We trust others, trust is key in our relationships, but our expectations are so incredibly high and we’d hate for someone to feel burdened by trying to match that.

I know that both of us want to make this world better – it’s that loving heart we both have sewed into our souls. We go about it in slightly different ways, but I can guarantee if my dad is in your life he has tried to make yours a little better. Whether it’s a light-hearted joke when the world feels like it’s crumbling, a jam-sesh where you can remember the ‘good-ole-days’, or just a polite smile passing by. He would never intentionally hurt someone, and I’ve seen that troubled furrowed eyebrow when he thinks he may have harmed someone far too many times. We both do that.

All this to say, I love trains and I love my dad, and if you have either one in your life you should probably take a second to thank whoever put them there.

Going Up

This is Lizzy. Out.
Can you hear me? Out.
Come in commander? Out.

I have always wanted to be an astronaut. This is so not a joke I am being ridiculously real with you at this current moment. Right now at 11:28 a.m on this wonderful Tuesday morning, I want to be an astronaut.

I know that this is fairly unrealistic, seeing as I have given up on math and science, not to mention the fact that I am not currently passing my astronomy class with flying colors. Despite all those (major) set backs, I still want to be an astronaut.

So, I’m gonna see how hard it is to become one.

NASA says they’d like to see at least 1,000 hours of “pilot-in-command time in jet aircraft.” And, according to the ever-trustworthy space.com article entitled “How To Become An Astronaut” I’m gonna need to major in engineering, biological science, physical science or mathematics. For those curious, I am majoring in Dramatic Writing, so I’m pretty much nowhere near those requirements, but I’m not ready to give up yet.

Alright, now onto the physical requirements:

  • 20/20 vision (either naturally or with corrective lenses)
  • blood pressure not more than 140/90 in a sitting position
  • a height of between 62 and 75 inches

Welp, I do not have 20/20 vision naturally, but I do have corrective lenses, so CHECK
I couldn’t even tell you what my blood pressure is, but let’s just assume the best, so CHECKETY CHECK CHECK
I’m 5’7 (and surprisingly still growing???) that puts me at about 67 inches, so CHECK ONCE AGAIN

I was built to be an astronaut! I’m not making this up, the facts are listed right above.

So let’s say I pass all those silly little preliminary requirements. Then comes the fun stuff! As a candidate for space travel I’d become a qualified scuba divers, do military water survival training, undergo swimming tests, and be exposed to high and low atmospheric pressures! AND LEARN RUSSIAN! How absolutely dynamic! Talk about some cool stuff, right guys?

When my parents told me to reach for the stars and shoot for the moon, I’m sure they didn’t actually imagine I would try to. But then again, knowing me, I’m sure they figured I would at some point.

I recognize that I will never actually become an astronaut, but that doesn’t mean I’ll never see the galaxy. I could write you planets, color them with details until you can taste them. I could paint you a picture of the stars, the way they shine brighter from the right side of the spacecraft. I’ll read you journals filled with freeze-dried ice cream and rehydrated green beans. I will never be an astronaut, but I will surely go to space. What do you think writers see when we close our eyes?

Galaxies are constantly trapped behind our eyelids, ready to be broken into the world. One of these days I’ll let them see the world the way they ought to, but for now I’ll let them paint my dreams and crowd my thoughts.

Dear NASA, if you’re reading, I’d love to board your next space adventure. I’m fun I swear, and I have Nestle’s chocolate chip cookie recipe memorized (if that’s not someone you want on your crew, then I don’t know what you’re looking for!)

 

Poppin Pills!

As I leaned over a third floor toilet around the corner from my English classroom, I began to storm up this article. ((As a normal teenager does after her fifth time throwing up on the morn of Halloween)). So here is my somewhat-spooky Halloween post.

The first time I told one of my suite-mates about my anti-depressant adventures she looked a bit shocked and responded, “so, you’ve really been through this whole thing, huh?” I have, indeed, really been through the whole thing. Let me take you on the fun journey of trying to fix my chemical imbalance! Woo-Hoo, who’s excited? I’m excited!

It was a dark and stormy day in the halls of my high school – in reality, it was probably just a normal Monday. My levels of anxiety were high; I felt my soul leaving my body, unable to recognize the shrinking girl in the corner who pretended she was fine. I could no longer continue that way, I knew I wanted to try going on medicine. It took a fair amount of convincing to get my parents on board, but we agreed to try it and see what would happen. As a family, we had little experience with anti-depressants and were a bit apprehensive about the whole situation.

I started taking Zoloft, a commonly used SSRI, the spring of my freshman year. I was hit with a tornado of symptoms, but told that they would eventually go away. After all, there is a slight adjustment period with any medicine. But I felt like I was actually dying. Getting out of bed was near impossible; when I tried sitting up I would be hit with a sea-sickness so strong I hoped I would throw up to end it. If it wasn’t the extreme nausea keeping me in bed, it was the chronic fatigue. I was constantly tired; falling asleep at the lunch table or drifting off during rehearsals. Perhaps that doesn’t sound too bad, I was a high schooler of course I was tired, that may not have been the medicine. But then I started losing my appetite, the smell of meat disgusted me ((foreshadowing my vegetarian life perhaps)), anything with the slightest bit of salt overpowered my senses entirely. Safe to say, I stopped eating. I dropped some weight and was complimented by my peers for how thin I looked. I’d never been ‘thin’ and yet always had a bizarre obsession with it, so being told I looked skinny encouraged my declining appetite.
The medicine changed me physically but provided absolutely no mental change. So, my psychiatrist suggested I switch to another well known SSRI, Lexapro.

My favorite part of my Zoloft -> Lexapro switch was that it went down while I was a last-year-camper at my favorite place in the world. So tracking my symptoms and also trying to have a good time at camp was a bit difficult. I remember it starting off in a similar fashion, I would wake up on my top bunk with sweaty palms and a raging headache. The good news was that I was at summer camp, the abnormal sweating my body experienced  could easily be disguised in normal day activities. And, perhaps, I had just gotten my normal appetite back and was excited to eat real-people-food again, but I began to eat everything. My appetite went from being non-exsistant to becoming an overpowering desire I had to fulfill at all occasions. I’m sure I didn’t gain as much weight as I felt like I had, but in my own mind I was an Oompa-Loompa ((and a very pale one at that)). To feel like an Oompa-Loompa at age 15 is to know true self-loathing. Dear sophomores in high school, please do not view yourselves as Oompa-Loompas you overdramatic loves of mine. I had all these fun symptoms, but just like Zoloft, I felt no different mentally. It almost took more of a toll on my mental health. Everyone was expecting me to get better, and I questioned if maybe the medicine was doing something and I just hadn’t noticed. “I don’t feel like it’s working.” I would tell my mom. “How do you know?” She often responded. It was a good question; I had no idea how I would be able to know. No one gave me a guide book on taking anti-depressants. ((Where’s that book American Girl Doll Company, huh? You’re gonna make us a book on puberty and then just say see-ya later on our mental development?))

So, I was taken off medicine. It was no longer reasonable, or healthy, to keep me on a medicine if I felt it wasn’t fulfilling the intended purpose. I carried on as I had before, utilizing therapy as my life-line. I completed work on a timely fashion, went to bed at a reasonable hour, joined the track team, ran for leadership positions, acted in plays. I was the same-old me. I did exactly what I needed to do and avoided as many triggers as I possibly could. I knew what would set me off, and when it would set me off, so I disguised my anxiety in the only way I knew how: staying busy.

Junior year sucked. I’m fairly confident that can be universally felt. I didn’t have time to think about my anxiety, I was always doing something: studying for this test, writing that paper, pretending like I wasn’t falling apart, getting coffee with my best friends every single day without fail. I became the absolute queen of distracting myself! And my therapist, sweet sweet Megan, was in my top three go-to people. I had weekly therapy appointments, which were very much needed breaks in my day. Megan is such a queen, if you don’t go to therapy but you think you might want to, I will pay you to go see Megan. ((probably not though because I am super broke)) [[My psychiatrist is also a queen, she’s the one who recommended Megan to me so you know she’s a homie. And they’re friends which I think is just so adorable. I love both those women so much, wow. I just got so sidetracked. Yay therapy! Yay Maggie and Megan!!!]

Fast forward to senior year, where I was ridiculously over high school. I knew I wanted to be on anxiety medicine for my freshmen year of college. Shoutout to past me for thinking about her future self! In order to be rid of the crazy symptoms before heading to college, I needed to start it whilst still a senior. But my mom and I were both over the whole trial-and-error medicine route. It was not a fun option, and I very much wanted to avoid that. So, I did a fancy lil DNA test to figure out which medicines my body metabolized well. Upon viewing my results, I discovered that both Zoloft and Lexapro were on my DO NOT TAKE list. It was so validating to know that past me hadn’t been making things up, I really wasn’t getting any benefits from the medicine. My psychiatrist, being the queen that she is, put me on one of my HEY YOU SHOULD TAKE THIS medicines. It was a fairly new medicine, Prestiq. Prestiq is an SNRI, meaning it boosts serotonin levels as well as norepinephrine levels. I don’t really know what that means or how it affects people differently, all I know is that it works. 

I had the usual preliminary symptoms: nausea, headaches, agitation. But then those wore off and I was left with exuberant happiness. I mean, I was bouncing off the walls energetic and happy. It was great! I finally felt like myself again. The only problem was that I was a little too happy. I had increased levels of energy and absolutely could not sit still. It only kinda affected my school work, but I was a senior so I didn’t much care about my class work anyways. I still did my homework assignments and wrote my papers, but I could hardly pay attention in classes that didn’t peak my interest. I had no issue in the classes I loved, – literature, French, and statistics – but my history and seminar classes were not-at-all my focus. My friends began to worry about me. I remember one lunch where three of my closest friends confronted me about it. They said they were glad I was happy, but I wasn’t acting like myself. I was acting wild and uncontrollable. I would often say rude remarks without thinking or break school rules without caring. As a total goody-two-shoes I can assure you that kind of behavior was not typical of me. And I always talk a lot, but I would talk a lot, sometimes I would forget I was talking and cut myself off mid-sentence. My best friend of three years even said she was a little worried about me. The medical term for this kind of behavior is mania, but my mom would tell you she doesn’t like that word, so my psychiatrist rephrased it; I was hyperactive.

My parents didn’t notice those symptoms because they were just excited to see me so happy again. The medicine worked, perhaps a little too well, I was suddenly not anxious about anything. My parents told me they were considering moving to a different state and I didn’t shed a tear! If you know me, you know how much I hate change, so this behavior was, once again, very out of character. I only experienced highs, I wasn’t feeling real-people emotions. So, my psychiatrist decreased my dosage. As the medicine decreased so did my extreme levels of happiness. I immediately returned to the way I had been before taking medicine – anxious and exhausted all the time. After knowing the way I could feel, I wanted to go back. I loved the way the medicine made me feel; I didn’t want to be hit with the lows of life again. I liked seeing la vie en rose everywhere I went. It felt like I could have that childish naive innocence about me once again, I could be oblivious to the pains of the world. But I could recognize how unhealthy that was for me; I knew I needed to find a happy medium. So, I asked to increase my dosage again and see if things would be different.

And here we are now! 10 paragraphs later and you are still reading. WooHoo thanks. I hardly remember the fact that I take medicine because of how normal I feel. I still get anxious, like all the time, but the physical symptoms of my anxiety are mostly gone. I don’t shake as much or scratch at my skin or overthink till I feel dead. I mostly just write. But every now and then I genuinely forget I take medicine, therefore I forget to take it. It usually hits me that I’ve forgotten around noon, when I feel light headed and begin to overheat. The worst time that happened was during Hurricane Florence. My friends and I were playing volleyball outside before the storm hit; it was the second day in a row I had forgotten to take it. I remember feeling a drop of rain and then immediately passing out. I woke up as soon as my body hit the sand, but it was enough to freak me and all my friends out. I sat out for the rest of the game.
Some days, I don’t have time to eat in the morning, like today! But taking medicine on an empty stomach usually results in light nausea. It’s not too bad, I’m used to that. But for some reason, today, my body was not able to handle the medicine on an empty stomach. Hence why I spent a majority of my English class vomiting up grapefruit kombucha, the only thing I’d had this morning.

Long story short, medicine is cool and helps a lot of people, but it isn’t always fun. It’s quite the process to find the right one, but it is very very worth it. Also, if you haven’t taken your meds yet today, go do that ya silly nugget!!!

Happy Halloween!!!