Spring Awakening

I wanted to post last Wednesday, but I was feeling under the weather and couldn’t look at the computer screen for another minute. I woke up at about 1 am with a terrible migraine and was up most of the night in pain and nauseated. I thought I would have time to post sometime this weekend, but I had other pressing matters. I realized tonight that I never posted…sorry for the delay. I took these pictures at my parents house on Saturday after I got my haircut. The new blossoms were beautiful and a synchronistic reminder that Spring is awakening, around me and within me.

I had my first counseling session last week. It was supposed to be the week before, but I realized there was no way I could make it across town after giving TCAP for the last time, so I had to reschedule. I was nervous, but I knew as soon as I walked into her office, that I had made the right decision. I figured we would just get to know each other a bit. I was welcomed into her office and I immediately felt at ease. I haven’t had the easiest time in the past opening up to a counselor, but there is something about this woman that resonated so deeply with me, even just looking at her website, and that feeling carried over into the session. I was able to be extremely honest and she helped guide me to a very deep realization that shook me to my core. She also reassured me that I had a teammate on this journey and she would hold the space for me to explore and heal.

I think one of the reasons I am able to open up to her is that she is not just someone with a bunch of degrees. She has an intimate understanding of the place I have been in and it is her perspective on this sacred work that speaks to me. She is creative and kind, she is exactly the person I need by my side on this odyssey. I am being present and witnessing, not trying to fix or comfort or apologize. I am allowing something to blossom where it has been dormant in the bleak winter cold.

I am heading to New York this week for a long weekend and reunion with two of my favorite people in the world. I am ready for an adventure and a change of scenery. I am looking forward to being surrounded by the love of friendship, culture and the crackle of a busy city, and the chance to reflect on what I learned in therapy about myself this last week. I will check in before I leave.

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Unique Spin

I’ve decided that at least until the end of school, I’m only going to post on Wednesday’s. That way I have a whole week to reflect on and write about. Today was another day of TCAP, tomorrow is our last day and it couldn’t come any sooner. The students and teachers have had about all of TCAP that they can stomach. I went shopping after work and bought healthy food. I went on a walk around the lake and cooked a delicious and healthy dinner for myself. I cleaned my kitchen and the bathroom and I did the dishes. I feel like I accomplished something and that feels good.

Tomorrow I start counseling. I’m excited, but  a little nervous. I know tomorrow will just be about getting to know each other a bit, but I know that there will be a time soon when I have to broach some subjects that I have successfully avoided for quite a while. I need to look these monsters in the eye so I can slay them, however, I have learned to be extremely skilled at avoidance. That no longer suits me, so I have to cross the moat and meet my fate in the woods.

I also joined Match.com again. I was on it once, briefly when I was 27. I updated my pictures, tried to come up with clever captions and tried to pretend that I wasn’t scared out of my wits. Last night, after much procrastination, I finished updating my profile description of myself and what I wanted.

It was very interesting to read what I had on there from five years ago. I was just finishing my bachelor’s degree. I was working a deadend job at the bookstore. I was revising my novel and now it is published. I now have a job that I love and am almost finished with my master’s degree. A lot has changed in five years.

It feels weird to try to write an advertisement on myself. I wrote clever, but cheesy sentences and then promptly erased them. I had the hardest time articulating what I was looking for because I kept trying to spin it in a certain way. Finally, I dropped the b.s. and just asked for what I really want.

Here’s hoping that something good happens. I’m trying to have an open mind and not have any expectations about what will happen. At the very least. it is another gesture to the universe that I am ready to change. I am still petrified of rejection, but as my friend pointed out, this is the best time for me to try again. I am starting counseling and I will be able to reflect on the experience (good or bad) with a trusted advisor to help me make sense of all of it. This is probably the perfect time.

Talk soon!

My New Crush

I am not putting a picture in this post because I have absolutely nothing that will do justice to the content. Not that this post is any more awesome  than any other post in my blog history, but I just have nothing in my arsenal of pictures to use. More importantly, there are no pictures in the universe of my new crush because he only exists in the pages of a brilliant, yet ridiculously heartbreaking book called, The Fault in Our Stars by John Green.

I’ve wanted to devour it like I usually do with great books. Stay up all night and read, but being how crazy busy my life is right now, I have been reading little snippets as often as I can instead. It is brilliant, I can’t say this enough. I have never read anything else by John Green, but I have a feeling that will be changing soon.

I normally write about books and such at my other blog, and I will more than likely post something about this over there too, but it has opened up a sore spot from my past and I thought it would be good to address it here. The Fault in Our Stars (TFIOS) is a love story and a life story of teens who are dealing with the side effects of cancer. Green does an impeccable job of explaining what this life is like. I have not been a teenager dying of cancer, but I felt like a professional sickie for a handful of years during my late teens and from my experience, he gets it just right.

I had a really trying day. I’ve been on prednisone for my silly lungs that just don’t want to let go of this bug and I was emotional from watching kids feel defeated from hours of standardized testing that does nothing but demoralize them. Nothing went according to plan today and that has now rippled into next weeks events as well. I called my mom and just broke down. She watched high school kids struggle through CSAP for years and understands. I also talked to her about how wonderful and tragic TFIOS is and she said, “Are you sure you should be reading this? It sounds a little close to home.” I answered with a choked sob.

It is close to home. I will say again that I did not have cancer. I did have a horrible illness where my brain believed I had a brain tumor (even though there was no tumor) and I went through everything someone with a brain tumor would go through, with the huge exception of not losing my life. I did almost go blind, and I am still beyond grateful that all my stars aligned and I moved up the food chain of specialists who were able to save my vision. I did lose most of my peripheral vision, but that is something I can live with. It was two years of spinal taps, excruciating headaches, E.R. visits and daily visits to the litany of doctors who were scrambling to fix me – it was hell. I am grateful for all of it because I never overlook the beauty I am lucky enough to witness. I know when things seem horrible that I have survived worse and it too shall pass.

Back to my crush.

Augustus Waters is one of the characters in TFIOS. He is irreverent and metaphorical, he is romantic and sarcastic. He is fictional, unfortunately. He is everything I would have wanted when I was going through the fight of my life. In all honesty, he is everything I would want now. I am grateful that Green wrote this unbelievably beautiful story, but I also hate him for making me fall for Gus.

I was lucky enough to have two incredible friends stick with me through my illness. Most people stayed away, it was a lot to handle. These two people and my family held me together. One friend was with me almost every day. She brought over movies and watched re-runs of Friends with me on the couch, even when my eyes wouldn’t work well enough to watch. She helped a doctor keep me still during a spinal tap even though she’s terrified of needles, she would call and check in with my mom when I was drugged up on pain meds and not up for visitors. She made the worse time in my life bearable and I will never be able to truly thank her for that. Ironically she will be in town this weekend and I can’t wait to tell her thank you again and hug her tight.

TFIOS isn’t just a book. It feels like a memory. It hurts to read about the injustice of losing life before it has even begun. It reminds me of how lucky I am that my brain was confused and not full of real tumors. It makes me glad that I am starting counseling soon and I can start to cut away the layers of scar tissue around my heart and really feel all I have ignored for so long.

Please visit John Green for yourself – his website is cool and his video blogs are awesome.

 All this inspires me to keep writing my stories and loving the beauty around me, despite the brutality and injustice that we all face every day.

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