Tuesday, May 31, 2011

9th grade: The days and weeks after State

You will want to read this first--9th grade: The day before State-- as this post is the 2nd part of a 3 part series.

I obviously made it through. Our jr. high cheer squad won 3rd…I think? Maybe even 4th…? Funny how things that were so important at one point—are clearly not important in the long run. My co-ed club cheer squad probably got 1st…? At that point in time AZ Heat was the #1 competitive cheer program in the state, so we usually won by sheer difficulty of our routines. That sounds arrogant, but I say that to say that I could’ve performed pretty poorly and we probably would have still won…no thanks to me at all.

The next week also consisted of a lot of tears. A lot of hard conversations. A few mixed CDs of sad songs that reminded me of my friend who had died {I still have these}. A nearly unbearable viewing. A funeral I wasn’t allowed to go to {Parents wouldn’t let me miss school and didn’t think it was right to let me wallow in that sadness anymore…probably for the better}.

Following Ryan’s suicide, I was introduced to new terms and ideas. Ryan had a chemical imbalance in his brain and they were trying new medication. Medications for this type of issue can have detrimental side effects—like pushing someone into deeper depression. I learned that what looked perfect on the outside of families is often not what it seems.

Every family has its issues and shortcomings. Things are not always what they seem. People are not always what they seem. People are not always as happy as they may seem. The idea that I could have done more as a friend to Ryan has not left me—even 8 years later.

I began to fear keeping anything to myself. I promised not to keep my negative thoughts to myself for fear I’d become depressed and then shut down and then not want to talk to anyone and maybe get so deep and dark that I’d want to commit suicide. I was terrified that would happen to me. I now realize this is irrational, but that’s just where I was at during that time.

I became an oversharer who gave everything in relationships with people. I gave up things at a split second if anyone needed me and stayed up way too late at night (when I should’ve done homework) to help friends solve their problems. I relied on others so much for my emotional wellbeing and expected people to know what to do with it. As you can imagine, this fed into a handful of difficult relationships, broken hearts, and lots of confusion. This process continued to change me in one way or another over the next few months and years.

Monday, May 30, 2011

An Understatement

To say I had a much-needed weekend away with my best friend would be quite an understatement. I had THE best weekend—relaxed, restored, and happy. One of my best friends from high school, Rachel, lives in Bakersfield with her husband and in-laws. When I was anticipating this weekend, many people gave me their unwelcomed opinion of “Bakersfield? What are you going to do there?”

I arrived Friday at noon and we headed to an infamous hot dog stand in LA. Hot dogs are without a doubt one of my favorite foods, so already an excellent start. We then proceeded to shop, shop, shop at The Grove shopping center in LA. We hit up Nordstrom, J Crew, Anthropologie, Victoria’s Secret, and the list goes on. I am not someone who loves shopping or does it when I am upset or anything like that. But the mix of the California sun, shopping for fun clothes, and most importantly the company of a long time best friend and I couldn’t tell you the last time I felt so happy.

Rachel and I became friends my junior year of high school through our mutual love of One Tree Hill. She owns all the seasons and from time to time we have been known to have marathons of our favorite show. Of course, we did a little of that this weekend as well. At the beginning of one of the episodes one of the characters said this quote:

"Sometimes pain becomes such a huge part of your life that you expect it to always be there…because you can't remember a time in your life when it wasn't. But then one day you feel something else-something that feels wrong, only because it's so unfamiliar. And in that moment you realize…you're happy."

It is totally cheesy and from a dramatic TV show, but it struck me. On Friday, I kept telling Rachel how happy I was. I literally felt high on something because I couldn’t stop smiling and felt more confident than I’d felt in so long. I was totally surprised by my own happiness and it was fabulous.

We didn’t do a whole lot this weekend but watch shows together, see a movie, and eat good food…but it was the greatest. Time with a best friend is so underestimated. It was just the healing I needed as I’m headed into an extremely stressful week. I feel {almost} stress free and excited about what’s next! Thank you for the much-needed weekend, Rachel. I’m so glad we’re still friends after all these years and can pick up like we hadn’t skipped a beat.

Sunday, May 29, 2011

9th grade: The day before State

I remember 9th grade fondly. Here I was: a co-captain of my freshman cheer squad, a cheerleader at a national champion cheer club {you can laugh to yourself, it’s okay}, sitting with all the football players at lunch (they were even my close friends and great friends at that), getting straight A’s in advanced classes, great group of fun girl friends who would be there through anything, with a wonderful and supportive family. Ninth grade looked like a phenomenal year and anyone looking at it from the outside would probably think I had it all.

But there is one day I will never forget that has changed me forever. It has changed the way I treat relationships, the way I view my family, the way I deal with a crisis, the way I share about my emotions.

It was the day before the state cheer competition—both of my squads were competing. {I hesitate to mention cheer for fear of not being taken seriously, but just go with me.} I hopped in my mom’s car after our last practice at AZ Heat (the club cheer) and we headed to my next practice for my freshman cheer squad. This was the first year our Jr. high had ever competed in a competition. My squad had worked SO hard to put together a stellar, competitive routine. Point being: this was a big deal and a highly stressful time. I casually picked up my phone to check a voicemail from my best friend thinking it was concerning our upcoming cheer practice. I was focused on the state competition ahead and could not wait to see how all our hard work paid off.

The voicemail began and I couldn’t understand her. She was crying and shaky and I listened to it 3 times before deciphering what she said. I can still visualize that exact moment 8 years later.

Bottom line, one of our guy friends had committed suicide. One of the most friendly, intelligent, happy, loving guys I had ever met was gone. And let me tell you—I don’t use “most friendly” or “happy” lightly in a “that’s what you say about people who died” kind of way. He is still hands-down one of the friendliest and happiest guys I have ever known.

My mind was blown. I had to pull it together for the next two days because I was responsible for rallying my jr. high cheer squad to do our BEST performance at state. It was my idea for us to compete, so the competition weighed heavily on me. I also had to somehow land a standing back flip for my club cheer squad that I had yet to land in practice. Endless hours of practice had gone in to these next 2 days. These things seemed so petty with this glaring news, but some things just have to be done. Life couldn’t stop. Life couldn’t pause and people were counting on me.

I have never truly shared how this day or event has changed my life. {And yes, my life was changed more than just the stress of making it through a state cheer competition.} I plan to share a least one {if not two} more posts about this life-changing and life-giving event. Thanks for joining me as I unpack this event that is still difficult to talk about.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

A window into my mind

Lately my life has consisted of endless reflection. Why did I say that? Why did I do that? Why did things turn out in this way? I ask those questions out of curious introspection—not out of sadness or regret.

Anyone who knows me well knows that I love to self-analyze. I love to figure out exactly why I would have acted a certain way or would have said a certain thing. I like to figure out what past experiences and current life stressors drive my thoughts and actions. Talk to me a week after any “life crisis” I may have told you about and I will have a detailed explanation (possibly a myriad of interconnected explanations) for why things turned out the way they did and what I am going to do to heal, process, and change those outcomes in the future.

This might all sound fine and dandy, but let me let you in on a secret. This is exhausting.
I do come at all these things with the perspective that everything happens for a reason to better prepare me for the future. However, with a handful of super stressful, heartbreaking, and life changing events happening within a month of each other (sometimes even a week of each other) over the past few months of my life—I am exhausted. I am sick of analyzing. I am sick of venting all of my worries onto my roommates (and anyone who happens to be within 10 feet of me). It is getting a little silly if you ask me. I am sick of losing sleep and sick of the anxiety.

So what’s next you ask? I called someone. I scheduled an appointment with a trusted Seattle counselor. I have not gone crazy, folks. I have always spouted off that everyone would benefit from some healthy time talking to a certified counselor or therapist. I am finally following my own advice and seeking someone’s insight other than my own.

My psychology background is screaming at me to make some sense of my scattered, sleepless thoughts. I cannot wait to talk to someone and have her point out different parts of my negative lines of reasoning. I cannot wait to have someone stop me and say “you are wrong.” Yes, mom and dad, I am actually excited to have someone tell me I am wrong. Maybe I have gone crazy.

Despite what I know about psychologists through studying psychology in undergrad, I still have my misconceptions about Freudian psychoanalysis and talking about my “daddy issues.” These are the misconceptions that have kept me from chatting with a counselor before now. I am choosing to set aside my prejudice and choosing to move forward.

Either way, I feel healthy. Too exhausted to continue introspection on my own, but healthy nonetheless. That is something I am proud of and am so thankful for that bit of peace.
On another note—this next week marks my last week of my first year (out of 2) of graduate school! Holy smokes.

Monday, May 16, 2011

Small update

So, turns out I am not going to Spain. Supposedly the family found someone else? Weird deal, but whatever. I'm back in contact with the nanny agency I worked for last summer--A Nanny for U--and I'm hoping to get a close to full time nanny job this summer.

Seattle in the summer should be beautiful and I'm excited to actually get out and explore way more than I did last summer.

I ran 8 miles yesterday, but it took me close to 2 hours. Blah. I set my face too quickly for the first 4 miles and had to walk a lot of the 4th mile because I was in a lot of pain. This is why you train, I guess. Now I know I have to run 10 min and walk 1 min NOT run 12 min and walk one min. Next week will be 10 miles and I'm nervous and excited about it!

I am going to LA in 2 weeks to visit one of my best friends, Rachel Kartchner Clyde, and I am super excited to get out of the cold rain and into beautiful southern California!!!

Hoorah! I am looking forward to this 4 day work week. We have the EEU Annual Auction on Saturday which is a HUUUUUGE deal, so we have school closed on Friday (and a half day on Monday) to prepare for the auction and then clean up from the auction. It should be grand! Hope you all have a great week.

Sunday, May 15, 2011

Brothers & Sisters

I have been watching a lot of this show on Netflix {since I finished the entire series of Grey's...}:

I have seen this show off and on in the past because my parents used to save it on the DVR. I love watching shows that are simply about family dynamics. (ex: 7th Heaven, Parenthood, ect) I love love love that beyond all their drama in their own lives, the Walkers (the main family in this show) always have each other's backs, always love each other, and always spend time together. My crazy family is so much like them. We all have drastically different lifestyles, but love each other all the same.

One person who is particularly like someone in my family is this woman:

Nora Walker (Sally Fields character in this show) is a more neurotic and more intense version of my own mother. She is the glue that holds the family together. She is always planning family get togethers, making sure everyone is doing okay, putting out the fires of our arguments, and constantly doing everything she can for us. I laugh to myself as I watch her children roll their eyes at some of the things she does for them or when they tell her to just stop. At times things may seem too much (like always cleaning our rooms), but she does those things because she loves her kids and just wants to make life easier for them however she can. This is exactly my wonderful mother. This show has single-handedly made me realize I have a future in Arizona.

...which actually sort of bums me out. You all might be surprised to hear this, but I have absolutely fallen in love with the city of Seattle. I love all the trees and the coffee and the places to run. I love that it is hard to find a parking spot and that there are too many hills to count because that is just part of life here. I love Seattle for all it has to offer. I love that everyone owns a brightly colored raincoat and a pair of rain boots. I love this city and would absolutely love to settle down and maintain a life here. I just could never do that at the expense of not seeing my family. I do not particularly love Arizona...at all. It's hot, not very pretty, kind of a bubble, not very diverse, ect ect.

But watching the Walkers randomly pop in to each other's houses, all showing up at the hospital when a child is hurt, attending countless family events together--all of those things without a doubt overshadow my love for Seattle. I still plan to buckle down here in Seattle and live life here as much as possible because I don't know where and when God will move me out of this city. Lately, my mind has become very open to any new opportunities that come my way.

I am in such an exciting place in my life where I do not yet have obligations that hold me to a certain schedule or lifestyle. I am excited to dig deeper in my relationship with Christ this summer as I get to know myself again and learn who He made me to be. I do not have enough time to do young life right now, so I plan to get involved in the high school ministry at my church up here because I miss ministering to high school kids so so much. The psychology part of me misses listening to the hurts and joys in the lives of high school kids and providing the needed guidance, support, and love to these kids. Now to finishing up that cover letter that has been looming over my head for a few weeks...

Monday, May 2, 2011

Music heals a heart

Music has definitely been a huge part of my life lately. This song by Sarah Barellis
that I talked about before describes exactly how I've been feeling. Being a serial
dater, I've had a lot of broken hearts and hard break ups in my day, but this is 
still like nothing I have ever felt before. I've definitely been living the cliche'
line of "what doesn't kill you, makes you stronger." Here I come to keep getting

No words, my tears won't make any room for more 
And it don't hurt like anything I've ever felt before 
This is no broken heart, no familiar scars 
This territory goes uncharted...  

Just me in a room sunk down in a house in a town 
And I don't breathe 
Though I never meant to let it get away from me 
Now I'm too much to hold, 
everybody has to get their hands on gold 
And I want uncharted 

Stuck under the ceiling I made, 
I can't help the feeling...  
I'm going down Follow if you want, 
I won't just hang around 
Like you'll show me where to go 
I'm already out of foolproof ideas 
So don't ask me how to get started 
It's all uncharted