Tuesday, June 3, 2014

I might should give up on the dentist thing.

So I'm getting ready to leave the country in less than a month, and doing a terrible job of it if I do say so myself.

I feel like if I were doing a good job then I would have everything finished by now and would just be enjoying my time left in the states with all my friends and family.

I'm still doing that now but I'm also desperately trying to get stuff done like work out how to make student loan payments from the other side of the planet, get a visa, and possibly my wisdom teeth removed.

And by try to get stuff done, I actually mean try to try.

It's like writing a paper, I'm not at the point where I am actually working on these things yet.  I'm at the point of thinking about working on it.

The stress is the same but the progress is that much less. (Except on the visa thing.  I'm actually working on that one, but everything else seems to have been put on a standstill.)

Anywho, I feel like I ought to write an existential blog about the changes coming in life, about how I am facing this massive change with courage or what have you but I am extremely...unmoved.

This is the direction my life has been heading.  It's completely not shocking or really scary to me that I am moving to China for a year.  The things I'm scared of are the exact same things that I'm scared of on this side of the planet.  I'm scared that I won't do a good job and they'll get mad at me because I suck/somehow misrepresented myself and my capabilities.

Which I do not believe I did because I was very clear about what experience I had and didn't have and was told also quite clearly "that's okay, we're training you."

I'm scared I will go hungry not for lack of food or money or provision but because I won't know how to grocery shop in a foreign country and will be too scared to ask for help.

I'm scared that I will be super awkward in this new little community I'm entering into and that I won't know how to connect with any of them.  Making friends is not as easy for me as the world assumes!

Just because you're an extrovert doesn't mean that it's easy.  It just means it's more urgent.  Everyone needs friends and such but the degradation for extroverts without friends might be a tad quicker.

Here's how it all goes down in my mind.

Me-*enters into common area*
Them- *talking among themselves.*
Me- Hey...
Them- Hey! *to other person* So like I was saying (insert anecdote here.)
Me- That's like (insert obscure pop culture reference)
Them- Oh...I don't really know that...
Me- Well, (explains it.)
Them- Oh...hehe well (continues anecdote like nothing happened)
Me- (laughs too loud)
Them- (smiles and makes badly veiled expressions at one another)
Me- (insert panicked nerd joke)
Them-...
Me- (nervous laughter)
Them-...
Me-...
Them...
Me- Well see ya. *retreats back to room where I spend the next year.*

Now as you can see, the people aren't being rude or unaccepting per se, but I am just failing to connect with them, and they are unable to connect with me because I'm not giving them a whole lot to work with.

I'm also scared about not learning Chinese quickly enough.  Like...I don't expect to become fluent.  But I'm super shy when I"m not speaking English.  Moreso than usual.

So in short my life changing doesn't scare me any more than my normal life does.  In the meantime I just want to get all this stuff done so I can stop worrying about it.

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Sexy Sexy PBJ

So I've been doing this diet thing, and while it hasn't been a secret I have endeavored not to advertise it.  I am part of a private facebook group where we talk about our struggles with the diet and such, but I make no public posts about it, or my progress, nor do I tell people about it unless they ask.

As with any challenge, I'm learning more about myself in the process.  Part of me hates that.  I hate that a diet can be deep.  Part of what has inhibited me from really taking control of my health in the past has been this notion that diets and exercise were part of a luxury driven culture.  That our culture rotates around self-love and decadence disgusts me, and honestly taking the time to plan out my meals and exercise everyday feels like a waste of time.

However I can not refute the reality that our culture is the way it is and the need (because it is a need) to take conscious care of our bodies exists because we no longer live in a subsistence culture.  I did not grow up on a farm and spend every waking our dedicated to the upkeep of that farm.  My meals do not consist of the food I grow and rear myself.  My muscles and nutrition are no longer the product of my daily labor.

Instead the daily labor of the average person is something that contributes to a much broader picture of our community.  Writers write what others read.  Cooks cook what others eat.  Receptionists receive communications meant for other persons.  Some of these jobs require sitting for hours at a time as opposed to our ancestors who spent dawn till dusk on their feet.

Anyway...

I started this diet because I decided that 260 pounds was too heavy for a girl of 5'6".  Also diabetes and heart disease runs in my family.  Also, to be frank, the last time I had a boyfriend I was under 200 pounds.  I was overweight but about seventy pounds lighter.  I'm not going to say that my singleness is a direct result of my weight gain but I'm sure it didn't help.  And while I'm all about big girls being beautiful too it is a valid thing for people to find certain physical characteristics to be attractive.

The entire point of this blog is not to rant about how our society is shallow and materialistic, or to break down my feelings on my own weight.

It is to state that I miss peanut butter sandwiches.  I miss how easy it was to just make a sandwich when I wanted something to eat.  I miss that.  I miss the simplicity of food.  That it wasn't something I had to think about.
In this diet I have to plan every meal and prepare for it.  I miss being able to just run out the door with a sandwich in my hand.  Gosh...I miss the peanut butter and jelly sandwich.

I am happy that I'm doing the diet, because it is working.  But sometimes I would like to be able to say "Hey friend, let's go to the park and eat sandwiches and then talk about how great it is to be at the park and eating sandwiches."  This has never been something I've said, but in my sandwich deprived state I have romanticized the experience somewhat.

Wednesday, March 12, 2014

Employee for Hire:

I really just need to know if i'm making progress.  That would be great.

I am stuck it feels like.  And I don't know what I'm doing wrong.  I apply to jobs like crazy.  I work on my resume' regularly.  I've even had a couple of interviews but nothing has come to fruition.

In the beginning I thought that God had a purpose for me in all of this.  Every time I started to doubt that then something would happen that would override that doubt.  I've been there for my coworkers.  Helped them out when I could.  Prayed for them.  Tried to be an example.  Meanwhile being tested and tested and tested again in my worldviews and my optimism.  And every time I screw up I'm all too aware of it.  All too conscious of the fact that when I get angry I lose my witness.  When I'm dishonest I lose my witness.  When I'm lazy I lose my witness.

I read a verse the other day that struck my heart.  Jesus asks a man to follow him, and then the man asks if he can say goodbye to his family first.  Jesus says "No man who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is fit for the kingdom of heaven."

I've felt a lot of fear and anxiety in the past over the prospect of missions full time.  But I still have moved forward with the notion that that is where I would be lead eventually.  Has God altered his purpose for me because I was hesitant?  Am I no longer fit for following him the way he intended because I had reservations?  Because I "looked back?"

But if I find it difficult to maintain my values in an American fast food restaurant how would I even hold up abroad?

There is a kind of monotony that is now existing in my life I haven't felt in years.  Moreso than the ennui of my dead summers in high school.  No, this is like when I was in grade school and struggling with depression.  Every day having to go to a place where I'm wilting.  Where I try so hard to be good and it doesn't seem to matter because my days don't get any better.   It all finally ended with a move across the country.  But it was four years in the running.  Dear God, don't let this be another four years!  Please!

Of course things are better now than they were.  I have friends now.  I'm an adult and more in control of my life than i was when i was a child.  My brain says that's the problem.  That I'm still fighting God for control but honestly I don't know if that's true.  I can't tell anymore.  I don't know what I'm holding on to.  Maybe my dreams?  I thought they were his plan!  I seriously don't know.  But I just keep on applying elsewhere because I figure if God wants me to get another job I need to be open to it and if he doesn't then I'll stay where I am.

So I guess for now it looks like i'm staying where I am.  And once again I'm trying to be happy with it.  Trying desperately to be okay with what is going on in my life because I have to trust that God is in control and he knows what he's doing.

It's kind of like a white out.  I've spent my life going down this straight and narrow path that I have been sure of.  Suddenly the wind blows and everything goes white and I can't tell if I'm still on the path or not because everything looks the same.  It just blends in with itself.

I can't even tell if I'm moving forward and just slowly, or if I'm standing completely still.  None of the scenery is changing.  It's just getting colder.

Dear God I need strength and clarity.  Please.

Friday, December 20, 2013

I have a God who loves me...

so today i got a bonus from work in the form of a fifty dollar gift card. i have no idea what i want to spend it on.

i thought of the following

something practical
-gasoline
-phone bill

something special
-new clothes
-new jewelry
-cosmetics

something humanitarian
-fair trade
-charity support merchandise

if i could find something that encompassed all three of these categories that would make some sense.  i considered new toms since i have been wanting some and my old pair are essentially dead, i have considered just thrifting.  i have considered finding something fair trade online. (although i have to be honest, the overall aesthetic of fair trade is not exactly my style, despite the fact that i am willing to dedicate my life to making it work)

so i started trying to think of things i wanted or actually felt like getting and for some reason i couldn't really think of anything.  besides toms, but i don't really want to spend all of that on toms.

my point is that whenever i thought about "what i want" it turned into something that i needed to do at home.  i need to get rid of most of my clothes because i either don't wear them or they don't fit or both.  i need to lose weight because its unhealthy to be 250 pounds and 5'6''.  i need to start the paperwork for the peace corps.  i need to figure out how to get over this anxiety thing, despite having been better lately since the move, i still struggle with.  

but what i realize is that i am tired.  its late.  i keep forgetting to go home. (seriously i meant to get up and go like two hours ago and i justkeep not doing it.)  i've had a big day and tomorrow i've got stuff to do and the next day and the next day and really what i just need to do is go home and go to bed and think about it later when i'm rested.  because when i get tired, i get depressed, because i'm left to my own devices and i can't stop thinking about the things in my life that need changing, and how bad i am at changing them.

i'm using all the mantras over and over that have helped me in the past.

things like:

I have a God who loves me and that is enough.

this one helps when i feel like the struggles set before me are too big for me to manage.  i realize God is taking care of me so the future is essentially taken care of.

or

...

i've had other mantras and now i can't think of them at all.  which i am going to decide means i just need to keep saying
I have a God who loves me and that is enough.

OH! or...

It doesn't matter who I am because of who He is.

this helps when my sense of identity comes into disarray.  or when i just can't stand how much of myself i dislike and want to alter.  i'm not smart, pretty, talented, or interesting enough.

and then there is...

the potential to smile in the future is reason to smile now.

this is just for when i can't see my own sadness.  i realized that reality is a series of ups and downs and if i'm in a down that means there will come another up eventually.  i may not be able to conceive of what it could be or be like, but i know it will come and the promise of something nice in the future is a nice thing to smile about in itself.

and if all else fails.  i'll eat a cookie.

so no.  i have no idea what i am going to spend this fifty dollars on.  but i don't have to make these decisions right now.  

i just need to get off this freaking computer, and drive home, and go to sleep.


that is enough...

Monday, July 15, 2013

Why don't we treat ourselves as children?

I think I finally need to admit it to myself.

The anxiety is debilitating.

I had an attack today, and it had to do with my debt.  I feel like it's a legitimate reason for stress.  Money is very stressful.  It's even more so when you don't have it.  What happened was I didn't do something I was supposed to do on time, so I got a letter explaining to me the consequences of that.  What was ridiculous was that it was anxiety in the first place that made me put off doing what I was supposed to do.

Luckily for me, my mother was there to support me while I called the agency to smooth out what I needed to do.  And it seemed so simple while I was doing it.  Say what you need to the guy, fill out your information, respond to email at later date.  That's all.  But I have anxiety about more than just money.  It's calling people I don't know (even some I do) on the phone, it's filling out paperwork, it's anxiety about what other people will think of me for being in this situation.  Essentially every part of the process of paying off debt is a source of anxiety for me, therefore I put off things I shouldn't because I don't feel like I can face it.  It's a passive aggressive action, so you don't even realize how bad it is until the consequences come and bite you in the face.

I already know that my ADD is debilitating.  It causes me to be inefficient with my time in ways that I can't control.  Getting ready in the morning is a struggle every day because I spend more time spacing off than I do actually getting ready.  I forget to do things I need to do all the time, and when in conversation with people have to work very hard at listening to them.  Sometimes I just pretend like I heard them because I don't want to seem rude or like I don't care about what they're saying.  But I can't control my mind wandering.  It happens on its own.

ADD and anxiety are very closely linked.  As many as 50% of adults with ADHD have anxiety/depression.  It's like an underlying secondary feature.  So I often think that if I could just get a handle on this that my anxiety would just go away.  But that's like damming a river with your hands.

So right now I'm on a new ADD medication (I don't think it's working super well).  The thing about this medication is that it's not a stimulant like most other ADD medications.  I was previously on aderol, but by my senior year of college it was making my anxiety meltdowns significantly worse and more frequent.  Aderol increases your heart rate and other things like that, so it makes anxiety worse.  When I told the doctor on campus about this he said...

"If you were a kid I would take you off of this medication immediately based on what you're telling me.  But since you're an adult I will leave it up to you. I mean, you don't want to feel miserable for the rest of your life."

And that...that was amazing.  Essentially he was giving me permission to change medications.  I know it sounds silly but it took me forever to tell the doctor about the anxiety attacks, because every time I got to an appointment for some reason I would convince myself that it wasn't that big a deal and that I shouldn't even mention it.  Really I was afraid that the Doctor or nurse would tell me that it wasn't that big a deal.  But he made a really excellent point.  I DON'T want to feel miserable for the rest of my life.  I need to give myself permission to make choices that are positive for me.

The thing was though that he mentioned if I were a kid he would take me off of it immediately.  Because kids aren't able to make those decisions for themselves.  When I think of all of the situations I put myself in that are bad for me and then imagine the kid me doing those same things I think "that's ridiculous, my mother would have told me no"

This isn't just about anxiety anymore.  It's about everything.  Why do we continually make decisions that are unhealthy for us?  Would we let a child make those same decisions? Obviously we all have the right to make bad decisions.  That's not my point.  The point is that we aren't taking care of ourselves.  And we are valuable.

I read something on Tumblr that was titled something along the lines of "Things to do in your twenties"  it said " Learn to say ‘no’ — to yourself. Don’t keep wearing high heels if you hate them; don’t keep smoking if you’re disgusted by the way you smell the morning after; stop wasting entire days on your couch if you’re going to complain about missing the sun."

So for example, right now I am significantly overweight.  I hate this about myself and it affects the way I live.  I dress a certain way to hid my arms and stomach.  I don't cut my hair or style my hair in certain ways for fear that my face is too fat.  It changes the way I approach dating relationships, and not only alters how I think people perceive me and how I perceive myself, but alters how I perceive other people. 


I know that I have the power to change this.  I also know it will take a lot of work.  So for those many moments in my life where I have the opportunity to make healthy choices why don't I say no to myself?  I don't I treat myself like a child?  Things as simple as eating my vegetables instead of skipping them to go straight to dessert.  Or foregoing dessert entirely if i've already had too many sweets.  What about going to bed at a decent hour?  Or not eating at all after a certain time of day?  Parents encourage their kids to exercise.  To go outside and run around.  They send their kids to sport activities and enroll them in dance simply because its healthy for kids to get up and move around.  It's also socially healthy too.  People prefer other people that don't sit around all the time.  

Parents also make their kids do the things they need to do.  Finish their homework, for example.  Or talk to someone they need to talk to.  Even if anxiety is a factor, parents still encourage their kids to accomplish what they need to because that is a skill they will need to learn for the rest of their lives.  The skill of accepting responsibility for your actions, or inactions, and finishing what you start.

I wish I could say that this was some big epiphany that would make me change my life forever.  I can't say that it will.  It will be a while before I find the right medication and lifestyle that will help me handle my ADD and anxiety.  It will be a long time before I train myself to make healthy choices in my eating and exercising habits.  But what the doctor told me a couple of years ago is correct.  I don't want to spend the rest of my life feeling miserable.  

seriously

i DON'T WANT TO SPEND THE REST OF MY LIFE FEELING MISERABLE!

so we need to learn to say no to ourselves.  What is it we're consistently doing in our lives that is making us unhappy?  and why don't we stop?




Tuesday, July 2, 2013

watch how i float.

stuck in transit...

the apostle Paul is one of my heros.  i'm only just realizing this now, but i find myself putting my life up next to his and comparing it.  i just haven't killed enough christians yet. (jk)

the thing is that he is this guy who was unimaginably self righteous which resulted in unimaginable cruelty and violence.  it so often is the result.  some of the most cruel people in history have done so in the name of causes that they held to with their whole self.  it took a direct intervention from Christ himself, and three days of blindness for Paul (then Saul) to change his ways.

but the part of his story that i think i aspire to is the part where he freakin travels all over the known world of the time, telling people about the good news, getting thrown in jail over and over, and continuing to tell the good news anyway.

but that's not all.  he is this total no nonsense guy who calls people on their crap all the time.  he tells Peter he's wrong in front of everybody because being honest and having a good witness was more important than being discreet or polite.  he calls the churches out on their pride, their gossiping, their power plays, all of it.  every time the church started to twist out of healthy development he would prune that part of them away.

so i look at my own life and see something drastically different.  not in where i am and what i'm doing because duh those things are totally going to be drastically different.  if i went to Rome and started preaching the gospel they'd all be like "we know all this, we're catholic, here, have a cannoli"  but i don't see that no nonsense, driven, consistent attitude.  did paul ever one night say "i don't know man, i think i'm going to stay in tonight and just chill"?

even though he was so awesome at working for the Lord he still would say that he was the greatest of all sinners and that the things he did not want to do he did and the things he wanted to do he didn't.  i look at my life and i feel exactly the same way.  but paul felt that way preaching the word.  i just feel this way doing nothing.

someday i just hope i figure out that i'm actually doing something because right now i just kind of feel like a leaf on a stream.

Thursday, February 28, 2013

there's no on/off switch for humility.

i may as well be honest.  i'm kind of fighting with God right now. 

i don't really mean to be.  i'm trying not to be.  i know that sounds silly.  but its genuinly not that easy.  and that is part of the whole conflict inside of me.  the complete awareness of it all, and yet i can't just flip a switch.

i'm not where i want to be right now.  i never had specific plans per se.  i always new that God was going to lead me to where i was going.  i never expected he would be keeping me here for a while. 

i'm doing what i know God wants me to do right now. but i'm not happy about  it.  and there in lies the scuffle.  i want to be okay with it.  i want to be enthusiastic about it. 

i suppose thought that christ didn't really want to die either.  he prayed and asked God that it wouldn't happen, but it did, and he went through with it anyway. 

but whenever somebody starts asking me questions about my life i find myself not wanting to explain to them where i am, because i care about what they think, and i feel like in their eyes i'm some sort of failure. 

which is stupid because i wouldn't consider them a failure were they me. 

and also stupid because God has made it abundantly clear that i'm where he wants me to be, and he is using me where i am. 

its not even like i don't know why he has me where he does.  i can see the good in it.  but i don't want it.  i want something else.  and i want to not want something else.  i want to want what he wants. i want to be happy and find joy in where i am but i'm just frustrated. 

impatient i guess.

i don't know. 

i wan tto be a joyful giver and give my offering with a smile.

its something i'm working on.  for real i'm working on it.  and i'm trying so hard.  and i hope that that is good for now.  because i don't know what else i can do but try. 

even so, i recognize how in my life God is continually blessing me and providing for me.  the very fact that he has been so open with me about where i am is amazing and a blessing.  and to be honest i'm not even that unhappy right now.  even though i'm not where i want to be, things are looking way up.  things are getting better.  i am not lost or misplaced.  i'm just elsewhere. 

God is taking me the long way,and teaching me humility in the process.  and i am trying to grasp it an dfigure it out.