Category Archives: self-reflection

I have a new therapist and she is…ME

Hey strangers. Soo…how’s life? Good? Good! I’m so glad. Oh, me? What have I been doing? Well…

Law school. Yowza. Where to begin?  Back when I was applying to schools, a bunch of people warned me not to go to law school; and while I am not even remotely wishing I had listened, I understand why they did: law school is NOT EASY. Is it the hell people made it out to be? Far from it, but that’s probably because I am certain that this is what I am supposed to be doing with my life. So if you are pondering taking the LSAT, maybe shooting out a few law school apps for the hell of it, ask yourself, “Do I really have any interest in the law/being a lawyer?” Because if the answer is NO you should NOT go to law school.

Just saying.

What else is going on? There’s some light tutoring, a lot of being stalked and nuzzled and stared at by my dog, the occasional kitchen foray, and a boy occupying my time. (Like, the best boy. The weirdest, dorkiest, sweetest, adorablest, smartest, funniest, wonderfulest boy. Just saying.) Oh, and sometimes I sleep. Every now and then.

So with all those things on top of endless reading/writing/research/studying/confusion, I am midway through my first semester of law school and I am starting to lose my shit.

I admit it. There’s stress and then there’s STRESS. I am not yet STRESSED, but I’m getting there. I’m stressed.

I have sought various methods to healing with this mounting stress level: healthier eating, allocating more time for drowsy resty sleepy time, running, vitamins, less caffeine, etc. I’m even debating maybe taking advantage of the counseling offered at school. But you know what has worked most effectively so far? Reading this here blog.

Yeah, I’m my own therapist. It’s weird. I know.

Seriously though, rereading my own musings and mullings and meanderings has given me so much perspective. Comparing where I was then to where I am now helps first and foremost: I’m moving up in this world. I AM! But also, I was a smart cookie with some damn good advice: e.g. “The more good you concentrate on, the more good you see. Building momentum in a happy, hopeful direction can only make your life better.” Helpful, that is!

I’ve kept a few journals in my day, and when I look back at them I never fail to squirm and loathe who I once was. But reading this blog makes me feel…better. Healthier. Less…stressed. My 2011 self is giving my 2012 self advice…and it’s improving my quality of life!

It’s like time travel!

Hey, I am not trying to toot my own horn here. I’m neither a mentor nor a wizened soul. I am just a lost and loopy twenty-something who occasionally babbles in a public forum. And once in a blue moon, hidden in all that babbling, there is nestled a nugget of wisdom that resonates with those of us having quarter-life crises. This week, reading my own words has brought me some solace and sanity that I really really needed. I can only hope I have similarly helped anyone else who has had the misfortune to be sucked into my ramblings.

My craziness…bringing sanity…I never thought I’d see the day.

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The Writing on this Wall

This evening I had a very brief but very meaningful exchange with a dear friend. He said, “I’m not a secretive guy, so it’s hard for me when everyone is secretive.” And in a fit of unexpected honesty I replied, “I’ve always had issues with owning my life. Like, I’d rather not apologize for it, so I hide it, which ends up sucking for me and, more importantly, for those around me. I should grow up.” And while he kindly made excuses for me, I realized that what I said was so so right and something I had thought for a long time, but never said. And in saying it, I felt it–I felt ashamed.

I have, too often, been incapable of owning up to my own choices. Even when I feel not at all misguided or unwise in my decisions, even when I would have no problem defending my path should I be confronted, I go to great lengths to avoid such a confrontation. Like, when I decided to move in with my significant other (*cough* in hindsight maybe that was a misguided decision, but at the time it seemed like a good plan. Sue me. *cough*) all those years ago, I tried to keep it from my very Catholic family for a long time. As a 21 year old woman who had willingly entered into an adult relationship, I shuddered at the thought of my family judging me for it. Judging me for what? Being human? Being *gasp!* normal?! I felt that there was nothing wrong with my actions, yet, because someone else might, I tried to keep my life under wraps.

How. Fucking. Pathetic.

I admire so much the people I know who are unapologetically and unabashedly up front about their lives (like her, and her). Having the confidence and the courage to say, “Yeah, this is me. This is my life. Not everyone is going to be OK with all of it. So-the-fuck-what?” is so incredible to me. I want to be that awesome. And I am going to be that awesome. Starting now.

I have wanted to write this blog for months, but I kept talking myself out of it with really weak ass excuses. So I am done.

This…finally…is the story of my tattoo.

First, if you don’t either know me personally or have never read this blog before, you might want to brush up real quick and read this post. But long story short, last fall my asshole father told me to get the fuck out of his house. So I did. It was really really scary to grab my purse and walk out the front door with no idea where I was planning on going or what I was going to do the next day…and the day after…and the day after…but I did it. I left. When, after several weeks, my father ate crow and said, for the first time in my life, “I’m sorry,” I was a little surprised but not impressed or moved, as he had so clearly expected me to feel. So when he said, “Just come home. Do it for your mother,” I surprised both of us by saying, “Don’t you dare tell me what to do for my mother. You want to do something for her? Quit drinking.” It was the bravest and the most self-assured I had ever felt in my entire life. And, needless to say, I didn’t move back in.

It is quite nerve-wracking to turn down a roof over your head and free food for uncertainty and homelessness, but, in that moment, the truly frightening thing would have been to be back under the roof of the man who tormented me most of my life. In that moment, I was fearless. And as I rode the high from that burst of bravery over the following weeks, I wanted nothing more than to feel that sense of sheer unstoppable courage in every aspect of my life. So, though I had not ever really thought of myself as the type to get a tattoo, I decided that that was just what I needed: a permanent and tangible something to remind me, every single day, of the bold, unafraid person I can be.

So I had “without fear” inked into my left ribcage…right next to my heart.

Every day, when I get out of the shower, I see those words on my skin, and they remind me that I don’t have to be intimidated by life. Life leaves its scars (I have 98 visible ones so far, and many more invisible), but worrying about the pain that’s to come hurts just as much–if not more–than the actual pain when it happens. I will live a much fuller life if I hope and love and experience as much as I can without fear.

Now, I am in no way saying I am fearless. LORD, no. But I am a less fearful work in progress. When I start shying away from good things, simply because they might go away at some point, I give myself a shake or a slap and say, “HEY! You’re wasting time being afraid. Knock it off!” and then I try to forge ahead with a little more courage and a slightly higher held head. And when I step outside myself and do things that are foolish or risky and then suddenly feel a little more alive, I know I am becoming the kind of person I want to be: the kind of person who has “without fear” scrawled across her ribs.

Have a problem with what I just told you? Sorry, but I’m not sorry.

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Sometimes I listen to people. It’s rare, but it happens.

For the 3/4 of a person that cares, I am once again quite sorry for disappearing for the last few weeks. It’s not that I don’t have anything to say or the time to say it, I’m just a horrible horrible person.

I kid.

No, it’s just inertia working against me. The less I write the harder it is to get back into the proverbial saddle and wride on (get it? get it?).

But, anyway, I’m here now, trying to get my mind-at-rest to stop staying at rest. I’ve been struggling for an hour or so to organize my thoughts and decide what to say and what is unimportant, and then I remembered that once upon a time, I had readers; and once upon a time, one of my readers gave me some advice. On one of my lazy posts, someone left a comment saying:

“You should write in bullets more often. They’re much more entertaining.”

Well, I aspire to someday be considered entertaining, so reader and friend, these bullets are for you.

  • Several weeks ago I retook the GRE (Graduate Record Exam for those of you lucky enough to not have taken it on yet) and improved my score since the last time I struggled through that POS test, so I am now one step closer to going to graduate school. About. Fucking. Time. Now I just have to apply, get in, get grants and financial aid and loans, and actually GO. Not exactly a done deal. But this will all happen eventually, I just know it.
  • September 2nd officially marked my last day as a nanny. The babies are growing up: Edy started 5-day-a-week preschool this week, and Graham will be entering Montessori in just a few months. It’s bizarre and sad not seeing them everyday, but this change was very very necessary.
  • After fearing that I’d be unemployed for weeks after leaving the kiddies, and going so far as to start planning a road trip that would fill a month’s time while I waited for new work, I landed a job before even saying farewell to the babes. Last week I began working at an after-school Academic Center as a “Coach” (a.k.a. tutor). I’m working with younger students on math and reading, high schoolers with writing essays and the like, and I’m also an ACT prep coach. It is a job vaguely in my field (Praise Allah!), and I also feel like I’m doing something good for the world: in a few weeks we start working with children in the No Child Left Behind program, and I’ve already been assigned one very troubled student who just needs someone to push him, yet be patient with him. I already feel so much more fulfilled doing this than I did watching Sesame Street with the babies, and it’s only been one week. This is where I’m meant to be for a while, I suspect.
  • I hate, so much, living at home. I have officially reached my breaking point with my parents and thus try every waking moment to be…not here. The hours of this new gig (11AM-7PM) are awesome for avoiding the parentals, but I’m still constantly looking for reasons to escape the homestead: drinking on a Tuesday, eating sushi I cannot afford, visiting my BFF in East Lansing literally every weekend, working to have walked aimlessly around every Target in Southeastern MI, etc. I really like my new job and don’t want to leave it for a while, but I am still applying for any and all work that requires me to make Billy Joel proud and declare that, “I’m movin’ out.”
  • My self-esteem, for several weeks, was taking a sharp nose-dive, and I was having difficultly stopping it from just crashing completely. But then I realized that the magical thing that got my self-esteem high a few months back–high enough to, say, walk away from a bad relationship and to wear a roller derby outfit in public so as to catch the eye of the lead singer of my favorite band–I had forgotten altogether: my mantra– BE BRAVE. I was caught in a vicious circle: the less brave I behaved, the shittier I felt about myself and thus the less brave I wanted to act…and so on and so on…but I think I finally got myself out of this negative feedback loop and my confidence is on the road to recovery.
  • After bemoaning for weeks that I was emotionally broken and all I wanted was to feel something, now I may be experiencing feelings again and it’s freaking me out. I don’t know if I should be happy that I am fixed (or, rather, getting there) or if I should just re-break my emotive bone to keep from doing something stupid…like maybe being happy. GASP!
  • I am getting back into Paleo pretty hardcore. All I want to eat is tuna steaks and salad anyway, so why ingest other stuff that’s bad for me, right?
  • I feel pretty good right now. How often can I say that?

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Talk Wordy to Me

Just a quick thought.

I grew up that dorky girl with bad hair and a nose too big for her face, so all I ever wanted was for someone to think I am pretty. Well, I grew into my looks and into my bra and I discovered hair products, and finally I was a “pretty girl.” And to this day, it is always a pleasant surprise to have that fact pointed out. I still live with the mindset of an ugly duckling, and I don’t know if I’ll ever grow out of that, so I will probably forever blush when someone reveals to me that they find me attractive.

However, complimenting my looks is not the be all, end all of nice things to say to me.  In fact, with the tact most men have, it’s like an insult wrapped in a compliment with a snarky little center. Guys at the bar think if they look me up and down and smile that I will melt all over their shoes. Nay, sir. nay.

No, to this day, the greatest compliment I have ever received was, “You’re very articulate.” That, right there, is a proverbial panty dropper, just let me tell you.

You want me to feel flattered? Tell me you’re intimidated by my vocabulary. You want to make me want you? Tell me I am a beautiful writer. You want to really get in my head? Be my intellectual rival.

Humans are hardwired to be attracted to people who possess traits that they like about themselves and be repelled by people who possess characteristics that they dislike about themselves. People who are proud of being funny like funny people. Bossy people who are ashamed of being bossy do not like bossy people. It is simple: like attracts like. This  opposites attract bullshit is simply that: BULLSHIT.

So, I take great pride in my usage of the English language: I enjoy being bookish, I unabashedly own up to being a Grammar Nazi, and my impeccable spelling makes me swell with pride. I am a word nerd, and I like it. Therefore I am going to be drawn to people who appreciate those aspects of my personality and who reflect them back.

Just. Saying.

Oh, the things one thinks about when washing her hair.

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Sometimes the greatest gift you can give yourself is permission to be lame

The life I lead currently and the life I lead 3 months ago are two very different animals: like, I was a hamster, running on my sad little wheel, and then overnight I evolved into a carnivorous capybara.

(Attempted Pokemon reference FTW!)

You see, approximately 2 hours after I became a single girl, before I had even packed my first box or properly grieved my newly-ended relationship, I informed one of my friends–Jessica, single girl extraordinaire– that she and I would be spending a lot more time together. Well that lovely girl went all momma bird and took me under her wing, and I have been her apprentice ever since.

Most nights of the week I am instructed to meet her and her partner-in-crime Jen at one bar or another. I am resistant to this midweek debauchery: it’s a foreign concept to me, drinking on a Tuesday (a.k.a. Boozeday). But I have pretty swiftly adopted their live-for-the-weekend mindset, and I look forward to putting on my Hot Girl Disguise (thank you to Jenna Marble’s for inventing that term) and tipping back a drink or two at the bar with the girls every Friday. I can count on J & J to be doing something fun (if not certainly alcohol-related) at any moment of the day, and I feel honored to have been accepted into their topsy-turvy Do-I-Look-Hot-in-This? world.

The funny thing is, as much fun as I have been having with them, your average person find my recent behavior very strange: I wear sneakers and pigtails; I laugh at comma placement and enjoy children’s television; I listen to alternative music. So when I don 4-inch heels and dance to Usher songs in a crowded club, it seems out of character. I understand that viewpoint, I do; frankly, it felt very odd zipping up that first cocktail dress and walking around that bar looking for my friends. But I think that’s why I’m so enjoying it: it’s not the norm for me. It’s an Amp-like thing to do. Or, as Jess and Jen have taken to calling me, Spicy Pam.

So for several weeks, this has been my life: receiving text messages all week from the girls asking, “Is it friday yet?”; getting instructions on Friday about what time to meet them at the bar, and to dress cute, goddamn it; sipping Manhattans till midnight, then I sober up so that I can drive; dancing, and rejecting the weird men who attempt to molest me on the dance floor; Coney Island at 2:0o in the morning; finally, gloriously, sleep around 4:00AM. Repeat (sometimes) on Saturday, and once on a very odd Sunday. Wait for the next weekend all over again.

It’s not a bad life. I have had a lot of laughs, quite a few cocktails, and a couple hangovers; I have made a few good friends, a couple great friends, and maybe one or two enemies (well, maybe I wouldn’t go that  far, but they are certainly persona non grata);  I have kissed a girl, a couple boys, and have taken many ridiculous OMG-We’re-at-the-Bar! photos like so:

So cliche, so tacky, so fun

I have had very very much fun and do not regret a minute of it.

So all of that said, I am so fucking tired.

Having a life is exhausting.

I just a need a friggin’ break.

Jess is leaving for Law school soon, so I have been trying my best to power through and keep on partying it up till she departs.  This past Friday, come 10:00PM, I was tired and cranky and had resolved myself to simply staying in, but instead of sticking with that healthy plan, I stayed up until 5AM playing monopoly and drinking too much wine. Fun, but not smart. I was a zombie for most of yesterday, nearly falling asleep at the wheel and barely able to sit at the dinner table without collapsing with my face in the jambalaya. When I returned home from my aunt’s house, I was just passing out when I got the “You coming out?” text. I said I needed a nap and I’d meet them at midnight. Well, that never happened. At 11:30 when my alarm went off I said, “Mmm mm, no way, fuck it,” changed into more sleep acceptable clothes, and curled up with my dog.

But oh shit, it was a Saturday night! I was supposed to be getting hammered or getting hit on or complaining about how I don’t know how to dance with guys! Well, at least that’s what I was thinking last night as I was dozing off. Just as I’d drift off I’d pop back up and think about how pathetic it is to go to sleep early on the weekend and how my friends were out expecting me to join them and I felt vaguely guilty and very very lame.

But I finally told myself that maybe, just maybe, it’s ok to turn the Amp off once in a while. Maybe Spicy Pam can go in the closet for a night and I can be just Pam. Maybe I’m allowed to be lame. Once I granted myself that it was like the Heavens parted and the angels sang and it was raining gumdrops and my cat’s whiskers were rainbows and…

You get it. I got to sleep. And it was amazing.

We all need to be kind to ourselves now and then. A little self-forgiveness for our inadequacies, a little sympathy, it goes a long way to maintaining our happiness and our sanity. And as someone with a weak ass immune system, being kind to myself means letting myself rest. Telling a friend recently that I am old and get tired early prompted him to say, “Psh, sleep when you die.” Well, let’s be honest, if I don’t sleep I will die. So, I am not taking that sage advice.

I can be a “spicier” version of myself. I can say “yes” to experience and “no” to boredom and loneliness. I can Amp it up. But I am also allowed to know my limits and have the self-love to act accordingly. I am allowed to have mercy on me. And I am 100% allowed to sleep on a Saturday when I am deathly tired and not feel like I wasted my weekend. It takes a certain amount of courage to do what is right for you even when it’s not the popular option. So, frankly, by being lame, I was Being Brave (yay Return of the Mantra!). By turning down the volume I was actually being totally Amp: she is not afraid to be true to herself. EVER.

Awesomeness through lameness. It happens.

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Shins don’t fail me now

For the first time in…god, easily over a month, I went for a run tonight. The humidity finally took a chill pill, so once the sun got a little low in the sky it was prime conditions for lacing up my cross-trainers, and I actually had the drive to just effing do it, and so I did.

And my goodness gracious, was it wonderful.

I forget time and time again how much I love running. I forget how the rhythm of my shoes against the pavement can clear my head unlike anything else. I forget how the strain in my lungs is actually wildly refreshing, like a challenge presented to me by my own body to push on. I forget all these things, so I end up going without running for weeks on end, and then when I finally get my butt out the front door, I find myself wondering what took me so fucking long.

So, in the hopes that I won’t have yet another workout dry spell, I’m enumerating my How I’m Gonna Get My Track Legs Back (Sans Shin Splints) plan here for all to see, so that maybe I will actually hold myself to it.

1. Use and abuse the nearby stadium: One of the perks to living with my ‘rents is that I am literally 45 seconds from my old high school, which, gloriously, comes equipped with a track and a stadium just begging to be used by yours truly. I enjoy a nice long run now and then, but I was and will always be a sprinter at heart, so I LOVE a good ol’ fashioned speed workout: running 400M at 80%, sprinting full out 100M, walking till my heart rate returns to normal; jogging the stairs of the stadium until my quads burn; timing myself in the races I used to run as a teenager. The track is right there and I am still small enough to squeeze through the gap in the fence, so why the fuck shouldn’t I use it, right?

2. Something is better than nothing: Back in college when I had ready and willing running buddies coming out my ears, it was easy to find the drive to go for a run. But now, it’s just me, all by my lonesome. And sometimes going for even an easy 2 miles seems daunting. But why should I force myself to do even 2 miles? Isn’t it preferable that I get outside, get my heart pumping, get a quick burst of endorphins, if only for 10 minutes? One pathetic mile is still a mile. It’s still calories burned, fresh air breathed, mind cleared. So even on those days when it’s hot or rainy or I feel lousy, I need to remember that I can dress, run one mile, and be home in 12 minutes. A little rain or heat won’t kill me in 12 minutes.

3. A day off is good; 12 days off is bad: I always read about how giving your body a chance to repair is paramount to being fit; your muscles need time to recover. But what I tend to do is take a day or two off and then…never go back. Or I get on a roll and run as many days in a row as possible and burnout. I gotta stick with 2 days on, one off. Or Day 1, long run; Day 2, a quickie; Day 3, a hard interval workout; Day 4, rest like god did on the 7th day.

4. There is pain and then there is PAIN; know the difference: When aiming for a good 4-5 mile day, I usually wimp out around the 3rd mile. Either I get a stitch in my side, or my breathing is haggard, or my feet are hot, or my mouth is dry, and I make excuses to myself about why I am allowed to give up and go home. THAT MUST CEASE. Tight calves or tired lungs come with the goddamn territory: I will NEVER get into better shape if I cave in to a little pain. I need to use my mind to work my way through the pain; as my father always says, “MENTAL TOUGHNESS!” I hate to quote him, but the man has a point. There is a big difference between discomfort and, “Holy shit, I just tore my ACL.” I’ve had migraines my whole life, I can deal with a little pain to achieve the pride that comes with running your entire pre-planned course and then getting home and realizing, “Hey, I can keep going.” C’mon, Pamela. Suck it up, bitch.

Alright, that’s all I’ve got so far. But you get to hold me to this. I ran today and it was wonderful and the endorphins coursing through me right now are demanding that I keep it up. But tomorrow, when my little natural opiates have faded away, this post is going to be my reminder that I have goals, and for once, I’d like to actually meet them. Any words of encouragement or advice (or trash talk) you, my readers, can offer, would only serve to spur me on all the more, so comment comment comment. Please.

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She’s back

And by “She’s back” I do not mean, Pamela the blogger is back to…erm…blogging. Nay, I mean, a version of myself I hoped to never be again has made a sudden reappearance and it has shaken me so profoundly that it has inspired me to share my suffering with the one person who might still occasionally check this site for new ramblings.

And to you, sole follower, let me say I love you and appreciate your readership more than you could ever know.

So, last night, I attended the wedding of my oldest friend. Let me tell you, there is nothing stranger than seeing your childhood best friend–the girl you used to dance to “The Boy Is Mine” with– in a wedding gown. I am astounded and uncomfortable by how quickly time passes (and I wish it would stop). But, anyway, there I was, watching her glide around the dance floor with her father during the traditional Daddy/Daughter dance, and I suddenly found myself overwhelmed with sadness and grief that I did not know I still carried around with me, and I had to excuse myself to go bawl hysterically outside.

What. The fuck. Was that?

I was suddenly so aware of how different my relationship with my father is from one defined as healthy, let alone happy. I realized, watching them dance together, that the adoring gaze he bestowed upon his daughter was one my father has not bestowed upon me since I gained the ability to speak words. I know and have always known that my dad and I would never have a moment like the one that was playing out before my eyes, but I didn’t know that that fact upset me anymore.

Apparently, it does.

And today, the miserable feelings continue. I yelled at my mother for things that happened years and years ago, yelled at her for staying with this man I call a sperm-donor after some of the awful shit he put my brother and me through. And as always, she defended her actions, and revised history to make herself seem in the right. But instead of just rolling my eyes as I normally do, I began sobbing and had to curl up in bed.

I am a basketcase.

I have been able to calmly and casually talk about my POS childhood for several years now. I can mention to near strangers that my dad is an alcoholic without wincing. I have described the terrible night when my father permanently destroyed any hope we may have held onto of having a relationship here on this very blogsite for all the world to (theoretically) read. I had thought I had come to terms (as well as someone can) with the life my parents condemned me to, but suddenly, I am not OK with it. Not OK with it at all.

I don’t want to have to go to therapy. I don’t want to blame my daddy issues for all my inadequacies in relationships. I don’t want to walk around a shell of a person because of my childhood. But the despicable display that occurred last night indicates that I may need a bit more help moving on from my past than I had hoped.

Ugh. Life.

The only good thing about this breakdown is I am writing again. And seeing as I am finding it difficult to drag myself away from the computer so that I can go to my yoga class, I suspect I may be sticking around this time.

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