Monday, May 30, 2016

I'm never saying "Happy Memorial Day" again.

"Happy Memorial Day"...I never realized just how stupid this phrase is until this year. Stupid and...just plain wrong.

It seems natural. A holiday comes, and people celebrate it. That's how it works, right? Especially in this country, where we seem to have a holiday for every little trivial thing you can imagine.

Memorial Day, in recent years at least, means a day off of work or school, an excuse to go to the beach and relax, and, if you're in the south, one heck of a barbecue. I won't deny, that sounds pretty happy to me.

But people, myself included, got so caught up in those aspects that we forgot what this holiday was originally started to signify.

(Side note: Please PLEASE learn the difference between Memorial Day and Veterans Day.)

Memorial Day is about the people whom these flags represent. It's about all the servicemen and women who gave their lives so that we could go to the beach and have a barbecue without being scared for our lives. The countless soldiers who loved this country enough to give their lives for a future they wouldn't get to see.

My grandpa got to come home from war. Too many others didn't. And their sacrifices are too easily boxed into this one day a year that has become more about food and fun and relaxation than it is about reflecting on those who laid on a battlefield dying, who had their last moments on earth be shrouded in the greater picture of a war in which they were just one of thousands or millions fighting.

The bloodstained ground can be made clean with the rain, but the memory of those who gave everything can't be washed away, at least not for the people who miss them. We get to live in the "happy" of Memorial Day when there are people all across the country in mourning for those who never got to come to see another holiday. How screwed up is that?

May we remember today and every day that we have the good life we do in this country because of the people who believed in America enough to die for it. And if we're going to only take one day a year to reflect on the sacrifice that it means to literally lay down your life for your country, let's make it the day on which it the reflection was intended to happen.

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Wednesday, May 25, 2016

Ah, peace and quiet. How I've missed you.

I don't know what is up with me this week, but all I want to do is sleep.

Actually, I probably do know what is up with me.

1. Anxiety over the future has hit now that graduation is over. Surprise, surprise.

2. I chipped a bone in my foot Sunday and probably also pulled a ligament in my ankle so now I'm on painkillers and muscle relaxers.

3. The roommate moved out for good so I no longer have to deal with her blasting her absolutely atrocious rap music all the dang time so loud you can hear it from the front door of my building (not kidding. I went to get food late one night and could hear her music as soon as I unlocked the main door, and there's a second door, and I live on the second floor, and her room is the furthest away from the stairs. and it was like 2 am.) She was, suffice it to say, a very selfish and inconsiderate roommate, and Holly and I are both relieved she's gone. The super could put someone new in her room, but he hasn't said anything yet, and I know he'll give us advanced notice.

(I actually had a nightmare that I came home one day and the roommate had moved back in. Talk about dread.)

Spring TV is ending this week. Guess there's no excuse for me not to start job hunting now, is there?

If only my body would stay awake long enough to do it.

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Saturday, May 21, 2016

A Day Worth Remembering

Somehow, I've lived in New York City for more than a year and a half, and this is the first time I made it here.

One World Trade and the 9/11 Memorial north and south pools. You can't understand how humbling and heartbreaking and moving it is to see these in person until you actually are there. I mean, I was 9 when 9/11 happened, so I remember that day, but it's one thing to know more than 3,000 people died in a matter of hours, and it's something totally different to see their names written out in front of you. So many names, written around the pools, I couldn't help but think about how we all knew that people died then, but not many of us actually knew people who died. But they were real people with families and loves and dreams and lives like the rest of us. What really got me, though, was this:

Someone stuck a white rose in the name of one of the people around the north pool (at least, I'm pretty sure it was the north pool, I may be wrong, though). Many of us hold dear the task of honoring the people who died on 9/11, but what is easy to forget is that they left families behind. Families who will forever grieve for the loss that hit them in one of the, if not the, most tragic ways possible. Prayers up for all those left behind.

Why did I go down there today? Well, I had a pretty legit reason.

Lauren is in town! Apparently 2016 is the year for me to meet longtime blog friends. She is in the city to see a show tonight, and since we've known each other for five years (at least!), we knew we had to work it out for us to get together even for a little bit. So this was the perfect excuse to see something new and meet this sweet lady! It's so fun to have online friendships come off the screen.

This is definitely a day worth remembering...for several reasons. :)

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Thursday, May 19, 2016

Graduation Recap

Well, this was a crazy couple of days. Graduation! Mom and Mommom got in Tuesday night, and I brought them my gown because Mom was going to iron it for me (bless her), but we all mostly just crashed because they were exhausted from the travel.

Bright and early Wednesday morning, Holly and I met them at their hotel. Mom did my hair for me because I needed to bobby pin the cap on, and we decided to go with this hairstyle for comfort and neatness. I liked it a lot.

One long-as-heck cab ride to the Bronx, and we landed here around 9:30.

And Holly took a picture once I got my gown and hood on.

Unfortunately, it wasn't until after we went our separate ways (graduates and guests had to enter from two different gates) that I learned I had to take the cap off to go through the metal detector. Luckily, a nice lady coming through behind me helped me get it bobby pinned back on in at least a reasonably neat manner.

I was in my seat a little after 10:00, so I had some time to kill. How else would I kill time besides pictures? I sent this one to a bunch of people I knew would be excited to see it.

And this one

I took because everyone else was taking pictures in the stands, so I figured why not? I needed something to keep me awake because I'd only slept like an hour and a half. (Holly hadn't slept at all.)

Then, the "All-University Commencement" started. The one remotely cool thing about it was seeing Billy Crystal get an honorary doctorate. I kept falling asleep, so towards the end of the ceremony when stuff for my school was done, I got a text from Mom saying they had already gone outside because it was freezing where they were in the stands, and I said screw it. Rule-follower me was overruled by the bored me who needed to get up and move.

I was so tired that I couldn't remember exactly where I was supposed to meet them based on Mom's text, but thank the Lord Holly had the foresight to wait in a spot where we could find each other. I ripped my gown off as soon as I saw her because despite the fact that the weather said it was supposed to be 60s and cloudy all day, it was about 75 and sunny and polyester is HOT. We walked a couple of blocks trying to get a cab, but when we realized it wasn't going to be easy to find one, Mommom and I went and sat down in a tavern on the street corner while Mom and Holly tracked one down.

Once they finally did, we came back down to our place and ate lunch at Spiegel (they let me pick since it's "my week"). While we were eating, Mom decided we should all get mani-pedis because a place nearby has a really good deal. Well, I couldn't even stay awake while the sweet lady working on me did my fingers, so I told Mom that even though we were supposed to try to go see a cheap show, I really just needed to sleep. And so did Holly. 

I was passed out cold by 5:15. Not kidding.

Today, Mom and Mommom weren't feeling well, I was still exhausted, and Holly had to work, so I slept in, ate lunch, took a shower, and meandered my way up to their hotel in Midtown around 2:15. By the time I got there, though, I had a terrible migraine, and they had the most comfortable bed I've ever laid on in a hotel (thank you, 4.5 stars and the deal we got on you), so I ended up sleeping until close to 4:30. My ceremony wasn't starting until 8:00, but I had to be there at 6:30, so we had to get ready for dinner then. I decided to wear my hair down tonight, because I liked how it was laying.

Their hotel just so happens to be across the street from the famous Algonquin Hotel, so we decided to go there for the experience. I got this for my meal.

Now, just about anyone who knows me knows that I love love love me a good steak. Well, this was OUT OF THIS WORLD good. I didn't even want sauce or anything with it like I usually have with my steaks, because, as I told the server, I couldn't imagine doing anything to mess with the impeccable flavor. My mouth is watering again just thinking of this steak.

The Algonquin is the famous hotel where the satirist and journalist Dorothy Parker and her colleagues had their "round tables" after work. This is a beautiful painting they have in the dining room of one of those round table dinners. They also have the round table (sitting in its original spot, I believe) because of course they do. #history

Then, we headed here.

A perk of going to a school like NYU is that, because they don't have sports teams, they don't have their own facilities to host graduations and events like this, which means we get to go to cool places for our events. Exhibit A: Yankee Stadium yesterday. Exhibit B: this tonight. 

Holly wasn't with us yet, so I asked a guy standing near us when we got out of the cab and got my cap and gown on if he would take a couple pictures for me. He was very nice and said sure.

Then, I asked a RCMH worker if there was any way I could go in early because I couldn't stand up very long and they weren't opening the doors as early as they said. They let me in, and I went to the bathroom and got to my seat before it got crazy. There were no assigned seats for this, which means I got to sit front row. More leg room plus first row for the walking/hooding part of the night plus the perfect view of the stage = win for me. 

Since I had so much time to kill, I asked one of the workers if I could take a picture on the stage. THE stage. Pretty much everybody who's anybody in the performance world has been on this stage.

So crazy. But the best part is that I asked a woman if I could take this picture, and a little while later, this older gentleman started saying no to other graduates who asked if they could get one. Hehehehe.

Surprisingly, despite having 1,300 names to get through, the ceremony was not nearly as exhausting or boring as yesterday's was. Maybe I was in shock from the feeling of getting hooded.

Afterwards, I found Mom and Mommom at their seats and we went out. The bad news was that Holly went outside to go smoke not aware of the fact that they wouldn't let her back in, and I had to return my cap and gown (NYU only rents them) before I could leave the building, so there isn't a family picture of all four of us with me in my gown. I do have a picture, though.

After that, we went back to Mom and Mommom's hotel and had a drink. Mommom got drunk after that one drink (ha!) so Holly took her upstairs, and then the three of us went to a pub a block away and had a couple more. By then, Mom was exhausted, so we all went home.

And then it was over.

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Tuesday, May 17, 2016

When the past isn't really the past.

I wasn't expecting to hear from him again.

I've spent several therapy sessions and countless conversations with friends trying to figure out how to put him in the past. I had finally accepted that I needed to put him in the past.

And then he called me tonight. Days after his best friend told me things would probably never be the same between us, he called me.

It took me a second to register that it was him calling. I deleted his number months ago because it hurt to see his name in my phone, and I actually saw the city of his phone number pop up before I realized it was his number. I was with friends when I got the call, and the first words out of my mouth were, "Holy shit." Because I wasn't expecting this in the least.

But I went outside, in the cool night in a short-sleeved shirt, shaking from nerves, and answered the call. I sat down at the bus stop because it was the nearest seat, and we talked.

We talked through everything that's happened over the past several months, and for the first time, I felt like everything was at peace with us. Finally. Towards the end of the conversation, I told him that talking to him again felt like a thousand pound weight had been lifted off my shoulders. I thought when I didn't hear from him after I called him and left a voicemail a couple weeks ago, that it meant he was done with me. I should've known he's not the kind of person who holds grudges.

Tonight, it felt like none of the negative stuff from the past 6+ months had even happened. We were the us that we were before everything got so messed up. We were cracking jokes and laughing hard and teasing each other and giving each other pep talks. He was calling me the nickname only he has for was like how it used to be. Just hearing him laugh made me smile because for quite some time there I didn't know if I'd ever get to hear that again.

I really missed him. I knew I missed him, but I didn't really realize just how much until this conversation when things felt like they were okay again. And as it turned out, he missed me, too. After the news I got at the doctor a couple weeks ago, I called him because he was always the one who made me feel better about this kind of stuff, and I realized just how pointless it was to fight. It's too much energy wasted. And we were friends first. Before anything else, we were friends. We were family.

There are some friends who are going to freak out when they hear this news tomorrow. They worry about me - rightfully so, after everything that happened with Landon. And who knows, maybe I am walking back into disaster. But I don't know. And I need to be sure. I have to give this, him, us a second chance. I've spent so much of the past few months wondering if I overreacted and second guessing my choices. I need to be sure.

Just as I was beginning to accept that this chapter was over, I learned it wasn't. I have to believe that there's a reason this happened tonight. Maybe there's a lesson coming, or maybe I just get someone I love back in my life.

Either way, the lesson for tonight is that sometimes the past...isn't really the past.

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Saturday, May 14, 2016


It's late.

I'm hot and sweaty.

I want to take a shower.

I'm also exhausted.

I want to sleep.

But I have to write at least one more section of this paper before I can do any of that because I know that if I stop, I won't start again.

I am, however, taking a food break because passing out from low blood sugar definitely won't do me any good. I went to the deli and got food and stopped and visited a few friends who are working on the block tonight. Sometimes the best thing I can do is take a mental break, and seeing those friends was definitely the best kind of break.

Now I'm eating and trying to motivate myself to write this next section of the paper.

It's not working so well.

Big props to the Hamilton soundtrack for keeping me awake. If y'all haven't checked this out, DO IT. You can listen to the whole thing on YouTube if you don't have money to buy it on iTunes. It's not a wonder in the least as to why this musical is nominated for SIXTEEN TONY AWARDS.

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Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Call me Ms. Scratch. Minus the serial killer part.

(Criminal Minds fans will get that reference.)

My head itches so bad right now. I have an EEG hooked up to my head until Thursday morning, so that means not only do I have a crapload of glue and cream in my hair and tape all over my head, I can't take a shower so my whole body just feels gross.

But it was either this or be in the hospital for four days, so at least I get to feel gross in the privacy of my own room and don't have to have an escort every time I want to so much as go to the bathroom.

Mom gets here in one week! I'm so freaking excited. I know it's only going to get more real once I pick up my cap and gown, which I plan on doing Thursday after I go drop this machine off, because no way am I going there looking like this. I've been getting enough stares just here in my own neighborhood. Luckily, one of the guys who is a bouncer at a bar around the corner and also lives above it said he'd take care of me if anyone harassed me over it. I don't think it'll happen, but you never know. Drunk people get stupid.

In the meantime, I'll just be here chipping away at the paper and 4 assignments I have left to get done.

And trying not to scratch my head. That, too.

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Saturday, May 7, 2016

All I've Got

12 small assignments

1 10-12 page paper

6 and 8 days until they're due

10 days until Mom and Mommom get here

11 days until the all-University commencement

12 days until the GSAS ceremony

14 days until Mom and Mommom leave

This is what the next two weeks of my life look like.

My graduation announcements came in the mail today.

Even though I am finishing my thesis this summer, so it's not technically the end, it feels like it.

This is nuts. I don't even have real words. This is just nuts. I've been working and fighting my whole life to get to this point...and it's almost here.

Praise be to God. That's all I've got.

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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Not a Coincidence

I was planning on writing about this yesterday, but got a little distracted by all the medical stuff.

Sunday was the first day that I made it through a church service without a seizure since Easter Sunday, and close to a month before that.

Why? I'm absolutely convinced it's because of prayer.

Sunday before the service, I met with my friend Dorothea (who is an elder) and Christy (my pastor's wife), and we talked about everything that's been going on, and my stress and anxiety over all that's been happening. I talked about how I hate causing trouble every week, but I feel like if I don't come, my week will be that much harder. And how there's a lot of underlying anxiety that I still hold on to because of my previous negative experiences with the church, even though I know that City Grace is not like that and I've tried so hard to tell myself that. And Christy reassured me I was safe there and that everyone does genuinely love me and is genuinely concerned for me.

But then each of them prayed over me, and despite all over the emotion that had been coursing through my body during the conversation, when their prayers started, I felt peace. Complete and utter peace.

And the service, I was actually able to focus on what was happening, the worship, the sermon. My heart rate never picked up in the slightest even once (my heart racing is the sign I get that a seizure is coming). When the service was over, I found Dorothea in the lobby and just busted out laughing.

The first Sunday I had without a seizure in weeks just so happened to be the Sunday I was prayed over at the beginning of the morning? Not a coincidence. I don't buy it. Dorothea said she'd pray over me every Sunday if that's what it takes to keep me okay for the morning.

God is awesome. That is all.

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Monday, May 2, 2016

Putting A Name to It

Disclaimer: If you don't want to read a post about my lady parts, stop reading now.

I got my period right before my 12th birthday, and from the very beginning, it's been awful. I mean, absolute hell. Instead of it being a 1 week on, 3 weeks off thing, it was 3 weeks on, 1 week off. I once had one that lasted 56 days. Straight. Yeah.

I was on birth control for a while, until my neurologist thought that was playing into my migraines and took me off it when I was 17. Back to the hell that was my period. Birth control never did much for my periods, anyway, but the little bit of help that I got was quite noticeably missed when I went off the pills.

I went to a gynecologist back in NC, the one who had me get an ultrasound and go on a med back in 2011 because the lining of my uterus was too thick. We talked to her about the possibility of endometriosis because of the symptoms I was having and the fact that Mom had it (there can be a genetic component to it), but she was just sort of like "Eh, you're so young, let's not worry about that for now."

So I put it out of my mind. I told myself the pain I got every month was simply because of my lack of a thyroid (thyroid issues can also play into the whole mess). And then I got distracted by other health stuff.

But when my endocrinologist up here told me that she thinks I have mild PCOS and that I should get checked out at Women's Health before I graduated I went. My cramps had reached the point that they make my thighs hurt, and I knew something was wrong because it's not supposed to be that bad. But I refused to tell myself it was endo because I just really, really didn't want another thing to deal with.

I went back to see my doc there today because she had told me she wanted to talk to me about alternative forms of birth control since I can't be on the pill because of my migraines and seizures and the IUD wasn't going to work because it was too painful for me to handle being put in there in the office. Well, within five minutes, she started talking to me about how she suspects I have endometriosis and wants to send me to an OBGYN surgeon so they can schedule a laparoscopic surgery to see.

At first, I was just sort of like "Okay then" but as she was sitting there looking up doctors to refer me to, I just accidentally exclaimed "Damn it!" And she immediately knew why. She said something to the effect of "Yeah I know. With your medical history, I'm really sorry you have something else to deal with."

And that's basically what I was/am feeling. But I called Mom and told her all about the appointment and she said, "Well, if this is what it is, you've been dealing with it anyway. Now it just has a name." Which is true. She and I have suspected I have this for years, we've just never gotten a diagnosis. And if I have this surgery, then I can know for sure and treat it, which could significantly improve my life from how it gets every time my period hits. And that's awesome.

But I'm frustrated. Frustrated that I've got to go to another doctor and deal with another surgery, as minor as it is, and figure out how to treat another health problem without interfering with the many other problems I have. Frustrated that, once again, it feels like I can't catch a break, that as soon as I get one thing under control, something else to deal with pops up and it just never ends.

I was getting frustrated with myself earlier, too, because I felt like I shouldn't be upset about this because I'll finally get answers, but Clayton, God bless him, made it make sense when he said, "If my leg was hurting for months and then I found out I had cancer in my leg, I wouldn't be happy about it. I don't think you should be furious, but don't expect yourself to be happy, either." I'm not furious. I'm just tired and frustrated.

The most frustrating part is that I have to wait until June 9th to even see the surgeon because that's the first new patient appointment she had open, but thankfully, since I'm not graduating until September, I have full access to my student health insurance and all of that. So at least there's one good thing.

I know it's a good thing to put a name to 12 years of pain. And I'm sure that I'll get to the point of focusing on that soon. But I wasn't expecting to have to deal with this today, so for now, I'm just frustrated.

And that's okay.

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