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Posts Tagged ‘Yours Truly’

“It’s so much friendlier with two. ”

~Winnie the Pooh

It’s been 572 days since Jeff and I first met. I think I can speak for the both of us when I say that we haven’t regretted a single day since!

 

Love you Mr. Bee. ♥

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I’m too lazy to write a blog tonight. In fact, I’ve been too lazy to do much of anything so far this week. My laptop power cord just fell on the floor but I’m too lazy to reach down from the bed and pick it up. I was supposed to go to yoga, but woke up from my three-hour nap five minutes after the class had already begun. I think I might blame my laziness on the heat.

Anyway, I did find this poem by Shel Silverstein which pretty much exactly captures how I have been feeling and behaving this week. I hope it passes soon, because being lazy is kind of boring.

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This weekend’s circumstances have gotten me thinking once again about the defining characteristic of introverts: we draw our strength from time spent alone.

Jeff is away for a few days, and I find myself alone in the house for the first time since we moved in last October. True to the description and my nature, I can feel myself relaxing and strengthening as I go about my day in solitude. As much as I dearly love my boyfriend and think he is perfect for me….I needed this.

Living with another human being can be a tricky thing for an introvert. For me, it’s mostly a matter of too much external stimulus. I have gone seven hours now without interacting with another human being, and it hasn’t once crossed my mind to consider myself lonely. The house has been perfectly quiet, and I move from room to room and back again without having to say a single word or acknowledge anything except the occasional needy cat. This is very calming to me.

I tend to get frustrated about 100 times a day. That’s not a problem for me, because as long as it all stays in my own little world, it’s pretty much easy come easy go. But if I get stressed when my partner is home, it’s like a big mirror, bouncing all that negative energy right back into my face. I stress about trying to hide my stress from my partner, and about how he feels about my stress, and whether it makes him stressed, and if not then why not…and so on.

I’ve gotten frustrated several times this very evening—but nobody cared. And hence, I haven’t felt stressed. I feel great.

I’ve often considered the idea of taking a nice, solitary vacation to some quiet place where I can just be alone and really and truly get away from everything for a few days. A Thoreauvian getaway to recharge like introverts do. Where would I go, and what would I bring and do? I’d always thought it’d be great to rent a cabin somewhere, like Asheville, NC, or just head up to Michigan and camp on the beach for a while. I’d want to be somewhere with other people close by, for safety’s sake and to keep from feeling completely isolated and out of touch. But my own little space would be my own, encroached upon by none other (ideally), and all the time I need without any agenda or second opinions. I’d bring a sketchbook, of course, and a journal, because those are some of my typical means of self-expression. I might leave the camera behind, because capturing images would imply my desire to share my experience with others, and that is not the point of it all. I would consider bringing my laptop, so long as I could completely avoid encountering the internet. And, being a smart young lady, I would certainly bring along my cell phone which does nothing but text and make calls, so that I could keep in touch with those who need to know my whereabouts. But I can’t really think of anything else I would want, aside from a good book in case it rains the whole time. I think that I could do fine for several days with just a pair of walking shoes and some interesting places to wander. It could be city, it could be forest, it could be a country road in the middle of nowhere, but I am sure I could be quite content.

Even so, I am well aware that there is a time and a place for everything, and that things are best when they are experienced in moderation. I crave and appreciate my chances to be alone and gather myself together again, but I have no desire to be lonely. A few years ago I moved into my own house, to live by myself for the first time in my life. I thought it would be perfect peace at last. Instead, I was pretty miserable. Evening after evening of solitude started to get to me. I looked forward to every chance I had to be around other people. All I wanted was a living, breathing, thinking human being to be sitting close by in another room while I went about my daily routines, which seemed so empty and pointless without it. When I drove around, alone, in my car, I would spy passengers in other cars and envy them with all my might. Tearfully, I realized one day that I would rather be in a car with someone else having a heated argument or giving each other the cold shoulder, rather than be canned up like a lonely little sardine in my own.

I’m thankful for the experience I had to live on my own. It has made me realize that I do need companionship, and that the quiet and not so quiet happenings of domesticity and cohabitation are what keep me deeply contented and stable from day to day to day. I need my home and my sweetie every bit as much as I need my time away from them on occasion. As far as I’m concerned, that’s the healthiest way for me to be.

But I’m just a weirdo introvert. 🙂

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I’m winding down the second week of my new job. I’m finding more and more that it’s the perfect job for an avoidant personality like myself. I arrive in the morning, clock in, and go about my business for the rest of the day, not really needing to talk to anyone but the cats. When my shift is up, I generally just clock out and slip away. Easy peasy.

This isn’t to say I don’t interact with other human beings at all throughout my day. Often there are volunteers around to help, and I am occasionally called upon to help out with a special task.

Just the other day, I was asked to help clean the cat isolation rooms due to a shortness in staff that day. I hadn’t done this before, so I had someone showing me the protocol. The woman showed me to the room, instructed me to put on a paper surgical gown that was hanging inside the door, and some surgical booties

that were in a box on the floor. She went to retrieve a second paper gown before she came back to help take care of the sick cats.

She spoke very quickly, and for some reason when she said “gown and booties,” my mind automatically registered “cap and gown.” (You can see where this is going already.) So yes, when she turned her back I grabbed a single bootie from the box, slipped in the door, tied on the paper gown, and contemplated the odd shape of this cap I had allegedly been instructed to wear. The opening seemed far smaller and less elastic than any other surgical cap I had worn before, but I shrugged and wrestled it onto my head.

I stood there for a few moments wondering if I needed to tuck my pigtails up inside, and how I was going to do that given the tight circumference of the opening.

Fortunately (and I can’t thank my lucky stars enough), this is when enlightenment struck. I realized I was essentially wearing a blue paper shoe atop my noggin. In a breathless instant I was able to pull the bootie off my head, retrieve a second, and pull them on over my shoes before my coworker returned. If the look on my face gave anything away she certainly didn’t acknowledge it.

From now on, I vow only to wear outrageous headgear with the utmost intention and careful forethought. No need to go embarrassing myself without meaning to.

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Vestigial Me

Surviving my first semester as a pre-vet undergrad was no overwhelming task. I remember a time not too long ago when I wondered if the science-based classes were going to be too hard for me. Having had few science classes in high school, and those being not quite of the par of what most high schools offer, I never had any idea of whether or not I was actually going to be capable. It was similar to my first semester in taekwondo: I would watch those who were training to receive their black belts, and I knew that if I ever had a dream of getting to that point then I would have to be able to do everything that they were able to do. And they were able to do many things I could not.

I had no idea if my abilities would ever be adequate.

But that is the beauty of taking things one step at a time. First you learn the basic steps. You learn the simple maneuvers and you become comfortable with the atmosphere. You adjust to the difficulties you never knew existed, and you look ahead to the next challenge. The pivotal point comes when you break your first board. It’s a moment when you can’t turn back. You can’t go back to not being able to do it. You can’t go back to not knowing if you are capable. From there you can only move on or stop.

I’ll never be able to go back to the point when I didn’t know if I could break wood with my bare appendages. I’ll never get back to the point when I question my ability to calculate the de Broglie wavelength in nanometers of an electron with a mass of 9.11 x 10^23 and a velocity of 2.2 x 10^6 meters per second. And one of these days I may or may not ever be able to get back to that point when I don’t know whether or not I will ever be able to give open heart surgery to a western lowland gorilla on the jungle floor of the Congo. 🙂  It’s all about taking things one step at a time.

That being said, my greatest challenge of the semester wound up being my transition back into the “real world.” As classes finally wound down early last week I first felt the obligatory joy, which melted into an inexplicable apprehension. The more time that passed when I did not have to be in a specific place doing something specific and seeing the same specific people at the same specific time, the more restless and empty I felt. I had poured my entire self into doing well in my classes, which I did, but I felt abandoned as my rigidly scheduled life disintegrated before me. As silly as it sounds coming from someone who has interests and passions as diverse as my own, I suffered a certain degree of identity crisis that day and for several days following. I found myself completely unable to study for finals for the good first half of last week. I didn’t do much of anything but brew in existential angst. I didn’t know what I was possibly going to find to fill the next three weeks until school started again. Someone asked me at one point last week what I do for fun, and I had absolutely no answer to give. I honestly did not know.

My balance had been knocked askew by my ambitions over the course of the past few months, and I hadn’t even had the time to notice. I’m not sure how or when the haze began to lift, but I slowly began remembering all the things I had been setting aside in order to focus on my studies. I remembered what it feels like to want to draw for hours on end, or to have the time to watch a movie without feeling as if it were just another task. It took some time and it wasn’t easy, but I finally began to feel some life in those phantom limbs of mine. And I’m delighted, at last, to have a few weeks to devote to myself, to reshape what I hadn’t even realized I had lost.

And so, as a response to no one in particular, regarding the question of what I like to do for “fun,” I’ve come up with an answer all my own…

Dear Anyone,

I never quite know how to answer the question, “What do you do for fun?” I’d much prefer it if someone would ask, What do you do for joy?

For joy I spend time each week with my family, catching up on our daily lives and small personal victories and dramas. For joy I put on my favorite playlist and get lost in my latest drawing. For joy I cuddle up in bed at night to watch a documentary on my laptop. For joy I spend a lazy hour or two in the library or a bookstore, soaking in the overwhelming possibilities and diversions.

For joy I take a summer evening stroll up the Monon with someone special, stopping off in Broad Ripple to eat or grab a drink out on a patio somewhere. For joy I take on a new creative project, whether or not it ever ends up getting finished. For joy I feel the spontaneous need on a mild spring day to feel dirt on my hands and grass under my feet. For joy I own a porch swing, and a fire pit, and a bicycle, and a telescope, and a tent, and a picnic basket.

For joy I go to the dollar theatre and see whatever was popular four months ago. For joy I stop off at the IMA to visit my favorites and to see what’s new. For joy I grow flowers in the summer. For joy I count turtles basking along the canal. For joy I curl up in an armchair on a rainy day with a good book. For joy I take a weekend road trip to somewhere not too far, but far enough. For joy I get dressed up for a night at the symphony. For joy I ask someone to teach me something new. For joy I write, in my journal or my blog. For joy I watch thunderstorms passing through.

For joy I daydream, and wonder about small things and big ideas. For joy I take naps on a free afternoon. For joy I try to take note of every pleasant sight, smell, sound or feeling wherever I am and whatever I’m doing. For joy I like to share a familiar experience with someone I care about; to experience my love of something special vicariously through fresh eyes and a fresh mind.

For joy I take the time to be myself, because that is how I find joy in sharing.

Sincerely,

Me.

black belt test


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