Thursday, March 31, 2011

Death of a student.

Dear school,

For the past 1.5 years you have made my life miserable and crushed my dreams. You have ripped me open, stepped on and tossed out my guts straight into the sewers for the rodents to feast. You have kicked me in the stomach when there has been nothing left. You have yelled at me for first being TOO emotional and then being un-emotional. My heart has quite literally been squeezed to death, left shriveled and useless.

You have left me with unpaid hospital bills, more mental health issues than my clients, and the shell of my body with no mind, sense of self nor esteem within. You have crushed me over and over again. I can only take so much from you and I seem to have found my limit.


Tuesday, March 29, 2011

"New York I love you, but you're bringing me down"

View From the Top- Sunnyside 7, March 2011
My mom says I was a pretty healthy kid, getting sick maybe once or twice a year with nothing more serious than strep throat. And pretty typical mental health for any hormonal, female adolescent.

But ever since moving to New York in summer 2009 I have come down with just about everything. Bronchitis, a 3 month flu, food poisoning, stomach problems, a torn ligament. And I've developed fears I once thought were irrational: clausterphobia, heights, heavy things falling on my head, being mugged, morbid thoughts about whether dying on an underground or above-ground subway would be the worst way to go (still haven't decided on that one)...

And anxiety. Anxiety that is so disabling, it causes me to have "pseudo-seizures" AKA attacks that manifest as seizure symptoms. And as of Monday, anxiety that also leaves me completely unable to breathe forcing me to rush to the doctor.

I was never really a particular anxious person. Sure, I'd get pre-test jitters. But these "anxiety attacks" come usually when I'm completely calm and relaxed. A few of my more holistic professors that I've mentioned it to said its probably because "when relaxed, your body/mind finally has time to release all the built up anxiety that is usually too distracted, so it manifests itself more intensely by bubbling up".

I've tried breathing exercises, meditation, my recent foray into active physical exercise. But they all only help so much, apparently. I don't know what to do anymore. Is this all what growing up entails- developing awareness leading to health issues? It's gotten to a point where on some level, I'm starting to believe that maybe some higher power is trying to kick me out of the city; New York doesn't want me around.

I wanted to stick around the city at least another year to experience it as a non-student. But I don't know. Maybe my body is trying to tell me something that I can't quite grasp- or not ready to at least.

"Above ground train- 5 stories up"
How do you deal with anxiety?

Monday, March 28, 2011

Need a good laugh and a good ab workout?

7 minutes of your life that you will not regret!

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Exercising at the gym does not an athlete make I

Empire State of Mind, Sunnyside 3/11
I just want to admit that despite efforts at becoming a healthier functioning person my "jog" on real terrain and freezing cold fresh polluted air burning inside my lungs this afternoon completely reality-slap-checked that notion right out of my mind.

Here's hoping my knee and flu-susceptibility are on my side in the morning.

Saturday, March 26, 2011

Internal flooding

Yosemite Sam meets Elephant, Subway art 3/11
What do you think of when looking at this picture?

I originally snapped this flick on the train the other day because I thought it was some kind of cute little creature. I don't remember what mood I was in at the time. Right now, I see a nervous, anxious little critter. Red with nerves, red with embarrassment, and maybe even a little red with anger. Uh, projection much?

It's only been four days since I began my career-quest but I can barely concentrate on anything else. Or rather if my mind does manage to drift, it focuses on feeling stressed about writing another paper and a client intake by Monday.

But when I sit to try to work on these I decide to compulsively check job listings and my nerves grow to such a point that I close out the internet and try reading my references until I realize I've read the same line 10 times and I don't know what I just read and re-open my internet to browse random information like that bing commercial until I decide to get up to get the blood flowing and peek in my kitchen to see what I can eat to keep myself distracted long enough from my own thoughts only to realize nothing has magically appeared in my fridge since I last checked about 5 minutes before so I sit back down to re-read the same scholarly articles and so on. Back and forth, back and forth in pendular motions.

Bladdyblahblah. Maybe! If I talk/write/think about this enough that it will allow the thoughts to avalanche right on out. Flooding! I will flood these negative nuisances right out of my cerebral capacity!

What do you think about when you seen this little creature?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Quality worlds

I thought I had posted this yesterday but apparently not...

Anyway. As I was studying, I came across Glasser's "Choice Theory" modality. It's one of those theories that are so ridiculously obvious, you wonder why you weren't the one to put it into words first.

One of the basic concepts in Choice Theory is "Quality World" which is:
"Every one has a quality world that includes images that make up the life we'd like to have, including people, things, experiences, values... people are motivated by what is in their quality worlds, so they are more likely to find satisfaction in life if they are aware of what is in their quality worlds and if those things are attainable and meet their basic needs"

It did get me thinking though. What is my "quality world"?
Family, best friends, Oliver, the beach, mountains, greenery, honesty, love, emotions...

What's your "quality world"?

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

"It is not what you look at that matters, it is what you see" -HDT

There it was: a big, red "REJECTED" stamped across a plain white sheet of paper with my bolded name and contact information in the header followed by a plea for employment. As I looked closer I realized I was not only rejected- I was downright ridiculed with a red finger pointing out at me. The more I kept staring at the sheet of sadness I realized the paper was suddenly talking. That's right, a talking sheet of paper with black-framed glasses and beady eyes not only rebuffing me but calling me out. Telling me, "who do I think I am trying to apply for professional positions with this excuse of selling yourself !"

My eyes jumped awake as much eyes can possibly actually jump but the room was dark. Reaching for my phone, I realized it was only 3:30 in the morning. I was supposed to sleep until 6:00 and then start working on sending out my resume. That was my plan. That's why I had worked on editing my cover letter the night before.

But at that point I was so paralyzed with fears of inadequacy I immediately propped open my laptop and started editing the letter. Correcting the same lines over and over again. Trying to make myself sound like a viable candidate for otherwise menial positions. At 6:30, I closed my laptop and tried to find some peace with the back of my eyes but I still couldn't. I had developed a cold, nervous sweat despite the open windows blowing in 26 degree snowflakes. Next thing I knew it was 9 am and I could barely move from my bed from panic.

I sent out the first round of applications this morning. And I already received one rejection back. And you know what? It feels as terrible as I had imagined it would despite the respondent wording it nicely. Before I moved to the city, I had applied at literally over 100 random positions. But the rejection didn't phase me- I believed they were the one's losing out.  Now, I feel stupefied. There is too much responsibility riding on these applications.

Now, I'm really a grown-up looking for a grown-up job with my grown-up degrees. The anxiety is overwhelming. I already had one pseudo-seizure/anxiety attack today before coming to class. All my self-soothing methods have failed me, all my classroom learned techniques a flop.

And now? I wait. Just like the thousands of others unemployed Americans.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

sex is an expensive habit but it still makes me happy

Alpalcas, Camp Hill, Summer 2009
I went to visit my friends the alpacas today who live near the damn. Driving home from my appointment, I missed the exit I had proposed to take. Instead of going toward Happy Valley with overeager kids doing upside-down keg stands, I ended up on a cruise through the back roads that go up-and-down-and-turn-too-sharp-and-the-bottom of the mountain makes love to Sharky’s fender into a bender.

It started off with the 90s throwback power lunch hour on the local R&B station. In between the yeah babies and doing it rights I realized, I got the power and I like it like that. A semi-slight-circular detour smoothly turned into seductively teasing trails between skinny mountain thighs squeezing the nerves tingling out of the sensationally excited epidermis- not even shy about showing.

Permagrin positively plastered, provocatively prone peculiarities pinned possibilities precociously playing preciously proactive ponderings!

Suddenly, funkadelic cardiac beats pulsed vibrational rhythms right into a scattered brain. Thoughts were arrested as they boogied out into a ridiculous laugh. Silence at last! As if inhaling enough air in order to exhale the bubbles down to the bottom of the pool, a wave of refreshing water soothingly engulfed the space between wiggling toes and a glorious crown. Lungs lavishly lounged in the relief. Mmm, delicioso!

Action verbing thoughts turned sublime moments into mine. Mental masturbation mastered, I pulled into the driveway sincerely serene.

I realized again nothing ever goes as planned. And I smiled.

-Camp Hill, PA, June 2009

Monday, March 21, 2011

No drizzle ma nizzle

TC corner, March 2011
NYC has a pathetic excuse for rain. In all honesty, if I was a cloud responsible for this territory I would feel lame about my raining abilities.

Because it really isn't rain, non-technically speaking. It is an annoying drizzle that lasts all day without pause. It's not the kind of rain that makes you want to go out and frolic in your bathing suit on a hot summer day but the kind that leaves your clothes muddy once the bus plows by with it's 4' sewer wave  in it's wake. It feels as if the residue from someone else's sneeze is loitering your radial being. It doesn't rain hard enough to actually open up the umbrella (which even if you did you'd still end up wet thanks to the wind's temperamental wheezing) but enough that your coat will develop a light layer of wetness and your skin becomes moist. The subways are a slippery, condensated mess. The sky stays a foggy shade of clouded gray, though one can't actually make out any clouds.

Miami on the other hand has my kind of rain. The term torrential downpour is more accurate. You can smell the rain before it even hits. The sun will be shining brightly in the front yard and all of a sudden the backyard becomes a swampy marsh within minutes. And then it's over. The clouds swim over and garden the next block. The rainbow shines brightly overhead.

Soggy masses- 2 train, March 2011

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Do less

My last-for-now spring break is just about officially over. And what have I done?

  • Whine a lot
  • Re-injure my bad knee
  • Not go to museums or do anything where significant walking was related due to said injury
  • Sleep. A LOT.
  • Barely finish my midterm paper due tomorrow at 1 because of I'm so anxious about needing to get an A I've been paralyzed, much less the other papers needed
  • Visit the doctor to be told I need to restart physical therapy because said knee is most likely dislocated and I need the physical therapist referral to see an ortho to determine if surgery is necessary and be reprimanded for still not having my blood-work done since I'm also, most likely anemic.
  • Finished this amazing book (and now looking for recommendations!)
  • Booked a vacation to DISNEYWORLD (!!!) with credit card rewards points fo'free (seeing as how I didn't have to spend money because I accumulated them since 2005)
You'd think the lack of mobility would propel me to be some kind of productive. Far from it. Sometimes a body-mind just has to rejuvenate so I'm giving myself until this evening to whine & sulk a bit more about my lack of doing anything exciting and tomorrow I'll be back on the grind.

Here's to letting yourself just be.

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Astrologically speaking

Astrology is one of this believe-it or not mysteries that always interested me. Today my best friend mentioned her "ascendent and moon signs" and I was off on a Google search. The scary thing is, the descriptions are pretty spot-on to a ridiculous extent. 

My ascending sign is Cancer apparently meaning,
You are dreamy, with a psychological nature that is oriented towards nostalgia for things past, towards your mother and your family. Your instinct and your need to protect yourself from the outside world are highly developed. Your inner life is rich, with a vivid and even unlimited imagination, a propensity to avoid all risks and to pursue security. You show your true face only to persons you can trust and you need the well being brought about by the nostalgia for the past.
With this Ascendant, you come across as emotional, sentimental, restful, sensitive, loyal, enduring, protective, vulnerable, generous, romantic, tender, poetic, paternal or maternal, dreamy, indolent, greedy and dedicated. You may also be fearful, unrealistic, evasive, passive, touchy, anxious, dependent, stubborn, lunatic, backward-looking, lazy, burdensome, impenetrable and a homebody
That first sentence alone is probably the best description I could even provide about myself. 

My moon sign is Capricorn: 
This can be a difficult Moon sign, as stern Capricorn energy is not so comfortable in emotional settings. You’re a bit of a curmudgeon, old-fashioned in your values and tastes. You’re attracted to people and possessions that stand the test of time, and you may favor antiques or traditional furnishings. Slow to open up, you can be an emotional monk, content with your own company. You even thrive on melancholy spells that test your soul’s mettle. However, too much isolation can drive you into depression. Because you’re hard to read, people will mistake you for cold or standoffish. You just take your time to make a decision, weighing the long-term impact of everything. You respond to practical, thoughtful people who are emotionally mature. Romantic partners must fit neatly into your lifelong plans. You’re attracted to older lovers or established people who can help advance your goals. You might even start a business with your mate. With family, you maintain a dutiful spirit, especially with your parents. Your relationship with your father is a lifelong work in progress.
Weird weird weeeeeird!

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Sunnyside and the livin' ain't easy

Sitting in a waiting room overflowing with older Latinos takes me back to Miami. For two and a half hours, I was spouted back to my hometown on a brief mental holiday wondering why I have such a love-hate relationship with my Latin-fused roots.

This doctor's waiting room wasn't like the typical American office. As a matter of fact, it was a replica of the many offices I've waited in back home. The usual sense of quiet nerves was replaced with high-wattage conversations between relative strangers who became fast friends drinking cortaditos y pastelitos juntos in between meals.

That's what Latinos do: they talk a lot very loudly with anyone around them. The small cramped waiting room was the adulterated version of a high school cafeteria full of exuberant cries of laughter and frustration-- not to mention avid discussions of Lady Gaga and the latest Cristina drama. Silence is an unknown concept as is the preference to be alone.

My mother is like this. She will talk to anyone anywhere anytime. A trait that has mostly annoyed me out of sheer embarrassment. Now it just makes me laugh on a good day. But it's not just my mom- it's almost every Latino I've ever met or heard about. I'm the exact opposite. Reserved, quiet to downplay my mother's loudness, and selective with who I decide to share secrets with. An unmistakeable reflection of my own Americanness despite my bicultural identification. In my textbooks we (Latinos) are described as being passionate. An adjective I enthusiastically subscribe to when defining myself.

But this loudness, the constant chatter that creates the humming sound of a shopping mall food court gets to me. It vibrates my synapses and rattles my brain because sometimes I just need some quiet time in my head. Something NYC gives me too much of apparently. These extremes- white noise and constant rumblings make me crankily crabby. On vacations, it's nice to delve right into the loudness of tropical Miami or the eerie silence of too-many-thinkers in overpopulated Manhattan. But living in either one of these polarities daily makes my neurons cha-cha right out of my ear drums into a panicked suicide jump towards the ground.

Which is why I live in Sunnyside (Queens). A brief seven minute train ride gets me out of the roarings from my multicultural neighbors into the silence of the masses. Just like I do with my different names or rather alter-egos, I alternate between my conflicted surroundings.
Sunnyside, Queens January 2011

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Change clothes

Change. Such an innocent motive propelled my mind into long-forgotten memories.

In an effort to prolong my procrastination from homework, I decided to take down my change jar and count. Imagining I had maybe an hour's worth of meaninglessness to occupy me from the voices telling me to do real work. Plus, for some reason counting change has always fascinated me. As a kid I used to offer my services to my family and spend hours taping dirty coin wrappers formed by a cheap Bic to emerge with blackened digits.

10 minutes later and I was done. In those short moments, existentialism got the best of me.

Up until relatively recently I've been an avid supporter of change- changing myself, my surroundings. Anything really. I've gone through every hair color (including pink, purple, and teal), gotten up and moved cities when bored, and numerous different aspects of myself and environment when possible. I thrived at the opportunity to switch life up. I would call them adventures.

Now? Not so much. I still like change. But something about it scares me now with major responsibilities in tow. No longer do I have the support of anyone to pick up the pieces if I get in too deep. No longer can I say things like, "I want to do xxx before I'm 18/21 so it doesn't stay on my record". No longer can I  up and go without over analyzing my moves not to mention caring about my impact on others.

Yes, I'm growing up and I understand that has something do to with my semi-craving for stability. But what happened?

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Sweet snoozing sympathy

I used to be able to wake up at the crack of dawn and get straight to studying, fully ready for the day before 6 am. Now, not so much. Months have gone by wondering what has changed. my internal clock? Hormone? Age?

I found the answer snoozing parallel to me. Jonathan is not-so-much a morning person. He likes to sleep in the mornings for the most part, which in all honesty isn't much at all. But when he is laying there peacefully dozing I can't resist crawling over and cuddling into the nook of his arm. Sometimes he stirs when he feels me. Other times I maneuver around the dead weight of his arm. But always, I love these brief moments-hours of serene affection.

Here's to savoring the subtle sweet moments instead of rushing to start a day.

Gaslight, February 2011

Monday, March 14, 2011

Seriously, corporate America?

Way to destroy my feelings of happiness. Companies will do anything these days to jerk money out of you. I am being penalized for always promoting the company saying how great they are. And what do I get in return?


Oh, and then there is the ridiculous doctor's office who want to make me jump through their own hoops and can't even see me until Thursday where I'll have to wait most likely at least 4 hours because that tends to be their average wait time for a 5 second consult just so I can get said ridiculously, stupidly, unnecessary note. Which means I won't be able to visit my family this week like I wanted & mentally needed to.

I'm sure somewhere in this there is some sort of lesson as to overcoming my impulsiveness. BUT REALLY? COME ON! I know this is a rant and not an effort to improve writing. But if this was my old school live journal circa 2001-2003 I would use one of those fuming un-smiley faces to describe my mood.

Well, you know what you very silly gym? I'm marching to the doctor on Thursday, taking a good book to read, and getting that note so I can shove it in your fax face! Harrumph.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Grow where you are planted

Yesterday morning I had an anxiety attack. I had woken up early to do homework but come 10 am I was a mess.

It dawned on me: why had I signed up for a boxing class? Why had I agreed on something in the late afternoon/early evening when my mind is manic and I'm clearest in the early morning? What was I doing signing up for a group class when I strongly dislike anything group related, much less something I'm not great at and is equally challenging?

Hours went by trying to force some kind of rationalization. "Michelle, this will be good for you. You'll socialize and get fit. You have to overcome your anxiety." But do I really? No! I tried to cancel my registration. And I fell into a gym trap, You know, when they try to offer you anything and everything to get you to stay. The manager went as far as asking me when was the last time I had been to the doctor.

Talk about rude salespeople.

Saturday, March 12, 2011

drunken soliloquy

I ran to the bus today,
I think my knee re-popped out,
Painful, but drunk enough to forget
Tomorrow, i shall feel the pain.

(six words)

Friday, March 11, 2011

Boxing:3, iPad:0

Exercise makes the heart grow...exasperated? The body...exhausted? Yes, I think so. After my "cardio" routine yesterday morning I decided to ask one of the trainers for some tips. This simple question led to an hour long private boxing lesson.

Last night I was pooped but nothing in comparison to what I felt this morning. All pain aside, it was really a fun experience. The trainer, Charlie, had me cracking up the entire time which led to a pretty intense ab workout in itself. Though I spent most of today unable to laugh/cough/sneeze/move anything involving mobility from my shoulders through my waist, it was worth it.

Enough so that I decided to enroll in his 8-week training program. Why?

  1. I'm obviously in pretty pathetic shape
  2. I'm a female... living in a major metropolis (self-defense)
  3. Apparently, punching things is a good anger-management program in itself (AKA no more unnecessary outbursts at Jon)

On the other hand, I've been trying to come up with rational excuses to slap down money for an iPad. I've REALLY wanted one since last year.  But every reason I come up with I can negate, which is making it less and less likely. See, I just got a new iPhone last month because my old one broke (which I LOVE- as much as one can love an inanimate, non-being object). It was a necessity- or as much of a necessity buying a smart phone can be. But the iPad?

  1. I can take it on the Europe trip instead of lugging around my laptop (but that's a 1-time stint)
  2. I can take it to class instead of writing hand-notes I don't understand later or taking my laptop ( but I'll only be in school for 2 more months hopefully)
  3. I can share it with Jon? (But Jon pretends to hate Macs and would probably "need" it on days I "need" it)
  4. I can use that as a primary computer and my laptop as a storage device (But I just inherited Jon's old external hard drive so I really don't need that either)
  5. I really WANT it (but I just splurged on this European vacation for Jon & I. And I obviously don't NEED it)
See, I'm kind of an impulsive spender and a great saver. I've been working since 16 out of both necessity and want (for my own independence). My spending habits reflect my overall dichotomous personality. But as I've matured I try to make my purchases more justifiable (see lists above). 

Decisions decisions. 

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Boxing for the soul

Exercised this morning, slept all day
Gloomy rainy weather motivated laying around
That's all for now, the end.

(six word memoirs)

[edit: so tired, wrote this from my phone bc it was within reach]

Wednesday, March 09, 2011

Schools out for...spring!

Tonight marks my unofficial-official beginning of Spring Break. My last Spring Break for a while. As of this semester, I'm taking a sabbatical from education. I had originally planned on trudging on through a PhD program- I wanted to have it completed by my 30th birthday. But then this happened, causing me to  pause and reevaluate my life. Which is good, because it's something that needs serious consideration. I need to think about my next moves, something that I'm not too good at. I want to enjoy the doctoral experience. I want to make sure I find a program and a niche that fits me.

Everything happens for a reason.

Anyway. It's going to be bittersweet. Full of two papers, one outline, deep-Spring cleaning, working on my unfinished inspiration board & resolution chart, adventures to museums, mass resume emailing, a quick trip to PA, and hopefully reading Infinite Jest by this guy! (and a partridge in a pear tree?)


Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Preened Practice

You hear about teachers permanently scarring children in grade school from ever being or becoming competent in subjects. Sometimes, enough to completely discourage the child from enjoying their educational experience leading them to fail.

Well. It happens in higher education too.

Last Spring I began taking experiential classes in my program. It was rumored that regularly nice professors were absurdly difficult on students in these classes. Supposedly to motivate growth and preen pre-professionals into becoming professionals. But in my case (and several others), that rumor was very saliently a solid, harsh fact. My professor told me I should consider leaving the program. I wanted to, oh how I wanted to. But at that point I was determined to stay through the completion of the program no matter how long it would take since I had already took out a ridiculous amount in loans. Plus. I couldn't bear facing my family and being an Ivy-league-graduate-school-drop-out. I couldn't cop out then when all my friends back in Miami were cheering for me, living the NYC dream.

I was destroyed. I seriously considered changing my profession. I asked myself why, oh why, did I want to do this. And more importantly, if I was even capable of helping others if I couldn't help myself through those hard times.

Well. Today I received my midterm evaluation from my Practicum supervisor. And that nice man down right made me cry. I blabbered everything to him; about how I felt so insecure with certain (older) clients because my professor had made me feel so inadequately incompetent. And he said, "I don't know why he would say're right where you need to be and in some cases even beyond it".

My faith in myself has been somewhat renewed. Of course I'm still learning what it takes to be a counselor- A LOT! And I know I'm far from being amazing. But I've regained a sense of confidence in myself that seemed so lost and unreachable. And in this field you need confidence in yourself to believe you can make a difference- even when clients don't show it or when they're rude or treat you bad. You need tough-skin to be another persons tough skin.

Such simple feedback made such a drastic difference in my own sense of self. Thank you, Professor.

Monday, March 07, 2011

“If you're losing your soul and you know it, then you've still got a soul left to lose” -Charles Bukowski

As an imperfect being, we are I'm allowed to be off some days. We are I'm supposed to admit to being fallible. We are I am a walking pendulum.

But today was an extreme. I woke up a grump: I've been waking up by 5:00 AM naturally for the past week despite my efforts of sleeping in until 7:00. I snapped at Jon for taking up space. I roared at my mom for not being able to hear me through a windy phone call. I ridiculed myself at the gym. I whined about having to go to class and see a client.

I felt like Pig-Pen from Charlie Brown. Except the swirl of dirt was more like a shroud of crabbiness. And I could not stand myself.

Every time an outburst would escape, I tried to justify it by saying, "well I'm normally calm and have made so much progress on my overall stubbornness/bratiness/crabbiness I'm allowed to be grumpy some days". I was flaring at others for my own mood. But why the mood? I still have no idea. My afternoon was a bit less dramatic but I can't seem to understand where this explosion was originally lit.

Kind of ironic considering my happiness tips last night. Here's to a better day. Because after all, every day above ground is a good day.

Sunday, March 06, 2011

"Don't let the perfect be the enemy of the good"- Voltaire

I like to read. I like to read as both a distraction and a grounding.  I like to read things that give tips on improving my well-being. After all, I've been on this quest for about four years. I don't discriminate- I read scholarly articles, scholarly books (Martin Seligman, The Hendricks etc.), magazine quips, and especially Gretchen Rubin's The Happiness Project.

Mrs. Rubin also sends out daily emails with links to articles among other fabulous resources. Last week I received this lovely bit. I think it's especially important because while they're not groundbreaking discoveries, they're easy implemented possibilities.

8 Tips for Feeling Happier During an Unhappy Time

1. Remind yourself of reasons to be grateful. When things look really dark, it's hard to feel grateful, but remembering what's good in your life can help put problems into perspective. I have a friend who recently suffered a big disappointment at work. She said to me, "As long as my family is healthy, I can't get too upset about anything." This may sound like hackneyed advice, but it's really true.

2. Remember your body. Take a twenty-minute walk outside to boost your energy and dissolve stress. Don’t let yourself get too hungry. Get enough sleep. Manage pain. When you’re anxious, it’s easy to stay up late and eat ice cream -- and that’s going to make you feel worse in the long run. It's very tempting to run yourself ragged trying to deal with a crisis, but in the long run, you just wear yourself out.

3. Do something fun. Temporarily distract yourself from the stress, and re-charge your battery, with an enjoyable activity. Watching a funny movie is a reliable way to give yourself a pleasant break, and listening to your favorite music is one of the quickest ways to change your mood. When my older daughter was in the intensive-care unit as a newborn, my husband dragged me off to a movie one afternoon -- and that few hours of distraction made me much better able to cope with the situation. Be careful, however, not to “treat” yourself by doing something that’s eventually going to make you feel worse (taking up smoking again, drinking too much, indulging in retail therapy). My comfort-food activity is readingchildren's literature.

4. Take action. If you’re in a bad situation, take steps to bring about change. If you’re having trouble with your new boss, you could decide to try to transfer. Or you could change your behavior. Or you could find ways to pay less attention to your boss. Ask yourself, "What exactly is the problem?" It's astounding to me that often, when I take time to identify a problem exactly, a possible solution presents itself.

5. Look for meaning. Re-frame an event to see the positive along with the negative. Maybe getting fired will give you the push you need to move to the city where you’ve always wanted to live. Maybe your illness has strengthened your relationships with your family. You don’t need to be thankful that something bad has happened, but you can try to find positive consequences even in a catastrophic event.

6. Connect with friends and family. Strong relationships are a KEY to happiness, so fight the impulse to isolate yourself. Show up. Make plans. Ask for help, offer your help to others. Or just have some fun (see #3) and forget your troubles for a while.

7. Make something better. If something in your life has gotten worse, try to make something else better – and it doesn’t have to be something important. Clean a closet. Organize your photographs. Work in the yard.

8. Act toward other people the way you wish they’d act toward you. If you wish your friends would help you find someone to date, see if you can fix up a friend. If you wish people would help you find a job, see if you can help someone else find a job. If you can’t think of a way to help someone you know, do something generous in a more impersonal way. For instance: commit to being an organ donor! When you’re feeling very low, it can be hard to muster the energy to help someone else, but you’ll be amazed at how much better you feel. Do good, feel good; it really works.

I've got soul, but I'm not a soldier.

Four more days. That's the last surge I need to endure. The beginning of this past week was so hectic, it took me three days to recover by being comatose, only alternating from my bed to the couch. Not to say that my mind has been a blank. On the contrary, I've had so many "inspiring" thoughts I didn't know what to do with them. I wanted to avoid long convoluted posts about 500 different things; I need to focus. (Challenge!)

Hence the lack of, well everything.

On the one hand, I wanted to stick to my resolution of writing daily. But I also had to remember my other resolutions to take time for me. It's a hard balance. Especially for myself because I'm the type to dance from each polarity (case in point).

I wasn't completely unproductive. I booked our European vacation. I tidied up my resume & cover letter to get ready to mass mail them this week. I even cracked open one textbook to catch up on 17 chapters worth of readings.

I might even try to make another post today to compensate. March madness indeed.

Friday, March 04, 2011


"We succeeded in taking that picture [from deep space], and, if you look at it, you see a dot. That's here. That's home. That's us. On it, everyone you ever heard of, every human being who ever lived, lived out their lives. The aggregate of all our joys and sufferings, thousands of confident religions, ideologies and economic doctrines, every hunter and forager, every hero and coward, every creator and destroyer of civilizations, every king and peasant, every young couple in love, every hopeful child, every mother and father, every inventor and explorer, every teacher of morals, every corrupt politician, every superstar, every supreme leader, every saint and sinner in the history of our species, lived there on a mote of dust, suspended in a sunbeam. The earth is a very small stage in a vast cosmic arena. Think of the rivers of blood spilled by all those generals and emperors so that in glory and in triumph they could become the momentary masters of a fraction of a dot. Think of the endless cruelties visited by the inhabitants of one corner of the dot on scarcely distinguishable inhabitants of some other corner of the dot. How frequent their misunderstandings, how eager they are to kill one another, how fervent their hatreds. Our posturings, our imagined self-importance, the delusion that we have some privileged position in the universe, are challenged by this point of pale light. Our planet is a lonely speck in the great enveloping cosmic dark. In our obscurity -- in all this vastness -- there is no hint that help will come from elsewhere to save us from ourselves. It is up to us. It's been said that astronomy is a humbling, and I might add, a character-building experience. To my mind, there is perhaps no better demonstration of the folly of human conceits than this distant image of our tiny world. To me, it underscores our responsibility to deal more kindly and compassionately with one another and to preserve and cherish that pale blue dot, the only home we've ever known." --Carl Sagan

"The mind can take a moment and recreate it for you if you practice. In this way, nothing ever ends, no one ever dies, and everything is right there in you --and all these snapshots become a scrapbook of your mysterious existence. "

Thursday, March 03, 2011

'Tis I!

Is me
In a shell
Non- lackadaisical
Wittingly so.
However. Michelle
Is not a bell
To be rung, hung or strung.
Simply put
Is me

Tuesday, March 01, 2011

The language of love

You and Me Forever: 3/11
This is my cat Oliver Rupert. He is my baby. Yes, I am a crazy-young cat lady. Andrea snapped this flick this afternoon in one of our cuddly-moments. I adopted him from a shelter when he was a wee 8 weeks old when I was living in Orlando, FL during my first semester of undergrad at UCF. I was trying to get out of a bad relationship and thought buying a pet would be a good transition out.
13 in MacBook @ 8 wks, 12/05
I don't want to insult Oliver and compare him to a dog. In reality, he is more like a person. (I know this sounds crazy). Oliver "talks" (you know, his "meows" sound like he's saying "food" etc), understands, and listens: he is completely empathic and communicative. He runs to the door when he hears me coming home. He follows me from room to room. He LOVES cuddling. He opens doors with his massive paws by sliding them under the door and pulls it towards him. And he has asthma- so he snores and purrs like a maniac.

And me? I treat Oliver like a little person- because quite frankly he's big enough to be one! He's a Mainecoon, meaning he's a ginormous fluffball. When he is stretched out he reaches halfway up to my ribcage from the floor and is 18 lbs of fur. I bring him along on trips. I give him a bath every other week since he has so much fur and gets dreadlocks (like mother like son). 
Cat Naps- 12/05
Spoonin', 1/11
And apparently, we spoon. Jon caught this moment during an afternoon nap. Yes, I am proud to admit that I'm a crazy cat lady.