My Inner Toddler

I’m currently sitting in class watching a professor sweat himself. I think he noticed that he made the class laugh at his lack of preparedness, but as he continues to reiterate this fact, my very “type A” class is beginning to squirm. His PowerPoint is a plain white screen with black print, indicative of it’s creation the night before, aside from the bright red type where he meant to add notes prior to class.

I understand our professors are doctors outside of class, but if I were to come to class like this, I’d never make it to the next year.

While I’m more prepared than he was today, I still have room for improvement. I’m always telling myself I’m going to work to be more organized, healthier, more efficient. But it’s as if I have an inner toddler who comes out throughout the day (usually when I need a nap) that tells me it’s okay to eat ice cream as an appetizer and watch Netflix for three hours. You deserve it.

Does anyone else ever feel like they have an inter toddler?

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Narrating My First Day Back

Sometimes I narrate my life in my head, as if I’m on my own television show presenting a monologue in the opening scenes setting up the story. I think it’s a way of dissociating a little bit. I think it helps remove myself from my body when I’m feeling stress; it lets me float outside of my head and watch the way I interact with the world without actually having to interact with the world. It doesn’t make a lot of sense. When I would talk to a counselor about stress management in my undergrad, she said it was great that I was so observant of myself and my emotions, but I think it leads me down a wormhole sometimes. Especially late at night when I’d rather be sleeping than analyzing myself, or narrating my day again.

Today was the first day back to vet school for OSU. I’m a second year now and I felt extremely organized – I prepared my notes, packed a lunch, got a gift organized for my little. I paid attention in class and was feeling good until my boyfriend picked me up from school. The traffic was horrible with it being the first day of class and 4:15pm, so naturally he was agitated and swerving between and around slower cars. I started getting nervous as he approached other people’s tail lights more quickly than I am comfortable with and with every quick breaking of the car, my heart rate increased. I began thinking about the seven classes I sat through today and how much material there was to review already. I thought about the fact that I had to get to the barn to clean stalls and ride my horse because we have a show this weekend that I naively registered for while agreeing to work my regular full summer schedule through the first week of classes. I already felt behind and it wasn’t even day two yet.

So how can I fix this? Exercise helps. Pushing my body so that I feel tired enough to relax has always helped. But then I start making excuses. Well, they aren’t excuses really, to me they are legitimate concerns, but to the rest of the world they might sound like excuses. It’s 11:00pm right now, so my plan is to wake up at 6:00am and hit the gym prior to my 9:00am class. But I dyed my hair yesterday and specifically avoided washing it again tonight because it has a blue hue and it will fade quickly with too frequent washing. But if I don’t run, I’ll be anxious all day. But if I run, I’ll have to shower, because I didn’t wash my hair after riding tonight and elected to use dry shampoo instead which can only be used so many times before your hair feels glued on. But I need to run. But if I shower, my hair will fade to a dingy color and I used bleach this last time so another dye job could do some serious damage. This sounds all so shallow and insignificant, but as I write about it, I can feel this tension in my chest like my life depends on making this decision right now and making the wrong decision would ruin me.

I haven’t felt like this in a long time and I guess it’s to be expected as I head back to school after a summer of hard physical work in a low-stress environment. I didn’t think the anxiety would hit quite so soon. The logical answer is to forget my hair and run because I know it will help. Blogging helps too, in its own way. I guess that’s kind of odd when it’s just more narration. But maybe putting it down in a permanent place where I can come back to it and read it, even edit it, will help loosen that tightness in my chest tonight.

Literally about Recycling.

The last two weeks have been all about moving from way-too-close-to-the-university, Columbus, OH to Dublin, OH. It’s only a 20 minute drive (which should only be a 10 minute drive, but everything near Columbus takes 20 minutes. Thank you, traffic) but it’s a world away with quiet streets, local food (as opposed to chains restaurants and fast food), and a larger apartment. My boyfriend and I are really happy here, it’s nice to have something you’re proud of and want to care for.

In moving, we made sure to get rid of things that we didn’t need anymore, so we donated clothing, recycled old electronics and unnecessary files, and overall got rid of some of the clutter in our life. We’re not the only ones, as it is the season for moving, but I’ve been sad to find so many things simply thrown away.

I’ve always been very earth-conscious, out of both a love for our planet and the anxiety behind the idea of not having a planet to live on anymore. As a child living in NY, we had a very large recycling program and were taught at a young age how to sort the trash into true trash, compost, and recycling. At the end of the day, there’s very little trash left at all. When I moved to Ohio, I noticed that apartment complexes very rarely offered recycling services and while hubs can be found around the city, few are easily accessible. So people throw it all away – paper, plastic, food scraps, old furniture, old appliances – all into the large metal containers behind the complex. While I don’t yet have a plan for how to potentially change this habit, it horrifies me to realize that not everyone treats the planet the way that I was raised to. If this is how the majority treats it, it’s easy to understand how the planet is so endangered by the human race and that’s something to truly fear.

Bag of Marshmallows

I’ve always had a tendency of writing when I wasn’t in a happy place and turning to other sources of art when I felt good. My art tells an onlooker how I’m feeling, but only if you line it all up in order. That’s why I’ve never written a love song and many of my posts here are rather cynical – I’d rather unload my feelings into this empty space instead of letting them out somewhere or to something or someone tangible.

So I haven’t written anything lately. That should be good, right? That means that I’ve felt like I have it all together – friends, family, vet school, barn life. Honestly, I thought I did. This last Spring semester felt (in the loosest term that can be applied to vet school) relatively easy. My grades went up, I was social, I didn’t have a single panic attack. Had my anxiety finally gone? Well no, it doesn’t go away, but had I found a way to reign it in? I certainly felt much better. Until I realized I was mulling over these ideas while eating from a bag of marshmallows.

Let’s back up. I’ve always had a sweet tooth. I think it runs in my family. I’m the kind of girl who can demolish a row of Oreos, feel sick so I’ll drink some milk to settle the nausea, then dive into the second row. I’ve never been a skinny thing, though I have never felt the urge to call myself heavy, and I have always loved food, from making it to eating every last bite. However, I hate marshmallows. Unless they’re toasted over a piece of chocolate and a graham cracker or melting away to ooey gooey goodness over a cup of hot chocolate, I couldn’t care less for them. Yet here I was, eating them straight from the bag, their strange powdery outside soaking up my mouth and that unnatural dissolving sound as I chewed through them. Thinking about it makes my nose wrinkle.

So why was I eating this bag of marshmallows? Why had I eaten a bare piece of bread earlier? Why had I bought a biscotti with my coffee, chosen a bagel instead of yogurt, opted for chips instead of an apple? And when was the last time I went for a run? When I was at Delval, I would run every single day, sometimes multiple times a day, to avoid a panic attack and for any chance at sleep. When had I stopped needing that? And when had I gained 15 pounds? It wasn’t just yesterday.

So there it is. I had found a new habit. It could be worse – I could have taken up drugs or alcohol like some of my stressed-out friends. Some time in the last year I had started to feel my anxiety come on and reached for a doughnut instead of my running shoes, convincing myself it was a craving, and realizing that it felt pretty good and required a whole lot less sweating.  So each night if I had any hope at sleeping, I mindlessly dosed myself with a bolus of carbohydrates and simultaneously fell into a new routine. Subconsciously I realized that the butterflies in my stomach couldn’t flutter around if my stomach was full to the brim.

I’m making moves to change this, which is harder than I thought. Tonight I drove all the way to Ritas Water Ice just to turn around once I realized that I didn’t even want it, I just didn’t want to feel what I was feeling. And that made me panic even more. Isn’t that the punchline to every addict’s story? I can’t just quit food for good, it’s something we require, so how am I supposed to keep myself from eating until I’m numb? Planning helps, both mentally and physically. Choosing what I will eat and when helps keep me from snacking. And forcing myself back into an exercise routine helps, even though it’s hard after finding ways to cheat around it. Tonight I came home and pounded out a mile. I don’t need to exercise far to get the point across to my body, just hard. Drinking a lot of water helps because it gives me that full feeling without laying on the carbs. And writing helps, because apparently it’s a good idea to keep posting even when I think I’m feeling fine.

Insignificant Infuriating Incident

I haven’t written much lately and it’s only hurting myself. I love to write as a way of reflecting and organizing my feelings, or sometimes just to vent.

 

Tonight I am mad. My boyfriend lives with me now and it has been pretty smooth so far, but it’s easy when his friends are far away. One came to visit this weekend thinking he wants to come to OSU for grad school so of course he’s staying here. He’s my boyfriend’s best friend and I can’t stand him.

 

He’s not a bad person, I don’t have a strong reason for disliking him, but day one before I even said a word to him, my stomach turned against him. I secretly hoped he was just the roommate, but no – he was the best friend.

 

I’m very uncomfortable around him since he told me that by dating Jeff, I was taking away from his college experience and dampening his good time. He also made some comments about me taking Jeff away when he moved out here from Albany, NY. Clearly, I’ve been blackmailing Jeff and he has no choice in our relationship. Clearly.

 

But he is Jeff’s best friend and therefor I must play nice. So when Jeff wanted him to stay, I said yes, of course. When Jeff would be at work when said best friend came to town, I agreed to be home to meet him and take him to dinner. But at the end of the night he stayed at the bar while Jeff finished his shift and I went home to sleep. Until 1:30am that is.

 

Around this time, they came in loud and laughing and started playing music. I heard my neighbors waking up (the walls are paper thin). I listened to them criticize the artwork I had made and hung to surprise Jeff. And then I heard them take a drag.

 

I am 100% anti-tobacco. If you want to kill yourself on a cancer stick, please take it outside. After texting Jeff multiple times so as to avoid losing my cool in front of his friend, but receiving no reply, I got up and went to the kitchen. I quickly and sharply informed them they were loud, to take down the damn art if it’s that bad, and to please not smoke in my apartment.

 

They took it outside my door for and hour before returning, Jeff to our bedroom and best friend to the pullout couch. Best friend could be heard pulling a drag and coughing until Jeff told him to stop, only after I threatened to kill best friend before the cancer stick would. After the world’s shortest discussion, Jeff is now snoring and I’m still angry.

 

The most important thing to me is validation and if you tell me I have no right to be mad, I’m not getting what I need. So I’m writing to the Internet because I know you, those who make-up the Internet, will do a better job of dissecting and mulling over this insignificant infuriating incident than I can while laying here staring at the ceiling. It’s now 4:15am, I might as well get up and go for a run.

Welcome to Finals Week

Falling off of a horse is a lot like being pushed off of a ledge head-first into water. I don’t mean the falls where you just slip off of the side or get tossed straight up and then straight down again. I’m talking about diving head first over a jump into the sand on the arena floor. At first, there’s a moment of uncertainty and wondering what is happening, much like when your friend first shoves you towards the water. Next, your heart is in your throat, but not for long before your disoriented again, falling for what feels like days, unaware of where your extremities are and hoping that something breaks your fall other than your head. The only difference between falling off of a horse and falling into water is, of course, the landing. At first, it just loud. I personally always wear a helmet, so it’s a loud crack when I come in contact with the gravel footing. Your ears might ring, the world might spin, and for a moment nothing hurts. A jolt of energy might flow through you and you feel absolutely nothing as the adrenaline fills your body. But it doesn’t last long. No, it’s only a few moments before the ringing in your ears gets louder, the grit of the sand is noticed between your teeth, the sting of the burn on your elbows and ache of being dropped six feet. It sometimes feels like all of your bones racked together when you came in contact with the ground. Sometimes you want to vomit, the world is spinning so fast and the ringing in your ears is blocking out all of the other sounds. But as long as no bones are broken, your helmet isn’t cracked, and you can steady yourself enough to walk a straight line, you get back on.

Finding Me

There’s only about a month left in the first semester of vet school and it’s only just hitting me that I’m really here. I’ve never been one to boast, but my fear of appearing egocentric has led to never giving myself credit for what I’ve done. Good grades are expected, it’s what you’re supposed to do, so no reason to feel proud, right? Wrong.

I’m in vet school! I always dreamed of getting here and once I had, I never stopped to appreciate it, or appreciate myself. I have done some amazing things. I graduated from Delaware Valley University obtaining a bachelors degree in three years with a 3.8 GPA. I founded Colleges Against Cancer at that school where we hosted the first ever annual Relay for Life of Delaware Valley Univeristy raising $14,000 the first year and $16,000 the following year and receiving the Leaders of Hope award from the American Cancer Society. I participated in Student Government Board as secretary, I was the Vice President of Chemistry Club for two years, I was a shift manager at the Equestrian Center, and I maintained a part time job back home as a veterinary assistant. I was accepted into Mizzou, OSU, University of Florida, and Cornell with a wait list at Auburn. I completed a research project on white blood cell morphology alongside a professor whom I hope to stay in contact with for years to come.

I’ve never written it all out before, and I never want to make anyone feel uncomfortable by talking about it, so I often don’t. But it’s time that I start recognizing for myself what I’ve accomplished and letting myself feel proud. When I got here, it was a flurry of moving in and getting established in Columbus, plus learning about bones because we’re expected to have that prepared. I was quickly overwhelmed by the class work, the grades, the new people. And now, one month from the end of this first semester, I’ve looked up from my notes in the library and have noticed that there are gorgeous trees outside the building. There’s more to being here than pushing myself and getting lost in a sea of hematopoiesis and thoracic limb innervation. I’ve been given an opportunity to learn from some of the brightest, and it’s not about being the best, but rather doing my best.

I’ll never stop working hard or pushing myself, but it’s time to start appreciating what I’ve done and what I’m capable of. This may be the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but that doesn’t mean it has to be a bad experience.