Working Through the Weird

I’m a Weirdo

You are too. Heck, we’re all a little weird in our own ways. Usually it’s just goofy stuff that gets you laughed at in good humor. Like that time at the soccer game when I asked someone to get me a walkie-talkie, but only if it was an even number or thirty-three. When they asked why, I told them I didn’t like odd numbers unless it was 3, 7, 33 or a multiple of 5. The guy asked me if I was kidding, and when it was clear to him that it wasn’t, he just kind of stared in disbelief and told me I was weird. Thanks, buddy, because I didn’t already know that!

Now, my strange even number habits may have a little something to do with the OCD I was diagnosed with as a child and it may seem completely explainable to me, but to others, it’s just weird.

And that’s okay. THAT is just one of the many things that makes me who I am.

But Sometimes Life is Weird

Being “weird” and having quirks is okay. It makes you who you are and it makes life interesting. But sometimes, life is just weird. Sometimes things happen out of our control and we have to choose how we respond. We can either laugh at those things or we can walk away with our head down, embarrassed and discouraged. But it’s up to us.

Life is weird, and not always in ways that you can explain.

Sometimes you just feel “off”. Today is one of those days. So was yesterday. I woke up and I just felt weird. It’s not something that I can always place my finger on and sometimes it really bothers me, affecting my mindset and my mood. But it’s something that I’m learning to work through.

Working through the weird is new to me, but only because I am feeling these off days more strongly than I ever have before. I am more aware of them, I am more in-tune with my body and my mind, I am more conscious of how I live every day. So I’m taking these weird days and using them for good. I am using them to grow, learning as much about myself on these days as I can.

The Way I Feel

Why did I feel off yesterday? I woke up still tired after staying up too late reading (it’s a bad habit, probably why I can only read books in spurts – once I start a good, I don’t put it down until it’s finished). It was rainy and I wasn’t at home. I puttered around waiting for Lauren to get home, ate some oatmeal and got dressed. After I left, I sat in front of a coffee shop for five minutes and debated if I wanted to go in or not. I opted to swing by Starbucks and work from home. I wash’t in the mood to haul my backpack in, decide on a drink and sit at a table by myself all day.

So I got home, read a little, did some work, met up with Jodi for a hug and quick catch-up, read some more, worked out (also judging by my lack of energy and my increase in hunger, I believe PMS to be a major part of feeling “off”) and saw a movie with my sister.

Was I as productive as I should have been? Probably not. But I’m learning not to beat myself up over these days, because eventually, I won’t have days like these. Eventually, I’ll have a job that requires more than just a list of phone calls a week and I’ll be so busy that I’ll long for days of nothingness. So while I could (and often can) be depressed about where I am at in life, I remind myself that it is just a season and that when the next season comes, I may be longing for this one so I better enjoy it while it’s here. It’s all about living in the moment. Being ever present and in the Now. It’s still a very strange concept to me, but it’s crazy how effective it really is.

Choosing Happy

Help me, I’m dead.

I wish I was kidding. After an all-nighter driving I-70, a week of adventuring in the Rockies, a full day driving home and then another I-70 excursion to KC for the US Open Cup match in one day, I am dead. Sure, I’ve slept in until 10 and 11 all week (who even am I?!), but that hasn’t brought me back up to speed.

Today was the first day since Sunday that I’ve woken up before the double-digits hit the clock and I must admit that it was a rough start. And that’s coming from someone who prefers to be up before the sun… This morning was a struggle, physically, mentally and emotionally. I don’t know what my deal is lately, but my depression has hit an all-time high. However, I will not let it drag me down. I am more determined than ever to overcome the obstacles that are presently in my way and I will be damned if something as pitiful as depression deters me from the goals I have.

I am no longer a victim to depression or to fear. I am learning exactly what I want and what I am capable of. It’s taken me 25 years to figure it out, and now that I have, I will not be controlled by the things that don’t have my best interests at heart. I have dreams and I have goals and I will not be stopped.

Some days you just have to choose…

Some days are harder than others. Some days, it rains and I’m tired and all I want to do is curl up into a ball under my covers and sleep all day. But I don’t, not usually, anyway. Those are the days that I know if I succumb to my depression, I lose. Those are the days where it is the hardest, but it matters the most. It matters that I get up, get dressed and get things done.

Today, I woke up and just needed a hug. When my mom walked in, I cried and cried. I could go on about why, but it doesn’t matter. What matters is that I dried my tears and made it to my meeting at work on time. I’ve spent the past few hours sitting at a coffee shop accomplishing things for work and enjoying a coffee with my scone and biscotti (okay, so I’m also an emotional eater…). I’ve been watching the rain come down on this dreary day in Saint Louis and dreaming about the mountains, recognizing how I feel in this moment and realizing what I need to do to get me where I need and want to be.

Today is one of those days where you just have to choose, and today I choose to be happy.

Longing for the High Life

Life is hard. Being an adult is hard.

There are so many things they don’t tell you when you’re racing to grow up, like that being an adult involves paying bills, meeting deadlines and feeling like you’re constantly failing at life. There was so much I was unprepared for. There is still so much I am unprepared for.

I know it isn’t just me who feels this way, but I can’t help but look at some of my friends who seem to have it all together and always know what to do and feel like I completely missed that life lesson. What’s the best insurance? What’s a 401K? What things really matter when voting for a President? HOW DO YOU KNOW THESE THINGS? Like, did I miss something? Why am I unable to comprehend all these grown-up things that everyone else seemingly has the hang of?

Life is a struggle. It’s wanting a job that pays the bills, but not wanting to be confined by a 9-5. It’s wanting to move across the country, but not wanting to leave the people I love. It’s desiring to save, but not wanting to miss the chance to live.

So maybe it’s a struggle, but who’s to say that’s wrong?

I’ve done a lot and I’ve seen a lot these past few years. I’ve used Southwest airline credit to celebrate graduating college and Christmas with Sara in Philly. I’ve rappelled next to waterfalls in North Carolina on the way to drop my friend at an Army base in Virginia. I’ve crossed the ocean and solo-backpacked through Europe, losing and finding myself along the way. I’ve flown to Denver with Kayla only to end up spending a crazy, unforgettable night with new friends in Vail. I’ve sung all the way to Nashville with my tripod to tour the Grand Ole Opry and watch the Blues beat the Predators. I’ve road tripped with Lauren to see one of our favorite musicians play in a three different states while car sleeping in hotel parking lots and showering at gyms. I’ve taken a weekend trip to Jacksonville with a woman who was a second mother to me growing up. I’ve rode a school bus to Branson with my mom to turn around once we were home and leave for Milwaukee with her at 1am, detouring through Chicago for gluten-free donuts and the sunrise over Lake Michigan. And most recently, I threw caution to the wind and took an impromptu trip to Colorado with Liana to visit my favorite guys and climb mountains.

I’ve loved and I’ve lost two guys who, at their respectful times in my life, I thought could be “the one”. I’ve worked odd jobs, from waitressing to substitute teaching to managing a gym to selling tickets for a professional soccer team. I’ve even taken a summer off to counsel at summer camp and still keep in touch with the sweet preteen girls I had in my cabin.

After I pay my bills this week, I’ll have maybe $5 to my name. I live at home with my parents. I also have a car that isn’t only not aesthetically pleasing to look at, but is also on it’s last leg. Anyone who has struggled financially knows how awful the reality of all of this is.

But you know what? I am constantly reminded of the Lord’s goodness. He always knows just what I need and He provides. He never lets me go hungry or unclothed. I may not have everything I want, but I have everything I need (even if I cry to my mom today about not even having enough money to buy new socks to replace my hole-filled ones).

I have the most supportive parents in the entire world. They have not only allowed me to live at home rent-free during my post-college life adventure of “finding myself”, but they have supported me every step of the way, no matter if they thought I was making the right decision or not. I am truly blessed and humbled by the life they have created for our family.

Currently, I am sticking out the soccer season with the fantastic team I work for as I apply for full-time positions and look for housing near Vail. My desire is to move there for the Winter season and work at the resort, exploring mountains with the boys when we have days off and finding more of God in the stillness. In the past few years, in all the places I have been, it is the only place where I have felt at home, even more so than St. Louis itself at times. I know this is a step in the right direction. I have started and stopped more endeavors than I can explain, but I am determined to stick this one out. I am determined to struggle and claw my way to support myself in a state that holds my heart in order to learn and grow. It’s not something I’ve decided on a whim, it’s one that I have been toying with since January of last year and I am ready to throw caution to the wind, break free of my fear and GO.

I know who stands beside me, and I am not afraid.

Colorado Mountains, I-70 Eastbound

Colorado Mountains, I-70 Eastbound

Crashiversary.

Today marks two years.

Two years ago, I was involved in a major car accident. It was life altering for me. The other driver hit our suburban head-on. She didn’t survive the crash. Her two grandchildren in the car with her that day left with a lifetime of emotional distress, my mom couldn’t walk at all and I was fine, at least on the surface.

My mom stayed in the hospital for two weeks before being transferred to a rehabilitation center for another month. Those first two months, I hardly saw her. I couldn’t bring myself to see what had happened to my mom, all because I wanted to move some furniture that day. I felt guilty, for taking her mobility and for taking the life of another person. It has taken me two years, lots of guilt and months of therapy to realize there was nothing I could have done differently that day. We were simply in the wrong place at the wrong time. Even if I had persuaded her to help me that day, it still was an uncontrollable event.

In the past two years, I have suffered chronic knee, back and shoulder pain because of the impact. I have trouble concentrating and remembering due to a concussion from hitting the steering wheel. I have anxiety anytime another car gets too close or traffic suddenly stops.

 

It’s been two years, but I still have problems.

I spent today spending money. I went to my classes, sat through a CEO presentation for my internship, and then decided to stop by the mall. I received a settlement check from that accident just a few days ago. I have so far used it to pay off my college credit cards, a few remaining doctor’s bills and tuition fees from this semester at school. Today, I spent some on me. I bought a new iPad, went to the eye doctor for eye glasses and bought new makeup.  Things I wanted and things I really needed. I really debated the iPad at first, but I love it (I’m actually typing on it now!). It will be great for the rest of the semester, for work notes and for my travels. I’m happy with my decision.

But I do feel guilty. I think I kept wandering the mall today because I was both excited and sad. I was celebrating another year of recovery while doing my best to keep from crying over a lost life and a rough two years.

Walking around the mall with my mom tonight (who has to have surgery on her knee tomorrow, actually) was a perfect way to spend this “crashiversary”. I was spending time with the woman I was scared to death of losing – first to an accident and then to me pushing her away.

I can’t explain how I feel about everything, especially everything involving that accident. After it happened, I completely shut down. I shut everyone out and became so dispassionate about everything.  It had taken me two years to break through and finally see the happy-go-lucky, carefree girl I used to be shining through again. I’ve missed her, the person I was before that joy stealing day.

Looking back, I can’t help but be a little bit thankful. Thankful to a God who saves and heals and teaches. Thankful for the ability to walk and run and dance. Thankful to amazing friends and family who never gave up on me, even when i was so close to giving up on myself.

I value life so differently now. I look at it from a completely different perspective and I know what it is like to be truly blessed. Life is to be lived and loved and enjoyed. Always remember that.