Tomorrow.

In the midst of writing papers, formulating teaching projects, learning the ins and out of IV tubing, and the endless grind that is studying, I’ve come to realize something. My elusive someday is about to arrive. You see, after three and a half years of slogging through endless schoolwork, thinking about “someday” when I’ll be able to be an actual person, I’m nearing the end. I see the light at the end of the tunnel, and I’m hoping that it’s not a train.

College was hard. It’s where I realized that I wasn’t nearly as special or smart or talented as I thought. It’s where I first experienced real loneliness and rock-bottom, clinical depression. It’s the years my grandpa died, my memere followed, and my family fell to pieces. It’s where I learned that my joints were wrong and they would never be right. It’s where I traded in some of my idealism and optimism for a heavy dose of cynicism and anger. It’s where I had to fight against the nay-sayers who told me over and over that I had no business being a nurse. It’s when I ended  a relationship with one of the very best friends I ever had, leaving a gap that I still can’t quite fill. It’s where I learned that keeping my mouth shut and retreating into a quiet world is the best way to stay alive.

Needless to say, college was rough. But I’m 24 days out from graduation. I potentially have my dream job lined up. I have been cleared to graduate, if I pass my last classes. I just got my first car, and scheduled my appointment to get contacts so I can finally feel like a normal person. My family is all in one place for the first time in years, and I think I’ve finally met some friends that I can trust to be there for me. I may have even found a church with like-minded people.

But I’m scared. I’ve been beaten down for so long, I’m worried that I’ll get right up to Someday, and it’ll slip away again. I’d like to believe that all my hard work is about to pay off, but I’m terrified that it’ll be snatched away, and I’ll have to linger in disappointment for another indefinite amount of time. I did what I had to do to get through school – I ignored people, I always put my schoolwork in front of everything, and when people needed help, I hid, afraid to share my time and compromise the time that I had set aside for school. I’ve been selfish. And with all that, I certainly don’t think that I deserve a a boatload of good.

I’ve been stuck in a holding pattern. I know, I know, I should have made the most of life in right that moment, but school overshadowed everything, leaving me forever exhausted and so stressed out that my last blood pressure read 143/95 (That’s pretty high, by the way.) I want real life to start. I want to help people. I want life to be beautiful again. I want to regain my optimism. I want to like people again. I want my health back.  I want to find joy again.

Is that too much to ask?

I hope Someday really is right around the corner.

Why I will forever be single.

I have been in one relationship in my entire life, and it ended after three years when I realized that he simply wasn’t the man that I wanted to marry. Was there more to it than that? Yeah, but that all is besides the point. The point is, for the first time in my life, I am in a place where I can date. There are people of all kind, not just the mere 20 I went to highschool with (it was a small Christian school). But I’ve found an unfortunate thing.

See, I’m waiting until I’m married to sleep with anyone. Part of it is my old-fashioned morals, part of it is a desire to avoid disease and an accidental pregnancy, and part of it is a bit of hopeless romantic in me that wants to wait for my one true love. Sounds good right?

Apparently not. I was in a brief, uh, thing? with a guy for a couple of weeks, and it seemed great. I liked him, he liked me, we had a lot of common and our dates were really fun. And then I dropped that bomb on him, and he completely wrote me off. Sure, he still texts and said he wants to be friends, but the message was clear: if you are in a relationship, you owe the other person your body. And if you are unwilling to do that, they will move on to someone who is.

Granted, I could go to church and find a nice church boy, but I know from experience that they push the limits too, and generally, they aren’t very interesting or manly.

If that is what people expect out of relationships nowadays, fine, do what you will. I really don’t care, but I don’t want to be involved in it. But it’s terribly disheartening to know that it doesn’t matter how smart or funny or pretty or successful or interesting I am – if I don’t put out, I’m out.

I hope some guy appreciates me someday. I think I’ve got a lot going for me – I’ve mastered all the domestic arts, I have a college education in the nursing profession, I dabble in a range of interests, and can be happy inside or out. I play music, ride bikes, cooks delicious things, take photographs, grow plants, ride dirtbikes, and know how to do my hair effectively. Yet, no one seems interested.

Ah well. I guess my person is just going to turn out to be five cats.

Laughter.

Laughter is good for the soul, you know? I think I’m going to end up living until about 130 years old because I laugh so much. Also, in a conversation with a friend, I realized that I never outgrew my overwhelming propension for doing stupid things that crack me up.

For instance, Today, knowing that one roommate was gone and another was going to be asleep for another couple of hours, I made it a point to sit on all the furniture in the house incorrectly, and only stopped when the combination of flopped over an armrest and laughing started to hurt.

A couple of days ago, I “broke up” with a guy I had been casually seeing because of irreconcilable differences, but I miss him. So when a song called, “Falling in Love at a Coffee Shop” came up on the radio (we had met at a coffeehouse), I actually threw my phone at the television. Luckily, I realized this was crazy and slowed the throw just before it left my hand, so my phone just kind of fell on the floor. And that cracked me up. So pathetic.

I was bussing at the restaurant I work at last night, and found out that I could sneak out the back door with dishes and run up the side alley to put them away without any customers seeing me. The wait staff did, and probably wondered what kind of crazy their boss hired this time, but I was enjoying myself.

I bought brake cables to fix my bicycle’s back brakes, which have been out of commission for several months now, but I like looking at the way they are wrapped up like a fancy bracelet too much to actually use them for their intended purpose.

And finally, my coffee maker thing messed up and dumped nearly all the grounds in my cup of coffee this morning, something that I did not notice until I did, in fact, swallow an entire mouthful of coffee grounds. I’m pretty sure I’m hearing colors right now.

My life is amusing.

Couch potato lifestyle.

First off, I could never be an actual couch potato – I don’t own a couch and I am in fact a human bean. So, that is out….

But in all seriousness, I just spent my entire measly paycheck on various medical supplies to offset my most recent bicycle crash, the pain that comes with logging 80 miles (!) in one week, and the arthritis like pain developing in my wrists and fingers due to excessive and hard restaurant work. If I were to lead a more sedentary lifestyle, I would probably be in less pain and would be more wealthy… but I would I be richer? What a lame life!

I’m really, really, REALLY glad that I can ride my bike and work such a stressful job and still be, for the most part, okay. I’m even more glad for days off to relax and let my body rest and heal.

You know is frustrating, though? I have a legitimate excuse to be a couch potato – I have a syndrome, and I still do things, regardless of the pain. Lots of people, many in my friend circle included, don’t have any problems except laziness, yet they refuse to capitalize on the fact that they, a. have strong healthy bodies, or b. could potentially have a strong, healthy body with a little work. ARGH. It frustrates me.

Anyways…. I gotta go chill. I’m going to gymnastics tonight.

Biking.

Somehow in the jumbled mess that is finals week, I managed to secure a job. Now, I have applied for tons of jobs and and off campus, and never seem to get any luck, so I broadened my scope and agreed to a job in Ann Arbor when it was offered. (Okay, I jumped enthusiastically and thanked the girl a million+ times. Agreed is a major understatement.)

So, we fast forward to Tuesday night, when the last table had been bussed, the restaurant was cleaned, and I had no more people to host. I headed over to the bus station and a feeling of dread creeped over me. The buses ran until about 11:30, which was fine on the weekdays, but on the weekends, they stop running at 6, leaving me stranded in Ann Arbor.

Here’s where another bit comes in – I don’t have a car. I don’t have money for a car. If I had money for a car, I wouldn’t have money for insurance and gasoline. IF I blah, blah, blah, you get it. And the thought of continually begging/mooching rides off my friends at 10:00 a night is an awful, terrible, no-good, very bad idea in my hyper-independent mind.

But I have a bike.

A janky bike, but a bike nonetheless. The back brakes don’t work well, and the seat will occasionally drop, leaving you hovering in mid-air and startled. It doesn’t change gears very well, and it’s sized for a thirteen year old, not a twenty year old with long legs. It’s banged up and scratched and dented because I crash frequently occasionally. But I love that it goes over bumps like they aren’t even a problem, and I can crunch down and put everything I’ve got into pedaling.

There is a link between Ann Arbor and Ypsilanti called the Border-2-Border trail, a hiking/biking/running/walking trail that will eventually go all the way across Washtenaw county. However, there is enough of it completed to get me from my home to Ann Arbor without ever having to go on a road or a potentially dangerous spot. So when my dear friend suggested that we bike to Ann Arbor because we had no more school and were young and wild and free, I agreed.

22 miles later, we pulled into our friend’s house to use his foam roller and other muscle-stuff and discuss our journey. We made it! And then we explored. And then we checked out the four mile loop around the rowing team’s section of the river, and pet little dachshunds out for a stroll. And then we headed back, which is when we started to realize that this may be too much for one girl running on 3 hours of sleep, and another girl with a stupid syndrome. With the cry of  “This is the second hardest part!” at every hardest part, we made it, the wind to our faces in both directions.

So, when public transportation and personal transportation fails, I will have my bike. I’ve already gotten some cracks about how Ill probably just crash, or how a daily 9 mile bike ride is too much, but really, there is no other option. I’m serious about this. Heck, I even got a bike helmet! (It’s blue! And looks incredibly stupid in the manner of bike helmets that are incredibly stupid)

You know what the best part about all this was? No pain. As of this year, I have been in pain every single day. My jaw. My hips. My knees. My fingers. My joints always hurts and they never get better… but a couple miles in, the pain transferred to my muscles and stayed there. I felt normal, like I could accomplish things, or be athletic, or not be held back by old person limitations. And the only thing that hurts today is the scrape from falling over a curb, the bruise from smacking a tree, the other bruising from catching my seat lever, the…..

Ahem. This summer will be a grand adventure that will leave me dead or with excellently developed leg muscles. Let’s hope for option #2, shall we?

Weirdness.

Lasst night I was asked out by a very attractive man. I almost considered his invite, and then he informed me that he has a fiancee who has a boyfriend, but, “they won’t mind.”

Wat?

Also, a very old Russian man told me I was, “very charming”, but in a Russian accent, of course.

I attract strange men. And now I have to study because finals start next week.

Fearless music!

Why are people so timid about music? I mean, people generally pick a genre that they like and then never explore anything outside of it, and that’s really sad.

But what is even more sad is when you find a great, but out there kind of band, and no one will listen to it because fast and furious rock opera music based off a 1980s video game is not there thing. (The Protomen are actually excellent, by the way)

For instance, I have recently been introduced to something called “chiptunes”. There remixers take 8 bit sound effects and work them into electronic dance music sounds. Although a lot of it is just noise, some of it it really excellent and worth listening too. I mean, at least there is some sense of creativity involved, right?

People like to throw around words like, “hipster”, and “arrogant”, and “music snob”, when they talk to me, but really, I just love music that is musically good and lyrically creative. I don’t want to hear any more dongs about one night stand and drinking lots of booze and that one perfect person that made your life complete.

I get scoffed at for my great love of owl city, but if you can get past the girly voice, his lyrics are interesting. They’re clever. He weaves worn metaphors and sayings into something fresh and new. His music sometimes follows the basic C-G-Am-F progression, but sometimes he throws you for a loop, and its great.

Or Andrew Bird! I mean, the guy doesn’t even have a genre because he’s so unique. And his lyrics sound like nonsense, until you listen to them over and over and over and realize that he is actually addressing deep and worrisome issues that people are faced with everyday.

I’m sure that most mainstream musicians love what they do and sing what they mean… but it’s lame. And it’s dumb. And…..it’s dumb. And it’s lame.

So, go listen to something new. Try a rock opera, or chiptunes. Look up OverClocked Remix, and then turn on some 80s alternative rock. Maybe some whispered indie folk pop like Iron & Wine, Noah & the whale, or Sea Wolf? Oh, and Andrew Bird. Lots of Andrew Bird.

Life

I should be studying. I should always be studying. But I’m writing out thoughts while enjoying this lovely spring weather.

I’m at a weird point in my life. I recently found that my numerous joint troubles and other vague somatic complaints can be summed up in a single syndrome: Hypermobility Joint Syndrome. Basically, the connective tissue necessary to hold my joint in their sockets is almost non-existent and weak, and my muscles are then being joint holder-inners and muscles, so when they wear out… my joint dislocate. In addition to weak joints, people with HJS are always cold, always clumsy, and are at risk for a whole slew of scary things like chronic pain, early-onset arthritis, and mitral valve prolapse.

I’m not allowed to run anymore, which has unfortunately killed my dreams of racing Usain Bolt someday, and becoming the ultramarathon queen of America. Darn. But I can weight train to make my joints stronger, and then maybe I’ll be able to survive without handfuls of pain pills or a wheel chair.

I realize that there are significantly worse things that could happen to me, but it still sucks to know that at 20 years old, I have limitations that will never, never, ever go away. And I have to work harder than the average person to reach a level of functioning of an average person.

All right. I’m done feeling sorry for myself in that regards. At least it’s not cancer, yeah?

Recently, I reached the six month point of a terrible breakup, and it’s got me pretty down. I acknowledged that fact by reading a bunch of old letters, and it was heart-rending and I regretted it. I am daily haunted by by the guilt of how I dragged the break-up out by never giving him a straight answer. I just hope that the poor way I handled things never turns him off to the idea of love, because someday, someone will cherish him.

But as for me, I don’t attract men. Only women. And the occasional autistic man (he asked me out on a date. I said no. It was awkward), and everytime I think that maybe I’m liking the idea of dating again, I am held back by the thought that I may break someone’ heart again. My own sadness and disappointment and hurt I can handle… when I cause someone else’s, I just.. I just can’t. And since my future hopefully holds a several trips with Doctor’s Without Borders, I don’t think any kind of relationship would be a good idea. It would involve being away for nine months at a time with no leave, and I can’t bear to make someone wait for me again.

Sometimes I hate my ex. I was not touchy and pleased to be that way, and he changed that. Now I find myself craving physical touch, and there is no where or one I can go to for it. I think that the Song of Solomon had it right when it said, “Do not arouse or awake love until it so desires”, because the lack of it in my life has left an achingly vacant hole that keeps me up at night. Granted, I don’t regret any of the time I spent with him. Our relationship was a beautiful, lovely thing that I look back on fondly, but I wish that my physical desires had been kept under wraps in order to spare me this awful need now…

I sure hope God knew what He was doing with that scenario, and I certainly hope He is making it better for Jonathan too.

A Sermon I Actually Listened Too.

Let’s be honest, here, shall we?

After nearly 20 years of being in the church Sunday, Wednesday, and attending Bible school classes Monday through Friday, I’ve heard most of the sermons and I’ve know the Bible. Sounds cocky, but, eh. Eventually pastors all seem to repeat the same sermons anyways.

So when a sermon genuinely catches my attention, I like to share. And what Eric shared on Thursday, Valentine’s Day no less, was really excellent. He talked about relationships.

Gasp!

But not in the typical Christian fashion that seems to either play singleness up too much (Ahhhh! All for God with no evil woman distracting you from everything ever!) or, very pro-marriage (Find a godly man/woman and be Godly together and don’t do this, this, this, and this until you are married.)

He very simply stated that until we find our calling from God and begin to follow it, being in a relationship is useless. There is no one out there who can actually complete us, and adhere to that belief will leave you lost and lonely. He talked about how he and his wife both were working in campus ministries when they met, something that they had both felt called too… and after nearly 15 years of marriage, they still work with campus ministries, side by side.

He stressed that one does not simply pick up someone else’s ministry. You don’t date a missionary and then decided that you’ll become a missionary too because they are…. you do your ministry until you find someone, and then theirs and yours become ours. It was eloquently delivered, and gratefully received. And frankly, until I figure out where I my place is in the world, I have no business dragging someone else in the mix.

Be called first.

Hope Rising

Tuesday night I got back from clinicals utterly exhausted, having no sympathy or any part of myself left to give.Two solid weeks of depression had rendered me able to get through the day and only to get through the day.

I had been formulating plans.Since no one seemed to care about me, I would isolate myself. Move to Colorado. Never have friends again. No, I would join an organization that would station me in a far away country, and I would use me services to change the world. Alone. Because frankly, it would be easier to never have friends than to deal with the disappointment of having no one when you needed them most.

I got home late, and realizing it was Fat Tuesday and I had yet to eat anything deep-fried, jelly-filled, or otherwise delivered straight from the pearly gates, I started yelling that a late night trip to Dom’s was in order. My roommate and potential future roommate acquiesced. Wait, wat? People cared?

Anyways, about 11 at night is when the Hipsters and the Christians invade Dom’s, so crushed between irony and childlike faith, we feasted on way too many delightful treats, and then proceeded home.

I woke up happy. Gone. Like I had never had any sad thing in my life ever. I forgave everyone who forgot about me, and started planning ways to get together with people. I got out of bed and got things done. I went about my life with a new lease on things. Then…. Valentine’s Day happened.

And you know what? I was still happy. Emptiness and the complete vacancy of happiness in my life taught this eternal optimist not to take happiness for granted. I have friends. I have know what romantic love was. I have a good life. My friends did care, and I got to eat chocolate.

It’s Friday, and I’m still happy. Cleaning the kitchen brought me joy, knowing that it would make my roommates happy, and would be a lovely place for me to be. When a friend who failed to be there for me needed someone to talk to, I was thrilled to help out.

Oh, and today I saw a vaginal birth. Holy eff, Batman. It was intense. I still think I can have kids someday, but, wow. It was a magnificent display of courage and strength on this mom’s behalf. I was utterly impressed. It made me change my mind about moving away and never associating with anyone ever… It would be hard to ever have children if I never had a husband ’cause I was afraid of disappointment, yah know?