Tag Archives: family

Trials, Tribs, and Trig

18 Aug

READY for school to start. School. University. Potato, potahto?

I had a near melt down this morning when financial worries all started piling together. By the first day of classes, it will have been six months of waiting for…. something. The waiting place is not a happy place. Or rather, it doesn’t start out a happy place. It’s very easy to get bogged down in thinking about the way you feel things ought to be, or should be.

Some background, that maybe I have not posted before, is that I already have a B.A. I actually managed to find a job related to a degree most people think relegates one to working in a coffee house. The job was “well-paying,” though I think most people would have rather slept in a ditch than accepted it.

The problem in the job came down to cultural breakdowns. Cultural expectations on both sides that were not stated, and were therefore never met.

Short story, I left. After five months. Granted, I tried to leave after three weeks into the position when, after a snow storm, it took me three hours to get to work (as opposed to forty minutes), I had a car wreck on the way in, and my employers didn’t give a shit. It’s not an exaggeration to say that that attitude was par for the course.

So, before my irregular heart beat (that started at that job) could develop into full blown arrhythmia, I left. As soon as I found another job. Working in a coffee house. Oh, karma.

I have a boatload of residual guilt. Guilt that I’m not fulfilling my potential, or my BA’s potential. Guilt that I was making decent money and left. That I’m living with my parents when I should be standing on my own two feet by now. This is what our culture and society says, isn’t it?

The question I have now, the guilt-ridden question, is whether overcoming my guilt means buying in to an entitlement mentality, even in a small way. Is it truly justifiable to claim recession as part of the reason my financial status sucks? Without going into too much detail, that is.

Maybe my problem is just too much self-flagellation?

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Orientation for Transfer Students

28 Jul

So.

Four months is probably plenty of time to go without a blog post, but really there was not much to say.

Okay, that’s not entirely true. Lots of things happened. Dad came home for nearly two weeks before shipping back to TX. Since shipping back to TX, he’s already gone to Amman, Jordan, and as of 5/31 has been in Baghdad, Iraq. There are probably things that could be said about his time over there. Obviously, none of what he tells me is confidential, but it’s not that exciting. Really.

He goes for weeks at a time with nothing happening. It’s very hot as a norm, about the same temperatures that are putting the US in a panic, though the reasons for both are understandable. His dog verges on overheating and has to take a rest. Dad remains bored and blissfully safe. For days.

Then in a matter of moments everything turns upside down for him. A bomb goes off somewhere a few hundred meters away and shrapnel is flying through the walls, taking out sheetrock and studs and he has left his kevlar helmet strapped to his backpack and by the time he gets it unclipped the warning is over. Yeah, that happened a few weeks ago. Stuff like that doesn’t make the news, because though Americans desensitize themselves to violence, they can’t handle this kind of news day in and day out.

Religion-wise I feel like I’ve gotten sunstroke; floating in a stagnant pond in some place comfortable until I can no longer function. Rather, I felt that way. I’ll let you think about that one.

I’ve been doing a lot of baking, a lot of running. The two are probably countering each other in some sort of polar chemical reaction. The last baking experiment was a chocolate cupcake with peanut butter, cream cheese frosting (it was actually quite good) and the last running venture was a five miler yesterday in 92F. Also quite good. I think I’m about 25% mentally committed to the idea of running the full Mercedes Marathon next February. This is a good thing.

Orientation for classes was today. I felt very good about the whole idea of class registration and meeting other students- confident, self-assured, but not snotty or arrogant. I had to tone it down a few times when asking questions to avoid the latter, though. It kind of stinks when the people leading a group discussion lead in such a way that doesn’t present confidence. Not to say that they aren’t comfortable with their position, but I don’t like feeling like I am overrunning someone when I am just giving a detailed question. And even writing that seems a little jerky.

UNA strikes me as a pretty conservative university, especially for a public uni. Normally, I consider myself a pretty conservative person as well. Taking those two facts into consideration, I feel like I am one of the more liberal people on the campus. Socially, that is. We’ll see.

This assumption is amusing because of all the new people I met today, and the new (hopefully) friends I made, the one to whom I best connected was a Buddhist lesbian. This is probably the last person I would socialize with if given a Venn Diagram. She, however, was quite lovely. We had a few good, emotionally-invested discussions. At lunch time, I almost started tearing up because of some experiences she shared with me about her family and the reason she, too, was returning to college. We’re going to be in the same college and even in the same program.

Relating this news with my mother was what jump started my blogging again. This stuff is too good to not record. It’s going to take some practice writing in an organized fashion again, which leads me to the next info dump.

My adviser, I must say, at this point, seems rather douchey. Of course, I’m coming from a previous college experience where professors were extremely supportive. When those previous-professors asserted that they were in their offices (literally and figuratively) for the students, they really meant it. On more than one occasion, some of them bent over backwards for me when it came to the inner workings of the college and getting paper work done. Letters of rec., etc.

Today, this would-be adviser consistently apologized for the nature of his own university- won’t speak on behalf of students to other professors for courses they need and was a little on the discouraging side even about graduate programs, specifically the PT system, going as far to promise that a percentage of us (half, perhaps?) will not make it into PT school. “It is a closed system. It is extremely competitive. If you don’t make it in the first year, or the second year, you need to realize you’re just not going to make it.”

I’m not arguing his points. I think anyone going for a doctorate-level program is going to encounter competition (har har). I’ve applied for very good masters programs before and been rejected on more than one occasion. I just expect a little more encouragement from an undergraduate adviser. Don’t borrow trouble. Don’t discourage your advisees before they’ve even started classes. That just sucks.

It makes me wonder about the level of scholastic achievement set as a standard by the university. The level of discouragement he gave, balanced with the practical tutelage of registering for classes, etc. made me think that he either doesn’t believe in the scholastic achievement of his students, he doesn’t believe in the scholastic achieving power of his own university, or he just doesn’t give a rat’s ass. Sorry, but if any of those are the case, please get the hell out of higher education.

Obviously, his manner rubbed me a bit of the wrong way.

Note to self, stop using the word “douchey” so much. It’s gross, and really doesn’t add to the conversation.

The Spirit of Giving and, Unrelated, the Cure for National Problems

17 Mar

Monday, Sandy and I were trying to get license plate renewal done for the year. Well, she was. Since I was still waiting on other dominoes to fall into place before I could make that step, I was pretty much along for the ride. On the way back to the house, she told me to let her know when I was ready to get all of the stuff done and she would write a blank check for me to do the process.

I was a little confused and wary. When I told her she didn’t have to she told me that Dad had been intending to anyway. I explained that they didn’t need to feel like they had to help me. She said they didn’t feel that way, they were just going to do it. It was really weird, and I was feeling particularly paranoid as I do whenever money issues come up. Just short of saying that I didn’t need the money or the help, I protested as much as I could about the offer. Because it WOULD have been helpful, even though I am not yet struggling for money, and I never asked for the help.

It’s weird how hard it is for me to accept help, even from family. I have to be in a pretty desperate situation. This pops up in my spiritual life at times, too, which is a topic for another time. Ironically, on the other hand, at times I have extremely high expectations of people. The scenarios for which my expectations and obstinate refusal manifest overlap, which adds to the confusion.

In this case, my paranoia was tingling because, maybe, it feels like if I take money from someone it will make me obligated to them in some way. It will allow them to have control over me. In reality, I think that “control” is only present when I become eaten up with guilt over accepting help in the first place. Like I owe that person something and they could ask it of me at any time.

I was thinking of something much more nebulous than this when we were still driving home when I channeled my other roommate Izzie, who was always counseling me to be less paranoid and afraid of such things. I asked myself, “What is the deal? Why IS it such a big deal?” This is cool because I’m not usually self-aware until the moment has passed. This time, though, I relented. I reminded myself that I did not ask for the help that was offered, and that it WOULD be helpful.

We were riding along, and I apologized for making a big deal about the situation and accepted her offer. She assured me that things were fine and the next day when my dominoes fell into place, she made good on it. I got my new car tag and title transfer courtesy of Sandy and Dad.

The other stray thought that occurred to me today was how awesome it is that I’ve been able to run and cycle so much. Day before yesterday I rode 7.5 miles around the area. Since I just started cycling regularly three weeks ago, this is pretty good! Yesterday I ran 3+ miles, upping my overall running time and recently I was running 8min miles, which is amazing and definitely PRish. Today I cycled 8 more miles. Even though I recently took a bad spill on the same bike, I’m really enjoying getting my heart going so much.

Afterwards, the thought that occurred to me was that if more people moved in with their family and spent the time they are unemployed not watching TV but out cycling or running or doing some kind of exercise, we’d have a few less problems in our country:
– less strain on government benefits
– less overall obesity in the country (which contributes to the above, as well, since people would not have to rely on so much healthcare!)

It was slightly facetious on my part, since I seriously doubt people would give up their independence on so many levels. It IS a good idea, though. It would work :)

Best Intentions

10 Mar

Sandy, my stepmother, called me this afternoon while I was at the library. This was after a series of text messages about where I was and if I was able to take a call. In hindsight this was pretty polite of her, but at the time I was slightly confused. I told her she could call, which she did, only to ask me whether I had heard of travel nursing or not.

Sandy had not heard of this profession and was very impressed by the hourly rate that an acquaintance’s daughter was making for a job in Connecticut. I listened patiently, thinking I understood where she was going with the discourse. Sure enough, after a minute of talking, she trailed off, wanting me to say something.

I thanked her, both for the information and for looking out for me.

The entire conversation was interesting in the sense that Sandy never calls me. We’ve spoken on the phone at times when I’ve called my dad. I’ve called her at times, when we’re low on garbage bags, when it’s her birthday, etc. She does not call me. As soon as she was done talking about the travel nurse job, that was it. We both got off the phone.

This follows on the heels of my uncle suggesting (perhaps also trying to be helpful) that I attend a two-year college for a physical therapy degree. Besides the fact that you can’t get such a degree in two years, why are people who have little to nothing invested in my life be pushing for me to settle for something so… small?

It was annoying, I admit, since I’ve told her and my father both that I’m going back to school in the first place for physical therapy. I don’t want to be a traveling nurse. I don’t want to stray from the path that I have decided. It took several months of prayer, meditation, and counseling (AKA serious consideration) to make this move at all. To change my mind for a different occupation, even if it is in the same location, feels like betraying myself and the work that I have already put into this journey. Too many people in my generation are wishy-washy and I don’t want to be one of them.

I was talking to my former roommate last night who suggested I create a timeline for them; something to give them some comfort should they start to feel antsy about the amount of time I’m staying in their house. I did not think I had been ambiguous about it, but it’s possible. It’s not a bad idea, a clear timeline. I will prepare one, but I also live in a family whose motto is “Si suus dog noli id reficere.” Until they ask, I will keep the information to myself.

Genesis

7 Mar

I’ve had mixed feelings about starting a new blog.  I have a journal that hasn’t been touched in more than a year now, given up in favor of personal journaling.  There’s also a food blog that seems like a needle in a haystack- also neglected for about six months (though to be fair, it’s hard to get movement for a food blog when one doesn’t have stellar pictures, and I don’t even have a camera.)

The main heel-dragger that keeps holding me back is a feeling of obligation.  If I start writing this thing, I’ll feel obligated to commit to a kind of schedule.  Successful blogs I follow update at least weekly, sometimes more often.  I have ideas a plenty right now, but even they aren’t self-sustaining.  Or are they?

It only takes a trip downstairs where my father is alternating between reinstalling baseboards around the living room and listening to Rush Limbaugh to make the motivation come flying back, begging for Valium.  Mr. Limbaugh isn’t even the problem.  He has plenty of ideas I don’t agree with, and a reputation that makes me hesitate to even attempt to listen to his program.  The problem is my father making comments like, “One day you’ll listen to [him,]” so very amusedly, as if my demographic is on a perfect trajectory to become the next audience.  It probably would not be so amusing to point out that by the time I am his age, Mr. Limbaugh will probably be dead.

So what is this all about?  What are the factors that make me vacillate between commitment and fleeing?

The story begins over a decade ago, but I’m going to start closer to present day.  Recently (less than two weeks ago,) I moved home to live with my parents.  Well, not to live with them.  As anyone (I hope) who has ever made this move will tell you, no one does this for the amusement of it.  It’s a means to an end.  The end for me is a return to college, or even more specifically, as little debt as possible after the duration of this return.

I’m twenty-six years old, and I already have a four-year degree (as well as the student debt I garnered in pursuit of it) from a little-known liberal arts college.  I was born, raised, and currently live in the Southeastern United States, but I spent the past three years living in the Midwest.  It’s the beginning of March and every time I step outside I’m sure that we’re halfway through summer already.  This is not hyperbole.  More provoking than the weather are the conflicting feelings I have with what seems like every scenario I encounter.  At one moment I am comforted by the genuine warmth of new friends and family, more forward than anywhere else I have visited, while the next feeling awkward about racial tension and supremely conservative political leanings.

I have lived abroad and am very familiar with the experiences of integration, culture shock, reintegration, and reverse culture shock, so I know the framework for the cognitive dissonance I’m feeling.  That does not necessarily mean that any of these experiences are going to be easier for the foreknowledge.

The purpose of blogging is three-fold.  One, I process my thoughts and feelings best in written format.  Two, I don’t have a lot of friends here with whom I am close, and I don’t talk on the phone a lot.  Three, I feel like there are others in the world who have either gone through this experience or one day will, and I want to be able to give them resources or understanding about what they have gone, are going, or will go through.

It promises to be an interesting journey.  Interesting.  However, I’m committed to it to the end, and the incredible opportunity for growth that is before me.  If you feel inclined, please join me.