Sunday, April 29, 2012

They're coming to get you, Barbara!

Guess who's about to start training for a 5k! Now, I have a strict policy on running. My policy is that the ONLY reason to run, is if you're being zombies. "So, why are you training for a 5k then?" Because I've found a 5k that PROVIDES the zombies. Oh yes. I said it. I'm going to run a race where I will be chased by zombies. There's also an obstacle course that includes lots of mud, water and maybe a little blood for good measure.

A few days ago, my friend posted a link on her facebook to the "Run for your lives" website. They have races all over the country. They are awesome. My brother in law has already agreed to run the race with me. His wife (my sister) is bringing my nephew to watch us run for our lives. The whole family is pumped. 

This race is perfect for me. It's not a "straight down the road" race. This is a run through the woods, dodging zombies, getting dirty, doesn't matter who wins, just don't get "infected" practice apocalypse. Part horror movie, part old school playtime, this race is my dream come true. 

From what I understand, you get flags to wear around your waist. Just like in flag football, the "zombies" objective is to take your flag. If you lose your flags during the race, you become "infected." You still get to run the race, you still get a prize. But we all know the race isn't about prizes. It's about surviving. 

I haven't been this pumped to exercise since....Well, probably ever. I hate working out. I have always wanted to find some sort of exercise that can get me moving without making me realize I'm working out. I think I've found my sport. I can't wait for this race. 

Bring on the apocalypse! 

Saturday, April 28, 2012

Oh mom...

Several months ago, I went through one of the most difficult and frightening days of my life.

I was sitting at a stoplight. It was mid-day and I had just gotten my car inspected and the oil changed. Sitting at the light, I took a drink of my Dr. Pepper. I slightly turned to put the can in the cup holder. As I turned back, I glanced in my rear-view mirror. That's when I saw the jeep behind me start to jolt forward. A durango had come over the hill, and didn't slow down for the light. Before I knew what was happening, I saw the durango push the jeep out of the way and slam into me. I couldn't do anything. I was blocked in on all sides, there was no where for me to avoid being hit. As the durango slammed into my mini cooper, I spit my Dr. Pepper all over myself and the steering wheel. I sat for a few seconds in shock.

Skip forward 20 minutes and I'm sitting on the sidewalk trying not to move as a cop is asking me what happened. I'm calm. I can handle this. But I can't. Because I see it in my mind. I play it in my mind as I recall that accident. But every time I see the durango in my mind, I see it coming for me, and I feel that fear. The fear that says, "I won't walk away from this." I can't stop the tears. Everytime I try to recall what happened, I start to cry. The ambulance shows up. They put me on the backboard, and I'm calm. I have to be calm. And I am. Until they ask what happened. Then, I'm crying again. In the ambulance, I hear the radio, I hear the monitors, I hear the emts talking. I want to close my eyes, but I can't. Because everytime I do, I see it and start crying again.

I'm wheeled through the er. Nurses ask me questions. "What's your name? What year is it?" I'm calm. Until they ask me what happened. And I'm crying again. I'm scared. I shouldn't be going through this alone. "What's your social security number?" I know this. How many times have I had to know it from memory? But I can't remember it. The numbers get jumbled and I can't figure out the right combination.

I'm in the waiting room, watching for my sister to pick me up. There she is, and for a few minutes, I'm going to be ok. Seeing her there, I can be calm. I'm not seriously injured. I'm joking about being covered in Dr. Pepper.  We get to the house, and she wants to come in.

My mother has just had surgery a few weeks before. She's laying on the couch in serious pain. Before I can even gather my head, she's laying face down on the bathroom floor. She's in and out of consciousness and barely breathing. I'm sitting in the hall terrified that I'm watching my mom die right in front of me and there's nothing I can do. The ambulance is on the way, but I'm so scared they won't make it in time.

My sister is better at dealing with emergencies than I am. Most people are. I never know what to do. "Get a cold rag." I would never think of that on my own. She's instructing me to do things. I know that if I were here in this situation alone, I would have no idea what to do. I would collapse in the hallway and watch my mother die. Not because I want to. I'm petrified in this situation. I freeze. I don't know how to be comforting. I don't know how to think. I shut down. My fear takes hold and I'm powerless against it.

Hours later, we are all surrounding my mom in her hospital room. She's awake and asleep. The machine beeps...beeps....beeps...Then, it sounds like an alarm is going off. I stop breathing. This machine "alarms" every few minutes. But I can't handle this alarm. Because everytime it goes off, I think my mom is dead. And I start crying again. I'm crying silently until my aunt notices. She hugs me, and I lose it. Nothing anyone could say would make me feel better. I need air.

Sitting outside of the hospital, it's a pretty day out. Not too hot, not too cold. The sun is shinning. The wind is blowing. It dries my eyes and gives me something to focus on. But sooner or later, I'll have to go back into that hospital room. Eventually, I do. More siblings have arrived. My sister is having contractions, but it's just dehydration.

The night ends with all of us heading home. My mom still in the hospital. She had internal bleeding, but it stopped. I breathe a sigh, knowing she's going to make it through the night.

Even now, everytime I think about that day, I cry. It's probably the most terrified I've ever been about something "real." This wasn't unnatural anxieties. This wasn't monsters under the bed. To this day, I'm still terrified.

Something that struck me that day is how alone I felt. In the ambulance, in the er, in the hallway, in the hospital, I felt as if I was standing against hell on my own. I don't manage trauma well. I internalize everything. I refuse to burden others with my emotions or fears. But at the same time, I'm unable to hold it together. I can't function and figure things out logically. I need time to process everything.

I will not cry in front of anyone if I can help it. I remember feeling weak because it seemed like all I COULD do that day was cry. I'll never forgive myself for losing it that day. I'll never forgive myself for failing to keep it together. I'll never be able to repay my sister for being strong and carrying the world for me that day.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

I'm not what I've become...

Today, I'm dealing with a feeling that I experience a lot of. I don't often talk about it, especially with people outside of a close group of friends and family. Over the years, this issue has been a large problem in my life.

I have anxiety. The anxiety that I feel varies on a day to day basis, but it is always a struggle to overcome.

I began to realize my anxiety was becoming a severe issue several years ago. I was in my early 20's and had otherwise been a normal, well adjusted "adult." I had never really noticed how bad my anxiety was getting until I chose to go to a concert alone. This was something I had done in the past from time to time. Most of my close friends were away at college and couldn't come into town for random shows.  I went in, sat down in a random bar chair, and waited for the show to start. Once it did, I wanted to get closer to the stage, but my anxiety held me back. I felt like, if I got up and moved, people would look at me and judge me. Instead of being judged, I chose to stay where I was at.

A few months later, I was going to visit a friend in Chicago. A small group of us were going. I was pumped to see my friend and explore Chicago. Only one problem: I had never flown. The night before our flight, I couldn't sleep. I wasn't worried that our plan would crash. I wasn't worried about terrorists. I was absolutely terrified that the plan would take off, and I would freak out for no reason. Obviously, this is not a normal fear to have. When we arrived at the airport that morning, I was in a panic. Waiting in line to check in, I could feel my heart pounding. It got so bad, I actually considered getting out of line, calling my dad to come pick me up, and skipping my trip to Chicago. If my friends hadn't been there with me, I would have. But I didn't want to look like a chicken, so I stuck it out. Turns out, I love to fly, Chicago is a great city, and I had tons of fun visiting my friend.

That was a turning point for me. I had to get help and figure out a way to deal with my issues. I won't go into all that went into figuring things out. That's a post for another day. You may be wondering if my anxiety is as bad today as it was back then. The only answer I can really give is that I have to take each day as it comes. Most days, the anxiety is minimal and I can handle it pretty easily. I've learned that keeping to a routine and being able to know what is going on beforehand is probably what gets me through most days.

That last part is why I am having anxiety today. In my last post, I talked about my new job. Starting a new job is stressful, especially when it deals with two things that give me the most anxiety: the public and phones. What is it about dealing with the public and phones gives me anxiety? Simply put, everything. One thing I loved about my old job was that I didn't have to deal with customers. If I screwed up, my boss dealt with me. But when you work with the public, there are times when they yell at you. Sometimes, they ask questions that you don't know the answer to. It's a whole multitude of unknowns that terrify me.

Phones terrify me because of the same unknowns. When it rings, my heart starts to race, my palms get sweaty, my lungs tighten and my face begins to flush. Who is calling? What will they want? What if I accidentally hang up on them or give them the wrong answer? What if I can't hear them clearly? Right now, my palms are sweaty just thinking about this. These fears don't just hold true for work phones. Those closest to me know that if they want to get a hold of me, they need to text me. If my cell phone rings, I won't answer it. It doesn't matter if it's my best friend or my mom. I will send it to voice-mail. There are exceptions to the rules. I am getting better about answering the phone when it's someone close to me.

So, how am I dealing with the new job, knowing I can't avoid two of my biggest anxiety triggers? A huge part of this is reminding myself that if I can't wrangle my fears on a simple job, I'll never be able to move to the other side of the world. It helps by just making me suck it up and do it, but the stress is still there. The night I had my first training session, I was a basket-case in the car. I walked in and could barely speak. After I got a little more used to the women that were training me, I began to joke with them. I got called in to work for tonight. It's supposed to be pretty busy and they needed a little extra help. My stomach is wiggly and I've been feeling pretty nervous all day. I know that once I'm there a while, I'll be fine. Mostly, just getting myself there is the hardest part.

In my day to day life, I end up forcing myself to do things I don't want to do in order to live a somewhat normal life. When people first meet me, I don't come off as having anxiety. I might seem a little shy or reserved at first, but I'm usually pretty personable. I find it pretty easy to joke and laugh with people I've just met.

I have big dreams and goals of traveling and owning my own business. I'm covered in tattoos and I change my hair color or style more than most people change their sheets. Sometimes, I don't understand how I'm able to tackle these things with ease, yet can't do simple things without a mini-meltdown. Will I ever be able to just jump into situations without the fear? I can't answer that. All I really know is that I won't let my anxiety hold me back from the things I truly want. Life is for living and even though that's a struggle sometimes, I plan on living as much as I can.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Work Work Work...

Well, it's official. I am earning a paycheck again. A little over a month ago, I put in a job application to work at a great restaurant in town. I finally heard back from them about 3 weeks later. After 2 interviews, I got the call that I was hired! I went to orientation earlier this week. There were two other girls there, both new servers. I am one of two new hostesses. During orientation, we were informed that over 30 people had applied recently, and we were the only ones to make it through the interviews. I had my first training session last night, and I think I did pretty well. It was SUPER busy due to a concert down the street. The hostess training me said it felt more like an average Friday night instead of a Tuesday night. After about an hour, I was seating people on my own, wiping down tables and answering the phone. I've got two more training sessions this week before I'm cut loose to work on my own! It makes me nervous, but also excited. My co-workers seem pretty nice, especially the hostesses that trained me. So, I'm a little more comfortable than I was before I started training.

On top of that, the semester is only a few weeks from being over! I'm so excited for summer. I love school, but I am ready for a break. I can feel myself getting the summer itch. I'm a lot less focused on school than I was at the beginning of semester, or even right after spring break. I am passing my classes, and have even improved in my math class! But I'm just ready for summer.

I had big plans for this summer, but I am pretty sure I won't be able to swing it this year. Instead, I'll spend this summer working my butt off and saving for next year. I need to pay my car down and get some things done before I'm able to jet-set to the other side of the world. I'm sad it won't be spending my summer in Korea, but I know that if I can start saving now, by next year, I'll be able to do it right!

All in all, I'm pretty excited about what I have in store for me!

Wednesday, April 04, 2012

I'm over half way done!!!!

So, a few weeks ago was spring break. I have less than 2 months left of this semester. I CAN'T believe it! So, here's an update on school.

I dropped my biology class within the first month. I was completly lost the entire time. Plus, I skipped a few classes due to sickness. At that point, I was even more behind than I was before, and my school has a policy that if you miss the equivilent of 2 weeks worth of classes, you are automatically dropped from the class. Since that was a Tue/Thurs class, and I missed 2 classes, I could only miss 2 more during the whole semester before I'd be dropped. On top of that, a friend told me about I searched for my bio teacher, and found that every post said he was not a good teacher. I had been feeling the same way, but after seeing so many other people saying NOT to take him, I felt justified in dropping the class. I'll take it another semester with another teacher.

My math class is terrible. Literally half the class had dropped the class by spring break. I'm sticking it out, because the class is only taught by one teacher. Plus, the book is $200 and I don't want to re-buy it.

My history class is AWESOME! My teacher is one of those guys who totally loves the subject and knows his shit. He jumps around, bangs on the walls, and yells a lot. He acts things out and references things like facebook to make it easier to relate to. He doesn't allow people to be late or talk during class. Which is awesome, because it's a total distraction to me. His tests include multiple choice questions which are pretty easy (if you study) and a super hard essay question. I just took my second test in that class today. I earned a B on the last test, so I was hoping for an A on this one. We'll see. There were a few things I was slightly iffy on.

Last is my photography class. I've never taken photography before, but it's really fun! I love working with the 35mm camera now that I am more comfortable with it. I hate devoloping my film because it stresses me out and since I'm a ball of nerves, I end up ruining half the roll in the process. I've got a plan on how to fix this problem, but I don't have any film to develop quite yet. Hopefully, my plan will work in both calming me down, and tuning other people out! But I LOVE making the photos and just seeing what I've done. We don't use digital cameras, so it's like Christmas when you actually see the photos you took! I've also made a few friends in my photo class. It's the only class that I really talk to people in. I used to talk to people in my bio class, but since I dropped it, I don't see those people anymore.

All in all, I'm loving being a student again! I just can't believe the semester is almost over and summer is almost here. I've got some crazy plans for the summer that I REALLY hope work out! But that's for another post!