Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Unsolicited and Unimportant, Yet Somehow Necessary

I figured I'd take a few minutes of this snow day (CAN I GET AN LOL) to write some things. Nothing crazy, nothing terribly relevant, but on my mind nonetheless.

Because lately, people have been all kinds of supportive. Lots of you graciously follow my life and offer digital approval every day, and I appreciate it...although I'm growing ever-conscious of my dependence on virtual validation. Even so, I feel somehow justified in my chaotic endeavors, and I keep navigating said chaos with as much finesse as I can manage. For myself, and for you. Thanks.

As I've mentioned many times before as some sort of reason for everything, I'm twenty three. And yes, I moved seventeen times during undergrad. And yes, I drove 25,000 miles last year. And yes, I'm a gypsy by trade and by genetics and by choice. I love all of these things about myself...except when they keep me away from some of you for too long. Like, I can't quite commit, or something. I can't give you all of me when pieces of me are scattered around the world and I still haven't even found some of them yet. Like that. I both love and feel brokenness from that truth. Perhaps, a lovely brokenness. A necessary one.

And then I wonder, why do I run? I run to unwind, and because I'm desperate to see and do everything before I lose sight of how wonderful the world can be. There are lots of days that I am terrified to face, and one of them is the day that the Rockies stop making me cry, as if that will ever happen. But I think...that I'm also running so that I can find all of those pieces of me that are still scattered. I think it's just beautiful because, whenever I find a piece, I find that it had been in such perfect care and when I find that gorgeous person that is the steward of that piece, my heart recognizes it. And my heart doesn't easily let go, unless it's some sort of temporary, time-dependent, time-sensitive stewardship and I can take that piece back and have it for myself. But the memories. The memories of how my heart healed for just that one single solitary second lull me into a sweet sleep when I can remember, and not be bitter, and be thankful instead.

Wouldn't you run, too? It's a heart-healing scavenger hunt. I run because my life depends on it.

And then I wonder, will I ever settle down? Probably, but not quite yet, regardless of what my biochemistry wants me to believe. Like the time last year I cried for no reason because I wasn't pregnant...so preposterous. Maybe I have to find all of the pieces of my heart, first. And I've been told that my twenties is the perfect time for this, and that I'm doing it all right, and that, in and of itself, is such a melody to hear. So when I daydream about the next twelve-odd years of my life and the things that will grow and change for the better, I imagine that I can give myself time. Things will be so, so different and so wonderful and perhaps in that time, I can tend the things in my soul's garden that I've left to the weeds for some time...so that all of me can grow. Then, maybe, we can bring children into the picture. 

But I was told by someone recently that our nation is about to nosedive into some hard times, and that I shouldn't worry about bringing a child into the world because it might not be such a great idea. I politely nodded, but inside I was screaming, what?! How defeatist. And ridiculous, and paranoid, and narrow-sighted. Because I was raised with incredible privilege, but am not accustomed to having things simply handed to me. My generation inherited the botched economy and the wounded environment that her generation donated. We know what it is to work hard, to make sacrifices, to learn how to take nothing for granted. We know about debt. We have, somehow, stretched a dollar and twelve cents to last four weeks while learning to stop trying to be self-sufficient and instead to live on grace. Grace. We know about grace. So do you, for one moment, believe that we've had everything presented to us on a silver platter? I don't. We are a generation of survivors, and I intend to raise a child with similar gumption. Now, if I'm not mentally or financially stable, then choosing to bring a child into the world would probably be an extremely irresponsible decision. However, if I can support myself and my family reasonably well, then facing hard times will be a battle that we can fight. My kid will be a fighter. That's all.

Then again, though, I probably want a child so that I can have somebody to save this time. And that is, to an extent, a pretty poor reason. It's a selfish reason. It's because I spend most of my dreaming hours staring at the lit-up stars above my bed and pretending to save somebody. Because it's pretty simple: those of us who have survived some sort of abuse or trauma want to be held closely and safely, but mostly, want to hold tightly to other survivors and tell them that we know, and that it's okay, and that they're safe now. And somehow, go back in time and rescue them behind closed doors where nobody ever went and nobody ever saw and nobody ever heard...but as I dream about this, I'm missing the opportunity to save somebody today. It's the line between dreaming and doing. It's that thick black line. And I couldn't save them then, so how could I save somebody now? 

I don't know.

But my default, again, is love. I hope that I can be a resource, and save somebody as others have saved me. So I keep running, and finding those pieces of my heart, and abundantly loving on the people that I find there. Soaking up their love, and life as I know it, and keep going.

Wednesday, January 22, 2014

If I Used My Voice

So, on top of learning how the universe actually works, I've chosen this life that is painted in a veil that makes it look like everything gold in the universe, but instead, it so easily kills and snuffs out and burns out and drains for no reason...all to likely have a heart attack before I'm 30? 

Nope. 

Damned if I don't, though...dead if I do.

So what's better, being dead or being damned? Because I have a life that I love to live and I have no interest in spending it in some mundane, predetermined routine because I take my time and I make my path.

Children of academia, stand up. Stand up and be recognized as a human, the once per semester that you are allowed to do so; today is the day. Some of us are here because we were told we were good enough. Some of us are here because we were told we weren't. And some of us never believed that we were even allowed to exist in the first place so stand up.

I am not interested in being your savior. We won't start a revolution today. But for some reason I wake up in the morning and I find it so impossible to remember that I have the opportunity to decide what I want to make of my own life, and that is such bullshit. I'm not in it to win it all, at all. I'm in it because I love it, and the minute I forget that is the minute I lose, so it's a lose lose situation and we feel like we've exhausted all of the opportunities we felt so lucky to have had but the truth is that we haven't

The truth is very simple.

The truth is that we are not condemned to feel worthless, or to feel used. No matter how many times you ask yourself because you can't get rid of the throbbing behind your eyes, you probably don't have a brain tumor. It's your academic brainchild trying to hatch its way out of something that you couldn't understand before because that is education and that is the real revolution here.

In every subfield of physics we talk about how so many physical phenomena are path-independent, so why would we ever exclude physics graduate school? I was trained to think straight and narrow while I hid the ways that I still think far and wide. There is not just one way to do this, and scientists can be so uncreative sometimes. I'm not here to rush through. I'm not here to see who can get her PhD the fastest. I'm here to learn, so let me. Let me bounce around. Let me pick up skills here and there. Let me travel, let me explore, let me absorb, let me go.

It's just graduate school. I want the world.

Thursday, January 09, 2014

Anew

Here I am, back in what used to be the soggy South and what is now more like a slightly more humid and less slushy version of a Michigan March. I'm told that these frozen fractal mornings are limited, possibly done already...but I can't help but roll my eyes at the fact that I thought I moved away from all of this. But compared to life north of the Mason Dixon, it appears that I have.

Post break, I'm still tired. I fully expected to become bored and hungry for knowledge within a week, but the joke was on me because I make it a point not to lead a boring life. There were too many people to see, too many things to do, and frankly, not enough internet to do actual work due to the ice storm knocking trees into power lines. 

The ice, for me, was a frigid blessing.

And after spending a considerable amount of time with my family in Michigan, having been pleasantly surprised by my only having to dodge one or two facetious  smirks after they learned that I had been "actually challenged by something" (and how invalidating to my work ethic and achievements was that?!) I had told my story several times. Of how I'm tired, and burned out, and have been for quite some time. And how my endocrine system had apparently flatlined and how I'd been numb, and how unhealthy and ludicrous it all is, and how much I love it but how unworthy it seems to sacrifice myself in the pursuit. 

But I made my way back down to pack my summer clothes and migrate, just like everybody else as traffic had suggested. I arrived in Florida with sleeveless shirts and, as we were to find out, my anxiety in tow. It's fascinating to me how my body will behave the way it believes it is allowed to behave, based on the environment. In Michigan, I am allowed to be tired and burned out and trying to slowly return to regular hormonal functionality. But with my family in Florida, I have found that it is entirely acceptable to be a bit of a zombie really, then anxious, then emotional, then shaking, then fine. And the love and the Xanax abound. 

I don't know why. I can't handle two families at once, so I separate them; and apparently compartmentalize my mental health as well. But despite all of this, I knew that I had hit a point. And contrary to how it may seem, I did have a slightly productive break in more ways than one.

So yesterday I had class until noon, but then I spent the next several hours in and out of various appointments; seeing doctors, getting referrals, setting myself up for what a dear friend called "a trifecta of wellness." Because a trifecta of wellness it is, and it's necessary. I think that it's been necessary for quite some time, but I am the poster child for stubbornness and I would wait until my career is absolutely on the line for me to make any sort of change. Or, is my career not on the line yet? It may or may not be; nobody will really give me a straight answer around here. But nevertheless, my health is on the line. I can't do this anymore if I want a prayer to achieve the things I'd like to achieve. It's only fear, possibly (probably) shame in the way. However, at this moment in my life where I'm willing to disrobe my cloak of shame because, well, fuck it...I might as well take advantage of myself. 

And I am proud to finally do so, and so looking forward to getting better. Let's get better.