Monday, July 30, 2007


"That's what a loser is: someone who doesn't even do what they say they're gonna do. I mean... it's bad enough if other people tell you what to do and you don't do it, but when you can't even do what you say you'll do... that's a loser." -Dad

Thursday, July 26, 2007

listening ears

Last weekend was fantastic. I love that I've sort of been adopted into my brother's group of friends. We went out on John's boat for a full day of tubing, cliff-jumping, rope-swinging, and the like. It was good fun. And, of course, Harry Potter was truly magnificent. I have a lot to say about it, but I'll wait a few days before risking spoiling anything for anyone. At this point, I will just say that it was beautiful and wonderful and I loved it. But I'm incredibly sad that it's all over now. After I finished the book, I just sort of walked around my room like, oh... what do i do NOW? It's very hard to believe that this massive and intricate story is complete; that the adventurous journey I've been on for 6 years is over. Forever. I'm being dramatic, but it feels like I already miss the characters, as if they're my friends. As if they're even real. But in the words of the infinitely wise Albus Dumbledore, "Of course it is happening inside your head, Harry, but why one earth should that mean that it is not real?"

Things are also quite good in the non-literary part of my life (which is, joyfully, the minority.) The past few days have brought several opportunities for me to engage in my favorite activity: listening. Listening is what I love. It's what I do. I've always been a person to whom people come to talk about their problems, and that's something that I have always taken pride in and immensely enjoyed. However, while I was sick, I had a lot of trouble listening well; I was in so much pain myself that it was tremendously difficult for me to step outside of my own issues and empathize with those of others. I was somewhat aware of this at the time, but I didn't fully realize how much I missed that part of my life until it re-emerged the other day on a walk around the park with Tyler. It's when I listen to people--really listen to the real stuff of their inner lives--that I feel most alive, most purposeful. It's then that I feel most clearly that God is using me in just the way He planned to use me. And I have begun to feel that on a near-daily basis again, as two other friends have since come to me needing to talk. I feel resurrected. I am so glad that these opportunities have presented themselves to me and that, more importantly, I've been able to rise to the occasions. I'm still not 100% better physically, but I'm emotionally healthy enough now that I have been able to listen the way I used to, which is a huge blessing, as much (maybe more) for me than for those who've come to me with problems. I'm back. And my name isn't Frasier Crane, but...I'm listening. :)

Thursday, July 19, 2007

peculiar and promising

a peculiar and promising moment of surrender
signals the official beginning of autumn
or of love

Wednesday, July 18, 2007

wildest flight

"...But I have found our thoughts take wildest flight
Even at the moment when they should array
Themselves in pensive order."
-Lord Byron, Manfred

I'm still having trouble organizing my thoughts such that I can write them down, and the more I have on my mind, the more incapable I feel of sorting it all out.

First things first, I suppose. I really liked the Order of the Phoenix movie. It seems that I actually liked it more than a lot of people did. It is, of course, always frustrating that so many plot elements must be left out for time purposes, but I thought this movie still flowed well, and was, in fact, quite captivating. I thought Delores Umbridge and Luna Lovegood were both perfect. And while this movie was very dark in nature, as the book was, I was especially impressed by the humor in it; I kept finding myself laughing in precisely the way I laugh when I read the books. The trip to Lexington itself was also most enjoyable--surprisingly so, actually. Of course, the movie premiere was just practice for the infinitely more exciting book opening this weekend. I think we're going to Knoxville to Potter-party with John, one of Alex's best friends and also one of my favorite people. It promises to be a good time. I'm becoming increasingly anxious about who is going to die in the book. I had previously rejected the idea that Harry could possibly die, but I'm beginning to fear that he will, in fact, have to sacrifice himself in order to defeat Voldemort. For the record, I think, with quite a lot of conviction, that Snape is good. I think he may actually be the ultimate hero of the story, but that the other characters may never know of his goodness, making him a very successful, if deeply tragic, suffering servant. I'm very excited about finding out what happens, and also sad that the end of Harry Potter is imminent. I feel like I'm about to lose a friend.

Which is also how I feel about the Nickel Creek break-up. I was feeling unexpectedly (thought not outwardly) emotional at the end of the concert on Saturday, reflecting on my three previous experiences seeing them live and mourning the fact that this one would (probably) be the last.

I was also sad because 3 of the 4 friends who were originally coming with me ended up not coming for varying reasons. I was thoroughly disappointed that the weekend didn't turn out the way I planned (not that anything ever does, I guess), as I had been planning/looking forward to it for months.

Where am I today? I wish that I knew
'Cause looking around there's no sign of you

(Nickel Creek)

Of course, the show was amazing anyway. I am always in awe of Chris Thile. It's like he's on some separate plane of existence from the rest of us, hovering somewhere between mania and immortality. It's quite a sight (and sound) to behold.

It's all enchanted and wild
It's just like my heart said It was going to be

I was thinking about how thrilling it would be to meet him (and Sean and Sara, too), but really, I feel like I already know them, perhaps even better than i know some people in "real life."

Every tone I play would give whatever I've not said away

I had a lot of fun, but I'm still trying not to be upset with my friend(s). I'm generally too hard on people, or so I'm told, but I'm just not quite over my disappointment, I guess. My friends really are great, and I really do love them, even when I disagree with them, even when I'm disappointed.

Take every chance you dare
I'll still be there
When you come back down

Speaking of friendships, I've been bummed out/existentially confused since being confronted with the extent to which I failed as a best friend while I was so sick. Somehow I managed not to realize it until it was pointed out to me, and it's a pretty painful realization. The irony is that this "extended period of time" was a period during which I was doing absolutely everything in my (severely lacking) power to be a good friend. I was failing to take care of myself in an effort to take care of my best friend. This was a conscious decision, and I felt strongly that it was the right one, but now it seems as if none of my efforts did anyone any good. And this raises the question, why did I do all of that? I mean...I know exactly why I did it--because I wanted to (and I don't regret anything about it), but what purpose did any of it serve? I don't foresee myself figuring it out anytime soon.

Please give me time to decipher the signs
Please forgive me for time that I've wasted

For now, I'm trying not to focus too much on my failure, to remind myself that I did the best I could do. Operative word here: trying.

I hope he still wants it, but it might remind him of when,
he aimed for the bulls eye and hit it nine times out of ten
That one time his hand slipped, and I saw the dart sail away
I don't know where it landed,
but I'm guessing between green and gray
We thought nothing of it, but it still haunts him like a ghost
With all eyes upon him, except two that matter the most

In any case, the whole thing has gotten me thinking about the interconnectedness of the details of our individual lives--the way every experience affects every other one, the way every relationship we have affects every other one, and so on. It's a pretty simple concept, but makes for such a complicated reality.

I had more to write about, but it'll have to wait. My coherence skills seem to be fading, and I think bedtime is drawing nigh.

If this going to run round in my head
I might as well be dreaming

Wednesday, July 11, 2007


I long for stars that laugh with rain
But I am not particularly sane

Tuesday, July 10, 2007

booking it

I finished all three books I was discussing in my pre-beach post. Dry was utterly amazing. It might even be my favorite of Augusten's books, which I wasn't expecting. I have never been particularly interested in substance abuse/dependence. In fact, I have always been more interested in every other cateogry of DSM diagnoses than in the substance-related ones. They've always been at the very bottom of my list. They just never captivated me. Frankly, they even bored me a little. In my undergrad abnormal psychology class, I was assigned to take on the role of an alcohol abuser for a taped clinical interview, and I was fairly disgusted. I desperately wanted disorganized schizophrenia, and instead, was stuck with my very last choice. This assignment did nothing to change my lack of interest in substance abuse. Nor did the time I spent working in the local detox unit last summer. Or my psychopathology class last fall (granted, I was sick then, but still.) The point is that none of my academic work or clinical experience has brought alcoholism to life like this book. I get it now. I was completely fascinated by Augusten's illustrations of the way that for an alcoholic, everything revolves around alcohol. Every thought, regardless of content, is related to alcohol. Cases in point:

(1) In describing his desire for a new love interest, he writes, "I want more of him. In the same way that if he were a martini, I'd want a few more rounds."

(2) He refers to a passion-filled moment as, "one brief though ninety-proof instant."

(3) When asked to think of something calming, he envisions "an icy martini, single olive dead center at the bottom. There's a gentle quiver of the surface tension as the liquid threatens to--but doesn't--spill over the edges."

(4) In assessing the constant applause that occurs in AA meetings, he recognizes, "it's how we buy drinks for each other."

Etc. I just can't say enough about how wonderfully enlightening this book was. I look forward to being able to use my new understanding of the experience of addicts in my future therapy career. Because, as I've always begrudgingly admitted, I will be working with people who suffer from substance-related disorders, because they suffer from all sorts of other mental illnesses too. Comorbidity is the rule, as we say. I'm much more excited about this prospect now. I might even get my AA blue book (yeah, I'm enough of a nerd that I have my own) off the shelf and read it. Early on in Dry, in a moment of frustration, Augusten thinks to himself, "I hate people who don't drink. They understand so little." This assertion is quite true as it relates to me...or it was, before I read this book. I'm deeply thankful that Burroughs was brave enough to tell his own tragic story. I hope he knows the difference he's making.

The Glass Castle, on the other hand, was a bit disappointing. Walls's story is certainly shocking, and it is amazing that she overcame her childhood circumstances, but the writing itself just isn't up to par. Walls is a journalist now, and I think that her line of work comes across in her writing. She writes too much like a reporter--not enough like a human being with complex emotions. Not a bad read, but not a great one, either.

My opinion of Kerouac's On the Road is much the same. I liked it, but I didn't love it. And I really wanted to love it. In terms of plot, it reminded me a little too much of Hemingway's The Sun Also Rises, of which I'm not a fan. "We drank. We had sex with some girls. We went to another bar and drank some more. We slept. We were hungover. We drove to another place and did it all again." It just gets old. What kept me turning the pages, though, were Kerouac's beautifully poetic descriptions of the geography and the stream-of-consciousness philosophizing of the character Dean Moriarty. I can see why this book came to be regarded as "the testament to the Beat Generation," as the back of the book says, and I'm glad to have read it. I do feel slightly more cultured now. :) But I'm also ready to move on. To Ishmael, by Daniel Quinn, which I'm enjoying immensely and will discuss more when I finish.

My own life is infinitely less interesting that any of these books, but I suppose it should be covered here as well. :) Things are going well. I've been eating well and working out every day, and my muscle cramps have almost stopped, which is very good. I haven't lost any weight though, so I think that my Synthroid dose needs to be increased, which won't happen until my next appointment in August, so for now, I'll just keep doing what I'm doing and hope for the best. I still feel tired a lot, but otherwise, I feel good. Better than I have for over a year. I'm in the process of weaning myself off of my antidepressants, which I don't think have done anything anyway. Because of the time line, I'm quite convinced that my emotional improvement has been a direct result of my thyroid treatment rather than my antidepressants. Technically, they really shouldn't have been prescribed in the first place, because technically I shouldn't have been diagnosed with clinical depression. (Nearly) every DSM criteria set includes a criterion that says, essentially, "rule out a general medical condition," and in my case, we certainly couldn't rule out Graves' disease as the cause of my depression symptoms. I think it was, in fact, the direct cause. This experience has certainly educated me about the way the medical field fails to act in accordance with the DSM. Anyway... hopefully I'm right about the cause of my symptoms, such that they won't come back even when I completely stop taking antidepressants. But if they do come back, at least I'll know what I'm dealing with, which is better than continuing to take medicine that probably isn't doing me any good.

Lots of things to look forward to in the coming week. Tomorrow I'm heading to Lexington to go to a midnight showing of the new Harry Potter movie with Alex and his crew. I'm definitely excited about the movie (and donning my Gryffindor tie for the first time in much too long.) I'm carpooling with our long-time friend, Tyler, and am anticipating some good car-ride discussion and catching up, which I'm looking forward to as well. This weekend, Alex, Jenny, Joe, Kevin, and Dallas (who just started a record label that you should check out!) will be here for a Nickel Creek concert that I've been looking forward to for months. I'm still very sad that they're breaking up (seriously, Why should the fire die?), but incredibly excited about seeing them one last time. It's hard to believe that they're coming to Ashland's very own Paramount. My very favorite band with some of my very favorite people. It doesn't get much better than that. :) I can't wait.

Monday, July 9, 2007

considerate creator

My personalDNA Report

I was skeptical about all the "application" things on Facebook, but personality assessment makes me happy. There's a Johari Window application too, which I think is really cool, but I don't want to add it, because you have to make a new Johari window, and I already have one, though I hadn't looked at it in a long time. Contribute to it if you like.

A real post is coming soon. I think.

Sunday, July 8, 2007


somewhere beyond this place I know
the way shall not be dreadful slow
tomorrow's sweet new path will glow

Tuesday, July 3, 2007

saturday in the park...

I have a vague sense that I have a lot to say, but my mind feels a little...nebulous? So this post will probably be a bit disjointed.

Yet another wedding weekend has come and gone. My friend/academic hero, Scott, got married on Saturday, and it was a very beautiful wedding. It was fun to see several people who I hadn't seen in a while, particularly Dustin, another Emory psychology buddy, who I hadn't talked to for probably a year, and had missed a lot more than I realized. I also was quite blessed by some encouraging words from Kevin, which made me feel good about myself. He's such a sweetheart. Sadly, Sarah, Jodie, and I had to leave the reception much earlier than we would've liked because we (mostly Sarah) had such a long drive ahead of us, and from what I've heard, we missed out on a great deal of fun. Still, it was a great time, and I'm really glad I got to go. It was wonderful to spend time with Jodie and Sarah too. They're both M.Div. students, and I love getting to hear their conversations about theology. I feel like I'm constantly trying to latch onto their ideas and insights, which is exciting and challenging and fun, not to mention helpful, what with the spiritual rut I've been in. It's wonderful to be around people who are both passionate and deeply thoughtful about their faith, and such interaction has been a rarity for me as of late, it seems. It was also very fun (and weird, I must admit) to hear Jodie talk about married life. It's still seems crazy to me that I have friends who are married, and spending the night with them was especially surreal. I ended the weekeend by worshipping at Duke Chapel, which was an absolutely wonderful experience. I've been to cathedrals all over Europe, but I had never acutally been to a church service in one, and it was utterly thrilling. The huge size of it was such a powerful reminder of the sheer big-ness of the Almighty God.

" wide and long and high and deep is the love of Christ." (Ephesians 3:18)

It's kind of strange coming home after these little trips. When I'm with my friends, I feel like I'm part of the world they live in, and they are real, live, adults, so I fee like I am too, until I get in the car to drive home... to my parents' house...where I live...which makes me feel like a child. I'm just in a strange place in my life, I guess, mostly because my current situation doesn't fit neatly into any sort of defined and agreed-upon category. There just isn't a label for a 20-something, intelligent, college-graduate who temporarily lives with her parents and (also temporarily) doesn't have a job, so I feel like I'm floating around somewhere between the shores of adult and child. I never liked labels anyway.

My dreams have been interesting lately. A certain someone who I thought I had finally stopped dreaming about has started showing up again, and it's kind of pissing me off. Also, not long ago, a celebrity was featured in one of my dreams for the first time, and it's been happening fairly frequently ever since. Last night, Morgan Freeman and Miley Cyrus. I don't know what that's about, but it's rather amusing.
I think I had more to talk about, but my brain is tired. Happy [...I think it was the] 4th of July.