Friday, August 31, 2007

staying put, but going places

Another fun trip over the weekend. I went to Lexington to hang out with my brother (and company), which was a lot of fun. Then I went (back) to Durham for the Styx/Foreigner/Def Leppard concert, which was also a lot of fun. I was a little disappointed that Styx failed to play a lot of the songs that I really wanted to hear (including but not limited to Show Me the Way and Mr. Roboto), but Foreigner was way better than I expected. And it was fantastic to spend time with Jess, Heather, and Sarah again. On my way home, I also got to see Dallas, which was wonderful and much-needed.

I'm getting ready to start a job, which I'm both excited and a little worried about. I did an internship (of sorts) at the local mental health agency last summer, and didn't have a very good experience, mostly because there was very little for me to do. My cousin has since been moved to some sort of leadership position there and supposedly has shaped things up. So she's giving me a job at the crisis unit. I don't really know what to expect, but I'm hopeful that it will be more productive and meaningful than my previous experience there. At the very least, it'll be good experience to list on my resume (and I'll make a little money.)

I'm feeling more and more frustrated with my current situation. It sounds rather paradoxical, but it's as if, now that I'm back to my normal mental state (happiness, if you will), I'm able to see beyond my illness and realize just how unsatisfied I am with that fact that I'm living with my parents and not going to school. I had to go to Wal-Mart the other day (the first time since I've been home!), and I desperately wanted to buy school supplies, and it was strange coming to the realization that I don't need any. I almost cried. And tonight I had a very frustrating conversation with my mom. I told her that I'm thinking of/planning on taking a trip to Boston in October to visit my two best friends who both just moved there, and I ended up getting a lecture about how I "play" too much and need to get my priorities straight. And I understand that I have traveled a lot this summer (mostly to weddings) to see my friends, but I feel like I've needed to do that. I don't have any friends here at home (Ashley was here for a couple weeks, but she's back at school now), so it's pretty lonely. If you know me, you know it takes a lot for me to be lonely (I tend to love being alone), but I am lonely. I need friends. Especially considering what I've been through. And even though I know now that my depression was because of my thyroid, I want to be intentional about not putting myself in a position where I'll be at risk of getting anywhere close to that state of mind again (i.e. by not interacting with anyone except my parents.) I don't want to get there again. Depression is hell.

But I don't want to talk about that, because (praise Jesus) I'm not there anymore. I'm restless and unsatisfied, but I'm healthy, and I just have to keep reminding myself of that. And I'm still feeling inspired and creative, which is wonderful, and has led to some more collaging--and more departure from what I normally (used to) do:

Again, feedback (positive or negative) is much appreciated. One thing that makes these different from anything I've made before is that I didn't do them with the intention of giving them to someone in particular, or of keeping them for myself. I just made them... to make them. And the idea of not having a specified audience is very freeing and greatly widens the scope of artistic possibilities. And thus, I have begun fantasizing about selling these things. I haven't told anyone that I'm thinking about that, because it seems very presumptious of me to think that anyone would want to buy them. I'm embarassed that this has even entered my mind. I'm not an artist; I just like to cut and paste, which anyone who went to kindergarten can do. So I don't know if it's something I should even be entertaining. Maybe I just have too much time on my hands (Styx did sing that song, by the way.) Or maybe it could happen.

Wednesday, August 29, 2007


my heart's not old but still so worn
I have to laugh when they say it glows

Thursday, August 23, 2007

show me the way

I just got back from a bit of a whirlwind adventure to Radford/Christiansburg/Blacksburg/Durham/Raleigh, and none of it was what I expected. I had a doctor's appointment on Monday--a follow-up to being on Synthroid for two months. I think I've mentioned that I felt sure that my dose needed increasing, but, as it turned out, my blood work indicated that that's not the case. While it's good that my hormone levels are normal, I'm a little frustrated, because I don't feel like they're normal. I still don't have the amount of energy that I think I should have, and I still can't lose weight despite working out every day and having the smallest appetite I've ever had (though I'm pretty sure I have at least stopped gaining weight.) I'm just slightly confused, because my understanding was that the point of Synthroid is to get my metabolism (and everything else the thyroid controls, which is everything in the known universe) back to what it was before I ever got sick--in other words, that my endocrine system would function as it did when I had a properly functioning thyroid. But my endocrinologist seemed to be telling me that my metabolism (and stuff) is the same as that of the average person, even though it's a far cry from what mine was in my pre-Graves' disease days. So it seems that the version of "normal" I was waiting on wasn't really the goal after all. And I don't like that. I want to do a little research on this "average person normal" vs. "me normal" issue. It's confusing to me.

I was supposed to go see three amazing 80's rock bands (Def Leppard, Foreigner, and Styx!) in Raleigh on Tuesday with some of my Durham pals, but the show was postponed because of a terrible thunderstorm (the venue is outdoor.) It was a terrible disappointment. My parents are a little less than pleased that I'm making that trip again on Monday (the new concert date), but I've been looking forward to this show for months, so I'm going, irresponsible and expensive or not. It's going to be worth it... plus, it means I get to see Jess, Heather, and Sarah twice in a week, and that's definitely good for the soul. :)

I seem to be internally wrestling with a lot of things right now. For one thing, I made something, in my head, into a much bigger deal than it actually is. And I'm not sure why. I guess I was just excited about the prospect of something, well, exciting. And new. That I think I'm ready for. That I want. At least in theory. And the thing is, it's not even that the prospect isn't actually there, it's just that the feelings I thought I had about it... I really don't. I wanted to. I tried to. I convinced myself that I did. But I don't. And I don't know why. And now I'm just confused about the whole thing.

I'm also becoming really unsure about my future plans. I thought I had decided a long time ago that I wasn't going to go back to school at Radford. A few weeks ago, I started looking at Ph.D. and Psy. D. programs online, making lists of faculty members with research interests that match mine, and planning to apply to lots of programs with the hope of getting in somewhere for next fall. But in the past couple of weeks, I've begun to question this decision. And I'm not sure where this questioning is coming from. Is it God? Me? Fear? Other people's opinions? I can't figure it out. Part of my reasoning for deciding not to go back was that I want to start over. Not have to be faced with my past failures. But maybe that's too easy. Maybe I have to deal with the failure that I was. But didn't I already do that? Isn't that how I got here? Or am I just being a coward, trying to run away from my problems? my disease? my insufficiency? But I'm better now, so why revisit all of that? In the past few days, I've told a few people about this struggle, and I've gotten mixed responses. A new friend told me that I should be glad that I'm "already established" at Radford, because that's hard to do. I countered that being established is not necessarily good, because I'm established as a sick person, incapable of completing the task at hand. "But you're not sick or incapable anymore," he insisted. And he's right, but still, is that enough? Should I have to prove that I'm not that way anymore, when I could just go somewhere new where I never was that way? where I could be the real me from the start--excelling from the beginning rather than having to pull myself out of the shadows of Graves' disease? An old friend, on the other hand, suggested that leaving something undone (i.e. not going back to Radford) might be good for me--a new experience, since I'm not typically the sort of person who leaves things undone. I got to spend some time with some of the clinical girls on Sunday night, and it was really good. I do miss being there with them. But I'd be so behind that, academically speaking, I wouldn't exactly be part of the group anymore. But I wouldn't really be a part of the new class either. And wouldn't that be lonely? But again, is that reason enough not to do it, or am I taking the easy way out? Not that starting a doctoral program will be anything close to easy. If I can even get in. Which I might not. And that's terrifying... and maybe that's where this uncertainty started?

I don't know how this got so complicated. I need a BIG helping of discernment. Which reminds me of the song I most wanted to hear on Tuesday:

"Show me the way / show me the way / Take me tonight to the river, and wash my illusions away..." (styx)

Tuesday, August 21, 2007


A shame that my mind
is not very kind.

More so, that my heart
is not very smart.

Saturday, August 18, 2007

I should tell you

Interesting and exhilarating things seem to be happening in my life. The sort of things that only happen when you least expect them. When Dallas asked me how the situation (which shall remain unidentified for now) feels, I very ineloquently replied, "Kind of wonderful... and scary... and wonderful." I still can't come up with a better description than that.

It may not even amount to anything at all, but it might be the beginning of something big. We'll see.

To quote the Eagles, "We may lose or we may win, but we will never be here again."

And to quote RENT, "Who knows? Here goes."

Friday, August 17, 2007

too clever

with a nervous spontaneity in his green-brown eyes
he is unmercifully uttering words too clever for simple me

Thursday, August 16, 2007

my desire

my desire is to be
doubting yet loving
resting yet seeking

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

tuesday's child

Full of grace? Perhaps, but only because I'm kneeling at the feet of Jesus, who has plenty to give.

And what better physical representation of Christ's healing power than JESUS BAND-AIDS?! Hahahaha. Katie sent me these for my birthday, and I laughed out loud for quite some time. They're pretty fantastic. I sported one on the bug bite on my foot all day, and it totally made my day 10 times better.

Not that my day needed improvement. This has been the best birthday I've had in a long time. I was a little disappointed that I couldn't celebrate with my brother (whose birthday was yesterday), but things turned out to be simply wonderful anyway. Granny took me out to lunch, which was very nice. Then I went out to dinner with Ashley, my next-door neighbor/best-friend-since-I-was-four, and our moms (sadly, Dad is having severe back problems and was unable to join us... perhaps he needs a Jesus band-aid?) It was quite a delight. Ashley just returned from Memphis, where she was working for the summer, so we had a lot of catching up to do. She's the sort of friend with whom I always pick up right where I left off, regardless of how much time has passed since we last talked. I have missed her so much. I love her like a sister, and getting to discuss life with her tonight was an absolute joy. It wasn't a present or a cake, but it was exactly what I wanted for my birthday.

And she gave me a compliment of the highest order: "Talking to you is like therapy," she said. I think it dawned on me then more than it really had yet how far I've come in the last few months. I feel healthy. And happy. I had honestly forgotten what happiness was like, but this is it. And I like it.

Jesus does heal. Hallelujah.

Monday, August 13, 2007

art therapy

I made a collage today. Collaging (which, I know, is not really a word, but should be) is a favorite hobby of mine, but I haven't actually created anything in a long time. I'm rather excited about this one, as it's quite a departure from the sort of thing I usually do. And being creative feels so good, which has gotten me thinking a lot about the use of art in therapy, which is something I'd like to study at some point. Anyway, I thought I'd share it with you. I'd like to think that something is lost in the transition from collage to photo to computer screen, but I think you can get the general idea. I'd love to know your opinion. Like it? Hate it? Otherwise?

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

lost and found

on my broken journey
across mountains of blue unknowns
I am lost
and yet
in You
I am found

"Whoever finds his life will lose it, and whoever loses his life for my sake will find it." -Matthew 10:39

it's not easy being green

Your Brain is Green

Of all the brain types, yours has the most balance.
You are able to see all sides to most problems and are a good problem solver.
You need time to work out your thoughts, but you don't get stuck in bad thinking patterns.

You tend to spend a lot of time thinking about the future, philosophy, and relationships (both personal and intellectual).

Reminds me of a poem I wrote a long time ago:

You've been wearing black a lot lately,
he said, and then a sarcastic smirk and
it matches your soul.

My shirt is black, but my soul is

And not darkened green or
watered down green but

green like shamrocks green with life
green like John Deere tractors green with energy

Not some version of green like olive green
or forest green or sea green
or jungle green

And not some wannabe green like
chartreuse or granny smith apple
or--heaven forbid--electric lime

Just green
original green
has-been around-forver green
never-gets-old green
is-full-of-life green
always-looks-brand-new green

Green like a blade of grass
nestled in with the others,
rooted firmly, yet delicately,
and reaching toward heaven

That matches my soul.

Monday, August 6, 2007

colors not yet invented?

tumbling beneath paint-splashed skies
I yield to earth's hues
soft and dark
I am stained by the delicious colours

living in my head

" groans are many and my heart is faint." -Lamentations 1:22

I'm frustrated with life right now. I'm very mad at one of my best friends and I can't imagine a way of becoming un-mad. Another of my best friends seems to be very unhappy and I can't figure out why or devise a way of making it better. I got lectured today about the ungrateful child that I apparently am, and I feel guilty all over again for what I've put my parents through but also annoyed by the nature of said lecture. I think I'm categorically different from the rest of my family--much less practical, which is probably a bad thing. In the words of my beloved Augusten Burroughs, "I live in my head." There's so much to do in there (I've come to the conclusion that my brain contains much more of my favorite neurotransmitter, dopamine, than most people's), and the outside world is infinitely less interesting. The real world--the world where the most important thing is whether or not my car is clean--is an awful bore. Why should I bother with washing my car when there are poems to be read, dreams to be interpreted, theological issues to be pondered? I'm ridiculous, probably, but if so, I'm not so much frustrated with how ridiculous I am as with the fact that everyone else isn't ridiculous too.

Yet another wedding weekend has come and gone. It seems like all I've done this summer is watch my friends get married, and it's obviously very exciting, but it's pretty weird, too. I think my current circumstances make it especially bittersweet, because while I'm very happy for all my friends who are moving on to bigger and better things in life, these celebrations are also powerful reminders of the fact that I'm not moving on to anything bigger or better, or anything at all, really. It's like I'm standing still on the side of the highway because my car (you know, the dirty one) broke down, and I have to wait for someone to come and fix it, and in the meantime, I just get to watch everyone else pass me by. Sometimes I just want to whine about it, to utter those terribly immature words: "it's not fair."

Similarly, I've become increasingly frustrated with our society's tendency to define people based on what they do rather than who they are. This issue is one that has bothered me for a long time, but its destuctiveness has taken on a new level of clarity for me recently, because now, when I'm defined by what I do, I'm being defined, essentially, by nothing, because that's what I'm doing with my life right now. In the past week, I've visited with two different sets of family members who are/were visiting from out of town, and it has been quite awkward. Normally, they'd ask me about school, but since I'm not in school for right now, there's really nothing to talk about. My great aunt and uncle spent about an hour talking to my brother about his engineering classes and his medical school plans while I just sat there, feeling invisible. I can't blame them, really, because they really don't know me, but it was difficult nonetheless. Yes, I am taking a necessary break from being a student, but I am not, for the record, taking a break from being a human being with worthwhile thoughts. And to make this whole exchange worse, one of my most-loved family members (maybe the nicest person I know, really) said something that really hurt my feelings. While my aunt and uncle were talking to my brother about how he might end up as a hugely successful physician in Houston (where they live), she threw in, "If Sara ever finishes, maybe she can work on their minds!" If I ever finish. I hadn't realized that there was any question in my family's mind that I will finish, that I will do what I have planned to do. I know she didn't mean it how it came out, but it left me feeling like she has very little faith in me; it left me feeling (as if I didn't already) like the Black Sheep of the family: Alex will be a doctor, and maybe someday Sara might be a therapist. I am going to be a therapist someday, and I'm going to be a damn good one. It is not a possibility or a maybe. I know this. But still, that "if" has been echoing in my head over and over, and I need it to stop.

Saturday, August 4, 2007

seasoned laughter

your laugh was bright as
the honey-sweet midsummer
but unforgiving as
winter's sunless desolation

Thursday, August 2, 2007

promises and lies

in defiance of my mighty hope
all your comforting promises
are only bitter lies