The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 17

I know that it is technically the start of week 18, but I got a little lazy with the schedule, so I am catching up today.

Today when I spent a good portion of the day on my feet, feeling tired and resentful. I’ve been working with a girl who thinks she is the queen of the tutoring centre, and today she complained that her throat felt sore and she shouldn’t have to manage a group of kids. There were two other people in the centre: me, who has been dead on her feet for the past week, and another woman. Now, this woman just came back after suffering a devastating loss, a loss that she cannot tell anyone about…a loss that would have flattened me. She did not complain about being in the centre, did not complain about the work that we needed to do, and volunteered to work a zone and be with the kids. I took the kiddos so she didn’t have to, but she was more than willing. This was the second shift in a row that the first girl passed the work to everyone before even thinking of doing anything.

Off topic, but it made me really cranky, and much as I am trying to make myself better, as much as I am trying to break old habits, when I am cranky, I revert right back to the negative mindset I am most comfortable in.

Maybe a focus on this will help me. The task for week 17 is to write a letter to my teenage self. So here goes:

Dear Teenage Kim,

Believe it or not, you did not have a heart attack in your your teenage years. You actually make it to adulthood. For the most part you make pretty good life choices, but there a few things that you should know:

  1. Stop worrying about every little thing. The world is not going to end if you fail a class, or a test (in fact, you do that later in life, and nothing bad happens to you), and no one is going to think less of you.
  2. Take swimming seriously. You are going to slack off, but that is such a bad idea. You were in good shape, you weren’t horrible, and it is way better than trying to be a runner.
  3. The people you are friends with now, the ones you think you’ll be friends with forever, will not be your friends in ten years. If you really want to keep some of them, you are going to have to work really hard and be prepared to be disappointed, a lot.
  4. In fact, you are going to feel disappointed in people a lot, sometimes in the ones that matter the most, but mostly in the ones who don’t live up to your expectations.
  5. Also, you are going to have drop those expectations. No one, and very few things ever meet them. You’ll save yourself a lot of heartache if you let that shit go.
  6. Go to therapy. You don’t go until almost a decade later, and trust me, you wasted a lot of time being depressed.
  7. Don’t worry about your virgin status. It will be worth it to wait, and even though you will make some bad choices, you don’t get pregnant, you aren’t gossip for anyone, and you’ve never had an STD. A lot of your friends cannot say the same.
  8. Don’t ignore your wanderlust. You turn down a year of studying abroad, a year of teaching English in another country because you are afraid that people will forget you, afraid of what will happen if you leave, but trust me, when you are travelling, you are alive and happy.
  9. You’ll be 26 before you are comfortable with yourself. It is a really long learning process, but take it as it comes
  10. You age like a fine wine. You are way better looking now that you wear more than jeans and a hoodie. Guys tell you that you are hot. They walk through restaurants in Spain to check you out. It is fun. Enjoy it.
  11. You will get hurt a lot when you are out of your teens. A lot. Devastatingly painful hurt that you are completely unprepared for. I can tell you that there are days you don’t get out of bed and you have no idea how you are going to keep going, but you do keep going, and in the end, that is all that matters.
  12. You eventually figure out how to let people past the snark and sarcasm. This leads to you crying. A lot. You also become a really ugly crier, so make sure that you bring tissues with you to meetings or other situations that you think might make you cry. Seriously. The amount of snot you produce is insane.
  13. Skip school once in awhile. No one will care that you never missed a day of school when you are 29.

Bad things are going to happen to you. Bad things that came from choices that you made as a teen. I wish I could tell you to make different choices, save you from the hurt. But it wouldn’t be right. You will learn a lot from some of that hurt, and it will lead you to some really good people and some really great experiences. When you are 25 you will make the best decision of your life. At 28, you will do it again. Trust those. Those choices will make you happier than anything else you’ve ever done (including flying…yes, you get to fly, and then you almost puke in front of a really cute guy….not you at your best) and even on the bad days (and there will be a lot of those, sorry), you will be happy, and genuine and be surrounded by people that understand you, people that actually like you for your weirdness and  your wanderlust, and that, teenage Kim, makes everything you will do from then to me worth it.

With sass and snark,

29 year old Kim

The Scamp’s Happy Challenge: Day 3

Today I was at a loss. It is only day three of the challenge, and I could not for the life of me think about an activity I could do that would make me happy.

I went to work and then conducted some focus groups for a research project, and while my brain was full of work mode until about 5 pm.

This is where my amazing teammates come into play. As we were walking away from an eye opening session, I made the comment about my quest for one bit of happiness a day, and told them that I was at a loss for what to do.  They asked me about my favorite meal, or movie, and then suggested that we go across the street so that I could have ice cream for dinner.

The fact that they wanted to partake in my challenge meant a lot to me. I really value their friendship, and I welcome any chance I have to spend with them outside the confines of class. Instead of ice cream, we ended up at a tasty taco shop and shared stories of travels abroad, issues we have with our program, and how horrible UK Mexican food is.

I’ve realized lately that I crave human connection. I crave social activity, and time away from my own thoughts, which tend toward the negative. I’ve been doing a lot of thinking in the time between doing things that make me happy, and I think I am finally starting to understand what I want, who I want, and what changes I really need to make to be happy.

Some of the choices that I have to make are starting to seem like they are going to suck.

Really really suck.

The Homesick Scamp

I’m homesick.

Horribly horribly homesick.

Considering I am sitting on my couch watching my TV, this presents a bit of a problem.

The last couple of months I have been pretty mopey. I’ve been a lot busier this semester between classwork and the third job, which means I have had less free time, and less time to see my friends. I feel tired all of the time, and I’ve now entered that sad restless state that has me convinced that not only am I going to die alone as a spinster cat lady, but I am going to do it stuck in a job that I hate, surrounded by people that I hate.

The last time I felt like this I was in a dead end night job, in a miserable relationship, and spending more time alone than interacting with people.

The last time I felt like this, I applied to the University of Edinburgh and moved to Scotland 6 months later.

That was still the best choice I have ever made, but I now find myself incredibly homesick for the life that I had there. I wasn’t working, I lived two doors down from my friends, and a quick walking distance from the others. I walked everywhere, explored everything, and even though I had my heart broken there, I healed there, and really took my time to find myself. It was my first time completely on my own in a new place, and it was just the sort of adventure that I needed.

I can’t seem to recreate that adventure here. I have great friends (some old, most new, some back in my life after a long absence, some who will be in my life for a very long time), but it just isn’t the same. I have to get in my car to see them, try and find time between work, school and homework, and the busy lives and schedules of those around me.

The problem is, I am locked in here. I am making money now, but not enough to pay my bills and live alone, and the program does not allow for study abroad. I have a year and some change before I can actually start working on my dissertation, and the more time I spend alone, the more I wish that I was completing this research in Scotland.

For the last couple of weeks I have been daydreaming about dropping out of the program, packing a bag and my cat, and moving to New Zealand. I miss accents, miss the sense of adventure, miss the person that I was when I was overseas.

This restless, mopey energy has led to drastic changes (haircut anyone?), a lack of sleep, and an intense desire to sleep all day.

I have a lot of good things ahead of me. I have a great research opportunity that will lead to a publication, I am employed (and can almost pay all of my bills), I am making great connections that may lead to a teaching gig, and despite not having insurance, I have been in reasonably good health. The problem is, I can’t seem to focus on all the good stuff. The only thing I can focus on is how badly I want to run away and start a new adventure where no one knows me (preferably a place with free healthcare). Depression is a messy thing, and being run by my stress and depression is even worse.

I’m glad that spring is here and I will be able to sit outside more. Maybe the Vitamin D will help my mood. I’m also going to actually sign up for insurance this weekend. I tried the website, and that didn’t work, but hopefully an agent will be more successful.

Then it will be doc appointments and check-ups galore.

and the hunt for a new therapist….because a few more sessions couldn’t hurt, could they?


*On a completely unrelated note, in the middle of typing this there was a small earthquake. I’m home alone, and while the earthquake was small, I am still shaking (pun intended). Looks like the cat and I will be sleeping under the solid wood table tonight, just in case.