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 and the Gratitude Challenge: Week 50

I’m a week behind….as usual. The reason I’m only going to play catch-up for this post is that Week 51 is 100 things I am grateful for, and right now, I am having a hard time focusing on one thing.

So, week 50. I’m almost done with the challenge. This is the week that is dedicated to lessons that I have learned in the last year.

What haven’t I learned in the last year? This time last year I was in a meeting at Cal State Fullerton being told that the reason I was not successful in the programme was because I had a bad attitude, and I was forced to come to the realization that incorrectly cited parts of my paper were going to be the straw that broke the camel’s back on what was a horrible two years. I was beyond depressed, I was lonely, I had no money, and I was seriously at a loss for where my life was headed.

Today I woke up in Scotland. While the last couple of weeks have been rough in terms of my depression and anxiety, I am the happiest I have been in years. I’m working on my PhD, I’ve made some new friends and reconnected with some old ones, and have settled into a very very good life. I’m even dating (I promise I did not make him up). Life is not even close to perfect, but it is getting there.

So, what have  I learned this year?

I learned the power of family. My family never once wavered with their support when I was battling the programme, and then when I applied for the job here and decided that I was never going back to the United States. My sister in snark offered me advice and puppy love, and my favoruite Russian gave up her time to be my lawyer and try to minimize the damage done to me personally and professionally. My mom and brother got on a plane to come spend a week with me, and my sister sends me care packages and drops everything on the weekends to Skype with me and tell me that the world is not going to end for me anytime soon.

I learned that even on my lowest days, I have a lot to be grateful for. I started this challenge because things were starting to get bad in the programme and I wanted to try and keep myself from falling into the dark and twisty that was my usual MO. Every week I got to remind myself of something that I liked, someone that inspired me, or somewhere that I have had been lucky enough to visit. Even if it was little things like my favourite type of music, or my favourite type of food, it reminded me of things that I enjoy, and allowed me some distance from the things that I didn’t.

I learned the power of being myself. I’m a flamingo in a flock of pigeons, and every day I am a little more proud of that. I’m a nerd. I like books, I like cat videos, puppies, chocolate, and watching horror movies. I overthink everything, I’m awkward, and I am a true gypsy soul. I believe that store brand American peanut butter tastes better than almost anything else, and a quesadilla will solve all of my problems. I like to shop when I am sad. I am sarcastic, sometimes even when I don’t mean to be. I don’t understand dating. Some people get me, most people don’t….and that is okay (okay, I say okay, but what I really mean is, I want everyone to like me)

I learned that my slow cooking skills need a lot of work. Life goal for the new year: Learn how to use the slow cooker properly.

I learned that all the medication in the world is not going to make me feel as good as fresh air and yoga does. I have not done yoga properly in a month, and I can really feel it. I’m lacking some motivation, but I am hoping that someone can kick my butt into getting it done and staying on a schedule. The weather might be too cold for me to enjoy the fresh air, but my new yoga mat has barely been used, and that is a shame. I need to fix that. Like right now. In fact, I am going to put this on hold and do some yoga.

I learned that I can survive just about anything. Anyone who reads through the last year of posts will know how much I have done, and how there were only a few times that I really wanted to give up. Eventually though all roads led to Edinburgh, and I am a happy happy girl. Now I just have to survive until February when I can go home and get some sunshine and some more of my shoes.

The shoes. They are important. My goal now is to make my list of 100 things I am grateful for before Saturday so that I actually complete the challenge for the week in which it is intended.