The Scamp and the Writing Challenge: Week 5

Week 5 was an interesting week. It was busy, and I had a scary doctor’s appointment and a blown fuse to fix (see previous post). While there were parts of the week that sucked, I survived, and am one week closer to going back to California to welcome my nephew into the world, and be a bridesmaid for a very good friend. I’m looking forward to sunshine, warm weather and no tutoring center.

I’m especially looking forward to that last one.

But I digress. Week five is dedicated to the best part of my week. That is an easy one. The best part of my week was spending Sunday evening/night with the manpanion. We watched a really great Indonesian action film

After the movie we laid in bed and talked about books and movies we wanted to read and see, and we watched a lot of trailers on Youtube. Every time I was about to fall asleep, he’d reach for his phone and show me something else. We’d laugh, I’d make fun of him for his excitement, we’d settle in to sleep and he then he would think of something else to show me.

For me, there are a lot of reasons this was my favorite part of the week. I love any time I get to spend with him, but it was also a break from everything. We didn’t talk about my health, or my PhD, or the tutoring center, or my depression. We just hung out together and laughed. My depression and stress often effects my mood, and therefore my relationships, and unfortunately in the last few months, he has gotten a tiny bit of it. We also have very different styles of communication, which sometimes leaves me frustrated, but after a couple of really good chats, we’ve settled back into a happy medium. It was nice to have something in the week not go completely tits up. It also means that I get to start the new week on a positive, which will hopefully carry over to everything I have to get done this week.

If not, I will just pout until he agrees to a cuddle, or takes my not so subtle hint that I would like a puppy for my birthday.

I think I almost have him convinced that that last one is a good idea.

 

The Scamp and the Happiness Challenge Day 4 and 5

I’d like to say that I continued with the happiness challenge, but in truth, I haven’t.

I’m about to get way more honest and way more personal than I probably should on such a public space, but in truth, writing helps me process, and I am better with the written word than I am with anything else, and this has always been about my journey, the good, the bad, and the heartbreaking.

The happiness challenge came about because I have been feeling increasingly depressed in the last few months. I’m distracted at work, neglecting school and research, and slowly spiraling into a really bad place. Yesterday it all finally came to a head. The boy ended his relationship with me. This probably should have happened months ago, but I desperately clung to it thinking that since we loved each other things would get better. I clung to the idea that I needed to be in a relationship, that I wasn’t overloaded with work, school and residual trust issues that come from jumping into relationship too soon.

I’m crushed. Not in the same way I was when David cheated on me, but in a way that makes it clear to me that I need to do a lot of work toward really healing. There is a profound sense of loss, a slight sense of failure, and the realization that I still have a lot to figure out about myself.

The one thing that I do know is that I am extremely loved. My sister sat with me until I could drive home yesterday, my mom put aside her grading to sit with me and let me cry about finding myself in this situation again, and my brother gave up his lunch time today to listen to me cry. He told me to “buck up little camper” and reminded me that sometimes shit just doesn’t work out. I made a comment on facebook about needing puppy and cat videos and my friends sent me texts, emails, and fb posts of puppy and kitten videos. No one asked what was wrong, and no one hesitated to try and make me feel better.  One person I did tell offer to come over and let me box out my aggression. One of the members of my cohort let me cry on her shoulder in the middle of a parking lot today and reminded me that I have the support system I need around me, and that I will be okay.

I know that I will be okay. I know that I didn’t date in high school, and very little in college, so dating and breaking up is normal, and I’m about ten years behind schedule from most people in this area.

My first instinct whenever something bad happens to me is to run away. I have to admit, my flight instinct is in overdrive. I would love nothing more than to run away from this and not deal with it.

Instead, I called the counseling service on campus, made a list of all the things I need to do for school and for work, and gave myself permission to cry if I need to. I’m allowing one more day of light work and homework, and then it is back to business and onto some serious and deep healing.

I am truly humbled by the love, puppy videos, concern, and unquestionable support that I get from those around me. I will never be able to say how grateful I am for that.

 

The Scamp Gets Overwhelmed

I’ve become THAT girl.

I’ve become that creepy girl that sits at the back of the room rocking and chewing on her hair.

Yesterday I imploded in the middle of class. One minute I was in class listening to book report presentations, and the next minute I was sobbing uncontrollably and hastily running out of my class before too many people noticed what was going on.

I cried for the next 40 minutes. I cried so hard I gave myself the hiccups. I cried on the phone with the boy, and while he was nice about it, it was not exactly what he should have been doing at 7 pm on a Tuesday. I was a mess. This has been building for months, and it sure chose the worst time to come through. I’m not exactly good with my feelings and emotions. I like to keep things bottled up and pretend that things don’t bother me when they do. For the last few months I have been trying to juggle three jobs, school, homework, a social life and the boy, and my juggling skills have finally run out.

There is a reason that the program told us at the beginning to not be in relationships, to take a sabbatical from work, and to kiss our social lives goodbye. This program sucks the life out of you. It will consume you. The reading, the studying, the writing, the prepping for the qualifying exam, and then for my dissertation….it never ends. I expected it. I knew that I would be busy, I knew that it would be hard, but to be in the middle of it now while trying to juggle other things. While the program was slowly sucking the life out of me, I let myself fall into old habits. The sucky thing is, when I get into these bouts of depression, I tend to ruin relationships. I can already feel myself doing that. Without insurance though, I cannot afford to see a doc, and some of the affordable options have not been a good fit (I guess that is a good enough reason to sign up for insurance).

The problem is, I’m selfish. I may want to quit the program at this very moment, but I am not going to. I may want to quit one or two of my jobs, but I am not going to. The library pays my bills for the moment, I love working with the junior high kids, and the professor I work for is one of the nicest people I have ever met. She is also giving me the opportunity to publish, learn, and immerse myself in research. I should not go to SD and see the boy, or hang out with people for happy hour, but I am not going to give those up. I love my friends and family, and I love the boy the best way I know how, and I don’t want to let any of that go.

The problem is, instead of doing everything that I learned to do while I was in therapy in Scotland, I reverted. I don’t know how to keep that from happening. I don’t know how to reconcile what I know I need to do with what I am doing.

Luckily I have some amazing friends and family to help see me through. My BFF has been giving me just the kick in the pants I need (and enough daily reminders that I am not in fact a broken toy) to keep me from crawling too deep into the hole. I’m also getting to the gym and getting some weekly yoga classes that are helping me work off some of the tension, and I am really hoping that I can make a lasting change, rather than just a change I thought was lasting.

I hate admitting that I failed….well not failed, but suffered  a setback. I like to think of myself as strong and perfect, completely capable of taking care of myself, but I am slowly learning in my old age that that might not be the case.

….and that is completely okay.

The Scamp and a Present

I like giving presents.

Well, that’s not true. I like giving meaningful presents. I love finding the perfect gift for someone and seeing their face when they open it.

Then there was this boy. I found two presents I thought he would like, and after I bought them, he told me that he is hard to buy presents for, and I shouldn’t get my hopes up. He had me worried. I talked to my mom, my sister, and my best friend about to make sure what I got him wasn’t stupid or cheesy. It is not like me to second guess my choices, but when he told em he wouldn’t like it, I was really thought there was a chance that he wouldn’t.

These are the presents:

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This one is pretty self explanatory. He is a scientist, and he has worked his way into my heart, so I thought this would be a fitting piece of art for the wall in his room.

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This picture is different. It made me laugh. We have exactly one picture together:

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and while it is a great picture (I mean, come on, look at the windows in his living room!), the picture of the two skeletons speak to us as a couple. I am always threatening to punch him in the face, and he is always trying to get in my pants. The picture makes me giggle, and I was hoping that every time he looked at it, he would giggle too.

Score one for me though. He loved the pictures. I got a real smile, a very nice kiss, and a “well done” (which is the same thing he said to me when I told him about the A on my dissertation. It is not so much the words, but the tone of voice…..like the guy in Babe, when he says, “That’ll do pig.” and Babe knows he succeeded).

This just reaffirms my love for giving meaningful gifts, and it gives me some hope that even after heartstompapoloza, I can be a part of a functional human relationship.

 

Should anyone be interested in the artwork, the lovely artist can be found here: https://www.etsy.com/shop/frenchprints?ref=l2-shopheader-name. There are almost 700 prints to choose from, all of them beautiful.

 

A Scamp Conflicted

Lately I have been having dreams that I have become irrelevant. There is nothing worse than feeling like you no longer matter. In the dreams my friends and family stop talking to me, stop inviting me places, and generally disappear from my life. Now, I am not dumb enough to think that the world is going to stop turning just because I have decided to move to the UK, but I can’t seem to shake the feeling of “out of sight, out of mind”. This lingering feeling is making what time I do have left here difficult. I am definitely moody and suspicious of the motives of people around me. I act like a sullen teenager when someone says, “Oh, but you are moving to Scotland” when they mention a concert, trip, or some other event that will take place when I have left. It’s as if their efforts are wasted on me because I won’t be around much longer.

I have only shared this fear with a couple of people. While two of them told me I was crazy and all would be fine, the only comment I can seem to focus on is the one asshole who told me that fear is completely justified. He went on to tell me that I should not expect to stay in contact with anyone other than my immediate family because I made it virtually impossible for people to want to emotionally connect to me and show me any type of affection. I realize that I am not the easiest person in the world, but I had no idea I was that difficult. For some reason that is the comment that is stuck in my head, and that is making me question all of my choices. While there is nothing short of a health crisis that is going to keep me from going, it does make me question whether or not I should come home. Once I finish my degree I will be more than qualified to work in the UK, and I could see myself staying there and deciding not to come home at all.

At the end of the day I know that I could never be that far from my family, but if I don’t find a way to snap myself out of this mindset, it is going to put a real big damper on the excitement of the upcoming adventure.

Little Lost Scamp

8 months ago I decided that I no longer wanted to live in San Diego. I had finished my master’s degree and was ready to move on and put  this place behind me. Thanks to the economy, and my desire to work in a field where English teachers are a dime a dozen, I was forced into taking a full-time gig in San Diego and abandoning my escape plans. I had put the idea of a PhD. on hold and settled for a crappy night job in hopes of having the time to hunt down permanent teaching gigs and working my way out of San Diego. The longer I was out of school though, the more I itched to be back in the classroom. For the first 23 years of my life I had staked my entire identity on being a student. It was the only thing that I knew how to do really well (besides sarcasm) and I found myself getting lost in a world of routine schedules and lonely night shifts. Five months into the new job working nights and I felt like a zombie. I didn’t get to see my friends, I wasn’t learning anything new, and I slowly losing my sense of self. When it became clear to me that a full-time teaching gig was not on my horizon, I decided that the only way I was going to become a better candidate for jobs was to get another degree.

My family likes to joke that I am a perpetual student, and if I could be one, I would, but I honestly felt like adding another skill set to my bag of tricks would make me stand out in a job interview. I began to hunt for programs that I could complete onlline, and in a short amount of time, so that I could teach a wider variety of classes and make myself more marketable. At first I wasn’t looking for PhD. programs, I was just looking at certificate programs and classes that would allow my to teach reading or ESL classes. None of the programs I found seemed that interesting, and as people around me settled down to get married, have kids, or start their careers, the only thing I found myself wanting to do was run as far away from here as possible. I started looking into teaching English abroad, and possibly going to school. The first place I looked at was New Zealand. It is a well known fact to those who love me that I have a thing for sheep farmers, and New Zealand seemed like the perfect place to go to find a hot sheep farmer to sweep me off my feet. While I was thinking about school, I was also thinking about the upcoming family vacation to Ireland. They have sheep farmers there too, so I figured applying to school there wouldn’t be so bad either. Further research into the schools there and the types of programs they have led me to believe that I wouldn’t be a good fit, so I googled “Colleges and universities in the U.K.” University of Edinburgh was one of the returns, and once I saw that they had a literacy program, and that the application process was free, I figured that I didn’t have anything to lose by applying. I didn’t really know anything about the school, and I had never been to Scotland, but I figured it wasn’t costing me anything more than 500 words to apply, so I would have nothing to lose.

I submitted the application at Thanksgiving, and didn’t give it another thought. I applied for a handful of full-time teaching jobs in Orange County and I started working with my mom on a new way to teach developmental writing. It wasn’t until the end of February when U of E emailed and asked for some more details that I even thought about the application. The only thing that I said when they emailed me offering me a place in the program was “I got in” The first person I called was my mom, and when she didn’t answer, I left her a rambling message that made no sense, and then I called Kelly. After that I text everyone I could think of telling them I got in. I could not sit still. Work no longer seemed important. I got in. I had my escape route.

When I finally did talk to my mom, she immediately started talking about all of the things that practical people think of when applying to school. How was I going to pay for it? What was the cost? Where was I going to live? When did I have to give an answer? How did I know I could live there? I didn’t have any answers beyond “I got in” and at that moment, I didn’t care. All I knew was that I had gotten into the University of Edinburgh and I hadn’t been that happy or excited about anything in years. I knew that there was no way I was going to turn down the offer, so, despite my mom’s misgivings, I accepted the offer, site unseen.

So now I have six months to nail down a place to live, find funding, get a job, and make a list of the all of the places that I want to visit and all of the things I want to see while I am living in the U.K.