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Adult Things

We Shall Not Overcome

Monday mornings have been making me a little anxious lately.

This semester I started working as a speech therapist. This may have been one of the most long-anticipated events of my entire life. I’d been going to school for five years in preparation for this clinical rotation. Based on that fact, I should be comically over-prepared.

Friends, I was comically under-prepared.

Alright, that’s an exaggeration. I was as prepared as I could have been, but on my first day I felt like I was either going to throw up or die. (Didn’t end up doing either, so basically I nailed it.) Turns out there’s only so much you can learn from a classroom. And when you’re working with people, you’ve got to be ready for anything. That’s what makes it so much fun.

I work in a Rehab Hospital up in Portland, Maine. The day starts at 7am, so I get to watch the sunrise on my commute every morning. I work with people at some of the most difficult times of their lives, and I get to watch them make incredible progress. The job is challenging and fascinating and draining and fun.

Today began my fifth week. Some days I feel comfortable and confident. Other days, I still feel so fresh. Each time I sit down to evaluate a new patient or read a medical chart that paints a scary picture, I wonder who the hell thought it was a good idea to let me do this.

Sometimes my sessions go off without a hitch. Other times my patients yell at me because I don’t let them talk with food in their mouths. All in a day, right?

As much as feeling like an impostor sucks, every day of work is a million times better than sitting in classes for the sixth year in a row. And I know it’s not the end of the world to be uncomfortable. It’s a part of starting any career. I remember Hannah trying to breathe on the mornings before she lead her first big meetings at Vital.

So I’ve been trying to get comfortable with being uncomfortable. To at least appear like I know what I’m doing. To not doubt myself so much. To enjoy the small victories and graciously accept the constructive feedback.

I found this song back in undergrad, when I was still only dreaming of the day I’d have my own caseload of patients and a real job. I’ve been waiting for years for it to be applicable to my life, and it finally is. If anyone else needs a little boost of confidence, I hope this helps. We got this.

 

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Adult Things, Artsy

Passionate, Honest, and Utterly Pretentious

A few weeks ago, I was re-reading some old journal entries from college. (When we were still in our UNH cap and gown, Julie and I started asking each other, “hey, do you remember that girl from college?” But that was only because we wanted to be douchecanoes for a second. Still not sure if I’ve been graduated long enough to talk about things from college, but what the hell. Maybe in my heart, I really am a douchecanoe.)

One entry stuck with me as a passionate, honest, and utterly pretentious piece of nineteen-year-old poetry.

December 3, 2013

This feeling. Like anything is possible. Ready to explore the world and write it all down. To charm everyone from Sydney to Paris. To capture people and places with words simple and true. To wear my hair down every day.

I know the world can be dark – I think I know, anyways – I’ve seen some things and I’ve read a lot of books. I want to move to a city and live in the lights and walk in my heels like I have someplace to be. I want to sit between mountains and write about how the air tastes and how the sky bruises purple just before the sun sets. I want to keep in touch with my family, keep holding words like newly blown glass, keep faith in myself. Find people who have the same fire in their chest.

Who knows what I’ll do when I graduate. Try not to become jaded. Smile at people walking by even when they notice too late to smile back. Savor coffee-stained pages. Remember this feeling, nineteen and alone and surrounded and alive: hands outstretched like her fingertips could meet around the earth.

Nineteen-year-old me was definitely a douchecanoe. But – I think she was onto something. I admire her gusto. She actually believes she’s going to wear heels one day, that’s cute. She clearly thinks she’s God’s gift to the personal essay, and the first person ever to describe the sky as “bruised,” but goddammit, that girl’s giving it her all. She makes me want to write bad poetry and dance in the rain.

My friends – this week was shitty. My titanium elbow had its second surgery this past Tuesday, and I’ve been feeling not unlike a giant turd ever since the hard drugs wore off. (Always blame the hard drugs.) I’ve been daydreaming about carrying groceries and closing the trunk of my car at the same time. Can’t say I ever expected that to happen.

But you know what? Today was a good Monday. I got to see my pals at work and type some things with my new elbow, and take a walk outside even though it feels like a rainforest, and have a glass of wine with Julie and Steph at the end of the day. It wasn’t quite “savoring coffee stained pages” (I didn’t even drink coffee when I wrote that, I just vaguely liked the idea of drinking coffee, like a douche) – but it was pretty damn good.

This is all a roundabout way of saying: if you’ve had a shitty week, remember the last time it felt like your fingertips could touch around the Earth. It’ll come back again. Someday soon you’ll feel painfully, wonderfully alive, like a nineteen-year-old who’s just discovered Jack Kerouac for the first time.

(Plot twist: I’ve still never read Jack Kerouac. But pretending has gotten me pretty far.)

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Adult Things

Souvenirs from Colorado

I have the sort of manic-zest-for-life that can only come from big life transitions. I’m back from Colorado and settling back into the New Hampshire seacoast. I’m back to school, only this year I’m working full-time as a (student) SLP in a hospital in Portland, Maine. Finally! There are still so many old friends to see and favorite coffee shops to visit.

Everything is still new and exciting and overwhelming. I’m loving all the changes, and I’m definitely not getting enough sleep. (If you’ve seen me in the past few weeks and I seemed a little off, that’s probably why.) There’s no time for sleep- there’s too much life to live!

I know that, at some point this fall, I’m going to crash. Sleep deprivation will catch up to me and I’ll hit a rut in this new routine. But that’s okay. I have a plan.

Towards the end of the summer, I made a list in my journal of things that I wanted to take back from Colorado. Nothing tangible. Just small habits and parts of my life there that I really enjoyed. Here’s what I came up with.

Finding new music. Or books, movies, podcasts, art. I forgot how much it cheers me up to find a great album or a new author to explore. It changes your whole week. You get to harass your roommate to listen to/read/watch your latest find- and sometimes she gets into it too! That’s even better. 

 

Walks through town. This summer I didn’t have a car, which isn’t nearly as much of a bummer as it sounds. Walking downtown for a coffee instead of driving became my favorite part of the day.

Morning coffeeshop breakfasts. Abby and I got coffee and sat by the river almost every day in Estes. We felt like old retirees. The opportunity may not come around often, but when it does, I’ll always jump at the chance to put my feet up and sip my coffee slowly.

Laying out in my hammock. You ever fall asleep reading in a hammock with mountains everywhere you look? It’s the fucking best.

 

Taking photos. Of the spectacular views and the ordinary ones.

 

Taking a second to appreciate the view. There were so many moments in Colorado when I felt the need to stop, put down whatever I was holding, and take it all in. Mountain summits and sunsets and sunrises and sometimes just the view out my window.

Maybe you’re in a rut right now. If work or school or life in general is feeling a little bit stale, I feel you. I hope you break out of it soon. You could try something on this list. And if you stumble upon something cool, definitely tell me about it.

Happy Tuesday, friends.

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Adult Things

Things To Do When You Are A Human-Shaped Pile of Garbage

I wrote this post in my bed on Saturday morning. From my heart to yours, if this long weekend turned you into garbage too, here’s to hoping it was temporarily.

Today, I am a garbage person.

I don’t mean a person who handles garbage for a living, because those people are the heroes without whom our society would crumble into a massive pile of moldy paper towels and old socks. They should be heralded with trumpets.

Today, I am the garbage.  As I write this at 11am, I sit on my half-made bed with the shades drawn and a plastic cup of iced coffee sweating on my bedside table. (Why is the bed half-made, do you ask? Because I got tired after pulling up one corner.) Last night we stayed up until almost 3am, and it feels like my body has punched itself in the face.

Great call on finishing off that bag of Tostitos before bed! My inner garbage whispers. The half-made bed is where we shall stay.

How many drinks did I have last night? Definitely fewer than you’d guess. (Not sharing the exact number here because, like all great artists, I need to preserve my street cred.) But they were spaced out just perfectly to maximize my time spent in my truest of garbage forms.

If you’re a human person with a brain and a heart, I’m willing to bet you’ve had a few garbage days yourself. The garbage-self can appear without any drinks at all – I’ve seen it lurking if you miss out on some sleep, forget to eat dinner, or just wake up on the unmade side of the bed.

Things To Do When You Are a Human-Shaped Pile of Garbage:

Take a nap in a room with no windows. Sunlight is the enemy.
Go for a run. (Not recommended if there’s any chance of spewing your garbage.)
Call your friend who drank more/slept less/has a more stressful job than you. Nothing makes garbage feel better than finding other, smellier garbage.
Apologize to your garbage friend for using them to prop up your ego. Buy them an ice cream and French fries.
Invite your garbage friend over to watch Shameless and fall asleep on the couch.
Consider checking your work email. (Don’t do it, just consider it.)
Consider taking a shower. (Don’t do it, just consider it.)
Start reading the news. Immediately stop reading the news.
Mutter angrily to no one in particular every time you have to get up to pee.

If you’re feeling like a pile of horse manure covered in food scraps on top of an abandoned dumpster, I hope this post finds its way to your lazy little scrolling thumbs. Soak in the garbage day, my friend. Marinate in it. Love it. Don’t even change your underwear. But in a couple hours, go take a goddamn shower.

If you need me, I’ll be right here – napping and taking very, very frequent pee breaks.

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