Sunday, July 19, 2015

An Awkward Return (aka, my grand return to this blog)

Remember that time I told you all I was taking a brief break from this blog? Remember how I said I'd be gone for like a week, tops, but then instead fell off the wagon for nearly two months? That was cute, right?

Okay but in all seriousness, I've been thinking about you all nearly every day. Good ideas for blog posts have been filtering in and out of my consciousness nearly constantly; clever phrases and topics of conversation keep popping up in silent moments when my mind is wandering. In the car, in the shower, in those few moments before sleep...you get the point. Basically any time I'm away from a computer or notebook; needless to say, these thoughts never have enough traction to really stick. Which is exactly why I'm doing this blog title justice: I've camped out in my nearest Starbucks, drinking a grande vanilla iced coffee and spilling my guts to this text box. Because trust me, after nearly two months, I have a lot to share.

Let me get back into that headspace I was in on April 30th, when I last wrote anything for you guys. In fact, let me go read that post so I can refresh my own memory. So much has happened since then...it has been two months, after all.

HAHAHAHA. OKAY. So, my last post was all about how I need to be writing every day and how good it feels to blog regularly. Reading back that post was almost like being bitch-slapped from past me. My ego and sense of self is stinging a little bit, I'm not gonna lie. But maybe kicking my own ass is just the motivation I need. Because really, past me has a point. I do need to be writing to maintain my sense of identity. Writing is like therapy to me. And the ironic thing is lately I've been feeling like I need to go to therapy; like old-school "sit on a couch and divulge your feelings to a trained professional" therapy. But unfortunately, me feeling a little lost and lacking purpose has happened just as my mom officially took the leap and started her own business. And don't get me wrong, I'm enormously proud of her; I couldn't be more in awe of her drive. But that's not the point: the point is, leaving her stable job means purchasing a new insurance plan, which ultimately means I'd have to pay out of pocket for traditional therapy. And--shocker--as a broke college girl, I don't have a bunch of extra money lying around. So that means I'm just kind of trying my best to hang in there and do what I can to make myself feel better. AKA lots of reading free self-help articles and eating way too many carbs. My methods are inherently flawed, but at least they're not breaking the bank. Really what I'm trying to say is writing should be apart of the equation. And think that's something I can do that's mutually beneficial for me and for you. But that means you have to keep me accountable, guys. I'm entrusting you with my mental health. Yikes, do you feel the pressure?

And y'know while I'm spilling my guts, I might as well continue unloading; if I'm going to really catch you up on all that's happened in the past two months, I should shed some light on everything. And I promise we'll get to the good stuff in a bit, but I'm a "bad news first" kind of girl. 

In short, I think I'm slowly slipping back into my old ways. That doesn't mean I'm full-blown capital-D Depressed, but I definitely have been recognizing some less-than-pretty traits that last reared their ugly heads when I was in high school, AKA when my depression was at its all time worst. And the scary thing is acknowledging that it's happening without really having a game plan. I can feel myself losing interest and spending too much time under the covers, but I can't stop. And while knowing it's half the battle, it sucks having to admit to myself that I'm not feeling great. I guess the best way I can explain it is this: it's like I'm at the top of this hill, looking down. And at the bottom of this massive hill is a nasty, gurgling black swamp. And I recognize the swamp, because in the past few years, I made a really focused effort to climb out of it; I was once festering in its murky waters, and after a lot of work, I made it to the top of the hill. And for a long time I was standing firmly at the top, with both feet planted firmly on the ground and my eyes facing forward, my back turned to the swamp and the huge hill I hiked up. Not that I'm embarrassed or ashamed of the journey; rather it's just old news, and I'd prefer to focus on what's ahead. But lately my legs have been shaking and I've been looking down the hill, suddenly super aware of its existence for the first time in forever. And I know that if I give in to my shaking legs, I'll tumble all the way back down, which I obviously don't want to do. I want to stand firm and keep trekking to new heights, but my legs are so shaky and so fucking tired. 

I don't know why. Unlike the Great Depression of 2012-2013, there hasn't been any triggering situation. That's probably the scariest part; I suddenly just don't feel like I serve any purpose in my hometown. I feel like I've outgrown a lot of people who I used to hold close. I'm scared of what lies ahead for me in my life and in my career, and I'm a little bored. But hey, I'm still here. I've still got some good people in my corner. I'm still waking up every day and getting out of bed. I'm still trying my best most of the time. And y'know, I am proud of myself for being super in-tune with myself, but I'm still kind of terrified. While I'm being completely honest with you.

But enough about all the dark and stormy stuff. I'm probably making things seem way more grim than they actually are, and I don't mean to alarm anyone, so let's focus on the positive. For starters, when we last spoke, I was super overwhelmed and all-consumed by finals week. I was studying incredibly hard, spending most days camping out in Dunkin Donuts attempting to cram for my exams. But all that hard work paid off, guys! I made Dean's List for the second time in my collegiate career, which was really rewarding, even more so than the first time. The first time I made Dean's List, I was taking classes I was really interested in and naturally inclined toward, therefore I didn't really have to study that hard. Don't get me wrong, I did spend some time in the library, but not nearly as much as this time around. This past semester, I took two science classes, a poetry class (which as we know, I'm not naturally very good at), and an advanced composition class taught by a super hard to please professor. None of these classes were super simple or right up my alley (ESPECIALLY those science classes), so needless to say I felt incredibly accomplished when I managed to make good grades in all of my courses. And the best part is, I'll never again have to mess with Gen-Ed classes; from here on out I'm solely taking classes that I'm interested in. I feel like I've finally crossed over into the promised land, and I'm about to get a real taste for my passions. It's about to get real Authentic College Experience up in here. 

This upcoming semester I'm taking two introductory courses for my major (Media Arts and Design, with a journalism concentration. Don't ask me what I want to do with it, because I have no idea), two minor courses (Advanced Creative Nonfiction with my favorite professor, and Intro to Fiction Writing. Seriously, I love my Creative Writing minor so much, and I'm so lucky to have supportive parents who let me declare it), and then I'm taking Intro to Women and Gender Studies, because why not? My course load is so liberal, I love it. So that's good; I'm excited about this next semester, which is motivation to keep my head up until I get to go back to school. 

Speaking of going back to school, I'm also preparing to move into my first apartment, which is equal parts scary and exciting. I'm moving in with one of my best friends, plus two other awesome girls who I'm sure I'll click with once we're all living under the same roof. We're in that fun stage of deciding on color schemes and buying flatware, which makes my Tumblr-loving heart go two million miles a minute. All of this is contributing to my growing suspicion that I might be slowly transitioning into adulthood, which seems like a practical joke, but apparently it's not? Apparently I'm about to turn twenty, which means I get to take classes that prepare me for my career and have my own bathroom that's not in parents' house? Weird. When I started this blog, I was living in my pink and yellow freshman dorm room and frantically deciding what I wanted to major in. How time flies.

What else is new? Umm...oh, I started another summer of camp counselor-ing. I work full-time, meaning I pretty much just work, eat, and sleep. It's rewarding, though. The kids I work with are ages 8-14, which means they're all over the grid as far as maturity and puberty go. And sometimes (nearly constantly) that's a challenge, but sometimes you'll get a hug or a sweet note from one of them that puts things back into perspective. I lead Art and Girls Leadership camp, respectively. So some weeks I'm covered in paint, and others I'm guiding feminists-in-training down the path of positively and self-love. That, or I'm filling out incident reports. Really a combination of both, but that's to be expected. Either way, I'm always exhausted. But I'd prefer that than being bored--I think one of the reasons why I'm not full-blown capital-D Depressed is because my job is keeping me busy and engaged. That, and last week I saw Queen Taylor Swift in concert, so I'm still dancing on rainbows just thinking about hearing songs from 1989 sung live.

And y'know what, guys? I think that's about it. In short: I've been really, really happy; I've been really, really sad; I've been really, really scared, and overall I just really, really wanted you to know that I missed you. I don't think this blog post was at all easy to read; the writing was super disjunct and all over the place. But listen, I never promised my grand return would be graceful, it's me we're talking about after all. All I can promise is that I'll be back soon. I know, I know, I'm sure you're laughing at your computer screens right now. But I mean it this time, guys. Like I said earlier, just keep me accountable.

Until next time!

x,
Lauren