Saturday, December 29, 2012

It was only a kiss

It's not always easy when things go well. So many people, myself included, adopt the attitude, "I just need to get through this." I just need to make it through this week. I only have to finish this paper and then things will be better. I can relax after this exam. But when does life really give you a break? I've been pretty stressed, what with it being the holidays and all. Plus trying to get work done while students are gone, deal with the weather, etc etc etc. And for a while now I've been waiting for a guy to come along that I'm excited about. Well, the holidays are (mostly) over (I can just ignore New Years, right?). I was still feeling anxious and attributed it to a budding new relationship. But after the next date, which involved lots of laughs, talking, and a first kiss, I woke up in the middle of the night, sweating from a nightmare. In the nightmare I was walking a tightrope. It was only three feet off the ground, but I was still terrified. It can be seen as symbolic, in that the tightrope is th relationship just getting off the ground, or just everyday life, which is less strenuous right now than at other times. But why would this cause me so much anxiety? My therapist has said that even though good things make us feel good and relieve some stresses, they also bring new stress. Since I have some free time now, I'm worried about wasting it. Since I have fewer pressures, I should be more productive. And now that I've found a romantic interest, I can start being afraid of losing it. P!nk sings
Screw fear it's contagious Infecting everything It makes me do such stupid stupid stuff I say things I never mean What exactly do I think? What am I afraid of? If I fall it'll blow up in my face Now that's just crazy
We all do this. It's natural to be afraid of losing something, almost as soon as we get it. Sometimes, even before we get it! (Ever been jealous of a friend or competitor during a contest?) Sure, it hurts to be hurt. It stinks to be disappointed. But that doesn't mean we shouldn't even try. Finding the balance between keeping low expectations but still letting ourselves become invested in a relationship or task is very difficult. Personally I think it depends very much upon your last experience with the situation. Were you very hurt or just a little? Was it fast or slow? Did it make you feel un-empowered? It's so hard to face our fears, and even more difficult to face them while still acknowledging that they are valuable lessons that can inform us. We don't want to make the same mistakes twice. But we also don't want to cut ourselves off from the possibility of a different outcome. I think it's probably rare that anyone finds the perfect balance between ignoring fear and being overcome by it. I guess the solace is that we don't need to be perfect to be happy. We just need to stay within a certain boundary (oh geeze... I was just thinking, we need to stay within a certain confidence interval... sorry, that's the nerd in me). For now, that's all I can do... P!nk "Timebomb" (originally by Kylie Minogue) Screw fear, it's contagious Infecting everything It makes me do such stupid, stupid stuff I say things I never mean What exactly do I think? Who am I protecting? If I fall it'll blow up in my face That's just crazy I'm delicate, I'm sensitive Please try to be more careful You're mean, you're a lunatic Let's try to make this fun again It's only love, give it away (It's only love) You'll probably get it back again (It's only love) It's simple, it's a silly thing Throw it away like a boomerang I wish we all could lighten up It's only love, not a time bomb I'm tired from last nights fight I wish I hadn't started it I hate when my fear speaks for me It makes me nasty I thought we could start again Go back to the days when we felt like friends It's all too serious for me And I know I'm guilty Matchsticks and poison That's what I add to the fire My dear, I'm frozen Turned from a saint to a liar It's only love, give it away (It's only love) You'll probably get it back again (It's only love) It's simple, it's a silly thing Throw it away like a boomerang I wish we all could lighten up It's only love not a time bomb I don't want to be precious I don't want to feel stress Life is for the living, But not a living hell So take it Take this Oh, you can have all of me Take it Take this Here, you can have everything I don't want to be flawless When I go I want the cuts to show So take it Take this Oh, you can have all of me Break it Take it Oh, fuck it, have everything It's only love, give it away (It's only love) You'll probably get it back again (It's only love) It's simple, it's a silly thing Throw it away like a boomerang I wish we all could lighten up It's only love not a time bomb (It's only love) (It's only love) It's simple, it's a silly thing Throw it away like a boomerang I wish we all could lighten up It's only love not a time bomb

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

The ten things I'm most proud of having done in grad school

1. Discovering the rusty, forgotten key to the paper towel dispensers in the lab
2. Giving a lecture to nearly 200 students
3. Creating an environment where students are excited to talk about science
4. Creating an environment where no one feels judged for snacking 90% of the day
5. Creating witty, nerdly screensaver marquees (Ecotypes are real!)
6. Figuring out when to say no.
7. Figuring out HOW to say no
8. Being presented with a shirt that says 'Proud mom of a chocolate lab' t-shirt
9. Getting to a point where my advisor trusts me to make decisions
10. Surviving for almost 5 years

posted from Bloggeroid

Saturday, December 15, 2012

A decidedly smart move

Remember how I said I moved?
Soooo glad I did that. Lemme tell you why.

I realize that I may have come across as a brat in my blog entries where I complained about my former building, landlord, and downstairs neighbor. The stories I conveyed are true, and I don’t mask my sassiness because it’s funnier that way. But in reality, I didn't move only because the guy who lived below me was noisy. He was only a contributing factor. The truth is, the place was sketchy. I know this sounds snooty and uppity and sheltered etc etc etc. Sure, so someone in the building smoked a lot of pot. Most people would say, so what? Actually, it was more that a LOT of the people in the building smoked pot. Yes, people were messy and sometimes dropped their unwanted third class mail in the front of the building and left their cigarette butts in the hallway but who cares? That’s not REALLY a safety hazard, is it? Somewhat more worrying was the fact that a LOT of people left the front door open, because they’re apparently too busy to come let in their friends or too weak to carry their apparently extremely weighty keychains with them when they walk their dogs. I mean, I didn't really mind during the day, but if I came back after a night out and the front door was propped open at 1am, then I started to feel a little uncomfortable. But the fact that, judging from the times I stopped by my apartment to grab something in the middle of the day (yay for living five minutes from work!), some of these people never actually WENT to work was a little weird. I mean it’s not PROOF that they’re getting income from selling illegal drugs or weapons. Maybe they’re just nocturnal wildlife photographers, or strippers. But they all had really nice cars for wildlife photographers.
Are these complaints just baseless whining?
But the armed arrest I witnessed tonight begs to differ.

I've been in the process of cleaning the last few items out of the old place all week. Tonight I went over after work one last time to clean, throw some third-generation (well, third grad generation anyway) furniture, and pick up my last few items.
On one of my trips to the dumpster, I noticed a tall, nice looking man walking a dog.
On my next trip downstairs I realized there were two men. And they weren't so much walking the dog as following it. It also happened to be a police dog. And lo and behold, they were policemen.
I figured they had been called in for another pot junkie stinking up the place. I chuckled at the thought of tipping them off to my old neighbor. As I walked back into the building, I held the door for a guy who lives in the building. The police watched us go inside.
Back in the apartment, I gathered up the final armful of crap and locked the door. Good riddance. I made my way to the back parking lot, now sans police and dog, and threw my armful in the trunk. Before getting in the car, I decided to check my mail one more time. As I approached the area with the mailboxes, I saw one of the cops again. He was asking some of my former neighbors if they had seen a white guy wearing a back hat running by. It slowly dawned on me that this might not be just a dinky pot bust.
It was then that I realized the policeman was carrying an assault rifle.
I had to follow through on checking my mail or it would have looked like I was avoiding them. “Oh my. Lets get inside the building!” the women talking to the policemen said. I grabbed my single piece of mail (a Comcast internet ad- not worth it, for the record) and hurried to my car. Just as I was getting in, someone yelled, “GET DOWN ON THE GROUND!”

So here I was, sitting outside of a building where I no longer lived, having just totally cleaned out everything I own, blocked in the parking lot by a police car that had just moved to cut off anyone who might try to help their suspect escape. What. The heck. Do I do.
I just sat there. It seems like the guy wasn't who they were looking for but an accomplice. Two more cop cars and a motorcycle officer arrived. They shined their flashlights and questioned the guy. I sat in my car trying not to look suspicious but watching in my rear view mirror so that I could get the hell out of there as soon as the cruiser moved.
In the end the motorcycle officer walked around back and I asked him if I could leave. He asked me if I had seen anyone run behind the building, and then told me they’d move the cruiser soon. They did, but none of them actually left. There was another cop car about a half mile away down the most likely route of escape on foot.
What fun.
I don’t know what the heck was going on or why and frankly I don’t care. I don’t think I've ever personally seen police carrying their weapons drawn and I KNOW I've never seen it so close to somewhere I used to sleep. Maybe this incidence was a fluke and maybe it was unrelated any occupants of my former building. But the next time I don’t feel safe, I’m listening to my gut, no matter how people scoff or assure me it’s no big deal.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Testing 1...2....3...6...

I've recently moved again to escape the atrocious conditions (some of which I detailed here previously) where I was previously living. However it seems that moving a week before the semester ends, the same day as a major party for one of your best friends turns out to be a sign of mental illness. For example, here is my schedule for today:

morning: catch up on email, grade essays, try to get internet set up at apartment
2-4 pm: proctor exam
4-5 pm: clean old apartment and remove shelving that I installed a mere 4 months ago
5-8/9 pm: grade exams because undergrads TAs insist on leaving for break immediately instead of staying to grade exams tomorrow ("I've already booked my plane tickets!" Boo freaking hoo.)
9-10 pm: shell-shocked tv coma
10-12 am: unpack boxes in an attempt to live a somewhat organized life
12-2 am: worry about how I'm going to get everything done, get ready for bed least this has been the kind of hectic schedule that I've been living so far this week. I could really use some BSG therapy, but the house I moved into has DSL, and I don't have the password yet, and anyway apparently you can't have two wireless modems on one phone line, and the guy upstairs doesn't want me using his, and I can't get Uverse without them cancelling the DSL service, and OMG I AM GOING TO EXPLODE WITH TECHNICAL-INDUCED TMI. JUST STICK A FIBER-OPTIC RECEIVER DIRECTLY INTO MY BRAIN, AT&T AND STOP MAKING IT SO DIFFICULT!!!!!

...thank you for your time and attention.