In Which I Am Totally Behind and We Play Catch Up x4

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Okay, Blog Every Day in May has clearly turned into, "Whoops, I blogged every day or at least every other day for awhile and then I missed 4 days entirely." I don't even have a good excuse other than I was busy and forgot that my blog existed for a bit. Sorry, blog! Sorry, readers! Sooo, lucky you, you get one entry with 4 (FOUR!) topics in it! Whoo hoo! (I guess that's exciting?) Let's get to it.

Day 24: Your top 3 worst traits
Well, if you all had to guess, you might say, "Being late" is one of my worst traits, but guess what, I'm not usually late! In fact, I'm usually early. Apparently, this trait does not extend to blogging. ANYWAY, the hardest thing about picking my top 3 worst traits isn't that I hate talking about the bad things about myself (I mean, I don't particularly like focusing on the negative traits, but who does?) but rather, picking only three. Of course, that made picking my first "worst trait" easy.

1. I am entirely too hard on myself. 
I could probably write an entire book on my flaws. Multiple books. It would be VOLUMES. I pick apart everything about myself, from my looks and my weight to my work, both in and out of school, and everything in between. Nothing I do is ever "good enough" for me, and I always feel as if I have failed in some way. As you can imagine, this does nothing good for my depression and anxiety, and in fact, probably is a driving force in why I am depressed/anxious. Objectively, I can list out things that I've done that are good or "impressive":

- Graduated in the top 8% of my high school class
- Got into good universities with significant scholarships
- Got into med school
- Got into an MPH program and graduated magna cum laude
- Got a job 4 weeks after I graduated at a prestigious research hospital
- Got another, better-paying job at a second, prestigious, research hospital
- Married a wonderful guy
- Lost 35 pounds

But none of those things are "impressive" to me because they are just "things I did" and why should I be applauded for doing what I was "supposed" to do? Especially when... I could have done better in high school, gotten more scholarships, never left med school, graduated summa cum laude, gotten better jobs, or lost more weight (nothing I can improve upon for the guy I married, fortunately!). In any case, I spend 99% of my time critiquing myself, and the other 1% of the time, I am asleep. It's not the best way to live, for sure.

2. I think I can, and should, do it all.
Ever since I can remember, I have validated my existence as a human being by being "good" at stuff, generally in the academic sense. Because of this, I've felt this huge need to DO ALL THE THINGS, as if doing them will somehow make me a better/more likeable/more admirable human being. There is also a component to my personality that makes me want to do the hardest thing possible, because succeeding at the hardest thing must mean that I've really good, right? (Spoiler alert: Wrong.) I since learned that the hardest thing is usually not the most enjoyable thing in the world, and that if I really hate something, I should not be doing it simply to do it. Also, what is the "hardest thing" to me is probably not the hardest thing to someone else, and in fact, might be their "easiest thing". For example, I think physics is one of the hardest things in the world, but I hate it, I am not very good at it, and frankly, I'd rather hit myself in the head with an appliance than sit through another physics class. I happen to have at least half a dozen friends who have advanced degrees in physics or engineering, who teach physics at the college level, etc. Clearly, physics is their jam, haha. Anyway, because of this bizarre neurosis, I've always taken on too much and subsequently burned myself out, which is no fun. I'm slowly realizing that I can't (nor should I) do it all, but it's a slow process.

3. I am a control freak.
This actually branches out into a bunch of other traits, so it's kind of cheating, I guess. But, because I am a control freak, I hate waiting, I worry too much, I get angry when things aren't done the way I would do them, I am intolerant, and I'm generally unpleasant when things aren't done "according to plan". It also drives my anxiety and depression in a major way, which makes me again, a very unpleasant person to be around on occasion. I hate not having a plan, which extends to hating when other people don't have a plan. I make contingency plans for my contingency plans, which gets complicated and annoying (and is often an unnecessary expenditure of mental energy.) Occasionally, being a control freak works out (in my job, it's kind of a requirement) but the problem is when that bleeds over into the rest of my life (which it does... frequently). I'm trying to "live within the chaos" but I hate it, so it's not going well.

Thank goodness the prompt only asked for the top three worst traits, or we'd be here all day. You can see what other people think are their worst traits here.

Day 25: Something someone told you about yourself that you'll never forget (good or bad)
Of course, these are two things that my mother has said to me, and also of course, they aren't good. When I was in high school, I was super awkward, as are most people (especially people who classify themselves as"nerds"). I had friends who, really, were also pretty awkward (sorry guys, we were all kind of weird... still are, haha). I would say that the height of my body and physical feature discomfort came in middle/high school, which makes sense, because that is when your body goes completely insane with the hormones and whatnot. I had glasses and braces, wasn't a twig, had boobs that I thought were too big (I got over that), and hated how I looked. My mom, who I'm sure wasn't trying to give me a complex, frequently remarked about how pretty one of my friends was... and I'm sure she also told me that I looked nice, but I don't remember ever hearing her say that I was pretty. Of course, I internalized that as, "My mom thinks all of my friends are prettier than I am, and why can't I look like (insert name here)?" I was, and occasionally still am, obsessed with how my mother views me, so thinking that she thought I was less-than attractive was a major blow to my self esteem. 

Similarly, before I lost the 35 pounds that recently lost, I was the heaviest I have ever been. Once again, I hated my body, didn't feel like myself, and had compared myself to a large sea mammal on multiple occasions. I even had a huge meltdown about my weight while getting ready for a job interview because I was convinced that no one would hire me because I was "fat". For reference, I am 4'11" and usually weigh between 120-130 (and want to weigh 110-115), and I usually wear a size 6 or 8. At my heaviest, I was 175 and was wearing a 14. I was also dating my now-husband at the time, and my mom said, "I'm glad Ken likes you even though you're heavy." It basically made me want to die, and even though Ken did still love me and think that I was beautiful, it made me think, "Wait, is being this big a reason for him to NOT like me?" (Answer: No.)

So, while I'm no longer that awkward 14 year old, or as overweight as I was... comments about my appearance, especially from my mother, apparently hit me really hard. See what other people will never forget here

Note to self: Be careful with your words. They stick.

Day 26: Something you read online. Leave a link and discuss, if you'd like.
I love bookstores. I know, what does that have to do with something you read online, Alison? Thanks for that random factoid, but why are you telling me this? I am telling you this because bookstores are one of my happy places, and yesterday I was at Barnes and Noble with my friend who writes over at Smug Singleton, who is lovely and you should go read her blog. ANYWAY, we were at B&N and I have a weird neurosis (Yes, another one) about buying books. I love books, and would sit in a bathtub, nay, a swimming pool, full of books and be happy. I would own every book in the world... if it hadn't been driven into me that buying books is silly and you should just get them out of the library. I have let myself purchase Kindle versions of things because they are less expensive and take up no additional space, but even that is a new development.

So, when I go to bookstores, I write down (or really, keep a list in my phone) of books that I want to read that I will take out of the library, get for free on Paperback Swap, or buy used online. If all of those options are exhausted (or if I happen to have a gift card), I will buy a new book. One of the books that I found yesterday was called Adulting: How to Become a Grown-up in 468 Easy(ish) Steps and I can't wait to read it. The author also has a blog, which is HERE! It's very funny, and useful, and you should definitely read it. I'm a big proponent of people, especially adults, acting like adults, so I think that it should be required reading for everyone in their 20's, again in their 30's, and possibly for the rest of their life.

So what do you think of Adulting? What have you read recently that you think I need to read? Share it in the comments! And also, check out what other people read over here at the link up.

Day 27: A letter to your readers

 Dear Readers,

I am not even sure how many of you exist out there, but hello! Thank you for being here. Without you, this blog would be way less meaningful, because it would just be a lot of existential naval gazing. Let's face it, I still do a lot of existential naval gazing, but that's what blogging and writing is for to a certain extent, right? Right. (Arguments against that statement are not currently being accepted.) But again, if I didn't want readers to know about my life, my thoughts, my existential naval gazing, I wouldn't put it on the internet, I'd just write it in my regular journal. Blogging is a way to connect with others around the globe about topics that interest you, and I've found some of my favorite people through blogging! I've also gotten to know people in a better or different way than how I know them in real life, and you are all a part of that. I love reading your comments, finding your blogs, and getting to know each and every one of you. 

I love knowing that I can connect with people through writing. Thank you for your interest, your support, your kind words, your "get yourself together" words, and your patience. You're all the best and you help me to continue refining myself and my style. Keep up the good work, readers!


Whew! We're now...

Hopefully, I'll get to today's ACTUAL post later today, which will be entirely photographic in nature, so at least you won't have to read anything else! Thanks for hanging in there through this longer-than-usual post, and soon, we'll be back to posting as usual because holy crap, May is almost over. Whoa.


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