May 30, 2008


--Money, as I've understood it, is a somewhat tacky/taboo subject. However, I'm coming to think that it's only taboo if you're lucky enough not to have to worry about it. Or not lucky enough to brag. ??

--My therapist basically told me to continue what I'm doing. Which is yet another hint to me (smack smack!) that I'm impatient. As long as I'm doing what I can to get on with life and improve my situation (nevermind if I'm being successful or not) then I deserve a hug. (she didn't say that. I just like hugs more than pats on the back.)

--Everyone keeps telling me that I'm intelligent, creative, and awesome in one way or another. They say it as encouragement, which is nice to hear. And I used to believe it. But after 4 years of lots of failures.... Well, somehow I've got to build up my confidence again.

--I have lots of ideas in my head. I don't know which to actually work on, and which to discard. I think I end up spending a little time on all of them, accomplishing virtually nothing and feeling more like a failure. Why am I so bad at being singleminded?

--and here I go to my 3rd job for the day. Followed by dancing at Natasha's, at least!

May 14, 2008

Working Hard

My aunt, Mary, who has been a horse trainer for a long time down in Georgia just moved up to Kentucky last year, and has a 50 acre horse farm where she trains yearlings, and young racing thoroughbreds. I have been working for her on the farm for the past week. It has been a welcome physical respite from my 4 years of sedentary life, nose in the books. Working outside--filling fencepost holes with gravel; mowing huge fields in the sun, watching the swallows swoop down to collect the bugs I've disturbed; round penning and lunging the horses, grooming these great equine beasts; watching the dogs and cats and goat play together--makes me feel calm, less despairing, and more balanced. There is no question in my mind what my purpose is when I'm digging in gravel. "I am filling holes"--THAT is my purpose, right now, right here. On the farm, I am afforded lots of time for thinking, and thankfully it's not an academic setting (though I do have very good, intelligent conversations with Mary). My body aches every day, but it feels so good to be reminded that I have biceps, tendons in my elbows, epaxial muscles, rhomboids, and more--they are parts of my body that have been unused these many years, but are still there, and work well (though they are weak!). They are not my overworked brain, they are still fresh and willing to learn their jobs. I have to be careful with them, so that I don't overwork them, too. But I enjoy the work out there, blisters, sunburns, bruises and all.

Meanwhile, I've been continuing to work at Worlds Apart Home...which means I've been working 60 hrs/wk, seven days a week. It's a little much, and unfortunately it's unsustainable, financially, for me as well. Sigh. I enjoyed a good week just relaxing into the farm work, giving myself a break from the broken record of 'defeat' going on in my head. But unfortunately the job hunt must continue so that I will be able to start to pay off my hefty school loans in the next month or so. Any ideas?

May 7, 2008

Kellogg--a visionary

Click the title to read a very interesting article that discusses how and why we spend 12x more than families did in 1929 (in inflation-adjusted dollars), as well as why we work increasingly more. It's kind of messed up. Kellogg had an answer, but our society sort of trashed that ideal. For those of you who won't read the entire article, here's one quote:

"PEOPLE IN THE DEPRESSION-WRACKED 1930s, with what seems to us today to be a very low level of material goods, readily chose fewer work hours for the same reasons as some of their children and grandchildren did in the 1980s: to have more time for themselves and their families. We could, as a society, make a similar choice today."

a longer portion:
"Our modern predicament is a case in point. By 2005 per capita household spending (in inflation-adjusted dollars) was twelve times what it had been in 1929, while per capita spending for durable goods—the big stuff such as cars and appliances—was thirty-two times higher. Meanwhile, by 2000 the average married couple with children was working almost five hundred hours a year more than in 1979. And according to reports by the Federal Reserve Bank in 2004 and 2005, over 40 percent of American families spend more than they earn. The average household carries $18,654 in debt, not including home-mortgage debt, and the ratio of household debt to income is at record levels, having roughly doubled over the last two decades. We are quite literally working ourselves into a frenzy just so we can consume all that our machines can produce.

Yet we could work and spend a lot less and still live quite comfortably. By 1991 the amount of goods and services produced for each hour of labor was double what it had been in 1948. By 2006 that figure had risen another 30 percent. In other words, if as a society we made a collective decision to get by on the amount we produced and consumed seventeen years ago, we could cut back from the standard forty-hour week to 5.3 hours per day—or 2.7 hours if we were willing to return to the 1948 level. We were already the richest country on the planet in 1948 and most of the world has not yet caught up to where we were then.

Rather than realizing the enriched social life that Kellogg’s vision offered us, we have impoverished our human communities with a form of materialism that leaves us in relative isolation from family, friends, and neighbors. We simply don’t have time for them. Unlike our great-grandparents who passed the time, we spend it. An outside observer might conclude that we are in the grip of some strange curse, like a modern-day King Midas whose touch turns everything into a product built around a microchip."

May 1, 2008

Reflecting on April

It's been a month since I was dismissed from vet school, and a year since my house burned down and my cats died. In this last month, I've moved down to Kentucky where I've been enjoying the beautiful, petal/pollen/leaf/bud-laden spring, and living with Ben full-time; but I've also been more sunk in a pit than I've ever felt before. This post is an attempt to let you know how I've been doing, explore my feelings and experiences and get them down 'on paper', so to speak, for myself (it's definitely not a cry for sympathy).

I have always bounced back pretty easily, and as this very interesting discussion presents,my inner resources should be boundless by this point, since I've exercised using them so much in the past four insanely difficult years. But I don't really feel like it--my inner resources feel pretty dried up. I feel pretty tweaked. I spent the majority of the month feeling very hermitic, scared to go out and see people for fear of having them ask the inevitable questions, "So, you're back for spring break? no? You're back for good--so you graduated? no!? Oh." *awkward moment for them, terribly uncomfortable and depressing situation for me* Similarly, I have talked to virtually no one from MA or vet school since I left. (strangely, my most constant telephone buddy has been an unwelcome, harassing, blocked-number that calls me 5-10x/day and hangs up or sits silently on the other line before hanging up. I have reported it to the police, after 4 weeks of this, and am working on getting a subpoena to get the number unblocked....arggh.) As I've gotten a little more bold in the past week or so, I've seen more familiar faces here, and have run into the terrible questions more often--and I've been surprised. Most people in Lexington shrug off my having been dismissed with a simple "Oh well, some great people have failed out of school, " or "well, we're glad to have you back here". In MA people were much more likely to gasp and exclaim with dropped-jaws and wide-eyes just how *awful* this must be, how they *could not believe* that school would do that to me, how *unfair* the situation was, and *eek* what was I ever going to do now!? The Lexingtonian response has been very calming to me for the most part--I know I'm welcome and loved here, phew!, and it gives no energy to the anxiety I feel so often--but there's certainly a part of me that wishes they'd acknowledge the hell I've gone through, and the utterfucking life-altering disappointment that I'm going through. But there's no reference point here for them to know about, which is precisely what I love about Ky in the first place. No hyperstressed New Englanders or Vet Schools for hundreds of miles! (That being said, my friends that I have back in MA were there with me during the stress! Bless them for UNDERSTANDING on a personal level what my past four years have been like, and caring about me anyways. I love you!).

Ben has been working hard on his project, but his hard work is much different and way more balanced than the hard work I put in at school. He has been encouraging me not only to work (that is, apply for jobs and work part time at the store my mom manages) but also to relax, sleep in, watch movies several times a week, go for walks for the heck of it, and generally just slow down. I have been increasingly successful at this and have enjoyed many 'fun' excursions since I've been here--going to the BeauxArts Ball and Keeneland, performing at Natasha's on student night and with Rakadu; performing at Al's Bar with Rakadu, the Swells, and The Mezmer Society (Onca and August from Asheville); performing at the WRFL FreeKY fest with Rakadu--but they seem temporary to me in a way that fun things never have. I mean, I very much have enjoyed them while I was there, but my roiled emotions/mentality get to me quickly thereafter, and I spend most of my time feeling defeated. Or confused. Or just sad. It's stressful to me to just sit back and listen to music! It means I'm not being 'productive', which is what the past four years have taught me I need to be, ALL OF THE TIME. It's really hard for me to relax. Not just because it's habit not to be relaxed, but because the last thing I need right now is more stress, but --how crazy and perfectly ironic-- relaxing causes me to be stressed out.

Relaxing isn't the only thing that stresses me out. I had the unfortunate experience a few nights ago of watching a movie that was so stressful that I had a physical reaction to it. The movie, Sunshine, was a science-fiction thriller about an astronaut mission to recharge the sun because it was dying (there was lots of flame and burning in the movie--ironically, it was the 1 year anniversary of my and Jess's housefire). I actually thought it was an interesting story and well done, but it was much too intense for me at this particular stage in my life where my adrenals are plum worn out. As I watched, I could feel my muscles tense up, and I had to tell myself to breathe and unlock. I felt like getting up and not watching the rest of the movie, but didn't want to make a scene. So I finished the movie, getting more and more tense and tight. As we finished the movie, I felt a tear on my cheek simply from being overwhelmed, and I sat there as my friends discussed the movie, just trying to swallow the stress. A few minutes later, my innards revolted, and I dashed to the bathroom to vomit. Oh. How. Embarrassing. So much for not making a scene. Ugh. ugh, ugh, ugh. My friends were very sweet, understanding, patient, and drove me home equipped with lavender oil and a dream pillow sachet. (thank you!)

Applying to jobs is particularly demoralizing as every job screening process looks at my 'credentials' (AKA I only have a BS) instead of my 'experience' (AKA I have successfully completed 3/4 of a medical education, even though I wasn't allowed to continue on. And what about all the motivation it takes to get there in the first place? Oh yeah, and the $$$$$ I have in loans that I now have to afford to pay off somehow). Going back to school seems too stressful to me right now, isn't an option until next year anyway because all the application deadlines have passed, and getting a masters or PhD seems like copping myself out of my dream. Going back to vet school is something I would love to do, but is not possible since transfers to other schools very often aren't considered at all, and if they are, you have to be a 1st year (sometimes they'll let a 2nd year transfer) student with residency in that state, and you have to have a letter from your current dean saying that you are in good academic standing. My only hope for going back to vet school would be in another country. But of course then I wouldn't be considered a full-time student and all my loans would default. All this makes me feel very defeated, very jaded, pretty quashed. It makes me very sad to think of my hopes and dreams that were set to be accomplished because I never let anything stand in my way--and then 'the system' gives up on me before I give up on myself. So now a goodhearted, intelligent, motivated person who wanted nothing more than to help change this world for the better will be stuck doing some stupid job that doesn't accomplish anything worthwhile except pay some exorbitant loans. As a kid, I was taught that I'd have to work hard, but that it was worth working hard to achieve good things in life. I never expected to work hard and have it backfire and set me BACK in life. It makes me feel indignant. But then I remember that I'm lucky to have the opportunity to work a job at all, and then I feel guilty for thinking such things. Sigh.

It's funny, I realized today that I seem most motivated to write when I'm unhappy, and most motivated to take pictures when I'm appreciating something. So, I'll attempt to balance this downer-sounding post with some pictures that I've taken during the past month here. They're of things I enjoy with all my heart. I'm so happy to have these things/people/places in my life.
[Me and Ben before Beaux Arts
Eileen and Sarah before Beaux Arts
Battleship rock=the view from my Dad's house
Dad’s farm
Me, T, Mel @ Al’s bar
Rakadu at the FreeKY fest
Branching out at the FreeKY fest
Dance rehearsal (T, mom, mel, me in the mirror)
Little Weesoe, my hamster
Dancing with Hadara at Natasha’s
Dancing at Natasha’s
Me and tiffanie]