Saturday, May 9, 2015

Of School and Vacations

Bali bound in t-minus seven days. 

One little week stands between me and Indonesia. I don't think it's quite hit me. I don't think it even will until I'm boarding the plane in LAX. It's hard to believe that four months have passed since we booked our plane tickets. Normally, anything exciting drags out the time. Four months seems like eight and time just feels snail-slow. But for some reason, this semester has flown by. Probably because it's been the easiest semester I've ever had. The material has been difficult for many classes, but the lack of projects and homework gave me a lot of time to relax. Minimal effort needed to pass classes, which is so very different from the last couple semesters in which I spent a lot of time curled into a ball sobbing about how I was wasting time curled into a ball sobbing.

Four semesters down, three to go. It bothers me at times that I'm taking so long to finish school. This semester will mark the 9th year that I've been in school and all I have to show for it is an AA degree. But I have to remember to cut myself slack. For six of those years, I had that crippling depression. My motivation was gone. I'm surprised I had enough to keep signing up for classes. I remember signing up for my first ever proper biology class (excluding the Agricultural Bio class I took in high school which was, let's be real, not a biology class. We spent days walking around looking at flowers and cattle). It was an intro to biology course taught by a professor at the junior college called Mr. Dowis. I don't know if it was the material he was teaching or because he was just an amazing teacher, but he rekindled this love of science that I'd lost somewhere down the line. It was a turning point in my life. Suddenly I had this strong motivation, and it was exciting and strange. I was lost in the dark for so long, I'd forgotten what it was like to feel passionate about something. I will never forget that moment. That seemingly insignificant college class literally changed my life. My whole point of view was different after that. It was the start of my ascend out of depression and to this confident, hopeful person I am today. Mr. Dowis has no idea that he'd changed my life. Someday, I'll tell him.

My semester officially ends on Thursday night after my Animal Behavior final. From there, it's go go go before the trip. Clean the house, do the laundry, feed the animals, pack our bags--so much to do in so little time. Somewhere in the there, my coworkers want me to come out to drinks to celebrate mine and another coworkers joint birthday. Seeing as I have a cumulative organic chemistry final on my birthday and a cumulative calculus final the next day, it's the only birthday party I can really get with friends. That's okay though; Garrett and I will just celebrate my 27th belatedly in a whole other country. 

Thursday, May 7, 2015

Freed From the Clutches of Facebook

Today, I ended my nearly 10 year love-hate relationship with Facebook. I started it back in the fall of 2006, just after I graduated high school, back before it became this soul-sucking corporation. But sadly, realizing I've spent nearly a decade on a single website was only part of the reason. The biggest reason is that I am just so damn tired of bigots. I couldn't spend five minutes on that website without seeing the worst of humanity. Racist and sexist posts, gun violence, environmental disasters. I found that there is only so much I can take before getting on that website just starts feeling heavy. Heavy--not a word I would have ever used to describe a website, but in this case, it works.

But if I'm not on Facebook, how can I tell the rest of the world about myself? I'm totally kidding, or course. Social media, strangely, has become less about being social and more about me. I know that comes off as self-absorbed, but what I really mean is that I have come a long way in my life to get to where I am, and I like looking back at all that I've achieved.

I wanted to start this blog to document my adventures, whether it's in my upcoming trip to Bali, Indonesia, or my journey through weight loss. The journeys in my life, whether real or metaphorical, have helped me to grow into the person I never knew I could become.

One of the most important obstacles I've overcome was my depression. I endured it for seven years. They were seven of the most painful years I'd ever had. Sometimes, getting out of bed required more energy and motivation that I'd had. I skipped classes, failed those same classes, slept for fourteen hours a day. I felt like it would never end. This would be my life forever. But then I started dating my boyfriend, Garrett. I won't give him all the credit for taking me out of that void of sadness, but he certainly helped. By just encouraging me and being there for me, he brought out this confidence I never knew I had. He continues to support my decisions in life and honestly, I don't know what I would do without him. He means the world to me.

We're taking our first big trip together in just over a week. It'll be the first time I've ever been overseas. I've been out of the country before--to Mexico, to the Cayman Islands--but never across an ocean. Needless to say, we're excited. There's this wanderlust in us that just keeps bubbling to the surface, but there was always things standing in our way. Work, school, money issues--we couldn't justify a vacation during these times. Finally, we just made the decision. We took our tax returns and threw it all at a vacation. In a little more than a week, we'll be wriggling our toes in white sand, snorkeling over sunken ships, ditching the diet to partake in everything the island has to offer.

And while I'm on the topic, for the last three and a half months, I've been dieting. Normally, my weight is something I would never want to talk about...ever, but what's the point of keeping a journal of my accomplishments if I'm not honest? All my life, I've been a little chunky. I was always the largest girl in my group of friends. This isn't to say that I was morbidly obese, but there was no way I was fitting into mediums or smalls. But college changed that even more. All that studying and sitting in class left little time to cook my own meals. Fast food became my friend, as did pizza and frozen dinners--anything that was quick and delicious. Somewhere along the line, that chunky girl had gone full blown obese. I had reached a ridiculous 255 pounds before I just couldn't take it anymore.  I could barely stand to look at myself in the mirror. I started to slip back into my depression again. I couldn't let that happen though. Something had to change.

Since starting my diet almost four month ago, I've lost 35 pounds. I plan to lose 75 more. Considering how far I've come already, 75 seems like nothing. If I can get out of these dang plateaus, I'll be golden.

This being my first blog post, I wanted to throw everything out there. I think I succeeded with that aspect. My depression, my weight--I used to never talk about these things. They were embarrassing to me, something I felt I had to hide. But I don't feel that way anymore. How many people can say they spent seven years with severe depression and came out of it a better person. How many people can say they lost 110 pounds (someday!) through dieting and hard work? These are things that define me and made me the person I am today. I used to not like that person, but seeing her now, she's pretty damn cool.