Sunday, August 28, 2011

Mind over, well, everything

I feel like the last 3 weeks of my life have gone by in a blur or stress, anxiety, and too much not so great for me foods. The process of getting into school this semester practically had me ready for the mental institution for 2 weeks, trying to get into classes, sending countless faxes to the school for financial aid purposes, getting books, emailing professors. What I thought was only going to be 2 classes, ended up being 4 classes, and all of the sudden, I'm a full time online student! So on top of running a business, just running/cycling/lifting, and general daily life, I have at least 20 hours a week of school stuff to do. Not to mention that I'm taking a math class for the first time in over a decade, and I. HATE. MATH. I also harbor frustration towards many of the people on the discussion boards because, while they mean well, they're idiots!!! How did you make it to college? You have no concept of coherent or grammatically correct thoughts!

Needless to say, I haven't been the most pleasant person to be around. Especially this past week, with school starting and me trying to just get the hang of the classes. I'm not really certain if I really can have it all, and do it all, and stay sane without torching the very few meaningful relationships I have right now. The other factor into all this is, that I'm financially strapped. Last month wasn't so great in terms of business, and this month is right on the edge of the same. I will pick up more students as the Fall moves forward, but right now, I'm totally broke. That said, the student loan fairy will hopefully be showing up sometime next week(fingers crossed), and that will take some of the stress off the business a little. I'm also struggling because I love teaching, but it's not my lifeblood the way it used to be. God is clearly sending me down a different road, far, far from being a music teacher. I'll always do it, but it'll be nice someday when I don't HAVE TO DO IT to be able to eat.

I have a very powerful mind. It's capable of great things. It's the kind of mind that will make me a great counselor someday. But it also makes me a little crazy now, when there are 50 things I'm thinking about all at once. I didn't use to operate at this level, partly because my brain was always cracked out on sugar, but mostly because I wasn't ready to embrace my potential. What I've learned about my life over the last couple years is that I can do anything I set this mind to. I can lose the equivalent of a 10 year old, I can run hundreds of miles through pain and all kinds of weather, I can start my life over again, and I can manage to live by the mantra "mind over matter".

Thursday, August 11, 2011

This one time at band camp, I almost died......

Yesterday was a very special day in the history of my life, a weird anniversary if you will. Those who know me well, and have known for any length of time, know that I suffered a traumatic injury when I was a teenager that effects my life to this day. If anyone has every had a paradigm shift, especially at a young age, you know that you never forget the day it happened, and you know that the people who were there with you will never forget it either. I'm not telling the story here in detail, because that's hardly the point of this post.

August 10, 1995 was a band camp day. I lived for band camp, and as an incoming freshman, I was so excited to finally be getting to high school. It was also my band director's birthday, one I'm sure she'd love to forget. It started like a normal band camp day, and by the end of the day, I was nearly bleeding to death in a hospital bed after falling though a plate glass window in our high school office. The accident happened around 10:10 in the am, and I laid in an ER bed for almost 8 hours before finally being taken into surgery to repair 3 severed tendons and 2 severed nerves in my right wrist/forearm(requiring over 100 stitches and 75 staples) and numerous flesh wounds on my left forearm.

With a cast from fingertips to elbow on my right arm, and some heavy duty bandages on my left arm, my parents were told by the surgeon that I might not ever play the piano again, I might not regain full function of my right hand, and that I'd definitely have permanent nerve damage in my right hand. So, after 3 days in the hospital, my mom took me home. I couldn't do anything on my own.....anything. I couldn't eat, pee, put on clothes, brush my teeth(clad in brand new braces), nothing. Imagine how mortifying that must be for a 14 year old. Not to mention getting a bath from my mom, in the kitchen. HA! It's funny now to look back on it, but it sucked so much then. People would come and go to visit me, and I loved seeing my friends and kids from church. I looked forward to our daily outings to Wendy's for lunch and the video store for fresh movies. Mind you, this was the ONLY time I was allowed outside. And because it was the dead heat of summer, infection from sweat was a very serious risk, given the severity of my wounds.

In 7 weeks, the cast came off and the stitches came out, and what was left was pretty gruesome. It looked like someone has slit my wrist(and still does). I couldn't even make a fist with my hand, the muscles had atrophied so badly. I had to relearn how to write, hold a fork, brush my hair, brush my teeth, button buttons(which I still can't do), and relearn how to play piano, all at a very slow pace. It took months for me regain enough strength to do many of the mundane activities we take for granted everyday.

Stay with me, I'm getting to the point right now.

Flash forward 16 years.

Yesterday, I had $5 to my name(I have $10 to my name today, so I'm better off today than yesterday), my bank account is in the negative, and I got a shut off notice on my electric because I'm having a really tough time right now financially. The upside? God decided to remind just how freaking lucky I am to be here, able to play piano EVERYDAY OF MY LIFE better than ever, how I have 10 fingers that function( even though 3 have no feeling in them), and mostly that I'm alive. I could've bled to death from my injuries in front of my classmates 16 years ago. I didn't, and thank God for that. As frustrated as I was with my life yesterday, today I got the point. Sometimes he doesn't make easy to understand why life is what it is. But yesterday, on my anniversary of the one time at band camp I almost died, I was just happy it's 16 years later, and that I'm here.

Monday, August 8, 2011


So it's been a while since I've posted, mostly because I haven't that I could write much without being super negative. But I'm feeling the need to get some things off my chest. Be forewarned, this isn't a posting all about rainbows and butterflies. I've decided that financial stress is the root of all evil. Couple money problems on top of soon to be exes and a university who isn't really interested in helping students graduate, and I've got a mess on my hands.

I pride myself on running a friendly small business where people can learn in a fun environment and I can have some fun while working. The problem with a small business is sometimes life happens, and when other people can't pay me, I can't pay the people I owe. It's a really nasty trickle down effect that I don't care for so much. Anyway, the summer has always been a tough time to get through teaching privately, and I thought I'd pretty much made it unless this month. 4 people couldn't pay me on time, and couple people had to drop, and I lost a couple more students to college. It's the typical ebb and flow, but I still haven't paid my power bill, and the cable just might get shut off. That's life, though. At least my rent is paid. And I HATE asking people for money. It's my least favorite part of running my business because I feel like one of the bill collectors I despise so rabidly.

I'm also trying to tie up some of the loose ends in my life. One of those would be getting divorced. It's not that I haven't wanted a divorce, I do more than anything, but it's a process. We had zero assets, in fact, we had only debt. That's not surprising for anyone who knew us. And as much as I'd love to sue his ass for all the money he owes me, I know that he'd never pay it, because he's never paid for anything else in his life. Why would I be any different? But, somehow my mom found his address, which he's refused to give me up to this point, so I can get started on the filing process. The $495 court fees won't be fun to pay, but it'll be a relief to get it done, and finally be free of the past.

Academic struggles are a whole different type of stress, and at this point, I'm simply dealing with a bureaucracy that really doesn't care about helping people succeed. I have to have patience with the process, and hope that luck and mercy are on my side. I'm almost at the finish line; and I have faith it will all work out, God is just testing my staying power.

Being in a relationship brings its own unique brand of stress to the table. How to deal with my partner's stress without making it my own is a struggle for me. I want to help, but some days, I'm so deep in my own pile of poo that I can't help him. But, for his own sake, he has to be able to deal with his life independently of me. That's what makes a strong pair of people, is being strong individually then combining those strengths so that they compliment each other. For the most part, we succeed in that, but some days we falter, just like everyone else.

There is no upside to having stress in my life, except to try to make tomorrow better than today. I try to chip away at the stresses one at a time, and hope that at some point, they will start to go away one by one, just as they came. It's all so exhausting, but it will end at some point. I refuse to live my life like this. I did it for 11 years while I was living married, and left because I didn't want that life anymore. I still don't want it, but I'm working on it, and that's all that matters.