Waking Up Happy

It was really refreshing to wake up this morning unreasonably happy; no thoughts about anything in particular, except trying to remember the dreams I had last night. I walked over to turn my air conditioner off, and when I got to the window to turn the dial to the “Off” position, I wondered why I was so happy. It wasn’t even the kind of happy you experience on your best day with friends, or the jubilant relief that accompanies realizing a gnawing worry is resolved. It was, in the only way I can think to describe it, ignorant bliss (Clichés-1, Wiggygirl-0). I wasn’t sure why I was happy, but I was obviously enjoying it. Honestly, I have not felt that happy in weeks or months. Months. That’s a long time to not experience an emotion, let alone a fantastic one. This realization made me wonder how long it would be until I felt this strange elation again. After a few weeks of believing my depression was actually going away, I was hit by an especially depressive mood at the beginning of this week; unfortunately, I have to wonder if I brought it on myself. I had been sick after coming home from vacation at the beach, and through a mixture of not really wanting to go to work and guilt of probably spreading germs to my coworkers, I coerced myself to take Monday off. I texted my boss that morning and he told me it was fine if I didn’t come into work, and to inform him when I would be able to come back in (have I mentioned my boss is really chill?). Monday was spent sleeping a lot, browsing a variety of sites on my computer, maybe a little reading….nothing too productive, because I was attempting to relax and “get better”. However, as the day progressed and I knew I would have to go back to work the next day, I started feeling unmotivated, though not quite depressed yet. Since my boss hadn’t said “see you tomorrow”, rather telling me to contact him when I was feeling better, why shouldn’t I take another day off? Though I told myself I would see how I felt in the morning, I knew in the back of my mind my decision had already been made. Not wanting to tell my mom I was taking another day off, I decided I would wake up normal time and pretend I was going to work. I drove to the park behind my house to chill and listen to music/my anxiety tape while I waited for all my coworkers and mother to get off the roads. Then, I spent three hours driving around South Jersey with no actual destination in mind. I love driving, but this wasn’t supposed to be a leisurely escapade through main streets and lonely roads. This was foreshadowing for the lowest low I’ve felt in awhile. Flashback to last summer, when my depression went along unnoticed and untreated. I was so afraid and anxious to tell my boss that once soccer started I would not be able to work, I decided I simply would not, and instead texted him two days in a row saying I would not be coming to work that day. No explanations or excuses; I just would not be working, and in my last text I told him I would not come in again because soccer would be starting. Minus the vague text messages, I did the same thing I did this past Tuesday; I pretended to go to work but instead drove around aimlessly. When I told my best friend about what had occurred, she completely brushed it off. She didn’t get it. This was what I did when I was very depressed. I know now after talking to her she was trying to help by distracting me and discussing other topics, but I had to tell her this was not how to help me. I don’t know about other people, but when I am really depressed or upset about something, I don’t want people to distract me immediately. I don’t even necessarily want advice. What I really need and covet is sympathy and someone who will tell me it’s okay that I’m upset. I really would like someone who will ask questions; this will either show they are interested in what’s going on or it will help me look at the issue and work through it. After a similar conversation with my ex/guy friend, my depression became severe, and I’ve unfortunately spent the past few days feeling alone and melancholy. I barely talked to my friends and spent a lot of time inside my room, traversing the dark regions of Tumblr and listening to music that makes me sad. I excessively and genuinely cried for the first time in awhile. Luckily I conversed with my friends and therapist about this issue and, after this wonderful morning, am starting to feel sort of normal again. Though I know this intense change of mood is fleeting, I have some sense of hope for future happiness.

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I’m a high school graduate!

Last night was my high school graduation. While I was at the actual ceremony, I had a headache, nerves about making my salutatorian speech, and the sun in my eyes for most of the evening. I was also hot and sweaty from sitting in the sun, and therefore did not feel the reality of graduating sink in. I felt like I took everything in, as well as I could; I watched closely as all of my classmates graduate, hugged a bunch of teachers, and danced to “Happy”, which they played after the formal ceremony was over and we were all set loose to roam around the football field.

This morning the realization hasn’t fully sunk in yet, but I’m panicing about nothing in particular, so I’m starting to get there. I’m really stressed this morning because there is so much I have to do today. The fact high school is finally over also makes me feel a little depressed…there’s a lot I wish I had done better. My salutatorian speech was okay, but not exceptional or personal at all. Most people did not laugh where I expected them to, and that discouraged me. I did not feel bad about it last night (I was too in the moment of graduation I guess), but now looking back I feel a lot worse about it.

Even though I spent the night with my two best friends in the world, I feel very lonely. Or maybe that’s why I feel lonely? I had the option to go to Project Graduation, essentially a party the school hosted at the Funplex after graduation, but because my two best friends were not going, I chose not to. Either way, not many people reached out to me before, during, or after graduation to talk or share congratulations. I did not anticipate this post becoming miserable, but that’s sort of what happened.

Though I sort of feel like a wreck now, last night was pretty beautiful, even though I had not been hit with the full force of graduating. I feel it’s going to be coming on very soon though…it’s so scary being an adult now. I think once I start making my to-do lists, organizing everything in my life, and completing tasks, I will feel much more at peace.

I’d like to close by sharing the quote I used in my graduation speech.

“When you’re a kid, they tell you it’s all…grow up, get a job, get married, get a house, have a kid, and that’s it. But the truth is, the world is so much stranger. It’s so much madder. And so much better”

-Elton Pope, Doctor Who

P.S. I know that’s not the whole quote, I cut out the “so much darker” part because I did not want to be more verbose than I already was, and because talking about a “dark world” during graduation seemed a little too weird for me. If you wanna read my whole graduation speech, I’m going to make a page for it.

Chapters 1 and 2 of The Stranger by Albert Camus

Spoilers may or may not be included. These thoughts are entirely of my own brain and have not been supported with literary criticism of any kind. 

I actually got somewhere in reading today. Chapter 1 was just sort of there for me; however, this makes sense. When a tragic event occurs, there are a number of stereotypical methods individuals utilize to cope. One of the most stereotypical is numbness, which includes a blockage of emotional response. You really don’t feel anything.

Meursault relates that upon reaching the village, “..everything seemed to happen so fast, so deliberately, so naturally that I don’t remember any of it anymore” (Camus 17). However, he then goes on to recall several images or insignificant events, such as the tears covering Perez’s face or the dirt being poured over Maman’s casket. In my experience, this seems to go along with the idea of numbness and distance from reality.

There was also a hint of existentialism in the chapter. “She said, ‘If you go slowly, you risk getting sunstroke. But if you go too fast, you work up a sweat and then catch a chill inside the church.’ She was right. There was no way out” (Camus 17).

This is applicable to many lose-lose situations. One way or the other, you suffer, lose, or fail. In this way, the laws of nature are already defined and no matter what action is taken there will be a negative outcome. Though there is the illusion of free choice, in this case, in the speed of walking, and there are two results of either sunstroke or chills, the conclusion is predetermined.

Now, onward to Chapter 2!

This was a fairly better chapter for me at least. I can sympathize with Meursault’s  aversion to Sundays; I don’t enjoy them either, and a lot of times I get in my morose moods on Sundays, and these moods can follow me into the week. One can recognize Meursaults passive nature when he understands his boss’s distaste for giving Meursault Thursday and Friday off, therefore giving him a four day break.

To deal with Maman’s death, Meursault transitions from numbness and disassociation to  distraction, represented by his one night stand with Marie. He then passes a depressing Sunday afternoon home alone, people watching.

I regarded this as more evidence of existentialism. The impression given was that this type of behavior, from families taking walks to teenagers going to the movies and flirting, is all typical.  The scene in the streets is just another representation of the flow of nature and an individual’s position watching from the sidelines. Meursault cannot change the stream of people, or lack thereof, just as he cannot change the events occurring in his own life, including Maman’s death.

” …I wandered around the apartment. It was just the right size when Maman was here. Now it’s too big for me, and I’ve had to move the dining room table into my bedroom. I live in just one room now….I’ve let the rest go” (Camus 21).

I believe this shows that Meursault does feel some sadness from the death of Maman, or how he wasn’t close to her.  For me, this quote insinuates that the world is big and empty when one is alone, and obviously Meursault feels lonely. He seems to be that type of person who really just rolls with everything; goes to work, sleeps, goes to work, has a cigarette, sleeps, goes to work, sleeps with a girl, etc.

I really liked the second chapter’s conclusion.

“It occurred to me that anyway one more Sunday was over, that Maman was buried now, that I was going back to work, and that, really, nothing had changed” (Camus 24).

Meursault returns to his passivity to deal with Maman’s death. He was isolated from her before because he never really visited her; nothing has really changed. Besides, what could he do about it? He’s just rolling with the stream of life.

Really, an excellent, excellent way to end the chapter.

 

Identity Crisis (advice appreciated)

Ever since I was little, soccer has been a part of my life; I simply love it. Lately, it’s become a part of who I am. When I’m writing applications for scholarships or a resume, soccer teams are the first thing I put down because they are an integral part of my being.

Recently I’ve come to a crossroads as to whether I should participate in my high school’s soccer team next year (I tore my ACL this fall and didn’t play halfway through the fall season and couldn’t play during spring). I have been agonizing over this decision for months, and have been seesawing back and forth between joining the team or quitting and just playing by myself or with friends.

One of the worst things about playing on the soccer team is the stress it causes- and it sure caused me a heck of a lot of stress this season on Junior Varsity, so why should next year, when I’ll be expected to play on Varsity, give me any less stress? I really am a sucky soccer player in comparison to the girls in my school, and am definitely the worst player in my grade, probably one of the worst in the whole program; for most of the games on JV, I didn’t even start, and I was a junior. I’ve always tried my hardest, but what happens when trying my hardest just isn’t enough? I used to come home from soccer practice and just cry because my self-esteem was so low and I felt like I was a worthless soccer player. It hurt a lot, and it still hurts, because reading this makes me want to cry.

It would have been easier if I had more friends on the team, but I don’t. I mean, I like most of the girls, but some of them intimidate me because they are so good, a little cocky and not afraid to call you out in the meanest way. I feel like they’re all going to hate me because I’m so bad. If I were bad but a jokester and loveable, it might be different, but I”m awkward and shy. The girls on the soccer team didn’t try to include me, and I remember one game they just wouldn’t pass to me as much as I called for the ball. I mean, sure, they talked to me, but I didn’t feel like I truly belonged, and I hated feeling so alone all the time. That would be six days a week, about 3 hours a day, of feeling lonely. I hate that feeling.

Contrariwise, why can’t I just make friends? I’ve grown more outspoken since I tore my ACL and more friendly, though that could be just because I’ve been hanging around with my friends more, who I’m pretty loud with. I also feel that, because I was injured and would only start playing again around June, they might be more accepting of my blunders and know that I’m trying my best for my circumstances. I know I won’t get a lot of playing time, but I’ll be playing the role of the underdog, which I do best in. But what if no one wants to be my partner and I’m stuck alone? What if the lonely and self-loathing feelings come back? The coach and I don’t really  have a good relationship, and I haven’t really talked to anyone on the team other than two girls. In fact, most of the girls just stopped talking to me. Sometimes I just miss the days when the entire team were friends and I loved all of them and everyone talked to me. We could actually hang out back then.

This part of my situation is made even worse because all of my friends are in marching band. They have been trying to coerce me to do colorgaurd for years now, but it’s not that interesting to me. I have been tempted though, simply because I want to feel like I belong in an organization, where the people feel like family to me. I’ve never really had that, or haven’t had it in the longest time. I know it’s hard for me to make friends and open up, so I guess I can sort of blame myself. But that only makes this whole thing harder. My friend has suggested that I try it out, or at the least do pit crew so that I can get into shows and hang out without being in the actual performance. My little sister is thinking of doing colorgaurd…this especially hurts because she might get closer to them than me, and I’ll feel even more ostracized than I already do. Usually I’m fine with them, but during marching band season I feel like a complete outsider.

If I don’t play, I lose part of my identity. I can’t see myself doing anything but playing soccer to take up my time. I feel like I don’t really have anything else that is purely mine. I just started doing Science League this year, volunteer, and write this blog, but soccer has always been a part of me.  If  I lose that, I lose myself (and I just started to tear up, so I know this is true). I don’t know what I’d do with myself. So yes I do have some things that I could do otherwise, and maybe me stopping soccer will be the start of a new activity in my life; I have been trying to find a job. But i can’t help but wonder…would it really be the same playing by myself or with friends and just training without participating in a real team and real games?

I’ve been believing that if I train during the fall and don’t play on the high school team, I can play intramural soccer in college, or maybe even on the town’s spring team. But is that even possible? Will I still be up to standard? In the past I’ve had a barely okay training ethic, and I’m terrified that if I don’t do soccer this year I’ll lose it completely, in addition to losing one of the most important pieces of my being. I want to prove that I can come back from this injury and be better than ever. But is that even possible? My training ethic doesn’t think so.

But I love soccer so much. Can’t you strive for something you love and achieve it, no matter what the odds? That requires a lot of work, and I just don’t know if my heart is in it as much as it needs to be. Sometimes I think it is, but other times I hate everything that reminds me of soccer because it’s so painful. I almost started crying when we went to my sister’s practice to pick her up and I saw some girls I knew playing on their spring team. It reminded of the good old days of soccer, when I actually loved my team mates and felt like, if I only trained a little harder, I could be amazing. Nowadays it would take a miracle to make me an acceptable player. Do miracles happen, and would one happen to me? I have no clue.

Sometimes I think that I’m being ridiculous and want this perfect environment for playing soccer that is never going to happen; that what I should be doing is making my environment work with me. Conversely, maybe I’m trying too hard to force myself into something that used to excite me but might not be working or worth it anymore. It’s like a relationship you hate to love; you don’t know when you’re supposed to leave, or how it will affect your future. I’m terrified of making the wrong decision  and everything surrounding soccer just hurts right now. I thought writing out this blog would help me sort my feelings, but it has only made me as confused as ever.