Monday, March 31, 2014


I love TV. I need TV. It may not be healthy. But sometimes patients die. And sometimes they're young. And sometimes their small children and spouses are in the room when they unexpectedly ...just. Die. And you worry about the child, because... How do you get over something like that? Being a second grader and watching your parent just... And you hear the child tell the social worker as she escorts the child from the room where you and your team of sometimes-superheroes break the child's parent's ribs attempting to coax the heart into beating again, "It's ok. S/he's done this before. S/he always comes back." Because s/he was sick. And s/he'd died before. But sometimes, they don't come back. Sometimes you're not a superhero. Sometimes you just become a face that a traumatized family member recalls when they're haunted by the worst day of their life. And sometimes you have to hit the reset button in your brain because the loved ones of your used-to-be-patient are surrounding them, and singing to them, and being together. And your patient with back pain is at the nurses station demanding to know why it's taking so long to be discharged. And another patient needs medication. And another patient needs labs drawn. And another physician needs assistance for an exam. And another twelve patients are hobbling through the doors. So, sometimes you need to come home, eat chocolate caramel truffles for dinner, turn on the TV, and cry because Will Gardner is dead. And the whole reason you watched the show was to see how he and Alicia would end up together in the end, because surely they would. And you need to cry because he's dead now, and it's sad. And sometimes you need to come home and take yourself to a world where vampires exist. Or where six twenty-somethings figure out life in New York City. Sometimes you need to wish that you were a size two black woman who solves problems for the White House. But today, you need to cry because Will Gardner died, and it's sad. Thanks TV.

Sunday, March 9, 2014

The Journey -It's a Long One

I'm at kind of an impasse with myself. I don't even know how to begin. I haven't updated anything of substance for so long, and the longer it gets the more I find myself asking what the point is of trying to catch myself up in the blogging world. It's been nearly eight months since I've been back in Utah. Eight months, and I still type the words and my brain says, "In that place completely devoid of any cultural diversity." So there's that. Eight months, and I'm still figuring it out; What this new phase of my life looks like. The thing I most often compare what I've been through is the defibrillating of a heart. When we defibrillate a heart --send a giant shock to the muscle-- there is a moment when the heart is completely stunned into stillness. We resume CPR (contrary to what you have seen on tv) immediately after the shock to force the heart muscle through the motions of beating. To pump oxygen to the muscle so that it can begin to beat again on it's own. For two minutes we pump oxygen to the heart muscle before we check for a return of spontaneous circulation. Before we see if the heart is able to do it again on it's own after such a giant shock.

As much as I planned and was looking forward to moving closer to family, I was ill-prepared for what a shock it truly was to my system. To me. I look back to those first few days and I wonder if they actually happened. Was this real life? Did I actually leave a beloved friend's wedding to drive 800 miles, unpack my entire life in a day and start a new job two days after leaving the place that still feels like home? It's all such a blur. I remember smiling and faking it a lot --just because I was so stunned from the change that I couldn't keep up with reality. I watched a lot of The Vampire Diaries, and listened to a lot of music --because they were constants. I remember hoping that I wouldn't be unbearable enough to permanently damage any friendships, but feeling powerless to change or take control over any of it. It's all such a fog now!  I feel as though I'm finally emerging from the fog though, finally keeping up with life.

And oh those people who saw me through it. The girl that left so long ago is not the one who returned. The girl that left who had never lived without roommates, thrived on being constantly surrounded by people, with lists of things to do and social functions to attend. The girl who lived for all things college-life. That girl came to value the calm and serenity of solitude. She came to no longer fear being truly alone with herself, she didn't need the other noise anymore. The obsession with all things college-related moved to an obsession with the Yankees, and Broadway, art and literature, and love, and being outside, and self-discovery. The girl who never missed an episode of Grey's Anatomy realized that she hadn't actually liked the show for the past four years, yet continued to watch every week. Until that realization. Things just change. Not my most eloquent words, but simple and true. It was a long seven year process. It still is. It always is. That's life, right?

And the thing about only seeing people on vacation -family and friends- is that you only see the best parts of each other. It's all sunshine and reunions and catching up. Before any of the real-life hits it's time to go back to your real lives. And so it's been rough. I'm so grateful to have friendships that have stood the test of time and change and growth. For friends who are still friends even when I bail on plans we've made. Friends that have put up with me during this tumultuous time of my life --I quite honestly haven't made it easy on anyone. But it's getting easier for me. Easier to be here. I no longer cry on the way home from my parent's house or from my brother and sister-in-laws. I no longer cry at the thought of having to put scrubs on and go to work. I no longer require ten minutes of sitting in my car to talk myself in to going in to work. It took a lot of Wednesday nights, a lot of cross-continent venting sessions, a lot of therapy-writing, a lot of wistful text messages to my Seattle family, and ultimately a dinner in Seattle with the people of the last five years of my life to let me normalize myself.

The opening sentence to each journal entry written during the first six months of living here:

*I never wanted to come back here. I've hated it here since I left if I'm being honest with myself. (Sept.)
*What was once a passion is now a mindless diversion. I smile, I say the right things, I don't care. This isn't what I signed up for. It's not the vision, not the plan. (Sept.)
*I hate it here, I hate it here, I hate it here, I hate it here. (Oct.)
* It's been a reflective past couple months. I'm struggling to hold on to myself. To the girl that I fought so hard to become. (Dec)
*I'm still hanging in here, just trying to figure life out. (Jan.)
* I haven't felt "at home" for six months. Every part of me feels out of place. (Jan.)

Thoughts scribbled on my trip back to Seattle in the end of January --meant to be notes to a long and beautiful blog post, then two months went by and I still hadn't written it anywhere outside of my head:

*It feels like I'm going home.
*It's been six months since I've been on a plane,and I'm strangely out of my routine. The ear planes, the phone, the iPad, the noise cancelling headphones, I'm out of practice!
*The airport smells like home!
*Never underestimate the comfort to be found in a grocery store that's familiar.
*Everything looks familiar here. There are trees everywhere, and it's just easier to breathe. Like a weight is finally off my chest.
*It's more than just familiarity. It's the sitting in a room at a dinner table full of people that you've been through the worse of your life with. As have they. And we're all healed. And happy. And whole.

That trip. That dinner. There are just no words to describe. What I came away with was that it wasn't the location that I missed. It was the familiarity and the bonds of friendship that I missed.  My dear friend Janice put it best when she said, "This whole weekend has been amazing. It has shown me how people can truly heal, even from their lowest lows. How change can be good, and sad at the same time. How sometimes friends are more family than your family is. And how even after many years, those trusted in your darkest moments are still your biggest support no matter the time or distance between you... What a good weekend of memories, friendship, and love."  There are many people I wanted to see, but didn't have time to. And a couple that I would have liked to spend more time with than I did, but the group at that dinner table could not have been more perfect. Every person at that table had been through the roughest part of their lives at some point in the last five years. And each person there had seen each other person through it. We all know each other's skeletons and deepest secrets because we lived through them. And to sit there and just look around and how whole and happy and healed and grown up everyone was. It was mind-blowing. The moments we shared. The moments and the way that we took care of each other. The way we leaned and relied on each other. Bonds forged in the fire that can never be broken. It's strange the way feeling so at home for a weekend made me okay with coming back to my life. But okay I was. I came back and I felt like myself again.

I had a moment. A flashing moment on the tarmac just as we were picking up speed (my favorite part of a flight) about to take off from Seattle soil where I panicked. Where I felt like,and actually contemplated, running up the aisle and screaming, NO! I don't want to go! Don't take me away from here! Tears rolled down my cheeks and my breathing became shallow and rapid, panicked. Before I took a deep breath and told myself, no. It's ok. It's time for you to figure this out. Go back and figure out this next step. And don't you dare be that quiet timid girl who dreamed small and accepted what was given. You fight. Fight to stay the you that is at peace and at home here. The girl who dreams and lives large and loud. The woman who is apologetically herself. You went through a lot to become her, don't loose her. Don't you dare stop exploring, experiencing, and loving. They may think you insignificant, but don't you dare make it so.

And that was it. I came home and I started living again. Not just going through the motions. I started running. I started being outside. I started smiling. I started uploading photos to facebook -something I hadn't felt like doing for months. I finally felt up to it. My dear friend Mercy is living in Ethiopia saving lives in the realm of public health --she's amazing. She had messaged me a day or so before having a homesick day -craving the familiar. As you do. The "home" in homesick is a very relative thing. I shared with her my post-vaca realization "The move was harder than I could have ever anticipated. I thought it was going to be easy to be honest. All good things, sunshine and roses and what not. Then I got here and was just in complete shock for six months. Just stunned with change. Going through the motions, grasping at anything that made me feel human...It wasn't really Seattle that I missed, it was the feelings. The people. My people. And thank God for modern technology, because I have those things with me everywhere.I have access to my people always. And maybe we don't get to all sit in the same room very often, but when we do, it's magic. Friendships like that never die. Even though it's hard to be thousands of miles from the people who know you best, and whom you love with all your soul, the relationships are there."

Even through the rough months I was SO blessed with amazing friends. Both far away -as described at length. But also here. And I don't want any of my struggles to take away from the sheer awesomeness of my people here. It's not them, it's me ;) My best friend from high-school and I have been getting together every Wednesday under the pretense of baking. Don't get me wrong we always bake something, but this has been the thing that I look forward to like no other. I count down to the days when I see her and her sweet family like therapy. Her friendship has been a constant through all phases of my life, and I couldn't be more grateful to be so close again.

My amazing brother and sister-in-law have saved me so many times! I leaned on those Sunday dinners and days when I could spend the day playing at their house with my nephew like it was necessary for my survival. And really, it probably was. I'm such a lucky girl to have such an amazing brother who married such an amazing woman and who makes such adorable little humans :)

My sister. Oh my sister. What would I do without her! Having her so close and always within text or call for my many freak-outs is a god-send. And her sweet husband and sweet sweet baby. I really have the luckiest family in the world.  My mom who loves me so much, and my dad who just gets me in a way that few people on this earth do. They're amazing.

And my Jill. Jill is my tie to my college years -that's when we became such good friends, and she's saved me in oh so many ways since I've been back. The parties, the dinners, the showing me where Target is,and where the yummy places to eat are, and really, just how to live here!! :)  Love her!

And that has been the last eight months of my life in re-cap. Minus the Seahawks superbowl win, and a couple other things to be blogged about later. There ya go Heids --I blogged ;)

Oh, and a couple of bonus random thoughts:

*I feel bad for people with thin naturally sleek frizz-free hair. They will never know the orgasmic joy of the silky smooth softness that is your hair after a deep conditioning Moroccan oil mask!

*Miracles aren't always punctuation marks. -Elisabeth R. Finch (The Fault in Our Stars)

*I'm OBSESSED with the ballerina project on instagram!!!

*I started my third week of training for a 5k today and actually enjoyed my run!  I'm not so much looking to love running --if I do that'd be great, but I just don't want to hate it anymore. I want it to be something I can do -even if I choose not to after running my 5k. I don't want to be stuck in middle school anymore where my attitude toward running currently resides.