Tuesday, October 19, 2010

the highs are high

Thank all that is holy!

Lol yes!!

Thank God!

These were some of the text responses from my classmates when I gave them the new that our adviser is finally writing his recommendation letters for us, after we complained last night about how they weren't done and he was texting us about SEM. Who gives a crap about SEM when we have applications due this week and next? Why are you bothering with that, Dr. E? Just write the stinkin' letters!

And so I was happy to pass the good news along when I received his text about having to stay up late tonight to write recommendation letters. This was just the last of several good pieces of news that I've received since yesterday regarding my application and dissertation proposal process. Last week was a low in this process, several things were stressing me out, and in the last 24 hours, they've all been reversed. It's incredible really, what a big difference things like recommendation letters, deadline extensions, transcripts finally in order, and helpful feedback on my essays makes.

And right now I'm utterly grateful. I still have a lot to do and a ways to go, but I'm energized and encouraged. God is answering prayers. Things are clearly working out as they are meant to, and in a good way. Peace and joy and hope have been restored to my heart, at least for now. I recognize that this process is a roller coaster and the next low could be right around the corner, but for now, I'm riding this high as far as it will take me.

And I'm not alone. In this past week, I've received so much support and love from my community. Friends have hugged me, prayed for me, laughed with me, cried with me. Friends, classmates, colleagues are helping me with my essays, giving me helpful feedback and helping me learn more about myself in this process. I realized today that I'm going to have so many people to thank come February when I match at my internship site. There is no way I could accomplish this by myself. It makes my heart swell with love and gratitude just thinking about it. Thank you.

I'm reminded of an odd but inspiring Bible story from Exodus 17. Moses was up on a hill, watching his people fight a battle and they would win as long as he held up his hands, but when he lowered his hands, their enemies started winning. But he wasn't alone. His brother Aaron and his friend Hur were up there with him, and when his arms grew tired, they lifted his arms until they had won the battle. They literally supported him and carried his burden when he was too weak to do so.

And so I feel like Moses in that story. I get tired, and weak, and anxious, and afraid, and depressed, but God has put people in my life, on my left and my right side, and you are supporting me in those weak moments. Thank you.

Though as I write this, I'm filled with a little piece of fear. Why am I moving away from these people? Why am I going someone where no one will hold me up when I'm weak? But those fears are utterly untrue. I'm going to another place where others will continue to support me, where I will work with great supervisor and peers and learn from them. And there will be another family waiting to embrace me when I arrive. It has to be true. I'm not going through all of this to just to fall when I get there. And this family I'm leaving behind? I feel that they are sending me forward. I wouldn't be going where I'm going without them, without you. And some of you are moving forward too, and I'm grateful to support you in your battles, to send you forward in your journey.

Saturday, October 09, 2010

cried a river and drowned the whole world

Yesterday, after hearing "Story of a Girl" pop up on Pandora, I was walking to the parking garage and felt the urge to sing it outloud. Except there was a guy walking in front of me and I was convinced that he would turn around and stare at me if I were to do such a thing.

Once in high school, while walking through the crowded halls in between classes (that must have been against fire code), someone started loudly singing, "Why do you fill me up Buttercup?" Someone else joined in. "Fill me up, Buttercup!" Several others started singing too. "Just to let me down, let me down!" I started singing, and pretty soon, the entire hallway was singing along as we shoved past each other on our way. This was before High School Musical, before the library musical Youtube video, before Glee. We had created our own spontaneous singalong.

More recently, in San Diego out and about celebrating our friend's birthday, suddenly the Michael Jackson music we'd been enjoying dancing to with an autistic guy (seriously, he had some sort of mental/emotional problems, but he was the funnest dancer we'd come across all night) halted a little too early for closing time. "What time is in?" the birthday girl asked. "It's birthday song time!" my friend, the former UT cheerleader exclaimed. She and I started belting "Happy Birthday" at the top of our lungs, and the entire bar joined in.

Remembering these experiences, I walked out of my residence hall, and started singing "Story of a Girl." I finished the chorus, no one was around to see or hear me, but I felt like it was a step.

Who says my life can't be a musical?

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

here we go again

Today, I was relieved to start my period.

NOT because I thought I could be pregnant (let's not start any rumors), but because I thought I could be getting depressed. So I was relieved to discover that I'm probably not depressed, but was probably PMSing. I really should start charting, for a variety of reasons, one of them being that I won't be so worried about my emotional wellbeing when I find myself feeling depressed and overly emotionally for a couple of days.

And I realized that the emotional roller coaster of internship applications has begun. In the week, my moods rapidly change as I've felt accomplished, overwhelmed, anxious, relieved, depressed, proud, apathetic, excited, hopeful, despondent, competent, failing, and so on and some forth. Sometimes I feel despair for a few hours only to feel exhilaration and hope a couple of hours later until the next low comes. And this feels all too familiar. Almost four years ago, while going through the graduate school application process, I wrote this in a post -

It's amazing what a rollar coaster this application process has been and continues to be. One week, I'm stressed and worried that my applications won't make it in alright, and the next week I'm elated to receive two phone interviews. One day I'm relieved and joyous to turn in my final application, and the very next day I'm turned down by one of my top choices. I had no idea how emotional this would be. But I should have known. If it's not a boy, it's this, or a job, or a death, or a friendship, or a fight, or a trip abroad, or an illness, or a child. This is life. My one constant is my Creator and Savior who understands all of this and leads me, despite my fears and doubts and fickleness.

And so it begins again. I've strapped myself back into another roller coaster for another crazy ride for the next 5+ months of applications, interviews, rejections, rankings, heartache, and accomplishment. An intern recently described this process as like the graduate school application process on steroids.

Maybe I'm kidding myself, but I think I'm better equipped for this process that I was four years ago. I have great, knowledgeable people supporting me. I'm more accomplished and have clearer goals for my career. I have a cohort of classmates going through this process also. And maybe, just maybe, I'm older and wiser and less emotionally reactive than I was four years ago. I know that's true, and maybe this is a refining fire that will show me how I've grown and continue to mature me through the process. I already feel like I've been growing in self-knowledge and awareness in the past few weeks since I started this process.

Four years ago, this blog really took off as an outlet for me to write about that application experience. My supervisor today asked me how I was coping with this stress, and I have some things in place, but I realized that I haven't been writing about this experience. Talking and thinking and praying, but nothing tangible down on paper or on a computer screen that I can process and reflect back upon. So, maybe this is the beginning of a revolution without dancing renaissance in which I become a prolific writer once again. Maybe, this blog will become my partner once again, riding alongside me as I'm strapped into this little cart that at times feels awfully shaky but it will still get me to where I'm going.

Sunday, October 03, 2010

joyful tears

Tonight, I cried for joy for a dear friend. I don't know if I've ever cried tears of joy before, but if I had, they weren't like this suddenly overwhelming feeling of joy and excitement and shock and love that had to express itself in the most human way possible.

A lot of things have been on my mind this evening. I'd already planned on writing an entry when I came home tonight. But those things can wait. In the middle of everything else in my life and soul, it's a blessing to pause and remember this.

Tonight, I cried for joy and I want to remember that moment. Tonight, I experienced that I can love another person enough to move me to an emotional display that swept both of us away. Tonight, that is enough.