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I Am Not Zen

I picked this name is a sort of flourish of activity one night at work.  I wanted calm and peaceful.  And it rhymed!  And I sometimes have the sense of humor of a nine year old.

In all seriousness though, I thought “jeniszen” would be a great name, maybe, if I could contort myself into the kind of person that I want to be.  I want to be healthy and fit and go to yoga two nights a week after work.  I want to be calm in the eye of the storm and not get riddled with anxiety or fear.  I wanted to conquer IT.  I wanted to be someone completely different than who I was at the time I chose that website domain name.  JenIsZen was born.

But that isn’t me.  I’m usually quite calm, but I have these moments where…I don’t know…it all comes crashing in.  And I feel like everything is my fault.  Darfur, starving kids, homeless, the energy crisis, the state of our environment…it could all be better if only I COULD BE BETTER.  How grossly self-involved is that?  When I get like that is usually when I’m in some situation where I can’t control things.  The last time it happened, I was in a Waffle House.  (Sorry, Cindy)  It’s not a good color on me.

I wish you could understand how much I HATE this about myself.  Because I used to be much more relaxed in every situation.  I used to be the very essence of “chilled out”.  I used to not care about things in the slightest.   I don’t know where this side of me came from.  And I don’t know if it’s a permanent part of my person.  But I do know that it doesn’t fit, doesn’t feel right, and most definitely prevents me from being “zen”.

I Am Not A Blogger

I just don’t want to do it anymore.  It’s not fulfilling.  It’s not calling me.  This website has become a sort of nagging burden.  Maybe I went wrong trying to make it a “healthy living” blog…when I really struggle to live healthy.

My one true love was scrambledaches, the first blog I ever started and the only one I’ve ever really loved.  I can’t remember why I took it down.  It was a rash decision that I regret.  However, it has taught me this much:

I’m not a blogger.

So I’m not going to do it anymore.  I’m going to take this site down in a few days.

I think.

There Must Be A Diamond In All This Rough

I have a belly.

I mean, I’ve been getting steadily fatter for years now, so of course I KNEW I had a belly.  I was just always able to hide it fairly well (at least from myself) by using big shirts.  I was lucky in that my boobs always stuck out farther than my gut, so as to give one the pseudo-illusion that I wasn’t all that fat.  She can’t be that fat…her belly doesn’t stick out.  Shirts would flow from my boobs and then hang down to my waist, without the slightest little bulge along the way.  After subtly mentioning that I was a full-figured gal to a man I had been emailing briefly through an online dating site, he asked me, “Well, does your stomach stick out farther than your boobs?  Because no matter what then…you aren’t fat in my book.”  Real charmer, right?  But then I had a whole new way to measure myself.  A new standard made out of thin air (pun intended) by which I could judge myself.  I have an arsenal of ways to measure myself, to make sure I fit, to monitor my progress on the way to morbid obesity.

I think back to a time when I was feeling healthy and great and in control of myself.  It wasn’t that long ago.  It was only thirty pounds ago.  I was still obese by any professional measure, but I felt pretty, confident, athletic even.  I felt unstoppable.  Then my foot got hurt.  And I practically cartwheeled my way back to my bad habits.  Can’t run every day?  Well, then.  Don’t move AT ALL and order pizza every night.  You poor thing.

The back and forth and back and forth….getting knocked down and picking myself back up.  Knocking MYSELF down and then KICKING myself while I’m laying there crying.  I’m my biggest enemy.  And yet I’m the only that can help myself.

All of the internal struggles came to a header today in the dressing room of a plus sized clothing store.  I’ve been able to hide in baggy jeans and baggy sweatshirts until just this week.  It’s getting warm outside.  The thirty pounds I’ve put on since November mean that none of my shorts or t-shirts or even my GYM CLOTHES fit.

Humiliating.

Even more so to step into a dressing room with clothes that, yes, are a couple sizes bigger than I’ve ever bought before.  And then to find that even though I chose big shirts to have them drape from my breasts to my waist without a bulge of interruption…it didn’t work.

The clothes were cute.  They looked as cute as they could on a body like mine.  But I left the store empty-handed and choking back sobs.  The problem isn’t the clothes.  The problem is my belly that now sticks out farther than my boobs.

The problem isn’t my belly.  The problem is my head and my soul and the cyclical connection between mind, body, and spirit.  They all need to be fed and happy.  And I’ve been ignoring big chunks of myself as I buried my head in books and focused on the GRADES, THE GRADES, HAVE TO BE THE BEST.

I need some serious soul time.  Today wasn’t the day.  I wasn’t alone today.  I need some time alone.  Some time to be with my mind, and body, and spirit.  Some time to remind myself that I love me.

I’m seeking advice, here.  I’m hurting.  I’ve hurt myself a lot.  And I need some help.

Some Other Beginning’s End

It’s been so long since I’ve entered a post that I actually had stop for a second to remember what buttons I had to push to get a text box.  That gave me a chuckle.  In fact, I’ve been chuckling to myself, not in a scary maniacal way or anything, for the last thirty six hours or so.  Because I made.  I did it.

Semester over.  Academic success achieved.

So it’s the little things that have had me chuckling.  Sitting down with a book (Who looks forward to summer vacations so that they can READ?  Nerds!) without feeling guilty twinges at the fact that I’m not studying, hanging out with my parents playing UNO on a Wednesday night, going to lunch and spending some time with my grandmother, watching reruns of The Gilmore Girls while blissed out in my reclining chair in my pajamas…with not a shred of procrastination haunting me.  HA!  I made it!  Summer vacation is here and I’m going to gobble up every second of it!

There is talk of a river tubing trip this summer that I’m looking forward to as well as a bonfire party.  I’m heading to Baltimore to hang out with Cindy and Max for a week to really jump start this season of no textbooks.  I want to go camping and browse farmer’s markets and tinker with my guitar.  I even have plans to learn Spanish.  We’ll see how it all pans out but the point is…

I’M FREE!  I can do whatever I wish.

More than anything, I’m looking forward to hanging out with myself this summer.  Really sitting with myself and getting inside my head, pushing the academics out of the way and taking time to look at my soul.  I’ve been ignoring me.  And I miss me.

Summer 2010.  It’s going to be a good one.

Snap

Holy Moses…I don’t even know how to begin.  And I hate it when bloggers begin posts like that or even when people being letters like that.  JUST BEGIN.

So February happened…that was a cute slice of reality cut out just for me, I’m guessing.  Did you all have great February’s?  Or did they blow chunks like mine did?

I totally did it to myself, actually.  No use blaming a calendar month for  28 consecutive really bad days.

You see, on paper my schedule was completely doable.  School, homework/study, sleep for five days.  Then work and sleep for three days.  Done.  Of course my subconscious started with a gentle whisper, Um, excuse me…Jen?  You’re putting eight days in a week. How is that possible?

(Okay, I hate reading about people’s busy schedules because we’re ALL overextended and overwhelmed and just have too much to do.  I don’t even have kids.  I don’t even have a spouse to keep happy.  So I REALLY don’t have room to complain or rend my garments in despair.  I know.  But for those logical people out there (do you read this blog?) who want a literal explanation and also to prove to you guys that I’m not exaggerating when I say I was cramming eight days into a week, here goes:)

I work overnight shifts at the hospital on Friday–Sunday.  On Fridays I also had school until around 3pm.  So I raced home, took a nap, and then woke up for work.  I DON’T RECOMMEND EVER DOING THIS.  At least not a whole bunch of times in a row.

After about two weeks of being ignored, my subconscious enlisted my body in the fight to get me to slow down.  Ready for this one?  SHINGLES.  I’ll keep the details to myself but let me just say this; Blistering shingle sores in the groin area are an entirely different flavor of pain than say, a backache.  Yowza.

I chalked it up to bad luck and dealing with the stresses of school.  My subconscious got a little more assertive.  Seriously?  School stress? Have you noticed that not every other classmate of yours is suffering SHINGLES?  Maybe it’s the combination of inelastic,  unholy structure and illogical perfectionism on your part that forced your body to break out in painful welts!

I pressed on.  Accepting nothing less than the highest score on every assignment handed in and every test taken.

Side Note:  I can’t decide if I love this internal drive to succeed or if I hate it.  I can’t figure out why I expect so much out of myself in some areas of life (school, career) and let myself COMPLETELY off the hook in other areas (physical health).  That’s a different post.  Actually, that seems to be the goddamned THEME for this blog.

And after two more weeks of pushing pushing pushing…I cracked.  There was a lot of weeping.  Many nervous conversations with friends and coworkers asking for advice.  (For the record, every last one of them said I needed to give myself a break.  I’m sorry I didn’t listen right away.)  There were literal and figurative headaches.  There were frequent visits by my old friends depression and hopelessness.  It wasn’t good to see them again.  I made a pros and cons list, as I’m apt to do, and decided that I wasn’t SuperGirl, afterall.  Bummer, right?

For the last nine days I have breathed.

I now only work on Saturday nights.  It is a gamble.  I don’t have health insurance and my entire monthly income is HALF of what a single paycheck used to bring in.  I know I’ll be okay, though.  Because at least I can breathe now.  At least I’m not angry all of the time and snapping at people and demanding that the universe fall into place perfectly because I have no time to manipulate my own destiny.  At least I’m happy again.  I’m ME, again.  Upbeat.  Positive.  Cheerful.

I feel like I’ve been gone for months.

So maybe instead of cursing February I should thank it.  I’m thankful for all of those bad days in a row because I learned an important lesson about my limits and my expectations of myself.  I guess I can thank February because I can honestly say I will never ever bring that amount of pain on myself again.

Tightrope

Hoo-boy!  My inaugural semester of For Real Nursing School has begun and finding any sort of balance has been, in the very least, like trying to nail Jell-O to a tree. (i.e. SUPER HARD)

I’ve been hit with a ton of information.  The last few semesters have been spent laying the groundwork for my bachelor’s degree and completing umpteen pre-requisite classes for the Real Nursing Stuff.  And now?  Now it is all very, very real.

Like, learning actual nursing stuff.  Stuff that I thought I knew but man…I had no idea.

Can you tell my brain is melty and any sort of sentence formation outside of medications and procedures and medical mumbo jumbo is nearly impossible?  Does the stress show?  Does this STARK RAVING WHITE uniform make me look fat(ter)?

People keep telling me it will be worth it and that the hard work and humiliation is a rite of passage.

I do have to admit that actually learning the mundane nursing processes is kind of fun in a nerdy sort of way.  And I’m a big nerd.  So I’m sort of loving it, sort of hating it, and definitely thanking the heavens that my roommate is on the exact same track and in the exact same classes as myself.  I don’t know if I’d be strong enough to walk this path alone.

Anyway, enough about me…how are you?  Reading blogs is something that has fallen to the bottom of my list..however, you guys are still above laundry and showering.  See?  I still love you, even if I’m absent.

Proof That The Older Are Wiser

Scene:  FREEZING WINTER DAY.  I need to do laundry so I threw on a hat and a ratty pair of jeans to make it down to my apartment complex laundry room.  No makeup.  Shower hasn’t happened.  Hoping not to run into anyone.  Just as I thought I was safe and exiting the laundry room to make a mad dash for my door an elderly neighbor man comes out of his apartment.

Old Guy:  It’s cold out here!

Me:  Yeah!  (Trying not to make eye contact because I don’t want my appearance to give him a stroke.  Or give him any proof that life is wasted on the young.)

Old Guy gets in my face.  After ten awkward seconds of silence…

Old Guy:  You are a beautiful and nice young lady.

What can I say?  When he’s right, he’s right.

I hope all of you find validation today.