It’s Killing Me

I feel like Alice falling down the rabbit’s hole, and it is a long way to the bottom.

The lady in front of me is tall. Her hair is white from both age and stress. Clearly, at this moment, she is the rabbit. Although, these halls are so familiar, I feel that this is my hole. Everything from the waiting room to the computer in the small alcove are all mine. I have them all precariously placed on the ledges of my hole, distant memories begging to be reviewed. Everything is about to crumble.

I see me, about seven, twisting and turning in the green and gray patterned chair, stalling on the next math equation my uncle is begging me to finish. I’ve been doing school in the waiting room for so long; I’m tired of playing with all the toys set out for kids ages two to five. Aside from my sister who is too young to care, I am the only one who hasn’t been allowed to see Grandma. I have been told what she looks like, but I can’t imagine her with tubes hooked up inside of her.

I want to drink the elixir that makes me shrink. If I could disappear I would, but I turn right, following the rabbit’s quick paced steps. To the left is that computer and straight ahead is the nurse’s station. To the left of the desk are two halls I’ve been down a hundred times. I close my eyes and remind myself to breathe. I don’t remember drinking any shrinking potion, but now it feels like my lungs can’t or won’t expand to their full capacity. Now I want to eat the cake and grow. Right now I would give anything to grow to climb out from this place.

We are at the nurses station. Please, turn right.

We turn left.

Please don’t take the right hall.

We take the left.

I am led into the ICU. There is no secret key I have to retrieve or keyhole I have to climb through. The rabbit steps right up, and the doors open at her presence. The place smells heavily of antiseptic. I want to tuck tail and run.

“Here we are,” says the rabbit.

I wish we were late.

I see me in my black turtle neck. (I hated that shirt.) I pause in the doorway, not sure if it is safe to walk in. There’s the tube in her throat, and she is barely aware of what is going on around her. None of the descriptions mom gave me before could have prepared me for this moment. The moment my lungs stop and my heart can decide whether to speed up or to slow down. I’ve skipped to the end of the book, and before me is the jabberwocky.

“Hello, Grandma,” I say. She turns her head toward me, and she moves her mouth, and a frog croaks instead. I grab her hand, and rub my thumb in circles. Her skin is wrinkled, bruised, and feels like velvet. I look up and smile. “I love you too.”

“She was t-boned,” the rabbit says. “This is her second time being in a coma, and she doesn’t want to be revived. She doesn’t want to fight to live.” I muster my strength and respond back in a controlled voice. The conversation is short. It is clear I am eager to leave. The trauma of being in the hospital for eight years struggles to resurface. The memories try to cave in and burry me alive.

I am relieved once I leave the rabbit hole, this not-so-wonderful land

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Dream Big

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This is one of my favorite poems. I don’t know how many times I would tell my mother all of the crazy things I planned to do. She would get all skeptical and look at me out of the corner of her eye while she cooked. She never discouraged me though (maybe about becoming a world famous singer.. kind of gotta be able to hit a note for that one). All she ever told me was to dream big, and so that’s what I did. I dreamed bigger and bigger every night.

Mamma always said, “Dream big, baby.”

So I did.

I dreamed that one day I would be happy.

Now here I am,

And I can’t imagine being sad.

“Dream big, baby.” Mamma always said, “Dream big.”

IHOP Mom – Narrative

This is based on a lot of truth I heard as I talked to IHOP Mom–rather, as IHOP Mom talked to me. She inspired this short piece, and is the star of this narrative.

IHOP Mom walks by and swiftly removes everything from the tables. She had been around for seven years and isn’t about to make a mistake on her job. She is fast and efficient. She loves the students who come in during their freshman year, and she watches them grow and graduate from the college down the road. She calls me baby, and says she heard me reading. While she talks to us, their is a smile that lights up her face. It carves crow’s feet around her eyes and in the corners of her mouth. When she turns around I watch the smile fall from her face. She is focused on the work ahead, and the long night she has to get through. After she is done here she still has a home to go to. There are other people to feed, not just random strangers and college students that wander in past curfew. She has a family too: grown children and grand babies that require her attention and stretched smile. She is worn thin, but she is far from frail. She is a strong cornerstone. She is someone who remains consistent in the passing students with last minute homework and the police officers that come through the doors for a late night coffee pick-me-up. She is here at two in the morning, and it will be a while yet before she goes to bed.

I was tired. Okay.

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I have been so busy this weekend, it never even crossed my mind to put up a blog post yesterday. What was I doing? everything.

My parents were in town for my birthday. They drove down from Michigan, and spent Saturday and most of today with me. It was a lot of fun. We went to IHOP for breakfast, and then while they went to visit family I went to this ladies conference at church. They picked me up and we stopped back at University. I was able to walk them around the building where I take most of my classes and show them the library. My TULSA Best Friend met us by the IT desk to say hi, then we went to Barnes N Noble. It had been a while since I was in there so I felt like I could cry. I got two new books.

“Elizabeth…. Why? You aren’t reading the ones you already have.”

Yeah, your right. But I will read these ones, and hopefully it will get me into reading more books. I’ve been in a horrible reading slump, so I think this will help me. I’ll put a post up about the books soon.

After Barnes N Noble, we went looking for Goodwill. Unfortunately, we didn’t find it. Instead we found this place called “Quality Thrift Store.” It had a lot of nice clothes. I think I got around eight shirts for $50. On top of that, I found out that every Sunday their clothes are half off, and every Monday their clothes are $.99. Long story short, I think I found my new favorite place to shop.

Once we checked out with my clothes haphazardly thrown in a bag (the cashier didn’t even fold them), we went to this restaurant called “Louis Bar and Grill.” Not gonna lie, I was a little worried about the place on the way there. We drove through this really sketchy town, and the outside of the building was poorly lit. The sign was nice though. It was this lit up, cursive sign. So we parked and went inside. The place was crowded. Packed. We told the lady there were three of us and she told us that it would be a bit of a wait. We said that wouldn’t be a problem and all went to the bathroom. The moment we came out the lady was like, “Father.” **Not really. She called my dad’s name.** We were seated, and they brought our drinks, and brought our food. Everything was done in a timely manner, and it was actually really classy. The waitresses were really nice. To top it off, they had gluten free crust for their pizza! Then we went to Walmart, and I got pants. **Yay! PaNtS!*

So that was that. And then today they went to church with me, which was a lot of fun. We went back to Walmart to get some other things, and then they left. They took some stuff from my room with them too, because I didn’t want to have to store it over the summer.

All in all, this was the best birthday ever.

Thank you to all the people who were a part of it and made it good. **Insert sweet emoji** (Because I normally avoid my birthday.) So this was special.

Memories

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Memories are shifty things. They’re from your perspective and a lot of the time can’t be trusted. For example, my family has moved around a lot. We lived in the trailer, moved to Grandma’s house, went to the apartments, lived in the duplex, moved into Grandpa Willsea’s house, and then we moved into the house my family is in now. At the time we lived in the trailer, my family owned a pizza restaurant. In my memories, we lived in the pizza restaurant before we lived in the trailer. Like, I know we didn’t live in the restaurant, but I don’t ever remember being in the trailer because we were always in the restaurant. I asked my mom where we lived while we ran the pizza place, and when she told me the trailer, I didn’t believe her at first.

The whole reason I’ve been running back through all my memories is because I’m trying to find my earliest memory. Right now I think my earliest memory is from when we opened the pizza place and I went on a delivery run with my dad. It was late at night and I remember the man at the door giving me a wad of cash. (At least, that’s what my memory says happened.) I remember sitting in the car with dad and thinking all the money was mine and had been given to me. Although, now that I know my family lived in the trailer at the same time we had the restaurant, I don’t know if that really is my earliest memory.

Through doing this, I have begun to remember a lot of things I thought I had previously forgotten. It’s been fun reminiscing on all the things from my childhood until now. Even more amazing, is seeing how much God has redeemed me from my past. I remember having many anger issues growing up, but I only remember very few moments of when I was angry. I know there were many more, because I screamed and yelled my way through middle school and most of high school. The fact that I don’t remember many of those moments, I think, goes to show that my mind is healing itself and that God is redeeming me.

To think, all this started because I began watching a Turkish show that started with the main character recalling her earliest memory.

Now, let’s create some dialogue. What is your earliest memory?

么么哒!

Covered in Snow

I Remember those years covered in snow,

Coming inside red faced with a Rudolph nose.

Icicles hung from my cold fingers,

and Jack Frost was biting my numb toes.

I hissed when mom rubbed my stiff fingers under warm water, and

I sniffled, curling my toes in front of the space heater.

 

I remember those years covered in snow

Coming inside and peeling off layers of snow suits and snow boots and

Dad’s thick alpaca socks.

The zipper would always catch on my coat, then

I would run to the kitchen and separate the marshmallows from the Hot Chocolate, and

I would let the warm drink thaw my insides as I settled into the couch.

 

Yes, I remember those years covered in snow.

Red Boy

**This is a poem I wrote for a friend who’s grandma has Alzheimer’s.

 

Red hair from Scottish ancestry

Red plaid, button up shirts

Vaguely she knows me, but

She can’t remember me

Lost between worlds

Wandering among tangled strings—

Tangent thoughts

She can’t find that one red wire

The one that tells her who I am

 

I am the red

The boy that

Sits by her side

And tells her stories

Of the world she forgot

I tie strings to her fingers

I weave ribbons between her toes

Unfortunately she is not Queen Grenadine

With magical whispering knots

She can’t remember what

She is supposed to remember

 

Me

The boy

With red hair

With red shirts

Me

The boy always there

When she’s off exploring somewhere

That’s not with

Me

‘Tis the Season–to rest

This Christmas has been the most relaxing, joyful Christmas I have experienced in a long time. There was a lot of love, a lot of family, and a lot of laughter. I got to see my Sister-in-law, and my young cousins. The food was amazing. I’ll admit that despite my gluten allergy I did eat two rolls. (Which I paid the price for at two in the morning, puking.) While underneath the Christmas tree wasn’t overflowing, we were all full (full of both love and food. Haha). Everyone was laughing, helping, and conversing in ways I have not seen my family do in years. Any bad blood that was between anyone didn’t matter. Especially when there was a three year old girl running in circles laughing for no reason.

I guess as you can tell, laughter was a huge part of yesterday. It made it seem like that whatever happened over the semester, or this whole year, just suddenly didn’t matter. I felt surrounded and loved and like I had a family and people who cared about me. It was a fun and delightful day. I am glad I was able to be home.

For Christmas I got two pairs of shoes, accessories for bullet journaling, an Amazon gift card to get a new Fitbit band and a new bullet journal, chocolate, and I honestly don’t even remember what else I got for Christmas. It doesn’t matter though. I was and am with my family. That’s all I care about.

How did your Christmas go?

I love you all! Thank you for being with me this holiday season. You all are loved and blessed, and you have blessed me in more ways than you know.

Bye bye! 再见!加油!Good luck! Fighting!

Semester Recap

“So, Elizabeth, now that you’re back. How was your semester? We’re all curious since you quit communicating with us.”

Yeah, I am so sorry about that. I’m back now. I’ll be keeping in touch with everyone pretty regularly since I’m on break. I can’t guarantee that’ll carry on into next semester, but I’ll try. Now, how did this semester go? It was the worst semester I have ever experienced.

“Oh no! How?”

Just a bunch of crappy stuff happened. It was bad. I cried a lot. I called my mom almost everyday. However, despite all of the bad stuff that happened, I survived.

“Explain to us what you mean by you ‘survived’?”

God pulled me through. Most of the time it felt like he was dragging me through the semester. Honestly, if I had just gotten up and followed Him, I could have avoided being dragged through mud. Resistance toward God is almost an automatic guarantee of getting dirty. At least if you willingly follow Him you have a chance of avoiding the rotten fruits being thrown your way. Haha. With that, I mean to say, God never left me. He was always there, faithful and full of grace and mercy. I remember calling my mom and all she would say was, “Grace upon grace, baby. Grace upon grace.” I got so tired of hearing that, but I needed it every time.

“Were there any good moments this semester?”

Oh, of course! I got to help one of my friends find her wedding dress, and I was able to watch another friend (my roommate actually) get engaged. I reconnected with a friend from last semester just by the simple fact that we have learned how to listen to and pray for each other. I made some really good new friends this semester. All of my professors were sweet, gracious, and respected me like I’ve never seen done before. I got–I think–all Bs this semester. Maybe one or two Cs. So, yeah, no this semester wasn’t all bad. There were definitely more good things than bad things. I think, those few bad things were just big, while all the good things were small.

“What was the most defining moment this semester?”

It was probably over Thanksgiving break. I was trying so hard to connect with God and pray and nothing seemed to work. I was praying every way I knew how, and it was boring and stagnant. Then I was reading in Celebration of Discipline by Richard J. Foster about the “dark night of the soul.” It was really beautiful, and I’m not going to fully explain it here, but basically it was like, the dark night of the soul is when we feel we are drawn away from God, but really it is what draws us closer to God because it is when we realize that nothing but God can fully satisfy us. The book said it so beautifully as, “God lovingly draws us into the dark night of the soul.” I feel that I have been drawn into that. And then, Friday before my parents picked me up, I finally went into the Prayer Tower. (It was like the first time in probably two months.) I did a quick recap of the semester with God. (It was probably twenty minutes.) When I left this girl said to me, “I feel like I should tell you, that God has heard your prayers and He has answered them.” I smiled and said thank you. When I walked away I was like, “What prayers God? I haven’t prayed in so long.” But, it was comforting to hear that. It was reassuring to be reminded that I wasn’t alone. Like, I knew God had never left me, and I knew (know) that God is good and always faithful, but sometimes hearing it out loud is nice.

“How did finals go?”

Really well! It’s the most I’ve ever studied. Haha! Now, let’s see if I can carry that studying in to next semester.

“Now that you’re home, what are your plans for Christmas break?”

Relaxing. Haha. Actually, I really want to spend a lot of time reading, maybe writing a little, and meditating. I want to be in a good place mentally and spiritually for next semester. Physically will follow all of that. I want to spend a lot of time with my family because I miss them, and after this break I don’t know when I’ll get to see them again.

“Are you excited for Christmas?”

Honestly? No. I’m not normally though. I just really like shopping for people, and I can’t wait to give everyone their gifts, than I’m ready for Christmas to be over. I am excited to see Brother and Sister-in-law in though.

“Do you have any New Year resolutions?”

Not yet, but I’m sure I’ll think of some soon. Do you have any New Year resolutions? I’m currently taking ideas.

“Any semester goals?”

Not to be rude, but no new friends. Haha. I’m happy with who I have, and I’m set for the rest of my college career. Also, I just want to study and really focus on myself. (Ugh, that probably sounds selfish, huh?) I want to focus on my mental health next semester. That’s what I mean. And as far as academics? I just want to study Chinese. Literally, Chinese is becoming my life.

“Before we go, Elizabeth, any final words?”

God is good all the time. If you can remember that, you’ll be just fine.

“Well, you heard it here first folks. Elizabeth is home on break and still kickin’ it thanks to the redemptive love of God. Let’s keep cheering her on and praying for her. We’ll see you next time Elizabeth decides she isn’t going to neglect her blog and followers.”

*Performs some sort of dramatic bow, probably with a hat, while a band plays, and confetti falls everywhere. Then this dramatic red curtain falls covering everything.*

Health. Ugh.

TALK ABOUT JOURNEY. OR LIFESTYLE. OR WHATEVER THE HECK YOU WANT TO CALL IT. HEALTH IS A NEVER ENDING ONE. What with the constant doctor appointments? (By the way, yes, I was yelling all of that in my head.) There are constantly new diseases being discovered, new cures, and constant evolutions of old ones like the flu. Taking care of the body is a never ending process that requires constant and immediate attention. Like, what the heck body, why can’t you just remain super healthy and glow 24/7? (That almost said 24/6 because, ya know, you gotta take that extra day to do whatever, I guess.) But, no, it’s a freaking trek up an incredibly tall mountain that is also a volcano and erupts like fifty times a year, and then it’s also known for landslide in the spring, fires in the summer, and avalanches in the winter. It’s tiring, difficult, and no one really wants to do it. People who are obsessed with healthy stuff like spinach and working out, have been doing it for so long now, their practically insane and high on endorphins. They know nothing else at this point, and basically, that’s the point we are trying to get to: complete insanity.

I hit that particular point over the summer.

Let’s begin before the summer. Spring semester of my sophomore year, and God was like, “Yo, get your butt in gear and get healthy.” I reluctantly started, but I was soon living in the gym (practically). I was there running and weightlifting, getting stronger. Then I injured my knee, partially because I was a new, immature runner and health folk and partially because I was so stressed I was just tense all the time, so it made my joints really stiff.  Was I smart, and did I put ice on my knee though? No. Of course not. I kept running. Slowly I got over the pain, and moved on.

Summer comes around. One of the first things I do is get a gym membership. I go with my sister almost every night. Then my uncle goes with me once, and he is hooked. He gets a membership and begins to go in the morning at like five. Time goes by, I get busy during the day, my sister starts working at night, so what do I do? I start going at five with Uncle, but then Little Sister and I would occasionally go after she got out of work, but then my mom decided she wanted to start working out so I would go with her at seven in the morning.  There were days when I would go to the gym three times in a day. (See, insane.) I loved every second of it though. It was amazing.

This semester comes around. I don’t go to the gym for like three weeks, when I suddenly decide to go for a run. Out of shape and out of practice, I hurt my right knee. (Last semester, I had hurt my left knee.) I run once, and I’m out of the game. What do I do? I throw some K-Pop in my ears and hit the elliptical. I work to retrain the muscle in my knees and to build them up. I begin icing them. I wear a knee brace (which I got over the summer). I’m smart about things this time.

Now this is where things get funny.

I’m in the Hammer with a friend, and we’re just casually walking along when my ankle goes sideways. I go down. My knees it the floor so hard it echoed. To say the least, I ended up with a sprained ankle. My left knee was internally bruised, and my right knee turned black. It was about a week after that I was stressed out and tired, so I decided to run whether or not it would hurt my knee. I ran. I did some weightlifting. I left (going down like three flights of stairs), and my knee never hurt, so I began to speculate. My belief is (this may not be true, I don’t know) that when I fell and hit my knees, the impact pushed everything back into place. (All you medical people can correct me if I’m wrong, but my knees haven’t hurt since then.)

Did I keep going to the gym after being completely overjoyed that I could run without pain? No. I’ve been going off and on, but not doing much. Today is the first day that I actually did a full complete workout. I ran a mile, and did leg day. I’m sore. I’m tired. And I feel completely ecstatic. This is what I needed to get me back to that point of insanity that a health nut requires.

Although, while I can completely succeed in going to the gym, my mountain lies with food. I can go to the gym everyday, but as long as I keep eating gluten and food that drops my blood sugar, I will never be as healthy as I can be. I can say that I now eat salads (mostly spinach and veggies) without ranch, but those blueberry scones in the morning with breakfast, tend to get me every time. I can do so good for a week, and then it’s like I crumble.

It’s an on going process, and I’m learning. God has been with me every step of the way. He hasn’t let me down yet, and He won’t start now. Rather, He becomes more and more encouraging.

If I can do it, you can too! Let’s do this together. It’s always better climbing this mountain of unusual, natural disasters when your with someone. Going alone is rather lonely.

I love you. I believe in you. Good luck!