The Freedom of "Not Caring" (in school addition)

When I was younger (ages 10 to 14, I’d say), I had this idea that all of shirts needed to be tight. I also needed my shirts to be pulled down at least halfway over my bottom. I didn’t feel like I looked good if this wasn’t the case. I can’t really explain why I felt this way, but I did. This was only relevant to the clothes I wore when I went to school. At home, I was always in shorts and tank tops running around the backyard.

All throughout grade school and into my first 2 years of college, I would hold my pee until the end of class because I didn’t want people looking at me as I walked out the door and also when I inevitably came back.

While being early to anything is generally a good move, there might be such a thing as being too early. I am still this way today, but for different reasons. Today, I am early to all my classes so I can choose the best spot and have some quiet time before the lecture. However, in grade school I was only early to school/class so that there would be less people to look at me as I walked in.

I used to have SUPER long hair (I’m trying to grow it out again!) and when I wore it in a ponytail, for a period of time, I was convinced that I only looked good if it swung back and forth when I walked. Thinking back on that now, I laugh.

I used to not blow my nose in class because I didn’t want people looking or hearing the ungodly noises coming out of my nostrils.

Okay, so I will stop writing of all of my past insecurities to interject with this: Today, I don’t care about blowing my nose in class, getting up to pee, walking in a little later, the shape of my shirts, and whether or not my hair swings.

Between growing up a little bit and getting more comfortable with all parts of myself, I just don’t care about the general public’s opinions anymore. I figure if I don’t really pay attention to people getting up to pee in class, why the hell would they be paying any attention to me when I’m getting up? Also, I don’t care about people’s clothes- either I like them or I don’t. I don’t make any substantial assumptions about someone if their shirts aren’t tucked or shaped a certain way.

I mean this next sentence in the nicest and most reassuring way possible: The bottom line is that you and I are not of enough interest to people to be constantly judged or shamed or looked at. 99% of the time, people are thinking about themselves and if they are the ones looking weird. They don’t care about you in that way! So, please, just be yourself, look good for yourself, be nice to yourself, and give yourself a fucking break.

Go pee, ya’ll- no one cares.

A Rough Start to 2020

January 2020 has not been a great month for me. From being extremely sick and dealing with an ear infection to my grandfather dying and a new school schedule, my anxiety has been through the roof.

It all came to a head when my girlfriend drove us to the theatre to see a movie. Long story short, I had a lengthy emotional breakdown in the parking garage which ended in us driving back home where I cried more. I was physically sick, mentally stressed out and emotionally exhausted.

I am still sick- coughing my way through the day. It is getting better, though. I think I’m finally in the home stretch. My ear infection is finally gone, too. I went to the doctor to follow up about it about one week ago and they flushed it out with a syringe and water. It was extremely uncomfortable (but did not hurt) and my ear felt weird that entire day, but then it cleared up.

My mother has been in Germany for what seems like weeks. She’ll be back on the 27th of January. I hope to go to Germany in 2021 with my girlfriend and spend some time visiting with my grandmother and showing Chelsea around, of course.

I am in my second week of classes and I finally don’t feel as stressed. I have come up with a solution to my parking issue and I’ve established how each professor wants work to be done/turned in. Mostly, I just read a lot. Only two of my classes have textbooks and only one of the textbooks is interactive with built-in required quizzes and tests.

Work is still going well, but things are picking up some speed now that we are approaching conference season. This is where we meet a lot of new clients and schools, so it’s really important that all things are in order.

I shall now continue working. I hope everyone is doing well.

A Sad and Anxious First Day of School

Yesterday was day one of my Spring 2020 semester. I had only one class at 12:30pm. As per usual, I arrived an hour and a half early to make time for traffic, me getting lost, and any other emergency situations.

Turns out that I made the right decision in getting to campus ridiculously early because I spent 40 minutes trying to find parking that wasn’t full and would also accept my budget card that I just loaded $105 on. I finally found the sketchiest parking deck on campus; it also happened to be the one furthest from my class, so I got a nice walk in too.

The actual class was fine, but because of it being a new professor, new classmates, new room, new seat, etc., I was feeling a little jittery. I also hadn’t eaten enough or drank enough water- that’s on me. The whole parking situation didn’t help either, of course.

Unfortunately, my German grandfather also just died- as I was walking to class, actually, my mother texted me and my sister. So, that sucks. My mom just got back from Germany 5 days ago and now she’s going back for the funeral.

I have one of my evening classes today. I am trying to plan where to park because when I get out of my class it will be dark. I will attempt to park where I normally park because it’ll be after normal hours and the deck will hopefully not be full at that time.

Work update: work is going well, I hope they’ll ask me to be full-time soon.

So I Have Braces: Documenting My Experience With Georgia School of Orthodontics and Having Braces the Second Time Around [as an Adult]

Timeline of events:

  • 2009- Megan had full braces, top and bottom
  • 2010- Megan accidentally throws away her retainer with her lunch at school and her mother refuses to buy her another one
  • 2014-2018 Megan’s teeth begin to visibly shift, especially the top front two
  • 2019- Megan decides to get braces again because it has now become a minor insecurity and it can only go more downhill from here

Why Georgia School of Orthodontics?

So, I actually went to my dentist at the time, Dental One, to see their Orthodontist, but I didn’t like the doctor himself or the words that came out of his mouth. Dental One, in general, has given me some grief.

My mother forwarded me GSO’s info shortly thereafter and I made an appointment to get a free consultation. It was easy, straightforward, and $1000-$2000 less than what Dental One quoted me. Unfortunately, similarly to what Dental One said, GSO claimed that I would most likely need to get some teeth extracted to make room for the newly straightened ones.

I have insurance; however, there’s a certain amount available for Orthodontic treatment and younger Megan already used all of that up, so adult Megan would be paying for this out of pocket. Sad face.

The cost breakdown, for me, is down below. Please note that this can be different for everyone because of the type of braces (traditional, ceramic, invisiline), lack of insurance or not, how many teeth you’re getting pulled, if any, and will you require any other surgeries or procedures?

  • Braces: ceramic on the top and traditional on the bottom: $3,336
    • I made a downpayment of about $550 before starting treatment
    • I am choosing to make monthly payments of $99/month for about 2 years to cover the remaining balance
  • 4 extractions (not covered by overall cost from GSO): $442
    • I have dental insurance and while it won’t help with orthodontic treatment (the braces), it does still cover part of these extractions because I have a referral from the orthodontist and it’s not the orthodontist doing it (I hope that makes sense)
    • The cost of getting simple extractions done (with insurance!!) is SIGNIFICANTLY cheaper if you have it done by a dentist instead of an oral surgeon (averaging about $12-$20/tooth)
    • I wanted to have an oral surgeon do it because it’s a little more invasive than your regular cavity or teeth cleaning

Does my mouth hurt? Yes. The first week is probably the worst and you should stick to a liquid diet.

  • applesauce
  • pudding
  • soup
  • smoothies
  • yogurt
  • oatmeal

How do I relieve the pain?

  • over the counter pain killers can be effective
  • ice pack to the affected area
  • warm salt water rinse
  • Dental wax (you normally get this for free from your Ortho)
  • Orthodots
  • Gishy Goo
  • Bumpers

Vocalizing an Unfamiliar Fear

My girlfriend vocalized a fear she had last night that I’ve been pondering myself for weeks now: The simple fear of losing your partner. I suppose it doesn’t really matter in what sense- loss is loss.

I’ve confessed to this blog, as well as to my girlfriend, that I’ve never feared losing a partner. I don’t believe it’s because I didn’t have feelings for them, but I do think it’s because I didn’t let my feelings get as deep as they undeniably are now.

When previous partners talked about not knowing what they’d do if we broke up or if something tragic happened to me, I really didn’t relate. Sure, I’d be sad and mourn them/the relationship; however, I had absolutely no doubt that I’d be back doing my same old thing in no time.

I’ve always had a way of treating unfortunate events in a very logical manner and that allows me to move on very quickly. I’m not so sure that I could deal with the loss of Chelsea so logically.

Lukas Graham has a lovely song out: Love Someone. I heard it for the first time months ago- before meeting Chelsea. It’s a beautiful tune, but there were lyrics that I heard that I absolutely couldn’t relate to. I will even go as far as to say that I thought they were stupid.

“If you love someone

And you’re not afraid to lose ’em

You probably never loved someone like I do”

Fast forward many feelings later, I, for the first time in my life, am scared to lose someone in the way that this song refers.

I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: this just feels different. It feels complete. It feels right. It feels like home. She feels like home.

Searching for Chaos

I’ll get right to the point: My romantic relationship that I am currently in is going very well. Chelsea and I just moved in together and I’ve even told conservative family members about us. She makes me feel like I’ve got nothing to lose by being 100% myself.

We’ve been seeing each other for about 3.5 months and this is right about the point where things start to look questionable (I’m speaking about my past dating experiences). Three months always seems like the perfect time for people to give up the “I’ve got my shit together” act and then things go south from there.

I have not had this suspicion in this relationship. Like I said before, things have been going great.

This scares me.

My body and brain are just used to chaos. I’m used to chaos at work (this has changed since my new job), at school (mainly concerning class-load (my fault)), with family (it’s complicated), with friends (I am not involved in it, I just am surrounded by it), and, unfortunately, my romantic relationships have not been absent from chaos either.

Over the years, I’ve developed mad planning strategies to help me navigate my own busy life. In the cracks of free time, I was doing household things, school things, or helping friends or current romantic partner through their issues- all the while, of course, I was ignoring my own need for peace, quiet, and some time to deal with anxiety and past events.

Right here, right now, I am in the best mental health I’ve ever been. I can say that without doubt. But old habits die hard and my body is in defense mode in this current relationship because it just can’t be real. Or can it?

My fear is that being in a healthy and “normal” relationship will start to seem so foreign to me that I will unconsciously search for reasons to doubt it and an out in order to avoid repeating past experiences.

I don’t see red flags. Things are great. I am happy. I am so happy. I don’t want this to end. I don’t want my brain to get weird. In order to combat this particular fear, I’ve already discussed it with Chelsea, my therapist, and I will continue to check in with myself and make sure that I am not just creating chaos to have chaos.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy almost Halloween!

Therapy is coming to an end.

My first therapy session was 166 days ago. I have had about 20 sessions. I started in sit-down therapy, a variation of CBT (Cognitive Behavioral Therapy) and I shifted to exposure/exercise therapy about 7 weeks ago.

While I came to therapy on my own accord, I was still hesitant to fully expose myself to a stranger. I knew that I needed and wanted help, but because so much of the process was unknown, I was nervous and withholding.

I remember how uncomfortable I was when talking about difficult times and then feeling my eyes water. I remember how I started to sweat when my voice started to shake. I remember adverting my eyes to the floor and pinching my thigh with my fingers to distract myself from the emotions that were bubbling up.

4 weeks ago, I cried my eyes out in front of a mirror in the downstairs gym during a session with my therapist. I didn’t love it, but I was more accepting of my tears and the [good] reasons behind them.

By the end of 2019, I will be done with therapy. It feels good. The progress that I’ve made was not recognizable overnight; my progress pops up randomly throughout my days in between all the little tasks I do. It’s a slow crawl towards mental liberation, but the [long] journey has been well worth it.

Finally calling my place of sleep “home”.

Since 2015, I have lived in the follow places:

  • Barnesville, Georgia (4-5 months)
  • Another Small Town, Georgia (6-8 months)
  • Germany (6 months)
  • Vicksburg, Mississippi (on and off for 1 week to 1 month)
  • Punta Gorda, Florida (1 month)
  • New Bern & Willard, North Carolina (1 month)
  • Ocracoke Island, North Carolina (2 weeks)
  • Brandenburg, Kentucky (2 months)
  • Memphis & Millington, Tennessee (1 month)
  • Trenton, New Jersey (1 month)
  • Atlanta, GA (5 months)

I just moved into my 11th place with my girlfriend. Our lease is for 13 months, so I will finally be somewhere for at least 1 year. Hopefully, everything goes well and I’ll want to renew my lease and this place can be a more permanent home for a while.

Home.

When I say “home” I think of “hometown”- my mother’s house- because that was the last place that I stayed at for years at a time. My second “home” would be in Germany. However, currently, I feel like “home”, for me, is quite scattered. I have my [few] belongings in 5 different places right now. My mattress and bed frame is still at my old place (I hope to move this on Friday, woohoo!). Most of my belongings are at the new apartment. There are select items in my girlfriend’s apartment. I have boxes both in my dad’s basement and in my mama’s garage.

Home.

When I envision my home, all I can picture is a tidy kitchen to bake in and a big bed filled with blankets and pillows to sleep in. Living rooms, offices, and entertainment rooms are nice, but I think food and coziness really make a home.

Home.

I think the most disappointing thing about my last dwelling was that I couldn’t decorate the way I wanted. It also didn’t help that it felt like I was the only person doing any chores. I think I would’ve felt more “at home” had I been able to store all of my things somewhere other than my 10’x10′ room and had my roommates contributed more to keeping the house clean and tidy.

Home.

So, here I am. I have a place [almost] all to myself (but don’t worry, I don’t mind). The woman I live with is someone I share similar values with. We’re both on the cleaner and more organized side of the spectrum. We both enjoy cooking and baking. She’s also the person I love to wake up next to every morning. I am very excited and hopeful for this new chapter of my life.

Home.

At 18, when I moved out for the first time, I had a vision of what I thought moving out would be like. I saw independence, freedom, and endless opportunity. I won’t lie: what I got was loneliness, confusion, and anxiety. I did find more secure places both within myself and in my physical surroundings, but my time at my various “homes” was always temporary and short-lived.

Home.

This apartment feels like I’ve hit a new high in my life. It feels like a step forward and up rather than a step back or even a step forward, but on flat ground. It’s a good feeling.

It took me 4.5 years longer than I thought it would, but I finally feel like I’m settling into my life and into myself. I look forward to taking you all along on this new ride.

June 19, 2018

On this day, at about 4am, I began my 6.5 hour drive to Vicksburg, Mississippi to start my Field Team Leader training with AmeriCorps NCCC.

I stopped twice and I’m writing this article to talk about my final stop. I stopped in Cuba, Alabama with a population of 303.

The reason for my stopping was that my gas tank was on E and the next exit was 40 miles away, so it was this exit or the side of the road for me.

I pulled into a gas station- the only gas station at this exit. There was one other truck in the lot. It was about 10am, so it was light outside.

I tried to insert my credit card, but the machine kept saying see cashier, so I walked inside. I was wearing tennis shoes, basketball shorts, and a loose tank top with a sports bra underneath. My hair was in a ponytail.

I walked inside the gas station and noticed that it was quite dark and dirty. I looked for the cashier, but there was no one. Suddenly, a 30something year old man came out. He was short, skinny, and looked to be Asian- I couldn’t say exactly from where.

He said, “Hi! How are you?” I responded with, “Hi, I’m doing well, how are you? Can I get $20 on pump 1?” I held out a twenty dollar bill and waited.

Instead of walking past me and to the register, he walked directly towards me, stopped inches from my face, and said, “How about you give me a hug?” Shocked, I said, “No, I don’t think so.” He moved his hands to my waist and I jumped back. I threw the $20 and said, “Pump 1, now, thank you.”

I turned around, walked back to my car, and prayed to God that I would able to fill my fucking tank because I needed to leave. Finally, I did see that he inputted the amount and I started filling my tank. My eyes frantically darted around me, making sure that he or anyone else didn’t approach me. I let the meter hit about $15- I didn’t care about the money, I just needed to leave. So I left.

I will never forget that feeling. I’ll never forget the disbelief I felt. I’ll never forget the fear I felt when he came so close to my face. I’ll never forget the feeling of disgust I felt when his hands touched me. I’ll never forget thinking, “What if he had been taller, stronger, bigger?” I remember thinking, “Oh my god, what do I do? Do I run? But I need gas. Fuck.”

As I drove the remaining miles to the Southern Region AmeriCorps NCCC campus, I cried. I called my mom. I cried some more.

I have been fortunate enough to be able to say that that is the most physical a man has ever gotten with me. I can’t imagine what other women feel who have gone through worse. My day to day with men has always been limited to cat-calling and inappropriate comments (mostly when I used to work at an auto parts shop). I wrote about this experience in my journal. I will try to find that entry and share what I wrote that day.

You have to trust your partner’s words and feelings.

When I was 16, I wrote a letter to my future self. The letter was about believing my own children (if I decided to have them) when they say that they’re in love at 16. I wrote the letter at a time where I was madly in love with my first girlfriend.

Today, as adults, we have a tendency to look at young[er] love and laugh. “They’re not going to last.” “Little do they know they won’t end up together.” “How cute, they think this is forever.” Whatever your phrase is that you use when looking at teenagers in love, you can’t deny their attraction to each other. You can’t deny their hormones and their impulsive tendencies. It’s new, it’s exciting, and it may or may not last, but what they feel is real. I was there, I was 16, and I know that what I felt wasn’t made up.

16 year old Megan

When your own feelings and words are questioned or doubted, you are quick to get defensive about them- I am, anyway. “What? What do you mean you don’t believe me when I say [insert your words here]?” “Why would you doubt my feelings for you?”

However, on the flip side, I do completely understand the other point of view. The internal dialogue might go something like this: “There is no way that [insert name here] feels what I feel. There is NO way that they like me as much as I like them. They would probably think I’m crazy if they actually knew how often they were in my thoughts. I can’t believe how into them I am, but I’m not convinced that the feeling is completely mutual.”

I think that the above dialogue stems from simple insecurity of self. We are our own biggest critic. We set our hopes and dreams above what we think we will actually ever achieve. We belittle ourselves. We are hard on ourselves. We have a difficult time accepting ourselves as who we are as humans, so the idea that someone else has accepted us- an anxiously uncertain jittering human mass of unshaven limbs and hair that we think looks like it was ordered by the electric socket in our bathroom- can seem very unreal at first.

I’m being dramatic. Personally, as I’ve mentioned before, I’ve had minimal insecurities about my physical appearance; however, my general “it is what it is” attitude, my frequent use of sarcasm, and my very forward and blunt responses have gotten me into some trouble in the past. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve come to terms with my personality and I think I’m hilarious. Finding a partner who feels the same way about the things that come out of my mouth has proven to be challenging.

So, when mutual romantic feelings were confessed between me and my now girlfriend, I did have a momentary lapse of thought that went a little like this: “Does she really think that’s funny, though? Is she really okay with what’s happening? I hope I didn’t just insult her. I also hope that she doesn’t think that I sound like a prick. I hope she can tell that I’m not as arrogant as my words make it out to be sometimes.”

In conclusion, humans are all insecure in some way, shape, or form at some point in their lives. We all have issues. We all doubt both ourselves and those around us. For the sake of your relationships, though, do your best to take what your partner says at face value; don’t look too deep into it. Believe them, trust them, and enjoy the ride. If they weren’t into you, they probably wouldn’t be dating you.