My Sister

For those of you that don’t know, I have a younger sister. She will be 21 this July. We aren’t distant, but I wouldn’t say that we are super close either. We are definitely closer now than when we were young children, though. The fact that we can eat together or be in the same room is huge progress.

I’m not sure when our relationship improved, but it was definitely post high school (2015ish). I wasn’t an angry teenager anymore and she had matured enough for me to feel like she wasn’t a baby anymore.

My sister and I are very different. but I have noticed more similarities as we’ve gotten older. I have always been a super introvert, and while she has become one more as she’s gotten older, she used to be quite extroverted. I suspect that a depressed and emotionally exhausted extrovert might present as an introvert, though.

She’s currently living in Florida with another person she was recently in a long relationship with. I don’t think they’re good for each other. When I was in a questionable relationship I wished that my mom or my sister would have said something about what they saw and felt. I see my sister now in what I see as an unhealthy relationship and I try to tell her what I wish she would have told me: this isn’t good for you and you need to leave. Fortunately, she is temporarily moving back to GA in July. We’ll see what happens.

My sister had difficulty with our parents. It wasn’t entirely her fault. Personalities were all over the place and everyone was always yelling and not actually listening to one another. I tried to stay out of it and only interfered when I was fed up.

She struggled with making trustworthy friends and I disliked most of them because they ended up treating her like trash. She made some unwise decisions over the years and her life in general seemed reckless. I didn’t know how to help, so I just always tried to be there when she felt like talking. I also made sure not to contribute to any internal issues I felt she had: comparing herself to me and putting me on what seemed like an unattainable pedestal.

School was easy for me. School was not easy for her. I had great luck with friends. She did not. I never had any body image issues and I rarely got shit from family (other than the “you need to eat a sandwich” comments). I would say that she was made fun of and ridiculed for the way she looked by people we cared about. Even when I was at my most frustrated and angry with her, I refused to stoop so low as to make fun of her for the things she was most insecure about.

Anyway, the point of this post was to share Noah Cyrus’ new song:

I think this song resonates with things my own sister may have been feeling when she was growing up. As soon as I heard this song I thought of her.

I know I didn’t encourage the comparisons between me and her, but I still feel guilty. I wish things had been easier for her and I wish we were closer and I could’ve been more of a friend, but it is what it is. I can’t change the past, but I will try my best to be there for her when she moves back home.

It seems that I am struggling.

I was telling my partner yesterday how I felt like I clean the dishes all the time- several times a day even, yet the dirty dishes continue to exist. While I was trying to voice this frustration, I felt my throat get a little tighter and my eyes get a little more wet.

I would say that ever since starting therapy exactly one year ago, I have been more uncontrollably emotional. That sounds far more dramatic than it actually is. Basically, instead of bottling things up, my body just naturally releases any anxiety, fear, or frustration, and, sometimes it is in the form of crying.

In therapy I discussed my constant need to be doing something. At the time that I began seeing my therapist, I had just gotten out of a program that had my attention 24/7 with no breaks- no joke. I went from that to having ABSOLUTELY NOTHING TO DO. It was crazy. And I felt like I was going a little crazy too.

I immediately started looking for a new place to live, a new job, and I made sure that my class schedule for the upcoming semester was desirable. In between all that I made my best efforts to visit all the family and friends I hadn’t been able to regularly see before, during my service year.

Things got overwhelming, my body panicked, and I relied on therapy to get me through it. My therapist and I hit a lot of topics and they are all documented on this blog; you’ll just need to scroll back to maybe June of 2019. It was a lot.

This quarantine has been really stressful for me in regards to my mental health. While I enjoy being inside and away from people, I also love going out with my partner and I really like going to work and feeling like I did something productive that day. I find putting on jeans exhausting, but I like the way I look in them and it boosts my self-confidence.

I haven’t had the need to put on jeans to go anywhere. I haven’t been able to see the people I care about as much as I’d like. I also haven’t been working as many hours at work and my duties have slightly changed since the lockdown. Things are different in the world, but the way I measure my success and productivity is the same as it’s always been. I think this time has shown me that that’s a possible issue.

I know that I am more than my accomplishments. I know that simply doing a load of laundry is a productive activity. I know that not all progress is immediately visible.

But it’s hard.

I have decently high standards for myself and I’ve really been working on cutting myself some slack over the last year. Sometimes, though, I do get impatient and annoyed with the lack of tangible progress.

Regarding work, my hours have been cut in half and I was supposed to start working officially full-time by this point. My upcoming summer class is a math class and I purposely chose an on-campus day/time because I learn this subject best that way (I suck at math, big time!). My partner and I had travel plans and those were, of course, cancelled. I was also looking forward to exploring Atlanta more and trying new bars and restaurants; my girlfriend and I even agreed on a weekly date night where we try out only new restaurants on a list we created.

I also don’t do well with unexpected change. I suppose I do adapt rather quickly and I always get through it okay, but the immediate effects are always scatterbrained thoughts and mild panic.

So, yeah, things have been harder than I thought they’d be. It’s all good, though. I have an amazing partner and the weather is beautiful and I still have lots of things to look forward to. I wish us all the best for the remainder of 2020 and I’m optimistic that things will take a turn for the better.

5/12/2020

Final grades were released today for the Spring 2020 semester. I am pleased; I got two A’s and two B’s. My GPA increased by .2, which means I will not be losing my Hope Scholarship.

I am still working from home and my employer still has no plans to reopen. It’s just too risky. We’re a tiny company as it is, so if one of us got sick and we were in the office, well, there’s a high chance the other nine of us would also be infected and we just can’t have 100% of the company out.

I have cut down on the amount that I am baking. I weighed myself recently and while I am not upset with my appearance, I didn’t like that I had gained 10 pounds. I’d rather gain 10 pounds of muscle, but you don’t get abs from eating cake and brownies. Things to work on I guess.

My hammock stand arrived today. It’s actually still in the mail room, but I’m about to go get it. Currently, I have the hammock hung on two doors, but doors were’t meant to hold people.

I have some lemon-jam-to-be on the stove. It needs to boil another 5 minutes or so and then it needs to cool off for a few hours. I just had so many lemons and I didn’t want them to go to waste like the last batch. The reason I keep lemons on hand is because they’re great for soothing a sore throat when mixed with honey and water, AND they actually get rid of any nausea, which I have more than most people for no particular reason.

My partner and I have acquired an air-fryer because I can’t eat fried [in oil] foods without throwing up later that night and I am IMPRESSED! We were able to make lumpia, a Filipino spring roll, as well as french fries and fried chicken! Win, win, win!

I have slept really well the past two nights and I don’t want to say it’s been purely chance. I’m trying to think about the things I’ve been doing differently, but I really can’t think of anything. Well, I did consume peach wine the past two nights, but it’s not like it knocked me out or anything- it is actually advertised as having a lower alcohol content than other wines this particular brand makes…

I’ve been trying to drink more water, eat more fruits, eat less sugar (I’m referring to my baking), and get outside (with a mask of course) a few times per week to a local park. All of these things are part of living more healthy and could positively influence my sleeping cycle… There is also the fact that school is currently done for the semester, so I don’t have that stress on me.

I don’t know, man. I hope this good sleep continues. I hope everyone is staying inside still and wearing masks if they go out! I’m still trying to master bread-making, so I’ll keep ya’ll posted on that.

Megan’s Birthday Month!

It is my birthday month. It is the season of Pisces I am told. I’m not really into astrology, but I’m told Pisces is “a sensitive water sign”. Cool beans.

Anyway, I am currently at school trying to take a test, complete a marketing assignment, and sign up for free Taylor Swift tickets. Part 1 of the test went well; I got 100%, so I hope Part 2 goes just as well. I know I’ll complete the marketing assignment; it is not difficult, just tedious. The Taylor Swift ticket website has me in a sort of queue, so that’s super exciting. Woohoo.

Some updates:

  • I officially graduate college next May with a B.B.A. in Managerial Sciences and a completed Human Resources track. I’m not sure if that’s worded correctly, but that’s that.
  • I have all of my braces on now. I got the rest of them glued on last Thursday. The pain is finally next to none; however, I still struggle chewing crunchy foods.
  • I will be starting full-time at my job on June 8, 2020. This makes me eligible for 2 weeks of paid vacation, so that’s cool.
  • I will start summer classes on June 8, 2020 as well. I am only taking one class: Corporate Finance. I am NOT looking forward to it and I know I will struggle; this is why I have only signed up for that single class this summer.
  • My German grandmother is visiting next May (for my graduation) and Chelsea and I will fly back with her (most likely, nothing is booked yet).
  • My hair is getting quite long; we are officially at under-boob level. Woohoo.
  • My dad almost adopted a Great Dane named Dash but then he didn’t. Sad day.

I got 4 teeth pulled yesterday.

I woke up at 6:30am and my girlfriend and I worked out for 30 minutes. I made some oatmeal, got dressed, and soon it was time to leave for the dentist.

I pushed off this appointment for an entire month due to me being sick for basically the entire month of January, so it was time.

My girlfriend, Chelsea, came with me to the dentist and I was hoping she’d be able to stay in the room with me, but the nurse said she would not be able to.

They immediately started with the nitrous oxide and that was fine…at first.

Then I got my mouth numbed up with gel so the actual shot [used to numb my entire mouth] wouldn’t hurt, but I could not feel my tongue or throat, so I might have freaked out a little bit and insisted that the mask come off and I would wait for the gel to wear off because I didn’t like not being able to feel myself swallow/breathe.

The gel wore off in about 5 minutes and I put the mask back on. The doctor came in and got ready to numb me up with the shot. She warned me that I wouldn’t be able to feel my tongue with this either and did I want to just be completely knocked out?

I had eaten breakfast that morning, so being put under was not an option. It was also more money [that I do not have] so I opted out. I said it’s fine, let’s continue, let’s get this over with.

She numbed me up with 8 shots in my mouth (she poked me in 8 areas) and I was soon very numb. To my relief, though, I could feel the back of my throat which meant I could feel myself breathe and swallow. I was still nervous beyond belief, but this was better than the gel.

The whole time I was waiting for the oral surgeon to come back I was shaking. I was vibrating a lot and I tried to breathe and count and let my body “shake itself out”, but it wouldn’t stop. It was only when the doctor started pulling my teeth that I stopped shaking.

I must say that the actual pulling of teeth was fine. No pain, just pressure. The most disturbing part of it all was the fact that I could hear right in my ear the crunch of the root being ripped out of my bone. That was freaking gross. Like REALLY gross.

She spent maybe a minute max on each tooth. It was out FAST. The hardest part for me was just getting over the fact that my mouth was numb. Everything else was fine.

I am now at home rinsing with salt water and eating soft foods. I really hope I am able to avoid dry socket. My mother said she got it about 10 years ago and it was not pleasant.

Here are photos for your viewing pleasure 😀

No Regrets

I lived in Germany with my mother’s parents from October 2017 to March 2018. I decided to do a semester at the local university and simultaneously spend some time with grandparents that I only got to see once a year- and that was if I was lucky.

My grandfather passed away about a week and a half ago. He was 84. He was also in the largest police choir in east Hesse for several decades… I want to say about 50 years… he LOVED music and singing!

In December, he asked me if I wanted to attend the Christmas concert they always put on with the children’s choir each year. My grandmother warned me that the children’s choir wasn’t particularly good and that I didn’t have to go if I didn’t want to.

It didn’t take me long to agree to go because I knew I’d probably never get the chance to see him perform again and I didn’t even know the next time I’d be able to go to Germany. I haven’t been back since I left in March 2018, so looking back, I am SO incredibly happy that I was able to see him perform.

The children’s choir was very boring, yes, but the police choir was awesome. There was also a soloist who sang Hallelujah and it even brought some of the kids to tears- so cute.

The last picture I have of me and my grandpa is one with my grandma as well. We were at a family member’s birthday party and it was a very social and very exciting event- I had a blast. And my grandpa looked so happy!

Even though we live on opposite sides of the Atlantic ocean, I still have an amazing relationship with my grandparents. We text and video-chat and it was really important to me to study over there/live over there at one point in my life. I’m really really glad I was able to make that happen.

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.

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

Putting My Dreams On Hold?

I was talking with a friend yesterday about the feeling of being caught between travel dreams and a good job (or meeting someone and settling down).

Long story short, my friend Blaire had plans to go on a month long trip to Europe with her sister this summer. Afterwards, she planned on joining another lengthy volunteer program or homesteading or just jumping in her car and driving across the US.

But she met someone in the first program she was in in 2018 and they now live together in Indiana. They both work and they’re both highly considering attending college after having not been in school for almost 2 years.

However, Blaire still has major travel dreams and doesn’t want to tuck everything under the rug just because she fell in love.

Additionally, she also fears finding an amazing job that won’t let her hit pause to travel every now and again. She hates feeling tied down and is concerned that a “normal” job will do that. In a sense, the relationship has tied her down as well, but she confessed that she is 100% okay with that at this point- she and her partner fit really well together and she loves coming home to her.

I told Blaire that my current job might be more of a long-term situation than I initially thought; however, I wasn’t concerned about not being able to travel because there are opportunities to travel through my company. They’re also just super flexible about all of their employees’ schedules and encourage travel and “you-time”.

I’d be lying if I said I didn’t have any concerns about not being able to travel as extensively as I’d planned prior to getting into my current relationship. There were moments of concern, yes, but after falling utterly and completely in love with Chelsea, I no longer wanted to travel with anyone but her.

One day, I hope we can take an extended trip (6 months-1 year), but, for now, I’m okay with mini trips scattered throughout the year. In fact, we’re taking our first trip together to North Georgia in about 3 weeks!

Are any of you experiencing worry about putting dreams on hold because of a really good job or because of a relationship? Share them with me!

An Update on an Experiment I’ve Been Doing With Myself:

I stopped taking birth control about 2 months ago because I wanted to see if my body and mind would react differently to stressors and triggers of my anxiety.

I wish I could say that I’ve noticed a significant difference, but I haven’t. The only difference I’ve noticed are the mad cramps and back pain that accompany my period.

Funny enough, sometimes the cramps are so bad that my mind can think about nothing else- panic attacks included- so maybe that’s a plus, but overall, I don’t think it’s worth it to stop taking birth control.

I can only speak for myself; my cramps are quite bad and I often call out of work because of them, so I started taking birth control and my problems were solved. Of course, it took about 3 different types of birth control and a LOT of bleeding to find the one that works best with my body, but it was also well worth it.

So, here I am on my second period since stopping birth control and I think my time off of birth control is coming to an end. For me, I don’t think birth control has a significant hand in my anxiety.