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.

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.

A First Attempt

Today will mark the first day that I will exercise after having started exercise/exposure therapy. The plan is to stretch and use the treadmill for a total of 30 minutes all-together.

When I started exposure therapy a few months ago, my therapist began by having me only step on the treadmill. The purpose of this was to get used to just being on it and physically touching it. Previously, the mere thought of exercise sent me into a breathing panic because I anticipated the inevitable suffocation sensation before the real exercise even started. The brain is very powerful.

Sessions following only involved walking at a slight incline at a pretty slow pace- slower than my normal walking speed. Throughout my session, my therapist asked me to name 3 things I was thankful/grateful for. He asked me what my intention was. He asked me to verbally express mindfulness. When the session came to an end, he asked me to step in front of the mirror and talk to myself. He asked me how I felt, what I felt, and what did I have to say to the person starring back at me.

In the more recent sessions, we have picked up speed. My therapist still asks me to name the things that I am grateful for; however, he has also added in the following tasks:

  • ABCs
  • ABCs backwards
  • Count to 100
  • Count backwards from 100

The purpose of these tasks is distraction. The goal is to have my brain so focused on letters and numbers that it has no time to think or panic about the increased heart-rate. For the most part, this does work.

The last session I had, I went the fastest I had gone yet. There was also less distraction and more of me controlling what I was saying/doing/thinking. My therapist actually played marching band music in order to cause a disturbance, but hearing marching band music has never been a trigger, so I enjoyed it. We ended the session with 30 jumping jacks.

At the end of that last session, my therapist gave me permission to venture out on my own and give exercising on my own time a go. I’ve decided to make today my first day.

My intentions for today are to just do it and have no expectations. I forgive myself in advance if I have difficulty getting out of my head. I forgive myself in advance if I have a panic attack. I give myself a high-five for making it this far and not giving up.

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.

Do you really know, though?

EDIT: I actually wrote this in a month ago and hit pause. I figured I should upload it.

I’ve been reading articles for weeks now about other people’s experiences with “finding their person” and the whole “when you know, you know” thing. I started researching this topic because I felt crazy and doubtful that this phenomena could ever happen to me, yet what I felt was what these people described: a silent knowing that this person just is the person you want to wake up next to every single day for the rest of your life.

My friends and family would not be quick to describe me as spontaneous or “quick-to-trust-others”. I pride myself at being the most logical, analytical, and critical person I know. I plan EVERYTHING. I have four planners and calendars, as well as the calendars on my phone and laptop. I structure my days and weeks very carefully and strategically. I rely on my gut feeling a lot, but I back it up with good ole fashioned logic.

I started therapy in May of this year, 2019. Since then, my therapist has opened me up to relying on my logic less and trusting my heart more. Together, we broke down a lot of walls I had built up for myself for my own comfort and . I think I’m very open with friends, but I am not as open or as accepting to myself. That has changed.

I believe it is only because of therapy and my cooperation with the process that I was able to experience the feelings I felt towards Chelsea in late July and be okay with them.

When I met Chelsea, I had been in therapy for about 3 months. I accomplished a lot in those three months. When I interacted with her for the first time, I was nervous, but also excited and sure of my[new]self. I found that I didn’t have to filter myself. I didn’t feel pressured to act a certain way. I only hoped she enjoyed talking to me as much as I enjoyed talking and listening to her.

I walked away from the first date wishing I had kissed her; however, I also didn’t want to scare her, so maybe that was a good call on my part. By the second date, however, I was as good as hooked. And I felt something I hadn’t before.

The feeling was a mix of relief, security, excitement, and a little bit of disbelief and suspicion.

So, I don’t know what this is. I don’t understand it. I don’t know why now, why me, why this. I know nothing and I will be of no help to any of you trying to figure this out. I do apologize for that inconvenience.

The only thing I can say is that maybe you have to be in the appropriate and healthy headspace in order to allow yourself to experience things you thought you were previously undeserving of.

I had accepted that the kind of love I wanted just wasn’t going to be in the cards for me; however, three months of therapy later and I found myself in what currently seems like the healthiest and most promising partnership I’ve ever experienced.