Monday, February 16, 2015

Give A Little Bit

You know you're in love from gut reactions - it's less about the big things and the planning and more about the every day little things. Today, I knew I'm in love because I worked from home partly so I could take care of him (even though he's a) not that sick b) not a big fan of being taken care of) because I wanted to. I made him go to the doctor. I made him tea. I handled dinner. Also, I missed one of my favorite parts of The American President​ to make the bed and tuck him into it. To me, all that adds up to "I love you" far more than the dinner I made for Valentines Day ever could.

Tuesday, July 22, 2014

And We Go Round And Round And Round In The Circle Game

I'm so frustrated about the situation in Israel. I've watched friends nearly get in fistfights or "unfriend" each other over hurtful comments from people on both sides (and sometimes from two people on the "same side"). I've read heartfelt stories about heartbreaking situations on both sides. It's inevitable that war is inclined to divide us, but I think the better solution in a case like this is for it to bring us together - for there to keep being respectful dialogue. The goal should be to stop the violence, not to kill all the Jews or to kill all the Arabs. I've been crushed hearing about the civilian casualties in Gaza, but I've also been crushed to hear about the deaths of Israeli soldiers -- I can't get the graveyard that we visited in Jerusalem out of my head. Now the FAA has stopped flights to Israel, and I'm just sitting here WISHING there was something I could do and worrying about my friends in the army and their friends and family... as well as about the families and friends of the Palestinians that I know. Can't we just accept that this is mutually tragic and try to put the pieces back together without pointing fingers and fighting with each other all over the world? 

Personally, while I think things escalated crazily and unnecessarily over the deaths of the three Israeli teenagers who were hitchhiking in the West Bank, and that it's absolutely atrocious that the Palestinian teenager was killed in retaliation, getting rid of the tunnel network used by terrorists is an important homeland security task. Stopping the rocket bombardment into Israel that wasn't even stopped by agreed upon ceasefires and is targeting civilians is also an important homeland security task. The Israelis have a right to protect themselves. Does that mean that the virtual caste system going on in Israel is a good thing? No. Does that mean that the subjugation of the Palestinians is a good thing? Hell no. But this war isn't about taking territory, and these bigger issues need to peacefully resolved with compromise on BOTH sides - no amount of missiles is going to solve them.

Human shields are a scary and powerful weapon in the court of public opinion. Adding up civilian deaths is an easy way to get the other side to look bad. I do think that the Israelis have attempted to warn civilians and get them out of the way -- but the fact that Gazans are practically locked in their country with nowhere to go and no ability to get in or out means everywhere is not safe. Hiding missiles in and under schools and hospitals - again, a way to get the court of public opinion on your side. If the goal is to destroy the missiles, they need to be destroyed regardless of where they lie. Again, civilian casualties should always be minimized, but I was reading yesterday about two terrorists using ambulances to transport themselves and missiles in Gaza. Yes, those ambulances are then not really ambulances and become fair-game targets.

Again, the whole thing is tragic. No one is in the right. But hopefully we, the people scattered around the world, can stop biting each other’s heads off and come together to lead to a peaceful solution, an end to the violence, and to provide help to the victims on both sides.

I’m not putting this whole thing on Facebook – because it’s too long and because I don’t want to start a big argument. I value that I have friends on both sides of the conflict. I value and respect those friendships and hope you will all respect my rights to an opinion. I also hope, regardless of which side you’re on, you take a moment to also pray for/think of those on the other side. May BOTH sides be safe and this conflict be resolved with as few deaths as possible.

Wednesday, June 11, 2014

Tale as Old as Time

I have been in somewhat of a funk for the past week and I think part of it is that sudden realization that my friends and I are growing up and entering a new phase of our lives. All of a sudden so many people are getting married and having kids. It becomes harder to spend times with your friends because everyone has a significant other whom they're balancing too. Others move away.

The creators of FRIENDS (TV Show) had said this about the end of the show: "Everybody was growing up. This is part of why the show had to end. This was no longer that time in your life when your friends are your family. You’re starting your own family." As soon as they said it, I realized it was true, and that that's basically the transition my peers and I are going through. But it's really bittersweet.

Sunday, December 8, 2013

My Junk (from Spring Awakening)

In the midst of this nothing, this miss of a life
Still there's this wanting just to see you go by
It's almost like lovin', sad as that is
May not be cool, but it's so where I live

It's like I'm your lover or more like your ghost
I spend the day wondering what you do, where you go
I try and just kick it but then what can I do
We've all got our junk, and my junk is you

See us, winter walking after a storm
It's chill in the wind but it's warm in your arms
We stop all snow line, may not be true
We've all got our junk, and my junk is you

Well, youll have to excuse me, I know its so off
I love when you do stuff thats rude and so wrong
I go up to my room, turn the stereo on
Shoot up some you, and the you is some song

I lie back just driftin' and play out these scenes
I ride on the rush of all the hopes, all the dreams
I may be neglecting the things I should do
We've all got our junk, and my junk is you

See we still keep talkin' after you're gone
You still with me then feels so good in my arms
They say you go blind, maybe it's true
We've all got our junk, and my junk is you

Oh, it's like we stop time, what can I do?
We've all got our junk, and my junk is you
My junk is you, my junk is you
You, you, you

Duncan Sheik;Steven Edward Sater
Published by

Read more: Spring Awakening - My Junk Lyrics | MetroLyrics 

Thursday, October 31, 2013

Five Years From The Bottom

Today is the 5 year anniversary of me hitting what I consider to have been my rock bottom in my struggles with mental illness. I don't often talk openly or publicly about what happened, but it is important to me to take a step back tonight and mark for myself and for everyone else how far I've come. Because I'm never going back to the place I was in then.

I now know that what afflicted me on the morning of October 31st, 2008 was the beginning of my battles with GERD - Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease. At the time though, I thought the nausea and vomiting I experienced was simply a stomach bug. But even once the sickness passed, I felt shaky. I was overcome by fear. I had my own apartment, but I didn't trust myself to take care of myself in it. I was afraid of the big sliding glass doors to the balcony of my fifth floor apartment. What if I somehow accidentally threw myself off it? I was afraid of the sharp knives in my knife set. A co-worker had cut her hand badly on a knife in her dishwasher a few weeks earlier. What if that happened to me? I didn't like knives.

Please don't interpret the above as me being suicidal. I wasn't and have never been. But I've learned that a big part of my anxiety disorder is these irrational fears that especially pop up in times of stress. I was stressed out. I'd broken up with my boyfriend of over a year less than a week before and to say that it had blindsided me would be an understatement. I was living on my own in a suburb of Chicago, far from the city I considered my home and the support system I'd built for myself there. To make matters worse, I hated my job. And perhaps it would be fair to say it hated me? I didn't fit in, didn't feel engaged, and couldn't figure out how to excel. It was a frustrating position for a Harvard grad like me to be in - I felt adrift and alone in a world in which I didn't know any of the rules.

But back to that morning.

I felt so paralyzed by fear that I wasn't comfortable driving. What if I threw up or passed out at the wheel? So I walked to a neighbor's apartment. I then spent hours pacing around his apartment, alternately talking and crying on the phone to my therapist. I had no faith in myself. I didn't trust myself at all. I didn't believe in myself. I didn't know what to do or how to fix it.

I'm pretty sure the friend had no idea what was going on with me. I felt well enough to go out with some friends to celebrate Halloween that night - I wanted to be around people - and a rumor started that I hadn't been sick that day at all. I even got in a lot of trouble with work over it. But I was sick. Really sick. Just in a way no one could see.

That was my rock bottom in my struggle with Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic, and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder. That was my rock bottom with life, and the break up, and my total lack of confidence.

In the years since, I've slowly and painstakingly crawled my way back. It hasn't happened alone. I am and will be eternally grateful to the friends and family who stood by me as I rediscovered myself and built my confidence back. It wasn't a linear path - there have been set backs, relapses, and steps backward. But I persevered.

I never thought that, five years later, I would be the Founder and President of two successful companies. I didn't think I'd have an office or employees or be my own boss. I thought I needed structure - that I couldn't be trusted to make decisions or take care of money or people.

I also never thought that, five years later, I would be living with, loving and being loved by, a different amazing guy who has stood by me through many of the ups and downs. His belief in me has helped me believe in myself.

And I was surprised then, and even sometimes still, at the incredible friends who were there, even when I wasn't at my best. They helped write lists, they took me to drinks, and to watch sports, and they listened. And we talked and ate and shopped. I am a better person for all of these people.

I suppose I have succeeded then, where I thought I had failed. Where I thought I would fail. And I see how far I've come and how I've turned into a strong independent woman.

I want people to know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. The key is to keep persevering and not give up. Failure was never an option for me - I wanted my life. I wanted to live the life that I was capable of. I didn't want regrets. When failure is not an option, you find a way to succeed.

Thank you again and a million times over to those who were there for me along the way. I couldn't have done it alone.

And to those struggling - there will be bad days and good days, but you are not, and never will be, alone.

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Memories From the Corners of My Mind

Four and a half years ago, I wrote a blog post the night before I moved out of my old apartment in Schaumburg and moved into Chicago to start my new life. Three days later, my life as I knew it fell apart, one could say - I broke up with my boyfriend of a year and a half and my grandfather passed away a few days later. I've moved through the pain of that time period to capitalize on the excitement I felt back then and build a new life for myself. But, in all its irony, exactly four years and six months later, I moved out of the Wrigleyville apartment where I built that world - to move in with my amazing boyfriend and undertake a new set of risk and rewards. 

It is weird for me to sit on our couch and write this. I still feel like I'm just visiting. It is also weird for me to think of leaving behind the ups and downs of my old place - and the life I had before. I am so grateful to the many friends who passed through those doors and who were there for me through the ups and the downs. I'm sad about the people I've lost touch with. I remember the good memories from relationships, but I also remember so many of the bad - they still lurk in furniture and floor boards. Opening the door for him to leave the last time. Closing the door and beginning this incredible journey to a new and soooo much better, happier and healthier me. 

So I guess it's fitting then, that eventually I would need to say goodbye to the place. I would need to move to a new apartment, with actual water pressure and granite countertops and parking. I would need to take these steps to move forward with my life and to start (hopefully) building a new life with the man I love. It is good, I suppose, that I'm escaping the shadows. But it was also home. Hopefully I'll feel that way here soon too. 

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Revelation After Today's Meeting

Life Support
Steve, Gordon, AliPam, Sue, hi, I'm AngelTom, Collins, I'm PaulLet's begin
There's only usThere's only this
"Sorry, excuse me, oops""And you are?""Oh, I'm not, I'm just here to, I don't have"I'm here with Mark, Mark, I'm Mark"
"Well, this is quite an operation""Sit down, MarkWe'll continue the affirmation"
Forget, regret or life is yours to miss
"Excuse me, PaulI'm having a problem with this, this credoMy T-cells are lowI regret that news, okay?"
"Alright""But Gordon, how do you feel today?""What do you mean?""How do you feel today?""Okay"
"Is that all""Best I've felt all year""Then why choose fear?"I'm a New Yorker""Fear's my life"
"Look, I find some of what you teach suspectBecause I'm used to relying on intellectBut I try to open up to what I don't know"
Because reason saysI should've died three years ago
No other roadNo other wayNo day but today