Brave Woman

Adventures of a future nurse-midwife

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My Supply of A's Slopes Upward

Posted by Lucille on October 29, 2011 at 12:25 AM Comments comments (0)

I'm pretty sure I just aced my econ exam.

Thanks, Sort Of

Posted by Lucille on October 29, 2011 at 12:10 AM Comments comments (0)

I got a call from the campus health center. The nurse practitioner I saw wanted me to come in so she could weigh me. The one I saw a month ago and told on the verge of tears that I could barely eat, who sent me home with a pat on the head. She wanted to make sure I hadn't gotten any worse.  I was at work when the desk lady called wanting to make an appointment, so I told her I'd call her back. When I got home I told one of my friends.

       "I mean, what do I say?"

      She smiled. "What's the most courteous way you can say 'Go fuck yourself?'"

       So I called her back and said, "Thank you so much for your concern. Unfortunately I won't be returning to the Tang Center, because I felt that your failure to provide an accurate diagnosis and access to crucial medications seriously endangered my health and well being. Please thank Janet for her concern and have a nice day."

      "...Okay, I'll write that in your chart."

       I borrowed a scale from a friend. I'm back up to my post-Africa weight, and hope to be up to my pre-Africa health soon. I gave myself a sticker.

Challah

Posted by Lucille on October 29, 2011 at 12:00 AM Comments comments (0)

I went to an event at the Hillel center called Challah for Hunger where we braided a bunch of Challah dough to sell for charity, and did Israeli dances while it baked. As soon as I walked in the room, all these random people I didn't know waved me over, introduced me to people, and invited me to work with them. It was really fun. There was such a contrast between walking into a general campus event and going to this, just in terms of how welcoming and inclusive everyone was, that it made me wonder if that's why I keep doing stuff like this- going to Hillel even though I'm not Jewish and joining queer groups even though I'm not gay. I think that people from groups that have been historically persecuted have a greater understanding of the power of words. They're less likely to unnecessarily criticize others, and more likely to offer the benefit of the doubt. There's a thriving sense of community within these groups that can be hard to find in our culture. Plus they have masquerades, dancing, and chocolate chip challah bread. I mean what more can you want?

Okey Dokey

Posted by Lucille on October 28, 2011 at 11:55 PM Comments comments (0)

After a month of emailing back and forth, I got an email from a member of the chemistry staff saying that she would ask my GSI to grade my work. This once. A couple hours later I got his reply: "Okey dokey (:" It felt a little anticlimactic after all the jumping through hoops, but I'm satisfied.

Lonely

Posted by Lucille on October 26, 2011 at 4:20 AM Comments comments (0)

I was at a GRL meeting the other day, and we were going around sharing about our week. One of the freshmen was quiet for a moment. "I don't know...if this is normal. Maybe other people have been able to fit in more easily than me. But being a freshman here is really lonely."

       I looked up. You mean it's not just me? All of the other freshmen were looking around with similar expressions.

       The non-freshmen grinned. "3...2...1..."

       "CUDDLE FEST!"

       They tackled us from all sides, and we all fell in the middle of the room, hugging each other and giggling like a pile of puppies.

       I love my friends.

The Morning After

Posted by Lucille on October 26, 2011 at 3:00 AM Comments comments (0)

One of my favorite bits of wisdom from my Dad came from a comment he made while we watched my little brother as a toddler in meltdown after a particularly tantrum-strewn week. He said he thinks that when kids are struggling emotionally for no apparent reason, it's probably because there's significant cognitive work going on, and that when they get through that phase they have a breakthrough. "Next week, he'll probably be reading Hamlet or something. It was always true with you."

       The morning after my side-of-the-road breakdown, and after sleeping for twelve hours, I woke up feeling better than I have since before Africa. I can't characterize it exactly. Part of it was a letting go of the fight or flight mindset that had become habitual. You wouldn't believe how long it took me to stop shaking out my shoes in the morning, or ruling out every way food could kill me before I took a bite. In a broader sense, though, I felt like the hyperawareness that comes with traveling had receded. I've gone through all the major changes I had planned for this summer, and now every day more and more things will start to seem familiar. I walked to class and instead of obsessively consulting every landmark to make sure I didn't get lost, I strolled along, watching the students laying out on the grass, admiring the spider webs along the creek, and generally enjoying the beauty of this campus that will one day be my home.

It's A Good Thing I'm Not a Nuclear Power Plant

Posted by Lucille on October 26, 2011 at 2:35 AM Comments comments (1)

I got out of class and was momentarily torn between getting groceries and going home to start my French homework. Normally I buy groceries every two weeks, but I've been so INSANELY hungry all the time that I kept running out. At the time, I owned peanut butter, spinach, and pasta sauce. So I started walking toward Trader Joe's. I was going to take the bus, then remembered that the bus schedules were screwed up because of a game. Oh, well, maybe I could at least catch the bus back. When I was halfway there I realized that a bus had not passed me in all that time, and it was likely I'd have to walk back with groceries in the dark. I didn't want to keep walking. I didn't even want to move, but I also didn't want to turn around and waste the energy I'd already expended. I didn't want to do anything. I sat down and started sobbing.

       Part of me was thinking, "This is crazy. Why are you crying? Most freshmen only call their parents like once a week, and you've already called yours twice today. For Pete's sake, pull yourself together." Another part of me was thinking, "Transitioning to college is hard in the first place. Add to that being in an entirely new city surrounded by strangers, having just come back from Africa, with all the emotional and physical challenges that required, having a hostile roommate, and then getting so sick and having everything on the verge of falling apart...why the hell wasn't I crying before? How have I not had a complete breakdown before this point?" And the third part of me said, "Whatever the reasons, it's getting dark, and the simple task of getting groceries has you sobbing on the side of the road. It's time to call your mom."

       "Hello?"

       "Hi..."

       "Honey, what's wrong?"

       "I don't...know!"

       There was a pause.

       "Are you on your period?"

       Oh.

       "...maybe."

      Usually I don't have too much trouble with mood swings, but over the last few months my periods have averaged seven weeks apart because of stress and weight change and all the rest, so I guess my hormones being all over the place is pretty much a given at this point.

       Mom laughed a little, and then asked gently, "What's going on? Where are you?"

       "...on the side of the road." God I felt pathetic. The temptation in blogging is to focus on scenes that make you look good, but I'm going to try to give a full picture. Today was a day of extreme pathetic-ness.

       "How far are you from home?"

       Far. Way far, you have no idea. But she meant the house, so I answered, "I dunno...mile, maybe."

       We talked for close to an hour about life, the universe, and everything. The answer, we decided, was to walk back but stop by Walgreens to get enough food for the next day. Not quite as simple as 42, but close enough.

     Talking with other freshmen has made me self conscious about the amount of support I've been asking from my family, and jealous of how easily other people seem to be able to adjust (keeping in mind, of course, that there are a lot of things people keep to themselves. I'm certainly not posting this on facebook.) I think that when you're confronted with something totally new, like when you travel, you go into a mental state where you notice everything, a sort of enhanced awareness. It's like a picture where everything's in focus. It's full of detail and a little bit surreal, and that's why memories of travelling tend to be so dreamlike. This is a higher energy state. If there's just one transition, you go into this state for a week or two, and that allows people to adjust to new surroundings with relative ease. The problem is that because it's a higher energy state, it's not sustainable.

       I remember observing before travel week that although I was excited, I felt saturated with new experiences and the idea of anything else new, even good things, was overwhelming. I'm now on my fourth month of solid new experiences. It makes me recall what I noticed about having a sore throat. Even if the level of pain is exactly the same, the longer you're in that state, the harder it is to deal with. I was oversaturated with new experiences and physically and emotionally worn down before I even got to college. Of course I'm having a harder time than the other freshman around me. I'm having a hell of a time right now...and that's okay. I want to give myself permission to struggle with this, to let myself be vulnerable, and to call my parents ten times a day if that's what I need.

Dilemma

Posted by Lucille on October 25, 2011 at 4:50 PM Comments comments (0)

Attractive men need to stop being gay. Or I need to stop solely hanging out with gay people. Either way. I vote the first one, less effort from me.

Masquerade

Posted by Lucille on October 25, 2011 at 4:40 PM Comments comments (0)

I went out to lunch with two friends from the sorority. It was really fun, (it turns out I like falafel), and at some point the pokemon exchange came up and they asked what I'd thought. I responded honestly that it had been a lot of fun, and they asked if I'd joined the drinking games. "No, I don't like drinking very much. Which was fine, everyone was nice and there was no pressure or anything, it just didn't feel like there was anything to do instead."

       "Yeah. I don't drink either, so I know what you mean." This was the person who'd suggested I go around grabbing people's panties, so I decided to take this with a grain of salt. "What you really need to do is go to one of the co-op parties. Those are a lot of fun and always have more stuff going on. In fact, there's a masquerade party at the Oscar Wilde house tonight. You down to go?"

       So I bought a masquerade mask on Telegraph. You can buy literally everything on Telegraph. It was a little expensive for a college student budget, but less than half what they cost in Ashland. And it's beautiful. Pictures soon. I went to the party by myself, but ran into a number of people I knew, and it was amazing. Those queers know how to have fun. There was a balcony where people were chatting, a dark dance room full of people with glow in the dark masks, and a room in the back where people were hanging out or watching over their drunk friends. I got an impromptu flamenco dance lesson. Things ended a little sooner than planned when a girl who hadn't told her friends she was gluten intolerant decided to try beer (don't worry, she's okay,) but all in all it was a pretty fun night.

I'm An Idiot

Posted by Lucille on October 25, 2011 at 4:35 PM Comments comments (0)

An hour later I got an email from my supervisor, inquiring as to why I had not been at work. Oh my god, is it Friday? It's Friday. But I work on Friday. How could I forget that I work on Friday? I looked at my planner, didn't I? I could swear I'd looked at my planner! Yes, it wasn't in there. I just forgot to write it down. After flipping through my planner and writing in every shift for the rest of the year, I sat there feeling awful for a while. It was not quite as bad as the time I forgot that I was supposed to babysit (it only happened once, and I felt absolutely horrible) because this time I was one of four teachers, so none of the kids were uncared for. But still. Not a good feeling. I could tell I would feel better once I'd answered, so I spent a while agonizing over a brief reply, passed the point of no return when I hit send, and felt ever so slightly better. As I said in that email, I will do everything in my power to ensure this never happens again.


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HIPAA Disclaimer

Sometimes I have the privilege of being a part of intimate, powerful moments in other people’s lives. I cannot and would not share these stories, because they are not mine to tell. However, they touch my life and become part of my own story. When I share these moments here, you can trust that I have not broken anyone’s confidentiality. The characters are invented. They are not real, but could be. I take creative license to communicate the essence of my experience while respecting the privacy of others.