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Give speech, eat veggies, contemplate immortality... Check.

Posted 09-20-2017 at 10:03 PM by Ludlum'sDaughter14
Things never seem to go quite how you plan them. That's why when I give a speech (for my major, I give many), even though I'll have anything from a couple key words to a full numbered outline with citations up there with me, I still like to wing it to an extent. I go into it expecting to say certain things, but the moment often brings more clarity or better ways to connect with the audience. Often (like today) I fear I may have sacrificed any professional ethos with my casual, interactive style and off-hand jokes. But so far, no one has told me I goof off too much up front - to the contrary, teachers and classmates tell me my humor does connect with the audience, although they do remind me that I still get stuck in an unconscious stream of "um's." You'd think three years of Communication classes would have knocked that out of me, but apparently verbal clutter dies hard for some of us.

My eating adventure has not been going quite how I planned. Over the last few days, I have been eating way more than my normal amount of chocolate in a combined effort to ease my stress and help me stay awake while studying for and taking tests, etc. And yesterday the food I made Friday night (stuffed acorn squash and brown rice) reached its end of usability, so I had nothing stored up to eat today. Tonight, desperate for fresh vegetables and meat, I sauteed a little cod and two celery sticks and felt much better after eating them.

The difficulty is exactly what I said it was when I ranted about how impossible it would be for me to eat macrobiotically. And that is most of the food I want to eat, I have to cook myself, and it will be eaten by one person who doesn't actually have much stomach capacity. So I end up buying food that may go bad before I get a chance to cook and eat it, and I cook food that also goes bad before I can finish it. And I hate wasting food. You don't have to finish every single thing you put on your plate, but to have a meal prepared and then have most of it go uneaten? On top of that, my schedule is probably twice as crazy as I expected it to be, leaving me barely enough time to get homework done and retain my sanity in the process. I can't set aside much time to cook except on weekends; if I cook during the week, it's usually a quick saute by necessity. And the pantry and fridge are full of food which I don't want to be eating, and I can't remove it because everyone else in the family is eating it.

Okay, I'm tired of ranting. As in, I don't need to dwell on this anymore than I have. Things are the way they are, and I'm going to keep trying my best to maintain healthy eating habits even when life is crazy. Seriously, just eating a regular portion of vegetables every day is an accomplishment for me, and one I have yet to make habitual. That is my goal right now, along with a lot of little side decisions and choices. The celery tonight was just what I needed. When I get the time, the courage, and the car, I'll go out and get some more ingredients, hopefully some leafy greens.

I'm seeing a counselor every week, specifically to talk about depression and related issues. On Tuesday I told her how I was feeling: like I had no direction or purpose. On Monday night, I found out suddenly that someone I met last summer had died of cancer, mere hours before I found a post about it on Facebook. I'd known he'd been sick, but I thought he was getting better, so the news shocked me deeply. In fact, I cried about it for a while. Even though I'd only spent about a week with this man while in California (before he was even diagnosed with cancer), he was an energetic, funny, and caring person who genuinely loved all kinds of people because he genuinely loved God. Attendees of the Kennedy funeral will tell you it's possible to miss someone you never met. I met this man, and he brought so much life and love to the world that inspired me to be better, and then he was taken in such a - I can't even think of the right word. Watching people die of cancer has to be one of the most painful ways. The decomposing begins above the ground.

So much of this grieves me. The world is a shattered and bleeding place, and it's our fault, but no matter how much I do, I can never heal some of the broken people and situations I see around me. If I ever become a foster parent, this is a truth I must learn to accept. But it's so wrong - all of it is so wrong.

I shared these feelings with my counselor, and she helped me clarify what I was thinking and feeling even more. Then, she did two important things. First, she validated what I was thinking. She agreed that all of it was true, and our world is a messed up place, and it's natural to be grieved by that. But then, she opened my lens a little wider. "If you're thinking about all that and meditating on it all the time, of course you are going to be depressed," she told me. She pointed out that the end of that kind of focused thinking was suicide. I know this is true; I've never wanted to actually kill myself, but I've wanted to die of outside causes. And then, she told me that my perspective was leaving out some important things that are true. If I'm looking for satisfaction in my circumstances, I'll eventually end up disappointed every time, because this world tends to be disappointing. But my hope is not in what I can see right now, but what I know to be true and where I'm headed in the future. This world is not the end; an eternity of joy and satisfaction with my Creator awaits me. And every hardship and grief I endure now is preparing me for that future, when I will be who and what I am meant to be.

One change I am trying to make now is recognizing the power my thoughts can have over me if I let them. When I focus on and obsess over an idea, it eventually eclipses my view of reality. If all I focus on is the messed-up things I can't control, I'll miss all the relationships and the small beauties and the spiritual joys I also encounter. And life is not only about the now; all of it will change, guaranteed. This is not where it ends - in fact, it's only the beginning.

This post ended up much longer than I expected. That's what happens when you don't have a real plan. And it's not even funny like my speeches. But I think I covered the important things: I'm still trying to properly nourish myself even when I want to tear my hair out or I weave back and forth a bit, and I'm making headway dealing with depression. After spending my life as a freelance "counselor" for family and friends, it's refreshing to have someone else doing the listen-support-advise thing for me at last. Because who counsels the counselor? They asked that question on Star Trek: TNG and made an episode out of the answer. But I digress. And now I'll digress my way into my nightly routine. I feel like I could actually fall asleep before 1 tonight - if I get in bed soon enough.
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