October 27, 2011

The Memory of an Elephant... with Demetia

"The happiness of this life depends less on what befalls you than the way in which you take it." 
Let it be known that I have a huge philosophical crush on Elbert Hubbard. I chose this particular quote because I have a rather abstract and nostalgic post coming at you. Prepare yourself.
<--- Look at that foxy man! Gotta love the hat and

At my internship, we have a wealth of crazy individuals all with different backgrounds. Side note: For those of you who don't know about my internship, I'm currently doing outpatient therapy in a place located in Lebanon, PA- more commonly known as Bumfuckandnowhere. Without breaking ethics and going into too much detail, we have a client at our location who is 20 years old and has brain damage due to a recent motorcycle accident. I'm not saying this guy was the most normal person on the planet before the accident, but it hit me- this kid's life will never, ever, be the same.

It's kind of ridiculous that I realized this now. Psychology classes (at least the ones I've been in) are huge fans of showing extreme/bizarre cases then discussing the human mind and behavior in relation to those cases. Like Phineas Gage, this perfectly normal and healthy man who got a rod blasted between the hemispheres of his brain and lived (which is pretty impressive since it was around the turn of the 20th century). After the blast, he turned into a royal asshole and harassed the local women (scandalous!). Lesson to pull from this? You know, besides the fact that dynamite is a tricky bitch. The structure of the brain affects behavior. Again, considering the time, this was a pretty wild concept. There's also the extreme child abuse cases we talk about. For example, the kid who was left in the woods and was literally raised by wolves or the little boy who had an unfortunate accident and was raised a girl. Obviously, these people's environments totally changed their lives.

So why did our client in BF-&N, PA hit me so hard? Because this kid had reality and then it was gone. Just like that. And unlike Phineas who had a full life and died a few years after his trauma, this kid didn't. And thanks to the glories of modern medicine, he can continue for many more decades reliant on his parents, struggling to get his GED, and attending therapy until he dies. Yea, it's better than death but man, THAT SUCKS.

And that's when I marveled at life and the universe- one event can alter the course of one person's life. Not only that but everyone around that person's life. I mean, this kid would have never affected my life and my appreciation for my life enough to write a blog which you are currently reading if he had not gotten into a motorcycle accident. Wow.

But even the little things change us everyday. And I think I pretty much knew that before I heard about this kid- I just thought about it more. We all remember both good things and bad things from our past- but what are we forgetting? Are the things we remember worth the loss of what we don't?

     For example, I remember EXACTLY how I felt when a certain person (I remember who the bitch
     is but I've chosen to omit her name) randomly approached me in 8th grade in the hallway
     when we were all signing yearbooks and screamed at me, "LESBIAN!" I went into the
     bathroom and cried and didn't get any signatures in my yearbook.

Years later I think, "Why the fuck do I remember this?" Meanwhile, I have long-since forgotten many, if not all, of the nice things my first boyfriend said to me. Why do I a) care about what someone I barely knew/liked said to me versus someone I did care about b) have a clearer vision of the far past than the recent past c) bother to remember something negative over something positive? I like to think that I'm more understanding towards the hardships sexual minorities have to go through- and even further, what it's like to be bullied for something that doesn't even make sense to you- because of this incident.

People will always say nice things to you (hopefully- ha!) but the negative things in your life are a gift. Maybe not to you but to someone else who can have deep thoughts about it and write on an insignificant blog about it.

October 20, 2011

Be Where You Are- Not Rachael Ray

It's Here!!! By various demands, I have given into blogging. Who knows how long I'll be able to keep up with it but here it goes!
Through the course of life, I have recently been going for it. What is it? Everything. Everything that I said "I will/want/need/should/could/etc. do when..."

I will lose weight before it gets out of hand.
  I want to build my own furniture for my future dream house.
   I should cook more often and get better at it.
    I could make my own decorations and make my home look cozy 24/7.
     I need to put more effort in my daily appearance particularly at work.
       I wish I could be more productive.

Somewhere early last September I finally woke up and embraced "There's no time like the present." I'm not getting any thinner. I'm not getting any richer. I'm not getting any less busy. I'm not getting any younger. And I'm certainly not following my personal credence of  "Get shit done" while sitting on my ass mastering every moderate killer sudoku online.

I don't know what got me to wake up and smell reality, but here we are.

It's tough making yourself do all the coulda/shoulda/wouldas. For years I thought that starting slow and gradually adding each one into a routine would work. But it never did. I've started countless journals/diaries/pen pals/notes over the years and I could not tell you where a single one is right now. I've started menus that could cover a month and buy food that could feed an army but all of it would go to the wayside by Tuesday and I'd return to the same tiring meals of noodles+sauce or cereal. I've made mental notes to remember something I saw so that I could try to reproduce it in 10 years when I have money, time, energy. Ok, Lauren, where will all of that come from?

Moral of the story is, I've flooded myself with every shoulda/coulda/woulda in reason and I'm treading much better than I would have if this was actual water. Hell, on my stovetop right now is some red sauce (note: NOT my standard meat sauce from a jar) simmering and some roasted pork cooling. Were these items supposed to be made Monday? Yes. Are both dishes supposed to have wine in them? Yes. Do they? No, I hate wine. But I made them anyway? Sure did!

My mom sent me a Rachael Ray (or Everyday Magazine, what-the-hell-ever, it's Rachael Ray in magazine form, that's the point) and to be honest, I was pretty bummed it wasn't my homegirl Paula Deen or the Food Network Magazine which I perceived as being much more applicable to my tastebuds (Rachael Ray is strung out on Extra Virgin Olive Oil-which she has coined as EVOO-, smoked paprika, and spicy foods). But then I got the hell over it and opened the thing. I read more and got more out of it than I had in the last year of Cosmo. Shocking. I never thought the day would come when I would find Cosmo boring- every other page is sex, booze, and gender-stereotypical nonsense sprinkled with period and makeup talk!

One article got me really stoked- cook one day and eat for a month. Shit. I can cook for a day! AND eat for a month! This was an awesome plan... a $200+ plan. Ouch. One thing I have learned in my new carpe diem lifestyle- money is a harsh enforcer for me. I'm currently dropping 45 bucks a month for a gym that I attend only about 5 days a week- that's more than $2 every time I walk in! But I've gone every day I have planned to or have made it up another day (except this week due to health stuff, but that's for another post). Now I have dropped the dough and I need to go Martha Stew- eh, Rachael Ray on this bitch!

Fun facts about this stellar plan that will never. happen. again.:
  • The meals are for 4-person families. This means that I'm paying for, cooking, storing, and eating food out the yin-yang.
  • The magazine assumes that a 4-person family would, naturally, live in a 4-person home with a 4-person kitchen containing 4-person cooking supplies. Being a 1-person with a studio and 2 square feet of counter space and a small oven and mainly kitchenware stolen from my parents, naturally, I cannot power through these shenanigans like R-squared even if I vaguely had her skills.
  •  Simultaneous cooking can be done if the aforementioned 4 people, kitchen, supplies, skills are available. Not having any of these, simultaneous cooking does not happen.
Essentially, 1 day of cooking has turned into 1 week of cooking and I curse the RayRay about every 5 seconds.

So here's to being where you are! Be in the moment even if that involves sweating like a pig in front of hotties in the gym, splattering red sauce all over your kitchen (which is approx. 1/5 of your apartment), ending the day wondering where you'll be in a year and what you forgot to do today. Take it for what it's worth and search for the silver lining that may be hideously tarnished.

How did I not find a picture of the Ray with her precious EVOO?
But this picture is just as good.