"Be soft. Do not let the world make you hard. Do not let the pain make you hate. Do not let the bitterness steal your sweetness. Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place."
-- Unknown

Thursday, December 31, 2009

Life in a small town

When you live in the middle of nowhere, recreational activities tend to be pretty limited.

While there is an obvious lack of bars, restaurants, theaters, museums, retail developments, coffee shops or anything else of much interest, there is an overabundance of pastures, farms and dirt roads.

To the bewilderment of most people who have access to other forms of entertainment, riding dirt roads is actually a popular pastime in most small towns. Trust me — when I moved here, I didn’t get it either. But now, I actually enjoy creeping down a dirt road at snail’s pace with some of my best friends — good music blaring on the radio, windows down (when it’s not too cold), laughing, with camera in hand.

The camera is an important part of the experience because you never know when you’ll have the opportunity to capture something that is a blatant reminder of just how southern you actually are.

Yes. That’s a real road. And yes, I was so amused, I made Willis turn the Jeep around so I could go back and take a picture.

Welcome to Alabama.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Oh... you mean it's not a joke?

For years I’ve joked about my focus problems – self diagnosed as ADD, my thoughts bounce from mundane to complete chaos and back again. Task lists are daunting. Prioritizing? Nearly impossible. I fidget constantly. I start projects with enthusiasm, then easily get sidetracked – never to return.

In school, I was a “doodler” – constantly moving my pen across my paper as I pretended to listen to whatever lecture was coming from the front of the room. I’d start class strong, but somewhere around the five minute mark, my mind would wander to something completely unrelated. “Hmm.. I need to do laundry when I get home.” Or “Oooh, don’t forget to get paper towels at the store later.” Or “I swear, if that girl smacks her gum one more time, I’m going to throw my shoe at her!” My notebooks were a jumbled mess of doodles and shopping lists. I got by. I made decent grades. But most of my work was done on my own. Usually at the last minute. With the aid of large amounts of caffeine.

Most of my professors either didn’t notice or didn’t care about my inability to pay attention. The one who did notice caught me completely off guard and really hurt my feelings. My junior year in Troy, a certain bow-tied professor called me into his office after class and proceeded to tell me how “rude” I was. He told me that it was painfully obvious how little I respected him. When I asked him why he thought that, he told me that day after day he watched me stare into space or scribble on my paper instead of “actively listening” to his lectures. Despite my effort to assure him that I didn’t mean anything personal by my lack of focus, he chewed me out and told me that my disrespect would not be tolerated. He made me feel so bad, I wound skipping several classes just to avoid him. Despite my steady stream of A’s on papers class assignments, he gave me a failure to attend and I had to repeat the course. (I chose a different professor for my second attempt.)

If you’ve read my blog for any amount of time, you might remember that my frustration with my attention issues had been building. It was affecting my work and causing some pretty extreme anxiety. Finally, after years of dealing with it, I saw a doctor and found out that my jokes about ADD were actually dead on.

Now (with the help of prescription drugs) I finally feel myself getting a handle on things. It’s a work in progress – along with the medication, I’m having to train myself to do things a little differently. The doctor recommended a few different techniques for tackling those daunting tasks lists. And the great thing? My doctor has ADD. And he made it through MED SCHOOL. If he can do that, surely I can handle whatever I need to accomplish.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Bring it on 2010

It's been a strange year for me.

It feels like it's been a year of loss - first my mentor and college advisor passed away. Then my grandfather. I broke up with my boyfriend of more than four years, and even lost my little buddy - my puppy Toby. He's been missing since October. My dad's kidney disease has caused him to be pretty sick this year, and as I type this post, my little brother is laid up on the couch recovering from knee surgery.

But, despite the heartbreaks and obstacles that this year has presented, I still know that I am so blessed. I've made some wonderful memories with my family, and learned to finally stand on my own in a town where I knew no one. I've made some fantastic friends, gotten involved in my community and moved into a new home. I guess there have been just as many triumphs as disappointments, and I feel as though I've grown tremendously in a very short amount of time.

I look forward to seeing what 2010 will bring. I won't be naive enough to think there won't be more hard times - but I've learned that I'm more than tough enough to survive. It's a good feeling - knowing that I'm capable of handling whatever life throws my way. So bring it on 2010. I'm ready for what ya got.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

I'm baaaaaaaack.....

Remember me?

Okay - so I kind of disappeared for awhile. Unexpectedly. And for that, I'm truly sorry. (Heck, what am I saying... I bet you didn't even miss me!!)

My life has changed a lot over the last year, and as therapeutic as this blog had been, I think I just needed a break - some time to clear my head. Plus, I became so consumed in reading umpteen million blogs a day - it kind of lost its appeal.

But I've missed having an outlet for my thoughts, so... here I am. Back again.

If you're reading this, thanks for hanging in there... I guess that means you didn't unfollow me just because I bailed for a while. There are at least two possible explanations for that: 1) You had complete faith that I would one day return; or the much more likely 2) You didn't even realize I had quit posting. Either way... hello again.

I hope you all have a very merry Christmas. And I'll be seeing you soon :)