2017: Enough

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2017 is a garbage person. 2017 is a fucking bully and I’m glad it’s over. Before composing this final (and much delayed) blog entry of 2017, I was thinking about the good and bad things that occurred this year and honestly, I’m perplexed at how a year could have been so fucking good to me and so fucking bad at the same time. I wish I could say I was ending this year on a high note, but it seems like me, and others, are all just counting down the days until we can wash the bad taste of 2017 out of our mouths.

 

Before I get into the nonsense of the past few months, I want to recount the good things that have happened to me this year. I traveled to two different countries, Japan & Vietnam, by myself. I conquered the idea of traveling alone and not only did I conquer it, I fucking excelled at it. Traveling alone was always one of my biggest fears– the idea that I could not overcome my loneliness. But, I found that throughout traveling alone, I became more comfortable with the idea of myself and keeping myself as company. I think, for a long time, because I’ve dealt with a lack of self-worth and the fear of not being good enough that meant that I wasn’t even good enough for my own company. This idea is slowly changing and I am embracing my qualities. This will always be a work in progress for me as, honestly, I’m just too good at hating myself. But, even I can admit I’ve done serious work this year and I’ve progressed exponentially.

I also started CrossFit and finally ran the half-marathon I’ve wanted to run since I first came to Korea: the DMZ Cherowon Peace Marathon. This could have been a blog entry on its own, and probably should have been, because the feelings I felt after crossing the finish line will never be replicated.

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I crossed, cried my eyes out, and then immediately thought I was going to throw up. It was so much hotter than we expected it to be and it was so much harder for me than it should have been. In the last couple of weeks of my training, I hurt my feet and ankles and my training really suffered. The longest run I did while training was 15k, and that was in July. So, the last few kilometers of the race were fucking brutal.

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But, we finished. We drank beer. We felt proud.

In congress with the running of the half marathon and CrossFit, and I know I’ve talked about this before, but it was such a big part of my year, I started playing Gaelic football. At our end of the year dinner, I even won “Most Improved,” which is a huge fucking honor considering I had never played a group sport before March. There were times I wanted to quit and there were times I was furious with myself for making a mistake, but throughout the sport, I slowly learned how to take constructive criticism, and I honestly believe this experience helped me grow into a more confident and well-rounded person.

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I also got married this year, which is honestly still a huge shock sometimes. In fact, I referred to Robert as my boyfriend today in conversation. We got engaged on Jeju Island earlier this year inside of a volcano, which is pretty telling of the kind of relationship we have and the kind of person Robert is. In August, we went to Seoul and got married in the district office without much fanfare or panache– again, that’s the kind of people we are. I wouldn’t have had it any other way.

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So, because I got married, I had the pleasure of having a bachelorette party (three weeks after I got married) and I was surrounded and loved on by some of the best women I have ever known. They put together games for me, organized the hotel, figured out dinner, and helped me get very, very intoxicated.

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I also had a few opportunities to travel around the country and do a few things I had never done before. We went to Seoul ComicCon, which was the first year it was ever hosted in Korea. We traveled to Namhae to experience Oktoberfest in Korea and had a few relaxing days camping on the beach during the 10 day long vacation, Chuseok.

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I spent St. Patrick’s Day on Gwangali and Haeundae beaches and got to experience Holi Hai the same weekend. I participated in the Busan production of the Vagina Monologues. I got to have one of the most difficult experiences of my acting life by performing in Henry Murray’s “Three Views of the Same Object.” I went to my first Samsung Lions game. I went to Jeju Island for the first time. I got to see the USA U-20 team play in Daejeon. I ALSO BECAME BTS TRASH AND I DON’T CARE I BET YOU THOUGHT I WOULDN’T MENTION THEM IN THIS ENTRY HA

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God, they’re so amazing. I fucking love them so much. You can take your hate on somewhere else, ya fucks.

Now that all of the fun and good is out of the way, it’s time to discuss the shittiest parts of the year, which honestly, was mostly from September until now. My problem is when one thing goes bad, everything else has a tendency to go poorly. I actually remember thinking once as I was walking home in August “Wow… things are so good right now. They’ll probably go to shit soon,” and go to shit they did, friends.

I have honestly never been so close to losing my fucking mind as I have been these past few months. After my half-marathon, without a real goal to accomplish, I sort of fell apart. I went right from training for my half to having a 10 day long vacation where all I did was drink for days straight. My drinking increased from one day every couple of weeks to four or five days a week and I slowly but surely began to undo all of the progress, mentally, emotionally and physically, that I had worked so hard to achieve. I kept a CrossFit gym membership, but I was so lackadaisical about going that it seemed really fucking stupid to keep paying for something I wasn’t using. I stopped running. All I wanted to do was go out and party, which is what I did.

A lot of aspects of my life suffered. I was having problems in my life in Korea and life at home wasn’t much easier. Last year, my aunt E, who is one of my best friends and essentially my second mother, was diagnosed with cancer in her mouth. The cancer progressed and the day I got the news, my mom also told me that my grandmother had an aneurysm in her abdomen that required surgery. On Monday, November 20th, I bought a plane ticket home and on November 22nd, I landed at the Bluegrass Airport. I’ve never had that kind of turnaround time with a flight and going home before, but I’m glad I made the decision to go home.

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I got to spend the first Thanksgiving at home with my family in four years. I got to spend time with my aunt and my grandmother, who spent the majority of the time I was at home in the ICU. I got to see my close friends of 15+ years and be loved on by them. I love my life in Daegu, don’t get me wrong, but the chance to be away from Korea and be at home with people who have known me my whole life, people who know my family, people who have been with me as we’ve grown up, was so necessary for my mental health at the time. It helped put a lot of things into perspective, and I felt the future of my life change while I contemplated the kind of steps to take to secure my happiness.

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The past few months have been fucking stupid hard. There have been days when getting out of bed was the best I could do, but I still had to go put on a face for my students, who have begun to express real dismay at my departure from my academy of 2.5 years. It breaks my heart. I’ve watched some of these students grow up since I started working there in 2015. They’re bright, wonderful, intelligent teenagers who are, honestly, going to change the world around them. It’s been a huge honor to be their teacher.

So, here it is– December 27th, 2017. A great deal of my life is still very much in the air. I’m confused, I’m scared, and I’m terrified of making the wrong decision somewhere along the way. I am unhappy. I have real issues with a lot of people in my life, and I don’t know how to fix any of them. But, I am pushing on and trying to find ways to solve the problems– both that I have created and problems that are out of my control. I am fucking distracted. I am nervous. I spend a majority of my time brooding and irritated. I don’t feel like I’ve been completely honest in this entry, which is something else I have a real problem with, but at this point, I can only give so much. I have started writing again, but I can’t share it with anyone. For a majority of the past few months, I have felt very alone.

I have gained 14 pounds or 6.7kgs. I just ate cookies. But, I am trying my best. I am trying to navigate my way through the last few days of this fucking difficult year while trying to weave the good moments in to sustain any chance of happiness I have. Sometimes, life really does fucking kick you when you are at your lowest. These past few months have absolutely been my lowest. But, I am trying my best. I am waking up every day. I am trying to reach out to people who I know care about me regardless of the mistakes I have made, and will probably continue to make. I am trying to find the light within myself to get back to the point where taking care of myself seems worth it– where I seem worth it. I am trying to get better. I am trying to figure out a way to love myself and love the life I’m living without focusing on every single facet that seems either too good or not good enough for me.

I am going to try to enter 2018 with the belief that I am worth all of the things that I want– that I am truly worthy of love, respect, and attention, that I am worthy of the opportunities that have come into my life. One of the major things I want to focus on is removing toxicity, and I mean this in regards to both the toxicity in myself and the toxic people in my life who only serve to take from me instead of enriching my existence in any way.

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I am going to go back to CrossFit. I am going to start taking care of myself again. I am going to start keeping my bullet journal again. I am going to start journeying back down the path to self love again, even if I have to take myself kicking and fucking screaming, which at this point is exactly what I’m going to have to do. I’m going to seek out counseling again and maybe medication, too, if that’s what it takes to get me back to a place where I don’t feel like everything in my life is hopeless or that everyone in my life is out to get me or abandon me.

Please remember that you’re not alone in your struggle. Please remember that people around you do care, even if it doesn’t feel like it. I am saying this because I, too, need to remember that there are people in my corner. Remember that your life is not about other people– your life is about you and your happiness. Do not compromise. Do not sell yourself short. Do not cower in the shadow of your own fucking greatness.

Be well, y’all, and Happy New Year.

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Encountering New Challenges: A Vegan Vexation

please dear god don't make me go back

in case there is any confusion about my state of being, i have been on christmas break for the past three weeks. this means i have not had a job nor have i been in school. it has been three weeks of doing jack shit… and i mean that. over christmas break, i watched all four seasons of the television show “Heroes,” i saw some movies, i slept until noon or later every single day, i stayed up until at least 3 or 4 every night, and i ate like a hoss. fortunately, i pegged those bad habits that were starting to re-solidify and i am moving back in the right direction. anyway, it is the last sunday night of Christmas break. tomorrow, i will be venturing back to campus, structuring my life, and hopefully, preparing for my MA graduation in may. this semester holds many trials for me, including comps and a half marathon, but the rewards on the other side of graduation are going to be so sweet and plentiful that i can handle being stressed for one more semester. 16 weeks and i’ll be there. i just have to keep that motivation train moving. i cannot allow myself to become unhinged again. i have a lot of personal pride riding on this half-marathon and although it seems like something so far, so non-achievable, i know that when the time comes, i’ll be ready. i have been working toward this for over a year now and i know my body will do what i ask it to do. i just have to take a risk and ask. i cannot be derailed by my own personal feelings and emotions– i am capable of many things and i need to realize that. so many people have said so many kind words to me and i need to take those words and say them to myself. so, thank you all for always being so supportive. i doubt anyone has any idea how much it means to me when someone says “i read your blog” or “i love your blog.” it never ceases to make me smile and boost my morale.

as i was perusing Facebook today, Run the Bluegrass Half-Marathon had posted a picture of the finishing medals

the front of the medal

i have never been more motivated by a picture in my life. i will have one of these medals and i will cherish it for the rest of my life. i am so anxious and excited about my future and it truly begins with this physical accomplishment. how many people can say they’ve run half-marathons? a lot of my friends can say that, but a bet a general portion of the population has not. i will become part of this half-marathon club and i will use the experience to further motivate myself. right now, i am considering training for a marathon, but i want to wait and see how the half goes first. i am so pumped.

the first week of 2012 has been pretty spectacular, not gonna lie. i cranked out 7 miles of running this week, combined with another couple of miles of walking and 3 miles on the elliptical for some cross training. i have eaten relatively healthy and have (almost) maintained a completely Vegan diet. i need to talk about Veganism for just a second because this challenge is blowing my fucking mind. initially, i wanted to do this to see how well i could fare, how much cooking i could do, and to jump start my system to eat good, healthy foods again. what i am learning, though, is so much more about nutrition labels and how to properly feed myself. in case of confusion, Vegans do not eat anything that contains any sort of animal byproduct– no meat, dairy, eggs, or honey; some Vegans go as far as to not use any product tested on animals. and if this is extreme, check out a “fruitarian.” it’s intense. it is no surprise that Veganism is relatively difficult, but in a society where so much emphasis is placed on meats, it is borderline ridiculous trying to find food to eat. in a small town like Richmond, Kentucky, it is even more problematic, but so fucking fascinating. every day is a new challenge! i am excited to go to the grocery store!  when searching for food in the grocery store, every nutrition label must be inspected carefully. on many nutrition labels, the manufacturer may list “contains: milk, soy, and egg ingredients.” but, i have learned this week that those labels cannot always be trusted. for example, on pop tarts, they list “wheat and soy” ingredients, but upon further inspection, those bitches contain gelatin. additionally, Orange Leaf, a frozen yogurt chain, offers a “lactose free” pineapple choice. but, after reading the instructions, it actually contains a milk derivative. even if my Veganism is not permanent, this endeavor is teaching me to look more carefully at food and to appreciate the ingredient list. it’s insane what a person can learn by simply looking deeper. ultimately, this will lead me into making better choices for myself in the future.

tomorrow, i have four miles on board, but i may push it to 5 if i’m feeling nasty. i do not think Spring 2012 is ready for the ass kicking i am going to hand it starting bright and early. i will be merciless and i will take what i want from this semester, much like a looting, plundering viking. i am Scandinavian after all. enjoy the rest of Sunday evening, kick this week’s ass, and stay healthy, y’all.