Wednesday, March 19, 2014

Life Lessons from Jurassic Park

It's no secret around here that I'm a huge fan of Jurassic Park. For so many reasons. 

But mostly this one.
But I'm not here to talk about how much I love to hate Dennis Nedry or Dr. Malcom's sex appeal or how much that scene in the kitchen still scares the shit out of me. (Although I could talk about all of those things. A LOT.) I want to talk about how Jurassic Park reminds me to persevere in the face of adversity. (And not just the dinosaur kind.)

Allow me to set the scene: 

Shortly after the T-Rex eats the lawyer off the toilet and then proceeds to make a mess of pretty much everything, Dr. Grant rescues Timmy from the Jeep that was flung into the tree by the T-Rex. They quickly climb down only to find themselves trapped in the Jeep again after it plummets on top of them. 

Because of course it does.

It's fiiiiine.

After the dust has settled, the two have this little exchange.

Timmy: "We're back in the car again."
Dr. Grant: "But at least we're out of the tree."

So often I feel like I'm back in the car again. To put it simply, this winter has been difficult. Adjusting to balancing grad school classes with work and rehearsals and life in general have left me struggling to maintain my composure. The depression and anxiety that I worked so hard to overcome this summer came creeping in, and I felt like a failure in all aspects of my life. I was angry and frustrated with myself for failing, for losing control. I was back in the car. Again.

But in the midst of this trying season, there have been moments of clarity, of purpose, of resolve. Though entirely overwhelmed, it is all with things I love. I love my program, my job, my community, my friends, my family. I'm no longer stuck in a dead end career, without passion or purpose. I know my place, where I belong. It's difficult, it's a mess, it's hard work, but this life is beautiful, and it finds a way.  

At least I'm out of the tree. 

Live fiercely, friends.

Thursday, March 6, 2014

(Belated) February Favorites

Abbreviated favorites for an abbreviated month. Here's to spring!

1) Of Monsters and Men.

I was first introduced to this band through The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack and quickly became obsessed. It's difficult to narrow down a favorite song, but these lyrics from "Mountain Sound" really speak to me:

I heard them calling in the distance
So I packed my things and ran
Far away from all the trouble 
I had caused with my two hands

2) Jimmy Fallon and The Muppets sing "The Weight."

This might possibly be the best thing that has ever happened in the history of  everything ever. Or at the very least, in Muppet/Fallon collaborations. This song is so meaningful to me, and to see my favorite Muppet friends sing it moves me nearly to tears. What can I say? The Muppets make me feel feelings.

3) These guys.

Vic, Morgan, & Mo

With a little wine and a lot of love, these beautiful women always carry me through, even on the grayest of days. 

Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Peaks & Valleys

Sitka, AK

I'll be honest: it's been a rough few weeks. Grad school stress, hormones, and a dash of seasonal (PUNS!) depression  have combined forces to make me a sad, messy mess as of late. And it sucks. 

I've finally come to accept that my battle with depression, anxiety, and panic will be ongoing. There will be peaks, and there will be valleys. I'm learning to cope with this, even thrive despite it. But the fight is still difficult. For too long, mental illness has been so stigmatized. I want to be open about this struggle, because I know that I'm not alone. 

I've learned how to detect my personal symptoms of depression: withdrawing from loved ones, exhaustion, excessive dwelling on negative feelings, not wanting to get out of bed, feeling gray. I can identify the symptoms. Finding the strength to get out of bed and cope in a healthy way, rather than just crawling under the covers and eating another bowl of cereal, is another matter. 

I'm making every effort at healthy means of self-care. Often, I equate "self-care" with "shutting off my brain." This means that I often look at watching hours of Netflix and eating graham crackers with frosting as taking care of myself. (Spoiler alert: It's not.) Today after work, I forced myself to not just go home and crawl into bed. I went to the gym and ran a few miles. I practiced my violin in preparation for an event I'm playing in later this week. I read a few pages of my book. And for the first time in a couple of weeks, I felt better. Not 100%, but better. 

Though this winter feels endless, life feels overwhelming, and there are days where I just want to flee to the mountains, deep down I know there is hope. Though I may currently find myself in a proverbial valley, it's a valley filled with love and light, despite the clouds. I know the light will shine brighter once again. So until then, I will continue remind myself there are mountains on my horizon.