What’s the point of a title–titles are for beginnings.

It’s halloween. I’m sitting on my couch. Ate ice cream for dinner. Home alone. Attempting my statistics lab assignment. Nothing really happening. I’m fine with it. Some may even call it the norm. Oh wait, that’s just me. I’ve been conditioned to think that life is supposed to be this way. Lol.
I just had a thought, though. So then I began writing.
I’m done letting others define me.
& that’s all there is to it.
After years, literal years, 8 years to be exact, I’ve lost touch with myself. I’ve been manipulated, played (karma is coming), laughed at, scolded for my faults, for my experiences, for the way I’ve become from those experiences.
I am just so fucking done hearing it.
Photos help. I look through them, from high school, from the beginning of college, and I see this beautiful & free gal who simply loved existence. She had so many experiences and so much going for her. The world was her oyster.
I’m twenty-seven and a half now. I’m sitting on my couch, in my mediocre apartment that I cannot afford, that I honestly don’t even want to live in, having dyed my hair last week to cover the grey from the stress I’ve allowed into my life, and thinking about why my self-worth is crawling along rock bottom. All while persuading myself to stay in this program. Just stick it out, I say over and over, to myself, of course, because I’m fucking alone. DUH.
What I’m looking for isn’t unobtainable. It’s even less than what most have.
A partner. To come home to. To cook dinner with. To fall asleep next to. To wake up with.
Someone whose wants align with mine, like a thriving future and rich life. Someone who sees value in me. Someone who wouldn’t ever consider putting me down or making me feel like worthless garbage. Someone who listens when I speak and actually responds once I’m finished. Act interested. Someone who actually wants to see me and doesn’t make it seem like a burden.
I get to be on this earth one time, as we all do. I don’t get to go back to 24 or 18 and start over. So, I’m not wasting another minute. Time is too precious, & life could be too good. I’m just robbing myself. I am responsible for feeling this way.
At this point, being ok with being alone is my most refined skill. Great. Let’s refine others though, self.
Time to revamp, redefine, and remind myself that I got this shit.

 

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Nailed it.

This year started out pretty chaotic, but in the end, it was all worth it. (as it always is)

I left Maryland [again] because I was unhappy and spinning my wheels. I could not possibly waste anymore time as I was somehow already 26.

When I moved back out to Colorado I had goals.

1. Get another research job for the resume.

2. Find a GRE tutor and retake GRE.

3. Apply to school.

4. Get MPH.

In that order.

You see, I wasn’t going to apply to school unless I had two research positions on my resume because I just didn’t think my application would be quite strong enough.

In December, I emailed a laboratory at University of Colorado, Boulder to simply inquire about any job or volunteer opportunities for the spring semester. The next day I received an email back saying that they were looking for assistance on a project and to schedule an interview. Wait, what? That’s all it took? That’s, indeed, all it took.

Before I knew it, I was an employee of the university. (step one, DONE)

It was NYE 2017, and instead of raging I was sitting by the fire writing my first personal statement. By the time I blinked, I was writing a protocol, interviewing participants, studying for the GRE (step two, DONE), working my full-time job as well as overtime, and still finding time to sleep 6 hours a night. I was in the midst of chaos and I felt so motivated, accomplished, and proud. By the beginning of April, I was finished the GRE and actively applying to schools. (SHOUT OUT TO THOSE WHO WROTE ME A RECOMMENDATION LETTER) My GRE scores were [still] not as high as I would have hoped given how much I prepared; however, that didn’t seem to matter. I ate an edible and applied to all 3 schools on my list in one night. (step three, DONE)  Time to wait.

University of Colorado, Denver: Accepted.

University of Southern Maine: Accepted.

University of Maryland, College Park: Accepted. 

I could not believe my eyes. I was accepted into every school I applied to. I remember sitting on my bed and laughing until I cried. This bitch was going back to school.

Now here comes the hard part; choosing.

Denver: “Well we don’t offer assistantships to students in their first semester and we don’t have any money to give you.”  You’re already making it so hard to choose…bye.

Southern Maine: “We can give you a small scholarship and a small assistantship.”  Okay, cool. You have my attention.

University of Maryland: “If you work this assistantship 20 hours a week until you graduate, we’ll pay your tuition and give you a stipend to live on.” Holy shit, my millennial dream is coming true. Free school? Take that, MITCH. 

The decision seemed so obvious, right? Free=free=free=free. But going back to Maryland? Oh God no. ‘Bury me alive’, I thought. Declining Southern Maine’s offer was devastating but inevitably the right decision. I had to stop prioritizing geography, suppress my inner millennial, and begin prioritizing lack of debt, an assistantship opportunity that would look ideal on my resume, and the career possibilities that would come with an MPH from College Park.

Alright Maryland, lets dance.

So here I am. The kid that got B’s and C’s in grade school. The 3.3 undergraduate GPA. The C+ in Anatomy and Physiology II. The double shit GRE scores. The lost 21 year old who didn’t want to pursue Psychology anymore. None of it mattered. I’m going back to school and my tuition is covered.

The saying goes, “Good things come to those who wait.” And you know what? Those people are always going to be waiting.

I say, good things come to those who work their asses [physically] off. 

 

What happens after Maryland? Literally, whatever I want.  I am so fricken pumped to find out.

 

(step four, begin)

The Great Pretender

Your name came up today. I’m usually unaffected when this happens. Today it stopped me in my tracks.

I want to scream in your face that I hate you, that I hate you more than anyone on this screwed up plant. I HATE YOU.

But why hate you? You wouldn’t be hurt by my hate. You wouldn’t be affected; not phased in any capacity. For if you can’t feel love, you can’t feel anything.

I am happy. Yeah, I am happy. What people see is real. I exude happiness. I am happy…

I am happy yet I am behind because I allowed you to misdirect my concentration, my hustle. I allowed you to storm into the cafes, slam my laptop closed, and walk outside with it so that I couldn’t study for the gre. My focus; nonexistent. My goals; unobtainable. You liked having that control over someone because controlling your own life was a total impossibility. & I allowed this lack of control. My silly, naive, stupid, innocent self allowed this bullshit.

Yet when I think about that period in my life, I don’t ever think of you. Your twelve hours a week that I was allowed doesn’t cross my mind at all. In fact, twenty-three was my best year thus far. Ironic, right?

This shows me that the minute I ran from you was the minute I was back in control. My past does not effect my present.

Then why does my soul ache tonight? Why am I so disappointed in myself? Why am I in bed so early?

They say times heals. How much more time must this take?

 

Perhaps the size of my wound is the size of your fat ass.

 

Perhaps I’m making progress.

 

 

It’s a wrap!

In August, I took a trip out to Colorado to see some of my favorite people and places, the first time I had been back since I moved home 15 months previously. After briefly seeing a coworker and learning that my same position was currently open, I pretty much decided right then and there that I was moving back, however, I went home and thought on the decision for another five seconds, then officially decided that I was leaving Maryland yet again.

A month later I found myself living in Longmont, Colorado. I sold my car, quit my jobs, packed a suitcase and rolled out. I made some INCREDIBLE friendships this time around, I mean life-lasting friendships; people I cannot see myself living without. I do miss every one of them, all of the time.
My Baltimore Finalé, and so it goes:
 Last but not least:
In memory of my beloved Camry, Sid, who was sold the night before I flew to Colorado. He was just approaching 20 years old, with roughly 207,000 miles. There is no car like your first car. He always had my back and I will never forget that day in 2009 when my dad rolled into the carport at roughly 30 mph, as if I wouldn’t see him, in my first car. I asked who’s car it was and he looked at me with the key in his hand and said “yours.” I sobbed. What a day and what a vehicle.
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It’s been such a different experience this time around. My outlook, attitude, motivation, among other things, has been really solid. I’m not here to play [as much], I’m here to bust moves; pay off debt and prepare for graduate school. Actually, the other day I was at a brewery and met a woman who used to work for the Princeton Review aka A GRE TUTOR. Yaas!
I’m also still mind blown over the C O L O R of Colorado. It never gets old.

Scattered and honest

Day after day after day, I wasn’t any happier living back in Maryland. Everyone kept asking me what I was going to be doing with my life. What made you all think I have it figured out just because I’m back in Maryland? In fact, because I’m here again I have it less figured out…because I’m less motivated to figure it all out. I feel like I’m just existing again. Just blending. In a stationary routine, again. 

Believe me I try to find reasons to be happy here; family, friends, safety, familiarity. But wait, no, I don’t think all of those things are what I need at all. Of course, spending some final time with my grandma is nice to do again, but we can’t go out and eat every week like we used to; can’t do it easily at least. It’s all a process now, and most days she doesn’t want to do anything. She’s also pretty bitter anymore. She finally made me cry. I had to take a break from seeing her. 

We used to laugh a lot. 

Then there’s my right hand man, my love, strength, everything, but he has his own life before me and I’m needy these days. He can’t do it all, he tries, but he’s only human, and I don’t know that I’m right for him. 

Then there’s my right and my left legs, my mom and dad. They got me where I needed to be in life and have always had my back. These two incredibly smart individuals somehow created, me this directionless 25 year old, but I still haven’t let them down. Anyway, they’re still young and I shouldn’t stick around for them just yet. 

Then I wonder yet again why I’m here. 

I think I have to stick it out a bit since I made the effort to come back here. Can’t possibly just turn around quite yet. So what do I do? 

Find a year lease in the city to ensure I stay here. I find a few side gigs for some extra $ so that I can live a bit more comfortably. Right before I move in my car stops dead  in the middle of Harford Rd. My dad tells me he’ll pay for the $800 dollars of damage because he knows I have no money. That alone is a wake up call. Like hi Kaitlyn, your father is stilling paying for your shit. Regardless, I manage to pick up my car and pay a portion before he gets to the car shop. I did what I could. 

I turn in my rental application. I’m still going to move. Then two weeks later, I dislocate my knee cap, again. Ambulance ride, ER visit and follow up appointments… How hell can I afford this? Certainly can’t with my low paying job. My boss didn’t even acknowledge me at work THE NEXT DAY. Yes, I went to work 15 hours post-ER visit. (Thanks for the support! Not.) Anyway, my doctor said surgery may be a good idea, too. My side gigs fall through because I can’t walk. I can’t even bathe myself and I have to move everything I own in three weeks. I search for jobs, apply, search, apply. Waiting for a miracle here. Oh wait, I also have to figure out what to get my Masters degree in too so that real life can start, but I have no idea what to do at this point. 

I like writing. I’d like to write as a job, but is there real money in that? Not unless you’re really damn good at it. At this point all I’m good at is injuring myself and burying myself deeper into a black hole of debt. 

Although, I’d really like to write for a living, but this blog doesn’t give me shit in return. 

I guess I feel a little better at least.

I’ve been asked to come home

While I always knew that Colorado was temporary for me, an adventure of sorts rather than a move to grow roots, I’ve been asked to come home a bit earlier than I expected.

I’m going to be a helping hand to my grandma back in my hometown. My daddy-o asked this of me and, well, one can’t say no to dad. Besides, my grandma has had my back since day one so now it’s time to have hers.

As of now I have 9 days left in Colorado. It’s kind of depressing to think about but I plan on making the most of my time back at home by starting violin again, prepping for my graduate school application, and seeing my family. I’m also going to take advantage of the Appalachian Mountains and national parks. Arvind and I already have white water rafting on our summer list!

Lord knows Baltimore isn’t going to be permanent for me either but it may be where I end up going back to school. After that however, I’ll be gone again. I’m excited to think about where I’ll end up growing my roots with my love. At 25 the possibilities remain endless.

& I love that.

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Living with no point to prove

Living (adj): not dead : having life

Since moving out to Colorado my definition of living has changed. My definition of living is mentioned above. The reality is that that’s the only definition there is. Exploring, creating, impacting, learning, are all things you do while you’re living. I used to believe that doing something outrageous and spontaneous was the only way to truly live. I was wrong in that the only way to live is to keep breathing. So please, keep breathing. 

I once ended one of my ‘inspiring’ blog posts about moving to Colorado with something like “go live.” A while later I was thinking about that cliche and how everyone reading my post was obviously living and that telling someone to live doesn’t make sense. I should have ended it with something like “don’t be afraid to experience.” Clearly you’re living if your reading this post [& thank you for reading of course]. I promise no more cliches, okay?!

Breathing + experiencing = life

& don’t let someone tell you what you have to do to live. You don’t need to move across the county to get the ultimate life experience. For me, Colorado was a place I thought was beautiful, a place I wanted to dive into for a period of time for my own pleasure and growth. For some people it may be a different state or country, or perhaps even ten minutes from where you grew up.

But whatever you do, do what makes you happy and fulfilled. Do something because you love it. Do it with your whole being. Do it because you don’t know any other way. 

 Don’t do something to prove some point or because you want to appear a certain way to the people you know. If that’s what you’re doing then you’re not doin’ you. Be comfortable with what you’re doing, whatever it may be. Be a teacher if you want, or don’t. Be a scientist if you want, or don’t. Be a photographer if you want, or don’t. Travel the world if you want, or simply don’t. 

Live without needing to prove a point.

If you have to keep telling people “who you are” you’re doing it wrong. Let actions speak and let them reflect your true self. Prove to yourself–not to others. This life thing will be far more enjoyable that way I promise. 

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken.