Back from the Dead


It’s funny, therapists spend so much time touting the value of self-care to clients, but somewhere along the way on my journey toward graduation I lost sight of my own needs. I kept telling myself that if I could just make it through, I would have the rest of my life to feed my creative hunger. Just three more years, two more, just an internship, and then you can go back to the things that make you feel fulfilled.

And here I am, at the end. I made it. But I’m depleted, and disconnected. My body has suffered and I am looking at beginning again on my journey of health. There was so much pain, so much creative starvation, and why? Perhaps if I had set aside more room for passion I would not feel so much like I am back at square one.

Don’t get me wrong. These four years have been amazing. I’ve made friends, I’ve developed outstanding skills. I am competent and confident in my ability to be a therapist should I choose to pursue licensure. I have a degree that will assist in my current career. I fell in love.

But I also shut away a part of myself, tricking myself into thinking if I did not acknowledge it that it would go away. This is dangerous. There were times when I could not get air, I was so strangled by yearning. There were moments when I wished I could quit, just to have some semblance of my artistic life.

And yet, I’m here.

Wiser for my mistakes. Beginning again. Promising that I won’t forsake myself along the way. Hoping that others will hold me accountable.

I know I did what I needed to in order to survive, but pure survival is a very bleak life.

An artist without art is not a truly Living thing.

So hello, my dear friends. I’m back.

Begin again flowers

Sincerely,

Emilie

In Which Emilie Writes to You from a Magical Space-Age Computing Device


I am writing to you on my wonderful new all-in-one computing device, and I must admit the 23″ touchscreen makes me feel as though I am really writing to you from a spaceship. Any moment now I could go into hyperdrive and leave this planet far, far behind. I am quite particular about my keyboards as well, and this wireless one is smooth, but still provides a satisfying mini-thud sound whenever I punch a key. Then when I start typing really quickly (like right now) I look like one of those “hackers” in spy movies that mash the keys on a computer and somehow manage to make the lights go out. I’m pretty much a typing prodigy. In addition to this computer, I am also expecting a surface pro to arrive early next week. Now that the model 2s are out, the originals are on sale. I was able to purchase both my all-in-one and the surface pro for the same amount I was considering spending on a MacBook pro. Additionally, both of my units will be able to run Office 13 Pro which is superior to the Office ’11 available for MAC users, and I will be able to write on my surface pro in class just like I would a notebook. I am giddy over my refund-enabled purchases, and will now be able to write papers for grad school without having to worry that my computer will randomly shut itself off at any moment, just for a lark.

Grad school is pretty much my life right now, that and work. Hello the next three years! On top of two classes, I also am required to meet with dyad partners every week outside of class to discuss the movies and books we read weekly. Oh, I also need to research different private practices in the area, because as a part of my program I am required to attend a certain amount of therapy sessions. If you have any recommendations, be sure to send them my way! Turns out it’s somewhat difficult to get approved for billing through GroupHealth when your initial reason for therapy is “grad school requirement”. (Sidenote: I do think it will be a very valuable experience, and all therapists should be going through therapy as well, so even though I joke I am taking it seriously). Don’t get me wrong, I love being in the classroom and am very excited about both the field and also the new friends I am making, but I am afraid I am in a sort of bartering system with myself where I either get to A) spend some time relaxing B) spend some time exercising C) Spend some time socializing or D) spend some time cleaning but I cannot ever seem to fit in more than one. I will get better, I’m just a little out of practice! (Ok I need to interject here and go back to the whole subject of my magical space-age computing device and let you know that I am so ecstatic right now!)

In order to help simplify my life a little I thought I would attempt to address my never-ending bag lady problem by sewing myself a custom bag big enough to carry everything. I ordered the most adorable fabric from Spoonflower (if you have not explored that website you are missing out on life) and have begun making it. The end goal is to create a giant, quilted tote. The lining is sewn and the outside is cut and waiting to be sewn. The quilting, straps, pockets and other embellishments are still under consideration. I fear, however, that I may have made a slight miscalculation. This current dilemma was actually brought on by a remark one of my dyad partners said to me after we had our last session. She merely mentioned that I might not want the most giant bag (my paraphrase, her words were definitely more elegant) as it would be rather heavy. Now, ever since she said that, I’ve been staring at my beautifully prepared lining thinking, “it’s too big”. I think I’m just having a brief emotional crisis that I shall ignore and continue on. I mean, 21″x17″x7″ isn’t an unreasonable size for an over-the-shoulder bag, is it? I mean it’s big, but is it too big? I will be carrying files, textbooks, a surface, my wallet, a water bottle, snacks and dinner. You know what? No, no I’m not going to doubt myself. If it ends up being hilariously large I’ll just use it as an overnight bag and make another school bag of more moderate proportions. After all, you can never have too many bags. Ok, crisis averted. Kind of.

Except the more bags I make, the less far I am getting from the moniker “bag lady”.

Who am I kidding? I’ll always be a bag lady. I’ll just make sure to always have really, really cute bags.

So cute that you’re going to start carrying more bags just so you can be more like me.

 

Clearly I need those therapy sessions.

 

To summarize, in closing: School, work=my life. School+work=lots of bags. New bag+school+work+computing devices=awesome, resigned, bag lady life.

 

Sincerely,

Emilie

 

Coconut Oil, New Tires & Cupcakes


So, for all of you who have been wondering, it looks like I’ll be around next year. Unless I give in to the University of Portland who is sending me all the emails and mailings they possibly can. I’m assuming they got me in a name buy from the GRE. I mean, I’ve had about six other schools contact me as well, but UP is relentless! According to their marketing I’m a Priority Candidate. It kind of takes the glamour out of things…working on this side of enrollment. I’ve had condolences and hugs…but the thing is…I’m not at all bothered. Isn’t that weird?

Not being one of 2 out of 784 isn’t that insulting to my pride, sensibilities or my own estimations of my talents (and weaknesses).

I’ve got more life plans boiling and I’m getting really excited about them. And I’m starting to realize how much I love this area. I won’t be here forever, but I’m kind of excited to be here for now.

I’m working tons of hours but I’m honest-to-goodness really enjoying my job. Some aspects are less exciting than others, but as my projects expand so too does my interest. It’s classic Emilie–I always invest fully where I’m at. I make myself at home. I work hard. I want to be good at what I do. So I am. (It counts for a lot that I really, seriously, enjoy my coworkers. Having a positive working environment is extremely important to me. Also…I now have the world’s largest desk).

After work I’ve been rushing to rehearsal for SMU’s spring show: The Memorandum. If you want to come it’s next month at the State Theatre. I love rehearsal. I love acting. I want to direct again. I really, really want to direct again. I’ve got some new play ideas. I have an old play I’m going to rewrite. I also want to write some more non-theatre fiction. This Creative Writing class I’m in has reminded me of all the things I love to read and write, along with Book Club.

Don’t get me wrong. I’ll go to Grad school. I’ll get a Masters, and then some. I’ll keep taking classes. Someday I will be Dr. Schnabel. But the where and what are subject to change. Things are always subject to change. That’s what keeps life exciting.

—-

I’ve lost 5 pounds. For over a week now my morning and nighttime weight have been the same, which is 5 pounds less than it was at the beginning of the month. I’m getting ready for a 5k with my friend/coworker (which sounds like nothing but for someone who has never been a runner and who has physically-induced asthma it is a BIG DEAL). I’m lifting weights which I’ve always enjoyed. I’ve been doing yoga again and paying attention to what I’m eating again.

I’m in love with coconut oil. I recently switched to it for cooking and baking and oiling my cast iron pans. It’s amazing. It tastes great. It’s got some health benefits and it cooks really well. I highly recommend it to everyone.

For over a year or so I’ve needed new back tires. I’ve surmised that my worn tread may have played a part in my Christmas morning snow adventure. I’ve tried to go to Les Schwab a couple of times to get them, but for some reason I always manage to show up when it is closed or I don’t have enough time. Today, however, I did not have work (thank you Catholic college and St. Benedict’s feast day!) so I went over there in the morning. Two hours later I had new tires, an amazing tread, and a feeling of great fulfillment. Who knows, someday soon I may even replace my windshield!

I tried out the recipe for two cupcakes that has been going around Pinterest and it is delicious. I substituted coconut oil for butter which added a great taste and made it a little fluffier. I used TJ’s version of nutella in lieu of frosting. Yum!

—-

I guess what I’m trying to say is that I’m happy and cozy and excited and inspired and feeling grateful and blessed. I have a lovely home, a great job, health insurance and a car. And a family. And friends. And passion and art. And instruments.

It’s strange to me, how no one is ever really where they say they will be at the time and place they think. Life’s little mysteries are beautiful and exciting and hilarious and yes, sometimes, painful. But if I’ve learned anything in life, it’s that life tends to work out. Better, often, than we could ever plan.

I’m excited to get out more. To hike and camp and go to concerts and invest in people’s lives and in my own. In the moment. Because the moment (no matter how trite this sounds) is all we have.

Sincerely,
Emilie

Writing, cataloging, and researching: Another post about THE FUTURE


For those of you who are wondering about how my library software is working out, it is still wonderful, and the more I use it, the more wonderful it becomes to me. I have received my barcode scanner, and with a simple swipe, I can upload ten books in as many seconds.

I have always had a passion for books, for writing, for literature, and for libraries. In case you cannot tell, it is my one of my deepest desires to have a large library in my home, both for personal enrichment and for sharing different types of literature with my friends, family, and eventually (in the very faaaaar future, at such a distance as to be  almost un-thought-of) my own children.

One of my favorite authors, Neil Gaiman, has recently won the Carnegie medal for one of his children’s books.

Here is a link to his wonderful acceptance speech, which also talks about the importance of libraries: LINK

(See what I just did there? I used the example of a real, live, medal-winning author to loosely support my purchase of that software and prove to you that I am not crazy, no, I am investing in the future!)

When last I spoke to you of  THE FUTURE (that awful thing, full of potential I’m not quite sure how to tap, but refusing to leave me alone long enough to sit back and enjoy the present), I mentioned that I am interested in going to Grad school for writing. I have been wavering back and forth between a few different options. Do I want an MFA in Playwriting, an MFA in Creative Writing, an MFA in Screenwriting, or some sort of Journalism masters degree?

All of these degrees have their merits, and their drawbacks. For instance, I am really interested in playwriting, and have taken two classes on it, and seem to have some skill in it, but most people cannot live off of being a playwright.

I think I have somewhat narrowed this list down and here is my maybe, sorta-kinda, possible, tentative, plan.

At this point I feel most drawn to an MFA in screenwriting. This uses my background in theatre, my passion for film, gives me a slightly more marketable degree (screenwriting is a field that is screaming for more talented women), and I have no experience with screenwriting so I would (theoretically) learn the most.

The only thing keeping me from committing 100% to this choice is that I have not researched the very broad world of journalism yet.

I have a short list of schools I am going to apply to no matter what, most for screenwriting and a couple for Creative Writing.

I will be doing a lot of Creative Writing in my life, but I am not sure I need an entire master’s degree on it. (Yes, I need oceans and mountains and solar systems of improvement, but I think the way to get that is just to write.)

In the very long term I want to become a Professor at a University (hello, Doctorate degree) so I need a Master’s now. I don’t want to wait and just work, because if I am breaking into any field (especially in media) I want to start as young as possible.

I still need to write, I know it.

I will be selling all of my organs in the black market and still owe the world one million dollars in order to get these degrees, but at least I will be getting the degrees that I want.

So what if I end up homeless and naked under a bridge somewhere? I’ll be the smartest bum you’ve ever met, and I’ll know that I have done what I need to do.

My life mantra: Everyone gets exactly what they need exactly when they need it.

Therefore it is my job to research, fill out applications, and then sit back and allow myself to go where I need to be. If, for some reason, I don’t get accepted to any of the billions (several) colleges I am applying to, then I will know that I am wrong. But I just don’t feel like I am.

I will let you know when I have more information, for now I do have to take the GRE on the 23rd of October. I’m rather excited, it’s been quite a while since I have had to take a standardized test, and I quite enjoy them.

Have a lovely, positive, evening,

Sincerely,

Emilie