Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Near-Death Experience

I was sitting at the Greene Turtle in the Baltimore/Washington D.C. airport, coming back from a fun and sun-filled vacation in Ft. Myers with three of my friends and having a cheeseburger slider, when I began to feel funny.

At first, I tried to ignore it and concentrate on the West Virginia/Kentucky basketball game that was on on one of the flat screen TV's at the restaurant. The feeling came and went in short, rapid waves at first - I fell fine one minute and not so fine the next - but it was bearable. However, as minutes went by, the faint pain coming from the left side of my chest began to spread up and down and across my body.

I took several deep breaths, trying to ignore the dull, persistent ache and concentrate on my friends' conversation, but the pain began to spread to my eyes now. I felt my vision get blurry and my fingers began to shake uncontrollably.

"Are you ok?" one of my friends looked at me with some concern from across the table.

"I... I don't know," I didn't want to cause commotion but I was becoming alarmed.

"What hurts?" he asked.

"My heart... I feel like I'm having a heart attack...." I was now struggling to simply get the words out of my mouth and ignore the dizziness.

"Do you want me to call 911?" he asked.

I paused. There was no money in my bank account to pay for the emergency services and I was just coming back from a pricey vacation but no money is enough when you feel like your every breath is your last.

"Yeah, I need some help... right now..." I mumbled grabbing my head with my hands to keep it from slamming the table. Life was not flashing before my eyes and I was not walking towards "The Light" but death certainly seemed imminent at that moment.

The ambulance ride to the hospital on a stretcher was a blur. I remember the IV needle in my vein wiggling back and forth as the driver rushed through bumpy streets. I remember my feet dangling off a stretcher and thinking that I was, somehow, too tall to fit on it comfortably. I remember numerous questions, as the doctors tried to eliminate the possibility of heart attack out of the equation.

And then, while at the hospital still hooked up to an IV machine, I remember starting to feel better. Gradually, the pain began to back off and subdue. I remember walking out into the emergency room's waiting area to wait on my blood work to come back and seeing my three friends sitting in the cushioned vestibule chairs waiting for me.

There is nothing like a near-death experience to realize who your true friends are. There is nothing like not knowing if you will ever see the light of another day to put the final pieces of the unresolved puzzles back in their places.

Because as I sat in the waiting room's chair, surrounded by my concerned friends and all the love and support I needed at that moment, I received a text message from Mr J asking me what I was doing. Not having talked to him in a while and feeling in need of as much of compassion as I could possibly receive I texted back with, "I'm in the ER."

To which he said....

"Ew, why?" (followed by "are you ok?")

The sheer audacity of responding to a serious, potentially-life-altering message with an "ew, why?" was absolutely repulsing. I texted with "i'm fine," pressed "End Conversation" button and stopped talking to him.

At the end, the blood work came back fine. My heart is in an excellent condition and the chest pain I was feeling was due to stress and dehydration. And I will, somehow, deal with the medical bill when it comes because, at the end, it's being alive that really matters.

In the moment of weakness, when all your ability to hold your own leaves your body, only your true friends will come through with love and support that you really need. I was blessed to receive that love and support that I needed to get through and make it alive through last night. I can only hope that Mr J will find friends like mine when he is feel vulnerable and sick.

I just know that he should not count on me being one of those people.

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Powerpoint Hell or... Is It All Worth It?

How do we find our worth?

I've been critical of people relying too much on their partners for their source of happiness. Clingy and with no backbone and life of their own as I saw them, I've laughed at those people. After all, how could they lose sight of their own selves and give themselves so wholly to someone else without any regard for their own well being?

I'll never be one of those people, I said to myself from time to time again. I am the epitome of independence, paving my own way through life and not relying on anyone (well, maybe a little bit on my parents but, that's besides the point). I am the modern woman, confident (at least for the most part), happy with myself (most of the times), fiercely tough and oh so well put together at all times.

But today, after over two weeks of routinely spending about, and often more than, 20 hours a day on work to prepare for my thesis presentation and receiving a lackluster review, I realized something. I rely on work for my source of happiness. Work is what controls my life 100% of the time.

Crazy, isn't it? As I stood in front of my thesis critics, surrounded by presentation boards and half-numb from sleep deprivation, I heard them say things about my project, I heard them ask questions. I responded with as much interest and enthusiasm as I could muster up while trying to not fall asleep standing up. I wrapped up the presentation and took down the boards. Ad then itt was over. Just like that.

And as far as the last two weeks go... Can I really ever get them back? Am I any better than those people I laugh at who spend all of their time catering to and adjusting their schedules so they could spend as much of their time as possible with their significant others? Perhaps, they are too dependent and perhaps their co-dependency is not healthy. But am I really better than them?

I've let my work control my life. And a healthy dose of passion is never a bad thing - if I ever end up finding a job in my field in THIS economy, I am certain that I will be happier than about 90% of employed people out there. But I have also sacrificed all of my social life, all of the joy one gets from the first few days of spring, and all of the meaningful conversations I could have had with my good friends from the past and present. And for what? Work? How am I any better if I am just as dependent on work as others are on their lovers?

Maybe it's time to close the lid of my laptop, walk out on my balcony and get a lungful of fresh air for the first time in two weeks. Or maybe, as it is in my case, it is time to simply fall into somber sleep for about fifteen hours.

Starting.... now.

Monday, March 8, 2010

Dealing or Not Dealing

My apartment looks like someone broke into it, went through all my drawers, threw the contents on the floor, tosses things around some more, rolled around on the floor and left. Socks, papers, pens, random articles of clothing, remote controls, sunglasses, books, candles and more! can all be found somewhere on my living room floor. Of course, that's only the tip of the iceberg, 'cause my bed room is not in any better shape.

Yup, it's getting closer and closer to the finals week and I am finding less and less time in the day for myself, sacrificing every minute and every bit of my sanity all in hopes that the hard work will pay off and maybe, just maybe, I'll be able to snag a rewarding job sometime soon.

Frankly, every time toward the end of each school quarter, I ask myself an all-important question, "How am I going to make it through this week?" All I can do is keep pushing, keep eating take-out food, consume coffee by the buckets and not sleep.

And to add insult to injury, every time I stop to take a break, Mr J pops into my head out of nowhere and all the old emotions come back up to the surface. It is never a more inconvenient time to cut ties with a person you love than during the finals week. The lack of sleep combined with a dose of anxiety mixed with a couple of teaspoons of uncertainty and insecurity are hard to endure as it is. But add all these unresolved emotions that I am trying to put behind me and the mixture becomes almost agonizing.

Perhaps it's not all that bad and being a drama queen is something that I need to do in an effort to deal with it all. Perhaps it is what it is and I need to suck it up and let things run their natural course. Time is the ultimate healer and I am looking forward to the day when I can finally start feeling better. I just know that if Mr J didn't decide to be a complete toolbag, my week would have been just a little easier.

Heart-crushing pain, you are no match for me. Somehow, some way and some day, this too shall pass.

Friday, March 5, 2010

My Heart and What He Did to It

Someone noted my blog as one of their favorites to read on and to that someone, I say, thank you and I am super excited that my semi-coherent ramblings can actually be considered a good read! So please check out, if you will or care to do so, the interview thingie I did at Just click the button above (cause I finally bothered to learn how to link pictures to things) and gimme some love!

You know when your friend goes through a tough break-up, you are the epitome of rationality, comforting and nurturing and telling him/her that no matter how bad it hurts, it will, inevitably, get better?

Well, it does get better. You know it does. Surely, you are certain that it does. You've been through this before - you had to let someone go or someone let you go for whatever reason and the pain was unbearable for some time. When you knew that what you were doing was for the best, and that there was no viable future for you and your former companion, and that your tears and hopes were not worth remaining in the dead-end situation, you put on a brave front, kicked your heart to the curb and let your brain make the rational decision. And you felt that pain. And you dealt with it somehow. And you came out a stronger individual as a result of your experience.

But when you, yourself, end up in that very same situation once again, all rationality goes right out of the window. And after you've cried uncontrollably in your pillow to stifle your sobbing because the walls of your apartment were too thin and you didn't want your neighbors to hear your laments, after you've wiped your face with a tear-soaked tissue and reminded yourself that you deserve so much better and that he is a fool to treat you this way, you still felt that painful pang that felt more like a punch to your heart. And that's when you questioned yourself, asking "Is it really going to get better?"

Okay, so I am talking about myself here and the final straw that broke a camel's back in the ongoing saga with me and Mr J. After he declared that he will be "too busy" to visit me for his spring break this week, I've decided that I've had enough.

Enough of his irrational jealousy and late night phone calls, enough of him questioning every single post on my Facebook wall by my very platonic male friends, enough of it all. I am done with Mr J and, this time, I do believe that I'm done for good.

I have been living in a fantasy land for the last several months, thinking that, somehow, Mr J and I can end up together. Who am I kidding? He is not ready for a relationship. Instead, he wants to have his cake and eat it too. Well... not even eat it. He just wants to control the cake and question the cake about cake's every single move. But the truth of the matter is, the cake is very single and, as some time passes and the cake will find a rewarding and fulfilling job and settle down somewhere, the cake will be ready to date again.

So, as the cake... I mean, as I am sitting here and having a second beer and feeling the alcohol begin to dull my pain, I am ready to call it quits on this quasi-relationship for good.

Goodbye (and fuck you), Mr J. Someday you'll be nothing but a distant memory and, someday, you will realize that you've let a great girl slip right out of your stubby fingers. Don't worry, that day will come, but it will be far too late to salvage anything you've already irreparably destroyed.