Snowboarding fail…

My instructor was cute and flirtatious.

I felt super comfy on the board.

I actually made some good turns.

I really felt like I found my winter sport.

Until it all went to poop.

After my lesson, I decided to continue on my own.

Hit a patch of ice, went way too fast, tried to turn, landed on my butt…

…and my wrist.

Snap, crackle, pop.


Now I am casted for 6 weeks.

The doc said I was super close to needing surgery.

Fail. Big time.



Almost a master

Three years ago I was going through a quarter-life crisis. I found myself at a crossroads, as many recent undergrads do. I was a college graduate with a pointless degree. I spent my days sitting behind a desk, typing aimlessly away at a computer, feeling like I was wasting my youth doing something that made me miserable. Needless to say, I was not so happy with the direction my life was headed. I vividly remember sitting in my cubicle in December of 2007, deciding that I had had enough. I had enough of the 9-5 office grind. I was fed up with business casual attire. I was annoyed with the Spirit Committee shoving fliers in my face to go see The Lion King. I needed real human interaction, and got very little of it on a daily basis. I thrive on communication and challenges. On that frigid December day, I made a decision that would change my life as I knew it.

I decided that I needed to go back to school.

The next few months were a blur of serious soul searching, filling out applications and studying for the GREs. By March I had been accepted into the program I wanted, and by May I found out that I would be a graduate assistant for my first year of school. I’d get a free ride for one of the three years I’d be in the program. I was elated. This had to be a sign that I was making the right decision. That it would be worth it to throw away the career I was slowly building. I had my doubts, don’t get me wrong. I cried, I debated, I changed my mind a thousand times. But on the thousand and first time I became completely dedicated to this new life I was going to begin.

In the summer, I fell in love.

In the fall, I began my program.

I didn’t feel like I needed to make any new friends – what for? I had plenty already. I was happy enough with the social life I was  leading. I didn’t need to add any new people to the mix. And then I started talking to J. We soon began to spend countless hours together, mostly talking, occasionally studying. She became my study buddy, but so much more. She was my confidant. My partner in crime. We complained to one another. We stressed out together. We laughed together. We procrastinated together. Slowly, I began to speak with the other people in my program, although I wasn’t really sold on all of them. There were a few people that I for sure felt that I would just never be friends with. And I was cool with that.

During the second semester of my first year, my heart broke.

I wasn’t sure if I could go on. I’m not positive if this is the way that everyone copes with heartbreak, but personally, I didn’t want to do anything. I wanted to lay in bed, listen to sad songs, cry and eat Phish Food by the gallon. I wasn’t doing any of my work. I was falling behind. Just getting out of bed to go to class was a chore. Studying was brutal. I couldn’t concentrate. I was beginning to feel like I wouldn’t be able to continue to program.

And then, one day, I snapped out of it. While we were in the library, J looked at me. She snapped her fingers in front of my face as I moped into my notebook. “Amanda! You’re doing this for you. You have an amazing opportunity here. You can’t throw it all away because some guy hurt your feelings. You’re going to be brilliant at this, but you have to get back on track. In two years, I want to graduate with you standing next to me.”

So, I worked. I studied. I read. I became a clinician. A damn good one, if I do say so myself. I went out with friends on the weekends, but during the week I was, first and foremost, a student. I spent countless late nights at school, paper writing with my classmates, who soon became some of my best friends. I grew amazingly fond of those same people that I was so unsure about in the beginning. They all became my rocks. I remembered why I went back for my graduate degree in the first place. I was proud of what I was accomplishing. For once, I was absolutely certain that I was on the right path.

Over my graduate career, I began to realize that my classmates are some of the most amazing people in the world. I couldn’t have asked for a better group to go through the ups and downs of school with. I’ve spent the past two and a half years with these brilliant, entertaining, wonderful individuals who have taught me more than I could have learned from any textbook. I am so so so blessed to have met each and every one of them.

So, why am I talking about this right now?

Well, today we took our last final exam. Ever.

As we finished, we waited in the lounge for one another. One by one we congregated, chatted about the test, and decided to make plans to meet up sometime soon. We all had places to be, but we just couldn’t bring ourselves to leave the building.

As we finally made our way down the steps and out into the bitter cold, I looked back. We would all be there again for various reasons. Presentations we would have to give, seminars we would have to attend. But not in this same way. We would never take another class together. We would never have to study our brains out til 4 in the morning in that building together. We would never again go senile in the computer lab, laughing at absolutely nothing.

We have all grown so much in the two and a half years since we met each other. Some of us got married, some of us had our first serious relationships, a few of us had our hearts broken. Along the way we lost a few to various life circumstances. Despite all the insanity, I’m fairly sure that those of us who got through the experience would never trade it for anything else in the world.

It scares me to think of what the future might hold. But it also makes me more excited than words can express. We’ll be scattered throughout the state, working in different areas, but we’ll always be there for each other. I know that no matter where we are, I can call each and every one of the 10 people I’ve just spent the majority of my mid-twenties with, and they would be there for me in a heartbeat.

So, am I happy with my decision to leave my comfortable workplace and embark on this crazy, whirlwind of a journey called grad school?

Is the Pope Catholic?

Sunday Morning Truths

I’m a PostSecret girl. I start my Sunday mornings reading people’s secrets, drinking coffee and listening to Etta James. It’s my routine. Years ago my routine included going to church. I haven’t been feeling quite so holy the past few years, so I’ve kinda skipped out on that. Anyway, I decided to add a little something to my routine this morning, and that is to answer some more of these truths. I skipped day 14…I’ll go back, I promise. I just am not feeling very inspired by it at the moment.

So, without further adieu. . .

Day 15 – Something or someone you couldn’t live without, because you’ve tried living without it.

Now, I know this may seem like a dumb answer, but I’ve tried and failed miserably. During the summer, I was diagnosed with a bladder problem which may cause severe pain when you eat or drink certain food triggers. Coffee is one of them. In June I decided that I’d try to live a coffee-free life. I went to the fridge and got out a bottle of water instead of turning on the Keurig machine. It worked for approximately 3 weeks. And then my sleep cycle got royally messed up for some reason, and I started relying on Tylenol PMs to put me to bed and coffee to wake me up in the morning. I got out of the Tylenol PM phase, but coffee has stuck stronger than ever. I have at least 2 cups a day. I have to. It’s all mental, I’m sure. And I kind of don’t care. When I feel my bladder acting up, I take a pill. Coffee gives me too much joy to stop drinking it.

My name is Amanda, and I’m a coffeeholic.

(Edit: funnily enough, here was one of today’s secrets…)

Day 16 – Someone or something you definitely could live without.

Him. And him. And him…

It doesn’t matter what “him” I’m talking about, because it’s all the same.

I meet someone I start to fall for and, somewhere along the way, decide that I can’t see my life without them.

Then I am forced to.

I realize that I can live without them. I won’t die if they aren’t in my life, and I don’t. Sure, I mope around for a bit. I complain to my friends, I drink margaritas like they are water. I play lots of James Morrison.

But I live. I have no other choice. I refuse to give up. Somewhere along the way I understand why we are not together. I learn to accept it and realize that it was for the best.

Despite thinking the contrary in the beginning, I survive.

I more than survive.

I thrive.

This year was about…

My first Facebook status post of the new year was the following:

“2009 was about learning. 2010 is about living. I’m excited to do some serious living.”

Looking back on this year, I have got to say that I think I succeeded in that living part quite nicely. I started off the year with a hot, tropical affair, however the rest of the winter of 2010 was kind of a blur. I remember a lot of school work. A few  emotional breakdowns. Stress. Wine drinking at 3pm while writing papers. Having to make certain family decisions that nearly broke my spirit.

In spring I got a crush.

At the end of summer I was crushed.

In the fall I took some trips, bought a car, finished my thesis, started my last semester of graduate classes ever and fell in love with sushi. I went (and continue to go) out a lot more than I ever have before.

And now? I’m working out everyday and feel pretty confident with my body. I’m meeting new people. I’m going new places. I’m trying new things.

I think I’m living pretty gosh darn well.

So, if 2010 was about living . . . what should 2011 be about? I’ll be finishing up school, starting my career, hopefully moving out. Growing? Maybe 2011 will be about growing.

But I’ll never stop the living thing. It’s way too much fun.

What was your 2010 about? And what do you hope 2011 will bring??

Musical truth

Day 13 – A band or artist that has gotten
you through some tough ass days.

Dear Amos Lee,

Thank you for having a beautiful, soulful, sexy voice filled with raw emotion.

Thank you for writing songs that touch me.

That make me teary-eyed.

That make me nod and think “Ain’t that the truth?”

Your music has gotten me through rough patches and made me smile even wider on days that I was already in a wonderful mood.

Thank you, Amos.



The new kind of hate

“Have you ever cared about someone so much, but hated them at the same time?” a guy I was once dating asked me. He was telling me about a phone call he had received from his ex-girlfriend the day before, and felt the need to divulge that he broke up with her because he realized that he didn’t like her.

“I don’t hate anyone,” I told him.

“Even your ex’s?”

I thought about it for a moment, “Even the man that I fell in love with that broke my heart.”

He shrugged as he took my hand. “I guess I don’t hate her, but I really can’t stand her. That’s why I broke up with her. She wanted to marry me. I couldn’t marry someone I can’t stand.”

I was trying not to think about why he was telling me this. I hadn’t even asked about his ex-girlfriend. I mean, isn’t that something that’s supposed to be saved for awhile? Aren’t you not supposed to really talk about previous relationships until you are at least an official couple. And, even then, isn’t it just supposed to be something you say in passing? Like, “Oh yeah, my ex lives in (insert town here) and always hangs out at that pub. I really don’t feel like running into him so maybe we should go to a different bar…”

Anyway, a few weeks after that conversation, I found a picture of his ex-girlfriend and him hanging up on his bedroom wall, hidden behind a photo of his friends. It stung. The pain sliced through me like a knife, even though I had only known him for a few months.  I knew then that even though his relationship had ended years before, he still wasn’t completely over her. That that picture resembled much more than just two people who used to date.

People fall in love for all kinds of reasons. You see something in someone else that pulls at you. That attracts you mentally, physically, emotionally. You grow together. You learn together. You change together. Sometimes it’s for the better. Sometimes not. If it’s the latter, then you may break up. But the fact remains that you once were in love with this person. And even if they have turned crazy, psycho ex on you, can you really say that you truly hate them? Wouldn’t that, in a sense, be saying that you never really loved them in the first place? That you were wrong?

This situation made me realize that I don’t think I will ever be that girl for someone. The girl that the guy will always have somewhere in his heart, and always feel some connection with. The girl he will compare all other girls he meets to. The girl he will keep a picture of in his room, because it would feel like a piece of himself was missing without it.

I hope to God that someday someone cares about me enough to think that they hate me.

Quote of the day

“If you’re brave enough to leave behind everything familiar and comforting, which can be anything from your house to bitter, old resentments, and set out on a truth-seeking journey, either externally or internally, and if you are truly willing to regard everything that happens to you on that journey as a clue and if you accept everyone you meet along the way as a teacher and if you are prepared, most of all, to face and forgive some very difficult realities about yourself, then the truth will not be withheld from you.”

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