Friday, April 22, 2011


The first time I went to Ireland, I came back a different person.

I came back more independent, more confident, more aware. For some reason (maybe it was the fresh Irish air), I was suddenly able to admit things to myself that I had scarcely dared let cross my consciousness, and make decisions when I had previously denied there was ever a decision to be made.

For example, I completely threw over my dad's adamant desire that I be in the biology/chemistry field. I knew what I wanted was to be an English major. It was what I loved, and I would see where it too me. Making that change made me happier than I had ever been in college, and led me to law school. Who knew.

Also for example was my longstanding dedication to synchronized swimming. I had been a swimmer since, oh, I don't know. There are pictures of my holding ribbons for winning a speed swimming race, and it looks like I am too young to walk. I kid you not that I knew how to swim at the same time I knew how to walk. I had been a synchronized swimmer since 6, probably, and was nationally competitive at 8.

At age 20 in college, I went to Ireland and suddenly discovered I hated it. I knew before I went to swim Division 1 that I felt burned out, but I had been doing it so long that I could see nothing else. That, and I get a major high from winning. I am a competitive freak. I have struggled long and hard to control this, as it actually can be quite destructive in personal relationships--who knew!

So anyways, for reasons long and short, I came back and quit. I felt like a quitter. I felt awful. My room mates, who were also my teammates, were angry, and helped me feel awful. I had never, never quit. Yet I just did. For however hard and awful that was, I know now that my single minded dedication to it was holding me back. If I could have been someone different, and opened myself up to new things and experiences while still being a synchronized swimmer, then maybe it would not have held me back. I'm not programmed like that. It was a hard decision, a good decision, one that I don't regret now. I had a new horizon.

So here I am, back form Ireland again. Again, I am suddenly seeing things clearer than before I left. Again, I am feeling that desperate need for a radical change. Again, I am ready to admit things to myself that I couldn't before.

1. I want kids. Hear the crickets chirping? 'Cause I sure do. This has been a long struggle for me. More recently, I oscillated between good idea and very bad idea, usually depending on whether a cute smiling baby was looking at me, or a tantrum tossing toddler was nearby. Now, thought, I am sure. I am okay with this. We can do this. It's definitely not a biological craving the way my friends describe it. It's not an overwhelming need. It's a new horizon.

2. This is not my forever job. That's pretty hard for me to say. I love the work, I love the organization. It is a good thing. I help children who are helpless and ignored. It's okay hours-wise. The pay sucks, but it's a nonprofit. It is draining. Really, deeply draining. It is a soul sucker. I come home angry or sad 95% of the time. While I have done an okay job leaving the problems at work, that attitude is not necessarily encouraged. But how else do I survive this job? And while I like the attorney part of it, there are other aspects I don't like.

3. I don't want to practice law full time. The dream, of course, is that I finish writing this novel, and someone swoons over it and me, and life's a fairly tale, yada yada yada. Right. But I am finishing this thing. I will do this thing. The reality is that I would like to practice part time. I don't know if my present employer can swing that. Litigation is a funny business that does not lend it self to set schedules. Ever. What do I want to do that other part time? Write. I want to write this novel, I want to take odd editing and proof reading jobs, I want to content write, etc. Or, maybe, someday, I don't know, I hope, maybe, maybe, maybe... I go back to school. Get my MA, MFA, or maybe even the PhD. I always that fast and duck, expecting, I don't know, the hand of God to reach down and smack me.

4. Food is a problem for me. Since December of 2009, I have tried hard to make better decisions about food. Officially, I eat meat, vegetable, fruit, and very litle dairy. No sugar, no processed foods. And when I was religious about it, it worked great. But if you give me an inch, I take a mile, and I confess, I just ate a grilled cheese sandwhich. And it was good. And now I want more. Is there such a thing as a food addicition? A sugar addiciton? I think I have it. I have not been terribly good about the food (and exercise), and it almost immediately tears at my health.

I am normally pithy on this thing, or at least, I try to be. Below is a moment where I am dead serious.

So: My name is Grace, and I have a food problem, spcifically a sugar problem. I recognize that sugar and all its processed forms is very bad for me, causes immediate and massive weight gain, soreness, stiffness, imflamation, and probably brings me back to brink of Diabetes. I recognize I have no self control when it comes to food like this. I recognize that if we want to get pregnant, I must get this under control, for my health and any potential baby's health. I will find that place in myself that holds the single mided determination, and I will activate it for this purpose. I will not let it control me anymore.

There, I admitted I have a problem. In public. I feel embarassed, but relieved.

I am deeply grateful for this trip. I feel clear headed, rested, and ready. I feel aware. I feel energized.

I feel awake.

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