Impulsive Inquiry

uncontrolled questioning of the world I perceive.


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Ruminating on rumination

It has been over a year since I wrote here. I can’t really explain why. There are so many excuses, my job, school, crazy life events, sheer overwhelming obligations, etc. The reality is more about fear, or lack of the same. When I began writing it was because I was afraid. Everything was falling apart and I needed something to anchor myself with. Something that offered connection. And so I wrote. And so I entered a new chapter of my life firmly tethered to the world.

Over the past year I have thought a lot about writing here, but never felt that I had anything important enough to say to break my silence. The more time that passed the more oppressive that thought became. I was connected, tightly strapped to the world, I had a million excuses. It seemed impossible to come back without a revolutionary epiphany. So here it is: That is Bullshit.

Yep.

There is no epiphany, and I have had more than enough happen in this past year of my life to write about. Again this blog, or lack of blogging, came down to fear. This time it was fear of adding another obligation to my already too full plate. That in writing I would risk my happiness. The idea that once begun, it must continue on a regular basis. That this blog is something other than a place for me to put thoughts into words, to connect, to use language to assuage fear. This is not an obligation that must be met, an assignment with a due date, a client with an appointment. This is for me and I can do with it what I want.

So.

This blog is no longer about fear. It is about freedom. Freedom to write how and when and what I want. If I feel like it. Who knows. I might not.

But you know me. I am nothing if not full of impulsive inquiry.


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Ancient Adult Mythology

I love blogs like Pinterest fail and cake wrecks. Not only are they hilarious, if a bit cringeworthy, but they demonstrate the inevitability of life’s imperfection. Even when turning to a professional, one can’t be be assured of the outcome.

To me, these examples are just further evidence supporting my hypothesis that being an adult is actually just accepting that “an adult” doesn’t exist. The adult is a mythical being who magically balances working and life, while keeping an immaculate home and throwing picture perfect parties for their not neglected-because-I-am-to-tired-to-function friends.

This is who I keep expecting to morph into. One day I will wake up and realize I am An Adult.

Not so much.

And I thought I was pragmatic. Ha.

If I have learned anything in the past seven months (or so) it is that being an adult is waking up and going about your life. Some days will be miraculous and some days you will get home and have potato chips and skittles for dinner. Either way, when you wake up the next morning, you are still an adult.

My life at 26 is so different than what I always pictured it to be. But, lying in bed tonight, listening to my roommates try to quietly eat potato chips (impossible), having originally fallen asleep at 9:30 on a saturday night, all I could think about was how content I am.

The idea of extended adolescence or millennials putting off adulthood is as misconstrued as the myth of adulthood itself. Being an adult is just a byproduct of our creation of childhood in the midst of the industrial revolution, or teenagers in the 1950s. The common thread of all these constructs is the lessened expectation that you have it all figured out.

Which, honestly, applies to everyone, and if someone says they have it all they are lying.

This fairytale of adulthood dictates when a person is supposed to have their life figured out, what happiness looks like, and that at 26 I shouldn’t be calling my daddy for help when I can’t figure something out. It says that If I haven’t checked those boxes, then I can’t truly be  an adult.

Conversely, it implies that once someone is an adult they stop learning and growing, which is possibly the most laughable part of this whole conspiracy. When you stop learning and growing, you aren’t an adult, you are dead.

Instead, I call shenanigans. I can have lucky charms for dinner and stay home or go out or cook a gourmet meal or get married or get pets or have kids or be single or work or not, without compromising my status as an adult. And I can always call my daddy. Being an adult is accepting that adulthood is what you make of it, and it is nothing like the movies. or pinterest.

“And she lived happily ever after” is three words too long.

“And she lived” is much much better.


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Wishin’ and hopin’ and thinkin’ and prayin’. Plannin’ and dreamin’…

I am struggling with love right now. As usual, my blog post is coming from half a night of tossing and turning and thinking. There is so much that I want out of my life and sometimes it just seems impossible.

 

Earlier this year, when everything was falling apart, I thought if I could get one thing back on track, the ship of my sanity would right itself. This has been mostly true. Since getting into smith I have stopped panicking all the time and I have a clearer sense that at least one part of my life is back on track.

 

The problem is that I still want the rest to work as well. I suppose I am impatient, but sometimes I just wish that everything was how it was supposed to be in my head. That I stop falling in love and was ensconced in it. It seems like there is always a qualifier after every person. They are perfect BUT…

 

How will I know? I have these amazing relationship models around me and I want what they have. Not exactly of course, but my version. I want it to be my turn. I guess I am just tired of swimming alone.

 

I know that the universe will work itself out. If my life thus far is any indication, I have absolutely no idea of what is actually best for me. Still, I have never been one to sit back and let things work themselves out. I always have to plan, even when it doesn’t work out at all.

 

I hope that someday, I can take a leap of faith with someone there holding my hand and jumping with me.

 

Right now, kisses and cuddles and footsie under the table would be just fine. Maybe a hand to hold every once in a while, if no one is looking.

 

He would be perfect, But…


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Overactive superego ahead: proceed with caution

(This was written During my term break while at a cabin in Vermont at 3 in the morning.)

One of the more unexpected (at least for me) side effects of this program is the amount of personal reflection and examination takes place. I think this is especially true for us first summer students who don’t have that client base to draw from when we are trying to muddle through the complex concepts presented in our classes.

The default is to use our own life and our own experience as the benchmark for exploration. This can be both incredibly positive and extremely problematic. Much of the time our own experiences add incredible insight and soul searching. The problem is that bit of time where our own experiences give us tunnel vision. All that can be true is what we know to be true. I suffer from this extensively I am sure. The rub is, when you do it, who are you to call yourself out?

I am a person who is constantly evaluating herself and working towards being a better version of me. Yet, as a social work student, I am thrust into realizations about myself that can be incredibly uncomfortable.

And I am one of the lucky ones. This program breaks you down to build you up. The intense workload and accelerated timeline is nothing compared the energy we all put into the internal and interpersonal growth that is necessary to become better social workers. The emotional output that is truly exhausting.

Additionally, the discourse we engage in both in and out of the classroom is difficult for me to swallow sometimes. Idealism surrounds me, but the harsh reality is it doesn’t really matter how much we debate theoretical concepts or try to understand our bias framework. We will never know enough. I will never know enough.

If I have learned anything from my first term here, it is that it is impossible to learn everything. I believe that this is the core truth that, intentional or not, this program is trying to make us understand. We will make mistakes. We do make mistakes.

Even among friends mistakes are made. This environment creates instabonding. It is a wonderful thing. I am serious. The friends I have made here and the support system that I have built is invaluable. Yet, no matter how accelerated our time warp is, six weeks does not true understanding create. A theoretical debate is only theoretical, until it accidentally triggers an adverse reaction in a friend. Those cracks are still being mapped. It is impossible not to step in it from time to time.

As always, I am a pragmatist. While I have learned to appreciate theory and how it can be applied in case work, I still believe that debating theory for the sake of debating is a waste of time. I categorize it the same way I do philosophy. While people (not me) might enjoy an engaging conversation on the subject, the only true value of theory is in its practical application.

In this way, I have not changed. I probably should. But, I have yet to find someone who can convince me that theoretical debate is anything other than taking someone else’s words out of context and flinging them around until it makes sense to you.

I don’t really know how much I have changed, or if I have at all. That will only come to light when I return to real life. This is not real life. This is a bubble where people speak like social workers and really want to know how you are doing, for real, not just as a polite passing remark.

One thing I do know is that I like myself. I really do. This is an interesting assertion since apparently we are supposed to come out of this year with some sort of apocalyptic change in our sense of who we are as people. Honestly though, despite uncomfortable realizations here and there, I am good with me. I don’t know if this means I am missing a big pink elephant, but I’m ok if I am. Who knows? I guess I will see when I hit the field.

I guess I am just comfortable sitting with the ambiguity.


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Wipeout!

On my way to class this morning my chin decided it wanted to become more intimate with the pavement. In other words, my board hit a rock and stopped. I did not stop. My chin took the brunt of the fall.

In the grand scheme of things this is no big deal. I have a scrape and a bruise and my face looks a little lopsided. Really. Not a big deal.

What is far more important is that I got up and continued skateboarding for the rest of the day.

“Why is this so important?” you ask.

“Im getting to it!” I reply.

 

There is something about my life you all should know by now. I fall on my face a lot. Both literally and metaphorically. I often need to use that ability to get right back to what ever I was doing before I felldowntripedgotbitcrashedwenttotheeroffendedsomeonescoredlowonatestwastoloudect.

Would I rather that I spent less time picking my self up and moving on? Of course. Is that a reasonable expectation? No.

 

“So what?” you ask.

“Hear me out.” I reply.

 

For the past weekish I have been in a bad mood. I couldn’t figure out why. Seemingly out of nowhere my relaxed carefree feelings of happiness turned grumpy. I was short (mood wise, physically I am always short), mopey, negative and sad. I had no idea why I couldn’t just pick myself up and move on.

Enter social work school’s ever-present omnipotence. In my theory of individuals class we were assigned to read “Mourning and Melancholia” by Freud. He describes melancholia as the act of mourning when you don’t know what you are mourning about. Wow. That seemed familiar. So, like any good social worker, I followed Freud’s advice. In order to pick my self up, I had to figure out what it was that was keeping me down.

So I dug in.

I looked close.

And, I figured it out.

“This story has no plot” you say.

“I’m getting to the point” I reply.

 

This morning, when I woke up I was in a better mood. This good mood continued through breakfast and was just hitting its stride into a great mood when,

Whap.

I fell on my face.

 

And then, I picked my self up, got back on my board and got my butt to class.

 

“how was your mood?” you ask.

“Fantastic” I reply.

 

 

 

(I would like to note that If this post makes no sense in anyplace but my head, oops. Cause it is midterms morphed into finals without a break for the second week here and I left my brain somewhere back around structural theory and social welfare policy)


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I got bit

Sometime sunday evening I got bit. At least I think I did. I figured it was no big deal, put on some anti-itch cream and went to bed. By 8:30 the next morning my ankle bone had disappeared. by lunchtime everyone was telling me to go the doctor and talking about flesh eating brown recluse bits (thanks SO much Erik). By 3pm when I got to the urgent care center I had a tough time removing my shoe. I was wearing toms.

Diagnosis: Allergic reaction to some sort of allergen. They couldn’t find any evidence of fang marks and I didn’t see what bit me so they can’t say for sure.

Treatment: Large done of time release steroids, Doctor style Benadryl and instructions to call if my foot falls off or something.

 

And so my streak continues as the ridiculous hospitalized girl.When I told my brother what happened, his reaction: ” Ha. classic Abbie:”I didn’t even last three full weeks. But as Chris pointed out, “It is an accelerated program…”

Warning… Going any lower will expose you to some potentially gross out pictures.

 

 

IMG_1615 IMG_1616

The Circle marks where it was at 8:30 that morning

 

On the upside, It isn’t on my eyelid this time…

Edit: Puncture marks discovered! Self Diagnosis vindicated! Huzzah!


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Pop this bubble at your own risk

I have been at smith for 18 days and 11 hours. Approximately. In the time warp that is Smith SSW (school for social work) that is equivalent to around 6 months. possibly more. Each day here feels like a month but the weeks fly by. We live in this world where time is only used to inform us as to where we should be and the date is completely irrelevant excepting due dates of papers.

What is interesting about this time bubble is how much I don’t want it to pop. Intrusions of stressors from the real world are avoided as much as possible. I truly am taking a break from my life.

This doesn’t mean that it is always easy. I miss cuddling. I miss the love of my housemates and being held. I posted on the class Facebook that I wasn’t getting enough hugs. The response was great! I now instigated a hugging revolution😀

The format of this program promotes instabonding and it has happened. As soon as I arrived I found my people. It is a wonderful and fantastic part of the smith time warp. I truly feel that I have found more people here who think the same way as me than I ever had before. Granted that is not shocking given the circumstance, but it reinforces my believe that I am making friends who are true, not just conveniently placed.

I apologize to those outside the bubble if contact is sporadic, reception on campus sucks and sometimes it is easier to embrace my life-cation when I avoid dealing with issues intruding from the outside.

This doesn’t mean don’t reach out. I need you all and miss you all as much as one possibly can without exploding. call me. Offer me support and love (care packages are especially welcomed). Just don’t be offended if I don’t pick up. I am probably in a basement somewhere analyzing the use of freudian structural theory and how it applies in a psychodynamic family therapy session while simultaneously trying to solve the worlds problems by using social welfare policy to influence group dynamics.

And if anyone on this coast want to drive up and take me out to dinner, just say the word. Everyone has got to eat, right?

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