Off To Cross The Pond

Tomorrow I will be catching a plane that will take me across the Atlantic Ocean to the great city of London. Everyone keeps asking me if I am ready slash excited.  My response is “of course” or “I can’t wait” but on the inside I am freaking out!!

Don’t get me wrong, I really am excited and I’ve always wanted to travel alone and be independent.  But I am also not afraid to admit that this is scary.  I’ve never been on a flight  alone unless you count going from Dallas to Houston, which one can hardly consider a flight.  I don’t know the first thing about getting through customs, finding the right train and then figuring out the bus system all while rolling two suitcases.  Luckily, I’ll be in a city where English is the main language but the idea of struggling through a foreign city alone makes me a little tense.  I think I am just psyching myself out and there will be no reason to fret because I’ve been there before. I know I will be fine but that is not really calming the nerves hence a blog post at 1 a.m.

For those of you who have no idea what I am talking about, I will be studying abroad for the remainder of May.  I am going with 15 others from OSU and we will be studying PR and Advertising at the Regents College in London.  I am beyond blessed to have this opportunity and despite my temporary freak out, I will take every moment to my advantage.  I hope one day to work abroad so this could be the Lord opening a window.  We will just have to see.  I am writing this blog for my mother who I know will be reading this religiously, if she can figure out how to get to this website.  I know everyone will be super curious to hear about the random and amazing things that will be taking place while I am across the pond.

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The Problems with Online Diagnosis

I am a hypochondriac.  This is not an actual diagnosis but because of websites like WebMD I have decided that I am a hypochondriac.  The issue with being a hypochondriac and having the ability to look up my symptoms online means that I automatically assume I have that disorder or disease.  Most people find this a joke and think that it’s funny when I talk about it but this is a real life problem.

After watching several seasons of Grey’s Anatomy, I came across an episode that contained a woman who was a bit of a hypochondriac and she made a statement that makes the best argument for people like me.

I still think this could be stomach cancer.  And when I get a headache, I think it’s a brain tumor.  And I lay awake at night and feel lumps in my breast and then my heart starts to race and I think I’m having a heart attack.  So no, I don’t think it was just a pimple.  The world is a scary place. And there are a thousand things a day that can kill you. And I don’t see how you don’t see it.

This describes perfectly how every person who is a hypochondriac feels.  It’s fear.  We are afraid of having the worst possible situation happen to us.  For me, I am mostly an optimist.  I look on the bright side of almost every situation except when it comes to my health.  I will always come to the worst possible situation as I am waiting for my test results to come back. I Google symptoms like it’s my job and I can almost always come to the conclusion of having a tumor or cancer because that’s what all WebMD diseases lead to.  I’ve done better at not jumping to conclusions but it is not easy!

This week I have been to the doctor twice being treated for a common cold or at least what I thought was a common cold.  Monday morning as I was waiting for the test results to come back, I started to panic.  Thoughts of mono, strep, tonsillitis filled my head as I sat there alone just waiting.  When he came back he told me it was just a bacterial infection. I was okay with that yet still slightly panicked at the fact that I am sick.  However, Monday night came and my fever spiked to 103.6 which sent me over the edge.  I thought my brain was going to fry and that I would start seizing and no one would be able to help me.  I automatically assumed my brain was going to turn to mush and that I was going to die.

This is not the best example of my minor tendencies to diagnose myself but it is the most recent.  I assume that I am going to die of a fever or that I have cancer because of a dark freckle or that a simple cut on my leg is going to result in amputation.  I can’t explain why I feel this way but the best reason I can find is that I am scared.  I am scared of the doctor. I am scared of surgery. I am scared that I will get sick and won’t be able to be surrounded by the people that I love.

So to all of those out there that sometimes jump to the worst case scenario or quickly diagnose themselves on WebMD, you are not alone!

The Dreaded Holiday Party Question

I know it is a little early to be talking about holiday parties but the anxiety is already starting to kick in.  I have a large family and we are all very close.  I am close to my cousins, aunts, uncles and grandparents.  We have awesome family gatherings and I love every moment of them except when we have family reunion type parties.  Occasionally we have extremely large parties with family members I’m not even sure how I’m related to them.

When I was younger, I was extremely tall for my age. So the reoccurring question at the “family get-together” was “So do you play basketball?”. My reply for many years was “No, I’m a cheerleader and that’s all I really spend my time doing”.  The next year I would get the same question most likely from the same people and because I wanted to humor them I kept replying, no.  Eventually this got quite frustrating, so one year I decided this had gone on for far too long.  When the time came for this holiday party, I greeted everyone and that’s when the questions came like clockwork.  Since I was a cheerleader I knew all of the stats about the games and how they were doing in regards to playoffs.  So when asked, “Do you play basketball?” I quickly responded with “Yes and we are doing so well this year. We had a game this past week against our rival school and it was a close one but we won! We should be going to play-offs and we are all really excited!” Luckily he bought it and went on his way to the food table.  Those were the easy days.

Then I got older, more high school and college age, and the questions got awkward.  They ask the easy questions sometimes, “What are you majoring in? Where do you want to go after college? How do you like Oklahoma?”. Then they spring the slightly more awkward questions, “So Jennifer, are you seeing anyone?”.  That is the million dollar question.

Like I mentioned earlier I have a big family. Part of that is having two female cousins exactly the same age as me, one on my mom’s side and one on my dad’s side.  In high school they both had long-term relationships which lasted through several holiday parties, I on the other hand, didn’t have a boyfriend or had a different one every holiday party.  So this made this particular question super uncomfortable since I was almost always standing near my cousins.  Now, this is not supposed to be a blog making you feel sorry for me. It’s intended for you to get a glimpse of my awkward life.

Sometimes I just reply with, “I’m focusing on my school so not much time for boys”.  If I’m talking with my grandfather or someone I know really well I usually try to brown nose a bit and throw in “I haven’t found anyone as great as you so I don’t want to waste my time”.  After I’ve received the question several times it gets old so I just say “Nope” and head straight to the food table.

I don’t have a problem with being single.  I have a problem with the fact that everyone in my family is dying for me to be in a relationship.  It’s like because they are of an older generation that they expect me to get married right out of college and the concept of me pursuing a career is crazy.  Now, this isn’t everyone in my family but this is true for several. I do appreciate them being concerned for my well-being but there are hundreds of other things you could ask me that don’t involve my relationship status.

And I know I can’t be alone in this because they make movies about people getting this question so I can’t be the only one. So for all of you who are single and get this same question, how do you respond? The holiday parties are about to begin and I have not come up with a witty comment.

Please, I’m begging you. Feel free to leave a comment and help me out with this one!

My Life With A Narcoleptic Roommate

Three years ago I met a girl who would eventually turn out to be my roommate for two years in a row.  When I met her I had no idea she was narcoleptic and to be honest I didn’t actually know what that meant.  It wasn’t until we were doing the standard roommate test questions  when we had the discussion of her illness.

For those of you who don’t fully understand what narcolepsy is, the dictionary defines it as,

 a rare condition characterized by sudden and uncontrollable episodes of deep sleep.

If you still don’t quite understand, here is a video of the narcoleptic dog.

Now my roommate is not this bad.  She does however fall asleep a lot if she does not take her medication.  At first this never seemed like a problem until it came time for pillow talk.  I can be having a conversation about my day and only be talking for maybe a minute or two and when I stop talking, waiting for her reply, I look up and she’s asleep. She can fall asleep in 17 seconds.  That is fast.

But it isn’t just in our room that she falls asleep.  Sometimes it happens in class or even during chapter or important meetings.  She can’t help it and I do feel bad that I find it funny  but it is a funny illness.  I can understand those who have it find it annoying and inconvenient but to those who don’t, it’s quite comical. I’ve gotten use to talking to myself and that happens more than I would like.  But I think that’s what makes her so unique and awesome! Her brain may put her to sleep against her will but she has such a creative mind that I am sure she is going somewhere!

I feel like the really creative and talented people have quirks about them.  And that is my roommate.  She falls asleep when I’m telling her about the squirrels that chased me to class and she falls asleep while writing a paper with her hands on the keys.  Life with a narcoleptic roommate is awesome.  I have absolutely no complaints!

Since she falls asleep, I take it upon myself to document her being asleep all the time. Here is some of my collection of narcoleptic photos.

What The Heart Wants

When I was little, I always wanted to be a princess. I was sure that I was switched at birth and was destined to be apart of a royal family. I would dress up and twirl around in my sparkly gowns just waiting for the moment to arrive that I would find my destiny. But as I grew up I realized I am definitely my parent’s child and my hopes of being a princess were smashed. I knew in my heart that I was a princess but my DNA told me differently.

I have witnessed first hand that the heart wants what it can’t have. It’s an uncomfortable and painful moment when you realize that what you want so badly is not exactly in the plans.  After coming to terms with the fact that I was not going to be a princess, I wanted to be a ballerina. But yet again, that was not the plan for my life despite how badly I wanted it to happen.

As I’ve grown up, my heart has wanted different things.  There have been times where my heart was set on someone I thought I could love.  No matter how much my heart felt for that person, it was not God’s plan for them to be apart of my life. Even after this realization, my heart still desired the unobtainable.  How is that possible? It seems only logical that you would want and adore something you have not something or someone who is out of reach.

It’s been said that “the heart wants what it cannot have” and this quote has always frustrated me, mainly because it has always made sense to me. Even as a little girl, my heart wanted exactly what it could not have.  As an adult now, I see that more through relationships, friendships, career paths and overall dreams. I want more than anything to graduate, move to Italy and have a career in international advertising.  The odds of that actually happening are extremely small but I can’t help but dream about it.

Another example of this is last year when I didn’t get a job as a summer camp counselor.  I came to terms that I was supposed to do something else with my summer free time and I was excited about my new summer plans.  But the day that I had to drop my brothers off at the same camp that rejected me, my heart flipped.  I wanted so badly to be there welcoming the new campers, surrounded by an incredible staff and praising God all at once.  Obviously, that was not going to happen since it was the middle of summer but for me, that didn’t matter. I thought about it for the next few days and could not shake the feeling of failure and jealousy.

So why is it that our heart longs for what is extremely difficult or impossible to have? Is it because as children we were taught that our dreams were never too outrageous to achieve? Or is it because we feel entitled to things in life and are disappointed when they don’t fall perfectly into place? Maybe I’m alone in this thought but I can’t help but think about this heart struggle and be deeply bothered.

I’ve come to the conclusion that even though we want something with all of our heart, maybe that’s not what is best for our life.  We don’t know the plans for the future and to sit and dwell on something that is never going to happen is just wasting life.  I will never be a princess. It’s just not going to happen but if I focus all of my attention on that I lose the life I am given now.  So the moral of this very long and semi cheesy blog post is to be happy with what you have now.  The heart will chase the things you love so surround your life with people and activities that make that happen.

My Unusual and Irrational Fear

Most people are afraid of spiders, heights, sharks and other logical terrors. Not me. I developed a fear that some may say is irrational and it probably is, but it is still my biggest fear nonetheless.  I am absolutely terrified of having my Achilles tendon cut. I know what your thinking, how is that even a realistic fear? To be honest, it’s not likely that someone will be hiding under my car with hedge clippers but the fear is still very there.

I realized I had this fear about 5 years ago when a friend grabbed my Achilles tendon as a joke.  The sheer terror that consumed my body was like nothing I’ve ever experience before.  I guess I have a very sensitive Achilles so having it pinched by anyone or anything legitimately makes me weak in the knees.

I also have an over-active imagination so my Achilles tendon being severed is a very realistic accident.  Do you know what happens when your Achilles tendon is cut? The tendon shrivels up your leg and you are unable to walk.  How terrifying is that?! Even the idea of that happening makes it difficult to write the words down.  I attempted to do some research on the specific details of what happens when it is torn or ruptured, I was unsuccessful.  I started to get queasy just looking at the pictures. I’m sure the people around me in class were staring at my minor freak out while I was reading the shocking information.

I did however make it to a few statistics without passing out in the middle of class. There are over 230,00 Achilles tendon injuries in the U.S. every year. That is just the number in the United States alone.  That is a very high number for injuries to the Achilles heel. So my irrational fear is actual a possibility.This is serious stuff people! This is not a joke!

As I was quickly skimming the articles, the words pop, tear and rupture occurred more than once. If any of those verbs actual were to happen to your Achilles heel, you would not be able to move because your foot would not work properly.  That is what I am truly afraid of.  Not to mention the surgery that would be needed to retrieve the Achilles tendon from being shriveled up your leg.

And on that note, I need to go lay down because this makes me nauseous.