Where I’ve been

2 Nov

Dear everyone,

I realize that I have been completely absent from writing for all of summer and now the beginning of fall. Which is a bummer, because the title of this blog is Sincerely, Elisabeth and Annette and you’ve been deprived of 50% of what we’re advertising. So, because I really don’t like false advertising (no really! I watch countless informercials for comic relief!), Elisabeast is now back on the scene.

It’s been awhile. So bear with me if this post doesn’t live up to any kind of standard of wit and eloquence. I just want to lay down where I’ve been.

As you probably know, I had an internship at the Cincinnati Zoo working at the Cat Ambassador Program. This is our page on the zoo website, and this is our blog. Well, as you probably didn’t know, the internship actually turned into a big-girl job. The program had to move staff around, and suddenly there was an emergent need for a seasonal employee, and I was extremely blessed to be offered the job, and became the youngest trainer assistant at the program so far. Now, after being at the zoo for almost 6 months, my seasonal position is coming to a close. And now all I can do is reflect on what the experience has taught me about myself, where I fit in the world, and where I want to go.

You know, in high school, I was pretty ambitious. And by pretty ambitious, I mean manically driven to change the world without any perspective on what I was realistically capable of, what was reasonably plausible, and what I was actually passionate about. I wanted everything. I wanted to be the Olympic athlete, the only non-corrupt politician, the next incredible leader that generations of children would study in history books – “This is the girl that brought world peace. This is the girl that brought polar bears back from extinction. This is the girl that ended world hunger and global warming, and found a humane alternative to animal testing in laboratories – and she did it all before she was 25.”

I thought this was all possible because I wanted it so bad. I feel like I’ve written a post about this previously…that sentence just gave me some major deja vu. I based my educational experience on what I knew I was capable of, where I thought I needed to be to get the ball rolling, and under the impression that things always work out for the good guy.

After one terrible year, complete with depression and bad break ups and burnt cupcakes and broken taillights and major changes in plans of all shapes and sizes, I spent the past 6 months recovering. I spent the summer repairing my comic book-esque perception of reality: that the good guy always wins. That motivation and ambitions are the only true superpowers, and that’s all you really need to win your battles.

You still need motivation and ambition, sure. But, as it turns out, you need a lot of other things too. You need a lot of other things, not just to be successful,but to survive.

Where have I been? I’ve been getting myself together. I’ve been working on those skills that I thought I already had, but learned the hard way I most certainly did not.

Here’s a list. It’s been a long time since I’ve done an infamous list, so here’s a little refresher course:

1. I’ve learned that success isn’t the only place that happiness comes from. Happiness comes from anything if you try to see it: A cool breeze in the morning and the comfortable warmth of a late summer night. Being feet away from a real, breathing polar bear. A fresh polo after being completely soaked with sweat. A purring cheetah that says, to me, at least: “I’m content as long as I have a comfortable bed, a pan of raw meat, and a little human companionship. And that’s all I need to purr for hours.”

Being able to sleep solidly through the night without drugs. I love this life.

2. I’m only as tough as I let myself be. So I went headfirst and embraced my inner toughness. If I let the world walk all over me, it’s going to keep doing it until I stand up. That’s basic operant conditioning yo. I’m strong. When our house was robbed this past July, I wasn’t freaked out.When what we suspected were the previous robbers returned to run up and down our ally just to freak us out, I didn’t freak. We barricaded the doors, and armed ourselves with a shovel and a hockey stick just in case. I survived some crazy stuff this year – am I really going to be afraid of something as mundane as some hood thug, in my own house? No. Do the gunshots in Avondale scare me? No. If the answers to those things are no, should I really be afraid of my usual suspects? Failure? Mediocrity? Mental illness?

The answer is unequivocally no.

3. And going along with #2, I learned I can improvise. When money was tight this summer, I did what I had to do: I survived on a box of cereal for three days, I sold blood plasma like a boss, and started dog sitting with my roommate Audra. I worked unpaid 40 hours a week and 25-30 hours a week at the pool. If I could handle that, what’s a little schoolwork? What’s a little gym sesh? What’s embracing the life I want to live, even if it takes a little sweat and tears?

4. I want to write something about the connection between my brain and my heart, about how it’s getting better, about how I like to think before I act, about how sometimes “You only live once” is a great life motto, but sometimes it’s a little too all or nothing to be beneficial to rational thought, and maybe I don’t need to do anything and everything just to feel alive…but then I realize this isn’t really true of me. It never has, it probably never will be, and for now, I’m so cool with it. I live through experience. I live for the story. I live to be loud and passionate and unpredictable. I live for the kicks that make my life uniquely mine. And that’s justme. Maybe the connection between my brain and my heart is better because I’m cognizant of it. It’s whatever. I’m inviting you to come along for the ride.

5. I think I’ve always known that you need good music to make it through. Over the course of time, I find I really like dubstep. And this song, this song, this song, and this song.

I have so much more to put on the list. But I find some of the things that I’ve learned/skills I’m trying to acquire are hard to verbalize, and sometimes come down to simple, sometimes one-word explanations.

Peace. Learning to breathe. Poetry in motion. Shooting guns. Gratitude. Rolling with my homies. Recovery. I’ve experienced all of these things. Grew from them. And became some kind of better-adapted, level-headed, focused individual somehow.

I’m back ya’ll. And I really want to tell you more stories, but I have a lab report due and two midterms on Friday. So I’ll save those explanations for you for some other time, I absolutely promise. Catch you on the flipside.




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