It’s Certain Now

I’m graduating.

Some of you may know that my graduation ceremony happened over three weeks ago and be thinking, yes, yes we know, you actually already graduated, is it only now clicking?

Well I walked across the stage, shook the hand of the President of the university and was given a diploma holder, but three weeks ago it wasn’t certain I was going to graduate.

Now realistically it probably was certain based on where I was going into exams, but to be really, really literal, our final grades weren’t in yet so we had no way of knowing and I had one class, this oneeee classssss that was worrying me a bit.

You see it was an ethics course, Ethics in the Marketplace, and while a business course it was also branched under philosophy and the last philosophy class that I faced off with nearly got me. I just scraped through that one with a D and I honestly don’t know how I even managed that. It was required for my minor and heading in I didn’t know it was philosophy. The methods and arguments all seemed so confusing and it being an 8:30am class probably didn’t help a whole lot either. When I sat down in my first Ethics class in January, a required course for my major, and found out it was a philosophy course my heart sank. And then, to top it all off, 20% of our grade was reliant on participation. My last philosophy course had gone badly and I’d never taken a business course; I felt at rather a disadvantage.

A few weeks in, time comes round for the first assignment to be due and the instructions were a bit vague so I did my best and waited to see what my mark would be. The day the assignments were being handed back I logged online to peek at my mark before the papers came round and was floored to see I had a 0. 0%? How can you even get 0% if you handed anything, like literally anything, in?!

After class I went up to the prof because my paper hadn’t even been handed back and he was like, “Oh yeah, did I forget your email in my inbox? Whoops! I’ll get that to ya as soon as I can!” (Super chill guy, probably my second favourite prof throughout university. Has like flowing, shoulder-length, ringletted, white hair and a double piercing in one ear in which he always has a set of two hoop earrings. I say he’s the retired pirate prof)

So next class, before it starts, he comes and stands in front of me and says, “So we have a problem.” My stomach drops and I’m nearly panicking, did I do it completely wrong? Did I misunderstand everything? Am I going to fail? Am I not going to graduate? Am I going to have to stay another year for this one course? Whyyyyy crueeeeel worldddddddddddd…. Etc.

“Your assignment is really good! You need to speak up more in class!” Relief could have melted me onto the floor in that moment. And while the class did end up being one of my favourites overall it was still very challenging. I always felt like I was uncertain in what I was doing and yet my marks usually implied I was doing alright so the exam was going to be the final test (like, literally, cause it was the last test, but like it also determined like everythi-you get it, it’s a bad pun :P)

Realistically I could have gotten 0 on the exam and passed the course, not well! But passed. Well, my mark was entered into the system two days ago. I done good guys… I done good.

I’m graduating.

The End of the World as We Know it

Today, something *cough* it’s, it’s like really hard to talk about – I’m sorry, I’m just getting a little emotional right now, but don’t worry, this too will pass…

Today, something terrible happened. I’ll start at the beginning:

The day is December 25, Christmas, of 2014. I have received an organized person’s dream gift, a box of jelly bellies sorted into flavours. You can NEVER choose the wrong flavour! You always get the one you wanted! Nothing can ever go wrong again, right?

WRONG!

Fast-forward to February 3, 2015 (yes, that’s today). I reach for the box of jelly bellies which still actually contains jelly bellies (yes, it is appropriate to gasp here). I open it, I take off the clear cover, and I look to my computer screen as I place the box down on my desk.

There is a crash and the sound of marbles rolling along the floor.

Only, it’s not marbles.

It’s… sorry, the pain is still fresh… it’s, it’s –
it’s my jelly bellies

The world as we know it has ended. #ripjellybellies

A post shared by Becca (@rlpdean) on

My mum calls down the stairs, “What was that?”. I simply respond with a heart-broken groan.
“Jelly beans?” She asks with a laugh. The cruel being doesn’t even know the difference between jelly bellies and jelly beans…
(Yes I suppose, all jelly bellies are jelly beans, however not all jelly beans are jelly bellies… not even close…)

I snapped a picture and sent it to my friends, expressing my intense grief.

They responded that they couldn’t breathe they were laughing so hard – the heartless wretches…

I did the only thing one can do in that kind of a situation… I turned on my desk lamp, got on my knees, grabbed the lid (which shows which flavour goes in which pocket) and began to decipher flavours…

photo

The world has been righted to a certain extent. I think I shall soon recover from the shock and panic of this evening. I may continue finding jelly bellies for days to come, however I will endevor to keep my jelly bellies fully placed on every flat surface they encounter lest they fall again. Every time I eat one, I shall remember – I fought for this jelly belly, I FOUGHT TO KNOW ITS FLAVOUR!

-B

I SURVIIIIIIIVED

Today I livetweeted my decent into madness, don’t worry, I’ll repost them all here in case you didn’t get to enjoy the crazy first hand (and there is a conclusion to this story at the end, so if you saw the tweets live, just head to the bottom)

Having been assigned to speak at youth group on Friday, Wednesday was the beginning of the madness. I decided a temporary assassination should do it, with me being revived around midnight tonight…

As of Thursday, no one had agreed to assist

Thursday evening: Giving up on the assassin, I decided I may need to prepare

Work was going swimmingly… and by that I mean drowning looked like a wonderful prospect.

My roommate sent me the link to a One Direction music video…

This afternoon, trying to knuckle-down and finish (read: start) preparing

Getting slightly distracted…

Back “on track”?

Got a little overdramatic at the end there…

Going through the evening with nerves building

And the stunning conclusion!

 

So. That was the decent into madness. It took about fifteen minutes for my breathing and heart rate to get back down to a normal pace afterwards, but I did it. I had no external panic attack, almost tears a few times, almost hyperventilated yesterday evening (so I shut down the computer and went to bed immediately. Had a bit of a time falling asleep but I think it was the best solution), thought I was going to be sick this evening but I was okay. I spoke fairly clearly and hopefully not too fast. I used most of the time I was given (I think) and the kids seemed to be listening, one of them came up afterwards to talk to me about it (always a good sign) so I just need to work on trusting God, obviously! What spooks me about speaking in this kind of context is not the speaking in front of a crowd, I love that, I’m a drama queen, the world is my stage, etc. It’s the prepping of the message, it’s the faith that what I’m preparing is truly what God wants to say to the people and not me making things up. It’s the impartation of knowledge, the responsibility of teaching these people something. That throws me for a loop… Give me something someone else has written and I’m good. Ask me to write something and my stomach lurches. However, lots of people prayed for me and I felt good about it once I had finish writing it (although I got a bit nervous again in the ten minutes or so before going up to speak).

I did the thing I do when public speaking or sharing with people though, it feels like my talking speeds up so I’m using more oxygen but my breathing rate stays the same and when this is happening the longer I talk the less oxygen I fine I have to work with and eventually I get to a point where I just have to pause and gasp for air. It’s kind of embarrassing…. However, I managed to avoid gasping, I had enough oxygen for today! I just need to work on slooooooowing doooooooown when I’m talking. I think I’m getting better, but I definitely need to work on it.

I think it was a good experience, I didn’t have a panic attack even when I thought I was going to yesterday evening, I managed to control it which I didn’t think I could do. It’s like when I’m fainting, it comes up slowly and you know it’s happening, but you’re helpless to stop it and (when fainting) everything slowly goes black and you’re gone. Previously my panic attacks have come up like that, slowly but determined and unbeatable, but this time when I felt it coming, I said, no. I prayed, I put aside the panicky thoughts and I moved on. It’s encouraging to know that I don’t have to have a panic attack before speaking, the two don’t come hand in hand. I was worried they might come together because I could just feel it building up, feel it coming, but it didn’t!! I didn’t enjoy the prepping and the three days of controlled panic but I think it was a good experience. Overall, 5.8/10, would rather not have to do again (but probably will have to…).

So, I’m alive and I get to sleep in tomorrow! Lovely how these things work out!
-B

Scared

I’m speaking at youth group tomorrow and for the past 24 hours I’ve felt like I was going to throw up every waking moment. I’m not fully prepared (I have all tomorrow afternoon thankfully) and I don’t feel confident in my ability to be able to do this. Last time I spoke at youth I had my worst a panic attack to date a few hours beforehand and I’m terrified that it’s going to happen again and I feel like I am setting myself up for failure because I’m not totally prepared yet and I feel so jittery and my heart is constantly racing and I know it’s all irrational fear because I don’t have a problem speaking in public it the speaking something I’ve written up that freaks me. If I was memorizing and reciting something some one else had written I’d be totally fine. If I was writing something for a video, I’d be totally fine making that video. If I was writing a paper, I’d be fine writing that paper. As soon as I know I’m going to have to present the words I’m writing though, I freeze up and the butterflies all come out of their coccoons and then I procrastinate because I’m freakin terrified and then I’m not prepared and my inner prefectionist throws a panic attack party and I end up in hysterics.

I’m so scared. I’m so, so scared. If you pray, please pray.
-B

Canada Day 2013

Today was Canada Day. My plan (as I’m not patriotic at all) was to stay home and watch some of my new Doctor Who dvds (I’ve got seasons 1, 3-6 now!) and basically, chill in some sweats with no make-up on.

Plans change though, amirite? My sister was going out to a BBQ thing with some of our friends and some of their friends and honestly, I didn’t want to go because to me that’s not a fun thing to do. Hang out in the blazing heat, eating outside with bugs, not knowing half the people in attendance, being at a stranger’s house. None of that is fun to me. (I’m the kid who chose to stop having birthday parties around age 11 because I “didn’t like parties”).

But earlier today my friends texts me and asks if I want to come. So being a lame antisocial hermit, I kinda panicked at the idea. What? Spontaneously do something? Hang out with people I don’t know? Go outdoors? Is that even humane…? But then I didn’t text back and say no thanks or, I’ll think about it like normal person. I just didn’t reply. *cue the headdesk* Once we’d cleared up my lack of RSVP however, they offered to pick me up after the BBQ so I could come to the fireworks with them. I didn’t want to do that either but they said they’d text me before they went.

So I put some socially acceptable clothes on, I put a little bit of makeup on (enough to no longer look like a pale ghoul) and hoped they wouldn’t call me so I wouldn’t have to go (my parents convinced me that I was being antisocial and it was started to concern them. I was going to turn out “weird”…). But they called. So I said I’d go.

Here’s the thing. I did want to go. If it had just been my one friend I’d have said yes in a heartbeat. It was the people I didn’t know, the strangers that were freaking me out. I was literally pacing trying not to have a panic attack before they picked me up. I CRIED. I was so freaked out by the idea of going out somewhere and worried that it would just be a pit of awkward that I started crying.

So maybe my parents have a point, maybe I do have a problem.

But I went. At first it was everything I’d imagined. Crowds, high people, drunk people, creepy people, arrested people, police, gangs, crazy kids running around, just people people people everywhere. I’ve never been somewhere so crowded. And we were trying to meet people. So about the first hour was awkward waiting and trying to connect with people on the delayed and jammed-up phone service in the area. Eventually we found our whole group and wandered about aimlessly because none of us were really interested in the bands, we were here for the fireworks. Some of us split off to go find a spot to watch the fireworks and it was then I heard it, an orchestra. Immediately I asked to go back and watch the orchestra, so we turned around and went back.

Now I think because I took ballet as a kid, that started my love for classical and orchestral music and when I get the opportunity to hear it live, you cannot tear me away. I was the only one in our subgroup interested in this music so I told them they could leave me there and continue on, I’d find them later. So I stayed alone in the crowds, with the high people, drunk people, creepy people, arrested people, police, gangs, and crazy kids and listened to the Winnipeg Symphony Orchestra play songs from Les Miserables, Chicago, Star Wars, Hook and some others. It was great, totally made my evening! By the time it finished it was dark (almost 11pm) so the fireworks were due to start soon.

We all got a little lost trying to find each other (cell service was awful!) but after the fireworks (which were lovely and loud! I don’t think I’ve ever seen fireworks live before) we reconnected and made it safely home.

So. My parents are right, I have issues and need to deal with some anxiety stuff going on and I have a feeling that it’s going to be crap trying to get out of the antisocial rock I’ve been hiding under partially because I’m pretty happy down there. I need to hang out with people in person because otherwise they’ll start to think that I’m not actually their friend, I’m just some weirdo with a computer. I can’t be the Marlin in this situation!

complicated emotion

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

So, to any friends reading this: Now you know, I have some social anxiety problems. So when I try and avoid social contact, I give you permission to call me out on it. And please don’t give up on me! Don’t stop asking, please, I want to keep friendships up and I kind of sort of maybe want to make new friends, it’s just a very scary thing for me and I know that might seem weird to you, but it’s what I’ve made my life into (which was a bad life decision. Make better life choices, kids!) but I need to keep making baby steps to come out from under my rock. I need to stop making the world about me, there’s other people out there too! So friends, call me out, but remember to let me start small!

Today was a small step. True, I ended up spending most of the time alone (which was totally okay by me, but maybe not good for improving social behaviours) but I went out. So that’s my baby step #1. Canada 2013, first step from under the rock.

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B