Here I write a blog about change and yet I have been seemingly avoiding writing in the most critical time of my numerous changes. Ironic. I know. You see first it started with finals, taking my last exams proving I was worth a college degree. A B.S. in Mechanical Engineering even. That still boggles my mind and my gratitude is immense towards G-d for carrying me through such a challenging major. Then came farewells, see you laters and good byes to my classmates, peers, colleagues, friends and crushes. It is a devastating way to leave and yet there is much grace and beauty to knowing the strength in those strong bonds and the fact that I so often like to say; if we are meant to see that person again, we will. The wonder of technology these days makes this statement more real than ever. So maybe it’ll just be a sweet text or like on facebook but you’ll know they are still there. Doing what they’re doing and as my high school coach always preached they will, “keep on keepin on”. Those first weeks I was still in shock and very much enjoying the break from university stress. I immediately discovered this openness in my heart to love and be loved be those I am surrounded by. I found an ability to see the good. I was no longer blinded by the weight of stress, school and a degree waiting to be achieved. Its like all of a sudden my mind was cleared and I am allowed to see things for how they really are and to truly set and work towards an even healthier lifestyle that I had been wanting. Amazing isn’t it. However those weeks I felt too much. I was beyond elated by the love and light in the world and simultaneously distraught and sad that those relationships had suffered so much. Time had not waited for me to be done with school. Lives marched on. But I am grateful for what I had and what I have. I still feel like the richest woman in the world and my whole life, today, clearly packs into 48 different sized boxes. (I know it sounds like a lot…but it isn’t). The beginning weeks of being a university grad I nearly fell asleep in tears every night because of the overwhelmingness of everything. Of goodbyes and farewells and of “I don’t know when I will see this person again” or worse “or if I will see this person again” (G-d forbid, but I am just being real blunt about the reality I face. Amidst these intense emotions I found myself with tickets abroad heading on a trip that sounded amazing. I didn’t go. For the first time, I had found that for whatever reason their was not a clearly defined purpose to this trip. My friends and family supported me but all I heard was hesitation in their backing. I suppose I was listening for that. As I was not ready for this trip. My heart was not all in, as it should be. I’ve realized that is ok, and I am glad I listened to my heart as a compass. It often leads where I wish to go. Since then I haven’t done anything too crazy or out of the ordinary but being able to spend more time eating lunches with my dad, coffee dates with friends, random tea parties, macaron baking, museum trips and little hikes have been more than enough. Even just sitting in my room and making phone calls trying to set up things for my move have felt like a blessing. Enjoying sabbath dinners and walks with friends or conversations with my mom have felt worthwhile. I have even been battling a throat and nose phenom and yet it feels ok. I feel content and happy. I feel like as my world and my life was packed into boxes today it was “alles ok” or “hacol beseder”. My brother graduated high school and we celebrated as a family and just simply sitting in the living room all together and being all there was and is more than enough. It seems this time and this season is filled with new changes and much uncertainty but I am beginning to realize that it is part of taking a leap of faith and asking for G-d to provide each of the members of my family with the guidance, wisdom, discernment, decisions and preparations for the changes ahead. I am grateful for the 48 boxes of my life but I realize that those crates are simply things and stuff. They are not me nor do they define me. I look in the mirror and see a beautiful woman learning it is more than ok to just be me and do what works for me. To not worry about what others think or care if someone likes my posts or not. I am beginning to feel the comfort of the skin I have been blessed with and am learning that I see my soul in my smile more and more. I am grateful and happy because as Matthew McConaughey said, “Life’s not fair. It never was, isn’t now and won’t ever be. Do not fall into the entitled trap of feeling like you’re a victim. You are not,”.
This afternoon as the strange cloud coverage lowered itself into the sky, I finally said to myself, “its good enough” and turned in my last final. After I had just turned in my hardest final, ever, a 20+ hour take home exam (it was crazy hard). As I submitted my exam I put away my study sheets and casually walked out the testing center. Outside the air had cooled down a bit. I felt free. I felt like a weight had been lifted off my shoulders. Of course there is still the uncertainty as to whether or not I actually passed, G-d willing I did/do though. I calmly walked to a building on main campus and picked up my cap and gown! Getting to see these academic faculty who have cheered me on along the way throughout my journey was rather special and joyful. Much laughter and gratitude towards G-d and all He has blessed me with.
Then I ran a few errands, as I finally had time to. As I took my time back to my apartment I ran into a friend who quickly waved hello expecting me to run off and have something else in need of getting done. However, I did not and was able to actually stop and have a nice conversation with this friend that I really have no made time to talk to this semester which is a shame. He had even mentioned the fact that I usually am so busy that I am running off to do something. It was a bit bittersweet. Not because of what he said. Rather, I have been told this by many friends who just understand how I am while in school. Its sad though. Its a shame because I feel as though the people that have been exposed to that side of me do not get to see the fact that I care about them and that I do appreciate even there small “hellos” amidst my hectic schedule. The reality is that my schedule always has time for those who are really important and maybe at a time these friends were or maybe they were just study buddies. As I write my thoughts away, I feel reminded to not worry about what others think and I have been working strongly towards this. I just hope that all who cross my path understand they have impacted me even in the slightest way. The conversation wrapped up and we headed on our separate paths. It was especially nice to stop. To smell the roses, in a sense. To be able to make time and care for people the way they deserve to be treated. To make new fun and beautiful memories.
Afterwards I went for a run. As my emotions felt jumbled I realized there were no words to describe the feeling. However, I will try! I couldn’t help but smile and yet periodically thoughts would cross my mind that made me almost in happy, amazed, inspired tears. It blows my mind. There have been numerous times the past 5 years that I wanted so badly to quit. I wanted to give up. I desired to rip up tests or assignments which I didn’t understand. So many instances I wished I could change majors or just stop going to school. Here’s a fun fact about me. I hate school. Ok maybe that is a really strong word. However, I DO NOT like school. I really do LOVE learning. I just feel like I learn more from experiences like traveling and working in industry. For whatever reason, maybe it was just me being stubborn but I would never get to the point of actually leaving the idea of pursuing a Mechanical Engineering degree. Even after the accident, amist forgetting ALL of my math. Instead I hopped on the struggle bus and took the path less known. I had to put more hours in and its almost as if I gained strength through the intensity of the challenge of engineering. And here we are today. Done. (hopefully). It seems very real and yet beyond incredible. Basically my run just kept getting better as I couldn’t help but think of how G-d has literally carried me and guided me along the way. He has blessed me with enough wisdom, discernment and understanding to get to today. It blows my mind!! Literally. So as I finished my quick loop outside, I went straight to the gym and continued my run on the treadmill. Where I finished with a sprint that I was holding at 6:53 pace!!! Say what? Thank G-d!!!!
As this day continued on I prepared for a fun Senior Late Night Breakfast which the University puts on at the end of the semester. Wow. It was a bit emotional and even know is bringing tears a bit to my eyes. These faculty who I have come to know well, each said in a few words how inspired and amazed they are with me. I just turn it all to G-d for it is Him in control of everything! The vice president (who I would be honored to call him a friend) stopped me in the midst of all the excited seniors. Simply, he said something like “you’ve done something harder than anyone else here”. Wow. I can still see it clearly in mind. It felt as though time stopped. I was in the moment and it was comforting. I owe it all to G-d for He is my strength, my rock, my healer and my redeemer!!!
It is nice to hear such encouragement and support during this transitional time. I know engineering is hard. I know having a traumatic brain injury is frustrating. I know I have been working against the odds. I am aware of what people say. However, I believe everyone is given what they can achieve. This doesn’t mean that any different degree is less hard or that people are working less hard. In fact I know had I followed through and switched majors I would have probably struggled more than I did in engineering. This is because I feel as though I am meant to be an engineer! B”H!
One day I hope to be married and having tons of kiddos running around. However for now this is the time I am meant to be an engineer and to G-d willing help make cars safer. To go from a car wreck 2 a car engineer feels like my calling. At least for the time being. It does not mean that I cannot have my other dreams at the same time as my purpose. G-d willing all these desires will one day mesh nicely. However, I am beyond grateful for this life that I have been blessed with. I feel overwhelmed and amazed with G-d and His plans for my life. Maybe, just maybe I am living the life I once dreamed of. And, maybe, just maybe I will change the world. With engineering. With cars. With who G-d has blessed me to become! to Him be the glory!
When G-d says He has a plan for you, it really does not matter if you understand or can see it. It will be filled with hope and a future beyond your wildest dreams. (Based off Bible Verse Jeremiah 29:11)
Tonight I simply feel like crying myself to sleep. Maybe I’m tired, maybe I’m in the moment. It could be the emotions of the evening or the frustration playing soccer today and yet have an amazing team dinner following. Maybe its just there is so much going on in my life, thank G-d! Regardless of why my emotions are strung out here is why I really wanted to write at this late hour of the day.
While serving the homeless the stories swapped brought much from the past. I’m all about moving forward, but, sometimes staying back even if just for a moment is important in the healing process. It started at our third stop, expected to a be long visit. It started out beautiful as we lit these ridiculously giant candles and carried them out of the car and began singing happy birthday to this guy M, our friend. He seems to be sweet and we always try to go out of our way for our Tuesday night friends’ birthdays. Anyway after we fed our friend with warm burritos, homemade cookies and some kool-aid like punch we began hearing more about their weeks, the good and the bad.
Now to bring you up to the next story, we got to our next stop and people just kept coming in. It was powerful to see and serve so many people at once in a place where they are normally so split up. Then this woman, C, showed up with a bandage around her head. I knew from then, that I needed to talk to her. She blessed me with such an amazing conversation. She shared with me how this particular traumatic brain injury, TBI, happened. We exchanged stories and frustrations of TBI. It was nice to know I am not alone. It was hard to remember the pains and challenges of TBI, especially at the beginning but even still now. It made me realize that it still frustrates me when people make fun of something I say when it comes out wrong or sounds stupid. Its like sometimes my brain is dyslexic with words or sounds or letters and sentences, statements and questions come out confused or mixed up. Sure it is easy to laugh at these situations, it make the situation seem a little better. HOWEVER, we talked about how it is frustrating how other people might not understand this, even those close to us. Sometimes they are the ones to correct our wording or making fun. Its out of love and its out of not fully understanding our brain. Not that we are much better, but we both were able to express our irritation. It was nice to know that I’m not crazy for being super fearless regarding certain situations and yet being extremely terrified of others (situations). Its painful and being frustrating that TBI cannot be seen, so people struggle to understand! It breaks my heart when I meet others in the pain that I know so well. It hurts me to know I am still broken. To know I will never be “normal”, whatever that is. To know that people don’t understand me sometimes and sometimes, more than not, I don’t understand them. TBI makes certain truths beautiful and wonderful and others hidden. TBI is like playing a game in your head of not always know what the next word is and sometimes you guess wrong. TBI for me is not always knowing the right things to say at the right time or not speaking up and being a good advocate for myself. Maybe thats why sometimes I become friends with people who think they can manipulate me. I thank G-d for often waking me out of these situations and helping me to realize that I can make decisions that are good and that it is unnecessary to have unhealthy relationships. That I am capable of more than I can see. I can achieve and strive towards goals to better myself. I do NOT have to accept mediocrity even with TBI. I thankful for friends who are there for me, especially on bad days. As the tears flow and the words come out, I am just reminded how grateful I am to have shared a TBI conversation with someone out on the streets living a much more challenging life. I had intended to encourage and lift her and instead, I feel she did that for me.
I nearly forgot about the next point I hoped to share with you. When I saw the woman, C, tonight with the bandage on her head and knew that I needed to speak to her it was for the simple reason that maybe, just maybe, I would understand what she is going through because I’ve been there even if some of those memories are fuzzy. Maybe we don’t know why bad things happen or why we are each given specific trials. I like to think though, that maybe, just maybe, we were made for moments like this evening; where we have opportunities to shed light on this dark and difficult times for others because we know what its like. I choose to believe that G-d continues to help me heal and live with a TBI to connect and educate those I come in contact with. And I believe that it is ultimately to bring glory to G-d!
Today I am grateful for hard decisions. I like to believe that some decisions are hard in order to make the results worth that much more. I am reminded of the book Do Hard Things by Alex and Brett Harris which I had to read my freshmen year of college. This book along with an answer to my prayer seemed to encourage me to step out of my comfort zone and take the higher math class when I was presented with the opportunity (despite all my past math struggles). Or about my decision to go on birthright last year and then to make the decision to extend and stay longer. These are just two examples of decisions I had to make and that I felt pulled to make. I battled with what to do for a good chunk of time until I was remembered that I would much rather try and fail thousands of times than sit back watch and always wonder if I could have succeeded. All that being said, hard decisions are frustrating and difficult or different than what I am used to. But for me, the hard decisions often have simple answers at the right time and are driven by faith and the compass of my heart and soul. Hard decisions have led to some of the biggest opportunities that I’ve been blessed to experienced. Let’s go out and do hard things (and answer our hard decisions).
This early morning I find myself having trouble getting some shut eye but it’s ok. I was up till 2 working on a big project for one of my engineering classes and I probably put more time and effort into it than I needed. And the thing is, in a few hours I’ll be at it again finalizing everything for the presentation I have on Monday.
The weird thing is that this person who lied to me, and caused me to become more skeptical and questioning of a good situation in my life decided to text me multiple messages after 3am. I say it’s weird because I’m over being friends with someone who causes pain and yet wants to be liked. She hurt me. I had trusted her, I didn’t expect her to do such things, and yet, then her true colors bled through. It’s really sad actually. It’s sad that it caused me to question whether a truthful guy I liked was telling me the truth…regarding a phone number that could be fake for all I know, that she gave me. Sad how things went down. Sad especially because it was over a phone number. Sad because the guy is not in my life anymore.
However I’m reminded of other experiences mainly with other girls in the past who I thought were friends and yet when I began to have success in a particular area they began to crave it and it got in the way. I still remember an instance freshmen year where I happened to be one of three students to do well on an exam. This friend was upset as she failed. Then the next test came around and I failed and she did well and there was some comment of how we were “even” now. That made me mad. Why couldn’t both of us do well? Why couldn’t we both succeed? It wasn’t like there was an additional gold star if you got the highest grade. Especially for women in engineering, we should not be seeing one another as competition, instead we should be using each other as a support system for all the random and ridiculous challenges we face.
Flashback a bit further and I recall opening the rejection letter senior year of high school to my dream “reach” university. I remember being sad about the situation. However, it obviously wasn’t the right school for me or where I was supposed to go. Months later I had acceptance letters from all the other universities I applied to.
Back to today. Today I think of a couple different conversations that I have had the past few days. One was with my friend KA who said something like: healthy people are rare and hard to find…why aren’t more people honest like you. To which my response was in agreement. People that are in healthy states of being are hard to find, rare and even then may have different struggles to which they battle. The honesty factor I don’t understand either. I am honest and have learned it’s always easier to tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much because it’s in your heart and it’s the right thing. Sadly the rest of the world does not seem so transparent.
The second conversation was with my career advisor, M. Although this particular conversation was months ago when I first had a mock interview with him. At the end he asked me a few questions regarding schooling, plans for post graduation and offered support and encouragement. One of the key takeaways I gained from the conversation is when he said, “don’t settle”. I am working more and striving further to live this out in all areas not just in choosing a job/company. It seems that if you do not allow yourself to settle, or sell yourself short, that you just might wind up with just what your deserve and maybe even better! You know your worth, your value and you don’t let silliness get the best of you. I think this concept can be applied not just in work, but especially in friendships/relationships and all that you do.
All in all, what I am saying is that I am grateful for experiences and people who have rejected or caused pain to me. Not because of the pain or heartache but rather it reminds me that it was just not meant to be. That it leads me to healthier experiences and healthier people. It leads me to be a healthier person and to detox from such toxic scenarios. I shouldn’t have to fight so hard for something I deserve whether it be a job, a man or a friend. When it’s right, it’ll work and both parties involved will work towards success even when outsiders attempt to intrude. To me rejection is horrible and hurts yet it validates who I am today, where I was and now where I am going. That sounds ridiculous however rejections lead to change because hope has diminished. However now there’s a new light, once I get past that rejection I’ll move into a new acceptance and love and warm embrace that I may have never got to experience had things panned out different.
So here’s to:
Support. Love. Encouragement. Truth. Respect. Honor. Candor. Give. Patience. Worth. Health. Rare. Beautiful. Powerful. Change. Being me.
After a restful shabbat (sabbath) and being able to rest, rejuvenate and reboot for the week ahead today has been really helpful. Being able to have time to read, reflect and think has been good for my soul. Then hanging out this evening with one of my good friends and being able to catch up on the past month and on where we hope each of our futures are headed was wonderful. My friend, K, and I have a cool friendship that we happened to talk about tonight. Its funny because she graduate two years ago and at the time we weren’t really friends just acquaintances. She had studied Mechanical Engineering as well, yet for whatever reason we just never really became friends. Then last fall she was the TA and Lab instructor for my physics 2 course. She helped me to gain better understanding and application of the tough conceptual and physical questions. Along the way we realized we had so much in common and found ourselves talking and life outside of engineering and there our friendship was formed. It is an awesome friendship because often one of us is able to say just what the other needs to hear and yet is truthful enough to challenge the other to “do hard things” in order to achieve what we each truly want. She is awesome and such a blessing.
This evening I was talking about my uncertainty of what lies ahead upon graduation. It is something I have been struggling with ever since ending my internship in Ohio. I have been exploring and continue to explore all sorts of options because I just don’t know what is next or what I want to be next. However, K reminded me to look at my strengths and weaknesses and to realize that no matter what I do I will be able to be successful as long as I see the potential in that “investment”. She encouraged me to continue to pursuing these various different options and to learn more about these opportunities and all them to play out a little further. I really needed to be reminded of my drive and my capabilities and for that I am grateful.
Yesterday I also had a conversation with my career adviser, M, who has been helping me along the road for opportunities post-grad. M, encouraged me to start making lists of my top 5 options currently. Within this list to write why I could do it, why I couldn’t. I think I lack confidence in my capabilities and being reminded of my capabilities and drive has been really helpful.
All in all, what I am saying is I don’t know whats next. AND, its ok. It’s ok, because I am learning more about myself, my strengths, weaknesses and being reminded that once I figure out what I want, as long as G-d is also cool with it, then all that’s left is for me and my drive to push further. So unlike my post back in September, I do not feel lost in the maze of life and opportunities. Instead I am in the midst of the maze and searching each door and figuring out which path might lead me in the direction I wish to move. My next move is a question and uncertain, however, isn’t that the beauty in the game, the journey and the road ahead.
Today I wake up grateful for my eyes. I am thankful to be able to see, to have good vision and despite having to wear glasses when my eyes are tired or while I am reading or on the computer. I am grateful my eyes are supported naturally by my orbitals even though at one point I had an implant in to assist in keeping everything in place. I am just so thankful to be able to see. I have always thought about how hard it must be to be blind. The beauty of G-d’s creation, I am able to see with my eyes and for that I am thankful. However, I bet if I were blind, I would see who people really are regardless of how they look. Maybe thats the thing, you can see something or someone and not fully see it. Then experiences happen that show you what it is or who they are. It may still remain hard to “see” because of previously not knowing.
I also am so grateful to only have to go to the eye doctor, once a year now. There was a point after the accident that I felt like I was going almost every six months to check on my eyes and see how they were doing. There were concerns of scratches or glass or almost anything, especially because my eyelids had been slit and needed to be sewed back together, post accident. I remember before the accident always saying how much I disliked going to the eye doctors and did not want to ever have to go through getting my eyes touched by the machine that measures the pressure in your eyes. Yup, and then the accident happened and guess what? I had no choice but to allow my eye doctor to perform the test. I wouldn’t even allow the nurses. I literally fought with a nurse one time because I did not want her to touch my eyes. Isn’t it funny how there are things that I never would have wanted or thought I needed yet G-d, saw it necessary. Just blows my mind.
Dispite all the struggles with eye doctors, eye therapy (yes I went through this too) and my eyes, I am more than grateful to be able to open my eyes each morning and see. I am grateful for those moments of true sight whether it be taking in the view atop 11,000ft mountains, the sight of love when two marry, and seeing who people really are. That is vision.