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,”.
And there I was. Simply standing in the middle of my half packed apartment opening, with a slight bit of anxiety, the blackboard app on my phone to find out my final grade on the only class I was still waiting on. As I opened the app and scrolled to the bottom I was happy to see a C grade on the final. After turning in 20+ hours of work and close to 50 pages for this final, I just wanted to know I did enough to pass. Then I checked what my total grade was and its like I couldn’t believe it! I began to laugh and cry simultaneously. It meant I got a good grade. It meant I passed! It meant I am graduating. Dispite all odds and all my doubts, I will be graduating. I can try to explain this feeling that still fills me up when I say that I am going to be graduating from college with a degree in Mechanical Engineering! That G-d carried me and has carried me from the beginning! There was music playing in the background and I couldn’t help but be amazed in the moment.
I feel this joy that is bringing me to such a beautiful laughter and tears which I had not yet experienced before. I can’t believe it. Its unexpected the way I am reacting as I just wanted to graduate. Its been a dream of mine since as long as I can remember. Maybe its the “dropping out of school” I had to do my first semester. Or the fact that I was in an accident and lost all my math. It could be all the days sitting in my apartment where I felt like a failure. I was lost and felt there was no way out. As if I would not pass the test or class. And time and time again, G-d carried me, lifted me up and helped me to do my best. And it has been good enough. More than good enough!
I am elated and grateful! Everything I have worked for the past 5 years and here I am. I am going to graduate college! Dreams can and do come true! Especially with G-d on my side. Or rather I am on His! This is an experience I feel I am embracing and hope to not long forget. Its a good, true and beautiful feeling that is real. It is the sum of an a college roller coaster. The closing of a chapter and the beginning of a new one. It is letting go and allowing myself to move forward. I am thankful!
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)
Today has been a good day. I feel blessed with the opportunity to go to class and to actually enjoy what I am learning. I am grateful to be able to work on homework and to be trying to gain more and more technical knowledge. As much as I get frustrated and it drives me nuts, I am excited and grateful for the challenge. I am thankful for meetings like I had today with my career adviser and to feel more confident in what I am pursuing and working towards. Having dinner with a friend that I hadn’t seen in a while, was nice and fun and I expected less. It was great. I am learning and growing and changing. I am grateful for free time to plan fun trips, to paint and to read and even watch some Netflix. I feel grateful for time and energy to run and do yoga and get different things done each day. This semester is hard, but so far, 3 weeks in and I am enjoying it and feeling thankful. Excited to see what’s next!
Originally, today I wanted to write about another beautiful element of my day, which I think would have to be friends and good conversations. Being content and happy and grateful for both. Not to take away from that beautiful element of my life, I also want to face the other reality in my life: tired. I am exhausted mentally, physically and spiritually. I’ve gone into valleys such as this before. I don’t want to though. I want to change. I want to not be tired. I want to find that joy that I know is within me and within reach. And, sometimes I do. I am tired of ending up in the doctors office only to learn that I need to get more bloodwork. That most likely my body just needs to readjust and reset itself. Or that some pains I have, I will probably always have. I’m tired of weak hands. I’m tired of strange tingling in my legs when I sit for too long. I am tired of having to work hard to try to understand enough to get through my classes. I’m tired of “faking it till I make it”. I want so badly to be done with school. To feel “normal” whatever normal is and to not have these weird pains. What have I learned. My circumstances are no different than others. Other people have weird pains just as much as I do. Other people are “faking it till they make it too”. There are some people that work even harder than me to understand. I guess I’ve always felt like life is unfair. AND guess what? It IS!
If anything, I should have known this, long ago. My dad has always preached that life isn’t fair. He also taught my siblings and myself that just because life isn’t fair, means you just have to work hard. And from what I’ve learned he is right. My dad is right that you have to work hard. Sometimes harder than you even think possible. I don’t regret or take any of this for granted. However, I’m just tired. I want a break. I’m tired of the uphill climb. I just want to be healthy and well. I want to be able to move forward and to be leading a healthy life.
I realize I should be grateful for the health that I do have. I know it could be much worse. I also should be grateful to be able to work hard because it has been G-d blessing me to get through living each day with a TBI (traumatic brain injury).
I realize I sometimes use my brain injury as an excuse. But, it is! I don’t fully understand it, even with as much as do. Especially at the end of the semester my brain has so much information and emotions from the good and bad throughout the semester that it’s like I struggle to think about more engineering work and I just want to take my finals and be done. Then break, when its a true vacation gives good opportunity for rest, enjoyment and ability to savor and be in the moment.
So I guess it all goes back to me being in denial. In this case, regarding stress. It all goes back to freshmen year, fall semester and I was really stressed! Yet, I didn’t want anyone to know. So instead with my friend B asked if I was stressed. I exclaimed that I wasn’t. He continued, ” who are you trying to convince” and I said “no one” and this went on back and forth for quite some time. Since then, B and I go back and forth on how I was so stressed that I denied it because I didn’t want to accept or allow myself to be. So I guess I’m just stressed. I’ve worked hard all semester for this. To be done with all my homework and just waiting to take finals. For that I am grateful. I’m grateful I’m even in this spot, as a senior in college. I still remember the day, my doctor told me to “drop out” of college because my brain wouldn’t be able to handle it just yet and that I would be overloaded with doctors appointments. I now realize that I am blessed and maybe being tired is ok. Maybe it’s ok that I’m stressed and ready to be done with the semester. Maybe I am normal with abnormal pain periodically. Maybe I am blessed and beautiful to be able to be in university, to be a senior and to be studying mechanical engineering. Life isn’t always rosey not am looking through rose-colored glasses. Life is ok. And it’s going to be ok. And if I choose to hope, it’ll be more than ok one day. And hopefully that day I will no longer feel this “fog” of tiredness.
Some doors are closed for reasons we may never understand. Others open to the unimaginable interior. I like to call this opportunity.
I like the mechanical elements of how doors work. I like there is a requirement to either push or pull. I think it’s fascinating how depending on the design of the mechanism a door can open “forward” or “backwards”. Technically it’s all relative to your reference point. Anyway that’s getting way too involved with the actual physics of the system. I like doors as a metaphor too. As an analogy to providing opportunity. A way to see differently or to change your life in a way that leads you with courage through the next passage way. Actually the way my thoughts are headed right now seem to be reminding me of the time summer of 2013 in Germany. In my international study abroad class about decision making in the EU, there was a girl in my class from the Netherlands. I sat next to her quite a bit. One day she told me about this famous and exotic labyrinth that she went to there in Berlin. Apparently it had also been shown on the Amazing Race. I was pretty much sold on this idea from then on. She told me how there was a bar and club attached to the labyrinth and how it was weird and trashy but very cool. Naturally I did what anyone else who was curious would do. I got a group of fellow classmates and they also happened to be in my program so I new them a bit better, and we took the U-bahn and S-bahn trains to get to the part in Berlin where this labyrinth was. Thankfully we made it there in time. We bought our tickets and then had to wait for an hour and a half. I remember being so nervous and so uncertain especially cause this place just seemed on another level of weird, hipster and creepy. It made me uncomfortable because it was so abstract and different. Finally the time came and we were called in. One by one each of us were taken to this brick wall. After watching this short clip I found myself pushing against the brick only to find that it was an illusion and really a door. Intuitively I took a step forward into a room that appeared to be small and shrinking….if I tried to explain this whole process to you, I might bore you and I’d probably fall asleep. So, long story short it was trip-y. It messed with my mind so much that when we left and were back on the train everything looked different and distorted. I barely slept that night cause every time I closed my eyes I saw all the gears, the room that looked like the interior of a tree, all those silicon/rubber strings we walked through. Just lots of colorful and off the wall images. I guess the point of the story was that I was scared about walking into the unknown yet I came out alive, thank G-d, and it changed my perspective. I felt happy to have faced my fear and challenged myself to do that more. I walked through a door that I didn’t even know was a door at the time and I think this applies to my life in more ways than just this story. It reminds me that everything happens for a reason. Teaches me a lesson and helps me grow and change to be who I am today. For that reason alone, doors are pretty great and I’m thankful for both the physical and spiritual doors opening and closing in my life taking me to my potential, to who I will be tomorrow!
Ps. This song is all about doors closing and leading you to the next opening, bringing you where you are supposed to go.
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.