Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Identifying a good day

Today I am having a really good day and I am feeling pretty much the exact opposite way about being a part of the Missourian than I expressed a few entries back

(where I whined about feeling mediocre and abandoning my professional journalistic future)

Yesterday I had my portfolio review and despite being nervous, I knew that everything was going to be okay.

This is because, for the first time in maybe ever, I have been REALLY challenging myself against flight.

-Enter Tangent-

I hate to sound like a broken record about my accident, but it's really had an impact on my life and how I handle it.

I have really changed how I "deal."

I used to be a stubborn perfectionist-

I did things my way, if at all.
If there was opposition, or I felt like I had tainted my reputation somehow, I bolted.

I'm really a very resilient, strong chick- tough as nails, but I'm like Lancelot:

A talented and legendary knight, but when I got hurt, you'd be hard pressed to find me asking for help.

You'd be better off looking deep in the woods.
I healed myself, alone.

This is because of how I grew up.
We'll make a long story short here- I didn't have it easy.
I was the only person that I could really rely on for consistent help.

That's right, I used to substitute z for s sometimes.

Welcome to my nightmare.

Anyway, after my accident, my confidence was not only shattered

(how could I proceed as a perfectionist? My driving record now had a huge YOU ALMOST DIED IN A CAR WRECK slash through it)

I was also barely audible when I spoke because of the tracheotomy that I received.

Actually, for a month, I couldn't speak at all.

You'd think that I would have written out a lot of notes, but I mostly just mouthed at people constantly, expecting them to understand what I was saying.

I would like to thank Ashley Noelle Volpe here, my little sister, for understanding my mouthing the best.
She knew exactly what I was saying, everytime.

This experience drastically changed my life.

Having before been the one who talked loudly "even for someone from New Jersey," I was now the one who you cocked your head at.

People rarely understood what I was saying.
This entirely cowed me.

I started, -insert shocking music here- LISTENING MORE.

I realized that I really disliked most of the people who talked loudly because usually those were the people who were talking to someone for the benefit of some unknown third party.

Now, I say USUALLY, some of the loud-talkers were people that were like my former self- Exciteable people with LOUD personalities.

I could tell the difference, but was realizing during my time as a low talker that most people probably can't.

Being a low-talker unable to raise my voice, I began resenting even my previous in-group just because I couldn't get even one thought out without repeating myself or straining my vocal cords when they were around.

I resented them because I'd had my voice taken away and I especially resented the loud talkers with nothing to say.

Not being able to talk loud forced me to be a background figure, when before I was only one when I chose to be.

Before my accident, I did what I wanted, when I wanted, how I wanted to.
And if I couldn't, I was PISSED and I got MAD and I got LOUD and I am FIERCE and OBNOXIOUS and I suspect I got away with some things just because nobody wanted to deal with a self-righteous little brat.

After my accident, I got yelled at for getting out of bed without calling a nurse, for not telling someone that I was hungry or that I hadn't been given my sleeping medication and I had to prove to people all over again that I am not just some little idiot, I am Gianna, hear me roar WITHOUT BEING ABLE TO ROAR.

So, I've had to try much harder.
And I've had to compromise.
I've had to play nice.

In other words, I've had to start over.

And now I'm remembering that that's all I've ever asked for- a new start.

Learning how to listen is the most important lesson that this accident has taught me.
(Oh god, I'm choking up, stop it, stop it now)

Almost dying has taught me that, despite what I previously wanted to believe, I am mortal.
I can disappear and sometimes, even heroes need help to survive.
And if you want help, you better be on peoples' good sides.

Asking for help and accepting the terms that getting help sometimes has has been the most emotional experience I've had since I moved out of my mother's house when I was 14.

Before I used to take criticism, stick it in a deep hole inside me, and hold grudges or allow the hurt it has caused to screw with me forever.

Now I meet it, I work to understand it, and I try.

I try really hard.

I also recognize that I am a human with needs and instead of treating myself like a superhuman, I treat myself as a person.

I forgive myself.

I try to let it go- I try not to take things personally.

And I keep trying to put myself outside of my comfort zone.

I used to never have a problem being outside of my comfort zone because I couldn't think of what made me uncomfortable.

Now I know what makes me uncomfortable and I am trying to face the challenge head on.

I am uncomfortable with my peers.

I have never felt truly part of any team and I have never been able to relate to people my own age.
Excellent at putting myself in anyone else's shoes, but couldn't tell you my own size.
Get me?

So at my portfolio review, I allowed myself to be nervous, but I also allowed myself the knowledge that
IT WILL ALL BE OKAY, whatever happens.

What made my portfolio session such a HUGE release and catalyst for change was Jeanne Abbott's presence at the meeting.

Jeanne was my editor during my first attempt at reporting.
She was the one who I had to disappoint when I withdrew following Tim and I breaking up the first time.
She was the one that made the perfectionist inside of me sob to see. I was afraid that I could never make my failure up to her.

And when I said at my review yesterday that I had been commenting a lot in lecture in the beginning of the class, but no longer felt comfortable, Jeanne's eyes lit up and she said that she remembered that and I could see that she wasn't mad at me at all and when I talked about how I tend to bolt when stress builds to a certain level, I could see that, at the very least, that she understood.

(Ugh, crying again)

This was like lifting a bus off of my bones.

I could have flown if my wings weren't invisible.

And when Katherine agreed with me on a point about time usage in lecture-


it was like eating the best steak of my lifetime.

I realized from that that I can take ANYTHING you have to throw at me, as long as there's even a hint of validation.

If there's one thing someone can agree with me with, I can deal with just about anything else they have to say.

Liz told me that she's just been having to lasso me in pretty much constantly throughout our experience here and I admitted that that was absolutely true and thanked her for doing it.

And really, what a great way to put it.

That's exactly how I am.

I just. float away if allowed.

The moment I'm not held in place, I'm gone.

(example: this entry getting away from me RIGHT NOW)

After my review, which, I gotta say- I now think Liz, Jeanne, and Katherine are three of the most honest, forthcoming, fair, and insightful women that I've had the honor to meet and work with, I felt PHENOMENAL.

I sat down at my computer and that afternoon, I talked to everyone.

And I don't know what kind of magic pixie dust effect could have caused this, but I almost instantly felt a part of the team and that I am going to be okay, and that I am not a huge fuck-up, I'm just a little socially under-developed.

And that's okay. That's something I can work on.

This morning, another reporter from my class held his umbrella over my head as we walked into the building.

I participated in class and I didn't end up regretting it.

I confirmed my interview appointment because I thought that would be very professional and I didn't let my nerves get to me.

I had a GREAT interview and my courage is rising fast.

Katherine approached me and gave me props.

I feel prepared for the planning meeting about my story on Les Bourgeois on Thursday, I have been crossing things off my to do list like it's going out of style, I have a multimedia project planned for tomorrow evening, an interview from today to transcribe with plans to talk again on Saturday.

-Biggest exhale-

I'm well on my way to finding myself again.
Exponential growth, here I come.

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