Posts Tagged ‘ health ’


As I walked upstairs to my apartment just now, I overheard my downstairs neighbor having a conversation with his daughter, who’s probably seven or eight.

He was talking about how there’s always a trade-off between work and family, because as much as he wants to spend more time with her, he has to bring an income into the household.

It made my heart absolutely ache, because I remember having that same conversation with my father (and my mother) so many times.

I don’t think I quite understood, not as a kid anyway. My parents did a great job putting it into concrete terms, but actually grasping the way money and time and responsibility work didn’t start to sink in until I was probably eleven or twelve.

Right now I’m at an extraordinarily luxurious phase of life. I don’t work so much that I can’t have fun, and I’m responsible for exactly one person; me.

The only times I actually get worried about money is when I know I’ve been spending irresponsibly– alcohol is more expensive than I realized– but in reality, the levels of responsibility required of me are extraordinarily low.

Show up for work on time. Get enough sleep. Eat enough, and eat well. Drink water, and when drinking alcohol drink in moderation. Spend time with good friends, and don’t waste time on draining people. Do well in school.

Those are basically the only things I have to think about regularly.

Either I’m irresponsible or I’m lucky. Very, very lucky.

I suppose if I get into it, I could think of more things that I could be worried about on a daily basis, but if I do I usually end up curled in the fetal position cradling a book and my teddy bear to forget.

I’m not irresponsible. I just manage my low-spectrum levels of responsibility well, because responsibility is, like everything else, a spectrum.

My downstairs neighbor seems to be teaching this principal to his daughter in a sane and sensible fashion. Here’s hoping.


My Relationship with Fitness, Revisited

About a year ago, I wrote a blog about how I had decided that it was time and I was going to get fit.

Well, let’s just say it didn’t happen.

To be fair to myself, I’ve had some setbacks, and a lot of excuses. But today as I’ve been mulling over it, I realized my biggest roadblock with fitness is fear and shame.

I’m ashamed that I am not capable of the things I feel like I should be able to do, and I’m afraid of experiencing the self-shaming when I fail. I hate that when the sun is shining I still can’t run more than a couple of miles, so I’m really going to get in shape this time because I’ve decided to make this summer the best one ever.

I hesitate to even write this post, because last time I wrote about fitness it didn’t help keep me on track like I intended.

But I’m hoping that airing my roadblocks will help me stay committed this time. I’ve been running, which is a new thing for me, but there are at least three 5ks I’m going to do this summer.

So many people I know talk about how great running feels, and unfortunately I’m not at that point just yet. During a given run, there will be moments where I’m like “THIS IS AWESOME,” but really, to keep going I have to play games with myself. My favorite is “Oh shit there’s a zombie,” so that’s how I get my sprints in anyway.

I don’t work out because it feels good. Working out feels bad and I don’t like it.

But I am, this time, learning that it’s worth it.

Feeling bad for half an hour is completely worth it to feel good for the rest of the day.

That’s all.

Feed Me: An Expose

Being human, I suffer from an unfortunate condition which forces me to eat food multiple times daily in order to maintain my status as a living person. Being lazy and easily distracted, I often neglect eating in favor of more fun activities like reading a book, playing outside, or the Internet. As much as I like food, its allure fades next to the seductive glow of a story I don’t know. Eating has just never been a top priority for me.

It really should be.

When I neglect eating food for too long, I turn into a clumsy, angry monster.

So for your consideration, here are some of the terrible things that happen when I get too hungry. (Also known as Reasons to Feed Me.)

Reason #1: The Anger

When I get too hungry, I get angry. I’m not talking about petty annoyance or pissy whining. I’m talking She-Hulk status here.

The smallest, dumbest things will set me off. That person looked at me weird! What an asshole. Oh, that guy has an ugly beard? I hope his teeth fall out. I dropped my spoon? The spoon is out to get me. That spoon is such a jerk.

Over time I have learned to control the She-Hulk in my heart, but let’s just say that Hangry (hungry/angry) me is not at all like fun, well-fed me.

Hangry Bethany

Reason #2: The Clumsiness

In real life, when I’m fed, hydrated, and caffeinated, I’m a relatively adept person. On a good day I might even be kid of Spiderman-esque, dancing around, catching falling things, and twirling steaming pitchers like there’s no tomorrow, because tomorrow I’ll probably not be especially awesome, but I at least probably won’t break anything.

But as soon as I get too hungry, my body begins to rebel, and I’m as clumsy as I was at age 14 right after a growth spurt. My limbs betray me with their length. My elbows fling around with unintentional force, and I trip on my own feet as if I’m wearing shoes three sizes too big.

I’m not a short woman– I imagine the sight of me accidentally and clownishly flopping around is hilarious. Indeed, I would find it hilarious myself if not for the Anger.

Clumsy Bethany

Reason #3: The Rollercoaster

As any of my family will tell you (all too enthusiastically,) when I was in the throes of puberty, every day was a wild ride of emotion.  Since I hate rollercoasters, it sucked.

I was an unwilling passenger in the front cart of this wild fluctuation from joy to anger to sorrow, always within hours and sometimes within minutes of one another– unpredictable, and just as un-fun for me as for my family.

When I get too hungry, not only does my body feel like I’ve been warped back to the most awkward phase of life, but my emotions do the same. They start to destabilize, and what is normally a nice scenic train ride can suddenly derail in a train wreck of Emotion. If I’ve made good decisions (like drinking water) and I’m lucky, I’ll just hang out on the Anger track, because even though it’s a Hulk-like anger, at least it stays angry instead of bouncing around from laughter to tears.

Emotional Bethany

So basically, to sum up and conclude, if I ever seem angry, clumsy, emotional, or any combination thereof, you have two options that will result in you still wanting to be friends with me; Feed me, or run away. Quickly.

Things I learned in 2012.

When I was drafting this blog, I was laughing internally because in comparison, the one I wrote for 2011 was so short. It amuses me that 2011 felt like I grew so much, but 2012 was so much more.

So because this list is so long, I’m going to subdivide it into months.


  • Saying goodbye isn’t the hardest thing– living without is.
  • Moving to the Willamette valley in January is a terrible idea. It’s the crappiest weather of the year.


  • Crappy jobs still pay rent.
  • Rich people aren’t good tippers. Actually, rich people are the worst tippers.
  • Getting thoroughly lost can be the best way to learn about a city’s geography.


  • Sometimes the only way to stay sane is to tune out.
  • If you’re willing to be surprised, a good friend can come from anywhere.


  • Unemployment is only scary when it stops feeling like a vacation.
  • Twenty is a surprisingly bummer age to turn. Suddenly adulthood feels like a burden


  • Aim high, be prepared to score low, and you may be pleasantly surprised.


  • Summer in Portland is perfect. 
  • Living in a main street in Portland during the summer… Not so much.


  • Nothing is certain, not even your life.
  • Getting prodded by medical folk gets easier the more it happens. Same with throwing up.
  • Dulaudid is one hell of a drug.
  • Recovery is the hardest part– waiting and wanting to be back to normal, but still sick.
  • In spite of the soap opera-y parts, Friends is an awesome show.
  • Staying hydrated is so much more important than I ever thought. Drink water, people!


  • Bicycling through Portland at night in the summer is amazing.
  • Doctor Who is one of the best TV shows of ALL TIME.
  • Life goes back to normal really easily, even when you’re changed forever and there’s constant turmoil in your brain.


  • Empathy is not a strong trait of mine, except where my sisters are concerned.
  • Every wedding should have dancing. (and dancers.)


  • Important decisions can be delayed.
  • I’m freaking awesome at parallel parking.


  • People who skype in coffee shops make me nervous.
  • Shutting up and listening is important.


  • Feeling rich is still a major fault of mine.
  • Handmade Christmas presents are the best!
  • Distance hasn’t made me love Central Oregon and my people there any less, and time hasn’t made me miss them any less.
  • Even though 2012 was a really tough year, it was a really good year– and it was really important.

And yeah… Fart jokes are still funny.

With that said, I’m really looking forward to what 2013 will hold. I’m making plans to intentionally make it the best year ever.



So, as you might already know, this summer I had a too-close-for-comfort brush with death.

Although I’ve made a full recovery physically, the emotional turmoil has been the worst part.

For a while I was somewhat paralyzed by fear– every time I had a twinge in my back, my overactive imagination would put me right back in the hospital, delirious from dehydration. Over the months, the fear has subsided, but there is still a constant thought running through my head. I could die tomorrow.

This theme has been strengthened and pounded into my brain by a number of things in addition to my own health scare. Two of my friends are battling cancer right now, both for a second time. A barista in Gresham was randomly murdered.

Life is tenuous.

I’ve realized how important it is to live right now. I have a really bad habit of putting off things I know I’ll enjoy because I’d rather not put in the effort. I’ll do it later, or tomorrow, because I’d rather just curl up on my couch and watch TV shows than get dressed and go out into the real world.

Since I realized this habit of mine, I’ve been thinking about the scope of my life. If I died tomorrow, would people have any good stories to tell about me? I don’t need to be remembered for long, but I do want to be missed. No one is going to miss a creepy girl who spends hours on Facebook every day while watching Netflix and serving coffee to pay rent.

Each morning, I ask myself how I want the day to look. If I want to have good stories to tell about the day, I have to make things happen myself.

If I died tomorrow, would people say that I lived life to the fullest in my short time, or would they shake their heads and sigh about a wasted life?

Life is short. Each day is valuable. I intend to use the full value of each day that is granted me by living in the now, and living more every day.


Aaaaaannnnddd I’m back!

So despite my best intentions, I obviously didn’t start blogging regularly again when I meant to.

At least partially, I can cast the blame on the fact that I spent about three weeks after my release from the hospital slowly feeling less like crap, a.k.a. recovering, a.k.a. lying around watching Friends and feeling sorry for myself.   They tell me that it takes six weeks to build a habit, and only two weeks to break it, (or is that building muscle? I don’t really care,) and while I’m being honest, I completely got out of the habit. The couple of weeks that I was out while seriously sick were enough.

Indeed, I’ve been struggling to write at all ever since I got out of the hospital.

Since I’ve last blogged, I’ve tried in vain to journal through my discomfort and depression. Whenever I tried to draft a semi-coherent blog about the fear I can’t face (which I may write now that I’m more okay,) it would dissolve into crazy scribblings which I can barely read, as tends to happen when I’m upset.

I was starting to feel pretty mentally constipated.

But suddenly!

I left my journal behind at my friend Mandy’s house in Newberg. I was about 1/16th of an inch away from finishing it up, so instead of waiting until one of us had the time and means to make our way to the other’s neighborhood, I just went down the street to Powell’s and bought a new journal.

Then, startlingly, but surely, I began to be able to write again. That was five days ago, and bam! I’m blogging.

It might have something to do with the fact that my old journal was filled with thoughts from before and during my illness, and then they dropped off so drastically. Every time I opened it, I was reminded of how numb I felt mentally, both from fever and from narcotics. Let’s just say association is a bitch.

It’s okay now, though, because I’ve begun writing excessively again and I see no reason to stop. My mental constipation has been relieved and I have my favorite (and most effective) form of therapy back in my life.

Mt Hood = Detox.

Today I drove over Mount Hood to Central Oregon.

The sun was shining, traffic was light, and seriously, I don’t think there’s anywhere in the world that can top mountains in the summertime for beauty. Maybe equal, but never exceeding.

So of course I was a responsible driver and didn’t take any photos. Oh well. I saw three accidents on the way out of Portland, so that was a good catalyst to be responsible or something.

The three hour drive was exactly the detox I needed from ten days of work and the crappiest diet you can imagine. For some reason, when I’m being offered a decision between taking pastries home or throwing them away, I can’t stand to waste them.

Therefore, I accept free food and consume it, even if it has zero nutrition and makes my body feel the opposite of good.

Anyway. Lesson learned– my body needs fuel instead of crap, or else I suffer random muscle cramps and spasms, and general feelings of unhealth.

Here’s an awesome song for you.

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