Trapped in My Skull

Something that frequently strikes me as odd… the comments I regularly get about how “calm,” “relaxed,” or “chill” I am.  To me, this is preposterous.  Insatiable energy, repetitious movements and random shouting seems to fit the bill better in my mind.   Imagine the robot assistant Gir from the Invader Zim cartoon, or the partially insane Kramer from the sitcom Seinfeld, or Dory from Finding Nemo.  We all speak the same language as far as I can tell.  Apparently somewhere along the line, there’s a mistranslation.

As a science minded individual, I can’t argue with the math:

Soo high tech, hope your computer screen has enough pixels to view this correctly!

Soo high tech, hope your computer screen has enough pixels to get a proper viewing experience!

Clearly I just somehow project a zen yoga master type persona.  And yet I feel as though if I had any more random energy, I would paint the walls with my guts in a glorious explosion.  It’s bizarre to me, but not completely unexpected.

For one reason or another, I have found that translating the thoughts in my head into what I call “the real world,” is buggy at best.  I occasionally run into problems with stuttering or speech impediments because, for reasons I can’t identify, it can be hard for me to move my thoughts out into spoken words.  Perhaps it’s an issue of thinking too fast or anxiety zapping my brain power, but it can lead to awkward social encounters and causes me to sometimes remain silent, even if there is something I want to share.  My best solution to the problem has been to take a deep breath, briefly close my eyes and deliberately organize my thoughts.  It is only at this point that I can speak free of impediments despite moments where it’s otherwise impossible.

The world in my head and the “real world” aren’t even in the same galaxy a lot of the time.  It leads me to often feel as though I’m imprisoned in my own skull.  Like there is an entire person in the “5th dimension” of my body poking and scratching to come out and say hello.  Someone that only the Zen Yoga Master has met and confers with regularly.  But these two people are the not the same, just acquaintances.

It used to scare me that I can’t quite extract that in my mind into entering the “real world” full time, that only flashes of Kramer or Dory are able exist, but I’ve made peace with that.  Now I just work on having an internal balance that doesn’t skew to resulting deep depression.  It’s not a bad life, but it can be trying and can be problematic in the field of science (half of the job is communicating effectively).  -shrugs-  I just work on it, apologize often, but most of all, I keep going and I don’t give up.

There is a sea of riots in my head, pounding and beating to break through my flesh.  Bundles of anxiety, loads of ideas, steam engines of thoughts, all that erupt simultaneously every second… which no one ever sees.  Only a petite woman with an inviting smile, a quiet demeanor and a thoughtful stare sits before her audience.  She’ll close her eyes and take a breath, then she will give you a short statement that may or may not make sense.  She has good intentions, but now and again, even that gets lost in the mix up.

But at least you now know what lies beneath.

It can be our little secret.

Yours,

ze Tsarina

The Phoenix Arises from Her Ashes

Two days ago, smoke whistled out of my ears and I shattered into cinder… For, by anyone’s standards, less than good reasons.

The first day of my Analytical Chemistry lab consisted of lab practical, where by the instructor says nothing and the students go forth and complete the assigned experiment the way they see fit. It was a very easy experiment that any veteran chemistry student can do without problems, yet for some reason I continuously bungled it at every turn! By the time that class was over, I had lost a substantial amount of points before thorough grading even began. It was heartbreaking.

I had done everything as carefully as possible, taking note of details, but Lady Luck was just not on my side. Such train wrecks are not abnormal for me, I seem to be plagued by random bouts of temporary brain death, however, such a mess on the first day was a big blow for me.

As I exited the laboratory, my ears whistled like a kettle and I shattered the moment I sat down in my car to drive home. My anxiety plumed like a mushroom cloud, and depression washed over me like an oil spill. I felt like I was at the bottom of my internal pit again. That old friend of mine. I pondered that maybe I could just drop this class and get a BA instead of a BS. I did have options.

I went home and cried.  Swallowed by depression, it was all I could do to just keep putting one foot in front of the other and continue the process of merely living.  Tears soaking the pillow, laying in a blackened place, I went to sleep to arise anew.  And that I did.

-cue Rocky theme music-

I awoke the next day determined that though that might have been the shittiest start to a semester possible, short of physical ailments or death, that that didn’t mean the rest of the semester was ruined.  I have four months to work off that bad grade, and gods be damned, I can do it!  I have aced “hard” exams before and I have bested some of the “toughest” chemistry classes.  This semester wasn’t going to be one train wreck after another!  Not on my watch, and not as long as I still have a killer brown leather bomber jacket and black combat boots to rock confidently.  ((please, God, don’t let me lose those tomorrow somehow!))  No, no, you see, I will put the Rocky theme on repeat, and I will begin pouring over my studies effective immediately.  I’ve done it before, and I can do it again!  I will claim my “A” in May, and it will be glorious.

Look out Analytical Chemistry Course from Hell!  Ze Tsarina is barging in!

Yours,

Ze Tsarina

My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 4

This will likely be my last post in this series for a good bit.  Things have been moving pretty fast (as they should considering the semester begins next week) and good things have rolled in like waves of water at high tide.  After some back and forth passages of emails, I have been given the green light to take my first graduate course this coming semester!  Though I’m not officially admitted into the program, it is my first official step into graduate school.  My extremities tingle in joy, I almost want to dance!  -cue Tingle from the Legend of Zelda-  If I do well in this course, my chances of admission raise considerably.

I will only be taking one graduate course (it was hard enough to accomplish that, and I didn’t want to push my luck), but it will be Fundamentals of Heterocycles, an online class.  Oh how I love online classes, I can be smelly and greasy sitting in my bra and panties while my mind feasts on all the wonders offered by a college course.  No judgment from anyone else except possibly my pets, but they don’t care either as long as I make sure they are fed timely.  What’s not to love??  As long as I score well enough on my assignments and test, it’s as anxiety free as I can possibly get.  Plus since I will still have to head in to school three days a week for my undergraduate course, I won’t get too lonely and cut off from the world.  How fantastisch!

This Monday I will need to head into school and get signatures from various people to get full permission to take the class, but that should be theoretically straightforward.  I’m so pleased with this turn of events, my skin feels luminescent!  It seems like all of my hard work has finally placed me exactly where I have aiming, the next trick will be not allowing my anxiety or depression to squander all of it (like it has been prone to do time and time again).  Perhaps if I increase my yoga and exercise routine, it can keep me on the straight and narrow.  I think I have that power within me?  I mean, after all, even if only by the skin of my teeth, I have made it here, haven’t I?  I would say that’s a hopeful enough sign of good tidings.

-puts on spandex and flowing red cape then thrusts right fist into the air-  “Onward!  Upward!  Onto the next big hurdle and beyond!  I CAN DO THIS!”  -billows of smoke pool around feet as I slowly launch into the air like a space shuttle-  “The next battle is ours to win!  See you in Valhalla!

Your Painfully Geeky Friend,

Ze Tsarina

My Pursuit of Graduate School Part 3

I am somewhere between laughing hysterically and sobbing, which undoubtedly is a bad state of mind when sitting down to write, but I was unable to resist the urge to update on my pursuit of graduate school.  I found out two hours ago via email that, the perpetual gnawing and gnashing of my teeth for the past four months, combined with numerous awkward moments with professors and administrators was basically for nothing.  Since I am still an undergraduate (with only one more class left), at my school, all an undergraduate needs to do to take grad courses is to simply complete a form that is approved by 5 or 6 people.  A form.  A formA FORM!!!  A form.

Here is a rehash on how this gross miscommunication even occurred.  My official academic adviser, who is a chemistry professor in the department, is a miserable prick who quite literally never gave me a single shred of valid advice in all of the years he “advised” me.  I could not switch advisers, and I had to meet with him in order to register for classes.  He considered the purpose of his job to be to look over my plans, assess that they were in line with my degree program, and that I didn’t schedule two classes at the same time.  Wow.  You see, I actually did pass general chemistry amongst others…  I think I can follow a fucking checklist.  I digress.

After a bad judgement call on my part, I met with another professor who explained out my options to me, and bluntly told me that I would be stuck right here where I am, Spring 2014, and shy just one class from my BS degree.  But he said there was a light at the end of the tunnel.  If I was a good little girl, and if I was accepted into the chemistry graduate program, I could take graduate courses Spring 2014, at the same time as my final undergraduate class.

Like an atypical “man on a mission” or a “dog with a bone” (probably more like the dog.  I’d like to think I’m slightly cute, but maybe a little furry too? I’ve been called a bitch several times as well) I went after this goal tenaciously.  I put my heart and soul into being a good girl and getting that chance to start on graduate courses.  Turns out, my terrific unofficial adviser didn’t have all the facts.  Consequently, I did all of the things I needed to do, or thought I needed to do, and I have had two administrators bend over backwards to help me, but it turns out it was all for naught.  Just a miscommunication.  I feel awful for all the trouble caused on my behalf, and feel like I need to get these two awesome people a small gift of some kind.  Otherwise, they may kill me in the school hallway or something else drastic.

Wow.  It’s a funny situation, in a fucked up kind of way.  I will sleep on this and hopefully, things will unfold even more favorably tomorrow.  In the meantime, I desperately need to hit the gym and release some of my steam.

Thanks for listening to my rant…

Yours,

Ze Tsarina