Monday, June 28, 2010


Alright, so we had our first assignment this week! We were told to take a visual image and use our imaginations. I decided to write a short story on this photo:

If the image is too small, check out the URL here: My Guy

Anyways, tell me what you think of my first short story.


Kiryn looked out the window of her mother’s car, briefly staring at hundreds of trees rushing by. Her mother was busy driving and talking on her cellphone. She knew her mother was a lawyer and that she was very busy most of the time. Luckily, Kiryn was used to spending large amounts of time alone. Most six-year-olds would be bored out of their skulls, but she knew how to keep herself entertained.

“Kiryn?” Her mother called, pulling the cell phone off her ear briefly, “Do you need to stop for the bathroom? There’s a rest stop a few miles off the road.”

“I’m alright. Thanks Abby.” Kiryn mumbled while pressing the buttons on her Leap Frog portable gaming system. Kiryn had a strange relationship with her mother, more like the relationship between a child and an adult mentor. Her mother cared about her immensely, but work consumed most of her time and could not provide enough attention to her daughter regularly. Kiryn started calling her mother by her first name early last year, when Kiryn realized that she could not always gain her mother’s attention unless using her name directly.

“Ok then, sweetie. We should be there in an hour or so.” Her mother quickly resumed her conversation with a client. Kiryn rolled her eyes slightly in humor. She was aware her mother worked outrageously long hours to make sure they lived comfortably. She was appreciative, albeit a bit lonely. Kiryn resumed playing on her Leap Frog until the car stopped at a little red house out in the country. Large portions of field covered the land, with a cluster of trees scattered in the distance. She shoved her game into her kitten backpack and stepped out of the car.

The strong scent of lilacs filled her nose as her and her mother walked slowly up the steps and onto the white porch. Kiryn began to feel a slight weight in her stomach build as her mother rang the doorbell. It had been six months since Carson moved away to Pennsylvania. She snapped out of thought as a woman she didn’t recognize answered the door.

“Oh, you must be the Lyle’s!” The woman expressed joyfully. “It’s Abby, correct?” She asked while shaking her hand.

“Yes,” She nodded, “And you’re Elizabeth, Jak’s new wife? You’ve been married for four months now, is that right?”

“Five months tomorrow,” She corrected while leading the tired mother and daughter into the front area of the home. Elizabeth turned around and knelt down to Kiryn’s level. “Well hello there, dear! Carson has been looking so very forward to your visit. He has been talking about it for the last week straight! You guys can play, and read, and…”

Elizabeth’s voice faded away as Kiryn remembered the last time she saw Carson. He moved away nearly six months ago, with Carson’s dad going to remarry. That day was a slightly painful one, as Carson was the only child Kiryn could connect with. His mother died when he was three and her father died when she was four, both victims of pancreatic cancer. The families met at a support group soon after Kiryn’s father was diagnosed.

Carson and Kiryn understood the pain it felt to watch a parent suffer through the terrible illness. Both were unusually quiet and intelligent because of circumstances and it made it difficult for both to make friends with other children. They carried the same grave expressions most of the time, but shy smiles and mutual understanding of one another led to an unbreakable bond.

Luckily both her mother and Carson’s father realized it wasn’t fair to separate the children permanently and scheduled visits twice a year. This was the first scheduled visit.

“Hi Kiryn,” A soft voice carried through the room. She smiled as she saw Carson at the doorway leading to the kitchen. “Come on, I want to show you something.” He smiled as he took her hand and led her up the carpeted stairs. He led her into a room filled with racecars and pictures of him and his deceased mother. Kiryn assumed it was his room. He let go of her hand and picked up a little book made out of computer paper stapled together.

“This is for you.” He proudly handed her the book. On the cover it said ‘For Kiryn’, written in messy little boy handwriting. “The pictures inside are all the things I wanted to show you while I’ve been gone.”

Kiryn flipped through the book. She recognized a poorly drawn picture of the Statue of Liberty, and the Cinderella castle at Disney World.

“This is really cool!” She quietly exclaimed.

“Turn to the last page.” Carson urged softly. She turned to the last part. He had drawn a dirt road leading to many pretty trees and a creek. There were flowers and animals scattered throughout the drawing. The picture stood out from the others, more careful and thought out.

“Where is this?” She wondered. He smiled bashfully at her question.

“I can show you. But we have to be quiet. My step mom doesn’t like me going to it alone.” They tiptoed down the white, plush stairs. Abby was talking to Elizabeth in the kitchen, both sipping cappuccinos and filling each other in on what the children have been doing. They walked silently out the front door, where Carson proceeded to lead Kiryn to a clearing in the fields. The clearing slowly turned into a dirt road, leading into the trees Kiryn spotted when she got out of the car.

“You mean this place is here?” She asked in astonishment.

He nodded. “Just a few more minutes and we’ll be there.” The path led into the trees, where Kiryn saw flowers spotting the ground. Butterflies, bees, and dragonflies flew freely around the forest. Within moments, the creek came into view.

Kiryn gasped. “This is beautiful!”

Carson motioned to a large rock next to the creek. Sun was peeking through the leaves and left a picturesque glow through the area. They both climbed up on the rock covered in moss. Kiryn looked around a bit, then noticed Carson was staring at her. She blushed.

“I sort of have something else for you. I was watching a movie and a guy gave this to a girl.” He pulled out a necklace from his pocket. It was a simple chain, and there was a key on it. He looked away shyly as he handed it to her. “This is the key to my heart. I wanted you to have it.”

“I really like it.” She pulled the necklace over her head. “It’s pretty. So, tell me everything. What has happened since you moved here?”

They carried on conversation about life for over an hour. They talked about their parents, how they missed seeing one another, and school. The sun was beginning to lower through the trees, and the temperature dropped a few degrees. Kiryn started to shiver. She was only wearing a simple dress, exposing her arms and most of her legs.

“We should go back. It’s probably around time for supper. Did I tell you we are going to Hershey Park tomorrow?” He inquired.

“No. That sounds fun.” She paused for a moment, and then grabbed his arm before he started to climb off from the rock. She stared into his eyes intensely, carefully examining his beautiful face. Carson’s dark blue eyes and his long, thick eyelashes made him look like he was six, but the expression on his face made him appear somewhat older. She understood why. Kiryn leaned forward and kissed his pale pink lips briefly; expressing her feelings in the only way she could think of. Eloquent words of expression were years away from her vocabulary. She leaned back and saw a look of surprise wash over his face. He then leaned forward and kissed her back.

“I love you,” She murmured as he pulled back.

“Me too,” He beamed. “Come on; let’s go back before my step mom sees that we left. We don’t want to get in trouble.” He guided her off the rock and they began to walk down the dirt path back to the house. He put his arm around her as she shivered again, and she curled her arm around his torso in reply. They walked back to the red house quietly and happily.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

What?!? You mean I actually have to DO it?!?!?

My evil course is finally over with! Apparently I wasn’t the only one struggling, however, I faired better than a majority of my classmates. Two of my team members actually disclosed they were failing and would have to retake the class. I know at least six or seven others dropped around week 3 and week 4. The worst grade I’ll get is a C+, so I suppose I really don’t have the right to complain. It might not be my best grade, but I’m glad I passed and I know I did my best.

Now I’m taking a Creative Writing class. Just started today, actually. I will be writing a lot of short stories, and I will most certainly share them with you all! I hope you like something a little different than my non-fiction blog entries, you know?

AND… On the plus side, I am now mobile for blogging! I just got my laptop repaired and it runs BEAUTIFULLY! Thank God for wonderful people that are willing to help a poor college student get her laptop fixed. Had I sent my laptop to Apple, I bet it would have cost me about $100 alone for diagnostics. Oy!

Now, back to this daily scheduled blog entry. Actually, with how busy I’ve been, it seems more bi-weekly, but that will change!

I’m sure a lot of you guys can empathize with me on being extremely disorganized. Might actually be one of the reasons I’m not good at keeping things up on a regular basis. When I do anything involving minor responsibility, like cleaning my room or doing my homework on a regular basis, I struggle. They occur when the inspiration, or the due date, comes around. I know it’s not a good thing to do at all.

What frustrates me most is that I know I’m not disorganized because I’m intending to be malicious. My dad and I have set many agreements stating that I need to keep my room clean, but I always break them. Naturally, he thinks I’m doing this as an act of rebellion. However, I’m really not. I just don’t think about cleaning. I see a little mess, and I think ‘It’s really no big deal’.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not super careless. I do have breaking points for cleaning and getting things done. I remember some of my friends from childhood, their rooms were literally COVERED in toys and gunk. You could not even see the floor! While my floor may be somewhat cluttered, you can still see it. I do not let it smell bad, either. When there is a due date for a major assignment coming up, I will work on it. I am not one of those people who can just clean up a mess as soon as I make it, or start working on a project little bits at a time for numerous weeks. My projects get done all at once.

In the mean time, I’m just trying to make any progress that I can. I have a calendar to track my activities and homework due dates. It helps me remember my commitments and stick to them more thoroughly. With cleaning, I’m just trying to not let the messes get so large before I clean them up. I suppose I would rather clean for only 15 minutes versus two hours.  I’m aiming to start projects when they are assigned to me instead of doing it the day before. There might be special tips or tricks for doing this (if you know of one, you are welcome to disclose to me (: ), but I just have to do it. Like the Nike commercials: Just Do It! There are dozens of things people don’t want to do every day, but they do them anyways. That means I should be able to accomplish the same thing.

Sunday, June 13, 2010

Bye bye, I'll catch ya later, anxiety!

I figured I’d get that last post up so you all didn’t think I’ve dropped off the face of the earth. I kid you not I am so looking forward to Wednesday night through Friday night being OFF from work, and not having a whole lot of school on those days on top of it. I should hopefully get caught up with everybody’s blogs that I’ve been following (and yes, at my last count there were about 30+) and feel good about it!

In the mean time, I just have to write about something. And no, school papers do not count! My last paper was about the central nervous system and the role of nerves and transmitters. This paper I’m working on for the Monday night due date (no, I don’t put things off, nope not me!) is on human sexuality. Oh boy. That should be an engaging paper! I just need to write about something important to me, which compels me to share with you all (of course!).

Just so you know my current class is called Biological Psychology. In the class we examine the different parts of the body (primarily the brain) and learn how they play a role in human behavior. It’s an absolutely fascinating course, however the book is contains too much scientific-speak to understand easily from just reading without lectures to guide on. I’m getting by, and the professor is the most difficult I’ve had to deal with in any of my classes at the University of Phoenix. She definitely keeps me on my toes, which is excellent because I always enjoy a teacher that keeps my wheels turning! Just for a bit of information, I just started at the University of Phoenix last August. I am currently enrolled in my eighth course and for the most part, am getting pretty good grades. Looking forward to my next class that starts on June 22, CREATIVE WRITING!!!!

It’s so crazy that I am doing school so well now. I feel extremely fortunate to be at a position in life where I am positively adjusting to my work, school, and social life. Not even 18 months ago could I claim to be half as effective as I am at the current time. I was pretty much failing school at that time.

Most of my life I have been suffered from pretty severe anxiety. I could not multitask in fear of falling apart, I was a chronic worrywart, and I could not go out in public without fear that every single person who observed me was attacking me in some way, shape, or form. Up until my high school graduation, a lot of my anxiety was repressed. Towards the end of high school I started making a lot of mistakes that negatively impacted my life and my anxiety began to surface. I think it all started about the time I broke up with my boyfriend of two and a half years and found out I was rejected to the college I had poured years of time and effort into getting into. The more careless I became about my life, the more anxiety crept in through the ever-widening cracks. For the most part, the anxiety controlled every aspect of my life and lead to severe depression.

My carelessness prevented me from thinking through the anxiety when it hit. When I felt nervous in public, I would automatically shut down. When a teacher stressed me out in class, I would break down in class with my classmates observing my every shriek and cry. When I felt a boyfriend was not giving me enough attention, I would do something stupid to make them run back to me and pay attention. The list goes on. I am not proud of these things that I did.

I feel fortunate that even though I was careless, I never felt like I was a failure and that my issues could not be fixed. I wanted, no, NEEDED help. I went through therapy off and on trying to desperately find the solutions to cure the anxiety. I was beyond function. I was sleeping 16+ hours a day, I could not perform well at work, and I couldn’t do any schoolwork so I flunked out of college. I don’t know how those with depression and anxiety just want to stay like that and make no change whatsoever. It’s not that I didn’t want to make the change, I didn’t know how.

So I started some therapy. My first two therapists were nice, but I never really felt much of a connection with them. However, one past therapist stuck out in my mind, and I expressed interest for that therapist to give me counseling (I had met the therapist in family therapy about 14 months prior). He videotaped the first ten sessions. He gave me challenges and things to consider regarding my anxiety. The main message behind every talk was ‘Don’t just react. Think about how you feel, get to the root issue of the problem, and reassess your behavior.’ He never gave me that broad of a message, but as his lessons started sinking it that was the core of all he taught me.

Figuring out what I was really feeling didn’t cure the anxiety, however, when I was able to rationally express my fears and concerns my therapist was able to give me guidance to work through my issues. Cognitive Behavioral Therapy became my best friend. The point of the therapy is to accomplish more accurate thought processes when faced with a problematic thought causing depression and anxiety. These were the steps I followed:

-Writing down an incident that causes me anxiety/depression

-Writing down my initial feeling (this would be the feelings that caused excessive anxiety)

-Rating my moods associated with the feeling

-Listing the reasons that would support my feeling being true

-Listing the reasons that would indicate my feelings being false (with these two steps, you learn how to identify incorrect thinking)

-Rewriting a more rational approach regarding the incident

-Rerating the moods that I feel regarding the more rational thought that I was able to figure out

At first I completed these by filling out charts, especially after my first hospital stay in May of 2009. Whenever something negative occurred, I immediately pulled the chart out and recorded everything. Within a few weeks, I was able to do the process mentally. Before too long, it just became an instant process when faced with an anxious feeling.

And I must note: CBT may not cure the initial sadness or negative feelings, you may still feel them once you’ve reassessed the problem. HOWEVER, it makes it easier to find something else to do that helps the feelings subside. I used to be very insecure in relationships, and CBT has made it possible for my current relationship to be functional and virtually worry-free. Every now and then, something said will make my anxiety begin to rise and I will feel the panic, and even after figuring out the root issue I will still feel a little bad. That’s normal. But the trick for me is not to let the negative feelings overwhelm me entirely.

If you suffer from anxiety, I highly recommend meeting with a professional who specializes in the use of CBT. It never hurts! Another thing I must mention is that the therapist cannot fix you. YOU have to make the EFFORT to make therapy WORK. If you do therapy for anybody but yourself, it will not be nearly as effective. It’s not easy, and it has taken me well over a year with my current therapist to be at the level I am at right now. I also know that if I choose to ‘give up’ and not do the things that help me be functional that I will revert back to where I started out at. If you have anxiety and feel like things are hopeless, they are not! I am living, breathing proof of that!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

I'm Alive! I Promise!!

Oh my goodness. I didn't realize what I was getting into with picking up a second job while taking probably the most difficult class I've ever taken. All my free time died! Well, tonight, not so much... so I'm trying to work on a post! I hope you guys didn't think I was neglecting your blogs, but this is the first time in over a week I've been able to jump on Blogger! So hopefully into next week I can get caught back up on everything and the blog. Just to let you know!