Ending the Summer Semester with Yoga

Sunday is my favorite day of the week.

I have always loved Sundays. It’s not because of church, I don’t go. It’s not because I’m off work, I used to. It’s because the day calls to me. I wake up and I feel happy, even when I’m sad. The vibes of every sunrise and settling of every sunset cleanses my aura.

This semester was a little tough for me. I had a lot going on. I finished writing Phoenix (Yay!), I also finished revising Phoenix (Yay!). I’m also actively trying to find a new apartment, only 12 days left and still no luck! I had just started a new job at the beginning of the summer so I’ve been training for that. On top of everything, one of my professors was very rude. Let’s just say it wasn’t the smoothest semester.

That being said, I discovered some things about the city. I found out that they do yoga in the park every single Sunday. This same park has a farmer’s market with loads of fresh fruits, music, vendors and crafts. In all the time that I’ve lived here I had no idea about this. Farmer’s markets are my favorite. I’m a big fan of fresh produce, especially if it’s locally grown. It transformed my Sundays.

Now that I have, what I would consider, a stable office job, I don’t work on Sundays. My heart is so happy. Gone are the worries of the week. Gone are the rushes of homework. The only thing that is alive and well, on Sunday, is my soul. My soul loves yoga and all things meditation. It loves introspection and worry free analysis.

Yoga feeds my soul.

The instructor says “Set your intentions for your practice today. What are you trying to get out of your yoga session? What do you think will set your week off on the right path?” My answer, for the last 5 weeks, has been ‘peace’. I need peace. I’m a worrier. I freak out. It doesn’t have to be about something bad or something big. I worry about if I’ll finish reading a book in time. I worry if my food will be gross even though I’ve cooked a dish a million times. I worry about my guy on his way to work and I worry about him on his way home.

I just need peace. My mind is tired but always running. It’s filled with spiraling thoughts and battle scenes. Every Sunday I stumble over to yoga with mat, towel, water bottle and $5 in tow to get the peace that I need to survive.

Then I survive.

College Essay on Life Experience: Miscarriage, Infant Loss and Post Traumatic Grief

Hi all! So I wrote this essay for my Psychology course called Miscarriage, Infant Loss and Post Traumatic Grief for my Psychology class and I thought I would share it with you all. Uncorrected.

In 2015 I got pregnant for the first time. I was due in May 2016. I was so scared but very excited. My guy and I barely knew each other. We were both torn on how we would be parents. I’d always wanted a family of my own I just didn’t know it would happen so soon. In the beginning, I felt great. I was healthy, everything was in the right place; I didn’t have a worry in the world. We decided to stick it through and on Chase and Charlie for boy and girl names. I remember how happy we were, young and exuberant. That was until things began to go wrong. According to the doctors, it would be a waiting game. There was nothing we could do. There was nothing they could do. We had to wait and see what my body, what the baby, wanted to do. I’ve never been good with patience. I tried. I called myself strong. I called myself a warrior. I tried to get through everything with a positive outlook. It didn’t work. My optimism did me no good. Everything began to fall apart. I officially lost my baby on October 23, 2015 at 12 weeks. The pain brought Tony and I closer together. He stayed in the hospital with me, took care of me, and watched over me while I cried my heart out.

In January, 2017, I found out I was pregnant again. My due date was October 23, 2017. The same exact date I’d lost two years before. This couldn’t be a coincidence! We were overjoyed. By this time, we were deeply in love. We’d moved in together, had great jobs and could afford to take care of a child. We already had money saved and we were ready to take on this new adventure. My doctors told me that it was very common for women to lose their first pregnancy and that I really had nothing to worry about. Everything, again, looked great, healthy and in the right place. At 11 weeks, we now know, I lost my mucus plug. At 15 weeks my water broke. I rushed to the hospital and they confirmed it. Our little happy, healthy baby was without fluid. They suggested I terminate. I couldn’t believe they wanted me to get rid of my baby when I could see her there on the screen. She had a great heartbeat, was moving just as much as she should and seemed fine. They told me that if I stayed pregnant I could get an infection and that the baby would die anyway. The doctors said the infection could get so bad that they would have to do a hysterectomy. I knew that couldn’t be my only option and pressed for something else. Something that could help us, help her. The doctors said that there was one thing we could do only if we make it to 24 weeks, which she strongly said I wouldn’t. If I made it to 24 weeks I would get antibiotics and shots, then I would live at the hospital, on bed rest, for the rest of my pregnancy. That would be 4 months. She did say that my body could take the choice out of my hands. That I could delivery naturally and they wouldn’t be able to stop it but if I didn’t, she might have a chance to live.

I jumped on it. I could do it! I had an office job and so I was determined to stay as still as possible, drink as much water as possible, to replenish her fluid faster than it was leaking, and to war against infection. I made it to 19 weeks. I went into labor naturally, just like they warned. I was on my way to work when the contractions started. At first, I thought they were just false contractions and I clocked in and started working. It’s silly to think about now but I really sat at my desk and tried to rock through the pain. I’d never been through labor before! Finally an older coworker told me to rush to the hospital because I was about to have the baby. I cried my eyes out. I called my guy and told him to meet me at Winnie Palmer and left. Iris Giana was born at 3:15pm that day. It was the most beautiful, terrifying, amazingly traumatic moment I’ve ever had in my life. Seeing her there, on my chest, with her tiny feet, moving her tiny hands. I couldn’t believe that I’d actually given birth to a human and that I couldn’t keep her. She was perfect in every way and yet, she wasn’t big enough to survive on her own.

One of the most disheartening things about it all is that I couldn’t even be with her in her last moments. I almost died from blood loss, the placenta got stuck, and they had to rush me to surgery. I held her for as long as I could but the pain was just too much. They had to take her from me. Knowing that the next time I saw her she would be dead made my physical pain so much worse. I could deal with the fire in my belly, with the sharp stabbing going down my sides but I couldn’t deal with seeing them take her away and knowing I couldn’t say goodbye. I remember telling her I loved her so many times. Wanting her to know it wasn’t in vain. That she meant something to me. To us.

In the beginning, it was hard for me to see my guy being happy or experiencing life without being as sad or distraught as I was. American Pregnancystates “Generally, women are more expressive about their loss and more likely to seek support from others.” This was very true for us. He was very quiet about everything. I didn’t really see the grief from him until a few months later. “I was only a dad for 30 minutes” he randomly said to me one night. It hurt my heart and I cried for days. I couldn’t handle being a source of pain for him and knowing there was nothing I could physically do to make it better.

In 2018 I found out I was pregnant, again. Again, we were excited. This will be the time! We have a plan. My doctors have a plan. Just get to 12 weeks, they said, then we can put in a cerclage and start you on shots to protect the baby. It would finally work. It was another miracle. This definitely can’t be a coincidence, I remember saying. I was due October 23, 2018. The same exact date as the pregnancy from the year before and the loss from 2015. This is a sign from the gods. I got to 9 weeks and then the bleeding started. I rushed to the hospital. “Save my baby, please!” I remember telling them, but there was nothing they could do. She was already gone. No heartbeat. They had no reasoning, couldn’t see anything wrong with her or with me. She was just gone.

I’ve had so many experiences with grief in my life. I’m a foster kid with mom issues, twice over, and at one point I had no hope. I had no direction but I kept going. I pushed forward. I graduated high school. I got a job, sometimes two or three at a time. I took care of myself despite feeling helpless and unwanted and unloved. I beat the odds and the statistics. I did it! I thought the pain and anger and disappointment was finally over. Despite all of this ‘achieving’ I’d done, nothing, nothing could prepare me for this. I wanted to give up. I wanted to float away and not deal with the pain of my losses. The love in my soul that I feel for them every day. The tug that is telling me this will never work. Still, months after my most recent loss, I don’t know if I’m healed. I don’t know if I ever will be.

In Krosch’s study, they asked questions of women who have lost babies at varying stages of pregnancy, women who have had multiple miscarriages and also talked to women who had living children outside of their losses. “The “other children” comparisons indicated that women who did not have living children tended to experience moderately higher grief scores than those who had children after the loss.“ (Krosch) I can attest to this because I am one. For me, I believe the added fear, the added stress, is that I might not ever be able to have children. I believe that I would be distraught, after my losses, if I had children as well but the simple fact that I’ve had three very different losses and none of them give us any indication as to what is wrong or how we might be able to prevent it from happening in the future makes this a stressful situation. I don’t want to think of the possibility that I do all the tests, all the exams, spend all the money for the expensive health insurance and I will find that I can never carry. So I can definitely see how not having other children would give me a higher score on the grief scale.

Another thing that I found interesting about Krosch’s study is the factor they believed religion, or spiritual beliefs, took in growth, post traumatic grief and life after loss. “The greatest PTG was reported in appreciation of life, personal strength, and relating to others domains, and least in spiritual growth. The findings of limited spiritual growth are consistent with previous research in non-North American populations (e.g., T. Weiss & Berger, 2010), but may also be influenced by pregnancy loss-specific factors. Although some people tend toward spiritual understandings following perinatal loss, others report a marked departure (Cowchock, Lasker, Toedter, Skumanich, & Koenig, 2010). This suggests that some people’s spiritual beliefs may provide a framework for understanding the loss, while others’ beliefs may be rendered inadequate.” (Krosch) For me, I believe I was more on the side that says it made a huge impact in my recovering but not in the way it did for most of the women. The ones who ‘gained’ more faith in god or in religion may have said it impacted them greatly or that they felt closer. I, however, felt the exact opposite. There has never been a bigger divide between myself and god than there is now, after he has captured my joy and crushed it beneath his foot.
As a young child, growing up in foster care, I was impressionable in the sense that if something was strongly explained and sounded ‘amazing’ I might be keen to believe it. Christianity was that for me. My adopted parents were both pastors during my youth. They taught and they preached and they took us to church every single week. Some weeks we went to church three and four times. I was very autonomous as a kid and wanted to find my own relationship with god, not one forced on me. Once I did, I loved it. I loved the atmosphere, I loved the support, I loved the fact that I had consistent people in my life who seemed to actually care about my well-being; I also loved the drama. Of course. I grew up with a strong sense of right and wrong but also the importance of the grey area. I often playfully say, that back when I was 12, I was a Jesus freak. I wanted everyone to give their souls and live peaceful lives. That’s just to show how the dynamic role of religion played in my life as a kid and how it’s changed. I am no longer that way. After my first loss I was very angry. I was mad at everyone; my guy for not understanding, my mom for not helping me, my friends for never reaching out, my god for not delivering me from my pain. I still loved him, I still trusted him with my soul. I knew my heart was in safe hands. After my second loss I screamed at the heavens; “How could you do this to me? How could you cause me this much pain? What have I done to deserve this? Am I that evil of a human being?” (I will never forget the words my biological mother said to me after my water broke and I was terrified my little girl would die; “god will always take your babies because you are evil on the inside. Your soul is evil. I hope you lose your baby.”) After my third loss, March 2018, I screamed again but this time in resignation. I screamed inside with self-doubt, pity and resolution. That follows in line with Lin’s explanation of chronic grief. “These symptoms can be excessive anger, guilt and self-blame, or persistent depression, and they make resolution and adaptation difficult. With chronic grief, there is little or no sign of diminution of intense reaction a year or more after the loss.” (Lin)

So yes, I screamed out with a shaking fist. I screamed outin silence of my own mind. I said “I get it, god! You don’t want me to have children! What? Do you think I will be a bad mother? Have I not proved that I have so much love to give? Have I not proved that I will not take on the sins of my adopted mother and my mother’s mother and my mother’s mother beyond that?” That is the difference between those women and me. They found a deeper faith, something they could hold on to, and I wish I could say the same. For me, I had lost all trust in god. I believe in him, I don’t think that will ever stop. My foundation is just too strong. I just no longer believe that I can trust him. I can no longer trust him with my heart, my soul, my dreams and my future. As someone who always used god as the answer or someone who will help propel me into the future even thinking that feels as dark as midnight.

This topic is always hard for me but I love to share it with others. I am no longer ashamed of what I’ve been through. I am no longer scared to think other people, other women, will look down on me and think I am less of a woman. I am strong, I always will be. I want to help other women who are going through what I’ve been through to be as strong as I. That’s why I’m writing a book about miscarriage awareness, loss and grief from an angel mom’s perspective. I have complied submissions from women all around the world and I plan to use their stories, their soul specific paths to draw in those who feel alone. My heart goes out to anyone who has experienced this and even those who are dealing with infertility but maybe haven’t experienced an actual loss. I just want to pour out compassion, awareness, love, understanding and, in the end, hope.
Thank you for reading my uncorrected essay!

Jade

References

Krosch, D. J., & Shakespeare-Finch, J. (2017). Grief, traumatic stress, and posttraumatic growth in women who have experienced pregnancy loss. Psychological Trauma: Theory, Research, Practice, And Policy, 9(4), 425-433. doi:10.1037/tra0000183

Lin, S. X., & Lasker, J. N. (1996). Patterns of grief reaction after pregnancy loss. American Journal Of Orthopsychiatry, 66(2), 262-271. doi:10.1037/h0080177

“After A Miscarriage: Surviving Emotionally.” American Pregnancy. American Pregnancy Association. 29 December 2017. Web. 2 July 2018.

Link to Miscarriage: Surviving Emotionally

What I REALLY Learned About Myself Last Semester

So…big surprise. Not really, you guys know I’m in school and I’m learning new things. I’ve always loved school. The only drawback to being in school, I thought as a kid, was that other people would be there. Sounds silly. I know. I was so shy and reserved that I never realized that it was other people that made it enjoyable. I loved to learn, loved to interact with my teachers and I loved to be in the school setting. I didn’t realize that it was the back and forth, the give and take, of the student to teacher relationship that drew me in. The constant feedback, the discussion over lecture. I just loved it.
(I’m in the year book as the teacher’s pet, by the way)

Anyway, I wasn’t one of those people who had a hurtful or sad school experience and I’m grateful. School was actually my escape. Being a foster kid, turned adopted kid living in a foster home, was pretty hard on me. I shoveled it inside and didn’t dare let anyone see my pain or what I felt on the inside. Leaving the house, and going to school, took me away from anything bad that could happen. At school, I could expand my mind, learn new things and be a different person. I wasn’t a victim at school. It was a safe haven. If only I could just learn more, I’d be free, I thought.
As I grew older, it became very apparent that I needed to bring that kind of positivity back into my life. Now, my current home life is amazing. Despite any sadness that I’ve have due to my losses, I am very happy. It wasn’t that I needed an escape. I’m in love with my soulmate and I live eighteen hours away from anything that has ever hurt me. In the grand scheme of things, I’m doing fucking fantastic! It was that I needed more. More for me. More from me. More expansion. I needed to prove to myself, not to anyone else, that I could achieve anything I set my mind to.

This last semester solidified who I am as a person…to me. It told me that when I want something, I go after it. It told me that when something is hard, like that third math exam that really kicked my ass, I flip things around. It taught me that I do have the ability to meet deadlines. It said ‘You are attentive. You are responsible. You can do this.’ Most people may think ‘Aww, you’re just now learning that?’ and to that I say YES!

I spent too much time as a kid listening to other people.  Older people. People who knew things. Whether it was my bio mom saying she didn’t want me and wished she didn’t have me. Or a sibling concocting a cockamamy story that I was so worthless that I’d actually been left in a dumpster before social services found me. Whether it was my first grade gym teacher saying that I was so angry, he wouldn’t be surprised if I became a serial killer or that one lady who said I could never be a model because I wouldn’t grow up pretty enough. Or even those who gave the statistics about kids in foster homes or the life expectancy of those coming out of ‘the system’. I spent entirely too much time thinking about how people saw me and I retreated further into my bubble.

I retreated so far into books and fiction that for a moment I forgot what was real. People asked, when I grew up, why I didn’t feel compelled or peer pressured by the stories I read. Asked why romance and passion didn’t turn me into a fairy tale loving, wide eyed, girl with too many wedding aspirations. I just didn’t believe in me or anyone wanting to be involved with me enough to think those things would ever be real. In a way, it shielded me from a life time of disappointment. Now that I know differently, I go unbiasedly into relationships, friendships and yes, heartache still.

Now, as an old soul in a twenty-five year old body (albeit creaking knees and popping elbows), I still had things to learn and discover about myself. I was terrified to start school again. I know what kind of person I was during University back at 18. I was free. I knew exactly what, and who, I wanted to be and yet I knew nothing at all. There are a ton of mistakes I made back then. I don’t regret them, because they brought me here, but I do acknowledge them. I was scared that who I was then is actually who I would be now, in school.

But I’m not.

I’m a ‘stay up late until I get the assignment done’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘create a homework planner so I always know what’s due’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘help other students with their homework and assignments because I know the material’ kind of girl. I’m a ‘stick it through even though I might fail’ kind of girl.

That is what I REALLY learned about me last semester.

I know who I am.
Do you?

Stay Safe,
Jade

College Semester Spring 2018

Wow!

That’s going to be my word for today. Wow! Making the decision to finish my degree was one of the hardest I had to make this year. I knew that it would be very time consuming, that trying to find another job that works with my school schedule would be next to impossible and it’d cut into my reading time! But who cares! I’m so glad that I did it! I have learned so much in the last few months and it really makes my inner nerd jump with joy.

This semester I took three courses, all flex. I knew that I had a shorter amount of time during this semester (10 weeks vs the normal 16 weeks) and everything would be a bit tight. Due to that, I wanted to take a smaller amount of classes as this is my first semester back in 6 years.

I took a math course, new student course and intro to philosophy. I had one of the best math professors ever! He spent 30 years (if I remember correctly) teaching young students and used the techniques he learned to help us grasp mathematical concepts. He was so funny, honest and understanding. I wish I could take my next math course with him but he only teaches that one level. Darn!

New Student Experience is one course I can gladly say is over. It wasn’t hard and I didn’t hate it, it was just pointless. The New Student course is the one where you ‘discover yourself’ or learn about the campus amenities. This is something I could’ve learned in orientation. The fact that I had to take an entire semester of this is ridiculous. It didn’t teach me anything and was just another one of those courses that eats your money.

My Philosophy course was fantastic! My professor was great and it taught me a ton of new things. I learned to ask all sorts of questions, about God, society and impressions of others. I loved it! A few of my posts I’ve written here were directly because of my excitement! I’m actually taking more philosophy courses and believe it’ll help me hone my writing! Yes!!

So this is finals week and I only have a math exam left. Last week! But then the next semester literally starts in two weeks. I will be taking my last math course, general psychology and fundamentals of speech. I went on rate my professor and researched all of my professors first. Who knows? Hopefully they are as good as I read! Will update when school starts back up!

Happy Readance,

Jade

P.S. I’m getting a degree in English and Philosophy

 

The Ring of Gyges (Glaucon.Plato): Justice as a Constitution

Would you rather do injustice but appear just or be just and appear unjust?

Think of the last time you went to a club. Imagine earlier in the day you met someone exciting and you hit it off with them, possibly exchanged contact information. That night, while out with your friends, you’re waiting in a long line. Two out, Two in (we all know how this goes). Suddenly, your new friend shows up and says ‘Oye! How are ya?‘ and, as a VIP guest of the club, they invite you to skip the line and join them inside. Do you? Everyone else stares back at you, standing still with wide eyes, sucking their teeth in jealousy. Your friends glance down at their feet, unsure if they are included in the invite. Do you leave them behind? Ask if their invited? Decline and stay with your friends?

Now think if you came to the club alone (Hey! maybe you’re the type) and you are standing at the end of the line. What if he’d caught up to you before you joined the line of onlookers? Do you sneak off and join him in the club? When no one would see you accept the offer, when there is no one to judge your decision, would you really decline?

For those who are more pious, that don’t frequent clubs like the rest of us, say you are trying to get accepted for a prestigious internship that will shape how quickly you move up in your career. You just so happen to be the niece (nephew) of someone on the board. They say they will put in a good word for you, write you a reference letter, donate money and set up a meeting with the Chair. You have the talent, skills and maybe a leg up, due to your own determination, working for you. You don’t really need his help. Do you do this on your own? Do you decline his offer (save for the required reference) and see how the board votes without the incentive?

Think of the opposite, when you could really use his help. Maybe your final essay wasn’t as strong as you would’ve liked. Maybe you weren’t as memorable during the last introductions.  Maybe you wouldn’t normally deserve the spot, just based on your performance. None of the other candidates would know. Do you accept his offer to get put at the top of the list? Would you risk your dreams for the sake of justice?

Glaucon talks about two important factors when discussing our willingness to do justice: Law and Appearance.  When law is not a factor, most people would do injustice. Why do you think The Purge was so popular? Looting during riots? Cheating on tests when the teacher steps out of the room? When there is no one there to hold you accountable for your actions, you act. Some say, you act out of character but if your actions are your own wouldn’t this show who you truly are? Aren’t you unjust on the inside just like the rest of us? Would injustice be apart of your constitution, a part that you hide?

Appearance wouldn’t be important if not for our judgy parents, coworkers who raise their eyebrow at favoritism or fellow customers you might cut in line. If we, as humans, weren’t so worried about how others perceive us or how we appear to others, we would all do injustice. Glaucon says that one only needs to appear just than to actually be just.

The story of The Ring of Gyges talks about a seemingly just person. A Shepherd discovers a ring of invisibility, which he initially tests on his friends. He then uses it to seduce the Queen, kill the King and take over the throne.
I remember a story told to me as a kid that has really stuck with me, I’ll tell it to you though you might’ve heard it before. An old man wanted to renovate two bathrooms in his home. Due to old age, and a previous knee injury, he is unable to finish cleaning residue and grime from the marble tile in the second. He calls for his grandson to help. “Please, have this done before the party tonight, even though this one often goes unused, I’d like to finish the project.” The grandson agrees and the old man goes about his day preparing.

A few hours before the party, the old man goes to check on the boy and opens the door, glancing at the tile before him. From this vantage point it’s beautifully polished and shines in the light. As he steps in to inspect it, he realizes the boy didn’t finish any of the tile hidden behind the door. “What is this?” he says. “Why have you not finished?
“No one ever uses this bathroom, grandpa. We can finish it later! I can help you with something more important.” The old man puts a hand on his shoulder, looks him straight in the eye.
“We must do things correctly, finish the tasks at hand, even if no one else will see it. That is no matter how big or how small, how important or insignificant the task is.” Reluctantly, the boy finished the tile just moments before the first arrival. Later that night, a toilet malfunction in the first bathroom rendered it useless and all the guest had to be redirected to the second bathroom. As guest complemented the beautiful marble the old man silently caught the eye of the young boy, who grinned back with pride.

Yes, this is very, very, very cheesy but it perfectly explains my point and the direction I took from The Ring of Gyges. The question stands. Would you do injustice if not for law and appearance? If not, are you including small injustices that we do daily? As stated in the reading, one can not be fully just without any injustice. Can they?

I plan to continue uploading my thoughts and inferences of the readings I get while in college. Let me know if you’d like to see more of these or if you are a fiction and novel reader only. I’d love to hear from you!

Good Readdance!

Jade