On Root Canals

Hi, me again! Same gal, one less living tooth.

Wonderful visual for all of you, I hope. I also hope you’ve had good Labor Day Weekends/following weekdays. I did! I didn’t want to post on Monday like usual because I hoped none of you would be on digital devices on account of it being a national holiday, but I also didn’t want to post on this coming Monday on account of it being 9/11, so here we are.

Now that we’ve gotten all of that out of the way, let’s talk about root canals.
Actually, let’s talk about dentists.

So I’m terrified of the dentist. Literally terrified. I would rather spend an entire night locked in a room with a creepy looking clown thing reading off every Facebook post I thought to make in 2007 than go to the dentist. That terrified.

I write and talk and try to advise people on how to live happy and well and most of that advice – coupled with every reassurance I give potential employers about my reliability (I am very reliable potential employers if you’re reading this just stick with me until the end here) – is based on the idea of conquering things that scare you. Don’t let fear run you dry. Learn to love it. Learn to accept it. Fear is good.

Naturally, I had avoided seeing my dentist for about a year until last Tuesday.

I brush and floss twice a day! Okay? I’ve been at school! I don’t even like candy and I’ve literally never had a cavity in my entire life. (okay, maybe one, but that’s not the point)

The point is last Tuesday my lower right tooth started to hurt for absolutely no reason at all. And last Wednesday? I woke up in throbbing pain at 4am with the worst gut instinct I have had, to date.

“Maybe I should call my dentist”

After a few X-Rays, more than a few tears, and a confusing train of conversation, I left my primary dentist’s office with an appointment that day for an emergency root canal.

Now for any of you actual adults reading this who can properly deal with stressful situations/have lived through worse scenarios, I can understand if you’re rolling your eyes. It’s a root canal, no big deal, could be worse.

I am cognisant of my luck in terms of life. Grateful that, thus far, not much has rivaled the past week in terms of pain. However, terrified of the dentist. This outcome was quite literally the absolute worst case scenario in my brain. It was one of the very reasons I avoid going to the dentist as much as possible! This!!!

Turns out, teeth can decide to literally decease on their own. Don’t believe me? I didn’t believe it either until my mouth was drilled. It’s possible, it’s actually not always preventable, and it’s thankfully, fixable.

In  my case, my little right tooth’s passing on wasn’t preventable at all. No amount of candy, lack of flossing, or deterrence of dental visits could have truly prevented the act of getting a root canal.

And honestly, I’m kinda thankful for it all.

Today, I’m returning to my dentist to fill the tippy top of my little right tooth. In the past week I have had three appointments at the Endodontist (Dr. Andrew Bradley, one of the nicest doctors I have ever met in my entire life, who’s job is to save little teeth!!).

Some longer than others, only one novacane-free (why is that needle so long can somebody please get on this), all calmly and expertly explained beforehand. I was treated with the utmost care, patiently listened to until I completely understood what would be done to my little tooth, I felt safe.

I guess what I’m trying to say is this, it’s normal to be afraid of things. Fear is empowering and interesting and complex but most importantly, it’s scary. It’s normal to want to avoid something you are afraid of. However, just like my first dog’s relationship with our vacuum (RIP Chance the best dog in the world) not everything you’re afraid of is all that bad, when you really look at it.

Cut yourself some slack, breathe deeply every once in awhile, and if one of your teeth start to throb, call your dentist.

Talk to you soon,

Catherine

 

On Criticism

“Whatever you are, be a good one”

“Be so good that if anyone were to speak ill of you, nobody would believe them”

Two quotes I highly debated on putting in my High school senior yearbook page. Both were taken, and in being who I am, I didn’t want a quote that I thought other people had because I wanted to be different so I landed on quoting Oprah Winfrey instead. (No offense, O)

Anyway, I’m kind of glad I didn’t use those quotes. I’ve sort of gotten over the girl who wrote them down after I told her about them in Math class. Not because I’m mature – because I am, sort of – but because I think they’re just a little misleading.

I believe whatever you do in life, you should do it for good. However, you can’t control what people think of you, like, ever. Literally, you have almost, if not absolute no control over what people think or say or believe about you. People are extremely critical, and being critical, surprisingly, doesn’t always mean they’re right.

There are people who believe women shouldn’t have the right to vote. There are people who believe the Earth is literally flat. There are people who believe that Aliens rule the planet, secretly. There are people that believe blue cheese tastes good. I can go on.

Wether you are or know a lady who votes, agree with physics, hate the movie E.T., or realize that ranch should really be the only option to compliment buffalo flavoring – you are cause for criticism from like, a lot of people.

And as silly as that all sounds, it’s sort of a big deal. Because criticism about E.T. isn’t what keeps most of us up at night, it’s what we think people want us to look like at the beach, or what we think people want us to say on a date, or what we think people think we should be doing with our lives now that we’ve graduated, or what we think… Seriously, I could go on forever.

If you act, you get criticized. If you don’t act, you’re actually acting not to act. Criticized.

What I mean is, in this wonderful, ridiculous life, there isn’t much you can really count on. Criticism, however, you can. It’s always going to be there, no matter what you do, or who you are, or what you decide to eat. Its here, there, everywhere, and not going anywhere.

I think it’s time people stop being afraid of this, and start embracing it.

There’s always going to be somebody who doesn’t like some ebbing and flowing part of who you are. You literally could change all that you are to fit them, and still not be exempt from, say it with me criticism.

There are innate parts of life that garner decisions, beliefs, and actions. It’s kind of beautiful, if you think about it, the fact that nobody has the very same experience on this Earth that you do. Nobody is you, after all. And with that very fact, criticism, in its most silly, little way, is nothing but natural.

The minute I realized it wasn’t going away, was the moment I stopped being afraid of it after all.

Be a nice person, however you define it. Treat others the way you want to be treated – and if you don’t think that’s good enough, how about a little better. Whatever you do at night, make sure you feel good about the head you set down on your pillow.

When you fail, because you will every once in a while, cut yourself some slack. The world doesn’t do it enough.

Thinking of you

Catherine

On Where I’ve Been

Hi, it’s been a while.

Remember when I promised I wouldn’t go rouge because I really liked to write? Me too. I’m sorry. I’m not going to sugarcoat it, for one reason or another, I didn’t write. I stopped. I gave my word and took it back, and that’s really all that matters.

See I started this because I don’t only like to write, I like to talk. I like to feel like I’ve made people’s lives a little easier, brighter, or at least a little more entertaining. I wanted this place to push myself to continue to work on my craft, and to appropriately do that, I have to admit where I’ve lacked.

For one reason or another, people trust me with advice. I appreciate it immensely, to me, it’s one of the most genuine forms of a compliment. Somebody whom I care about, regardless of how close we are in relation, trusts me with something hurting them. Because people don’t ask for advice unless they’re in a situation they don’t like, you know? Asking for advice is an extremely vulnerable act, it’s a humane act, it’s admitting that being real comes with pain on occasion and you’re trusting somebody to help you through that. We all need help every once in a while.

So in the spirit of honesty and advice, I have to come clean about something. I have been gone for a while for many reasons; I was graduating, applying to jobs, living my life to the fullest, etc – but I was also afraid. Yes, me, Catherine Emond, the one who loves advice, was too afraid to ask for it.

You see I dealt with a lot of rejection this past semester, and it made me scared. Normally, as a writer, I thrive in rejection. I find it beautiful, a sort of darker soil of life that when looked at in the right light, with the right amount of water, grows the strongest flowers. It’s a critical aspect of life, and I used to love it.

Something happened to me this year, I was tired. I was scared, I was guarded and withdrawn. I kept saying I was working on myself when all the while I was avoiding the very pain that I’ve sworn to cause the greatest growth. I was lying. I hate liars.

Honestly, words that should have literally washed off of my back stung, critics felt like they screamed, and I believed it all.

I’m not writing this for pity. I’m writing this because regardless of who you are, where you are, or where you’ve been – all of us are human. All of us get scared, all of us fall, all of us hurt.

I want all of you to know that if you ever feel as though you need to take back control; like you’re falling so fast that you can’t really breathe, so fast that all you feel capable of is praying to land, I want you to know you just need to open your eyes to wake up. You can mute the mean, better yet, you’ve been holding the controller the entire time. It might take a while to believe, you might start to wonder how far down the Rabbit Hole really goes but I promise you, the power to step right out, is yours. Dorothy searched the entire Emerald city just to realize she was wearing her ticket home, so look at your feet. People will criticize you for whatever you choose to do, however you choose to do it. Don’t believe me? Literally ‘Google’ anything about anyone. There are people out there who hate puppies; hate Disney, hate air! (It’s a ‘lifestyle’ apparently)

And guess what? Everyone has a right to hate and love whatever they want. But hating on hate isn’t going to get anyone anywhere. Being afraid of being different won’t make criticism go away. Most importantly, regardless of what you believe in, the scientific chances of you being born (statistics, ya’ll) are astounding. You’re here for a reason. Each and every one of you, each difference, microscopic to magnificent, literally fought its way to make you, you.

None of us are perfect, but all of us are real.

Thinking of all of you,

Catherine

On Things

When I was little I used to want to own and operate my very own pizza parlor. I was asked directly about this in Kindergarten, for our monthly newsletter, by Mrs. Sevinor. (Sidenote, does anyone else find it funny that no matter how old we get and how many people we meet, we tend to remember those teachers from elementary school? Or is it just me?) Our class was made up half by boys and half by girls – and coincidentally, our answers seemed to have a similar trend. There were princesses, princes, firefighters, mommies, daddies, policemen, superheroes, and doctors. Somehow, there was only one “pizza parlor owner and operator”, go figure, right?

 

I hate to break it to you all, but this post isn’t being written from the back kitchens of my successful business – but from a couch, on a Macbook air that I didn’t purchase myself (however I am very open to sponsoring any and all Apple products so if you know somebody let a college girl know!!! I’m sorry what I said before about hating your store!! It was a joke!) , with “the Bachelor” on in the background.

 

While my dreams of owning and operating a restaurant died before I worked as a hostess – as I learned to completely and utterly understand how unfit I was for long term work in the service/food industry  – my standing out in a classroom did not.

 

I used to always worry about finding my thing. I worry a lot, but about this probably most of all. As I grew older my classmates became soccer players, lacrosse players, cheerleaders, dancers, actors, football players, valedictorians, singers, honors students – you name it, I know somebody who’s claimed it. No matter what they’ve chosen, the older my classmates have gotten, the more I have realized that they have done exactly that, chosen something, and made it their thing.

 

Throughout the years I have tried on countless cleats and helmets, tried out for performances and plays, and tried to apply myself for hours on end to my schoolwork. Some have worked out, others have been more of a workout – all have taught me lessons I assume I will somehow reflect on in this space at some point or another, which leads me to the point of this post after all.

 

The more I think about it, if I have to pick a thing – I guess it would be what I’m doing now, talking. Well, internally I’m talking as I write this technically, wait no, I don’t mean in that way I mean in the charming-Lizzie McQuire-cartoon-Bitmoji-self way (by the way I feel I need to disclose that I in fact was not a Lizzie McQuire fan, I’m sorry for being one of those quote-the-one-episode/made for TV movie-you’ve-seen-of-a-supposed-pop-culture-phenomenon people by mentioning that. I hate me right now too.). What I’m trying to say is I like to say things, and so I figured I’d write them down, and here we are.

 

The thing about being 21 (so cliche to constantly mention my age in a very mid-life crisis tone when in fact I am at the brink of everything beginning, I know) is that you’re finally legally able to drink. You’re considered an adult by the United States of America, in every sense – even though your brain doesn’t stop evolving and growing until you’re 25. This silly thing happens, I feel, because we’ve officially been given almost everything that until now was held off until we had grown into a certain age – except AARP, that is – and I kind of feel like that can make us nervous. Not in the drinking age should be older way, everyone can calm down about that – but in the growing way. We’ve finally been given everything, and I think that can make us forget how much we still can grow.

 

Maybe it’s because until recently, I didn’t feel like I had a thing that I could print on a jersey, sweatshirt, AIM bio or email combination. Funny enough, I have fond memories of coming up with awkward email combinations in middle school in an attempt to identify with anything that could be a thing but wasn’t really my thing – just to fit in. And look at me now.

 

It could just be me, or maybe it’s more of my classmates than probably want to admit it – but I feel like a lot of us are so nervous about finding that perfect, socially status-quo email combination that we forget all of the cool, individual, wonderfully unique things that we honestly claim. That maybe aren’t majors, but passions – maybe not job titles, but also not money pits – the things that really make us who we are.

 

Until recently, I was terrified to start a blog – even though I knew in my gut I’d really enjoy doing it. I had read countless ‘young adult’ books about girls who started blogs, hid them from their classmates – only to have said blogs discovered by said classmates and, in turn, ridiculed by said classmates. (Sidenote, who honestly writes stories’ whose morals are all centered around preventing writing? Where is the sense there, people???) I used to write in journals but never continue them, write long, thought induced papers only to save them to my computer – I was so afraid of committing, or maybe admitting that this could be my thing that I refused to do it at all.

 

What I’ve realized in the most subtle way, like slowly falling asleep – first slow, then all at once but so natural you don’t notice – is that things are things for a reason. Whether they be Godly, coincidental, or bad indigestion – things tend to come with a gut instinct to do – and once you admit that maybe you should order the salad instead of the hot dog combo with a side of Tums – once you start to listen to yourself, doing these things tends to make you feel better. Maybe not immediately, but over time, these things make you actually, happy.

 

So, whoever’s still with me, thank you. Go do your thing, you.

 

Until next time

 

Catherine

 

On London

Today is December 19, 2016. On December 19, 2015, one year ago, I arrived back to the United States of America – cried at customs, hugged my brother and parents harder than I ever had before – and thanked God a few extra times for the invention of the SUV. It had felt like forever since I hadn’t had to have walked to and from “home”, since I had seen an Egg & Cheese on a Croissant as an option for a breakfast food, since I didn’t have to worry completely about myself in an airport, since I wasn’t alone.

I was proud, I was independent, I had learned to grocery shop before Sundays – learned that Gin and Vodka have significantly different effects when mixed with Club Soda, learned that Nachos are an American thing (trust me), that sitting and risking ruining laundry in a dryer is significantly better than risking sending it out to a service when you aren’t native to a country (and don’t have a landline), that radiators aren’t half as good as a central heating system, walking can (and will) always clear your mind – and taking the tube to class takes 5 minutes longer, but is totally worth it in the rain.

I had grown, a lot. I was extremely aware of it while it was happening, which was the cool thing, I think. I had this scary, naive feeling that I had finally figured it all out, cracked the code, won the game.

The past year since I have returned to the States has been a rollercoaster of a journey – as everyone always describes a long span of time it seems nowadays. I have fallen in and out of love, lost and gained friends, started internships, failed exams, coasted through classes, worried about boredom, broken down and cried a few more times than I ever expected – I have been scrappy, I have felt extremely little, I have felt young.

Before you start to think that this is a post telling you not to go abroad, or that going to London in particular is a perfect way to legitimately ruin your life – let me finish, please.

This past year has been a rollercoaster, yes, but it has been a year.

Looking back on London, on my return one year ago – the entire experience seems clean, like watching an old movie you know the ending to, that you like the ending of so you keep watching it because you know it will make you happy – and I realize that memories, in general, are all like that. Everything is safer in the past, because everything in the past is figured out. It has happened, you have fallen off your bike, and yeah – the scrapes hurt, really badly, but you’re standing – or at least hopefully not still on the ground (in that case, get yourself a bandaid or something!), you’re stable enough to know you’re okay. It’s just a scrape, you’ll live.

I think its important for us to remind ourselves how human we all are. Because we all are, human, that is. We’re all growing constantly, and the only way to do it sometimes is to get roughed up every once in a while – to fall down, to cry a little, to write a blog. I’m a firm believer in the fact that we’re all on our own individual journeys, and the key to being happy is to be completely okay with the exact page you’re on.

So today, it’s been one year since I returned home from London. Currently, I should be studying for an Advertising Management final that I have Wednesday (prayers are accepted during this time of extremely low motivation) but I am writing a blogpost on this site that I really feel like is a good idea to have. Bravo is on in the background, my dog is fast asleep on the kitchen floor, I am in a chair that wasn’t here last year, writing on a computer I didn’t own last year, in socks from 2013.

I am mismatched, and I am happy. I look forward to the day I can return to London, but remember the intense feeling of joy when I saw my family with signs in Boston Logan Airport one year ago, the feeling of completely and utterly knowing I was exactly where I was supposed to be.

There may not be signs right now, and I may not be in an airport, but that contentment is a feeling I am lucky enough to say I feel at this very moment, still.

Hope you all do, too 🙂

Talk to you later,

 

Catherine

On ADHD

I knew what ADHD was in the 2nd grade – when I was originally diagnosed.

At that point, I thought it just meant that I had trouble focusing in class. Also, at that point, I had really no idea what “trouble focusing in class” meant – other than getting ridiculed by my 2nd grade teacher  for speaking too much. I was put on medication, and I didn’t worry about it again.

 

I was outgoing, energetic, impulsive, annoying, loud, rude when I didn’t mean to be, a spitfire – a good friend, a difficult child, a spirited child, a little girl full of lots of energy, ideas, and love.

 

ADHD, as I have learned more as I have grown, is better explained through the means by which it is diagnosed – which are narratives, stories, incidents of repeated behavior that correspond with the traits of having an ADHD brain. Standing alone, these incidents paint reoccurring pictures of misunderstandings, annoyance, everyday adjectives everyday individuals would use to describe a nuisance. It is the repetition of these narratives, the continuum of the threads used to weave the pieces together – that not only aids in the diagnosis of ADHD, but explains what life with ADHD is like.

 

The older I have gotten, the more concerned and frustrated I have become with explaining towards others what ADHD actually feels like. I have tried metaphors, I have researched scholarly journals, googled famous success stories, advocated for Adderall – all in an attempt to normalize what I was diagnosed with some long, long time ago. My focus hyper-focus has been on overdrive, and I had no idea how, why, or when it started, all I knew is that I didn’t think ADHD was a big deal at all – and I wanted everyone else to agree with me. I had spent my young adolescent life having been called: annoying, rude, obnoxious, hyper, loud, impulsive, lazy – I cannot count how many times I’ve been told that I can’t keep saying I’m sorry, urged to stop apologizing, encouraged to just try harder; study more, let it go, buckle down.

 

See the thing about me is that I am outgoing, impulsive, quick to jump to conclusions, impatient, driven erratically, hyperaware of the world about me and the opinions of those in it, excitable, reactive, and annoying. I am also overly empathetic, warm, caring and friendly at all costs, positive, hopeful, friendly, creative, innovative, funny, selfless, intuitive in many senses – hyper aware of emotions of my peers, intelligent, motivated, and resilient.

 

I am all of those things, and a lot of those are because I have ADHD.

 

It wasn’t until recently that I realized ADHD is more than just not being able to focus in class, cannot usually become outgrown, and cannot be scared away by 20 milligrams of Amphetamine Salts.

 

However, it also wasn’t until now that I decided having ADHD is nothing to be embarrassed of, or ashamed of, or willing of being wished away – ADHD is inherently a part of my brain, it has shaped me into the person that I am, and the person that I will be. I’m done whispering about it.

 

ADHD is a legitimate brain disorder that affects more people than you’ve probably ever thought about. To quote Dr. Edward M. Hallowell,

“The old moral model dies hard… Under this model, the cure for depression is to cheer up. The cure for anxiety is to suck it up. And the cure for ADD is to try harder. While trying harder helps just about everything, telling someone with ADD to try harder is no more helpful than telling someone who is nearsighted to squint harder. It missed the biological point.”

 

21 is a funny and scary age, you feel so old and so young – so little and so large, and, at the core, so confused when asked what you really want to do with your life. At the personal point I am currently, a semester away from my undergraduate graduation – I can’t begin to count the amount of hours I have spent wondering what my mark will be on this world – where I should sow my seeds, what I should make of myself as an adult.

 
Up until now, when I have a problem that I’ve become extremely torn over, I listen to my gut. Now regardless of whether this is my gut, or God, or my impulsivity from my ADHD, I feel like I should write this. This, being my story. Little cases, little instances of my life that until now, I didn’t realize were peppered with a disorder that sets me back at the same time as setting me apart. Personally, I have found comfort in fully understanding the name of a disorder that has stuck to me my entire life – hopefully, somebody out there can read what I’ve written, and feel some comfort, too.

 

For now, I hope you enjoy 🙂

 

Hugs,

Catherine

On Gingerbread Lattes

Currently, I am sitting at a Starbucks pop-up in the Providence Place Mall. I got lost going here, twice, probably due to the fact that I am going here in an attempt to save my sad, shattered phone.

After one long negotiation with possibly the most rude and insensitive greeter in the world!! (I am a 21 year old in 2016 a broken phone is NOT A JOKE SARAH), a few tears with my new friends at the Genius Bar, and a quick trip to Ghirardelli for some free samples – my phone is finally in surgery. Prayers are accepted at this time. No, I am not joking.

But also no, this is not intended to be just another post complaining about what can only be described as the most frustrating store set-up in the world, nor is it a post about the fact that in 2016, I could barely get to the Providence Place Mall without Google Maps (ugh those annoying, tech obsessed millennials, am I right???) – this is a post about the man in front of me in Starbucks, with baggy jeans and a ratty sweatshirt, who just made my day.

No, we are not in love, nor will we fall in love, or meet again on a bus or train – honestly, we will probably never meet again at all.

Not having my phone today made me remember how little I am (not talking height here people) and how big I should be – I was oddly proud of myself for taking care of this on my own, subconsciously thankful for parents who still pick up the phone when I call from other numbers crying, and honestly overall pretty exhausted. Its been a long 24 hours.

When I arrived at this Starbucks pop-up, I was frustrated, tired, and lonely. I took one look at the people in front of me in line and scoffed at the baggy jeans and ratty sweatshirt, internally judging the man and his partner for taking so much time to order and rudely wondering what they were even doing here. Very unlike me, but necessary to share all the same – you see, just when my mind turned mean, the man turned around.

He smiled, urging me to go in front of him and his tattooed friend – they were still figuring out what to order, giggling at the menu – and I instantly relaxed.

I find it interesting how hard it is to convey some emotions through text, happiness and kindness as two very important ones. The kindness that this stranger showed me didn’t end when he turned around – I offered advice on my favorite drink, the Gingerbread Latte – and went to sit down at a table and wait.

A few minutes went by as I shuffled out my belongings, and I looked up to check if my drink was ready. It had been put aside, safe from the order snaggers (they are real, I swear) – and to my dismay, saved by my friend in line. He explained that it had been ready for a few minutes, and he had told the baristas that I was just getting my things, that I’d be up in a minute – asking for a little patience, my way.

I am aware how weird this situation sounds, or how seemingly mundane this entire exchange may be. However, to me, that simple act of kindness made me smile. It made me want to share.

I guess what I just want to remind whoever is reading this that kindness does go a long way – and maybe the next person you remember a little thing about, the next person you let cut you in a line or make laugh in a waiting room will write about you, too.

Oh, and also, if you’re looking for a good Starbucks drink – try the Gingerbread Lattes.