Who Matilda Is & Why She’s the Worst

Matilda and I go way back. To my Sophomore year of high school to be exact. While I was figuring out what I wanted to do for the rest of my life, Matilda made a fashionably late appearance and a lasting impact that is close to my heart. Literally. She is very close to my actual, anatomical heart.

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Matilda is the name I gave my fibroadenoma, a benign tumor in my left breast. When I was grabbing my boob as an automatic reaction to the random shooting pains in the middle of Ruby Tuesday and needed to provide a brief explanation to my friends, I would say, “Matilda is being a real b*&%h today – and they would nod with sympathy. It became our little inside joke that allowed me to explain my discomfort in the most socially acceptable way.

I’ve gone through more ultrasounds than I can count. I’ve sat in cold examination rooms with the robe open in the front. (I’m bringing my own denim one next time for my own sanity.) I’ve sat, teary-eyed, nervous, and 23 years old, in sunny waiting rooms for painful biopsies. I’ve wiped the tears streaming from my eyes headed to the paper on the examination room table. I’ve winced as they tried to numb Matilda in her entirety with no success. I’ve cried silently while they collect samples that sound like staple guns.

But, luckily, as temperamental as Matilda has been over the past 8 years, she is non-cancerous. But the same can’t be said for many of the strong women and men who have come before me facing the same fears with not-so-fortunate outcomes.

Although the chances of breast cancer are lower for younger women, I want others to know that self-exams are vital to their health and well-being. And that they are not alone. And that the strength of a woman is something we should never doubt. Read up:

Warning Signs of Breast Cancer

The 5 Steps of a Self-Breast Exam

 

 

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post | grad | mumbles

There are a few things they don’t warn you about when it comes to post-grad life. It’s not something that really even crosses your mind as you’re googling graduation hat decorations on Pinterest and spending a few too many nights at “your” bar. (Just me?) And, to be quite honest, you shouldn’t have to think about what’s to come. Your job is to live in the moment. Embrace the now. Embrace the free pizza.

Lucky for you, I’ve done the unofficial research. And here are my findings. Let the things they don’t warn you about post-grad life commence! (Pun intended.)

  1. You’re going to get way too excited when you see a fellow alumnus from your alma mater. I mean, break-your-neck-to-see-them, smile-when-they-cut-you-off, hope-they-rear-end-you-so-you-have-an-excuse-to-talk-to-them excited. I have driven semi-dangerously just to pull up next to a car and mouth “OU, Oh Yeah!” to a car looking at me like the crazy lady I am.
  2. You’ll be so thankful you left the bad eggs at school. Senior year is your time to truly discover who you would like to remain connected with post-grad. Friendships aren’t as easy to maintain as “hey, going to the bar, see you in 5.” They require planning, effort, and postage stamps.
  3. You’ll think really | really | really deeply about your life and your own happiness. Now that 9-5 is a reality for you, you’ll wonder how people find fulfillment living 40 years or so of their lives this way.
  4. You’ll Google a lot of weird things. I once Googled “how to have a dance party by yourself.” Before you judge, know that I had just moved to a new city where my closest friends lived an hour and a half or more away. And, in case you were wondering, the results are as weird as you would think.
  5. You’ll second guess not majoring in whatever your second option was. “Should I have gone to medical school?””Maybe those education majors were on to something with the whole summers off thing.” I’m telling you, you’ll think about it. Then five minutes later you will snap back to reality and realize that the last time you were around blood you almost passed out. Or that kids are gross.
  6. Living by yourself will teach you more about yourself than any college education ever could.
  7. You’ll realize that although college will take a few of the best years of your life, they certainly aren’t the only best years of your life. I can confidently say that the past year has been one of the best years of my life.
  8. Didn’t meet the love of your life in college? IT | IS | OKAY. I thought my prime years were over. Last show of your favorite Netflix show over. Last page of your favorite book over. Little did I know it would come shortly after.

I’ve come a long way since waking up the morning of commencement with pink eye and pretending like it wasn’t happening as I represented the entire graduating class of Ohio University on the platform which was projected on a Jumbotron and streamable worldwide. Yes, I was the one coughing hysterically with tears streaming down my face that weren’t out of sadness.

Did I just ruin all of my credibility? Possibly. Did I make you feel like you’re going to be okay? Definitely. And that’s what I’m here for.

the | movement

I’ll never forget that minty blue-green leotard and the magic it encapsulated. It was about the same size as would have fit a small Chihuahua. It had little pink satin bows on each hip and it symbolized my future “big girl” self. I visited my grandmother, who now dances from above, before we headed to the studio my older sisters seemed to live in, Vickye Lewis Dance Company, and the day was what every three-year-old little girl has ever dreamed of. (Minus Cinderella making me the long lost Disney princess and living in a castle with my invisible friend Amy.)
I began my dancing career that day nearly 18 years ago, and it began my love of movement and the power only expressing oneself can give. I truly believe this passion of mine paved the way to a creative talent I share with you today—writing. Through movement and an open flow of creativity and ideas, I can express to others what I can’t always voice.

The way a poetic melody paired with a compelling lyric made my toes flutter and my heart pound was intoxicating. It was as if the music moved through me. My brain didn’t need to equate or calculate. I didn’t have to think of anything but the next positioning of my feet. It was a beautiful escape.

After 15 years of some interesting dance concepts on my part—I recreated the infamous Tom Cruise in Risky Business scene as a solo performance, spiked a beach ball at someone in the audience and wore a costume that made me look like a glittery pickle—I packed up everything I had ever known and moved to college. And without my reliance on my parents, my dancing fell to homework, meetings, fest seasons and college boys. The stress a new environment, group of friends and priorities bottled up inside me with no way to physically escape.

I have learned to incorporate dance and creativity into my schedule the hard way. And when I fail to do just this, my mood tends to show it. So, here is a note to the present and future me: As time will tell you, the movement that removes you from the chaos is sometimes difficult to keep up with. But remember that little leotard and the look on your loved ones face when they saw a future for you before you created your own. There’s a reason you were given that talent. It is your ticket to sanity and a world your three-year-old self could have only dreamed of. Brush the dust off your oxfords, lace up your ballets, and sweep the floor with sounds of your taps. Never let go of the one thing that fueled your need for adrenaline, your hunger for success and your craving for creativity. The movement is in you and you are the movement.

up | up | away

I’ve always had an odd fascination with planes. Maybe it’s the way they defy gravity and in turn defy our reality. Or maybe it’s just the simple fact they remind me of a real-life Magic School Bus.

The flight attendants quickly became magical fairy Godmothers and Godfathers of the sky in my mind.

Layovers? The more, the merrier.

Why yes, I would love to put my belt and jewelry in your bucket.

Please feel free to wave your majestical magic wand over me to check for illegal carry-ons.

You would make | my | day if you experience turbulence in the air.

To me, flying is romantic. Arriving at an airport means you’re off to see something or someone you love. No one goes through the headaches of security and bag check if it isn’t for a purpose. It’s an act of love.

And when I recently spent nearly 5 hours in an airport, I found even more respect for them. I was looking forward to my trip to the airport for days. The planes, the melting pot (or is it still a tossed salad? Are we on to fruit salad? What about a nice clam chowder?) of languages around me | the embraces | the romance.

As I sat by baggage claim one, I watched a family with three little kids gather around the bottom of an escalator. They held signs with drawings of stick-figures holding hands with nearly illegible handwriting reading “welcome home, Edda! We missed you so so much.” My heart fluttered like your grandma’s does every time she gets on Facebook. I was almost as excited as they were. The youngest little boy came over to me speaking gibberish that as a proud aunt I can translate decently effectively. He was three, excited, and had a boo-boo on his knee that needed a kiss. In fear of completely creeping out his parents nearby, I pointed to his mom and told him to ask her to kiss it.

Cheers to Edda and all the love he or she receives. Isn’t it beautiful to know that no matter how near or far you may be from your loved ones that love knows no boundaries? Whether they be linguistic or geographic in nature, they become invisible in the face of love.

x|o|x|o

the speech you never | got | to | hear

129 weeks. 903 Days. That’s all it took.

For some it was a few more. For some, a few less.

But either way, it didn’t take long. We didn’t expect it, although they warned us it would happen. They warned us if we stayed for summers it would make it worse. They said it wouldn’t take long, the time would fly by. The more Homecomings, nights on Court Street, lazy Sundays, Section Eight Concerts, Karaoke nights, afternoons on the Green, Boyd Brunches, and clubs you join the harder you’ll fall.

Perhaps it was the moment we realized we would rather stay in this little town over extended weekends than go back to our hometown. Or maybe it happened when you realized you met your soulmates here, whether romantic or platonic. Or, for many of us, it could be hitting you like a ton of Athens Block bricks as you realize there will be a day when we leave it all behind.

But no matter whether it was at-first-sight or friends-first, we fell in love.

Deep, unwavering, let-you-have-the-last-pink-starburst kind of love.

It’s a love that changes the scope of your life and the shape it will take. It leads us on a journey we didn’t foresee but had always hoped for. And for us, a journey that has lead us here today beside the ones who prepared us for the love we have in our hearts.

We have fallen in love with Ohio University. Yes, the bricks are magical. Of course College Green looks like a scene God created by hand. The cherry blossoms look like they’ve been plucked from a post card and placed around campus. And although we may have decided to attend Ohio University because of the views, they aren’t the reason we fell in love here. They aren’t the reason our heart is aching at the thought of leaving | our | home | behind.

What will we do when we don’t have Wings Over and their free delivery? Or Bagel Street Deli to cure the aftermath of the hot nuts? 24/7 access to Union Street Diner? The thought of a morning without a Casa bloody mary is a morning I don’t want to face. We fell in love with the endless variety of affordable, ethnic, sometimes bizarre cuisine. I can picture the look on the face of subway employees now when I walk up and say “I’d like a Kevorkian with sprouts and a morning after on pretzel please.”

Another reason we fell in love with Athens is our student organizations. They truly became the family we chose for ourselves. They helped us grow, prepare, and be the people we are today. Our families raised us, our organizations prepared us. There will never be a day we don’t hear PRSSA, SAB, Section 8, Alpha Gam, or BobcaThon and not smile. I can confidently say I wouldn’t be the human being I am without SAB. Each and every person in our student organizations taught us a critical lesson, shared an unforgettable memory with you, and made you proud to represent that organization on campus.

But one of the undeniable reasons we fell in love was Bobcat Pride. What would we do if we didn’t have football games to go to with our brand new friends opening weekend freshman year? Or should I say Marching 110 performances to attend? It’s the pride in our heart that each bobcat carries no matter how old or young. It’s what makes Homecoming the most magical day of the year.

But maybe it isn’t just the food, or the student organizations or the bobcat pride we’ll miss.

Answer these questions:

Who did you order Wings Over with?

Who did you pile in the car with when you were craving USD?

Who did you re-live your Friday night with at Casa?

Who did you meet in PRSSA or Alpha Phi Omega?

Whose hand did you hold (or drag) to the homecoming parade?

Your answers are the true reasons why we fell in love with this place. When you think about it, it’s the memories we made in between the hot nuts and black widows and the friendships we cheers’d to that we’ll miss. And the memories we made at 2:15am in line at O’Betty’s or Big Mama’s. It’s the people who held your hand when your heart was broken, brought you ice cream when you were homesick, felt your anxiety over post-grad plans, were there for you through the loss of loved ones, laughed with you over your silly mistakes. It’s the people who may be sitting next to you at    this    very    moment.

When it all comes down to it, we’ll miss the food, the affordable drinks, the pride, the campus and our beloved Student Alumni Board. But what we’ll miss the most isn’t going anywhere at all. The friendships we made the past few years are the heart of why we fell in love with Ohio University. The people we have met here will always be a part of our lives. We will carry the memories in our hearts forever. But the people will always be there. They will become our bridesmaids, groomsmen, our kids’ godmothers and godfathers, and the people we still call when we’re homesick from Athens.

We fell in love. Deep, unwavering, let you eat the last pink starburst kind of love. But our love as bobcats will be something we carry with us for the rest of our lives. Our journey as bobcats is just beginning.

Students THEN | Alumni NOW | Bobcats FOREVER.

monday | mumbles

13 Reasons You Should Date a Sagittarius

Five Signs You Met Your Soul Mate

22 Ways College Kids Are Basically Babies

make | it | stop

why do we find comfort in summing up complex

feelings | people | thoughts

like they’re grocery lists?

dating a sagittarius woman is

complex | confusing | rewarding

meeting your soul mate is

consuming | intoxicating | liberating

college students cannot. be. defined.

and no one can be summarized into a grocery list. feelings are too deep, people are too strong, and thoughts are too personal.

cheers to the beautiful women, college kids, and soul mates who cannot be summarized into grocery lists.

x|o|x|o

hello | bonjour | ciao

you know that feeling you get when you see someone enthusiastically waving at you so you politely grin and wave back, racking your brain to remember who this brave soul is only to discover they’re waving to the person behind you?

that’s the feeling this blog is dedicated to. the awkward, goofy, head | palm moments that happen to us each and every day in this crazy | puzzling | beautiful world we live in.

cheers to you ladies | gents who just dropped your phone on your face while reading this. this is for you.

x|o|x|o