So here’s the thing. It’s been a while since I’ve written on here and yes, this post is more than a month “late” seeing as though it’s February and we are already 1 month into 2019.
The posting hiatus is due to crazy expectations of myself to know it all or feel like I shouldn’t do the thing, post the thing or say the thing. My therapist, bless her, enlightened me with letting me know that I can be two things or multiple things at once. I don’t have to know it all and I don’t have to know nothing. I can be both fearful, doubtful, or excited about the content I share while also knowing I will be ok and I am enough.
I’m indecisive, I am a DEEP feeler, and I just care. I care about what other people think of me entirely too much. I’m working on it though! That’s why I stopped blogging for this period. I felt like I wasn’t living up to my expectations.
In this break time I focused on other people’s work and also just trying to survive my dietetic internship and give it my ALL (posts coming on that!). In this process, I was reading a post from Robyn about her move to NYC and I felt all the emotions in it. I saw that someone I really admire also had times of transition and uncertainty and that’s what I loved most from her blog so maybe others will like it in mine!
I’m in the beginning of what is about to be one of the biggest transitions in my life thus far- you know where I miraculously emerge from my cocoon of grad school at home to an adult butterfly and I felt like other people could benefit from seeing me learn and grow this year and for the future. SO let’s just lower expectations Connie and be here in this space. I really do plan to be here throughout this new transition and I’m excited about it. I even have a new blog makeover in the process while my name is also getting a bit of a makeover to have 4 new letters at the end of it come spring/summer!
And so- I wanted to recap on all the good stuff and hard stuff from 2018 because maybe it will help you see progress in yourself too?
2018 was the year of feeling unsettled and unsure. Sitting here writing this I am coming out on the other end of that unsure-ness. I am more sure and more content in my life in the present moment than I have ever been. I think I know what I want this space to be, I know where I want to live (or rather I made a decision and I’m doing the damn thing), and I know that I want to work on being way more accepting of myself and the process and being scared or unsettled but also knowing I will be totally ok too.
I started working for Robyn, my dream came true! I applied because I knew I wanted to learn skills in how to run a telehealth practice/be a leader and since Robyn had Nutshell and then rebranded to Real Life Women’s Health– she is a wealth of knowledge. Needless to say I was ecstatic for the opportunity and she is as cool and kind as I had imagined her to be after reading her blog for YEARS. I also started my last semester as a graduate student . The following year of school would only be dietetic rotations- no more research papers or classes- WAHOO.
I visited my grandparents at their winter home in Carefree, Arizona and went to Sacramento again with the YMCA to be an advisor for some cool teenagers. In my 2017 post I was so stoked that I was experiencing Sacramento as an intuitive eater and in 2018, Intuitive Eating was already becoming second nature. I would say I had sort of entered into the normal eating phase. It was just life at this point- no extra thoughts or effort- it was effortless!
March was cool. I went to Chicago for Saint Patrick’s Day to meet my college friends and had a blast for the first time despite having been in Chicago all 4 years of college on that day. College Connie had such debilitating anxiety. So much so that I couldn’t stop studying for half a day to have some drinks with friends and do Chicago things. I had to makeup for those years in a sense and makeup for them I did! We had a BLAST- I also found out green beer is just beer with food coloring in it- lol.
Something really cool happened in April. I was invited to be flown to an RD only trip to Cleveland with Nestle USA to their headquarters. I initially thought it was a joke when I got the invite in my inbox because 1. I’m not an RD yet, and 2. I thought only cool successful business people went to these things and I do not consider myself one of those people. I then realized it was indeed true and I was so excited to attend. It was a really enjoyable experience. Nestle asked our opinions as RDs on some of the new products and messaging and since the room was more than ½ filled with Intuitive Eating and Health At Every Size RDs I think we surprised them with our opinions. We were fans of full fat and sugar products and enjoyed incorporating packaged foods into our nutrition practices since we promote a flexible approach to eating and body trust rather than diet-y messages I think they thought we would side with.
One thing I learned is that I have to own my story. Of course, on day 1 at a giant round table we were asked to introduce ourselves and they turned to the most inexperienced person in the room- yes, me, and asked if I could start. I was so nervous that I sputtered out my name and that I was a graduate student and soon to be RD passionate about the HAES approach, smiled, and was like ok PLEASE can the next person go. I usually have no problem speaking in front of anyone but that room was filled with a lot of people I respected and I didnt want to say the wrong thing since I already felt a bit out of place for being invited to come. I failed to mention I had a blog, instagram, taught classes at CSULA, was a nutrition educator at the Y, and worked with kids. I now know that even though I may feel small and young, my accomplishments are important and I should mention and own them because later on in the weekend my options were appreciated and no one looked down on me for being a student or anything. In fact everyone was really excited for me and offered great advice and life stories!
I mainly focused on school. I gave I think 4 presentations on Intuitive Eating and HAES from various aspects after writing 4 papers to go along with them- you could say my brain was jello at that point. My favorite one was on the research behind Controlling Feeding Practices in kids (diet mentality) versus Healthful Feeding Practices (weight neutral/intuitive eating mentality). I remember feeling really proud of these because I was finally speaking and researching about stuff I loved. I felt so proud on the last day of class. I also remember feeling really scared for the next year ahead. Rotations, specifically clinical, freaked me out and finishing classes meant I would actually have to face them.
I turned 24 and at this point I had a lot of thoughts swimming in my head. Where I want to live post graduation, what work aligns with my values, what do I do with my summer?! I often found myself in a pile of tears from being so confused with what I wanted for my future. A lot of people had opinions on what was best for me and I was losing my darn MIND. I ended up living in Sarah’s little sister’s Chicago Lincoln Park apartment for the month of June while she was abroad to just be. I tried to let myself just sit with my feelings and work some stuff out. So I spent a lot of time walking to lake Michigan, drinking wine on my cousin’s Wrigley rooftop, playing with Ella, enjoying water time, and time with friends! I made a mental decision this month about where I wanted to move and the rest of the year was spent wrestling with if I had enough confidence in me to make it happen.
Literally, ask Robyn. Every mentor call from July forward was just me venting about my worries about moving/finding a good job and Robyn telling me to trust my gut and go with the decision that meant freedom to me, not fear.
I went to camp fox on Catalina just like last year as a director for 6-8th grade kids and had a blast. I always say this but I’m my truest self at camp. I’m quirky, don’t wear makeup, let my natural frizzy curly hair down, and just enjoy a cell phone and internet free week. I ended up leaving camp one day early and flew out to Croatia with my family (thank you mom and dad!) where we met my world traveler sister who had just finished studying abroad in Stockholm, Sweden. Croatia is stunning! We ate food that felt like my Oma’s cooking in Zagreb then a complete 180 to total Mediterranean fish and fresh pastas on Hvar. We were there when Croatia kept winning games in the World Cup and it was pretty cool to see the atmosphere while it was happening! We got to watch with all the Croatia fans! I had one of the most beautiful meals of my life in Split. Truly stunning and I don’t think I’ll ever forget it.
AH INTERNSHIP YEAR IS HERE. I started at Glendale Unified School district (GUSD) wide eyed and honestly about to sh*t my pants. Truly, I only drank a smoothie on my first day because it was all I could get down and that wasn’t helping my situation of having a nervous stomach. The entire month there was an uphill battle- I’ll do a dedicated post on my rotations so I’ll save it- but let me tell you- it was a lot of kitchen work. Not my fave.
Still at GUSD and was so looking forward to visiting my sister (and friend!) in NOLA. I had such a fun weekend with her exploring a city that is essentially Las Vegas + Europe. You can drink alcohol on the street there- I was a big fan.
I was nearing my time to end my first 10 week rotation. Admin/food service was nearly done and I was really excited about that. I really liked the people I met at GUSD but the work was very unfulfilling to me. I also booked a trip to Seattle to further test the waters about moving there (eek!!). This year I was giving myself little trial and error times (like my Chicago month) and this trip was to test my heart/gut in Seattle. I’ve learned that trusting my gut is the way to do life since I feel every emotion in my body before it registers in my head. This trip was nothing short of amazing and validating for me. I still wasn’t set on the idea but seeing the Fremont neighborhood was like seeing my future. Sounds weird but I was like yep, I see myself here. It feels right or at least it does right now. I just couldn’t shake the feeling of “this doesn’t feel right” in Chicago even though so many loved ones are there.
I also started the scariest and hardest thing I have ever done. Clinicals at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Hollywood. I worked as the single inpatient dietetic intern for an almost 500 bed hospital with 8 full time RDs on staff at any given time. *Cue the fear and tears mixed with determination and exhaustion
Clinicals, clinicals, clinicals. Lots of tears in the car after I got done being strong all day in front of everyone. There wasn’t a lot of hand holding in my rotation. I shadowed an RD on the Telemetry Unit my first day on the floor for one singular patient and then she said- “ok your turn, I’ll wait outside!”. On the outside I smiled and said “great, here we go!” on the inside I was screaming, literally full volume in my own head,- “HOLY SH*T I AM SO UNPREPARED FOR THIS IM GONNA KILL THIS PERSON SOMEHOW”. Irrational, I know, but true. Also conveniently, the patient was the father of a Kaiser physician who was sitting next to him so not only was this my first patient but I had someone who knew the system and would know if I screwed up. Cool beans.
Still at Kaiser but friends, I am proud to say I was able to take a moderately full caseload (7-8 patients and I never thought I would make it past 4) in a day by the end and I got really comfortable or at least leaps and bounds more comfortable than the first patient. The RDs there were very supportive and kind to me! I spent a fair amount of time in the ICU- my least favorite place to be mainly because there was so much commotion and intensity going on. Everyone was so, so sick. I went on to finish my 11 weeks at Kaiser the first week of January and I couldn’t think of a better Christmas present to give myself than great preceptor evaluations and just making it out a much more confident and knowledgeable intern. Yes it was hard but boy did I learn.
So here we are. 2019. Looking back it was sort of a blur but if there were themes that stuck out
- Trying to listen to my heart more than my head- also work on the thoughts in my head. My head can take me to all the wrong places if I let it. I have a lot of irrational fears and thought bullies going on in there and I now know how to punch back- thank you, therapy. I actively worked on me this year and I’m really proud of me. I have never started a year so confidently and so content. The path ahead is pretty clear and I’m gearing up to take the leap into adulthood, my first job, a new city, and learning through failures and feedback in those experiences.
- “But I am also ok”. I can be a lot of things. Emotions are hard and so are expectations but whatever I do or feel I will also be ok.
- Putting me first. For so long I put myself in the background. I went the extra mile for friendships and relationships so that everyone else would be happy even if it was at the expense of my happiness. I’m actively looking at relationships and taking a little check in. Sort of asking myself “ok how does this relationship serve me and is it a two way street or one”? I tried and am trying to make choices that made me happy rather than everyone else and taking the planned leap to Seattle is a huge outcome of that choice.
Those themes are going to be like lifelong themes I’m sure but I’m glad I realized them in 2018 at age 23/24. It has made 2019 pretty awesome already. I don’t know how many years I will keep these recaps up but we can play that by ear. The grad school years have just been filled with so much growth, I wanted to share because most of the time it just feels like stress city!
We can continue this novel another day. If you made it through that I hope it may have validated some of your feelings if you are a 20 something learning every day like me too!