Maybe it's because, as a child, I walked into table corners so much, I boasted a continual black eye along with my favorite pacifier. Or I maybe I should blame my years playing soccer when a shin dotted with black meant a hard game well played. Either way, I can't help but grin and shake my head when I notice that spots of my legs mimic our purple and green Easter eggs. Because, especially on the weekend of Jesus's rebirth, every bruise is a warrior wound.
I'd like to say that this Easter weekend left me totally unblemished, but, even off from school, I've had my struggles. (Including an exploding dish after Easter dinner that destroyed my beloved to-be leftover potatoes - real tears were shed, I'm afraid). And, even with Monday off, I know this week will be full of similar challenges. Three essays (including one ten-plus-pager), two projects and a small forest of TA papers to grade in four days will do that to a gal.
Honestly? I'm stressed. I'm frustrated when words refuse to drip off my fingers and onto my keyboard, when blogging falls to the bottom of the list, and when I feel like I'm breathing homework even on break. For a Type A personality like me, an upcoming tsunami of assignments is like an ugly bruise on your thigh: no matter how much it hurts, you can't help but keep poking at it. Focusing on it. Worrying over it.
|Unfortunately, a bruise doesn't equal the easy button!|
And, like a good bruise, sometime some tears need to be shed over it. I hate crying, especially over an assignment I know won't even cross my subconscious ten years from now. Or over the bloat that loves to rise as my stress level does the same. But, sometimes I need it.
In soccer, my team nicknamed me "The Beast" - partly ironic considering my petite 5'3", <100 lb package. Yet, mostly true. I never noticed my size disadvantage until I looked back at pictures snapped mid-game, and while my face did develop a close relationship with the grass, I also kicked my fair share of goals. No pain, no gain. In working out and working at college.
The fact is, this last four weeks are going to be busy. At times, I'm going to hate it. Hate tunneling my way out of the cavern of assignments with only a number 2 pencil for a chisel. Hate the lack of academic motivation filling my head with summer dreams. Hate the way my body reacts to sleep deficit and class work overload.
But, I'm also going to embrace it. Reward my fatigued self with Ryan Gosling memes, April Fool's revenge on friends, and lots of (salvageable) Easter leftovers and home-cooked granola. Savor the last four weeks of being an official "underclassman." I'll look in the mirror at my tired self and I may not always like what I see. But, I will view every bump and bruise as proof of a summer well earned.
|Food + Shirtless Ryan Gosling? I guess I'll survive.|
(And that face on my pillow? - imagine pages of that hidden all over your dorm room!)
I often justify my customary clumsiness with a self-diagnosis of "floating head syndrome." If there's a door frame, my forgotten elbow will hit it. A sidewalk crack? My big toe is already there. These kind of bruises, I'm used to loving. The mental and emotional versions? Now those are the the harder beasts to accept.
But, no matter how packed with crazy these last four weeks become, I don't have to let that crazy control me. I can remember to love my body through rest and satisfying cravings (no matter if that includes all vegetables or banana ice cream for every meal). I can schedule my work and time for friends.
And I can remember to kiss those bruises - whether from doors, essays or a stress-induced weightlifting session. I've always smiled at my battle wounds. And that isn't going to change now.
How do you view your "battle wounds?" How do you survive and thrive in times of stress? Comment below!