I Didn’t Plan It

November 13, 2015 at 8:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , )

Plans are funny things. We try to predict the future (with mixed success), but there’s always going to be something that jumps out at you unexpectedly. I’ve been listening quite a bit to Sara Bareilles’ new album “What’s Inside,” which is a collection of songs from her new musical Waitress. It’s really good – you should listen to it. One of the main themes that resonates with me, though, is the idea that life throws things at you that you can’t expect. You can either let that throw you off, or you can embrace the challenge.

I didn’t plan it / but the light turned red and I ran it / and I’m still standing 

I understand it / a story written by my own hands / life biting right at your heels

I used to think to myself “how different can grad school be from undergrad?” The answer is that it can be oh so very different. You don’t know what you don’t know, as they say. Still, it’s an exciting time, and we do try to plan to the best of our ability as to how best to get through it. I’ve decided on a thesis topic, which is pretty exciting! We technically call our theses “MPP Essays,” but functionally it’s the same thing. There are just slightly different semantic requirements, is all. Fortunately, I get to choose what I do my thesis on. Grad school is really challenging, though. Part of that is on myself and my own time management skills, and some of it is because there’s a ton of material to get through. Everyone keeps telling me that the first term is the hardest, so I’m holding on to that. For instance, this weekend I have 2 papers due Monday, one due Tuesday, and an Economics exam on Wednesday (just worth like 30% of my grade, no big). This, of course, on top of my GTA research. One the one hand, what a great opportunity! On the other hand, holy shit this is going to be a busy weekend. I don’t help myself too much by procrastinating on a Friday night, but I tell myself that writing myself into a better state of mind isn’t the worst way to spend it. A little self care is important, too. That’s my plan!

I didn’t plan it / taking back what’s been taking for granted / ‘cuz I can’t stand it / I’m sick of the way I’ve been waiting to break free

I need saving / And a good mistake needed making / maybe you need the same thing

Shifting gears, I’ve also been thinking somewhat about long term plans. What am I going to do after grad school? Am I going to die alone? Is it too soon to be thinking about the post-Grad School dog that I’m invariably going to get? Should I already be feeling guilty about wanting a pug when there are lots of wonderful shelter dogs? Are these really the plans to be making when the final sprint to the end of the term is staring me in the face? Will I ever break my habit of writing entire paragraphs of rhetorical questions? (The answers, if you’re curious, are: doesn’t matter yet, probably, of course not, yes – but I could get TWO dogs…they could be friends!, it’s all about balance, and nah that ain’t me, respectively)

Ok, time to be productive. #notthrowingawaymyshot

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Satisfied

October 25, 2015 at 3:37 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I love the rain, especially in the fall. The way it sounds falling on the roof. The smell in the air. It’s important to remember the things you love when life gets crazy.

When I haven’t been doing grad work I’ve been listening to Hamilton (a new musical) basically nonstop for the past two weeks. It’s incredible. You should check it out. One of the big themes in the show is this idea of Hamilton never being satisfied – he has to keep going nonstop all the time. His ambition allows him to attain dizzying heights, but it also leads to his political downfall and eventual death in a duel against Aaron Burr. I think that theme, though, dissatisfaction, affects all of us in various ways. We all have things about ourselves or our lives that we’re unhappy with, and we deal with it in a multitude of ways. I want to lose weight, I want to get better grades, I want a partner, if I only had x or y I would be finally happy, etc. Sometimes we drink to forget, sometimes we distract ourselves, sometimes we take action and change ourselves. Sometimes the things we want to be different are things that we can work on fixing. In those circumstances it’s important to take it day by day. Everyone (myself included) seems to feel that everything is a race across a finish line – if I do this one thing, I will finally be happy. I will finally be satisfied. It’s important to look at our goals day by day and moment by moment, though, because life is just one long continuation. It’s just one process. We’re never done. We are constantly “being.” The more we can become OK with that, the happier we will be. You have to be kind to yourself.

For today, though, I am mostly thinking about the things that are not under our control. I’ll say it again – you have to be kind to yourself. No one is perfect. No one has all the answers. Most of us have very few answers. I don’t particularly trust people who tell you they have all the answers (maybe that’s why I can be a bit standoffish toward organized religion as a general concept). Something I try to do is be OK with not knowing. I want to have the answers, but the world is large. Can I be enough, just being me? What if I fail? What if I do something stupid in front of my classmates, my peers, my professors? I know I really want to be liked; to be loved. What if no one does? What if I have all these implicit biases, and I say something hurtful? Can I atone for the mistakes I’ve made? Can I make less in the future? I’ve been mostly single for the past three years, does that say something about me? Can I be satisfied with myself? Can I be satisfied with someone else in my life eventually? Can I stop asking rhetorical questions? Am I wasting my time writing this now instead of working on my paper that’s due tomorrow?

I’m afraid of all those things, but I need to be OK with being afraid. That fear, I believe, is normal. Grad school is supposed to be hard. Your mid-20s are supposed to be a time of transition. As a book I read would say, it is the “defining decade” of your life. It’s about building a foundation of a house that won’t ever be truly finished. It’s the first verse of the song of your life, and you get to play it in real time. Every moment of my life needs to be enough. I need to be able to find satisfaction in my life, and find motivation in my dissatisfaction. Eckhart Tolle says “Accept – then act. Whatever the present moment contains, accept it as if you had chosen it. Always work with it, not against it.” Where would I rather be than right here, right now? I am me because of everything that has happened; me in everything that IS happening. I am luckier than many.

I could be thoughtful. That would be enough.

I could sit here, in this moment. Live here, because this moment is all there is. That would be enough.

I could view myself with kindness. That would be enough.

I could take one step toward my goals. That would be enough.

I could love, even when I’m upset. That would be enough.

I could make a mistake. That would be enough.

I could fail. That would be enough.

I could go confidently in the direction of my dreams. I could go unconfidently in the direction of my dreams. I could stall out for a while and stare at the wall. That would be enough.

I am enough.

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My Shot

October 12, 2015 at 10:52 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , )

I’ve been writing a lot lately. Reading quite a bit too. For better or worse, though, it has all been academic. I definitely feel like I’m finally getting my sea legs back under me in that regard, so to speak – 4+ years out of the classroom requires a bit of getting up to speed. Fortunately school has always been a skill of mine, so it’s all coming back.

I felt it was important for me to take a bit of time here, though, for some self reflection and honesty with myself. Writing has always been therapeutic, and I tend to treat this blog as more of a journal than anything else, so here we go…

Much like the beginning of a football game or a performance, beginning any new project doesn’t really start until you have take that first hit or sing those first couple notes. For me, that happened last week with my first grad school paper. It was 2 pages – nothing massive – but it was my first chance to prove to myself that I was capable of doing the work at this level. It’s one thing to intuitively feel it, but actually getting into the grind is another thing entirely. My first paper happened to go relatively well, but that just means that I need to continue to up the ante and get as much out of this program as I can.

I think sometimes about the idea of building a house. A small error in putting together the foundation can lead to big structural problems 2 or 3 stories up. It’s important to really take advantage of the time I have early to learn the basics (especially in research methodology and economics, where my background is not as strong) so that I can build my skill set in a way that will be effective. I’m trying to get into a routine that allows me to get everything done I need to get done, lets me be as social as I need to be for my mental health, and keeps me at least relatively active. The balancing act is one that definitely can be done, but it requires some thought and a lot of tinkering here and there to really make it work for me.

Speaking of social life, I feel quite grateful that I have met so many interesting, passionate, intelligent, and fun people here in Corvallis and the MPP program. I’m very lucky that my roommates just happen to be great humans as well. Life is always better when you get along with the people you live with. At the same time, though, I do miss many of my friends who are in the Portland metro, flung across the northwest, and beyond. There is a certain sadness inherent in transition, I think, that is neither good or bad. It simply is. As my life changes, there is a bit of melancholy knowing that nothing will be the same. We can’t remain static. I don’t want to be static – I want to learn new things and meet new people, hear the songs that I will sing to my children someday (if I have them), and maybe fall in love and out of love or at least have some interesting stories about dates I went on.

I can’t say that this is exactly what I imagined for myself at 25, but then again, I don’t know if I really imagined anything specific about 25 in the first place. It’s exciting. It’s new. It’s challenging. I’m in uncharted waters. I’m in a place that feels very different from just about anyone I knew before I came here. I’m trying really hard to be here, where I am, in any given moment. I’m trying to be myself in a world that thinks I’m too nice, or too yielding, or too whimsical. I want to change the world. I want to change myself. I want to feel like there is no distinction between those two sentences. I want to have all the answers. That’s actually untrue…I enjoy the mystery. What I really want is more comfort with uncertainty. I want to make my family and friends proud of me. I would like to leave people’s lives a bit brighter than I found them.

Just have to keep heading onward and upward.

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Capable of Anything

September 11, 2015 at 11:24 am (Uncategorized)

14 years…the better chunk of my life, and the lives of my peers.

Prayers & thoughts for the victims, the heroism, the sacrifice. But please don’t forget all the innocent people all over the world who have been killed in one of the biggest policy blunders in American history, and don’t forget how this was the catalyst to remove a chunk of our civil liberties. Take the hate and learn something – how we can be better. Don’t let it all be in vain.

Don’t just #neverforget. Actually remember.

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Song for a Friend

September 10, 2015 at 9:16 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

Weddings generally make me thoughtful. Now, they also make me want to party the night away with friends, family, and strangers, but once the party part has passed, they make me thoughtful. I think it’s inevitable – you see people making a HUGE life choice and you say to yourself, “they were probably pretty thoughtful about this. What about you?” To the extent that we all can’t help but compare ourselves to others, I find myself taking mental notes about what I liked and didn’t like for my own potential wedding someday. I also think it’s pretty natural for single people at a wedding to wonder about what their future love life has in store. Those things are interesting, certainly, but they weren’t the dominant feelings I was experiencing.

Rather, I found myself filled with gratitude.

Gratitude for the fact that I have such wonderful/caring/fun/talented/sweet friends, gratitude for the fact that all the variances of life brought me to such a joyful moment, gratitude for the fact that everyone puts up with my silliness. Gratitude for the fact that you can be far away from people and always pick up right where you left off. I’m grateful that everyone is just a text message away if I want to hear from them. Happiness that I can be absolutely ridiculous, and my friends will not only accept but embrace it. Gratitude that I have so much that I can learn from the way that they live their lives and their friendship.

I think that the best way to be a positive change in the world is by being kind and loving to everyone you come across. Big, sweeping, societal changes are good (and needed!), but positive change needs to come from each of us individually, as well. I know I’m not always perfect – I can be kinder, more open to others, more generous with my time and attention, and more compassionate. The trick is to keep working at it, ESPECIALLY when you don’t feel like it, and then to be kind to yourself when you inevitably have a bad day and lash out at someone for no reason, ignore someone, or when you just can’t seem to get anything right. There’s always tomorrow – always an opportunity to be your best self.

The Dalai Lama posted something relevant on Facebook this morning:
“Change in ourselves and in the world in which we live may not take place in a hurry: it will take time. But if we don’t make an effort nothing will happen at all. Change will not take place because of decisions taken by governments or the UN. Real change will take place when individuals transform themselves guided by the values that lie at the core of all human ethical systems, scientific findings, and common sense.”

So we all have to do it ourselves. We have to take care of ourselves, of others, of the world around us. I guess that’s why weddings are great – it’s an excuse to throw off the societal constraints we sometimes have about being open and truly tell the people we love how we feel about them. It’s about two people making a commitment to one another, but also about everyone at the wedding to let them know that the love they experience is not limited to theirs. We’re all here for you; we love you too. We feel the abounding joy that comes when we let ourselves freely love other people. It makes you happier to wish and work towards happiness for others.

We can be the change. We can be the love. We can do things for each other and let a rising tide lift all boats, rather than be selfishly focused on our own self-interest. We can all kick ass and be awesome together. It’s about blurring the lines that divide us, to stop seeing the “other” and start seeing yourself in the faces of the people you encounter.

As far as general life updates…

So far Corvallis has been treating me well! My roommates are great, the town seems fun, and I’m excited to jump into my program and start working. I think the next two years will be a great experience, an excellent career launch point, and full of personal growth and adventure.

Football starts today! I’m very excited, even if the two teams playing make me wish they could both lose. It’s like Christmas, if Christmas also came with a bunch of reservations about head trauma, hyper-masculinity, and the exploitation of persons of color. It’s a complicated love affair, to be sure.

I’m trying to be better about writing more consistently, especially as I will have to write much more for grad school, and I haven’t had the experience of pumping out tons of text in the last few years. I’m going to see if I can either write or run (or both!) every day. No promises, but that’s the goal I’m working towards.

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Clockwatching

September 1, 2015 at 11:17 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , )

This weekend I ran my first ever Hood to Coast relay – 198 miles in 31 hours! (I *only* ran 16 of them).

When Howard asked me I was slightly hesitant at first, since I had never ran that far in that period of time before, and because as great as this summer of traveling all over has been I was looking forward to one weekend where I wouldn’t have to be doing anything. At the end of the day, though, I can’t help but be a social butterfly, so I decided to take on the challenge. Worth it. Like any good adventure there were moments of pain and sleep deprivation where I wondered why in the hell I was doing this, but it’s always pleasing to set goals and attain them, and I was fortunate to have a great team to make the experience a lot of fun.

The most challenging part was my second leg, which involved running almost 6 miles at ~3am, up a mountain, in the dark, in the rain, and without any sleep. It was painful, but I was able to have a lot of fun with it because I managed my expectations well. I think that’s what it’s all about, and a life lesson that running has helped me with. You can know that a situation is going to be unpleasant, but unpleasantness mainly arises from what’s going on in our own heads, not from the situation itself. If I say to myself “I’m tired, this is awful, I’m upset” then I will be upset. If I say “I’m tired, this is awful, but I’m RUNNING UP A MOUNTAIN RIGHT NOW – LOOK AT THIS LIGHTNING, YOU CAN’T STOP ME MOTHER NATURE” all of a sudden I’m amped up and feeling good. Similarly, at any point in your life you can choose to change your perspective. Reality is what we make it. We all have the power to create a more positive existence for ourselves, if we want to.

I wouldn’t say that I LOVE running, but I definitely like it much more than when I first started. I really enjoy the challenge of competing against myself, and I have met a bunch of really great people doing it, so that’s a plus. I’ve had to change my mindset from one of a sprinter to longer distances – they require different strategies. I do sometimes hear Holman’s voice in my head from track practice, though, exhorting me to use my arms more. “Reach, Henslehh, REEEACH!” in his Nebraska drawl. Yes, coach.

Overall, I would love to do it again – especially if we can avoid insane weather and actually enjoy the party at the finish line. Now to make sure I keep my focus with running, have to sign up for a few more races. If you want to run with me, let me know! The more the merrier, always.

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Corvalues

August 25, 2015 at 1:20 pm (Uncategorized) (, )

I’ve been “in” Corvallis for just about a month and a half, but my actual time here has been pretty sporadic between weddings, bachelor parties, and general travel around the NW to see all my friends in such far flung places as Selah and Ashland. In any case, home has yet to really become HOME for me. Still, as things start to settle down I think I’ll probably start to settle in more to Corvallis.

Last week I went up to Seattle for the marriage of my cousin, Amy. Lovely ceremony and had a great time seeing everyone! You’d think that I would see my family more often since they’re only ~3 hours away (now 4 1/2), but life gets busy and I tend to only make it up for major holidays and the like. So this was an excellent opportunity to reconnect! Glad to have Jeff in the family. I ate waaaaaay to much, but that’s about par for the course when you’re visiting your grandparents.

When I think about food, I can’t help but reflect on my relationship with it. As my grandfather stated eloquently last week, “some people eat to live, and some people live to eat.” For the most part I try to eat with a modicum of healthiness, but I will admit that I often have a case of eyes-bigger-than-stomach-itis. I think in large part it stems from the fact that while I was growing up, I could eat and eat and eat and eat and not gain weight. I literally spent the last 3 years of high school attempting to gain weight – lifting, whey protein, eating and eating and eating – and hardly gained a pound. Of course, when I left for college I started moving less and began drinking my calories, and the rest is history. I am not a big guy, but when I look at myself in the mirror I still expect in some ways, I think, to see the string bean in the mirror I had always seen before. Now I look at myself and I can’t help but sometimes get caught up in how I should be thinner or more toned. It’s easy to get down on yourself – I know that my own body image issues certainly come in the context of a society that gives us unrealistic expectations of what a person is supposed to look like, but that doesn’t make the feelings we have less real.

I’m of the opinion that it’s better to have a mindset of being the best person you can be every day. When you have days that are less than ideal, forgive yourself and set about being better tomorrow. That’s easier said than done, of course. The words in our heads can be insidious. However, it’s all part of a larger picture of self care and taking care of your mental state. Keep on working on that, and the other issues you have will begin to clear up as you see yourself for who you really are and not as a projection of the negative voices in your head. We all have value and worth!

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7-10-15

July 10, 2015 at 9:51 am (Uncategorized)

I move tomorrow!

“What’s past is prologue,” Antonio tells us in Shakespeare’s The Tempest. That play always confuses me, because there are so many similarly named characters to other Shakespeare shows I know better (namely Twelfth Night). The confusion may make the statement all the more accurate, because life IS confusing.

What I do know is that this feels like the end of a chapter, or maybe a novel in a series – the one entitled “Between 2 Schools.” The last 4 years have been at turns terrible and wonderful, but I do believe that they have given me a wonderful foundation to get back into the classroom for a bit. I wrote about all that a bit ago, so I won’t delve too deeply there.

In any case, I’m all packed up and ready to get down to Corvallis. I never unpacked, actually, moving from Portland to Camas, all my stuff has been in boxes the past 5 months. Being in Asia, obviously, doesn’t predispose one to needing most of one’s things, and besides that what do I have that my mom doesn’t? So they stayed in their boxes. Tomorrow, though, I’ll begin unpacking and making a new home – one with new friends, new roommates, new connections, and new adventures.

What’s past may be prologue, but there’s a whole lot more to be written!

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Mental Health & Me

May 18, 2015 at 10:14 am (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , )

Crazy, I have been told, is a pejorative word in the world of mental illness. As such, I try not to use it. It can be difficult at times, because that word is ingrained in our minds pretty firmly. So I work on not calling anyone crazy. I wonder, though – can I still use crazy to describe someone who wants to build the Keystone XL pipeline? Can I use it to describe a big party? Probably. Maybe. I think there’s a place for crazy, somewhere, but I’m working to find that line.

Yesterday I participated in Portland’s NAMI walk 2015. NAMI, if you aren’t aware, stands for National Alliance on Mental Illness. The purpose of the 5k walk yesterday was to raise awareness about mental illness and to raise funds to help with awareness, advocacy, and treatment. In the way that seeing several thousand people walking a loop in central Portland is going to naturally prompt questions, I think some awareness has been raised. However, I would probably be doing a disservice to the spirit of the cause if I didn’t use the other platforms at my disposal to help as well.

I have talked occasionally about my brother, who deals with mental illness, but for the most part I prefer to talk about how his illness effects me. His story isn’t mine to tell, and he’s a fairly private person. What I do want to try to do, though, is help with the stigma around mental illness, and the only person’s story I’m qualified to tell is my own.

First, some facts. These all come from NAMI’s website.

FACT: 1 in 5 Americans experience some kind of mental illness. 1 in 25, a serious mental illness.

FACT: Nearly 7 percent of American adults live with major depression. Just over 18% live with anxiety disorders.

I could talk at length about how our prison and homeless populations have a prevalence of mental illness, but for now I will just encourage you to check out NAMI’s website and the stats for yourself. There’s a lot of work that needs to be done.

I think the biggest issue is the stigma around mental health in general – we don’t talk about it. I certainly don’t talk about it. It’s really hard to admit to having any kind of mental health problem, even though if you had a physical illness you wouldn’t think twice about saying “yeah, I have a cold,” or “oh my knee is a little bit fucked up from a random scooter accident.”

Last year my psychologist diagnosed me with mild depression and anxiety. The depression I can usually shake with some CBT (cognitive behavioral therapy – basically working to retrain your brain). The anxiety does pop up somewhat more often, and if I ever nope out of someplace, that’s probably what’s happening. I usually make up some kind of excuse, because saying “I feel super anxious and the walls are kind of closing in right now” feels like admitting weakness. It’s the same reason I have a near inability to cry – culture raises men to not disclose those things. I’ve seen it over and over in my own life and in the actions of others. Even now it’s hard to write.

I am fortunate that my problems are pretty mild, and I didn’t seek any help until there was an incident last fall that literally kept me from getting out of bed for a couple days. I think a lot of people wait until the problem gets completely unmanageable to get treatment, and if I could say anything, it would be that if you can (especially if your insurance will cover it), talk to a therapist. It was super helpful, even if didn’t love mine. Statistically speaking, there are a lot of people with some kind of mental health issue, and that’s OK. We can all work to be kinder, more understanding, and more compassionate. We can work together to help one another. We can work to be open and honest with each other. Don’t let the stigma or fear rule your life, and we can create a better future for everyone’s mind.

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Don’t Need No Trouble…

May 15, 2015 at 2:21 pm (Uncategorized) (, , , , , , , , , , )

…but sometimes trouble needs me,” goes the opening line of the second track off of The Weepies’ most recent album Sirens. Outside of this album perhaps being their best yet, and the fact that I can’t stop listening to the album (or getting excited about seeing them in June!), this line really resonated with me.

I’ve been thinking a lot over the last few days about how my life has shifted SO dramatically in the last few years. I graduated from college 4 years ago at 20 years old, burnt out, unsure of what was coming next, with big dreams and a big blank space where the future should be. Sometimes I feel terrified that I am still that kid with big dreams and a big blank space (although now I know it’s where I’ll write your name). In no particular order, though, I look back and see the things I’ve done over that time span: fallen in love, worked in retail, worked a graveyard shift (and stayed up for a personal record of 41 hours), had my heart broken, seen my parents get divorced, struggled as my brother was diagnosed with a serious mental illness, ran my first 10k & Half Marathon, traveled in Asia for 6 weeks, watched the Seahawks win a Super Bowl (and come within a yard of a second), managed 3 political campaigns, helped some wonderful students change their lives, got my car stolen, worked in government, made a host of amazing new friends (honestly, just SO MANY beautiful, wonderful human persons), wrote exactly ONE original song (and it’s not terrible!), done a whole lot of singing, lived at home, lived on my own, and lived at home again. I’ve been accepted into a great university with a full scholarship to a program I feel extremely passionate about. I honestly believe that even though there are days that I struggle mightily, I am in the process of becoming more the person I want to be.

So that is the backdrop that I have to consider when I think about my life, my insecurities, and my fears. I realize more every day about myself – both good and bad. We have to look in the mirror and accept who we are. There are so many parts of me that I truly enjoy, and a few (that of course the mind gives outsize importance to) that are quite discouraging. I want to be more generous, more open, less fearful. I want to have a better body image. I would like to not always feel like I’m the one who has to fix every problem. I want to write more often – to me it’s something quite therapeutic, but the words don’t always come out easily. I also think that in our society there’s a pressure to not be honest, the “facebookization” of the world where we only share the good things in our lives and hide the struggles.

Speaking of struggles, I’ve been trying to get back into running after the long hiatus in Asia. The first week went pretty well – minimal soreness. This week, though, I’ve had awful shin splints and my knees have been giving me a bunch of trouble. It might just be getting over the hump and back into running more consistently, but I’m wondering whether or not it might be because of something that happened in Thailand…

Kyle and I (after one night in Bangkok!) traveled down to Phuket to enjoy the sun, beaches, and to get Kyle a work visa (which is a story for another time). The second day we walked down the road to rent some scooters, because that’s the easiest way to travel around. Of course, yours truly has never ridden a motorcycle or scooter before, and these were much more in the vein of small motorcycle than Vespa. I had expressed some apprehension, but at the end of the day part of this trip was about pulling myself out of my comfort zone so I sucked up my fears (I have nightmares on an infrequent basis about crashing vehicles) and rented a scooter. We saddle up, Kyle starts to ride off, and the friendly guy at the scooter rental place shows me how to work the scooter. He says, “just grab the gas like sOOOOOoooooooo…” and I shot off like a rocket down the road after Kyle, his voice fading into the distance. That was my only lesson in riding. We get to the first intersection (did I mention we’re driving on the OTHER side of the road?) and I of course shoot straight through it, manage to stop on the other side of the road (we needed to take a right), get myself turned around, stop, and then lightly touch the gas, causing me to rocket forward and crash in the center of the the four way stop. The bike was a little scratched, nothing major. My knee was a little banged up, but not badly. I mostly was embarrassed as a bunch of other people stared at me. I picked the bike up and headed after Kyle. The thing about riding a scooter is that the balance is simple if you can ride a bike, and the actual driving is not difficult. However, it seemed that no matter how little I grabbed the gas I was either not moving or FLYING forward. This proved to be a problem after I crashed for a second time that day, smashing off one of the rearview mirrors. I was again more or less unharmed (I hurt myself way worse when my foot hit some coral), but I was worried that there would be no scooter left when we returned it in 3 days. The crashes were a bit painful, but more than that they were incredibly embarrassing. I was getting flustered, and that probably wasn’t an ideal environment to drive in when I wasn’t particularly skilled in the first place. So we returned the scooter, they were totally cool about it (just charged us the cost to replace), and I spent the rest of our time in Phuket right where I probably would have preferred to be in the first place: riding behind Kyle on a single scooter. We had a great time, and Kyle was gracious enough to give me very little shit about it while we were there.

In any case, my knees (the left one in particular) were quite sore for a week or so afterward. I was worried there might be structural damage – I’m pretty sure there isn’t, but running has sucked this past week. Just going to keep running and see what happens!

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