Tuesday, March 26, 2013


Here’s my forewarning for this blog: It contains immense oversharing, and discussion of really odd medical problems. If this isn’t up your alley, go get some ice cream and watch How I Met Your Mother reruns instead, that is a better choice.

Consider yourself warned.

Over the past six-eight months, I haven’t felt the best. I have Crohn’s Disease so I was thinking it might be a flare up. I was also working like crazy, not sleeping, and eating whatever random bits of health food I could get my hands on. After a while, I began to realize the symptoms were getting much worse, something wasn’t quite right and no amount of sweets was fixing it….not even Ben and Jerry’s.

As a 20 something female I find some doctors will very easily write off symptoms, no matter the severity, in someone my age deeming it to be “stress-related.” I don’t know about you, but if you don’t feel good, or something is off, you know it. Trust that instinct, do your research (WebMD is not always research, they literally will tell you of 388,529 obscure illnesses you may have), and visit a doctor. Being armed with knowledge can help you get the care you need.

So I made my way to a [wonderful] doctor a few weeks ago. She recognized that there was something going on so I submitted myself to a few tests (If you can call one very happy phlebotomist sucking out vial after vial of blood while she asked me if “I was comfortable with needles” a test.) I was then advised to wait patiently to see if any of the tests were conclusive of some kind of medical issue.

Then I got an interesting phone call the other day…

Doc: Natalie, after reviewing your tests we have found a dermoid safhsjhfkaf (the second word was a foreign language to me) that will need to be removed with surgery, likely along with the organ it is attached to.

Natalie: Uhh what’s a dermoid asjfhkahfka?

Doc: It is commonly referred to as an unborn twin. Although medically speaking it cannot be born.

SAY WHAT?!?!?!?

After getting off the phone and discussing surgery options I made a terrible error. I Googled “Dermoid kjahjfahf.” Never again. Then I called my parents. Let me just say explaining to your parents that you “absorbed” your twin in utero and now it is inside your body, one would expect some sympathy. Instead my mom wanted to name it “Sarah” and my dad “Chafonda.” Guess who won that battle?

So here I am. Let me just say I ALWAYS knew I wasn’t meant to be an only child! I grew up with my friends Mary, Emalee, and Barbara, and never really felt like an only child. But clearly, any anger I had over being an only child was clearly stemming from the fact that I ate, er “absorbed,” my twin.

When I told my friend Shelby about my medical discovery her reply, “Only you.” This is perhaps true. I’m the person you all know who weird things happen to. That’s me! My body is really good at making odd tumor like cells, and allowing them to multiply. As a science teacher I can only hope that someday I can teach my kids about unborn twins. Surprisingly, that is not yet included in state curriculum…Hmm….

At this point in the blog you are either absolutely terrified, potentially unfriending me on Facebook, or you have Googled “dermoid ashkahjkfsa” in which case you are still terrified, and still unfriending. Or you are on WebMD, which I advise against. Because I was convinced I had some strange disease but instead I have an unborn twin, clearly WebMD is off base. In all fairness, there is a moral here. If you feel like something isn’t right with your body, trust that feeling and get some help.

I wait patienly for surgery, which will be in 2 weeks, and every night when I get a goodnight text from my mom it now says,

“Goodnight. Love you and Chafonda.” 

Thanks Mom. 

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Following my Bliss

Today is the first day of spring!  Even though it might not feel like it where you are….especially if you’re in Michigan.  Maybe if we keep thinking springy thoughts all the snow will melt….

So a few weeks ago I wrote about decisions, and how I either have 27 to make at once, or none at all. Last weekend was a perfect example of this. On Thursday night I was offered a position to teach back in my old college town. I had to make the decision in approximately 3 hours. No big deal right? End lease. Find new lease. Move. Bring Peaches. Start job in 2 days. Obviously really simple.

I made a decision, encouraged by others, that I was not very confident in to move back. And it took all of one car ride to make me realize, this was not where my heart was. Now, anyone who has made a choice and had a change of heart knows that telling those you care about can be really challenging. Calling my mom and telling her to trust me on this one, and that I was changing my mind, was not a phone call I ever wanted to make, especially at 2 a.m. Lucky for me, my mom is probably the most understanding human in the world. Peaches is definitely the most understanding cat.

There are a few important morals here. I made a few mistakes, and did a few things correctly.

Mistake 1….Not trusting my gut. I did not ever jump for joy about moving back or taking this job, and it was something that I knew in my heart I was not sure about. Instead, I listened to my friends as they encouraged me, because I have GREAT friends, when I should have been more forthcoming about my feelings to them.

Mistake 2…Waking my mom up at 2:00 a.m., clearly I should have called her before 10….at least.

Thing I Did Right 1…Instead of “sticking it out” and doing something that I knew in my heart wasn’t right I told people how I felt (eventually), and stuck to my guns. If you have ever had to tell your parents something that you knew they probably wouldn’t be crazy about you know that it can be really not fun. Like eating celery not fun. Like sleepless nights not fun. And like running out of Oreos not fun.

BUT it is always better to follow your bliss, than try to do things to make others happy. Always. That is the second thing I did right. Followed my bliss. And that is something to be proud of.

So here I sit, still in the big city, and currently an unemployed teacher. Although I am pleased to say I have begun receiving offers for next year, although none in Michigan so far…patience…. My new resolution for the next few months? Learn to relax. Yup. That and become an accomplished pastry chef.

Happy Spring XOXO 

Wednesday, March 13, 2013


So here is my list of reasons why my blog is two days late…..

1. It is challenging to type when this sits on your keyboard FOR AN HOUR.

 Meet Peaches Cat

2. I was sorta busy attempting to coordinate a 1,600 mile trip to Vermont that culminated in utterfailure (but hey, Utah went better).

3. I decided it was a much better way to spend my day in the doctors office for hours….obviously.

As you can tell maybe my excuses are really invalid/crummy. Although I give the first credit because she is cute at the very least.  

Where to begin? Well the theme this week is your circumstances. You know those pesky things that you don’t think you have any control over? The “facts” of your life that are what they are, no changing them.

 Where you live?
Who you surround yourself?
What you’re doing?
 Where you’re working?
What happens to you?

Those are what many would call your circumstances. And realtalk, sometimes those are the things that drive you CRAZY. Those are the things you might be mad about, lose the most sleep over, or get eat-an-entire-pint-of-ice-cream frustrated with.

They also happen to be the things that people so often preach to you about. “Oh, you don’t like your circumstances? Well change them!” Now sometimes this is great advice, absolutely change what makes you unhappy in your life, go for it! I’m all about it. BUT sometimes you and I both know that you can’t always change your circumstances, so we need an alternate way of thinking.

There are circumstances in my life right now I cannot change. There are cards I have been dealt that I have to deal with. Now, what if I change the word “deal” to the word “work?” Then that sentence becomes, “There are cards I have been dealt that I have to work with. Doesn’t that sound much better? (Teacher moment right there!) So when you get frustrated, or the ice cream runs out, remember that you were given this circumstance because you can handle it, and embrace it. 

Hope your week is full of good news, easy decisions, and a few circumstances worth embracing. 
XOXO Natalie 

Monday, March 4, 2013

Decisions, Decisions

This last week was one of those moderately overwhelming weeks full of big girl responsibility; a new job cause I definitely don’t have enough things to do, many a teaching interview, my final local pageant of the season, an obsessive need to adopt a kitten, and a myriad of concerns that could make even the most sane 20-something eat a cheer-me-up-hotdog (Thank you Yesterdog).

As a 20-something I find there is something universally true about this age, and it may be true of all ages. Either nothing happens, or everything happens at once. You either have no life changing decisions, or you have 7 to make within a 12 hour time span. This can lead to two types of stress, 1. Severe Restlessness or 2. Severe Burn-out.

Lately, my life has had modicums of both. The months leading up to graduation were INSANE. I worked 80-90 hours, slept about 3, and competed in 6 pageants. The months since graduation? I have had alternating weeks of equal parts chaos and absolutely nothing. 

Tomorrow I interview for four out of state teaching positions that if I were to be offered, would create a VERY big decision to be made. These huge decisions become increasingly more common in college, and after.

Do I live here?
Do I take this job?
What about that internship?
Is this job worth it?
What if it doesn’t work out?
How cold is it really in Alaska?

These decisions cause me to eat, take bubble baths, go to yoga, and, as I mentioned, want to adopt a kitten. They have this impact on a lot of young people my age. The important thing? To realize that you have made plenty of good decisions before, so trust your instincts. At the end of the day, some choices are mistakes we learn from, some are the best of our life, some take awhile to determine, some our parents don’t agree with, and some they convince themselves was their decision in the first place.

Either way, I promise the world won’t end. I really do. And here’s a good reminder from Post Secret…

So in my last full month as a 22 year old, I will cut myself some slack, make many pro-con lists, and make some decisions for my future. I will also adopt a kitten. Sorry Mom. If you’re reading this I love you :)