Self-care is survival but self-love is sacred.

There are no wrong decisions.

Somehow I’ve managed to get to my 22nd year in this life and no one ever told me this.

There are no wrong decisions after your tears have blended with the water in the shower as your head is flooded with thoughts between the alternatives, your knees are as raw as your eyelids from falling on the floor and begging God – or the universe, whoever responds first – for an answer, when you’ve typed and printed and dated your resignation letter and hung it on your fridge so you can see it everyday.

When you’ve reached that point, there are no wrong decisions.

Of all the things my mother taught me how to do, taking care of myself was never one of them.  I never realized how important it was to actually love the body where your soul resides. And now, as I tilt my head and listen to the muscle knots crunch over each other, I wonder how long it would take for the neglect to catch up with me if I hadn’t noticed the decay when I did.  The bags under my eyelids are not designer, my friends. But I can remember the last time I felt well-rested!

Tuesday. Two short days ago when I had a day off work.  It was the first morning I can remember when I told my husband good morning before coffee.

I’ve never done that before.

I also notice the pain in my fingertips as a type from nails whittled down to nibs, ripped cuticles wearing drops of blood like ruby necklaces, and the flaking, onion-like layers of the nail itself floating across the keys.

If it were anyone else, I’d scoop them up and wrap like a burrito in a blanket, hand them a cup of homemade hot chocolate (made using my tiramisu truffles from Italy – what else?) and stroke their hair as I convinced them to quit their job – or anything else that made them so dreadfully unhappy.

And knowing that, I have to ask:

Why can’t I do that for myself?

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Duty is what one expects from others.

If I were a princess forced to marry the hideous, hump-backed prince from a neighboring kingdom at war in order to sooth the injuries of battle between nations and provide a child to unite the two countries even though I knew my future husband would despise for the foreigner I was, I would do it.

I am a slave to duty and moral responsibility.

Let me explain. By the way of the previous example, I have now become a princess forced by my parents to marry the hideous, hump-backed prince. These are the very same parents who have clothed me and fed me since I was a child. Because they dedicated years of their life caring for me, I think that it is only fair that I dedicate years of my life repaying them through this truce of a marriage.

The expectation is that I provide the nations with a child to instill unity and peace in the hearts of the citizens. I am a small piece in this chessboard and it makes perfect sense to do whatever I can in order to maintain order for all. Instead of selfishly refusing to marry this prince, I will do so and will do my best to have a child since it would be better for many, rather than for myself.

If my husband would truly despise me since I was from the enemy’s camp, then I would have to understand where he is coming from — aren’t I doing the exact same thing by “dealing with the devil”? Therefore, I empathize with him more than any other and should not blame him for the harsh feelings. In fact, I should work against them so that we can work together to end the war.

And should I hate the man I was forced to marry, be he a terrible kisser, if he reviled me and insulted me every time he looked upon me, I would steel myself and deal with it.

Rules were meant to be bent, not broken. Boundaries were meant to be pushed, not crossed.

I’m a stubborn person, and an independent one at that, but I cannot fight against the burden of duty on my shoulders. Even at work today, I miscalculated the amount of a certain chemical that I would need and my stomach began to churn at the thought that I might request more from my boss when he already asked me what my order should be. Turns out, I still had some extra in the back — but the point remains the same!

Even again, my mom texted me to ask me a question about my bank account and I almost couldn’t give an answer when I realized that funds had been transferred to the wrong account. Nothing bad happened and she was able to give instructions to fix it, but I started to get a headache when I realized that I should’ve been able to prevent this. I didn’t mean to cause her any more problems — Lord knows that she’s had to deal with me for 20 years already!

Disappointment is a crippling emotion. Duty binds me tighter than a chain.

What does that say about me? Now that I know this about myself, will I be able to change? For that matter, will I be willing to go out of my way to work on changing it?

If I say no, will you be disappointed?

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Faith makes things possible, not easy.

One of my dear friends and, dare I say it, my unintentional mentor wrote this post on a blog that she has contributed to for some time now.

Hannah is an intern at the BioLogos Foundation (check them out here) and she is a very close friend. She may not know it because I don’t say it too often, but I appreciate her friendship more than she knows.**

Also, someday I wish to look just as good in lab goggles as this gem does.

Follow the link below to read her post:

http://biologos.org/blog/how-science-led-me-to-a-deeper-faith

**It may be weird for you guys reading this, but I’m not one to readily volunteer emotional responses to anything. It’s even more weird because I’m willing to share things on this very public blog. In a manner of speaking, this blog doesn’t seem that vulnerable to me simply because I’m offering up my own thoughts and not intense emotions that I’ve buried for awhile because I tend to ignore pain. That last sentence right there is about as far as I’m willing to delve into that.

Potential has a shelf life.

I can jump off a cliff.

It’s true. I am physically capable of doing so. I can also eat a bumblebee. Not sure why I’d want to, but I can do it!

Moral of that story: we can all do things that we shouldn’t necessarily do.

For example, I’m majoring in both Chemistry and English. Why? Because I can somehow process the scientific method and write out lab reports about the stuff that makes up life and, at the same time, I can write a pretty sestina about the leaves that fall in autumn (a type of poem for those of you who don’t know). My brain is wired the same way as everyone else but we all function in different ways and are productive at different levels of efficiency.

The amount and level of classes that I have to take every semester is extremely taxing. What bothers me most though are my changing feelings about the types of classes I’m taking. I have an interest in Chemistry while I simply have a gift for English. Chemistry is the field that I have chosen for myself as a potential future career path, but English was given to me without my asking — but I’m not complaining! It’s nice to have that balance between interest and passion.

However, as I have started school, I have begun to realize something. Actually, it was less of a realization and more of a doubt wiggling it’s way through my thoughts and eating through the plans that I have drafted for my future. While I normally am confident in the path that I have chosen, my steps lately have been hesitant and my eyes have faltered from the goal upon which they were fixed.

I’m not sure I’m going to like my science classes anymore. Don’t get me wrong, I love working in the lab and I am fascinated with the idea of learning about cell geometry and organic compounds. But while I was simply sitting in my Organic Chem class in order to get the grade, a smile crossed my face when I walked into my Literature Criticism class! If you think measuring the angles between bonds in Chemistry is bad, you should never try classifying works of writing. Both classes are considered quite difficult…but my reactions were totally different.

I’m not scared. To be honest, I think I could handle it if I was scared. I can banish fear and force myself to endure the hard classes.

I’m nervous. Anxiety undermines the foundation of my confidence and it’s harder to walk a path when your eyes are clouded with doubts. Just because we can do things, doesn’t mean we should do them. Just because it’s possible for me to double major, doesn’t mean that I should mentally drain myself to do so. At the same time, I would hate to waste potential and the opportunities that such an academic combo would bring.

There’s only so much time for me to think about this decision. Without an expiration date though, it’s hard to tell if I no longer have a strong enough interest in Chemistry to continue upon that path. I can’t tell if the door is still open for me.

I may not be spoiled goods quite yet, but I do have a potential shelf life.