I posted a few months ago saying I was hoping to renew my blogging practice, that I even had some posts planned. And I did. What I wasn’t planning on was my former employers asking me to come back to Philadelphia to help them out for a few months before the start of my internship in August. Another thing I hadn’t planned on was seeing my family at all this summer, so the opportunity to be nearby and hang with my parents and siblings on the regular was too appealing to pass up.
So I frantically packed up most of my life and shipped it to Milwaukee, and drove the rest of it to Pennsylvania. I have to say that I managed to fit a truly improbable amount of stuff into my trusty Subaru hatchback, including my entire summer wardrobe, a single-speed bicycle, bedding and towels and bathmats, pet food and dog gear, two laptop computers and associated office stuff .. and of course, my #1 pooch.
It’s been good; hard to believe that I’m more than halfway through my time in PA. Work-wise, I’ve been tasked with recruiting a new Director of Marketing for Clear Admit (and managing those responsibilities myself in the meantime), as well as doing some writing. It’s nice — intoxicating, even — to feel wanted and needed, and it’s been easy to be busy and become immersed in the old and familiar. I’ve not done the best job of enforcing boundaries around my time for dissertation work, but I’ve made a little progress. Meanwhile, the poor aforementioned pooch had a difficult time adjusting to the big city after his years in quiet SLC, but he finally seems to be settling in.
I’ve still got some posts planned, though I’ve also got an apartment to find in MKE and another move to tackle. So we’ll just have to see.
I went down to the Radha Krishna Temple in Spanish Fork, UT, with some friends for the annual Festival of Colors a few weekends ago. I’d never been, but the imagery of people covered in colorful chalk is pretty ubiquitous when you live out here, so I was passingly familiar with the event. And in fact, that’s the very reason we made the trip: because getting a colorful photo of her own was an item on my friend Ali’s Utah bucket list.
I wasn’t quite sure what to expect as we approached the festival site, though the protocol became pretty clear as color-covered people walking in the opposite direction–away from the festival and back toward their cars–began wordlessly hitting us with handfuls of brightly colored chalk. This continued once we got inside the festival gates. It was pretty much a free-for-all … people tossing colors on and at each other as they walked around. We eventually purchased some colors and joined the fun ourselves. It was pretty much a blast.
Well in front of the temple, there was a main stage with live music. It was quite good. You can see in the photo below that periodically people would throw whole bags of color into the air, creating drifting clouds of pigment.
There was a note somewhere that the color chalk was all vegan. Which was considerate, as one was for sure going to end up ingesting some.
And while it was Ali’s initiative, I came away with a colorful photo of my own.
I felt a little odd about showing up for this Hindu festival with no real knowledge of the meaning or tradition behind it. But I felt reassured after getting home and doing some research. From what I found online, Holi marks the end of winter and the beginning of spring, and is primarily about love and social merriment. A time to reconnect, to forgive and forget.
I could use a little more of that in my life. Though outside of the festival gates, it’s hard to know where to begin.
Yesterday was Easter. Not a day that means much to me in itself anymore, though having been raised Catholic, I find that I experience a habitual reflectiveness and longing for fellowship on a day that still evokes joy and hope, that promises redemption and renewal. Like pain in a phantom limb, my actual belief having been amputated long ago. I spent 45 minutes on the phone with my mother and then sat paralyzed for another hour, wondering what to do with the day, asking my heart what it wanted. (My heart ultimately settled on a bahn mi sandwich. Easy enough.)
And so keeping with that theme, it seems like as good a time as any to try resurrecting this old blog.
It’s been hard to maintain this blog during graduate school in a way that felt true to myself, and the project. When you’re a mental health professional in training, you become very conscious of your online image. Training directors at practicum and internship sites might google you. Curious clients and prospective employers will definitely google you. Over time, it felt less and less safe to be political and opinionated, to be open and vulnerable, to be me. And so I just stopped writing (and started watching an almost unspeakable amount of television; we are truly in a golden age of that particular art form).
But I’m tired of hiding.
I think the year during which one is applying for pre-doctoral internships is the highest stakes, most professionally vulnerable time in an applied psychology student’s career. With the number of applicants exceeding the number of positions at accredited sites by 1,515 this year, there’s just no room for error. I scrubbed my entire online presence in addition to going silent here. But now that I’ve matched, I’m more willing to take some risks. There will still be post-doc and job applications, sure, but the playing field of that process feels more level.
I’ve always resisted identifying a topic for this blog. But I have some ideas for posts about things that have made my life better. That seems as good a place to (re)start as any.