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Every now and then, an opportunity arises that lets you know just what you’re made of.  What you’re capable of.  It’s nice when you can come out of those situations on top, with confidence and a little sass in your step.  It’s not so fun to find out you are not, as you previously believed, impervious to fear.  You are not made of steel.  Shit.

I just happened to have a few of those opportunities lately, and, for the most part, I am pleased with my abilities.  I’ve done a few things I’ve never done before, and of those things I can be proud.  I’ve also attempted something I’ve never done before and wasn’t quite able to go through with it.  Let me explain.

Just for fun (and the cash), I recently signed up for a little psychological study at Vanderbilt.  They do this sort of stuff all the time:  they pay participants for various tests and studies for various projects.  The particular study I joined was to test the ability of a person with OCD to concentrate and focus.  Part of the study was doing various questionnaires;  the main part was to do a series of tests while in an MRI machine.  So they could take photos of my brain.

Yikes.  While I’d like to see what my brain scan looks like, I’m not in any hurry to crawl into an MRI machine and stay there for 2 hours.  I do have mild claustrophobia, and really am not a fan of tight, enclosed spaces.  So why did I sign up for this?  To test myself.  To see just how strong I was;  to see how bad my claustrophobia actually is.

And really, I didn’t think it’d be all that bad.  I asked someone who’d had an MRI before, and he told me that I’d have space above my head and an outward view.  So really, it didn’t sound all that bad.

I met the research people at the appointed time, and went through all the tests and questions.  So far, so good.  We walked down 21st Ave.  in the middle of the day, in the 95+ degree heat, to the imaging center.  We met with the MRI folks who had me take off all jewelry, my hair-band and belly ring.  They propped me up on the sliding bed-like contraption and began putting all sorts of things on me.

ON ME.  A  hockey-like mask, a large set of headphones, earplugs, an emergency squeeze thing, and what looked like an 80’s era mobile phone.  The mask smelled as if the previous occupant had day-old breath;  it was also heavy and not quite see through.  Once they placed all these things on my head, I began moving backwards into the MRI tunnel.

STOP!  This was me, yelling, as soon as my head was completely in the tunnel.  It felt like suffocation.  We tried again a couple of times, but it was pretty clear that I was not going to be able to stand being inside the machine for nearly 2 hours.  I couldn’t even get halfway in the damn thing.

I am not disappointed in myself for that;  I wish I could have finished the task and the tests but I’m not upset that I didn’t.  I know I have some limitations.  I also know I have to test and push those limits.

One point I’d like to make to researchers:  maybe don’t put folks with anxiety issues and claustrophobia into loud, tight spaces?  Just a thought.

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Change can mean so many things. It  has multiple connotations: it can be good, bad, ugly, or just different.  I feel I am always fighting change in one way or another. Either I am in situations I want desperately to change, or I’m in a comfort zone and fight against any change. A big huge whopping bitch of a change came to my life recently, and oh, how I’ve fought against it. But fighting change is the same as fighting time: it is a battle a human can never win.

My life has changed;  my direction is changing.  I say ‘changing’ because I don’t yet know what direction I will be going in.  By this time, we (my ex and I) would have been married, and hypothetically living happily ever after.  That was my plan.  I thought it was his too.  He changed plans; he changed his mind.  Now, I am left with pieces of what my future plans were to be.  This is the question on my mind today:  What has this change forced me to do?  How is my life going to look now, now that this has happened?

What is this change forcing me to do?  That is a huge question.  Ok, for one thing, I have to decide what I’m going to do with my life.  What do I want my life to be?  After spending a year planning and filling out government forms and waiting waiting and then waiting some more for the Englishman (former fiance) to get here, it is hard for me to accept that he’s already come and gone, and now I have all this time to fill.  Nights I used to spend on Skype talking to him and wishing he were here are now spent weeping and wondering why he left.  While I realize it takes time to get over heartbreak, I am becoming somewhat impatient with myself.

I find myself hating everything about myself, and my surroundings.  My surroundings, because he hated it here.  He hated Nashville and now I hate it, I blame the city for causing me to lose love.  Is that allowed?  He claims it was not my fault he left, but that thought will always be at the back of my mind, taunting me a little bit.

My point of view:  if you love someone, wouldn’t you rather be with that person and hate the city you’re in, than be without that person?  After all, you can move.  You can change locations.  This is what gets me every time:  I was willing to move, to change my life just like he did, but he didn’t want that.  He didn’t want me to come to London.  I guess the change of moving to the states and living with me was one he could not bear:  he sunk back into his old life, he went back to the life he had before he ever met me.

So.  I have to face the change.  Others have told me this is an opportunity; look at the upside.

(looking for the upside…. must be here somewhere…. looking looking looking)

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