OTM #36: Reflection

My favorite class at the moment requires great amounts of personal reflection — sometimes more than I am comfortable with, in fact. Our essay prompts ask us to think of big “why” questions and reflect on what matters to us, something that is really exciting to me (but also sometimes scary). For the final draft of my most recent essay, I had to dig into my teenage experience on the harsh acne medication, Accutane, and I found it was hard to truly uncover those memories in a normal setting.

So, I created a “torture chamber” for myself: lights shut off, noise-cancelling headphones on with a selection of music I liked in high school. Instantly, I was able to transport myself into the body of my younger self, who was deeply insecure about her acne. I’ve grown a lot since that point, of course, but sometimes art requires us to enter these negative headspaces to draw out meaning, and I’ve always found that to be oddly fun. What is my joy without the past Katelyn’s suffering, you know? On that note, I hope all of you UMich students (myself included) have a lovely fall break free of suffering! Thanks for reading.

OTM #35: Marathon

Happy Thursday and welcome back to OTM! This past Sunday was the day of my marathon relay, and it was the most fun I’ve had running in a long time. I was assigned to the third leg, starting at mile 13 (alongside the high-endurance regular marathon runners) and eager to run my eight miles. I felt like Forrest Gump, like I could have kept going forever; I felt faster than the cars I passed on the highway. However, it hit me within the first mile that I likely felt this way because I was surrounded by already-tired marathonners that had run thirteen miles while I’d only ran one. I weaved past them easily during my eight-mile leg, often turning around to offer thumbs-ups and cheers for those that looked like they were struggling. It was, in my opinion, sweet and comedic, but I also felt a little bad running past all of them. Most shockingly, it made me instinctually want to run a full marathon. I wanted to feel that burn, to feel the satisfaction of crossing the finish line after twenty-six long miles. After finishing, I realized this wasn’t just a fleeting runner’s-high induced thought; I think I actually will start training, at least for a half. That really excites me.

OTM #34: Sweating

Hi everyone, welcome back to OTM! I’m happy to announce that I’ve been training for a marathon (relay) with my Michigan Daily co-writers, and it’s been such a fun experience. I already love running, but the added aspect of friendship and self-growth makes it all the more exciting. I’ll be running the relay this Sunday, so I took my last run before the race today as I’ll be tapering in the meantime.

I cut my hair short (as I usually do) this past weekend, and now I’m unable to fit all of it in my ponytail. I usually think this is a cute style, but when I’m running, it becomes a different story. As my face and hair get damp with sweat, the cold air helps to essentially freeze those two tassels of hanging hair. I was so engrossed in my five mile run that I failed to realize what was going on. “Ouch! Was I wearing big, clunky earrings when I left this morning? There’s no way,” I think to myself, only to then realize that it’s my cold, hardened hair smacking against my face. How hilarious. I feel sweaty, tired, and, strangely enough, joyous at the end of this run. There’s something so fun and cool about being so in-tune with your body moving that you fail to recall that your hair is a part of you; I guess I must beĀ really into running. I’m happy to be back, and will hopefully provide an update on how the big run went next week! Thanks for reading.

OTM #33: Fangirl

The topic of adulthood has been on my mind a lot lately. It’s a cartoonish form of adulthood that doesn’t exist, though – one that paints an “adult” as someone with no hobbies or interests, a businesslike frame of mind around everything. I think a part of me feels a need to conform to this fake form of adulthood; so, as I sat on my floor at 4am waiting for a new song to release on Spotify, I felt a dissonance. Is it foolish of me to care so much about the music I like that I’m staying up late? Is this childish? Am I too old for this?

One of my communication courses wrapped up yesterday, and during our final lecture, my professor said to us, “It’s amazing that you guys are so thoughtful and mature, I was never like this at your age.” I was shocked; I don’t think it has crossed my mind recently that I am still allowed to be a dumb kid. I’m so worried about the way I express interest in things or being seen as “childish” that I’m failing to recognize the important ways I’m maturing. This time is precious, and it’s okay to be a bit silly or make mistakes. So what I’m excited for music with the fervor of a thirteen year old girl? I’m gonna dance about it.

OTM #32: Time and Place

I think I’m starting to truly feel like an adult. That may sound silly, but to me it’s dreadfully serious. I’ve spent some time at my family’s home for the holidays, and every morning I woke up in a state of emotional confusion. I open my eyes and something feels wrong; I feel like I’m not supposed to be in my childhood bed. My body’s first reaction is to feel discomfort, to say, “you don’t belong here anymore.” Of course, I love my childhood bedroom and find it to be comforting, yet there’s this tiny voice in my brain that’s creating some distance between who I am today and who I was growing up. It’s telling me that I’m an impersonator of the younger me. College is this odd time where we are given transition time between high school and adulthood, time to navigate what “adulting” means and who we truly are, and I think a lot of times that can cause some natural and necessary discomfort. Discomfort makes life more interesting, so it’s okay. Have a great week!

OTM #31: Shoes

I got some new shoes for some important life stuff recently, and yesterday I finally gave them their big debut. They fit me well, made me look like a grown working woman. I felt confident and ready to take on the day; however, my brain begged to disagree. As I walked the halls, I started to become increasingly bothered by a potent smacking sound. My shoes. It wasn’t even my shoes hitting the tile; it was my heel, smacking back and forth onto the shoe as I walked. The longer I heard it, the more anxious I became. I became certain that everyone was turning their heads to think, “Who is that girl with the loud shoes?” (they were most certainly not doing this). My body was heating up with uncomfortable embarrassment – the air around me vibrated, vividly red. I was counting down the seconds, hoping I was done walking soon.

What’s particularly funny about this is how little everyone else would care about this; looking back on it now, there was no way that my shoes were causing a commotion. There was no way that anyone was judging me because of them, but this is the wonder of the human body: anxiety and shame. My funny self-sabotaging nature was convincing me I was a laughing stock over something as small as shoes; in this moment I was transported to what is almost elementary school-level embarrassment. It’s natural to be nervous – I was meeting a lot of new people, excited and scared all at once, and in order to deal with these new feelings I fixated on my shoes. It’s funny how people work.