Brittany explores Georgia: Providence Canyon

Last weekend HB, Nyx, and I found ourselves in the back of my parent’s loaner car heading to Providence Canyon State Park for my step-dad’s birthday. Providence Canyon, also called “the little Grand Canyon,” is about a 45-50 minute drive south of Columbus, Georgia, not Ohio. It is an absolutely stunning sight, but unlike the actual Grand Canyon, it isn’t made out of rock. It’s actually made out of topsoil, clay, and sand. Water did have an important role in the creation of both canyons, though. Where it took millions of years for a river to carve out the Grand Canyon, it took what must feel like the blink of an eye for erosion–thanks to poor farming–to wash away the loose soil and create the canyon we see today in Georgia. I would be lying if I said I knew any of this before visiting the canyon. I, along with the rest of my family, thought it was a purely natural rock formation exactly like the Grand Canyon just in Georgia._DSC2583_DSC2576

Even if it’s not as awe inspiring as I would assume the Grand Canyon is, it’s still a breathtaking view. Especially when you think about how quickly it was formed in comparison to its larger, more solid cousin. I think it should also be noted that as beautiful as the canyon is, it should also be a reminder to take care of the land because if we don’t there can be drastic consequences…at least this one is nice to look at. We lose nothing by taking care of the place we live.

If you’re in the area, or like my parents and want to visit Georgia’s historical sites, I definitely recommend visiting the park. Although, I would consider waiting until it isn’t hot enough to melt your face off. Also, it should be noted that the floor of the canyon is wet and sandy–two things that never mix well–so be sure to wear shoes you don’t mind getting dirty. And don’t be like one lady we saw and wear fancy sandals. You will regret it.


Finally feeling like a normal person

I wish I could accurately explain what living with depression is like, but I can’t. I’ve tried to, but if you’ve never experienced it then the explanations just don’t quite make sense, for most people. There’s this shared sense of knowing that fellow depressed people just get, you know? But what I can explain is what it’s like to finally, FINALLY, feel normal.

I have spent the vast majority of my life desperately wanting to feel normal. And before you say, “Brittany, there’s no such thing as normal.” I know, but I also know that there’s a general scale of how normal people deal with emotions, life, and, you know, not wanting to die all the time. Mental illness is a massive suck-fest, to put it simply. Not being able to control your emotions is exhausting. For the past few months (years really) I have been on the worlds crappiest roller coaster. One day I would be fine, then the next three would be horrible, then I would be okay for five hours, and then awful again. Every day was like a mystery grab bag. Was I going to get a cheap plastic toy, or was it going to be literal shit? [Spoiler alert: 9 out of 10 times it was shit. But that one time it wasn’t was super great.] And the worst thing is, is that you can’t opt out. You can’t say, “You know what? I’m not going to ride this roller coaster today. I’m going to go for a nice relaxing ride on the merry-go-round.” That’s just not how this thing works; at least, not for me. I’ve tried. You just kind of learn how to cope with what you’ve got, and how to best hide it from people, because it tends to freak a lot of people out when you start joking about death. [Side note: if I’m joking around about my issues that’s a good sign, because if I can joke about it then I’m still okay.] But after a while you get exhausted. And I don’t mean, I’ve had a rough day at work exhausted. I mean you feel like you’ve been drug (dragged if you want to be grammatically correct) behind a semi for a year, beaten with a crowbar, and then forced to replace a laid off Atlas due to budget cuts.

After several months of this I finally put on my big girl undies, and made an appointment to see my counselor again. She, in turn, referred me to a psychiatrist. He then bumped up the dosage of my Zoloft prescription, and OH MY GOD! How did I ever manage to live my life before this?! Becoming mentally stable is like waking up on the first day it finally feels like Spring after a long Winter. Everything is different, but not really. You just perceive it differently. Life is no longer some never ending rickety roller coaster from Hell. It’s just life, and it is so beautiful. There have been several times where I’ve asked HB if this is how everyone else lives, because I just can’t quite seem to wrap my head around feeling completely normal. I get to choose my emotions! Do y’all know how amazing that is?! Minescule mistakes no longer make me spiral downwards into a pit of self-loathing and dispare. I can just live life. It’s an absolutely amazing thing to experience after so many difficult years. There’s a small part of me that thinks this won’t last, but, quite frankly, she can shut her face, because I am going to enjoy this as long as it lasts.


Sometimes looking like idiot is okay

I am a perfectionist. Well, I’m a perfectionist in the sense that if I can’t do something perfectly then I don’t do it. I do not like looking like an idiot, or like I don’t know something. But, things are changing.

A few months ago I started Tae Kwon Do, and being a 25 year old beginner is full of the horrid awkwardness of not knowing something and looking like a complete dunderhead. Have you ever seen someone that has almost zero control of their body; because, that’s exactly what it looked like when I started. Since starting Tae Kwon Do I’ve realized that no one expects you to be able to know how to do something as a beginner, and I’ve started to let go of my perfectionism. I know I look like a idiot with my arms and legs flailing about while I try, and oh God do I try, to master a kick, punch, or block, but you know what? So does everyone else when they’re learning something new. It’s just so much easier to laugh at myself when I get absolutely lost in a form or during floor drills than to beat myself up. I don’t have the time to beat myself up over a mistake anyway.

It’s really freeing to just do something without focusing on doing everything perfectly all the time. And you know the best thing? It’s starting to leak over into other aspects of my life. I’m becoming more comfortable speaking German with HB, and having fun at Agility (although that’s over for the year. SAD!), for example. It’s great! What positive, yet, unintended consequences have happened to you when you started a new hobby?

It’ll grow. Slowly but surely, it will grow.

I have made a horrible life decision. I’ve decided to grow my hair out. I love my pixie, but, honestly, I kind of miss the length. I can’t figure out why, though, because I never did anything with it except straighten it. BUT having longer hair will ultimately end up saving us quite a bit of money. I mean, getting a haircut every five to six weeks starts to add up quickly…especially when you tend to splurge a bit when it comes to having your hair done. Plus the idea of trying to find somewhere to get my hair cut in Germany is mildly terrifying; that and, I’ve seen some awful pixie cuts in Germany. I would like to try to avoid more awful haircuts than I’ve already experienced in my life…or awful hairstyles that I’ll be experiencing in the coming months thanks to growing out my short hair. Can I just sleep through like the next six months or so and wake up with decent hair?

It’s been almost two months since I decided to grow it out. I wish I could say I’ve seen more growth than I have, but that’s not the case. When I made the decision I decided to go on a buying spree for products to help my hair stay healthy and hopefully promote growth. While I’m not sure if they’ve helped with growth they’ve definitely helped to keep my hair healthy, which is key when growing out a pixie cut. So what did I buy? My first stop was the vitamin aisle. I remembered reading that both Biotin and Prenatal vitamins help with hair, skin, and nails, and being that I have an aversion to anything pregnancy related I opted for Biotin. (The only thing I plan on nurturing in my uterine area is my brand-spanking-new IUD. Is that too much information? Oh well, there’s no turning back now, you’re in too deep. [Oh, God! What a horrible, unintended pun! I am so sorry!])

After the vitamin aisle I found my way to the hair care section. Here is where I went a little crazy. I grabbed a handful of hairbands, bobby pins, and tiny little clips for when my hair just can’t be contained with hair products anymore. In addition to the hair controlling accessories I grabbed some dry shampoo (HOW HAVE I NEVER EXPERIENCED THIS BLESSING BEFORE?!), Not Your Mother’s Way to Grow shampoo and conditioner, and a hair mask that was on sale. (Who turns down a sale?) Contrary to the name, Way to Grow does not say that it will make your hair grow. It does, however, say that it is meant to help improve the health of your hair, because, as it says on the container, “healthier hair means longer hair, faster.” It is also sulfate, paraben, and dye free so that’s a plus, if that’s your thing. As for the hair mask: curly and frizzy hair really can’t be too conditioned, can it? I don’t think so, but just in case I’m wrong I try to use it only once a week…if I remember.

Even though none of this stuff has magically made my hair grow, sadly, I can’t say that I regret buying any of it. At the very least my hair will be super healthy, and can anyone really complain about that? Hopefully by the time HB and I move I will be through all the awkward hair growth stages, because I will be absolutely mortified if I have to have another ID picture that looks awful. If we ever meet in person and you want to see an awful picture of me just ask to see my passport photo. To anyone else that’s growing out a pixie cut, what are your go-to products/things to help your hair?

Because I enjoy embarrassing myself on the internet I’ve got another story from my weird childhood.

I’ve always been kind of fascinated with Renaissance festivals. That alone should be weird enough, but, again, I like to outdo myself with how weird I can be. I had one of my birthday parties there once. It wasn’t so much a party as it was a few friends, my poor family, and I went to the RenFair for my birthday. If it wasn’t so expensive I would have insisted upon renting a costume as well, but, alas, it was a few hundred dollars. So what’s a girl to do? Well if you’re this girl you buy something that becomes your go-to accessory for the next few months? Years? What accessory could possibly be so amazing to become my number 1 accessory? A snood. What the hell is a snood, you ask? It’s a hairnet, but don’t you dare call it a hairnet to little Brittany! She’ll insist that it should be called by it’s proper name, or she’ll get all pouty and throw a tantrum.

I didn’t even get a cute one. I walked around for the longest time looking like I moonlighted in the school cafeteria. It might explain why the food was always awful. You might ask yourself “why would your parents let you run around looking like a miniature lunch lady?” That’s a good question, friend, and I assume the answer is something along the lines of “you have to pick your battles.” Most kids go through a weird fashion phase. Some of us just have weirder and longer phases than others…to our mother’s extreme displeasure and embarrassment. I almost feel bad that she had to suffer through being seen with me in public, but then I remember all the embarrassing things she did in public and don’t feel so bad. So in case you’re ever having a not so great fashion day just remember that at least you don’t accessorize with a hairnet.

Welp, it’s official.

I just purchased our one-way tickets from Atlanta to Germany. HB got into his Master’s program so we’re officially leaving September 1st for our next life adventure. Now I need to get my shit together and sell everything that we aren’t bringing with us, get the animals squared away, and make sure I’ve got any and all documents we could possibly need. These next few months will be stressful, trying, and nerve wrecking, but in the end it’s (hopefully) going to be worth it. Now, would anyone like to come do all this for me? Any takers? Anyone? Anyone at all? Bueller? Bueller?

Germany, I’ll be seeing you in five months.

Brittany and her semi-loyal, four-legged companion journey into dog sports

It’s been a while since I’ve talked about Nyx on the blog. The Hell Hound and I have been rather busy. In October I decided to put her into Agility. If you have no idea what Agility for dogs is it’s basically an obstacle course that the dog runs. And  if you’d like to see dogs in action here is a link to the 2017 Crufts Singles Finals.

Nyx absolutely loves it. Neither of us are great at it. If you’re picturing us running like the dogs and handlers in the video you are way off, as you’ll see in the upcoming videos. An Agility class for us is usually full of Nyx attempting to run off to do ALL THE THINGS or running by her doggy friends trying to get them to play (if she isn’t on leash) while I’m crying on the inside and yelling “come here!” after her. It’s an experience. Thank the doggie gods that neither she nor the majority of the dogs in class are aggressive. There are two Spaniels that generally hate everyone, but they (thankfully) haven’t been there in a while. Not that they’re bad dogs, just all around grumps that appear have a case of “littermate syndrome”.

This was a good night. She’s currently in her teenager phase, and has become an all around terror. Honestly, why are all teenagers, animal and human alike, such pains?! I know it’s only temporary, but it is awful, just awful. Pray for me, because I want to pull my hair out and cry.

Thankfully, though, through Agility, I have made some wonderful dog lady friends and mentors. One of those mentors convinced me to try another sport with her and another friend. She has a Catahoula Leopard Hound that, like Nyx, is extremely high energy. After a few weeks watching them she casually mentioned something called Fast C.A.T. It’s essentially a 100 yard dash for dogs where they time them as well as measure how fast they run. She wanted to see who was faster Nyx or her pup so a few weeks later we were signed up and in Florida ready to run our dogs. Turns out, Nyx is faster. She ran 27 mph (about 43 kph). When the results are finally added she will be tied for the fastest German Shorthaired Pointer for Fast C.A.T. I’m pretty proud of her, but not as proud as HB is. He’s hung her ribbons on the fridge, and has told all his coworkers about how well she’s done. It’s kind of adorable.

So what do we have in store for the near future when it comes to dog sports? Well I’d like to get into Barn Hunt. You have your dog search for a tube with a rat in it. No rats are harmed. And if everything goes according to plan we will have a Tracking workshop on the 25th. This dog better know she’s loved with all the fun and expensive things we’ve done to ensure she’s happy, healthy, and well exercised.