New Winds Ahead

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Have you ever experienced rejection in something you know you absolutely should have succeeded in? Did you curse an opportunity for slamming its’ doors before your face? This morning I was taken aback by a new change of plans for my future.

For months now, I have been awaiting the status of my graduate school application to my Alma Mater; today was finally the day I would learn of my future in social work. I went to my apartment’s front desk to retrieve my mail, and was handed a suspiciously thin envelope. Without even opening it, my stomach sank to the floor, tears welling in my eyes. I had been rejected from my dream program.

I reread the letter over ten times, making sure I wasn’t imagining it. How could I get rejected? I have planned my entire life down to every detail from as long as I could remember. I’m the extreme type-A personality who stays up night after night to perfect assignments, complete my to-do lists, and maintain my sense of order. How could I keep a 4.0 within my program, yet not be enough? With over 80 volunteer hours, and 500 hours in the mental health setting, my absolute did not suffice.

I ripped up my letter, laced up my tennis shoes and ran a hard 3 miles to cope; I took 4 minutes off my typical time. It turns out, being angry leads to wonderful personal records. After my run, my mind began to clear up. I was rejected from grad school, but it was all going to be okay in the end.

As I’m swallowing this dose of reality, I’ve come to realize that this rejection might simply be redirection. While I am heartbroken that things did not go the way I had initially planned, I am confident that God has a better course of travel ahead. The winds around me are changing direction, but this is how life goes; a smooth sea never made for a skillful sailor. As for now, it’s time to embrace the new weather ahead.

Goodnight everyone!! XOXO

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Quick, Sweet, but a Tummy-Ache to be expected

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When I was a little kid, and still now as a twenty-two-year-old, I had a thing for all things gummy: bears, worms, sharks, you name it. Those little candies have no nutritional value, but do offer a nimble sugar high. They’ve always enticed me, although the rush is never lengthy.

Nearing the end of January, I let all readers in on a little secret of mine; I had a love interest brewing. I left off on a positive unknown; I was unsure of where it would head with this man I had a crush on for so long. After a month and a half together, I can say our time was comparable to a bag of gummy sharks from the gas station. We dove in, eating ALL of the gummies at once. We did not take any breaks, although I could hear my mother in the back of my mind warning me to slow down.

What does rushing through bags of treats and steps of a relationship have in common? They both end in tummy aches if one does not savor each bite.

I can assuredly say my speedy quick relationship left me feeling like there was more to be desired. While it was palatable initially, I ended up needing something with more nutritional value; something deeper than going through the motions already at 1.5 months in.

While I am upset that this relationship did not seem to work out, I am optimistic about my romantic future to come. The perks of being young and {out of} love leaves me able to re-center my focus on things that are important in my life right now. I will be graduating college with my Bachelor’s of Social Work in a mere 32 days, and I have never been so excited. Being able to have a degree to match my passion for mental health awareness is something I’ve desired for a long time.

As for my future with love, I need to remember to focus on relationships that feed one another’s soul. As for the relationships that begin overly sweet, sugar crashes are bound to happen sooner rather than later.

Hope on the Horizon

far_sunset_in_te_ocean_horizon-wide            So far this year, my writing has been on the back burner. I suppose I’ve been waiting for a rather bold sign to heat it up again, and I think I may finally have a reasonable catalyst.

I find it best to write, work out, and paint when I’m feeling a lot of something. A lot of sadness, a lot of anger, a lot of happiness, they all drive me to passionately pursue my endeavors. While I’ve written plenty of posts about “men breaking your heart” and ”single is always my motto,” maybe the time has come for some sweeter notes.

Before my first public post ever, an individual looked over my writing for me and essentially cheered me on to make a blog in the first place. Without his kind words and guidance months back, I would not have this blog today or the self-confidence I exude now. This man has been a constant in my life for almost seven months now, as a friend. He has been a voice of reason and a big support in my life, I am so lucky to finally have him a step closer to me.

To all of those who are feeling bitter from your last, or last few, chances at love, there is still hope out there for all of us. I believe we have a mandatory prerequisite to date a few horrible guys in life before finding some of the great ones. If we didn’t meet those ungrateful ones, how would we ever truly be able to tell the difference between what we can tolerate versus what we genuinely deserve.

As for the sweet man above, he is not mine just yet. While I have no idea where this could possibly lead, I am feeling rather exuberant about him. The exhilarating part of love is you don’t know where it’s going to twist and turn next; you just fall.

Hometown Haze

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As Thanksgiving is coming up next week, I’m preparing myself to go back to a place that was once mine. I spent 13 years of my childhood in a quaint little town that changed my outlook on the world.

Growing up in a small town within rural New Jersey, I lived in a tiny world that did things quite differently than we do down here in Florida. Surrounded by cornfields, the Appalachian Mountains, and families who have lived in the area for generations and beyond, my little town was certainly a picture-perfect way to grow up. The town’s biggest events were and will always be our Friday night football games, haunted hayrides in the early fall, and the big parade held on the 4th of July, accompanied by every fire truck within the county. While there will always be a sweet charm to the area, this small town suffers from many generations’ worth of opinions and expectations.

Anyone who has ever been in a smaller town, college, job, etc., understands that the less people and events happening, the more time everyone has to talk. This talk amongst locals is the bread and butter of socializing in these smaller environments. The ebb and flow of small towns is discussing your family’s whereabouts, your neighbor’s mother, and your old classmate’s new life choice.

While a small town is an incredible environment to grow up in, this lack of exposure during your younger years alters your hardwiring for good. You are exposed to a tiny amount culturally, and are told to follow a specific path by your teachers, family friends, and miscellaneous people who recognize you at the local grocery store. It is understood by most residents that living a quiet life means you are doing everything correctly. As small towns are more likely to hold onto traditional values, most understand their expected life of normalcy. To stay within good graces of your small town, you attend school for around eighteen years, work for fifty after that, and then disappear into the same graveyard shared by your ancestors. You do not so much as change your great-grandmother’s gravy recipe (tomato sauce).

While continuing family traditions within the same zip code is all some could ever want, I knew it would not be enough for me. Deciding to move 1,300 miles south by myself was the best thing that I could ever do to prompt my independence. Without all of the noise from townsfolk, I have explored as I wanted to, and have been able to experience many new things in life; forming my own opinions is far superior to being spoon-fed them, too.

As I’m sure anyone from a small town understands, you will always have mixed feelings about the overall mindset of the area. There will forever be a comfort seeing the mountains in my backyard and the woods across the street. As for the narrow-mindedness, a few extra slices of pecan pie will get me through the long weekend.

Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!

Why You Should Stop Searching for Love in Your Early Twenties

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As everyone around me is finding a job, graduating college, and beginning adulthood, I can’t help but notice there is one trend going on that is perplexing me; as soon as we cross these milestones, many of us jump into the dating scene with the hopes of finding “the one” as soon as possible.

As we enter this period of our lives, we feel the need to keep up with this fast pace we just endured through schooling , crossing societal “to-do’s” off the list and continuing forward at high speed ahead. While finding love and growing a family is a part of life for many, this leads to one question. If you focus on finding love at a young age, do you lose out on the chance to fall in love with yourself first?

In your early twenties, you face the river rapids of your first job, and moving out of your parents’ home, for some. After the pace slows down to the soft tide of adulthood, this is when you need to spend time to learn what you want in life; find your hobbies, your values, and learn what makes you happy and sad. Form your own opinions on politics and religion, and live exactly how you want to. Your early twenties is the sweet spot between your childhood and the rest of your life. If you don’t like your city, you have the chance to uproot your life and move without it affecting your significant other and kids. Again, this may be the only time in your life that you can say and do just about anything without impacting others.

As many of us jump into the hunt to search for our partner at a young age, there may be a bigger picture here that we are choosing not to see; I believe many of us fear the chance that we could end up sad and lonely for the rest of our lives. Because of this, we all rush to find someone to bring to events, relieve ourselves from the silence, and fill the void of uncertainty regarding being alone. We are so worried that we will have an empty house one day that we cling to the first chance of love, even if the other person isn’t right for us.

This uneasiness is mirrored much in our society; every movie, television show, and headline involves relationships and love. There is almost nothing out there to glorify being single and living solo, aside from a few Beyoncé hits. I’m not here to say that we must swear off love forever, but I do think everyone needs a period of time to embrace this solitude. This is possibly the last time to focus on yourself and only yourself.

While I believe searching for love is silly, especially at such a young age, I’ve still been guilty of it. When I’ve seen a glimmer of a chance of a relationship, I’ve usually jumped right into it. While the attempts have been unsuccessful, I am happy about this. Even though the uncertainly of my future is uncomfortable, I know it is needed for my well-being and growth into adulthood.

For those still trying to force together pieces from the wrong puzzle boxes, take a moment to stop and really think. Have you figured out your dreams and assessed your values? Have you traveled and tried things you wanted to do just for your own pleasure? If any of the above rang a bell, give yourself some time to embrace the solitude. Make your own memories, mistakes, and do what makes you happy. It might feel weird focusing on just yourself, but do it anyways.

“A flower does not spend its’ life waiting for the bee to come. The flower simply blooms into its’ full beauty. Then, the bee comes.”

People Pleaser in Recovery

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What happens when someone tells you something hurtful? Are you able to accept it and move on? Or do you spend hours, or even days wrecking your mind over the thought of someone disliking you? Sadly, I’m the latter. I’ve spent far too many days and sleepless nights worrying about what others thought of me. I’ve reimagined just about every social interaction in my life multiple times, going through to check if I did my best to be kind and amiable. I have a strong desire to be liked and have gone to many lengths to get there.

From a young age, I have been known to be a little oversensitive of criticism and opinions from others. When I was around four, I took ballet on the weekends with some girls from my preschool. I remember this was one of the first times I got my feelings hurt by others. All of the girls in the class had nude-colored ballet flats, while I was the only one with white ones. I remember a girl telling me I wouldn’t be invited to her birthday party because I had the “weird ugly shoes.” I mentioned this to my parents and they giggled while telling me that it wasn’t a big deal; it is certainly laughable looking back. I recall my father telling me that some people aren’t going to like you, and that this is ok.

My dad was right on his advice years ago, however I still do not have the ability to handle criticism in the manner he can. He is the type of person that can be called any name in the book, yet walk away unscathed and ready to move forward. While I understand logically that it is okay for people to dislike me, I still struggle hearing and accepting these comments to this day. When someone has ever mentioned they didn’t like something about me, I have done my best to try to shift their view.

Today, a classmate of mine told me I had a poor work ethic. Immediately, I got upset and felt the need to prove to her that I had a wonderful work ethic, high grades, and was doing fantastic in my internship. While my mind began spinning, palms sweating, I let myself get worked up over an ignorant comment. After a few moments of revving myself up, I realized what was going on. I cared so much about what others thought of me that I was willing to do anything to change her mind.

This got me thinking, why do we allow ourselves to endure so much stress just to keep others in our good graces? As a people pleaser, I’ve gone to many lengths to be liked and accepted by others; I’ve gone to parties I didn’t want to attend, said “yes” far too many times when I needed to say “no,” and went along with plans to simply keep others content. I have such a desire to be viewed positively by others that I have said and done things I didn’t agree with just to make them happy in the moment.

While my people-pleasing tactics work for a lot of the time, what happens when they stop working? Today, for example, I knew I couldn’t have said or done anything to change this individual’s opinion on me. I became anxious and spent the majority of my afternoon fixated on this tiny comment. While it is disheartening that someone does not approve of me, I have to remind myself that only I know who I really am at the end of the day. This statement might’ve hurt my feelings, but I allowed it to spiral out of control, giving a near-stranger the reign to my emotions for the day.

I’d love to say some wise words along the lines of “be who you want, you should never care what others think of you,” but I would be lying to you all. I have been struggling with the need to feel accepted by others since my pre-k ballet class. This is a thought pattern that has been engrained in my mind for the majority of my life, so kicking this habit is a slow process that has and will take many more years to make progress.

What I can say about people pleasing is the mere acknowledgement of the pattern is a huge step in moving forward. I am aware that the more I spend time pleasing classmates, coworkers, roommates, etc., the less time I have at the end of the day to spend on myself. I am sanguine that I can continue to develop the ability to let more things roll off my back over time. Until then, I am leaving as a people pleaser in recovery (Is that ok?!).

Goodnight all!

Don’t Cry Over Locked Doors

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When is the last time you were disappointed by an expectation that didn’t follow the way you know it should’ve? Did the man you adore leave you for his ex? Did someone else get the promotion you deserved? All of us can connect to the feeling of letdown when we put so much energy into something or someone, only to fall short.

I am a visual creature, and believe that life is a serious of doors within a complex maze. I believe that God, or a higher power, has the master key to the above for our individual journeys. As you venture out into the world, you find your way and pass through doors and gates that elevate you into the next beautiful sector of life. You create your relationships, reality, and living based on the doors you pass through.

However, what happens when one of these doors simply slams shut before you and locks? Many of us stand before this door and kick, scream, and try our best to knock it down. We pick at this lock and question what we can do to change it, only to have the same end result. We then ruminate over our every move and wonder which prior decisions lead us to this loss. “I deserved that promotion at my job. I did so much more work than he did!” or “He left me for his ex; I was such a better partner than she was!” While all the above may be true, the game of life does not deliver what we expect or necessarily want; life gives us what we need when we need it.

Despite how we feel when that door shuts, we need to be thankful for this loss and gracefully move on. You may be thinking I sound crazy, but humor me for a moment. This door would not have slammed shut had it been created for you; if this were your door, it would have opened without issue. Maybe you even passed various “danger” signs simply because you wanted what was on the other side of the door. We may have imagined a happy path of rainbows beyond this, however there is also the chance it could’ve been Hell that you were saved from. Maybe that coveted position at work would have been laid off one day , or maybe he was going to hinder your personal growth. Regardless, the door shut because it was not for you.

Expectations are an odd thing in life; we get so enthralled in them and lose track of logic because we want to follow what we think is the best option in our minds. If the door won’t open, it is because there is an even better door ahead. Maybe we have to navigate for a lengthy time and use this locked door as a fresh start. When a door locks before you, take a moment to grieve this loss in your mind and then go back to life wiser and stronger. You may have fallen down momentarily; what defines you in life is how well you rise after that fall.