Don’t be afraid to take a step back – from yourself, others, or situations. Take some time alone to reflect and figure out why you’re feeling the way you are. Step back so that you can see the whole picture, and where this small piece of the puzzle fits in.Read More
don't be afraid
Don’t be afraid to stop counting - counting the calories, the pounds, the reps, the assignments, the days. Counting just makes our brains feel in control of a situation. It fuels the ego. But when we don’t eat few enough calories, or weigh few enough pounds, or get in too few of reps, we beat ourselves up. We get upset that we’re not meeting our goals. At least, I do.Read More
Don't be afraid to just do something yourself. It can be intimidating, but in the end, the only person you can truly rely on is yourself. If you don't know how to do something, learn how. Stop waiting on the right time, person, place, or opportunity. Just go out and DIY.Read More
Ignorance isn’t always a bad thing. It can allow an individual to see beyond the rules and current standards and think more freely about ideas.Read More
I've said a lot of things, lately. Like how you should pause and take moments for yourself, and listen to your body. But sometimes you don't want to feel your body. Sometimes you know what's waiting for you, and it isn't pretty, and you don't want to deal with it. "I don't want to feel anxious and therefore I will not be anxious," I tell myself. But it doesn't work like that. At least not for me. Sometimes I refuse to acknowledge my anxiety and deny ever having it instead.
A lot of things are going change in my near future. I'll be moving out of the Halli house, no longer be living with my best friend, no longer be attending classes (although I'm finishing up a couple over summer). Never again will I live in Kirksville, MO. I'll be expected to be an adult who actually knows things and is capable of life, something I'm not sure I'm quite ready for yet. And that's a lot. What's more, the last time I was graduating and going through these types of huge, universe flipping changes, the ending wasn't so pretty and so my psyche keeps running to hide. I do what I know how to do; I work and work and work. I study and stay up all hours and make everyone else around me happy - all the while ignoring those shadows of fear creeping closer each day.
I've come to realize that my real problem here is my fear of the pain my anxiety will inflict. I'd rather pretend it didn't exist, which only creates more anxiety because I know it is there, lurking just around the corner. When I allow myself to fully feel my emotions and view them from an external perspective, I am able to better understand and then release my anxiety. Once I am able to acknowledge my emotions, I can begin taking steps to clear them instead of letting them fester, such as yoga, meditation or journaling.
The fears are still there, don't get me wrong. But each time I give them attention they seem be lightened, their weight not quite as heavy on my heart.
At home, everything feels stable and warm and familiar. There are always lots of hugs and kisses and smiles. The water tastes better, the showers are clean, and the fridge always has good food. The best part of home, though, is just being in my family's presence. They've known me my whole life and understand better than anyone else why I am the person I am today. They've seen it all. They get it. And they love me both because of and in spite of it. I'm comfortable when surrounded by their unconditional love, and so am my most true self around them. They bring out my playful, mischievous side that has a lot of fun just playing. Just like we always did when I was growing up.
I got to go home this weekend and see my family, including my 10-month-old niece Bailey. She just recently began crawling and is officially mobile. I followed her around as she explored, licking windows and smacking table tops and had a great time playing hide and seek, as well as follow the leader. It's entertaining to watch my parents and brother with her, making silly faces and jumping around...and I know I look even more ridiculous. We're all just playing together again, and having a great time of it. All the while, I can see Bailey slowly learning as she goes along, collecting information. She learns from the playing.
Adults don't play enough. As I've grown older, I've realized how much priorities shift. It's all about fast tracking yourself to the finish line, no matter what toll it takes on your body, your health, your relationships, or your soul. You just have to do it - whatever it is - faster than the person next to you. Then you're good. We forget it doesn't have to be boring to be productive, and you can accomplish a lot through playing - and have fun along the way.
It's the third week of classes, and somehow I am already in this ridiculous routine of sleeping only about four to six hours a night (I can actually feel my mom's disapproval as she reads this). [Update: my mom insists it is not "disapproval" she has but "concern" instead. Fair enough.] I simply have too many things I want to accomplish in my days. Already, I seem to be leaving my health in the dust, as I reluctantly but sleepily cut my yoga time in half each day.
There's this weird, unspoken rule in college - and society - that sleeping means you're being lazy, or not working hard enough. It's an odd energy that can really pull you in, forcing you to lose yourself as you succumb to the zombie inside you. Last spring semester, I became that zombie, sleeping at random hour intervals throughout the day and never at night, constantly pushing myself to go, go, go. It of course backfired (as ignoring our health usually does), and I became physically, mentally, and emotionally unstable. After I came back to school this past fall, I vowed to sleep at least six hours a night every single night because without that sleep, I significantly decrease my ability to function like a normal human being.
And here I am again, breaking my own "rules." It's easy to throw the idea of six hours of sleep out the window when you have to stay up that extra hour every once in a while, but somehow that has been happening daily. This morning, I woke up extra early to get work done that I hadn't completed before bed, but ended up taking multiple 10 minute long power naps in a row after only about an hour and a half of work. This time, I finally listened to my body and let it get that extra hour of sleep it was demanding from me. I'll admit that I am a little disappointed in myself for not getting my goal work done, but practiced self compassion by comforting and reassuring myself, as my own friend, that I had done the best I could do yesterday; I had diligently worked on homework all day, and maybe the goals I had set were just unrealistic. Now, after my extra little hour of sleep, my body is much more willing to follow my mind around all day as I work on that to-do list.
I dreaded my Creative Writing class today. Last class, everyone was to bring a one-page short story to share, and I had a great time concocting mine in the wee hours of the night before. I really felt I had a good story and was excited to hear feedback on my creation.
When it came time for someone to share, nobody wanted to go first. The professor stared like they do, eyes penetrating as he pleaded for someone to volunteer. I raised my hand, figuring I was going to at some point anyway. I read my story, finishing confidently, since I really liked my oh-so-clever ending.
The professor stared and then requested I pass my paper around the giant circle of students to him. The class silently slumped on the edge of their seats at the awkward tension, not knowing how to react to the situation. I anticipated. "A critique," he grunted.
A hand rose and with a nod the boy began, cutting deep with his words. The class fell silent. "What else?" the professor coldly encouraged. "We're looking for positive things, too."
Other classmates consoled me with what I could only now believe to be their pity. Then, the professor wrapped the critique up with a comment on my "graph of tension," ultimately finishing with a hard blow to my "oh-so-clever" ending.
Then I sat there, listening to him melt over the next short stories. And then I sat there today, again watching him pour over my classmates' words. I boiled inside, feeling my skin go red hot at every praise he offered. I sat in raw resentment, my face muscles avidly refusing to acknowledge even one moment of his dry humor, and found myself hating even more my classmates who were receiving praise. I exuded negativity.
I was jealous. I wanted the professor to love my story. I did my best to take the criticism at face value and learn from it, but that was just so damn hard to do while the professor continued to coo about literally everyone else's. But jealousy can be a motivator, what with that deep green voice inside screaming at you to be better. The trick is to speak kindly in both words and thoughts to all beings, including yourself. Instead of resenting my classmates, I should have felt joy at their success and taken special note of what techniques they utilized to make their writing good, then implemented them myself. However, I was too busy shooting death glares at anyone who'd had any shred of success to really learn from what my classmates were doing. In the end, we're not here to be each other's competition; we're here to help guide one another and create something bigger, better, and more beautiful than ourselves. If all we can seem to desire is hate for a person or their talent, we are missing out on the unique experience being offered and the potential guidance through life that we could have access to.
I didn't write this post on Friday because it was still a little sore, and the bruise always gets worse before getting better, but I'm hoping that realizing and experiencing these emotions will help Wednesday's class to not be so saturated in negativity. Instead of feeling jealous, I will work to feel inspired by those around me and the opportunities for guidance they have to offer me.