Finding a community

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Today I attended a meeting for a movement within the Catholic church that a friend had invited me to. It was an evening of wonderful, deep, open reflection. Afterwards, we all went out to grab a bite to eat in a local restaurant.

In dealing with a longing for deeper connections with those around me, as well as fighting anxiety in the past few months, a friend had suggested to me that I seek out a community. This group is definitely a community I see myself becoming a part of. I’m encouraged to join by the deep connection I witnessed among the members and the care they showed each other as they shared their struggles and reflections. I look forward to the fruits of hanging around this group in the future.

Victories with anxiety

Yesterday I had an unexplained bout of anxiety that affected me the whole day and distracted me from my work. Having faced multiple days like this hasn’t made the experience any more pleasant, but I have been proud to look back and reflect how I’m learning to manage them better. I have grown in determination for fighting these moments and seeking out help so that they doesn’t hold me back. I’ve been learning to accept that these days will come, and even though all may seem lost in the moment, I have the power within me to bounce back. I’ve come to recognize the importance of being present in the moment by slowing down thoughts, taking deep breaths, and remembering the positive. Most importantly,  I’ve come to know and appreciate the support group I have in these moments. I’m thankful for the family and friends who let me cry, who withstand listening to the same running thoughts, and who put up with my irrational grumpiness. I’m grateful I have people to relate to and to laugh at anxiety in its face. This includes a friend who yesterday commented she’d refer to her anxiety as Regina George when I said I wish that anxiety was a physical thing we could hit, and them proceeded to make Mean Girls puns.

I have taken the first steps in promising myself not to let anxiety control me. My bout of it yesterday has motivated to make changes to face it head on and defeat it to the extent that I can. Life is too short to be held back.

Skype with family

I’m not in touch with my family in Poland. Yesterday was the first time that I ever Skyped anyone from the “old country.” I had the opportunity to Skype an aunt from Poland, who is the one and only nun in the family. I’ve contacted her sporadically over the years, usually by writing emails to her in English to share what I’ve been doing and to help her practice the language. We decided to connect over Skype for the first time yesterday. It was great to see her face-to-face and to hear stories from Krakow, learning English, and her trips to the US when I was little, as well as to share some of my experiences in Boston. Our conversation also gave me an opportunity to practice speaking Polish, which I stumbled through but somehow managed to share my thoughts! I hope I get to Skype my aunt again soon and to connect with her more.

Baseball, food, and friends

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Tonight I got to play hostess again by having a few friends over to watch the Red Sox-Yankees game. I enjoy having the opportunity to have guests. Serving snacks to fuel conversation and laughter is always one of my favorite parts of hosting, thanks to my background in Polish hospitality. Aside from the food pictured above, a friend and her boyfriend (whom I met for the first time) contributed some unique, sweet snacks, such as green tea-flavored Kit-Kats and a tough, dried fruit, as well as pork and shrimp dumplings from a local Asian mart. We also had some wings from down the street for the first time. We didn’t quite have the most typical food for watching a baseball game, aside from some peanuts, but it was all still delicious!

We weren’t tuned in too much into the game, except for the times when either team scored and noting the fact that the game was going into extra innings. There were some great stories shared, plenty of references about my hometown Chicago with my friend’s boyfriend making numerous jokes about the city after his visit there a few months back, and even thoughts about starting a meet-up group for baking enthusiasts in our area. Unfortunately the company didn’t stay for the length of the game, as it stretched out into extra innings (and is still going on into the 14th inning as I write this post!). Nonetheless, the night was a great end to the week and a much needed evening of rest before diving into the work I have to accomplish over the weekend.

Free food!

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Wednesdays are my long days at school. I leave my apartment before 8 and don’t return until 10 at night. I usually prepare both lunch and dinner to take with me on these days. Unfortunately this time, I had forgotten to put away the dinner I had cooked for myself in the fridge over night, so I was short on food for the day. I was saved by a reception held in my college building that offered some good snack food to munch on to get through my final class.

Breakthrough

The realizations…

…that I went through a lot this past semester, emotionally and mentally, and have managed not to give up….

…that even though it may have seemed that I’ve been stuck many times, I have grown a lot

…that I have learned many lessons from my numerous mistakes and that I have the power to change rather than to grieve over what I did wrong…

…that I am almost done with the semester…

…that I am capable of doing better than I have been…

…that I’m not in that bad of a place…

is all very empowering.