Tears and Love of Friends

image

What’s a stressed, Catholic grad student to do when overwhelmed from being hard on herself? Go cry in a local church! I used to pride myself in finding no need to cry, but over the past academic year I’ve discovered the miraculous powers of tears and have accessed them whenever I could.

Other ways I’ve been trying to deal with stress as of late is through prayer, hence why I sought out the church today, as well as reaching out to friends more often. While it usually takes my friends a while to respond, I was lucky to receive encouraging, warm responses from them while in the church. I couldn’t help cracking a smile when reading over their messages, and felt very fortunate to have my friends to cry out to.

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 don’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 then 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.

Confidence, positivity, smiles

image

This girl rocked her school placement today. She nailed testing kids, kept up her positivity, faced sessions head-on, shared some good exchanges with her supervisor, and pulled off an outfit with bright colors and shoes that stamp confidence with every step. There were some stumbles along the day, with the same difficult kid breaking down during an activity and some goals needing tweaking, but nonetheless she faced it all with a smile after deciding there’s nothing worth stressing about 🙂

Deattachment

Today, Ash Wednesday, marks the start of the Lenten season. This means spotting ash crosses on foreheads all around campus, viewing multiple #ashtags on my news feed, announcements of people giving up Facebook for the next 40 days, and classmates quizzing me on the meaning of the day. I like Ash Wednesday because it a chance for us Catholics to come out of hiding and witness for what we believe, and it challenges me to begin a journey of detachment from habits I decide to target during Lent and to reconnect with my faith.

One way that I’ve decided to work on detachment this Lent, which I’m very excited for, is by going on a Dating Fast. *Gasp.* I used to hate listening to people talk about this experience, but I’ve finally given in and decided to pursue the fast myself. Other than the obvious requirement of giving up dating during this time, a dating fast involves eliminating all behaviors, i.e. flirting, that are meant to encourage dating and to take time to focus on yourself and your relationship with God. I’m still settling into the fast, but it already feels freeing. Going on the dating fast to me means giving up my tendencies of wondering whether I caught a guy’s attention at a party or a dance and getting a little jealous when I see him with someone else. It gives me the opportunity to overcome thinking back to happier and romantic memories of my ex as a remedy to any loneliness or desperation I feel. This habit has not allowed me to heal from residual feelings of guilt and frustration, to find forgiveness in myself for how the relationship turned out, and to move on in allowing myself to grow from the experience. Most importantly, the dating fast will give me an opportunity to rediscover myself, as I feel that I’ve lost some of my spunk and joy over the past year. It will also allow me grow to love my friends and family more and to show more gratitude towards them, a theme that I will try to focus on during this Lent. Oh, and growing closer to God and understanding what I believe will also play a part in this, too. I will be accompanied by the book pictured below during my dating fast, which offers daily reflections and some challenges along the way. I am excited for the fruits that this journey will bring!

Inspiration from Songs

The other day I challenged a friend and myself to think of one-liners from or titles of songs that conveyed a simple positive message. Here’s the list we came up with. It’s still a work in progress, but I’m still happy to share it.Feel free to add!

It’s gonna be all right/Shake it off – Taylor Swift
Don’t stop believin – Journey
Let it be – Beatles
Every little thing, is gonna be alright – Bob Marley
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger – Kelly Clarkson
Carry on – Fun
Shake it out – Florence + the Machine
Today’s the first day of the rest of your life – (Love will hold us together) Matt Maher
Raise your glass – Pink
Cause you’re amazing just the way you are – Bruno Mars
You don’t know you’re beautiful – One Direction
Let it go – Frozen

Huzzah!

I just remembered how I had originally started this blog to participate in the 100 Happy Day Challenge with some friends. I resumed the challenge a few months after it ended because I thought it would help in recovering after a painful break up with my boyfriend (let’s be real though, when do break ups go well?).

I don’t remember whether I had intended to only do this challenge for 100 days as in the first round of writing in this blog. As I was browsing through my posts just now, I decided to check when the 100th day would have been since I started writing again. Turns out the final day was almost 3 weeks ago. I should’ve taken a hint when I received a notification around that time that I had at least 200 posts on this blog…

My response to the realization that I’ve been blogging for so long? Huzzah! I feel so fortunate for having decided back in October to start writing again. Four months later, I’m still struggling with the break up that motivated me to return to the blog. The reality of the break up and its consequences are now sinking in after having finally initiated breaking off communication from my ex for the time being. It’s been a difficult time, and I have been looking back to last semester and winter break with brokenness and disappointment. I’m uplifted by seeing the snapshots I captured and shared on this blog. They remind me that I through the pain I have had some highlights, however small they might have been.

I definitely will continue writing in this blog. I have been meaning to find a new theme since I want to transition into posting items that others can relate to, rather than sharing a personal social highlight. I’ll try to squeeze in some time to consider what direction I can take this blog in. In the meantime, thank you to all who have been following. I hope the blog has in some way served as a reminder to find ways for cracking even the smallest smile.

The small victories

Anxiety sucks. It’s an unpredictable and irrational monster that’s always lurking around in the background, even when you think you’ve finally conquered it and can move on with yourself.

I’ve been struggling with anxiety since last fall, and the struggle has reached a new level within the past month. I’ve had to be more conscious of my thoughts and emotions and be proactive in restraining the anxiety from escalating to an unmanageable level. I’m still adjusting to this battle, as I’ve never suffered with anxiety to this degree before, and am learning to accept that it’s not going to resolve itself in an instant.

I cherish the days, such as today, when I can get by without a moment of anxiety and even come across some high points. Considering how unstable my anxiety levels have been in the past month, those types of days are always a big deal for me. I did have a tumble with anxiety by the end of the day, and became frustrated with how irrational the trigger was and not fully understanding why I was upset by it. I managed to get myself out of that moment, and find a way to settle down for the night. It wasn’t a perfect day, but any little victory against anxiety is always appreciated.