What am I Doing With My Life?

It’s been a while since I’ve had a post about me.

My life, what I’m up to, where I’m going.

So as to ensure that this blog doesn’t become defunct, I thought I’d take a moment to write an update about my life.

Back in January, I wrote that I recently discovered my love of teaching. Additionally, I wrote that I was planning to move abroad again before the year’s end.

Today, only one of those statements remains true. I still love teaching. I love it more and more every day. I will not, however, be moving abroad again before this year’s end.

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The last few months have been a whirlwind of growth and change and internal understanding. I’ve come to a lot of understandings about myself. I’ve realized that, during my youth and formative years, I lost sight of myself and my real, true passions. There can be a lot of pain and confusion in navigating the world as a highly sensitive person. As a child, I didn’t have any real understanding for why I cried so easily, why I seemed to be bothered by sounds other peope didn’t notice (I’m acutely sensitive to sound), and why I seemed to get tired so much quicker than my peers. Highly Sensitive wasn’t in my vocabularly and it wasn’t in my parents vocabulary–and because I didn’t know why I was the way I was and also because I wanted to fit in with my peers, I unconsiously managed to lock down that part of me.

I came across the term “highly sensitive person” for the first time in college and instantly recognized many of the traits in myself. However, because I had so severely repressed so much of what it truly means to be HSP, I didn’t understand what that meant for me as a person. It is only within the last few months that I’m starting to Continue reading “What am I Doing With My Life?”

How Do You Know?

For the last few months, I’ve been attending this MeetUp on and off that centers around concepts of mindfulness and meditation. I was drawn to this MeetUp because the concepts of mindfulness and meditation are extremely interesting to me, concepts that I’ve been trying to integrate into my life more as I’ve been actively working through personal and emotional baggage.

The last time I attended this MeetUp, the group leader–a middle aged man who I suppose is between forty and fifty–asked me if I’d be interested in meeting up for some coffee at some point in the future to discuss some aspects of meditation and mindfulness more in depth. He mentioned he found some of the points I brought up in our discussion that night interesting, and would like to talk more.

I didn’t see any harm in meeting up for one coffee chat. These are topics I genuinely enjoy talking about, after all, and this man is a wealth of knowledge regarding the topics of meditation and mindfulness. I thought I could learn a thing or two from. I saw him as a teacher figure, and I was eager to learn more.

That is, until he started sending me conversational text messages, and seemed way too eager to see me again when we parted from our coffee chat (“if you want to meet next weekend, let me know”).

Wait, I thought, is this guy looking for a friendship…or something more? 

This man, whom I only wanted to learn a thing or two from, seemed to have more than a Continue reading “How Do You Know?”

On Growth and Pain and Being Open

The thing about growth is that’s it’s fucking painful.

If you’re trying to grow and aren’t feeling some sort of ache or pain in the pit of your stomach (or wherever your internal hurt manifests), you’re probably not doing it right.

I haven’t been blogging a lot lately because I’ve been focusing on experiencing and processing my world and the changes happening in and around me. My mind has been overwhelmed with a lot of internal and external stimuli, and I haven’t really been interested in sharing my thoughts with the world. I’ve been journaling a lot to help with processing, but that writing is mostly incoherent and messy.

I’m finding that I really miss sharing my internal growth experiences with the blogosphere, though. As an introvert who (generally speaking) writes better than she speaks, and who has a tendency to get lost in her head, I love the conversations that I can spark up in the blogosphere. I also appreciate the way I can find commonalities in my thought processes with other bloggers. I all too easily forget that feelings are universal and that everyone has gone through tough times, and exchanging stories helps me remember that. I suppose that’s why I read fiction, too (as opposed to non-fiction). Through stories, we can find the universality of the human condition–and that is both awe-inspiring and comforting.

Anywho, I’ve been experiencing a lot of internal growth lately, but I also feel like I have very few outlets for expressing that growth.

When I look back on old blog posts, I used to be incredibly open about my feelings and experiences (perhaps too open at times). I think people admired that about my writing, but I didn’t think twice about it–to me, being open was natural. I’m the type of person that needs to write or talk through my feelings and experiences to fully understand them. As an INFJ personality type, my introverted intuition and extraverted feeling make me really good at understanding other people–but I often find myself so caught up in figuring out what makes other people tick, that I forget to pay attention to myself. It’s why two of the major realizations I’ve had in the past year came from conversations with other people. I realized I was unhappy in Thailand because a friend explicitly pointed that out to me. I realized I wanted to actually pursue teaching as a career in a conversation when a teaching opportunity was suggested to me.

So I write it out, I talk it out, and I usually learn something in the process.

The thing is, I’ve been actively refraining from doing these therapeutic excercise because I’ve found myself in situations in the past year where my openness wasn’t received well. In some of these situations, I would say that I jumped the gun in opening up to a person–mostly because I had been so self-absorbed that I failed to realize my relationship with the other person wasn’t at a level where they were comfortable with such forthright sharing. While these situations definitely allowed me to consider whether what I’m saying to others is mutually beneficial and worth  both of our while (in other words, major learning experiences), they have still left me feeling a bit cynical about the whole process of opening up. I’ve been wondering lately–why bother with these exercises when people don’t seem to care? This mentality has spread itself to the blogosphere, where I’ve remained pretty silent about my personal life in the last few months; in other words, I unconsciously translated a few negative interactions that I had with people into a “whole world” mentality. As in: “Because a few people didn’t receive my openness well in the last year and left me feel slighted, that obviously means the whole world is going to receive my openness the same way and continue to leave me feel slighted.”

Of course, that’s not true, and such a mentality is a bit self-absorbed in its own right. That said, the human psyche is a powerful thing, and we all too often develop negative mentalities without thinking. There are nearly eight billion people in this world, and there are surely people out Continue reading “On Growth and Pain and Being Open”

Don’t Delete

I’ve thought many times over about creating a new blog and letting this one go.

In 2.5 years that I’ve written at this site, I’ve grown a lot. If you ever go back into this blog’s archives, you’ll find that my voice has been consistently changing. My writing has improved significantly since I started this blog, and my voice has grown with me.

If you ever go back into my blog’s archives, you’ll also find some pretty embarrassing stuff (I won’t willingly provide those links for you, but you can find them if you do enough sifting). As I look back at them, some of the things that were taking up my thoughts during my senior year of college were quite immature. Even in the last year (damn, the last month) I’ve matured (and am continuing to mature) in a lot of ways, and the voice I utilize in my writing reflects that.

It would be easy to delete everything, to belittle my past thoughts and mindsets as not worthy of seeing the light of day ever again. Indeed, there are a couple posts I have done that with–in one way or another, I found them inappropriate to have on my blog. That’s a rare occurrence, though, and I prefer to not make that the norm.

When it all comes down to it, my blog is my story. Since my senior year of college, I’ve documented so much that is important to me here. While I haven’t been blogging a whole Continue reading Don’t Delete

America in 2017: A Highly Senstive Perspective

According to psychologist Elaine Aaron, an estimated twenty percent of the population is highly sensitive. An actual biological trait (as opposed to a psychological disorder), highly sensitive people are generally more in tune with their environments, process information more deeply, and are more easily overstimulated by loud or busy environments than their non-sensitive counterparts.

Highly Sensititive people can be both introverts (individuals who are more internally focused) and extroverts (individuals who are more externally focused). While 70% of HSP’s are introverts, 30% are extroverted.

Western society is notoriously extroverted, on-the-go, and extremely out-of-sync with the strengths that sensitivity can and do bring to the table (empathy and intution, for example). Sensitivity is more often than not seen as a weakness because it has become so closely associated with vulnerability. So many people are afraid to show their vulnerable side (which, everyone has by the way) out of fear that other people will see them as weak.

As a highly sensitive individual, I am going to call bullshit on that.

Most highly sensitive individuals have gotten a lot of flack in life. Highly sensitive people tend to be more naturally empathetic and compassionate (I once had a coworker ask me in frustration, gosh Britta, why are you so nice?). Highly sensitive people tend to be more aware of and distressed by large groups and loud noises (When I was really young, I used to start crying when a large number of family members surrounded me to sing happy birthday). Highly sensitive people tend to absorb emotions (when you’re sad, I feel your sadness; when you’re angry, I feel your anger–and that unconsciously affects my emotions). Highly sensitive people tend to have extreme reactions to hunger and pain (in college, it was a running joke amongst my close friends and me that I would always be the first person to say, “I’m hungry”). Highly sensitive people tend to avoid conflict and strongly favor empathetic, constructive criticism rather than harsh words (ignorance isn’t bliss, it’s positive delivery that matters). Highly sensitive people’s tendency towards over stimulation can lead to perceptions of laziness or a lack of drive (I find I am very easily emotionally overstimulated, but really busy environments or days where I can’t seem to Continue reading “America in 2017: A Highly Senstive Perspective”

2017 Goals: The Good Year

Sometimes, I say/write things that aren’t true. Not because I’m a compulsive liar or enjoy throwing people for a loop. Not because I enjoy tripping myself up (because I really don’t).

Sometimes, I say things aren’t true because my whole life is organized around my internal processing skills (both a joy and a pain of being an INFJ personality type). Sometimes, what I actually want/think/believe takes some time to catch up to what I think I want/think/believe.

Truthfully, it’s all a bit of a pain in the ass sometimes, but it’s the way I roll.

— — — —

At the beginning of 2016, I wrote about my lofty goals for the year.

They were very much internal goals and, correspondingly, I spent much more time in 2016 trying to figure myself out and grow as a person than I have in the previous 22 years of my life combined. All the outward changes in my life were based on these internal goals–my decision to leave Thailand and move back to the United States was very much based off of an internal understanding that the growth I needed to accomplish at that time couldn’t be done in a country and culture that were so far away from my comfort zone. My decision to travel to Europe for two weeks was based on a desire to find comfort with an old friend after a jarring few months in Asia, and my decision to move to Washington, DC, was based on an intuitive feeling that it’s where I needed to be to find a bit more of myself.

Even before I decided to leave Thailand, I knew 2016 needed to be a year of internal change–and it proved to be exactly that.

At the beginning of 2016, I had an intuitive feeling that it was going to be memorable and life changing…and it was.

Now, at the beginning of 2017, I have this very intuitive feeling that it’s going to be a good year. What does good mean exactly? I guess I’ll find out, but I’ve also learned in the past few months that more often than not, I can’t simply trust my intuition–I must act on it.

— — — —

I recently texted a friend that I’ve been feeling a bit directionless lately–which was, in the moment, a true statement. That said, in the aftermath of pressing the send button, I found myself feeling very negatively that I had expressed that statement at all. I had a moment a few hours after sending that message where I thought, I think I’m feeling directionless right now…but am I really? It was a classic INFJ moment of clarity that got the wheels actively turning in my head towards a changed mindset.

It’s true that I have been feeling directionless lately but, contrary to that feeling, in the past month I’ve actually started the process of setting out a very clear direction in front of me. I realized in my moment of clarity that the feeling I had of directionless wasn’t a lack of direction in itself–it was a fear of following the direction I’m realizing I want for myself now. Continue reading “2017 Goals: The Good Year”

2016: A Reflection

2016, I have decided, will be a year of confidence, of poise, of adventure. It will be putting myself out there in more ways while also continuing to nurture the introvert inside of me. It will be sticking up for myself and chasing after my dreams. It will be blossoming even further into the strong, independent woman I know is inside of me. It will be having faith in my decisions, not doubting what my heart tells me.

 January 3, 2016

— — — —

 2016 was a year. On a global scale, many would agree that it sucked.

On a personal level, it sometimes sucked, but it was mostly quite full. If 2015 was the best year of my life thus far (as I’m pretty sure I dubbed it at its close), 2016 has been the most enriching. In many respects, it was a very painful year—particularly in its early months. 2016 was completely losing all sense of self while simultaneously trying my best to live in a foreign country and culture. It was being alone in Thailand on my birthday, with head lice and pneumonia in tow—at the same time. It was striking out independently in search of my place in this world and feeling a lot of uncertainty, anxiety, and doubt along the way.

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It was also leaving these cuties and the joy of teaching them (on the rare occasions when they wanted to be taught) behind, unsuccessfully holding back tears as I left their classrooms for the last time, because the love, kindness, and intellect of children is grossly undervalued and because they taught me so much.

That said, 2016 did have its bright spots: traveling in Europe with an old high school friend; showing my parents around the beautiful country I called home for six months; having no clue what the heck to do with my life post-Thailand, but trusting my gut in Continue reading “2016: A Reflection”

Where I’m at, Now

November has been rough.

It’s been an anxiety-ridden month filled with uncertainty and confusion.

On a national scale, I was rocked by the outcome of the U.S. election. I walked around on election day convinced, like much of the rest of America, that we would wake up the next morning to the first female president-elect ever. It was going to be historic and beautiful and I would be joyful.

On a personal level, I’ve been experiencing a massive amount of change as well. I’ve had an exhausting few weeks where I’ve been processing not only the change happening around me–in the wake of the election results and the way people have been reacting to them–but also in accepting that there is a great change happening within me.

I see a lot of parallels between the two that I’m going to attempt to articulate here.

— — — —

In the aftermath of the election, I simultaneously realized that not only was the projected outcome of this election grounded so much in expectation, but that I live so much of my life grounded in expectation–and how unhappy that makes me.

Lately, I’ve been frequently reminded of a conversation I had with a friend of mine back when I was in Thailand: “You think too much, and that keeps you from actually doing all the things you want to do,” she told me. It’s a truth I’ve been working on changing this entire year–and one that became increasingly apparent to me throughout the course of this month.

It’s a fine balance for me, thinking and doing. As an intuitive introvert, thinking and processing is how I understand the world around me. I love going out into the world and experiencing it. Too many experiences overwhelm and exhaust me, Continue reading “Where I’m at, Now”

Early November 2016

Lately, every time I sit down to write a blog post, nothing makes enough sense to put it into words. Or maybe it all makes perfect sense and I just think too much. I’m not sure.

I always want to be writing, but I have no words; I only recently started to understand that maybe that’s okay.

My life is full of so many emotions and ideas and experiences right now and I understand none of it.

One of the main reasons I use writing–and  one of the main reasons I started blogging–is to makes sense of it all. To process and better understand this crazy, complicated, confusing life.

However, I’ve been realizing more and more lately that maybe it doesn’t have to make sense.

Maybe I should just let it happen and see what happens and enjoy the ride.

I’m not done blogging and I’m certainly not done writing.

There is just no room for pondering why right now.

I just want to live instead.

To Live in the Present

Last Monday, while walking to my first day at a new job, a guy running on the street stopped to tell me I looked lovely. What a way to start off the week and the first day of a new job. Additionally, I had been feeling unusually anxious that morning, so the comment brightened my mood considerably.

That said, it was a bit of a strange occurrence for me. Generally speaking, talking to strangers in passing isn’t the most common thing in our society. That, and the fact that we live in a twenty-first century world where our eyes are glued to our phones most of the time; we make ourselves inaccessible to each other with our technology. So yes, this was a bit of a strange occurrence for me–but I realized I liked it. Wouldn’t the world be a better place if more people spontaneously complimented strangers throughout the day?

I liked this random occurrence so much and I thought it was noteworthy. I proceeded to tell my housemates about it when I got home and, being the millennial I most definitely am, also posted a Snapchat about it. However, I thought nothing much else about the occurrence after the fact. I merely saw it as one more noteworthy-than-average event in a string of random events that happen on a day-to-day basis.

Until Wednesday rolled around.

On Wednesday, I was again walking on the same street on the way to work. I, again, ran across the same guy. My walking to work route appeared to be his morning running route. We saw each other and there was recognition. He waved and then stopped me.

Him: “Didn’t I see you the other day?”

Me: “Yes, I think so.”

Him: “Well, you still look beautiful.”

Me: *blushes* “Well, thank you.” Continue reading “To Live in the Present”