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”

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.

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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”

#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Settle In

If we were having coffeewe might meet at one of the plethora of little cafes within twenty minutes walking distance of my house in both directions. Perhaps, if we felt a little extravagant, we might be settled in for a nice, long brunch complete with not just coffee, but maybe a mimosa or two. Brunch is huge on the East Coast, at least compared to the Midwest, and DCers mean business when they do brunch. In addition to multiple brunch spots nearby, there are so many things to do see and do in my neighborhood and the surrounding neighborhoods. I can’t wait to explore more and find the best places for eating, drinking, and entertainment. Today is my day off, so I’m taking it slow but also want to give myself some time to explore more. When I was walking to the grocery store today, I stumbled upon two farmers markets within a few blocks of each other. I was super psyched about that and bought some local peaches from the one nearest to my house!

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I love exploring DC in general and am so excited to really get to know my neighborhood better!

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that my third housemate moved in earlier this week and she’s been great so far. Last night, we hit happy hour together at a nearby restaurant and it was great to talk to her and get to know her more. Overall, the dynamic of our house is shaping up to be really awesome and I think it will only improve when fourth Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–In Which I Settle In”

This is a Post Where I Make Important Realizations About Myself. That is All.

Today is a day of clarity.

Let me tell you why.

These last few weeks have been…strange. Strange in a way that I haven’t really been able to put into words. I was very aware of feeling off, but I didn’t really know how to describe it to anyone–let alone, myself–so I didn’t. I wasn’t ignoring the feeling, per se. I was more confused than anything. Being in a new town, in a new job, in a completely different country–it is all so much, and processing everything has been really hard. Unable to describe my own feelings but yearning to write, I turned to fiction to soothe my nerves…yet, I was still on edge…because although nothing was seriously wrong, I still didn’t know how to describe all these feelings going on inside of me.

But…I think I can now. After a much needed weekend to myself (seriously, I’ve done next to nothing, and it’s been amazing), I feel like I have the space to distance myself from these emotions and really consider them.

Let me explain:

Being in Chiang Mai during my October TESOL course was easily one of the highest emotional periods of my life. The amount of joy and happiness I experienced during October 2015–for such a consecutive period of time–was simply unheard of for me before that. It’s not that I was unhappy before my TESOL course. It’s not that life was terrible before TESOL. In fact, it was the exact opposite. My last year of college was an amazing period of personal growth. My last semester of college, specifically, was easily my best semester of college. A period of my life that I will always cherish. This past summer, working as an espresso bar barista at a gas station, of all places, was also an incredible experience for me. I pushed myself in new ways by working in the food service industry, and I can safely say that some of my coworkers fundamentally shaped me into the person I am today (and that is looking back to three months ago). I loved my job as a barista and will always cherish the, albeit temporary, home I Continue reading “This is a Post Where I Make Important Realizations About Myself. That is All.”

For the Love of PAI

A hipster’s paradise with a small town vibe.

So much to do, so much to see.

An abundance of natural beauty EVERYWHERE.

Something for everyone.

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If you were to ask me to write up a tourist pamphlet for Pai, Thailand, I’d most likely write something akin to the above.

Yeah, it’s corny. But it’s kind of a little bit 100% accurate.

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When my TESOL class found out we had a three day weekend in the third week of the course, we immediately started making plans (ha, well some of us started making plans and the rest tagged along. I must admit, I am NOT a planner…something I want to get better at while living abroad).

We wanted to get out of Chiang Mai for a little bit and the obvious choice for many of us was to head to Pai–a small resort town in the Northern mountains of Thailand.

Pai is this expats haven in the middle of Thailand. I saw more Farangs (the Thai word for “Westerner”) during my one and a half day stay in Pai than I have since leaving the United States. It was a little weird, to be quite honest. It didn’t feel quite like Thailand. But that’s absolutely okay…because Pai is it’s own little world. It’s own little oasis to get away to…and everyone needs to get away at some point.

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Honestly, I didn’t realize how stressed out I was from my TESOL course until I got to Pai.

Highlights from our trip included chilling by the sweet pool at our accommodation. Speaking of Continue reading “For the Love of PAI”

#WeekendCoffeeShare — Blog Changes and Life Updates (a.k.a Where the Hell Have I Been Lately???)

If we were having coffee, I’d apologize for my tardy arrival to the table. It’s been a busy and tiring weekend, folks!

If we were having coffee, I’d first point out the new theme on my blog. I realized the other day how unbelievably bored I was of my old theme. So, a new theme was in order. It’s still a work in progress. To be honest, I’m not sure how much I like it at the moment, though I do like that it’s different. The header still needs to be adjusted, as it doesn’t show up completely in mobile form…and, overall, I just feel kind of “ehh” about it right now. I really do like The Plane Theme and I love the colors…this damn header is just not quite right yet, though If you have any comments or suggestions for me regarding this dilemma, I’d love to hear them!

Speaking of blogging…if we were having coffee, I’d talk about how dismal I’ve been at keeping up with blogging lately. I  have absolutely no idea what’s going on the blogosphere. I haven’t gotten back to comments on my blog in three days and I haven’t really scrolled through my reader at all since like Wednesday? I don’t even remember, honestly. It’s not that I don’t care…I do miss all of you. Life gets busy, though…and when I’m not working, I’d rather spend my time outside enjoying the summer weather than sitting indoors staring at a screen. So, yes I’ve been Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare — Blog Changes and Life Updates (a.k.a Where the Hell Have I Been Lately???)”

Friday Fifty-Six: A Dose of Currer Bell

Today’s Friday Fifty-Six is brought to you by the Penguin Drop Caps Edition of Jane Eyre, a.k.a. my second and very prized copy of this beautiful piece of classic literature.

Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre happens to be my favorite book and, for that reason, I thought it was only fitting to include it in an early edition of my contribution to the Friday Fifty-Six.

I cannot even begin to describe how important this book is to me, why I love Jane, the character, oh so much; how, since I read it for the first time at twelve years of age, this book continues to speak to me more and more with every read.

I cannot begin to describe any of that in one short post, so I leave you with this short excerpt instead, from page fifty-six of the Penguin Drop Caps Edition of Jane Eyre:

As yet I had spoken to no one, nor did anybody seem to take notice of me; I stood lonely enough, but that feeling of isolation I was accustomed; it did not oppress me much. I leant against a pillar of the veranda, drew my gray mantle close about me, and, trying to forget the cold which nipped me without, and the unsatisfied hunger which gnawed me within, delivered myself up to the employment of watching and thinking.

And, sometimes, the employment of watching and thinking is simply the very best there is.


The Friday 56 link up is hosted by Freda’s Voice.

#WeekendCoffeeShare–So About that Head Lice and Other Stories

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that oh, hey, I had a head lice scare earlier this week! What? Head lice, which is much more common among children and here I am at 22 being told I had lice…AND I NEVER SPEND TIME WITH CHILDREN! A dermatologist told me this lovely news on Tuesday. On Wednesday morning, before heading to work, my mom and I stopped at this lice specialist (they highly recommended Mom come too because we live together. Dad shaves his head, so no worries there) only for them to tell me there that the dermatologist was sorely confused. I actually don’t have lice. Of course, this is after I paid a good sum of money for a lice treatment product and had to endure my mother freaking out the whole of Tuesday night because of my supposed lice infestation. Well, I made it through childhood without head lice and now, it seems, I’ve made it one step further in adulthood. I don’t have lice. Huzzah! Makes for a good story, though, right?

If we were having coffee, I’d tell you that work is fabulous. My body is adjusting to the long hours on my feet so I don’t hurt as much as I used to when I get home. My coworkers are all great, which is an added plus. Basically, I get to make coffee and other delicious drinks all day. I also bake cookies (another task on my work list) when needed. This is my job, people, and I love it! Well, there’s the cleaning up and around the espresso bar, too, which I don’t mind, because I’ve always found Continue reading “#WeekendCoffeeShare–So About that Head Lice and Other Stories”

An Ode to the Community

…some of you are like a best friend or very close sibling–always cheering me on and giving advice when needed.

…some of you are like a mother or grandmother–offering sage wisdom and sometimes (only sometimes) gently scolding me for not seeing the bigger, better picture when I’m down on myself or uncertain about the world.

…all of you together are like a large, slightly dysfunctional, but always supportive extended family.

And so are my thoughts about the WordPress Community.

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I have been reflecting lately on how much I know you all…really know you. Even though we’ve never met in person (besides you three from college and you know who you are), through your own writings and our frequent exchanges, I see your unique personalities, your passions, the things that make you shine so bright as well as, sometimes, your struggles. Blogging can be and very much is an extraordinarily personal endeavor. I know some Continue reading “An Ode to the Community”