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”

Comic Relief

IT IS SNOWING FEATHERS!

White, airy, whimsical, some a bit lackadaisical–all feathers, slowly making their way to the ground.

Our high maintenance, high ego president was riding in Air Force Once when he decided he absolutely could not stand the goose feather pillows on board. Instead of doing the rational thing by swallowing his pride and sucking it up, in a fit of anger, he ordered the pillows to be destroyed and dumped out over Washington City–right above my house!

Now POTUS has no pillows, and my neighborhood is covered in a white dusting of feathers!

(In true POTUS fashion, there was a corresponding Tweet five seconds later.)

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I’m sharing this from a book of writing prompts that I utilize on occassion. The prompt that warranted this response reads, “You look outside: Ah, it’s snowing! But look closer. Those are not snowflakes falling from the sky! What is snowing at your house?”

This ridiculous scenario doesn’t seem quite too far fetched these days…do you agree?

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

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”

The Nature of Goodbye

What is in a goodbye?

Goodbyes are small moments in the grand scheme of a relationship.

Some goodbyes are forever goodbyes and some are temporary.

I’ve said goodbye to a lot of people in the last year. I’ve been on three continents in the last year (North America, Asia, Europe). I’ve lived on two (North America and Asia).  In the last twelve months, I’ve called five different cities and towns home (Chiang Mai, Thailand; Nakhon Chaisi, Thailand; Bloomington, Minnesota; Arlington, Virginia; Washington, DC).

With this constant moving, I’ve met so many people. I’ve lived with some of them; I’ve begun to love some of them; I’ve learned so much from most of them. With this constant moving, I’ve said goodbye to nearly all of them.

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Green Group, TESOL certification, October 2015. It’s amazing how much people can affect you in the course of one month. Saying goodbye to this group was certainly hard.

Some of those goodbyes I surely thought would be temporary. There was the kiss on the cheek at a 7/11 in Bangkok–someone I thought I’d certainly see within the next couple months, if not weeks, but whom I left Thailand without seeing again. There was the slightly awkward, rushed goodbye the day before New Year’s Eve, also in Bangkok. A goodbye I also Continue reading “The Nature of Goodbye”

Post College: One Year Out and Still Learning

Being able to obtain an education is one of the greatest gifts the world can offer and I’m grateful for all that I learned in my four years of college–both inside and outside the classroom. That said, I firmly believe that it is possible to learn just as much outside an academic setting, if not more. Going out into the world is a different type of learning than what is offered inside a university setting–rather than developing my critical thinking skills and pushing the boundaries of my mind as I did in college, I’ve learned a lot from personal experiences in the last year. Here I present some little nuggets of wisdom that I took away from my first year out of college. It’s only the beginning and I’m positive there is much more to come from my ventures in learning out in the quote-on-quote “real world.” So, without further ado:

  • Loneliness is sometimes self-inflictedYou and only you have the power to build relationships with the people around you. No one else will do that for you. If you’re nice to people and show an interest in them, they’ll probably like you. For most of my life, I’ve struggled with building meaningful relationships with people and had no idea what to do–turns out it’s way easier than I ever thought and I just over analyze the hell out of everything.
  • An unknown future is only terrifying if you allow it to be terrifying. Too many people are afraid to follow their dreams because they’re afraid of the unknown, but life is too short not to embrace the opportunities you want to embrace. In fact, if it scares you, you’re probably doing something right.

Continue reading “Post College: One Year Out and Still Learning”

Blogging Thoughts: May 2016 Edition

The other day, my blog had a total of one view.

Now, this view–it wasn’t even from a recent post. It was from a really old post, back from when my blog was a baby. For some reason–probably because it shows up in web searches regarding the ever-popular topic of Myers-Briggs personality types–this post continues to get a lot of traffic, despite its age.

Anyways, that’s besides the point.

The point is, my blog got one view the other day and, more importantly, my reaction to this was:

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Every now and again, I like to revisit my reasons for blogging. While I did this a lot more at the beginning of my journey as a blogger–writing numerous posts in the first few months of this blog’s existence on that topic–it’s still something that crops up in the back of my mind now and then.

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So, about this blogging business–lately, my stats have been terrible. Let me say that again. In the past few months, my blog stats have slowly petered down to almost non-existent. While I was never garnering a huge amount of views on my blog, my stats have really been terrible of late. T-E-R-R-I-B-L-E.  The number of likes and comments I’ve been receiving have been dismal. My followers are growing steadily, but I also know that the majority of those followers don’t even read my blog.

While I would have found all this exceptionally aggravating in the past, though, I’m finding now that I really don’t care. Part of me does wish my stats would pick up. It’s always nice to see the numbers get a little higher on any particular Continue reading “Blogging Thoughts: May 2016 Edition”

To Focus on Focus

The Newbery Award is the highest honor given out for excellence in children’s literature. It is given out annually–The Newbery Medal is given as the highest award and the Newbery Honor is given to a few runner ups.

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John Newbery Medal, front and back Source

When I was younger, my dream was to one day become a Newbery Award winner.

As a child, I was a voracious writer. I had this huge ledger book filled with unfinished stories and I was always adding to it, always coming up with new ideas. When I was around seven or eight years old, I wrote a story that was deeply rooted in my love and appreciation for Laura Ingalls Wilder’s Little House on the Prairie series entitled, “Little House in the Hills” (you can really get a sense of how my creative juices were flowing there). When I was around thirteen and fourteen, I actually had the gumption to send my one completed manuscript to a local publisher in the Minneapolis area. The manuscript was kindly rejected with a note from the publisher stating that, while I had promise as a writer, “it just wasn’t what they were looking for.” It was, quite frankly, all for the best as the story itself was a bit on the shaky side. Well. A lot on the shaky side. Let’s just say that it’s safe to say that I’ve improved quite a lot as a writer since then…still, I can’t help but admire my younger self for her determination and drive.

Come high school, my desire to write quickly died away. I took one creative writing class in my freshman year of high school but after that, my dream to write–to become a Newbery Medalist–faded. I was heavily involved with the band program at my high school and was preoccupied with fitting into my friend group. I didn’t think I had time to write and, although I occasionally got out my journal to write lengthy entries about the goings on in my life, I no longer considered myself to be a writer. It wasn’t until my junior year of college that the writer within me reemerged. After breaking off from a serious and very detrimental long-term relationship, I was searching for a way to reclaim my life for myself. I had become so invested in my ex-boyfriend and the relationship that I had with him that I had really lost all sense of myself. Around the time of our break up, memories of the writer I used to be, the writer I dreamed to become, rekindled. I began to realize that writing was, indeed, a part of my identity–a part that I had the misfortune of rejecting for far too many years. With that in mind, I started to a blog–to force myself into the habit of doing one of the things I loved most again and often.

To write.

Still, though, throughout the rest of my college career and into my time in Thailand, I never once considered writing to be anything more than a hobby. A hobby that I happened to be really good at, but a hobby none-the-less. I strongly Continue reading “To Focus on Focus”