Friday, April 22, 2016

"L" is for Loser

Yesterday Kayla and I were casually watching a couple of episodes of "That 70's Show", and for some reason, the episodes were hitting pretty close to home. If you are a fan of this show at all, you know it's lighthearted,  so the fact that it made me think about anything at all is very peculiar.

In the episodes we watched, the main character, Eric Forman is struggling with "adulting", and while initially having more potential than anyone else in his group of friends, he finds that he is now the group "loser". Everyone else has something going on, and yet time seems to be standing still for him. I'm right there with Forman.

Lately, I have been really taking a hard look at my life.
I'm just dissatisfied with where I am. I want more. I always want more. I look around and all of my friends from High School have gone on to college, graduated with their Bachelors and many others have continued on to their Masters programs. I am a College drop out. DROP OUT.  I had a completely different life planned for myself than the one I am currently living out. Radically different.
I'm joyous for my friends who have succeeded in education, but I cant help but be slightly upset at myself for not doing it myself. Every time I DO build up the courage to go back, I take a step back and wonder if I can even I afford it, can I manage with my full time job, what would I even study?!? Is it worth it in the scheme of life? How could I make the things that I enjoy a career?
I will admit that I am very proud of leaving the nest at 20 and building a life completely based off of my hard work and determination. At the risk of sounding arrogant, I do know that I am far more prepared for the real world of responsibility than a lot of my peers, as I am actually living it out, but I just...I feel restless.

I want something else, something more. I want to travel, to see the world, to meet people, to learn about other cultures. I want to remove myself from all of my "first world" problems. None of this seems practical or realistic at all. The older I get, the more out of reach my dreams seem to become.  I just refuse to accept that this is life, that this is all there is to it. Work, eat, sleep, pay bills. Work, eat, sleep, bills.
At this point I'm only living to survive another week, and not actually LIVING. There has got to be more than just paying bills and dying. I know there is. I can't imagine that this is what God intended. He wanted more for us. This working to live and dying thing is so selfish in nature too. I am ashamed at how very little I have given back to this world. I don't want to worry about myself anymore. I want to help others. I want to help people who are literally trying to survive. I want to help people who are starving for food, both physically and spiritually. I want to invest into others, into my community. The reality is that I spend more time at work than I do anywhere else. Is there anyway to change this? Am I doomed to this hamster wheel for the rest of my life?

This blog post doesn't have a true purpose other than to lay out my current state and perhaps see if anyone else can relate. This post doesn't currently even have a solution.
I believe in transparency and honesty, and in learning and growing from one another. Perhaps my post can help someone who feels alone, or maybe it can break down any false perceptions that people may have of me. I'm not perfect, not even close. I'm flawed. I am, however, a very self-aware work in progress.
I accept myself, and the fact that I have a lot of work to do on me.
Onward and Upwards.

Friday, April 15, 2016

Full Immersion

I stood on the shore staring at the majesty of the Ocean;
It's glory, mercy, and punishment.
It was truly the most beautiful thing I had ever seen.
With each wave that kissed the shore, I moved closer.
Inch by inch, I gradually began to cross the threshold
between safety and the Unknown.
Onlookers pleaded with me to stay put,
"Stay back, you'll drown!"

I glanced back, baffled at how many
could claim to love Something and not want to know It,
understand It, be One with It.
I pressed on.
The bystanders began to murmur, certain of my impending death.
I wanted more.
The Ocean slowly drew me in.
Then I saw It in the distance;
I began to panic, questioning if I had made the right decision.
Was this the end?
I should have stifled my curiosity and stayed where it was safe.
I should have listened to the crowd.
Why couldn't I just let It be?!?
"Turn around, make your escape!"
I had come too far to turn around now.
Closer, and closer still It came.
It was so striking, so monumental, so...
I closed my eyes.
I braced myself.
The Waves crashed into me, overcoming me.
The Tide quickly pulled me under.
I couldn't fight It, I wasn't strong enough,
I was so unprepared.
I began to struggle for breath, my lungs began to burn,
Pain I never knew possible began to plague my body.
I was dying.
There was no escape.
In order to live, I would have to die.
Closer Still.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

The Cliff Notes of Life

Last time I wrote anything was over a year ago. My personal journal has also been terribly neglected for probably that same amount of time, if not longer.
If I'm being completely honest, I'm not even sure where to begin or what to write about. A LOT has happened in the past year....too much...not enough. This past year has probably been one of the biggest challenges for me, but not for the same reasons that my first year was. This time I warred with myself, with my personal identity, with my standing in this world, with accepting myself, and choosing to love myself and the darkest, most pathetic parts of myself.

The cliff notes: My second roommate and her daughter moved away, and I moved out and into another apartment in Garland with one of my good friends Kayla at the beginning of August 2015. We have had an absolute blast together. Best roommate, great friend. We have decorated our apartment and it has become a very artsy, "cool" home. I have finally settled down some roots, and for the first time in ever, I have decorated. We love it, and so do our boyfriends, who come over and eat ALL of our food. Kayla and I just recently signed another one year lease, which is monumental, since I have moved every single year that I have lived here in Texas. 

In August 2015 I finally quit Portamedic, and got a more adult and professional job as a Medical Records/Authorization Coordinator for a Pediatric Home Health Care Company. The job was challenging, but I was good at it and it was a blessing for the time being. I became close with Marie, the lady I knew from church who is a nurse for this company. She quickly became a close friend and dubbed herself my "adopted mom". Things were great for the first month and a half at this job, and then everything started to get crazy. My employers started loading on more responsibility and expected me to work weekends and holidays. The stress level was immense and my health began to deteriorate. I was having panic attacks, breaking out in hives, and had to go to urgent care for a freak swelling of the left side of my face. I began to cry out to God for answers, feeling trapped and terribly unhappy. God simply told me, "This is a stepping stone, be patient". 
While I was home trying to nurse my swelling face, an old co-worker and friend from Portamedic, who I had lost contact with, found me on instagram and started asking me if I needed a job. She was telling me about this new job she had that was currently hiring and about how great the pay and environment was. I let her know that I had a job, but that I appreciated the info and we began to catch up. The next day I went back to work and some of my co-workers began telling me that I was supposed to work during Christmas vacation while I was in Oregon, plus they sent me with work that night. I was so livid. I began to remember what God had told me and realized that the job offer from my old friend might have just been an answer to my prayers. So, I took the risk and sent in my application on a Friday. That Monday they called me. I took Tuesday off of work to interview, got the job offer a few hours later and then put in my two weeks notice on Thursday.
I have been at my current job since November 23rd, 2015. In the span of 3 months, God provided me with two jobs and a pay increase of almost $10 an hour. I am so grateful.

In this time, I have been blessed, but I would be lying to you if I told you that things have been easy. Financially, I am secure. I have a safe place to call home. I have very few, but very close friends of high caliber and quality. However, I have struggled emotionally and spiritually (I guess the two go hand-in-hand?). This year I have had to come to terms with who I am in Christ and what I believe, and where I belong. I was in the parking lot of my gym with Allen after a workout, when I had a complete emotional breakdown. I wanted to know God, but I felt that I no longer understood Him, and I was struggling with why He would allow so many painful things to happen in my life, and to people that I love. My concept of God had become limited; my view was so small. I judged God and viewed him by the filter that was handed down to me by others, by my past,  by the judgement and injury that I had received from fellow "Christians". I decided to pray differently, to read God's word differently, and to fast differently. I began to pray to God and apologize for all of the ways that I allowed my filters to affect my relationship with Him, and I asked him to help me to remove those filters and begged Him to reveal His true self to me. Not what people have told me He is, but who He is, and who the Bible says He is. This has changed my life, and I am now on the journey for Truth and Love. I have removed myself from the torturous path of pleasing others. The fear of not pleasing others is truly a struggle for a people-pleaser as myself, but I am realizing that God is the only thing that matters and that no matter how good you are, how kind you are, how thoughtful you are, there will always be people who don't like you. There will always be people who want to cause you harm,  there will always be people who relish in your downfall, and there will always be people who care only about themselves. People will not and cannot be pleased. I care more about the God who saved the entire human race, and who holds the world in His hands.