self reflection

I really want to start publishing on my blog more regularly—maybe once a week on a scheduled day. That sounds great, but I’ve been having trouble recently deciding on what I want to write about. I don’t want to totally neglect talking about mental health because I feel it is super important. So to change things up a little bit, I will just talk about some things I’ve been working on and will be giving myself tips (and anyone else who needs them too!).

  1. Stop comparing yourself to others. I know, it sounds cliche and it’s definitely easier said than done. Once you stop doing this, your life will significantly change. Everyone is unique, no one is exactly alike. Take it from me who has an identical twin, we are still not 100% alike and that’s okay. For my music major friends: everyone works at their own pace and it’s okay if you’re not “as good” as everyone else because at the end of the day, that’s not what matters. We are there to improve as musicians and as long as we are doing that, we are getting the experience we came here for. But I also will say, you will get out of it what you put into it. For my friends struggling with body image: every body is different, some people are naturally skinny, some aren’t. We are still beautiful no matter our size. Our body is our temple. Treat it right. We will only have our bodies once.
  2. Not everyone is going to like you. This one is also a hard one. If you’re anything like me, you try to change who you are so people will like you. You never show people who you truly are because you are afraid of what they will think of you. I’m still trying to navigate this one because honestly, I’ve struggled with this for a long time. Being confident in who you are will help you create more meaningful and deeper relationships with people because that barrier that you put up, is down.
  3. It is okay to have social anxiety. A lot of people don’t know this about me, but I actually have social anxiety. People have told me several times that before they got to know me, I seemed rude. I am fine speaking to people one on one, but when there’s more than one person there, I clam up and it’s hard for me to talk. I don’t want to interrupt anyone and I’m scared someone will try to talk at the same time as me, and I also stutter because I get nervous… I know, it’s weird. If 2 people are close friends with each other, it’s hard for me to be friends with both people because I’m scared one of them won’t like me because I accidentally took one of them away from the other. There’s really not a way to fix this except for exposing myself to it more. I’m not going to push myself to do it though.
  4. Performance Anxiety. This is probably the worst thing I’ve developed as my major is literally music performance. I’ve only struggled with this starting my second semester of freshman year. Im scared of judgement and that people will think I don’t deserve to be there and I’m scared of my body shaking uncontrollably. I’m the type of person who doesn’t want to let something like that get in the way of what I want to do. So, like I mentioned before, exposure will help me not necessarily get over my anxiety, but not let it effect my playing.
  5. Self Esteem/ Body Image (TW). I’ve always been a pretty slender girl, but as of the last few years, I’ve been struggling with body dysmorphia and disordered eating. The disordered eating didn’t really start until my freshman year of college, but the body dysmorphia started in high school. It’s never been bad enough for me to want to go to the doctor and get help, but some of my friends have noticed the disordered eating. It’s now just a habit and I think my stomach is used to the lack of nutrition I am getting. When I do eat, it’s very awful and unhalthy food. I don’t think I will ever be satisfied with my body as my body is always going to change. What I can do is listen to my body more and eat when I’m hungry. Food is nourishment for our bodies and God wouldn’t have created it if he didn’t want us to eat it.
  6. People Pleasing. This one really ties in to the second point I made. I started having this issue after all my high school friends told me that I was the mean twin. It hurt me more than it should’ve, so now I make an effort to be overly nice. It’s okay to say no. You don’t have to answer that phone call, you don’t have to go out with your friends, you don’t have to do anything if you don’t want to.
  7. Bottling up your feelings. Stop doing this! This actually takes up so much energy and can result in you lashing out. It’s sad that I don’t truly feel like I have someone to talk to without feeling like a burden—not even my therapist. It’s become so easy to say I’m okay when I’m clearly not. Good thing there’s other ways to express your emotions like writing, journaling, and exercising. I need to work on doing that more.
  8. Try not to overthink things. This one is a huge one in my life. I overthink a lot, especially with relationships I have with people. If I send a text, I can’t stop thinking about what I should’ve said or what I shouldn’t have said. I also tend to think that if people don’t reply to a text that they don’t want to talk to me or that I’m annoying and they don’t like me. It really is hard and I tend to get really sad about it, but this all ties into my fear of people leaving me. This is not anyone else’s fault, It’s just something I will start working on pretty soon here.
  9. Don’t be so hard on yourself. For me specifically, this is mainly about school. I am a totally different person when I’m in school. I put so much value in my grades and I end up stressing myself out so much that I do some pretty self destructive things. School won’t matter in a couple years, so why put yourself through that?

So there’s a couple of things I am working on right now. There’s a lot more and maybe I will write about them soon! But for now, this is it and I hope it maybe helped someone who feels alone in something that I mentioned!

10 Things I’ve learned post breakup(s):

1. I want to be wanted. (Not just in a romantic relationships, but in relationships in general).

2. I actually hate the pressure there is to keep in touch with one another several times a day.

3. I don’t need to be in a relationship to be happy with myself.

4. The idea of being married scares me.

5. The idea of being alone scares me.

6. Happiness and validation comes from within. Relying on someone else for that is unhealthy.

7. Broken people in relationships with broken people just doesn’t work. It becomes toxic very quickly.

8. NEVER settle.

9. You don’t owe anyone anything – don’t be fooled.

10. Be confident in who you are and love yourself first before trying to love someone else.

Breakups are definitely not easy, but I encourage everyone to use these hardships as an opportunity for growth.

a rant sorta…

“You don’t look like you struggle with depression”

I’ve been told this by a couple people in my life. I don’t think they meant any harm when saying it. When I really thought about it, it’s one of the most invalidating and harmful ways to shut someone down. It makes you question your feelings and your life experiences. I think people should be more cognizant of how phrases like that can potentially be dangerous. Mental health presents itself differently in each individual, so no one can say you’re not suffering if it doesn’t conform to the stereotypes associated with depression. Battling mental illness is hard and not everyone can push through it. So if you’ve ever been told that, don’t let anyone invalidate your struggles! Your struggles are valid— no matter how big or small you think they may be.

I’ve realized lately that I hate showing weakness. I can count on one finger how many times I have broken down in front of my friends. I actually don’t think that has ever happened. When I’m in therapy, I literally smile the entire session— especially when we’re talking about more serious, in depth topics (or things that make me a bit uncomfortable). I can’t even show weakness in front of my therapist. I’ve always wanted to be the strong friend. The friend that always has their shit together. I guess it’s working because I was told by a friend that I seem like I have my life together. I’ve been challenging myself with vulnerability this past year and a half and have opened up to some friends about what I actually go through on a daily basis. In doing that, I’ve realized how much I don’t like it. I’ve always felt like a burden. Even when people tell me I’m not, I know I am in some way, shape, or form. Don’t get me wrong, vulnerability is a good thing. I really do encourage people to be vulnerable around people they trust, but I just don’t think it’s for me.

So I have decided that I am going to go back to keeping my problems and my life in general to myself. At the end of the day, I care way more about other people than I do myself. I’ve been checking in on quite a few friends and I am actually a counselor for a crisis text line now. It’s literally one of my favorite things to do! I just don’t want to let my own struggles get in the way of what I want to do most— help and be there for others as much as I possibly can. So much so that I am actually minoring in counseling. I want to better myself in knowing how to help somebody else who may be struggling. Of course I have my own experiences, but there’s still so much more that I want to learn. I have a therapist and I realize that some people do not have that luxury. She is a mental health professional who is literally trained to help people who are struggling. It’s her job to help me deal with the things that are happening in my life.

I just want everyone who’s reading this to know that no matter what time of day/night it is, if I know you or not, if we had a falling out, or whatever the case may be— that I’m always willing to talk/listen. I am a safe space and a judgment- free zone. If you’re a friend, I’m always down to just hang out, go on a drive, or just be with you at wherever you’re at. I’m not the best with words, but I am always willing to try and give advice or my honest opinion about something (never unsolicited lol). I want to remind you that your life is so so precious. If you are struggling, please keep pushing through. You are loved. You deserve the world. You are beautiful. If you’re not feeling loved right now, please just know that I love you

poem?

I don’t usually write poems and quite frankly, I don’t know how to—but I tried. Here’s my first (and hopefully not the only) poem-ish thingy:

a sea of people

different stories

hearts filled with love

an outlier

filled with sorrow

struggling

minutes turned into months

a miracle

they are still here

suffering quietly

overcome by darkness

blacker than a crow

consuming every inch

of an irremediable soul

wake up

a brand new day

repeated

relationships

In this season in my life, i’ve been learning so much about myself and how my mind processes things. One of the things that i’ve been thinking about in particularly is my long for meaningful connections and friendships. I’ve realized that i’m in a lot of one-sided friendships or friendships that are just not valuable to either party. People tell me that I am very mysterious and they can never quite figure me out. Part of me does that on purpose. I feel like I have to observe people so I know how I can act around them. I’ve realized recently that I do that out of my own insecurity. I’m afraid people won’t like the real me and i’m scared of people leaving me. I feel almost fake and two-sided. Some people will describe me as this candid, funny, outgoing person and some will say i’m the complete opposite.

With all that being said, it has definitely affected my relationships with people and it’s been hard for me to feel like i truly have any real friendships. I will say that i have met quite a few people that have made me feel cared about and loved, but i also understand that it’s not their responsibility to make me feel that way. It’s not anyone’s responsibility but my own. I’m struggling with this not only in my friendships, but in my romantic relationships too. I’m still trying to navigate being back in a relationship after being in a toxic one. What should I do differently? How can I be the best girlfriend? How do i deal with feeling unloved? (ugh i’m such a hopeless romantic. It doesn’t help that physical touch is my love language). How can i “make” him stay?

With COVID-19 still very prominent, I miss hanging out with people. Although i’m an introvert, i love having connections. I’m not able to see my boyfriend as much because he lives 4 hours away and i miss him dearly. I miss seeing all my UNT friends and my friends from my hometown. I’m struggling with feeling lonely right now. I’m really longing for genuine and deep conversations with people, i miss laughing with people, and i would literally do anything just to be present with someone. It sucks that a lot of my friends are either hours away or can’t hang out because of the virus. So i’m trying to find ways to not feel so lonely at the moment. I hope i’m not crazy for feeling this way, but i’ve been thinking about it a lot recently.

a dream

This morning I woke up crying.

I had a dream that essentially compiled a whole bunch of memories from my life when I was younger. I was such a strong and happy little girl. My childhood was so amazing and I’m so grateful that I grew up with a roof over my head, never having to worry about when my next meal would be. So, why do I cry every time I think about it? Those were the times were I was truly happy and content. I didn’t have to worry about anything, I never really experienced any “adult” emotions, and I definitely didn’t care about what people thought about me. I was just… carefree. It really makes me sad that I was in such a hurry to grow up. If my younger self knew what kind of a ride I would go on, I think she would’ve been okay with being young. The dream about my younger self often makes me wonder what happened to me. How did I go from the happiest girl in the world to someone who is so unhappy?

That’s the part that gets to me. I don’t think I’ll ever be as happy as I was. I will never be carefree again, and I think that’s just part of growing up. I really want to be genuinely happy again and I long for it, but sometimes when you’re in such a dark place, it’s hard to see the light. I’ve been so emotional lately and it bothers me more than it should. I never used to cry… ever, but I find myself crying at the littlest things. It makes me feel weak. Don’t get me wrong, I am a lot happier than I was a few months ago. If you would’ve asked me if I thought life would get better, I would’ve told you no. But it did. Life is so so precious and I can’t believe that I’ve considered taking myself out of it. It’s really hard for me to admit to myself that I still struggle A LOT with depression on a daily basis, but I’m now able to cope with it and (somewhat) live with it a lot better than I used to. Yeah, I mess up sometimes and I give in to some of my old bad habits, but the fact that I get up every morning and try again, is a win in my book.

It really just baffles me how a dream could bring up so many underlying thoughts and emotions. I’m still trying to find a way to be more content with where I’m at right now. And it’s okay that I don’t know how to do that at the moment.

Dealing with grief

Right now, my grandma isn’t doing too well. She just turned 96 today which is quite the accomplishment. Seeing how much she’s changed this past year has been the hardest thing I’ve ever had to watch. She used to be so full of light and energy. I don’t know who I saw today, but it wasn’t my grandma. She’s lost the light in her eyes, she’s confused, and she’s so unhappy- it’s like only half of her is with us. My dad doesn’t believe that she’ll be with us this Christmas, which is the worst thing I could possible hear. It’s supposed to be the most “wonderful” time of the year, right?

I’ve experienced death in my family before but they haven’t affected me as much as I know my grandma’s will. She’s been in my life since the day I was born. She has had the privilege to see my sister and I grow up. It’s a scary concept knowing that very soon, she’s going to leave me. As if that wasn’t already hard enough, not knowing when she’s going to leave makes it even harder. You’d think it give you more time to prepare, but I’m starting to realize that’s not how it works. The thought of her not being here with us physically makes my heart hurt, but there’s nothing I can do about it. It’s going to happen whether I like it or not – death is inevitable.

I don’t know what I’m going to do when the time comes or how I’m going to respond. Part of me knows that I’m going to cut people off and just want to be alone. But at the end of the day, is that really in my best interest? I’m not really sure. Right now, all I can really do is pray about it.

It’s okay to take a break

Well, I finally decided to make a blog. As someone who does not particularly enjoy talking about their feelings, this seems like a great way to let some of those feelings out.

Taking time to do nothing often brings everything into perspective. — Doe Zantamata

As my first semester comes to a close, I wanted to share something that I recently just learned.

In high school, I never really cared about my grades; I really just did enough to get by. It’s a miracle that I still managed to do quite well honestly. Before starting college, I made a goal to get A’s in every single class. Now, if you know me, you know that when I set a goal, I will do everything in my power to accomplish it. I knew that being a double major wouldn’t be easy, but I also didn’t think that it would be this hard. I noticed that I started doing some things that I’ve never done before: pulling all-nighters, not eating for several days, and going days without practicing. I found myself skipping a lot of my classes due to exhaustion–I couldn’t get myself to get up. I also would be going to my violin lessons feeling so unprepared, which was very unusual for me. This week, a sweet friend of mine messaged asking about how my time with God was going. It was then  I realized just how hard I’ve been working myself. I didn’t spend any time with him–at all. Still not seeing the effects of these habits, she told me that I need to focus on my health. That really struck a chord with me. I’m just now realizing that my own health has not been a priority and I want to fix that. It’s okay for me to find time to eat and sleep- it’s a literal necessity- it’s okay to take breaks, and it’s okay if I don’t finish everything. This is something that I definitely want to work on going into the next semester. I’m sure that I will be a lot happier and healthier.