2016 vs 2017

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Today I watched a video of a very kind woman on YouTube and she was talking about aging. She said that when she turned 50, aging really began. She changed not only physically but as a person. Well, I dare to say that I am going through something very similar in my 20’s. Every year it seems that I shed a layer of myself that was clouding my view of the world, interfering with my relationship with Christ, and stopping me from enjoying my life to the fullest. And the craziest thing is every year before this year…

I had honestly thought that I had reached my full potential

That’s the first major difference between me last year and me this year. When 2016 came around, I was on a cloud. I had finally made it to the country of my dreams despite the many times I believed people were trying to stop me. This was also a major step up from 2 years prior. (In 2015 I had finally gotten my own place after being homeless.) So, naturally I thought that I was the sugar honey iced tea. I thought that I had become the most wise me that I would become. The most peaceful me that I would become. And I was making easy money, which sometimes made me think that I was even the wealthiest me that I would be. I was acting quite stupidly the entire year and needed to be knocked off of my high horse.

Well after about 6 months, off the high horse, I went. My time to return to America had come and I returned to living a normal life. Before I knew it, I was desperately seeking work and running out of money. Since I moved to a new state to enter college, my tuition was way higher than I could afford, so I had to ask my parents to help me. I had gained about 40lbs and become out of shape, so when I tried to join an athletic group at my school, I struggled. I became desperate for companionship and often attended my own pity parties. I got my dream job and couldn’t even enjoy it.

But God had other plans for me. I spent 2017 learning. I read about 4 or 5 books, which was more books than I had willingly read in a year since I was in middle school. With the completion of each book, paired with life experiences, and my new found fondness of bible study, I realized that I have a long way to go. I realized that life can and probably will get better and worse every year and to never again believe that I have achieved my full-potential yet. That mindset has honestly made me into the person that I am entering 2018 and it’s been a great thing.

Worrying literally just makes things worse

I am a true worry-er. I worry about every little thing. I’m still working on this, but I’ll tell you that I have finally realized why I need to stop worrying and that is a big contributor to my ability to worry less now. If I can’t change something or someone, then it can not be changed by anyone other than God himself. If I really believe believe in him then I will just move on.

Just because I call something a fact, doesn’t mean that it is

This one was my downfall, especially socially. If I had gotten it in my head that someone didn’t care about me or my feelings, that someone was trying to attack or offend me, or someone generally meant harm towards me, I just stuck with it. I also acted accordingly and that would damage relationships or make them worse. I figured out over the past 5 months though, that what I believe is not automatically fact and that I need to consider this before I act. It doesn’t mean that I have to agree with the other side of the story or even like it.

Stop giving people more than they asked for and STOP CHASING PEOPLE

Oh. My. Goodness. This one really came with my desperation for companionship that I had honestly thought I had left behind when I picked up celibacy (because dating went out of the window when I made that decision, since no one wants to be with a celibate woman). I was practically begging people for friendship and willing to give up my own peace and sanity to feel like I was being accepted by others. I was willing to drop plans and rearrange my schedule at the drop of a dime for any and everyone. Of course I got tired of this by the time the year started to come to an end and I can tell you now, that’s not me anymore. If I drop everything, it’s because someone or something is that important to me and what I was dropping was not. Not because I am worried that if I don’t spend time with a person, they will end our friendship.

Along with that, I had to learn to stop giving people everything. This could be money but it could also be advice. For one, some people become uncomfortable when you are offering them things constantly because they feel like the owe you. Second, trying to win people over is futile. Third, wasting breath constantly giving people unwanted advice or opinions in non-emergency situations just creates issues.

Upfront honesty really is best

I never thought I’d be the one saying this because I thought I was very good at letting people know how I feel. Nope. I was just really good at being openly critical of every little thing. I expected people to read my mind or I didn’t want to discuss things with them because “they’re adults and should know better”. I’d also not tell guys the real reason I was frustrated with them or not into them anymore, then secretly resent them and hate to be around them. Well, I’m over that.

Let go of anyone I don’t want to have around anymore

Not just men who I wasn’t being honest and upfront about wanting to break it off with. Problematic friends, people I knew had no good intentions for me, people who didn’t really have my back. Delete them. Block their numbers. Whatever. Just let go. I used to hold onto people the same way I clung to clutter. “What if I need them later?” Dude. C’mon.

Now, I don’t mean that I am cutting people off every single time my feelings get hurt or I get frustrated. It’s not something I don’t think about before I do it. But I’m done being afraid of letting people go. Especially when some people should’ve been gone a LONG time ago.

There’s more to gain from any job than just money

At the beginning of the year, all I could do was complain about my dream job. I felt like I wasn’t getting much out of it and that I was failing the few expectations set for me. It wasn’t until I started contemplating quitting for the first time that I really had to ask myself what this job was worth. Around that time, I had began reading Girl Code and watching a YouTube series called Entrepreneurship 101 and I realized a couple of things. First, a job should offer me more than just money. What I am not being paid in cash, I should be being compensated for in experiences. Second, I am in college and this is the prime time for me to collect all of the knowledge I can. I have people with a variety of expertise (not just the field I want to go into) at my fingertips. I shouldn’t have to be handed what I need to pursue my own success.  I should be chasing it down!

Invest in myself and my passions

I believe that if there’s something I like to do and I am good at it, it should be nurtured and improved because it can be the key to my success. Now, I could potentially find success in something I had never done before and that’s okay too. But if I am wondering where my future success lies and I’m tired of the lifestyle I’m living now, it wouldn’t hurt to begin with investing in my passion. This idea even applies down to my fashion sense. I took a sum of money (not much) this year and decided to take myself shopping for my capsule wardrobe. I picked only pieces that I knew flattered me, were of good quality,  and were within my budget. Since then, I have been so much more confident in my day to day life because I always feel like I have something nice to wear. This time next year, I am hoping to have made some investments in myself that have really uplifted me.

My success is only limited by what I believe

I was holding myself down for a long time because I either thought I had nothing more to learn, or I thought I couldn’t be taught. It wasn’t until I started to apply the things I was learning, trust God, and fearlessly approach new challenges that I started to really see this as the truth. So long as I believed in myself and worked to achieve my high goals, I was never really disappointed in the outcome. I had worked hard and remained positive the entire time, so I always gained a lot. I now believe that this will be true for a lot of things I would like to accomplish. As long as I have faith and work hard, doing as I have been instructed to by God, I can accomplish any and everything meant for me to.

Stay calm

I’ve been writing about this one lately because over the past 4 months, specifically, being calm has been the only way I have been able to get anything done. I used to freak out completely, but I came to learn that the best thing may be to calm down and maybe even just go take a nap.

I don’t need a ton of stuff

Yep! My first posts on this blog were about just that and I have found that letting go of my intense need for a ton of stuff has been freeing for me physically, spiritually, and emotionally. I learned a lot from cleaning out the junk in my life, the ones I listed here are only some of many, and I look forward to the life lessons and growth I will see in 2018.

Part 2 to Managing My Anger

Well, my break is coming along quite nicely. I’m in the place I’d rather be, I have 0 obligations, I’ve managed to push all worries to the side, and I’ve spent lots of time meditating or reflecting. Of course, I’ve been reflecting on the topic I mentioned earlier, which was my anger. The more I thought about things like my trigger, the more I found myself coming to a common denominator. That common denominator is my MOUTH! My words! I have a habit of speaking when I really don’t need to and probably shouldn’t. I always want to spit out a quick, mean response at someone, or I want to tell them how they’re inspiring the most negative thoughts within me. If not that, I am hurling out the harshest words at someone whom I’ve allowed to offend me.

Well, I want to try something new. It’s quite tough for me to say that I am going to only speak with a purpose- although I am working towards that. Instead, I will try to think before I say anything that I know can cause a problem. So, before I speak my mind, respond to something aggravating, respond in an argument, or rant on social media, I will ask myself who is benefiting. If the answer is no one, then I won’t say it or post it. I truly believe that perhaps, if I can prevent flames that have already been sparked from growing larger, I can lessen my chances of being burned.

We will see how this goes for me. My last year of college is steadily approaching and I am expecting to be tested. That’s a topic for an upcoming post though.

Hair madness

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Another goal of mine for this next year is to experiment with different looks to find the one that fits me best. I want to play around with my wardrobe, make up, aaaannnnd hair. As if trying to get my body in shape wasn’t hard enough, I am also quite torn about what to do with my hair.

Now, I’ve got to admit, there are a few factors that cause my hair confusion and one of them may be a lifetime struggle. Growing up, I always got relaxers and kept straight hair. I got used to the texture and look of having my hair straight. I also gained a preference for hair that hangs rather than shrinks. Now, It’s kind of hard, almost impossible for me to enjoy the way I look sometimes with my shrunken afro. The internet really made this insecurity worse. I read so many forums and YouTube comments exclaiming that a preference for anything other than your natural texture is self hate that I started to feel coerced. I don’t hate myself and I don’t want to. So, for about two years now… maybe more, I’ve been trying to keep it kinky-curly here. Of course my other issue is likely just confidence. I am not really one of those women who could confidently rock any hairstyle. Not yet.

With all of that being said, I think I should start being true to myself and wearing my hair the way that I want to see it. That’s not necessarily straight anymore, but certainly not my afro when it’s shrunken down. I think I like loose, long curls. Or wavy hair. What I’d really like to do is to grow my own hair to the length I’d like to see it reach (about 6 more inches than where it is now) and find a hair regimen to give it the look I like. Such as perm-rods or braid-outs under a dryer.

Is it so wrong for a person to want to change something about their self so that they enjoy the way that they look more? Because I don’t hate myself, nor do I hate my beautiful thick, strong locks that I have been blessed with. I just have an idea of what I want to look like and my current look just isn’t that. And my hair (the way it is styled at least) is just one thing that I’d like to change.

Don’t get mad but…

In only a couple of weeks the new year will be here and as the saying goes, “new year, new me”. Right? While I am not implying that I will become a totally different person in every aspect of my life, I do want to be better. In this past year I began my journey of self-improvement, from minimizing clutter and becoming more organized, to improving my relationship with God. I’ve also completed a lot of more personal improvements that I won’t mention here that I do believe have made me a better woman. There is one thing that I have not really sought to improve directly…

My anger problems.

Well, there… I admitted it. Anger issues have been a long-time problem from me since childhood. They have improved over time as I have learned other things such as patience and sympathy, but I have never tried to just work on my anger itself. For me, it’s like putting a mentos in a bottle of coke, shaking it up, and leaving it there to sit for a while. Better yet, for certain things, it’s like putting 1,000,000 mentos in a bottle of coke. I just might explode.

Of course certain people and certain scenarios have been more likely to set me off, regardless of my mood, but my anger has been a real problem for me. It causes me to say and do things that I almost always regret. It prevents me from being the bigger person in many situations. It wrecks relationships that I would later learn that I should’ve held on to. I am tired of allowing this problem to rule my life like this, so I am putting an end to it.

I’ve already begun to work on this though and the good thing is that I am well-aware of most of my triggers (both people and situations). I’ve learned some steps to help me calm down;

First: Do. NOT. React. Don’t say or do anything.

Second: Go somewhere away from the problem. This can be the bathroom, sitting in my car, just some place where I am not literally looking at what has got me upset.

Third: Remind myself of all of my blessings and thank God.

Fourth: Consider the severity of the situation. Is it worth exploding over? Is there a solution? Even if there is no solution, is it really that big of a deal? Usually, it is worth being upset over, but not worth saying anything.

Fifth: Start to think of ways to make it better.

Sixth: Breathe for at least 10, slow seconds.

And once I’m calm, things work themselves out, and I learn from whatever made me upset. I can think of ways to avoid that situation again or I can even determine what is or isn’t even worth getting upset over. I also discuss it with God later and get his feedback, but I DON’T discuss it with anyone else after the fact or I’ll end up mad all over again. In the year of 2018, I’d really like to create the habit of staying in my happy place because no one and nothing should be able to take me away from it.

 

Featured image of an explosion from http://roosterteeth.com/episode/the-slow-mo-guys-season-1-huge-building-explosion-at-2500fps 

Mid-term blues

Ah yes… my dear blog. It’s been some time. Life has been beating me to a pulp, so I haven’t actually published anything (although I have created many, many drafts). But here I am…!

I might be depressed about other aspects of my life, but I’m NOT depressed about my academic works. Despite that I have not being giving myself a well-deserved pat on the back, I have truly been excelling. Somehow, I’ve managed to truly put all of my energy into my academics and I gotta say, the fruits of my labor are sweet. This was the first year that I was not worried about mid-terms and I am still not worried about finals. I’m so happy to be able to say that! Now, I’ve just got to push through this final 30 something days and be sure to finish STRONG. I’ve got so many things I want to write on my blog, many things I want to record for my vlog, and I am really interested in making my blog look nicer. I’m hoping that when the semester ends I can work on these things. I’m anticipating that around this time next month, I will be VERY active and I will be posting often.

So, see you then~

De-Clutter Update #3

I. Have. Paper. Everywhere.

I am having the most difficult time managing paper and paper waste. I spent over an hour shredding a week ago and now I’m up to my neck again! Well… not up to my neck, but how do I still have junk left laying around?? I just don’t get it and since the semester has started back up, the paper will only increase! I want to create a DIY filing system of some sort, but there’s so many options and so little time to make a decision…

Also, I’m trying to figure out when to buy something new and when to “ride something until the wheels fall off”. Specifically my laptop. In 2016 I purchased a laptop to replace this one that I’ve been using since 2013. Unfortunately for me, I hated the new laptop and after hardly one year of use, I just couldn’t use it anymore. $600 in the drain. Now, my 4 year old laptop is barely holding on for its life (keyboard issues, wifi adapter doesn’t work, CD port falling off) and I just feel this urge to get a new laptop. I don’t know if I should just try to… refurbish and clean up this laptop to make it “feel” new again, or… The other issue is that the laptop is a bit bulky and heavy and I have to bring it with me to school everyday. I don’t want to have a third laptop and I don’t want to spend the money on a new one. So… I just don’t know, but I sure hope that my 4th update is a lot more positive.