2017 Lessons

For me, 2017 was laced with life lessons. I’ve jokingly said that I haven’t been in my comfort zone all year, and even though I’m typically cheerful these days as we reach January, I definitely had some rough patches.

I turned 16 in March. That in itself is pretty momentous, and I had my dearest friends over and had a grand old time.  Later that March, I emailed my romantic interest happy birthday, and gave him my phone number. He texted me one afternoon when I was chopping lettuce, and I almost cut myself in nervousness and excitement. At Pascha, in April, I had a few moments despair, realizing that all my friends were getting into relationships and I was still totally single, missing a guy I rarely talked to.

At some point in the late spring I started doing Pilates, and fell in love with it. I was faithful, and I now consistently work out for 20 minutes, four times a week. It’s not a lot, but I’ve never been the most kinetic of people and this pleases me and fits my schedule. (By the way, I highly recommend blogilates on YouTube. Cassey Ho is AMAZING!!)

In June, I got my first job at Sonic Drive-in. I had been sending out applications for months, with little success. Finally I had to suck it up and (sweating all the while) call Sonic to inform them that I had applied. Within 30 seconds I had an interview scheduled for the following day, and within the next 24 hours I had a job. Initiative pays off, folks. I have a good boss and I am the primary ice cream person. Combined with my Pilates routine, I have grown stronger this year, and though I’ve gained weight (which I frankly needed), I’m probably in the best shape of my life. I feel (and dare I say look!) great. And I still eat Pop tarts fairly regularly.

In August, school began again, and I started my first concurrent college course and working extra in English to make the future easier for myself. Here I must be cautious so as not to condemn my well meaning teachers, but the college course (American history) was the source for much stress for me, and I grew to hate it. It was micromanaged. We were required to answer questions at the end of the chapters which were not assigned by the professor, and we had to have our essays looked over before they were submitted, and we spent five hours a week on what was meant to  be a 3-hour course. During class time, little was accomplished. I did pass the class with an A, but the experience was painful. I also had to take my siblings to school every morning, pick them up every afternoon, and be ready for work by five o’clock four days a week. I continued to do Pilates, keep up with homework, and try to get enough sleep. My stress levels became so high this semester that I was having borderline suicidal thoughts, and was often depressed during the day.

It was during this time that I officially made the decision to leave the school next year. I will home-school myself 2018-2019 and graduate quickly. Mom approved this decision. It isn’t just the disastrous college course; this is something that has been building up for awhile. It’s difficult to be an Orthodox Christian in a Protestant school. And I disagree with a lot of things taught there, not just theological, but their adherence to stereotypical gender roles and their fear of anything “not normal”, like multiple piercings, wearing a lot of black, or tattoos. It’s a good-willed but stifling environment.

Other major things that happened this year:

  • Discovered Vine. RIP.
  • Visited a monastery with some friends.
  • Got my driver’s license (my second time taking the test)
  • Decided that if I’m not a nun I’m going to be a counselor.
  • Got a major haircut. 18″. Sold to an Estonian businesswoman for $180.
  • Found out the love of my life was an atheist.
  • Witnessed two of my RL ships getting together… and one breaking up.
  • Really, truly accepted myself as I am in this very moment.

Life goes on.  Here’s to you all, that you may have a blessed 2018, full of growth, experiences, and memories to cherish.

Love you all,

Collectorofsoulsandindependent

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A Difference of Opinion: Part 2

This is probably the first time I’ve posted two days in a row, which is frankly pathetic, but I hope it happens more often.

As I said in my last post, I am under a good deal of emotional stress right now.  If you haven’t read my last post, Difference of Opinion: Part 1, I encourage you to go do that, then come back.  Anyway, I want to talk to you all about coping strategies.

Since my text conversation with Herb, I have prayed on more frequent intervals.  I think this is obvious for most Christians.  No matter what’s happening, the first thing you do is pray.  You get the job you wanted; you pray in gratitude.  You find your life to be in danger; you pray for protection.  In any circumstance where we are afraid, lonely, or hurting, we PRAY.  It’s what we do.  Prayer and its health benefits are similar to meditation and the benefits associated with it, so if you aren’t a praying person, this might help.  Drink coffee and meditatively watch the sun rise.

Really, I think this episode in my life is serving to strengthen my faith, because I suddenly have the urge to read Scripture, especially Psalms and the Gospels, but eventually all of it.  People of other faiths, I am not trying t exclude you, but this is what’s helping me.

Thirdly, I have created a “Getting Over Herb” playlist, compiling songs that promote confidence and make me feel better about the world. Titles such as “I’m Still Standing” by Elton John, “The Sound of Silence” by Simon & Garfunkel, and the classic “Carry On Wayward Son” by Kansas, are buoying me up out of Emotion Ocean, and helping me breathe.

Talking it out is also a good one.  Tell a close friend or family member what you’re going through.  If you don’t have any friends or close family, get a counselor.  Heck, if you can’t do that, write down everything that’s bothering you and burn it.  Rant. Swear if you need to.  Don’t bottle it up.  Which brings me to my main point.

Do not hide from uncomfortable feelings.  Let them flow.  Be uncomfortable for a while.  Our capacity to feel love, sorrow, happiness, heartbreak, and pain is one of the things that makes us human.  Use coping strategies to work through difficult times, but do not forget your pain.  This is how people grow, and become better and wiser.

Play some music. Pray. Cry. Have a beer. Read Scripture. Sleep. Spend time with friends. Watch your favorite movie. Repeat as many times as necessary.  This isn’t the end; it is the end of a chapter, and the beginning of a brand new one.

 

Au revoir again,

Collectorofsoulsandlibertarian