I am very appreciative of my parents. They have treated me with kindness and love when I have least deserved it and I can’t thank them enough for it. But if there’s one thing that I am especially thankful for with my parents and my upbringing, it would be the importance they put on me as an individual.

What I mean is, my parents never emphasized my looks. I remember from a young age my parents playfully challenging me intellectually and physically. At the dinner table my parents playfully bet I couldn’t learn the alphabet backwards, so I did. At a family get together all of the males in my family tried climbing our rope swing in the backyard. I was challenged, jokingly (since I am the youngest in the family by a lot and easily the smallest at the time)so I climbed the rope swing.

When it was time to focus on looks (like during school shopping) my mom pretty much let me wear whatever I felt like wearing. I never had desires to wear promiscuous clothing. Often, I wanted to wear clothes with wild prints on them. I have been 70’s inspired basically my whole life. My mom let me wear what I wanted to wear, despite how ridiculous I might have looked. I got made fun of because I wasn’t trying to fit in, but I honestly didn’t know any better.

I see all of these kids of all ages so concerned with their outward appearance more than anything, or so it appears, and it makes me so sad.

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Friendly Reminder

I just want to make a little friendly reminder out there for all guys and gals out there who think they are currently in love or will be in love.

A healthy relationship is very important. Healthy significant other’s will not make you feel bad for the emotions or thoughts that you have. That doesn’t mean arguing shouldn’t happen because people disagree and that’s bound to happen. But no one should make you feel stupid for your thoughts and feelings. Those are yours, they belong to you, they are real and no one is to say otherwise.

Someone who loves you will not manipulate or control you. They will not make you feel guilty for going out on a girls night without them or for having another life separate of them. This does not mean that jealousy won’t happen, because people are people, and people get jealous. But grown ass adults talk about their problems and work them out through compromise. You deserve self care and to do things separate of your partner.

Another very important thing I learned recently touches on a sensitive topic. But someone who loves you will not threaten to commit suicide as a means of getting their own way. I understand that some people are genuinely suicidal and want help. But it is important to understand what triggered the individual. Do they have true suicidal indicators or are they playing you like a yo-yo?

It is important to notice if the person you are with is doing what they are saying or that their actions match up with their words. Someone who is genuine and loves you will love you and show it. You should never feel unwanted in your relationship.

A healthy relationship has communication.

Do not ignore your feelings like I keep doing. Manipulation and control are indicators of emotional abuse.

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I Don’t Know What I Want

I think it is easy to say that I am in a transitional part of my life. I am a twenty-year-old woman in college, trying to find my way. It’s difficult, and I don’t like it to say the least.

I have been struggling, emotionally, for a while now. This past school year was particularly difficult for me. I struggled with, what I would label as, depression, and these feelings have seeped into my summer. Friends and family encouraged me to see a therapist at school, because they are free and readily available up there. I knew I needed to see one, because my feelings were definitely getting in the way and my go-to coping mechanisms were only self destructive. But I made excuses.

“I don’t have enough time” (which, by the way, I still feel to be true…being a college student who is also a perfectionist is very time consuming)

“They aren’t helpful”

blah blah blah.

So this summer I went back to my therapist I saw seven years ago, go me. It was actually a really good decision, because he knows my history, so I don’t have to jump to a new person, explain all of my past, and where I’m at and all of the complexities around that. He’s been helpful and I really appreciate him as a person. Therapy is a far more positive experience when you are ready to be helped and you want to work WITH your counselor instead of against.

Long story short, I’m generally unhappy with my life. It feels like I will deal with one hardship, finally overcome it, only to be faced with another hardship. I’m really good at taking responsibility for my actions, and I can’t help but blame myself for putting myself in these situations. Which isn’t necessarily healthy, probably.

The truth is I don’t really know what I want and I don’t think a lot of people know what they want. But my therapist said something profound that I want to share with my peers who may also be feeling lost, unhappy, or unsure of themselves.

“I don’t know what I want, but I don’t think this is it”

And I think that’s okay. In fact, I think that’s kind of great. Because I have learned through my negative experiences what I don’t want. My world is so small, that the things I think that I don’t want are just as small as my world. I realize that my dislikes and the things that I don’t want may be things I don’t even know about yet and my negative experiences teach me that. A weak example would be that, I didn’t really have an opinion on working with children as a career before, because working with children wasn’t really part of my world. After taking my childhood development class this previous semester, I found out that I don’t want to be dealing with unruly children in whatever I do (I’m pretty sure working at a daycare or being a teacher isn’t my thing). It doesn’t mean that I am sure of what I want to be, but it definitely helps narrow down what I want. And that piece of information is helpful.

I don’t know what I want but I don’t think this is it.

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Graduation Season

I am discovering, as time goes on (as it does) that there are plenty of times in the year or specific scenarios in life that are difficult for me that may not be traditionally difficult for others. Now is one of those times for me.

I have an ongoing problem of feeling inadequate, most likely due to several factors (bad things hardly ever occur from one source). Coping with anxiety disorders for nearly half of my life, now, and the fact that I essentially dropped out of school when I was in fifth grade are strong contributing factors, in my opinion.

When I was supposed to be in school, I compared myself to my friends who were over-achievers. My friend group tested very high on the SAT’s, my best friend was the valedictorian, and all of them were involved in after school activities. You get the picture. And here I was, sitting in my room, struggling to stay afloat, battling intrusive thoughts, trying to understand why I was so messed up. You get the picture. Everything was a struggle. Comparing myself to my peers since I came down with anxiety disorders has felt like apples and oranges because I have needs that my friends do not have and my lifestyle seems (not drastically) different than that of my friends. I didn’t have grades to compare myself with my friends and when I did (like my SAT scores) it wasn’t a fair comparison because I was not receiving the same education as my friends or peers. You simply can not know what you have not been taught.

It is difficult for me to accept all of this as a truth.

This mentality still effects me today, to an extent. It drives me to work harder in my college career because I tend to tell myself that I do not measure up to my peers simply because I missed so much school to begin with.

This time of year is difficult for me because it is high school graduation season. I do not know anybody who is graduating or will be graduating in the near future, but it is still difficult to be reminded of how my life decisions and adversity made it so I was unable to graduate like a “normal” person (while I fully recognize that ‘normal’ is a relative term). I missed out on a significant milestone and deprived my parents of that celebration, to an extent. I wish things had been different because I am still effected by the atrocities that happened when I was a preteen and I am aware that I will continue to be effected by the illnesses I faced and the decisions I made for years to come.

I think about how unpredictable and delicate life is for everyone. How you can plan your life out all you want but sometimes it just takes its own course. It takes a great deal of strength to ride out the storm that knocks you down out of nowhere.

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The program I was admitted through to get into college was designed to accommodate non-traditional students. This means, a lot of my fellow classmates are older than me and a lot of them have had unique pasts. Some have been involved with drugs, others dealt with having children at young ages, some had bad home lives, the list goes on.

After the first semester or two, a lot of students admitted into the program will drop out of college. There always seems to be a sense of disappointment when you hear about a classmate dropping out, no matter how rational the reason is. The program is designed to allow people, I feel, with rough pasts a second chance. My program has a large support system, and when someone can’t benefit from this lovely program it’s truly sad!

I’ve known a few classmates to drop in my 1 1/2 years in this program. It’s not fun and I remember feeling judgmental towards the individuals who dropped out. The program is so wonderful, how could they not benefit enough from it? They aren’t trying hard enough.

However, as I glance through facebook and look at the people who have dropped out, I see that some of them appear to be happy. I know a man who dropped out and started doing missionary work. He seems incredibly satisfied with his life. He is doing exactly what he believes in. Although one drop out is working a job I’m not sure he’s happy with, he is always posting inspirational, thoughtful quotes. I believe he is finding himself.

My point is, I don’t think it matters exactly what you are doing with your life, as long as you find purpose and meaning with what you are doing.

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The Power of Sympathy

Tonight I was watching the news with my family. I watch the news a lot when I’m home, and when I’m not at home I casually read news articles. It is good to stay in the know and to be informed, in a general sense at minimum.

I’m not a politician and I try to stay out of politics, and quite honestly, I don’t understand all of the intricacies of everything that is going on in the middle east. I do, however, understand that there is a war going on in Syria and that gratuitous amounts of people are suffering because of it.

On the World News they have been following the story of people starving in Syria. I don’t completely understand why, and I don’t want to or need to completely understand why. I can understand that children are dying because people can’t work out their differences. I can understand that innocent people are falling victim to a war.

And I can absolutely understand that there is no excuse for that. There is no excuse for a small child to not have had a meal for a week, or for a grown woman to be living off of boiled grass for an extended period of time (and when asking if she can leave, being told she will be killed). There is no excuse for this. People are already starving in other parts of the world because food isn’t available, and food can be made available to these people but a government is withholding it from them to make a statement.

Is this the world I live in?

The tragedy of the situation reminds me how delicate life is. Nothing is guaranteed. Although, it is far less likely that I would end up in a situation that these poor Syrians are in, tomorrow isn’t guaranteed for me. My life as I know it could change at any moment.

We are all human but we are so quick to dehumanize people when we are filled with anger, hatred, misunderstanding, and distance (both emotional and physical). Not that we dehumanize these Syrians, but I don’t think many of us fully understand the magnitude of their situation. Do we think about what we would want and how we would feel if we were in these peoples shoes? I don’t think many people do, and for that I am saddened.

Remember that we are all people.

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I keep going through waves of feeling slightly less than average, to feeling not so great about myself and most of my relationships with little to no provocation. It’s frustrating and only contributes to my feelings of being out of control.

When I get in these slumps I feel very weird. I am not overly unsatisfied with myself as a person, but I am definitely not satisfied in the least bit, either. I am neutral. I feel so incredibly average and terrible.
“I have a pimple, I am ugly, I am plain Jane.”
“I have no personality.”
These thoughts snowball into more dramatic thoughts where I assume that (what few relationships I have) are not real. My friends don’t actually want me around or like me, my boyfriend isn’t actually interested. Why would anyone have feelings towards someone who is so incredibly average?

I hate feeling this way! I wish I know where it came from and how to stop it. From what I gather, these feelings are pretty common but I have experienced them about three times in a month now and I feel like that is too frequent. I feel unstable.

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