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Being Rewritten.

I haven’t written in a while. Why? I don’t really have a simple answer for that. But I can say that my eyes have been opened and I don’t feel like the same person who started this blog several months ago. I am sitting here in class and I can’t even think of the things that bothered me even last month. It seems like years have gone by and yet it has only been 3 weeks.

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When I got here after traveling through France, Netherlands, and Brussels, I was ready to take a hot shower and feel at home. At last, homesickness had caught up with me and I NEEDED to just sleep in my own room by myself. First traveling had been exciting. I had not noticed the subtle changes in my life that I should have when it came to my reality. I started missing my American processed food. As well as the instant comforts of America. While I saw the issues that these conveniences caused in my life, I still missed these comforts of home. I made friends, travelled around my new home, and filled my time with distractions to make my new life seem less empty. I can say now, there is no running away from culture shock or homesickness. I made a few friends who understood what I was going through and slowly started to face my issues. Trying to balance my new life of traveling that I always wanted with what my brain was struggling to accept. That things were different and that I had to accept that.

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Slowly things changed. I am now better dealing with my mixed emotions, but I still struggle with my cravings and mood swings due to the new environment. The longer I am here though, the easier it becomes. I can see the joy of traveling again and can’t wait to explore the rest of my surroundings.

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I guess all I am saying here today is that no matter how perfect something looks, or what exactly you think something will look like, reality is much different. I still love it and I am still so glad I came. But take care of yourself if you make the same journey. Life is not always picture perfect, and in the lows make sure you can make it back to the highs. As my joy comes back to me so does the excitement and passion. I look forward to this being my life, and as that acceptance settles in my mind, the rest of my path is becoming clearer.

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To the beginning of a journey..

Times change.

Life will never stay stagnant and it is up to us to slow down and see the moments. When getting reflective I love reading this poem and thinking on times that have moved by. As we head into the new year and another christmas past, its always good to try and pause on the moment as it comes. My suggestion is to find a cozy corner, make some hot tea, watch the rain fall, and think about all the moments that made this year great. Sometimes, reflection is the best way to process and move forward.

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The Whitsun Weddings

That Whitsun, I was late getting away:
    Not till about
One-twenty on the sunlit Saturday
Did my three-quarters-empty train pull out,
All windows down, all cushions hot, all sense
Of being in a hurry gone. We ran
Behind the backs of houses, crossed a street
Of blinding windscreens, smelt the fish-dock; thence
The river’s level drifting breadth began,
Where sky and Lincolnshire and water meet.
All afternoon, through the tall heat that slept
    For miles inland,
A slow and stopping curve southwards we kept.
Wide farms went by, short-shadowed cattle, and
Canals with floatings of industrial froth;
A hothouse flashed uniquely: hedges dipped
And rose: and now and then a smell of grass
Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth
Until the next town, new and nondescript,
Approached with acres of dismantled cars.
At first, I didn’t notice what a noise
    The weddings made
Each station that we stopped at: sun destroys
The interest of what’s happening in the shade,
And down the long cool platforms whoops and skirls
I took for porters larking with the mails,
And went on reading. Once we started, though,
We passed them, grinning and pomaded, girls
In parodies of fashion, heels and veils,
All posed irresolutely, watching us go,
As if out on the end of an event
    Waving goodbye
To something that survived it. Struck, I leant
More promptly out next time, more curiously,
And saw it all again in different terms:
The fathers with broad belts under their suits
And seamy foreheads; mothers loud and fat;
An uncle shouting smut; and then the perms,
The nylon gloves and jewellery-substitutes,
The lemons, mauves, and olive-ochres that
Marked off the girls unreally from the rest.
    Yes, from cafés
And banquet-halls up yards, and bunting-dressed
Coach-party annexes, the wedding-days
Were coming to an end. All down the line
Fresh couples climbed aboard: the rest stood round;
The last confetti and advice were thrown,
And, as we moved, each face seemed to define
Just what it saw departing: children frowned
At something dull; fathers had never known
Success so huge and wholly farcical;
    The women shared
The secret like a happy funeral;
While girls, gripping their handbags tighter, stared
At a religious wounding. Free at last,
And loaded with the sum of all they saw,
We hurried towards London, shuffling gouts of steam.
Now fields were building-plots, and poplars cast
Long shadows over major roads, and for
Some fifty minutes, that in time would seem
Just long enough to settle hats and say
    I nearly died,
A dozen marriages got under way.
They watched the landscape, sitting side by side
—An Odeon went past, a cooling tower,
And someone running up to bowl—and none
Thought of the others they would never meet
Or how their lives would all contain this hour.
I thought of London spread out in the sun,
Its postal districts packed like squares of wheat:
There we were aimed. And as we raced across
    Bright knots of rail
Past standing Pullmans, walls of blackened moss
Came close, and it was nearly done, this frail
Travelling coincidence; and what it held
Stood ready to be loosed with all the power
That being changed can give. We slowed again,
And as the tightened brakes took hold, there swelled
A sense of falling, like an arrow-shower
Sent out of sight, somewhere becoming rain.
By: Phillip Larkin
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How I made the ‘Biggest Decision of my life’..

Everyone makes this big deal out of deciding your college major. Saying things like this decision will dictate the rest of your life. Acting like its a choice which will choose your future path. Really though, it itsn’t that big of a deal. While giving you information, in the long run all you are getting is some skills that could be put towards a specific field.

I choose biochemistry as my major for a couple of reasons. For one, I loved biology and general chemistry. But those are the most popular science majors and if you want to set yourself apart you have to choose something different. This led me to looking at the molecular biosciences track. The benefit of this path, is that it covers everything below it. What that means is the more specialized you are the more options you have. I took advantage of this with my decision in biochemistry. To study this dicipline, you have to take classes in biology, chemisty, organic chemistry, microbiology, genetics, and biochemistry. Which benifits me because I can find a job in any of those highly specialized fields.

But that isn’t all. Just because you choose to do something like hard sciences does not mean you can’t find a job in a different field. What people don’t tell you is that a bachelors degree is almost a standard degree. All it tells employers, is that you have the base set of skills required to perform a job. What you do with that information is up to you. Every student is required to take standard general education requirements. A way to build off of that information, is to find an internship or a job where you focus on those skills.  There is also the option of getting a certificate in a field of your choosing. This opens the door to using your degree and the certificate to study what you would like before going into a new field of your choosing.

The downside to all of this is that while getting your degree you at the mercy of the schedule of classes. For me, I couldn’t study abroad until senior year, and I had to take another year of classes. I also had to pay for the broad range of employment options with a difficult class load. This isn’t that big of a deal, but it was annoying to have my life dictated for the last 4 years. In parting, it wasn’t that big of a decision, the choice is whether you will chase that path of your degree or reach for something else. Life is never decided by one choice.

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I decided to work in a lab to fullfil my degree options, but I also volunteer with the elderly and low income. I got a job where I had the opportunity to build a grant aid program and help students of color and low income stay in college. This has led to my goal of helping others and eventually will get me a job serving people in my community. While no where near my field of study, it is an area I am passionate about and am working towards thriving in. It shows you build your future and nothing is ever set in stone.

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Getting a dog may not be the best idea…

At 18 I decided to get myself a dog. I wanted to find a german shepard lab mix because I wanted the protective, family breeds. I ended up getting the sweetest most loving partner that I could have ever asked for. I got her as a puppy, and she was covered in fleas. After lots of baths, medicine, and good food she turned into the sweetest pup. Now shes turning 6, and we have been through so much together. Looking back, I can see how much easier life would have been had I not chosen to go down this path.

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After I got her, I was immediately kicked out of my house. Thankfully my grandparents let me live in their trailer for a week until I found a place to stay. Then I rented a room from an older couple until she was 6 months old. From there, we periodically moved from living in the car to living in an apartment. The costs of a pet deposit were to high to settle anywhere, and there was the difficulty of finding a place that would accept large dogs. I couldn’t go back to school, because I had to work full time to pay for my apartment.

That wasn’t the end of it. There were vet bills, food increases, daily walks… All of a sudden my blossoming life was no longer my own. The skills and lessons I had to learn came faster, and I had to make the right decisions for both of us. As great as growing as a person is, I had to put off so much that I wanted to do in the meantime. I would have graduated college already, or travelled more. While having her hasn’t stopped me, it has made things harder.

Any advice I would give, is don’t jump into commitment without actually thinking long and hard about the ramifications. As a young girl it would have been a better choice to only have myself to look after. I could have achieved a few of my dreams and then gotten the dog I wanted. I still love and would do anything for my dog. But never again would I do something as darastic and life altering.

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I am not my dads mistake.

I am a child of divorce. At 3 years old my parents seperated due to my dad cheating. I spent the first few years going back and forth for equal time and it was actually great. I got to know my dad, and wasn’t forced to choose between the two of them. Once I turned 5, my mother got remarried and splitting the time stopped. A new plan was set up and it involved only seeing my dad 1 day a week and every other weekend. As bad as that was, it got worse. There were huge differences between my dad and the new family. My step-dad was religious so off to church we went, while my other dad was not religious at all. One wanted private school, the other public and so on.. After a while the differences kept adding up, during this time the seperation between myself and everyone in both families grew larger. Not siding fully with either side, I started to desire their affection all the while not fully being accepted by either. This due to my differences in beliefs or my own inability to share my feelings. Eventually, I became a teenager and started lashing out. My lack of control and absent father figure lead me to try and find someone who would accept me.

Fast forward to adulthood. I still worry about my family and try to gain their acceptance. I try to push myself on each of my families without really being wanted, or I try to find that acceptance in others. Most call this way of thinking and acting ‘daddy issues’. The expectation of girls like me is that they don’t trust easily, seek mistreatment, or date older men.

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Choosing to not think of my pain or methods of dealing with it in a bad light, I have moved forward with my life. We as a society usually expect the woman to try and fix her problem with her dad through other men. If she trusts, has a normal healthy sex life, and dates reasonably aged men for her age, she was able to pull herself out of the pain her father delt her. If she can’t achive those things she is nothing but a slave to the issues that weren’t her fault. Why do we shame women for these things, when they were not her fault to begin with? It was not my actions that made my dad decide to cheat. It also wasn’t my fault that I didn’t have a strong father figure to show me how men should act.

We are all responsible for our own actions and what we decide to do with the hand we have been dealt. I disagree that women should have to try to pull together and fix what has been done to us in order to be ‘normal’. We can accept the pain, but it is on our fathers to do a better job and show us what we should be looking for in a partner. It is for us to decide what to do with the childhood we were given, and it is on them to realize the pain they have caused.

If I choose to look for acceptance in the beds of others that is my choice. My deciding to be warry of commitment and scared of getting hurt is my battle to fight. Dating older men would be my choice. All decisions are mine to make and my choosing that path to deal with my pain is my choice. But, I should never have to put up with people generalizing my behavior to use against me or demean who I am for something that I could not control. Daddy issues are just that, my issues between me and my father. How I choose to deal with it is my choice between me, myself, and my partner. All I can hope for is to one day rebuild the relationships with my dads, and prevent any children I might have from going through it as well.

 

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A few years ago I was in an abusive relationship. One of the things he would judge me for and hold against me was my ‘daddy issues’. This is my feelings on the term and is not meant to offend or hurt anyone.
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Date nights, are they needed?

I ended a relationship earlier this year. All of our time was spent laying in bed watching TV, or playing games. Never really talking, our relationship was leading to discontent and anger as he never knew what was bothering me. We went on like that for months before I finally realized what was missing. I told him I needed more love and romance, but he said he couldn’t do it. Hearbroken, we cried for hours because we both knew that what had happened wasn’t what either of us wanted. After we seperated, I spent some time living with a friend who was generous enough to put me up in her apartment. I lived there for about a month before moving into my apartment. I tried going on a few dates but it didn’t last, mostly because I couldn’t move on. Being alone did teach me about myself and what I wanted. And I found myself just wishing things had not ended the way they had.

We spent almost every weekend together after we seperated and after some time actually started to learn more about each other. I learned about his time in the military including his feelings about his childhood. Whereas he spent time actually listening and not just playing on his computer.  We went to lunch, parks, and he drove my dog to the vet. Slowly we started forming a relationship beyond what we had before. It was great, and lead us to reconsider why we seperated in the beginning. We eventually got back together and I moved my things over to his house in preperation for my leaving the country.

As time has passed the worry that things will go back to how they were, has stayed. We now are together all of the time and the temptation to go back is always present. Trying to keep on this new path has really been accomplished only by always going out. Making that time to sit and talk is really what is keeping everything together. You don’t realize how little you talk to someone you live with until you set aside time doing nothing but that. With this new plan, we made a variety of changes in our relationship that have been nothing but great. Now, because of our new open dialog, we communicate better and actually fight more. I know that it will pass, but the fighting is proof that we are being open, honest, and real. Without this concious effort to talk more, I have no doubt things would end again.

Thats all I got. As I struggle through the mistakes and pain of the last time we tried this, I have learned a few things. Keep your relationships happy and always make time for each other. Even if things end for a time, if its meant to be it will work out. Relationships are about choosing each other day after day and no one is ever going to be obligated to love you. So, try to be a person worth getting to know and love. While that sounds like something off a sappy instagram feed, it is all true. After all that sap, I can only say love with all you have and do not let your mistakes define your future.

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Where are my friends?…

Introverts are not exactly known for their great social lives. Having to ride this line between wanting to be someone I wasn’t and needing my space has taken a lot out of me. Submerged in this world of social media means seeing everyone with their happy little clique and wondering where my people were. Why does everyone else seem so happy in their groups? Why do they seem to always know the right thing to say and do? Is there a class somewhere where I can learn these social skills I have clearly missed out on? We have this culture of more friends, equaling higher numbers, in turn meaning you have more value. Where do we get this idea that many distant friends have the same value as several close ones? How do some people get these great lifelong friendships with so many people ? This struggle has dominated my life as I try to figure out who I am and my value.

As a young girl, I had a best friend. She was wonderful, and quirky, and perfect. I wanted to be her best friend to have part of that joy she seemed to radiate. We grew close, but eventually I switched schools. Still living close together, we mainly hung out over summers. I spent nights with her camping out in the backyard, splashing around in the hot tub, and developing a love of old Audrey Hepburn movies. We went to her child theater plays, and did everything normal child best friends would. The introverted nature inside me declared her my best friend, but I knew that I was not her only friend.  Over the years she grew closer and closer with the classmates I had left, while I stayed focused on my friendship with her. I held her to this childish pedestal, which over time evolved to where I thought people would like me more if I was like her. Instead of choosing my clothing and activities based on what I liked, I tried to emulate her. I obviously failed horribly and eventually we drifted apart as teenagers. Never learning from this experience, I brought this baggage along as I tried to find my place. 

I then met my adult bestie. We met through dance class, and hated each other instantly for no real reason. Eventually we became friends at the school and got to know each other. She was rough in the doesn’t take any crap way, and had a hard life that she grew from. I admired her so much for her strength and ability to stand strong when everything in life came down on her. We started to get super close and looking back I realize what I was looking for in this friendship. I needed someone who would look up to me the way I had looked up to my childhood friend. I wanted to be the cool one. I wanted to be the one that someone would want to be. She did,  in her own way want to be me, but only so much as have the simpler life I had. Beyond that, she was free thinking and could never have been swayed by my basic thoughts. Whereas I wanted to be accepted, she just wanted to be able to be herself. Somehow we were perfect together. It wasn’t paradise, in fact most of the time we were arguing or mad at each other for some stupid reason. Yet, we made it to 11 years of being friends until it all went downhill. At this point we were adults and she was living with her boyfriend. While I didn’t do anything wrong, my quest to be accepted resulted in an awkward situation that I should not have been in. From there on out it was rocky footing. Accumulating tension until my birthday, we tried to continue on as normal. I then went to dinner with my mother and ended up having to cancel my plans with her, before she decided she was done with me. Heartbroken and bitter I moved on, never really letting go but accepting that we weren’t meant to be.

Trying to move on, I met a wonderful girl at my college. She was popular, and liked to party… I was hooked. Finally, instead of chasing people I could go after a lifestyle that was sure to bring friends to me. I spent all of 4 months partying, before I started to hate my life. I am a person who needs alone time, yet I was spending it all on people who didn’t care about me. I started to crawl into my shell when the stress of the semester kicked in. But, every once in a while I would go out. After some time I couldn’t go out one too many days and they all moved on. No longer did my phone buzz with invitations to the bar and instead it stays silent with only a few people who occasionally contacted me. Yet, I don’t feel sad for myself. 

For my childhood friend, I just wanted someone to acknowledge me and accept me for the single individual I am. I saw in her the person I wanted to be and instead of seeing her for the human she was. She was wonderful, but she was also flawed in ways it took me years to finally see. She did not need approval, but also didn’t have any close relationships like I did later in my life. Now, I can accept that she did not know who I was as a person, but I also did not really know her either. The person who, to this day I would call my closest friend, was actually someone I needed to get acceptance from. I still call her that, because of everyone in the world, she is one of 3 people who, I feel, knows who I am at my core and loved me for that. As I say that, I also have to accept the reality of the situation, and that is that we fed each others issues. She gave me acceptance and I gave her someone who needed her. When we grew up, that complex stayed in place, but we both tried to reach above it. I tried to not rely on her for my only source of feeling belonging, and she created her own life that didn’t need me. Now that we don’t talk, I can say I hope we both have achieved those goals. I know I have, but that is a story for another time. When I finally got to college, I gave up on anyone really knowing me and just wanted the image that everyone else had. Forgetting what I wanted, I figured if everyone else could be happy this way, then so could I. Everyone had these picture perfect friends that did everything together. I just wanted to look like I was apart of this normal part of life. But, part of growing up is accepting that that you are who you are and that is ok! Eventually, I hope to have a small horde of people who love me and can be added to my list. Until then I will learn to love myself and have that be enough. 

When I find a ‘Best Friend’, they are the only person with that title, and I would do anything for them because that is who I am. But, for these relationships, it was mainly my need to be accepted that resulted in me feeling more alone than ever. I doubt I will ever actually find someone who can make me feel what I am searching for, because I have to do that for myself. Instead of looking to the rest of the world, I need to let go of this desire to look like everyone else does. There are bigger fish in life, and I hope that instead of trying to solve my problems with people I can try to solve them myself. 

Thanks for reading my heart-to-heart, and if anyone feels as I do I would love to hear how you learned to accept yourself. Life is a journey, and as I go along I hope each day will be better than the last with learning more about myself and others.