Twenty. 30 to go…

It’s official, folks, I’m no longer a teenager. I’m twenty. Twenty. TWENTY. I actually have no idea how to process this. I’ve been a teenager for so long and now what? I’m twenty. Twenty is “in your twenties.” “In your twenties” is graduated from college. Graduated from college is married with four kids. Married with four kids is a midlife crisis. And a midlife crisis is basically the same as dead. UGH. I’m freaking out. What am I going to blame my angst on? I no longer have the excuse of being a hormonal teenager. WHAT AM I GOING TO DO???

I definitely am sad to see nineteen go, it has been a truly incredible year. I honestly didn’t have particularly high hopes for nineteen, it’s an odd in-between year where I thought nothing would change. I was wrong. This has easily been the best year of my life thus far. It’s been a year of me figuring out who I am and taking big steps to become a healthier and happier person. I’ve grown in my relationships with my friends and with my family. This was the year I fell in love for the first time. I’ve spent the better part of this year with someone who makes me happier than I know how to put into words and who makes me a better person. I have learned how to truly love this year.

Last year I posted that:

I want this to be my year. To be young and free of fear. But I also want to continue to learn and grow as a person. I want to be deeply rooted in Peace and want to flower with Joy.

and that is exactly what this year has been for me. It’s been a year of being young and wild and reckless. It’s a year that I’m walking out of with many happy memories and no regrets.

As scared as I am to jump into this new stage in my life I’m also so excited. This is the year I’m going to hopefully get my first co-op doing something in my field. This is the year I’m going to speak up. This is the year I’m going to be self motivated. I am so excited to fall deeper and deeper in love with my life and with the people in it.

Thanks for sticking with me through another year.

Love you!

Abby

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New Semester Resolutions II. 31 to go…

Here I am, back at school, ready for another semester. I have to admit that I’m a little bit nervous for this semester. I know it is going to be academically challenging and emotionally draining, but I’m trying to be positive and excited about all of the exciting things that I’ll get to do this semester. As I wrote last spring I’m not a fan of New Years Resolutions, but I’m a big believer in New Semester Resolutions. So here are mine for this semester.

Keep my room clean:
This was one of my resolutions last spring that didn’t go particularly well… But I had a much better time with it this past semester and I just notice how much better I feel about my life when my room is clean.

Make my bed EVERY FREAKING DAY:
I’m pretty sure that when I’m able to make my bed regularly I will officially be an adult.

Get out of bed when my body wakes up:
I’m starting to realize that I think I am a morning people, but I have a terrible habit of waking up and then laying in bed for hours instead of just getting up. I’m super productive in the mornings, so all I need to do is get in the habit of just getting out of bed when I wake up,

Be in bed by midnight:
Doing this “getting up when I wake up,” thing is so much easier when I get enough. Plus, I turn into a pumpkin around 1am. Exceptions include Friday nights and certain Saturdays.

Be on time for EVERY FREAKING CLASS:
I am really terrible at being on time to things. That needs to change.

Go to church regularly:
It’s just good for my brain and my heart.

Go home more often:
I’m starting realize how important it is for me to be home to support my siblings and I just realize how much I enjoy spending time with my family.

Spend more time alone:
I know that most people would have resolutions totally opposite of this, but I’ve found that I’m far more introverted than I previously thought I was (which isn’t a big deal, because I was so extroverted that I was hardly functional.) I need more time alone to relax and get stuff done.

Eat less processed foods:
This one’s pretty self explanatory.

Read more books:
Just by being busy I haven’t had time to read books, which makes me really sad. My goal is to read three books this semester, including at least two that I’ve never read before.

Some updates on last year’s resolutions:

  • I’ve been regularly attending Cru.
  • I no longer eat meat of any kind, including fish.
  • I got a job! Two, in fact!
  • I have gotten a lot healthier, I’ve lost a ton of weight and I’m dealing with my emotional health. I’m super proud of all the progress I’ve made.

Some resolutions I didn’t meet:

  • I got pretty far into eliminating processed chemical products from my life, but I had to decide if it was worth all of the effort for the non-results I was getting so I’ve begun to use commercial makeup, but I have continued to use no commercial shampoos, conditioners, soaps, or moisturizers.
  • I didn’t end up eliminating dairy from my diet. I’ve decided that the impact of processed replacement products is worse than the impact of consuming dairy. Plus, have you ever had cheese?

I didn’t meet all of my goals in the last year, which is OK, but this semester I want to be very intentional about the goals I’ve set for myself and I understand that failure is always an option.

Do any of you have any new year/semester resolutions? I want to hear about them!

Love you!!

Abby

Update. 32 to go…

The past month and a half has been absolutely mad. I’ve been incredibly busy with school work, friends, and work. I’ve also been working through some issues in my life and between all of this I haven’t had the time or desire to write. I’ve also been trying to process through things on my own before I share them with the whole world. I guess this is what growing up is about. So here’s a little update on my life since early November.

I took my finals and finished the semester with a bang. It was a lot of work but I’m really proud of how I ended the semester and of the grades I got.

I went home for the first time all semester for Thanksgiving and had the most amazing time with my family and my friends. I have never been more thankful to be home in the warm arms of the people I love the most.

1799148_10153372325609972_2794151191504010471_oMe and my three best friends: my siblings.

My wonderful boyfriend came and stayed with me for a week before finals. We had an amazing time just being together, exploring, and going to Niagara Falls.

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Us in front of the American side of Niagara Falls. We went over to the Canadian side, but it was so dark out that it was hard to get a good picture on that side.

I’m now home for winter break and have been having a marvelous time relaxing and spending time with my family and friends. We had a really beautiful and low key Christmas. I’ve been working and playing the piano and sleeping.

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My family has been taking Christmas selfies every year since my parents got married 23 years ago.

All of these things have been really great, but the biggest thing I’ve done in the last two months is a little less exciting. For many years I’ve dealt with depression in various different ways but this October I took a big step in the right direction. I went to the doctor to talk about this depression and see what I could do. The doctor told me that I have chronic depression and have been dealing with some PTSD after an incident that occurred last year. After talking about my options I decided that I wanted to try antidepressants. I was really hesitant in this choice because it felt like I was admitting that there was something wrong with me but the doctor told me something that really stuck with me.

This is an issue of brain chemistry. This isn’t your fault. You don’t refuse cancer treatments because you don’t want to admit that your cells are doing a bad job and it is no different with your brain.

I had never thought of it like that and I am so glad he said that to me. Let me tell you, I feel like a whole new person. I have had one day of unexplainable sadness in the past two months as opposed to three to five days per week. I have been so productive and motivated. I’ve done my homework, I’ve cleaned our whole house, I’ve cleared off my desk, I’ve slept. I can’t say how amazing it has been. I feel more alive than I have in years.

I haven’t really been able to write about this recently because it is so personal and because it has been such a process. I’ve found it really helpful to write poetry and I’ve been writing somewhat consistent updates here. As I continue to deal with this and continue to grow I think it will be easier to write more often and I hope to post here more consistently in the coming months.

Thank you for all of your support and all of the love you’ve all shown me, it means so much to me. I hope you’re having an amazing holiday season and that your new year is full of love.

Love you guys!!

Abby

More than a feeling. 33 to go…

I’ve been really homesick recently so I’ve been spending some time reminiscing. Some of my favorite memories of high school are of me and my parents laughing in the kitchen and singing along to the oldies jams that would come on my “Newsies” Pandora station. Journey, Billy Joel, Bon Jovi, Bryan Adams, Rick Springfield and more. One song in particular stands out to me, my mom always loved the song “More Than A Feeling” by Boston. I just remember her dancing around and singing loudly and it always makes me smile.

So I’ve been thinking a lot about feelings this week. I’ve been realizing that feelings, like most things, pass. I had a really hard week, and today I feel great. It’s odd how much things change in such short periods of time. And for people like me it’s really hard not to just ride on the highs and lows that come with each day. You see, I feel things. Hard. I don’t half heartedly feel things, I feel everything with every part of me. When I’m in love, the whole world is the most beautiful place. When I’m depressed, the sun is never coming back. I understand that this isn’t the healthiest way to live and that a lot of life is lived in the in-betweens, this is just how it is for me.

But this dopamine high I’m riding on at the moment will fade. It will be overshadowed by the darkness of winter and the stress of finals. And as we get further into November I find that I’m clinging to the bits of sunshine and the happy moments I can find in between the rainy days. I hate being at the mercy of my emotions. Feeling like I physically cannot get out of bed because there’s no happiness left to keep going on. Crying alone late into the nights and not being able to explain why I’m so damn tired. I know that all of these feelings pass in their time, but until they do I am manipulated by their every whim.

I find myself looking for something that will not pass, and I’ve begun to find it in little things. The love of the people closest to me, the way green tea makes me feel, my love of butt-jokes, or the warmth of sweaters. I’m also starting to understand that there are some things that do not pass. Hope, Joy, Peace. These promise not to fade as time goes on, they’re less a feeling and more of a mindset.

I’m starting to see a change in my life. I can see things differently. I’d like to write a little bit more about this later, but I’m feeling a change even in my brain chemistry. So I’m trying to get in the mindset of Joy and Peace. I don’t really know how to do that, but I think it comes with just looking at the world with a more positive outlook. So we’ll see.

Love you!

Abby

A hard day. 34 to go…

Today was the hardest day I’ve had in a long time. I don’t have days like this very often, but sometimes I am held down by the weight of my depression and I physically cannot make myself get out of bed. I haven’t questioned my desire to continue to exist on this earth in a long time, but today I couldn’t convince myself that living was really worth it. I stayed in bed until mid afternoon. I sat in the shower and cried because I could feel the physical ache of my sadness in my stomach. I couldn’t make myself eat anything or drink anything. It’s so hard to explain to someone who has never felt this way but it’s as though I was fighting with myself to keep breathing.

I fight it every day. The hopelessness, the loneliness. I have to shake it off every day, but some days it just gets the better of me.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: the worst part of feeling like this is that nothing set me off. Sure, life is stressful and things are hard right now, but that wasn’t the problem. So on top of feeling like death I’m frustrated with myself for feeling the way I do. I feel like my heart is breaking and my bones are hollow and I don’t know why. I know that I’m deeply loved, I know that my life has meaning, I know that the sun still shines.

This inability to explain my feeling often leads to me isolating myself. I have a deep fear of being too needy in my closest relationships and driving people away from me. I also live in a sort of constant fear of people seeing what a mess I am and deciding that I’m too much to handle. So I don’t talk about it. I just try to manage it myself and end up feeling even further away from the people I love. I’ve been really struggling to remember the words Meesh said to me this summer:

this is not your fault, this is not some weakness that you have, this is just a hard thing in life that you are going through

I’ve been trying to remind myself of this, and I know it’s true, but it’s so hard to believe some days. I can’t help but look at the people around me and wonder why I can’t be happy and functional like them. I can’t help but wish that I was different. It feels like a weakness. It feels like just one more way that my body is failing me, and this time it’s my mind. It’s just one more thing to scare people off. It’s just one more reason that I’m undesirable. It’s just one more way I’m not good enough.

I did get out of bed today. It took everything in me, but I did it. I got up, I showered, I ate something, I washed some dishes, I talked to my roommates, I wrote this. I was able to find the will to keep going. Yea, it was a hard day, but I did it. And I’m slowly learning how to hate myself less and how to find the motivation within myself to go on. It was a hard day, and I’m tempted to say that it was a bad day, but I know it’s days like today that are making me better. I’m learning from days like this and I’m growing from them. They’re teaching me to see hope. They’re reminding me that I’m still loved and still alive. So I’ll ask you to stick with me through the hard days. Stick with me when I don’t know if I’m going to make it to tomorrow. Because you’re helping me get through these days. You’re reminding me that there is hope. You’re reminding me that you still love me and I’m still alive.

Maybe it was a hard day, but it wasn’t a bad day. I’m getting better.

Love you!

Abby

The People’s Climate March. 38 to go…

If you know me at all, you know that I’m a crazy, dirty, hippie-dippie tree hugger. Well, a couple weekends ago I had the amazing experience of going to the People’s Climate March held in New York City. There were over 400,000 people there marching to see action taken about how we deal with climate change. It was easily one of the most beautiful, encouraging, and life changing things I’ve ever done.

I went on this trip with three of my dear friends, Sarah, Evan, and Grace. It started with a crazy six hour car ride filled with FIDLAR, Pat The Bunny, and Lana Del Rey. We arrived at the church we were staying at and met our amazing hosts Dan and Stephanie, dropped our stuff and went for a stroll around Central Park and then caught the metro to Chinatown to get the most amazing sesame pancakes I’ve ever had at a place called Prosperity Dumpling. We then came back to the church and passed out on the floor.

We woke up bright and early the next morning to get our stuff together and hop on the metro to get to our spot in the march. I was super excited to be going to the march, but I didn’t realize what an impact it was going to have on me. I saw someone carrying a sign that said “I’m marching for a better world” and that was the first time I cried that day.

10488005_840455185973914_4075154972056020718_nI had the amazing opportunity to march with the Lady Liberty puppet from Occupy Wall Street and built by The People’s Puppets.

So much of the day was filled with tears. At one point people began singing “we’ve got the whole world in our hands,” and later people began chanting “I BELIEVE THAT EARTH WILL WIN” and after that “WE ARE UNSTOPPABLE, A BETTER WORLD IS POSSIBLE” and I just cried through so much of it. I honestly didn’t know how else to express all the things I was feeling.

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This little girl holding this sign made me sob like an idiot

10689790_10153176254324972_8742835347751337068_nI took about a million pictures throughout the course of the day, but this is one of my favorites. The signs we saw were all so inspiring.

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Peacin’ with Lady Liberty herself

I was so overwhelmed by all of the people who were so determined to see our world changed. People who believe that protecting our planet is worth it. There is change coming and we are the people to make it happen. There were so many beautiful people there who cared about so many beautiful things.

I wish I knew better how to write about how beautiful it was. How to express how inspired I am to change our planet for the better and to continue speaking out about the importance of protecting the planet that sustains us.

I love you!

Abby

I can breathe again. 40 to go…

This is my 700th post on this blog. Give me a minute to let that sink in. 700. What? I can’t even begin to wrap my mind around a number that big. I want to thank everyone who has taken the time to read any of those 700 posts and all those who have stuck with me through so many good and hard moments over the past four years (I had my four year blog-aversary a couple weeks ago. Crazy right?) You’re all so wonderful.

So it’s already been almost three weeks since I’ve gotten back to school and they have been three crazy, exciting, hard, confusing weeks. I’ve found myself getting really homesick and really struggling to feel at home here. I found myself lying awake at night and just crying about the littlest things. I really wasn’t prepared to feel like this. In fact, I was really annoyed with myself for feeling the way I did. I couldn’t understand why I couldn’t just be happy and content where I was.

Well I had applied for a couple of jobs and this Tuesday I got an email saying I had been hired to work at the Telefund for my school, calling alumni and talking about the school. As I read this email I suddenly burst into tears. The sort of relieved, joyful tears that you just can’t stop. I just sat in my room and cried for hours. I felt the weight of the world lifted off of my shoulders. I knew that I had been stressed about finances and the thought of paying for college, but I didn’t realize how much it was affecting me. I didn’t realize how alone and stranded I was feeling.

One thing I really struggled with last semester and this summer was feeling like God had abandoned me. That he could hear me but didn’t care enough to respond. That he had somehow decided that I wasn’t worth his time or love. Things had begun to change at the end of the summer, but I think I was still dealing with the remnants of those feelings. This job did not come as an answer to prayers, because I’ll admit that I gave up on praying months ago, but it came as a gift: an answer to the terrified prayers I couldn’t speak.

Money has never been something I’ve concerned myself with, I just don’t typically worry about it. But since starting college every once in a while I will start to think about the amount of debt I have already and the fact that it is growing at this very moment and I want to throw myself in front of a train. I live in constant fear of running out of money to pay for school, rent, and food and having to drop out of college and die alone as an uneducated loser. It sounds dramatic, but these are the honest fears I have. These are the fears that are too real to talk about.

So as I’m reading this email saying I got this silly job and I’m sobbing I felt the warmest, gentlest hug I’ve ever felt in my life. I knew it was God’s promise to me that I’m not going to drop out and die alone, and that I’m not going to have to go through this alone. I know this year is going to be full of amazing and difficult things but I know I’m not alone.

I’ve been walking on air for the past couple of days. Everything has been beautiful and happy and I’m just so content in all areas of my life. It’s like I can breathe again. I’m so deeply blessed.

Love you always!

Abby