Self Awareness

I’ve recently realized that I’m becoming more self-aware and I’m learning that self-awareness is good.  It’s really cool to know things about yourself! This might seem silly to some of you. But as someone who group up as a submissive person in a house hold with strong dominant personalities, I didn’t know a whole lot about myself until  recently. I didn’t know anything about myself until I struck out on my own. And that was so challenging that for a while I didn’t learn a whole lot about myself, I was busy going through the motions and doing everything that someone in my situation was “supposed” to do. (i.e. go to college, join a sorority, make friends, be happy, graduate college, etc.) It’s only been the last four or so years that I’ve had the guts to follow my heart and go after what I want. This has taught me that sometimes learning about yourself is a process of trial and error. Below are some things I have recently learned about myself. I’m recording them here in hopes that I will remember them and that you can hold me accountable.

1. I feel more confident when my nails are nicely manicured. Why would my sense of self-worth be tied to the color on my fingernails you ask? Beats me. I’m not that self-aware. I think, because I perceive painted nails to be superfluous and a bit of a luxury (they’re not exactly utilitarian), it makes me feel like I really have my life together if I’ve planned out and taken the time to make my nails look nice. And this feeling that I have my life together makes me feel good about myself.

2. Online dating is not for me. I’ve had a hard time with this one. Sometimes I feel like I’m not meeting any cool, single, christian guys. So then I join Christian Mingle, or go on OkCupid. I start to get lots of messages from admirers. Some of them think I’m in need of “severe discipline” (creeper) and others boldly declare that I am beautiful and they are the man of my dreams (“hopefully I’m not coming on too strong”). I feel admired and attractive for approximately 10 seconds, and then I realize it’s weird. It just feels so unnatural. I almost got coffee with this one guy I’d been emailing for a while but I totally wigged out. I’ve actually done this a few times, create dating profile, e-mail for a few weeks, decide it’s weird, deactivate profile. Don’t get me wrong, I think doing things that push you out of your comfort zone is really healthy and necessary for growth. I also think that sometimes we should trust our intuition. In this case, I believe my irrational fear of actually meeting this man in real life, and my on again off again relationship with online dating in general, is God’s way of telling me this is not His plan for me. And so……I’ll go back to “waiting on His timing” whatever the heck that means.

3. I feel most confident when wearing make up, and THAT’S OKAY. This girl is not in the best shape of her life. I’m not sleeping well and most days I don’t drink enough water. So I don’t wake up with glowing skin like the girls in all those stupid Neutrogena commercials (don’t they have real life problems?!). This is why God invented make up and sent us Bobbi Brown. I will no longer feel guilty for wanting to wear make up.

4. Music makes me feel alive. Anyone who’s known me for any period of time knows that I like music. I like to listen to it, I like to sing to it, I like to experience it in all of it’s many forms. I’ve recently realized that I feel most alive when I’m experiencing music. Like Taylor Swift in her “You Belong With Me” video, my true self is 16 years old dancing around her room in her pajamas singing into a hairbrush. 13 year old me even had those dorky glasses. When I allow myself to give into that desire and be my truest self, I’m happy and feel alive.

That’s it for now folks. I’ll keep you apprised of my new self-discoveries as they present themselves, but I feel confident that I have enough on this list to keep me busy for a little while. And sometimes self-discovery can be scary, so we’re just gonna take it one step at a time.

Overcomer

Hey friends, So this is gonna be short and sweet. This whole grad school thing has been a bit of a roller coaster. This past summer I was rejected by a school I was “sure to get in”. Not only was I rejected, but my application was never even reviewed, because I have a low undergrad GPA. Two weeks ago I went in to talk to an admissions counselor at another school. He told me to my face that most likely no one would look at my application because of my undergrad GPA. I’ve felt pretty low.

And then something happened yesterday that reminded me where I came from. I am so much more than my scholastic track record, but here’s my academic history in short.

I was diagnosed with ADD when I was 7 years old. I graduated high school with an Advanced Diploma ranked 6th in my class of 500. I then continued my education at the college I didn’t think I would be able to get into. I was diagnosed with depression my sophomore year. My junior year, it got really bad, like sleeping 20 hours a day bad. And by the grace of God, I still managed to graduate from a REALLY good school ON TIME. I worked hard to accomplish that. But none of it would have been possible on my own. My God was and still is bigger than any of the obstacles in my way.

This Mandisa song has been making the rounds on Christian Radio lately and I really like it. I realized today, that I too am an Overcomer. The world may choose to look at me and see a 2.45 GPA. But I will choose (at least on the good days) to see a child, loved dearly by her Heavenly Father, who has overcome.

My prayer is that you would take a little time today to think back on the obstacles you’ve overcome and celebrate the victories in your life (no matter how small). Praise God and treat yourself, because you are an overcomer.

Coming Out– Part 1

So yesterday (10/11) was National Coming Out Day. As I was reading over some of my favorite blogs and news sites this idea of coming out really stuck with me. Over the past few weeks I’ve been setting goals and making plans. I’ve been kicking ass and taking names if you will. But I have not felt that I was being true to myself.

I’ve always taken pride in being a passionately free-spirited, socially liberal, Jesus loving nomad of life. These are the qualities that I wanted my identity to be based on. In my romanticized self image I’m comfortable with the unknown of my career. I’ve always been confident that I’d go wherever God called me and do whatever He called me to do. He wants me to move to South Africa and start a church? Sure I’ll be game! Go to Hawaii and learn to live happily ever after in paradise loving my brothers and sisters in Christ? Done! Well….God called this girl to grow up a little.

Turns out, crazy free-spirited dreams don’t just become reality. We have to make our dreams happen. And so, I’ve recently realized that my “free-spiritedness” was just a name I put on my reluctance to plan. I didn’t want to plan because I was afraid my plan wouldn’t work. By my irrational logic, if I didn’t have a plan, or a goal, I couldn’t fail.

So I recently acknowledged and decided to go after one of my dreams. I am currently in the process of applying to graduate school to receive my masters in counseling so I can become an LPC, Licensed Professional Counselor. I’m super excited about this goal. And I’ve made a plan. I know what I need to do to reach my goal and I am working the plan y’all. And it feels good. I’ve been studying for the GRE for the past few weeks instead of working (not ideal, but it’s something) and doing whatever needs to be done to get my application in and onto some big shots desk. Working this plan has left me feeling a little uninspired.

So you know what? I’m coming out*. I’m owning the fact that I need to be organized and plan. I’m not this 100% bohemian, free love, hippie dippie person that I romanticized myself into. But I’m also not a type A, color inside the lines kinda girl, I’m a special combination of both, and that’s what I love about me.

 

*I want to clarify that I have no intention of trivializing the challenge that is “coming out” in a traditional sense with regards to sexuality. There will be much more of that in my next post.

Adventures into the Abyss (and back out again)

As I was getting ready to pray and then drift off into dreamland I realized with horror (no really, horror) that I hadn’t posted in ages. And I am determined to make this blog work. So tonight’s post isn’t going to be super insightful or thought provoking but it will be honest. Because that is what I have to offer up tonight. There’s a few reasons I haven’t been blogging and both of them are bad. Not because it is inherently bad for me to not be blogging, but because they are reflections of unhealthy trends in my life.

First of all, my depression has reared it’s ugly head and de-railed me for a couple of weeks. I came to terms with this reality in my last session with my therapist who harshly, and with love, told me “Annie, you are not as well as you say or think you are”. It took me about a day to process and come to terms with this but the truth is she was right. After I accepted the reality I knew I had to get back on track so I had to really streamline for a couple of days. Get done the bare minimum of work that needed to be accomplished and focus the rest of my energy on self care. Unfortunately, that meant the blogging (and spending time with family, and being social, and laundry, and extra curricular activities) did not happen.

Secondly, I have not been living thoughtfully. Partly because I’ve been so drained by just going through the motions, but also because I forgot to take the time to bask in the beauty of each day. I forgot that each new sunrise is an incredible blessing and tells a story of grace and new beginnings.

Tonight in my AWESOME community group we talked about prayer. A dear friend of mine talked about being intentional in prayer, and let me tell you, I have not been doing that. When I am intentional in my prayer my blogs are so much better (at least I think so, but maybe I’m biased…). Because I am in relationship with the great and mighty king and He is teaching me so much about his creation and his children. When I begin my day with intentional prayer my entire outlook changes. I notice things that would have otherwise gone un-noticed. I get a little love letter from God when the sunset is painted just so and I know, he created something beautiful to give to me, His beloved daughter. And when I have those moments, I want to come here, and share them with you, because they are love letters to you as well. I am full of joy when I think about sharing my life and my struggles with you. I truly believe that this blog will be life giving. And because my blogs are a reflection of my prayer life and my living intentionally on God’s great earth I am issuing a small call to action. Friends, keep me accountable. If you read my blog and notice that I’m not posting. Text me, call me out. Tell me you’ve noticed and you want to make sure I’m being intentional in my time with God. And pray for me.

This past few weeks I have ventured off course and reached a dead end. But I have turned around and am finding my way back, because I know there are great, happy, positive adventures that God has planned for me and I can’t wait to find out what they are.