Almost There!

3 days until this semester is complete for me, and I am officially a 3rd year in college. I will be halfway done with undergrad soon! It’s an exciting time for me.

I’ve got a few finals and a few papers that I need to complete, but I have been slowly cleaning up my dorm room in anticipation of moving to a house off campus for my junior year. My house mates are great, and I get a room that is about 1.5 times larger than my dorm room all to myself!

I’m also going to be getting a car. I’m psyched! I can’t wait for the freedom that comes with. It will allow me to have a summer job, and buy groceries, and get to school without much fuss. I’m not looking forward to the bills, but those come with any privilege, so it shouldn’t be that big of a deal. Hopefully. I know insurance is expensive, especially for a young driver like me, but it’s worth it.

My parents will be in town in a few days for my sister’s graduation. She’s graduating premed, and I’m so proud of her. She will spend the next year applying for med school. She’s also moving in with her boyfriend. There are a lot of changes coming for our family, but it will be fun to see my parents try to readjust to the shifts in life.

There are so many amazing things coming up, but for now, I need to focus on my finals! I already had two, and I know for sure I have an A in my Exceptional Learners class (which is great, because it’s in my major). No idea for Core, though. I hate that class- along with my history class. At least it’s over, right? I’m hoping for B’s in those two, and A’s in everything else. I need to maintain a decent GPA.

Wish me luck! (And if you are completing a school year, good luck on your exams as well!)

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Nostalgia

I found my first collar yesterday.

I hadn’t thought about it for years, and didn’t even realize it was a collar until I saw it. A little bell on a ribbon, before I even knew I was a sub. Before I even knew I was a pet.

I nearly puked. My first love, Angel, gave that to me. When he left, I was devastated. I was pathetic. I am ashamed to say I begged. Unknowingly, I had chosen my very first owner, who discarded me. It honestly still hurts.

My owner now, Clark, told me that it was my choice if I keep it or not. He knows I’m devoted to him. I love him with everything that I’ve got. He thinks it’s cute, but he still doesn’t really know the full history behind that little trinket.

I also loved Angel with everything I had back then. Which wasn’t a whole lot. Which is why today, if I saw Angel, I would be able to turn my back on him like he did on me. I am stronger now, and I know Clark isn’t Angel. But it still hurts a little, to know that I was rejected, despite offering up everything.

I have a better owner now, but it still sickens me to think of how I let myself be treated, as well as how I acted. I’m glad I grew up a bit. If I ever see him again, I can hold my head high now.

The jury is still out if I want to keep that bell and ribbon. It hurts to see it, but at the same time, it is evidence that I have been a pet for my whole life. Even before I knew it. Maybe I should keep it for my own sake, and remake how I see it. I can’t let Angel continue to drag me down. We will see. I will continue to talk to Clark about it and see what he thinks.

Don’t Forget your Weakness

As important as it is to remember your own beauty and strength, it’s also crucial to remember your weaknesses. You have so many things that are wonderful about you, but you are not perfect. I am far from perfect as well, and it’s important to embrace this.

Your beauty is a part of you, but flaws help to round you out. It’s human to have flaws, weaknesses, and make mistakes. Learning what your weaknesses are will help you to turn them into strengths or at least be more self aware.

I’ve got physical weaknesses. My skin isn’t the best- I get acne, and I can’t seem to shake it. I get horrible ingrown hairs, so I don’t shave often. I laugh a lot louder and longer than I should. I need to work out more, because I’ve got the second year seventeen going on. My body likes to betray me; I have frequent illnesses and weak spells.

I’ve got character flaws. I’m jealous, especially romantically. I’m too stubborn. I don’t deal with my emotions very well from lack of practice; I actually barely ever have actual emotions, which makes life hard for me. It’s difficult for me to connect to people emotionally because of my own struggles. I will stick up for anyone around me, but when it comes to myself, I let people walk on me. I procrastinate frequently, and don’t work as hard as I should. I have an awful temper.

I’m sure there are more of my own weaknesses in both of those categories, but those are the main ones. I’m ashamed of most of them. I’m aware of the fact that these aren’t necessarily desirable things, but I also know that the physical flaws are fleeting, and the character flaws (if tempered) can turn into strengths. But I think the most important piece of the process is acknowledging that you do have weaknesses, and it’s normal.

Again, no one is perfect. We are all works in progress, constantly tweaking things to see if we can do better. I change things up all the time. I work on my self control so that I can control my jealousy and temper, because Clark deserves a girlfriend who doesn’t freak out when he studies with other girls or blows up in arguments. I try to value myself more so that I can stand up for myself if I need to. I do a lot of reading on maintaining emotional health, and do a lot of thinking on how to regain and control my emotions. I actively seek out ways to improve myself, which is why I make progress.

I have so much beauty, and even some of my flaws are beautiful, because they help to shape my being. I’ve learned over the years that some will never completely go away, but developing control and other skills will temper my soul and character. Don’t put yourself down for your flaws; instead, you should try to analyze yourself and see what you could do to try to improve. It’s a hard journey, but rewarding.

Don’t Forget Your Beauty

I have beauty. We all do. Beauty is a hard thing to define, due to so many different cultural interpretations of it, but my own personal definition of beauty is anything that I admire, on myself, in myself, or on/in others. Beauty can be admirable character traits inside someone’s soul, the grace in their movement, or the way their hair curls softly. Beauty can be the arch of one’s instep, or lack thereof. Beauty can be in scars, and in tears, and in forgiveness.

In my amazingly busy life, I sometimes forget the fact that I am beautiful. I am beautiful, in my own unique way and I can see that beauty in myself. I was created beautiful, and each turn of life, each lesson I learn, each scar I earn, that’s my beauty. I wear my beauty with pride.

I inherited some of my beauty. The grace of my limbs, the curve of my brow, my eyelashes, my cheekbones, my jawline- I can’t take credit for. That is a gift from my parents, and from God. I find beauty in that they are not really my own, and yet I still have them. I have so many beautiful things about my physical form, despite some flaws. I am very young, but these traits won’t disappear as I grow older, only change. Aging doesn’t sap beauty out of youth- it merely transforms it into a new kind of grace. I look forward to observing the physical beauty in every stage of my life.

I created some of my beauty. The straightness of my teeth, the strength of my muscles, the direct gaze of my eyes- that I all helped to create. I find beauty in the fact that all of these things took significant effort. I didn’t appreciate the way they were before, crooked and crossed, but now they please me.

I learned some of my beauty. My loyalty, my tendency to self sacrifice, my adaptability- all of these I learned. I find beauty in the situations that I learned them from, the instinct of survival that helped to develop these traits.

I instill beauty in others. I lift self esteem, support those around me, help them become stronger. As I do this, I also write this beauty into my own heart, and hold those precious moments to me in troubling times.

Some beauty, I’m not quite sure where it comes from. The fire in my soul that trickles down into my eyes, my instinctual need to comfort and love others. The love in my smile. My compassion. The silence while I listen. The advice I give. The way I can change so quickly from only 20 years old to ancient and wise. I’m not sure where they come from, and I’m not sure how they work, but they are beautiful nonetheless.

I can’t forget that even though one of my greatest strengths is seeing the good in others, I must also see the good in myself. I am beautiful. I know this. I am quietly beautiful, and I will continue to be quietly beautiful. It matters because I need to know I am when I look in that mirror and see myself. Young, old, it doesn’t matter. I want to develop the beauty in my soul, because that’s what I can affect.

Remember that you have beauty. It is your own, it is unique, and it will comfort you to know it. Don’t lose sight of the fact that you are utterly unique, wonderful, and entirely beautiful. We are all beautiful, despite social and cultural standards, and we all should surround ourselves with people who see our beauty shine out.

Social Anxiety and the Workplace: My Story

Hello, all!

I’m writing this post in a down moment during work. It’s checkout day today for the labs, so it’s been super busy and I’ve come into contact with no less than 200 people in the past two hours. As you know, I have mild to moderate social anxiety. I also work a part time job that involves customer service.

It can be trying at times, especially when I don’t know where to locate something or find my manager to help me out. I tend to get flustered easily, and when that happens, my stutter comes back to make things worse. So I have made myself a little mental list of what to do when my mind stutters briefly or if I start to have an anxiety attack.

The first thing I do is try to draw in a deep breath or two. That will automatically help lower my blood pressure and heart rate, making me feel more relaxed. It also gives my mind a chance to stop skipping and catch up to the situation. I also paste a smile on my face. It distracts both me and the person I’m trying to assist, buying me a bit more time as well. I usually try to apologize lightly after I regain ability to speak, or make a joke. This lightens the mood and dispenses with any awkwardness that might develop while the person is waiting. I also start to do things with my hands, such as writing or shuffling papers. It gives the person something to look at, and gives me a chance to sort my thoughts.

These techniques are techniques for buying time and offsetting a panic attack in public. The best guard against an attack, for my job at least, is knowing where to find whatever the student is looking for. The more knowledge I have about what I am doing, the less anxiety I have while serving someone I don’t know. These things allow me to work quickly and efficiently during a really busy day like today, when I have students clamoring for new locks and replacement glassware. Being organized also helps me keep up with demand, as well as lets me know where everything is.

These techniques still don’t stop my stomach from churning, or my cold sweats. They don’t cure this- they only help me curb the symptoms. I still get a bit freaked out at the prospect of going to work, but I honestly think it’s good for me to be exposed to lots of people. Life is that way. I may have social anxiety, but I can’t hole myself up and never come out of my room. I have to interact, and this job helps to give me the skills to hide my anxiety. I may never shake my social anxiety, but I can manage it well. I won’t let my disease control my actions even more than it has already.

I hope you have a great day!

Birthday Blessings

I have had quite a few negative things happen to me of late, and so I’d like to take some time to count my blessings. This is an exercise I use to help calm my anxiety, or when I am overwhelmed or upset. I’ll keep it brief, but I hope it uplifts your day as much as mine will be uplifted.

The first blessing that I would like to offer thanks for is my wonderful family. My parents are absolutely amazing, and despite our occasional differences, I wouldn’t replace them for the world. They have raised me with a curious mind, an open heart, and lots of compassion for others, and so I have them to thank for my activism and social justice advocacy. My sister is also super amazing. She and I had lunch today, and she was kind enough to allow me to purge myself of some remaining bitterness regarding my crazy in-laws. She validates me and encourages me regularly, and for that, I am extremely appreciative. My little brother is very smart and blunt, and I can always rely on him to tell me the truth. I have an amazing family, and I love them very much.

I am also thankful for my wonderful friends. They let me mother them, and they appreciate me for the flawed person that I am. Whenever I am down, they never hesitate to help me get back onto my feet. They cheer me up and make me laugh, and I love and appreciate them very much as well.

I am thankful for Clark, who is an amazingly attentive and sensitive man. He knows exactly what I need to hear to become inspired again, and gives the best hugs. Without his support, I may not have ever discovered my own sexuality, and I know I would not have been able to grow in confidence and inner strength. He encourages me to continue fighting for others’ rights, and validates me regularly. I appreciate and adore him.

I am thankful for the time I have spent here, and for my second chance. I never thought I would see my 20th birthday, and here it is coming up on me in just under 2 weeks. It is amazing to see how far I have come, and for that I can only thank God. I can’t possibly express how wonderful my life is, even fraught with small problems. I am alive, I have a place to live and food to eat, I go to college, I’m about to get a car, and I am surrounded by people who care about me. My heart is so full that I don’t have any space for complaining about petty things.

I have everything I would ever need, and so I also would like to extend thanks to the schools that I am volunteering at. Those kids teach me as much as I teach them, and I love to watch them learn and know that I helped. They are precious, and they teach me new life lessons daily.

I very much appreciate my readers as well. It makes me feel so good to know that people are interested in what I have to say, and that some of my work is thought provoking. Thank you for listening to a young girl’s ramblings! It has been so helpful to be able to come on here to you and receive so much support for what I do. I love you guys, I hope you know that!

I hope you have a wonderful day! I know I will- I already feel better. If you feel down, try this because it works miracles.

Rachel 🙂