Home is Wherever I’m with You

Home is Wherever I’m with You

Have you ever felt alone in a crowded room?  There was just something in you that told you that you didn’t belong here but everyone else did.  If you’ve ever felt that way, you know that it is the most heartbreaking and isolating feeling. You just feel like you don’t belong anywhere.

 

This feeling of belonging is something we constantly are all searching for.  It’s a feeling of love and appreciation and acceptance. It’s feeling like in that moment in time, you are exactly where you need to be.  

 

Sometimes, having multiple friend groups from different parts of our lives can complicate this.  If I belong somewhere, can I still belong where I have been before? Can I belong with my high school friends if I truly belong at Georgetown?

 

Yes.  Each community may love and appreciate us in different ways, but this is so essential for us to be a whole person and to love ourselves.  You can be loved in different ways.

 

Where do I belong?

 

I belong at Georgetown.  The people here are so influential for shaping exactly who I am.  At the newspaper, they push me to grow professionally and to stand strong for what I believe in.  My sorority sisters are a huge aspect of my support system: they cheer and root for me. I belong with people who help and support me to grow.

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Women of The Hoya, Georgetown’s student newspaper.

I belong with my Disney community.  They saw me not for my plans and achievements, but for the love I was willing to give the world.  I belong with people who remind me to show love to the world and remain empathetic, even when I’m scared of being open.  

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Magic Kingdom, April 2018

I belong with my friends from high school debate. These friends have watched me grow from a young and confused teenager to a slightly less confused young adult and have stood by for every phase.  I belong with people who watch me grow and love me anyway.

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Yale Debate tournament, September 2015

I belong with my childhood best friends. They know me for my best and my worst.  They’ve seen my weird phases and even joined in.  I belong with people who don’t judge me, no matter what.

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My 13th birthday, July 2011.

There is not one way to love.  Different people in life will love us in different ways, but each time it is just as valuable and just as important.  That love is a sign that we belong.

 

If you’re reading this and are struggling with feeling like you don’t have a place in this world, please know that isn’t true.  You have so many people who love you and appreciate you and with you belong with. They may not all be located in the same place, but they love and care about you.

 

If you ever feel alone and need someone to talk to you, reach out to me.  

 

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In Defense of Procrastination

In Defense of Procrastination

In our world today that values productivity so intensely, you could say there really isn’t room for procrastination.  Everything is about do more tasks in a shorter period of time. Use more lists, try new work methods– do whatever you have to do to get more accomplished.  

 

I commonly fall into the trap that is the quest for infinite productivity.  If I work hard and long enough, maybe, just maybe, I’ll stumble upon the holy grail of efficiency and I won’t need breaks any longer and I won’t struggle with getting tasks done with the hours I am given in a day.

 

Unfortunately, this quest will always be for naught and in the process, you’ll only hurt yourself.  Procrastination has been unnecessarily demonized and expanded to encompass everything that isn’t being explicitly done to further one’s own productivity.  

 

If you feel burnt out but know you have a series of tasks due in the next week, procrastinating your work by taking a break is not a bad thing.  Sometimes, you need to take a break and push the work off for later: it’s the only way you remain sane.

 

This Saturday, I felt overly exhausted after a week of having been sick and pushing through to get all my work done.  I just felt drained. So I didn’t start a paper, but rather I watched This is Us and The Chilling Adventures of Sabrina.  I chose not to beat myself up for taking this day off: I needed a day to relax and recharge.  I knew that if I continued to push myself, I would not perform well and my productivity would plummet.

 

Further, we lose our way when we don’t occasionally push something off.

 

A friend recently asked me if I’m doing what I love right now.  Am I giving myself to what I’m passionate about or am I just on the hamster wheel of life?  When we don’t take breaks and give ourselves room to breathe, we lose sight of what we love.  We always are thinking of the next task and looking forward that we miss the opportunity to experience the present moments.

Procrastination does not have to be a demon in one’s life that stops you from doing what’s important.  Rather, it’s a tool to accomplishing tasks while taking care of yourself.

 

You are not a robot.  You are not an energizer bunny.  You are a person who deserves your own time.  You are not behind. You are right on-time. You are doing just fine, even when you take a few hours off.

 

Lessons from Writer’s Block

Lessons from Writer’s Block

I’ve started four different blog posts tonight, but none of them are finished.  Tonight, I am struggling to find the words to say as ideas swim around in my head.  I’m suffering from writer’s block.

Throughout my life, I’ve periodically suffered from writer’s block.  As a kid, writing was my greatest escape and then… I would lose my words.  Suddenly, writing would not be a refuge, but a nightmare. In college, I’ve rarely taken time to write creatively, but when I’ve tried to journal, I have found myself unable to say anything.

I usually lose my words when I get stressed out.  This is the time when I am craving the escape and joy that comes along with writing, but I can’t seem to reach the words to communicate the ideas I have in my head.  They all sit on the tip of my tongue, but as I try to put them to paper, they all disappear.

I usually beat myself up when I get writer’s block.  How can I be incapable of doing something I love so much? Why do I struggle so much in these times of stress with the one activity that should come naturally to me?  How can I be so stupid to call myself a writer but have no words?  How can I be so stupid, in general?

We’ve all been there.  We bully ourselves because we didn’t meet an expectation we set for ourselves.  We define ourselves by our ability to do one task and one task alone.  And in these moments, we see ourselves as failures.

We are so much more than that though.  I am not just a blog, but a person with struggles and experiences.  My intelligence is far more than just the blog posts I publish and yet, I allow my inability to write to completely discount myself.

I want to change the way I talk to myself and view myself.  This isn’t an easy task, but it’s essential on my self-care journey. Today, I’m telling myself that it’s okay to struggle.  It’s okay that I missed a day of posting on the blog.  It’s okay that I can’t find the words to describe all that I’m feeling right now.

I am allowed to struggle and it doesn’t mean I’m stupid or unworthy of love or respect.  

It means I’m human and that’s okay.

Finding Your Way Forward from a Friendship Break-Up

Finding Your Way Forward from a Friendship Break-Up

You thought you had a friend forever, but lately, you’ve been feeling otherwise.  Maybe you’ve been gradually growing apart from your friend or maybe you had a bad fight that’s making you question this friendship.  Whatever happened, you’re suddenly sad and confused and missing your support system. We’ve all been there. It’s a friendship break-up.

Society doesn’t treat friendship break-ups like it does romantic break-ups.  When you end a relationship, it’s ok to stay in bed for a week and eat nothing but chocolate.  When you end up a friendship, you’re supposed to keep moving like nothing is wrong even though you’re struggling because you’re missing an integral part of your support system.  I’ve been there.

 It’s not easy to get through.  Friends are the people we share everything with, from our screaming rants to our achievements and joys to our bitter break-downs.  We open up to them and show them us at our core, our most vulnerable.  When a friend chooses to walk away after having truly seen you, it feels like you’re going to fall apart entirely.  You won’t.  

Friendship break-ups hurt so much, but they are survivable.  I know how you feel and I have gotten through those low moments when suddenly, your whole world is changing.

So what do I do to get through my friendship breakups?

  • Take some time alone.  It’s ok if all you want to do is cry because you miss your friend.  Go ahead and cry.  Don’t be afraid to grieve your friendship.  Your friendship meant a lot to you– that doesn’t change over night.  Let yourself experience the hurt, don’t push it under the carpet– you’ll only end up feeling all those emotions later.  Take the time alone to process how you’re feeling and what you want to do going forward.  Maybe, you want to try to make up your friend or maybe, you just want to move on. Take the time you need to think it through and know that whatever decision you make, it will be okay.

 

  • Talk to another friend. Talking to a friend helps give some perspective.  I always try to talk to two different people: one who knows me and the friend who I’m having issues with and one who doesn’t know the other person.  Having the perspective of someone who knows me on my own and in reference to the friendship always helps me find clarity.   Additionally, whenever I go through a friendship break-up, I feel like I lost everyone, even if it’s only one person leaving my life.  Talking to friends reminds me that I’m not alone and I have people who love and support me still in my life.
  • Do a ‘self-care’ activity.  No matter how bad I feel, I feel better with a face mask on.  So, when I feel down- I do a face mask. Do something small that makes you happy- whether it’s baking cookies, painting your nails, or going to a yoga class.   It might seem silly, but when you feel down, you need to remind yourself that you deserve good treatment and are worthy of love from others and yourself.
  • When in doubt, Netflix binge. I’ve never had an emotional problem that can’t be better by watching Netflix.  My go-to show when I’m feeling down is Gilmore Girls. I always feel like Rory and Lorelai get where I’m at and that’s comforting.  I’m also a big fan of binging Disney movies and bad romantic comedies. Find what makes you feel good.

gilmore girls

  • Sleep. A recurring problem you’ll hear about on this blog is my tendency to cut hours of sleep in order to get more things done in a day.  This might be good for my academics, but it’s not so good for my emotional health. Everything feels better with some sleep- it gives you time process and heal.

 

Those are my five tips for getting through a friendship break-up but like always, it isn’t one size fits all.  Every friendship is different and every end is also different. No matter your situation, make sure you’re taking time for yourself and your feelings. Most importantly, remember:

Your friendship ending does not mean you are not a good or deserving person.  It means this specific friendship doesn’t work at this point in your life. It says nothing about the type of person you are.

 

Self-Care Meets Social Media

Self-Care Meets Social Media

I love social media.  I love Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and even LinkedIn.  Despite my love for these social networks, they aren’t always good for my mental health.  However, I’ve tried to do social media cleanses and those also are not good for my mental health.  So how do I go through my life with the constant flux of information about my friends, other bloggers, and celebrities being thrown at me?  Here’s my few tips on how to live healthily with social media as a main part of your life.

 

    • Recognize that social media is a highlight reel. This is the most cliche tip I could ever give, but it’s the one that’s made the biggest impact in my life.  The social media network that I struggle with the most is LinkedIn, where I always feel like I can’t measure up to other people’s successes.  And yet, I know that everyone feels that way. Everyone is putting up the best title they can think of and writing a description that makes them sound most important on LinkedIn, while the truth is, no one has it that figured out at eighteen, twenty, or even twenty-five.  Recognizing this fact has made it that I don’t have a mini-freak out about the direction of my life every time I log into LinkedIn.
    • Decide what content matters to you.  There is so much going on on social media that it’s hard to make sense of at times.  You end up viewing content that isn’t relevant to you, but now it feels like it should be.  Tailor your social media to you and what you want from different platforms. On my twitter, for example, I mainly follow news outlets and not as many people I know.  I want to use twitter as a platform to hear about the greater world around me. I’ve also set my Facebook so that I see lighter content there– I am a big fan of the Dogspotting Society.  My Instagram is the place where I most embrace seeing my friends’ content. Having each platform have different content, it allows me to focus in on what matters to me when and also, escape the content that overwhelms me.
    • Think about why you’re on social media. This tip has been one of the ones to challenge me most.  Why am I on social media other than the fact that everyone is today?  For me, I’ve found it’s a genuine love for getting to connect with others in a format that gives me a peek into their lives.  I want to pursue a career in social media marketing and it’s because of the connections that you can form through social media that motivate me.
    • Make your content real.  I am as much a fan of Huji and photo-editing apps as the next girl, but it’s important that your content shows your reality and not what you wish your life looked like.  If you had a horrible time at the party last night, don’t post the photo of you smiling just because you feel like you should. Post the real moments: the candids that weren’t staged, the smiles because you actually are having a great time, and if you dare, post the imperfect moments too.  Don’t create an Instagram that doesn’t even reflect your life.
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One of my favorite photos: it’s blurry and we are drenched from the rain, but it was a moment where we were all genuinely having fun.  I posted this to my Instagram Story.
    • Believe in yourself.  One of the reasons social media can be so difficult is that its a physical representation of validation.  You can count how many people think you’re pretty though ‘likes’ and ‘reacts.’ I know I fall into this habit, specifically with twitter, where I want people to retweet me so I feel smart.  Ultimately, you have to believe you are beautiful and smart, even if no one likes your photo or tweet. You have to recognize that this platform isn’t indicative of your worth as a person and you deserve success and love.

 

I hope these five tips help you as you navigate through this social media age we live in.  Just remember, no matter what your social media looks like or how many people liked your last Instagram: you are enough.

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This is usually what my Huji looks like before I post any photo- it has a lot of the outtakes.

 

Slow down, you crazy child

Slow down, you crazy child

I promised this blog would be the honest truth.  I promised it would be my successes and my failures.  It would be the lessons that I’ve learned and the mistakes I keep making.  Today’s post was originally supposed to be tips for surviving midterm season without running yourself into the ground.  When I wrote it though, something felt wrong. It didn’t feel authentic. And, that’s because this midterm season has been a failing for me when it comes to self-care.

I have done exactly what I advocate against: I’ve sacrificed sleep for end results.  This last week, I’ve felt completely stretched too thin between my internship, school, and my extracurricular activities.  And because of this overcommitment, I haven’t felt able to truly enjoy any of it.  There’s always something else I have to do looming overhead.

Self-care is a journey.  It’s not always an uphill road– sometimes, you make great leaps forward towards a healthier and happier you.  And sometimes, you fall into ways you know aren’t healthy because you feel you have to.

 

Acknowledging that you’ve made a mistake is an important step though moving forward on this journey.

 

So, what are my next steps?

First, I have to learn to rein myself in.  It’s easy to overcommit and want to give all you have to every task you take on.  At least for me though, this isn’t realistic. I need to start taking steps back and recognizing when a day or weekend looks too full.  It’s okay to say no to activities.

Second, I need to listen to my own advice.  The following were the tips I had written down for surviving midterms:

  1. Sleep
  2. Do something outside of your work for thirty minutes
  3. Spend time with people
  4. Ask for help

Most of my issues this week came because I didn’t follow any of those tips.  Two weeks ago during my first two midterms, I did follow those tips and they worked– even though I was stressed, I didn’t feel the exhaustion I feel right now.  I advise you also follow those tips, because they do make life better.

And finally, I have to not beat myself up.  I had a rough week. I made some mistakes. But, I also had some great successes.  Starting this blog has been a dream of mine for months now, but this week, I finally made it happen.  Every hour I’ve devoted to it this week has been an hour that has made me incredibly happy. This week was a success, if just for the blog.

I’d like to end this post with a lyric from the same song that the title is taken from: Vienna by Billy Joel.

“It’s alright, you can afford to lose a day or two.  When will you realize, Vienna waits for you?”

No More Excuses, Do What You Love

No More Excuses, Do What You Love

“There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do once you find them.”

This lyric played through my headphones as I sat in our student lounge, trudging through a never-ending to do list and feeling a bit disheartened.  The last few weeks have been stressful here at Georgetown: it’s midterm season and I somehow got lucky enough to have midterms nearly weekly for an entire month.  I’m in week three now and am feeling exhausted by the constant high level stress and my never ending to-do list, daily activities, and projects that seem to pile up quite effortlessly.

 

This lyric made me think though: what do I want to do?  If I had all the time in the world right now, what would I do?

 

I would travel.  I have no idea where I’d travel to: I’d get in a car and just drive.  I’d go to the airport and just buy a ticket.  I’d go anywhere, exploring this amazing world we get to live in.

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Exploring the Magic Gardens in Philadelphia.

 

I would visit every museum I could find.  I am a huge history nerd, with a passion for learning everything I can about the past.  I love quirky and different museums and would love to explore every museum the world has, if I could.

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Having fun at the Met, my favorite museum, in the modern art section.

I’d read for pleasure- this summer, I rediscovered my love of reading by challenging myself to read a book a week.  Since being back at school, I’ve read only for classes- I miss reading as an escape from the world, not because of it.  

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The Nest was one of the books I read this summer as a part of my challenge.

 

I’d bake enough baked goods to practically run a bakery.  I’d call my mom and ask for all her recipes and try to master them all.

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Christmas cookies- a favorite family recipe.

I’d write a book.  I’ve always dreamed of writing a book and say I’m going to try every November, but life always happens and I feel like I don’t have the time.

 

Why don’t I do these things?  I’ve recently found myself saying to myself, “after midterms, we’ll bake cookies,” or “once I get through this test, I can read again.”  Life is always going to be busy.  There’s always going to be another thing to get through.  One thing will lead to another and suddenly it’s been two years of your life.  My reading challenge was prompted this summer by realizing that I had read two books for pleasure in the last two years, after having been an avid reader my entire life.

 

It’s time to start incorporating the things I love back into my life, no matter how busy I may feel.  It’s time for us all to start prioritizing our own happiness and passions in our lives, instead of just a list of tasks we feel obligated to complete daily.    

 

I’m going to try to visit a museum at least once a month, bake some sort of treat every other Sunday, and read at least one book for pleasure a month.  This blog is bringing writing back into my life, a love that I thought I had previously lost in my life. It’s not the constant that I would do with endless time in the world, but it brings the things I’m passionate about back into my life.  That’s self-care: learning to balance what you want to do and what you have to do.

 

Make time to do something you want to do this this week, for no other purpose than you want to do it.  I’ll end this post with the classic Ferris Bueller quote:

 

“Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in awhile, you could miss it.”