cleanse

I stopped using social media for a month and here are 9 positive lessons I learned:

  1. Enjoy the moments you get to be apart of and fully immerse yourself instead of wishing you recorded them for other people to see
  2. Don’t automatically pick up your phone during socially awkward moments of silence and dull conversation; put away and dive deeper
  3. Detach your self-worth from outward love and approval ; love yourself for who you are, and your body for what it is
  4. Be more intentional in your relationships and facilitate sincere conversations with people you think you know really well
  5. Don’t assume friends are doing well from photogenic pictures and 10-second videos; put meaning to ‘keeping in touch’
  6. Form your own opinions instead of cleverly articulating someone else’s
  7. Take pictures because you love them and want to capture the candidness life has to offer
  8. Let go of the pressure to persuade your followers how adventurous and artsy you can be; you are both
  9. Don’t compare your journey to others’ journeys; not everyone is getting married or working their dream job (there’s always a few that happen at the same time so it feels like everyone, but you are most likely in the majority)

A month isn’t a long time, but it made a significant difference. A month ago, I was waiting by my phone, hyper-vigilant about how many likes and views I was getting. I was watching friends’ Snapchat videos, wondering if I wasn’t invited because I wasn’t actually that likable. Every time I exited a social network, I’d open the next one, continuing this rotation of opening and closing apps as if anything would have changed within the last 15 minutes. Surprise! That cute couple is still together. That girl from college still turns up every weekend. That friend is still dancing in the car (LOL totally me)… Nothing ever changed. I was still me; they still them. But I noticed the more I used social media, the less content, less creative, and less confident I was. Scrolling through timelines became less about keeping up with people I cared about, and more of a place for self-loathing, pondering why my life didn’t look a certain way.

Gradually, I let these minuscule, fleeting things equate my value, and it’s a bad habit I think we all fall into every now and then. It’s hard when our world glorifies money, beauty, and success. But I know that my worth and my identity isn’t rooted in the things of this world; it’s rooted in Christ. He goes before me; to Him my heart belongs and in Him my treasure is stored. I know that I exude love and that I’m full of life and that I’m fearfully made and that I’m beautiful every single day, without the fashion and the makeup and the Insta likes. I just had to be reminded. And what a sweet reminder God’s love is.

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“Your beauty should not come from outward adornment, such as elaborate hairstyles and the wearing of gold jewelry or fine clothes. Rather, it should be that of your inner self, the unfading beauty of a gentle and quiet spirit, which is of great worth in God’s sight.” – 1 Peter 3:3-4

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thankful.

for the simplicity life can offer.

for a quiet night in where I can learn how to knit.

for the opportunity to start a new show on Netflix.

for being able to go out for a drink with my friends.

for a car and a parking spot that’s not far.

for the fact I can sit in my room in peace.

for not having to fear being displaced from my home.

for not being in an area where war is happening.

for not having to worry about my next meal.

for making it through the semester without giving up.

for getting paid extra by doing very little.

for a mom who helps me out when I’m struggling financially.

I know how to be positive. I try to take the time and appreciate the small things in my life. I love celebrating little triumphs, even if it’s finding $5 or completing something on my to-do list. When life is good, I’m good. But there are those seasons when life isn’t so good. In tough circumstances, I am neglectful, reclusive, and negative. I give up so easily, I don’t ask for help, and I get pretty ticked at God for not doing what I asked or wanted.

There are always going to be bad times where smiling, laughing, and rejoicing won’t feel right. Life is not catered to us. It’s important to smile now, laugh now, rejoice now, in the joys and simplicity of life. Take a moment and be thankful for the good things around you, in whatever situation you’re in. I’m working on it too.

a love that doesn’t leave

August 11th, 2014. Top 5 worst days of my life. My parents are away in Georgia, I’m moving back into college after living at home for a year, and the reality of my good friend Phil being killed in a car accident the day before decided to finally hit me.

Rewind to August 9th, 2014. Had such a fun time at our friend Denzel’s baby shower. His sister happens to be one of my best friends from high school. She goes to school over an hour away from us, so it was great seeing her and her family. The food was so SO good and Denzel was being his usual hilarious, ratchet self, and we got to catch up with high school friends. Phil, his best friend, shows up and immediately we all start cracking up. He looked high, which he probably was, but we didn’t care, we missed him so much! Haven’t got the chance to hang out since after high school graduation, so getting to catch up with him and his comedy was the best thing ever.

Fast forward back to August 11th, 2014. I’d been crying all morning. I didn’t want to leave my family. If anything, I needed them at that time. I didn’t want to live on campus. I didn’t want to train for a job, because I knew I would be surrounded by people that I didn’t know. How is it that someone I was just cracking jokes with could no longer be here? He wasn’t even driving, he didn’t do anything to deserve this. Are you kidding me, God? He’s seriously gone? I saw him two days ago HOW IS HE GONE. Just crying, sobbing, screaming. My siblings hugging and caressing me from all directions, trying to console me as I drive us to iHop for breakfast. I’m sure it was delicious, but I don’t remember, I lost my appetite.

 

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Super fast forward to the 2nd week of school, September 8th, 2014. Ate something contaminated a few days prior and cannot sleep because the pain in my stomach is so bad. Mom was working so I spent the night in the student health center (if you go to the University of Delaware, you know it’s a useless place). I had never in my life felt pain as bad as I did that night. Constantly wrenching in the bed, on the floor, in the bathroom. God knows what coming out of my body on both ends. I thought I was going to die. I thought that every ounce of liquid that was in me would leave my body and dehydrate me. I was so frustrated that I didn’t know what was wrong. I couldn’t sleep, I wasn’t allowed to eat, and no one there knew what to do with me. Even with the nurses best care and presence, I had never felt more confused and alone.

Couple of days later, my mom takes me to the hospital after my pain only gets worse. All the drugs I learn about in my pharmacology course actually became real, as my pain subsided and drowsiness came over me. Turns out I had an E. Coli infection that inflamed most of my digestive system, causing colitis. Lasted for 8 days, and took about a week for me to recover and get back to normal college student speed.

A couple days later, I read an article about a kindergartener who died that day because of an E. coli infection via her turkey sandwich.

And I’m alive?

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Fast forward to now, December 11th, 2014. Just took my last final and can officially begin my real junior courses next semester! Lost my way last year and unfortunately had to withdraw from one of the hardest nursing classes here, and was asked to leave an internship I got. But after several hot cocoas, long days, missed events, and cramped hands, I re-took the class and gracefully passed. I even get to return to my internship! Finished my 1st semester as a resident assistant also, which is such an accomplishment for someone as worry some as myself. Being handed this job was such a blessing, but it can be stressful at times. Having to be the head honcho on a floor of college students, when you really just want them to understand you are exactly like them, creates a lot of pressure. Pressure to be a good role model, pressure to be likable, but also pressure to do what needs to be done!

 

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All of this reflection, just to say that I am truly grateful to be blessed in the way that I am. This was just a small glimpse into my semester, but now that it’s come to an end I can’t believe I made it. The fact that I made it out of the hospital, the fact that despite my friend’s death, I still found joy in the relationships I have, the fact that all pain I’ve ever felt has been temporary, and that regardless of what happens in my life, God is still good. There was bitterness and negligence towards Him for awhile because I thought He had forgotten about me. I thought everything I’d been through was my own doing. But God seriously loves me more in a second moment than any one could ever in a lifetime. It took a rough semester for me to finally understand that, but I’m going to hold on tightly to that truth and carry it with me as I continue on!