Stick It Out

Oh, wow. My first semester at a real university has almost passed. Who knew you could learn SO much in such a short period of time? In a few months, I have learned more about myself than I even thought possible. Everything I thought I knew about myself, I didn’t know. I definitely didn’t give myself enough credit. It’s crazy how bad a person can need change without realizing change is what they need most. I could have comfortably stayed back home for the rest of my life. I could have found a purpose for myself. I could have made it work. I could have maintained a happy, healthy life. If I had never left, though, I would have never seen how the move I made to Richmond has opened up my life more than I could have ever imagined. I always knew change was an essential component to growth, but I had never experienced it in such a overwhelming and transformative way.

Thousands of people come from all over the world to one university. So many different personality types, spiritual backgrounds and lifestyles.. all in one place. Isn’t that amazing? We all came here for the same purpose- to find our purpose. What a unifying ambition.

Even so, when I first came to college, I felt so alone. I had no friends. It wasn’t any different from back home because I had no friends there either. It’s not to say that the time I spent alone over my year off of school wasn’t the best gift I could have allowed myself, I’m only trying to say that after a while being alone becomes less enjoyable. My natural need for companionship was growing increasingly noticeable.

I waited two months after I moved in for the “right” friends to come along. I knew that when I met them, I would know they were the right fit for me. In those two months, I met a lot of people that were nice and funny but they lacked the kind of personality that I love most in a friend. As time passed, of course, I got discouraged. It’s easy to get discouraged. It’s even natural. It’s not easy to stay true to yourself and have faith in yourself and the universe that you are worth the friendship of the people you really, really want to be friends with.

To many young people, the need for social interaction is so intense that they let themselves become whatever it is will give them social and emotional support, however true to themselves it may or may not be. The thing these people don’t realize is that if they just wait a few more weeks, stick it out a few more weeks, they will find the friends they’ve been waiting for. They will find the other people that are waiting for friends that really build them up and push them to be their best while respecting their boundaries. There are people out there that don’t want to settle for anything but the best in friendships, too, and they are so worth waiting for. Having a healthy support group is essential to making the best grades and having the best experiences. Without these people to support you, it becomes very hard to stay motivated, excited  about learning and true to yourself along the journey. Without the grades and life-changing experiences, college isn’t what it’s supposed to be.

College (and life) should be a beautiful, challenging, happy, sad, confusing experience filled with honest, loving people. Anything other than that and I’m pretty sure you’re doing it wrong.

If I could give any advice, I would say.. Stay true to you. The right people with show up. Go do things you love. Even if they’re new or scary, if they are something you are interested in, then go do it. Explore your life and explore your passions. Let yourself grow. Along the way, you will find the people that want to grow and live as much as you do. When you meet them, you will know.

Below is one of my favorite quotes. I have this quote on my wall as a constant reminder to live my life through my own eyes..

“Don’t get stuck. Move, travel, take a class, take a risk. There is a season for wildness and a season for settledness, and this is neither. This season is about becoming. Now is your time. Walk closely with people you love. Don’t get stuck in the past, and don’t try to fast-forward yourself into a future you haven’t yet earned. Give today all the love and intensity and courage you can, and keep travelling honestly along life’s path.”

 

 

The Worthiness Program

I was scrolling through Facebook about a week ago, and on one of the groups I follow called “Wake Up World” there was an article on forgiveness. Even though I was really tired, I clicked on it. I continued to read one of the most incredible articles I have ever read to this day. It has completely changed my opinion on what it really means to forgive and let go. Inspired, I clicked on the author’s name, Nanice Ellis, to read more about her. I went to her website and after reading through most of her website, I decided to send her an email. I’m not sure what made me send her an email when I could have easily just gone to LinkedIn and found someone who would have made a decent interview. There was something different about Nanice. Something was pushing me to talk with her and ask her how she got to the point she was at in her life and in her career. Everything about what she had to say resonated with me. It is rare that someone shares such a spiritual outlook as you. I knew I would get insightful and relevant information from Nanice.

To my surprise, she enthusiastically agreed to talk with me. I was so excited. I haven’t actually ever been as excited to speak with someone as I was to speak with her. There are certain moments and opportunities in life that hold more weight than others- this was one of them. We interviews twice for about 45 minus each time. She answered my initial questions and then some. After both Skype interviews, I was (and still am) radiating inspiration and creativity. I l love this feeling, this is where I am the happiest. She told me about her childhood, teenage and very transformative early adult years of her life.

I interviewed Nanice for a couple of reasons. Not only were her very honest and intelligent views on subjects of interest of her also interests of mine, but I knew that her career was one that didn’t take the path most traveled. As it turned out, she didn’t take the “normal” college route. People who are passionate about holistic health and helping others (especially while transitioning towards and through change) tend not to seek education in the system we have created to educated youth and young adults today. Nanice is a Life Coach who helps people deprogram, make transitions and step into their dreams.

I always felt like the way we educated people, starting in elementary school, is backwards. Nanice agreed and we talked a lot about why we felt that way. She shared with me her insight on the education system today and reassured me that it is not wrong or abnormal to feel the way I do. Nanice shared with me her perspective on the educational system; she told me that she believes that “the program” starts when the child enters school for the first time. Children all over America are constantly being taught not to think for themselves. We are raised to think as a group- to have the same opinions, the same thoughts, the same lifestyles. Anything else, anything abnormal is looked down upon as wrong or foolish. We are constantly searching for self-worth through the approval of others. This creates what, we concluded as, a “worthiness program”. In this program, we are rewarded for following along.

I have always felt that when I started school, I was not pushed to reach my highest level of creativity. I think that the active, creative mind is something pure, organic and raw. In one complexity, it is the most basic and also most complex version of an individual. When I am creatively engaged, I am my most genuine and most powerful self. This is where I find happiness, self worth and inward love. When I think of a future career, I picture this feeling. One where all my thoughts and words and passions are fully engaged and able to run about in my head, heart and life. Now, what career will best suit this part of me? I don’t know. It’s hard to settle with something that sounds “just okay” and I don’t think I should have to. I don’t think anyone should have to do that. Life is too good, too fast.

With that, I would LOVE to travel the world and help people of all ages see the infinite amount of power they have within themselves. There is no reason to feel weak or afraid. There is no reason to feel as if ‘one day’ you will be happy. Happiness is today. Joy is today. Love is today. It is a choice and a commitment. Life is sad, yes, but it is a beautiful awkward sadness. I feel so lucky to be a part of this beautiful, awkward sadness and share this joinery with the people I love and cherish. I see it as such a blessing. A beautiful curse. It is encounters like ones with Nanice that give my life direction and remind me that is is truly a gift to see the bigger picture regarding the world we live in and that there is nothing at all wrong with following your dreams. As Nanice said, “Dreams are meant to be followed, that’s why we have them.”

Ellwood Thompson Travels

 

There are so many aspects of back home that I love so dearly and miss so much. I’m not sure why we, as humans, get so attached to places we go and routines we follow. I don’t believe they get the slightest bit attached to us. Before leaving home, I worried so much about how things would go on without me. Would these places I love so much still function without me? Would they change? What if I came back and they had changed? It’s scary to think they will change and even scarier to think that they will go on just fine without me.

Change is hard. Change is one of those things that I don’t think anyone enjoys. Change means unknown and unfamiliar. It means being alone within yourself and being confident and loving of who it is you are. Sometimes change happens to you, without you telling it it’s okay. Other times, you choose change. You choose to walk into all black with everything you’ve ever known and been comforted by behind you. This is when change is the scariest, but also the most beautiful. This petrifying feeling is the feeling of opportunity, the feeling of aliveness.

I have lived almost my whole life feeling angry and defensive toward change. It wasn’t my friend. Because of these negative feelings towards change, change didn’t like me either. Instead of seeing it for what it is, an opportunity to grow, I saw it as something trying to take something away from me. It seemed that way to me; every time change came along, it took away something that made me feel secure.

The past two years of my life have been completely filled with change, big and small. I have had so much trouble maintaining myself through these changes. Dealing with change has been one of the things I struggle with the most since I was young. It has always seemed to startle me more than anyone else I have known. The past two years of non-stop change has really tested the strength I have within to stay positive, healthy and loving minded.

What is change? Will it ever stop?

I don’t think change will ever stop. We are change. Life is ever-changing. Nothing is ever going to be what it is in this moment ever again. That thought can both make me cry and laugh. It can fill me with deep appreciation and deep sadness. As time passes, though, it fills me with more appreciation then it does sadness.

It’s true, “change is the only constant.” Change is the only thing I can rely on to be consistent throughout my whole life. Change is always going to be around the corner, day in and day out. Change is now my friend. When change comes to visit me, I choose to embrace her with open arms and let myself become the best possible version of myself through whatever change happens.

 

 

 

10754783_1577314972503918_1310786838_n

 

One of my favorite parts of home is the comforting smells and kind people in healthy food stores. I am such a strong supporter of local, healthy, whole foods. I am so passionate about feeding your body the nutrients it needs to perform in this chaotic world we live in. I want to nourish my body so that I can live a long, healthful life and be around to see my family grow as I turn gray and wrinkled.

 

10733646_1577315072503908_1378348857_n

 

I have been going to healthy food stores with my mom since I was a baby. The aromas in healthy food stores is much more than just a pleasant smell.. It’s a comfort that I have experienced for many years. Wherever I travel in my lifetime, I hope to always have a place to go that’s filled with organic, local foods.

I had yet to find a place that I can sit and relax as well as shop for the groceries I prefer in Richmond, so I went out searching for one. After some searching, I found Ellwood Thompson. It’s such a lovely little community store. It has all of the foods I love and, of course, the natural smell that I have always loved.

I went and did school work for nearly five hours. In those five hours, I saw four people that I knew. I felt welcome and comfortable. It was easy to relax and I am so thankful that I have this place to retreat when I need to get away from the scholarly environment of VCU.

10733646_1577315089170573_1697598551_n

 

This is my favorite beverage on the planet; kombucha. It is a fermented drink filled with healthy probiotics. It has so many health benefits and I can immediately feel the difference when I drink it.

Some health benefits are:

  • Improved Digestion
  • Increasing Energy
  • Cleansing and Detoxification
  • Immune Support

All of things things are essential for your body to function normally in every day life.

At Ellwood Thompson I can refill my many containers for a relatively inexpensive price- yay!

 

10735957_1577315015837247_768545054_n

Here are some of my favorite tea’s.

 

 

10743736_1577315032503912_1752228640_n

This is where you can buy kombucha and refill your own jars.

 

10743636_1577315039170578_1755605930_n

Another great thing about Ellwood Thompson is that there is a buffet of organic food. Not only is the food so delicious, it is made without canola oil which is a very processed oil that causes inflammation in the body which can lead to bad gas and stomach pains.

10744851_1577315065837242_2067529153_n

 

 

10751900_1577315119170570_1474295405_n

My lovely friend Eden accompanied me on the fifteen minute bike journey to Ellwood Thompson.

 

 

10799601_1577315115837237_1838346032_n

 

Here is our food we got at the buffet. You can sit either inside or outside, both of which are very clean and comfortable.

 

10743608_1577314992503916_985593730_n

 

If you know me, you know that I love nuts and trail mix. Every healthy food store I’ve been in has had a nut selection similar to this and you can always find me testing out all the different kinds of nuts and trail mix.

 

 

10744746_1577315009170581_1872092654_n

 

Again, if you know me, you know how much I love natural body products. There are so many chemicals in the pharmacy sold beauty products. These chemicals are very, very harmful to your body over time. On a smaller scale, they can cause irritation and dryness on the skin.

Precious Time

It’s taken me years to understand the value and importance of time. I still have so much to learn. Time is something that you can never get back. Once it’s passed, it’s passed. It goes back into the cycle of life and is no longer yours to take advantage of. There are so many ways to waste time.. Some are okay, but most truly are just wastes of valuable, precious time.

I think it’s accurate that in order to succeed at something, you first have to try methods that don’t work for you… again and again. Most methods won’t work right off the bat, usually they need to be adjusted and rearranged. This is how learning time management skills went for me.

When I was younger, there was absolutely no management of time in my life.  It took a lot of bone-rattling experiences to show me time’s value for me to start to manage my time better. I realized what priorities needed to be first and slowly became familiar with what it felt like to be proud of myself. Who knew being respected and getting good grades would feel so good and be so empowering? I surely didn’t then but now I do. Once you get a taste of being proud, it is enough to want that feeling for a lifetime. I no longer searched for that feeling in friends or romantic relationships. I didn’t need to. I didn’t need these people to distract me anymore. Those people and those activities were truly wastes of my time. They did help me see that life can be managed so much more efficiently and healthfully though, so I am thankful for that.

As I grew up, I began to organize the ways in which I spent my time. I saw the benefits of balancing work and play. When your priorities are in line, amazing things happen. Things get done. Life changes. However, instead of the change being something that you’re constantly one step behind, you are the change. The change is you. This filled me with a unique kind of strength. The kind that carried into every aspect of my life. I could give it away as a gift to my loved ones. Strong, positive emotions like inner peace, self respect and a strong sense of self are contagious. I am so honored that someone helped me feel those feelings and also that I am able to project these empowering feelings onto the people in my life.

 

Who Am I At First Search?

Who you really are and who you are on the internet aren’t always the same person, especially if you have changed and grown a lot over time. I am sad for the people who’s unflattering moments are all over the internet. What a horrible way to learn your lesson about social media and technology. I’m also very grateful that none of my bad decisions ended up defining my digital identity. There was definitely a time in my life, and I’m sure in everyone else’s, where I felt as if I was invincible. I thought there were no consequences to my actions. There was no evidence. Nothing could have hurt my reputation because I just didn’t care what anyone thought of me. I liked me.. and so did my boyfriend and best friend. That was all that mattered.

I was so very wrong. My logic was non-existent. I was a teenager; young and reckless, entirely too prideful, totally naive. I am glad that none of the things I did in this time of my life got on the internet. There were definitely mistakes that could have costed me still today. I have learned from them and grown more than I ever imagined possible. It’s a truly beautiful feeling to look back and see how much progress you have made. Change is possible, for everyone.

This is why it is sad when people are bound to their mistakes through their digital identities. While I think it’s wrong that this has to be the way it is, it’s just the reality of our technology oriented society. Luckily, with time, there are ways to reverse any damage you may have done over the years and phases of your life.

When I googled my name, nothing came up except for an old photo of me from when I was a freshman in high school. I had creepy looking curled hair and had just gotten my braces off. My Facebook link also came up. I am lucky that nothing worse comes up when my name is searched. I know a lot of people who are working to create a better profile for themselves so they can be taken seriously when searched on the web.

In efforts to have a very respectable online profile that is also true to who I am, I recently deleted my old Facebook and made a new one. I went from 2,000 “friends” to 40 friends. The 40 friends I have now are people I actually care about. My old Facebook was pages and pages of useless information about people that had no place in my life. Now, I can scroll through Facebook and enjoy doing so without either being disturbed or annoyed by what I see.

These changes are necessary and important when trying to create a respectful digital identity. I can now move forward with my educational career while looking professional to teachers, family and look good for potential jobs I might have.