College girl’s (or anyone’s) best friend? Support.

As I hinted at in my last post, I was not expecting the first two weeks of college to be this hard. College is supposed to be the best years of your life. But with that said, now that things are calming down and I am settling in, it occurred to me what has been bothering me the most; it has been the fact that I lost my support. Or, at least my support system has changed and shifted.

My best friend is in Kentucky, my mom is in Atlanta, my teachers are back in high school, and my boyfriend is in Augusta. I have always leaned on my family and my friends and these people so much and I had them around (for the most part) all the time. Now that I am here, everything has changed. Not for the worse, it’s just different. I am moving on with my life, but in a totally new and different place. I am meeting tons and tons of new/great people but in two weeks you cannot just develop a whole new array of best friends and family.

I am balancing my school schedule, a new job, managing the soccer team, starting up my own organization, living with new people, and being in the honors program here. I love each of these new adventures and I love the new experiences I am having but it is a lot to balance when your world just shifted.

I am (well, was, as of this coming Sunday) in a support group called “Starbright World” for kids and teens with chronic disabilities and illnesses. Starbright World connects sick young adults around the world. The people on this website bond and create friendships with people across the world with the same challenges that you face on a day to day basis. I have very good friends that live across the U.S. and all the way in Australia because of this website. Yesterday every member was informed that as of Sunday the website with go dark and no longer exist.

Last night (and even today) I feel like I am losing another set of support I had gained in high school when I was diagnosed. But, I am teaching myself that I can rely on myself as well as others. I am teaching myself that it is ok to need other people, but it is also okay to love yourself so much you do not have to rely on other people to make you happy.

The last 3 years have been rough, to say the least, but it was because of other people AND myself that I made it through. I want you to know that you do need support. You do need people to help you through the hard times when you cannot bear the burdens all by yourself. But you know what? Through the support of others, you can learn to rely on yourself as well.

Jamie Tworkowski emphasizes the fact that people need other people. People need love. People need compassion. People need the strength of others as well as themselves. These last 2 weeks I have had a hard pill to swallow. I had to learn to set boundaries for myself and I had to learn to rely on myself while I form new relationships with the new people around me.

When you are starting a new chapter in your life people do not tell you the hard stuff. They don’t tell you that you can be surrounded by hundreds of people all day long but still feel like you are alone in this new world. But, I am here to tell you that you have yourself, and you have me. Start trying to learn to trust yourself. Learn to embrace self confidence and self love.

I HATE when people say that no one will love you if you don’t love yourself. I didn’t love myself for 2-3 years. I didn’t love who I was. But it was because of the love of my friends, boyfriend, and my mom, that I retrained my brain to love who I am.

Please stay strong. If you are feeling alone and like you have no one to turn to, turn to me. Message me, call me, text me. I will listen. Keep fighting guys. Breathe. Your story isn’t over yet.

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New beginnings and new stresses

I haven’t been on here in over a week. Its been kinda crazy starting college and all. But today I felt like I needed to write about something. This is something similar to my last post but it’s been bothering me a great deal this week.

For those of you that do not know, I was in a very rigorous program in high school called International Baccalaureate (I.B. for short). So during high school I took college level courses and attained an I.B. diploma as well as a high school one. I say all of this to say that in high school I endured more than most, academically, and emotionally. And now that I am in college I am stressing just as much in high school. So today I had to take a step back and understand that while I do have a lot on my plate, I survived high school. I survived my family being ripped apart, I survived I.B., I survived losing a lot of friends, and I survived being very sick while balancing school, soccer, and multiple clubs.

I can do this. I can balance work and being a soccer manager. I can balance being in the honors program and creating my own service organization. I can balance school work and a social life.

Starting something new means a change. And I don’t know about you, but change scares me. I am a person who likes routine and I like having a schedule. So with this being my first week of college I don’t really have a routine yet. I had a mini panic attack wondering how will I do all of this but I took deep breath (and a nap) and I remembered that I can do all things through Christ who gives me strength. (Philippians 4:13).

New beginnings are good. Change is good, But you have to understand that it takes time to have a sense of normalcy. and when new challenges come your way, you have to remember what you have already been through. Put your hand over your heart; that heart beat right there, it means you survived Hell and you are still here. Life will always have hurdles you have to jump but many of you have survived the worst of it. You chose to remain on this earth when you felt like being alive was worse than death. You decided to keep going one more day. One day at a time you recovered or are still recovering.

Remember that change is good. Change is stressful. But take a deep breath and step back and look at how far you have already come. Maybe you are still sick, or still hurting, (I know I am), and if that is you please reach out to someone. Contact me or the school counselor or a friend or trusted adult. I felt like I had nowhere to go and no one to turn to but then I did. The key is to keep going. I had to keep going to find those trusted people. The key is to give it one more day. Sometimes one day at a time is too much. So, if it is, just take it one hour at a time. Give yourself a chance, and do not let anyone tell you that you can’t do something. I defied the odds. I am still defying the odds. And I have your back.

Love yourself, trust yourself. You can do it. You can do ALL things,

Back to school and brave

Most of you guys started back at school this week, and I start college in a week and a half (but move into the dorm in 6 days). The “back to school” groove in high school can be so stressful and cause so much anxiety for everyone involved. Your summer routine ends, you have to wake up early, and sit in a classroom for 8 hours every day. Where as if you’re in my boat, you are moving away from home, only sitting in class for a few hours each day, but have to take responsibility for your own actions without help. It can be pretty scary.

Everyone asks if I am excited to start college. The answer is of course I am! But I am also pretty nervous. College is a place to find yourself, to find your niche in this world. And while you’re surrounded by people 24/7, it can get lonely. I say all this to get to one point. The point is that whether you started back in high school this week or you graduated and are starting college, it is ok to be anxious. It is ok to be nervous about something new.

When I tell someone that I am anxious about something (no matter what it is) the general response is “well just be brave”. But to me, that is a repetitive statement. You can be scared and still be brave. You can be nervous and still have courage.

We all grow up with this kind of understanding that if you are scared, then you will not succeed. But if you are not scared of anything, then how will you ever grow? How will you ever feel accomplished if you are not nervous in the beginning? Being nervous, scared, or anxious doesn’t mean that you are gonna fail, it means that you care about something enough to not WANT to fail.

Going back to school can be crippling for some kids/teens. It can cause panic attacks the night before and for the remainder of the school year. But those are the people who have the most sense of accomplishment when it is all over.

Bravery can go hand in hand with fear. For example, I went to a canyon this week (it was on my bucket list) and I swam under a waterfall. There was a cliff that you had to jump off though. And I psyched my self out about it and became scared to jump. But when I did eventually jump, I felt like I was brave. I felt like I was fearless because I had fear and did it anyway.

I just want all the kids that are terrified all school year because they feel bullied, inadequate, or anxious to know that you are brave. You are brave for waking up at the crack of dawn and going to school. You are brave for sitting in the cafeteria around people who talk about you behind your back. You are brave, simply for just making it this far.

I recommend this song that I am posing with this post to anyone who needs a little bit of encouragement about anything in their life. No one ever told me that this life would be easy. But I never knew that it could be this hard.