Trying to express the internal problems

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There has been some talk lately on social media about reaching out to your strong friends because sometimes it’s the ones who seem the strongest who are struggling with things that aren’t spoken. The surprising, high-profile examples of suicide recently have meant a bit more awareness. People who, on the surface, seem happy and comfortable and full of life, but internally are struggling with deep wounds and insecurities that don’t get expressed easily.

I came across a video on Facebook from Mental Health on The Mighty that showed phrases kids said that were code words for “I’m anxious.” These are various ways that kids expressed anxiety and fear using the resources they had at their disposal. I can relate to many of them.

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Getting a hug from my sister

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I was thinking of sharing this post before, and then decided against it. But since April 6 is the day my sister was stillborn and it holds great significance, I thought I’d share. She’s still offering me hugs; they just don’t always happen like this.

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A year of blogging, a year of growth

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April marks a year of blogging. A year of directed, focused reflection and self-analysis.

The pieces are falling into place. I have a much better sense of who I am, what I have to offer others, my strengths, my abilities, my temperament and all the ways I have reason to be proud of how I’ve grown up, the person I’ve become.

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Saying goodbye to a furry friend

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Martha

It’s always hard to say goodbye to someone you love. Even if that “someone” is a four-legged animal. But if you love with your whole heart it means that loss is felt with your whole being. And that’s where I’m at right now.

I got two guinea pigs in July 2010 (Martha and Lizzie) when I was living several states away from home. It was such a welcomed change to have something else in the apartment that I could talk to and pet. Those dust bunnies aren’t exactly friendly.

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How to be supportive

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Sometimes people need suggestions for how they can be supportive and help. I know from personal experience how easy it is to get hung up on the idea that you have to say something to show support. You don’t. Not at all. Often times just being fully present and listening is exactly what the other person needs.

 

Living in your head can promote insecurity

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In the months between getting laid off from my job and moving to Alabama in August (I did apply for the fellowship and was accepted), I did a lot of journal writing.

I filled four notebooks (averaging 70 pages each) in a matter of six months. Yes, I lived with pen and paper. So while I’m grateful to have some documentation of what I was going through at the time — what I felt, my worries and fears — what isn’t addressed is also quite telling.

I lived in my head.

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After Los Angeles: Transitioning back to SC

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By early September 2007, I had finished my year of volunteering in Los Angeles. I still wasn’t sure what to pursue as my next step. I applied to various jobs but nothing panned out.

Part of my growth while in California was being exposed to the world of journalism. I realized I enjoyed that kind of writing, but it was challenging to approach strangers and ask for their feedback. I was a small fish in a big pond; I felt like I was thrashing around trying to make things work. But there was some excitement nonetheless, a bit of a thrill with figuring out how to piece many little parts together into a finished story, even if the interviewing aspect was nerve-wracking and uncomfortable. (If you missed them, you can read the pieces I wrote for my San Francisco assignment and the personal article on my brother becoming a priest.)

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Finally embracing my giraffe status

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Giraffes are beautiful, too.

For a long time, I have related to giraffes. I towered over my classmates at an early age and felt like my awkwardness made me stand out. Just like the giraffe, it was hard to blend in. There’s no place for a giraffe to hide, and I felt like all of my insecurities were equally on full display for everyone to see.

Experiences over the past two weekends have left me with an overwhelming sense of peace in the realization of how far I’ve come on this journey of self-acceptance in just a short time frame. And I credit it with being honest and open in writing while working hard to internalize these new ways of seeing others and myself.

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Offering gratitude

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Most of us will easily rattle off the obvious things we’re grateful for: family, friends, faith, enough money to get by and so on. But it’s important to identify things that go beyond the obvious. To be grateful for people or situations that are perhaps challenging yet offer a greater lesson or insight down the line, even if those benefits and blessings aren’t immediately clear.

If you haven’t done this before, take another look at the challenges you’ve faced. Is there some element of gratitude with what you’ve encountered? Not because it was pleasant but maybe you were able to grow from it. Or maybe the challenge lead you to a different place or put you in contact with someone new and now you can’t imagine life without having met that person or gone through that experience.

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Learning through example of family life

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As junior year began, I no longer had 8 am classes yet I wanted to continue going to daily mass. There was some relief. The time was changed to 7, so I could sleep in some!

The later time brought in a new demographic of the parish. No longer solely retirees and individuals rushing off to work, now there were also mothers with children. The home schooling crowd.

There was a wide range in ages. I was impressed by their reverence, how serious they were about being there. The younger ones weren’t always cooperative; they are human of course. Generally speaking, though, they seemed to have a greater sense of awareness of what was going on than I did at that age.

Introductions were made. Though life was busy and chaotic for them, I was fortunate to meet women who had found a sense of calm within their routines so they could be open to welcoming a stranger.

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