How to be supportive


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


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


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

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

Screenshot 2017-11-18 at 6.26.48 PM

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


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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When you get friend-zoned (with poem)


To recap: I had an experience in college where a guy showed interest in me but I didn’t feel the same way. Then there was an experience where positive things were happening on both sides (at the very least they were some indicators of potential), but nothing developed. So it’s fitting to have a third kind of relationship, the unrequited type.

I met “D” in an intermediate basketball class. I wanted something fun and active for the semester. Honestly it should have been considered a beginner’s course, considering how much time was spent on the history of the game and other theoretical information and how little was actually played on the court.

After that class ended, I started seeing “D” more frequently on campus. Instead of exchanging phone numbers, he asked for my screen name because AOL instant messaging (AIM) was the popular mode for online communication.

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Faith and the inner life: Discovery of self in journal writing


Unlike most of my classmates, what I looked forward to most about being on campus was not seeking out the parties. It wasn’t a desire for alcohol or all the other “benefits” of this newly discovered independence.

No, I wanted to learn, and that really meant learning more about my faith. I had a solid foundation of what I believed as a Catholic, but it was still very much just absorbing what I had been taught and taking things at face value instead of understanding things for myself.

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Addressing sensory issues: Am I sharing a problem or demanding others to change?


In the previous post I shared how the sensory modulation side of my experience with Sensory Processing Disorder is still a problem. I explained a little bit of how previous efforts to address these problems were met with unhelpful advice, especially since I didn’t have a means of explaining why things bothered me.

Now as an adult, I do have more awareness of why a seemingly random noise can have such a strong impact on me. So why isn’t it easy to tell people?

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Poem … English 101: Favorite Destination


I remember playing with magnetic poetry in high school. Sometimes the random phrases that I came up with got the creative juices flowing. This is one example. The phrase “surrender through the breath of dreams” was what I put together using the magnets, and it was the inspiration for this poem.

The title is inspired by thinking about those typical first writing assignments to describe your summer, a favorite vacation.

My idealism is showing here.

This poem is about finding a pristine spot in nature to thoroughly soak up the beauty of creation but even that perfection pales in comparison when it’s combined with a joy of community and embracing others.

This was written during my junior year of high school.

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