Discovering self by journaling

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At the beginning of the notebook where I found the details of the sensory walk, I saw that I purposefully sought out to renew my journaling efforts as a way of learning more about myself. It was an effort for record, accountability and self-discovery. I had gotten away from this practice and my creative writing especially during my senior year of college because of my student teaching responsibilities.

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A sensory walk in Los Angeles

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My favorite sign that I spotted at the end of our block. The broken English was endearing to me for some reason. But seriously, how bad do things have to be that you create a sign like this for the side of your building? And this is much bigger than a sheet of paper. It was a huge sign.

Over the course of my time in Los Angeles, I made an effort to re-engage my creative side. I had a few books with writing prompts to help me focus on something. One of those prompts meant going on a detail hunt. Take a walk and jot down all the interesting details you observe. Focus on sensory impressions. And while looking for the extraordinary, don’t ignore the ordinary.

I wish I had pictures of many of these items, especially the trees. I found their formation fascinating. Sadly, I didn’t take pictures. While I doubt many of these items will be as intriguing to someone who hasn’t walked this neighborhood, I figured I’d go ahead and share anyway.

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Extrovert versus introvert: The roommate struggle

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Among the biggest challenges in this volunteer experience was figuring out a way to adjust to living with a roommate. The final two years of college, I didn’t have a roommate. As a junior, my roommate transferred to a different room the first week of the semester and I never got a replacement. During my senior year, I was able to live with a family I met through church. I lived with other people, but it wasn’t the same thing as having a roommate.

But the focal part of this new experience was living with someone much older than me. The best way to explain why this relationship was so challenging is that we were polar opposites. This was truly my introduction to the differences between extroverts and introverts. She was a solid extrovert, and I was a bottled up introvert.

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New year, stronger me: Affirmations

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I’ve learned a lot about myself in these last 9 months with this blog. I’m so thankful for the opportunity to explore and dive in to these moments from my past, to better understand who I am. I’m working on improving the way I view myself and what I have to offer to others, and I’ve made a lot of progress. Still plenty more to go, but at least there’s improvement.

I’m trying to think more positively about myself. See myself more as others see me (the ones who have a more balanced view of me), rather than just zeroing in on the ways I’ve fallen short. Those negative moments shouldn’t be the things that define who I am or how I measure myself.

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Walking 900 words an hour: The importance of writing things out

1I take hour-long walks around my neighborhood at least 4 times a week. This time is used more for brainstorming and reflection than a focus on speed and exercise. The physical activity is secondary, honestly. I feel better after the fact, but the real accomplishment is happening on my phone.

Instead of simply thinking about topics and hoping I remember the wording once I’ve returned to my apartment, I have taken to typing these thoughts into the notepad app on my phone.

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Poem: 5 o’clock on Eden Terrace

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I spent a lot of time on the weekends at the lake. Well, what passed for a lake during college. The sports complex included the coliseum for basketball and volleyball games, a baseball field and many other facilities. There was also a lake surrounded with plenty of grassy spots and trees for shade. I brought a blanket, some snacks and my books and attempted to get some studying done outside. I was never as productive as I hoped to be, usually distracted by the passing ducks, but at least I got out of my dorm room.

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When you get friend-zoned (with poem)

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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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Allusions of Myself: The making of a poem

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We did these exercises in high school where we wrote ourselves a letter, most likely highlighting our goals for the future. Then the teacher collected them and maybe one year later (or five), we received them in the mail. At the time of writing, it seemed silly to write out your goals, completely convinced there’s no way you’re going to forget what’s important. But you do. The elapsed time prompts other interests and priorities. Opening that letter means grasping a piece of the past; tangible evidence of the person you were back then.

That’s how I feel with revisiting my old journals; I’m uncovering buried treasure.

I was reading through my college journals recently and came across several pages where I did some brainstorming for a new poem.

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A boy + social awkwardness + missed signals = college regret

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“G” was a guy worth taking a risk on, and I balked. He was easy going, had a contagious laugh and smile, and intelligence with a goofy side. He was shorter than me but somehow in a way that didn’t make it completely weird. I never saw him get angry. He had enough confidence in himself to be attractive without coming across as conceited. And the bonus was he worked well with kids.

So yeah. There wasn’t much of a risk to liking this guy. This didn’t have “bad decision” stamped on it. I just didn’t know how to handle the situation.

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When you’re NOT interested in a guy’s attention

hires-copyHe was a non-traditional student, about 10 years older and I think pursuing an undergraduate degree. I had met him through PACT, but I believe the first real opportunity to talk happened on the statewide retreat. He wasn’t Catholic, but he was interested in learning about the faith.

I remember being with a small group of people at the retreat, and then slowly others broke off for other things. And it was just the two of us. I wasn’t super comfortable around him, but I couldn’t just leave him. He seemed so alone, and I felt bad for him.

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