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.
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.
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.
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.)
During the summer of 2007, as I was wrapping up my year in Los Angeles, our little volunteer community took some personality inventories.
I don’t know why we took these assessments at the end of our volunteer experience. Perhaps it was meant to serve as confirmation of behavior and preferences rather than uncover new insight. I walked away with some enlightening information and yet there were still plenty of questions.
I learned I was considered very introverted. Scoring 9 or possibly 10 out of 10.
I’ve shared about how I found a group of young adults in the Southern California area, a group I spent a fair amount of time with. There was one memorable weekend of traveling to Ronald W. Caspers Wilderness Park for a two-night camping retreat. About fifteen people participated on the weekend, but I only knew one person before going.
“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.
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.
During my first semester in college, I was required to take a one-credit “introduction to college” type class called Critical Issues Symposium (CISM). Each instructor approached this class differently, I’m told. Some people had quizzes. Some had to keep a journal of who knows what. I believe they had instruction for note taking and test taking and adjusting to the transition of a college workload.
The guy leading my class was a visual arts instructor. He had no desire to offer tests or really force us to do too much of anything. We mostly had class discussions.
I believe the first time our class met, he brought out a TV and played us a clip from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. Yes, that Black Knight.
As I finish discussing my high school years and transition to college, I wanted to do another recap of where I stood with sensory processing problems.
The big list details all the different ways I was impacted by my environment and the way I interpreted the sensory data I received. I’ve also done a recap from preschool through eighth grade to show the progress of these sensory issues.