He Reminds Me

My friends talk about how a person shouldn’t need another person to be happy, and they’re absolutely right. I don’t need another person to be happy; I was happy. I found happiness in the solitude, in my friends and family, in writing, reading, rediscovering myself. I’m weird and quirky, easily excitable, and so so caring. I fell in love with myself for the first time.

Something has been missing though. Something intangible and immeasurable, like the whispering of wind through the trees.

For the longest time, I thought I had a hole in my heart that could never be filled; I thought there was something wrong with me. But, I think, maybe the best things happen when you aren’t seeking them out, when you just let life’s current sweep you away.

I am happy. I’m happy with the growth and progress I’ve made and with who I’ve become.

But I would be lying if I said he didn’t magnify the happiness I’ve found 100 fold. He reminds me that I am worthy of more than simple happiness. He reminds me of exhilarating euphoria. He reminds me that I deserve to be challenged and utterly amazed. He reminds me of galaxies and constellations.

He feels like a hot cup of coffee next to the fire on a cold winter morning. He makes me feel electrifyingly alive. He feels like a gentle breeze on a sultry summer evening. He makes me feel calm and safe in a world full of disastrous chaos. He feels like everything I’ve ever been missing.

He reminds me that it’s okay to put my trust into someone again: that just because I’ve been hurt in the past doesn’t mean that he’s going to do the same. He reminds me that I’m a priority; our relationship matters to him. He reminds me that opening up and vulnerability are strengths, and I can trust him with anything I’m going through. And he always, always reminds me that I am worthy of love.

I can’t promise to never be irrational or absurd; I’m not good at keeping my emotions in check (no matter how much I try to convince myself that I am). I can’t paint him original art pieces because I think in words and feelings, and I can’t sing him beautiful melodies as my range is never quite on key. I’m not good at poetry or ballads, creating or performing. Honestly, I’m not good at much, but I can guarantee I’ll be good to him.

I Am Enough

This post makes me anxious. Every post before this one has made me anxious. Are people even going to read what I write? Does anyone even care what I have to say? What if I post this and my peers judge me or just dismiss my thoughts and feelings entirely? This post is going to be my most personal and vulnerable yet, so buckle up and please know that I’m still working through this myself.

Something that almost no one knows about me is that, back in the fall of 2016, I was officially diagnosed with generalized anxiety disorder coupled with a pretty severe case of social anxiety disorder. It’s not something I talk about; I’ve never even told anyone that I saw a psychologist. Now, I’m not ashamed that I sought treatment. On the contrary! I’m proud of myself for actually taking the time to work on my mental health.

So, why haven’t I talked about it, been open, worked toward ending the stigma? Three reasons: the things I’m struggling with are no one else’s business, this realization and diagnosis came at an especially stressful time in my life, and, quite frankly, I just wasn’t ready to talk about it openly before.

One thing that I don’t understand about society today is why everyone has to be in each other’s business ALL THE TIME. I know, with absolute certainty, that a great deal of people wouldn’t have believed that I have anxiety if I had been open about it from the beginning (Some people still won’t believe it.). Around the same time that I sought help, I had several friends mention something along the lines of, “Why does everyone have anxiety these days? They didn’t have anxiety in high school!” Statements and conversations like this are part of the reason I’ve kept this to myself for over 2 years; I didn’t want people to be saying those types of things behind my back. Even though, I can guarantee that I 100% did have anxiety back in school. I’ve struggled with anxious tendencies and nervous ticks for as long as I can remember.

When I first realized that I was struggling harder than usual, I had just moved away from home for the first time, started a new school, and was living in a very toxic environment for my mental health.

I didn’t move out of my mom’s house until I was 20, and when I did move out, it was fairly abrupt. I had originally been planning on moving early to mid-August. Due to unforeseen circumstances, I ended up moving over a month earlier than anticipated. Within a week, I had packed, moved, and transferred to the Salt Lake branch of my workplace. Suddenly, I found myself in an unfamiliar home in an unfamiliar city surrounded by unfamiliar people.

A friend’s family had agreed to let me live with them while I was attending classes at the University of Utah. At the time, I was planning on majoring in history with a minor in politics. I eventually wanted to go on to attend law school (lol). Once August came around, I officially started classes. Unfortunately, I immediately got sick with my first ever case of the stomach flu and missed the entire second week of classes, setting me pretty far behind and causing immense strain on my academics. I also learned, the hard way of course, that my American history professor didn’t allow students into their class late. If you were even a minute late to the lecture, the doors would be locked. As someone who used public transportation to get to and from campus, it was nearly impossible to arrive on time if I missed the train after work. Not to mention the campus was more than three times the size of the local university I had previously attended.

To say I was overwhelmed would be an understatement.

Topping off this stressful situation, the family I was staying with were… unwelcoming. The only place I felt even close to comfortable in the house was in “my room,” but even that never felt like my own space. I was just borrowing that room from them, after all. This ended up causing me to isolate myself in that room, and I was more unhappy than I had ever been before.

ANYWAY: I ended up having an anxiety attack in my American sign language class in early September. So, I made an appointment with the free counseling center at the university. In total, I ended up going to one appointment per month for the duration of my time attending the U of U. Those hour long sessions with the most wonderful psychologist were 100% what I needed to get my mental health in check. My eyes were definitely opened to the indicators of my own anxiety.

Some of my nervous ticks include: hand fidgeting, scratching, jaw clenching (this one is happening as I write), finger chewing… Thankfully, therapy taught me healthy coping mechanisms like breathing exercises and mindfulness. So far, these techniques have been working for me and I’m a lot more confident and comfortable being who I am. Therapy also helped me decide that I needed a break from school and that I wanted to move back to my home town, which I will be forever grateful for.

Anxiety definitely prevents me from doing a lot of things at times, especially when strangers or general acquaintances are involved. I rarely start conversations, have difficulty going new places alone, and don’t often try new things. However, since learning how to deal with these disorders, I’ve been able to narrow down the issues and work through a lot of situations. The one I still struggle with the most is starting conversations with people I want to talk to. Do they want to hear from me? What if I’m annoying them?

I’ve been “awkward” my whole life, and finally having a name for the way I am definitely helped me understand why I am the way I am. Does that make me any less anxious and awkward? Not really. But does that mean there’s room for improvement? Absolutely. I don’t think I’ll ever be anxiety free, but I can ensure that I don’t let it control my life. I am enough, just the way I am.

The “Happiest” Place on Earth

Let me first preface this post by explaining that I do not have fond memories from my first visit to Disneyland/California Adventure Park. The summer between my freshman and sophomore years of high school, I took a week-long trip to California with my dance company. Unfortunately, no one else from my actual class chose to go on this trip. I ended up having to room/spend the week with 3 girls that I barely knew and did not get along with. They were all friends with each other, so whatever they agreed upon doing/riding is what we ended up doing.

We spent all of the last 2 days of the trip at Disneyland/California Adventure Park. Following their every whim was exhausting, and I was miserable. So my feelings about Disneyland were relatively negative after this experience.

ANYWAY! Back in January, I took my second trip to Disneyland/California Adventure Park. This experience was much better than the original; however, by the end of the first day, I was already done and ready to go home. It’s not that the company was bad or the park wasn’t fun, but I just don’t think it’s worth the money, distance, time, and effort to deal with crowds, lines, wait times, and having to pay even more money.

I think we only rode an average of 6-8 rides per day the whole 2-and-a-half days we were there (there are over 60 rides and attractions at Disneyland and 34 at California Adventure Park!). Which means we rode, at most, 1/4 of the total rides in the parks.

I will say that they have excellent coffee, croissants, and soft pretzels though. The pretzels almost make up for everything else, almost. I read a quote by Paul Beatty a while ago that really resonated with me. He said, “If Disneyland was indeed the Happiest Place on Earth, you’d either keep it a secret or the price of admission would be free.”

I whole-heartedly agree with this quote because I know for a fact that the Happiest Place on Earth is at home, in my cozy apartment, cuddled up with my pup after a long day.