defender of the weak

i like to believe that things are finally evening out now. i’ve got a rhythm and routine with my roommates. i have a temporary job that exhausts and fulfills me and another job waiting for me when this camp job ends in two weeks. i’m used to the pains of a long distance relationship. i can feed myself now. i’m more active and tanner and more hydrated.

but i still have hard days, they’re just different from before.

today was rough. i shared my story with the campers, a story marred with mental illness and grief and forgiveness. i needed to be vulnerable with them. i needed to tell them that i’d felt broken before, like my anxiety took away my humanity. i realized that a lot of the kids i was talking to haven’t had any kind of authority figure look them in the eyes and fully accept their hearts, as broken and dented and walled up as they are.

two of my campers are transgender, and i find myself fighting to defend these delicate teenagers. they are told that they are not valid, that they are “going through a phase.” adults tell them that their identities and sexualities are choices they’re making for attention. after our talk tonight, the two campers came into my room, and one of them sobbed into my chest for ten minutes. she told me that she felt broken. my heart broke right there in the middle of this freezing little dorm room that has been my halfway refuge for the last two weeks. i never thought i’d be in this situation, the defender of these kids whose hearts have been smashed by adults right in front of my eyes. it’s entirely possible that i am the first adult to ever validate them. it’s an honor and a privilege, but i’m scared.

i still have hard days, they’re just different from before. they’re marked with loving as hard as i can and finding my heart stretched further than i ever thought it could go.

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thankful thursday

Be a lamp, or a lifeboat, or a ladder. Help someone’s soul heal. Walk out of your house like a shepherd.’ — Rumi

  • camp and campers! i’m working with an upward bound camp for the next month, and i am already astounded by these girls’ stories. lots and lots of hurt but boundless spirits and determination, for sure.
  • breaking rules in the right places. last night we talked about really heavy stuff, so all of the counselors and i hung out with some of the girls in their rooms past curfew and cut up and danced around. an RA came and told us to go back to our rooms because we were being too loud- oops.
  • free laundry and snacks. yes.
  • my apartment because it isn’t the dorm room i’ve been living in for the past few days. looking forward to a weekend in my dry, comfortable, quiet room.
  • snail mail from friends in faraway places!

  

the last few days have been hard because I’ve been in my own head so much, but it’s comforting to know that these growing pains are normal. 

thankful thursday

“Because sending a letter is the next best thing to showing up personally at someone’s door. Ink from your pen touches the stationary, your fingers touch the paper, your saliva seals the envelope, your scent graces the paper. Something tangible from your world travels through machines and hands, and deposits itself in another’s mailbox; their world. Your letter is then carried inside as an invited guest. The paper that was sitting on your desk, now sits on another’s. The recipient handles the paper that you handled. Letters create a connection that modern and impersonal forms of communication will never replace.” -Kate McKay

things i’m thankful for this week:

  • friends getting married. i went to a wedding last saturday and cried constantly. love is so beautiful!! my friends are so beautiful!!!
  • phone calls with pres, even though they’re brief and far between. i’m learning a lot about patience.
  • ted talks about shame and vulnerability. i really need to hear about those a lot.
  • beautiful world” by aaron espe. currently listening to it 10+ times a day.
  • loads and loads of iced green tea
  • the grounding focus that writing letters gives me.
  • currently learning about forgiving old friends and realizing that leaving bad vibes out in the world isn’t what i want to do. yesterday was my sister’s birthday, but she died of a drug overdose three years ago. seeing another birthday pass by really made me realize that i need to do what i can to forgive the people who are still around because it’s hard to forgive someone who is already gone.
  • i start my camp job on sunday!! i’m gonna be hanging out with high school students for six hours a day! i hope they like team building activities because those are my FAVE.
  • i’m planning a trip to see Pres at the end of this month! i’m going with a couple of friends to the town he’s working in and we’re gonna stay in a hostel and it’s gonna be gr8.

appreciating the in-between time: what i will do

basically everyone i’ve talked to about postgrad stress has told me to make goals, and i’ve avoided it for a month. i guess showing them to the public holds me more accountable. my summer job doesn’t start for two more weeks, and i want to be productive with my time. but here are the goals so far! i’ll edit them as they change.

short term:

  • create a morning routine that will make me want to get up earlier
  • try to post either something on instagram or on my blog per day

learning:

  • watch one documentary per week (does anyone have any suggestions?)
  • read at least two books per week
  • cook at least two recipes per week
  • prepare for job with upward bound

community:

  • sit in a coffeeshop once a week. even if i’m not talking to someone, i’m around people.
  • talk to Pres on the phone at least twice a week
  • write at least three letters a week to anyone (would anyone wanna be my penpal…?)
  • participate in couch night with roommates

body:

  • go to the chiropractor
  • yoga at the library on Thursday mornings
  • go swimming 2-3 times a week
  • meditate. start at 3 times a week until my patience gets better

long term:

  • keep applying for jobs/going to interviews
  • study for the GRE (check out materials from the library to get started)
  • schedule a time to take the GRE
  • start research on grad school possibilities

appreciating the in-between time: what i’ve been doing

in the last month, i’ve kind of disappeared a little bit from everything because i needed time to withdraw and refocus. so if you know me and you’re curious about what i’ve been up to other than wallowing, here’s a list of the little things i’ve been doing in the last month:

  • learning new recipes
  • getting a new library card
  • going swimming because my apartment complex has a pool that probably only ten kids have peed in so far this summer. #blessed
  • creating a linkedin (which i’m not linking to because of privacy and future employers, i guess)
  • making myself find the beauty surrounding me and documenting it through instagram, even if it’s just the fresh strawberries i got on sale or the pretty trees and walkway next door to my apartment. i’ve been trying to post one picture on insta per day because it forces me to find the beauty in each day.
  • meditating while listening to this. actually listening to that while i do everything tbh
  • starting a blog that i don’t even have to link to cause you’re reading it right now!

i visited my old boss/mentor a few days ago and updated him about my life since graduation, and he encouraged me to enjoy this time for what it is. of course, i’m not going to look back on this time in ten years and say, “wow, spending a whole day sleeping and crying was so much fun!!” but i will look back and say, “wow, i only had to do laundry once every three weeks because i basically didn’t leave the house!” and “wow, that’s when i learned to make my signature recipe that my family loves so much now!” so i have to learn to enjoy these little things while i have them.

the last month has been about quick life changes that boiled down to waiting and patience, and june is going to be about goals and becoming. be on the lookout for “appreciating the in-between time: what i’m going to do.” bye, may. you were exhausting, but i learned a lot.