College for me wasn’t necessarily about what I learned in the class, although I am sure that I did, it was more about learning to “adult” and what all that entails. I learned to balance going to school full time and working full time. It was about learning to get out of debt for student loans, it was about choosing to date the right one, it was about heartbreak, it was about selecting good roommates, it was about changing majors once…twice…maybe four times. It was about doing everything possible to graduate versus giving up, especially when giving up would be so much easier.
College was a difficult balance for me because I couldn’t say no to my employers. I always agreed to do more than needed and stretched myself to thin because I didn’t want to be “unreliable.” However, now I know that they wouldn’t have viewed it as such because I would have declined with tact. But that was my perception of it, so therefore it was my reality.
It was difficult for me to dedicate the time needed to studying, working, and sleeping…so that I could go to class, and study and work…(a vicious cycle!) Also, little did I know that that was also the beginning stages of my sleep disorder so I thought that I was rude by falling asleep in a lecture (I WOULD NEVER EVER CHOOSE TO DO THAT! I was doing anything I could to stay away—caffeine, sugar, cold air, holding my eyes open, standing up, but then I would sit, and my head would SLAM DOWN—I finally realized, shortly after college, that I needed to get it checked out. My breaking point? When I got in my car and felt energized and perky, then started down the parking deck, fell asleep, and wrecked into a concrete column).
But I digress—my main point is a turning point. The day that I realized that I was in control of my thoughts. I think all teenagers feel abnormal to a point. A lot of the voices we hear, whether we created them, or if we are listening to parents, friends, movies, social media—they are all negative.
I was this person. I was a victim in my mind. I didn’t have many friends, so of my family relationships were strained, I had no money, I felt I had zero support. But that was total honkey. I didn’t have a lot of acquaintances, but I did have a few close friends that loved me. My family relationships were fixed once I choose to make the effort, you know…by picking up the phone and just calling. And yes, I was broke. But that was on me, that is the result of my decisions. I lost my scholarship, I had to get student loans, and I choose to move off campus and get a job. I got a credit card and wanted to go out to eat more than I should. So ya, if college is about “adulting” step one is to quit telling yourself that you are the victim and start owning your decisions. And if there is something that you aren’t happy about, fit it.
Something I wasn’t happy about that was something I couldn’t fix by myself–I was lonely. How, on a campus that had more people attending than the number of people in my hometown, could I feel lonely? Because I was choosing to.
So, one day I decided to play a game when walking around campus. I decided to lift my head, walk with confidence (fake it until you make it, right?!?), and I looked everyone in the eye, and anyone who looked back I gave a slight smile and said, “good morning.” It amazed me how many people smiled back and said good morning back. That was the first day in the development of Jes!
I realized before then, the “victim version” of me didn’t smile because nobody was smiling at me. That was the first day that I realized, that they weren’t smiling at me because I wasn’t acknowledging them nor greeting them. MIND BLOWN—that was the day I came to terms with the ideal that I was in control of me, and that I was in control of my perception, and that I was in control of being the person I wanted to be, but also the person that I wanted other to see me as. And by golly, I was going to choose who I was to become, and I was going to choose to love me and I was going realize my value.
I cannot expect anyone to love me if I cannot love myself first. I cannot expect anyone to value me if I do not see it in myself first.
Did I change overnight? Heavens no. I would say that it was a constant struggle for about 10 years. I realized that I must talk to myself versus listening to myself because the voice in my head, at times (especially stressful times), was a negative ninny. And that gal needs to be quiet. By telling her to hush and considering instead to realize that I have control over my reactions.
Habits are hard to break. Especially ones that are as complex as our thoughts, as they are our source of identity.
I task you with helping others realize the power they have in their outcomes by taking control of what they are telling themselves (and perhaps when they should change their message) versus feeding into their internal negative voice that was developed by a lifetime of blaming others, situations, or choices.
I say all of this because I do love building and creating, I journal for reflection and to work my way through emotion, I want to create this blog as a source of release and creation, but also in the hopes of helping someone or inspiring someone. I also want to lay the foundation and background so you can have insight to my journey and my struggles. I am only me, I have many shortcomings, but what I bring to the table is pretty freakin’ awesome, and what I am lacking is pretty entertaining. I won’t pretend to be anything more than I am, at the same time, I will never accept making less of who I am or what I have accomplished.