Burning Bridges

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Welcome to another Friday, one of the last ones we’ve got for a year. As the last week of classes has wrapped up, I’m ready for break. Very ready. I just have to get there. Lucky for me, a week to go and I will. It’s got me thinking.

Sometimes we start to ask ourselves why we do the things that we do. Whether it’s caring about people who do not deserve us or working hard at something that doesn’t require it, it’s just how we are as people. It could be a good or a bad thing, sometimes it’s both. I’ve just been wondering why.

Remember that date we talked about, and by talked I mean me telling you and making you read all about it. Well when it comes to other people, I’m the kind of person who doesn’t like to leave them hanging. If I choose to bring someone into my life, there was probably a reason for it. I like having steady relationships.

At least I thought so.

You see, I went on a date with a boy two weeks ago and haven’t really talked to him since. At first I felt bad about that. I mean, if I give someone a chance and spend time with them, it almost seems rude to not follow up on that. Not to say hi or acknowledge that we spent time together. It’s not that I’m ignoring it, I’m just not saying anything about it either. 

Because ultimately, it isn’t my responsibility to make sure other people feel good about things. Not when there isn’t anything to feel good (or bad) about.

Think about that. I don’t mean it in an “it’s all about me” kinda way, I mean it in a “your life is not my priority, mine is” kinda way. There are things we can do in this life simply for other people, and that’s okay. I think about my 16 WOWies or 21 Orientation Leaders and I really would do (have done) countless things for them simply because I wanted to. Because I care about them and they deserve it.

That’s not bad, not at all. I love caring about every single one of them, I enjoy supporting my people. It’s just that sometimes that’s what makes me forget an important piece of this: caring about someone else may also mean the opposite of doing something for them. Here’s what I mean.

If I reached out to my date simply because I feel bad that we haven’t talked, knowing I’m not very interested in getting to know him more, it wouldn’t be fair. Not to him or to myself. After all, I would be leading him on at that point wouldn’t I?

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There’s no point in getting someone’s hopes up when they shouldn’t, it’s too short-term to look at it that way. Say I did talk to him and keep up conversation, giving him the idea that we should keep up with whatever we were doing in the first place. That could avoid him possibly feeling like he did something wrong or that the date didn’t go well in the first place, a short -erm avoidance of unhappiness/doubt. 

In the long run though, it could become a bigger issue if I know I’m not interested already; the longer we keep things up even when the coming end result isn’t necessarily a positive one, why keep it at all?

We are not obligated to make other people happy when it takes our time and energy to do so without any real benefit to ourselves.

I bring this up now because, well, it’s the holiday season. Some people spend more time with family, friends, or other loved ones that maybe they’ve had a rocky relationship with in the past. I don’t know about you, but I tend to feel guilty about those things because relationships take two people. If there’s something wrong, I feel that I often have something to do with it, some control over that.

But I don’t, not really. None of us do. Now, if you argue with that one super political uncle over Thanksgiving and things get heated because you all don’t agree, only to pretend things are fine to keep it cordial over Christmas, that’s fine. You’re not doing any harm in not pushing something that doesn’t need to be pushed. That’s not what I mean we don’t have control over.

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We have no say in other people’s expectations. To a certain point, we can be ourselves and let others see whatever they see in us— it isn’t up to us to make them see what they want to. In the same way, it isn’t our responsibility to make other people happy, especially if it is a detriment to ourselves in the process.

If something isn’t working, why pretend that it is just to keep up the other person’s ego. The truth isn’t something we should avoid, not when it usually comes up in the end regardless. So, why bring this up now?

Because the holidays usually mean expectations; whether it’s towards the season or family time or gifts or making sure to hug all the relatives that we don’t care to hug, there are things people want us to do. Sometimes, we don’t want to do them. And we shouldn’t have to.

Not out of reason, anyway. If it’s a holiday tradition to give people gifts and someone simply doesn’t want to do it that year, that is a bit out of reason. It wouldn’t be fair to sit out just because we don’t feel like it, knowing it takes away from everyone else’s experiences.

But when asked to hug this random person who remembers us as a child—a child young enough to not know who they are by now—it’s not too much to politely decline. When presented with an old friend in town who wants to catch up, while we have no interest in doing so, it isn’t on us to pretend we want to out of obligation. 

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Just because it’s a busier and more social time of year does not mean that we need to keep up obligations. I know I hold my own feelings towards keeping other people happy, even when at a detriment to myself. This year, I think I’m letting myself become my priority, not other people. The attachments I have to always being what other people need me to be, I’m burning those bridges and finding a better balance in it instead.

For all of our sakes, put yourself first.

You deserve that much. Enjoy the holiday season for you; if you can do that, you’ll be happier and in turn, they people around you just might be too. Think about it.

And happy Friday. 

Breaking the Ice Head On

Another week down and I must say, this one passed way too quickly for my liking. We have had the week off for Thanksgiving and I told myself that I was going to fix my story draft, knock out a few projects and presentations, and catch up on all my sleeping…

You know what they say about good intentions.

Nonetheless, it’s been a nice week home. It’s given me a chance to reflect on something I got to do last week for the first time—don’t have a ton of firsts left for my young adulthood. But this was a semi-big one.


I went on my first date on Friday.

I think most of us can agree that first dates are weird, right? You don’t quite know each other or how you work together, what to fill the silences with or how long is socially acceptable to stare at them without saying anything at all.

There are a whole lot of unknowns. In my opinion, that’s almost the best part. People are always nervous for the firsts of new jobs or days of school, mostly because we don’t quite know what to expect. Will people be nice, what should you wear, when is the right time for x or y?

There are always so many questions. But lucky for me, I got one of them answered pretty quickly for me on Friday.

 Will this be awkward the entire time or will I be able to relax at some point?

There will always be a degree of discomfort in something new, but there comes a point where the discomfort becomes a red flag. Gladly, I was in the beginning of that spectrum.

Especially when we looked at each other over our pizza as I tried to figure out the most elegant way to fit a slice in my mount, and he said—point blank— “you’re nervous, aren’t you.” It wasn’t a question.

In some cases, this is a very embarrassing thing to have pointed out. I mean, I’m trying to play it cool and settle in as if being there was the most natural thing in the world.

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But it was still a little awkward, we had to find a good groove to fit into first. So, when he said that, instead of being more uncomfortable or feeling the need to play it off, I laughed (awkwardly). Because I was nervous.

And he was too.

When you spend more time trying to think of what to say next or filling in all the awkward silences because it’s weird not to, it’s probably a good sign that you need to stop thinking so much and just exist in the moment where you’re at.

We forget to do that a lot of the time, I know I do. When he pointed out my nervousness and I noticed him filling in all the silences, I actually found it easier to settle in a little bit. Once it was acknowledged, it was like I had nothing to hide and no reason to try to play something cool when I do something decidedly uncool and it turns out really funny instead.

What I was trying to do in the beginning of that date was not to be nervous. Have you ever done that? Told yourself not to be nervous or to just relax in the middle of something that you’re naturally going to be nervous about one way or another?

I was doing it wrong. What I needed to do was let myself be nervous, to not know what he would think of my personality or if I was talking too much or if things were going well because, I mean, there’s no way to control that. When people say to be yourself on a first date or first day of school or in a new city or meeting a significant other’s supporters, it really does mean just be yourself.

When you act like yourself, it’s impossible to do that wrong. It comes to you just like breathing in and out does from one second to another. If that’s the only thing you remind yourself to do, then you don’t have to worry about it.

If you’re not worrying about it, you can just sit back and enjoy whatever you’re doing instead.

Do you see where I’m going here? I was trying not to be anxious and he was trying to get rid of all the awkward silences—thing is, I like the fact that we were both a little self-conscious because it meant that what we were doing mattered to us.

That applies to anything.

As for the silence, well, if you know me then you know that I have a thing for silences. There’s something about two (or more) people in the same space just existing in each other’s presence without feeling the need to talk that I find very comforting.

That is the ultimate sign of comfort with another person I’ve found in my life so far.

And, well, I think each of you should find comfort in that too; not in the silence part, although that’s great as well. I mean in the lack of control we have on our nerves or bad dates or spilled coffee or traffic or really any one of the insurmountable things that get in the way of something going “right” for us.

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The only surefire way for something to go “right” is if we stop trying to change the world’s natural laws of time and chance and instead find comfort in our own selves.

You deserve to be enough for yourself, in any situation on any day. Because this is your life and you should own every single moment of it, planned or not.


This year, I got to be a little extra thankful that on Friday, that’s exactly what I got to do. I hope that you find a few more moments to remember this as we come to a close on 2019, and as for Thanksgiving, I wanted to thank each and every one of you for sticking with me and my blog. It means the world to me.

Happy Friday and for those traveling, travel safely.

Win Some, Lose Some

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It’s been another long week, but lucky for me, it’s also now our Thanksgiving break. And let me tell you, I am ready for it. My post today is a pretty short one:

There have been so many things going on this quarter that sometimes, it’s hard to keep track. From hard decisions and dense theory classes to back-to-back studio projects and a new story to work on, I’ve been pretty busy.

But between the good, bad, and the in-between, it’s been a lot of work. Some of it good, others complete losses, but it is what it is.

Here’s the thing though. My writing means a lot to me; I place a lot of my self worth and expectations on it because, well, my writing is me. Kinda hard not to put some value into that.

In some cases, that validation has not quite planned out. With my fiction writing workshops, my classmates are not afraid to say what they think, filter or lack there of. As much as my story has been something I’m proud of, there are some big changes I need to make.

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By changes, I mean that I need to rewrite the entire beginning. Or write, actually. Where the book starts is about three months after where it needs to start. My job is to write those three months into fiction in its entirety, creating my characters lives before I knew them and who they are as people.

Sounds like a lot right? There’s a reason I haven’t gotten to it yet.

So my reviews so far, I think I consider those losses. My peers liked the story, but not in a way that would keep them liking it.

Now, I need to change that.

But despite the amount of work I know is patiently waiting for me, there is one small bit of redemption in this post, don’t worry.

Fiction is something that I would never give up, not for anything. But I would be lying if I didn’t admit that poetry was my first written love.

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I loved having the power to make my own rules, to make something beautiful out of the maybe not so beautiful. I loved putting words out into the world that would mean something to someone.

All because they meant something to me.

Art is an outlet and even if I wasn’t trying to work on anything, it’ll come regardless. So why fight it?

My blog posts come on a weekly basis but everything else doesn’t have a schedule. As a result, the validation doesn’t either.

You know that production I submitted my work two years ago? The Original Womex’s Naratives—I’ve submitted a piece for the last two years and this year, I had high expectations this time too. I mean, who doesn’t put that kind of pressure on their work?

Well this year, I submitted two personal pieces about a month ago and I just heard back; they decided to take one.

One will always be good enough for me.

Because these stories, I’m not the only one who has them. We all do. Shows like this one give us a chance to share them, to let people into our lives just a fraction of the way. We’re all different after all, that’s what makes us who we are. I think all of us deserve to our that out into the world sometimes.

We never know how what we have to say will be received. With the right audience, they just might take you as you are.

If I’m lucky, I can get there with my novel too.

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As for the poem, it’s on self love and the struggle all of us go through in understanding ourselves. I’ll share it with you soon, but for now just know that if you’re on my blog, you’ll have to take me as I am too.

I don’t know any other way to be.

Happy Friday, and for those traveling this week, be safe out there. See you next week.

A Snowball Effect

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It’s been a pretty regular week in the life, more projects and classes and work shifts to attend to. Nothing special, not really.

At least not directly.

There is one news story that did catch my eye, one that got me thinking about my career and what it could look like. It has nothing to do with me, but it was about an author I used to read a lot of; I idolized her and her work. Sure, my tastes changed over time, but she does her job well regardless.

Most people do, that is, until they begin to abuse the position that job may give them.

I’m talking about Sarah Dessen and the slew of authors that got involved after the resurfacing of a commentary on her work. Here’s a quick rundown of what happened and why it matters on a larger scale to the rest of us:

As a junior in college, Brooke Nelson volunteered on the selection committee for the Common Read program. This program selects certain books for incoming students to read on Northern State University in South Dakota. As her reasoning for joining, she spoke out against the selection of Dessen’s books, as they were not on par with Common Read standards.

The reaction to this, however, was not as small as a single opinion. Dessen took to Twitter in order to say that authors are still people and that this opinion hurt her in a time that she is going through a lot. Many of her fellow YA authors backed her up, also offended by Nelson’s words.

So that’s the summed-up version of what happened. Here’s why I think it matters to the rest of us:

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On one hand, we need to remember that everything we do ultimately impacts someone else. What we say, what we do, when we do it… It all matters. In the words of author Jay Asher, “Everything affects everything.”

We only ever know our own circumstances and some semblance of how we impact our own lives. There is no real way to predict what skipping one class or getting gas another day or breaking routine will do for the people you may have come across. We don’t know, I personally don’t think I’d want to know all those possibilities.

In that vein, be kind when you can and pay attention to the world around you. Maybe it’ll make a difference, maybe it won’t. You can’t really know.

Now for the other hand: we are all in a position of power somewhere in our lives. Whether it’s with siblings or coworkers or just someone that friends look up to, that gives you power. With that power, the more you have reflects what you say or do on a much bigger stage.

You are never off stage.

By speaking out as someone whose work is widely read, beloved, and admired by fans and authors alike, Dessen found herself on a large stage. And a lot of other people decided to join her. Other popular YA authors then chimed in and supported her, therefore speaking down to Nelson. 

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Unfortunately, Nelson is now just a graduate student and when angry fans and authors came mobbing at her through social media, the impact was a big one. Because not only did Dessen back herself up, but she had a whole lot of other people to join her.

In the end, there was a lot of harm done to the girl and a lot of support for the author. As someone who writes and wants to be successful in that aspect of my life, I recognize that not everyone is going to like everything I write. I mean, I don’t even like everything I write; that is not an expectation I can hold over other people.

Beyond writing, it also extends to relationships and jobs even. Not every job is a good fit, nor are people always the right people. Though I used to try to get everyone to like me, that isn’t possible. So why bother? Ultimately, it’s not supposed to be possible. There’s a reason for that.

The adversity we face oftentimes opens up to other perspectives or opinions that we do not have. Sometimes that can hurt and sometimes it can help. But every time, it is also a chance to learn from what we didn’t see the first time. It’s almost like hindsight but seeing it from a different direction than looking back.

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So maybe this didn’t happen in my life, no one told me (directly) that they don’t like my writing this week. But it did happen somewhere. One person was punished for having an opinion when that is what she volunteered for in the first place. And the other took that opinion as a reflection of her own person.

Writing is personal, yes. I think to a certain degree, everything we do is. The question is whether or not we pay attention to how what affects the world around us.

So, think about it, what have you put out into the world today?

It’s Not You, It’s Me

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Someone asked me today why I don’t drink, and I realized that my explanation has grown as I have. Here’s the thing: It’s not that I don’t drink, not really. It’s that I choose not to a lot of the time because I generally don’t enjoy it.

That’s not always the case, but it got me thinking.

Just because we like something some of the time or other people are doing it, doesn’t mean that we have to always stay that way or join in with them. We’re far too complicated as humans to follow such social concepts.

Yet, we do. And part of me thinks I know why—at least for myself.

There are a lot of things I have done in the past, not because I particularly wanted to or because it felt right, but because I felt like I was supposed to. I drank occasionally at parties because everyone else did and I was tired of people judging me. In the same vein, there are a few AP classes I took in high school— definitely should not have taken calc AB— that I took because I thought I should.

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But right now, I’m realizing that this is one of the first times I’m seeing how much it matters as to why I do what do. If I don’t enjoy something or at least gain skills, friends, etc. out of it, then why am I doing it?

The last few years, I’ve gotten so involved because part of me wanted to despite being shy and afraid. If you ask my friends now, they probably won’t use either word to describe me. Considering that I’m 21, there are a whole lot of opportunities coming at me in life right around now that offer something that I don’t really like—options. It’s not that I don’t want choices, it’s that I don’t want to have to make those choices.

Because making decisions that just might change the direction my life is headed in is kind of intimidating. Kind of in the same way that doing things that you want to do but aren’t comfortable doing in the moment doing, it’s not always easy doing something that you have to do even if you want to.

Here’s a slightly different example that changed my week up a little bit.

Earlier this week, my seminar class on literary theory and criticism—yes, it is as dense as it sounds—was trying to unpack a passage we had just read. Though the reading itself was on the concept man being the superior sex, it was likened to race as well. Now, this part didn’t bother me even though I was one of two minorities in the class, both of which were used as an example in the readings.

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My issue came up when someone raised their hand to offer their own insight and used the words “colored individuals” as a way of referring to people of color.

I think I froze when I heard her say that, my shoulders going still and fingers actually stopping mid-reach for my water bottle as an old segregation sign popped into my head. Many of us, our professor included, were so surprised to hear it that nothing was addressed about the usage of language.

In that moment, I wanted to say something; I felt like I was supposed to say something. But I didn’t. Because Cal Poly isn’t the easiest place for people like me to speak up.

What I did do, however, was email my professor after class to express both my discomfort with the language and concern as we move into queer and postcolonial theory. When I felt uncomfortable, I didn’t do something just because I thought I was supposed to or obligated to. I’m not really sure that would have benefited me in any way and most likely would have felt worse.

Instead, I found a way to do something I personally wanted to do that didn’t put me in an uncomfortable situation in the process. Sometimes, you can’t avoid the discomfort. Sometimes, you can. So, I did.

There are a lot of situations and settings that I don’t drink in simply because it would be uncomfortable and hard to enjoy. But when I am comfortable and actually want to, I can. Because that is my decision to make.

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Studying when I don’t want to is a benefit to me just like going to class or working. There are other things we do for other people or for ourselves only out of expectation or sometimes a lack of self-respect. That isn’t really any way to live a life we want to be living.

So, don’t live it that way. It took me a while, but I’m starting to understand what it means to lead my own life rather than let other people or circumstances dictate it. After all, my life is about me, isn’t it? Even in the face of uncomfortable moments or hard decisions like last week, I think dictating my own life is worth it.

Don’t you?

Take Yes for an Answer… Unless

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Over the past 3 years, I’ve done everything I could do here on campus and sometimes I forget just how much that is. From my adings and my WOWies to my OLs and my coworkers, I guess you could say these past two years were a whole lot of saying “yes.” Especially my junior year. It was my year of yes.

Honestly, I think it was one of the best things I could have done for myself. I don’t think I would have gotten so involved otherwise.

The thing about all of my involvements, from working as customer service to orientation, a lot of it has been work focused on the benefit of other people. Not me.

Now I say this to point out that these are people I adore and would truly do anything for, but at this point I kind of have. I’ve done a lot and I am proud of all the people I have done it all for too. Even so, there needs to be a balance.

This is my fourth year here and college has been incredibly hard for me on just about all fronts. I’ve grown a lot, yes, but I’ve also been through a lot. We all have. So when a decision came up this week whether or not to put all my time and energy this year into continuing the work I’ve been doing, it wasn’t an easy one to make.

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To me, it was an either or thing. Either I put my time and energy into the program and CCE or I put that time into myself.

Until now, I hadn’t considered that it’s possible to do both. Just differently. In knowing that, this time I said no; no to an opportunity that would benefit so many people I care about because maybe I care about me too. In some ways, that no to them was very much a yes to myself and the focus I need to be putting into my own wellbeing.

Because the better I am for me, the better I can be for other people regardless of what position or title I hold.

If someone asked me what the difference was between the me walking into freshman year and the me right now, I would probably say my perspective—the way I see the world, myself, and what I owe to each has grown immensely. And I am only just reaching the beginning of that change.

For those of you who know me, you know that I tend to put the needs of others first. Whether that’s a positional need that I can fill or support for a friend that I can give.

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Looking at myself, there are endless things that I could do for other people or positions. And I have. Even when I shouldn’t.

Everything we do is a give and take: if you give in one area of your life, you are most likely taking from another whether that is a positive or negative thing. For me, I always thought giving to others and being the person to fill those roles was my job if I could; I mean if I didn’t, who would?

Someone else. And sometimes, that’s okay.

Regardless of who does it, the job always gets done. I don’t always have to be the one to do it.

Neither do you.

Personally, I’ve been fighting a cold for the past two and a half weeks and migraines/tension headaches for over the past month now. If that is any indication, it’s probably a good time for me to be focusing on my own life.

It’s a give and take: these past few weeks I’ve been so diligent about giving time to my schoolwork and getting things done and other people that I’ve been taking away from myself.

See how that all kind of plays out?

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Just like I talked about a hierarchy of needs a few weeks ago, we also have a hierarchy of people or things we care about. When it comes to us, we’re not always on the top of that list and that’s okay. Unless it isn’t.

There’s a time and place for everything including when to place other’s needs above your own.

This week, I chose for that time and place to be here and now.

Considering that it’s November, the second to last month of the year, I want you to think about this: are you choosing yourself in some way, every single day? Because you deserve to, we all do.

If you aren’t, start now. There’s no time like the present. Happy Friday.

Another Week, Another Lesson to Learn

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Welcome back to another Friday!!

This week was long, but even more so, it was HOT. It’s been in the 90’s for the past few days here in SLO and my wardrobe is as confused as I am. Even so, we keep on keeping on. 

Because with long weeks comes more time for good moments, and let me tell ya, there were a few.

First of all, I’m a fourth year here but I’ve only just started going downtown on weekends this year (shoutout to my roommate) and I have to say, dancing can do so much good for you. Almost nothing compares to taking a few hours to shut off your brain and turn on your rhythm instead—it’s not about always thinking about life so much as it’s about feeling it too.

Some people do yoga, IM teams, biking, etc. and some of those take skills, equipment, or teams.

All dancing requires is a body and a solid beat to move to. That’s it. If you’ve seen what Grey’s Anatomy used to be, you might remember Meredith and Yang solving problems by “dancing it out.”

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I get it now. Sometimes life necessitates taking a step back from everything and I am beginning to find that dancing is one incredible way to do it.

I’m just saying. Try it, you won’t regret it.

Beyond that, I also realized that I register for the second to last time of my undergraduate career in under two weeks. My senior project forms are officially turned in, my fiction writing workshop is (almost) set for next quarter, and this quarter is forcing me into creative limits I haven’t pushed before.

I’m running out of time but I am also growing, a lot. It’s incredible.

My digital projects have been taking a lot of time with software I have never used before, but they’re also turning out quite well. These days, I have projects that I lose sleep over just to make it something I can be proud of—I’m lucky for that.

Even regarding things that I love too much not to be insecure about.

Here’s what I mean:

Three weeks ago, the first six pages of my novel were handed out in class, read aloud, and picked apart. Brutally. After feeling as if I’d found my groove again and a voice that I was consistently proud of, I was honestly really discouraged. These were stories and characters that I’ve been thinking about for the past year of my life, that I’ve fallen for, constructed, and molded into people I can almost touch. 

I have never been so passionate about and dedicated to a story and its characters—they’re real to me in a way I can’t explain.

Leaving class that day, though, I felt like it wasn’t enough.

That feeling is never something easy to move through. Whether it’s feeling like your work can’t meet expectations, you don’t quite measure up, or something about what you’re doing just isn’t enough… It’s hard. Even when you move past it, it’s hard.

Sitting on those pages for days, thinking and overthinking just what I needed to do to make it work, I was unhappy with the writing I defined myself by. All of it. 

I couldn’t touch any of it for fear that it would only get worse from there. With a deadline yesterday, I knew I had work to do and still put it off until the last minute when I truly had no other options but to do what needed to be done. 

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So in the hours before it was due, I took the boundaries of what I set for my story and I pushed every single one of them, again and again, before printing my copies and bringing them with open hands to class. 

And they loved it. My two workshop partners, both writers I highly appreciate and respect, loved my story. They want me to keep going.

So do I.

At some point, in doing my work and chasing my passions, I forgot that I needed to be my own advocate along the way. I forgot that no matter what anyone else says, we need to be the ones pushing ourselves to keep going or to go out dancing and shut off our brains when we need to or believe in what we do, otherwise sometimes no one else will.

That, and sometimes on the other side of that, if you ever need someone to be your hype person, all you need to do is ask. Trust me, there is always someone out there who believes in everything you are.

What else are the people you love for if not to remind you of that love when you need it?

Because if you had a week like mine, it was filled with ups & downs, lefts & rights, and maybe a little too much heat.

Photo by Ryan Tauss on Unsplash

But it was also filled with moments that could have lasted forever and reassurance that you just might have needed.

Some weeks are like that. The good, the bad, and everything in between. These days, I think I’m learning to be okay with that. If you’re not, I dare you to do something about it.

I know I am.

Happy Friday, see you next week.