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.

The End of a Year of “Yes”

A year ago, I was a college sophomore trying to figure out why the world kept on moving when it felt like mine froze or how time kept slipping through my fingers. Because a little over two years ago, I told you about Shonda Rhimes’ book Year of Yes and how I wanted to put myself out there by learning to take a chance on myself and say yes more often.

Two years ago I decided to make it a year of yes. Then it became two years. Then two and a half.

Today, in my third year of college and not without a whole lot of hesitation or deliberation, I’m changing my mind.

Today, I’m saying no.

Let me explain.


In January of 2017, I made my blog post all about this concept of a “year of yes” because my entire world was changing and maybe I wanted to take back control. So I decided my control would come in the form of one three little word. Yes.

I joined a new club which was almost the opposite of my energy and personality, I took the jump into switching my major, I took on the challenge of finishing my novel, I worked hard to get Dean’s List, I went out to parties when I was ready… I just kept saying yes. Not past my limits of course, but enough to redefine them.

If you’ve been following my blog for the past two and a half years now, I think you might actually see that change over time. Just take a look: I went from quoting One Direction’s “Little Things” and writing about restless love to education about Suicide Prevention and being okay with not fitting into societal norms around drinking or even sex.

Do you see the progression? Because I definitely do–that’s what I like to call personal growth. I have done so many things in the last two years of my life that I would have never done before I came to college. I was afraid of the world and the rejection that can come with it so I decided to not let that ever happen by simply not giving the world the chance to.

That would leave anyone feeling pretty empty right?

I know that’s how it left me, empty and insecure. But also curious. So I took that curiosity and Shonda’s challenge with it. Somewhere in between, I let myself grow and take on a life that wasn’t fully under lock & key anymore. I mean, how else do you think I ended up taking on being an orientation leader, let alone deciding to come back as a Facilitator. I just kept saying yes.

And looking back, it’s incredible to see how much has change, how much I’ve done and grown over time. Trust me, if you haven’t seen me in a while then I can’t tell you exactly who you’ll find once you do.

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Because not only did I say yes to almost everything in my life, but I started to feel guilty when I didn’t want to or when I knew I would be great if I did say yes. After all this time of taking on so many things and people and experiences, I’m realizing that as liberating it can be to say yes so often, it can also take little pieces of you and scatter them across all those things or people or experiences until you’ve got nothing left for yourself.

Once I saw that, there was no going back. And today, I’m taking my life back. I’m saying no—not to growth or being a part of things I truly love, but “no” to taking on a role that maybe doesn’t quite fit right at the moment. Right job, wrong time kind of thing.

I need to work on me for right now.

So maybe it’s a yes, but a no at the same time. A yes to myself, to taking control of what I want and care about, with a no to doing what I know I’ll be good while losing myself in the process.

In my two years of yes, I’ve come to see that it’s all a balancing game. At a certain point, something has to even out the scales and maybe, it’s my job to see that. It’s our job to do that.

Sure, it took me two years. But look where those two years took me; after all this, I don’t think I’d take it back. Not at all. Now, I think I’m simply ready to find a little more balance.


Happy Friday night everyone.