2017. What a year.
To say the least: this has been one of the hardest years of my life. It’s been a year of learning not to care about things beyond my control and being comfortable with uncertainty. I’ve learned to allow myself a chance to grow, even if it means facing failure. I’ve learned to admit when I need help or when I’m unsure because being a perfectionist is a 24/7 job that I am so tired of keeping up with (so I quit!). I’ve learned to be selfish with my time, learned how to say “no,” and prioritize my health. I’ve learned the difference in people who say they’ll be there versus the ones who already are. I’ve learned the difference between the things that shine versus those that are actually made of gold, and how easy it is to get the two confused. I spent so much of my life worrying about events beyond my control, relationships I couldn’t save, and wanting permanence from temporary people. The good news is that even though those lessons were difficult to learn, they have molded me into the woman I was destined to become. For those reading, I hope that you too will face many challenges in your journey because the beauty in obstacles is that eventually, you get to the other side and WOW is it beautiful.
As president of an organization, I gave my all at the cost of my mental health more often than I’d like to admit. I made this organization a reflection of myself by hoping that if I invested time & energy, it’d pay off and others could be proud of me. It felt like I was trying so hard but you can’t fight for something if no one is fighting alongside of you. I cannot be held responsible for a sinking ship just because I am the captain because that’s what an entire crew is for. Even with all hands on deck, sometimes the waves just have to pass through.
On top of this was the stress of senior year along with feeling unmotivated. Spreading yourself thin turns your passions into a chore. I’ve always wanted to work for the public but I saw just how little people care about social issues, like poverty, if it does not pertain to them. While I’m dedicated to my goals, caring so much for people does take its emotional toll sometimes. However, I’ve decided I can’t let the misery of others take away from my ability to do the best that I can. At the end of the day, all we can do is the best that we possibly can & as a perfectionist, I had to learn to let myself be okay with that.
Earlier this year, I met someone I ended up liking more than I wanted to after exiting an unhealthy situation with someone who I basically convinced myself to like because I was afraid I had lost the ability to emotionally connect with someone. And to be very honest, I don’t know if I can. I am a bit old-fashioned with relationships. Even if I don’t end up marrying a person I date (which is fine) I still need some level of commitment because I’m not here to waste time. Everything used to be easier when people were honest about what they were looking for & nowadays it’s all a series of mind games. Because of that, it’s hard to let my guard down but with this person, I finally wanted to because I enjoyed their company. They came off charming, funny, caring, and sweet & I don’t doubt that they are still a good person who just has some more time to learn on their journey. The thing that hurts about getting to pick up on someone’s quirks, like the way they look down while thinking, their taste in movies/music, or the way they hesitate before speaking is that you attach sentimental value to the things that make them unique. If you had asked me to describe the kind of guy I’d fall so easily for: this was pretty damn close so I stood no chance & because of that, I put up all the walls I could & came off more reserved that I typically would. Ultimately, they were not on the same page as me and while I appreciated the honesty that they did initially offer, they did not stick to their plan of action & that led to a lot of nonsensical mind-fuckery. The issue, for me at least, was that I was fine with just spending time with this person, but that I needed to know where I stood. If this person could learn one lesson from our interaction: I hope that they realize that their actions can be misinterpreted so easily that it made sense for me to be as confused as I was & I had a right to the truth even if it hurt. Because I did put myself in a vulnerable position and felt like my feelings were taken advantage of, I felt like I deserved a proper apology. It did hurt my feelings. Still, it was fun while it lasted & I truly wish I had enjoyed that person’s company more. Forgiveness was an important part in letting that go, though. Alas, the lesson I did learn was it’s not fair to treat people like a destination because it takes away from the experience of enjoying their company. I am glad I got to meet this person & I wish them well on their journey, even if they did not want me around even as a friend to witness that.
From relationships in general I’ve learned it’s important to be true to who you are. There’s a greater plan that God prepares us for, even if we don’t recognize it in the moment. I’ve always been in a rush due to the strong relationships around me. It’s natural to want commitment but at 21, most people are not ready to be serious. While in the past that would make me try to mold myself to fit in with my peers, I’ve realized I don’t have to abandon my values and beliefs to be desirable to the opposite sex. I’ve spent so long trying to fit the idea of what people want a woman to be based on how the media, men, other women, and society define womanhood. The true beauty in being a woman is having the power to choose how you define yourself & owning it. It took 21 years and three years of being single to realize that I am a priceless gem & refuse to deal with being treated as anything less.
Overall, my senior year was GREAT! There were plenty of parties, events, and I finally had more time to spend with friends. Cutting off toxic friendships has been a big weight off my shoulders. After years of my effort not being reciprocated by certain friends & family members, it felt great to just NOT CARE ANYMORE. Freedom! I’ve also been involved with the Honor Court & Student Government & met people who I share the same goals with. It’s so refreshing!
Unfortunately, in November 2017, I had a severe anxiety attack after a stressful week. In retrospect, I’m unsure whether it was stress over a particular event that week or my brain being fed up of the stress that’s accumulated over the years, but I’ve never felt so anxious in my entire life. Somehow, I pushed myself over the edge and ended up going to the E.R because I could NOT calm myself down. The event made me come to terms with certain habits I wanted to let go of, face my fear of death, and made me realize the people who are actually going to be there for me…very few, btw. It’s brought me closer to God in ways I didn’t think were possible but also made me question where I stand in my faith because anxiety is the worst thing I’ve ever felt in my entire life. It feels like being a guest in your own body. People make so many jokes about mental illness as if anxiety is simply the feeling of worry. What they don’t realize are the very real, physical symptoms of anxiety as your heart skips a beat and sends you into panic. I’m not sure where my anxiety is coming from but through the help of a therapist & meditation, I’ve been able to manage it & understand the sources of stress/fear. Alh, this too shall pass.
Needless to say as per tradition: Here’s 10 lessons I’ve learned from 2017 and Goals I have for the next year!
10 Things I Learned In 2017
- The beauty of life is in the journey. Be present!
- Relationships are not a destination. Learn to enjoy someone’s presence without expectations.
- Mental illness can happen to anyone, even the happiest and strongest of us. It’s not a joke. It’s nothing to be ashamed of. Take time for self-care! Exercise for your soul & your body will thank you.
- It’s not about winning the fight. It’s about standing up for what you believe in, standing up for what you think is RIGHT.
- When someone tells you who they are, believe them.
- Become the person who deserves the things you pray for.
- Forgiveness is virtuous & sometimes the only way to move on.
- Always be kind, especially to the people who may not deserve it. You lose nothing, but gain everything.
- Change negative patterns of thinking. Don’t obsess, stress, or dwell over the things beyond your control.
- No matter what happens, remember this: you’re doing the best that you possibly can. Nobody’s perfect. Allow yourself to celebrate the fact that YOU are more than enough. ❤
- Eat healthier & be active, which hopefully leads to weight loss.
- Get a job before graduation
- Score above 160 on the LSAT & apply to law school
- Open up to people by embracing vulnerability in my personal relationships.
- Create a reading list & actually complete it (one book per month, at least)
Long story short, it’s been a wild ride. I turned 21 & my world somewhat changed (will blog about that later!) It’s been a year of trial and error, fire and ice, and while it was bittersweet it was just as rewarding. Alhumdullilah for the good, Alhumdullilah for the bad. Alhumdullilah.