Finding Truth in Old Journals

I’ve been spending the past few months cleaning out my old room. I like to think I keep things simple an organized, but the truth is, I’m a pack rat who keeps just about everything.

Just before moving last year, I purged all my magazines. I had several that were more than 20 years old, and hundreds that I had from 5 to 15 years.

Anyway, magazines shouldn’t be a problem because I no longer buy them. The journals, on the other hand, are another story. I have at least 50, and many are either unused or half full. I recently found one from 2012 with ‘Brilliant Ideas’ on the cover. (I bought it specifically for that label)

I looked through it, and found something I wrote to myself, 4 years ago, about faith. After going through a difficult winter semester that included illness, anxiety, and stress, my faith was waning.
It’s one thing to know that God is at work in my life. It’s another to believe He is. I allowed my external circumstances to determine my spiritual condition, and I didn’t know what to do to change it.

I didn’t know that part of answer was in the journal. My past self, reaching out to my current self and telling her to stay the course.
The entry reads:

Last week, I decided that I am definitely not the type of person who wants just enough faith for the journey. I also want enough strength to take down anything that dares to get between me and my future. I don’t want to coast through a mediocre life. I want to live well. I want to fight passionately for the principles in which I believe. I want to fail miserably, and still keep trying. I want to be honest, vulnerable, and most of all, authentic.
I want to experience everything life has to offer me–even the difficulty –because going through trials is what teaches me the most.
I wasn’t born to be just average. I was born to be great. From today forward, I will work to achieve greatness in everything I do. I cannot be defeated, and I will not quit.


I don’t remember what was going on in my life when I wrote this, but I’m thankful I did because it was the kick in the butt I needed to move forward. There will be times in our lives when we feel uncertain, or alone, no matter how many people are there to offer us support.
I had to remind myself that these feelings aren’t new, and they will pass.

All it took was prayer and an old journal.

Regards,

Erin

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I’m Back…Kind of.

I’m not going to go into a long explanation as to why I was absent for so long. Instead, I’m going to sum it up in 5 words: School, flu, more flu.
This winter has not been kind to me, but it’s almost over, so that’s a plus.

Anyway, here are 6 random observations I’ve made about myself in the past 6 months.

1. My desire to do something exponentially increases when I’m told I shouldn’t. I shaved my head last may, partly because I wanted to, and partly because someone told me that men prefer long, chemically treated hair.

I prefer not going bald because of chemical burns, thanks.

2. I wear makeup because I like it. I haven’t dressed to impress anyone since my early 20s, which were nearly a decade ago. I reject the notion that all women who wear makeup are insecure. I’ve met plenty of insecure women who don’t wear a stitch of makeup, ever. I just happen to be one of those women who is equally adorable , with or without makeup, but I like the artistry of it, so I wear it often.

3. I’m a perfectionist.

What an awful revelation. In going back to school, I discovered that I’d rather pass in a great day essay, 2 weeks late, than a good one, on time. That’s a problem. Deadlines are there for a reason, and I’ve had to get over myself several times to get the work in on time. Adulthood is hard.

4. I value my parents more as an adult than I ever did as a child.

I think it has to do with everyone getting older, but my parents are awesome people, and I tell them often because I never want to leave anything unsaid. Life is short.

5. Good friends are invaluable.

Real talk, I didn’t think I’d make any friends in university because I’m either way older or way younger than many of my classmates. And then I started meeting people, some of whom were the same age as me, who liked me. So, I have friends. They invite me places, and bring me food, and give me great conversation. No one is more shocked by this than me.

6. I can’t save people.

I’m a Christian, so one of my main roles is to evangelize. I used to think that getting people to come to church was the aim. Now, I know that my gig is pointing people to Christ, without ever knowing if they receive him or not. I also can’t control how they choose to express their beliefs. And that’s okay. It’s not about me.

And that’s okay

I Missed My 2 Year Bloggiversary

Has it been two years?

Wow…time flies. When I started this blog, I didn’t have a set theme. It was just another place for me to “contemplate my navel” with impunity. (As I said from the start, why I chose to do this online instead of a personal journal is anyone’s guess.) 

It was an outlet for me to express myself, and I enjoyed it. I still enjoy it. The only difference is, I am 100x more self-conscious about what I write because I know that someone, somewhere is going to see it. 

I’m thankful because I had this blog to chart my progress and give me the space to practice the skills I didn’t even know I’d need. (You need a 15000 word essay? No problem. I’ve got blog posts that long.) 

  For my first foray into blogging, I focused more on beauty and cosmetics. (Not linking to it because it’s horrendous.) Since I was a hobby blogger, it was just a fun thing to pass the time. For others, it was a job. I was only in it for a few years, but I saw a lot of ugliness, both within the blogging community and from the readers.

 I was never on the receiving end of the negativity, but I saw many of the people I started with abandon their blogs because of feuds with other bloggers, harassment from readers (Seriously. They asked people for free makeup, and everything), and the stress of having to keep up with, and write about, the hundreds of collections released every year.

It wasn’t my scene. 

In the six years since my first blog, and the two years since I started this one, much has changed in my life. I’ve completed my first semester of university, with a 3.78 G.P.A. (That’s 94.5%; y’all. NINETY-FOUR POINT FIVE). I’m no longer the beauty-junkie who just *has* to have makeup from every new collection, (working with a student’s budget will teach one how to prioritize immediately.)

I am a bit easier on myself now. I felt like a moron the entire time I was in school. However, once presented with empirical evidence to the contrary, I had to admit that, while I don’t know everything I need to, I do know enough to get excellent grades and occasionally relay what I’ve learned to others.

My motto for the semester was not, “make it perfect”, but “Get it done.” When I had setbacks, or felt out of my depth and alone, there was always a heaven-sent soul to encourage me, through either word or deed. I had to take a giant leap of faith to go back to school, and even though it was terrifying and often uncomfortable, I felt–and still feel–a sense of peace about my decision.

took a break from blogging after school ended because I couldn’t put pen to paper (or fingers to keyboard) without picking apart my writing for not being academic enough. Since I’ve set a goal to publish something every single day in July, (and I’ve documented it here) I’ll be posting more regularly. If only just to sharpen my skills before September rolls around.

To everyone who has been reading this blog, either since the beginning or later on: Thank You. I don’t know what led you to my small corner of the internet, but I’m grateful for your presence.

Peace,

Erin

Love Liberates

You see, love liberates. It doesn’t bind. Love says I love you, I love you if you’re in China, I love you if you’re across town, I love you if you’re in Harlem. I love you. I would like to be near you, I’d like to have your arms around me, I’d like to hear your voice in my ear. But that’s not possible now. So, I love you. Go.
Maya Angelou, Love Liberates

Rest in Peace, Dr. Angelou.

I Like Lists (and talking about myself)

Every time I get new followers, I feel the need to reintroduce myself as if writing my personal, private thoughts in blog posts isn’t enough. That’s what this post is, only it will be in list form rather than paragraphs. The reason? If I use paragraphs, this post will be 10000 words long. (I take the advice, “Write what you know” literally.) In that spirit, here are 16 things about me.

  1. I’m good at picking up on a person’s strengths. There are few people about whom I can say, “He/she has no redeeming qualities.” Every person has something that makes them great, although some people make it a lot harder for me to see what it is. (I always figure it out in the end, however.)
  2. I am what some would call a “progressive Christian”.  (Whatever that means.) For example, I would not have an abortion, but I don’t want to deny any other woman that right.  I think that if I’m going to take a “pro-life” stance, it has to extend past the embryonic stage into adulthood, which means that women and children must be well taken care of if they decide to keep the pregnancy, and no one is cast aside because they do not fit what I think they should be.
  3. I am surprisingly okay with rejection. I get it. Some people do not like me. They probably never will. Whatever. This has made me a better, more accepting person than I was before. (If there is a misfit loner anywhere in my vicinity, I will find them and love them because those are my people.)The thing about facing rejection so much is that, when it happens to me, it’s more uninteresting than it is upsetting. (A case of, “Oh, this again? Lame.” as opposed to, “Why is this happening to me?”)
  4. I lied about not using paragraphs. Sue me.
  5. I like action movies better than I like romantic comedies. Jean-Claude Van Damme>Sandra Bullock. (Although, she does dramas, so she’s cool now.)
  6. I’m a theology major. I have no idea what I’m doing, but God does. Yay!
  7. My phone autocorrects ‘does’ to ‘Dostoyevsky’. I love Dostoyevsky because I am a nerd. (So is my phone, apparently.)
  8. I live-tweet my favourite shows. I do it mostly during Scandal and Big Brother. You’ve been warned.
  9. I had no idea that I didn’t know anything until I turned 30.  I don’t have to be brilliant? The pressure is off!
  10. I’m unusually confident for someone my size, and stature. I’m also stronger than I look. I blame/credit Jesus.
  11. One of my greatest sins is my snide sense of humour. I’m not funny often, but when I am it’s because I’ve said something mean at someone elses expense. (I know it’s wrong, but I’m trying to get better.)
  12. My family is a large one.  How large? I have blood relatives that I have never met.
  13. I am a pretty decent multitasker. Just ask anyone who has ever watched me read, listen to my iPod, and eavesdrop at the same time.
  14. I have excellent hearing. My nephew once whispered my name in another room, and I shouted back, “What do you want?”
  15. I like to observe people. I’ve written about this before, but I firmly believe that I find out more about a person by what they do, than I can by what they say. When a person does not know they are under surveillance, they are authentic. Once I know what they do when they’re unguarded, I can tell what they do when they’re pretending.
  16. I love to read. Between 2012 and 2013, I read 200 books. (I was too preoccupied in 2013 to keep track, but it was really fun. 
  17. I am not certain of anything in my life, and that is liberating.
  18. I write because I have to. I write to communicate with people because I can do it freely without interruptions.

Bonus. “I use Grammarly to check for plagiarism because, while imitation is flattery, flagrant copying is obnoxious.” 

It’s December, and I’ve Already Failed My Blog Challenge

I know I’ve been absent for the past couple of months, but rather than give a long, boring explanation as to why I’ve been absent, I’m going to write about how I intended to blog every single day for the month of December, and how I failed already by watching old episodes of The Amazing Race, and Big Brother. 

First off, I’d like to congratulate everyone who participated in NaNoWriMo and its blog equivalent. That’s an amazing achievement, and I admire you for going for it.

Mazel ‘tov.

Since I failed in November, I thought, “December is in a few days. I can make up for lost time by blogging every day of the month!” Then I didn’t write anything all week, so to make up I’ll have to post twice in one day for several days. Yay.

In other news, it is almost time for me to go back to school, which my niece and nephews find hilarious. My eldest nephew said to me the other day, “It’s so funny that you’re talking about going to school, and you’re a grown-up”, and my niece told me I should stay home so my mommy could make my lunch for me as hers does. (I don’t think so.)

This challenge is all about forcing me to write when I don’t ‘feel’ like it because, in a few months, I won’t have a choice. Not that I mind. I don’t work well when I’m complacent, which is why I had to leave my last job. My best work always comes when I’m under pressure. (One of my former bosses picked up on this and gave me deadlines for getting my work done. I love deadlines.)

I have a hunch that going back to university will be one of the most challenging experiences of my life. I know I’ll enjoy every minute of it–even the tough stuff. A few years ago, an acquaintance told me that my work experience was an assignment to toughen me up. It served its purpose, and when I felt the nudge to move on, I did.

That is what life is about. Taking the good with the bad, using the past as a reference point rather than a guide, learning from one’s mistakes, and moving forward when it’s time.

Anyway, I’ve rambled on long enough. I’ll have more to say tomorrow, but until then, I wish you peace and blessings.

Erie

Sharing Sunday: Lazy!

It's funny 'cause it's true.

It’s funny ’cause it’s true.

It’s been awhile since I have published a full post. Rather than apologize for my prolonged absence I am going to offer a simple explanation: I didn’t feel like it.

I had many ideas for topics. Some of them were good, so I’ll revisit them at a later date. Some of them were ridiculous/shamelessly self-indulgent. I like you, readers, so I will not waste your time. This is just a check-in post to let you know that I’m still around, and I still intend to blog regularly.

As a rule, I am not a lazy person. I work hard at most things because I have a commitment to doing a great job. I don’t slack in any way because it is a bad reflection on me. However, the past few weeks, I have made a commitment to taking it easy. I’ve been catching up on my cheesy reality shows (current favourite is Big Brother Australia), reading, purging my massive collection of everything, and getting back into exercise.

When I started blogging, it was just a fun way to practice my writing with no pressure. Now that I have followers who read what I write, I feel more pressure to do a good job. I realize that not everything I post will be awesome, but I do want it to be exciting, amusing, and helpful. That said, the most helpful/amusing/exciting thing that I noticed in the past week is the fact that the American version of Big Brother is a social experiment that tests the resolve of the viewing public (it was awful, y’all!), and the Big Brother in places like Canada (where I live) and Australia focus on testing the resolve of the house mates.

Watching the Australian version of the show with their “halfway house” vs. “luxury house” twist made me think a lot about how those at the top of the economic pyramid have so much control over those who are at the bottom of the pyramid. (I.e. On the launch show, one of the luxury housemates said something like, “We shouldn’t feed them. We have the power to break them.”)  That immediately reminded me of slavery, and how slave masters went to great lengths to break the will of the slaves so they wouldn’t be able to fight back.

The only thing I learned from the American Big Brother is that the housemates can be racist, sexist, abusive, and have an obvious eating disorder while on the show, and instead of remedying the problem, the producers will do everything to hide it. (Hello? We’re not stupid.)

Anyway, I’ll be able to post something deep later in the week. Until then, I will continue to donate/toss/pack my belongings, exercise, read, and relax because I’ve earned the right to do it.

Live well, everyone.

Erie

100 Followers?! Thanks!

When I started this blog last year, I didn’t have a set goal. I had a Tumblr page that I occasionally added text posts to, but I wanted a place where I could write all text without feeling as though I was spamming people’s dashboards with my wordiness. I definitely did not expect to have followers (which was okay to me, since this was just a vanity project anyway). However, today I found out that 101 people follow this blog.

I was surprised, but also humbled. I write mostly because it is the only way I can communicate without being interrupted. (In conversations I take so long to think about what I’m going to say next, that people cut me off, and change the subject entirely before I’ve had a chance to finish my thought. Or my sentence.) Fortunately for me–and millions of other introverted bloggers out there, no one can interrupt a blog post to add their own opinion.

The opinions you have read are mine; good, bad, ugly, and contradictory. Even if you don’t read every post, I thank you all for following, commenting on, and “liking” my long-winded, “unapproved-by-English-teachers-everywhere” personal essays/ramblings.

I appreciate all of you.

Blessings,

Erie