the process of becoming

a blog for twenty-somethings trying to navigate the world and follow your dreams


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I’m not going to apologize for being “crazy”

This post is for the woman.

The woman who was brought up to be guarded, dare I even mention the word “submissive,” and proper.

The woman who felt then—and still does—SO. MANY. EMOTIONS. Who just wanted to be heard, noticed, appreciated. Acknowledged that having those emotions was, and is, perfectly okay. Whether that’s being really really happy, a little (or lot) depressed, or just plain moody.

Whether you were raised in the church to always “guard your heart,” whether your parents or relatives were good at discipline and children had to be “seen not heard,” or whether there was a boy who just couldn’t “handle” your tears, I’m here to tell you not to change.

I’m not going to apologize for being emotional, for feeling everything, for “being crazy.” And neither should you.

You are either 1) not crazy, so stop thinking/saying/feeling that you are, or 2) that “crazy” is the beautiful hot mess that is you—goofiness, wonder, passion, interests—all bursting out during moments of energy. I love it. Keep it up, okay?!

I had a rough time in high school where I couldn’t decide whether sharing my emotions was going to turn people off from being my friend. I was moody, dark, somewhat depressed, and I wore black a LOT (long live the band T-shirts). I knew that I had a lot of empathy for basically everything under the sun, but I didn’t know about anxiety disorders back then or the chemical cause of depression. I thought having a boyfriend meant that he’d take you as you are, emotions and crying episodes and all. I didn’t know how not to feel.

And I remember feeling inadequate when I was rejected for showing my feelings. For being “crazy.”

And then, halfway through college, I realized that I didn’t need to apologize anymore.

I don’t need to apologize to my now husband for bursting into tears unexpectedly. I don’t need to apologize to the world for not feeling well enough to venture into another crowd. For being too anxious to pick up the phone. For feeling depressed.

Men, this doesn’t just apply to women, obviously.

I’m simply referring to the generations before us who taught us that women “shouldn’t” you-fill-in-the-blank.

I’ve slowly and gradually learned that there’s only so much you can do to “self-improve.” Find where that stops and celebrate who you actually are.

There’s no stopping my emotion train, but there is therapy or medication for anxiety disorders for those who need them. And then there’s just really emotional people, and sensitive people, and artsy people. And poets. (I could go on)

And I am so so blessed to have a husband who recognizes me and my emotions for who we are and lets me be me. I’ve stopped apologizing and spent more time bursting into laughter over emotional breakdowns now.

Women, stop being sorry. You are beautiful for all the neurons and brainwaves and things you feel. KEEP FEELING THEM. Don’t apologize.

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3 simple ways to find encouragement day to day

I haven’t spoken about it on this blog a lot, but like many twenty-somethings navigating being adults, I struggle off and on with anxiety and depression. It influenced my life for many years until my senior year of college, when a friend encouraged me to seek counseling help. I was amazed when I finally had an adult acknowledge the way I constantly felt and affirmed me in my wishing it could be something separate from me. 

And it can. She told me that depression and anxiety don’t have to be YOU, they can just be something we deal with more than others, or that affect us greatly in our day to day lives. And I agree. But more on mental disorders and health another day.

Because I have these struggles that don’t just “go away” and won’t just be banished by extra prayer or having “more faith” (concepts of some Christians that I extremely disagree with), I have to find a way to push through every day. Some days are way better than others and surprise me, and some days are just in a “funk” that I have to accept and deal with.

I have noticed that, despite how I feel, I can choose to act and live a little differently than I have before. I make mistakes constantly, but something I am noticing is the small little victories that occur when I try something new, try something remembered, or choose to see through a different perspective.

Here are some ways, and some perspectives, that help me make joy happen in the moment:

1. Read quotes. Inspiring, motivating, positive quotes. 

They are WONDERFUL. I cannot appraise them enough. Obviously there’s a lot of leeway when it comes to amassing a collection of them or choosing which ones you want to see. I have continued the process of writing them down immediately, whether that be journaling, re-pinning on Pinterest, retweeting, bookmarking a link, etc.

OR, what really helps me be inspired by positive and upliting quotes is printing them out or writing them down and putting them on my walls. My bedroom used to be covered with them, and I find that when I am reminded of that awesome quote, I am reminded of the positive feeling I associated with it when I first read it or what it inspired me to do. That’s a pretty fantastic way to find joy.

For example, a quote from Kate Arends, a speaker I heard last week at Creative Mornings Minneapolis: “If you can’t see how blessed you are, even the best things in your life can look dull.” #wordsofwisdom

2. Talk to friends (like one-on-one coffee dates). 

I wouldn’t be the same person I am today without the many times I have sat sipping coffee with a good friend. These times of exclusive listening and time-giving are when I feel most comfortable, loved, and noticed. Having coffee with one friend gives me the space to share what’s really been on my mind, and it gives me a chance to listen to them as well! Nothing beats connecting over what you have in common and encouraging each other, whether your struggles are similar or not.

In this world of busy career life post-college, it is important to make time for friends. Even if I only get to visit with one or two in person a week and max out my coffee shop budget before the end of the month, every minute is completely worth it for me. Since I don’t have the blessings of the dorms anymore, being intentional is absolutely essential!

If you’re not able to meet in person or spend money, shoot a text or, if you’re braver than me, a phone call to say you need a little extra encouragement or just to share your thoughts about something. Staying connected is key.

3. Seek the little things. 

You’ve probably heard this before, but it’s absolutely true and worth repeating. Find what small joys you have in your day and seek them out. Remember them! Write them down! They can be as simple as your morning cup of coffee that tasted so fantastic and woke you up, or maybe the book you’re reading is amazing, or maybe working out makes you feel really good. Great! Do that thing.

As twenty-somethings, we get to decide how to shape our lives. We get to decide where we find joy and then pursue that thing.

Yes, there are always going to be situations that we don’t love and are tedious (job searching, everyone?). But what I’ve found is that, by seeking out “me time” or encouragement from something every single day instead of waiting for it to come to me, my day gets a little bit brighter.

What are some ways YOU find encouragement every day? 


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thoughts on One Thousand Gifts

one-thousand-gifts

One Thousand Gifts: A Dare to Live Fully Right Where You Are by Ann Voskamp is a spiritual journey book about finding joy in your every day life. A mother and wife, Voskamp wanted to live her life intentionally and well, and found that a simple challenge to write down things she was thankful for transformed the way she lived. “‘How do we find joy in the midst of deadlines, debt, drama, and daily duties? What does a life of gratitude look like when your days are gritty, long, and sometimes dark? What is God providing here and now?’” (Amazon). This book is a guide to discovering God’s blessings and learning to be present in Him.

My mentor recommended to me this last summer when I expressed a similar hunger for what Voskamp talks about. The description of the book sounded like a guarantee – a fool-proof way to have joy in your life. Maybe it would have been if I had kept up the gratitude journaling, a concept that launched Voskamp’s spiritual journey and shaped the entire book. The first chapter intrigued me so much, and I was sold! I started my journal right then and there. But as I read on, I was so turned off by her confusing and wordy writing style that the joy simply petered out.

I really want to love this book. The concept is wonderful of course, and I appreciate her fascination with small things, making our “mundane,” every-day lives full of joy. She is a breath of fresh air, and I am thankful for my mentor recommending this to me.

However, her way-over-the-top lyrical style, love of poetry, and bad metaphors started annoying me to no end. I found my inner (and outer) editor cringing and wanting to “fix” this book. It had so much potential!

I can relate to her because I love lyrical essays. But during my undergrad, I got failing grades for writing stuff like this, so I am a little frustrated that this mess was publishable. Certainly wanting to be an editor myself isn’t helping things. And maybe I am being too harsh. Maybe it did undergo a transformation before being published. But if so, it wasn’t enough to pull writers in.

I did take things away from it and I tried to read each page with an open mind and less criticism. However, it was slow-going and my own thankfulness journal didn’t kick off because of it. I didn’t study the craft of writing to ignore execution. I did a lot of underlining in my copy though, and one day I’ll go back and craft some quotes and thoughts from those great pages.

Conclusion: This book may change your life. It certainly taught me things I will carry long beyond the writing style (I hope). Some people truly adore this book, otherwise it wouldn’t be a New York Times best seller! My recommendation is that if you are writer, take this book with a grain of salt (if you attempt to read it at all).

If you are a twenty-something seeking joy, give it a try. And if you are not a writer with an inner editor, definitely go for it! Put it in the church library, gift it to friends wanting to find joy (after reading it of course), and find its gems.

Review on Goodreads