Pink Paw Print

Saturday, January 9, 2016

22! Thoughts & Reflections

Ta-daaaa!! My birthday is on January 7th (aka ~*two days ago*~) and now I am a sophisticated woman of the world, as I have turned the lovely age of 22 :p ! ahaha!

I spent the day in my favorite city/town of West Hartford, CT casually prowling around in my natural habitat because BARNES AND NOBLE IS BAE <333. I finally made a decision (lolol like 3 hrs later~) and bought a book called "You Can Draw it All!" because I'm trying to get more into art, something that I've never really spent all that much time on before - but I always love it when I do! And my mom and I had a grand ol' feast at The Cheesecake Factory, which perhaps is the most salivating-inducing my favorite restaurant of all time!! *happydances all around* You can never go wrong ordering the tableside guacamole appetizer followed by a Caesar salad and "Chris's Outrageous Cheesecake" (which is basically german chocolate flavored but even though most german chocolate cake has a light chocolate flavor, this one is REALLY intensely chocolatey! Let us swoon!!!!!! It even has a legitimate fudge brownie on the bottom of the cake !!)<---drooling as I type this, tbh.

And then.... the Apple Store. Unfortunately no pictures of my birthday festivities are remaining because what happened is that my phone had been getting a little cray-cray the past few weeks but really hit its breaking point on my birthday: the screen kept flashing black and white (eek!), the keyboard would work for some messages and then disappear and just be a blank white blinking box for others, my home screen would disappear or else the apps would appear upside down or sideways (lolzmcgee), and sometimes it wouldn't even let me shut the power off! That being said, Apple gave me a brand new iPhone 6 Plus for free ~ #gold btw~ because the diagnostic test said everything was perfect when it clearly was not!! Soooo, le pictures from le special day are all gone after I switched to the new phone :o !

However, I really thought about what I've accomplished. 21 was probably one of the hardest years of my entire life, and a lot of that comes with being mature and enlightened. When you see things for what they are, rather than being wrapped up in a say your own little bubble of a world, you try to figure out where you fit into the big picture. You figure out what you stand for, even if it seems you may be the only one with say, those moral views or political views. You realize how passionate you are about certain issues, like animal rights and mental health awareness. No matter how good and kind and caring you are, not everybody is going to love you, for their own blindness and limitations hinder them from doing so. 

On that same token, not everybody is going to judge you or treat you poorly or think bad thoughts about you. Not everyone wants to humiliate you. Some people grow apart, and some people grow together. Not everything that starts out badly will also end badly, and not everything that starts out beautifully will also end beautifully. There is no predicting the future, but if there's one thing I know, it is to accept your past as quickly as you can. Certainly, do take as much time as you need, but t's equally as important to know when you really ought to quit thinking about the past - dwelling on what you wish you could change will prevent you from breathing the healthy fresh new air that the future will have to offer. By focusing on the hurts of the past, it can even be hard at times to imagine a bright future. Don't get stuck in that pattern of thinking. Just because something happened once, does not mean by any means that it will ever have to happen again. We have so much more control over our fates than we think. 

Every day is a chance to create beauty and joy, I feel. Or as my favorite quote that I found on Pinterest (<3333) says, "Don't ruin a good today because of a bad yesterday." My biggest thing that I struggle with is that when I was on that horrible birth control pill, any time I would feel the slightest bit anxious, I would have to throw up. That sort of thing is scary! Imagine having to throw up on every single job interview or on every single date, merely because you were even the tiniest bit anxious! Sometimes even now, when I get anxious, those unfortunate feelings get triggered merely because of that sort of traumatic experience. Even though I no longer take that pill, I worry that I will still throw up if I feel anxious, even though I really never wind up doing so anymore. That sort of fear from the past can be debilitating if you give in to it. No matter how silly something sounds, the pain can be very real to the person who worries or feels it. I am such an extroverted person by nature, so you can imagine how social anxiety really just does not mix well at all with my character. It's tough, but I manage it as best I can. Most people would never even guess or be able to tell that I experience something like that because of how bubbly and friendly I am, but it's so real, deep down. It's so urgent deep down, which you'll know what I mean if you experience it, too. 

It reminds me of those anti-smoking commercials where the cigarette controls the girl's or guy's life - you become a slave to your own anxiety. But these things aren't necessarily a sign of weakness - I once read that it's a sign of pushing yourself too hard, of being too much of a perfectionist, of attempting to be too strong for too long without acknowledging your feelings, of trying to be a productive machine. Every day is a step in a new direction that will lead us to a better future, I feel. Some days you get knocked down a few rungs, but trying your best on that particular given day is all that really matters. Trying your best on the days when you get knocked down is all you can really ask for. Keep going. Just keep on going. <3

I've also learned to never give in to the fundamental attribution error: not everything is caused by somebody's personality traits - there can be situational factors that we just don't know about that cause them to act a certain way. An example of that is a long time ago, I once had a friend who would never want to eat lunch with me and I was so hurt by it, but I found out later on that she had an eating disorder. It wasn't that she was mean or that I wasn't worthy of her company, at all. I finally made peace with this, and many other scenarios like this, during the tender age of 21. There is so much, SOOOO MUCH going on behind the scenes of people's lives that we have literally zero knowledge about, so while you may want to act all smart and make assumptions, the evidence you are using to base your assumptions on may be rather misleading. 

While 21 is the year I would most like to forget, I will look at the positives: I am alive. Even if you forget how to breathe right during a panic attack, you eventually remember how to breathe evenly. I have learned the joys of the practice of yoga - you don't have to be good at it to do it or love it; you just do your personal best and nobody's gonna judge your ability (or lack thereof). I have learned that I can actually enjoy some alone time - but not too much alone time because I love people, even though I get terrified of them hurting me (part of that whole letting go of the past thing, hmmm!). I have fallen in love with learning about psychology, and understand other people's motives for their actions. I've realized that I absolutely love editing articles for the various digital publications that I have an editor position for. I've accepted myself almost entirely now, and have apologized to myself for things I wish I had done differently, or want to do differently but may not be ready yet at this particular point in time to do differently. I apologize for the times in my past when I did not stand up for myself  - for allowing people to push me too hard, in too many different directions, for too many years. For not being taken seriously because of my young age. I literally looked in the mirror during finals week at my college, and hugged myself, and said aloud, "I'm so sorry." And when the tears fell? I wasn't even embarrassed. I was at peace. And the inner warmth I felt was palpable.

What were some major things you learned in the past year? Have you learned to accept yourself yet?
xoxo, Brooke

PS - The 22 by 22 list is no longer going to be up on the blog, seeing as I've turned 22 now! Instead, I'll change it to a "101 things I'd like to accomplish in the next 1001 days" list and get started on that soon ;) !

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