i recommend that you embrace.

Where do I begin? My life for the past two months has felt like a series of storms that have consistently alternated between turmoil and the beauty of a thousand rainbows. Now, I am finding myself after all of the storms have subsided. The rainbows have receded back into their pots of gold, and I find myself sitting in the calm of our beautiful world. The adrenaline I experienced from escaping the tornadoes and lightning bolts threatening my path is no longer rushing within me. Things appear as though they are in balance. What an interesting life this is.

Throughout the past few weeks alone, life has been throwing me absolutely absurd curve balls. I still haven’t decided whether I’m just extremely prone to ridiculous situations, or if everyone has these experiences and overlooks them, and I may never know the answer to my question. However, here are some of the things I’ve learned, as well as things I need to remind myself in the future.

1) Embrace the bizarre. I say this first because my life has been extraordinarily peculiar lately, as I said… and I’m really enjoying it. While I typically find comfort in my expectations (which are sometimes unreasonable) and the normal “routine,” that seems sort of impossible for me right now because I’m in a state of transition. What was normal last week is all of a sudden not. Instead of finding discomfort (which is sometimes unavoidable) in the weird moments that have been thrown at me, I’ve learned to absolutely love them. I now cry of laughter while telling people about my painfully creepy job interview, the banker who complimented me at the gas station, drinking out of another man’s Starbucks coffee at 7 am because I wasn’t paying attention, and yes, instead of crying when I was stuck in the bathroom with no toilet paper yesterday, I decided to laugh about it. Things that could be considered so normal now have new significance to me.

2) Embrace evolution. I’ve been afraid to let go of the past, both in short-term and long-term ways. For example, graduating from high school was a huge accomplishment with which I felt profound joy, but I simultaneously experienced fear and doubt, as many graduates do. Because I have clung to my school as a source of identity and growth for the past four years, moving on makes me a bit nervous. In the short-term, I don’t enjoy when pleasant activities come to an end. Last night, I went out to an amazing and delicious dinner, and I was actually sad afterwards with no good reason, but probably because the fun had ended. I am realizing more and more each day that through the formation of memories and our past, we are not “saying goodbye” to life as we knew it (long-term) or an enjoyable day or moment (short-term), but we are rather internalizing that experience and taking it with us. We are not letting it go — we are letting it in. Somehow, each experience leaves an impact on us, and for that, we must be grateful.

3) Embrace goodness. Let me be blunt: we’ve all got issues. If we seek them as long as we are alive, we will always be able to find something wrong. Even in the most perfect moment, one could say, “This moment isn’t going to last forever, and therefore I might as well be angry about it,” thus creating a problem for himself/herself. Our emotions are not always simple enough to be identified as happy or sad. In my own experience, I often feel a million different emotions, and I identify with that which feels most natural given my circumstances. The point of my rambling is that in the midst of a cluttered mind and a chaotic world, the goodness is always there. At times, it is overwhelmingly evident, and at other times, we must work actively to find it, but we need to be aware of our blessings and remind ourselves that life is ultimately good, even when we feel otherwise.

4) Embrace yourself. This is self-explanatory. I was trying to organize my feelings last night when I texted a friend who always gives me wise advice, and here is a piece of what he said: “No one is this world is ‘abnormal’ and neither are you. You’re perfect the way you are and you will always be perfect. Through college, through life, and through any and all endeavors you’ll go through, you’re going to be you.” It was an important reminder that even when millions of things around me are shifting and transforming, I will always be me, and you will always be you. Yes, I am flawed, but I am no less powerful, strong, or beautiful with my supposed “imperfections” (and the same goes for you). Yes, we can all seek to improve in our lives, but success should not be our sole purpose. We are all incredibly breathtaking individuals, and we cannot forget to embrace our own humanity.

5) Seek balance. In the recent past, I’ve forgotten to do this. A lot. And I still forget quite often, but I think I’m improving. I find it far too easy to place my priorities in a funky order, and then I find myself to be an emotional wreck when one thing goes wrong. Remember that life is a balancing act, and it always will be. It’s your responsibility to find the balance that brings you joy, peace, and sanity. The scale will always tip one way or another from time to time, but in the end, we should find ourselves on a fairly even plane, in the calm after the tornado has become a calm breeze and the rainbows have stretched into the fluffy clouds above.

Who I am today is a reflection of the inspiration that you may have personally given me. I thank you.

Peace & blessings.

make me feel beautiful.

In the midst of immense transition and reflection upon my own identity, I find my mind dwelling on the concept of self-image and self-esteem. As we have been born with minds that are heavily inclined to valuing extrinsic value and external qualities, it makes sense that we often base our sense of “self” on our own opinions that are directed toward ourselves… primarily referring to physical appearance.

Throughout the past few weeks, I have become increasingly aware of the importance of a positive self-image, not only for young women, but for all humans in general. Even in my own life, I have recognized my change in behavior depending on how I’m feeling about myself on a given day. When I feel more confident with my physical appearance, my overall performance feels stronger, and I feel happier, or more inclined to be patient and understanding. On the flip side, when I feel self-conscious about a particular trait, or if I am having a day of poor self-esteem overall for some reason (or perhaps no real reason at all), I fall into greater traps of negativity and anxiety, and I do not enjoy my day nearly as much.

I don’t think I’m alone in this experience. As a matter of fact, I know that I’m not. I’ve realized, though, that the solution to feeling better about myself is not to change myself in an attempt to attain some impossible or unlikely ideal that is not natural, not easy, and certainly not me. The solution to this lack of self-confidence based purely in my own physicality stems from the mind. The solution is not to change my body, but to change my mindset.

Why is it that people are often more concerned with the numbers on their scales than the numbers of blessings they have?

Why is it that people are more concerned with the sizes of their clothes rather than the sizes of their hearts?

(**Side note, in my opinion: all people are inherently beautiful and the human creature is inherently attractive. Beauty and aesthetics are ultimately subjective, with a universal beauty found at our core. All people are capable of love, and all people are born with a heart, brain, and soul. If that is not beauty, then what is?)

Idealistically, everyone would love themselves, including their “flaws.” However, the first step to achieving this is comprehending that, again, it is not our physical selves that need to change to accommodate our thoughts and expectations, but rather our mental processes that we must consciously alter in order to love ourselves to our full ability.

You are beautiful. I hope you realize it.

5 days of a beautiful struggle.

My mind has worked more than usual this week. I can practically feel each nerve impulse firing within my sensory planes, enabling me to experience emotions and thought processes at a speed with which I cannot keep up (or so it seems).

It’s been one of those weeks where I’ve wanted to write, and I’ve tried, but I’ve been hesitant. The craving for my keyboard has been stronger than any dessert I’ve ever seen, but the hesitancy somehow took over me. Maybe it’s because I have had too much to write about. Perhaps I didn’t know who would care. But this week has engulfed my brain in innumerable lessons. I’ve learned quite a bit more about life, my own self, and others.

Here’s one thing I’ve discovered (or re-discovered):

It’s terribly disconcerting to be invalidated, to be told that what you are thinking is inferior or convoluted, or perhaps even worse–to be told that what you are feeling is wrong…

But on the flip side, it is a far more beautiful feeling to be encouraged, supported, and understood. This feeling has brought me to tears. I have realized once again that the human heart is the essence of goodness, for it is where we find the divine spark of a transcendent being that we meet within ourselves.

Keeping in mind my dear friend ambiguity, I will briefly tell you that the past five days have easily been some of the most difficult days I have ever experienced. In an analytic sense, the depth and richness of these challenging days were breathtaking. Knowing that I’m able to overcome difficulty while having an unbelievable support system is something for which I will always be grateful, and certainly something I will never forget. One of the most brilliant people I’ve ever met has told me countless times that sorrow lends to introspection, which forms the inner workings of a beautiful mind and heart. In a world of overwhelming duality, without such sorrow, how can happiness be adequately appreciated, or understood for that matter? Without sadness and tears, how can laughter have its exhilarating significance?

It is through admitting my own weakness during this past week that I have grown exponentially stronger. As I have stated countless times in my writing, it is often that we are so afraid to accept our own humanity, with whatever that may entail. With a mind that races such as mine, there have been moments in which I’ve been frightened by my own goals, possibilities, and frankly, my own imagination.

But why should I be afraid when I can instead be in awe?