Talk about ending your 2016 with a bang! After what could have been a heinous year, I’ve come out the other end stronger and more in comfortable with who I really am. That, my friend, is what I call strength. Surprising — since I never thought I possessed strength — until now. This year took a massive toll on my physical and mental health. But my identity is doing much better, thank you very much!
Let’s flashback to when I was a kid and “set the scene.” When I was a young girl, I was shy, and that’s still kind of true now. But, there was no doubt that I was creative — very creative. So, when I finally learned how to use Microsoft Word, I took advantage of it and started writing my own stories. My elementary school teachers even noticed my affinity for writing. I started dozens of stories, and ultimately only finished four (three of them written in the 4th grade): a Halloween story, a Canadian immigrant story, and a fictional piece titled “Charlotte.” The fourth story was a memoir about finding my way through the second semester of my freshman year and entering my sophomore year in college.
Over the past year I began letting that little girl shine through, but I also let her down in some ways. I started writing again after a long hiatus, during which I had stopped believing in my work. But, once in college, it wasn’t long before I became Editor-in-Chief of the Saint Anselm chapter of the Odyssey Online, and started working and writing for the Communications and Marketing Office.
Life wasn’t all peaches and cream (I don’t even like peaches) just because I returned to writing. I was in two completely wrong majors this past year. I moved from my hometown of 20 years in Massachusetts, to Rhode Island. On top of all that, my depression resurfaced and I began practicing the abominable art of self-doubt, and started feeling “lesser-than.”
This past semester was rougher than the last, especially in October – a month that has never been kind to me. Following a bad break-up, I took two weeks off from school to focus on myself. After that, I not only bounced back from what I went through, but realized I’d been living a lackluster life and it was time to fix it. My creative, ambitious self came back. So, I started my blog, looked into studying abroad, applied to participate in Road For Hope, went on a Rural Immersions trip, and started the Women’s Collective on campus.
In spite of this, lingering self-doubt still triggered thoughts of transferring to another school — a lot. But I started to realize I’ve begun to carve out my niche and establish a name for myself at Saint Anselm. I feel like I’m making my mark. If I transfer I won’t get hugs from my best friend/roommate, I’ll miss heart-to-hearts with my adviser, and I’ll lose the opportunity to learn from the best English professors on any college campus.
At my low point, I had so much that I wanted to do but was too afraid to pursue, and I was afraid that I wouldn’t do myself or my goals justice. My depression and my anxiety tried to break me. But, by the end of 2016, I’d made the Dean’s List — twice!
So, here I am at the close of 2016. I’m listening to my younger self and silencing the negative voices in my head.
Light has always been a motif in my life, no matter what the situation. In 2016 I found this quote in my favorite YouTuber’s Snapchat story, and adopted it for myself: “I stopped looking for the light at the end of the tunnel and lit that bitch up myself.”
Of course, I still have my moments. Don’t we all? But I can finally say I’m pretty much on Cloud 9 and things are getting better every day.
What can you expect from me in 2017? More blog posts, of course, as well as me rocking it out as an English major, and seeing my work in PRINT. I’ve discovered how much I love being published. One thing’s for sure, in the words of Katy Perry: “This [writing] is the part of me that you’re never gonna ever take away from me.”
There’s a lot of things you can’t take away from me. My mom had me create a list of qualities that define me (i.e. what I love about myself); and, no, this does not make me self-absorbed. I’ve just gotten started, but I highly recommend it to everyone — and it’s no time to be modest. Here’s what I’ve listed so far, and I’ll bet you share some of the same qualities — so, give yourself credit:
3.) Love of learning
4.) Passionate about service
6.) Someone who likes to bring out the best in others
What are yours? What’s your truth? What’s your passion? Will you live it in 2017? I challenge you to make your own list of what people can’t take away from YOU.