Times Like These

It’s no secret I’ve been suffering through some copious amounts of anxiety as of late. More than I usual–and understandably so, I think. But all that came to a momentary halt when I came home from work on Friday and was greeted by my younger brother, Max–and a present. He had specially made. For me.

Let me just pause here to review for you Readers who may not be as familiar: I’ve written about Max a bit on here, but just in case you do not feel like searching through my blog’s archives for accounts of our sibling interactions, here’s the gist. Max is my younger brother whom I love with my whole heart…and who also happens to be on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of Asperger Syndrome (which is on the high-functioning end of the spectrum of autism). Basically, he has AS, but functions so seemingly “normal” (by society’s definition, anyway) in everyday life, passersby would likely not know he has it unless told. At the very least, he may simply come across as eccentric, but beyond that…

Asperger Syndrome and autism have made remarkable waves throughout media in recent years, so I think the general population has a decent grasp on the concepts. But, in a nutshell, autism is a developmental disorder that interferes with the ability to communicate, to interact with the outside world. Asperger Syndrome is much the same, only the interference with communicating is, I suppose you could say, to a lesser degree; as I said, AS is more high-functioning. So while someone with autism may struggle to interact with another, with the outside world, to the extent of being nonverbal (no talking), someone with Asperger’s does talk and interact with others, but there are conditions. Maybe they talk too much about a certain subject yet are notably silent on others. Maybe they pace back in forth while they talk. Or don’t make eye contact. Or speak in a flat, monotone voice. It all varies, case-by-case. In short? Autism folks struggle to communicate; Aspies, as well, but to a lesser degree–so much so that they are more perceivably “normal” to the rest of us… yet, not normal enough.

Back to Max’s gift. My little brother has surprised me with his behavior throughout the years. And this past weekend, he continued that trend. Individuals with Asperger’s are not typically known for their thoughtfulness; they tend to live in their own world, focusing on their perspective. I attribute it to a starring character in a movie–the person with Asperger’s takes on the main role, while everyone else serves lesser roles. Everything that happens to the former is a BIG DEAL, and is interpreted and reacted to only based upon on how said happening affects them. Seems kind of selfish, yes? But I think we’re all pretty guilty of that from time to time. In any regard, while Max exhibits this way of thinking, he also balances it out with his random bouts of thoughtfulness.

Evidence A: I’m a pretty big fan of Disney. I mean who isn’t, to some degree? I’m certainly not a fanatic by any means, but do I like the movies, the catchy songs, the overpriced theme parks? Yeah! I do. So anyways, Max is taking an art class at school this semester and I guess his teacher was giving students some free reign in their latest project and so Max sketched a detailed replica of the acclaimed Disney Castle…with the intention of giving it to me. Which he did! And Readers, let me tell you my heart became so full right then–so much that I think it promptly melted as a delayed response to the kind gesture.

Look, I know, in most other cases, with “normal” siblings, this wouldn’t be a big deal. Some siblings might be genuinely touched but not make a huge commotion out of the affair. Others might not think anything of it, limply accepting the drawing and then forget about it in the weeks to come. And there are those who may not do much of anything at all. I mean, it’s only a drawing, right? Of something I only like, but not fanatically love. What’s so great about that?

Max and I are not a “normal” case (is there such a thing with any set of siblings, though?). I don’t see a measly sketch. I see tangible evidence of my dear Aspergian brother thinking of someone else. I see an act of kindness, of love, that lets me know Max loves me and thinks of me and values me. To receive that, when people with autism/Asperger’s aren’t known for their consideration or their affection, just warms me to my core.

And gives me momentary respite from my constant, nearing-graduation-anxiety. Nothing distracts you from life’s hardships quite like love…or something. And I’m thankful I’ve been granted times like this to remind me of that.

Love on, Readers.


Okay, Fine–I’m Scared

Do you remember a few posts ago, when I was so confident, so at peace with where I was in life–despite not having my future figured out beyond graduation? I remember concluding with something along the lines of, “I hope this season of peace lasts!”

It’s like I know myself so well, like I knew my unusual bout of contentment wouldn’t remain.

Now, I wasn’t being negative, just realistic. I know myself (you know, to some degree) and I worry about everything. It’s just who I am–it’s side effect of anxiety, or something. So when I wasn’t worried about my lack of post-grad job, lack of calling, lack of purpose, I suspected it was only a matter of time… And I was right! Not that I wanted  to be…

Once I officially hit the two month mark before graduation, reality really set in for me. I’m doomed to a series of lasts with where I am in life. Er, a suspected series of lasts. Who knows? Maybe I’ll go back to school after all. But at the moment, I’m planning on this chapter of my life to come to a close. After I walk across the stage, receive my diploma, I will be diving into the workforce, impressing my new employer with my super awesome writing skills. Better yet, helping people in need with those writing skills… somehow. But once all that begins, I will no longer be in school. A life I’ve known for the past 17 years or so will be replaced by another. And that’s kind of daunting.

I should clarify: I’m really not that sentimental about leaving school behind, no longer being a student. Sure, these past four years have been filled with an abyss of change; I’m not the same person now as I was coming into college, that’s for sure. But I’m ready for something new; I’m ready to break free from the coddling of school and enter the real world. Ready to help the real world.

No, what I’m more fearful of is: I don’t know what this real world, what this new life will entail. I don’t know my path, what His plan is for me. Sure, I’ve talked about on here my ideals to write and help others and to somehow merge the two, but that’s what want to do. I don’t know if that’s what I’m supposed to do, what He wants me to do. There’s a difference between passions and talents and callings–only in some instances do those happen to be synonymous (also known as a vocation, but I digress)–and I’m not sure my wants and abilities align with where the Lord places me. I mean I imagine He’ll interfere at some point if I’m barreling down the wrong path; I’ve prayed for Him to direct me. But so far, I’m still waiting. I’m still uncertain. And that scares me.

I don’t know what’s in store for me next. And when I hear everyone else disclose their plans following graduation, whether it be workforce (already signed on for a job) or graduate school or mission work or some other amazing Plan XYZ, how they seem to have everything all figured out, I’m led to feel… left behind, I guess. Like everyone else has their life together and I don’t. Look, I know there’s a chance they don’t, in fact, have their life together as much as they may say they do. I know comparison is detrimental–especially for someone with anxiety. But knowing that isn’t going to stop my worry, prevent me from wishing I had A Plan after I move from one phase of life to the next. I just want to know what I’m supposed to do, what I’m meant to do. But I don’t. And man, Readers, it’s teaching me a whole lot about patience and God’s timing.

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I actually haven’t even seen “FRIENDS,” but this seems relevant…

And if any of you Dear Readers who may be going through something similar, who are about to embark on a new time in life, who don’t know what’s next? Whelp. I feel your pain, I do. Huzzah, solidarity! I’m here, too, waiting right there with you… I guess we’ll see what happens, right?

Also, for the record, I don’t hope this season lasts.

The Senior Effect

I’m sure any of you who have been in school and attended for a final year and knew it was your final year had some feelings about that being the final year. For some, that might be what is coined senioritis, wherein your near-completion status fuels the desire to not do anything. Ever. The motivation is just not there, because you can already see the end, see what’s coming. For me, I’m not sure what to call it–it’s definitely not senioritis, so I’m calling whatever-it-is-I’m-going-through The Senior Effect. Well, my Senior Effect. I can’t guarantee anyone will identify with this feeling, not specifically.

The Senior Effect is…weird. It doesn’t fuel or deplete my motivation, or contribute extra feelings of disdain or affection for my school. Honestly, it hasn’t really affected my actions/behavior at all. It’s more a way of thinking, I guess–a viewpoint. The Senor Effect is like a lens through which I see and interpret everything I do now and gauge what influence these things may hold–if any–toward my future.

Because I know what I know: in a few short months I’ll be finished with school, possibly forever (unless I decide to go back) and enter the working world full-time as well as the Real World (i.e. commence “adulting” on a more independent level). And I know (er, more like I think I know–God may totally have different plans, unbeknownst to me yet) that a lot of what I am seeing and doing will be my last. Last class. Last lecture. Last witty banter with a classmate suffering through the same lecture. Last committee meeting. Last time walking through the academic buildings of campus. Last article written for work. Last internship. Last hanging out sessions with friends (for awhile). Last months living with family. Just. Lots of lasts. And knowing they are my lasts (to some extent).

And while I may be more sentimental about some of those lasts than others, the kicker is, I’m not really sad about any of them. Well the friends and family stuff, yeah, but the others? Not really sad, not really excited. Not scared, not anxious (well, you know), not impatient. Not anymore. I just… have this sort of peace for where I’m at right now. When I’m not stressed about writing my theses (and even then, I’m insanely excited to work on them, but I guess that’s why they tell you to focus on what interests you…). I know what’s to come yet all the uncertainty it brings and what I still have to do to get there between now and then. But I’m in a place where I’m not sprinting to get to this next chapter of my life and I’m not wistful enough to crawl in attempt to stay where I am longer. I’m just living life at its own pace, trying to focus on one day at a time. Or at least one week…

The Senior Effect is… kind of nice. It’s like the Acceptance stage in coping with Life Transition. Because I’ve definitely undergone Anxiety and Discomfort and Fear and Depression (and I’m totally making up my stages here) and all that impatience and lack of motivation that come with those at the beginning of the academic year. I mean, have you read my blog? But I’m finally in a place where I’m content with where I am. And am patiently (kind of) waiting for my next steps, for whatever God has in store.

So let’s hope I didn’t totally wreck this peace by blogging about it… Have a blessed, peaceful(ish?) week, Friends!


What Drives Her?

Heyo Friendos!

First, I’d just like to express intangible gratitude to be finished with the semester (and halfway done with my SENIOR YEAR of college). In all honesty, it reallllllly wasn’t that bad–mainly just trying to finish all my projects and papers on time. So anyways, yay! I’m off for a few weeks! ….Unless I try to work more on my thesis, which, knowing me… We’ll see. 🙂

Anyways, subject for the day’s post. I actually have quite a few ideas all jumbled around in my head right now–some of which, you’re probably glad I haven’t taken the time to sit down and write–but they’ve all been momentarily sidelined by something else that happened this week. A conversation I had with my Dad, actually…

This particular parent of mine travels a lot for work. And what is traveling but discovering new places… and meeting people new people… and perhaps further bonding with those who’ve accompanied you on your journey. So my Dad also has to socialize. Also, a lot. Which is, yikes, introvert that he is, but he’s a charming, outgoing introvert so I guess it works. And it was during one of these little periods of socialization that has me so perplexed, inspired–enough to share with you all to maybe evoke a similar reaction. Or not.

I’m going to risk sounding relatively selfish for a second here and say that in this chat, my Dad was discussing me–my school, internships, volunteer work, writing, post-graduation plans, etc.–usual my-daughter-Quinn stuff, I thought, when my Dad later relayed to me this conversation. But what set it apart from the rest was, rather than simply responding with a smile and encouraging comment–“You must be so proud!”–this particular conversation partner wanted to dig deeper, below the surface of basic school/work information. They wanted to know why I was doing what I was, why I kept so busy, so seemingly motivated. Dad did best he could to provide sufficient responses, like I simply enjoy keeping busy, using my time to serve others, etc. But apparently that wasn’t enough.

“But what drives her?” they asked.

It’s like that phase we (mostly) all go through as kids–the “why” phase. We question every little thing, asking why. We want to seem profound, wanting to know more, when really we’re just being ornery little kids, amusing ourselves more than anything. But this colleague of my father’s was very intentional about uncovering the core of my motivation. And my Dad, who wanted to give the right answer more than anything, couldn’t, as he later confessed to me.

I think he wanted to get my answer so he could be ready for next time. So he could realllllly know his kid–on an even deeper level (though I’m not sure that’s possible. I try pretty hard to remain as transparent as I can be with those close to me). But when he recounted to me this archaeological dig into my life, I couldn’t go any deeper. Because I didn’t have an answer.

I still don’t. But it’s not because there isn’t… I just don’t know what it is yet.

What drives me?

Serving others? Serving God? Because without my drive, I wouldn’t have much in this world except the life with which God granted me?

Why do I do what I do? How do I really know? Because I don’t think I do… Not at this point. I wish I could contrive a temporary answer that’s even a remote jab in the right direction to provide for you all asking yourselves the same thing, to provide myself. But at this point I’m at a loss. I’m still pondering. I’m continuing to ruminate.

Once I figure this out, maybe I’ll return to this post and share, but for now…

What drives you?

Stay curious, Friendos.


Tell Me Something Good

In a world so full of tragedy and hate and cruelty, it’s a wonder we find solace, find happiness. In any regard.

But to keep going, I think we have to. We need to uncover the joys in life–no matter how small–and recall why we’re here and what purpose we serve. Even in the darkest of times.

And with anxiety–with any type of mental illness, really–those dark times can occur much more often than not. With or without the weight of a world prone to tragedy.

As I’ve come to step into my anxious identity more and more, figured out my triggers, my patterns, my behaviors in certain situations, I’ve been able to develop some forms of coping, responsive routines. They are by no means a solution, but they do help. To some degree, in the heat of the moment, so to speak.

My most recent mechanism, I’m not sure how I started it, but I’ve been using it more and more this semester. On days when my world is just a little too dark, too heavy to take in–even with God on my side–I attempt to bring in a little light, to distribute some of the weight. At least, for a little while.

Tell me something good.

This is my request to family, to friends, to loved ones. This is what I ask for when the world gets a little too real, too scary, too anxiety-inducing. This is the message I send via text when I need to regain my grip on reality, return to the Real World and escape from my anxious mind.

“Tell me something good,” I plead to my best friend, work colleague, parent when I sense the makings of an anxious day. Or when I feel the beginnings of an attack coming on. And, within minutes, I receive my reply. Usually, the messages I receive pertain the wonders of God’s Creation, the positives of an event to take place later that same day, or sometimes even the promise of tomorrow–the need to survive through the day to see the tomorrow.

Essentially, all responses I’ve received over time have reminded me of the simple joys and the simple beauties in life we’ve been granted. All responses have reminded me things are not always as they seem and that they certainly need not be endured alone. That help is never far away.

And that’s why I reach out.

Tell me something good. It’s one simple mechanism to provide simple grounds for coping. And all it really requires is the will to ignite and the patience to receive and help will come, I know, from loyalty and love and, to an extent, understanding.

I don’t expect my community of support to necessarily empathize with what goes on in my head. And I don’t ask them to. But this one little request is my way of utilizing the help and love they so generously offer without (I hope) burdening them my minutely outrageous anxious troubles. And often times, while it may not necessarily work, pull me out of my anxious state, it reminds me of the good of the world. And, sometimes, I think that’s all you really need.

Now, I don’t pretend to know how all anxious folk feel, how everyone experiences their anxiety. But this is my story, my coping, my mechanism; and it works for me, more or less.

Maybe it can work for you.

Stay real and stay good, my Friends.


You Just Know…

I was in such a writing mood this weekend that you guys get a bonus post this week. How exciting! 😀 Or not…

This is the phrase I have been hearing the past few weeks now.

Regarding my school work. Regarding my job search. Career aspirations. In my faith. Pretending to adopt a cat (school project, don’t ask). Really everything in my life.

I’ve been asking for advice both from God and my loved ones here on Earth regarding several decisions weighing on my mind that need to be made both in the near and distant future. And for me it all comes back to How do you know you’re making the right decision? How do I know?

And again and again I’m met with You just know.

Honestly, I could probably ask an easily proven question, but begin it with How do you know…? and be met with that very answer.

How do you know 2 and 2 equates to 4?

You just know…

How do you know the Earth is round?

You just know…

Gah, that’s not the all-assuming answer for everything, you know! It doesn’t work all the time…

But in all seriousness, though this is actually a wise reflection (at least the first few times I heard it :)), I have not met the sentiment with the utmost acceptance. The belief to simply know does not resonate well with me. Well with my persona. For you Myers-Briggs fans, I’m an ISFJ. S, for Sensing–I sense things, get a feel for a situation before diving in fully. I do not jump in wholeheartedly before I know what I’m getting myself into. I do not use my intuition well. But I’m being told time after time to do just that, to follow my feelings, my heart. And that has been, in some ways, very difficult for me to do. At least regarding the biggie decisions.

Currently, I am embarking on a quest to find a church to attend and, ideally, join as I continue on my Walk with God. And just today (er. yesterday now) I visited the first (of likely a few) that could maybe be The One. I attended the service, and while there were some parts of it I really didn’t like, there were aspects that I really did. So where do I go from here? How do I know this is the church for me? How do I know when I’ve found The One?

My pastor/friend from my school who attended with me (awww) gave me the oh-too-familiar answer I was readily awaiting at that point: You just know.

Hmmm. Well, if I “just know” and yet didn’t have that knowing feeling at this particular church, it must not be the church for me, right?

Well Friends, you see, as a Sensing individual, I’ve never felt 100% this-is-where-I’m-supposed-to-be comfortable in my initial experiences with anything. Ever. And sometimes not even the second or third. I’ve been at one of my internships for almost a year now and, as much as I have loved in the time prior, I only just began, in recent months, to feel fully comfortable there. It was then (like eight months later) that I “just knew”. But apparently my intuition is supposed to surface more quickly? I mean, that would be more practical. I can’t realistically attend services at a church I feel unsure about for eight months waiting for the feeling that tells me I’m in the right place.

So what then? How do I evoke this intuition sooner in new scenarios?

The obvious answer seems to be to pray. To trust in God. To ask for His guidance. In making decisions, in knowing. But I have, you see. And I haven’t been disappointed by any means. I’ve been nudged. But not explicitly told “Yes, Quinn, this is the path for you–you are so right. Keep going!” Okay, that isn’t even remotely how I envision God audibly speaking to me, but besides the point… I’m not saying I expect to receive a concrete answer or absolute assurance I am making the “correct” choice. I still adhere to, to an extent, God will guide us and use our gifts regardless of our choices (sometimes our paths just end up a little more scenic than originally planned). But I’d like to have more certainty in my decisions. More confidence. Before I make them (and not eight-plus months after them, ideally).

Perhaps this wise, omnipresent “just know” response is God’s assurance to me. His encouragement to follow where He is leading me. To follow whatever path He lays out before me. Because as I said earlier, He continues to guide us, no matter the path. So, technically, I do “just know”. I should be confident in my decisions because He is with me in every step. I just need to extend my full faith, my full trust in Him.

…That’s a lot of Intution for someone who prefers to Sense. Let’s start with this “church shopping” and go from there.

Have a trusting, blessed week, Friends.


College Isn’t Conducive to Family Time

I’ve gotta say, commuting may be one of the best decisions I’ve ever made in college.

I chose to live at home my final year of school primarily to hopefully evoke a change in my feelings on college. But I would be lying if I said the fact that I’d be closer to my family wasn’t a factor in the decision.

My family is such an important part of my life. I don’t really talk about them much on here, I realize, but they truly play a central role in my existence. The idea of not talking with them or being around them long-term frightens and saddens me–it’s unfathomable. And I thought when I made the choice to commute to school from home, I’d avoid this very fate. And technically, I have. But some days, I may as well still be living in a dorm away from everyone.

I do see my family more–a lot more–than I did the years I lived on campus. Obviously, not at least catching glimpses of one another when you live under the same roof isn’t possible. But short sightings of one another and “I love you!”s called over the shoulder as you head out the door for the day only sustain the family fix for so long.

Senior year has kept me busier than my underclassman-self would have ever imagined–and I’ve been a busy, 18-credit-hour-taking, two-job-holding student most of my collegiate life. And as a result, I practically only go home to sleep or hole up in my room to do homework.

When I made the announcement near the end of last year that I planned to live at home my final year, my Mom, though excited, predicted she would hardly ever see me. And she was right. And yet, we were both so hoping she wasn’t.

In the past few weeks especially, I’ve been feeling guilty about not spending as much time at home or not very social when I am home. And my family hasn’t depleted this feeling in any way with their passing remarks on my absence and distance.

Just this last week I had major car trouble, to the extent of which help from another was desperately needed. Not only did I not reach out to anyone in my  family for assistance, I didn’t even tell anyone about my mishap until after the fact. And even then, not right away. Understandably, my family–my Mom, especially–was hurt by lack of transparency.

I don’t why I didn’t think to reach out (aside from my strong resistance to ask others for help unless I realllly need it, while I have no problem helping others whether asked or not. This could really be a blog post in itself.). Part of it stems from independence, I think. I’m very self-reliant, and I have been for as long as I can remember. But another part of me assumed help wouldn’t have been given. By my own family? By people who have stood by me and have continuously proved they will always be around to help, however possible?

Apparently so.

This past week has been a major reality check for me as far as my family is concerned. Fearful of my Mom’s prediction, I have been making a special effort–on the weekends, at least–to spend time at home with my family. But as time has moved forward and deadlines have become unnervingly close, I’ve begun to slip. I’m praying this won’t continue, that I’ll be able to find ways to be around when time is limited. Realistically, I know though, it will be a challenge at the very least.

I’m on my guard, so here’s to a very familial-centered rest of the year.


That Awkward Moment

Normally, when you see or hear the word awkward, you associate it with something funny. Or, at the very least, relatable. But in this instance, I’m indirectly referring to neither with my awkward moment, as I’m not sure how funny or relatable it is (though kudos to you if you find it as such). Alright, so, what is it?

Let me set the scene: it’s a new day and a fairly good one at that–all seems relatively right with the world, and whatever that means to you. Maybe you were on time to work. Maybe you were commended on a job-well-done by a supervisor or friend. Maybe your dog smiled at you. I don’t know–the point is you feel as if nothing could disrupt your good vibes! Until.

Until your receive news from a friend or family member or some other sort of loved one. News of the not-so-good variety. Again, this can vary depending on what not-so-good means to you. But in any regard, the news just brings you down. This new information does, in fact, disrupt your good vibes. Here’s what makes this scenario awkward (I don’t mean the term literally): the news has absolutely nothing to do with you. None. At all. This bad thing is happening solely to them, is only negatively affecting them. You are literally just someone they told. Yet, now being made privy to this not-so-great information, you become not so much a confidant as much as someone who is empathizing. Maybe just a little too much.

This is the awkward moment, the awkward moment in which you turn someone else’s bad day into your bad day. You make something that has nothing to do with you somehow all about you. How does that even happen?

Perhaps to say making all of another’s hardships about you is extreme. Rather, I’m thinking about this as someone who maybe cares about others a little too much. Too much in that the problems of those they care for become their problems too. Does that seem too excessive? Too caring? Is that a possibility? I think so…

I guess it’s not so much I make the problem about me, but act as though it’s my problem too. Because my loved ones are who I care about, and so when they’re in distress, I’m in distress. It’s like sympathetic distress! I don’t know why that was written with excitement…

Maybe this will help: Friends, are you familiar with The Secret Life of Bees? More specifically, May Boatwright’s character in The Secret Life of Bees? For those who don’t know, Miss May Boatwright is primarily a supporting character in the novel, who likely wouldn’t be much thought of if it weren’t for this defining characteristic–she treats all bad things that happen in the world (at least those she knows about) as though they are happening to her too. The story doesn’t provide concrete rationale behind this, but readers are left to assume this excessive care and worry over the world’s troubles are effects of childhood trauma. She learns of someone else’s histrionics or tragedy and she becomes so upset, even visibly shaken. And if not for her ability to cope, she would clearly fall apart. Well–anyway…


Concerned May…

I’m not quite up to May’s level, but I identify with her proneness to caring excessively. Loving and caring for others is so, so vital to living well, to following Him. That, I know. But is there a boundary to caring? Is it possible to care too much? Have I reached that boundary with my treating others’ hardships as my own? I tend to think so, hence why I call this an “awkward” moment (though it has not ever nor likely ever will possess the awkward quality). I (and I suppose anyone who experiences this) need to work on how I approach caring and worrying for others. Of course the basis of this is okay, but I need to remember I’m not responsible for others’ well-being and happiness. I need to remember to be there for my loved ones, as needed, not to, essentially, be them, in their troubled times.

Don’t carry the weight of the world like May Boatwright felt so inclined to do. Don’t have that “awkward” moment, Friends. But do carry love for your loved ones how you see fit (just not excessively). And do be your best awkward in other ways, the best ways. Actually awkward ways (and not in the connotative ways I used the term in this post). Just keep being you, Friends.


Behind the Smile

Earlier this week, I was getting food on my way from one commitment to the next (as is the life of the college student), and as I was paying, the cashier who helped me made a remark about my unwavering smile.

“You seem really happy […] Maybe some of your happiness will rub off on me,” they said.

I tried to brush it off, to convince them my face is prone to smiling. But to no avail. This isn’t the first time someone has taken notice of my constant smiling and interpreted it as a sign of everlasting happiness.


I’ve received several comments over the years reflecting on my constant smiles and positive attitude (i.e. “happiness”). And it’s because, often when interacting with people (which is all the time in this age), I smile. Anyone who knows me knows with absolute certainty I will be smiling a good percent of the time I’m with them. But not everyone knows my smile stems more from feelings of awkwardness, anxiety, and, okay, happiness… but usually for the other person. I care a freak-ish amount for people close to me, and when I get to enjoy their company or hear of their good fortune, I can’t help but smile. But that doesn’t mean I am always as equally happy for myself. Because, lately, behind my smile for others and their happiness, have been thoughts of immense uneasiness and confusion. Thoughts that don’t typically warrant a smile.

To say these past several weeks have been stressful is an understatement. I’m nearly a quarter in to my final year of undergraduate school, but that’s the least of my worries.

Okay… Maybe third or fourth on my worry list.

I’m at such a crossroads in my life right now. And while that sense of uneasiness originally stemmed from my sudden doubt in my ideal career/passion (that I’ve been working the past few years toward), it’s sprouted into an uncertainty with who I am and what I know about myself. Because I feel like I don’t know myself anymore, not completely. Though I guess no one knows themselves completely… Except God.

Over these last few months, I have held such pride in figuring out who I was in terms of my introversion and anxiety. I’ve made measurable progress in acknowledging and embracing these facets of my identity. I am who I am–it’s different from a lot of the people in my life right now and that’s okay. But as much as I’d like to think I’m completely at peace (and have likely said as such on here at some point–side effects of an especially low-anxiety, high-confident day), I know I have a ways to go. And that’s fine. I’ve come to grips with that (some days). But while I’m navigating through this ongoing journey, I’ve embarked on another. And, depending on how consistently you read my whirling, disorganized, bordering on a public diary of a blog, you have likely figured out what it is.

The remainder of this post discloses more on my journey with my faith and God. I strongly encourage you to continue reading. But should you wish to stop here, I respect your decision and thank you for reading to this point. Have a wonderful day.

I’m finding and solidifying my faith, my relationship with God. And that’s where I’m feeling especially crossroads-y right now. I don’t come from a family of faith. I don’t have many people in my life who practice faith. And that’s completely okay! I love the life I’ve been given and the people in it. But coming from a background with such little essence of faith has made it all the more difficult for me to openly express and feel at ease with my journey (but not enough to stop me from posting about on my blog–all of which they know about and have access to…). At least for the time-being.

But the other issue is, I don’t even really know what it is I would be saying or revealing. don’t even fully understand where I am with my beliefs and how deeply I believe them. So how can I expect others to understand?

If right at this moment I were asked to explain my beliefs in concrete terms, I’d consider myself what I’m calling an “in-betweener”. I have faith–more than I used to: I have a relationship with God (I talk with Him and think about Him so much–it’s almost fear-inducing considering how little I used to do either) and I strive to live life according to His standards. But at the same time, I don’t surround myself with members of the believing community. The few times I’ve ventured out I’ve felt so out of my element with people who have a firmer grasp on understanding His Word and have had a relationship with God almost their entire lives, who have committed their lives to following Him.

It’s not a competition–I know that. This all stems from a relationship with Him and the striving to live through His Word. But I’m not there yet, not completely. I’m not ready to commit my life to His standards, not in the way He asks. And I don’t know if I will ever be. I feel gratified in the beginnings of this relationship, but I can’t stay in this early stage forever.

So in the meantime, I’ve sought guidance and support from those around me who have continued to greet me with love and acceptance so that I may figure out what I need to figure out. And while I’m hoping to do so soon, I know in the grand scheme of things, this will be an extensive, lifelong journey. And once I do and come to a concrete decision, I pray that those who have remained in my life up to this point will remain, regardless of what that decision means.

…I don’t think there’s a facial expression that accurately depicts internal journeys of self-discovery. But despite all I’m going through, I will always be ready and willing to give my smile, my happiness, and my love to my loved ones (whoa, shocking) and random cashiers and anyone who need it.

Thank you, Friends. Much love.