To the guy I loved most in college

To the guy I loved the most in college,

We never dated but I loved you the most and five years later, I’m understanding exactly why I loved you the most. I loved you because you genuinely cared about me. I loved you during a time when I really didn’t know what it meant to be me. I had an idea of who and what I loved and who and what I wanted to be.

You inspired me to be more career minded. You inspired me to try new things and leave old things behind. You corrected me when I needed to be corrected and saw me when I thought I was invisible. You told me that I was a good listener, when in reality you were a good listener. You listened to my stories of heartbreak and watched as I tried to open up. You made me feel safe. You asked me if I was ok when I needed to be asked. You waited for a response. You offered your heart when I know that wasn’t easy. I loved you from a place I had never met in my heart. I loved you through eyes you managed to gaze in at the perfect times.

I think we loved each other at the same time at one point in our lives. I don’t think I ever captivated your heart long enough or deeply enough for you to act on that love. But, I do think that you loved me and I loved you.

Guiding Principles: Part 1

My goodness, it’s the first month of the year and I’m already slacking on the blog. January has been pretty busy with work, family, a couple bouts of illnesses, but I am still feeling excited and elated in this new year—go 2014!

I have high hopes and lofty expectations for this year. Mostly, I am working on being fully engulfed in the present while remaining excited for the future. Here are a few of my guiding principles throughout this year:

  • Chaos will not be the compass that directs my thoughts and actions.
  • Love will not be something I hide away in the bricks of my great wall of self.
  • Regret and yesterday’s pain will not dictate how I live today and tomorrow.
  • Passion will not be diffused by fear.
  • Optimism will not be diluted by adulthood.

Throughout the upcoming months, I’ll work on adding to this list. It’s often important to reflect on how you’re living, reacting, and enjoying your time on this earth because that time can be so short as I was recently reminded.

Write from a good place. Write from the heart.

Dedication: I am dedicating this post to my great-uncle, Joseph who passed yesterday. He was a wonderful man incredibly dedicated to God and his family. Rest with God, Uncle Joe.

Lens of Self: Exploring Cain’s “Quiet”

Last year, one of my favorite books I read was Susan Cain’s, Quiet. I cannot help but think that I completely understand why I am an introvert so immensely attracted to extroverts. I have a lot of extroverted friends. Actually most of my friends are “life of the party” extroverts–meaning that they awaken a room, can make you laugh in the saddest of situations, and are deeply rooted in affairs of being a human being. I love that about them. But, what I love more is their affection and genuine ability to befriend me, an introvert who really does not identify with the name. I have been called an “old soul” and one of my favorite natural born extroverts told me that I was a great listener and that resonated. I love listening, but I am also incredibly sensitive and incredibly empathetic. It hurts sometimes when I start crying without knowing what provoked those tears. I think as an introvert, you start to wonder if your understanding and view of the world makes sense.

Being an introverted extrovert, as I like to think of myself, is not always glorious. I am an introvert with a heart that I always wanted to be the size of a giraffe’s. However, I often feel let down when my heart is not fully accepted.

I think that natural born introverts crave down time and emotional vacations because we carry so much so often. I rarely take vacations from thinking, and when I do, I feel guilty. I also realize that introverts are often their worst critics. Not only am I an introvert, but I also was born during that time of the year that tends to breed the quiet, artistic type that is seriously attracted to charm and charisma. I’ll never forget when I first saw that Drew Barrymore and I shared birth months. I remember thinking– she’s the actress that I weirdly understand despite her natural quirk. More than that, I understand what it means to want to be the life of the party and realize that your version of life of the party will never actually be the life of the party.

At the end of Cain’s Quiet, I kept thinking about some of the people that I never related to that were incredibly introverted and proud. I wonder if it’s because I feared seeing too much of myself in them. I tend to think there’s a song to fit everything. Soundtracks mean a lot to me. Being an introvert does not make me a recluse, but sometimes I hide away especially in the winter. I find peace in quiet and love the sound of music to wash away tears. I think there’s beauty in being in a room with someone and not talking. But, I also think there is peaceful flow to harmonious conversation. I love harmonious conversation. I am actually infatuated by it. That’s why I love art that speaks to your soul. I couldn’t imagine living in a world where nothing ever moved anyone. I am moved by Van Gogh’s artwork and I am fascinated by the way Kerry Washington played Broomhilda in Django Unchained. I love that visual art, poetry, song, dance, film, etc…can move people to action. After I did a project on Emmett Till in the 9th grade, something changed about the way I viewed the world. When I read Morrison’s The Bluest Eye the summer before eighth grade, I knew that I was called to read and respond to literature. The power of words, fiction, and ideas live inside of me–making me more, not less of an introvert. However, I long for conversations that exploit the very core of what we consume. I started blogging during my senior year of college because I realized that I was consuming and creating and not sharing enough. I often beat myself up when I don’t tweet often because I actually understand the beauty of sharing “nuggets of wisdom”- a favorite phrase acquired in 2013.

I believe that words of wisdom resonate. One of my best friends from college recognized early on that there was something different about me. She’s always influenced me to be confident and believe in myself. She’s a true friend because she believes and often reminds me that what God has for me is in deed for me. Every experience during my four years of college made me into a better person, but it also made me aware of key flaws.  In college– I became an extroverted introvert. Definition? I mean that I never truly escaped my introverted heart, but shared it in a way that I think only extroverts master. I steered toward directing instead of acting. I minored in Political Science when I almost minored in Theatre. I think that all of these moments revealed that I am an introvert. I like house parties, but I don’t like clubs. I had a single dorm for two years and never felt alone. College was in deed the best of both introverted and extroverted worlds.

Favorite Tweets of 2013

I have to admit that twitter is one of my favorite social media outlets. It allows for real discussions and serves as a fascinating, direct way to learn, network, and collaborate with others. If it weren’t for twitter, I would have never learned about GenTwenty & become a Social Media Assistant for the website! If you’re in your 20s, check out gentwenty.com!

I often use twitter to check daily news & information related to  people and places of interests. Twitter allows for quick reflections that when reviewed can show a lot about how the year has been. Below is a list of my favorite things I tweeted this year. As weird as this may seem, if you use the medium,  I highly suggest reviewing your tweets or lack thereof from 2013 before moving into the new year.

 

You reach a certain age when lending out your heart sounds terrible. Ownership seems so much better.

7:35 PM – 24 Oct 2013

I will always be an aspiring humanitarian. #prohumanitate

9:29 PM – 18 Sep 2013

@DrewBarrymore might be living the dream with her own makeup and wine collection.

6:40 PM – 17 Sep 2013

If you treat yourself like a page-turner, someone is bound to follow and open the book.

8:02 PM – 6 Aug 2013

About a boy/ little miss sunshine/ uptown girl basically all end the same way.

9:41 PM – 24 Jul 2013

You can share a kindred spirit and similar love expression, but not be compatible for a relationship.

6:39 PM – 9 Jul 2013

Semester Reflection: Instructor’s Perspective

Reflections from a first semester college instructor:  

Allow students to help set the tone for the semester. It’s fair to say that every educator should have goals and standards established for their class regardless of grade, level, or subject matter. I also think that college level instructors should allow the students to set the tone for the classroom. College students need to know that the classes are not done to them, but are created for them. This kind of attitude and language allows students to see that if they set the tone for the class, they are fully owning their learning process.

Be flexible, but not too flexible.  In all honesty, it has not been that long since I was on the other side of the desk as a student. I remember days when I needed more time or needed a couple of hours to hash something out before I could click submit or print something out. It is important to offer some “wiggle room” (a completely technical term). On the other side of the coin, it is important to establish reasonable deadlines.

Give feedback in an honest, critical way. Teaching a composition class is difficult because so much of the course is rooted in feedback. This semester, I realized that one of my favorite ways to have feedback is by conferencing. I required my students to have 1 in class conference with me. It gave me the opportunity to talk to students and see how they were doing without assuming all was well. Sometimes, all it takes is asking “Do you have any questions or how can I help?”

Don’t take disappointment too close to heart. I have to work on not allowing small things to make me feel like I’ve done something incredibly wrong. It hurts me when a student doesn’t turn in an essay or if I feel like there no effort is being made. However, I urge educators (at all levels) to keep in mind that you offer an outlet and then students have to receive and engage or some students may disengage for personal or unforeseen circumstances. Either way, I suggest not allowing disappointment to get too personal.

Grades are important, but remind students that they do not define success. I believe that grades are far from the point of educating. We use grades to help measure success, but in my eyes, and for many educators, grades are not how success is defined. In the subjective field of literature and composition: there are so many gray areas. Grading often gets tough because of the lack of exact right v exact wrong.

Create a learning space that invites questions and embraces curiosity: I completely understand what it’s like to be in a class and feel like raising your hand may lead to disaster. It never does, though! I make it my goal to create a space where students feel completely comfortable asking questions. In the classroom, I have not successfully done my job if a student feels anxious or is fearful to ask a question.

Respond quickly to emails.  There is nothing like leaving someone hanging after they have sent you an email. Why preach using the communication medium and then not respond for day? Even if it’s just a quick, “I will get back to you as soon as possible”. This semester I made it a priority to always sign my emails with “Sincerely”. I want students to know that I value them as professional scholars and remind them of the level of academia they have entered.

Apologizing for confusion, etc..: Somewhere along the line, people started to forget that every human being walking on this earth is a human being completely capable of making mistakes. I find that it’s critical to apologize when you get something wrong. It helps students understand that you’re in this together versus the mentality of “I’m always right” and here’s why

Try, Finish, Own, and Replenish in 2014.

It’s completely natural and good to feel like a new year offers new opportunities. I agree with the mentality that it’s not always the best thing to push things off, but I am hopeful that 2014 will be a year of wondrous opportunity, growth, achieving, and doors opening. I know that things happen for a reason in their own time.

Here are a few things that I am looking forward to making a part of my life in 2014.

*Maintaining and expanding writing skills: These weekly posts have honestly brought a part of my light back that I didn’t realize was dimming. Writing is one of my favorite forms of expression. It’s a release in its own way. For a long time this year, I stopped writing and something hit me this semester in the middle of teaching a lesson on drafts & editing. I cannot effectively teach something I’m not practicing. I need to write to grow. Hopefully, my blog gets better as I continue to write and figure things out. Bare with me.

*Trying new things & exploring. It’s easy to get in your mid 20s and think you have a handle and firm grasp on the continuum of the things you like and the things you despise. However, I want 2014 to be a year of trying things. I want to become a regular hiker. I want to be really good at yoga and enhance my culinary skills. I want to explore my love of the outdoors and nature that grows daily.

*Finishing projects: I would love to complete projects in 2014, things that have been sitting, like a couple of short plays that have potential and renovations (internal and external makeovers), etc…

*Owning talents: As people, we do not always produce freshness- talents can become stagnant, we get restless, tired, and emotionally exhausted. But, I have found that a way to refresh is to reflect on your talents and abilities. We’re all blessed with various gifts and skills, despite what someone may have said to you or how someone else may box you in. I recommend to myself and anyone that comes across this, to fully own your talents next year and forever.

*Pouring out & taking in (a possible mantra for 2014?): Recently, someone I love dearly reminded me to remember that I’m important. In 2014, I am challenging myself to daily tasks to recognize that I’m important. People are not burdens. We carry heavy loads sometimes (completely unnecessary), but we do. Despite carrying things, it’s important to never feel like you’re a burden. I’m going to use 2014 to remember that I’m not a burden. A way to remember you’re important is to give of yourself and not be too proud to accept help. I’m guilty of forgetting it’s a balance. Most people forget this too. Remember to pour out and replenish. Running on E is dangerous.

Here’s to a productive, happy, fulfilling 2014.

Rule book?

Some days, I cannot fully conquer the fear that I do not and will not know how to be a girlfriend. I don’t have much practice in this area. I am a friend. I am a daughter. I am a sister. I am an instructor, etc… but some days (not all) I worry that I will not  know how to be a girlfriend and then possibly a wife some day. Maybe it’s the 20 something in me, but I need a rule book because I cannot place my finger on the world of relationships. There are so many lists, so many dos and donts, so many go-to guides on how to figure it out, and being a natural born reader, writer, and over-thinker, I often feel like I need these to figure it out. But, then I am reminded that love cannot be taught like solving math equations can be taught. When it’s real, I hope and pray it will feel like breathing.

However, in the spirit of all that’s giving thanks and being grateful, I am extremely grateful to know that things will work out. I am grateful to know that whatever happens will happen in due time. I am grateful to play various roles in life and to try to offer as much good as I possibly can. I am near the starting line of love and I think staying there for a while will be more than okay. Figuring out that love and life is not a race given to the swift is a hard pill to swallow some days, but incredibly refreshing.

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 67 other followers