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Second Year of College: Analysis

Thursday, May 19, 2011

The whole campus is under construction right now. Theyíve torn out the infrastructure, destroyed the landscaping, and are preparing to close off the library this coming school year. This year will be forever etched in my mind as the year of my mental breakdown and reconstruction.

I am currently doing really well. I just got a job working at the UCen. Iíve been in dire need of a second job for a while now. Iím already a course grader for Human Sexuality. Money has been tight, as always, and I really need to pay off my credit card and save money for next year. Iíll be working 15 hours this week for the UCen job alone, plus the 5 or so hours for the course grader job. Thankfully, I donít have any midterms or papers due this week. Iím using this time to catch up and get ahead on my workload.

Iíve been at ease today. I actually feel like Iím getting work done rather than sitting around mindlessly wasting it. Having two jobs and working at least 12 hours a week for one of them will really teach me how to better manage my time. I really have to use my free time to do homework and not watch episodes of Ally McBeal on Netflix. If I get work done during the week, then I can relax on the weekend. It shouldnít be the opposite. Iím currently doing the bare minimum during the week and then working my ass off during the weekend, staying up until 4am reading and probably not retaining any of it. But right now, Iím doing better. Iím motivated. Iím going to get it done. Iím going to finish this year right.

Mentally, my reconstruction is in full swing. Iím positive and focused. Iím diligent and disciplined. Iím not letting myself be negative towards my body or my mind. When I feel myself about to tear down my reflection and pick at every little flaw in the mirror, I consciously stop myself. I recognize the signs of trouble. Iíve even been working out a lot more, but not because Iím trying to lose weight or anything, but because I actually feel like it. I really do get that ďrunnerís high,Ē which is the release of endorphins in your brain that you get after a great workout, not just after running. Also, parts of my body that I really used to hate have been looking great to me recently, like my legs, for example. They are fabulous! I think I can attribute this change, not only to my new positive outlook, but more realistically, to my aerobics class. I really think all the kickboxing and step aerobics have paid off! I think Iím going to continue taking classes like that over the summer at my gym back home. I cannot wait to make Anthony take Zumba classes with me. I wish I could record it!

I donít think Iím entirely off the hook yet, though. Over the weekend, I felt like I ate too much at breakfast and I was overcome with this paralyzing fear. I could feel panic setting in, my heart start to race and my skin go cold. At first, I didnít know why I was feeling that way, but then I realized that I was about to relapse. It was so sudden, it took me a minute to catch my breath and talk myself back into my calm, positive state. It helped to have my friends there to talk to me rationally. Reason usually works in my times of mental crisis. So, no. Iím not out of the woods just yet. I honestly donít know if I ever will beÖ Thatís not the most optimistic outlook, I know, but I feel like itís better for me to stop expecting to get better and let it happen on its own as long as I stay vigilant about preventing negative thinking and always trying to see the good things in myself. I really, really donít want to sink back into that depression I had during finals week last quarter. You probably rememberÖ But like I said, Iím going to finish this year strong. Iím going to stay positive and get my work done. I still have Anthony, who will be visiting me in about a week, for which I am super excited! My best friend Elisabeth came down to stay with me for a couple days a couple weeks ago, too! I have such a strong support network. If I do fall off the wagon again, I have no doubt that they will pull me back up. Not to mention my great friends here at UCSB: Marie, Gemma, KatÖ Such great girls. I donít know what Iíd do without them.

This year, while the school was under construction, so was I. And I truly think that Iíll be the better for it. My infrastructure is stronger. My appearance has improved. It will be a long time until I have to reconstruct myself again. Just like my campus, I will be forever changing, but always for the better.


New Beginnings

Thursday, March 31, 2011

I love new beginnings. Everything is so fresh and clean. There are opportunities to act differently and look at life with new eyes. I am on the train going back to UCSB for the last quarter of the school year. Today is the last day of my spring break. I feel relaxed and ready to finish up my second year of college. Over break, I spent most of my time with Anthony. I saw my family. I got a wonderful massage from my favorite massage therapist at Massage Envy, as well as a facial. I feel as if Iím glowing, which is odd, because usually when Iím travelling, I feel grimy and gross. Unfortunately, I wasnít able to exercise more than once this week. My body feels flabby and neglectedÖ I realize that I canít get fat in one week of not working out and overeating, but it just feels that way. Iím excited to get back into my work out routine and regular healthy food habits.

Iím really going to miss Anthony, though. He really brought me back from that dark hole of despair I dug last week. He brought the light back into my eyes, the spark back into my soul. Iím rejuvenated. Iím going to finish off this year strong.

New beginnings are scary, thoughÖ Anthony and I are in a transition period, which has to do with me being in a transition period. To quote Britney Spears, ďIím not a girl, not yet a woman.Ē Itís true! Iím not a kid anymore. Iím away from home, taking care of myself. Iím probably healthier on my own than I ever was when I lived with my parents. Iím at college, learning things Iíll use in the future and some things that Iíll never use. The point is that Iím learning; Iím training my mind, disciplining myself. Iím working, trying, trying, trying to save money when I can. Trying, trying, trying to pay off my debts. The fact that I have debts is another sign that Iím not a kid anymore. What child do you know of who has credit card debt? This is all well and good, evidence that Iím an ďadultĒ, however, Iím not totally on my own. Iím not paying for college. Iím definitely not making enough money to survive. My mom bails me out. For the most part, sheíll be there in a pinch. Iím still immature. I party. I try new things. Iím not a grown up. I may be a legal adult, but Iím not entirely ready for the real world. But Anthony is ready. Heís ready to move on to that next level of our relationship. If I follow him that means I have to sacrifice this time when I can be an ďadult,Ē a grown up child.

Last week, I experience this strange feeling. I couldnít figure it out. Was I depressed? Was I angry? Bored? Finally, it dawned on me. I was ready! I had this urge to tear down all of my childish posters and get rid of all of my juvenile possessions and move the heck on! I needed to shed that skin. But at the same time, there is something holding me back. I canít do it all at once. Iím not ready to completely grow up. Iím still in college; there are still experiences that I want/need to have. But Iím ready to start the process. I already have a plan for my future. I know what I want to do, what my goals are. Iím like a hot air balloon, rising into the sky, but it will be slow going, dropping one sand bag at a time.

For now, Iím just excited for my new beginning. Iím ready for spring quarter. Iím ready to plan for fall quarter 2011. Iím ready to maintain a healthy routine and keep in touch with my family and friends. I get to come back to a clean room, unpack, stock up on groceries, get to bed early, and go to classes tomorrow. One day at a time, one sand bag at a time. By the end, Anthony will be there waiting for me, behind me will be those for whom Iím setting an example.

Joe Martin, a motivational speaker who does presentations for the National Society of Leadership and Success, say that we need to determine our purpose. We need to look at what we do during the day, how we spend out time. Then we should ask ourselves if our habits, our daily activities, line up with our purpose. If not, we need to change our activities so that they will better enable us to achieve our purpose. For example, I want to be a healthy, socially, mentally and physically. If Iím spending all of my time alone in my room, eating junk food and mentally criticizing myself, I am not doing what I should to meet my goals. Instead, I should be exercising, eating healthy, spending time with my friends, and shutting off my critical inner voice.

So I challenge you, Joe Martin challenges you, discover your purpose through your goals. Examine your habits and change them if necessary to help you reach those goals. You should be spending at least an hour a day working toward your purpose.

Sorry if this seems preachy or cheesyÖ Iím mostly reminding myself to do these things. New beginnings mean reevaluating my goals and actions to make sure Iím going to start off on the right foot. Iíll end with a ridiculously cheesy phrase I still remember from middle school: If you want to leave footprints in the sands of time, donít sit on your butt, because who wants to leave butt prints in the sands of time?


Stress Relief

Friday, March 11, 2011

Ok so right off the bat, totally honest, this is me:

I am one of the most tense and anxious people you will ever meet. I'm also extremely moody and emotional. The smallest things can change my day from awesome to horrible and back to amazing and then to neutral... I'm like a manual transmission (not a car person...) or a roller coaster or... other things that change dramatically at the drop of a pin. I'm also dramatic and flamboyant and this is part of my humor, but sometimes, I know I need to chill out, calm down, relax, take a breather, smell the roses, whatever other sayings or mantras there are about stress relief and what not.

This week and next week are going to be examples of how stressed out and insane I can me. Dead Week (sounds very foreboding, does it not?) and Finals Week. These are the last two weeks of a quarter in college, where all the students (who care about their grades) get super wound up and freaked out about studying and reading and kind of let their mental health go... I admit, I am one of these students. But it's one of those aspects of health that I'm working on, with you all watching... and hopefully not laughing. Did you know that anxious people are more likely to develop heart problems? We apparently don't live as long (in general) as people who can handle stress well. This doesn't bode so well for me, unfortunately. So I've come up with a list of things I can do to relax during high periods of stress in my life. And maybe some of these ideas will help for you, as well:

1) Exercise!

Try to fit it at least 10 minutes of cardiovascular exercise per day!
2) Yoga/Meditation

Great for balance, flexibility, and mindfulness
3) Listening to upbeat, positive music

Firework by Katy Perry is one of my favorite feel good songs
4) Sing and Dance

Singing and dancing (even if it's not your forte) releases built up tension and anxiety
5) Eat well

Unhealthy foods give you that sugar rush and then you crash, but whole grains and veggies give you energy that lasts throughout the day and you won't feel badly about yourself later!
6) Get a restful 7-8 hour sleep

Sleep is that break from the day when you regenerate and really process everything that happened. Studying then getting a full night's sleep is much better for learning than an all night cram session.
7) Get some sunshine!

Sunshine decreases your chances of developing depression!
8) Talk to friends/family/partners

Friends and family will support you and love you no matter what and talking to people you love will improve your mood and decrease stress in no time! As long as you keep the conversation positive...
9) Remind yourself that YOU MATTER!!!

Program put on by my college UC Santa Barbara during Dead Week to remind the students to take care of themselves during this stressful time. It's actually happening today and I'm so excited to be a part of it.

So I hope this helped you. It certainly helps me! I'm sure I'll come up with more tips for stress relief and wellness and update you on what I learn. I'll end with one last tip: SMILE! Just the act of smiling will make you happier and most of the time, if you smile at a stranger they'll smile right back. Spread the love!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

MYRTLEBOO 3/11/2011 3:41PM

    Thanks for the great review!

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Body Image

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Isn't it silly how a sudden and unexpected drop in the number on that scale can make a day go from blah to amazing? That sudden drop could be a sign that something is wrong. People don't randomly lose 4 lbs in a week, but we (women in particular) thrive on those possibly unhealthy numbers.

The world we live in rewards thin and slightly underweight women and doesn't focus enough attention on feeling your best and most confident self. Magazines are slowly trying to increase the number of "fiercely real" (in the words of Tyra Banks) girls in their fashion pictures and giving advice about what clothes to wear to look their very best (under the euphemism "curvy" or course). When did thin become so attractive? What happened to the statuesque goddess-like beauty of Marilyn Monroe and Jane Russell? Nowadays, these women would be considered less than ideal, even chubby! Why is voluptuous and healthy considered chubby and pudgy [insert whatever word you use here] and "plus size"? I'm sure that these beautiful and sexy women didn't spend half of their lives working out at the gym and denying themselves their favorite foods left and right. They owned their bodies and the world could see that.

So what can the normal woman do to avoid these images of "perfect" women and all of those things out in the world that make us hate ourselves? Well... you could throw out all of your favorite magazines. You could never go on the internet again. And just stop watching TV and movies while you're at it. Try to walk outside with your eyes closed. You might see someone who looks "better" than you. Yes. I realize that these options got more and more ridiculous as the list went on. That's because these are all of the things that people have told me to do and I hate these choices. They pretty much suck. So my advice to myself and to all of you is to stop comparing! I realize that it's really difficult to do that. Believe me. I'm still working on it. But once you stop comparing yourself to everyone else, you'll learn to love what you look like and feel confident in who you are. I honestly believe that confidence is what can be the difference between a "dull-looking" person and a radiant person. Think about all the beautiful women in your life... Are they all size 0, tan, blonde, tall? I doubt it. What makes them beautiful to you? Embody that. But again, why should you all listen to me when I haven't yet taken my own advice? I will. I am! Like I said: this blog will be my journey. I'm right there with you.

Check out my new blog at http://girllearningtoloveherself.blogspot.
com/ !!!

  Member Comments About This Blog Post:

BMAN419 3/10/2011 12:50PM


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Best Week Ever!

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

...and it's only Wednesday! My boyfriend visited me three days early! He was supposed to come tomorrow, but got here on Monday for Valentine's day, which is also our anniversary! I'm so glad he's here. He deals with my horrible body image and never gets tired of making me feel beautiful. He is my support system. I've been working out a bit less than I usually do because I want to spend more time with him, but somehow, I feel sexier and more beautiful than those weeks where I work out like crazy every day and hardly eat a thing! That's how powerful he is, that's how strong he can influence me! I don't want to completely stop working out while he's here, though, so I made him do an exercise DVD with me. It was something fun that we've never done before together AND i got to fit in a little mini work out. emoticon I'm sure that this week will end just as wonderfully as it began and I will hopefully continue to feel beautiful and sexy long after he's gone back home.


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