Mind Games

Throughout my athletic career, I’ve struggled with comparing myself to others. Not only has it affected my performance in sports, but it has affected many other aspects of my life. From not raising my hand in class to ask for help because I’m scared people will think I’m dumb or make fun of me, to quitting a swim team because I thought my teammates judged me and thought of me differently because I was the slowest on the team. But in reality, there were at least ten other of my classmates who were just as confused as I was, and the good people on that swim team liked me because I tried and was kind, and the people who treated me differently because I was the slowest weren’t worth my time anyway.

But still, my fear of being judged has had me in chains for years and I still fight it every day.

Yes, I have been viewed differently by people when my athletic abilities were less than theirs, but I’ve come to the realization that the true athletes are ones who accept and help others succeed.

Dear anyone who needs to hear it: We all start somewhere. We all have our insecurities. Not everyone has the same strengths as others. Comparing yourself to others will only bring you down. The most important thing is to focus on your journey.

Whether you run a 15 minute mile or a 5 minute mile. Whether you can bench 40 pounds or 400 pounds. Whether you swim a 1:40 for a hundred or a :40 for a hundred. The point is you are trying, and that’s what matters.

Now don’t get me wrong, I am not a pro athlete and I am not saying I am in any way, but I have recognized one of the main things that holds me back, and I don’t think I am the only one.

Please know that where ever you are in your athletic journey, don’t look at what others have accomplished, look at the improvement you’ve made because that’s what matters.

I don’t care how talented an athlete may be. If they judge or make someone feel bad because of their abilities, all of my previous respect would be gone. Sportsmanship is building one another up, not tearing each other down. A team is a supportive group of people, not enemies. Athletics is a field meant to empower, inspire, and be available to all people, not just the pros.

If you share this same anxiety as I do, please know that it is your journey that matters and the people worthwhile will support you no matter your skill and ability.

“Those who matter don’t mind, and those who mind don’t matter”- Doctor Seuss

Photo via huffpost.com

Scars

scars never go away.

no matter how many dollars you spend on Mederma.

they fade, but their reminiscence will always remain.

cuts, bruises, scratches, and blisters hurt

but cuts will heal. bruises and scratches will vanish. blisters and sores go away,

scar takes a different type of hurt. a different type of stab. a scar is a much deeper pain.

happiness, anger, regret, remorse, and fear burn.

but anger will simmer down, regret will turn into acceptance, remorse will turn into forgiveness, and fear will be overcome.

but love is a different type of burn.

love is a different type of hurt. a different type of happiness. a different type of pain.

just like a scar, love fades.

just like a scar, love will never go away.

just like a scar, love is a weakness that can be cut open at any time.

for better or for worse…

photo credit: Pinterest 

Objectified

ob·ject
noun
/ˈäbjekt/
1.
a material thing that can be seen and touched.

                                    …

Dear strong, capable, powerful, being,

you are not an object.

Nowadays, many people are objectified. Not just for sex, but for money, popularity, and much more.

Dear strong, capable, powerful, being,

your purpose is not just to fulfill the wants of others.

You are beautiful. You are intelligent. You are unique.

And you are here on this earth to do much more than to satisfy someone’s wants or desires and then to be put on the shelf until they want you again.

No person is single-use. No person is only good for one thing. No person is an object.

And no person deserves to be treated like one.

Photo credit: artsyrose.com

Wandering

Let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

I know you hide your fears from me,

you get ashamed when you let them show,

but babe,

I’ve cried in your arms many times,

so please just let me know

what’s going on in that beautiful mind of yours,

your wicked, twisted, brain

filled with lies and awful times,

but babe let me be your change.

I just want to love you,

you’ve been through so god damn much,

your beautiful soul deserves the world you know,

I wish you thought the same.

I’m sorry for everyone who hurt you,

you’re scared to let me in because you fear I’ll do the same.

Everyone you’ve loved has done you wrong,

but darling I’m not the same.

So let me be your beacon,

let me be your guiding light.

I know you’re scared, tired, and broken,

but I’m here to hold you tight.

Photo via: searchengineland.com

Half-Life

It is common knowledge that Junior year is (most likely) the hardest year of a students high school career. At least that is the case at OVS, where AP courses dominate one’s time and extra curriculars are essential. Senior year is supposed to be different though. There’s the anticipation of college, of being an adult, of spending the last year with people that you’ve grown up with. That’s what I thought when I arrived a week late to school. I expected a general sense of positive anticipation, of laxness and comradery. At first that was true. Everything had a tinge of refreshment and independence. But there was a feeling there that I didn’t expect, but that I was strangely familiar with. And as the days progressed, that feeling expanded, suffocating those sentiments of senior status. Then I began seeing it in other people. Not everyone. Not to the same degree that I was feeling it. But it wasn’t just me.  It’s something like this, quoting a good friend of mine: “It feels like I’m rotting on the inside and out, if that makes sense.” To me, it makes perfect sense. That was the feeling that had been growing. A general sense of self degradation. I wasn’t the person that I used to be. Maybe it’s change. Maybe it’s stress. Maybe it’s life experience. I don’t know the cause, but it’s there nonetheless. It’s frightening, even more so when two of your closest friends express those same sentiments to you within a week. Maybe it’s just me, and those of you reading this don’t feel it at all. But if you do feel like something is hollowing you out, if you feel like there’s an unstoppable source of existential decay, then try smiling a little more. Tell your friends you care about them.  Do something good every day.

Who knows, maybe you’ll end up on our thumbs up segment of The Wednesday Briefing.

Credit: ojaivisitors.com

Technology

To some degree, everyone 25 and younger is an IT expert. When the WiFi stops working, it is usually the duty of the youngest member available to fix it. You just switch the button on and off and Lo! you are beheld as a technological deity, as the internet now works perfectly. Your family praises you, and you become the go to person every time something technology related goes wrong. But we know the truth. Those of us who have experienced this phenomenon know, buried deep inside of our consciences, that we in fact know very little about technology. I have fallen victim many a time to this, especially when I slightly adjust the HDMI cable for Ms. Wilson. But my technological skills (or lack thereof) finally met their match. The portal into the WordPress site was a treacherous one. A cyclical loop of “Error 404” and “Please have the moderator re-invite you.” But then it appeared. Suddenly and out of nowhere. A big button that said “Start writing.” This, this was my salvation. And so yeah basically here I am. I figured it out. Easy peasy. Yep.

 

Credit: The Onion

Maybe they will bloom once more

Of course it had to be raining when they told me. It’s called pathetic fallacy.

I felt like I wanted to cry or wretch or go to sleep for a long time.

I suppose I could sit around and be angry for a while, but, at this point, I’ve resolved just to move on. This is much more of a quiet kind of feeling.

I have to be okay with things just being how they are.

But it was never a matter of being over her or having enough time, was it? It was always just a matter of me and you that would never exist.

I always talk about how seasons change and how that’s the way it is supposed to be, but I never thought it would be so drastic.

Image via Pinterest.com

Summer is almost here, but, though it may be peaceful, it will still be hot, so I’ll have to stay busy. And while I’d love to have citrus all year, I know that pixie season has come and gone.

Maybe next year, after the rains come and when the sun starts shining again, they will bloom once more and I will be okay.

Little Things

I’ve started to realize it’s the little things I change about my day that make me feel so much better.

I’ve started studying outside during my free blocks. Even when I’m not doing work, I just sit outside on my phone instead of inside my dimly lit, stuffy dorm room. It feels so much better having both the sun and light breeze against my skin, keeping me warm and cool at the same time. It’s more refreshing, though I’m not doing anything more than sitting outside.

I’ve started getting up early again. I get up around six a.m. now and, despite sleeping less hours, I feel more awake than when I’d sleep in until 7:40. I get up and force myself to go running because even if I’m tired in the moment, I feel wide awake for the rest of the day. I have time to go to breakfast, less time to rush to get ready for classes, and more time to hang out with friends in the morning. I’m no longer starving by the third class of the day or falling asleep by the fourth.

It’s a good feeling finally being motivated to do the small things that make drastic changes to how my days turn out for me and I’m appreciating every day so much more because of it.

Photo Credit: Lifehacker.com

Respect the road.

There is a road that I run all the time.

Since I’m currently training by myself, I get to decide where I run. I avoid this road as much as possible. But during cross country season, when I’m at the mercy of my coaches, most of our workouts involve the road in some way.

Going down is smooth sailing. Going up is hell.

photo credit: nelseverydaypainting.blogspot.com

The road is more like a hill, a giant, mile-plus long hill. It’s on a constant incline and, as you get closer to the top, it gets steeper.

At first, I absolutely loathed this road.

I always hated it in the beginning, because it turned even my best runs turn into something that made me feel like I was putting myself through torture.

The road is sometimes unforgiving. The more you climb, the weaker your legs feel, the more your lungs burn, the more you feel like your brain is about to explode.

I used to fight it. Each day, I felt like I was preparing for this great battle, in which only one victor would prevail: me or the hill.

But, eventually, I started to realize that it wasn’t really a battle of physicality; it was more so a battle of wit. I learned to work with the road instead of against it and things started to make more sense.

I learned to take advantage of even the tiniest bit of downhill, to take the straightest line possible. I started to read the road, to take note of how it felt when I ran a certain way.

To this day, I still don’t like running it. But, I’ve learned how to do it properly.

The road used to be some foreign, intimidating beast that I thought I would never be able to understand. Now, I realize that it was really just an old, wise mentor for me, my very own Mr. Miyagi. 

Last night, I was headed up the road on the bus and, as I looked out the window, I knew exactly what point we were at solely based on the glimpse I caught of the tops of the oak trees. It made me smile, seeing how far I’ve come.

The same miles of curving pavement that used to seem endless to me are now ingrained into my memory, including details down to which tree is positioned where on each corner.

The countless days of practice, all of the sweat-soaked t-shirts and aching muscles really did pay off, in so many more ways than for just my running.

If only I knew back then just how much I would come to understand the road and how much it would come to understand about me.

I wouldn’t have believed it three years ago.

we make our own waves.

photo credit: images.fineartamerica.com

He told me this:
“I make my own waves.

I make my own waves when
I don’t need to.
I make myself angry when I don’t need to be!
And it’s not good for me,
not good for my health.

I see you do the same thing to yourself.
I think it’s something you inherited,
like it’s genetic, maybe. And I’m sorry.

It has taken me my whole life,
fifty-some years to realize that
I am the only one who can control how I feel,
that it is me, and not other people, who changes
the way I feel.

I see you do this to yourself,
you expect people to think the same way,
and to care and to try the same way that you do.

It’s taken me my whole life
to realize that, and I still
don’t know how to fix it.

If you could learn this now,
so early on in your life,
you’ll be so much better for it.

You’ll be just fine.”

I make my own waves too, sometimes.

But the thing about waves, is that even though they can be destructive, they can also be spectacular.

So, I think that it’s okay to make waves in our lives, but we have to decide which kind they will be.