Hello :)

It’s been a minute, wordpress. I don’t think the title of my blog applies anymore. I’m thinking of starting blogging again, because as you know, life happens. I changed courses quite drastically, I must say. I’m no longer a graduate student. I graduated last October with my master’s degree and left the city I fell in love with this past April. I moved back to my home state, but to the southern part instead. I had a job for a few months but then suddenly lost it and now I’m a bit lost and confused.

I’ve been searching for employment for two weeks now, looking in the biotech sector to do research and development but also in the education sector. I thoroughly enjoyed my time mentoring high school students while in graduate school, and when I tutored and taught briefly at community college. Sometimes I wonder why I didn’t go get my teaching certificate so I could teach high school students but then again, I had a passion for research and lab work, so I followed my heart for a bit. Now, I feel like I’m back at square one, unsure of where to go from here.

You see, through all this, I’ve been discovering myself. I get down on myself quite often and I must say, I see the world with a glass half empty point of view. Or I did, I should say. I have been trying my best to see this as an opportunity, a blessing in disguise. It is a chance for me to figure out what I want to do with my life and career and I’ve been chasing my hobbies lately.

I went skydiving. If you know me, you know I absolutely hate heights and free falling. I don’t actively seek out adventure and I’m more of a homebody, sit on the couch and watch a baseball game and cuddle or read a good book at a coffee shop with my dogs type of girl. The most adventurous I’ve been is going to the ball park for a baseball game on a Monday night.

I dyed my hair and got it cut short.

I started to boulder and rock climb more, everyday in fact for over a week straight.

I run more now than I have in months. I’ve also got the Chicago Marathon coming up in a few short weeks.

I’m slowly beginning to physically and mentally prepare myself for a triathalon.

I’ve fallen in love. And let myself fall in love wholeheartedly, to the point where I’ve gotten heartbroken and now am hurting and confused.

Most importantly, I’m beginning to turn my life over to God. I believe in a higher power but I never grew up religious. However, nothing in my life made sense. I didn’t understand why I was being “punished” with mental illnesses and pain and emotional distress. I didn’t understand why I never managed to kill myself despite trying at a minimum of three times. I didn’t understand why I self-harmed for 10 years and am now left with the scars as reminders. I did, however, understand it the only way I could: because I was a failure, a mistake for my parents, a problem and I needed to be punished.

Now, however, I’m starting to see a purpose to my struggles. I’ve been able to speak out about my suffering, my experiences, my pain, as a way to help my friends understand that even the best of us who seem to have it all together can suffer. I’m more outspoken about my mental health because I believe in my heart that there is a meaning behind why this happened to me and in my lifetime. I share my story because if I can save one person from taking their own life, then I have won this battle with my mental illnesses.

I’m not going to preach to the choir about finding God and believing in His greater power, because truthfully, I don’t even know Him fully. I’m just scratching the surface. However, I can say that when I went skydiving, I put my life in His hands and let him guide me to safety. And I am doing that with my life too. I’m turning over my heart to God because He is the only one that knows who is the right one my heart belongs to. He is the only one that can bring two hearts together as one and while I feel I know who I want to be with, only God can provide me with the right individual in due time. I don’t know where I’ll end up in a day, in a week, in a month. I don’t know if I’ll have a job or a roof over my head or money to keep myself alive or if I’ll have the privilege of being somebody’s girlfriend and partner, but I do know that God’s timing is right and that it will work out in the end the way it is meant to work out.

He wouldn’t give me anything I am not strong enough to handle. I may not see my strength now, but when I look back, I’ll know exactly how strong I had to be to overcome the things I have and will have to in life.

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SCAPE: Day of Service

Volunteer Day. I heard about this my freshman year at UCLA. We were given light blue t-shirts and sent off to various sites around Los Angeles to help out. But I didn’t go that year, as I had to take a placement test. Last year I volunteered my time at a local elementary school, helping to paint their playground and speaking to the students. This year, I participated in SCAPE: Serving Communities And Providing Engagement.

This is Northwestern’s version of volunteer day. In its second year, the class of 2016 and transfer students (yes, I wanted to included transfer students specifically because we are almost always forgotten amongst all the 2016 kids!) spent the afternoon in the ChicagoLand area, volunteering their time and getting to know a little about the area. The group I was a part of spent the day at ManorCare, a health services place for people recovering from surgery, hospital stays, etc. in Wilmette. We, as volunteers, representing Northwestern, spent the afternoon getting to know the residents and their stories. I, for instance, watched the end of the Chicago Bears game and met a man who worked at the Foster-Walker dining hall some years back. It took me by surprise initially but then I came to realize that this is a small world; here I am volunteering and I meet somebody who worked in the place I now dine. 

Then, after the game ended, I went on to meet a lady of 93 years of age who came from Panama some years back. One thing she told me has left a profound impression on me and has gotten me wondering, what about religion can I explore and open my world up to? She told me, she is ready for heaven to take her. It is such a powerful statement. To come to terms with one’s life and to accept all that has transpired must take strength and faith in oneself. She amazed me by the way she has accepted how life has gone for her and what she has gained and left behind in this world. More than anything, though, is the way she stated this. There was so much power, so much conviction in her voice, something I have never heard before. 

The rest of the volunteering was filled with mingling and talking with the residents. Many were just so thrilled and elated to see a new face helping out; it was a change in their routine and though it may have seemed mundane to us students, to the residents, it brought them joy and happiness during a time where they may be struggling with their pain. 

As great as this day was, and as much as I took out of it, I am left wondering: is religion for me? 

Readers, what are your takes on this topic?