Best of Friends || My First Valentine


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This year, for the first time in my life, I have a real Valentine. And I never thought it would be me. You know that feeling? Everyone else experiences wonderful things, but it feels like it might never be your reality? Maybe that’s just me: I’ve always felt that way about most things. I think because for most of my life I’ve watched my peers experience things I was always left out on. So I still sometimes have those expectations of being left out, you know? But somehow, my reality this year is that I have a boyfriend I love deeply, and he’s my Valentine.

What happened? XD That sounds dumb to ask, but looking back: what was it that I did?

The thing is, I never really pursued romance as a teenager and young adult. I actually purposefully tried to avoid pitfalls I saw other Christian young women fall into because I saw how unhealthy it was. I didn’t pine for the love of my life so much that I became obsessed with the idea. I didn’t watch a lot of romance films, hardly at all (except some 80’s classics. “Say Anything” amirite?) I didn’t write a thousand “Dear Future Husband” letters. I didn’t make a list of attributes I wanted to find in a partner (“He must be taller than me, he must have blue eyes, he must have a six-pack, ect.”)

Somehow, I knew that a romantic relationship, a real one with depth and meaning, would be a lot of work with someone who I would love despite their outward appearance. That reading 200 different “dating/courtship opinion” books wasn’t going to set me up for the perfect path for marriage. That anything I could learn from sappy romance movies would be foolish and just a lot of false advertising of what real emotional intimacy was like (it really all is, fake. Even the kissing!!! The mad frantic Hollywood kissing you see IS NOT REAL LIFE, PEOPLE. IT’S NOT. XD)

I didn’t “do” a lot of things like that as a single woman.

What I did do was be someone’s friend.

James and I were just friends for many years, and that was all…but being friends is why I love James like I do today. We liked the same kind of movies; we were raised with very similar beliefs, had similar childhood upbringings, shared enough common tastes to keep talking. And that’s all we did; we just kept talking, more and more and more. He was there when things kept falling apart for me and when things were good. I was there for those same similar moments in his life. During that period of time, we learned one thing we both knew: We liked talking. Spending time together. Laughing together. We genuinely liked each other as people, as friends.

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I remember about six months before we became a thing; I realized I had feelings for him. I didn’t want to just say it outright, so I attempted my idea of flirting during our skype chats. Which was to ask things like, “If the zombie apocalypse happened, would you come rescue me?” XD He didn’t let on at all that he was understanding my hidden intentions (he did, mostly XD ) and I began to legit think he really wasn’t interested in me that way. But why would he be. I was a woman from a dysfunctional family allllll the way in the desert of Arizona about five states away from him. Surely I was just too much to pursue outside of being just friends.

Of course, I later came to find out later that he’d really liked me for a long time and had been waiting for the right time to tell me. (So yeah, now I know what it feels like to be the girl in the high school movies who’s completely ignorant that the hero of the movie is in love with her from across the cafeteria for most of the movie. XD)

But in his ways, he had shown it all along: he always made time for us to talk weekly. He bent over backward to help me rescue my computer multiple times. Always kindly let me be myself and express what I wanted or needed. Just, before we started talking about my first visit, the idea of having a long distance relationship felt impossible (for me before we met in person, it still felt seemingly too difficult and I refused to commit too quickly before I knew I was ready.) And the timing wouldn’t have been right if we hadn’t happened exactly when we had. That was God’s incredible life planning. We’re so thankful that we’re now already over a year from our anniversary of “when we realized we like-liked each other”.

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I’m sitting here writing like I’ve always done on Valentine’s Day, writing the thoughts I have on this particular day. I have a big one I want to share, to document, from this past year. It’s my biggest takeaway from this first beautiful relationship I’ve had the honor of being a part of. ❤ It’s something I believe with my whole heart about relationships and making them work.

Be the best of friends first.

And yes, while I know every relationship is going to be different and sometimes things can fall apart because of circumstances out of your control, I truly do believe this is a key ingredient to surviving the bumpy waves of forging and maintaining a romantic relationship with someone. I truly do!

We have to be friends, the best of friends, first. Because we already love our best friends, don’t we? Everyone needs best friends, for they are dependable. They are the ones who are tried and true, the ones who get you for you! One has to know a person well to feel at all safe and trusting in the formation of a romantic relationship, and the only way to know that about someone is to get to know that person as a good friend!

Making friends takes time…but take that time. Don’t muddy who you are together by dating only because they’re cute and you feel a “spark” or because they have money or because your church friends think you two are a good match. No! Forge friendships out of shared common ground and start building them. Spend time together because, hey: you just really like hanging out with this person! They make you laugh and smile, you can talk for hours and it feel like 30 minutes, you can tease and be respectful at the same time, you celebrate your little life victories together, and you empathize, cry, and are there when the dark times come, when the bad news hits, when one more thing happens. James and I did that for several years as just friends and it was wonderful and a comfort to have.

Relationships… and ultimately MARRIAGES… will actually last when you both genuinely like each other and can fight for each other one day at a time. Chemistry, physical attraction; they’re all well and good and have their place, but they are not what you want to pursue as a basis for “I want to be in a relationship with them.” Those things can (and generally are) temporary. Genuinely liking someone because you truly know them and enjoy them, on a mental and emotional level, is so much deeper!

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If your relationship is already full of respect, trust, friendship, honesty, and laughter before you decide to start engaging romanticly, having the really hard conversation, getting closer on physical and emotional and mental levels, it will be SO. MUCH. EASIER. (Especially in my own personal case, in which we’re a long distance couple and have to be extra thoughtful and purposeful in our communication.) 

If you’ve been honest about yourself and your needs and desires in life, and communicate clearly, it will be easier. When you have that history together, that time under your belt as “best friends”, if you’ve seen their actions line up with the words…becoming romantically involved will give all the fear and insecurity bigger stronger rewards. It will make riding the ocean of emotion and communication so very worth it. This is the biggest thing I’ve learned and am so grateful for taking this route for my relationship.

And don’t worry; honestly, physical attraction comes very naturally when someone wins your heart, at least in my experience. ^_^

So, today is Valentine’s Day and I actually have someone this time!

James sent me 22 ounces of chocolate and a stuffed tiger this week, and two cards in envelopes that I’m dying to open and read (haven’t yet at the writing of this, but I will during out skype call today.) ❤ For the first time here on my blog, I actually have a Valentine this year, one I’m so so blessed to have as my best friend and boyfriend.

And since today is the only acceptable day that I could do this, I now must take a moment to sing some of his praises. He is so much more than I thought I deserved or would ever get to have in a boyfriend or future “Someone”, ever. And he is a very humble guy, so all this praise below will fluster him greatly (he doesn’t flipping know how to take a compliment ROFL) but I told him I just had to write how much he’s blessed and changed my life by being himself. I don’t know why God was so gracious to let me wind up with someone I think is so wonderful but I’m glad He was.

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James has never failed me when it matters most. He forgives me every time I fail. He gives me as much attention and affection he possibly can every day, from the sweetest daily goodnight messages to telling me he’s praying for me when I leave for work each day.

I have never felt safer in a man’s presence in my life, from when he walks into a room that I’m sitting in or when he smiles at me from the screen. He’s given me the warmest hugs and kisses. There is a genuine gentleness and peace about him that’s lacked from my life for many years that I can’t believe I get to feel from him. His spirit feels like Home to me.

James is also one of the funniest people I know; he makes me laugh all the time between his array of expressions and voices to his quick wit and teasing humor. I DID always want to be with “the funny guy” and he’s definitely the funny guy for me. XD He’s always eager to lift my spirits when I’m low and will do anything to make me smile, which I love! He truly makes my spirit happy!

James also harbors qualities I really wanted in a boyfriend (qualities I think most should look for in their partners but don’t often think about): humility, a willingness to listen and learn, gentleness, and the ability to apologize without feeling defensive. He is all those things and more, in ways I sometimes kinda thought guys couldn’t be (simply from my own life experience.) He is quick to ask for forgiveness, which really really speaks to his maturity. He is sensitive to my feelings and is gentle with me, especially when I’m in distress or having a bad day. He has been quick, ever since when we were simply friends, to listen to me and learn what I like or dislike (vice-versa, that’s why we watched each other’s movie recommendations five years ago. XD)

He tells me I’m beautiful every day, that I’m worth all the distance, that he’s so lucky to have me. I’ve never felt more loved in my life. He honestly changed how I saw myself as a person. I see myself differently in the mirror now; I was even able to lose weight when he helped me love myself at the weight I was. He has changed me for the better in so many ways like that! In just over a year, I’ve changed so much for the better for being with him, in my levels of self-confidence, self-acceptance, and self-worth. Not because he gave me self-worth, but he helped me see that I was already worth millions. ❤

I think the biggest thing James has done for me is show a true representation of God’s love for me through his own love. He is very slow to anger; he is incredibly patient with me, more patient than I sometimes deserve, I think. He always loves me even when I make mistakes. That no matter where I am, even when we can’t see each other, touch each other, hear each other, he still loves me.  I have seen better representation for God’s great love for me through James than I have ever seen anywhere else. ❤

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I thank God so often that somehow, through all the chaos in my life, I was allowed to have the comfort of friendship from him for so long, and now the comfort of his love that distance can’t stop. I feel so happy to have gotten to experience just the beginning of what they call “love.” To have had my first kiss with the most precious person on earth to me, to hold the heart of someone so eager to love me wholeheartedly, and let him see me, warts and all, and still feel accepted and loved. To have someone to call Home. ❤ It just blows me away. ❤

So, Happy Valentine’s Day, my Darling James! This year I can actually write to you instead of an idea of my future someone in my head; that feels wonderful! Thank you for being my best friend and loving me even when I become emotional wrecks and live with this crazy dysfunctional family, and live so far away. Thank you for always having the best fun with me, for letting me be my spontaneous silly self, for helping me feel truly beautiful, for trying to love me like God loves me. You’ve changed me for the better! ❤ I can’t wait to keep changing and growing with you; we have so far to go and so much still to learn, but I’m excited for it all.

I love you. ❤ We’re the best of friends and I wouldn’t have it any other way. ❤

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~Jamie

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How Knowing My Strengths Helped Me Find My Life’s Purpose and Career Path


Last fall semester I took a single college class called Career Exploration for Creative Minds and it completely changed my mindset about myself and my future. Beforehand, I wasn’t sure what career truly called my name or if I even had the potential to pursue one. I was coming out of a dark time in my life and I was feeling so many insecurities.

While I learned SO MUCH that semester, today I want to talk about how I learned my purpose for life; specifically through understanding my natural strengths and how knowing them raised my self-confidence and discovered what I wanted to do with my life

You still have time.:

My professor had the entire class take StrengthsQuest, a very comprehensive online test, which in the end, out of 34 official strengths, would tell you your top five strengths with paragraphs of information about how these natural abilities helped you see the world. I’m going to go over my five now and share about each one so you can follow my final career conclusion!


1 Empathy.
“People strong in the Empathy theme can sense the feelings of other people by imagining themselves in others’ lives or others’ situations.”

Dr. Brené Brown #empathy:

My biggest strength is empathy. The crazy thing is, while I knew I was a very empathetic person…I’d never considered it a strength before.

Empathy is different than sympathy: feeling sympathy is feeling sorry or pity. Feeling empathy is understanding someone else’s perspective, from their shoes, from their eyes. It means being open to hear someone else’s voice. It doesn’t mean I always agree with them or condone their actions, but I do understand. I can sense their unvoiced concerns; often I can help them put their feelings into words when they previously couldn’t find the right way to express themselves. Empathy is helping people feel valued because they feel heard and understood.

Being empathetic makes me want to help others understand themselves better. I want to help people feel like they can take on their life’s difficulties. I have a way of making utter strangers feel safe enough to talk about their lives to me. I’ve met multiple, talkative people on bus routes who I could just tell: they just need someone to smile at them and be interested in them without any judgment. They just want to be heard. So that’s what I did, and I was always left feeling better afterward.

I knew I was empathetic. But it hit me hard when it came out of as the FIRST result in my test. It is a strength. That blew my mind when I realized that. It means I understand when others might not. I can really help by listening and encouraging when others might lecture and not really hear what a person is trying to say. It strengthens me because it brings me joy to help others feel valued.

2 Adaptability.

“People strong in the Adaptability theme prefer to “go with the flow.” They tend to be “now” people who take things as they come and discover the future one day at a time.”

just go with the flow:

I’m a very in-the-moment person but I didn’t use to have a word for this. I knew my adaptability is how I survived my parents’ divorce, by quickly being able to adapt to the major life changes that happened. However, I also understood that this strength, living in the moment, means I find joy in so many small things that a lot of people miss because they’re so busy looking at the future. I just live naturally in the present. I can also communicate and adjust to other people easily because I can adapt to the needs in the room. Being adaptable means that I naturally understand that life is ever changing; I might not like change sometimes, but I can respond to it without falling to pieces, generally.

It was very comforting to learn this is an actual strength of mine. I’ve lived with “planners” and “futuristic” people forever, and despite their good intentions, I’ve often felt completely misunderstood by them for being myself; for living and reacting as life happens IN THE NOW. It’s who I am. Both sides have their positives of course, but learning this about myself has made me more confident in how I was made to be.

3 Maximizer.

“People strong in the Maximizer theme focus on strengths as a way to stimulate personal and group excellence. They seek to transform something strong into something superb.”

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Ok, I didn’t understand this one right away. But when I did, I felt like I suddenly understood another side of myself that I didn’t even realize was there before. Ultimately, it means I’m very good at pinpointing the good in anything (people, projects, etc) and then drawing out that good to make it great. Once I understood what this was, I saw this pattern all over my life. It’s my third biggest strength. Ultimately, it is often how I view others too.

Being a Maximizer means I can accept other people just as they are and work with them in that place. I can find what’s special about them that’s different from anyone else. I like to help people feel inspired about those things that make them special. It often helps me find the good in projects too, or how to make decent situations become great situations with a little tweaking. It’s a unique strength, maximizing what’s already good. When I recognized this within myself, on top of Empathy and Adaptability, it really began to show me what I wanted to do with my life.

4 Ideation.

“People strong in the Ideation theme are fascinated by ideas.They are able to find connections between seemingly disparate phenomena.”

#quotes #intelligence #imagination The true sign of intelligence is not knowledge but imagination.:

Oh yes, I knew this about myself, but I’d always seen it as a flaw rather than strength. I love ideas; just sometimes I’m much better at coming up with them then I am with carrying them out. But I’m trying to learn to accept this about myself and that if I work with the right people, others can benefit from my ideas and help me execute them.

Being strong in Ideation means that I’m a creatively minded person who can solve problems, be original, bring fresh ideas to the table; all things which I didn’t realize can often be valued in certain work settings. It means I enjoy discussions with rich vocabularies or complex thoughts. It means I’m a little quirky, but in the right places, it is something sometimes desperately needed. I love coming up with ideas, thinking about ideas, getting the ball rolling in an abstract way; those “what ifs.” I can see and connect things others can’t.

I love embracing that I love ideas, connecting things, creating things, exploring my own smarts. I love owning that part of myself now.

Last but not least: this final strength specifically changed how I saw myself:

5 Positivity.

“People strong in the Positivity theme have an enthusiasm that is contagious. They are upbeat and can get others excited about what they are gong to do.”

While I’ve seen my positivity and enthusiasm as something that has helped me survive the last several dark years, I’d NEVER. NEVER. NEVER actually considered it to be a strength. Isn’t that sad? I felt SO VALIDATED when I read about how my positivity is one of my greatest strengths in life. A part of myself that seemed taken for granted was suddenly acknowledged as something special; as something I overflow with naturally.

I aspire to be a giver. A giver of love, a giver of good vibes and a giver of strength.:

To be positive is to be enthusiastic about life. It means I find so much joy and goodness in life. It means when people ask me to share my views on things I get very excited to share my enthusiasm. It means I like to make situations more fun. I like to share that I love life: even when life REALLY SUCKS, I know there are still things to enjoy and be happy about. I like bringing that perspective to others who might be too weighed down to be excited about life.

I remember when I saw my test results for the first time. I received the list of 34 strengths with their definitions along with my top five. When I saw that Positivity was amongst those top five, I felt so…. understood. Suddenly, being positive wasn’t just something I happened to be. It happened to be SOMETHING I WAS GOOD AT. That blew me away.

Especially after having gone through such DARK times the past five years: Loosing communities, losing good friendships; my parents’ ugly separation, having to cut my own dad out of my life for being so narcissistic and controlling; feeling frightened, scarred and vulnerable; feeling betrayed by the Church; realizing I lacked a proper education and attending school for a year for my GED to fix it….And yet, I can say through ALL OF THAT I have honestly never stopped enjoying life. Sometimes it was really really hard but somehow, I still found joy in the little things. I was still able to be positive for my mother and sister and brother. I was still able to smile and laugh with my best friend. I was still able to feel and bring joy to others. It was just what I did.

But it took a test for me to realize that that was actually something very special; it wasn’t just a way to survive the dark times. Being positive when others might not be is a God-given strength. Learning that helped me feel so validated.

you learn a lot:

These strengths–being positive, full of ideas, strengthening what’s already good, being adaptable, and being empathetic–have been my weapons without me even realizing it. But now they will continue to be my weapons, sharpened, for the rest of my life.

So, from knowing my strengths, I realized what I want to be.

I want to be life coach. To be a life coach is to be someone’s cheerleader. It is adapting to the different people who come to you, helping them feel understood, helping them identify their own strengths with a unique perspective, equipping them with ideas to improve themselves, and then positively encouraging them on in their journey through life. Being a life coach is being available to help people find their purpose and then encouraging and celebrating with them as they accomplish their dreams and goals for themselves. That is what I want to do with the rest of my life.

It will be a long journey to be a real life coach; I want to get a degree in Communication, become a licensed counselor, and gain life experience that I can then bring to the job of being many different individuals’ life coach. It will take a lot of living, personal development of myself, while strengthening my natural communication and humanitarian skills. It means that right now, I can keep being the friend who encourages and is excited for you. It means I keep growing and educating myself while learning what makes people tick. It means I must become a stable person myself so that I can turn around and be a stable person for others.

That is my life’s calling, and I KNOW IT deep down in my heartt. But I only realized it when i discovered what my biggest strengths are and how they made me see the world around me. But having that understanding, that idea of a path to follow, having that confidence in who I am, is now the best feeling in the world. That was the best thing I learned during that fall semester.

"I want to inspire people. I want someone to look at me and say 'because of you, I didn't give up.'":

My final thought for you is this: LEARN WHO YOU ARE. Recognize your weaknesses but FOCUS on your strengths: learn about them, water them, grow confident in your skin and how you tick. These strengths were given to you for a purpose. So when you know who you are and what you’re strongest at, you’ll find you know your life’s purpose too. ❤

~Jamie

3 Ways to Make Facebook Enjoyable


So, I’ve been more active on my personal Facebook lately. In fact, this past year, I put a little time into making my Facebook dashboard a place I want to see, instead of the place I want to avoid. Because, you know, it’s my generation’s joke that Facebook is the last place you want to be. Noisy relatives, politics everywhere, just ugh…Facebook. It’s the social media site for “older people” now. XD

I still feel that way about Facebook on occasion, but during the last few months, I took some time getting used to how the site worked and allowing myself FREEDOM to make it mine. Want to know my tricks? Well here’s how I did it.

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1. I did NOT accept all the friend requests I had.

And I still don’t. This is hard to do; depending on the person, you might feel strong obligations to press accept even though you grimace at the sight of their Facebook wall. (I wish Facebook was like Twitter in that you don’t have to MUTUALLY SEE EACH OTHER’S CRAP IF YOU DON’T WANT TOO.) However, I made the choice that, even if it felt kinda awkward to delete that lady who I knew from church’s request, it ultimately was completely my decision to not have her guilt-tripping political reposts spamming my feed.

I have given myself the freedom to set boundaries or say that quiet “no thank you” in regards to the friend requests and it was very empowering! In this way, I have managed to keep that horrid spam of, “JESUS WILL BE SAD IF YOU DON’T SHARE THIS POST, HIT THUMBS UP NOW,” crap to a minimum on my dash. Now I see less negativity and garbage, and I love it.

I know not everyone might feel like they can just turn down friend requests, but I do strongly recommend always thinking about what you want to allow into your space. Surround yourself with healthy people and remove unhealthy people, just like you would offline too. ❤

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2. I followed pages that post engaging and unique content that interested me.

One of the things that makes me excited to visit Facebook is that I now follow pages of COOL STUFF. Stuff that’s creative or inspiring, quotes and art and funnies, stuff I WANT TO ACTUALLY LIKE AND SHARE ON MY OWN PAGE. I took two different afternoons, and spent lots of time investigating and following page suggestions till I’d found and followed all the ones I liked. It took time, but it was worth it.

To list just a couple of my very favorites, I follow The Best of Tumblr, Word PornPersonality Growth, Quotes n’ Nd NotesLike a Boss Girls, Brain Pickings, and Laughing Squid. I get a constant new cycle of relatable and shareable quotes, unique and creative creations, and the best funnies ever from these places everyday. I share things from them often.

These and many others, like Food Network, Ellen DeGeneres, The Tonight Show, and Stan Lee’s page, fill my dash with new fun stuff, spreading out the political/religious barrage of junk that always seeps through no matter what. It makes me want to keep scrolling!

This ultimately was a huge game changer to making Facebook more enjoyable and I’m so glad I took the time to find fresh new content to enjoy.

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3. I’m not afraid to share what I enjoyed seeing.

I know it’s annoying, that you see everything everybody likes and shares, but guess what. Two can play that game. I got tired of being sensitive of how I interacted on Facebook, afraid so-and-so wouldn’t like that I “liked” that post.

One day I stopped giving a crap. Other people, other Christians, other ADULTS, aren’t afraid to share the stupidest, lowest quality, guilt-tripping crap day in and day out… so why I should be scared to share a quote that I related too? So, I adopted a new motto for just Facebook: INTERACT WITH WHAT YOU ENJOY. DO IT BECAUSE YOU WANT TO. AND HELP CIRCULATE SOME BRAIN CELLS.

LOL ok, is that going to far? Nah, I didn’t think so. XD

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These are just three things I’ve done the last few months that have helped make my Facebook page a place that I want to interact on. I surprise myself by how often I check it now, and I enjoy sharing things and interacting with different friends on different posts about things I actually like. It’s become another place of self-expression, by being unafraid to share things I enjoy, which is empowering and encouraging to my growing identity as a young adult.

I like Facebook now. And that’s something I never thought would happen. 😉

How about you? Do you still loathe Facebook? Have you every tried one of these tricks to make it a cheerier place? 

~Jamie

Social Media and The “Freedom” of Expression


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For those who might follow me on Twitter, you will have gone through some self-realization with me on the day after my birthday. Taking a break from personal blogging resulted in several things, and this was one of them. Keeping my thoughts to myself for a while somehow made it possible for me to–well, more than just identify a problem, but I had a clear-enough head to do something about it. I have my original train of thought from Twitter below for you to read:

It’s a constant struggle, it seems, to continually express myself openly. It is something I struggle with a lot. Social media lets eyes into your mind when they otherwise wouldn’t be. Let’s be honest: The people on social media who make each site what it is can create expectations that are intimidating, and can make it hard to share yourself honestly. Don’t get me wrong, I love social media because they can create platforms to do so many different things…but there’s a negative side them all, too.

Facebook is fully of well-meaning parents, peers, and elders who can be quick to speak their minds without being sensitive. Twitter puts up expectations that one must be funny and sarcastic all the time. Tumblr will literally get offended by anything you might say, no matter what its about. Instagram sells the misconception of “they must have perfect lives, look at their perfect pictures, my life sucks compared to them.” There’s just no filter for “I just feel like a mess right now.”

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And blogging can have heated articles full of unresearched opinions, while the opposite side of the spectrum is full of writers who are too scared to share certain fandoms or thoughts; simply for the response they might get from readers and family–“What are you doing? You watch that? You need to write a disclaimer before every tv show you watch to make sure no one stumbles.” It makes it really hard to share some things about yourself.

It’s for reasons like this that one doesn’t just casually state, along-side their other fandoms, “I love Game of Thrones.” No seriously, that’s me actually admitting that I love Game of Thrones for the first time on this blog. 99% of you didn’t know that about me because its something I’ve kept private for the reasons I just listed in the paragraph above.

Vulnerability IS SCARY. But I meant what I said in that last tweet about being me everywhere un-apologetically. That’s why I’m sitting here writing this.

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Of course, what you share on social media is ultimately up to you. Privacy is always a very good thing to keep in mind; I generally share more than most because I know that speaking plainly about topics resting on my heart not only helps me but others too. And I like to feel connected to people who feel the same vulnerability. I actually wish there was more of this on the Internet but I understand why most people are private.

But its silly when things like fandom Pinterest boards and silly little thoughts for Twitter become filtered for no reason. And it took me two months of blogging “radio” silence to realize that’s what I’ve been doing to myself.

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Being myself has and probably always will be a battle for me as I learn to let go of expectations. Besides, I’ve had people freak out over my likes and dislikes for years–In 2011 my sister and I were verbally attacked for an extended period of time by church peers because we were watching Star Wars without dissecting it to pieces. STAR. WARS. So, I’m learning to wear tough skin when it comes to the fandom things. XD

To cut this short: this whole social media thing was a fantastic “ah-ha” moment that I had almost two months ago and I’ve been looking forward to sharing it with you guys! I felt like in a day I grew up a little bit more. I live for these types of moments in my life, these types of revelations of my hesitation.

I feel kinda dumb after having them; like, “wow, I shouldn’t let this bother me. I can make however many stupid Pinterest boards I want. Why do I do this to myself.” This might honestly sound like a pretty silly, trivial issue to some of you, to struggle with social media, which is ok. But I know a lot of other people might struggle with this too, and I want those people to know they’re not alone.

I love social media. It’s an awesome thing.  But it’s especially awesome when I can feel free to use it for me. Thanks again for listening, guys. ❤

~Jamie

My Hiatus is Over! || My Summer


Well, my hiatus for this blog ran a lot longer than I originally expected, but it was a much-needed personal break to let my mind and emotions be by themselves for awhile.

The thing about running a personal blog is that it’s…well…personal. It can get hard to share things or write about even silly things when you’re confused and befuddled about big issues in your life. So the break from this blog has been good to just allow my mind to simmer with itself.  I haven’t come to any conclusions, but I’m okay with not being completely okay. That in and of itself is freeing.

I plan to catch you all up on the different things I’ve struggled with in the near future, as those are heavy topics for their own posts. But today I’ll just catch you up on my summer as best I can! 😀

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In many ways it was a very quiet summer. It others, it was loud and confusing and emotional.

My parent’s divorce was finalized at the end of April (a big HIP HIP HOORAY goes right here!) and my entire family’s routine changed as my brother began to switch between my home and my dad’s home every other week. I’m still adjusting here in September: My weeks seem to begin on Fridays and then have no ending. It’s super weird. XD It works though; I miss my little bro when he’s not here, but I also enjoy that quiet off-week too because… eight year old boys……..just wow.

I worked on my sci-fi book throughout June, but as my head got louder and louder with doubts and theological questions and frustration, I paused the writing. I’d hope to pick it back up in August, but computer issues and now college still keeps me from continuing with it for the time being. The only other story I worked on over the summer was personal story for myself, an nontraditional romance that is incredibly fun write. But that was all the fiction I managed to write over the summer. 😦

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I turned 21 at the end of July! It was a very nice birthday; with early morning happy birthday emojis from my best friend, to the exciting Ant-Man which Mom agreed to watch with me, to my favorite sub-sandwiches for dinner. The amount of birthday wishes and phone calls and cards made me feel very loved and special! There was a damper on the day’s end (I.E. my dad suddenly remarrying on my birthday before bringing my brother home–a topic for another post) but thankfully the shock of it didn’t really kick in till the next day.

Overall, I had a wonderful 21st birthday! Thank you again for all your sweet comments!

Small things can keep you busy like you wouldn’t believe. One day the internet went out. We didn’t figure out until the next day that it wasn’t a neighborhood thing but our own problem. *headdesk* Stupid little things like that seemed to happen all summer. XD

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Between the end of July and through almost the entirety of August, I had computer struggles. Oh how those just thrill me to pieces. XD This problem interfered with the blogging I was doing, and I breathed in and out of calm control and fits of frustration. As of now, the issue has seemed to resolved it’s self, which is the weirdest thing EVER, but I’m not complaining! I can upload images to WordPress again!

The pro that came out of that whole experience, though, was that I learned a behemoth-like amount of information about my computer this summer and how I can maintain it from my good ol’ friend James The Reviewer. Thank you again for all your help last month, James, you were the best! (Seriously, guys, he taught me so much computer stuff, and took a lot time to walk me through possible solutions for the issue, even though he didn’t have too. I’m such a baby when it comes to my computer, so it was nice to have support from someone steadier than myself. XD)

Friends are literally the best thing ever.

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Happier moments of the summer included watching and talking and writing about anime. So many adventures; so many wonderful characters who are now very dear to my heart (Takeo and Yamato! Kiyoshi-dono! Renge! NICOLAS BROWN, MARRY ME!) I kept my anime blog alive despite the computer issues–I don’t know how!!!–and had lots of fun! I’ve established some wonderful friendships this summer and almost everyone that I’ve met in the anime blogging community has been very kind and enthusiastic!

It’s also incredible to be exposed to a second language every single day through stories. The Japanese language is so beautiful to listen to and I feel a little more familiar with it as each week goes by! It’s my new favorite thing!

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COLLEGE. As August began to close, I first pondered, then agreed to start college before fully wrapping up my GED studies. I’m taking one class, a career exploration class for creative minds at my local community college and I’m already glad I agreed to start. While I now have homework to bring home, I really like the class’s content so far. I think I will learn a lot about myself this semester and shall be able to zone in a specific career or degree that I would personally be driven to achieve.

Since it’s also a class about understanding yourself, I hope that it will help me work through a lot of junk I still have from the past nine years of unbalanced homeschooling and over-the-top patriarchal churches and emotional exhaustion.  I spent most of my teens years having my individualism smothered in the patriarchal movement, which I’m still recovering from.

God didn’t make me as a incomplete soul or personality without a man and I should not have buried myself for others for years and years!

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Hopefully I’ll really discover how I think and function as an individual during this semester, so I can continue becoming my own person. I mean, I’ve done a lot of this in other areas of my life already (I’m learning to say no for myself, I’m learning healthy boundaries, and I am learning to enjoy what I enjoy without feeling weird about it) but I still need help understanding my core. Personal exploration will be very healthy for me!

It has been a confusing, crazy, quiet, enjoyable, angry, emotional summer. I love anime; I really love anime. I’m happy that I got to enjoy the lightning storms in the evening while I listened to music. I’m mad at my dad because, wow, thanks for dragging us through the mud for years insisting a divorce would ruin our already ruined family and then remarrying before the papers are barely cold on my birthday; like I didn’t have enough trust issues with men! And I’m happy that my mom insisted I think about starting college.

I’m hopeful I’ll find my path by the end of the year.

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I am still a lot of emotions from this summer and I haven’t worked through everything; but that’s okay. I’m okay with knowing that I’m both angry and happy and miserable and hopeful all at the same time. I THINK THAT IS LIFE?!?

However, I’ve had my fill of quiet time with just myself. I ready to come home, to this blog and to all of you! Thanks for waiting for me, guys. I love you all! I can’t wait to continue blogging here!

What did you do or feel this summer?

~Jamie