Wow. I can’t believe I haven’t blogged since last summer. Bad Steffi. Jeez, that is not okay.
The reason this blog fell by the wayside is probably because I had a lot going on this year. Sophomore slump? Yeah, it’s totally a thing. Literally everyone in my grade was having some kind of crisis and I was by no means an exception. First semester was rough, second was rough in different but equally sucky ways, and now I’m just glad to get out with my GPA intact.
Then this summer… was bad. I got pretty depressed and I was living alone for the first time. And morbidly depressed while being all alone in New York City? It was just… yeah.
This is why I fell into the blog ether for a while. I’ve been going through some stuff.
Word to the wise, if you are ever sad, do not listen to self-loathing Pandora stations. It makes things worse.
I’ve been feeling better lately, but the memory of the past is still at the back of my head, and there is always the fear that it will happen again. I’m better, but better is relative, complex, multi-valent. It sort of changes color in the light. I’m feeling better than I was, but I’ve still been changed by what happened to me.
I spent the summer as a fashion intern for DuJour Magazine so that shiz was cool, and now I’m back at Bryn Mawr watching Star Trek: The Next Generation and being metal.
So I’m a little apprehensive about this year. A lot (a lot) of my best friends are gone for the semester and sometimes between work and extra curriculars (I do choir, voice lessons, yoga, and I’m going to be Editor-in-Chief of the fashion magazine here at Bryn Mawr), there’s just so much to fear and so much that could go wrong, and that fear viscerally reminds me of other fears from long ago. But I got through that, I tell myself. That’s over now. If I got through that, there’s nothing to fear now. I’m better. I’m different from who I was.
And you know what else? After I made myself turn the Pandora stations to comedians and off of The Weepies, I read a lot of inspirational quotes and aphorisms. Seriously, it helped me. Because even as I didn’t believe the truth about myself, even as the insecurities and doubts floated through my head, if you say anything enough times? It starts to feel more real. You start to believe it. You start to believe in yourself.
Golly, I’m just a big ol’
It was through sheer determination of will that I was able to navigate my own personal hell and… not find a light at the end, but rather learn to make my own light. I’ve realized in all of this that everything doesn’t happen for a reason. Shit happens to you, and you have to make the reason.
In addition to the quote-y stuff, I did get actual legitimate help and sort of started a happiness intervention on myself, watching cheerful movies and documentaries, making a couple Spotify playlists of upbeat music, and trying to do/watch/read things that I knew would make me smile or laugh. This guerilla happiness coupled with professional help eventually, miraculously, worked.
In case any of you have ever felt the way I felt a few months ago (I emphasize that it was and is still a process, however – I didn’t just click into feeling better or curing what ailed me), here are some things that might help you find your way. Many were made pretty by helpful graphic designer people that I don’t know.
Print them out and put them where you know you’ll see them. Just do it, guys. Trust me, okay?
And then there was one I loved but couldn’t find a graphic representation of: “Instructions… pay attention, be astonished, tell about it.” — Mary Oliver
Don’t you feel sort of better about yourself and life in general?
After this summer I feel like I’ve kind of grown up. I don’t really care what people think of me anymore. I have a lot more confidence. I like myself more. Is this what it’s like being an adult? God, being an adult. That’d be so weird. I mean, I am technically 20 now even though most of the time I act approximately 5. I’m going to be going to work and cooking my own food and doing adult things very soon – I’m a Junior this year, already halfway through college. What do adults even do? Mow lawns? Taxes? Prostate exams?
I’ve never done any of those things. Are those fun things?
(I’m gonna go ahead and assume that those are fun things.)
Most of the reason I’m apprehensive about this semester is that, living in a single in a dorm away from all my remaining friends on campus, I’ll be alone with someone whose caused a lot of grief in my life in recent months. Namely, me. So then, the inevitable question comes back.
What happens if I get sad again?
I’m scared of that happening. I’m scared of all of it. But you know what? The answer to all of my doubts is and always will be that I will do my best. That’s all I can do. And I trust myself to do my best. Of everything that has come out of the past year, I am proud to be able to trust myself again.
I will do my best. I will wear cute shoes. And, for better or worse, I will have an adventure. A whole new school year of adventures waiting for me.
And I will tell you about them.