Recalibrating My Life

Recalibrating My Life

The 40 Day Challenge to myself
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If you know anything about me, or read my last article, you know that I’m currently in the middle of a shit spiral of perpetual stuckness.

Like a stuck-in-a-pale-pink-wad-of-bubble-gum kind of stuck.

A help-I’ve-fallen-and-there’s-no-chance-in-hell-of-me-getting-up kind of stuck.

A Tom-Hanks-in-"Castaway" kind of stuck (OK, there are more people and fewer volleyballs, but you get my point).

I’m not growing as a person, and, simply put, the college that I chose a year ago isn’t the college that I belong at now.

Because of this, I've been thinking a lot about what makes me happy and ways I can incorporate those things into my life (and I know they won’t solve all my problems, but they’re definitely small distractions from the shit spiral that will help me make it through these next couple of months).

List of Three Things That Make Me Happy:

  1. Babies.
  2. Good smoothies.
  3. A lazy day cuddled up in my cozy bed.

So, I got a job working with kids, I made myself smoothies, and I spent more days in bed.

But, at some point, the days in bed changed from my source of happiness to my source of sadness. They didn’t help me get unstuck, and I would argue that they were contributing to the shit spiral because I wasn’t making a conscious effort to socialize and talk to people (and, as an extrovert, socializing is everything to me).

I felt off-kilter.

I felt like a car stuck in neutral.

I felt like a clock with jammed cogs.

I felt like my life wasn’t (and currently isn’t) what it needed to be.

I haven’t talked much about attending a Christian college as a non religious person, but I can tell you that it’s tough. Especially coming from my background where I was constantly told that my nonbelief in hell was what was going to send me to hell (don’t ask me how I can go to a place that I don’t believe in. I’m still trying to wrap my head around that one).

However, attending a Christian college has its perks (I know, that was a shocker to me, too).

If you didn’t know, it’s currently the season of Lent in the Christian faith.

I don’t know much about it (except I’m pretty sure that I tried to participate in it when I was really little by giving up chocolate, only to eat a chocolate bar a couple of hours later, shrug, and then continue eating my candy), but I know that it’s 40 days of giving up a thing that prevents you from having a meaningful relationship with God (with breaks on Sunday, because who the hell wants to give up their favorite thing for 40 days?).

Now, as a non religious person who still believes in God, I know that God and I are on good terms.

We’re homies.

We’re buds.

If I got drunk at a bar, God would hold my hair back while I puked (which, yes, is impossible, but just go with it).

I don’t lack a meaningful relationship with God; I lack a meaningful relationship with myself.

Thus segues us into Emma’s 40-Day Recalibration Project.

Forty days of doing everything in my power to make me feel like myself again.

Forty days of giving myself (and not my insecurities or anyone else) the power to change my life again.

Forty days of face-to-face conversations, not face-to-phone-face-to-phone conversations.

Forty days of recalibrating my life.

I want to be present. I want to be mindful. I want to be alive.

The list of things that made me happy was easy to come up with. The list of things that make feel alive was much harder.

None of my happy things cause goosebumps to spread up and down my forearms.

None of my happy things are the reason I get up in the morning.

None of my happy things are going to relieve the heavy weight I feel pressing hard on my chest, preventing slow and even breaths from entering my raw and burning lungs.

But the things that make me feel alive do all of those things.

List of Things That Make Me Feel Alive:

  1. Standing on a stage in front of people, commanding attention.
  2. Doing things that push my body past the limits I set for it (aka, anything that makes me feel like a powerful, badass bitch).
  3. Traveling.

So, in the next 40 days, I’m going to try to get my life back on track (well, at least as close to ‘on track’ as you can get to 40 days).

List of Things To Help Get My Life On Track

  1. I’m going to work out every day except for Sunday (because my body needs to rest).
  2. I’m cutting out sugar because it makes me feel run down and just generally blah. If you don’t believe me, ask my roommates. They made brownies and mini cheesecakes yesterday, and I refused both (my younger self screamed in horror at the missed opportunity of sugary goodness, while my older, wiser, and more mature self sat on my hands and got distracted by movie night with the girls - and, OK, I screamed a little on the inside, too).
  3. Less Netflix, more reading and writing (except for Thursday because of TGIT, Monday because of "The Bachelor," and Sunday because I have a shit ton of other shows that I need to be caught up on).
  4. I’m going to stop allowing my fears to define me (And that’s why I signed up to do a sultry, burlesque-type dance in front of the people at my college for one of our traditions. I’m determined to show everyone that I’m not going to let my fear of getting judged for being the “fat girl” prevent me from doing the things that I love - plus, my curves are beautiful and need to be shown off).

I’m not sure where this recalibration project is going to take me, but I’m hoping that it gives me a small light to keep me going until the summer.

I’m hoping it forces me to have meaningful conversations with people.

I’m hoping that I can write a couple chapters of the book I’ve been writing since freshman year of high school.

I’m hoping that it makes my body feel powerful again.

And, yeah, I’m definitely hoping it gets me unstuck.

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I'm The Girl Without A 'Friend Group'

And here's why I'm OK with it

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Little things remind me all the time.

For example, I'll be sitting in the lounge with the people on my floor, just talking about how everyone's days went. Someone will turn to someone else and ask something along the lines of, "When are we going to so-and-so's place tonight?" Sometimes it'll even be, "Are you ready to go to so-and-so's place now? Okay, we'll see you later, Taylor!"

It's little things like that, little things that remind me I don't have a "friend group." And it's been like that forever. I don't have the same people to keep me company 24 hours of the day, the same people to do absolutely everything with, and the same people to cling to like glue. I don't have a whole cast of characters to entertain me and care for me and support me. Sometimes, especially when it feels obvious to me, not having a "friend group" makes me feel like a waste of space. If I don't have more friends than I can count, what's the point in trying to make friends at all?

I can tell you that there is a point. As a matter of fact, just because I don't have a close-knit clique doesn't mean I don't have any friends. The friends I have come from all different walks of life, some are from my town back home and some are from across the country. I've known some of my friends for years, and others I've only known for a few months. It doesn't really matter where they come from, though. What matters is that the friends I have all entertain me, care for me, and support me. Just because I'm not in that "friend group" with all of them together doesn't mean that we can't be friends to each other.

Still, I hate avoiding sticking myself in a box, and I'm not afraid to seek out friendships. I've noticed that a lot of the people I see who consider themselves to be in a "friend group" don't really venture outside the pack very often. I've never had a pack to venture outside of, so I don't mind reaching out to new people whenever.

I'm not going to lie, when I hear people talking about all the fun they're going to have with their "friend group" over the weekend, part of me wishes I could be included in something like that. I do sometimes want to have the personality type that allows me to mesh perfectly into a clique. I couldn't tell you what it is about me, but there is some part of me that just happens to function better one-on-one with people.

I hated it all my life up until very recently, and that's because I've finally learned that not having a "friend group" is never going to be the same as not having friends.

SEE ALSO: To The Girls Who Float Between Friend Groups

Cover Image Credit: wordpress.com

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5 Best Quotes By Kate Chopin

"The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamoring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude."

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Rising to prominence during the Progressive Era—a time in America where women were often discouraged to read and write, or disengage with literature of any form due to the asinine, yet widely accepted sentiment that words on a page would drive the female conscience insane -- Kate Chopin is widely hailed by historians and scholars as one of the most iconic forerunners of the feminist movement that came to the dominate the early 20th century through her short stories and novels that have been on the receiving end of timeless praise.

Although she did not receive any accolades for her works, nor as much recognition in comparison to better known female authors during her time such as Edith Wharton -- who became the first female novelist to win The Pulitzer Prize -- Kate Chopin's legacy endured to serve as a rallying cry, and inspiration for several female contemporaries who to, have now ascended to their rightful places among the highest echelons of American Literature. Names that include Zelda Fitzgerald (wife to famed novelist F. Scott Fitzgerald), Gertrude Stein, and Willa Cather to name just a few.

Here are five of the best lines delivered through the words of one alone, which came to be the words of many:

1. "She wanted something to happen - something, anything: she did not know what."

We all dream of being something, of going somewhere. But often it lies beyond the reach of words, as an imagination uncapsulated by a camera or a picture frame. As a place we have not been, cannot go, and will never be.

2. "Perhaps it is better to wake up after all, even to suffer, rather than to remain a dupe to illusion's all one's life."

To keep it real is to keep it painful. But through all the falls, the bruises, the scrapes, and the tears, there may linger at the end if for a moment, only for a moment, a painlessness many have conned themselves into believing it will last forever.

3. "The voice of the sea is seductive, never ceasing, whispering, clamouring, murmuring, inviting the soul to wander in abysses of solitude."

The sea, the water which covers crevices, valleys, and deeps yet unseen and unperceived is a place of much wonder and much fear that roars beneath the crash of its waves against one another, and the rocks that await upon the shore. But through the beat of its torrential drum, it remains a place for the solemn, and the alone. A place for those to wonder as they wander alone in their solemnity.

4. "She was becoming herself and daily casting aside that fictitious self which we assume like a garment with which to appear before the world."

To grow up is to shed the cocoon woven from expectations others expect of us to confine us, and to emerge, and ascend towards expectations we have set for ourselves.

"... but whatever came, she had resolved never again to belong to another than herself."

As we embark on the travail that is life, there may come times where many will tell us we belong to something, or nothing. But as such despairing words calmer against our eardrums, seaking to breakthrough to invade, to infest our psyche, we will always belong to ourselves.

Forever a voice of empowerment as she was then, Kate Chopin reminds us -- through her novels and short stories that have been but a glimpse of her enduring resilience and courage -- that regardless of what or who we are, and where we come from and where we seek to go, we always belong somewhere.

A place that lies beyond many seas of many seductive whispers and whispers. A place where awaits to embrace us -- one none other than ourselves. Enveloping us in our arms like currents which surround us as we descend, and then arise in place where we may wander in solitude.

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