reasons

After reading When Breath Becomes Air, it caused many moments of self-reflection, recognition, and realization. The most profound of these moments was certainly the correlation that Dr. Kalanithi feels between the morality of humans and the principality of science – and the deep and undeniable connection between the two. My own experiences with realizing what morality is and how we as humans can approach understanding truthfully moral ways has heightened my awareness of the breadth, complexity, and utter incomprehension we have of the meaning and value of life. I don’t say this morbidly, because if you know me you know I am quite the optimist (insert cheesy smile), but I do say it with sincerity. There is such a truly bold connection between humans as spirits and souls that feel love, mercy, pain, and an array of emotional qualities, and the humans that are comprised of varying physiologies of biological and chemical pathways and processes. We are such a complex and deeply intertwined species, that pure science and pure metaphysics do not explain us. They require themselves and a few other important things for a full, robust and accurate description of what it means to be alive.

Deriving from my own experiences as a student, Christian,  and human (surprise!), I have found many truths and many troubling thoughts. Philosophy is something I have grown to love and hate at the same time, which I have commonly found is not unique just to me but to others who study philosophy as well. You may ask, what even is philosophy, and you may laugh at students that say philosophy is their major, but I encourage you to exercise some tact when approaching those who enjoy philosophy. But first, to answer your question in my own, rudimentary knowledge of the subject, I would say that philosophy is truly a search for meaning. Meaning of life, meaning of people, meaning of actions, of religion, of science, of thoughts, of generally anything that is worth searching for. And my own experiences with this quest have been… circuitous. Oscillating between why does this matter? and how could this not matter? has left me in a comfortable, but strange, place with philosophy. Almost at peace, so to say. I have found innumerable truths reading though the great minds of thought, peering into their own opinions on the most important matters of life: happiness, virtue, God, and learning to name a few. I have experienced these inquiries from mathematicians, career-philosophers (ha ha at that term), atheists, scientists, Christians, and teachers. What I have found is a universal truth: that we are humans, and that we take our experiences and we develop our own values, our own morals, our own ethics, our own vocabularies, our own meanings, and we are all developed differently but still the same. For me, this has allowed me to see Christianity in a newfound strength (insert: Go read Rene Descartes’s Meditations). It has allowed me to see the necessity with which there needs to be God. God is the true foundation for which all life, thought, and meaning is derived. He is the unifying alikeness that all humans possess, and He is the only thing that can complete science in its discrepancies and shortcomings. Maybe philosophy has the opposite effect for others, but for me it has challenged my thoughts in unseen ways (sometimes scary ways), but has allowed me to truly integrate every piece of my being – my desire to live a good life, my love and faith in Jesus Christ, and my infatuation with science. I don’t credit philosophy with helping me understand more about myself. I do credit philosophy with teaching me how to think, how to speak, and how to formulate my own ideas and opinions. I see the connections in my life, the concrete existence of a God that no, cannot be empirically proven, but can be proven by merely examining humans and experience. I have seen different parts of my life woven into a fabric that just makes sense. In a way, I felt it has set me apart more than before I had studied my own self and values so extensively (as a by-product of philosophy) and has made me difficultly different than other people in this way (hopefully other students can agree with me on this). Ultimately, I have realized the importance of dependency. The importance of friendship; the importance of conversation; the importance of sharing your life with others; the importance of NEVER thinking you are above others and cannot learn from them; the importance of bringing together all parts of your life and finding where you are genuinely the most happy.

This has been me incessantly rambling about how happy I am to have learned something about my life. The truth is, there are many, MANY, many things I do not know. In these are where my trust and faith in God prevails. I know not what my life holds, but I do know who has been entrusted with my future. And I do know that He has placed meaning, importance, and value in every life on this earth. I see these not just through a lens of spirituality but also a lens of philosophy. Until I am made fully aware of these things, I will keep striving to understand more about what God wants for me, how He wants me to live, and the ways in which I can more fully be His humbled, faithful, and loving daughter. I can pray we can do this together. (I also HIGHLY, highly encourage you to read When Breath Becomes Air… It is beautiful.)

 

handcrafted.

This weekend is recruitment weekend at Belmont University. This has been a decision I have been poring over for a while now. Contrary to state schools or larger schools, Belmont’s Greek Life is very different. It is my personal values to stay true to myself and what I find fundamentally important. But the atmosphere and the demeanor of the women in these sororities is so authentic and so humble. I have had conversations about how God works in our lives in various ways, I have talked about my dreams and plans with women who have genuine interest, and I have felt so at ease and so welcomed by every Greek chapter. But this post isn’t about Greek Life at Belmont. It is about creating your own mold.

I am a biochemistry and molecular biology major here at Belmont. I adore science and learning about the amazing and beautiful world around us. You don’t fully understand how complex and intricate God is until you study our world at  molecular and microphysical levels. I adore these things. I get so, so excited about these things. So I worried maybe being in a sorority would be “unfit” for me. Maybe that defies the stereotypical science major and pre-med profile. Maybe that will distort the scientific image of myself that I have. Maybe others will think of me differently.

two things I was taught this past week in my classes:

  1. “I am not who I think I am. I am not who you think I am. I am who I think you think I am.”
  2. Profound and groundbreaking scientists usually have a very curvaceous and sometimes circuitous path.
The first one: read it again and think about it. We develop the images of ourselves based on the perceptions of others. We are who we think others perceive us to be. YOU CAN BE ANYTHING OR ANYONE YOU WANT TO BE!
The second one: everyone’s path to success and stairwell to their dreams is often littered with obstacles and differences. It is supposed to be that way! Your path to greatness is going to be haphazard. The best thing is you can face any obstacle, roadblock, or frightening mountain in your life with the presence of God by your side! He sees your talents, your beliefs and values, and your grandest desires. He wants you to be experienced. He wants you to gain wisdom. He might allow you to experience some set backs or conundrums, but He will be there holding you tightly if you allow Him to embrace you!
So I concluded my thoughts about this internal battle of “who I should be”, “who I am”, and “who I want to be” with this: I am creating my own, one-of-a-kind mold. I am becoming someone novel and unique. I am going to be who I chose to be, not based on my past experiences or future hopes. Today I choose to love me as I am, to love who I am going to become, and to welcome challenges that are going to shape me. I hope, and I pray, that you choose to defy the standards set for you and to create your own wonderful, special, and hand crafted mold.
“I praise you because I am fearfully and wonderfully made; your works are wonderful. I know that full well.” Psalm 139:14

a post about ANXIETY

I am not afraid of spiders, snakes, or heights. I am not afraid of masks, or strangers, or wasps. You can throw any arachnid or insect at me and I might jump, but I will not experience fear. My most threatening and prevalent fear is the fear of failure. The fear of inadequacy, the fear of mediocrity, the fear of settling. The fear of not reaching my goals, the fear of not being enough. Those fears, to me, are towers and skyscrapers compared to the fear of an insect or an airplane flight. I have big aspirations for myself (I want to be a physician), and with these great demands and expectations from myself comes that great ever-known fiend of anxiety. I think its safe and acceptable to say that everyone experiences anxiety at some point in their life. I am blessed to say I do not get entangled in anxiety very often, but when I do, it kills my typically optimistic attitude and really makes me feel just blah. Last night and today was just one of those days. SO, as I battled that internal struggle in my mind, I thought of some ways that I choose to deal with my anxiety and stress. Knowing that so many people experience these inconveniences and struggles, I wanted to share my little tips with you guys 🙂

EIGHT TIPS TO KILL ANXIETY AND CULTIVATE INNER PEACE

  1. breathe. Relax. Inhale in, exhale out. Close your eyes. Breathe. You are alive, breathing, and functioning. Sometimes I spend longggg moments just taking deep, refreshing breaths. This is a great way to remove yourself from the web of anxiety and gain a clearer perspective.
  2. exercise! Get those neurotransmitters functioning and pumping out dopamine! Grab a friend, or a couple, (thanks to those who worked out with me today), and do something that makes you sweat and feel good. If you are overwhelmed, like I often am about feeling insignificant, then performing and completing a strenuous workout will certainly leave you with a sense of accomplishment. When overwhelmed with anxiety, work it out!
  3. put on your favorite pair of pjs, take off your makeup, and wrap yourself in a big soft quilt. This may be a personal favorite, but my favorite part of any day is the time I spend in pjs with an all natural face. There are few things more comforting to me than wearing something soft and casual while being tangled up in my favorite quilt. It’s a great way to just relax and step away from the chaos of life.
  4. draw a bath, light some candles, and play some music. I definitely did this one today. Isolate yourself from your family, light a few candles, turn out the bathroom lights, and listen to some music. My favorite music preferences during rough days are John Mayer, Ed Sheeran, needtobreathe, Kodaline, The Head and the Heart, Jack Johnson, “Calming Christian” radio on Spotify, among many other artists! During this time, I encourage you to put. down. the. phone. (It’s hard for me, too). But this isn’t a time to scroll through twitter, instagram, or facebook. It’s a time to just sit and relax and gather yourself. This is also a great time to breatheeeee!
  5. DON’T eat crappy comfort food. The temptation is sooo real. Grab a carton of ice cream, a box of cookies, or a bag of chips and sit down in front of the TV. I highly discourage eating like this during times of stress or anxiety. First of all, our bodies naturally activate high levels of a stress hormone called cortisol that make huge impacts on our bodies in a negative way when we are in a prolonged state of stress. Eating foods high in sugar and fat will only increase the negative effects on your body. SO resist the temptation and eat something healthy but equally delicious. My favorites are a few strawberries with 1 tsp of all natural maple syrup (I had this tonight! No high fructose corn syrup, additives crap either!), some raspberries & bananas, a chocolate or caramel gluten free rice cake (gluten is a gut irritant and has virtually no health benefits, I have personally found that removing gluten from my diet as much as possible has helped with stomach and digestive problems.) with 1 tbs of all natural peanut butter, or even – dare I say – some Nutella on a rice cake for those extremely stressful days.
  6. watch Netflix. After all that exercise, you’re going to be exhausted. Sit down and watch some Netflix. Just choose something to get your mind off of what’s bothering you. My favorite is Grey’s Anatomy 🙂
  7. think about the good things. Write them down. Almost every day I write down ten things I am thankful for and ten things I love about myself. I don’t do this in a narcissistic way, but as a sincere way to remind myself that I am valuable and that I have SO much to be thankful for, and NOTHING to be anxious for. Self love is a great remedy for anxiety. Try it out!
  8. pray. This is without a doubt the best solution for my anxiety and stress. I am here to offer you true confirmation that God will deal with your problems for you. You just have to take the first step and give them to Him! Even if you don’t believe God is there, just try talking to Him. I promise you that you will feel better after the conversation. If you’re nervous someone will judge or ridicule you, just try it in the shower! Honestly. Give God thanks for what you have and give Him the duty of protecting you from your greatest fears. Talk to Him about what is stressing you out or causing you anxiety.

“Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus. ” Philippians 4:6-7

I hope this helps you guys, because doing these things honestly help me so much. Have a great evening – I hope it is stress free 🙂

find your happy place!

I frequently write about love. But that’s because love is so, SO important to me. Realizing this has dramatically changed my perspective on various things and people in my life. Loving others only creates a more peaceful inner self for me. Loving my everyday interactions gives me a purpose for all of the tasks I complete within a day. Loving someone else romantically gives me encouragement and constant support. Loving God gives me hope, reason, and understanding. Loving myself gives me confidence and self-success. Loving difficulty gives me triumph over obstacles. Love makes the world go ’round. Love drives people to achieve their dreams and marry their soul mates. Love is what pushes me to be great and never settle for less. Love is what makes me appreciate myself when I feel sluggish, disappointed, and not very beautiful. Love is what goes. Love perseveres. Love is determined to weave its way into my life. Yours, too.

As a teenage girl in high school, there are great implications that it is time to find a boyfriend. Find a boyfriend, even if he doesn’t meet your standards. Even if he isn’t the best person for you. Even if your parents don’t like him. Even if you don’t really like him. Just make sure you aren’t alone. Make sure you aren’t drifting through high school discovering who you are as a person.

Because that would be bad.

Intimate love has a time in our lives. In my opinion, it is AFTER you have established who you are as a person. Run a trial with yourself. If you can’t go 2 weeks without depending on a significant other for affection, attention, and admiration, then it’s time to sculpt and identify who you are as a person. It’s so important! Relationships are essential in our lives, no doubt. But constant confirmation from a guy for your self worth is only harmful and toxic. Not essential.

Become aware. Become aware of the thoughts that invade your mind when you first wake up. Become aware of how you feel when others talk to you. Do you feel happy? Do you feel insecure? Do you feel ashamed of who you are? Do you feel proud? Do you feel embarrassed? Assess. Assess your surroundings. Assess your emotions. Analyze. I am such an over analyzer. Situations, emotions, feelings, reactions. But by analyzing I find the things that drive deep into the root of who I am and flip the switch that makes me happy and makes me feel calm and comforted; I also know what does the opposite. So analyze your day. Analyze what you pick out to wear and why you wear it. Is it for you? Is it for a boy? Is it for impression or is it because YOU like it? Analyze how others treat you. Require respect. If you don’t like the way someone speaks to you or speaks around you, verbalize it. If you don’t like the way you think or speak, change it. You are not bound to your old ways. Everyday is honestly a new page. Write accordingly to how you feel and what makes you happy.

Back to love. By determining why things are happening the way they are and figuring out who is in charge of your life, you will learn to love. You will learn to love the appropriate way. When you straighten your life out and find your identity, you will love who you are. You will learn that you control how others treat you and how they think about you. You will learn that you love who you are. Your quirks. Your interests. Do not hide your interests. I get playfully ridiculed all the time for being “nerdy”. But guess what, I love to learn! It makes me happy. It makes me powerful. I love knowledge and that is not something I am ashamed of. If you love to play video games on the computer, then own that! If you love girly things, then love those things! LOVE WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY! Love what makes your soul smile.

When you spend all of this time deciding you are worth it and deciding that others can’t inflict pain and disappointment upon you any longer, you will realize you don’t need affection, admiration, or attention from anyone else. Like a wise woman once said, “Nobody can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

The thought that struck me today was that you don’t need someone else to be happy. Find your niche. Find the nooks and crannies of the world that suit your needs and connect with your soul. Find your calling. Find your happy place. Go there, and go there alone. Remain an individual in your relationship. Never lose your identity and never lose your love for yourself.

Random blog post, but I feel very passionately about this subject. Too many young girls are getting caught up in boys and worldy things before they know who they are. You are beautiful, worthy, and important. Never forget that.

Happy Friday!

gloriously happy and alone

I am a Friday night watching Netflix. I am a table for one. I am midnight reading sessions. I am early morning writing therapy. I am a thought. I am a moment. I am reflection. I am alone.

I have recently started reading Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can’t Stop Talking and I feel as if I am overwhelmed with revelation. Most people perceive me as a “social butterfly” – always eager to openly express my thoughts and emotions in writing on my blog, but let me reveal to you. I am an introvert by definition and principle. Yes, I can sit down in the solitude of my own thinking and non-bounding expressiveness and share what I feel and think. I am more than comfortable formulating my thoughts and expressing them in written forms. I thrive off of reading and writing and thinking, and I generally prefer to be alone.This is who I am most familiar with as a person. I have always chosen to be social and outgoing. I have chosen to be a leader in various clubs, events, and situations. I am outspoken in discussions but often find myself wishing I were alone and buried into a book or writings. I find myself at social events, enjoying the company of others but soon thinking about how much I would love to be at home with a big, fluffy blanket with a large dose of Netflix (Grey’s Anatomy preferably). I often accounted this to being lazy or antisocial, but now realize it’s not laziness; in fact, my brain is far more active and engaged when I am influenced only by my constantly thinking mind. This isn’t a post about me telling you how I enjoy individual activity compared to group stimulation. This is a post for all of my fellow lone wolves out there.

  • Find who you are and be comfortable with that person. If you are not outgoing or talkative or the most popular person in the room, IT’S OKAY!! This is coming from someone who has always felt the need to talk to others and make others feel “welcome” or “wanted”. This has led to an exhaustive perspective when placing myself in social settings. I am not at all saying ignore others, always be kind when speaking with those around you, but it shouldn’t feel emotionally demanding to feel the need to constantly please others or even feeling like you have to “shatter” the presupposing perspective that others might have of you by being overly talkative or generally gregarious. This is especially hurtful when others don’t extend the same energy towards you, and sometimes you become the one who feels isolated, weird, or unwanted. So just find who you are, if that is sometimes talkative, sometimes quiet, or a combination of both, and be that person. People will ridicule you, probably be curious about your initial desire to remain quiet, but they will learn that you are who you are; and you will learn to love the introverted but happy soul you are.
  • Don’t be fearful of not being an extrovert or of enjoying time alone. If you like to sit in a classroom and read (like I do), then do that! I wake up everything morning at 5:30 (if I’m not too exhausted from the previous night) and read and reflect. This is so nourishing and rejuvenating to me and is often my favorite part of my day. I’ve been called many different things because of oddities like this. I might quite possibly be a “loner”, but I know someone personally who took alone time like this to reflect and gain energy for the day ahead.

Jesus Christ.

He took the time to relish in solitude and embrace the time to grow closer to God. That’s a good enough example for me to accept the weird girl comments. You might do things or feel things and think you are alone, but I promise you are not.

Take time to think. Not enough people do it these days. Think before you speak, think before you act, and do not fear thinking that you are different because you feel alone.

  • I am mostly writing this post to tell you that you aren’t alone. You aren’t alone if you get anxiety when you think about social situations. You aren’t alone if you prefer to walk alone in the hallways or stay in on Friday night. You aren’t alone if you despise small talk. You aren’t alone if you feel socially awkward, isolated, or different. You aren’t alone if you feel like others don’t understand you or comprehend why you choose not to talk. You aren’t alone if you force yourself to speak more to others, speak out in discussions, or stand in the front of the room and address people. As ironic as it sounds, you aren’t alone.
  • Although there are all of these classified “downfalls”, we among the silent are the quiet, the sensitive, the over-thinkers, the creative, the thoughtful, the meek, the useful, and the happy. Satisfied with our own thoughts and personal space; never demanding the attention or approval of others. We are okay. We are more than okay.

If I write this post and ease one person’s mind about the insecurity of the quietness, then I am satisfied with that. I may come across as outgoing and charismatic, I am those things, but I also completely relate and fall definition to the introverted. You can be both. You can be talkative and quiet. You can be outgoing but reserved. Just be you and don’t let others influence the perception of yourself.

You may notice how “vocal” (ironically) I seem on my blog, compared to my periods of quietness in person. This isn’t a false representation of who I am. It isn’t me “shielding” my words/thoughts/actions from the real world through a computer screen. This is me taking the thoughts conceived in my lone atmospheres – whether that be physically lone or mentally lone – and formulating them into a concise and somewhat clear manner. I may stammer over word selection or fail to deliver a perfectly viable thought in person, but seamlessly execute it in writing. This use to be conveyed to me as a personality flaw. Now I view it as a new dimension to a strength of avoiding “thought conformity” – a term I use to describe the way conversation tends to conform to a certain pattern of words in person, but flows with its own identity when harbored in my mind and delivered through conscientious writing.

I encourage all of you to write down your thoughts in a journal, on a blog, through conversation, somehow. And go ahead and read Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Won’t Stop Talking, it’s a life changing book.

I love you guys and hope someone can relate to my raw and exposed insecurities disclosed in this post.

byyyeeeeee!

: )

i feel it in my fingers, i feel it in my toes

grunge roses <3

Something has compelled me to write about love. Hold on, don’t click out of the screen yet. I’m not talking about the “Oh you’re so cute, I love you” kind of love. Or the “thanks for the money!” kind of love.

I am talking about the raw, unexplainable, but totally authentic type of love. The kind that your grandparents show you when they offer you enough food to feed a third world country. The kind you feel towards the victims of those who have experienced a tragic loss. The kind of love that propels us forward everyday. The kind of love that makes people inseparable, created by a bond that can only be felt and described by the ones experiencing it. The kind of love that makes us want to forgive people, just so that area of void within ourselves can be exchanged for peace. The kind of love that makes us express affection towards ourselves, others, and our lives. Love is, in my opinion, the strongest, most abundant, and most violent emotion we can feel.

The word “love” turns off so many. I know people who are overly attracted to the word love, and I know some who are completely repelled by it. I think it is very important to develop a comfortable relationship with this emotion. Whether you are one to hide your emotions or you are (like me in most instances) a very expressive person, loving and being lovable are very important attributes. Love creates happiness. It creates something unique with every person you let it grow between. Love is very powerful.

Being lovable. The first of two perspectives.

Being lovable to me, means letting others explore your mind. Letting them inside of your most reserved and protected thoughts. Let those who surround you and offer you sincerity in their words take an adventure through your mind. What you have in your head is so valuable and so essential; let others hear it. Express to those around you your issues. Allow others to love you wholly and relentlessly. Let others offer help to you when you are at your most vulnerable state. Being loved is one of the greatest feelings in the world. There is nothing like the love of someone who chooses to love you. Someone who, in the chaotic and busiest times of his or her life makes it a priority to pick you is something worth noticing. To exchange precious time in their life for you is remarkable and something we take for granted far too often. Destroying boundaries is so critical to being lovable. Allowing others to tread on your grounds and taking the risk of being hurt is a sacrifice worth making. Open your heart to those around you and become lovable. Life will become a new shade of beautiful when you do this.

Loving. The second perspective.

The moment you see a homeless person ask for money and you feel a sense of compassion. The time that you sat beside your loved ones at the funeral home and listened to the saddening words of a preacher talk about someone who continues to hold a place in your heart. The time you see someone take up for you, make you feel included, or make a point to reach out to you. During all of these times, love was residing in your heart. Loving people is one of the two most important commands of all time. Loving others is so beneficial, so rewarding, that those who don’t do it will never live a life of optimal happiness. Sacrificing oneself for someone else is the most important action of all. Selflessness and love are codependent of each other. Love people. Just do it.

This may have been a sappy post, but I honestly do not care. Too many times people spend their whole lives harboring so much hatred for people who aren’t worth it. It takes the same amount of energy to love someone as it does to hate them. As cliche as it sounds, yes, life is too short to spend your time disliking others. Loving others will sometimes leave you hurt and heartbroken. But sometimes it will leave you with a life surrounded by those who care for you, people who love you, and satisfaction with who you are as a person.

Spend 2015 trying to love and be loved, and I promise it will be a year full of abundant happiness for you : )