A Summer of Self Examination

I guess I have a lot of things to say, and I am kind of writing this in faith that no one is keeping up with these things during the summer...especially of those people that I'm with in Alma right now. I'm sure this whole post is going to end up being really random, but there is just so much that I've gone by without saying. I have been working a lot lately, and since I waitress evenings I don't really get to spend a lot of time with friends and such. It's kind of sad, but I think quite a blessing in disguise. I have decided to really do some self examination this summer. It's something that has been building up in me for a year now. Being in college, I am trying to figure out who I am, who I am becoming, and who I want to be. It is during these years in our life that we have to find our place in the world and our place in God's will. It's something that I wish was simple, but the blatant truth is that it is one of the most difficult discoveries we have to make in our lives. One that some people spend their entire lives finding. I don't want to spend my entire life finding it. Four years I can deal with...eighty, I'm not so sure. I want to live a full life. I don't want to waste my years on this Earth wandering around aimlessly. I want to make them count. I want to experience the good things in life...faith, hope, love.

So last night I was actually hanging out with some friends for once, and CJ and Kendall called me into the bedroom to tell me that I should ask Brandon out. Apparently they decided they were going to try to hook us up. I laughed quite a bit at their suggestion partly because of situational issues, and partly because I had just been thinking about how lucky I would be to date a guy like him. As I sat in that bedroom drinking my french vanilla cappuccino that Brandon had just finished making me and talking to Kendall I realized how great of a guy Brandon really is. We've never really talked very much. I've always talked more to CJ and Kendall...but he really is a lot like the guy that I want to end up with some day. It was nice to see, because even though Brandon and I are never going to date, it's so great to see that there are actually guys out there like the person I want to be with.

A week or so ago the power went out and I ended up writing as some kind of catharsis. Anyway, here is what I ended up writing...

I kind of feel like some kind of brilliant author back in the 1600's that's just gotten an inspiration in the middle of the night and just had to write it down. It's not exactly the middle of the night. It is actually only about 10 o'clock. I, however, sit in complete darkness. At about one today a huge storm hit Alma and knocked out all of our power. I hear it might be out for several days! While today has turned into one of the most boring days of my life, I guess it has actually turned into something good. I am all alone. My entire family is out of town along with many of my friends. The others seem to be so conveniently busy. Anyhow, I have spent the last 9 hours by myself with nothing to do. The lack of TV, internet, and companionship, along with the dead iPod now currently sitting beside me, have led me here - sitting on my fireplace writing by candlelight. The lack of distractions has given me time to think about myself, to really evaluate what is underneath it all. I try to do this periodically and I could fill tons of books with the songs, poems, and letters I've written in reflection, but most of the time when I look back at these things they seem kind of shallow. Don't get me wrong; All of those writings are heartfelt and have real, true meaning behind them, but they just don't seem to really dig deep enough. I don't thnk it was because I was trying to ignore what's under the surface or trying to hide it. It is nothing like that. I just simply think that these were things I never really saw before, things I never actually knew were there. I've just finished my freshman year of college, and am now home for the summer. It's no secret that I've kind of lost myself since high school. A year ago I was very secure in who I was. I was a college-bound, music-loving, Baptist, singing, dancing, acting, 18-year-old girl. Then, for the next 9 months I attended a Church of Christ school where I couldn't dance, couldn't sing a special at church, wasn't in band or choir, wasn't joyful, and wasn't excited about life. It is like Harding was a dementor that drained out my soul. Everything that I once was was now being questioned. Now I'm not saying that Harding is evil, or that I didn't have many perfectly enjoyable college days, or even that I'm struggling with my faith, because none of those things are true. They say the smarter you get, the dumber you realize you really are. I think that is exactly what happened to me. I came to college searching for myself and as a result I discovered how little of my self I actually knew, and that made me uncomfortable. All year I was filled with this feeling that I was never able to define until today. It finally hit me that what I've been experiencing for the last 9 months was discontentment. The ideas that I didn't know who I was going to be in college and that I didn't have a 4-year plan and that I was completely ignorant of God's will for my life scared the heck out of me. I found it almost unacceptable. I constantly beat myself up about having no identity and no direction, and I ended up tearing down things I had worked for years to build. I left myself weak and hopeless. Those foundations, weak as the were, of strength, courage, hope, patience, and love were now all rubble beneath my feet. I clung onto one thing and one thing only, and that was my relationship with CJ. Somehow, through every mess, through every storm, CJ and I managed to hold onto the one lasting thing we brought with us to college. CJ was the one thing that got me through the last 9 months of my life. The encouragement and support from my family and other friends was certainly influential and something that I am forever grateful for, but something about CJ was different...is different. CJ and I have this connection that I've never experienced with anyone else. He can irritate me more than anyone I've ever known, even my sister, which some know is quite a feat, but at the same time he understands me in a way that nobody ever has. I think that is why it's so easy for him to push my buttons. Our relationship is not perfect by any means. We get angry, annoyed, and fed up. We piss the hell out of each other, but at the same time we always know that we are there for one another. He is the best earthly thing that has ever happened to me, and because of that I am afraid everyday of losing him. I would fall apart if I lost him right now. Maybe that's not how it should be, but it's the truth. I'm writing honestly, no idealistically. Bro. Bob said in church today that we should strive to be as passionate about God as we are about fill-in-the-blank with whatever earthly thing we hold onto. For me that is CJ. E can't be afraid to follow God's plan because it might result in losing him. I can't give up opportunity because I'm afraid of ending up a lonely old maid who still has no purpose for my life. If I were to do that I would be giving up finding purpose for the fear of not finding it, which sound just about ridiculous, doesn't it? I am beginning to embrace the fact that losing myself has given me the greatest opportunity to find the real me, undefined by the views of my parents or my church. I know the power of a relationship with God, and I don't need my parents or my church to tell me about it, because I know it from experience. I am strong, independent, and secure, or at least I will be one day. As I continue on in this quest to find myself through Christ it seems to be such a tedious task, but I hold faith that it will be well worth it in the near future. I am very much a product of my own generation. I thrive on being busy. I enjoy planning every minute of my day. Doing so makes me feel more productive. I've realized, however, that sometimes it is actually more efficient to take a break, reflect, and wait for the blessings to come. I am praying for 2 things. First is patience - patience while I wait for God to reveal his plan for me and patience with those that are around me. Secondly, I am praying for contentment, that I will be content with this "unsure" phase of my life and contentment with myself - physically, emotionally, mentally, and spiritually. I have made a goal to by the end of summer understand myself better than I did before. I do not have to find myself this summer, just perhaps bits and pieces of that self that will begin to prepare me for a year of growth as I enter my second year of college.