This week hasn’t been quite as smooth sailing as the first two weeks here in Vermont. Stress has increased with expectations. People have been pushing each other in ways that, initially felt encouraging and uplifting, but are starting to feel weary and controlling. People are starting to get to know each other well enough to dislike certain things about each other – myself included. None of us are perfect. And this is all to be expected when you put 150 people between the ages of 15-25 together in one dorm building, using one cafeteria, and striving for similar goals and purposes. Tensions can start to build.
Not to mention that nothing is new anymore, so people are getting more comfortable doing “their own thing” as opposed to always taking others into consideration. Which is why I took a few hours this afternoon to seek solitude.
For me personally, as stress rises my patience dwindles – and the past 2 or so days I have felt snappier and snappier. Jokes I may have laughed at previously suddenly seem immature and annoying…those little habits we all have are suddenly blatantly noticeable and unbearable. I feel comfortable sharing these thoughts/feelings because I know that, not only do I feel this way about others sometimes, but people also feel this way about me – undoubtedly! It’s part of being human and living with people.
This afternoon when I had exhausted my attention span for practicing, I made my way into downtown Burlington where I wandered around the mall for a bit doing some window shopping and people watching. After that had lost it’s appeal I visited a few different coffee shops – all of which were overly crowded and eventually ended up in a little corner nook at Panera with an iced coffee and an amazingly good book!
It was refreshing to be out in “the real world” away from the sluggish saturday camp life and to have some time alone. I journaled for a bit, read for a bit, sipped on my coffee, and had some time to reflect.
What a blessing these past few weeks have been. I am so grateful for this opportunity – despite challenges and annoyances along the way. I have learned so much about myself and have had the chance to face a few challenges before I take them head on again in the fall – hopefully more confidently, having already approached them a bit here.
People have challenged me here in ways that I never imagined. People have challenged my faith in Christ – asked questions and tried to argue me out of my way of thinking. It was humbling to be reminded of how I don’t have all the answers. I know what I believe and no one can EVER talk me out of that or talk me down from that, but I still have so much more to learn and so many answers to seek out. People have challenged me with food and food – talk. I have never had to deal with girls talking of disliking their bodies or how much the wished they looked different as much as I’ve heard it here (aside from treatment, obviously) – its been unsettling solely because I wish they didn’t think these things or want to strive to change themselves. I know firsthand the damage that those types of beliefs about oneself can really leave on your life and your soul and how much they can impact the way you live. I have, obviously, been very challenged musically – my teacher has set high expectations and I’ve had no choice other than to rise to the occasion, which is EXACTLY as it should be and the best environment in which to grow! My peers have also challenged me musically and there have been times when we have had to decide to “agree to disagree” and that in itself has been a learning experience.
I have been reminded time and time again that this life is a gift – a beautiful, stressful, overwhelming gift each and every day. No 2 days have been alike. The days here seem to drag but the weeks have absolutely flown by and I will definitely have so many fond memories here. I can’t believe that in 6 days I will be heading home.
I’m going to be honest with you – if you’ve read previous posts you probably have a pretty good idea of my story and my journey – it’s a little disappointing to know that I’m going home to things exactly how I left them – doctors appointments and meetings and….the most dreaded part of it all: the scale. After everything here – all the successes and all the learning and growing – I still have to face what my “reality” is at home and it’s disappointing to me that after such a fabulous time here I have to face those things again. It’s as if I’ve had a taste (no pun intended) of what my life can be like, but I can’t quite live that reality yet – I’m so close, but not quite there. I do hope that this past month will give my family and my treatment team more confidence in my capabilities going forward.
The battle is not won yet – but I’m a heck of a lot closer than ever before! Here’s a song that inspires me and encourages me every single time I listen to it – I highly recommend it – it’s pretty applicable for almost any situation!
“Accept who you are; and revel in it.”
― Mitch Albom
By Rachel Platten
Like a small boat
On the ocean
Sending big waves
Like how a single word
Can make a heart open
I might only have one match
But I can make an explosion
And all those things I didn’t say
Wrecking balls inside my brain
I will scream them loud tonight
Can you hear my voice this time?
This is my fight song
Take back my life song
Prove I’m alright song
My power’s turned on
Starting right now I’ll be strong
I’ll play my fight song
And I don’t really care if nobody else believes
‘Cause I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me
Losing friends and I’m chasing sleep
Everybody’s worried about me
In too deep
Say I’m in too deep (in too deep)
And it’s been two years
I miss my home
But there’s a fire burning in my bones
Yeah, I still believe
I’ve still got a lot of fight left in me