Monday, May 20, 2019

Changing Change

I am definitely not the same person I was one summer ago. I hated all manner of performance, I had almost no close friends, I was relentlessly taken advantage of and gaslighted, and I had no purpose in life.
And you know what? I won't be the same person next summer either. But that's okay. Normal. Even encouraged.
Change is a natural and innate human fear. I know what it feels like. Schools change, friends change. Looks, boy, do they change.

Even dreams change.
I've always wanted to write, ever since I was a child. With CP (read: terrible fine motor skills) I could barely hold a pencil, but I so badly wanted to write I practically taught myself.
Now, I still want to write, but not what I wanted to write in middle school. Back then I was dead set on YA fiction, fantasy, and anything with a dragon in it. Now? Well, those are still fun, but I also now have different influences. I went from Carolyn Keene to C.S Lewis. Magic Tree House to Hitchhiker's Guide. J.K Rowling and Rick Riordian to...
Okay, those are exceptions.
Now, I want to branch out to biographies and journalism, apologetics and parables. Maybe even historical fiction. I respect different authors and have broader taste.
I wouldn't have even considered any of the above even a year ago. I also would not have considered being a professor, starting a blog, or going into religion or divinity studies. My freshman self would think I'd had a lobotomy.
And yet, here we are.
Soldiers, dreams change. You're allowed to have dreams. Being different doesn't disqualify you from essential parts of the human experience.
And you're allowed to change. All people do. It's not a loss of passion or sudden rut if what you once loved has made way for other opportunities.
Nope. That's life.
That's growing up. That's finding yourself.
No one should be disqualified from that. No one should be afraid of that. It should be celebrated.

Wednesday, May 8, 2019

Up For Air

If you've ever managed to get to the bottom of a pool, you know you can't stay down there forever. At some point, you have to come up for air.
I think my mind is like my pool some days. I dive down looking for some answer. Usually it's "Why am I so anxious?" or "Why can't I be normal?" or "Why am I so different?"
The thing is, not only are those questions subjective, sometimes with changing answers, but they're not productive. The deeper you dive, the longer it takes to come back up. And I wonder why I sometimes get overwhelmed by pressure until my ears pop.
I know you'd expect for me to say that faith can pull you up, right? I'm a Christian. The answer is always God, Jesus, Bible, or Church, maybe some combination, or all of the above.
Look, I believe those have a divine and repairing quality, but hear me when I say don't underestimate the importance of an earthly, human support system. Not a therapy group in this case, but a group of encouraging friends. I know Christ is a person of peace, the Prince of Peace, but I also know that God said, "It is not good for man to be alone."
Okay, and that woman led Adam away from literal Paradise. Bad example.
"Iron sharpens iron" might be better. Even better, it's completely true.
Find a support system to count on. You need laughter, advice, encouragement, and togetherness. That goes double for believers, triple for Soldiers. You need people going on the same journey and path as you. Suddenly you realize when you have a struggle, you're far from the only one being tempted. You can find those people anywhere — school, work, sports, church, the local Kroger. Just keep an open mind. Not all of your friends will be your twin.
The important thing is to enjoy the company, to build each other up. No one can pretend they're not drowning.
Reach out a hand. Get some air. Be honest with your friends about what you're facing.
Don't walk — or swim — alone.