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Belong

In my freshmen year in college, I joined this school organization, and it was my “home org” until my last day in college. It was an organization that appreciated films – both local and foreign- and it was the org I thought I’d fit in the most. The people in the organization were nice to me. They welcomed me in, they talked to me when I was just sitting quietly in the org room, and as a result, I made a lot of good friends. I had wonderful and extremely painful memories in that org, and I thought I had fit in. But I realized recently that no matter how much interaction I had with the organization, I didn’t feel like I had ever belonged…

I prioritized my academic requirements over extra-curricular activities, as a result I did very minimal work for my org. At one point, I was already planning to leave the org, and it made me conflicted, because I really wanted to stay. Plus, for someone who was (and is still) really introverted, I really wanted to push myself to make new friends. One org event and one good friend in the org convinced me to stay, and try the org out again for another year. In the end, I never left the org, but due to the amount of academic work, I remained to doing minimal tasks for them.

I eventually became one of the regular members who stayed in the org room, and as a result of that I made a couple of acquaintances and close friends. When they noticed I was becoming more involved, they offered me project head positions, but I turned them down in fear that I wouldn’t make a good leader. They tried inviting me to dinners and outings, but I said “no”, because I had to do homework and I had no ride home. I felt sad for turning them down, because I really wanted to become close with them, and it frustrated me how I was holding myself back from interacting.

Despite all that though, I continued hanging out in the org room, trying to interact with them, and enjoy the company of my org-mates. (Aside from my blockmates) When I was in that film org, it felt like I belonged somewhere in school, it kind of felt like home.

A few weeks back, they orginized a senior’s send-off, and I attended. They prepared a short video for all the seniors, and as I was watching it, I noticed that I wasn’t in any of the pictures with the org. It was a very trivial thing, and I was already expecting to not see my face at all, because I wasn’t very involved (moreover, I was usually the person behind the camera).

But seeing that video presentation made me realize something. Although I was a member of the org, I didn’t feel like I belonged in the org. At that moment – after the video presentation – I felt extremely out of place. I thought I knew the org, and I thought they knew me, but I realized that I don’t really know them at all. The main members of the org felt like a whole world away, and I felt totally isolated from them.

I almost cried during the party, after realizing that, and a couple of my friends were wondering if I was okay. In the end, I told them I’d be fine. I didn’t want to tell them that I’ve always felt out of place; it would have looked like an insult to them. I’d partly blame myself for feeling this way. I love that org and all the people in it, and I will always be grateful that they welcomed me in. If I had the chance to do it all over again, I would be more active and involved. I would accept the project positions, and I would go out to dinners with them.

I’ve always had a hard time trying to fit in… anywhere, because I’ve always felt like I was weird. I enjoyed solitude so much, I felt like it messed up my social skills. It’s probably one of my main insecurities right now. To be honest I’ve never really explicitly told this to anyone, because I never saw the point in telling.

But I felt like I had to  express it in some way.

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What does anxiety feel like? It feels like shit.

Anxiety is seeing that guy who left you. Anxiety is worrying over whether you’re doing good enough. Anxiety is feeling left out in your usual social circles. Anxiety is the pressure not to screw up. You tell yourself you’ll be alright, that it’s not the end of the world, that you’re feeling better. But the moment you try to stand up and move your feet… you can’t.

You look down at your hands, and you notice they’re shaking uncontrollably. The room starts to feel unusually cold, and suddenly, your entire body starts shivering. Something heavy drops inside your chest, it falls further down to your stomach, and you don’t know what exactly it is. You’re trying your best to stay standing, because your legs feel like they’re about to turn into water the moment you make a single move. A rush of heat starts flowing up to your head, and your eyes suddenly feel like they’re burning. You feel like crying, but tears refuse to pool and stream down your face. Your throat starts growing tight, and your heart starts beating fast… so fast it feels like it’s about to burst out of your mouth. Then you start taking small, choking breaths, because you feel like there is a lack of air. The next thing you know, you’re hyperventilating. It doesn’t just last for three minutes, it lasts for almost ten, and you don’t know when it’s going to stop.

You try your hardest to stay strong, but there are moments when you want to give in. After a while, your body begins to grow weak, and your eyelids start to feel heavy. Suddenly, the thought of collapsing on the ground doesn’t sound so bad at all. You start growing tired of everything – tired of thinking, tired of standing, tired of arguing, tired of living… tired of fighting. You just want to fall on all fours, let the negative thoughts consume you, until it becomes so unbearable, you begin to cry. You want the tears to fall, and you don’t want them to stop. You let yourself scream, sob, and hiccup. You allow yourself to cry now, in the hopes that you’ll feel better afterwards. But you don’t feel better, you feel nothing but exhaustion and a terrible headache from the lack of oxygen in your brain. And all you want to do is collapse on your bed, fall asleep, and wake up in the hopes that all your problems have disappeared.

Yes, breaking down does sound like a wonderful idea, but a voice in the back of your head refuses to let you lose. It won’t let you cry, it won’t let you fall down without a fight. That small voice is a like a cheerleader wanting to be heard. It reminds you to calm down, sit down, stop shaking, and breathe. It’s that small voice that’ll tell you to stay strong through the attack, and tell you to show others that you are more than just your anxiety. Once it’s all over, you’ll still feel that terrible exhaustion, but that small voice at the back of your mind will remind you, “You may be tired, but you survived. Now go grab some food, you deserve it.”

Anxiety isn’t just a one-time episode, it can happen as many times as you allow it to. Sometimes, it happens subconsciously when you’re exposed to an event that triggers it. I’ve had my fair share of anxiety for the past 2 years, and sometimes they get worse. The funny thing is that the more you become aware of your anxiety, the more frequent it occurs, and that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Because the more aware you become of your anxiety, the better you’ll understand yourself – who you are, and what you really want in life. And eventually it will help you control your anxiety more easily by avoiding events that trigger it.

Yes, anxiety is a bitch. It is one of the worst feelings imaginable. You’ll want to cry, you’ll want to break down, but in the end, try and push through, because once the attack subsides, you can say to yourself with much pride: “I have anxiety, and I’m still alive. I’ll go through more of these anxiety attacks again, but I know I’ll be okay.”

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Thought Catalog

thompsonlxs_thompsonlxs_

First you’re going to let yourself miss them.

You aren’t going to call them. You aren’t going to beg them. You aren’t going to plead or bargain or negotiate your way into getting back together. You aren’t going to miss them publically or loudly or desperately but you are going to feel it straight through to the core.

You aren’t going to lie to yourself about feeling amazing and fine. You’re going to feel shitty. You’re going to feel lonely. You’re going to curl up in bed with a warm mug of tea and a huge, hollowed-out heart and you’re going to cry for as many nights in a row as it takes. You’re going to keep yourself together on the outside but make no lies to yourself on the inside. You are hurting. You are reeling. You are going through a thing and that’s okay. You aren’t going…

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Thought Catalog

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He always has that smitten look on his face whenever he’s photographed with her, that one girl he calls ex-girlfriend. With me, it was more of a socially friendly smile even though we were dating at the time. He dated me and claimed he liked me, but he was never in love with me like I hoped he would eventually be. It was my choice and I got what I asked for. I had him, his time, his body. I became the girl who was in love with a guy who didn’t see me the same way, the girl who was too smart to lie to herself but did it anyway, and the girl who never quite knows how to let go.

Evidently, three months after the break up, I found myself crying at the glimpse of that smitten look on his face, once again, because of that same girl. I…

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Thought Catalog

Flickr mariahfleming Flickr mariahfleming

1. Loneliness is OK.

You will feel lonely from time to time. Maybe all of the time. Even in rooms full of people, you will feel alone. This does not mean that you are broken, or unlovable, or worthless. It simply means that you are utterly and beautifully human. Don’t try so hard to fill this space. Sit with it, feel it, write about it, make art with it. Your sadness will prove useful someday. Hold it close and embrace it.

2. The only constant is change.

Enjoy the late nights in beanbag-furnished living rooms, the aimless drives at 2AM to see the snow, afternoons sprawled out on the lawn doing nothing but staring at stray wisps of cloud. You will never again have all of your friends living in the same place. You will never again roam the halls of your college, books spilling from your arms…

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Thought Catalog

stefiaktistefiakti

“10 Things People Who Don’t Really Have Any Exes Understand”

I’ve been sitting on this headline for three weeks now. It’s relatable. It hasn’t really been done before. It has the potential to be really funny.

But it’s a lie.

It’s my way of reaching out to the “Eternally Single” audience without actually admitting how eternally single I am. Later, I can write fun pieces about casual relationships or dating, and no one will think anything of it.

But the thing is, it’s not that I don’t really have any exes; I just don’t have any. There aren’t any shades of grey to the matter. I’ve never been on a date, and the number of people I’ve flirted with is very safely in the low single digits.

I haven’t gone on a date with anyone partially because no one’s ever asked, and partially because the idea of dating…

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