Trusting The Process

Sometimes, I wonder what my life would’ve been like if I hadn’t gone to community college, if I stuck it out all 4 years at the same 4 year institution… I think about things like that a lot and quite frankly my life would be so much more different than it is right now.

Things happen for a reason and, quite frankly, we just don’t know why. We know it’s a series of things that lead up to it, but even that, we don’t even know why it happened. But in a way, I’m thankful and happy for where life has lead me.

In fact, there’s a quote that says:

“Life has a funny way of working out, just when you start to believe it never will”

In the beginning of my college journey, I remember transitioning from the out-of-state school and thinking “well shit, what now?”

But I started to see that life is crazy. It comes complete with its twists and turns. Essentially, what I learned was this: things are bound to get shitty before they get better.

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and that’s totally okay! That’s when you know you’re growing. A lot of times growth happens in your shittiest situations, those situations are a test to see if you’re willing to continue pressing forward. Your situation might not get better overnight, but over time you’ll see that it’ll help you see things in a different light.

I remember reuniting with my friends from Canada, this past Labor Day weekend, and just telling them a little bit about my college journey and one of them left me with a really simple phrase, it being: “life happened”

Yeah, life happened when I left my 4 year institution, maybe it was through fault of not knowing how to adapt to the dorm life or whatever the case was. Granted, I learned from then on, that at that point, I wasn’t ready to leave home.

Life happened, but I managed to get back up and learn from those mistakes. I realized that even though I’m a year behind in school, it allows me to have a little more insight on dorming and moving in that I could give to people transferring out and moving far from home.

I’ve been able to flip a negative to a positive.

As many of you have read in my previous post about my convoluted journey, my journey has been taken in stride. I’ve learned the value of an education, especially mine, that it’s a value worth struggling for. Unfortunately, I learned that the hard way, it took me going out of state to a school to coming to a community college to finally getting re-integrated into another 4-year university, to realize that I needed to put success at the forefront of my mindset. Wherever that may be.

I’m thankful that this whole thing happened because had it not happened, I wouldn’t have met the amazing people that I have had the pleasure of crossing paths with.

and for a while I thought that if I hadn’t gone to a 4- year university, that I would be missing out on a ton of worthwhile experiences, like studying abroad in a foreign country. But GUESS WHAT?!?!

I did that, I experienced that with an amazing group of people who came from different parts of the world to congregate in a town down under! HOW COOL IS THAT?!

The bottom line is, I thought I was going to miss out on a lot of things because I had gone off-course, with being a year behind and all, but I didn’t. I’m just moving through life at the pace that God and the Universe have set for me.

I can’t speed up this pace, because a) what’s the fun in doing that? and b) I prefer to enjoy life, just as it is.

Things happen for a reason, but that doesn’t mean we should get discouraged and give up when things get hard. We pick up from where we left off and press on. So just because life isn’t going the way you want it to, right now, doesn’t mean that it’ll always stay that way. Things change, people change and time doesn’t stop. Each person is on a path that is so different and at their own pace.

The twenties are a weird age, like there are people who are already married-with children, working, or just going to school and lemme tell ya… THAT’S ALRIGHT. Like I said before, people are going at their own pace in life. With that being said, here’s my advice to you!

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So relax, take a sip of positiviTEA and rest on the hope that things will get better.

Sending loads of love and light your way,

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A Letter to My Younger Self

Lately, I’ve been in a reflecting mood. I’ve been meaning to write this post for a while, but never really had the right words for it or the content that I needed to create this nice and down-to-earth post that I wanted to make for my readers (i.e you guys!).

I remember a lot of things from my adolescence, like where I went to high school and basically the gist of what I had experienced, but I couldn’t really tell you what happened during what time in my high school career. Thankfully, I dug up some photos from facebook and my old journals because writing has been a constant outlet for me since I could even remember.

Being older now, I see more things in a positive and realistic light. I am more motivated than I have ever been in my life. I am just starting out in my adulthood, I am paving the way for myself goal-wise and I have surrounded myself with the right people to make my goals happen, as well as push other people in the direction of their goals. I look at things now and how they will affect me mentally, physically, and emotionally in the long run. I’m so much more independent and happier.

However, when I was 15-16-17, I saw things differently. Now what you will see in this post is me talking to my younger self. Using the journals, that I have read through (somewhat), and looking at it now, as an older, wiser Karen, I’ll respond to the themes that I have seen play out through my adolescence. The whole purpose of this post is to shed light on somethings that I was going through and what I would say now, in response to the situations I was in.

so sit back, relax, and let’s get this show on the road…

Dearest Karen,

I read your journal and I had an idea of what you were going through, but thank you for going into detail about your everyday life and what your emotional states are, they definitely help me understand you as a person. But, I’m gonna be honest with you girl, I was blown away at what you wrote. At times, I noticed that you were doing things then, that should have been left alone. It was hard to read about your experiences at times because, while they were simple and small, I see that they were very significant and made you feel like complete and utter shit. But, I see you, I understand you, and I’m writing this because you’d probably be in awe of the person typing up this letter.

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Karen, you are amazing person, with this huge heart, beautiful smile and long hair. You deserve everything that is great in this world, and never settle for low-lives who make your world a living hell. I love you and these are things I wished you knew, growing up.

Surround yourself with people who see great potential in you.

Girls and guys alike. You are a fucking gem, who would go the distance for anyone and everyone, you open up your heart so easily to people, (quite frankly, I still even do it to this day!) because you want to be as honest, genuine and authentic as possible. KEEP DOING SO AND DON’T BE AFRAID. You are destined for greatness, but only if you surround yourself with the right people and the people who are going places, like college and beyond.

You are destined for greatness, so climb for your goals

In order to accomplish your goals, you have to work for them. Karen, you are capable of making your dreams happen. Don’t ever let anyone tell you or dictate to you that your goals are out of your reach, because anyone who says that, can leave. Be in the pursuit of what sets your heart on fire and your mind ablaze with vital life skills. You are in control. If you want to go after getting straight A’s, GO FOR IT, KID! The only person stopping you, is you.

You are Colombian, dammit, use that to your potential!

You have a good head on your shoulders, kid. Don’t waste your energy focusing on pointless things, like boys. You are strong, you are independent and you do whatever makes you happy.

Don’t go where everyone else has been, go down the road less traveled

You strive for originality, girl. I see it in your writing and it’s amazing to see. Follow through with it. You’re just as capable of paving new ways for yourself and if you have to go alone, THEN SO BE IT.  Learn to be okay in standing alone in your goals, you know that there is always a person beside you, in front of you and above you. Rest on your faith and on your morals and you’ll be okay.

You are so, so, so Loved

Karen, do you see the people in your life? THEY ARE IN YOUR LIFE FOR A REASON. They are your family, friends, mentors, instructors, they care about you. They see something in you, you’ll see that your friendship and loyalty to people are what matter in this world. You go the distance for the people who mean the most to you and that is a beautiful quality, Karen. Don’t waste your energy on petty bullshit, because in the end, no one really wins an argument, you’re just stuck in a hole with the person you were at odds with. You know who you are, so hold your head high, because you’re a boss.

Boyfriends and Friends, alike, will come and go

If it’s something I’ve noticed in your writings, amiga, it’s that you drive yourself mad overthinking about people who could care less about you. I get it, but you have to realize that as much as you’re growing, maybe you’re growing in a different direction than your friends AND THAT’S TOTALLY OKAY. GROW AWAY, learn all there is to learn about the things that you are interested in. You are what you attract. So continue to have good vibes, learn as much as you can from people. The people who really do care, will come into your life and the ones that don’t are better off not even staying in your life.

At the end of the day it boils down to you and how you feel about something. The only people here to stay is your family. Family is an integral part of who you are and be thankful that you have a family that cares and is willing to go the extra mile for you. Your parents are your biggest cheerleaders and will always be there giving you much needed advice.  Be patient and learn from your parents, they’re almost always right.

Learn that it is better to let go of someone and the situation, than actually staying in it. I noticed that you stay in situations that aren’t ideal and they declined your mental health.

Love yourself enough to walk away. The right people will come in due time.

Life is a long journey and there should be no rush, control what you can, and let go of what you can’t.

With much love, light and better days ahead,

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Reflections On My College Journey

Hey y’all! Welcome back to ADM, I’m really glad I’ve finally gotten some time to sit down and just free flow with you guys. So quick question! Does anyone have those days where it starts off shitty, but then becomes a great day? For me, this past week has been like this. It’s been crazy, busy and all around draining. Today was one of those days where it started out pretty bad, but ended up getting better, despite my being tired haha.

The reason why I ask this question is because I think that this idea can relate to just about anything in life. I mean think about it, we are constantly thinking about what the future holds, but yet we are so fearful to know what lies ahead.

I know that for me, that has been what my life has been like since my depression hit. So, a little storytime!

When I was in my second semester of my senior year-right around this time, actually- I was stressin’ out, hard. I wanted to finish out strong, get straight A’s and enjoy all the end of the year senior festivities.

But I couldn’t.

I had spiraled down a path of negative thinking, stress, and anxiety.  What was the matter with me? I knew exactly where I was going to college in the fall, I secured a roommate for my first year at college, I already knew who I was going to prom with, what my dress would look like, like all of these things I had some sort of knowledge about… But there came a point where I didn’t want to even think about all of that. I wanted to curl up in a ball and just sleep. I became very withdrawn from everyone and thought that I could handle my depression on my own, after all, wasn’t that part of growing up?

Sleepless nights, Little to no appetite, crippling anxiety,  I tried to keep all of it under wraps.

I got help when I needed it (i.e whenever a teacher saw me crying or stressing out over a test and then being recommended to go see the counselor in guidance).

I put on a front, that masked over the massive amounts of anxiety I was feeling, among other things.

I mean I could go on and on about my depression, but the one thing I wanted to point out was that the one thing that was scaring me was the inevitability of the future. How fear completely overshadowed any hope I had in my goals and dreams. This would soon come back to haunt me when I transferred out of this out-of-state college and into a local college: Community College.

To clarify, it wasn’t just about the future that I was afraid of… It was the whole idea behind going from one place where you know where everything is, who your friends are, etc.; to a place where you don’t know where everything is or who your friends are and having to re-learn that, was, in essence, traumatic for me.

Normally, I’m pretty easy going and I accept change as is. But as I said before, my depression changed that for me. It took me a while to be okay with not knowing what the next year would hold.

So when I got to college for the first time, I was pretty excited, I had just came back fresh on my antidepressants and a new outlook on my life. I moved in, everything was seamless, I met my roommate and my mom and I promised each other that day that neither of us would cry after moving me into campus.

I went home every other week to do some laundry and to catch up with my family. I remember having to make the hour drive back to campus on Sunday nights, to make it back in time for mass.

But somewhere along the way, I got homesick. At the time, I didn’t really like how the campus barely had anything to do on the weekends in the spring semester. It was all getting too commonplace for me.

There came a point where I had to make a decision on whether or not I wanted to continue going to school. Going to school out-of-state wasn’t something for me. Looking back on this, I realize that I wasn’t really ready to live on my own. I didn’t know what it was like to work a job, to get a set schedule in place, etc.

I mean, I basically didn’t know any valuable life skills needed to flourish at a school out-of-state. And I found this out the hard way.

My dad had brought up the idea of me going to the local community college and said that I would work AND go to school at the same time. This was something that I never had to worry about because my family impressed upon me the value of an education, “school comes first,” they would say. I was looking forward to starting work that summer in 2016. On top of that, I took 2 summer courses at the college just to get a fresh start: history of photography and an online math course called number systems.

When my history of photography course started, I remember aiming for a high grade in the course. As the summer semester went on, I became more interested in my studies and realized that I didn’t want to work at my part-time job forever. It wasn’t until a relative told me that, “when you work a job, you start to see the value of an education,” and that rang true for me.

The week before fall semester started up, I quit my job. The schedule wasn’t what I requested and I was just disillusioned with the place as a whole. But luckily this meant that I could focus more on my studies and achieve my academic goals here at the college.

There came a point where I got depressed… again. I tried to avoid it, but it came back. I was getting flustered because everything that I was seeing in my reality was completely distorted. The sleepless nights started up, the skipping meals, the stress. My family helped me get back on the horse, so to speak, and got me to naturally let go of my depression. I went to the gym, scheduled, made to-do lists, went to the library, I did basically anything and everything that could take my mind off my anxious mind.

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I ended up passing the semester with 2 b’s and an A. Because of my hard work, I was able to get inducted into the honor society for business and related majors, which was an amazing first step in my success. I went on to get dean’s list the following semester and recently got inducted into a prestigious honor society for 2 year colleges, which was a goal of mine to finally accomplish.

I’ve made a ton of new friends and lost some along the way. But the important thing was: I now had opportunities. I had the opportunity to immerse myself in college life, to enjoy my life, WHEREVER I AM. That’s what life is about anyway, right? To do things that make you happy and give you a sense of what you are capable of.

I found myself, at community college. I was able to take a breath of fresh air and get to know people from ALL walks of life. I was able to understand where each person was coming from and in the process, I learned a lot about myself. I gained this sense of confidence that just came as I was seeing what I was capable of and how I can use my gifts, as a writer, communicator, to push me further in my academic and professional life.

So remember that question I asked before? Have you ever had one of those days that start off shitty and get better as the day goes on?

Well, going back to that question: In life, we often have shitty starts. Shitty starts in our careers, shitty starts in our goals, etc. But we have to make the decision to continue, because it does get better. I had an unfortunate situation in the beginning when I started my college journey, but did I give up? I wanted to, but I didn’t. I didn’t give up when the going got tough, I stuck to my guns and did what I could to succeed. It wasn’t easy, but it was well worth it.

We aren’t perfect beings.

We need to be okay with taking a hit in life and making something good come out of it.

I honestly give so much gratitude to the people in my life who saw me, for me, even in times when I didn’t see that in myself.My family has been amazing and super supportive in my life, especially during these past couple of years.  It’s been the friends and even mentors that I’ve gained at Community College that gave me that motivation to aim higher in my life.

With only a couple of weeks until I graduate from college with my associates, I’m so thankful for the experiences and opportunities that have been given to me at this school. I’m ready.

Sending love and light your way,

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Staying Mindful

First off, I just want to say thank you so much to everyone for your kind words, advice, and overall encouragement for my last post. It really means a lot!

I’ve been so busy with school, applying to colleges, volunteering and yet somehow managing to have an active social life.

But in the midst of all of this, it’s so easy to feel like “ugh what’s the use”, “why do I keep trying?”.  I noticed that I was doing this a ton, in response to all the things I had to do or was straight up overwhelmed with. Last Friday, I felt like I just didn’t care at all, like my entire mood for the day was; I don’t feel like doing anything, I have nothing to do, I’m bored, and all I wanna do today is sleep. It was a feeling all too familiar to me. I was in a funk, under the cloud of my depression. So that day, I went out, got a pint of Ben & Jerry’s  and a little snack for movie night. That night, I ended up going out to see the new Black Panther movie with my little brother and best friend.

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Jamie and I out at the movies. (not pictured: my little brother, who refuses to have pictures taken)

It wasn’t bad at all, I had an amazing time laughing, enjoying the movie with my brother and Jamie. These were definitely things I needed to lift me out of the funk that I was in.

It wasn’t until later that night when I  was sitting on the kitchen table flipping through the latest issue of In Style Magazine, that I came across an article about film maker, producer, director, Ava DuVernay. In it, she talks about the amazing power of optimism. DuVernay grew up in the wrong side of town, but her parents? Two of the most happiest people on the planet! They helped shift her worldview to a more positive one.

Granted, it wasn’t like she was living her life through a rose colored lens, but rather she’s acknowledging the sole fact that there is a lot of bad things that go on in this world, she doesn’t allow that to be her primary mindset or allow it to make her think of the world differently.

After reading that, it really made me think… Do you ever just stop and think about how you are perceiving things?

I mean seriously, we live in a world that seems to make light of how unbelievably fucked our mindsets are.

Am I wrong?

As we’re increasingly plugging more and more into apps, electronics, our phones, we don’t realize the shift in our mindsets. It’s a gradual shift. Not to mention, the experiences that we have had in our lives, has contributed, in great part, and has led us to have either a negative or positive outlook on life.

But it’s also very important to note: We aren’t the things that we have done or haven’t done. More specifically, we are not our past.

Our past doesn’t and should never define us.

So in life when we are given experiences, people, places, and lessons, depending on the severity of how bad or how good the situations are, we plug into that mindset. Our mindsets shift almost everyday.

What comes with every experience is a different attitude of how we would perceive the next experience if something, similar or identical, were to happen again.

Did I lose you? haha.

I’m going to use an example that’s been used a lot.

Say there’s this really sweet guy. Guy meets girl. He realizes that they have a lot in common and a friendship begins. Somewhere along the way, he falls for said girl. HARD. So he’s buying her flowers, making her feel like a princess, just basically being an amazing guy. Guy finds out that girl doesn’t feel the same way. He feels hurt, like he wasted his time, money, and overall head space over this girl.  So he adapts his mindset to, “well, if I’ve been fucked over once, I don’t want to be fucked over twice. Let’s see how girls like it when I’m a fuck boy.”

Sound familiar?

Now, I’m not saying that all guys are like this, nor am I disregarding the fact that all girls are always going to fuck a guy over, but this happens. Regardless if it’s guys doing this to other guys, girls doing this to other girls, etc. It’s one of the many examples of how certain experiences in our lives alter the way we think about love or how we think about future events as a whole.

Sometimes, these experiences serve for the better, Sometimes they’re realistic (can be a good or a bad), or other times they’re experiences that take a while for us to realize if it was a bad thing or a good thing.

But what I’m getting at is this: you’re never really the same person twice. You’re always changing. Your goals, aspirations and everything else changes. They could be for the better or for the worse, but those are ultimately based on the decisions you have made in your life that have led you to where you are today.

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Another thing I learned today was this: Often times, expectation and reality will never really meet at the same point at the same time. Very rarely do these two things come together and even if you think these two things have lined up (at one point or another), they may be off by a tiny bit.

Almost every goal that I’ve had in mind, I’ve either:

  • made them realistic

 or

  • changed them, modified them a bit, in terms of where I am now in my life.

I’ll give you an example!

So awhile back, I realized that I really wanted to pursue communications at school, come out with my bachelors in communication and then go on to art school where I could get my master’s of fine arts in Visual Arts and then work in the fashion magazine industry as a creative director or director of photography.

It wasn’t until I had to take a step back and sit down to talk with my parents about my future plans. That night, I was asked a ton of questions and learned a lot about myself.

Yes, I can have dreams, but there comes a point in my life that I needed to be realistic with them. When I had talked with my parents about my future, my dad told me that I can’t expect to end up in a position of power, when I, myself, haven’t even had the experience to begin with!

Now that’s the stuff that got me thinking, “well, if I’m undecided with what I wanted to do in the realm of art, then maybe it wasn’t meant to be” and it took me awhile to find exactly what it was that I really wanted to do.

From that moment on, I realized that I needed to make my goals realistic, but yet stay mindful of the fact that sometimes my career path may change.

We are often afraid of the future and afraid to stay mindful about the events that happen in our lives.

I genuinely believe that the more we stay mindful about the things we are working towards in the future, the more open we can be to what life throws at us. In time, we can diminish that fear of the unknown and not be tied down by our doubts and anxieties.

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“She is clothed in strength and dignity. She laughs without fear of the future”- proverbs 31:25

Have faith and stay mindful of the fact that everything will work out.

For more of my thoughts on the future and on expectations , check out these posts which talk more in detail about these ideas!

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Cutting Ties

I don’t know about you, but there comes a point in life where we need to cut people who have gone dormant in our lives.

Why should I even spend time thinking about people who really don’t spend a second thinking about me? If someone genuinely cared, they would reach out. I recently realized that it’s okay to cut out anyone who isn’t playing a positive role in your life or is leaving you hanging every time.

Family included. Crazy. But not uncommon.

On Christmas eve, my family and I went to go drop off gifts at a relative’s house. As we pull in, we saw the car of a family member that basically shut themselves off from the family. We walk in, lo and behold said family member was sitting at the table, eating

“Feliz Navidad” (Merry Christmas), they said.

My brother and I went to go say hi, talk with them and another family member. Before I knew it, it was time for us to leave. Through the brief conversation, here’s what was exchanged:

“Wow, did you cut your hair? looks cute.”

“Yeah, I did, thanks.”

By that point, I had to leave. So I basically told this person to not be a stranger.

But how can I tell someone to not be a stranger, if they’ve already made the decision to be one? How can someone just wake up one day and just shut themselves off from someone?

It’s surprisingly simple and unfortunately, it happens more often than not. The other day this week, I went on a LITERAL delete/unfollow/unfriend-ing spree on ALL my social media accounts. I had already made a mental list of all the people I don’t talk to, people who I have given endless chances, people who don’t deserve my time, etc. It’s not worth wasting my energy, getting mad and bent out of shape over them. I distance myself from people like this.

Distancing myself from someone is a way of saying to them “hey yeah, I dropped you, now let’s see if you care as much as I did”. Not only that, but it also shows that I’ve finally chosen myself over the person and as sad as it is, that is my choice to let them go. If the person, however, notices then it’s a good thing because then you can clear the air with them. Communication is key in every relationship.

Granted, in deleting all the people from my life, I didn’t take it as “I hate them, so let me unfollow them, because they piss me off”. I don’t hate anyone nor do I hold any grudges. What is the point in holding a grudge about something someone did months/years ago? While they’re out living their best life, you’re here, hating them and what they did to you ages ago. You are hurting yourself more than the person you’re hating. Make the choice to forgive.

Forgive them and also forgive yourself. Sometimes in forgiving them and yourself, you make the decision to cut ties or continue your relationship with the person. With some people, you shouldn’t make the rash decision of cutting someone out of your life, if you’re not in the right head space or have yet to forgive them and what they did to you, then hold off on doing so. You don’t have to say anything to them. But also keep in mind, cutting someone out of your life is a mental and emotional process.

I mean think about it, if you don’t see anything positive coming from the relationship you have with the person or you simply don’t talk anymore (because let’s face it we all get caught up in life), then cut them off. What good is having a person who won’t call you, catch up with you, in your life? You have the choice to end the friendship, relationship, whatever, and just move on. In this way, you are able to make room in your life for people who definitely see it the way you do, will give you the satisfaction of catching up with you and be a positive influence in your life.

Sometimes it hurts, but it hurting is part of the healing process and a fact of life. If you want to move forward in your life, what is holding you back? Is it the grudges that you hold against other people? If so, learn to Let. It. Go.

You deserve people in your corner, but most of all, you deserve all the good that there is in this world.

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