The Hipster Freshman: A “How To” Guide on Being the Savviest New Kid Around

Being hipster is cool right now.  Don’t do what everyone else is doing.  Be one step ahead of the game.  Do something trendy before it becomes trendy.   And if you’re a true hipster, this applies to every area of your life.  It comes with ease.   But nothing tests the hipster soul more than that one sacred rite of passage.  College.

I’m not talking any kind of college experience.  I’m talking the freshman college experience.  You just graduated high school.  You were a senior.  The top dog.  You were the coolest of the cool.  You were aloof.  And now you’re off to embark on a new journey.  You’re going to do it right.  You’re striking off on your own without the parental units.  You’re establishing your identity.  Watch out life.  Here comes… you!

But how can you be “the new kid in town” without sticking out like a sore thumb?  How do you blend in?  How can you avoid being…. well… This guy.
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Being someone who has gone through the freshman orientation process twice (that’s what you get for transferring after your first semester), and has been an orientation leader every semester since, I think I can offer some solid advice to the (high school) Class of 2013 on how to be cool, how to smoothly glide into campus life, and how to blend in even as a freshman.  Because to be perfectly and brutally honest, you’re not as impressive as you were in high school anymore.  That doesn’t mean you aren’t special, or loved, or unique.  It just means all those “top dog” points you’ve been used to having… They’ve been wiped clean.

But before you read any of this… Remember, we were all freshman at some point.   The reason we can spot these things is because we all did them. Being a freshman isn’t a problem.  It’s nothing to be ashamed of.  Your campus is excited to have you.   So why would someone need a “how to guide” on how to not be an obvious freshman?  The things freshmen do that make them so obviously a freshman are things that clog up the system.   They slow down everyday life on campus.  They cause traffic to stop, lines to gather, and pedestrian collisions.  It’s not a problem to be a freshman, it’s just a good idea to try to slide into the campus life as quickly and smoothly as possible as to not inconvenience the people around you too much.  So consider this a guide to transitioning into the daily college flow.

With that being said, here is my best advice!

Your lanyard

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I get it.  It’s cool.  It’s convenient.  But don’t.   Don’t wear it with the lanyard hanging out of your pocket.  Don’t you dare wear it around your neck.  Or worse… wear it with around your neck with your keys and ID on it.  This is the #1 sure-fire way to spot a freshman.  This isn’t so much a functionality “flow of campus” kind of situation.  It just screams “FRESHMAN!” and if you’re trying to avoid that, stuff that lanyard in your pocket for no one to see.


Campus Maps

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Campus is new.  There are so many buildings.  But if you’re walking around with a map of campus?  You look like a tourist at disney land.   Do yourself a favor and snap a picture of the campus map on your smart phone.  No one questions someone looking at their phone.  And if you’re lost, don’t be ashamed to ask for help.

Groups

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Gee, I’d love to get to class faster, but this huge group of people is taking up the entire walkway.  I wonder if they’re freshmen?  Of course they are!  Freshmen tend to travel in packs.  It’s all those best friends they’ve made, ya know?  I like to call it a “flock of freshmen.”   If you make a lot of friends, that’s great.  As a senior, most of the people I’m friends with now were not the people I hung out with my freshmen year.  But that’s not to say that a social life is not vital to your college experience.  I’m glad you’re making friends, but please.  Do not walk in huge groups.  And if you do, walk on the grass.  Not on the road or the sidewalks.   My college has one main road that runs through campus and the shuttles from the apartment buildings drive on this road.  But for some reason the freshmen every year think that road is a giant side walk for them and their friends.   What’s worse is the freshmen who do not MOVE OFF THE ROAD when the shuttle comes.  Like seriously, don’t block traffic.  Ever.  Make friends.  Hang out in groups.  JUST DON’T BLOCK THE ROAD.

Talking About High School

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You may have been the only captain of the varsity basketball team in high school… but at this school, there are dozens of other students who were the captain of their varsity sports team as well.  You got into the same college as everyone around you, there’s no need to brag about your SAT or ACT score.  Please leave your Letterman jacket at home (I love mine too – the picture above is actually my Letterman jacket – but that phase of life is over).  Maybe tell those “funny high school memory” stories a couple times.  But if your RA knows the names of your 5 closest high school friends by the end of orientation, you need to shut up about high school.  It’s not to devalue your high school experience.  It’s not that it wasn’t important.  You just have to understand that your high school experience is not your college experience.  It isn’t the reality you’re living in any more.  And it’s not an experience that your peers share with you.  Reminiscing is great and don’t be afraid to talk about high school now and then, but people will get bogged down if that’s the only thing you want to talk about.

Trays

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Note: This may be something that is exclusive to my university.  Not every school goes by this standard.

A few years back, the student government at my school decided to take a green initiative at my school.  They encouraged everyone to stop using trays in the cafeteria so there would be less dishes to wash.   And it worked.  People stopped using trays.  But the trays are still there.  So every year, when the freshmen come to campus.  They see the trays at the front of the cafeteria and they grab one.  This clogs up the lines, slows down the process, and keeps everyone away from their food that much longer.  There are very few things as scary as hungry grumpy people.  Do yourself and the people around you a favor, and don’t get a tray.   If you don’t go to my school, your best bet is to watch the RA’s and see what they’re doing.  Simple as that.  Trays at my university are one of the fastest ways to spot a freshman.  The only other people who carry trays are visitors and that elderly professor who wears a bow tie every day. (He’s my favorite).

So there you have it.  Those are my 5 pieces of advice to avoid being an obvious freshman.   Remember, it’s not a problem to be a freshman.  It’s just important that you’re transitioning into the campus community quickly.  You want to fit in and be welcomed.  The best way to do that is to show the upperclassmen that you’re thinking about a little more than just yourself.  If you do the things I mentioned to avoid being an inconvenience, you’ll quickly gain respect from those people around you.  And don’t forget, this is exciting!  You’re going into college!  You’re starting your adult life.  Have fun with it!

“You Wronged Me… And I’m Okay With That”

Think about that person… You know who I’m talking about.  The one you love to hate.  The best friend who back-stabbed you.  The girl who cheated on you.  The guy who didn’t care that you said “stop.”  The father who was never there for you.  The mother who would rather perfect you than love you.  Go ahead.  Think about how much it hurt.  Think about how angry it makes you.  And think about forgiving them.

Yeah, I’m going there.  Forgiving that person you can’t forgive.  Um, hello.  Welcome to my life.   This is something I’ve struggled with FOR YEARS and now I’m talking about it.

I thought about it.  I thought about all the terrible things that people have done to me.  And I realized that a lot of those people are Christians.  And those sins that were done against me, are covered by Christ’s blood and God’s grace.  Those who aren’t Christians… They could be my brothers and sisters in Christ one day and the same rule applies to them.

The worst wrongs ever done to me.  God says to them “I forgive you.  I do not hold this against you.” So why can’t I say that?  I hated thinking this.  I knew I didn’t forgive these people and yet God could.

But then I thought… I’m no saint and I’m sure anyone who has known me well enough could agree with that.  You know those people that get up in front of church/chapel/small group/etc and say “I am a sinner.  I am not perfect.” and the crowd nods and murmurs “amen” while they think about how they themselves are not perfect?   Yeah, well I’m the person that gets up, says “I am a sinner.  I am not perfect.” and every person in the crowd that knows me laughs and says “I know that’s right!”

I know I have hurt people.  I know I have wronged people.  But I also know that God has forgiven me for that, and that grace?  That undeserved gift?  That mercy?  I didn’t do anything special to earn it… and neither did those people that have wronged me.  It is completely WRONG that I should receive the gift that Christ’s death has given me, but you know what else is wrong?  The fact that I accept it for myself but don’t think it should apply to those people.

God is good, merciful, and forgiving.  Maybe I think those people shouldn’t be forgiven, but hey, neither should I.  And you know what else?  This world does not matter.  It is not what is important.  I am waiting for the better days of life to come in heaven.  And one day all the mess and crap of this world will be gone. One day, it will not matter that you hurt me and I think that is a beautiful prospect.   I cannot wait for the day that this world passes and it’s just God and His kingdom.

To all the people I’ve held grudges against… to those who apologized and never hear me utter these words… I am sorry and I forgive you.  I understand that what you did was wrong and yeah, you hurt me.  But God is greater than my pain and my hope is in Him.  I hope you have found your freedom in Him as well and that I can one day stand side by side with you and we can praise Him together.

Thinking like this has really helped me understand the cross more… It’s one thing to feel the weight of my sin and guilt, but it is a whole ‘nother thing to think that through the cross that person that wronged me the most can be made my brother/sister in Christ – that we can be reconciled together as forgiven creations of God.  Like seriously, holy cow God is good.  I would love nothing more to be able to look that person in the eye and not only be able to say “I forgive you” but also be able to rejoice with them in the fact that Christ has forgiven them as well.   God is good ALL THE TIME and I’m glad He does not turn people away who ask for His forgiveness like I have.

You know, I once thought “There’s no way I could ever forgive them for what they did to me…” but silly me I forgot that “I can do ALL things through CHRIST who strengthens me.”

It’s Been Another Year

November the 7th.  Back again.  I was hoping that this year I wouldn’t think about it, and that one day I’d be like “Oh… isn’t that day coming up?”  Only to discover it had passed several days ago.

Only it didn’t.

I was sitting in class.  I wrote down the date on my notes and was tracing over it with my pen… and it hit me.  11/7.  So much for paying attention in class?  I couldn’t focus.  My mind was consumed.  I couldn’t make eye contact with anyone.  I wanted to get away and get alone as soon as possible.

But I really couldn’t.  There was a snow storm today so I couldn’t be outside, my roommates were all in the apartment, and there was no way I was going to hash out these issues in the silent library.   There was just no where to be alone.

So I distracted myself.  I stuck with someone who helped me keep my mind off of it for most of the evening.  And I was blessed by friends with kind words of encouragement and a wonderful, perfectly-timed cup of hot chocolate.  (I’m really beginning to think that my love language is, in fact, food.)

Yeah, there have been times today that I’ve questioned whether or not to take a second shower because I needed to cry… (and I HATE crying)  There have been moments that I have gone into other worlds, consumed in thought about it all.  There have been moments that I’ve muttered strings of four-lettered-words under my breath in bitterness because not only did something happen that I didn’t ask for and that I tried to stop… but it is also still a part of my life today.   “Hey cool… You weren’t invited. Oh, even better!  You’re not leaving.” (more four-lettered words…Lime, Ruby, Sand, Work… )

But today… as crappy as it has been mentally and emotionally… today was better than last year.   Last year I was in the fetal position on the floor of my apartment doing the ugly cry after I had written out everything I was thinking and feeling on paper.

It’s been two years.  I wrote this post last year at this time and while I do experience a lot of that from time to time… I’m so happy with the progress I’ve made.

I’m not as sour at people for being sympathetic or trying to be encouraging… I really appreciate it.

I feel more comfortable with talking about it, which I needed.

I’ve been having fewer panic attacks… thank GOD!

And I really feel like I’m healing.

But the two most important things?  I’ve found myself again and I’ve found peace with God.

I don’t know why bad things happen… why there’s evil… why God allows it to exist.  But I do know that God loves me and wants what’s best for me.  And what would be better for me?  To have a perfect/harmless life?  Or to wrestle with God in order to understand and know Him more?  I think I’m better off with Him than I am with this earthly life.

And myself.  I’m so glad to be back.  I’m glad to feel stable again.. to feel like I can freely give out hugs without fear again.. to feel confidence, joy, and beauty in myself again… to be making decisions in prayer and thorough examination and not just fear anymore..  I love it.

Today sucks.  The world sucks.  Sin sucks.  Evil sucks.  November the 7th sucks.

But my God is good and He’s making His face shine down upon me today and I cannot thank or praise Him enough for that and the progress I’ve made.  Hallelujah

It’s Just Been One of Those Days…

Let me note, that I have a powerpoint I need to make, a 30 page worksheet thing to finish, two papers to write, and worship team practice that all have to get done by tonight… These are not the things I SHOULD be getting done as well.  But I have to write.  I have to get this out.  It’s too much for a tweet or even one of my lengthy facebook statuses.  So alas, if you plan on reading this, you are planning on listening to me vent.

I have so much going on right now.  I can’t think straight.  I feel like I’m behind everywhere although I’m not.  These past couple of weeks have been really taxing.  And I’ve slipped into the classic Kelsey mode of “I can handle it.”  I can DO it with God’s help, but right now, I can’t “handle” it.

I lost my car this week to a lot of unfortunate and unforeseen circumstances.  That’s really tough.  I can’t get a second job off campus like I had wanted.  So now I have to get a job on campus.  I need a minimum of 20 hours a week to make my tuition payments and everywhere on campus pays minimum wage and has really crappy hours.  So, I’m stressing about that.  Plus, being out a car… it’s a huge difference.  I have to ask a friend for a ride if I want to go to target for prescriptions, razors, pantyhose… I can’t drive my friend to the hospital when they break their finger in the intramural football game… I can’t say to my friends “Hey, let’s go to applebees for half price apps tonight!”… I hate that.  I hate this.  I miss my car and to be honest I was really attached to it.  I had a lot of memories in that car.  It’s a serious blow.

The job I do have right now is great.  I love it.  I get to be apart of the major event planning on campus.  Wouldn’t trade it at all.  But it takes unforeseen time out of my schedule.  I’m used to working a for a few hours on two or three specific days of the week.  But with the nature of the events we’re working on right now, I’m finding myself handling work business outside of my work hours.  Welcome to the real world huh?  I just don’t have a lot of schedule consistency right now and I really am not a fan.  It will get better in a week or so.

My worship team is playing an all worship chapel on Friday.  So we have about 9 songs we’ve been preparing, but we’re not quite there yet.  And that’s stressing me out.

Sleep.  I’m not getting enough sleep and my sleep schedule is so whack.  Welcome to the life of a college kid.  I haven’t gone to bed before midnight in I don’t know how long… last night I finally got to sleep around 4am.  It’s like my first semester of college all over again.

Food.  My diet here is a joke.  I live off of starch and fat.   The fruit is always rotten.  The only vegetable that is consistently fresh and actually tasty is the spinach.  I honestly eat mostly rice and beans.   My friends notice it too and like to poke fun at how nasty it looks.  Plus I eat everything with gallons of hot sauce to either mask the weird flavor or make up for the flavor its lacking.  I really don’t know what else to eat.  My cafeteria is NOT vegetarian friendly.  They put meat in everything.  Burrito?  BEEF burrito.  Enchiladas?  CHICKEN enchiladas.  Grilled cheese?  Grilled HAM and cheese.  Pasta bake?  SAUSAGE pasta bake.  Every now and then they have a “vegetarian bar” that has limp celery, carrot sticks, sunflower seeds, beans, and hard boiled eggs that have turned green.   I’m sorry, what?  That’s what vegetarians eat for dinner?  I’ve been a vegetarian almost two years now and that’s not what I eat for a meal.  I don’t want to just fill up on french fries, mac n cheese, and cheese pizza… but sometimes when I’m tired of rice and beans, that’s all there is.  Cereal.  There’s lots of cereal.  But my body is so hungry.  It needs vitamins and minerals and protein.  GIVE ME PROTEIN!  The only protein sources I have here are eggs (when they have them), peanut butter, beans, and cheese.  And cheese does not count as protein.  Thank goodness I have quinoa and chobani in my apartment.

My schedule.  Agh.  Mondays and Tuesdays are horrors for me and Wednesdays, Thursdays, Fridays are spent catching up with what was put off because of the busy Mon/Tues.   I feel like I’m running like a chicken with its head cut off.

Church.  I miss being at Passion City Church.  I felt like my soul was REALLY fed there and I’m getting a little hungry.

Minnesota.  Gall I miss home.  So many sites my eyes wish to see.  So many places I want to be.  I want to go to Ritter Farm Park, and Indigo tea, and the Mall of America, and to the sculpture garden, and to the top of Buck Hill late at night, and to my back yard.   And the culture.  I miss Minnesota nice.

My friends.  I miss deep friendship.   I have a couple really close friends here, but I’m so busy!  I haven’t seen my best friend since June.  Heck, I haven’t seen most of my closest friends since my family moved from Minnesota.  That’s really taken a toll on me.  I miss feeling like someone was invested in me and I in them.

My family.  I miss my family.  I miss Zach’s sweet affection.  I miss being astounded by Philip’s brilliance.  I miss goofing around with Ruth and hearing her singing in her room.  I miss being a part of Joseph’s life.  I feel like he’s changing and learning so much and I’m not there for it.  I miss I miss having my mom as my friend.  Being the only ones we really knew in the state of Georgia really gave us time together and I miss that.  I miss my dad’s wisdom and peace.  He’s a place of stability for me and I’m really lacking that right now.  and heck, I miss my dog.  That old, fat, ugly thing.  I miss Lewis a lot.

EDIT:  I do not want to make it seem like I do not miss Haley, Cody, or Megan too.  I was listing off my family at home.  My sisters and brother in law are dear to me.  It just didn’t come naturally to list them when I was thinking about stuff I miss from home since they haven’t lived at home in many many years.

Today’s been rough for many reasons.  The lack of sleep certainly doesn’t help.  Oversleeping and missing chapel definitely didn’t help either.  My lunch of white rice, cheese pizza, and fruit loops DEFINITELY is not helping.   The overwhelming work load isn’t so great either, but what’s worse is that it feels really accomplishable, so I feel guilty for not being able to pound it out like I want to.  I also had time to be faced with the reality of one of my friends here leaving, and I don’t like it at all.  Don’t get me wrong  I really think they should go based on the circumstances.  But the selfish side of me doesn’t want to say goodbye.   BUT the big kicker of the day was class.

In one of my classes we’ve been asked to share our testimonies, our life stories, our spiritual journeys thus far.  I haven’t given my testimony in front of a group of more than 2 people in 3 years.  And even then, the big stuff of my testimony has happened in these past 3 years from the last time I shared it.  So, really.  I’ve never shared this part of my life with a large group of people.  God’s really been working on me to open up about my testimony, and I was all “yeah, cool God.  We’ll get to that.”  and God was like “Yes we will, we’ll get to that now.  Here’s your homework for this class!”  Holy buckets.   I am honestly so freaked about sharing my life story.  There’s parts of my story that I’ve only shared with a small handful of people.  There’s even parts that I haven’t talked with my siblings about.   Sharing this takes a huge leap of faith and a huge piece of vulnerability for me and I’m scared.  Every day we get to class and about 2 or 3 people share theirs per class at random.  I’m always freaking out about when it’s going to be my turn.  “Should I share today?”  “Should I go after he’s done?”

Today was awful.  I decided I needed to share mine today.  I was going to do it.  It was time.  I couldn’t keep going through class every MWF feeling so anxious.  I spent the entire class wringing my hands, shaking, breathing fast (which.. actually.. I always do anyways), and having to wipe my hands because my palms were so sweaty, just waiting for my chance to share.  My friend next to me was chuckling because of how nervous I was, and laughter helped… but I was still really anxious about my moment to share . Only guess what.  That moment never showed up.   So I headed back to my apartment frustrated with sweaty palms, a shaking body, a dizzy head, and a stomach ache like no other.  Anxiety blows.   It’s been over an hour since I got back from class and I’m still shaky and sweaty, despite the fact that I’ve just been sitting here doing nothing but drinking my tea.

I have a good life.  I have a good job, a good school, good friends, a good God.  Life is good and pleasant.  But I just feel like crying.  And I don’t mean like the sniffles and tearing up thing I’ve been doing while I’ve written this post.   I mean like a good, long, hard cry.  I feel like sobbing.  But I have no where to go.  Honestly, if I had my car.  I would grab some mascara and cover-up (for the aftermath), get in my car, drive to a park, and have at it.   But right now.  I’ve got no where.  There’s no place that I can go where there isn’t people around.  It’s tiresome keeping it together 24/7.  “But Kelsey, isn’t there someone you can go to?”  Yeah, there are lots of people I can go to, but I don’t want to.  I just want this emotional side of it all to be between me and God right now.  I hate showing emotions like this around people.   Ugh, I should probably be going back to Oasis (the counseling center here on campus).

I’ve spent an hour and a half writing this post that maybe 35 people will read according to my stats for most posts like this.   But whatever.  I needed to get all of this out.  I needed to vent.  And honestly, I do feel a little better now.   Moral of the story, life’s good but life sucks.  and it’s just one of those times when things are really stressful.  Really, I’ve never been so much at peace with where I am at with God, and I’ve never had as much self-esteem as I do now.  Two of the big things that usually eat at me couldn’t be better.  It’s just been a build up of unfortunate circumstances and I needed to get it out.

My Thoughts On 9/11 – That Have Nothing To Do With Nationalism, Air Planes, or Terrorists.

I remember the day well, as most people do.  I remember the sadness, the fear, and frankly the confusion that I felt.  It’s a hard concept for a 9-year-old to wrap their mind around, but I understood that it was a horrifying tragedy.   Every year on the anniversary of the day I never know how to feel.

I want to jump on the bandwagon and post a status on facebook about today, but I fear that the more “facebook cause” like statuses that get posted, the more this day becomes like the “repost this if you’re against animal cruelty” photos that go around and that does an injustice to this day.  I would tweet something about being proud to be an American or how our nation has pulled together because of this, but let’s be honest, our country today is not what it was 11 years ago.   So then I turn to think about the day…

As the daughter of a pilot, I am reminded of the civilian tragedy side of 9/11.   Families who lost loved ones that were just doing their job or going about their normal lives.  And I think of all the families who’s main provider lost their job due to the airline industry falling apart.

As the daughter/granddaughter of veterans and the sister of an army soldier, I am reminded of the war on terrorism.   I think of the countless soldiers who gave their lives in service and the families who suffered loss, whether it was a life or just time without their loved one.

But this year, a new side of 9/11 sticks out to me that I want you to think about too.   Something else has captured my thoughts.   Last year, I was trying to convince myself it didn’t effect me.  But this year, as someone living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (and acknowledging it), I find myself thinking of those who struggle with PTSD as result of 9/11.

Over 10,000 people are said to have PTSD as a result of 9/11 and that number does not include the soldiers who have fought in the war on terror.  It’s easy to dismiss this, but I want to shed some light on the topic.

Imagine having to relive the worst day of your life over and over in your head.  The thoughts just waiting to be freed any second.  It could be a smell, the tone of someone’s voice, the face of a stranger that remarkably resembles the woman who was standing next to you at the time, the way a branch scrapes across your skin on your morning walk, a certain set of words, or emotions you feel about a completely unrelated event that can set you off.  Suddenly you’re swamped with thoughts. You may be in the middle of the mall, but your mind is back there.  You may be in a meeting at work, and your emotions start running wild.  You could be sitting in the back of a car out with friends, and your body starts sliding into a panic attack.

It’s scary, it’s embarrassing, and it’s just hard.  It’s not something I would wish on anybody, not even my worst enemies.

To think, we’re reminded of the tragedy of 9/11 every now and then, but to those thousands of people 9/11 has become a part of their life.  Those firefighters, witnesses, policemen, and survivors.  They have lived with 9/11 for 11 years.

Beyond the debilitating nature of the disorder, I especially think of the guilt that comes with it.  The “Why did I survive and he didn’t?” guilt.  The “I only witnessed it.  I wasn’t actually in the midst of it.” guilt.  The “My family and friends are tired of me talking about this” guilt.  or the “Why can’t I just get over it?” guilt.  And piling 11 years on top of it… that’s just torture.

I am beyond thankful for the many counselors and therapists who have helped the 9/11 PTSD victims cope with their symptoms.  To be honest, it is debated whether or not PTSD really ever goes away, and I’m sure for a lot of them, being 11 years removed from the event, they can say they no longer struggle with it or that they have come to a place where they find their symptoms quite manageable.  At the same time, there are many who struggle with PTSD who see 11 years as nothing compared to how long they’ve dealt with it.  Even if they have learned to handle the symptoms, keep in mind that memories like that don’t just go away.

So today, as you remember those who have died, those who have lost loved ones, and those who have fought because of the events that took place on September 11th, don’t forget the PTSD victims in your thoughts and prayers as well.

God bless our nation and God help us all.

Vows

Being a counseling major and taking a lot of psychology classes, I often run into a concept called “internal vows.”  These are promises we make to ourselves or rules we live our lives by, often used as a coping mechanism or a way of protecting ourselves.  So I wondered what kinds of vows I make to myself.  I discovered that most of my “vows” were refusals.  So I compiled them together into a list.  I am not saying that all of these are healthy, I am not saying that I still live by all of these, and, of those I do live by, I am not saying I do a very good job of it either.   Some of them are very old ones I have grown out of, some are very old ones I still stick by today, and some are very new.

I refuse…

-to stay put
-to not be heard
-to be a doormat
-to be seen as nagging
-to live like life is a formula
-to think I am not important
-to not take control of my life
-to let you see how you’ve hurt me
-to give you the chance to hurt me
-to sit in a cycle of problems I can fix
-to conform to what you want me to be
-to make foolish decisions in order to be “nice”
-to pick at the little problems I should let go of
-to let my anger control my tongue… ˅ or if it does ˅
-to be immature by plastering the internet with my emotions.
(There are SO many blog drafts I’ve deleted because of this rule)
-to EVER have anyone hear me verbally disrespecting my parents
-to make guarantees or ultimate refusals that you can hold against me
-to be sucked into a situation where I am stuck feeling like I’m not myself
-to not step up to a role I have the capability, resources, and desire to fill
-to be an unnecessary problem, annoyance, or hindrance to someone else
-to be disappointed in ways I’ve been before and should have learned from

(yes, I had to structure it into a pyramid… haha)  These are just the ones I could think of off the top of my head, so I know I left some out, but it was interesting to see what makes me tick the way I do.  I wonder what kinds of effects these vows have had on my life… or why some rules could cause me to break another, and yet I choose to follow both.  It’s just all around interesting.

What are some rules that you live YOUR life by?

Lockdown

I saw a blog the other day that was just pictures and small captions of how the picture represented how the blogger was feeling.  So I thought to myself, what would I be if I was a picture?  But that’s about as far as I got with that thought.

However, with a lot of  new things in my life lately, I’ve been analyzing how I feel and trying to figure out why I feel that way.   I’ve been confusing myself A LOT lately, I can feel great about something one minute… but then apprehensive about it the next and with no reason to feel that way.  I’ve been finding myself worried about things that make me happy.

That’s when my picture popped in my head… only I couldn’t actually take a picture of it… so I drew it.


That’s me.  Steel plated, chained, and locked.   And I like it that way.   Why?  Because it’s safer.   I’ve got Jesus in here with me.  My family has a natural ability to loosen the chains and melt the steel.  I have a friend or two that I unlock it for on occasion.  But someone new?  I don’t think I can let in anyone new.

If there’s anything life has shown me in the past two years, it’s that appearances can be deceiving.  I have too many people in my life who seem to have good intentions that end up being fickle or manipulative.  People I think I can trust, prove themselves otherwise.

I trust people that I’ve known for years, but letting someone new in is just too risky.  I mean yes there are people I feel like I can learn to trust, but they are rare, few and far between, and it will be a long time before that can happen.  I just get this feeling about them.. this feeling that I can trust them.  Like the feeling I got about my friend in my last post.  The problem is, I barely ever meet people I feel like I can trust.

I have made the mistake of trusting people that I haven’t had that feeling about and it hasn’t turned out well.  So until I have a better grasp of how to determine who I can let in, I’m on lock down. God’s got a lot of work to do here…. these are things I should talk about at oasis….

The point being, this hurts me and it hurts those around me.  Because there are people in my life that feel promising, but I just haven’t gotten that “ya, they’re good.”  Connect with them yet.  No confirmation.  I can act like we’ve got that connect, but I can’t actually let the openess and vulnerability happen.  I’m afraid of hurting people, because the longer I’m on this fence of “can I trust them or not?” the closer I get to shut down mode.  I become hypersensitive to their every action, and if they do one little thing to worry me, my mind blows it up out of proportion and I hide from them.

I’ve been in this “I can’t let myself get hurt” mindset for a while now, and was actually getting better at bringing my walls down.  But wouldn’t you know just when I think I can let loose, things just blow up in my face again.  The walls are back up people.

So ya, I may be transparent on here, but I’m not telling you guys everything.  And yes, I can be good friends with people, but there’s a level of comfort and openness missing from a lot of relationships for me on the inside.

People can’t be trusted.  That is a fact.   I’m not naive to think there are people that are ALWAYS trustworthy.  But frankly, I’m only interested in risking that trust on people that I know are important enough in my life to get past the times they let me down.  And I specifically use the phrase “let me down.”  I know my family will let me down, but they will never betray me.  I know my best friends will let me down, but they will never carelessly hurt me.  I trust those who I know want to treat me in love, even in their mistakes.  And if I don’t know whether or not you will betray me or carelessly hurt me, chances are you’re not going to be trusted with very much.

At this point, I’m rambling.  So ya… I’m trying to remember that loving someone does not mean you trust them.  I’m trying to learn who I can let in.  I’m trying to figure out why I’m so apprehensive about things that make me happy and only seem to be good.  I’m trying to be careful while at the same time not hurting people.  And I’m trying to protect myself.   “Above all else guard your heart” (what exactly does that mean????)  I know Satan does a good job of snaring me in anger and holding grudges.  So I’m protecting myself even more than normal, because, yes I don’t want to be hurt, but even more so… I don’t want to get caught up in anymore anger than I have been already.

Ugh… where am I going with this?

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to you… the world’s worst ending to a blog post….. pineapples.

To that friend…

It’s been awhile since I last posted a blog, so I wanted to write one today.  I’ve had something I’ve wanted to try to say somehow, but I couldn’t really figure out how to do it.  Then I realized I could write this post to a friend that brings a lot of the topic I want to discuss to light.  Plus sometimes it’s fun to just write out a story about life from my perspective.   Obviously, you shouldn’t think you know a whole story until you hear every side, but I don’t think I will compromise anything by writing this.  Plus this friend and I are the only two in the story, so I can’t think of many people who could even know who it is.  So, wooo… you guys get to read what I’d like to tell one of my friends.  Who knows, maybe that person will read this and actually understand a very confusing situation we’ve been in.  Tally ho!





Friend,

You know, I don’t understand you.  You confuse me more than anyone else.  Not because of anything you’ve done, but because of how I react to you.  You see, whenever I meet a new guy, my guard is always up.  My trust barrier is harder to get through.  I am suddenly hyper sensitive of my surroundings.  I am very physically reserved.  I am uncomfortable.  Even my guy friends that I met the same time as you and am very comfortable with now, they were a threat to me when I first met them.  Basically, I go into protection mode.  (If you haven’t seen this… well, I like to think I’m good at hiding it.  And if you have seen it… well then crap, maybe I’m not so good at it.)

You were different.  I wasn’t afraid of you.  I felt like myself.  You didn’t make me feel like I had to question your every movement.   I wasn’t afraid to let loose.  I was comfortable in my own skin.  And the strangest part about it, is you of all people should have been sending me into protection mode.  So many things about you are a perfect set up for me keeping my distance, but I didn’t feel that necessity.  I felt like I was getting better.  You made me feel like I was getting better.  You made me comfortable again.  The first guy in a long time that I wasn’t wary of deep down the first time I met them and had no problems with after that.  It made me happy, confident, bold, hopeful, the list goes on.  I was succeeding…or so I thought.

Then came that night that I asked you for that hug.  Now mind you, before I went to you I had been set off into a very weak state both mentally and emotionally.  I had been twisted and pulled in every direction.  The confidence I was building and I thought I had secured over the past several months had been shattered in the matter of a short 20 minute conversation.  One person’s ignorance blew every feeling of growth and success that I had out of the water.  Bam.   I didn’t know what to do, but then I remembered the way you made me feel.  The comfort and security that you brought.  The sense that I was alright… that things would get better.  I could have gone to any friend to talk about it, but I didn’t want to talk about it.  I just wanted to know that things were getting better.  I wanted to prove to myself that I was strong enough the handle it.   So what did I do?   I asked a tall, intimidating, male friend for a hug…. I asked you.

There I was, walking to meet you.  Thinking to myself, “I’ll give him a hug and it will be normal.  Today was tough, but I still have this last reserve.  I may be hanging by a string, but at least it’s something and something is better than nothing.”  You walked out and it was a little awkward at first.  I wasn’t really in the mood to say much.  But I just told myself all I needed was that hug and I was good.  So, you did what I thought I needed.   You wrapped your arms around me in a friendly embrace…and the last thing I expected or wanted happened.

Anxiety took over my entire body.  I felt nauseous.  Dizzy.  My head ached.  My hands got sweaty.  My face was flushed.  I spaced out from reality and my mind went reeling to places I had been trying to forget.  I felt mute.  small.  broken.   My last string had been clipped.  My one reserve, my last line of confidence, my proof to myself that I was getting past it all had just become like all the others.  And that killed me inside.   I tried to leave.  I wanted to get away from you as quick as possible.   A large part of me just wanted to break down sobbing.  I also wanted to puke on the rocks down by our feet.  I wasn’t sure what would happen first, the crying or the puking, but all of the sudden you became the last person in the world that I wanted to see me in that state.  But you wouldn’t let me go as easily as I wanted.  You offered to drive me back to my apartment, and I figured that was better than getting on the shuttle in front of a bunch of other people who would see me as a wreck.

As we took the short trip to my place, you asked what was going on.  I wanted to tell you.  I swear I wanted to tell you so bad.  But everything I could think of saying sounded so stupid, or just got caught in my throat.  I found myself rambling on like a fool in the most vague way possible.  You stopped your car outside of my apartment and I sat there yelling at myself in my head to just tell you.  To just spill.  But I couldn’t.  I was so mad at myself.  So lost.  I tried to say something and it didn’t even make any grammatical sense and I couldn’t take it anymore.  I ended up slamming your car door and bee-lining to my apartment.  I felt so stupid.  You had been gracious, patient, understanding… and I acted like a mute gorilla with the flu.  I then furiously typed out this post.  I thanked you later on over facebook chat, but everything from there on out felt so wrong.  Nothing made sense anymore.  I couldn’t find that sense of security I had been cultivating.  I was out of it for a good couple of weeks.  Days bashing myself for being stupid, questioning you in my head for why you were being distant, convincing myself that you thought I was insane.  Nights stuck in my mental swamp, furiously writing away on notebook paper with markers,  waking up on the rainbow colored pages the next morning that had somehow become tear stained.  Things were a mess.

I’ve collected myself since then.  I’m learning how to handle those moments that I become overwhelmed with anxiety like with that hug.  I’m creating my own sense of security.   I’m  working on being able to differentiate from perception and reality, and not letting my perceptions have more weight over me than reality.   It’s safe to say I wish I hadn’t been so quick to think I needed you.  I wish I had realized I am not strong enough on my own sooner.

And yes, you still confuse me.  I have not had a moment like that from interacting with you since.  And I have even more reasons to go into protection mode whenever I’m around you than I had before.   But I don’t.  I don’t know why you’re the only one who’s been like this for me… but I do want to thank you.  Because you have been a step forward for me in this journey.  I’d like to think that there will be more people that I don’t have any reaction to when I first meet them just like you.  I’m still on edge.  Still afraid that I’ll break again.  I even get shy around you.  Crazy but true.  If you get too close to me I can’t look you in the eyes.  I don’t know if you noticed this.  Sometimes I think that shyness/nervousness is a precursor to another meltdown, but it never gets past that.  So ya, you confuse me.  I’ve been shot into anxiety ridden protection mode from you.  You have all the qualities to keep me there, and yet you don’t.  I’m losing my ease to be bold when we’re around each other, because I find myself mumbling and looking down at the floor in nervous laughter to keep myself positive and sane.   BUT, at least you at least give me hope.    Hope that there will be more like you.  Hope that I can some how feel normal again, because you made me feel normal.  So thank you friend.  I know I can be very confusing, but maybe we can have an actual conversation about this one day.  Until then, I’ll try not to mumble 😛

-Kels

2012 is Greater Than 2011… Mathematically Speaking: A Review of My Life This Year

Well, here we are at the end of the year.  The time that everyone looks back and reflects…and then looks forward and freaks out because its 2012 and the world is going to end this December!  Haha, kidding.  But being that it is a time to reminisce, reflect, and remember, I thought I might write a post on all that has happened this year.  It has been one of the most life changing years I have ever seen, therefor I think it deserves a post.

First off, let’s talk about how the world has changed.
-We started the year with the Egyptian revolution and Libyan protests.
-Then followed that with earthquake in New Zealand and tsunami in Japan.
-Fidel Castro resigned after 45 years in power.
-Rebecca Black went viral.
-Prince William got married.
-Osama Bin Laden died.
-Oprah Winfrey aired her last show.
-The NFL lockout happened… and thankfully ended.
-We reached the 10 year anniversary of September 11th.
-Kim Kardashian made a joke of marriage with her 10 million dollar wedding and her 72 days of marital “bliss.”
-New Zealand got another earthquake.
-Norway fell victim to terrorist attacks.
-The Occupy Wall Street movement started.
-Steve Jobs died.
-The U.S. Ended “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”
-Turkey got an earthquake.
-The war in Iraq was officially ended.
-And Kim Jung Il died.

Between big figures both cultural and political, terrorists attacks, earthquakes, and revolutions, this year seems to be filled with a lot of death.  It’s actually very sad looking at it in review.

My life?  Well, I didn’t die, but a lot sure happened.

I started off the year with a sleep study to figure out why the heck I couldn’t stay awake during the day and couldn’t fall asleep at night.  The study did not provide any answers… but I did get free jimmy johns and the opportunity to look like the borg for a day.

I also attended my last counseling session (of the year, you never know when you’ll be back… I think probably soon).  I was very grateful for the work of my counselor.  She helped me come to terms with where I was, where I wanted to be, and how to get there.   I think counseling is something that most people should consider because of how beneficial it is, no matter how small or “controllable” your problems may seem.  You’ll read more about why I was in counseling later in the post.

My doctor started me on a new medication. It’s an anti-depressant that helps me stay awake.  My life has changed drastically since starting that (and taking melatonin at night).  I will never turn my nose up at medicines.  My mood, my sleep, and my overall wellness have improved greatly.

And my last notable event from the beginning of the year is my laptop!  I bought this machine that I’m typing on right now and have not been happier with a product.  Well, the speakers could be a little louder… haha.

That was all pretty much the first half of January.  Then at the end of January I moved to Philadelphia and transferred into a university out here on the east coast.  New city, new school, new life.

A couple weeks into starting at this school I decided to go veg and have not turned back since.  I also noticed a huge improvement in my wellness from living a vegetarian lifestyle.  It’s really been a benefit to my health.

I also started dating someone this year, Sohil.  Although we aren’t together anymore, it was refreshing to be in a relationship with someone who actually respected me.  I learned a lot about myself and what I want for my life.  Plus, he introduced to one of my newest obsessions… Bollywood!  It was my first interracial relationship and it was definitely an experience getting to learn a different culture and value system, try new foods, and just see how people responded to us.  Without him, I also probably never would have really gone vegetarian, so that was a definite bonus.  It also was my first (and I plan on it being the last) interfaith relationship I’ve ever been in.  He always supported me in my faith, but even just the little things made me realize how crucial it is to have the same faith.  And to all of you whom I lied to by saying he was a Christian, I am very sorry.  I was scared of your judgment and tired of the constant lectures I was getting. It was easier to say that than to explain myself.  This relationship taught me the value of having Christ at the center of relationships, which is a lesson I needed to feel and experience in order to learn it, instead of just “knowing” and being told it.

This year I was in my first musical: Little Women!  It was a great way for me to meet new people on campus and was a very rewarding experience.  I played a small role, did some extra work, and helped out backstage.  It was amazing how much music added to the emotion and life of the play.  Definitely something I learned a lot from.  AND my singing technique improved a lot.  I went from about a 2 octave vocal range to a 3. I’d say that’s a plus.

I have also dyed my hair 11 different shades/ways this year.
-Brown in February.
-Bleached for the play.
-Second bleaching for the play.
-An ashy blonde dye for the play.
-A more golden color to try to match my natural hair color.
-A red peek-a-boo dye that was supposed to be brown.
-A mahogany color.
-The bright red color I have sported for most of this year.
-A darker version of the red for a more permanent color with a wintery feel.
-Some brighter red into that faded dark red color
-And some bleached streaks in my hair (but that one’s not as noticeable).
If you are surprised that my hair hasn’t fallen out yet… don’t be.  The bleachings for the play fried my hair and I had to cut a lot.  And the red dye I use is a vegetable dye, not chemical.  So it actually conditions my hair instead of destroying it.

I reached the 1 year mark post-op for my knee.  A really weird feeling knowing that happened and knowing it was a year ago.  My scar, which used to be a purplish color that I hated and tried to cover with makeup, is now faded to my normal skin tone… it’s just a large line of different textured skin with some spot scars around my knee where they made small incisions.  And the good news is, a year and a half later I can finally say I have regained feeling in my leg.  Well, mostly.  There are still some places on my shin that I can’t feel temperatures and the place on my knee that the doctors told me I would never have feeling in again, but it’s good to no longer feel like I’m walking around with a wooden leg.

I ended my first semester at my new school and came home for the summer, where I got hooked on a cooking craze.  Rainbow pancakes, jello molds, miso soup, pot pies, and even baked Alaska.   I went a little overboard, but it definitely was a fun treat.

This summer I also got to see my crew of friends from my first college, Winona.  It was great to see them and to feel what it was like being “Kelso” again.

At the end of the summer me and my dad got in my red ford Taurus with the yellow sven and ole’s bumper sticker on the back, which I have lovingly named Caesar (and usually say the Hispanic version of that name), and drove half way across the country.  Minnesota to Pennsylvania.  It took two days of driving, and we drove through 6 states, but we did it.  And it was quite the experience.

Upon arriving in Pennsylvania, I moved into my first apartment with my roommates.  It was my first time having “my” kitchen and “my” living room shared with people who are not relatives.

Then I helped out on the Orientation Team at my school.  Part of me wonders if the actual orientation part was as fun as the training.  Being a part of Student Life was so much fun.  And getting to know the new freshmen and watch them integrate into the community was really cool.

Oh… The thing about Orientation weekend was that Hurricane Irene came through, so schedules got messed up and I experienced my first hurricane.  My first earthquake had been a few days before… but I didn’t even feel it so I don’t think that counts.  The fun part of it is that Irene started to show up just as I was leading my orientation group around Philly… We got kind of wet.

Ooo!  Another first.  One weekend I flew home and was waiting for my mom to pick me up at the airport.  While I was waiting I opened up my laptop and started working on a project, then I saw my mom’s van and got up to go meet her… only she didn’t know which door I was at and kept driving.  So I started running with my carry-on bag in tow and my laptop still opened in my arms to catch her before she drove off too far.  Running, running, turns out I’m a pretty fast runner, because I ran into an automatic door.  Yeah, I was going that fast that the door didn’t see me and started to close from the person who had walked through it before me.  Best part about it?  When I ran into the automatic door, it hit my arm upwards, sending the top of my laptop screen at my nose.  That’s right people, my first broken nose. from running into an automatic door.   But this nose break isn’t like how you guys are thinking.  It was actually the underside of my nose.  And recently it’s starting to hurt again, but I digress… first broken nose.

Now I said that being a part of Student Life WAS so much fun… I should probably fix that, because this year I got a job with Student Life.  My technical title is Student Programs Worker, but the best way to describe what I do is event coordination.  I get to continue to be a part of Student Life by working in the office and planning events like our hoedown and the campus Christmas celebration.  It can be a very taxing job, but it is fun and well worth it.  It truly is a blessing for me to work there.

This year I had another first as well: my first Thanksgiving without my parents.  I went to spend Thanksgiving in South Carolina with my grandparents on my mom’s side and my sister.  It was interesting not being at home and not having the same recipes, but definitely a great experience getting to be with my grandparents and sister without the whole gang.  I just got to have them to myself.  I had a great time.  Different, but undoubtedly good.

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I would have to say that my two biggest changes this year would be in the mental and the social department.  As I mentioned in my last post about my song, I have a mental disorder- specifically, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.   It’s a type of anxiety disorder, not temporary like an acute stress reaction and a lot more specific than just “anxiety.”  It was mid-December 2010 that I was told that I have this, so 2011 has been figuring out myself through that lens.  At first it was really, really bad, but around late February it started getting easier, my symptoms weren’t as pronounced, and I was beginning to think it was going away.  Sure, I had little flare ups here and there over the spring and summer, but for the most part I felt like I was “back to normal.”

Then it really got serious this fall, hence the really depressing posts from October and November.  It’s been really difficult.  I want to convince myself that I am strong enough to overcome it and that I can put it behind me, but this isn’t something that just goes away. It’s something that sticks around.  And yes, it won’t be as frequently bothersome or as strong in years down the road, but I have to accept that it’s still going to be there.  It’s an aspect of my life that I can’t control (cue the perfect plug for faith in God’s will and plan for my life).  I’ve had to resign myself to thinking of it not as something I overcome, but something I become a master at coping with.  That’s something I’ve really been working on as of late, accepting it as a part of my story and who I am, and learning how to deal with the symptoms.

So be patient with me, because I treat people like crap.  When my symptoms set in, it’s a complete 180.   The easiest thing is to just not have expectations, because I will exceed them one day and not even come close to meeting them the next.  I’m not asking for excuses, I’m just asking you to be understanding.

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 The change in my social life has been a big help in the mental department.  If you know me well, you would know that generally I make friends with guys and pretty much only guys. My entire high school career I was only ever friends with one female at a time and then a bunch of boys.  And don’t get me wrong, guys are great.  But I NEEDED more estrogen in my life.  Going to college, I made friends with some girls, but not many and not close friendships.   The only close female friend I had was my partner in crime, Jenny, from high school.  But as amazing as Jenny is, I knew I couldn’t rely on just one female in my life, especially going to school out of state.

So I prayed for more girls in my life.  And what do you know, God does provide!  This semester I met two ladies who have been very influential, active, and encouraging in my life: A’Driane and Tori.  (I mean if you really must know I became friends on facebook with A’Driane on September 14th and Tori on September 27th. Sometimes I have to add in a touch of quirky Kelsey and inform you of completely useless stuff…) I really haven’t known them for that long, but they are two of my closest friends.  And what a relief that they are females, haha.  They’re down to earth, they know how to have a good time, they give me practical advice, and they don’t let me get away with any B.S.  It’s been especially helpful having A’Driane’s encouragement in owning my story and accepting life with PTSD.   I really have been blessed this year to have them, and it amazes me that it’s only been 3 months that we’ve really known each other.  I can’t imagine my life without those two.

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It’s amazing to me, looking back to one year ago.  I did not yet go to my school or know any of my east coast friends, I was just a fledgling in my life with PTSD, I was still happily munching on bdubs boneless chicken wings, and I knew so little about myself.  With the help of Sohil, A’Driane, Tori, many others, and a few good panic attacks this semester, I have come to a place where I understand who I am so much better.  The way I function finally makes sense to me, and I’m learning to embrace my identity.

For those of you who knew me back in the day, I still have the same sense of humor, I still like the same music, and I still have that really weird personality that can’t identify with any group of people… but I am not who I was.  It’s bittersweet, ya know?  I miss that girl that I was, but I am at peace and confident in the woman I’m becoming.  And I can finally call myself a woman without feeling awkward seeing as I will no longer be a teenager this January… That’s kind of scary, but mostly not because I really don’t feel like a “teenager” anyways.  Can my 20th birthday just get here already???

So adios to my childhood, my preteen years, my teenage years, and my awkward first years of college discovering who I am.  Meet Kelsey.  The adult.  The chick with the red hair.  That person that just crawled out of her room for a cup of tea to calm her nerves after a run in with her PTSD.  The Kelsey who FINALLY has friends who are female!  That girl you don’t want to cross the wrong way, ‘cause she can have a sassy attitude just like her Grandma.   The one who won’t let you get away with an offensive comment.  The counseling major who will hopefully be getting her masters three years from now. And the Kelsey who is emerging into a new stage in her life.

OH!  Speaking of three years… guess who will have a clean driving record for three years this New Year’s Eve.  That’s right.  No more bad driver comments people!

In conclusion, I just want to thank you all for the support and friendship you’ve shown me.  It’s been a confusing year of a lot of “firsts” and “new” and it’s been good to have new friends open their arms to me, and old friends being my support back home.

So… Here’s to 2012!

Finding Out What People REALLY Think About You. Sort of…

For my counseling class, I had to interview people who knew me well.  I was given a list of questions from my professor and told to find at least 1 person.   I put the questions and answers my interviewees gave me below because I found this so interesting.

If you find any of their answers interesting and want to comment, agree, or disagree on them go right ahead.   Feel free to answer these questions about me, if you want to as well.


1. What is it like to be around me?
1:         It is fun.  Typically easy going.  It’s very easy to both talk to and listen to you about any topic.   You do have strong opinions about certain things which is respectable, but at the same time you listen to whatever comes out of my mouth.

2:         I think you’re fun and friendly and personable.  People like to be around you.   It’s also hard because you can be very sarcastic.  It’s hard to find the balance between sarcasm and realism.

3:         It’s fun.  Upbeat.  Not boring.  Easy to talk to one-on-one.  It’s a no pressure situation.

2.  How do my words affect you?
1:         No comment.  Didn’t understand the question.

2:         Your words can be very encouraging at times, they can also be very deflating at times.  It depends on where we’re at.  I think there’s a mix.

3:         When you say something, I take it to heart, because I know  you don’t have an agenda.


3. How well do you feel like I listen to you?
1:         You listen pretty well.  I know sometimes I get lost in what I’m saying and in my train of thought and you follow along pretty well.  You do sometimes shove off what I say, but that’s usually for a good reason.  Sometimes you do lose the main point of something or whatever I’m trying to say/you’re being told.  Generally it’s ok.

2:         Pretty well.  It just depends on time.  Normally it’s very well.  When I’m going through something, you’re willing to help me through stuff.   I think when things are good you listen very well.  Like that time that you let me talk for thirty minutes without telling me to shut up.

3:         Pretty well. I would say that you trust my opinion and you know when to call me out on my bs.

4. What emotions have you seen me express? 
1:         The full spectrum.
Afraid – -Anxious, secluded, frozen, stiff, quiet,
Mad – Usually frustrated.  You become rude, rash, and kind of get independent you get mad. annoyed, illogical, nonsensical, unreasonable,
Sad –You close yourself, you also get kind of frustrating.
gloomy, pessimistic, dejected, closed off, short,
Glad –You’re  pleasant, very open minded, courteous, kind. Beaming, beautiful, bright, cheerful,  hilarious, warm, open,

2:       Afraid – anxious, distressed, frightened, upset, worried. You’re quiet and reserved,
Mad –anger, frantic, irrational, unbalanced, unreasonable, unstable, doesn’t want to be bothered, “talk to me and I will kill you”
Sad – bitter, despairing, down in the dumps, heartbroken, hurting, pessimistic.  You’re downcast,  hidden, closed off,
Glad – animated, cheerful, contented, hilarious, light hearted, pleasant.  You’re happy and smiling.

3:       -Afraid – You put up a good front about it.   Around people you trust, you have no problem letting it out.  Most people can’t see it, but since I’ve known you for so long I can tell.
-Mad – You show it sometimes, you’ve gotten better at hold it in.  You’ve gotten better at letting it blow over
-Sad – hide it well, but with people you know well, you have no problem letting it out.   You don’t go around showing it to everyone though.
-Glad – happy energetic fun to be around talkative social


5. Do any emotions seem disproportionate or missing?
1:         -Sad/Afraid/Mad – You’re a lot more prone to getting into those more easily in general.  Sometimes it’s hard to get you out of those moods, not so much mad, but sad and afraid.  When you’re happy, it’s overpowering because you see a wider spectrum of emotions than when you’re sad, mad, or afraid.

2:         Yeah, mad and sad can be overdone, but that’s a hard question cause you can’t really see what someone is going through.

3:         No.  You’re a very happy person in general.  I wouldn’t say that’s equally done.  I would say that when you’re afraid you don’t show it off to the world.  You show all emotions but you show happiness more than the rest.

6. How have you seen me respond to conflict?
1:         -Sometimes when conflict happens you shut off what the other side is saying.  You get rash and rude sometimes, and instead of actually hearing everything out, you don’t.   And then again, there are certain times that you do have an open mind and you do listen.  And you’re able to absorb what other people are saying, you’re able to form a new train of thought instead of just having an argument of “a” and “b.”  It really depends on your disposition going in.

2:         All kinds. There’s: -Do not respond. Ignore it.  -Punch the conflict in the face when I see it. -Patience, waiting it out a couple days

3:         You’re direct and you do not shy away from conflict.  You never search conflict out, but once conflict comes up you’re not afraid to tackle it head on but you’re not looking for it.

7. From your impression of me, what would you say my experience of God’s presence in my life seems like?
1:         You have a very strong connection to God.  You take Him into account anytime you have a decision in life.  While you have shown… Uhh nevermind.

2:         You can just tell, through what you’ve been through you can see that you really trust that God has a bigger plan.  God is faithful and will ultimately carry you through and through that turmoil He kind of reveals himself to you.  It seems like you understand who He is and what He’s like through hard situations

3:         It shines through.  Especially in how you treat people.  You realize that no matter how bad someone is, they’re equally loved by God.  You easily relate.  You’re very kind and have over all joy towards people.

8. What do you think my blind spots might be?
1:         Losing a world view – there’s having a closed mind, there’s having an open mind, and there’s having a world view which is having a closed mind and an open mind at the same time.  It’s having an opinion on what’s around.  Sometimes you get caught in a very simple small view of things – not thinking big picture.  Sometimes you choose to do this out of ease.

2:       -Conflict resolution
-Not trying to assume the worst in people, and trying to see the best in them
-Encouraging people

3:         You don’t realize how awesome you are.  You underestimate yourself.

As you can see, I interviewed three people for this project.  3 is the one out of the three who understands who “Kelsey” is the most.  He has a good grasp on my identity and character.  1 is the one who knows my thought process and emotions best.  2 is the one who probably understands my spiritual life and my story the most.  I would have liked to interview a female, but I did not have the time.  It makes me wonder what kind of feedback I would have gotten from a non-male perspective.

The thing that I found the most interesting was my friends’ perspectives on what I am like when I get angry.  1 and 2 both have been around me in social setting a lot in the past year, whereas 3 has not.  However, 1 and 2 have not known me as long as 3 has.  They both said that when I am mad I close people out and I become very secluded.  They saw this as a problem.  They thought that I needed to work on discussing what I am upset about with people instead of closing myself off and forgetting about it.  When I asked 3 about how I act and what emotions he has seen me express when I am mad, he said, “You show your anger sometimes, but you’ve gotten better at holding it in and not letting it affect the people around you.  You’re much better at letting it blow over.”  3 saw that me holding my anger in was progress from where he has seen me in the past, whereas 1 and 2 saw it as a problem I needed to address.  It makes me wonder if, in my attempt to correct my over reactive anger issues, I have gone too far to the other side of the spectrum.

Something that was really confusing to me was the way that 2 and 3 saw that I treated people.  2 said that something I need to work on is “Not trying to assume the worst in people, and trying to see the best in them.”  However, 3 said “You treat people with kindness and joy. You realize that no matter how bad someone is, they’re equally loved by God.”  I think the reason for the opposing answers is that in high school I did not put up with bullying or people excluding others.  I chose to treat everyone with respect, especially the people that no one wanted to be around.  3 was looking at how I treat people through that lens.  Since high school, I have had a lot of bad interactions with guys in my life.  I do not trust men until I have known them for a very long time.  I do not often give any guy a chance to get to know me.  2 has seen this first hand, so I think he answered this question while considering  all the guys, including himself, that I have shut out and rejected in attempts to protect myself.  He sees me assuming the worst in guys.  This is the only reason I can think of to explain the different answers these two gave me.

This interview process was uncomfortable.  There were questions that seemed as if they were asking for my interviewees to compliment me, and these guys would get really awkward when addressing those questions.  Then there were also questions that were asking for brutal honesty and constructive criticism, and I could see the ways that they were trying to not hurt my feelings.  For example, when I asked 1 about my experience of God’s presence in my life, he said, “You have a very strong connection to God.  You take Him into account anytime you have a decision in life.” Then he added “While you have shown…” and paused.  He thought about what he was saying for a moment or two, stammered a bit, and then said, “never mind” and asked to go onto the next question.  I tried to coax him into saying what he was going to say, but he would not be persuaded.  It makes me wonder what things these guys thought about saying in their answers and held back from telling me.

I do not want to just stop this process after this project.  I think it is important for us to ask questions of those around us to get an assessment of ourselves.  I definitely plan on using some of these questions to talk with close friends over Christmas break.  In the end, I noticed two common themes in the answers I was given, one good and one bad.  The good theme is that I am considered respectful and personable when it comes to listening to people and talking with them.  The bad theme is that when I get emotional, I become illogical and unreasonable.  I was repeatedly told that I can be frustrating to them when I get upset.  This is amusing to me considering the fact that this is men’s usual complaint about the entire female population, but it is definitely something for me to work on none the less.  This was a very beneficial exercise and I was glad I had the opportunity to do this.