Twenty-Three

And so twenty-two is done. I am twenty-three.

Some people have asked me, what’s so bad about 23? Why the fuss? And I know, I know, I was drama queening a little bit, gotta make a fuss around birthdays you know! Adds to the fun! But 23 does feel different for some reason. Usually ages don’t feel like a big deal, at least I don’t find them a big deal, but this one felt different.

I always wanted to be twenty-two. I think I romanticized the age a bit. I was born on the twenty-second, 22 was my jersey number in basketball, twenty-two was my mum’s age when she got married. It seemed like it would be a big year, a special year! It was my champagne birthday after all! #22onthe22 (and I’ve realized I had no champagne all year, this is what happens when you don’t really like alcohol all that much…)

And it was a great year! I finally hit a rhythm and completed my second year of my degree instead of changing my degree again, a wonderful boyfriend came into the picture, I made new friends and had great times with old friends, there was a road trip to BC, adventures in Seattle… Twenty-two was a good year, I enjoyed it!

But see, seven year old Becky would disagree. Seven year old Becky would have graduated by now and would be a teacher. Seven year old Becky would have gotten married this year. Seven year old Becky would be very pleased that I actually have dyed my hair red. (six year old Becky would be quite pleased with that fact too…) So I’m sorry seven year old Becky, red hair is the only part of your plan that will ever come to pass because I’m no longer twenty-two, the goal age has passed. I cannot fulfill your dreams in the time you gave me, but no, no I won’t say sorry for that seven year old Becky, because sometimes some things need a bit more time. You see life isn’t all as quick and easy as dying your hair. Life is messy and doesn’t fit into molds very neatly. The future is unknown, it’s unplanned, and it’s very unlikely to be uneventful.

Now I get to be twenty-three.

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I’m a Cat

Today was a very draining day and a rather hard day. It was good for me though, it’s all working towards making me a better human being… Went to housegroup this evening, that’ll be a regular thing now. Felt preeeeeeeeeetty awkward and did me whole try-to-blend-in-with-the-wall thing. I’ve joined an “adult group” rather than a “young adult group” but thankfully there’s a few people closer to my age so I didn’t feel totally out of place. It’ll be good I think. I’ll just have to get used to people, and discussion, and socialization, and small talk, and have I mentioned I share an excessive amount of personality traits with cats? Moody, cries when I don’t have food, cries when I do have food, wants to go outside, wants to go back in, lies around and sleeps wherever (often floors) preferably in sunbeams, perch on the edges of table and chair-arms rather than sit properly, complain, shed EVERYWHERE (like seriously, have me over and you’ll find my hair weeks later). I’m a cat. Except I’m really allergic to cats and not overly fond of them… soooooooo… yeah.
-B

I SURVIIIIIIIVED

Today I livetweeted my decent into madness, don’t worry, I’ll repost them all here in case you didn’t get to enjoy the crazy first hand (and there is a conclusion to this story at the end, so if you saw the tweets live, just head to the bottom)

Having been assigned to speak at youth group on Friday, Wednesday was the beginning of the madness. I decided a temporary assassination should do it, with me being revived around midnight tonight…

As of Thursday, no one had agreed to assist

Thursday evening: Giving up on the assassin, I decided I may need to prepare

Work was going swimmingly… and by that I mean drowning looked like a wonderful prospect.

My roommate sent me the link to a One Direction music video…

This afternoon, trying to knuckle-down and finish (read: start) preparing

Getting slightly distracted…

Back “on track”?

Got a little overdramatic at the end there…

Going through the evening with nerves building

And the stunning conclusion!

 

So. That was the decent into madness. It took about fifteen minutes for my breathing and heart rate to get back down to a normal pace afterwards, but I did it. I had no external panic attack, almost tears a few times, almost hyperventilated yesterday evening (so I shut down the computer and went to bed immediately. Had a bit of a time falling asleep but I think it was the best solution), thought I was going to be sick this evening but I was okay. I spoke fairly clearly and hopefully not too fast. I used most of the time I was given (I think) and the kids seemed to be listening, one of them came up afterwards to talk to me about it (always a good sign) so I just need to work on trusting God, obviously! What spooks me about speaking in this kind of context is not the speaking in front of a crowd, I love that, I’m a drama queen, the world is my stage, etc. It’s the prepping of the message, it’s the faith that what I’m preparing is truly what God wants to say to the people and not me making things up. It’s the impartation of knowledge, the responsibility of teaching these people something. That throws me for a loop… Give me something someone else has written and I’m good. Ask me to write something and my stomach lurches. However, lots of people prayed for me and I felt good about it once I had finish writing it (although I got a bit nervous again in the ten minutes or so before going up to speak).

I did the thing I do when public speaking or sharing with people though, it feels like my talking speeds up so I’m using more oxygen but my breathing rate stays the same and when this is happening the longer I talk the less oxygen I fine I have to work with and eventually I get to a point where I just have to pause and gasp for air. It’s kind of embarrassing…. However, I managed to avoid gasping, I had enough oxygen for today! I just need to work on slooooooowing doooooooown when I’m talking. I think I’m getting better, but I definitely need to work on it.

I think it was a good experience, I didn’t have a panic attack even when I thought I was going to yesterday evening, I managed to control it which I didn’t think I could do. It’s like when I’m fainting, it comes up slowly and you know it’s happening, but you’re helpless to stop it and (when fainting) everything slowly goes black and you’re gone. Previously my panic attacks have come up like that, slowly but determined and unbeatable, but this time when I felt it coming, I said, no. I prayed, I put aside the panicky thoughts and I moved on. It’s encouraging to know that I don’t have to have a panic attack before speaking, the two don’t come hand in hand. I was worried they might come together because I could just feel it building up, feel it coming, but it didn’t!! I didn’t enjoy the prepping and the three days of controlled panic but I think it was a good experience. Overall, 5.8/10, would rather not have to do again (but probably will have to…).

So, I’m alive and I get to sleep in tomorrow! Lovely how these things work out!
-B

Me: Depression

I’ve probably said stuff like this before but earlier this year when I decided wasn’t going back to the university program I was in, I began to feel really excited for my future, like I just knew good stuff was gonna happen and it was coming and that’s a big deal.

Why is that a big deal? Well in the latter half of grade twelve and until after the new year after graduation I went through a period of what I can only call depression. I’m loathe to call it that because I know the connotations and the mentalities often paired with mental illness. I also know what I suffered was very light depression compared to what many people have to go through and for that I am grateful, but when you’re in it, when you’re in it, it does not feel “light”.

I don’t know what caused me to spiral down into where I landed part way through grade twelve but I suspect it was the fact that this was a last year and big changes were coming and I had no clue, literally no clue what I wanted to do. I am a person who craves structure (and with that often comes a need for control) and not knowing what was going to happen FOR THE REST OF MY LIFE freaked me out and as I went through the year still not knowing what I was doing and having nothing I could dig up peak my interest, I allowed myself to shut down.

Shut down? Well, often when emotions intimate me, I’ve allowed my mind to get into the habit of shutting them down. I push the problem out of the way and ignore it. This creates indifference (can’t see it, don’t need to bother with it. It’s no longer there), and then if it’s something important, when the deadline arrives, this method of coping results in a panic and if it’s bad enough, a full-fledged anxiety attack. I’ve only ever had three anxiety attacks that I can think of and I NEVER want to go through that again. The only way I can explain it is something explodes. The emotions that have been shut down and blocked out suddenly… pop. and everything explodes. Sound is extreme, light is extreme, people can’t talk-shouldn’t talk, there’s just sound and crying and panic and breathing, breathing is really loud and hard to do, and nothing makes sense and my mind stops registering anything and the worst thing you can EVER do if this is happening is ask me “what’s wrong?” I don’t know, that’s part of the problem, I just don’t know what’s going on. Something has become the last drop in the emotional pool to knock down the wall and all the hidden emotions are coming out.

That was a sidenote, sorry. (But seriously, the best thing you can do for someone having an anxiety attack, at least one like that, is just sit down and wait it out. Be there. Don’t talk, just be there. When they’re ready, they’ll talk. Don’t ask, don’t probe. Wait, and then listen. Once they’re done, think before you speak, if you are a person of faith, then you pray what God wants you to say then and there, because if that person just opened up to you that way they’re being extremely vulnerable and they’re are going to remember what you say and if you begin telling them what they’re feeling is wrong in any way, you’ve lost and they’re going to shut back down and think twice before opening up to you again. Be there and CARE)

Oh look, another sidenote. On a lighter note, depression… erm, uhh, nevermind.
So that year was hard because I shut down emotions and told next to no one what I was going through because I really didn’t understand it myself so how could I explain it to them and ask them to help me? To me I simply felt hopeless and indifferent all the freakin time and let me tell you, that is a crap way to live your life.
(In hindsight, just tell an adult you trust, they will be able to help. I mean I don’t know that from experience but I can imagine that’s a lot easier then suffering through it alone. At least then someone else knows and you don’t have to fake happy-and-normal with everyone)

I think what also allowed me to get so far down the spiral was that I stopped doing daily devotions and I stopped really pressing into God. I’ve heard a preacher say you can never stand still in your relationship with God. You’re either going forwards or you’re going back. I know I wasn’t going forwards in my relationship with God, so that means I spent a whole year backsliding and having pity parties. That’s a bad state of mind to be in. I don’t remember what happened but one day it was like something clicked and I realized “I don’t have to live like this…” and so I stopped.

I think that’s what makes many people doubt what I went through was real, the fact that it finished so fast, the fact that I could literally “snap” out of it. I am not saying, “get a grip, you can just snap out of it” to people. It was a mindset change. Like I said, something clicked. I don’t know what it was but in that moment it was like a little bit of hope came back. It didn’t have to be like this. This wasn’t all there was to life.

I never suffered suicidal thoughts but one thing I often prayed was “God, if this is life, it’s not worth it.” I’m not sure if I was accusing him, or just letting him know that’s how I felt, but I still agree with the statement, if that was life it wasn’t worth it. Thankfully, that’s not life.

The last year has been tough. I’m still getting back to where I was with God before it all happened and I’ve still never talked to anyone expect a couple friends (actually, maybe only one…) in this much detail about that year, so sometimes I think I’m trying to do it too much on my own but I still have a very hard time opening up to people (seriously, posting this is tough but telling it to someone in person… I mean I don’t want to say impossible, but…). I’m relearning how to read my Bible. I’m trying to get that foundation because I want it so bad. I want there to be a God who wants to have a relationship with me, I want to know him, I want there to be hope, I want there to be salvation. I need it. I don’t just want it, I NEED it, because life without that, it isn’t worth it. It just feels empty and hollow and bleak. Very bleak…

So I’ve been excited and hopeful for what’s to come for the first time in a long time and a few months ago it was decided that my church was going to restart and revamp it’s post-secondary Bible school from when I was a kid and as soon as I heard that I knew, yes, that was what my next year was going to be. It was going to happen if it happened based on my desperate prayers alone and I was the only student. And it’s happening guys, it’s happening and I’m really excited. I’m going to be getting theological training, and mentorship, and church ministry practicum, and I’m going to learn so much and grow so much in my relationship with God and I can’t wait! I know it’s going to be frightening and I’m going to have to learn to open up to people and I’m going to have to let go of a lot of control problems but I’m, well not ready, but I’m waiting in anticipation and I’m probably as ready as I’ll ever be!

I’m excited. I’m really excited that I AM excited. This is new. This is a new beginning, and it’s going to be good.

-Becky.

Some of my "textbooks" for school this year

Some of my “textbooks” for school this year

Dear Amy

Amy,

I guess growing up with me wasn’t always great and we’ve definitely had our share of times when we didn’t get along. We’re so different, you and I. You always seem so confident and sure of yourself. You always know what to do in public, meeting new people, making friends. I’m not good at that. You know all about fashion and make-up and stuff like colours and what goes with what. None of that makes any sense to me. I mean, you did my make-up for me for my own graduation!

Remember when we were little and it was your first year at summer camp? I had been before, I’d gone with friends, I was a pro at this whole camp thing! You however, you were nervous. You had no friends who were going that you could go with except, well, me. So, I ended up getting put in your cabin with you, and a bunch of other kids who were two years younger than me. I settled in, it’s camp, it’ll be fun, no big deal. And you, nervous little Amy who was worried about making friends, immediately found some new best friends and were totally fine for the entire week! All that worrying and you ended up making friends immediately!

That’s your personality, you’re very relatable and open and people are attracted to that. You’re also a great story teller, you’re able to keep people’s attention and relate events in a hilarious way! Half the time it’s funniest because you forget a key part or you’re laughing too hard for any of us to make out any of the words!

As we’ve gotten older I’ve become more able to see these qualities in you and admire them. I’ve learned to see what you’re better than me at and I’ve learned to quiet down about what I may be a little better at! I skyped you from England to ask fashion advice and I ask you for make-up tips almost regularly! and you know what, you’ve got good advice and you know what you’re talking about, so thanks for putting up with all my silly sounding questions and helping me out!

I’m super proud of you for graduating and you’re giving a speech and everything! You’re going to look gorgeous in your dress and I hope you have a really great day! From now on you’re going to have more new opportunities than ever! Try out new things, go new places, meet new people, have fun! Go where God leads you, you’re going to have a great year!

I love you lots Amy! Can’t wait to see you walk up that stage tomorrow and get your diploma!!
– Becky.

a and b young_0002a and b young_0001

I Am Me.

My sister is graduating high school this week. It’s making me feel kind of old. I’ve been out of high school two years and I’ve got pretty much nothing to show for it but experience.

But you know, I think it’s worth it. I travelled without my parents and kind of settled into myself a bit. I went to a public university after having been in a private school for twelve years. I mean, sure I’ve now dropped out of that program but I now know what to expect from being in a larger building, more people, a wider variety of people, different classes, many more opinions and views. I feel like I was thrown abruptly into the world upon graduation and through the last two years I’ve finally found my feet a bit.

I started my first proper jobs. I got asked out by a coworker. Twice. I said no to going out with a coworker. Twice. (I’ve discovered that stereotypically coworkers who ask me out are kind of weird-creepyish people). I’ve learned how to get into good work habits and strengthen my work ethic (which I like to think has always been quite good). I’ve always stayed on good terms with my bosses. I’ve asked for a promotion. I got promoted.

I’ve made friends with people outside of my immediate circle of acquaintances. I’ve kept vlogging. I’ve found interests that suit me much better than what I’d always thought I enjoyed. New television shows, movies, books, hair colours. (Well, not hair colours. I always knew I wanted red hair. As an elementary student I would doodle myself with red hair, so I’ve kind of fulfilled a life-long dream by dying it I suppose). I’m preparing to travel to LA in a month to attend a conference and hang out with people I’ve never technically “met” but feel like I know. (Don’t worry, much less creepy and potential stalker-serial killer than it sounds!)

I no longer having a problem with being a nerd or a geek. I love being a nerd/geek/quirky-person/weirdo. People attach those names to me and I don’t see it as an insult, it’s not, it’s freeing, I don’t have to worry about whatever it is that makes you feel like you have to be constrained to “like” things in the “socially acceptable” way. I can full on nerd-out about things, I can be unapologetically enthusiastic about what I enjoy. To use a quote from one of my favourite authors, John Green:


I was talking to my mum because we were prepping for a family-celebration-BBQ thing for my sisters grad and I was saying I never got a party like this for my grad, and I never got a manicure like my sister’s getting and my mum said, well you had the options to but you said no. You weren’t into that stuff then. And I realized, yeah only two years ago I was the girl who wore box shits, Converse, no make-up and felt the need to prove myself to the world, often by holding it at an arms length. By wearing my fandom t-shirts I wasn’t wearing something I liked, I was trying to make a louder statement, to get noticed while saying I didn’t care. I was saying, Hey, here I am. This is me, this t-shirt, this represents me!

I don’t have to do that anymore. In this year, like I said, I’ve found my feet a bit and I’ve grown in self-confidence. I no longer feel the need to prove myself to the world. I’m me and me will end up being whoever I want me to be. I can wear a box shirt, no make-up, and Converse one day, and the next day curl my hair, put on a dress, do my makeup all pretty and go about in heels and both of those are equally “me”. I can wear my fandom shirts because I like them, who cares if someone notices, who cares if someone thinks I’m weird. I think it’s a cool looking top and most importantly:


Not any random person who walked by understood that reference, I, I understood that reference and I liked the shirt. I’m no longer trying to impress to feel accepted. I am accepted by those who are important to me, and if someone doesn’t like me, well then in the end, that’s their problem.

I’ve come to the point where I feel like I can make my own decisions in my life, with guidance and advice from “the trusted council of advisors” of course! But in the end I feel like I will make my own decision and not let anyone make it for me.

I am me and me is whoever God wants me to be and I make me be and I will be no one if I don’t make myself.

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B

Just a Room

It’s just a room right? For sleeping, for homework, for enjoying new books and old books, for hiding, for ranting, for growing.

When I was eleven (in the video I was wrong, we moved before my 12th birthday) we moved to the house we live in right now. I got my own room. A nice big room! And with that I got Mum and Dad’s old queen size bed when they got a new one. It was perfect. There was a shelf around two walls that I immediately resolved to fill with books. I got to choose paint colours and a border and make the room mine. It’s still the same. Some of the books have filtered out into boxes in the basement and many new ones have been bought. The china doll collection has been put away and the stuffed animals are brought out only when young kids come to play, but all-in-all, my room hasn’t changed much at all.

I can still remember, when I was 12, about to turn thirteen, I saw my parents watching some of the Lord of the Ring’s behind the scenes videos. I was immediately intrigued (I still remember the scene, it was how they made Gollum with the real-life capture and CGI) and I wanted to watch the movie too! But my parents, wonderful people that they are, said I had to read the books before I could watch the movies (thank you mum and dad!) so I did. I began with The Hobbit and read all four books in one month. I can remember lying on my bed trying desperately to finish The Return of the King before the clock struck twelve (I was already sneakily staying up waaay past my bedtime) but I made it! I finished all the books within a month and I just kind of lay on the bed trying to recall everything about these books that well, I suppose as cheesey as it sound kind of changed my life because they opened a whole new world to me and through LOTR I found loads of things, in fact it’s because of LOTR that I started going online more, to go on forums for LOTR.

After I finished the books I remember being curious as to how tall a Hobbit would be compared to me so I looked up the height JRR Tolkien gives (about 3ft) and I went and found a tape measure. I then proceeded to measure three feet and make a teeny-tiny mark on the wall, labelling it “Average height of a hobbit”. It’s still there, tucked behind the door where no one would ever see it.

I’m at a stage of life right now where I don’t know for sure when I’ll be moving out but it could be as soon as September so I wanted to make a video trying to capture some of those little memories that are hidden away in my room. It’s not just a room, it’s my room.

So, without further ado, new video from today:

 

Talk to you tomorrow!
-B