Going With Your Gut

Sunday, July 23, 2017

Every now and then difficult decisions find their way into our lives and if you're anything like me, you struggle greatly with them. I mean, I can't even decide where to eat dinner on the daily, let alone make a life altering decision! Decisions are scary! Making a decision means something is in fact going to happen... something different than if you had chosen another option. What if you choose wrong?! Helloooo anxiety. Anybody else? Just me? 

Recently, I had one of those seemingly ginormous decisions come flying into my life out of nowhere. I was on my fifth teacher interview and all was going well. I had a good feeling that day. They offered me a fourth grade position, great!! I was excited and ready to accept. I text everyone in my phone, "GUESS WHO'S TEACHING FOURTH GRADE MATH AND SCIENCE NEXT YEAR!!!!!!!!!!!" I then proceeded to buy a cupcake to celebrate (obviously). I pulled in the driveway, excited to eat my treat when the phone rang. Another job offer... this time for first grade. 

Anyone who knows me, knows I have forever wanted a K-2 teaching position. All through my year of student teaching fourth grade, I made remarks of how I couldn't wait to get back to the lower grades. So... you'd think this would be an easy decision, right? Wrong, so wrong. I became beyond overwhelmed. Don't forget about all those text messages I sent out. My phone was already blowing up with congratulations texts, just in time for me to awkwardly text back and be like... just kidding... maybe... I don't know. 

Let's get to the part you really came to read about, how I dealt with the anxiety of making this big decision. First off, the fourth grade position just felt right. I knew it in my gut. There was just an overwhelming feeling I had that it was the right choice. I was beyond confused by this because it was everything I had said I didn't want. I became worried about what people would think! Would they think I had settled for less and just accepted what came my way? This brings me to my second point. Sometimes what's right might be the farthest thing from what you envisioned (and let the haters hate). The final thing that helped me was talking to other people. In talking, my true feelings came out. Every person I talked to told me to go with the fourth grade position. They could just tell.  

I went with my gut and the reality is, if I don't like the choice I made, well... I can do anything for 10 months. Relax. Decisions aren't so bad. Take a deep breath and work your way through them. You've got this!

The All or Nothing Thinker

Sunday, July 16, 2017

The all or nothing mental distortion is something that has plagued me forever.
Basically, my mind goes to extremes when I am thinking about things. It either has to be all or nothing, there is no in between. This is a pattern of thinking that often sets me up for failure. You see, when something doesn't happen all the way, the way it's supposed to... my mind says NOPE! At this point I become overwhelmed with frustration, which can shut me down quick. That's no way to live. Thankfully, I know this about myself and have a desire to overcome it.

If you are an all or nothing thinker like myself, there's a few things you can do to keep that wonderful mind of yours in check.

1. Accept your mind works the way it works and it's totally okay! It makes you YOU!

2. Understand that you CAN do something about it.

3. Begin to take note of when you are thinking in an all or nothing pattern.

4. Ask yourself what would happen if... (and be realistic with your scenarios here, don't let that anxiety take control!)

5. Try some things in between all or nothing and see what happens, you'll be okay, I promise!

I know these guidelines are a bit vague, but everyone is different and we all have our own way of working through our mental obstacles. The biggest thing you must realize is: if you want change, YOU have to do something. I formulated these 5 steps based off of what helps me to help you begin to change your thinking. Again, this is on you. No one else can persuade your amazing brain to change your patterns of thinking. You've got this!

Out: A Year of Being Me

Saturday, July 1, 2017

One year ago, I published and shared a blog post that would forever change my life.
In this post, I shared my truth. I openly admitted to being gay. It was the scariest thing I have ever done. What if people hated me? What if everyone I loved slammed the door in my face? These questions haunted me, but what haunted me more was keeping my love a secret. I was tired of lying and hiding. Before publicly coming out, I told a few friends and family. Something that has eaten away at me in the past year is knowing that some people were offended that I didn't tell them personally and they had to find out via social media. To those individuals, let me say this: you can't imagine the courage it takes to utter the words I'm gay to someone you love so dearly. The fear of rejection in that moment is at an insurmountable high. I hope you understand why I chose to come out the way I did. I have also had some individuals ask me why I chose to come out publicly. The answer is simple, to help and inspire others that may be going through a similar situation. You'll be happy to know that my words have indeed encouraged at least one individual. I was fortunate to get a very positive and loving response. I'm sure not everyone is happy about my truth, but anyone who disagrees has been respectful and I appreciate that. Enough about all that, let's talk about the incredible year that resulted from me fearfully clicking "post."

After getting an overwhelmingly positive response, I felt happier than ever. I could share pictures of my boyfriend without writing a caption that led you to believe he was nothing more than my best friend. I could be me and not have to worry about trying to hide a huge piece of my life. I could talk about cute boys and romcoms with my friends. No longer did I have to deny who I truly was. When I met new people, I got to introduce my boyfriend without fear. I think you get the point, I was able to live freely and no longer care what people thought of me.

My life only got better from there. In the past year I have become a teacher, become a member of the Project Life Creative Team, made incredible new friends in Charlotte, Phoenix, and Orlando, been interviewed live on Facebook, connected with people all over the world via social media, traveled, had people reach out to me about how I have inspired them, and so much more. Coming out didn't stop my life, if anything, it sped it into motion. Coming out made me stronger, braver, and much more confident (shout out to my girl Demi Lovato). When new opportunities come my way I gladly accept them, when in the past, I would have shied away. I am proud of who I am and I am doing my best to use my God given talents to help others. I hope that's the person you see me as and don't get hung up on just one part of me. (Let's be honest... anyone who isn't happy about me coming out didn't read this far into this post) Anyways, thanks for reading, thanks for loving, and thanks for being a part of my journey. Here's to many more years of happiness and adventure.

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