Okay, so, I realize that my first two posts probably seem kind of braggy. First, let me just say that this is not the intent of this blog, nor was it my intent to come off in this light, if I have. Second, it hasn't always gone this way for me. That being said, I have two more brags, and then I'll explain that further.
1. Thursday night, I was the recipient of an award for academic excellence and environmental leadership. It was the first of it's kind, and I have the honour of receiving it jointly with my current roommate. Winning the Acorn Award, has made the last three years come together, and showed me how far I've come. When I began my studies at Acadia, I came with the mindset that I was here to study, not make friends. That lasted about 12 minutes and I'm thankful for this. The friends I have made here have been incredible and supportive. They have encouraged me to challenge myself and grow. Additionally, I consider many of my professors to be included in this "friends" category. I wouldn't have found any of this has I stuck to my initial mindset.
2. Last night I received word that I will be taking on a blogging spot at Verge Magazine, where I will be writing in their "From the Field" section. This will include posts pre, during, and post travel to Ghana. This is exciting because a) I'm going to be getting awesome experience and exposure b) I love to write, and want to be able to make this a career in some form.
Now that I have that out of the way, let's get back to serious business. Life has not always been rosy for me. I have struggled with depression, anxiety, and severe issues of confidence and self-worth. I have struggled (and continue to struggle) with my weight. I have been involved in several unhealthy relationships, with both romantic partners, friends, and my father.* This past year, I lost my mother, unexpectedly, in a car accident a day after my Gramma's funeral. This is something I struggle to talk about, but will most likely come up in future posts. All of these things have made life difficult for me. On top of this, I have a brother who has accomplished great things, and as a result left me with some big shoes to fill in order to match what he has done. However, I want it noted that never once has he made me feel I need to live up to his success, and has been (and continues to be) one of my greatest champions. In fact, I can 100% tell you that none of these amazing things happening in my life right now would be without his limitless encouragement and support. It's hard to be a younger sibling to someone as positive and motivated as he is, because others often forget that I am also here. And finally, until a few years ago, things never happened for me. I would apply and/or chase dreams, but they never worked out. But that is now changing...
I know that my life hasn't been terrible, let's just get that out in the open right now. The idea of 'luck' is something I think we like to use when things aren't going well for us. 'Luck' is what you make it. I am a healthy, young, intelligent, female who is confident, driven, passionate, and compassionate, but it has taken me a long time to get to this point. A friend told me this summer that once I started to believe how awesome I was, things would change for me. And folks, I need you to know something - I'm pretty awesome. I'm not perfect, and don't strive to be. I am flawed. I make mistakes. And yet, I'm learning from them. I haven't a regret in life, because without the decisions I have made up until now, I wouldn't be who I am today.
So, here's the moral of this (lengthy) story: Yes, I have had several bumps in the road over the years. Yes, this past year I have endured a month I wouldn't wish on my worst enemies. But, all of these things have only reaffirmed what one can achieve, despite the challenges you face. Often I have been told how strong I am for continuing my studies and putting a smile on my face after losing my Mom. I think many (including myself) believed this event would end me, as well. But it didn't. And, confession time: I am not strong. I am struggling. A lot. Everyday. It's difficult. I miss my Mom and wish she were here to experience all of these things with me. I am not strong, yet I am not weak, because I have had the strength of my friends and family throughout it all. I have yet to learn that it is okay to show my grief. I have yet to really let anyone know how I am feeling and the true struggle I live with. What I have done, however, is proven that no matter what comes your way, if you fight hard enough, if you open your eyes and begin to belief in yourself, you can do great things. I am proof that life does not end when your "worst case scenario" becomes reality. I am loved, and therefore, I am strong. My struggles are not over, but at least I know whatever comes my way, I'm ready.
I'm sorry for the long, semi-ranty post. Be well. ...the Orange Canadian.
*Note: I am not going to suggest that any of these are the sole fault of the other person, with the exception of the abuse I endured (not from my father). Relationships of any kind are a two way street, and I often struggle to make my contribution equal. But, this does not excuse some of the ways I have been treated. Furthermore, I am not suggesting in anyway that my father is a bad person. I know there will be some of you that will read this and know him, and I do not want to paint him in a bad light. We have our issues, and I will leave it at that.