Wake me up when September ends

The year was 2005. It had just been 2004 and I found myself entering my second semester at UIUC at a loss. I had dumped my boyfriend after Thanksgiving only to find myself falling head over heels for the wrong guy, again. The same guy who had pulled on my heart-strings since I was in High School. A guy who existed mostly in my imagination, which was exactly why it would never work out. I just kept hoping, but the longer I dug my nails in the less I had a hold of things.

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Everything felt like it was spiraling out of control. It was one of those days where I found myself in my dorm, only to be missing my very expensive and needed graphic calculator in order to try my hand at this chemistry assignment. I decided to anxiously walk/run rather than ride my bike on the icy roads. About an hour later I return to my dorm-room to find three police officers standing in the doorway. Instantly, I think what did my room-mate do? But she was perfect, unlike me. And I soon found out they were there for me.

It may be hard to believe, but up until this point in my life I had zero run ins with cops. Like literally never even been pulled over before. To say I was shaking would be an understatement. If I wasn’t already upset, I was in tears by the time they decided to take me to the emergency room. See, they weren’t there to arrest me. Instead, a very concerned friend called them on my behalf. My friend somehow didn’t have my phone number so instead of trying to get a hold of me, called the police.

At first I was mad. But then I realized I needed this wake-up call. I had been blogging some seriously “emo” stuff. And while I wrote it off as song lyrics that I enjoyed, they were all saying the same thing. I was sad, and I felt alone. Really alone. I was borderline anorexic, I would only eat when a friend was with me. I remember due to this, I would skip multiple meals, sometimes for a few days at a time. And I still thought I was fat. The body-image issues were out of control. And I felt like I was just crawling around campus hoping to find where I belonged. I went from a high school of about 2,000 students to a campus of about 40,000 students. I was literally lost among a sea full of people. I regretted my decision to attend one of the largest universities and felt like it was going to be the longest four years of my life.

It took awhile, but I ended up thankful that I spent hours that night and morning in the ER. I had to convince my mom and dad to not drive down to see me, and that I was totally okay. This was a turning point in my life. After a prescribed meeting with a therapist, I was already feeling better. A few girls in my dorm invited me to hang out with them. It ended up being a bible study, but that’s exactly what I needed: a small group of friends to feel like I belonged. I also, miraculously, started having a crush on a class-mate’s friend. Just when I thought I would never get over Mr. never-ending crush, I found myself chasing a cute engineer. And you know the rest, I ended the semester not wanting to go home, started the dating dare, and found Jesus. Right?

Not quite. My finding Jesus journey was just beginning. But you can’t climb to the peak if you don’t walk through the valley first. And this was one of those valleys I had to go through to learn that I couldn’t do life alone. This was the year I learned that if I rely solely on myself, I will fall short. I also learned that people care, and to give out my phone number to my friends more often.

 

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Process of writing from the heart

Lately I’ve had so many compliments and questions in regards to my writings. A big question I received recently was how long have I been blogging? And my answer was that I’ve been writing almost my entire life. I even had a diary in elementary school! But to be completely honest, it took a long time to write from the heart. And ever since, my posts have become more relatable and easier to read.

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But the process of writing from the heart isn’t one I take lightly. I do thorough research before sharing just whatever’s on my mind. While it is enticing to just write what’s on my mind, I also want to make sure I don’t put my readers to sleep. So before sharing a particular post in regards to a certain topic, I do my research. I enjoy reading books, other blog posts, and articles that are related to the topic. This way I learn what works and what doesn’t work. Was what I read engaging and interesting? Or did it put me to sleep? Also, how many comments and shares is it getting?

Trending topics are easy to find and write about, but sometimes I like to push myself to write about a less-talked about topic. When doing so, I am sure to read a little more and take a little extra time to do my research. I’m old-school and will hit up my local library to check out books related to the topic. I also will do a few google searches to see if I can find blogs or news articles related to the topic, even if the articles are a few years old. When applying what I read and learn to my writings, I’m sure to update them to make the topics more current and interesting for my readers.

While writing from the heart may not be for everyone, I’ve found that it’s brought a lot more traffic to my personal blog than any other type of post. But I’m not here for the traffic. Instead, I’m here to share my stories and help others in need. At the end of the day, even if I only help one person I feel like my goal is being accomplished.

What’s your process when it comes to writing? I’m always looking to improve, so share away.