Passionate About Life

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If I am being completely honest, spring quarter was a hard one for me. I left behind familiarity and friends to seek out something I was passionate about. Environmental studies is not offered at Walla Walla University and overall I was feeling a little trapped. I couldn’t live off campus, I wasn’t able to drive 5 min to see the sea, and I was hours away from home. And I really wish that I could have my friends and still attend the university that was best suited for me. But I couldn’t, so I moved to Bellingham to attend Western Washington University.

The adjustment period was a bit rough, if you know me at all, then you would know I’m quite introverted. So introverted that I scored the highest on a test I had to do in a health class. So making friends proved to be challenging and not having my study buddies around made things worse. But I’ve managed and now I am here, done with spring qtr.

I was flipping through my bullet journal on Saturday evening and came across a page of quotes from April of last year. The one that stuck out to me the most said…

“I began to realize how important it was to be an enthusiast in life. He taught me that if you are interested in something, no matter what it is, go at it at full speed ahead. Embrace it with both arms, hug it, love it and above all become passionate about it. Lukewarm is no good. Hot is no good either. White hot and passionate is the only thing to be.”

It’s a quote by Roald Dahl. And it was a simple reminder to run full speed ahead at the things I’m passionate about. It reminded me that I haven’t done any community service or volunteer work in almost a year and that I miss it dearly. It made me realize that I shouldn’t hold back my passion for creating and that I should embrace it. And most importantly it reminded me to run towards a major in environmental studies wholeheartedly. I’ve been holding back, sulking, and getting lost in it all. But sometimes we just need a gentle to reminder to focus on a few things and do them well in life.

So this week, I encourage you to be an enthusiast about your life.  Find your passions in life and seek them out wholeheartedly.

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A Note on Mental Illnesses

If you don’t suffer from a mental illness, sometimes it can be hard to understand what your family and friends are going through. I can’t speak for anyone besides myself, but I thought I’d give you an idea of what depression and anxiety can feel like.

Depression…

It creeps up on you at the most inopportune times, right before big papers are due or before finals week. It robs you of your will to keep going, of your motivation, sometimes even of your will to live. It makes you hide in your bed for long hours, avoiding texts, phone calls, class, homework, eating, … pretty much anything. It locks you inside on sunny days and tells you not to reach out for help. It makes you feel like a failure and a burden. It lets you know that since you can’t do this one thing right that there is no point to go on. On the worst days, it leaves you numb, feeling like you are unable to move or speak. It has the tendency to grab hold of you and can be very hard to shake off. For someone who suffers from depression, they can’t just be happy or let it go. Unfortunately, it doesn’t work like that. So be patient with them and encourage them to seek out help, because nothing is worse than suffering alone.

Anxiety…

Anxiety is not just being nervous, it is when the worries and fears you have are so strong that you interfere with your life. There are so many different types of anxiety and they all affect people in different ways. I suffer from generalized anxiety. I can worry about anything and everything. From whether I locked my car to if the headaches I have are from a brain tumor. Sometimes it can be as simple of a feeling of panic arise anytime I do something new, different, or wrong. Being late to class can bring on a feeling of uncontrollable panic. Sometimes it starts as a little voice in the back of your head and then slowly or not so slowly begins to make you feel on edge. Often the voices just get louder and louder until something is done to fix it. And like depression, it often starts at the most inopportune times. Just last quarter my anxiety went from manageable to a near panic attack in my lab final. It can be difficult to learn to manage and I’ve often pulled away from doing anything new to avoid my symptoms of anxiety. I’ve canceled countless plans due to my anxiety and I’m sure that people probably thought I didn’t want to see them. But in reality, I was too afraid to reach out and tell them that I was feeling anxious. So again be patient and please encourage them to seek out help, because suffering alone is horrible. I would know, I did it for years and years.

Mental health is a touchy subject still, it still isn’t treated like real illnesses. If you broke your leg and had to cancel plans because of it, people would totally understand. But if you say you can’t because you are feeling depressed or anxious, it is likely you will be told you’re fine or just get over it, or it will be fun, don’t be such a downer… etc. When people say these things it just makes it harder for people with mental illnesses to reach out and get help. I’ve often heard a little voice pop up in my head telling me what I am going through is not real and when I get shut down, it just is like pouring gas on a little spark. Something so tiny is turned into a roaring fire. So I plead, for me and other people who suffer from mental illness to be patient and supportive.

If you have ever contemplated suicide, just know that you are not alone. You are not bad for having those thoughts, you are by no means damaged. You are a beautiful human and I beg to you seek out help and support. Call a friend or family, call your campus hotline, call the police, call the national suicide hotline (1-800-273-8255), just please call somebody. Your life is too precious to end it, the dark days, although they feel long, will pass and the sun will come out again.

Side note, don’t forget to use person first language when talking about people and the mental illnesses they suffer from. So instead of “she is autistic” or “she is depressed”, switch your language to “she suffers from autism” or “she suffers from depression”. It can be surprising the difference it can make it people’s lives, to know that they are more than the illnesses they suffer from.

 

June Favorites

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Since last month, I finished my freshman year of college, turned 20, and opened my first Etsy store! It has been a busy month, but definitely a good one. Now, let’s get into the favorites for June!

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First up is this basket I got for my birthday from Salt Shoppe. At first, I was surprised by its size, but soon I fell in love. It is a large basket, but it makes it so useful! I can even fit my beagle inside. 🙂 It is perfect for trips to the produce stand, beach, thrift store, post office. Literally anywhere you need to transport a large amount of stuff. I would 10/10 recommend this basket!

Next is a collection of mostly food that were favorites in June… here we go!

  1. simple mills grain free gluten free crackers – I swear these have crack in them, they are so addictive
  2. Garbology – a book I am reading for my environmental studies class, I highly recommend.
  3. bouldering – the act of climbing without ropes, such a good workout and something that I’ve dearly missed and rediscovered during June
  4. strawberriesssss – fresh, in season, local strawberries were definitely consumed in large quantities. And when they started to go bad we turned them into sweet sugary jam
  5. Chaco Canyon Organic Cafe – If you are ever in Seattle, go to Chaco Canyon. This place is hands down my favorite cafe ever. It is vegan, healthy, tasty, and has tons of gluten-free options… just prepare for it to break your wallet. It is pricey but soooo worth it. 10/10 would recommend.
  6. Miyoko’s vegan cheese – last but not least, Miyoko’s double chive vegan cheese is amazing. Also, it is $10, not friendly for a college student’s budget, but definitely one of my favorite treats during my birthday month.

Weekend Links 7/14/17

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After a fast paced and wonderful week in Bellingham, I am home for the weekend. My family pupper, Bella the beagle, has been living in Bellingham with me as an emotional support animal. Let’s just say that she is quite pleased to be home, apartment living isn’t her thing. So this weekend we are going to enjoy our big yard, comfy couches, and endless amounts of food. In between all that we might check out a trail nearby and hit up the local farmers market. What are you up to this weekend? Let me know! Here are a few links from around the interwebs for your weekend…

Things that should exist for single people

Hehe

Interesting stories about parenting around the world.

Speaking about parenting…they do have a big environmental impact.

Tasty + healthy + another way to eat cherries this summer

Cuteeee

A pin I need for my new thrifted jean jacket because RBG is bae.

Also, this tote bag is perfect, thank you, Etsy.

Sunflowers are my fav

Shameless plug for my favorite item in my Etsy shop

 

Plant Collection |6/5/17|

IMG_0216I’ve always loved plants and the idea of taking care of something beautiful and living. When I was younger I used to spend long hours outside helping my grandpa garden or even just looking at a plant. Now I find myself completely enthralled with plants. It seems crazy that something so simple can be so fascinating. I often find myself stopping along a trail to look at a plant that I’ve never seen before. Even if I don’t pursue a career in botany, I’ll always be a botanist at heart.

IMG_0217I definitely went through a phase where I killed all my indoor cacti and succulents, but this year I’ve finally mastered indoor gardening. My plant collection is ever growing and each month I am discovering new ways to better care for my plants. So here is my little or maybe not so little plant collection as of now.

A Pothos, loving named Phil

Succulents back from the dead

A Moondrop Schefflera that never stops growing

Three other cool plants that I’ve yet to identify

Two Spider plants

A Coleus plant that I grew in lab

A can full of lettuce seedlings

And a discounted Yucca tree from Lowes

P.s. If you ever have any dying, sick, or unwanted plants I will gladly take them!

Weekend Links 4/28/17

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This week felt like it would never end or get better. Each day I woke up exhausted and unmotivated and today was just the icing on the cake. I was almost late to class, forgot close-toed shoes for lab, and forgot to eat breakfast and lunch. I felt like a complete mess, but I prevailed. I got up, I showed up, and I survived. And despite the terrible start to my day I decided to make the most of what was left. I went thrifting, ate dinner with friends, and cuddled a pupper. And thanks to those simple little actions I ended a rough week on a happy note.

How this week felt…

Incase you missed last weekends chance to march for change.

Indoor gardening for soil haters.

You and 6/10

Pretty jeans that would be fun to recreate. (Cause there is no way I’m paying $129)

Perfect summer adventure bag/basket.

Beautiful white kitchen redo.

Some pretty earrings and a dress to go with.

DIY napkins

I hope you have a good weekend and don’t forget to engage in self-care if you’ve been having a rough week!

Breathe

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Dealing with mental health problems isn’t easy, I would know. I’ve been dealing with them my whole life and many of the years I kept silent about it all. Sometimes people over look the fact that somedays people with anxiety and/or depression struggle to get out of bed. And no, they can’t just will themselves to do things. I wish it worked that way. So today, a gentle reminder that it is perfectly okay if all you did today was breathe.

-Emily

Update 3/29/17

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The view of Bellingham Bay from the University.

So I’ve been a little absent lately, but nevertheless I have been busy. Since I’ve last posted, I have finished my last quarter at Walla Walla University and have transferred to my new university. (And done a whole of other things in between…) That whole process involved moving from Walla Walla to home to Bellingham. It has been a stressful couple of weeks, but ultimately I know that I am doing the right thing. Transferring to Western is one of the best choices that I have made for myself in awhile, despite the fact that I am starting over completely.

It is scary to go where not many people go. I came from a conservative private school and not many people attended public universities. I am one of the very few from my class that branched out and even so, it took me two quarters at the wrong university to figure out that I wanted something different. I’ve not even been here a week and I am already loving it. It is scary as hell, I know like 3 people and they are all upperclassmen. Then there is me… a lowly freshman who tends to get lost every 3 seconds. But despite being friendless, lost, and very confused, I know that this is the right place for me.

I am slowly transitioning (…or maybe not so slowly) into the person I’ve always wanted to be, but never felt that I could be.

At my previous university I was required to have a mentor who was overly religious and quite judgmental of my choices. Our last meeting ended in an explosion of her passive aggressively disproving of my life and not understanding my choice. Fast forward to my first day here and I was getting my ears pierced and my brother and I came up with a great idea of writing a blog called A Letter to My Mentor. And although I won’t make a whole new blog, I am thinking of posting about my life here in bellingham in a series called A Letter to My Mentor. And if I keep it up, it will be a really nice way to look back on this big, exciting, and important part of my life.

So right now that is me. I can’t promise consistent posts, as I am still getting settled, but I hope that soon I can get back to regular posts.