Break the Mold

The video below talks about EXACTLY what I’ve been saying for the longest time! I see my friends stress over grades and keeping their 4.0 and for a while I bought into and felt like a failure if I didn’t get a good grade. I’d get mad at myself, my teachers, and friends who did better. And if I got one of the highest grades I would walk around like I was holier than thou. But our self worth is not dependent on what society has tried to make us believe.

My freshman year of college was hell. Literally just bad thing after bad thing: I went to a school in New York and quickly discovered I’m a small town girl and got into some drama which is rare because usually I stay out of it. I literally had a suite mater threaten to knock my out, I had suitemates who would literally go behind their friends and boyfriends’ backs and cheat with each others boyfriends or other guys on campus. Then when I finally transferred schools I got extremely sick. I was blacking out, could hardly walk, I felt like I was dying because I was like that for a couple months. Once I finally got better I had to have a bunch of meetings with teachers and administration about my grades which obviously weren’t good since I could hardly walk to the bathroom so of course I didn’t go to class! Then as I was walking back from a terrible meeting (I was told that I was being put on academic probation) I got a call from my mom telling me that my grandmother had just died. Wonderful. She was an amazing woman, she knew me better than I know myself and just like that she was gone and I wasn’t even with my family to grieve. So I obviously missed more school to be with my family and go to the funeral.

That summer was hell. I felt like my whole world was falling apart; my GPA had fallen tremendously, I was losing hair, one of the most important people in my life died, and despite my good health record I was still sick and in and out of the doctors office with scares of possibly needing a cat scan and a bunch of other tests. I think I prayed to God that He would spare me the bullshit and end my life a bunch of times. Everything, literally EVERYTHING that I had ever depended on to get me anywhere in life was taken from me all at once. In the blink of an eye, gone. Freshman year of college is supposed to be fun and you’re supposed to party and make friends, explore campus activities, etc. I think I went to one party. One. It was the worst year of my life and when summer hit I barely came out of my room because I didn’t want to live quite honestly. What pissed me off the most was the way the school treated me, all of these things happened in the span of a few months, keep in mind and they acted as if I still could have somehow came to all of my classes and done well on all tests. Are you fucking kidding me!? I seriously remember telling my biology teacher that I needed to go home for my grandmother’s funeral and that my health hadn’t been so well and she looked me in the eyes and pretty much told me my grade is my fault and I shouldn’t be missing so much class. Are you kidding me bitch? Luckily, I have wonderful parents who called a few of my teachers and chewed their asses out, it didn’t help my GPA but it did make me feel a little better that my parents had my back.

When my dad called to try and appeal my grade the administration said they only make exceptions for death to a member of the household. Really? So it wasn’t enough that I was bedridden for 2 months or that my high school GPA was good or that my first semester GPA at my other school was outstanding, no, you only make exceptions for household deaths. You have no idea how much I wanted to burn this school to the fucking ground.

But eventually I realized I’m still alive, I’m still me. Even though everything important to me had been taken away, I’m still here. That had to mean something. So I got out of my room and decided I’m not going to let a bunch of people who don’t know me or my story tell me who I am. My GPA does not define me, even though my body seemed to be giving up on me I didn’t let my health define me either. I decided to show the school that, no, I don’t have a 4.0 but that doesn’t mean anything. All a 4.0 means is that you’re really good at memorizing shit that doesn’t matter and kissing ass. I came back to campus and rubbed elbows with the president of the school, vice president, and other administrators not because of my GPA but because I was proactive and decided to do things my way. And do you know what they told me just based off one conversation? They told me how sharp I am and that they want me to stay at this school. They told me the world needs more people like me and that I’m a problem solver and a leader.

Take that Bio-bitch.

My point in all this ranting is that our society has become impersonal. Our educators care more about their damn tests than what’s happening in their students’ lives. Even though that was the worst year of my life I’m glad it all happened because if it hadn’t I wouldn’t have learned the lessons that God was trying to teach me:

-my favorite verse, Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you, says the Lord, plans for good and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” In a time where I wanted to die that was and actually still is extremity comforting. Amen to that.

-after my grandmother died I cam across this brass sailboat at the mall that had these words embroidered on it, “The Will of God will never lead you where the Grace of God cannot keep you.” It was like He was right next to me with His hand on my back saying, “I know the tides are rough right now and you feel scared and helpless but you will get through this.” So I obviously had to buy it.

-don’t let them tell me who I am. When someone tries to tell me who I am and where I’m going and what I need to do, I can now look them in the eyes, and say, “I don’t live to serve you, I’ll not only tell you who I am but I’ll show you and believe me, I know where I’m going.”

-I realized that the only one I should try to please is God because when the shit hits the fan and your friends and family don’t understand the pain you’re going through He’s the only One still there holding your hand saying, “we’ll get through this

There’s this video that someone put on facebook that just preaches everything I’ve been trying to teach people through my own experience. The gist of it is, hate school, love education and don’t let anyone else decide who you are and where you’re going. I highly recommend you watch and share.

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C’est la vie

This semester I’ve been thinking a lot about what I’m going to do with my life and my degree. I’m at the end of my Junior year already, it’s getting scary!

We had our annual spring choir concert tonight and I am sad it’s over. I still have 3 more semesters with the choir but knowing certain people are seniors and are leaving kind of makes me sad because I know I’ll never sing with this particular group again! 😦

Before every concert all 80 of us get in a huge circle for some jokes and inspirational music-related quotes then the seniors share about their time with choir. I almost cried a few times because this has definitely been my favorite group! One of my closest friends from cheer leading is graduating and my roommate is graduating as well! 😦 Sad day!

Listening to all of the seniors share about how being a part of chorale has changed their lives made me think back to when I joined as a sophomore. I remember being so nervous at my audition and then so nervous at my first practice with the choir. I remember getting so frustrated because I couldn’t read music and I walked out of practice a few times and told my friends I didn’t think I was good enough to be in the choir. Everyone was so welcoming to me and told me not to quit and not to give up and that I made it past auditions so I must be good enough. The choir director, the people in choir, even our accompanist offered to help me learn to read music and if all else fails play it by ear. I stuck with it and I’m so glad I did because even though I’m still really shy about singing in front of people being in choir has given me so much confidence. I started choir singing like a mouse now I’m one of the loudest in my section lol.

I’ve been singing since I was able to talk but the first time I fell in love with musical theater was when I was in high school and me and my best friend went to see Wicked which is now my favorite musical. I remember starting college resenting my parents because I wanted to be a musical theatre major and they told me there wasn’t many jobs in musical theater for black people. My brother defended me and told them they should let me because he thought I was a really good singer and a good actor, but my parents said they didn’t have money to throw away on me studying a dead art that wouldn’t get me work. I argued that if  I go to a school known for their alumni I’d get a job, they didn’t want to hear it. I know they enjoy hearing me sing but this situation just made me feel like they didn’t believe that I could and that I wasn’t good enough, so I stepped away from the theater and away from music but I guess I couldn’t stay away; I got involved in theater again, took a piano class, and joined choir. My sophomore year I and a group of students went to see Billy Elliot and it was like I fell in love all over again. All I could think about was how much I wanted to be on stage. People don’t expect this from me because I’m really shy and quiet but I love musical theater because I think the art of it is that when the actor has run out of words to explain the way they feel, they sing. Simply speaking doesn’t do their feelings justice. I love how I can feel what they feel when they sing and I love acting because I like being someone else and since I’m so reserved it’s fun to portray a character that is so unlike me.

So my parents and I reached a compromise, they told me not to be a major but to be a scholar and if, after I graduate I still want to go to AMDA I’d have to pay for it myself. Maybe I will because no matter how much I stay away from the theater and how much I stay away from music it finds me and I’m drawn to it anyway and it’s like I never stopped. It’s an unexplainable feeling, it’s as if you’re so happy you could die right now and you feel like your life is complete. You know what you’re supposed to be doing.

I am so confused!! This is what I know:

  • I love to travel
  • I love to sing
  • I love to act
  • I love being on stage
  • I love helping people
  • I love working with non-profits
  • I love fundraising
  • I love psychology
  • I love watching musicals, my favorites are Wicked, Memphis, Billy Elliot, Kiss Me Kate, and Gypsy
  • I love kids (why I wanted to be a teacher, then a pediatric nurse, then open my own cheer gym, then adopt children lol)
  • I love cheering
  • I love sports (why I wanted to be a coach)
  • I love cooking and feeding people -why I wanted to be a chef, and my food is awesome, everyone says so lol 🙂
  • I love to write poetry and short stories
  • I love more things but I can’t think of them right now

The point that I am trying to make is that I’m a very diverse person, I hate school because I hate waking up everyday with a schedule, knowing what the day will bring: wake up at 7:30, class at 8, break at 9, class from 10-12, lunch at 12, lab at 1, choir at 3. every mon wed frid, it’s always the same boring ass shit, going to classes that bore the hell out of me sitting there thinking why the fuck would I care about the circulatory system of a damn fish? Am I going to be a marine biologist? Hell no! I had to get up for this? Seriously? I hate school. I like not having plans and going where the day takes me. I’m the kind of person who has an achin for some bacon and gets up and goes to the store just to buy bacon. I seriously did that once in the middle of the night lol.

I’m not sure what I’m going to do in life and I think that’s the point, I think that God gives us gifts and appreciations for things and that it’s a sin to ignore them. If you’re a dancer, dance, if you’re a singer, sing! If you’re like me and have a hell of a lot of interests, do all of them! I’m a psychology major who sings, dances, cheers, coaches, fund-raises, advocates for non-profits, started her own non-profit, and cooks. Maybe one day I will go back to school and study musical theater, maybe I won’t; maybe I’ll write musicals, maybe I won’t; maybe I’ll open my own competitive cheer gym, maybe I won’t; maybe I’ll go to culinary school for the hell of it, maybe I won’t; maybe I will travel to London and go to the Adelphi Theatre (I really, really want to so I won’t even say maybe I won’t because I’d better!)

We don’t know what life will bring us, we just know what we enjoy and I think it is a shame that so many people go through life thinking we have to choose just one thing and stay with it for the rest of our lives. How are we supposed to do that!? We are all dynamic and we should all be able to explore our interests freely. One of my psych professors talked about how in some countries people major in what they love and make money from it but how in the U.S people major in something they can tolerate so that they can make money from it. That’s our idea of happiness. What a shame because in their 40s they realize it’s all a lie, my dad is starting to realize this now actually, they’re not happy with their picket fence and their dog and keeping up with the Jonses. It’s a system that needs to change because all it gives us is a bunch of stressed out people who aren’t happy and aren’t fulfilled teaching their children to be the same. It’s so rare that you find parents telling their children to embrace what they love and fully supporting their dreams. When I changed to psychology my cousin looked at me and said, “can I strangle you? You know how much psychologists make, right?” I said I refuse to live my life thinking, “what if” and being afraid to live. I’d rather enjoy what I study than be miserable now so that I can be a rich and miserable person later. WTF kind of sense does that make? I’m young, I want to live, if I have kids I’ll teach them to do the same. I’m a Christian and I believe that if you follow God’s plan for you, which contrary to popular belief is usually what you love doing because it is God who put that in your heart, then you will be okay. People will talk till their blue in the face about Jesus and God and blah blah blah but look at their lives, if they live a life of worry and fear, they’re not living like a true believer and I point that out to them and they are silent. This is what a Christian is, this is what we are supposed to do,

Romans 12:2-do not be conformed to the world but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. That by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.

So many people think that verse is about caving into lust and greed and what not but it is about life in general! WE ARE NOT OF THE WORLD, SO WE NEED TO LIVE LIKE IT! So often people can’t tell the difference between a believer and a non-believer because the lifestyles are so similar. A believer does what they love because it was God who put that love in our hearts in the first place, a believer doesn’t worry about tomorrow because tomorrow will worry about itself, a believer IS different. But so often we see Christians who are the exact opposite of all of those things!

I’m so tired of people telling me what to major in, how to live, what to say, how to act, and what is good and acceptable and perfect. What is good and acceptable and perfect is what is in my heart because it was put there my The Perfect One, Himself. I say this to my parents all the time, “do not worry about me, your job is done, I answer to God now.” But telling parents not to worry is like telling them not to breathe.

I don’t know where life will lead me but I follow my heart and thus follow God in doing so. The beauty of life is that we tell God our plans and He laughs at them and says, You think you know, but you have no idea.

That’s why I’m a Christian, I love knowing I don’t know.

The Miserable Ones Have Dreams Too

In my attempt to get control of my life I tried to think about what I really want to do with my life. I know I’ve said I want to travel and help people, but that’s really vague. I thought about it, and I don’t want to go through 3 more years of school, I’m a junior, I’ve been in school all my life, I’m ready to graduate and move on. This week I’ve actually finally felt like getting out of bed in the morning again because I have hope now and a clearer vision of what will make me happy and most importantly, what will make God happy. I talked to some administrators and they told me that I could change my major to psychology and graduate in 3 semesters, I talked to my mom and she said I could graduate with a bachelors in nursing in 18 months, I talked to my dad and he thinks I should’ve gone to culinary school, I talked to my grandma and she thinks I should’ve been an English major.

So finally, I talked to myself. Silence.

I have no idea what I want to do with my life and most people get degrees and don’t even use them these days. Who got the idea that people should pick a major field of study at 18-22 years old? Our lives are just starting, how the hell are we supposed to know what we want to do with our lives? How are we supposed to say, “this is what I’ll do with my life, this is what I’m interested in, this is how I’ll help people,” when we’re just getting to know ourselves and the world we live in?

So I got in an argument with my mom about me changing my major to psychology because she wants me to be a nurse and because my parents pay my tuition. In short, the argument ended in me saying, “you know what, do what you want,” and hanging up the phone. I’m to the point now where I don’t really care, I just want a degree in something so I have something to show for these last 3 years of my life. At least as a nurse I can be a missionary, so I’m not completely against it.

Today I was talking to my mentor about all of this and she asked me, “if you had no friends, no family, and money wasn’t an issue, what would you do?” Such a good question! So often we get distracted and persuaded by the people around us telling us what to do. While they have our best interest in mind, they are biased, my mom wants me to be a nurse because she and her sisters and her mother have been in the medical field for years and she wants me to have security and to make lots of money. So anyway I told her I would leave, I said I would be a missionary and a writer and see the world. I want to see the world.

I am very different from my mom and we want drastically different things for my life. I want to travel and when I say travel I don’t mean vacation, I’m talking 3rd world countries, working with non-profits, volunteering, being a missionary. I probably won’t even have an apartment because I don’t plan on staying in it. I want to see things that will humble me and help people who need help and get joy from that, I don’t care how much money I make.

I feel stuck in this life, and it’s not a bad life, but I don’t want it. So maybe I’ll suffer through 18 more months of school, I’m sure there are some missionary jobs for nurses. But I refuse to have a cushy desk job! And sure, it may be hard for some people to pick up and leave and move around a lot but for me, there’s nothing I’d rather do. I don’t mind having to leave friends and family because you make new friends and family will always be family and I never really get homesick, well except for when I was in New York but that was because it was an awfully rude and obnoxious place. Have you ever seen Bad Girls Club or Jersey Shore? It was like that.

Anyway, I’ve prayed about it and it seems that God is telling me to choose my mother’s path for now because I can missionary with a psych degree or a nursing degree and I don’t really care which one it is so why not just do nursing to make my mother happy and give her peace of mind? And since my mom found an 18 month program, I won’t have to be in school that much longer and the sooner the better because I’m itching to go to North Korea first and maybe work with the non-profit LINK (Liberty In North Korea). The people are being treated as less than human and they are trying to escape, it’s terrible there and God is calling on me to help. I complain about my life but then I learn about something like this and I ask myself, ‘who are the true miserable ones?’ Sure, I’m stressed because of school and uncertainty about the future but at least I have a future, at least I am given the opportunity to dream. This video is from the website, some people think it’s propaganda or non-sense or that we’re treating the North Koreans like they can’t take care of themselves, but when people are ACTIVELY looking for help and trying to escape their country, what kind of people would we be to turn away? http://libertyinnorthkorea.org/media/

And I guess this week, this whole month really, the song I’ve been thinking a lot about is “I Dreamed a Dream” from the musical Les Miserables. I like this song because even though she is miserable, in the beginning you see her reminisce about what was and her dream and I believe that in that moment, you can see that even though terrible things are happening to her she wouldn’t give up that dream for anything in the world. She’s miserable yes, but her dream gives her hope. Everyone should be able to have the opportunity to dream and I think it’s terrible that in the world we live in people’s dreams are being taken away or are non existent because they don’t have time to dream, they’re just trying to survive another day, that’s the biggest tragedy of all. Anyway, I think the song is beautiful. BUT, I like how Ruthie Henshall, the way she portrays emotion is perfect and she really makes me feel what she feels every time I hear it. I know people like Ann Hathaway but listen to this once and you’ll see why there’s no comparison. Once you hear Ruthie Henshall sing it, I mean, everyone else just sounds terrible hahaha. But, to be fair, screen acting is different from the stage and Ann Hathaway isn’t as strongly trained in voice as she is. But anyway, listen to it and you be the judge.