Monthly Archives: February 2019

Learning to be a Support

One of my favorite superhero films is the most recent Wonder Woman film starring Gal Gadot. I’m a huge fan of movies with strong females as the leading characters. I feel that girls everywhere need to be able to see powerful women in stories on screen, stage and in literature (and yes, I include comic books as a kind of literature). Something about this movie that I really love which often goes overlooked is the partnership between Gadot’s and Chris Pine’s characters. Pine’s character, Steve Trevor, serves as the secondary hero of the story, as well as the love interest to Diana. What I love about their dynamic is the two need each other throughout the film. There are clear moments when they both in danger, but they work together to save one another. While Wonder Woman is the obvious hero of the film, she does not save the day single handedly. The screenwriter could have easily taken the story in that direction, but they made the refreshing choice of showing a woman and a man exhibiting a healthy partnership.

I’ve always been a pretty independent gal. I’m one of those stereotypical first-borns with that “natural leader” curse, which is a nice way of saying I have a tendency to be bossy. I tend to find myself in positions of leadership, and to be quite frank, I really enjoy it. I like taking care of other people, solving problems and getting others to unify. However, there have been times where it has gone to my head. I became more focused on the title rather than the responsibilities I had to others. I wanted to be important, but lost sight of what leadership is truly is about. Over the past six months though, I feel as if I have discovered the key to effective leadership: knowing how to be a support.

A prominent example of this in my life is working in the scene shop at my college. Backtracking a little bit: I used to work at a wedding venue as a server/dishwasher. This required a lot of heavy lifting, and I went out of my way to do as much of the lifting as I could without asking for help. It made me stronger, and at times, it was kind of fun to surprise the boys I worked alongside. Jump forward to about three years later, I have found myself working in set construction and maintenance in Potter Theater. When I first came in, I felt the need to prove myself. I also felt like I needed to show I didn’t need help with tasks that other workers (mainly the guys) were asked to do by themselves.

Here’s the deal though: I did need help. Like, a lot of help. I still do! And it’s not just with heavy lifting. Sometimes I have no clue what I’m doing on a construction project. Other times I need an extra set of hands to hold things in place while I try to drive in a screw. And don’t get me started on how many times I’ve had to ask someone taller than me to reach something on top of the lockers.

I found myself in a work environment where I had to acknowledge the fact that other people were just as capable, and oftentimes more so, than I was. One person in particular who was (and still is) far more versed in the technical aspects is Ben. My first impression of him came from me wandering into the shop to help with School House Rock: Live! and seeing him putting together a flat by himself (“Okay, that took me about an hour and a half and it was the WORST”). Over the course of the rest of that school year, I picked up new skills as I worked on different projects. The most valuable of these skills wasn’t how to put together a platform or a set of stairs. It wasn’t how to sweep a stage or how to properly clean a paint roller. No, the greatest thing I’ve come to learn is how to be a support (bet you never saw that coming from the title of this blog).

Ben and I have been working together on various odd jobs for over a year now. More often than not, he has been the one to lead the projects due to the fact that he is more knowledgeable and is a lot stronger than I am. I’ve had to accept the simple fact that being a helper to someone can be just as satisfying as being the leader. From that partnership in the shop, we formed a strong friendship that stretched its way outside of the theater and has been a wonderful constant in my life.

To the people who don’t go to school with me, I ought to probably mention that Ben is also my boyfriend. After a rocky year of relationship and personal drama, the two of us came closer together and realized our partnership could possibly work at a deeper level.  A major change in myself that I have noticed is that I don’t feel the compulsive need to be in charge of everything 24/7 anymore. It’s an odd feeling, but also a relief as well. It’s more fun to share the load with someone rather than trying to pile it all on yourself just so you don’t have to rely on another person.

I won’t claim that I’ve lost my drive to lead. Quite the opposite actually: I feel that the more I have learned to support people like Ben, the better understanding I gain on how to effectively serve others as a leader. The past few months in particular have been full of really hard life lessons, but I am thankful to have the support of friends who truly want the best for me and the opportunity to support the people I love and respect. I believe that the best leaders are the ones who don’t think of themselves as above the ones who follow them, but the ones who are willing to get down into the thick of things to work alongside those they lead. Learning how to do this well is going to be a life-long journey full of screw-ups, but I am eager and expectant to grow this vital skill. Isn’t it wonderful though, that we never have to stop learning?

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Until Next Time,

Abby

 

Things to Stop Saying to Yourself

I’m my own worst critic. There are times in my life where I struggle hardcore with how I feel others think of me. To be quite honest, it’s more common that I’m slightly paranoid about my relationships with people. Unfortunately, often times it is my own mind that makes situations exponentially worse than what they actually are. When you are filling your mind with self-induced negativity, you begin to believe that everyone else around you believes the same lies you are feeding yourself. These are some common phrases that can cross our minds, along with possible alternatives that could be used instead.

 

“I’m so stupid.”  Replace this with -> “I’m doing the best I can with the knowledge I have at this point in my life.”

 

“I’m annoying; nobody wants to be around me.” Replace this with -> “I am unique and the people that matter love me.”

 

“I look so ugly today.” Replace this with -> “I am fearfully and wonderfully made, even on my off days.”

 

“I suck at *insert something you love doing.*” Replace this with -> “I’m never gonna stop learning and improving.”

 

“I’ll never be as good as so-and-so at *insert a task that you want to excel at*.” Replace this with -> “I am not in competition with the people around me; life is about improving yourself and working with others.”

 

“I’m a failure.” Replace this with -> “I didn’t expect or want this situation to go this way, but it does not define me.”

 

“I’m not good enough.” Replace this with -> “I may not have all the skills I need now but I can get there.”

 

“I’m unlovable.” Replace this with -> “I am loved beyond my human understanding.”

 

“I don’t matter.” Replace this with -> “I am capable of making a huge impact in my world.”

 

“I wouldn’t be missed if I was gone.” Replace this with -> “I am connected to and loved by so many people that care about my well being.”

 

It is so easy to believe the lies we feed ourselves and allow them to affect our overall life experience. My challenge to you is to start catching yourself whenever you start to tear yourself down. As you work on building yourself up, you will find that building others up as well will come much easier to you. There’s a verse where Jesus talks about the two greatest commandments, which are loving God and loving others like ourselves. In order to love others fully, you need to love yourself as the wonderful creation God created you to be.

Full disclosure: I have been so hard on myself for as long as I can remember. I hold myself to impossible standards, and when I fail to meet those expectations, I beat myself up mercilessly. A handful of my professors are helping nail down the idea in my heart that I am loved, valued and capable, which means I can let up on myself. So do me a favor: join me in being kinder to yourself. I promise you, it’s gonna do wonders for your soul.

 

 

Until Next Time,

 

Abby

Self Care Tips from Someone Bad at Self Care

(Don’t let my beautiful coffee cup photo I took in South Dakota fool you; this post is full of Michael Scott gifs.)

 

I am horrible at taking care of myself. There are times I forget to eat, drink water, or do basic activities unless I have written them down in my planner. However, over the past two months, I have been proactive in making positive life changes in order to better enjoy my college experience. Below are five tips that are given all the time but are too often ignored. Sometimes we need a friendly reminder of the obvious things in life in order to make lasting change.  

1) SLEEP

The first thing I tell any incoming freshmen is to prioritize sleep. It is really easy to think that you need to stay up through the wee hours of the night to get your mountains of homework done and/or to maintain your social life. The truth is that most of the time, it is better to recharge than to try and cram subpar effort into a homework assignment. Trust me, sometimes it will do you a world of good to just hang up the towel for the night and take a crack at it in the morning with a fresh set of eyes.

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2) Learn the Magic Word

You think the magic word is, “please” don’t you? WRONG. It’s a little two-letter word that does wonders. Say it with me now: N-O. NO! It’s great! And you know what? It will NOT be the end of the world if you say “no” to something. All the things that are filling your calendar could be relatively good things. However, if you are spending most of your time being stressed out by your to do list, it’s time to take some things off your plate. Thankfully, I have people in my life who have helped me take better care of myself by calling me out when I start to get to the point of being overwhelmed. Sometimes saying “no” to a good opportunity will open you up to even better opportunities in the future. 

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3) Set aside 15 minutes a day for you

This is something my vocal professor started telling me last semester and it has been a part of my bullet journal for the past two months. In the midst of crazy class schedules, work, and extra-curriculars, it’s easy to feel like you don’t have time for yourself. No matter how busy you are though, it is so important to take time to do things that bring you joy, even if its for a short period of time. Whether it’s coloring, playing Super Smash Bros, playing the ukulele or taking your dog on a walk, set your timer for at least 15 minutes a day to do something that does not involve a textbook.

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4) Use your resources

I am extremely blessed to go to a college that has many free resources available to us as students. I have spent a lot of time both in the tutoring center and the counseling office. Access to free homework help and therapy has been unbelievably helpful. Take time to figure out what resources your school offers and take advantage of them! You’re already paying for it, might as well get the most out of your student fees.

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5) Be plugged into community

Everyone needs friends. More importantly, everyone needs friends who are on the same wavelength as them. My first semester of school was rough in the friend department. I felt like I was on an island most of the time and with being an extrovert, that was terribly lonely and energy draining. Sometimes, it takes stepping out of your comfort zone for ten seconds to be able to see opportunities at new friendships. So join a club, attend that RA event or talk to your neighbor in Spanish. You never know when you’ll meet your next great pal.

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College can be one of the most stressful things you ever experience in life, or it can be one of the best stages of your adulthood. For a while, school was something I dreaded, but as I’ve begun to take better care of myself, I’ve learned how to better handle the constant stress that gets thrown my way. When you take care of yourself, you tend to be happier, and when you’re happier, trials that come up in life don’t seem as frustrating. It is so important to take care of your physical, mental, and emotional health. So I challenge you to find at least five things you can do to better improve your overall state of being. You owe it to yourself to be the best student you can be!

 

Until Next TIme,

Abby

 

Things I Learned from Disney Princesses

I love Disney. Serious though, I honestly don’t think I could express how much I love Disney movies. And let me tell you, princess movies are still to this day are one fo the best ways to brighten my mood. Over the years, I have enjoyed these wonderful fairytales and have learned a great deal from these awesome ladies. Here’s a highlight reel of some of the best things I’ve gained over the years from these stories. 

Snow White- Cleaning is so much better when you sing. 

Cinderella- You can always find a spark of joy, even in really awful situations. 

Aurora- Sometimes, naps are really heckin’ important. 

Ariel- Little things in life we take for granted can be magical. 

Belle- Reading is better than boys most of the time. 

Jasmine- Don’t settle.

Pocahontas- Nature is glorious and screams out creativity. 

Mulan- You can be a strong lady who is worth fighting for. 

Tiana- Don’t be afraid to hustle for what you believe in.

Rapunzel- Chase your dreams, but also be okay with them when they change. 

Merida- Sometimes you need to chill out and listen to your mom. 

Elsa- Let stuff go (no, I’m not sorry). 

Anna- First impressions of love aren’t always what they seem. 

Moana- Family is the most important thing. 

I am a firm believer that you are never too old for a Disney movie. Take some time to go back and enjoy one of these princess stories; you never know when you’ll learn something new!

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby