Category Archives: Uncategorized

If I Wrote My Own “Girl, Wash Your Face”

There’s a lady named Rachel Hollis that I’ve been following for a few years now. She’s famous for her motivational speaking, trendy blogging and her very transparent books about her life. “Girl, Wash Your Face” was a huge break out for her and it’s one I read many times during college and have listened to it again during this post-undergrad limbo. Each chapter of the book looks at a different topic from her life, talking about how she learned from it, and tips to help others going through the same things. This got me thinking: if I were to write my own “Girl, Wash Your Face,” what would my chapters be? So, I made a list. 

There would be a chapter about developing a love of Star Wars in middle school, right around the time your elementary school friends have made their defining cliques that don’t include you. This would probably include a little shout-out of the time I was peer-pressured by my friends to say yes to a boy who was asking me to be his girlfriend. 

There would be a chapter about when I decided to join my brother at home to homeschool with my Mom and the doors that were opened up through that experience.

There would be a chapter about my experience doing community theater nonstop for seven years and the dozens of shows that shaped me into the person I am today.

There would be a chapter about starting college as a fifteen year old. It would depict the first semester of being the “cool homeschooler” all the way through graduating at age eighteen with my first degree. 

There would be a buffer chapter about my experiences with learning how to drive. That was a riot. (I had to take the permit test five times.)

There would be a separate chapter about the last year I spent in community college post-graduation, where I worked in the art lab, took some studio classes, and agonized over where to transfer to for the second part of my studies. This would include the story of how I wanted to go to one specific school for four years, had a mental breakdown in McDonald’s with my parents, and that afternoon went and applied for Missouri Western. 

There would be a chapter about my hesitancy of having female friends and being a “guy’s girl.” This would also include the idea of “friend crushes,” which I totally believe are a thing.

There would be a chapter about my first bizarre year of undergrad: the roommate drama, the ice storm during tech week, and the British comedy that made me and my buddy very stressed at breakfast. 

There would be a chapter about my obsession with personality types, how the obsession helped me understand myself and slowly but surely except why I am the way I am. 

There would be a chapter about break-ups and how I wish I had seen myself more worthy of value. It would talk about letting go, but also that it’s okay that you share wonderful memories with someone who hurt you. 

There would be a chapter about having to set my pride aside and drop doing from a double major in Theatre/Cinema and Animation down to just an animation minor because of a conversation after a Directing Showcase. 

There would be a chapter about starting antidepressant medication about four weeks after a rough breakup and the roller coaster of emotions I still battle when it comes to taking a little white pill every day to help my brain. 

There would be a chapter about how my best friend accepted Jesus and the radical transformation I got to witness. 

There would be a chapter about the semester I first started dealing with suicidal thoughts. 

There would be a chapter about how I proved to myself that I can play a leading lady in a musical and how it was one of the best feelings I’ve ever had as a performer. 

There would be a chapter about being a virgin all throughout college and the massive struggle it is to remain one until marriage. (I would need to wait on fully writing this chapter until after this August because alas, I am still on that struggle bus.)

There would be a chapter about saying goodbye to my department at MWSU and finding myself working at Walmart during a pandemic that turned my final year of college upside down. 

There would be a chapter about how you don’t need to change who you are to be loved by people. The people who are most important will be the ones who stick with you no matter what. 

 

Maybe someday I’ll write this book, who knows. Right now though, I’m working on a novel! You can follow my progress through vlogs here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=qe7MNPmgaHo&list=PL-7Cp86raoS6SQtP7nRt5l6zi1Uw5Kf1D 

Feel free to join me in this creative endeavor! I’m always looking for creative accountability partners!

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

62

What do you say when sixty-two teachers lose their jobs? How do you process the idea that sixty-two families must reevaluate their livelihoods? What do you do when you get emails to give course evaluations when all but one of the five teachers you had this semester has been let go? How can you celebrate the milestone of finishing a degree when the school that gave you your diploma has decided to get rid of the degree you just earned? When are you able to walk through the halls of your alma mater without experiencing a tremendous amount of pain for what has been lost? There’s no easy answer to any of these questions. For some of them, there never may be one. 

The photo above represents sixty-two faculty members at my school who were recently let go due to drastic budget cuts. Whole departments have been wiped out, one of them being the theatre department, and still more people will continue to lose their jobs on top of these sixty-two. It’s easy to see human beings as a tally mark; just another number. But oh, there is so much that goes into that tally mark. 

You sometimes think your teachers aren’t real people; they just live at the school, right? However, teachers have hopes, dreams, fears, families and responsibilities that don’t involve their classroom. As I drew out each tally for this blog banner picture, I wept. The weight of seeing how many lives have to be restarted makes every little issue I’ve had in the past month seem petty. In the end though, these lives boiled down to numbers. When you simply don’t have the means to make ends meet, something has to be let go.  

I understand that my school isn’t the only school dealing with this. Many schools across the country are having to make impossible decisions about funding that isn’t there. It doesn’t lessen the tragedy though. There have been times where I’ve scrolled through Facebook and saw posts about schools that were trying desperately to save certain programs. I just never thought it would be my school dealing with it. 

There’s nothing I can write that could help this situation. For the past two weeks, I’ve tried to come up with something, anything…but there are no words that haven’t already been said. It’s sad. It’s infuriating. It’s unfair. It’s Teacher Appreciation week and all I want is to be able to help fix this mess…but there is nothing I can do but tell them thank you. 

There aren’t enough words to express how much my teachers have done for me. It takes a special kind of soul to be willing to dedicate their life to teaching the next generation. To the educators at my university and every other teacher who is in this same crappy boat: thank you. Thank you for showing up for your students. Thank you for pouring your lives out for us. Thank you for the lessons in and outside the classroom. Thank you for being there. And to every student whose favorite teacher has lost their job: reach out. Remind them of the good they did in your life. Your teachers deserve the encouragement. 

I am ready for this next chapter of life because of every teacher I have ever had, but especially those that I had in undergrad. Thank you all: without you, I wouldn’t be standing where I am today. As you begin your new chapters, I pray that your former students pour out as much love to you as you did for us.

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

 

How “Toy Story 4” Helped Me Grieve

Before starting this post, I want to give some shout-outs:

To Ben, Nick, Lexie, Nathan, Angel, Noah, Ryan, Mycah: Thank you for being amazing fellow TCD student leaders. I am honored to have worked with you all. 

To Alyx, Lexie (again), Trinity and Devin: Thank you for your willingness to lead. I am so proud of you four. 

To Manon: Thanks for making us journal digitally for Acting 2. 

To Ryan (again): Thanks for letting me emotionally vomit on you about this movie. 

 

I’ve been avoiding watching “Toy Story 4” for a really long time. I thought that the third movie was perfect and the fact that they made a fourth one was just a cash grab. I love Pixar, but I did not go out of my way to watch this movie. In fact, I low-key boycotted it. I was irritated when the trailer dropped and refused to spend money on a ticket to see it in theaters. 

It’s a Thursday night, one of my only nights at home with my family since I work evening shifts in the midst of Covid-19. We decided that we would watch something in Disney+, but we were slightly indecisive. I had suggested “Lady and the Tramp” or “Toy Story 4,” and Dad was in a Pixar mood, so the toys won out. I don’t know what I threw out the movie I had been avoiding for so long, but we all sat down to see what it was all about. 

For some context, I’ve been working 32-38ish hour weeks at the grocery store the past three weeks instead of doing school and theatre full time like I used to before the pandemic hit. On top of this, I also teach five students music lessons and online art classes on occasion. Oh, I’m also planning my wedding that will hopefully still take place in August. There’s a lot happening, so I haven’t fully processed the grief I’ve had festering for a while. Now, I thought I had gone through my grieving process and that it was done and over. I wouldn’t deal with it again, right? I had sobbed when I left the dorm I had lived in for two years. I held onto Sweet Ben when we heard the news of our final show at Missouri Western being canceled. I took long, tear-filled walks on the days I got emails telling me every internship/job I had applied for post-graduation had been suspended until late 2020 or 2021. I had gotten it all out with several cries. The grieving process was something I could check off my list.  

 

Ha. Ha ha ha. Silly me for thinking the grief had passed. 

 

On the day I’m writing this, I slept through a Zoom meeting with my theatre honor society where we announced the new E-Board for next year, which set me off on a very long, emotional evening. I had taught for three hours that morning and spent another two hours on homework, so my brain was fried. A 20 minute nap turned into an hour and a half, which led to me missing the meeting and crying on the kitchen floor for about fifteen minutes before eating dinner. I was angry with myself for sleeping through something that I was in leadership for and had a terribly hard time getting to a point where I was not beating myself up. I was embarrassed and was angry that I had switched off my alarm for something I had been looking forward to that whole day. But you know what? It was a 15 minute meeting. It was not the end of the world. But for me, it was a “last” that I missed. (Wow, tearing up again while writing this.)

An hour after this mini-depressive episode, we started watching the movie. It was fun to understand the context of the memes that have been circling around for a while and geek out over the gorgeous animation. BUT HOLY COW WOW WOW WOW I DIDN’T EXPECT FOR THIS FILM TO RIP MY HEART OUT. 

Without trying to drop too many spoilers, this movie sums up exactly how I am feeling about leaving the undergrad years. Woody, who is the protagonist across all four of these movies, is trying desperately to fulfill his purpose of being a toy by taking care of all the people around him. In doing this though, he sometimes forces what he thinks is correct instead of letting things naturally play out. You can even see how exhausted it makes him, but he keeps pushing through because of his love for his fellow toys and his kid. 

MAJOR SPOILER COMING IN THE MOST VAGUE WAY I CAN POSSIBLY WRITE IT BUT IF YOU DON’T WANT ANY SPOILERS WHATSOEVER SKIP THIS PARAGRAPH! 

*****************In the end, a choice is made that shows that these films truly were Woody’s story, not Andy’s. It shows that leaders can move on from what/who they once loved to new stages of life that could be much more fulfilling, even though it is majorly bittersweet. There were so many moments in the third act of this movie that I was thinking, “Oh my gosh, this exactly how I am feeling about leaving school.” In the end, Woody got the best happy ending for him, even though it meant leaving his previous normal.************************

 

(Spoilers done)

 

In the midst of this surreal time, Ben and my two other E-Board members, Lexie and Nick, have been working hard to set up the up and coming leaders for success in this coming year. Three of the four of us are graduating, leaving Lexie with a brand new team of bright, talented and thoughtful leaders, all of whom were freshmen this past year. There was a lot of anxiety in the first few weeks of this mess of who was going to step up, but across our organizations for theatre and film, there is a rise of leaders who will carry on with the work the upperclassmen started. I have full confidence in the students who were voted into leadership and those who will continue to lead without the title. It has been a blessing to see the students I got the opportunity to love and pour into over the past few months step up to the plate, and I know they will be wonderful. 

Moving on is so hard. A year ago, the mega-scary-depressed version of me would have been relieved that the rest of the school year had been canceled, but now, it’s so hard to say good-bye because of how wonderful the last seven months have been. But I believe that while college was a great thing, I am moving on to an even better adventure. It doesn’t make it any easier to say goodbye, but there is comfort in knowing that the things are being taken care of by some awesome people. Good leaders understand when they have trained other leaders that it’s okay for them to move on so that those new leaders can take the reins. I believe that the senior class helped raise up some awesome underclassmen this year. We can rest easy knowing that even better times are to come, even when things look uncertain. 

Thanks to “Toy Story 4,” I started to truly process my grief of my senior year being cut short. Is the process over? No, and it will probably take a long time to get through it. But now, I know that there’s at least one cowboy out there who understands the exact feelings I am wrestling with. If you haven’t watched this movie year, I highly suggest that you give this underrated film a watch. Is it perfect? No. But it’s a film I desperately needed in this weird time we know as April 2020. 

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

 

 

Pro Tips for Grocery Shopping During a Pandemic

Ever since this pandemic kicked me off campus and canceled all of my theatre jobs, I decided to get a job at a grocery store. The last time I worked an eight hour shift that didn’t involve being in a theater was in high school when I was working weddings. In a few weeks, I’ve gone from being a full time student to working about 36 hours a week pulling groceries for online orders, sorting crates, and delivering purchases to customers’ cars. It hasn’t been a huge amount of time, but I’ve picked up a lot of insight on what it’s like for employees dealing with their everyday work life.

On top of this, I’ve seen how hard it can be when stores are dealing with high stress situations. In normal circumstances, there are usually certain times of the day that are when things are rough on employees, sort of like a rush hour. However, if you haven’t heard yet, the world is dealing with this really weird pandemic, which means that people are panicking. When people panic, it tends to make mundane tasks like grocery shopping a lot more difficult. To combat this craziness, I have comprised a list of Ten Pro Tips to help you have a successful grocery run. 

 

  • Keep a two week stock pile in your house and try and go back to the store every few days to refresh it. This is a tip I learned from my future in-laws who are currently living in Italy for Ben’s momma’s work (yeah, they’ve been in much stricter lock-down a lot longer than we have). Fill your grocery cart ONCE with a huge stock pile, then try and go back every few days to restock a few things. This keeps you from having to hull a bunch of groceries every few weeks and gives you a better chance of getting the things you’d like. 
  • Even if you aren’t as spooked, please respect social distancing. Fun fact: employees are told to mega respect social distancing, as in, we could get in trouble if we don’t abide by it. Keep this in mind, as well as the fact that other people are more anxious about this situation than you might be. 
  • Go early, and don’t get upset at grocery workers when you can’t find what you came to get right before they are about to close. The store I work at tries to restock throughout the day, but it’s really hard to keep things like eggs and toilet paper on the shelves. Do yourself a favor and go early in the day so you can get what you need! 
  • Unless you have a household with more than six people and you all drink milk every day, you don’t need to get three gallons of milk. Milk expires, y’all. 
  • If it’s cold outside, dress warmly, because you might be standing outside for a bit. A lot of stores are starting to limit the number of people that come into a store, which means that you might have to wait outside for a bit. 
  • Wear a mask if you are dealing with cough (even if it’s a cough that is being caused by seasonal allergies.) It’s not fun when you’re a cashier and have a customer cough in your area. It’ll put everyone else at ease. 
  • Make sure you wash any produce you buy right when you get home. This is just a rule of life in general to follow, more than likely a lot of people have touched the fruits and veggies you just bought. Go give them a good rinse and a scrub once you get home with you haul. 
  • Please just go by yourself. I know your husband gets side-tracked while shopping and it’s helpful when you go with him, but please try to limit the number of people per household going to the store to one person. This allows more people to be in the store and more families across the board being able to get what they need. Now, there are some cases where it is not possible (single moms with kiddos, for example) but if it is doable for your household, please follow this tip. 
  • Check smaller stores for toilet paper. Big stores run out a lot faster than smaller stores. CVS, Walgreens, even gas stations; try there if your favorite chain store is out. 
  • If you have a senior citizen or immunocompromised friend in your life, offer to go shopping for them.  Take the time to serve people who are a higher risk than you by going shopping for them. It’s a task that can bless someone’s home and might keep them safe from this nasty illness. 

 

 

Stay safe out there, friends. I know I am personally struggling a lot to hang onto joy during this wacky time, but this will end at some point. Let me know if you have any tips that I didn’t mention here!

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Rome Highlight Reel

Hello, 2020! Woof, we’re only two weeks into this year and life is C R A Z Y! However, it’s the best kind of crazy. It’s only 43 days till the opening night of my final performance at Missouri Western, 73 days till my 22nd birthday, 108 days till graduation, and 217 days till I marry my best friend. Life is bonkers, y’all. 

I was blessed to end 2019 and ring in 2020 in Italy with my future-in-laws. For those who don’t know, Sweet Ben’s mom is at the Nato Defense College in Rome and will soon begin her next assignment in Naples, Italy. Ben’s sister and dad are also abroad with her, so this trip right after Christmas was the first time we had all been together since August when Ben and I sent them off at the airport. Over the course of eleven days, I got to have so many wonderful adventures in a country I had always dreamed of visiting. Here is an abridged version of the eleven days I got to spend with Ben and his family in Rome! 

Day 1 (12/27)

Highlight: After three flights (one of which was eight hours long), we landed in Rome and got to hug Ben’s parents and sister. Once Ben and I had a nap after lunch to battle jet lag, we took the Metro to a cozy little pizzeria. Little did I know that the first thing you see once you exit the station that leads to the restaurant is the Colosseum. Yeah, that was a pretty nifty sight to behold before dinner. 

Favorite Taste: Salami Pizza. Honorable mention goes to the shot of Limoncello after dinner. 

Fun Fact: It’s super common for Europeans to have coffee after dinner. This is a cultural norm I can totally get behind. 

 

Day 2 (12/28)

Highlight: Sant’Eustachio is said to be one of the best coffee shops in Rome. Judging by the crowd that was crammed into this relatively small space, a lot of people thought it was really good. If you’re ever in Rome, go check out this place. While it was a bit overwhelming, my Romeo e Giulietta was delightful. 

Favorite Taste: Gnocchi and Mozzarella in Tomato Sauce at this little corner restaurant we found by wandering down the wrong street 

Fun Fact: In 609, The Pantheon was the first temple that once honored Roman gods to be transformed into a church. This saved this brilliant piece of architecture from being destroyed during the Middle Ages.

 

Day 3 (12/29)

Highlight: On the first Sunday of the month, it is free to enter into Vatican City, which causes a TON of people to come out to visit. After going through the museum (which includes the jaw-dropping Sistine Chapel), we found a shortcut to go into St. Peter’s Basilica. Wandering through the gigantic church and praying with Ben for our future marriage was a beautiful experience that I will treasure for the rest of my life. 

Favorite Taste: Cappuccino after visiting Vatican City

Fun Fact: Michelangelo, the artist who painted the Sistine Chapel, originally said “no” to painting the massive room because he reasoned that he was a sculptor, not a painter. The Sistine Chapel is considered to be the greatest masterpiece ever created. You aren’t allowed to take photos of the chapel, so enjoy this doggo statue that we found. 

 

Day 4 (12/30)

Highlight: Enjoying a lazy day and taking Star and Carebear on a walk. 

Favorite Taste: The richest hot chocolate I have ever tasted with the espresso I mixed into it because mochas do not exist in Rome

Fun Fact: People take their dogs EVERYWHERE. It was so funny to see so many different dogs out and about, including in the malls and some restaurants!  

 

Day 5 (12/31)

Highlight: We spent the last day of the year exploring an apartment complex that has sixteen murals on the sides of the buildings. There were so many moments throughout this trip where I would turn to Ben and say, “Can you imagine looking out your window every day to see *insert amazing sight*?” My personal favorite was the wall with rainbow squares. We were also able to find a coffee shop that put a bit of chocolate in coffee, which made me quite happy. 

Favorite Taste: French champagne with apple juice to ring in the New Year

Fun Fact: Many Italians wear red underwear to ring in the New Year. It’s said to bring good luck!

 

 

Day 6 (1/1)

Highlight: There’s sight called the Aventine Keyhole on a hill in a village in Rome, where you have a breath-taking view of St. Peter’s Basilica. We waited in line for almost an hour to take a look through this keyhole, and boy, was it worth it. (Photo credit of the view goes to Google, as my little iPhone wasn’t able to do the view justice)

Favorite Taste: Mini tiramisu at a 95 year old coffee shop 

Fun Fact: The keyhole is part of the property owned by the Priory of the Knights of Malta, a Roman Catholic religious order of crusader knights that was formed in the 11th century. It is the oldest surviving chivalric order in the world and is a sovereign entity under international law.

 

Day 7 (1/2)

Highlight: Climbing to the top of the Leaning Tower of Pisa is a TRIP, y’all. The climb is worth it though for the amazing view you get of the city. 

Favorite Taste: Lemon and Strawberry Gelato in the train station 

Fun Fact: Keith Allen Haring was an American artist whose pop art and graffiti-like work was inspired by NYC streets. One of his works can be found in Pisa, Italy! 

 

Day 8 (1/3)

Highlight: Ben and I took a walk with his mom in search of coffee. Afterwords, I played Monopoly for the first time in about eight years. The game took three hours, and because of my stubbornness and negotiation skills, I somehow won. Ben was proud. 

Favorite Taste: Chicken dumplings at an Italian Chinese restaurant 

Fun Fact: Monopoly was first published in 1935. It’s been causing fits of rage and strain on every sort of relationship around the world for 85 years. 

 

 

Day 9 (1/4)

Highlight: Van Gogh and Monet are two of my favorite painters ever. We got to have a VR experience where the viewer got to tour through the world of the some of the works created by these two artists. Not gonna lie, it was a bit emotional for me to get to be immersed in paintings I’ve admired my whole life. 

Favorite Taste: Fresh bruschetta mmmmm so good. Know what’s not good? Green Apple Limoncello. It’s like drinking battery acid. 

Fun Fact: You can trace the origin of bruschetta back to Ancient Roman times. It’s popularity has spread a lot since then and is still a classic favorite in Italian restaurants. 

 

Day 10 (1/5)

Highlight: While we were wandering around the ancient ruins of Ostia, I saw a large black cat just doing his thing. I followed him to take a picture and, naturally, he ran away because some weird American was being annoying. When we went through the bookstore, we found the same cat and his friend just chilling out in the shop! We saw a few other cats when we were leaving to head back home, which was probably the largest population of cats we saw on the whole trip. We happened to see another cat during our night tour of the Colosseum. It was quite funny to see people be more interested in the cat living in the ancient architecture than the stunning building itself.  

Favorite Taste: Marble cake at the café in Ostia

Fun Fact: Ostia was a port and commercial center of republican Rome. The ruins of the city include an amphitheater that could seat up to 4,000 people. Bonus fact: there are signs outside the Colosseum telling guests to not disturb any cats that are on sight. Apparently, there is a kitty colony in the stadium! 

 

Day 11 (1/6)

Highlight: There were some ridiculous seagulls we encountered during our final day in Rome. It’s almost as if they were posing for people as they took photos of them. Ben and I spent a lot of time trying to translate what these weird birds were squawking at each other. 

Favorite Taste: Bubble Toffee from my La Befana stocking

Fun Fact: The story of Pinocchio originated in Italy and the character is a common souvenir you can find on just about any corner. When we were walking through the city, we found a real life Geppetto!

 

I have always been of the belief that everyone needs to leave their home country at least once in their life. Traveling expands your worldview, reminding you how much bigger this planet is outside of your hometown. I am so thankful that I got to satisfy my travel bug urge in Rome with the Smiths, and look forward to more travels in the future!

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

 

The End of the Decade Post

Huzzah, it’s another end of the decade/year post. Woo. So original. Bet you’ve never seen one of these before!

Anyway

During one of my flights on the way to Rome to visit my future in-laws, I looked back at the start of the journal I have been on-and-off writing in since December 3rd, 2018. It affectionately was nicknamed, “Break Up Journal #2” (thank you for the purchase, Mom.) It is astounding to see how quickly life changed over the course of those first few months of that journal. Beginning a relationship with my best friend from the scene shop was not in the plan. But as I have said before, God always has better plans than we do.

Throughout the course of this decade, I have learned so much about life. Sometimes, there are people who are only in your life for a short season, and that’s okay. There are times where it is best to stay quiet and do your job, even when you work with difficult people. There are times where you must stand up for yourself. There are times where the right course of action is the unpopular one. People change, and so do you. You must know when to apologize. You must know when you are at fault, but more importantly, you must also know when you are not at fault. It is okay to protect yourself. It is vital to love yourself. Your health is more important than pleasing others. Just because you fail does not make you a Failure: it makes you human. You are blessed with gifts in a unique way. No one can live your life for you; do not waste it.

There is so much more I have learned, yet there is even more I have yet to discover. I am eager for this new decade, as there is so much to come already. I’ll be getting married. Lord willing, I will begin grad school. Maybe even have kids, who knows. No matter what happens, life is never boring. No matter what comes my way, I look forward with hope and joyful anticipation.

As far as goals go, my main writing goal is to spend more time creating pieces that I actually am proud of. I got close to my goal of posting a blog every week in 2019, and even though I fell off the wagon over the last few weeks of this year, I’m still happy that I mostly stuck to my goal. However, posting weekly is not practical with the life I am living at the moment. I’m about to begin my final semester of undergrad. I’m planning a wedding. I’ll be applying for grad school. Life is bonkers. So, instead of hurriedly scraping together a post every week to hit a deadline, I will be posting on a bi-weekly basis in 2020. Twenty-six posts during a year of massive life change seems like a pretty solid goal. Perhaps 2020 will finally be the year I successfully complete a year long personal writing challenge!

First post of 2020 will be up on January 12th! I look forward to sharing about my trip to Rome. Fun fact: this entire post was written while waiting in line to see the Vatican. My feet are numb and there is an insane amount of people. Life is bonkers. Best wishes to all as you begin this next decade!

 

Until next time,

Abby

 

When You Feel Like You Are Letting Everyone Down

Hi, my name is Abby, and I deny the fact that I am a perfectionist and a people-pleaser. But alas, I am both of these things. On the enneagram scale I am a 3w2, which is a combination of “The Performer/Achiever” and “The Caregiver”, as well as being an ESTJ on the Myers Briggs scale. If you look up basic traits of these personality types, you find these major points across the board.

  • Basic Strength: leading and serving other people.
  • Basic Fear: failing and being unworthy of love. To avoid this, they set and accomplish goals to feel successful and worthy. They also fear having a bad reputation
  • Basic Desire: to be admired and accepted. They seek value through accomplishment, which may push them deeper into their work, which sometimes leads to being a workaholic.

Now, you may not subscribe to personality theory, but over the past five years of learning more about various theories, I have come to better understand myself and others. The biggest thing I have learned about myself is that I am my own worst critic. Seriously, I am probably one of the most self-critical people you will ever meet. However, my mindset tells me that I must be hard on myself in order to achieve and not let others down. This ends up being horrible counterproductive and a hole that I have a hard time escaping.

No one is perfect. There are times when you will mess up. You will need to ask for forgiveness, and 95% of the time, if you truly communicate your remorse, the other party will forgive you. I have found though that often times it is easier to forgive another person than it is to forgive yourself. Sure, the other person can say, “What you did upset me, but I forgive you.” But with me, the fact that I have upset another person destroys my soul. I feel that I need to keep punishing myself, even if I have already dealt with the consequences.

Here’s the kicker though: I am saved by grace. The God of the Universe came down from heaven to die for my sins so that I didn’t have to pay for them. Jesus took all the blame so I don’t have to suffer the eternal consequences. The fact that we are commanded by God to forgive one another is to be a representation of His love for us. If God forgave all of mankind, then we are supposed to offer that same kind of love to others. Just because God forgave us though, doesn’t mean the task is complete. It takes the other party to accept forgiveness to make the transaction complete.

When you beat yourself up after someone has forgiven you, you have thrown that person’s grace out the window. More often than not, people move on. When you dwell on the fact that you messed up two weeks ago on something, you are hindering yourself from moving forward. You cannot expect yourself to be perfect. It is foolish to think that you will never let someone down. But when you realize 1) that you are not a disappointment to everyone in your life, and 2) that you must give yourself grace when you mess up, you are able to be a much happier person.

I’m currently about to begin finals week. I am stressed. I’ve shed many tears over the past week. I have felt like I have disappointed every single one of my professors and that I’ve been a bad friend and a crappy girlfriend. But to anyone who feels this way (myself included): STOP. These are lies. You are not a failure. You are not a disappointment. You are not a bad person. You are not defined by your mistakes. You are human. Every person that you feel you are letting down? Yeah, they have all screwed up in the past too. Give yourself some grace. Dust yourself off and keep going. More often than not, you learn more from your mistakes than your successes. Embrace the chaos, remember to breathe, and keep moving forward.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby

Things Change

Things change. 

“Yeah, duh. Come on, Abby. We all know this, what the heck are you getting at?” That’s what I’m guessing you’re saying at least. But you know what? I just watched “Frozen 2” and I have T H O U G H T S, OKAY?

*deep breath* Sorry y’all, I’ve been going through an emotional roller coaster over the last week and a half. Watching this gorgeous movie has made me sit down with a cup of coffee and process the jumble of thoughts I have been pushing aside for the past ten days. 

 I am not the same person I was a year ago. To be honest, I am not the same person I was at the beginning of the summer. And as I have changed, the people around me have changed as well. Some of those people have stayed in my life while others have drifted away. Along the way, new faces have entered into my life and friendships have grown that are now divine blessings. Others have left deep wounds in my spirit that have left scars. While healing as happened, there are still reminders of pain that have come from change. 

A year ago, I was mourning the loss of what I thought was my future. The “ideal” that I had created in my mind was gone. But, praise the Lord, I was surrounded with good people. While I was struggling with my grief, I was presented with opportunities to let my burdens to be carried by others. I also was given the chance to pour into the people I cared about most. I was able to witness miraculous life changes that I might not have seen if my life hadn’t been flipped upside down. 

Without giving away the plot of “Frozen 2,” let me just say that this is a great example of showing how even when things seem to be the worst that they can possibly be, you can still choose to move forward. When you accept the fact that change is a normal part of life, it allows you to be on the lookout for the good things that are coming. Life often does not turn out the way that we think it will, and more often than not, it’s for the better that things change. 

Over this past year, I have learned to loosen my grip on plans. Slowly but surely, the grip is becoming an open palm. I strive to let my life be an offering, regardless of whether or not my plans go the way I think they should go. So, as I travel deeper into the unknown, I will be holding on tight to the thing that never changes: the love my Heavenly Father has for me. 

 

Until Next Time, 

Abby 

Writing Q&A

Woooooooo Abby is drowning in homework and studying and memorizing scripts, so she decided to do a Writer’s Q&A she found online. Enjoy! 

What type of writing do you do? I used to want to be a novelist. Like, that was my dream career. While I still would love to do that, my favorite thing to write at the moment are plays! I also am an avid journaler. 

What genres and/or topics do you write about? In this season of life, I have been writing a lot about mental health. However, I used to write an insane amount of Star Wars and Marvel fanfiction. I plan to get back into the Star Wars storylines I was working on at some point soon. 

How long have you been writing? Last time I cleaned my room, I found a “book” I wrote in second grade. 

Are you published? On the internet? Yes, hello, this is my blog. 

What was the first story you ever wrote? I think it was about an island girl named Maya or something about Thomas the Tank Engine. 

Why do you write? A lot of the time I feel like my brain is spinning with a billion words. I write to get them out. 

How do you find time to write? At the moment, panic procrastination is how I have been writing. Ideally, I would like to spend time in the mornings writing after I spend time reading my bible. Hopefully we will be able to get back into that routine soon. 

When and where are the best times to write? When: when I don’t have Spanish homework. Where: give me a local coffee shop with decent wifi and we’re in business. 

Favorite food/drinks while writing? See above (just give me hot coffee and I’m set)

Your writing playlist? The “Monsters Inc.” and Star Wars scores are my long time favorites, but I recently got into Alec Benjamin’s work. 

What do family/friends/loved ones think of you writing? I think they like it? 

Parts of writing you enjoy the most? I love writing fight scenes and witty banter scenes. 

Parts of writing you find challenging? I hate writing transitions, man. 

What do you write with and on? I prefer writing in a notebook, but I have recently become addicted to Google Docs as my saving grace. 

How do you overcome writer’s block? Ha ha. 

How do you motivate yourself to write? Freaking deadlines. I thrive on deadlines. 

Writers who inspire you as a creator? John Green, JK Rowling, Stephen Edmond, Christine Riccio, David Auburn, Alex Hirsh, Rachel Hollis, W.T.R. Shaw (Sweet Ben) and Nathan Gonder

Books that inspire you as a writer? “Winter Town,” “Again, But Better,” “Turtles All The Way Down” and the Harry Potter series. 

Best advice you’ve gotten as a writer? Never stop writing, even when you don’t like your work. 

Writing goals this year: In 2020, I want to write a new short play and have a friend at Missouri Western direct it. 

 

Life is crazy, but writing is always a wonderful escape, even if it’s just a self-reflection on the craft. 

Thank goodness for Fall Break. 

Until Next Time, 

Abby

 

Hard Days

There are mornings that I don’t want to get out of bed. I lay burrowed under my blankets and stare at the alarm on my phone. I know all of the things that I have to be responsible for and wonder who would notice if I didn’t show up for those responsibilities. I pull myself up and sit on the edge of my bed, looking down at the floor as I try to decide if I want my feet to touch the floor. I look back at my pillow one last time, wanting to head back to blissful sleep. But I don’t, because I know there is joy to be awake for, even in the hard days.

 

There are afternoons when I find myself wondering why I am doing what I am doing. I feel as if everything I am doing is absolutely wrong and that everyone around me thinks I am a huge idiot. I feel that I will never move forward because whenever I make progress I seem to also take steps backwards. I often times consider giving up on the plans I’ve made and the dreams I’m chasing. But I don’t, because I know I am capable of pressing on, even on the hard days.

 

There are some nights when I just stare at my open pill bottle. I hold it as I stand barefoot in the bathroom and I glance up at my reflection in the mirror. I sigh. I look back into the bottle wrapped in washi tape and begrudgingly take a dose. The whole time I’m thinking, “I don’t want to take this. I shouldn’t need to take this. I hate taking this.” There are nights I want to dump all the little white pills into the toilet and send them swirling away. But I don’t, because I know they help with the hard days.

 

There will always be hard days. I accept that there are periods of life where there will be more hard days than easy ones. Sometimes, the best thing you can do for yourself on hard days is remind yourself that they will pass. It may take time, but our hard days show us how great that easy days are. To anyone dealing with a difficult season: keep pushing forward, even if it means just taking one step each day.

 

Until Next Time,

Abby