Sunday, April 4

Happy Easter- The End of a Journey

After 40 days, Lent has come to an end. My boyfriend celebrated by drinking a big can of Coke, thus completing his Lenten goal. I celebrated by preparing a long, emotional letter to someone that I have resented and begrudged for over 12 years- my father.

My project began as a way to be feel happy and free from anger. I chose Lent because it was a controlled amount of time and a time when it is socially acceptable to change behavior in the name of repentance. I feel like I have been successful in my project. In fact, I feel that it has blossomed into a new mindset, one where I play a brand new role- the role of an adult.

My apology to my cousin for not being around as much paid off. It actually inspired me to make sure I got to see her. I actually got to see her and her children yesterday. I enjoyed playing with the kids so much that I'm sure I will make time to go see them more often. I tried to apologize to a friend, but then, without warning or suspicion, she contacted me. It was odd, considering that she literally did what I had been planning for a month, but has proved to be a positive event for us. We were able to get everything out in the open and establish an open line of communication, something I appreciate and have greatly missed for the past year and a half. I wanted to write to two other ex-friends and just say that it's all behind us and I harbor no resentment, but a few weeks ago fate placed us in the same Target, a mere 10 feet from each other. I learned from their childish behavior that I would have to put it behind us on my own. In an unexpected twist, an old friend of mine contacted me to put our past to rest. It felt great to get everything off my chest after all this time, and even better to think that my spirit of freedom from the past may have enabled this to take place.

While each of these situations has turned out fine, my last mission is the scariest. I don't plan on rehashing every issue from my parents unexpected and messy divorce, but I do plan on putting it behind me. I know that its something you never truly get over, and that's OK. I'm not looking to get over it, I just want to get past it. I'm an adult now, looking to start a life of my own- marriage, family, career, home- and I would like to start all of that with complete support and open communication between all family members. I've planned a letter for my father which essentially says there was hurt, pain, and anger. Now, there should be forgiveness, communication, and trust. I am nervous about all of this, but I'm a little bit proud. I'm proud that I am finally getting this off my chest. I'm also excited about finally getting past, well, the past.

This project has been exciting, scary, and fulfilling. I have learned about the people around me, and even more about myself. I will try, in the future, to never let myself hold on to anything that may fester and eventually become a regret or grievance. I will try to be polite, and fair. I will be happy.

Tuesday, March 16

Lent: Part 2

So i've been working on my Lenten resolution, which is to give up my grievances, since Ash Wednesday. Quick summary: it ain't easy!

My first mission was to explain to a relative why I don't see her as often as I once did and to apologize for what must look like giving up. She laughed at me and explained that she understands that i'm young and i'm welcome whenever I want. Well, that was a piece of cake.

My second mission is to part ways, emotionally, with a former best friend. I'm not exactly sure why we lost touch, but we did. I would be lying if I said that I wasn't upset about it at one point, but I have since realized that we were going into different paths and our friendship was becoming all about the upkeep, not the relationship. I would her to know that I don't harbour any resentment for the lost friendship and that I wish her well in the future. Easy peasy, right? Wrong! I cannot get that message out to save my life! I've tried a few times and each one failed miserably. It would be easy to say that it failed because I secretly don't want to let go and all that jazz, but I honestly don't think that's it.

I'm going to try my best to get through this one, but I may just have to let this one go on my own.

Sunday, March 7

The "Pretty" Project

Lately I've been working on two projects. The first is my acceptance into grad school. The second is building my makeup collection. While one could immediately argue that the first is more important, I've actually found reason to believe that they may, in fact, be of equal importance.

I plan to enroll in a master's program in Mental Health Counseling (and, God willing, a PhD program shortly after). The program is based in psychology and certifies you in the state of NY as a clinical therapist, meaning you can work with patients and be compensated by medical insurance companies. As a counselor, I would pick a specialty. I'm leaning towards marriage and family counseling, though I could be swayed into forensics or even something related to children and teenagers. I would work with patients to discuss their issues and teach them how to deal with them. It's not that old stereotype of lying on the couch and talking about feelings. It's a patient telling me what is bothering them and then learning how to take that issue and think of it in a different way. I would allow them to see their differences in a new light, to reinvent themselves. In some cases, I may help to modify their behavior, changing the qualities they dislike and want to eradicate from their personality.

Now, after all of that, who can argue that what I would be doing is much different than the allure of cosmetics? After all, aren't I just trying to make people prettier? Now, it may be a stretch, but I'm starting to feel that counseling is to personality what makeup is to faces- a way to be pretty.

We have always been told that beauty is on the inside. There is much virtue in that statement, but, unfortunately, not enough people believe in it. I know this because of my second project, my makeup collection. My project began when I was given a makeup palette from a higher end brand for my birthday. I realized that the products were easier to work with and the results were much more flattering than when I use the drug store brands I had always purchased. I decided to rid my cabinets of cheap products and start building a higher quality (and high priced) collection from scratch. In the beginning, I felt so intimidated by the sales people and makeup artists working the stores and counters. I felt like they were wondering why this Maybelline girl was lost at the MAC counter. So, I took action. I consulted websites, reviews, and even turned to expert tutorials on YouTube- my counseling. After some practice, I mastered a few looks. Now, when I go in the stores, I'm not intimidated. I know the lingo and even look the part. They respect that I'm 'pretty on the outside.'

I would like people to think of counseling like makeup, a way to make you pretty on the inside. Your old habits and issues are the cheap drugstore brands, while your future is the pricey makeup counter- better quality, better results. You may have to throw away some old things, but what you'll get is better results in your life. I'm not saying that your everything will change, but maybe, with practice and care, you'll learn to let your inner beauty shine through.

Thursday, February 25

"Lent is when I determine which addictions I still have control over."

Yes, I stole the title from Whatev.

So Lent started last Wednesday (Ash Wed, for those not in the know). It was the first year in all my years that I did not proudly (or sheepishly, in my case) don the telling black smudge of musty palm ash upon my forehead. It was the first year I didn't go out of my way to proclaim my status as a sinner. Now it's Lent, a 4o day period of time to be used for fasting, sacrifice, and repentance. Generally, you give up something for Lent. I always have. My most succesful year was when I gave up soda at age 12. I still don't drink it. I gave up chocolate once, but my mother decided that was too difficult. One year, I gave up Lent for Lent. That was pretty easy, too.

This year, instead of giving up cupcakes or makeup (my true material weaknesses), i'm going for the heavy hitters: i'm giving up my grievances. Yup, that's right. I've decided that hanging on to pain and resentment is just as unhealty as soda, if not more, because while soda rots your brain, resentment digs in to the core of your being. Every person has had a friend or family member that they have had a falling out with, I am no different. I don't intend to contact everyone i'vel ost touch with and pioneer a new relationship (awkward much?), but I do plan on trying to clear the air. I may send letters, I may have a chat...I may just let it all go on my own- let it float up and away into the distance, like a lost balloon. In the end, I hope to be healthier. I hope to be free of the wrongs of my past, with a clear conscience and on the right side of karma. It may hurt a bit, to dig it all up, but in the end, I think i'll be a lot like the balloon- free, and light enough to let the wind take me to a new place.