I Have The Power To Choose

choice 1

When people talk about having courage and exploring the unknown, I immediately think of traveling or beginning a new phase in life. Today, I read this phrase and had a completely different thought; I’m not traveling or starting a new phase, but I have decided to take a different path than the one originally set for me and it is going to be a scary road.

I have been wrestling with my faith and what it means to believe for awhile. I grew up Christian, non-denominational Baptist to be exact, and I worked really hard at being perfect at it. As I got older, I realized this was just a facade for me. I played the part so well and on the outside, I was the part to a T. I went to church, participated in Bible studies, and attended church camp. I volunteered, prayed, and was extremely active in my youth group. I didn’t do things that were deemed bad such as smoke, drink, party, or cuss. I was one of the good ones.

What I learned was that you can’t be a perfect Christian. But you can feel like you are doing something wrong. In the past six years or so, I have worked so hard at doing what I have been taught to do in order to have a strong relationship with God. Be in continuous prayer. Have a quiet time every morning. Talk to God like a father or a friend. Be patient. Listen for what God has to tell you. Read your Bible. Memorize verses. Surround yourself with good Christian friends. Be honest. (That is not all they tell you, but those are the ones that stand out to me at the moment.)

I did these things day in and day out. As much as I tried to enjoy it; make it something I wanted to do and not something I had to do, I failed. It always seemed like so much work and effort with no results. I still felt empty. I listened, but never heard anything. I prayed, but never got answers. I studied, but never learned. I surrounded myself, but felt judged. All of it didn’t seem worth it to me. I became bitter, because I would hear stories and see others who seemed to be living the life and having the relationship I was supposed to have. Although I understand they might be putting on a facade too, it didn’t change the negativity that surrounded me.

A few months back, I decided to take a break from striving so hard to be successful in my religion and creating this relationship that seems to be nonexistent. I stopped reading my Bible, praying, going to church regularly; I started to dabble in activities that were frowned upon. I didn’t like everything and being “bad” isn’t really me, because of my morals and personality, but I found that I was so much happier not worrying so much about being perfect. That who I was and who I wanted to be didn’t have to be dictated by my religion. I could still be a good person and not be a Christian.

I realized that I did not have a problem with everything I had been taught. I believe there is a greater power/being (aka God) and I believe that he created the world and everything in it, but from my experiences I do not believe that he is striving for a relationship with me. From the research that I have done, I am taking a leap and calling myself a Deist. I don’t necessarily think that a label for what I believe is needed, but it helps to classify myself somewhere.

Making the decision to step out of what I was taught and have always known and to swim against the grain of most of the people in my life is extremely frightening for me. I have not told my family about my change of heart, but to be able to post it here and recognize my current beliefs is a big step!

As hesitant as I am to move forward, I want to bring on the unknown and test my courage!

❤ a girl

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Big T-Shirts & Ponytails

self confidenceSo there is this guy.

Don’t most of these stories start like that? Well there is this guy, but this story isn’t about him. It’s about me.

There is this guy and I may have a crush on him, but if you knew the situation, you might say that I am ridiculous. But I can’t help it. He makes me laugh and smile and blush. Those are all good things, but I have never been the kind of girl that bases what she thinks about herself on what a guy thinks.

Well tonight I did something extremely out of character for me. I went out on a limb and for a second I regretted it.

Yesterday, we were having a disagreement about whether my day outfit was cuter than my pjs. He told me that he thought girls were much more attractive when they were comfortable; like wearing a big t-shirt with their hair in a ponytail. It just so happened that my pjs consisted of a big t-shirt and my hair was in a ponytail.

I may have mentioned that I just happened to be wearing that and he said he wouldn’t mind a picture. Well, of course, I said no. He wasn’t pushy about it by any means, but now that I look back I don’t understand why I was so reluctant. I was clothed and I was looking cute. Why did I think this was a big deal?

We talked all day today; I was in a better mood and feeling a bit flirty (even though I honestly have no idea how to flirt, which could be a problem), so as I changed into my pjs, I may have examined myself in the mirror. I was clothed and cute and maybe wanted a compliment.

As I have said before, I don’t do well with accepting compliments, but that doesn’t mean I don’t crave them. I figured it would be a win for both of us. So, I took the picture. After minutes of deliberation, I decided to send it. I am not sure what kind of reaction I was hoping for. Obviously, I knew what I was getting myself into, but I still freaked out when what I was hoping for came true.

He liked it. He said some sweet things. It’s what I wanted, right? I stared at the text and then myself and I started doing what I always do when someone compliments me. I disregard it, because how could they possibly think that… they have to say those things to be nice and not hurt my feelings.

Seriously? What is wrong with me? The guy thinks I am cute. No big deal. Say thank you and let it go. I started this. I asked for it in the first place.

I appreciated the compliment. It made my cheeks burn. It caused butterflies in my stomach. Maybe the reason I want compliments is because I am human, but I don’t like to accept them, because I don’t want to feel like I care about what others think.

So what I need to do is find that balance!

❤ a girl

A Time For Change

Your life does not get better by chance, but by change. – Jim Rohn

Originally, I created this blog to have an outlet. But if I am being honest with myself, a gesture that should have been positive, I turned into something negative. I was in a bad place with myself and very unhappy with who I was. I was using this blog as a way to connect with people (which is a good thing!), but instead of making friends who deal with things similar to me, I was looking to them for reassurance that it was okay to hate on myself, because everyone does it.

I decided this morning that it is not okay.

Being unsatisfied with myself is natural, because growing as a person is a slow process. Some days I will take two steps forward while others I will take one step back. All of these steps represent mistakes as well as wisdom. I need to remember to learn from the times I get down and to not just complain, but to actually take credit for my thoughts, feelings, and knowledge.

But just sticking up for what I think and for what I have done isn’t enough. I have to use it to learn for myself. I have to share it, so others can learn and understand what I am going through.

This past week I turned over a new leaf. I turned twenty. That officially means I am no longer a teenager. The saying ‘I’m a big girl now’ has never felt so real. But I am ready for the challenge of becoming a strong woman who is confident in herself. No more hiding or being embarrassed by who I am.

I am still just a girl.

A girl who is trying to figure out life and who she wants to be through taking chances and making mistakes. Instead of complaining about what I don’t understand and what doesn’t work out for me, I am going to focus on what I can learn and how I can move forward. I believe I can change my outlook, so that is what I am going to do.

I have decided to make a small step toward change. When I first created this blog, I dubbed myself Little Miss Unsure. Yes, I still am that girl, but I don’t want that to be who I am remembered by. I want to be remembered as a Precious Penny (damaged, tarnished, dirty, sometimes unlucky, but still worth something) in a world full of dimes.

❤ a girl

One thing I love to do is be a critic. Normally I focus on myself and those around me, but I am going to try and channel all the energy I spend ‘judging’ the people in my life into book/movie/music/show reviews. So keep an eye out for those.

I noticed last night that I have stopped taking pictures of moments in my life. I used to capture everything, but as I was going through my pictures, I realized that I barely have any from this school year. I think this may be a contributing factor to how I feel, because I have no way of going back to good times when I am feeling down. So be prepared to see more pictures, because I am going to try and be better at capturing smiles, laughter, and friends!

Hearts & Sleeves

heart 2Sometimes we like to stick people into these different boxes based on personality type. We like to have a box for sensitive people and a box for blunt people. There are others, but those are the two I want to focus on. We stick people in these boxes and then when the lines blur, we get frustrated, confused, and irritated. We don’t stop to think that some people can be both.

I am both. I am blunt, yet sensitive. I am outspoken when it comes to my thoughts about ideas, views, and other people, but I am sensitive when it comes to me. I am fully aware that this is a double-standard, but that doesn’t change the fact that this is how I am. [It’s like how I like people to have their “read receipts” on, yet I keep mine turned off.]

Over the weekend, I went bridesmaid dress shopping. Shopping in general is not my favorite thing. Shopping for dresses is not my favorite thing. Shopping with others is not my favorite thing. So this was like a triple-whammy, but it turned out to be better than I was anticipating. Once we picked the dress, we took a group picture with it. One of the girls posted the picture to Instagram. The next morning I wake up to someone who I care about and is close to me having posted a comment expressing how my smile was ‘fake’.

Everyone can talk about sticks and stones all they want, but words hurt. These words hurt me, because that smile wasn’t fake, but very genuine. I was happy for my friend who is getting married and I was happy that we picked a dress in under an hour, plus it was kind of cute. I was hurt me, because this person didn’t even ask me about that day or how I was feeling or if I like the dress, they just put out there for everyone to see and contemplate that maybe Lauren was faking it or lying about her thoughts on the dress.

I probably overreacted a little, but I just didn’t understand how someone could be so careless. After reading that, I questioned my smile all day. I felt so self-conscious about it and about how people were perceiving me. When I talked to my mom about it, she just said that that person is outspoken and doesn’t always think before they speak. I understood where she was coming from, but I didn’t think that justified that person’s actions.

I am an blunt person, therefore that person probably didn’t think I would care, but I am also sensitive when it comes to people making assumptions and saying things about me that they have no idea about. I wouldn’t have cared if that person had come to me first and asked about it, but instead they went around me- the subject of the hurtful comment.

The comment has since been taking down. I don’t know if the owner of the post or the writer of the comment took it down, but I am relieved it is not up there for debate anymore. Just take this as a reminder that people can fit into different boxes.

❤ a girl

You Watch Them. They Watch You.

inspiration 2Looking. Glancing. Noticing. Watching. Creeping. Staring. Admit it, you do these actions every day whether you mean to or not. Call it what you want. I call it people-watching.

People-watching is one of my favorite pastimes. I do it on a daily basis. When I’m walking across campus, sitting in class, riding the bus, or at work, I watch people. I do this because people are interesting, weird, and different. You can learn so much from the people around you.

We are taught from a young age that staring is bad, but I think that staring is considered a negative thing, because someone got offended a long long time ago in a galaxy far far away and made a scene giving the word a bad connotation. I think watching and inquiring others is a way for us to learn about ourselves. If we didn’t notice and look at others how would we appreciate style, personality, or character?

By watching other people we start to see how we want to act, how we want to dress, how we want to sound, and how we want to be perceived. I think this is so important in figuring out the kind of people we want to be and be associated with. So this is how we pick our friends as well.

Loving myself is something that I have always had a love/hate relationship with. There are days that I have more confidence than a circus tight-rope walker and other days when I am so insecure I can’t even look a stranger in the eyes. But I have slowly learned that people will look my direction whether I am trying to be noticed or trying to blend in and they will continue to look no matter if they like what they see or they don’t. It’s human nature.

I have decided that people can look, glance, notice, watch, creep, and stare at me. It might be unnerving at first, but if it will help them define themselves and the person they want to be then why should I stop them. If I am just being me, why is it so wrong that they look at me? If I am confident in myself then I shouldn’t care. Correction: I don’t care. It’s a challenge that I am willing to accept. Bring on the eyes and bring on the confidence!

❤ a girl