High school ruined me

Hi all and long time no write.

I took a nice weekend trip to Ohio at the start of the month, and that paired with some family issues I’ve been pretty lackluster when it came to writing.

Something I’ve been doing quite a bit more recently is reading. I just finished The Happiness Project last night (more on that to come) and I started wondering why I don’t read more often. I love reading, I love writing, yet I don’t do it nearly as often as I’d like.

When I was part of my high school’s yearbook, I did almost exclusively design. I edited captions and stories, etc. but only because I was an editor and therefore it was my job (despite the thrill I got from turning a paragraph of spelling and grammatical mistakes into a perfect package complete with sparkly bow).

But, you all may be thinking… Alicia… you run a blog, you must like writing. And I do, I adore writing, immensely, it gives me a way to be creative without wanting to rip my hair out over my inability to draw anything better than a stick figure. So, then why did I refuse to write copy for my yearbook unless absolutely pressed to by my writing editor? Well, in my opinion, it’s because I was conditioned to believe I hated it.

School, high school, in particular, forced you to read and write things that you have little to no interest (or at least think you don’t) in and it is downright dreadful. Having to read books that you have no interest in, then having to write a 3-5 page essay in 45 minutes on a book you hated and therefore skimmed is almost worse.

I can remember being in elementary school after visiting the library that week, cozying up in my bed on a Friday night with Anna Sewell’s Black Beauty and staying up until the early hours of the morning to finish it because I WANTED to. No one told me to read the book, no one even recommended the book. I read that book because I wanted to. I read that book so many times and for a while, it was my favorite book… maybe it was because it was one of the only books with large font in my library… I’m a slut for large font. Whether I liked the book or merely the font size, there were many more books after that in which I read and loved doing so, but one day it stopped.

In 4th grade, I won a short story contest (and even got it turned into a claymation movie by my advanced class) with a 2-page short story called “Where’s Coco?” My sweet little white dog (based off of the American Girl Doll mascot Coco might I add) who went missing on Friday the 13th… in October nonetheless. While I can’t remember how it ended, I do remember that the title was written in a yellow polka dot angled Word Art font and that it was riveting to my entire class, which is why it won… obviously.

We were given a prompt to write a mystery story. Nothing more nothing less. I poured my heart and soul into that story because I am such a sucker for mysteries that I got that all done in one day (I do that with essays today but more so due to procrastination rather than passion). If I could muster up the idea of an American Girl Doll dog going missing and also find the dedication AND motivation to finish this story, why did I not write anymore? Why do I struggle to blog, when I adore writing? Why?

The answer to this is that high school ruined me. Plain and simple.

Something I always wanted to do was to be a teacher. I didn’t know I wanted to be a teacher because I hated learning, or at least I thought I hated learning.

Something I love is learning. So, why did I hate learning if I love learning? Pretty contradictory don’t you think? I think something that myself and so many others my age have come to realize is that high school is not about learning anymore, it’s about getting grades satisfactory enough to get accepted into the university of your choice.

I cannot tell you a single thing I learned from my junior year of high school other than the fact that I can read The Awakening in 90 minutes. The 90 minutes before I had to write my final exam on that book I may add. I can’t tell you so many things I ‘learned’ in high school because I did not learn them.

I memorized them hours before I needed to know them, regurgitated them onto a scantron or scratch paper, and then one by one, they were discarded into my brain garbage can (told you I didn’t learn much in high school).

High school was never about learning, yet I didn’t realize that until much later. I thought I hated learning because high school made learning the last thing I wanted to do.

It wasn’t until my year off that I realized that learning was fun. I learned more from the 6 and 8-year-olds I nannied than in my entire AP US history class. I learned more in my time in Peru than I did Honors Physics.

Learning doesn’t always take place in a classroom. But learning should always be fun.

How fortunate are we to learn that the moon’s orbit affects the seas’ tides? How fortunate are we to learn that you really can start a sentence with And or Because?

I wish high school hadn’t ruined me. I wish I knew my passions 4 years ago. I wish I never thought I hated the things that set my soul on fire. But here I am, still undecided on my life choices with the same fire and passion I had for reading, writing, and learning but this time.. I know I have it.

Alicia

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Dorm Tour | ’17-’18

Hi everyone, I had planned on making this post weeks ago but after a finishing touch on my room was finally delivered today (I ordered it in August) I decided it would be the perfect time to show you my dorm. I have decided not to show my bathroom and sink area because…  there is nothing personal about it except a $4 soap dispenser and who doesn’t know what a bathroom looks like??


When you first step into my room, you are greeted with this adorable welcome mat that says “Home Sweet Home.” My roommate and I both loved it and we incorporated the vine theme above our beds. Stay tuned

Next is just an overview of my bed and study area. I figured I would show you all the big picture before I delved deeper into each section

Onto my bed area. Above my bed is the vine theme with some fake flowers surrounding my initial. My roommate’s is identical except her letter is an ‘O’ for Olivia. We DIY’d the heck out of a fake plant, fake flowers, and some wooden letters. On my wall are just some pictures of me with friends and family, alternating with navy patterned triangles. I got them at Michael’s to match the Triangles on my comforter. My bedding is from Bed, Bath, and Beyond, and it came with 2 sets of sheets, 2 sets of towels, 2 washcloths, a mattress pad, a pillow, a throw blanket, and the comforter, obviously for only $129.99. I’m thrilled with it and it’s very cute. I got the remaining pillows from Bed, Bath, and Beyond and the little white pillow in front says “calm.”

Onto my desk area. My desk itself has all of the basics, books, laptop, water, hand sanitizer, air fresheners, office supplies (I love how my desk this year has drawers because the one at San Diego did not :/) etc.

 

However, above my desk is my absolute favorite part of my room. Starting from the top and working my way down: these 3 posters I think are so cute and the “She designed a life she loved” is one of my favorite quotes. The “Maybe swearing will help” is sort of an inside joke between my roommate and I and the “Let’s GO” poster is my little blip about how I love to travel. I also adored the color of it.

Below that are just some super adorable pumpkin lights that I got at Walmart for like $5. And at the bottom is my cork board with has my schedule at the top and some pictures from home and San Diego below it, which is surrounded by my dry erase monthly and weekly calendars.

Now moving onto my closet and the random crap section of my room. I have a closet, which is filled to the brim on the right side, a built-in shelf unit with storage and pictures on top, my children in the middle, and a shitpile ranging from lipstick to forks on the bottom. Underneath my built-ins are 4 drawers, which I keep my delicates, pajamas, pants, and t-shirts in.

I just figured I would show in my closet. Like I said, filled. Also, that shoe rack on the bottom is a total lifesaver. Behind the rack are boots which I have yet to bring out

Next, I figured I would show my fish tank. Olivia and I are working on our 3rd, 4th, and 5th fish (the first two were flushed) and our first snail. We named our first fishes Adam and made these cute mini chalkboards with their initials and we didn’t want them to go to waste, so for our current family, each of them has their initials on the board (A, D, A, and M). We have Mada the snail (Adam jumbled), another Adam (all orange), Dot (has a dot on her head), and Antoine (black and orange). We are quite the happy family and these guys and gal have lasted longer than the others (knock on wood).

Finally, I wanted to show off our window. Olivia bought these curtains because our pull down blinds sometimes don’t work and I bought twinkly lights to go behind them. It always looks super cool at night and we get compliments on them all the time.

Hope you enjoyed our room.

Until next time

Alicia, Olivia, Adam, Dot, Antoine, and Mada

World Mental Health Day

Today is world mental health day. One year ago I made a post called “Society Told Me.” Today, that post still rings true and still hits close to home. Today I want to share that post again but change it up a little bit to share how I have changed in the past 365 days. I hope you enjoy.


This year, World Mental Health Day has once again exploded on Twitter. My friends, acquaintances, and social media influencers near or far remarking on their mental health struggles. Each time I see a tweet, or a photo, or a comment about any mental illness it makes me smile knowing there are so many people of all shapes, sizes, and colors from all corners of the Earth that struggle with the same issues that I do. I admire each and every one of you for speaking out about the struggles you face on a day to day basis, despite society constantly dehumanizing us for having them.

Mental illnesses have always been something I struggled with. Although when I first started struggling I didn’t know they were called mental illnesses and I merely thought I was some emo freak who wanted to die for attention, because that’s what society told me.

I can remember the first time I ever thought about killing myself in seventh grade and how I thought I would never be happy. I remember thinking that I belonged in an insane asylum which is why it showed up in every single one of my seventh-grade art projects. I laughed it off but secretly thought I belonged in one, because that’s what society told me.

I can remember the first night I self-harmed and how I had to cover my arms and legs and stomach at all costs in fear of someone calling me out for being a freak and ostracizing me, because that’s what society told them to do.

I can remember defending one of my friends for cutting and saying she was just like us. Each of them told me I was “as crazy as her” for saying something like that, and they were afraid she would kill herself because of the cutting, because that’s what society told them, that everyone who cuts is emo and will kill themselves.

I can remember when I last had a self-harm relapse. 306 days ago. I can remember thinking that I would never be clean again and that I would hurt myself forever. Because that’s what society told me.

I can remember being happy. How everyone said, “you’re smiling, you aren’t depressed.” people who have depression aren’t happy. They don’t smile. That’s what society told them.

But guess what. Depression doesn’t have a face. You can smile with friends during the day and cry yourself to sleep at night. I will say it again: Depression does not have a face. Mental illness does not have a face.

Here I am, 8 years after I wanted to kill myself for the first time. I’ll admit, I still do sometimes… yes even now. The feeling sometimes passes quicker than others, but I know it won’t make everything better.

Today I want society to piss off. Mental illnesses are normal. 1 in 4 people have them. Mental illnesses have no face, people who live with mental illnesses can function in everyday society just like those without. I  want society to stop romanticizing mental illnesses. Depression isn’t cute. Anxiety is not a trend. Suicide is not a good idea, no matter what society tells you.

The last thing anyone wants to hear is that it gets better, but the one thing everyone needs to hear is that you are not alone. I needed to hear that 8 years ago, I needed to hear that last night.

This day exists so that can be visible. We may feel alone often, but we aren’t. If you are struggling, get help, no matter how hard it is for you. I waited 5 years and every day I wish I had gotten it sooner. Get help before it’s too late.

Society has dehumanized people with mental illnesses and this is our day, to show that we are humans and we are just as capable. Everyone fights their own battles, mine just take place inside of me.

Life changes

I was listening to Thomas Rhett’s new album today and his song “Life Changes” really struck me. I was having a dance party alone in my room and started sobbing, something I’ve been doing quite a bit in my last year on this Earth.

I was always a rule follower. I did my homework, got straight A’s (for the most part), and did everything that was expected of me. I’ve never told anyone this but I’ve been thinking about the real reasons I left San Diego. I tell everyone I left because I changed my major. I really don’t believe that to be true. I tell everyone that San Diego has a crappy education program and I’m here because this one is better. I don’t know anything about San Diego’s education program if I’m being honest. It’s just easier.

I think the real reason I left San Diego was that I didn’t have a lot of friends there. Quality over quantity, I know, but I didn’t have any. There were people I talked to daily, because of class or we lived in the same building, but I didn’t have anyone I really connected with. I tried joining a sorority, I tried going places and joining clubs but I really just couldn’t make any friends. In November, my aunt and my friend Marisa, both ganged up on me to try and convince me to go to ASU. I couldn’t say no and I applied, got in, and was going to major in chemical engineering because that’s what my family thought was best.

It took me about 19 years to be a rule breaker, to go against the current, to say no to something. It changed my life. Taking a year off and changing my major to education was one of the most terrifying and exhilarating things I have ever done in my life.

That year-long break has made me a hard worker, made me break out of my shell, given me beautiful and kind friends, allowed me to see the world in all of its glory, and so much more.

I’ve been doing a lot of reflecting today. This past month was one of a terrifying months of my entire life. Starting college is a life-changing experience and I loved my freshman year at San Diego State (it’s San Diego.. What’s there to hate) but starting college a second time… that was terrifying.

Most people never thought that I would return to school after taking a year off, and I started to believe them. Maybe I would end up living in my parents’ basement for the rest of my life and work at McDonald’s until I could no longer move. Taking time off of school was the first thing I ever did that I decided 100% by myself… what if it backfired?

When I moved into my dorm last month, I was so terrified that I cried in the bathroom on the 5th floor of Baker (our union) for hours. I was terrified because I didn’t know anyone and thought that I’d made a mistake on Ohio. What if I chose to leave Ohio, and transfer again? I was terrified that I would never find my place.

However, I believe that after 5 weeks, I’m slowly starting to find my place. I joined an amazing club called CHAARG. These 203 other women are supportive, kind, strong (inside and out), and have made me feel welcome in a school of 30,000 others. I love my classes, professors, and my peers. This time off (and a new major) has made me fall in love with learning. In San Diego,  I slacked off a lot, I won’t lie, and I thought I was just lazy. In all reality, I was not interested in my classes. This year, I am almost always on top of assignments, I study at night, and have only watched one movie on Netflix.  I love working on school assignments, completing readings, and I am just enjoying learning. That year gave me a second wind and a newfound love for school that had been hiding for the past few years.

I am now confident that I have nothing to worry about. I now know that I was right to take a year off because, without it, I never would have come to OU, I never would have changed my major, joined CHAARG,  or fallen in love with learning.

Life certainly changes, and if you play your cards right, it will change in all the best ways. I promise

 

A new addition

No.. I’m not pregnant but my family did recently adopt a puppy! A little over two months ago, we adopted Kizzee (now Poppy), a one year old Border Collie Spaniel mix from Second City Kanine Rescue. She is the sweetest little pup who has taken my whole heart.

A little bit about this sweet baby; she is all black with some salt and pepper on her stomach and paws (the Border Collie) and has the fluffiest ears and tail in the world. She looks like a fox and she already has too many nicknames to mention. She’s got a bit of a barking problem but with some training and lots of cookies I’m sure that’ll be fixed in no time.

We adopted her from a rescue here in Illinois but she came up from Alabama, after spending over 6 months locked away in a kennel (wonder how that barking started), where she also contracted heartworm. For now, we have to restrict tiny dog’s activity (heartworm treatment) and we have a dog pharmacy on our counter(also heart worm treatment), but once she is heartworn negative this little dog will be bounding all over dog parks, beaches, and people.

Now, while Poppy and I sit here patiently waiting to get that dang blood test, please enjoy a plethora of pictures of this sweet, cute, and tiny pup.

Until next time

Alicia and Poppy🐾

19

A year ago, I posted something about how turning 19 was irrelevant. That the 19th revolution around the sun was a pointless one separating the enticing year of becoming an adult  and getting out of your teenage years.

If a year ago I told you that 19 would have been the best year of my life so far, I would have laughed in your face. But here I am, a whole year later, reflecting on my 19th year on this earth.

A year ago I thought I would be attending Arizona State University, majoring in chemical engineering, and living with my aunt.

But here I am, after taking a gap year, getting ready to start school at Ohio University, going to school for secondary education.

This year I did a lot of things, but if there’s one thing I did that I’m most proud of, it’s making my own decisions. I had always been a go with the flow kind of girl, always trying to please. In July, however, I made a tremendous decision to not return to school in the fall, something that  recieved a bit of backlash for, people saying I would never return to college after my break. After I chose to take a break, I was able to leave a toxic job that I wasn’t comfortable with. Normally I would’ve continued with both of these things because that’s what was expected of me, but I did what was right for me and that alone made my entire year.

After convincing my entire family, I was able to volunteer in Peru for over a month, working in an orphanage with some of the cutest babies I had ever seen, and travelling and marvelling at the country as a whole.

This year for me has been the best so far, and I hope it only goes up from here. Now, as I continue to get ready for a new school and a new year, I hope you all continue to live life as I am, pulchritudinously.

 

Alicia

Also Happy Birthday to me !

Renaissance Woman

Hello everyone and happy Thursday to you all. It is currently 12:29 am and I am frivolously typing away on my keyboard, my sleep deprived eyes drooping every few clicks of the keys.

My entire life I have never wanted to do one thing. I have never been that girl who has wanted to be a surgeon or a teacher or an artist since she was 6 years. I wasn’t that girl who applied to two schools because they had the major she wanted and great internship and job opportunities, pertaining to her major, upon graduation.

I was the girl who wanted to be a princess, an artist, an actress, a writer, a  mathematician, an actuary, a business woman, a world traveler, a math teacher, a nutritionist, a marine biologist, an english teacher, and so many more by the time she was 18. I applied to over 15 schools because I couldn’t make up my mind about anything.

I always used to think this was because nothing interested me. I was a depression filled, anxiety ridden teen, who couldn’t be wooed by one thing or another.

It wasn’t that nothing interested me, it’s that everything interests me. There is not one thing I can see myself doing for the rest of my life, not because I want to do nothing, but because I want to do everything. I want to star in a hollywood production, see the aurora borealis, do someone’s taxes, invent something, learn about animals, and help a struggling teenager get into college.

There isn’t one job that fits me. I am a puzzle piece that fits into every puzzle while simultaneously doesn’t fit into any.

I think I keep thinking about this because I don’t want to transfer again. I need to pick Ohio or DePaul and I need to pick one soon. My grandfather keeps pressuring me to visit DePaul, call DePaul, look at DePaul’s website and so on, and it is making me want to rip my hair out.

What happens if I pick DePaul and then want to do something else with my life that DePaul doesn’t offer? Or if the same thing happens at Ohio.

As I lay in my blanket burrito, and as my anxious thoughts completely take over me, I wonder… why does no one else have this problem? Why did every single person I know apply to 5 or less colleges and then just pick one? No one transfered, no one waited until April 30th to make an admission decision, no one is laying in their bed, two years later trying to find a new school so they don’t make the same mistakes they had made two years prior.

The only sounds I hear are of a dog snoring next to me in bed (we are only watching her for a week… unfortunately) but inside my head is like a Final Four March Madness game.

Everyone keeps telling me that it doesn’t matter where you go to school, but let’s be honest… it does. I have to like it, it has to be affordable, and they have to have a major(s) that I like and want to pursue.

I like both schools and  once I get financial aid we will talk about affordability. However, the latter, the majors are what I’m coping with. The difference in majors along with my inability to make a commitment and stand by it are the reasons I am still up at 12:48am with a loud and messy head.

I keep weighing the pros and cons. Both schools have pros. Both have cons. Both pros outweigh the cons and there isn’t one that stands out to me. I think I need to just go to DePaul one day and then see if I can get back to Ohio for a few days to really see if I can picture myself on either campus.

Sorry for all the rambling but writing is my way of thinking.

On the bright side, just about 2 weeks till Peru. I have begun packing, and am talking to a girl about going to Machu Picchu over Easter. Half of my life is stressing about college and the other half is pure joy about going to Peru and volunteering. I guess that’s compromise for you…

Alicia