I’m Not an Idiot: a Daily Reminder

Drinking coffee while the snow falls

Taking some time to slow down and relax while the snow falls

Whether struggling to put a seat belt on or not understanding a cash register at work, I face numerous situations that leave me feeling defeated and ashamed. I hate looking stupid or incompetent. When others are around and (potentially) judging me, giving myself the grace to make an error becomes even more challenging.

“I’m not an idiot.” I repeat that phrase to myself daily. Is it because I truly believe it, or is it what I want to think?

Sometimes the mistakes I make can be attributed to my ditsy side. Other times, my desire for perfection and fear of making someone upset makes me so anxious that I struggle to focus. Interestingly, my struggles can also be traced back to sensory overload. When someone else is talking in the same room, I struggle to hear anyone speaking to me. If an item isn’t exactly where it should be, I can search fruitlessly as all the other objects around me start to overwhelm my brain. Or if I try to do a task in a new order, I often stumble over my words or forget an essential component of the task.

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To China and Back Again: The Year 2017

Walking over a bridge in China

2017 was filled with many challenges but so much growth.

When I look back at the year 2017, my head spins a bit. So much happened in a fairly short time. My life changed dramatically as I moved from Florida to China in 2016, settled there more in 2017, and then moved back to the USA.

However, I changed even more than my geographical location. Not understanding a word around me but having to find my own apartment and find directions taught me to ask for help even if I looked clueless. Teaching children and planning creative lessons taught me to trust myself more as a leader and artist. Working with children and feeling alone in a new culture taught me that I did want a family one day. Having a happy relationship continues to teach me that I’m lovable with all my quirks and faults.

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Cleaning Out Boxes of the Past

A lake near a mountain

A lake near the mountains

After arriving back in the USA a few days ago, I’ve been busy cleaning out all of my old boxes. Although I just moved back from China, my goal is to move abroad again for my Master’s Degree soon. Thus, all of the clutter in my old room and closet needed to leave.

As I pulled out old boxes and rummaged through dusty drawers, glimpses of the past kept appearing.

My fingers were stained pink and blue from oil pastel paintings made in residential treatment for my eating disorder. Babies surrounded by darkness, blood-red monsters devouring me, trees half blossoming and half diseased – images of despair and hope mixed with every color.

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Losing Sight of Yourself

"There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one's self." - Benjamin Franklin

“There are three things extremely hard: steel, a diamond, and to know one’s self.” – Benjamin Franklin

You know yourself better than any other human.

Sounds simple, right? Why is it then that I find this so hard to remember? I look to others to tell me what I do well, how I look (or how I should look), and who I should become. When I need approval, I don’t even try to rely on myself. Instead, a friend or family member is sure to boost my self-esteem.

Or at least, that is how it has worked most of my life. A time arrives, however, when people around you belittle instead of charm, critique instead of comfort, and ignore instead of notice. Suddenly, you are forced to look at yourself in the mirror in confusion, wondering who you are without the words of others. Or perhaps, wondering if the bitter, nastier labels they stuck on you are the reality of your character.

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Can You Ever Fully Escape Your Past?

Imagine meeting an old group of friends or classmates. One person constantly belittled and even bullied others while growing up. Now, she listens well and even apologized for past actions. Another person, on the other hand, was shy and insecure. He still struggles to speak and usually complains about himself when he does speak.

Situations like this happen to me all of the time although not always in the same day. I meet people from the past who have changed tremendously while others are nearly identical. The questions arise, “Do people change? Can someone move on from the past? Are some people able to forget who they were?”

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Coming Back Stronger than Before

Cinderella

Disneybounding as Cinderella

I am not even sure how to start this exactly. The wait between these posts (both for you reading and me writing) has been far too long.

Life has been a bit hectic and full of changes lately. Since my last post in June (forever ago, I know), I have been offered a new job which I will be leaving the country for in a few months. After years of dreaming and doubting myself, I am going to be teaching English in China. Better yet, the Disney company will still be my employer.

The joy of taking this new step in life comes hand-in-hand with the fear of change. Am I really moving to a country across the world that I have never been to before? How will I learn Mandarin that quickly? How will I survive without my family and friends? How will I ever be confident enough to teach?

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New Stages of Life, New Challenges to Face

drinking in Epcot

I am learning to live a more normal life despite new challenges. Here I am at the Rose and Crown in Epcot.

Down in Florida, I am doing more on my own than I ever dreamed that I would. Paying for rent, food, and other needs on my own is one challenge. So is working overtime every week, commuting nearly three hours a day, and still maintaining friendships.

Yet, I am managing. Life is very difficult at times, yes, but nothing that I cannot handle.

Or so I thought. Sometimes life feels like wack-a-mole or running after a toddler; the minute that you are finished with one thing, you have to chase after another one.

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Fantasmic is the Best Show Ever! Period!

Hollywood Studios Sign

Hollywood Studios Sign

As you maybe could tell from my title, I went to Fantasmic for the first time today and loved it. This show at Hollywood Studios was brilliant and breathtaking. I look forward to seeing it again and again.

Knowing that I can sit and watch a show full of bright lights and loud noises yet still enjoy it is wonderful. I have come such a long way. The little girl with great anxiety who could not be in crowds or watch fireworks is still me. However, I have grown and adapted.

There is hope indeed.

Am I Good with People?

With my lovely friends Daniela and Claudia at training

With my lovely friends Daniela and Claudia at training

“I admire how you so easily talk with people and make friends.”

I was astonished by my roommate’s words. Is that true? Never in my life have I thought of myself as someone who attracted people or made friends easily. If anything, others saw me as a replaceable friend – good for when no one else was around but pushed aside when someone better came along the way.

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Earning My Ears

My mouse ears and name tag from the Disney College Program

My mouse ears and name tag from the Disney College Program

In Disney, we have lots of code words for things. “Earning my ears” means that this person is training. That is a cute, magical way to look at it, right?

This training is draining but good. I look forward to growing through this experience. Change is scary though. I do not want to become someone who is a totally different woman. Getting drunk, swearing, watching R-rated films – those are not who I want to be. Yet, I need to realize where I am holding myself back instead of allowing growth.

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