Chicago

Truly Madly Deeply

Sometimes we experience tragedy without being directly impacted. I guess, you could say I’ve found the right place in a Social Psychology Graduate program (Oh yeah, that happened. More on that later…), but I think I’ve always been this way. Individual experience is so much more than internal thoughts, attitudes, and beliefs. I am highly sensitive, empathetic, and too deeply wrapped up in emotions. I know that, believe me. And I love nothing more than when these characteristics are hurled at me as insults, when I think these are the very things which make me me.

I wrote a blurb on Facebook this week about how the WDBJ shooting impacted me. Ever since I’ve felt…different. Forgive this hackneyed tidbit of advice, but — life is precious. I want to savor every moment, love every creature, and benefit everyone and everything in anyway I can. I sound sentimental as hell and I’m not sure what I mean by this, but I want to live life.

Life has been amazing to me lately.

I’ve been overworked, sleep deprived, and often felt lost or like a failure…but I’m important, valuable, and have a lot of wonderful experiences ahead.

_____________________________

Back to grad school … I spoke with a professor about a month ago regarding applying to my school’s program for next fall. She knew I would graduate this fall and I was somewhat disappointed that I would essentially sit here waiting for next fall after completing my undergraduate coursework. However, she mentioned a 5 year program I didn’t know about, where I could enter grad school THIS fall and complete my Bachelors degree on time as well as obtain a Masters degree spring the following year.

Instantly, I wanted to say no. I wanted to give up and be done with school, but where would I be? Truthfully, I have no idea what I’m doing with my life.

There’s something so satisfying yet terrifying about admitting this.

But I think we can all say that at some point (maybe even now) that we have felt this way. Regardless, she told me to think about it and let her know if I was interested.

I took a leap and called her back the very next day and in a whirlwind two weeks — along with a multitude of pulled strings all thanks to my former professor — I now find myself in grad school.

I’m shocked. I have imposter syndrome like you couldn’t imagine. “I don’t deserve this, I”m not smart enough, talented enough, driven enough….I’m not in the right place.” It sucks. I can see that I am talking myself down when at the same time, I know that I am exactly where I am supposed to be right now.

How many times in my life will I be able to say that? I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be right now. 

Sometimes it takes a little reflection at the end of the week (or blogging) to come to terms with that yourself. Sometimes it takes learning about a tragedy, which may not directly impact me, but through societal factors and personality factors I’ll likely learn everything about during my graduate studies, impacts me as directly as it impacted the families of Alison Parker and Adam Ward.

I already said my political piece on the issue, but I think the human component of learning about tragedy should be addressed as well. So while I’m exactly where I’m supposed to be — I’m nervous.

I’m afraid of failure, of success, and of stagnancy.

But life is wonderful because I can feel all these emotions at once. I can simultaneously celebrate and mourn.

I’m learning how to balance my emotions. I know I’m an emotional person and it doesn’t take much to make me angry or to make me cry. But it also doesn’t take much to make me smile or laugh.

The coming months (years? eek…) are going to be stressful. They’re going to be draining and make me question everything.

There’s something about growth and struggle…some quote. Whatever that may be, I think that’s going to be my new motto.

All I know is that I have a grad acceptance letter plastered to my fridge and I’m trying my best to recognize that leaving a few dirty dishes in the sink tonight do not mean the end of the world tomorrow. That sometimes I need time alone, sometimes I need coffee or wine or mac and cheese.

Through all of this rambling… I’m learning about living my life for me, for whatever that requires in a given moment or situation, and remaining cognizant of how fortunate I am to be here as well as how deserving I am of all the opportunities and accomplishments thus far.

I think these lessons apply to everyone, though. We need to celebrate our victories, own our achievements, and brag about our own abilities. We need to smile in the face of hatred, power through in the presence of bullies or toxic influences, and keep our heads on straight and oriented towards becoming a better person and human being.

My life has turned around the last month. I’m enjoying work again, feeling like myself, and understanding that life isn’t exactly what I want but it’s what I need right now.

Happy happy Friday

x Danielle

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