Disappointment has scarred the past few months of my life. It has manifested as constant worry, feelings of inadequacy, chest pains, sleep-deprived nights, sadness, and let me admit, spending far too much time on social media.
Recently, I let go of some commitments to focus on my spiritual and mental health. That decision, in itself, was beyond difficult for me. I have always felt uncomfortable with cultivating and prioritizing my well-being. The fear of possibly letting others down in order to stop running on empty has almost been stagnating.
“I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I just woke up feeling sad and not wanting to do anything at all today.”
This past Sunday, I texted one of my best friends that message when I could barely eat, get dressed, and go to church. During a phone call the day before, I told another friend that I’ve been feeling depressed.
Thankfully, on Sunday morning, I decided to leave my apartment. The temperature rested in the 70s, and I was reminded of joy.
I even tried Indian food later that evening that tasted delicious.
Most of my previous blog posts are accounts of my journey with loneliness, sadness, and the uncertainty of how to find community and feel confident, post-graduation. In this post, I’d like to share and reflect on activities and aspects of my life that remind me of Joy whenever my grasp of hope loosens, of how my story isn’t over yet.
What Reminds Me of Joy:
- Sometimes, I’m tempted to stay in bed all day. Getting up and going outside is almost always worth it though. I’ve been on the lookout for great outdoor areas to read, walk, and chill in Detroit and surrounding areas. If you have a favorite spot in the area for this same purpose, please let me know before it gets cold! (If you have a favorite, non-hipster coffee shop, please let me know that too for when it does get cold, haha).
- When I pray, I try to be honest, express gratitude, and surrender any guilt, fear, or shame. Prayer is powerful. The hard part for me, though, is praying consistently.
- I love the family that I’ve known all my life. (On that note, my mom’s birthday is coming up, and she’s a great mother.) I’m also grateful for recent opportunities to build new relationships with other family that I haven’t known as long.
- Loneliness sucks. I’m still figuring out how to build new friendships in Detroit, but it’s been great to savor moments of connection with old friends (shout out to the Uj staff reunion in Atlanta, and the times of seeing my best friends from way back every now and then).
- It’s legit healing for me. Catch me in a good laugh at work, at home, or elsewhere, and you’ll know that it’s real, snorks and all.
- I’m an avid Spotifier (yep, just created my own word), and I often listen to playlists, like Positivity (a mix of artists like Goapele, Pac, Musiq, John Mayer, and Donny Hathaway), Positivity 2, and Christian Music. Most of the songs on those playlists are explicitly encouraging while others just make me feel happy. Feel free to check them out, and let me know what you think.
- Some of the books that I’ve read lately are Kindred and Parable of the Sower by Octavia Butler, Drown by Junot Diaz, The Four Agreements by Don Miguel Ruiz, The Alchemist by Paulo Coelho, and Bipolar Faith by Dr. Monica Coleman. I’m slowly reading through Mere Christianity by C.S. Lewis now. I’m a big fan of blogs too, like hannahbrencher.com.
- Just because it’s amazing.
Vision Board and Gratitude Box
- This is a recent addition to the list. After over-spending at Michael’s, I made a vision board on which I imagined how my confidence, faith, and professional journeys could take flight. I also purchased a gratitude box that was on sale and have been putting notes of thankfulness inside. It all feels corny, but it really has helped motivate me.
As much as I care about loving and helping others, I also want to learn how to celebrate myself. On my best days, it’s easier to remember that I’m an awesome person with quirks, laughter, hugs, and hopes. I don’t want the sparks inside me to extinguish and fade in fear. I want to choose me and not be ashamed.