Lack of spirituality

Sorry it’s been so long since I’ve used this blog. I had been journaling privately more but this is a cool place to publicly share some thoughts/beliefs.

Today I want to talk about why I’m not a spiritual person. My religious background: I was raised in a semi-religious jewish household. My mom is jewish and my dad is religiously unaffiliated. At my most religious point I was in 7th grade, I was attending hebrew school twice a week with one day being more Sunday school/history/prayer focused and the other day with more of a hebrew reading focus. I had hebrew lessons once a week to help me prepare for my bat mitzvah later that year. I was never forced to go to synagogue but strongly encouraged and I was in an open-minded jewish community where it was ok to question God’s intentions or even existence and we were encouraged to be openminded and leave every prayer open to our own interpretation. I gained a further interest in religious studies after becoming close friends with a muslim girl and ended up taking an honors religious course in my senior year of high school.

However, despite my appreciation and fascination towards religion and judaism specifically, I always felt kind of atheist or at least agnostic. My friend who is pretty religious once asked me why I don’t believe in God and she seemed sad and skeptical when I couldn’t explain why. I respect that others believe in a higher power, but I believe otherwise. I believe we are guarded in our own thoughts and actions and that there is not an external force that causes me to live out certain life choices. I believe no one is here to protect me but myself and that both scares and comforts me greatly. It gives me fear but also great joy to know that no one is governing my actions and purpose besides myself. I believe that when we die we finish our existence. This belief also comforts me because it encourages me to live life fully and not glamorize the future. I have strong opinions about the corruption behind the concept of heaven and hell and sin but I won’t get into that now. I always felt extreme guilt at synagogue that whenever I prayed I didn’t feel an emotion. When people would smile peacefully as they talked about God’s miracles and wished I could have that feeling.

I’ve come to realize that personality plays a lot into whether or not someone is spiritual and I find that being stubborn, skeptical, and analytical are three traits that I notice in other atheists (including myself). I felt a lot better when I began defining myself as culturally jewish and religiously agnostic. Sometimes I refer to myself as atheist and sometimes as agnostic. I find that the biggest difference between these terms are others perceptions towards me. For people, saying I’m an atheist makes them angry and concerned. I feel they are judging me for judging them. Neither of which I intended. I even write this delicately in fear of offending someone who is very spiritual. I hope others interpret this more as two different beliefs and perceptions. I feel comfort in the known and the visible world around me, while some others find comfort in the unknown and the unseen spiritual world and afterlife.

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10 things having a concussion has taught me

So an update from my most recent post, I was in a car accident over spring break and got a concussion. While some people recover from concussion in a mere couple of weeks, the impact from the crash was severe enough for me to still have a slight concussion to this day, almost 2 months later. While this experience has been brutal, from many doctors appointments, scary symptoms like blurred vision and constant ear ringing, the frustration of appearing normal and healthy when I’m not, and missing out on many fun events and cancelling plans..it has taught me some life lessons.

  1. LISTEN TO YOUR BODY: If I had skipped sorority events, class, student org meetings when my head felt like it was pulsing, maybe I would be healed already. I finally, finally began showing signs of recovery once I started being easier on myself. Even when I don’t have a concussion (if I ever recover fully lol) I will continue to follow this because health comes first.
  2. Health is more important than grades: I’ve always been very into school. I strive for A’s and sometimes B’s. My goal in college was to stay on the Dean’s list the whole 4 years. However, my concussion prevents me from being able to memorize things and concentrate as well as I used to. So I realized, your health really does come before grades. Mental health too!
  3. Everyone is fighting their own invisible battles: Just because someone looks fine that definitely doesn’t mean they are fine. You really never truly know whats going on in someone’s life, but I bet you that girl you see smiling with her friends has some struggles you would never guess. Therefore, it’s important to be kind to everyone because you don’t know what they’re struggling with…even if they don’t appear to be struggling.
  4. Reaching out to people when you’re going through hell isn’t weak: It’s not weak to call my mom in tears because my left eye suddenly has almost no visibility. It’s not weak to tell my sorority sisters I’m going through a rough time. It’s not weak to email my teachers that dealing with class is very difficult right now and that I may have to leave class early at times. People will support you through rough times, but if you go at it alone, it’s really going to be hell.
  5. It’s ok to cancel plans and disappoint people sometimes: now obviously this shouldn’t be a frequent thing or done for no reason, but having a concussion is definitely an excuse to skip out on events, club meetings, hanging with friends, etc. And it’s better to take care of yourself than please people anyway. However, this was probably the most frustrating part of my concussion. Even almost healed, I have to avoid certain activities.
  6. Healing isn’t linear: After about 2.5 weeks of having my concussion, I finally felt like I was getting better. Fewer headaches, fewer symptoms overall, and fewer doctors appointments. But then I took this good feeling and overdid it. I didn’t rest enough, I kept myself too busy and did too many things..then it took a turn for the worst. Out of nowhere, I got a really horrible headache, then came nausea, and then my left eye got extremely blurry. I had to go to the doctors three times that week and almost had a hospital visit 😦 my sudden decline in healing was discouraging, but a good reminder to take care of myself. Now i’m finally nearly healed…
  7. You’re not invincible: Now this isn’t to draw paranoia, but many people are reckless..they think they can text/drive and drive and not get in an accident. They don’t believe cigarettes will give them cancer. They believe they’re immune to tragic moments and being unlucky. Well this was a wakeup call that I’m not a special snowflake and random bad things will happen to me and that I should be cautious.
  8. Gratitude: I got many text messages asking if I was ok (all of which I had my brother read and reply to because I wasn’t allowed to use screens at all for a few days) and this made me really thankful for a supportive family and supportive friends. Bad moments show you who your true friends are and I’m so thankful to have amazing people in my life.
  9. Patience: this symptom has gone away, but for weeks I was taking long pauses in conversations and struggling to remember words/details/names. It was really frustrating even just having a normal conversation, walking in a room and forgetting what I was doing, leaving my belongings places accidentally, and general stupidity. But I realized that my body was trying as hard as it could and that you need to be forgiving and patient with yourself.
  10. Positivity heals wounds: my friend, who had a more severe concussion than I did in high school, advised me to remain positive. It was really hard to take this advice some days when I’d hyperventilate from concussion-induced anxiety, vomit, have a pulsing headache, spend more time with doctors than friends, and when I still wasn’t healing weeks later. It felt like I would NEVER get better. But I tried my best to remain positive, and she’s right..it does get better.

Concussion: the invisible injury

I don’t want to go in depth because I’m tired of retelling the story. I was in a car accident 10 days ago and aside from a few bruises, my only injury is a mild concussion. (Before you ask, yes I can type for short-ish periods of time, I couldn’t the first week, but I can do more things now) I’m thankful this car accident didn’t take my life, but having a concussion has not been easy. Having a concussion has been one of the most frustrating things I’ve experienced in my life, because no one can see it except me. It’s an “invisible injury”.

You can’t see it, but I can feel my head throbbing in pain at random times of the day or when I trigger it by sitting and focusing for too long in class.

You can’t see it, but I can hear the ringing in my ears that hasn’t left since a car collided into mine.

You can’t see it, but I can feel the nausea, forgetfulness, loss of memory, difficulty concentrating, and irritability, and frustration of my brain not working how it used to.

You can’t see it, but I can’t spend more than half an hour on homework at a time and if I try to spend longer, the ringing is louder and the pain throbs stronger and all I can do is lay down.

You can’t see  that I’m falling behind in my classes and the doctors notes that give me permission to do so.

You can’t see it because for short periods of time, the pain isn’t too much to bear and I can sit down and have a conversation in the cafeteria and make jokes like my usual self. But after about an hour of ANY activity whatsoever, I have to lay down before the pain takes over. I seem normal but I really just mastered the art of acting like I’m fine.

You can’t see it, but I went to the doctor 3 times within a 5 day period and spent more time in waiting rooms and with doctors shining lights through my eyes than I ever have before.

You can’t see it, but even after this fairly short article, my concussion has been aggravated from too much cognitive activity and I’m off to take a nap.

So before you think I’m exaggerating my condition because I “seem fine” at times. Remember that some injuries are invisible. 

Six types of college friends

This is loosely inspired by an Odyssey article I saw, “5 Types of College Friends”, just wanted to give it credit even though I’m using different “friends”. This also isn’t accurate for everyone. Some people don’t have any high school acquaintances at their school or may actually find a lifelong best friend at orientation, this is just my experience.

  • Orientation friends: You get to college and you know nobody in sight so you simply talk to the person sitting next to you at freshman orientation. Filled with excitement, nervousness, and a burst of friendliness (which you need to adapt to this new setting), you befriend each other simply for company. You stay friends for roughly a month until you quickly lose touch and your “orientation inside jokes” are all used up and you can’t think of anything to talk about anymore. These “orientation friends” unfortunately don’t stick around, but they definitely essential for providing a source of comfort through the beginning of your transition period to college.
  • High school acquaintance: You may have just been friends in high school and lost touch, or maybe they were someone you passed in the halls but never clicked with, but somehow you both ended up at the same school yet again. You wave “hi” to them and strike up small talk, you offer each other rides for breaks, if you have a class full of strangers, they’re you’re go-to project partner, but aside from your hometown, you share little in common. Regardless, it is nice to see a familiar face.
  • Project partners: If you go to a small school like me, even in a large major like psychology, you’re bound to have the same people in a few of your classes. You sit with them in class and sometimes talk a little outside of class, but mostly they’re just your project partner and study buddy. You’re always pleased to see that you have a class with them again and you sit next to them every class period, but you don’t hang out much besides that.
  • Freshman roommate: You shared the awkward experience of barely knowing them and having to share a shoe-box sized room with them. You have funny memories together, shared snacks, had late night talks sometimes, and admittedly got on each others nerves. They saw you cry, they almost walked in on you and your boyfriend a few times, and they’ve seen you without makeup more than with makeup. You may have not stayed in touch after rooming together and they may have not clicked super well with you, but you’ll always share a special bond of being each others’ first roommates ever. Even if they aren’t in your life by sophomore year, you’ll never forget them.
  • Ride-or-die friends/college besties: It may not happen instantly, but when it does, you’ll meet a few people where you click extremely well and all you can think is “WHERE HAVE YOU BEEN ALL MY LIFE?!” They’re a shoulder to cry on, always down to grab lunch, your weekend plans, you snapchat them even in the same room, they’re always there for you through tough times of college. You know a lot of people drift after college, but they’re so incredible and connected to you that you don’t worry about this. You may not see them as often after college, but you’ll stay in touch and you’ll probably be at each others’ weddings sharing funny sophomore year stories.
  • Activity friends: They may be your sorority sister/frat brother, club member, co-worker, etc. You are quite involved in a club, student org, job, or other activity on campus. You love spending time with them in said activity. However, they’re not your go-to person for grabbing lunch and they may not know the personal TMI details of your life, but you still care deeply about them and you’re always excited to see them at your student org/activity events.

Gratitude and tough news

A guy from my high school that I had some classes and convos with passed away from a car accident yesterday and today I found out one of my close friends has a brain tumor. Life is precious, fragile, and unpredictable. I love my friends and family and so many people in my life, even if we aren’t tight, positively impact me. I’m so grateful to have such supportive people in my life. It’s dramatic but you never know how much time you truly have left on this earth. We don’t all end up dying of old age after years of marriage, having kids, getting a job, traveling, graduating..some of us will pass away before meeting these “milestones” and you never think bad things will happen to you but sometimes they do. It really fucking sucks and I could say life is unfair, but bad things happen in life..thats just how it is, often unexpectedly. I just want everyone who is reading this to know they are important and to be grateful for positivity in life. But also recognize that life is short sometimes and you often don’t get second chances. 

Dear boy whose heart I broke,

We insisted that we would stay friends and a tiny part of me believed it, but everyone says exes never remain friends. It’s probably for the best. You said you could never dislike me, but now you won’t even look me in the eye. Know that you hurt me too. Sometimes what hurt the most was the guilt you caused me, because you cared so very much and I wish that I had cared as much, but I just couldn’t. You made me feel like I was never enough for you. Nothing I ever did was going to match up to this idealized version of me you had in your head. It’s hard to say if the reasons we couldn’t make it work were a complicated web of differences and issues or if it really came down to the fact that I broke your heart, because you were simply more into me than I was into you. I won’t say I didn’t love you because that’s a lie, but to say we experienced the same level of passion and love would be a lie.

I see how insanely different you are and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because I broke your heart. Your sudden sociability, your new habits, your “tough image”, your new outward appearance. Almost unrecognizable. I don’t like the person you’ve become, but I still honestly hope you are happy. I hope you find a girl who is more touchy and affectionate than me. I hope you find someone far more traditional, less of an independent and untraditional free spirit who would rather travel the world single than live in the same place for 20 years while married. I hope you some day are able to look back and remember me in a positive light.

I no longer want you, I no longer love you, I no longer even like you, but I sincerely hope you are happy and find someone far better suited for you.

Also, I’m sorry for breaking your heart, but I broke my own heart to keep yours together.

 

People are (generally) not out to get you

One issue I tend to have, as a quite sensitive person, is taking things too personally. Sometimes someone says something that offends me, makes me feel left out, etc. and I feel as if they are out to get me and are purposefully trying to hurt me. While some people act with cruel intentions, it’s important to realize that a lot of people hurt you unintentionally and may not even realize they hurt you. I find that it’s best to be open about certain topics that you’re sensitive about so friends know not to joke about certain things. Also when you feel left out by friends, it’s important to remember that it may have nothing to do with you and more with themselves. Some people use others as a security blanket essentially and feel shy towards friends they don’t know as well. Some people are also just not very skilled at balancing their time (between their boyfriend and friends for instance). It can hurt when it feels like you’re second..or third..choice, but remember that in general, people just are not out to personally attack you.