Thursday, January 28, 2010

Chi Omega

My new member experience in Chi Omega is quickly coming to a close. In 25 hours, I will begin the official initiation process. I feel like now is the appropriate time to reflect on my new member experience over the past 4 months.

I'll be the first to admit that I didn't want to be in Chi Omega. I went into recruitment saying, "if I get into Chi Omega, I'm not joining. I'll be happy anywhere but Chi Omega." It wasn't until Preference night that I fell in love with Chi Omega. There was something about the sorority that night that stood out to me. I think it was the bonds they had with each other and the love they had for Chi Omega. They were all so diverse and yet they all had a common bond. I knew that night that I wanted to be a Chi Omega. And on bid day, when I received a bid from them, I couldn't have been any happier.

It feels like bid day was just yesterday. I remember meeting a bunch of the actives and sharing the excitement with my fellow baby hooties. I remember taking a bunch of pictures with the other babies and then with the entire chapter. During our chapter pictures, everything just felt right.

Clue week was one of the most nerve-wracking weeks ever! I would stay in my dorm as long as I could just waiting for the clues from my Big. As I got each of the clues, I fell in love with her more and more...even though I could never guess who she was. I kept saying, "these aren't clues!" But it wasn't until after Big/Little Revelation that I realized what all of the clues meant. I still feel so stupid for not realizing it was Sarah. I wanted her to be my Big all along, and when I ran through that tunnel at Revelation and I saw her at the end, I was the happiest girl in the world. I hugged her for what seemed like forever, and I started to cry. Her and I have become close over the past few months, and our bond will only continue to grow stronger. I love her to death, and I couldn't have asked for a better, more incredible Big. She is without a doubt the best gift I've received this year.

Classy Chi-O Connections was when I really opened up to my future sisters. During the candle pass, I shared a big secret I had been hiding. I received so many hugs and words of support that night, and that's the night that I was reminded why I joined Chi Omega. It was also the night where I really started bonding with a lot of the girls. These girls are still the ones that I know I can always go to, and their love and support seriously means everything to me. I realized that I have a family in Chi Omega, and I couldn't imagine my life without it.

Over the past 2 days of prelude, I was reminded that my pledge class is a family within a family. We may not all hang out and talk, but we all love each other. We're all in this together. The nerves, anticipation, and excitement are all things that each and every one of us can relate to.

Through all of the new member meetings, socials, and random run-ins across campus, I've bonded with the beautiful ladies of Chi Omega. They may not officially be my sisters, but I consider each and every one of them my sister already. They're my family, and when everything else is falling apart, they're still here. I laugh with them and cry with them. I'm myself with them. I would be absolutely lost without them.

I'm a Student Government Senator.
I'm a Jersey Girl.
I'm a philanthropist.
I'm a lover, not a fighter.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

There's a story behind the bruise

These past five days have been extremely tough.  It's hard to put into words how I'm feeling right now.  Usually, I have no problems expressing myself through my writing.  But right now, it's almost impossible to express the misery I am feeling.  Everything hurts.  Nothing matters.  Getting out of bed absolutely sucks.

The memory of Thursday night is constantly playing in my head.  And if for some reason I'm able to not think about it, I see the bruise on my arm and I'm reminded again.  I always feel like I'm just going to break down and cry.  I don't want to be around anyone.  And nothing anyone says or does makes it better.  The pain is just too much to handle...especially with everything going on in my life.

I still don't know what I'm going to do the next time I see him.  And of course there WILL be a next time.  My heart is telling me to just ignore him.  But with him, it's not so simple.  He'll see me and act like nothing is wrong, like he didn't just tear my world apart.  He'll try to have a conversation, and then get angry when I don't respond.  So it's like, "what can I really do?"  If I ignore him, he'll ask why and it will just start another argument.  If I try to be casual, I'm only hurting myself even more.  It's a lose-lose situation.

I'm forced to question everything that I'm involved in, especially Student Government.  I should never have been put in this situation.  I shouldn't have to consider giving up something I've worked so hard for just because someone hurt me.  But that's the reality of the situation.  I may have to give up the one thing that I love the most.  I spent 8 months trying to get into Senate, and I'm finally here.  I've never worked so hard for something in my life.  I turned what everyone called an "impossible goal" into a beautiful reality.  I don't want to leave Senate; I love it.  But I need to do what's best for me.  I'm hurting right now, and I can't handle much more pain.

I never thought I'd be in a situation like this.  And to be quite honest, I didn't think things could get much worse after what happened between him and I in September.  Clearly, I was wrong.

About an hour ago, I stumbled upon a quote.  It kind of describes what I hope to make all of this.  I don't know if I'll ever have the strength to forgive him, but I can only hope that one day Thursday night's memory won't haunt me anymore.  I can only hope that it will change from a haunting memory to a hope for a better future.

"Forgiving does not erase the bitter past.  A healed memory is not a deleted memory.  Instead, forgiving what we cannot forget creates a new way to remember.  We change the memory of our past into a hope for our future."

Monday, January 18, 2010


I honestly feel like a bit of a failure right now. I was doing really well with my weight loss and exercise, but this week I took ten steps back. It really bums me out, but in a way I'm glad it happened. It forced me to re-evaluate my goals. While reading "The Spark," I made long-term, medium-term, and short-term goals, and I was sure to make them very specific. Initially I wanted to work out 6 days a week, but realistically that just can't happen. So I changed it to 30 minutes a day, 5 times a week. I usually always do more than this, but I'm trying to be realistic instead of trying to set my goals on what I'd ideally like to do.

Right now, exercising still feels like a burden. Most of the time, it's hard to get motivated. I usually have no problem doing strength training, but for cardio, I have to force myself into doing it. I know this will change over time, but I think that's why I've been experiencing setbacks.

I've been under some severe stress lately, and I think that's a big reason why I've been experiencing so many setbacks as well. I eat unhealthy foods when I'm stressed as well as lack motivation for working out. But when I do get myself to work out, even if it's just going on a walk, I feel AMAZING. This morning I went on a short walk (only 1-mile) even though it's my "day off," and I felt absolutely invigorated. I came back to my dorm, took a relaxing shower, and knocked out my Human Genetics work for the next 3 weeks. By the end of this week, I should have all of my work done for the first 6 weeks of the class (it's online). I was able to stay focused and get my work done, all because of a 20-minute, 1-mile walk. It wasn't much, but it was enough. Sometimes I don't exercise because I "don't have time" with my ridiculously busy schedule. But slowly, I'm starting to put myself first. I feel selfish doing it, because my life has never been about me, but I'm beginning to understand that "me time" is absolutely essential.

It's been 2 weeks since I've had fast food, and I feel great! I don't crave it AT ALL which I never thought would happen. Ideally I don't want to eat fast food ever again, but realistically that just won't happen. When the time comes, I hope I can make sensible choices. I'm sure it won't be an issue, since the thought of eating fatty, greasy foods makes me sick.

Today starts a new week, and I need to put my setbacks behind me and move forward. I'm hoping that this week will be a great one (well, as good as it can be under the circumstances)!!

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

The Night is Always Darkest Before the Dawn

I've always known the title of this blog to be true. I never used to believe that there was a light at the end of the tunnel. I believed that the tunnel was simply dark, and it was our jobs as humans to find our ways through it. I thought that we were meant to find a way to make the darkness work. But I don't believe that anymore. Whenever I'm feeling down and things just aren't going my way, I just remind myself that the night is always darkest before the dawn. That things will get better. That (for me) time, friends, and writing will heal all.

Back in December, finals week nearly killed me. But my birthday healed it all. The next week my grandmother was admitted to the hospital after her kidneys started failing and her cancer spread. She stayed there for 3 weeks. But the thought of going back to FGCU and seeing my friends and sisters healed all. And last night, when everything started falling apart, time, writing, and a few friends healed all.

I am thankful that no matter how dark my life gets, there is always a dawn. And even if it takes forever to come, I know it will happen...because I hope. I know that there are better days ahead. I know that no matter where I am in life, it is not the end of my journey. I'm constantly reminded that my life matters, and my story matters too.

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Power of Words

To you, a sentence may just be a string of words put together with proper punctuation. But to me, they're more than that. They're influential. They're life changing. They're simply one of the most amazing and beautiful things on this planet. Yes, I am still talking about words.

Sometimes I don't think that people realize how powerful their words are, both in a good and a bad way. Being involved on campus, I see how what we say can influence things. In Senate, a 2-minute speech could change the way someone looks at a piece of legislation. But at the same time, the bashing and the trash talking of certain Senators can influence the way people view that Senator. Words can change you, for the best or the worst.

I'm not a negative person, so I really don't want to sit here and talk about how words can negatively affect a person. Rather, I want to focus on the positive power of words.

In early 2007, I found out about an organization called To Write Love On Her Arms. This non-profit taught me early on the power and influence of words. Go to their website and read the story, and regardless of whether or not you can relate, you will be moved. You will be inspired. You will learn that people need people, and that you are not alone. One simple story and one organization changed the way I look at my life. This may sound absolutely ridiculous, but To Write Love on Her Arms literally saved my life. I utilized the resources and re-read the story and the vision, and I came out alive. I learned that my story and my life matters; I learned that I matter. Jamie Tworkowski has a way with words, and when I read the things he writes everything around me doesn't even matter. In that moment, his words and his stories are all that matters. He is one of my "writing inspirations". That is, I desire to write like he does. His words are so powerful and they reach out to so many people. His words save lives, as crazy as that sounds.

Have you ever done the activity where you write your name on a piece of paper and pass it around the room and people write something positive about you? (You can also do it where they tape it to your back). This is honestly one of my favorite activities of all time, and I keep every single one that I do. I read them when I'm having a bad day, and the little things never fail to make me smile. They remind me that there are people out there who love me and who appreciate the things I do for them. I'm reminded that no matter what people have to say about me, that I am a great person and that I do really great things for others.

Today at our Senate retreat I was reminded that the things we say do in fact make some sort of impact on the students, and it's important to watch what we say (both in and out of Senate meetings). Students look up to us. That sounds corny, but there are so many students who wish they could be where we are but think that it's impossible. Take it from someone who interviewed 5 times, NOTHING IS IMPOSSIBLE IF YOU WANT IT ENOUGH. I spent 8 months trying to get into Senate, and I'm finally here. I'm living the one major goal I had for college. I'm beginning to realize that sometimes when we are in these positions of power, we tend not to watch what we say. As Senators, we tend to lose sight of why we're here: to serve the students.

I know I just rambled on and on about the power of words. I repeated myself and got really corny at times, and I apologize. It's just something that I feel really strongly about, and I really wanted to share it. Well, I have to get up for class in 6 goodnight <3

Thursday, January 7, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

I've made New Year's Resolutions ever since I was a freshman in high school. And I've kept every single New Year's Resolution that I've ever made. For 2010, I've made my biggest resolution yet: to lose 20-25 pounds through a lifestyle change.

It's time to lose the diets. Why? Because diets don't work. Trust me, I've tried them all. Everything from Weight Watchers to Atkins to the Fruit/Vegetable diet. What happens is I'll lose the weight, and then I stray away from the diet and gain all the weight back. I'm starting to realize that the only true way to lose weight is through a lifestyle change of healthier eating and exercise. Diets end; lifestyles don't.

Over winter break, I made a promise to myself that I would make MY HEALTH my number 1 priority from now on. In the past, it's always been about everyone else. I put my friends, my social life, and my campus involvement all before my health. I now know that's the reason why I've gained 20 pounds since coming to college. I have to put exercising and eating right before everything else. And I know some things are going to suffer, but I'm tired of being passive about my weight loss. I'm ready to take action and achieve this goal.

I hate running. I hate the gym. I hate salad. I hate fish and red meat. I HATE SWEATING. I hate getting up earlier than I have to (even though I AM a morning person). I hate feeling like things will never get done. I hate worrying about the future. But most of all, I hate knowing that I could be losing weight but I'm not simply because I'm lazy.

You're probably thinking, "if you hate all of these things, how are you going to lose the weight?" Well, I hate running but I love to go on long walks. I hate the gym, so I bought weights and a balance ball so I can do exercise videos off the internet in the comfort of my own dorm. I hate salad, fish, and red meat, but I love chicken. I'll find healthy alternatives using what I love to eat instead of eating things I don't like. I hate sweating more than anything, but I really want to lose this weight and in order to do it, I'll just have to get over it. I hate getting up early, but I'm just going to force myself to do it. Plus, walking gives me so much energy and releases a lot of my stress. I hate feeling like things will never get done, but if I work out early, then I can come back, take a shower, and get started on my online classes. And for those days I am doing strength training, I can do it after my classes and meetings. I hate worrying about the future, which is why I'm going to focus on the present. And since I know I could be losing the weight but I'm not because I'm lazy...well, I'm just going to stop being lazy!!

I've already made so many changes to my lifestyle already. For one, I always have water with me, and it's the only thing that I drink. I log onto every single day (at least 3 times a day) to track what I'm eating and how much I'm exercising. I read something motivational from that website every day, and I've started writing a "weekly inspiration" on my mirror. I've been making the time to work out, and when I work out, I don't think about anything else except for how relaxing it is. I don't crave fast food as much anymore, and honestly, just smelling it makes me sick. I know eating out can be inevitable, but as long as I find healthy alternatives I'll be fine.

I want to make these lifestyles now so that it doesn't become an obsession in the future. I've seen how obsessing over your weight can make you, and I never want to be like that. I'm 20 years young, and now is the perfect time to eat right and get into shape.

One last thing, I am absolutely IN LOVE with You can log your foods and at the end of the day, it will give you a little "progress report" and let you know if you're eating the right amount of calories, carbs, fat, and protein. I never realized that I don't get enough protein in my diet until I started doing this!! I went online and bought protein shake mix so that I can get more protein into my diet. I bought Nature's Plus Spiru-tein Chocolate Peanut Butter Swirl. I bought this stuff a few years ago and loved it! It gave me tons of protein and really filled me up. I also went and bought the SparkPeople book, "The Spark." It should be arriving on Monday and I can't wait to start reading it. I've heard some amazing reviews, and I'm so excited to get my hands on it. Also, the website is full of exercise videos and it also develops a strength training workout plan for you. What happens if you can't do one of the exercises? Just click on it and swap it out (I had to do this yesterday with the one-hand side pushups. They were impossible for me!). I am so glad that I found this website. It's truly amazing and has changed how I look at my life.

Weekly Inspiration:
"Take care of the rocks in your life - things that really matter. Set your priorities. The rest is just pebbles and sand."