The Race is On

It is Monday, April 11th. That means that there are exactly 22 days left of my semester. And it is typically known as the time of the semester when literally everything happens at once. Homework, term papers, finals, Camp NaNoWriMo, and not to mention, the weather is, well, let’s just say it’s definitely showing it’s Ohio roots. It’s the last month for things to be done as far as academically before summer and I think that there needs to be a certain degree of haste made. As much as I am looking forward to summer, I feel that if there were just a little more time to be had, I could accomplish something great.

In just one month, I will have exactly a year left of my undergrad life. I have said that same sentence I think three times now. And that’s okay, but this time it’s quite serious. I’ve made the appointment with my advisor and we’ve worked it out so that that deadline will occur. That means that as of May 2, 2017 I will no longer be a student of The Ohio State University (technically May 7, but who’s counting?). That means that I have one year to get everything done that I haven’t yet. And as big as that list might have been before, I think it’s gotten considerably smaller-which is a good thing. But the last few things on the list are more important than ever.

As you might recall (and I know she certainly does), last week I said I had a friend date. That friend date set in motion my blog about resources for sexual violence victims/allies/bystanders which you can find here. But we also discussed what could be done to help educate people about these issues before they need to use those resources-to prevent incidents. And we came up with some really great ideas. But I want to implement those before I graduate (if possible) and that means that on top of school and work, I have to become an intense project planner yesterday. Which can be done. I just hope I’m worthy enough to do so.

I wrote the children’s book, about body safety and image, and it is currently awaiting judgment at an agent’s table, I assume between cups of coffee and other things. The typical wait time is anywhere from 4 weeks to 4 months, and that’s supposing I get any response at all. However, I knew that was the risk with traditional publishing and I would like to try that avenue before I try self-pubbing. Here’s how it goes down in my head. I get notice of acceptance from an agent, I then do some rewriting (because that’s what authors do). After the final draft gets accepted, I will then wait for the illustrator to finish their work and off it will go to be published. IF that happens before I graduate, I would like to start work on what I lovingly have termed: Operation Educate Everybody.  Using my book as a platform, I want to go around speaking to schools about safety and about how to love yourself. I would like to do so with elementary schools, but I would also like to give boys positivity messages to middle and high school students. Then with all that accomplished, I would like to make some presentation material available to colleges-starting with my own. 

I know, this all sounds a little vague. BUT. I also happen to know that all great plans start somewhere. I don’t think I necessarily want to be a public speaker for the rest of my life, but I would definitely like to get some things rolling in that direction. I think that the greatest thing that could happen personally would be for me to go and do a Ted Talk. The greatest thing that could happen period, would be to have more people love themselves and respect themselves.

Anyway,I know that there are any miles to go before I can sleep, but I have a great desire to change the world for the better and I want it to start right now.

The Day I Was Honest

I’ve held onto this post, mostly becuase I couldn’t give it all it deserved. I had to be in the right frame of mind. I’m not entirely sure it’s today, but I think I’ve got a good grip on what I want to say and I think it’s a lovely way to open the new calendar year.
Last semester (and thusly last year) I had a lot going on, as we’ve discussed. I had just transferred to the big city, made new friends, was working on establishing myself in the ways of the world. And I began to blog seriously. I watched this video today of an interview with Jada Pinkett Smith, which I absolutely loved and the idea came bubbling up in the back of my head. That’s why I’ve decided to blog on it today.

In the interview, she was talking about how to balance your life. That’s something I really struggle with. I live too much in the future and not enough in the now. I think about how to fix the problems I may encounter and not so much on how to prevent them. So when she said “focus on yourself. Do what makes you happy.”I really felt like we were approaching a revalation. Her argument was that if you do not find a way to keep yourself in balance, to take care of yourself, you will look to others to do so. You will blame them for sacrificing your entire life for them and not getting happiness out of it. And it blew my mind (metaphorically, of course). 

Now that you’ve had some background info, on to the actual point.

Last semester is by far and away not the first time I’ve had to take sick days. I’ve had bronchitis, strep, the stomach flu and a host of colds throughout my life. But I don’t skip irresponsibly. I take pride in my ability to attend school and work with punctuality and integrity. But last semester was the first time I was honest with myself. As I was crafting my email to my professors for the day, I began to reason out what my excuse for missing class was. Was I suffering from a 24 hour bug? Had I awoken with a flat tire or a low battery? Had I merely slept in? And I realized that I needed to stop kidding myself and respect myself as much as I respected the professors.

 

 

Good morning!

I will not be in class today. I need to take a mental health day and will return to class tomorrow. Thank you for your understanding.

Best,

Michelle BB.

For the first time in my entire life, I used that excuse. I’ve always been ashamed to, like it was some sort of cop-out excuse for being lazy. But it isn’t. And in fact, when I returned the next day, my professors went out of their way to make sure I was alright. Two of them even stopped by the office where I work and made it a point to see if I needed anything. They didn’t see me as a lazy, incompetent student. They saw me as an individual who responsibly needed a day to regroup.

  I guess I shouldn’t have been surprised at their reactions. Mental health has been quite a large topic lately, and I was taking a bunch of anthropology classes, so they all understand the value of psychobiological health. And as I said, I do not skip irresponsibly. There is always a reason-a real reason. But it got me thinking. How can I stand here (or sit) and tell you all that we need to take steps to mental health help and then be ashamed of the fact that I have to use that reason myself? Why was I ashamed in the first place?

Because it still carries the connotations. I don’t want anyone to see me as weak, unbalanced, incapable. I fight hard for people to see the bright, driven, passionate individual that I am. But I guess I got caught up in being a super heroine, without flaw or needs. And I viewed my own mental health as something along the lines of an excuse to be used as a cover up for the fact that I didn’t have the motivation to do something. That isn’t even the case. But I’m glad I learned that. Because mental health isn’t separate from physical health. It’s a facet of the same diamond. I was scared that my professors would use that against me in the future. But all that happened was me finally letting go of the fear and replacing it with the statement “I have to take care of myself-holistically.” And once I did that, I think I managed to do just that.

  So thank you, Jada Pinkett Smith, for reminding me that I do indeed need to find my balance and stop sacrificing myself away. No one else is responsible for my happiness and health.