.Amani

.Amani
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Wednesday, December 16, 2015

2015: In Retrospect

I can't even believe 2015 is already over. I also cannot believe I haven't actually posted here since April?

I have a ton of drafts that were supposed to be finished but I never got around to looking back at them..

You can probably tell from my lack of updates, even from the slowness beginning at the end of 2013, that I have been going through a lot of personal issues and family issues. An awful lot has happened within the past two years that left me feeling emotionally and spiritually vulnerable -- crippled even. It's been extremely hard to sort through those feelings and negative thoughts, especially since I am not the type of person who exposes themselves, even to close friends like my best friend or my mother or spiritual mentors.

But before I recount anything that happened in this past year, I want to assure you that I am on a much better path now! Things are finally looking up and my absence is now something of motivation and having a sense of purpose and drive, versus when I was in the midst of my depression and losing myself in a sense.

This entire post is really personal stuff, so if you're not interested in that stuff then look forward to the (late) queued posts to come in the next couple of days!




On my Grandmother.

In my last update, I spoke about my grandmother having gotten injured and bedridden for a couple of months. The ordeal with her injury last almost 8 months in total, and many of those months was emotionally taxing. When January came around, her outlook on life took a major dip and I was fearing for the worst. Some of her bodily functions were beginning to weaken. She didn't have much motivation to live, because she couldn't move or do anything for herself anymore, and I'm sure she felt like a burden on the family, especially with her medical costs piling up and American health insurance being the trash that it is.

It was very hard for me to witness and try and deal with her depression, as I also had to deal with my own. There were many times where I felt feelings of resentment and anger because of what was going on and I personally didn't know how to handle much of it. Ultimately at some point, she had developed pneumonia (an apparently contagious strain as well), which she refused to go to the hospital for, until she started feeling the choking sensation. At that point in time I was full-on aggressive about her health, I argued with my grandfather over it, I asserted instructions to my mom to FORCE her out of her slump. We tried our best to get as much progress done as possible-- we had to make her exercise her body when she refused a physical therapist, we had gotten one of those stair ramp things so that she can travel downstairs with ease, we tried our best as far as her diet, and though for a while she had resisted or tried making excuses she eventually gave in.

Now, a whole year later, my Omi is well again. She's energetic, she moves around the house by herself (with her equipment to assist her), she's back into the "old her"though a bit weaker. Sometimes I have to force her to sit down and relax because she tries to get all fast-paced and caught up in her cooking and chores that I'm worried she might hurt herself again. Honestly, I can only thank God because she could've left us at any point, and I think we all would've suffered, especially if she died in a depressed state. I hope that I can get another 15 or 20 years with my grandmother, and I hope that from now on, her health remains stable.


Dealing with My Own Well-being.

Going through my own emotions during my grandmother's recovery, I was suffering from my own emotional decline, and in a way I was losing my sense of self where I begun to shut out any sort of encouraging word, even as far as my faith was concerned I was emotionally shutting down because I didn't want to hear anything.

During the spring time I was keeping myself busy, and also as a way to get away from what I was dealing with at home. I had actually finally applied to college for this fall which was a huge step! In order to readjust myself a bit to a classroom (since it's been... a few years xD) I took some free certification classes that would match with my field of study, which is Hospitality Management. I was honestly doing ridiculously well in those classes, but at the same time due to the amount of stress and depression I was experiencing, I started developing a habit to drink. Eventually, the occasional drink or two basically turned to me coming home once or twice a week completely drunk.

I was able to breathe for a bit when I returned to New Orleans for Spring Break, this time with my best friend. We had a BLAST and it was really good (and alcohol-free). I do want to post some of my photos in a future post, hopefully before 2015 ends.

Though despite that, once I got back home it was the same routine all over again... I was always looking for a place to escape to because I really didn't want to be 'around' anymore. When I went out for class or something else, I stayed out as long as possible because I did not want to deal with home anymore. At some point after my NOLA trip I started working part-time, and I immediately started putting my money towards a trip to Florida. Looking back, it was pretty unwise of me to just do that because I should have been also saving, but at that moment I didn't care. My paycheck went into either my trip, or booze every week.


Miami and Orlando trip...

When Miami finally came along, I stayed in a hostel with one of my long-time gyaru friends Jesika, who really showed me the sights as far as Miami Beach was concerned. I was so entranced by the ocean air, the architecture and street art in neighborhoods like Wynwood, and also the club scene which was a very different experience for me. My other girl Rio also later joined me on this trip as well.

Despite having so much fun, being able to walk 10 minutes to South Beach and sunbathe, or eating new foods, it's hard for me to remember the trip because my mind was obsessed with the thought of escape. I did end up indulging (lol alcohol) an awful lot, and Miami Beach proved itself to be more expensive than New York City.. so it was difficult for me to get by with too much. I did get a couple of opportunities that I could say some might never do because of connections (like sitting at a club owner's table getting drunk out of my fucking mind), but then I also did some really extreme things that I would never normally do... I guess that's why Miami is known as "Vice City"!

After being in Miami for a week, me and Rio went to Orlando to hang out with more gyaru people from Dolly Circle. Orlando was way less energetic and I'm glad we had the time to slow down after all that happened in South Beach. We went to the small island area of Melbourne and laid on the beach that was literally in the backyard of where we were staying. Then, we went to the free theme park attractions like CityWalk and Downtown Disney and things like that. It was good to finally meet and really relax with people that we've known for a while through the online gyaru communities.



...and then the Shutdown.

When I returned to New York, it didn't take long for me to start having emotional withdrawals, which led me to one of the biggest attacks I've ever encountered. About a week or two into returning I ended up in a very dark place where I was physically unable to eat, where my body began to cramp to even the tiniest morsel of food, and I felt extremely cut off from the universe, like I was in a desolate place. For most of the month of July I was not eating at all, and I was very much shut-in. There were panic attacks back to back..

I'm honestly not sure how I got out of it, but it took an unimaginable amount of meditation, prayer, and breaking down the barrier to actually speak to others about what I was going through. I realized at that time that fulfilling the desires of my wanderlust will never really fill the 'void' I was experiencing. I had to realize some hard truths about myself, the way I interact, the way I have very escapist tendencies when I'm unable or unwilling to stick through and persevere.

Eventually I had gotten better and I was able to eat again, but I was still suffering from extreme anxiety, and I honestly could not (and still cannot) engross myself with what was going on in the world today without potentially triggering myself. Matriculating into college didn't help either! The later half of my summer was so crazy and I eventually dropped my job to just do school because I knew I wouldn't handle it. I was warned about how messy matriculating is, but even being warned didn't even prepare me for the constant running back and forth that I needed to do.


School thus far.

The first two weeks was a bit hectic, mainly because I was getting used to traveling to class and getting a sense of how much time I need to travel. In the beginning it was very nerve-wracking for me because Financial Aid office was messing up, I wasn't sure if or when I was supposed to get a refund check, and because of situations at my job I barely had money to buy my textbooks and supplies.

But after that 2-week critical point, it was smooth-sailing. I was actually surprised. I knew that I would have an easier time because of the introduction I received with my previous certification courses from the spring, but this semester required little-to-no studying for me. A lot of the things were general information I already knew or memorized easily during class. The workload was a bit much (still trying to catch up and submit the last of my work before my deadlines!), but overall it's been a very easy semester and I'm extremely grateful for it. I was also fortunate enough to have gotten the best teachers this semester-- all 4-5 of them I love to bits, and I wouldn't have had the experience I had if their personalities were screwed up.

Now I'm at the last four days of class, and while I'm pushing my last two assignments and preparing for finals, I am not even concerned. I am extremely pumped for spring semester and whatever else there is to come in the next year... besides the $500 I have to spend on culinary tools and uniforms, that being -besides- textbooks. But whatever..


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Overall, I feel so much lighter, and much more driven than I've ever felt in years. It took me longer than others to really find something that I loved enough to pursue educationally, and it took a lot of inner strength and maturing to be able to get my mindset at the place where it is now. I've also geared up and caught up with all my health issues, and I'm working on hopefully fixing them, if not preventing anything from developing further so I can have an easier time going day by day.

This past year (past two years, rather) I learned a lot about myself and my vulnerabilities and I'm glad that at the end, I didn't let it completely consume me, but propel a change in me. I can't wait to see what's in store in 2016.



I hope that for those who still follow me, if there is some hardship going through your life at the moment, know that it's only temporary, and it may take a bunch of fighting to get through it, but we all have the strength to make things better. Sometimes situations take years to get better, but encourage yourself and believe that all of your good days in life will outweigh all the bad. The tests we face are made to conquer, and sometimes they repeat because we fail the first time or couldn't handle something well, but know that personal growth and inner strength-building is the key to seeing through all those storms.


I know blogging is kind of a 'dying breed' but I hope to pick up my activity and continue communicating in some form. If I get lazy with posting again, I look forward to chatting with you in 2016!

(I also need to update all of my layouts, good lord..)






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