July 8, 2015

A Sprinkle of Self-Confidence


There are days when I look in the mirror and the face looking back at me brings so many negative thoughts. 

Although I grew up as a quiet and soft-spoken child, I never thought it had anything to do with self-confidence or a lack thereof. In fact, I did not start finding faults with my features until my (apparently) very noticeable flaw was pointed out to me in the 7th grade. I was riding the school bus home, and this kid who was younger than I was kept making silly faces. So, I imitated him and made silly faces back. He then said to me "How did you make your eyes do that?!" 'What?', I thought to myself. I had no clue what he meant. When I got home that day, I rushed to the mirror in my bedroom and was faced with the truth of what he questioned. I had a lazy eye. (I actually detest that term. I prefer to call it by it's medically correct name-- exotropia). I started wearing glasses when I was 7 years old. During that time I endured patching and vision therapy. I did not know why I had to go through these therapies other than the fact that the vision in my right eye was weaker than my left. It was not until that day that I realized why the vision in my left eye was weaker. Since my right eye drifted outward, it did not work in-synch with the left. All of my vision strength relied on this 'good' eye, therefore causing the right one to become weaker and weaker and drift further out. I think this is the day my battle with self-confidence began. I never looked anyone in the eyes. I almost always held my head down. This was because the older I got, the more mean people seemed to have gotten mean about it. They somehow would never know if I was talking to them because my eyes were facing different directions.. They were uncomfortable speaking to me and it made me uncomfortable interacting with them. 

Freshman year of college, I had enough. The guys were mean! I hated life. I still remember the evening I called my mother in a bout of tears begging her to get the eye-alignment surgery (a surgery where they cut and restitched the loose eye muscle). I think she felt bad for me, and agreed. I got that surgery about a week before my 19th birthday-- right before winter break was over. My eyes were blood red in the first couple days, but when they finally started to heal, I got a new-found confidence. I enjoyed being in photos. I wasn't afraid to make eye contact. I just felt better about myself. That surgery - although it was cosmetic and did nothing for the underlying vision problem - was the best thing that happened to me because of the way it changed the way I feel about myself. 

Fast forward to today, where my self-confidence is bottled up under many of my current physical traits (i.e. breakouts, weight gain, and my eye turn coming back,). I still struggle with  'feeling pretty'. I struggle with looking at other women and wishing I looked like them or had their {enter beautiful trait here}. But there are days when I can look in the mirror and say, "ha! you don't look half bad today, Jhan". And then I smile and snap a selfie.

June 20, 2015

Drew Reunion

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 My 5-year college reunion was the last weekend in May and it was surreal. I can't believe five years has gone by so quickly! Sometimes it is still a little hard for me to believe that I am getting older-- only a few more years from the big 3-0. I definitely do not see my current self as the young, naive girl I was in college. I have grown so much in these last 5 years, I would not change anything for the world. However, as I visited campus with my friends, and I reflected on my time at Drew University, I wish I knew then what I know now. That old saying "Hindsight is 20/20" is so true in this regard.

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My dear friends rented a beautiful house for the weekend, but I only stopped in and spent Saturday with them. We headed to campus and gave ourselves a tour of the updated buildings. Drew is a small, private-university, so just about everything was small and quaint and just right for the number of students attending the college. (My friends and I joked about how our school was so small, we felt as though we knew everyone just because we saw them every day. But, when it came time to recall names, we failed miserably. Not to mention, we had our own names for people like "Burster" - for the girl who sporadically sprinted across the paths or down the hallways at the drop of a hat.) Many of the updates were so impressive, we hardly recognized the building from the inside. Our Student Center and Hall of Sciences were some of the major ones. My favorite part of our self-tour was walking down the hallways of the science building, reminiscing about which room we had cancer biology in, who our favorite professors were, and discovering many photos from our year on the walls, and in their own album!

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Not many people from our year were at the reunion activities on campus, but the majority of us in my circle of friends made the effort to be there. I really enjoyed spending time with them. It was as though we had never lost contact, grown a little older or led separate lives away from living within several feet of each other, dance marathons, and fourth meals from Cluck-U. I love friendships like that. We ended the evening with dinner, playing a couple rounds of UNO and several really intense games of Jenga. I never knew I was so good at Jenga until then.

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May 27, 2015

A Weekend Getaway

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One of the perks of living in the Philadelphia area is that there are so many options for getting away from the hustle and bustle of city life. From a two-hour drive to the Pocono mountains to a less than two hour drive to the Jersey shore, there are many choices to getting away for even an overnight trip.

A couple weekends ago, Beau and I took off on an overnight trip to the Cape May/Wildwood NJ area. We stayed at a quaint little Bed & Breakfast (The Sea Gypsy) in Wildwood where we got to meet and chat with another couple at breakfast. We rode bikes together around the area, walked the boardwalk, and ate at a local diner. (Sidenote: I love diners, and am partial to ones in New Jersey.  Late nights at a college in North Jersey did that for me.) The next day we ventured off to Cape May. We ate expensive ice cream, bought a ton of salt-water taffies, photographed the bay and walked the beach, where we spotted some dolphins not too far away.

Sometimes we need a little break from the cares of life. And as young couple, we often need the time to clear our minds and regroup.
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