Sunset Ocean Beach Sky Evening

I can do difficult things.

Hello siblings. There is a tale that has been months in the making that I am excited to share. There was once a sister who went through a bit of a rough patch. Sister shared she was struggling and was amazed to find that many other siblings had experienced the same thing. In case you missed it, here is part one of this tale: https://www.hercampus.com/school/stonehill/i-am-free I strongly suggest you read that part of the story so you know what is up. Anyways, Sister soon realized that she had to start again, so that is just what she did. It took a little while, but she finally found herself thriving. Basically, the progression of energy can be described through Miranda Lambert songs. First, there was “Dead Flowers” from September to December. Then “Gunpowder and Lead” was the January energy. Luckily the angry energy only lasted a month…the world can only handle so much of firecracker. From February onward, it has been some “Bluebird” feels.

You may be wondering, who is Sister? It’s me, silly!

Here’s how the game has changed:

I am caring for myself more than I ever have in the past.

One of the challenges I have decided to embark on is cranking up my fitness routine a few notches. I visit the gym about five times a week, which is more frequent than I ever have before (I used to be in the three-day crew). The grind is continuing in quarantine, and dare I say it – some of those YouTube quarantine fitness videos are tough! I like to believe I that don’t dilly dally while I’m at the gym but shoot. One day I felt like a wimp when I was instructed to get into position for the fifth plank of the set. I don’t like planks. Then, a simple, yet profound thought came into my mind that got me through that moment: I can do difficult things. I basically collapsed by the time I finished that workout, but it did prove one thing to me: if I just take the leap, I can make it happen.

It may be fitting since writing is my ~vibe~, but I have started journaling daily. It’s just good for the mind to do a little recap of the day. Journaling is actually what has helped me track how far I’ve come. When I look back at journal entries from the ~dark ages~ I kind of wince, but it reminds me I have come a long way in just a few months.

I also plan specific times to take breaks and relax, which is new for me since my mom tells me that I “tend to be a little wired.” While I still acknowledge that time is money, I grab my charcoal face mask, my UV teeth whitening light, my nail polish, and my self-tanner and recharge those batteries. At this point, you’re probably rattled by the list of equipment needed, or you’re picturing me lying on my bed with my mask on, blue light on my teeth, and my arms and legs spread like I’m doing a snow angel waiting for the polish and tanner to dry. Glam takes time.

I have purchased a one-way ticket for the hype-woman express.

All aboard! Choo choo! The hype woman in me may have taken a hiatus to deal with some personal business, but she is back to work. After all, I have a job to do. I am thankful for my sisters who pretty much propped me up all of fall semester, so I am working overtime to repay them for how much they have cared for me. I hope I am doing a good job. Everyone deserves to be reminded of how sizzling they really are.

I have high expectations.

I know people are out there always saying, “don’t set your expectations too high because you’ll be disappointed,” but I am here to tell you that you should have high expectations. You should have standards. People will either reach these expectations, or they won’t. I deserve to be surrounded by people who are always trying their best because I know that I try really hard to do my best too. I have to say that my high expectations have led me to some pretty wonderful people.

I wear whatever I freaking want.

One day, a miracle happened. One of my sisters wore a bandana and forever inspired me to take mine out of retirement. My brown cowgirl boots have also been dusted off. I even decided to purchase some white cowgirl boots. My great-grandmother, an absolute queen, sang alongside some of the most popular country music singers of her time and would wear white cowgirl boots while performing. I decided I HAD to pay homage to the queen, Mrs. Amelia Olsen, and wear some white cowgirl boots. I hope she’s smiling from heaven when she sees me singing with my white boots on.

I participate in class more than I ever have in my life.

 Just ENJOY my squeaky mouse voice! It’s a gift. It might not be a trend, but it’s certainly a gift. Even if I sound a little dense, just ENJOY me! I’ve concluded that if people don’t like me, then WHATEVER. Someone has to speak up for the children!

I read things that I think are going to be difficult.

This might sound a lil sil-sil since I am an English major. I guess I should technically be reading the classics from sunrise to sunset. Honestly, I became an English major because I just feel like I have a lot to say. Recently I decided to take a book off my shelf that I had always wanted to read to feel a part of the “hip English girl gang.” I purchased it last summer, but I kept dodging it because I simply did not know if I would be intelligent enough to comprehend what I was reading. However, I have come to realize that I’m pretty smart. A few weeks ago, I took that mofo book off my bookshelf and decided to crack it open. It turns out I understand it because I can do difficult things.

I dance whenever it feels appropriate.

Just ENJOY it! It’s a gift! Life is not all that serious people. I was truly honored one night when my dance moves of a spicier variety were compared to the moves of Shakira. That was a fun night, to say the least. Since my nights of hip moves are over for the semester, I have decided to bring some of my more wholesome moves back for quarantine. My mom sometimes enjoys them. Usually, I start dancing and she says, “omg! So good to see you again! I haven’t seen you for twenty minutes!”

Most importantly, my faith is stronger than it has ever been.

When I drove home for winter break, I felt both relieved and disappointed. I was relieved to be going home, but I was discouraged about how the semester went. I was struggling emotionally, physically, and spiritually. At that point, I really had no idea how God could use this time in my life for anything good. I thought it would just be one of those wounds that I would just have to ignore, and if I ignored it for long enough, then I could convince myself that it no longer mattered. However, God took that dark time in my life and made it into something beautiful that I am forever grateful for. I could choose to focus on the parts of the situation that were quite negative, but I am choosing to focus on the things that God has given to me through this situation. That time in my life drew me closer to my friends, helped me form bonds with new people, and changed the way that I view myself.

When I was moving out of my room a few weeks ago, I found the journal I wrote in when I decided that I was going to start fresh. I read the entry I wrote on November 4th, which I declared day one of my “new start.” I remembered writing that on the second floor of the library, tucked away at one of those tables I like to call the “secret cubbies.” While I was writing it, I was crying and trying to keep my sniffles at a low volume because I was on a quiet floor. I wrote that I had no idea what was coming next, but I knew that it would be okay. Little did I know it would be a whole lot better than okay. God really can take your worst moments and uses them for good. After five months of growth, I am proud to say that I am Erin Sousa, and I can do difficult things.