The Art of Resiliency. (If you're struggling with something, this might be a good read for you).

Happy Fourth! I'm actually sitting on my front porch, fresh out of the shower, online shopping and reflecting on the past month. Matthew worked all night, so I"m letting him sleep and preoccupying myself with a little relax time.

Sitting on my porch alone, only able to hear birds, frogs and Cicadas is one of my favorite things. The sounds of Summer. It's also the perfect way to meditate, which is what I have been doing. I always feel so relaxed during moments like that, everything just seems really simple.

June was a rough month for me. I mean actually, this entire year has been rough. In some ways. I have found myself in a negative space VERY often this year. In fact, I'd say probably 90% of my time has been negative energy. Maybe not that much, I tend to catastrophize. <--my cognitive distortions FTW.

Regardless of how often I've actually been in a negative space, 90% feels right to me. I had a friend ask me the other day what I was feeling, and I tried really hard to identify, but all I could come up with was, "nothing." Have you ever found yourself in a daze, where your eyes are super stretched and your focused on nothing, and it's almost like you've checked out? That's what I feel like. It's a crazy feeling.

To be honest, there have been a couple moments this year where I've questioned my sanity. My intentions. Like, maybe I'm the crazy one. That's anxiety talking. Trying to find a cause, a flaw in myself, because that's easier to accept than the idea that the people around you, a whole shit ton of them, are really, really bad people.

As I was sitting here reflecting, I realized something. I'm in a REALLY good space. A couple months ago, my company had it's employees attend a trauma training, where we delved into how trauma affects our brains, our personalities, and our lives. During this training we learned how to utilize a trauma assessment, which basically reported that if an individual had four or more of the life events on this assessment, they would either have mental health or substance abuse problems, and a lot of trauma. I had eight of them.

I have neither mental health or substance abuse problems. So I asked the instructor how this could be, that someone would score high but have no trauma related symptoms. The instructor informed me that this could be due to one of two things. One: the person grew up in a very stable environment. (NO). Or two: the person has a very high resiliency capacity. Which could be determined by another assessment, which I later took and scored high on.

As I was sitting here reflecting, this training and what the instructor said came to my mind. So then my thoughts started to change. YES I've cried a lot this year. YES I've been pissed a lot this year. YES I have lost myself at times this year. And YES I have allowed what's going on around me to have an effect on my mental health. But what else have I done? What makes me so resilient?

I started listening to podcasts. Initially, I spent a lot of time focused on myself, what I could be doing differently, how I could help fix some of the issues. So I would search for specific podcasts, and spend my 45 minute commute to and from work listening, talking into my phone to take notes. This was extremely helpful. It made me feel like I was actively trying to solve a problem, rather than just sitting back and feeling helpless. Also, when I started implementing changes and it had no positive effect on my environment, it opened up my eyes to new ideas, like maybe there was a bigger issue at hand than I thought.

I got REALLY into yoga. This does not mean I'm any good at it. Because I'm not. But it does mean it's something new that I turn to. I used to do yoga when my workout regiment called for it, or when I was sore. But now I find that when I get home every day I can't wait to pull out my mat, and slow down a little. My brain hasn't stopped turning yet during this time. But when you dread Mondays, or every day of the work week really, and then counteract that with something positive you can look forward to all day, it gives you a lot of relief.

I started blogging. I started journaling first, and I really enjoyed that, but somehow fell off. I think I like blogging because it takes so much time, and it's this space where I can focus on whatever I want, and it's stress relief, and still keeps my brain active but in a mindless way almost. I don't know, either way I've found the blogging process to be very cathartic.

I went home. This was a huge one for me. My hometown has never been a positive place for me. My family moved there when I was 9, ironically now that I'm thinking about it, running from something. Or someone. This was not exactly a positive way to begin a new chapter of your life-in fear.

I was bullied a lot as a kid. I don't really want to get into that, but the basis is that I didn't fit in. I actually never really have, which is something as I got older that I learned to love about myself. But even reflecting on back then, being 9 years old, and being held down by a group of girls on the playground so that they could all take turns spitting into my eyes...I can see the resiliency then. I would immerse myself in books, I've always loved to read. I spent time listening to music, and outside during recess I learned how to be alone. That's something I'm very good at.

A stream of bad things happened throughout my childhood. Into my teens and especially young adulthood I found myself in a lot of very bad situations. So I learned to hate the place I grew up in. Much like what I was taught by moving there, I always wanted to run away, go somewhere else, never return.

Anytime Matthew and I go back home to visit, it is always this knot in my stomach, and I'm there for a day and can't wait to leave. Such a desolate town, full of hateful people. But as of lately, I found myself yearning to go there. I made two trips there in June, and found myself not wanting to leave. Crying at the thought of having to return to Ohio, to the real world.

What I noticed is that in times of feeling lost, instead of my hometown being bad memories, it became the place where I will always be 16 years old-with really tight two lane streets, static in your car when you drive to certain areas, spots you would hang out at in the bed of the truck, no music, stars everywhere.

It's like with all the bad going on in my every day, when I returned home, all I could see was the good.

Finally, I've surrounded myself with the people I love the most. I started paying close attention to how I felt at the end of conversations with certain people, and if the general feeling was negative, I stopped having those conversations. I started implementing the people I love into more and more of my time-something I haven't always been good at. I'm an independent person by nature, to say it positively, looking at it from another view you might say I'm selfish.

I like to be alone, I rely on myself for most things, I don't reach out. But what I've found this year is that I've been wanting to fill my time with my best friends from home, my mom, Matthew's family, and especially Matthew. Matthew who has been my rock and supporter every step of the way. Who always makes me feel good, and gives me options when I'm too stressed to think of any. Who is constantly reassuring me that everything is going to be okay. Lord I love him.

That brings me to my final reflection. My final coping skill in all this madness. My own thoughts. I am at a place now where I have a very bad taste in my mouth with everything, and am totally in running mode. Which I have been shaming myself for. "Court, you can't run from everything your whole life." But my perspective is changing. This has been SUCH a great year for internal growth. I have learned SO much about myself, and I have already changed so much.

It has also been a great year in the sense that all the negativity has forced me to connect with those I love. And knowing that they're there is the best feeling.

So I've changed from the idea that I'm running from something, and more that maybe I'm running TO something. I'm an adventurer at heart, and maybe all this negative had to happen to open up new paths and new ideas that I wouldn't have encountered in any other way.

I've spent a lot of this summer on the river, which is my favorite place. I remember last Summer moving into Fall, being remorseful that I didn't hardly go to the river, and making that a goal of mine for this year. Funny how I add good things into my life when I need it.

This path of learning about my own resiliency has been much like floating on the river. There's shallow water, deep water, rapids, and slow water. I'm not sure if my boat is gonna tip, if I need to wear my life jacket (I can't swim, ironically), if the trip will take me two hours or four to reach my goal.

But I do know that I trust myself. I trust myself to navigate around boulders and tree limbs. I trust those that are floating with me to bail me out if I tip over, and enjoy the scenery with me. I know that if I need to I can get out and rest. And I know that at the end of the day, I might be a little sunburnt, very exhausted, and pretty dirty, but what an adventure.

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