Do Mean Girls Ever Go Away?

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Hey guys!

I’m baaaaaaaaaack

If I ever think of a really good idea to blog about, I start typing right away while it is still fresh in my mind and I am at the peak of inspiration. Today’s post was actually inspired by something that happened recently and my mind has been running nonstop with ideas, advice, ranting (lol)- ever since.

You know me. I like to turn my unfortunate situations into a life lesson for all of the people reading this post because hey- we’ve all been there. We can learn from each other’s experiences and help to build that sense of understanding. I want to get my point across-because I think it is a very important one- but I might find myself ranting.

Obviously we are going to talk about mean girls in this post and that can be very upsetting to some people i.e. me.

I’ve wanted to address mean girls in a blog post since I started this thing but I haven’t felt as passionately about it as  I do right now. Right now I am obviously feeling hurt and angry, but mostly I am feeling grateful.

Grateful that I don’t have to stoop to their level to feel satisfaction with myself.

Anyway I apologize if this gets ranty. I will try my best.

The mean girl has been around since the beginning of time.

Adam and Eve started life here on earth and sometime along the way one girl said to herself:

I am going to be mean to other people and bring them down for NO REASON AT ALL.

And thus the mean girl was created.

In all seriousness, it seems like no matter what situation you find yourself in, what group you find yourself a part of, there will always be a mean girl present whose sole purpose is to try and make your life miserable.

I am a very non-confrontational person. I will do anything and everything in my power to avoid any type of conflict at all costs. I hate disagreeing with people, I hate not getting along with people. Disagreement in general just makes my skin crawl.

I hate it.

So naturally, my own personal run-ins with mean girls have been pretty minimal.

In high school -I am always throwing it back to high school to relay crappy situations – I encountered mean girls all the time.

I wish I had the words to describe the insecurity, the angst, jealousy, every teenage girl feels throughout high school. There are simply no words.

I would like to think that I have changed tremendously since I was in high school. I have grown as a person and I have a better understanding of who I am and who I want to be. I thought I was mature when I was in high school, I thought I had everything figured out, but I was sadly mistaken.

I had no idea. And I don’t think any of us have any idea who we are in high school but the problem is- we think we do.

We think Yes! I have conquered high school. Bring on college, bring on the world.

I can handle anything.

But we can’t. We still have room for so much self growth.

And even now, I still do.

There was a particular period in high school that lasted probably a few months where I couldn’t go one day without hearing a new, nasty rumor about me. Or about my boyfriend, Hunter. Or about Hunter and I. It was one thing after another after another.

And it was all started by the same one girl, or group of girls, for reasons I still do not know to this day.

But people in high school are so quick to believe even the most ridiculous of rumors because our minds aren’t very mature. We want to believe the worst in people, we want to believe that people are capable of the worst possible things.

It is my personal opinion that we all want to believe the worst in each other as teenagers because our adolescent brains are so bored with our own lives that we are entertained by the idea of scandal- even if it isn’t true.

When I finally had enough, when I didn’t think I could take another day of the lies and rumors and assumptions, I retaliated against this girl. I’m not proud of that because for the duration of this entire situation I had been strong and tried my best to ignore it.

 

I was so tired of people assuming things about me and my relationship that I felt the need to defend myself. I went about it all wrong.

It’s hard to hear this- I know that- but the best way to respond to a mean girl is to ignore her.

Let her have her fun, let her tear you down, let her tear everyone down. She is the one who has to live with the pain and hurt she has caused, not you.

And pray for her. I think it’s obvious that our tormentors may need our prayers most. There is clearly something wrong with her if she feels the need to bring so much hurt upon other people. There is something fundamentally broken inside her to make her feel that type of behavior is okay.

Mean girls are everywhere.

The attitude that bringing someone else down-whether to their face or behind their back- is almost wired into every girl’s brain. Almost every one of us has participated in some level of mean girl activity at some point in our life. Whether that be talking behind someone’s back, calling someone ugly, passing along a rumor that we knew probably wasn’t true. We have all done it.

I admit that occasionally I did participate in the whispering, the rumors, but I didn’t make a habit of it.

I never went out of my way to spread a rumor, break up a couple, etc…

And that’s where we get into mean girl territory…

I would say probably the worst type of mean girl encounter is of the ex-girfriend variety.

Again I don’t know what it is about being a teenager that makes our emotions run so high and our break ups go so badly.

I was dating someone (Hunter) who had a CRAZY ex-grifriend.

And I hate that I have to call her crazy because I really don’t like when people call girls crazy just for being a little jealous, or a little upset because- most of the time- it is justified. But this girl was crazy.

This girl found my Instagram page which normally I wouldn’t care that she followed me because, I mean, I take hella cute selfies and all that (:

I had no idea why she would want to follow me- being my boyfriend’s ex and all- but I didn’t think much of it.

(Look at me believing the best in people again)

I figured it out when she started screenshotting my selfies and sending them to Hunter. She would send them to him along with a message talking about how ugly and fat I am and how much better she was than me. She would literally make fun of my instagram pictures.

And blocking them does absolutely nothing to slow the crazy ex-girfriends because they are the most innovative people on the planet.

We unfortunately crossed paths at a local restaurant one evening. When I went to go use the bathroom, her and her friends started to yell my name. When I saw it was this girl and her many friends- props to her friends by the way for doing everything she told them to like if she jumped off a cliff would they….. ?

my stomach just dropped because I hate confrontation but also I hate ignoring them and looking like a weak little girl. And I just knew that something was coming.

They called me a slut, a whore, you name it- they called me it.

I just ignored them.

But when I got home and had the chance to really think about it, it hurt my feelings.

And so she won that one.

But I didn’t retaliate because it didn’t mean anything to me. Quickly they got bored of me as a target and moved on to greener pastures.

That was probably the worst run-in I experienced with a mean girl. It makes me sad to think that this level of b*tchiness is dished out to some girls on a DAILY basis. And it never ends, they are relentless.

And I guess this is where I leave you on high school because I still don’t understand why we do it. I don’t understand why we are so insecure at such a young age, I don’t understand why we cared so much about what people thought of us.

When you leave those hallways, I swear on my life, none of that matters.

And while talking about the ways mean girls treated me in high school I would like to point out that, like myself, these girls have probably changed.

But then again some people don’t.

I am currently 21 years old. I am going to college, I have a job, I am following my dreams. I am engaged to the love of my life that  I have been dating for 5 years. I have no interest in drama, I have no interest in people who cause drama.

But it still upsets me.

People still want to start rumors and at this age, I know we’re still young, but we are too old to be participating in that. We are way too old to be starting so much drama. And so much pointless drama.

Just recently, I experienced an attempt to start drama with me and I have just ignored it. I don’t have time for that. But I also think that this incident shows again how much farther I still have to go. I still have room to grow and mature.

Because it hurt my feelings.

I’m not at the point where my feelings don’t get hurt because I still believe the best in people, I still want everyone to get along, I want everyone to like me.

And with mean girls, that is unrealistic.

But because I am in college I expected the pettiness, the nastiness, to just disappear. As this incident has proven however, it hasn’t.

Which bears the question:

Do mean girls ever really leave?

Do they ever grow up or are we going be experiencing run-ins with mean girls for the rest of our lives?

Which brings me to the entire point of this post- prior to the drama I have had to deal with recently- adult mean girls.

I think when we were all young, and girls were all kinds of petty, we dreamed of the day that we would grow up and mean girls would be a thing of the past.

But is it?

And what brought this question to mind is a situation I found myself in where I realized: maybe adults don’t all grow up.

I was talking to a grown woman- a mom- whom I thought would be mature, above all the cattiness and drama. She literally looked at another girl passing by, a girl that she knew who is probably 15 years old, and -I am not joking- she said to me:

That girl is so ugly.

Let me paint the picture for you. This girl, who in my opinion is a very pretty girl, is a sophomore in high school. She is literally 15 years old.

Now I don’t think I have to remind you that high school is crawling with mean girls anyway, but now we have to look out for mean moms too?

I didn’t even say anything. My initial thought was to ask why she thought she was ugly because I didn’t see that but I was too shocked. I actually didn’t say anything which is probably more awkward but what am I supposed to say to that?

It sounded like something another high school girl-probably 15 years old- would say. Not someone’s mom.

And the more I thought about it, the angrier I got.

Why can’t we all get along? Why are we, as girls, drawn to this need to insult others in order to feel better about ourselves?

Why don’t we grow out of this? Why do we stay stuck on the drama, on the pettiness, on the rumors?

Again, I find it best to ignore the rumors, the insults, the tweets, the texts, etc..

Retaliation may feel good for a minute or two but because you are a good person with high morality and a good heart- you will end up regretting it.

Be the bigger person.

I think rumors frustrate me because it hurts my feelings to know that people would believe something about me that isn’t true. In this situation I just remind myself that God knows what is in your heart. He knows your intentions, He knows truth from deception. He knows the kind of person you are and He will take care of you.

And He never lets the mean girls win. No matter how defeated they may make you feel, put your trust in Him and He will take care of you.

You’re all beautiful and deserve nothing but love!

Love and Hugs,

Cerena 🙂

Starting a Youtube Channel?

Hello beautiful people!

Looooooooooooooong time, no see.

It is currently the middle of March and I have already completely ditched my plans of blogging more in 2018 and making time to write. I’ve been busy with school and work (as per usual) and I haven’t made writing a priority as much as I wanted to.

I have also been off of social media for the past month and I have plans to make a more in-depth blog post about that coming soon!

Anyway, with a break from social media, I also took a break from blogging. In this time, I decided to finally, finally,

FINALLY,

finally start a youtube channel.

(and I know this is considered social media still but like, hold your horses, we will talk all about that in my next post 🙂 )

For now, I have news that I  FINALLY MADE A YOUTUBE CHANNEL!!!!

Anyone who knows me at all knows that I have always wanted to make a youtube channel ever since the age of 12, when I started watching videos regularly myself.

I love youtube, I love that this online website allows creators to make videos and post their own content of their choosing.

Anyone can find their place on youtube whether it is watching makeup artists share their tips and tricks, recreating DIY projects, or watching people tell crazy personal stories about their lives-if you want it, youtube has it.

It is this magical place where you can post what you want, when you want, and for no reason other than you just wanted to have a good time filming a video.

Sooooo naturally I wanted to join in on this community. I wanted to post videos that made me laugh- both while watching and while filming them. I wanted to post the things I wanted to post, wanted to share my take on this beautiful, creative place and it has been every bit as fun as I thought it would be.

Someone said to me:

“Why do you even make videos? You only get like 7 views per video?”

And my response was pretty much along the lines of:

I am doing this for myself.

I never was out for numbers, never cared who was watching.  If my mom is the only person who will ever see my video, I am still happy. I am still satisfied because this was never about other people, this was about me.

I made this channel as a way to express myself. And at this moment, only a few weeks in, I can say that making youtube videos has brought me nothing but happiness and that will always be, with or without viewers.

Youtube has given me this opportunity to film videos that make me laugh, to try things that make me laugh.

I know it might sound crazy-being a person that sits in their room alone and talks to their camera- but oftentimes talking about certain things on camera makes me feel better. Makes me laugh at myself and relieves a lot of anxiety.

And I know, I know, I know I am still super awkward in front of the camera, but that can only get better. Right?

I love expressing myself, doing fun things, laughing at myself, and just in general- trying my best to get outside of my comfort zone.

Life’s too short.

I knew if I didn’t start this channel now( at age 21) I would be a real, actual adult soon and I would never do it. And then it would always be something I wanted to do but never did because I was scared or intimidated.

Like I said, it isn’t about subscribers, it isn’t about how many people watch my videos, it has always been about me and the way that youtube has always made me feel included and accepted- even though I’m super weird and never fit in anywhere.

Also, I think making thumbnail pictures (the picture that appears for people to click on your video) is the most fun thing in the world to do. I love making funny faces, and using pretty out-there poses (as seen in the 3 photos above 🙂 )

I am so happy to be on the other side of Youtube, the creator side.

If you have read all the way down to here, feel free to visit my channel if you’d like (and subscribe if you want 😉 )

youtube.com/CerenaG.

As always, thank you so much for tuning in, and reading my blog!!!!

Love,

Cerena

Dear 2017

Dear 2017,

First of all, I want to thank  you for being so much better than 2016.

2016 sucked ammirght?

Thank you for bringing me new memories, new opportunities, and new people into my life to be grateful for each and everyday. Thank you for bringing me closer to the person I want to be and the life I want to live. I still have a ways to go, but 2017 was, at least, a step closer.

Thank you for one last season of softball. I knew this day would eventually come and I was prepared for it (as prepared as you can be). This game,  this sport, has been the biggest part of my life since I was 6 years old and it’s incredibly heartbreaking to see it go.

But this isn’t goodbye, softball will always be a big part of who I am today and not playing anymore could never change that.

 

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Thank you for the opportunity to do baton one last time with my sister. This makes it sound like everything is ending, but just like softball, baton will be a part of who I am for as long as I live.

Growing up, I took baton lessons. It was incredibly fun and challanging and my favorite thing ever . Again, like softball, it was something that my sister and I did together. We decided that we should do a routine for showboat together, one last time. It was great to get to work with our baton teacher that we love and come up with a completely new routine. Baton isn’t something that you can just quit, it’s a part of you. I can go months without touching my baton but as soon as I pick it up, it’s back to being that part of me-like another arm. Even as I type this, I find myself wanting to go do some finger twirls.

Anyway, I said this is “one last time” but we all know it won’t be 🙂

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Thank you for the opportunity to further my education at Ohio University. I have never been to a major university like OU before this year and although it was an adjustment, I am always grateful that I have the opportunity to attend college and major in something that I am passionate about.

Along with that, thank you for my new job- doing something that matters and that I really love.

Thank you for my family and all the memories that we made in 2017. I will forever be grateful that I live in a household where we are all so close. I love spending time with them and look forward to, well who knows what we’ll get into for 2018.

 

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Thank you for the opportunity to coach at my high school. I was lucky enough to get to assist with the middle school softball team. I had such a hard time moving on from high school- because I missed softball so much. Getting to help coach was the perfect way to mend that brokenness I felt from closing that chapter in my life. I have since realized that I want to make softball a part of my life in the future- I want to coach and I don’t know where this will take me, but I now know for sure that it is something I want to do. I want to teach my own daughter how to pitch someday. I want to teach her the game that I love so much.

And I loved coaching girls who are so young and so full of life. I got to work with so many talented young athletes who’s drive and ambition reminded me of 13 year old Cerena- who had a dream of pitching for her varsity team.

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Thank you for another year with my fiancé, Hunter. We grow closer every year, every day and I will never get tired of spending another year with him.

I’m grateful that I get to experience so much with him in this life. I got to travel with him and just spend every day loving him.

This year, we started our future together by getting engaged and I’m so excited for the adventures that I know we will get into in 2018.

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In October 2017, I turned the big 21.

Everyone knows that your 21st birthday means you get your hands on that sideways license and it’s finally legal for you to drink alcohol. I have never drank alcohol before my birthday and let’s just say- it didn’t live up to the 21 years of hype.

Thank you for reminding me to continue  to live and act responsibly (with or without alcohol).

Thank you for the animals!

In 2017 I visited the Wilds for the first time and the Columbus Zoo for probably the millionth. I love animals, all kinds, and I am so passionate about making their education a priority in my life. They are one of my favorite subjects to photograph. I love to capture their spirit, their beauty.

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Along with that, I am grateful for another year of photography. I swear my love for capturing photographs only continues to grow every day. I tried several new techniques and learned so much! I even took a photography course for an art credit at school. I am always anxious to learn new things and get out there to capture the ideas I hold in my head.

 

But even as I type this and I say thank you to 2017 for the blessings, I only have God to thank for this incredible journey of a year.

Thank you for family, for friends, for co workers, for classmates, for teammates, . Thank you for positive people who enrich my life every single day.

I say thank you 2017 but really  I mean thank you, Lord.

Thank You for sending Your son down to die for our sins so that we can have eternal life with You someday. Thank You for remaining by my side as You do for another year. Thank You for bringing people into my life that You knew I would need and for removing people You knew weren’t serving me well. Thank You for bringing me closer to people that lift me up and encourage me everyday. Thank You for brining me closer to my purpose in this life.

No thanks will ever be enough, obviously, but for now- thank You for 2017!

 

Love and Hugs,

Cerena 🙂

I Love My Job

Hey hey readers!

Let me tell you how good it feels to finally have time to write again!

I can finally share more blog posts with you and I’m so excited!

Anyway one of the main reasons I had zero time to write was because I was starting school on a new campus- Ohio University!

And also starting my new job. Even though it’s been months since that all happened, I have been way too busy ever since.

But not anymore.

Anyway I wanted to make this post about my job.

Unfortunately, I think nowadays, people have more complaints to spew about their jobs than praise.

After all, this is your livelihood; can your job get a little bit of credit?

Especially young people (me) who aren’t used to working and are basically thrust into the “adult” life full force with college and a part time job. It is hard to stay positive and it’s hard to not want to be somewhere else when you are at work.

We get it.

Because you’re not out of college yet and you don’t meet qualifications for a “good” job, the pickings for opportunities can be very slim.

I consider myself one of the lucky ones.

I love my job.

I’ve mentioned this before but I have aspirations to become a pharmacist one day.  I don’t know where that will take me but for now, I am working a part time job at a pharmacy.

If I am a pharmacist someday there will be A LOT to learn.

Working in the pharmacy has been really “hands on” and a very helpful addition to my college education.

Even though I am supposed to be working in a pharmacy someday, I don’t learn anything useful to that side of my career. You don’t learn anything that YOU WILL ACTUALLY USE in college (but that’s a whole nother blog post in itself).

It’s nice to be learning useful skills that I will (hopefully) use someday.

And there is always something new to learn about insurance, medications, products, etc. You can work there for 30 years and never know everything there is to know. And laws change all the time and therefore, so does our practices.

So I’m learning even when I’m not in school.

As a pharmacy technician (in training 🙂 ) you meet A LOT of people.

A LOT.

If any of you have ever worked in a job that involves customer service, then you know what an experience it can be.

It’s weird because I am such an optimistic person that I try very hard to see the best in people.

There are people who often say: the world is becoming a very dark place and its people are only continuing to get worse.

I mean, I do see it. I’m not going to lie- I do sometimes encounter people who act nothing but rude for no reason at all other than the fact that they can be.

But I don’t let that affect how I view the world and people as a whole because the incredibly kind and genuine people I have met and have been given the opportunity to help, outweigh the not so nice experiences.

I love getting to know people. I love the fact that I can do one small and insignificant thing in attempt to help them and in return they share incredible stories about their children, their families, their faith, their time in prison (yes that did happen once), and just the stories they want to share with the world.

It is incredible, forming relationships with strangers- remembering faces that you will see again. Every day I am reminded of what I set out to do after high school-help people. No matter what I would chose as a major, no matter what university I found myself at, no matter what career I would pursue- my end goal was always helping other people.

Health care and our individual well-being is so important and I’m so grateful to be put in a position where I can help others reach it.

And again- people always ask:

“Why do you care so much about helping random people and strangers?”

And I think it goes back to my faith because it is my belief that our fellow humans are our brothers and sisters in the eyes of Christ and therefore- even if you don’t know someone- they still deserve your respect and the help you can give them.

Again I don’t like to be negative but…

I don’t like the way our world has become essentially very selfish.

My parents and grandparents speak of a time where people knew their neighbors and members of the community and cared about them. And unfortunately, that is rare to see today and hasn’t been something I have ever really gotten the opportunity to experience.

People just don’t care about other people in the way they used to- or so I’m told.

And I know how cliché it is to say that I want to make the world a better place.

But I do.

I want to be more personable and help the people I meet in any way that I can.

This brings to mind a story that happened when I was really young- I think I was in the third grade.

My dad and I were eating at a subway in some Walmart on our way home from a basketball game. I remember this so clearly, I even remember that my hair had been braided across the front of my head because it was the first time my mom had done it that way.

While standing in line for our subs, a woman joined the line behind us, pushing her handicapped son’s wheelchair.

They were the nicest people and my dad (who talks to everyone) started talking to them. I don’t even remember what they were talking about as the woman was mostly talking to my dad.

When they left, my dad said:

“see ya later”

And then I asked him why he said he would “see them later” when they were complete strangers and he knew as well as I did, we were never going to see those people again.

And my dad just said- you say that to everyone. They are good people and our fellow Christians so we will see them later- in the kingdom of Heaven.

And I remember that to this day because it is so true. These strangers here on earth that we don’t care about , that we don’t respect, that we are so impersonal towards- they will be our neighbors, friends, our community in our forever home.

Nobody is a stranger.

And so getting to know people every single day at my work is a gift.

It makes me thirst to travel the world, see new places experience new cultures, and meet new people.

I have been given so many amazing opportunities within my young life already. I have graduated high school and was accepted into a university. Someday (hopefully) that university will give me a degree- that I was able to earn because of the opportunities that I have been given and the tools that are always readily available for me to succeed at anything I put my mind too.

But I have no intention of being selfish with these gifts.

Selfish, in every sense of the world, is using what amazing skills you’ve learned, what incredible privileges you possess for the betterment of your life only.

I have always wanted to find a way to combine ministry and healthcare in a way that helps a large amount of people. Whether this takes me to foreign countries on missionary trips or just miles from my hometown, I want to make a difference in the lives of those who were, unfortunately, not given the exact opportunities as me.

There are children who can only dream of graduating high school, can only dream of taking classes at a major university. Part of the reason I want a college education so badly (aside from the obvious reasons) is for these people who, unfortunately, are not under the same circumstances as I.

And because I am starting to repeat myself at this point, I will leave you with this:

“So we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another.”

Romans 12:5

Though we, at times, may be selfish, these earthly people we meet on a daily basis- at school, at work, on the bus, etc- will someday be our neighbors.

So for today, let’s make them our friends.

 

Love and Hugs,

Cerena 🙂

The End (I’m Serious this Time)

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I’m not even going to try to make an excuse for why I haven’t blogged lately.

Instead, I’m just going to get right to it because well, that’s why we’re all here.

Last spring, wow, that sounds really weird to say last spring because I had planned on writing this last spring and it’s mid-summer and these words are just now making it to this page.

Anyway, last spring I finished my very last softball season that I will ever play for a school/university. After high school and two years of college softball, I am finally hanging up my cleats forever- for that level of play anyway.

This sport means the world to me and I wanted to write this small piece of reflection over my old friend that is softball while the split is still fresh and weighs very heavy on my heart.  I sat down and tried writing this piece so many times but there has just been no words to express how I really feel.

So here’s my best shot.

This post isn’t about a lesson learned or advice I can give you on something I have experienced, it’s just a story telling brought on by a MAJOR part of my life coming to an end.

Softball is my favorite sport and has been since I was 12 years old.  Nothing compares to the feeling I get when I step between those two white lines.

Any athlete can back me up on this – when you are playing your favorite sport, no other feeling in the world compares. When you take that field or step onto the court- you are completely and authentically yourself.

You are home.

And your life would never be the same had you not started this sport all those years ago.

And my story starts all those years ago.

I remember the year I joined my very first softball team. I was 10 years old.

My older cousin was the first person to explain to me that softball pitchers pitched in an underhand motion (I had no idea-we only ever watched baseball) and I just remember from that day forward , my mind was made up- I was going to be a pitcher.

But it was my dad who first taught me the basics of how to pitch.

What I would give to be a fly on the wall during that practice because………

Let’s just say we have come a long way 🙂

When I was 12, I started pitching lessons with a real coach- who also had played professional fastpitch.

He’s like the all-knowing wizard of softball pitching.

And I owe every win, every strikeout to him.

At 12 years old, who would have thought that all the things I have been fortunate enough to experience all started in the OUL gymnasium (yes that’s where we had lessons)?

He literally taught me everything I know.

And so the road along my softball journey was paved with great coaches, and great teammates.

First came middle school where I met a new coach- who at the time was a stranger, but without even realizing it, he would change my life forever.

And then before I could even blink, I was off to play varsity softball.

If you know me at all, you know that I can’t say enough good things about my high school softball experience. I can’t express in words how grateful I am to have been a part of something as special as Berne Union softball.

And take it from a girl who has been a part of A LOT of softball teams, as a rocket-the fun we had together, the memories that have me laughing until my stomach hurts- there is truly nothing like it anywhere else.

In the past, I was a selfish player. Growing up, I didn’t really like team sports.

(Which is a huge reason why I didn’t play a lot of them)

I played for myself. I played so I could win. I played so I could have the trophy-so I could have the strikeouts. I never played for the team.

But that all changes very quickly when you genuinely care about the girls standing next to you. I liked my teammates so much- which I know is few and far between for a lot of school ball teams.

But I just had this new purpose- it wasn’t for me, it was for the team.  I put my heart into everything- not for myself but for the 8 other girls on that field.

I remember watching from the other side of the fence as a little girl and thinking that varsity softball was this beautiful time and place in your life and I was excited for my time even though it was sooooooo far away.

And then it’s all happening to you and before you can even think about it, it’s almost over.

And you’re like:

What happened to that little girl who only dreamed about this?

She grew up, she had her moment, and now its time for another group of  little girls to heave theirs.

And high school (mostly due to sports) was this nice time of my life where everything was simple.

The team, for the duration of softball season, was family. Softball was so special  because the environment was full of good people, parents, and especially coaches.

And I can’t say enough good things about the coaches. I can run into them today and still find myself talking to them for forever about anything and everything.

That’s the thing about coaches, they really have an impact on not only your softball abilities but more importantly, on your life.

Coaches are so essential to your experience as a player.

There are coaches who can make you hate the sport.

But there are coaches who are so much of the reason you love it.

Over the years, as you can imagine, I have had so many coaches. And the thing with me, because I remember literally everything, is that I never will forget any of the coaches I have worked with or what they have taught me.

Or not taught me (to the ones who sucked).

Like I said, my middle school coach changed my life. Not because we won a significant amount of games, or did anything too spectacular, but because he was the first person who really and truly believed in me.

And yes at 12 years old- this was groundbreaking.

I never tell anyone this story but leading up to my 7th grade year of softball, I wanted to quit pitching.

It was too hard, or I was too bad – I can’t remember the exact reason I had. Bottom line: I wanted to quit and knowing me- I probably would have.

Had it not been for this coach, I don’t think my life would have been the same.

I thought I  decided to continue pitching all on my own but in hindsight- the reason I was so doubtful of my potential was that I didn’t have a coach or someone I looked up to telling me that they believed in me.

But he did.

And pitching is the main reason I love softball.

It’s probably bad to say this, but I never wanted to play anywhere but pitcher.

Eventually, it became this huge part of my life, a huge part of me. I needed to pitch like I needed air to breath. When I was on the mound, I was in my happy place. I was safe, I was content, and I mattered.

In that circle of white chalk, I was home.

And I wouldn’t be the same person had I given up.

My high school coach taught me oodles and oodles in the four years that we were able to work together. But perhaps the most important thing that he ever taught me was that you can never be comfortable with where you are at today- you must always work hard and push yourself to be better.

Even when I did everything right, I could count on him to still yell at me for doing something wrong.

And I can’t thank him enough for all the things that I accomplished because he believed in me.

My last coach I will ever have was responsible for instilling in me a new confidence that I had lost since leaving high school.

I think believing in me is a reoccurring theme here but those of you who are pitchers know- it’s not easy doing what we do and confidence isn’t something you can build alone.

You need your coaches, you need your teammates.

And I’m blessed enough to have had both on my side for as long as I can remember.

Someday, I will have to move out of my parents’ house (I can’t stay here forever), and I will have to take down the 14 softball plaques that hang on my bedroom wall. I’ll cry because that’s what I do best 🙂

They’ll find a new home in a box where they will probably stay- until I feel like pulling them out and bragging to my children.

Just like my dad does.

When that day comes, I’ll pull out each one with a silent tear and let my children know that a shiny piece of metal that hangs on the wall will never truly tell you the whole story.

They can never tell you about all the hours I spent after school in the off-season trying to get stronger and better.

It can’t tell you all the hours my dad took off from his job to come down to the school and catch for me.

It can’t tell you all the anger I felt at losing all the games we should have had.

It can’t tell you about all the long bus rides home, laughing with your teammates, your family.

It can’t tell you the excitement you felt winning the league title game.

But the memories are all still there, tied into a piece of metal that hangs on the wall.

Amazing.

And I know that this is what I will miss most about the sport- the memories and friendships that won’t soon be forgotten.  There is something so special about the bond that forms between teammates. I’ve met so many kind and beautiful souls through softball and the many teams that I found myself a part of. I run into old teammates years later and can still find myself talking to them about anything.

In high school, my very best friends were also my teammates. And the friendship we shared both on and off the field is something that I will always treasure, no matter what.

Softball has given me more than just a few plaques, medals, and scrapes. It has given me the ability to truly believe in myself and to always put my whole heart into everything I do.

It’s been an amazing ten years.

Advice from a VERY Experienced College Student

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Hey guys!

By the time you are reading this I will have gone up to OU Athens (or down I think it might be down) for “Relocate Day”

Whoop whoop

This is actually just a really boring orientation for students who are transferring from one of their branches to Athens for the fall of 2017.

And in honor of moving forward to yet another, and if you’re counting, to a fourth college, I thought I would give an update of my college experience so far and my plans as they stand right now because EVERYONE asks.

So here we go….

The other day, a high school teacher of mine was asking how college was going (as high school teachers do) and she said this:

“I heard you have bounced around from a few different schools”

Which is just the super polite way of asking why are you a crazy person?

But yes, I have been to three different colleges so far so I have gained a ton of experience both good and bad.

I was debating on whether or not to blog about this because, in all honesty, it’s embarrassing to talk about.

Literally no one else does this.

People may transfer once- no one transfers twice.

And so I felt like there was something wrong with me because for some reason, no school was a good fit for me.

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Did Student IDs cost money? That was an unfortunate investment.

But I haven’t dropped out (yet) so I am still winning.

And somehow my major hasn’t changed. It has followed me to all three schools.

So let’s break it down.

PART ONE:

The first college I went to was The Ohio State University at Newark.

Annnnnnd I HATED IT

0/10 would not recommend.

For me, I found the change that came after high school- the transition from there to college-to be extremely difficult to adjust to.

I remember crying the entire first week of classes. In between class one day, I called my mom and cried to her and begged her to let me drop out and transfer to OUL.

Obviously she said no.

I don’t know what it is about the campus but I hated it. The buildings were cold, scary, and every time I walked in, I couldn’t wait to get out.

There are so many college campuses that look absolutely immaculate in the spring and summer time but OSU Newark is not one of them. The landscape was sad, boring, and made me not even want to walk across campus- no thanks! I’ll drive!

And there was nothing I hated more than driving forty-five minutes down the world’s most boring road every day to school.

I didn’t meet a single person that liked me – no lab partner, no Spanish partner, nothing….

I hate to see all of the negativity in a situation but in trying to make this post as honest as possible I can’t lie.

One thing I can say that OSU Newark has going for them is their incredible staff.

My advisor was a wonderful woman. She helped me out so much. There were some people in the academic advising offices that were rude to freshmen because obviously we had no idea what we were doing yet.  My advisor never treated me in that way. She built my schedule for both the fall and then later in the spring. She did her very best to make sure the transfer from high school to college was as smooth as possible for me.

And another thing going for them was their excellent professors (at least the ones that I had).

This is no knock to any previous teachers, but these professors are so educated. They’re well-traveled, they’ve written books, and most of them are doctors!

I remember my anthropology professor talking about the months he spent on an archeological dig in South America, the Grand Canyon, and other places around the world.

I was like woahhhh because I want to travel and experience new places so I love hearing stories from other peoples’ journeys.

All in all, had the next school not offered me a scholarship to come there, I still would have probably found a way to get out of there because it was ruining my college experience.

And that brings us to….

PART TWO

After the end of fall semester 2015, I transferred to Mount Vernon Nazarene University for the simple fact that I was going to be playing on their softball team.

Basically this is how it happened:

Their coach contacted me to come play.

I applied.

I got accepted.

BAM!! transfer number one is in the books!

And this small college in Mount Vernon, Ohio was shaping up to be a much better fit for me.

I liked Mount Vernon for a lot of different reasons. The number one reason was that it was a Christian college and therefore our relationship with God was at the very center of everything we did.

We prayed before class, after class, we had church three days a week, and we prayed before and after softball practice.

At Mount Vernon (MVNU) I met some of the greatest and kindest people that I will ever have the opportunity to know. My roommate was one of the nicest girls I have ever met. The entire softball team was nothing but kind and accepting towards me.

I loved the feeling of a small campus where everyone seemed to get along (for the most part) and everyone looked out for one another. I felt safe, I felt accepted, and I loved knowing that the people around me were interested in creating a close relationship with God, like myself.

Aside from being my brothers and sisters in Christ, these people were my brothers and sisters in Christianity.

As you probably know, I went to a public high school where God and mention of His name, really had no place.

And I feel, as Christians, this divide holds us back from our possibilities to grow as a student while also in our relationship with God.

And the best part about this school was that I was free to worship everywhere.  I was surprised at how easy it was to slip into a conversation with other students that was simply about our personal relationship with the Lord and our plans to strengthen it.

And I found myself openly talking about God in places that I had been forced to keep Him to myself in the past.

I’ve always been one of those people who will pray several times throughout the day as I needed His help and wisdom.

Growing up, the practice followed me into my sports, especially softball. Throughout an entire game, I constantly ask for Him to help me hit the ball (obviously he wasn’t always paying attention to this one 🙂 ), I ask him to put His hands on me and calm my nerves, I’ve asked Him to watch over my teammates, the other team, and I and keep us from injuries. I ask Him to please oh please let me not walk this batter or please let this pitch be a strike.

Most of the time I was pretty confident and pretty concentrated but sometimes you’ve just got to be like:

Jesus take the wheel .

But like with everything else, these small talks were between God and I alone.

I remember in high school when other teams from Christian schools would circle up in the outfield and pray before a game, I would just watch them and wish that was something I could share with my teammates.

Then I would get sad because the softball field was my home but I couldn’t openly worship my God in my own home.

So it wasn’t really home.

And the first day that I wore that MVNU Cougars jersey in Clermont, Florida and joined hands with my teammates as well as the other team to pray, I closed my eyes, not because that is what you’re supposed to do, but to cover up the fact that I was in tears.

Surreal is the only word I can think of that describes that moment.

Here I was on the softball field and it finally felt like home.

I was finally in the jersey of a school that put God before anyone and anything else.

I think as an athlete we sometimes forget that sure maybe few things come before your sport, but God better be one of them.

Sometimes I would get so caught up in training and stuck on that grind that I need to step back and remind myself:

God > Softball

This is just one of those moments that was a gift directly given to me by God himself. I’ve needed this moment ever since I first saw teams intertwining prayer and softball. I needed to be a part of an organization that was bigger than just themselves.

I don’t regret the semester I spent at MVNU. I don’t wish that it never happened.

In the end, for reasons outside my control, I couldn’t stay at MVNU so this chapter was cut short.

I learned so much at MVNU including how much I had been putting ahead of my relationship with God.

And if I had to pick the greatest thing MVNU had given me, it would be the way it sharpened me as a Christian and instilled within me the realization that yes, sometimes I don’t prioritize my relationship with God as much as I should and that needs to change.

Which brings us to …..

PART THREE

I just knew that I would end up attending OUL at some point in my life because it is right in the middle of my hometown and literally the closest college to my house.

After leaving MVNU I transferred to OUL for the fall of 2016.

I don’t know what it is about me that attracts super-nice academic advisors but mine was surprisingly helpful again and very kind. During my first appointment we ended up spending a half hour just talking about all the schools I’ve been to.

And the first semester went alright and the second’s shaping up to be about the same.

I have no cool stories to tell about this year. Or any significant bad ones (which I guess is probably a good thing)

And like I said at the very beginning, I’ll be going to OU Athens next fall so that will be an adventure.

I’m still a Chemistry pre-pharmacy major even though I want to switch on the daily (it’s just the stress talking right?)

And here’s hoping that I won’t transfer anywhere else before I get that degree 🙂

Because I transferred so many times, I’ll probably graduate in five years or six or twelve, who knows?

I just wanted to share my experiences in college with you because, for obvious reasons, they are extensive.

But most importantly, I’ve learned to trust in God to take me where I need to go. We make our own decisions but ultimately, everything will work out according to His plan and what He wants for your life.

Thanks for reading!!

Love and hugs,

Cerena

You Are Enough

Hey guys!

The other day I was scrolling through twitter, and anyone who has a twitter knows it is basically a place for people to complain let’s be honest. I do it, we all do.

Anyway I came across a tweet that was a different type of complaining. It was authored by a young girl and it read:

“I will never be good enough”

Most people would scroll right past or even, sadly, agree and retweet it on their own page.

But I found myself just starring at it.

I started to think of what things may have motivated her to write that tweet. Did a boyfriend break up with her? Did a friend stop talking to her? Did she fail a test?

And then, because the tweet reminded me, I remembered saying these same types of things just a few short years ago. This tweet made me stop and think because this was fifteen year old Cerena. And I didn’t like that.

And I thought I would share this with you all 🙂

Society is ugly. I just want to get that out of the way because there is no way around it. Girls are expected to be the skinniest, be the prettiest, do the makeup that is “on point”, buy the expensive clothes etc…

Being a girl is hard work especially with all these expectations.

And society is unforgiving if you don’t happen to meet all of them.

Because of this approval that girls are seeking from others, we learn to lose the love we used to have for ourselves.

I don’t know about you but when I  was four years old, I didn’t  care about how my hair looked, didn’t care that my eyelashes look longer when I use mascara, and didn’t even think twice about having a slice of cake. All I cared about was having fun.

And I loved myself.

It’s easy to love yourself when you’re so young and carefree. It’s easy to love yourself when everyone tells you you’re cute.

(This is probably why I was so full of myself as a child 🙂 )

But self-love is something that, over time, we lose.

We forget that we’re cute. We look in the mirror and see every flaw that we have been conditioned, by our environment, to point out.

We compare ourselves to celebrities, models in magazines, and even girls we have met who we think are superior to ourselves.

And this isn’t total guesswork for me, I have been there.

Fifteen year old Cerena hated herself. She thought she was fat, she thought she wasn’t pretty enough, wasn’t funny enough, wasn’t smart enough, and she needed the approval of other people to make her feel good about herself. She compared herself to other girls and wished that she looked like them.

And that logic is very flawed.

You don’t need the approval of others; you don’t need them to justify loving yourself.

You are allowed to love yourself just the way you are because you are already enough.

And it’s ironic to me because now at twenty years old, I wish I was the size that I was when I was fifteen. And yet at the time, I thought that I was fat.

Silly.

Don’t compare yourself to other girls. Don’t look at the girls in a magazine and wish you looked exactly like them.

Don’t feel badly about yourself based on what other people think of you.

My goodness there is probably 1,000 valuable life lessons wrapped up within the Princess Diaries but this is one that resonates most with me and I think about it all the time.

Image result for no one can make you feel inferior without your consent princess diaries

Preach it Joe (I think that’s his name).

Isn’t that the truth though? When we don’t feel good enough for someone/something it is not them who makes us feel inferior, but ourselves. If we let what other people say or think get to us,we let them have power over us. Its silly to let another person make you feel inadequate.

Especially when we already know that we are not.

You were made by the King of Kings exactly the way you are. The God who made the very ground you’re standing on (or sitting on, I’m sitting right now) and made the sky blue also made you. As much thought, time, and effort as He put into every detail of creating the stars we see at night, He also put into making you.

I’ve mentioned this before but it just completely blows my mind that the God who created the sun, moon, and all the stars, decided that there also needed a you here too.

How could you ever say that you are not enough?

Life is too short to constantly have someone criticizing everything that makes you who you are.

I mean, you are stuck with you for the rest of your life, why not make this a friendship?

Self-love is something that most of us need to learn for ourselves once again.

And it has been my experience that this won’t be easy.

Learning to love yourself is hard especially when you’re the weird kid (me) who seems to have nothing in common with anyone around them. There were so many things I thought that I wanted to change about myself, but I quickly learned that those were the things I loved most.

It is a process.

I laugh at my own jokes. No one else may find me funny, no one else may get my humor, but I think I’m funny so I laugh.

And that’s okay.

Rarely did someone truly laugh at the things I said (at least not as hard as I did) and that discouraged me. It made me feel that I wasn’t funny enough for my friends. It made me feel like I wasn’t good enough for them, or anyone.

So even if no one is laughing, I encourage you to laugh at your own jokes. Who better to understand them than yourself?

Embrace the things that make you different. After all, who wants to be like everyone else?

Feeling not good enough also comes from rejection.

Rejection has also been hard for me to handle and rightfully so. It’s hard when you work really hard for something only to come up short. You think you did everything right but for some reason, you don’t get the starting position; don’t get the job, etc…

It’s hard and it often sends me to a dark place of such self-doubt I start to question everything about myself.

And then I let it go.

Everything happens for a reason. This is the most cliché phrase in the book of phrases, but it’s true.

Everything is meant to happen according to God’s plan and He will take care of you. Always.

When you miss out on a seemingly great opportunity, it is because God is leaving the door open for something even better to come along.

Trust in him.

If you find yourself thinking:

Am I good enough?

Or, you know, just openly tweeting about how you are not, remember this:

The little things we call “flaws” are what makes us different from other people. How boring would it be if we all looked the same?

You are already good enough. You are good enough for anyone of this earth because you are already good enough for the King of Kings. He has called you out as His own and anyone who thinks otherwise has no relevance in comparison.

I encourage you to love yourself fully and completely without feeling vain or pretentious.

It’s okay to take a fire selfie and post it (and also to think that it is fire).

It’s okay to dismiss people’s words and actions when they are trying to make you feel like you are not enough.

YOU ARE ENOUGH.

I cannot stress to you how true this is.

There is only one of you and you are important. My goodness, you are so important.

Love and Hugs,

Cerena