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.

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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

“I Don’t Have Any Friends”

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Hey hey hey beautiful readers!

It’s been a minute since I’ve posted a new blog post. I was really busy last week and didn’t have the time to write up a post to my liking.

I’m going to start posting new blogs on Thursdays because that works better for me now.

Anyways…..

Leave it to Ohio to bless us with temperatures in the seventies smack dab in the middle of February. It’s unreal (but I’m not complaining).

And because I took last week off, I couldn’t blog about it 😦

Even though it already feels like it outside some days, spring will be here before we know it and I couldn’t be more excited! My favorite season used to be fall until around high school time when spring meant softball season, prom, rain (I love rainy days), and the overwhelming excitement that the school year was coming to an end. Most people say summer is their favorite season but I love spring, love the anticipation of flip flops, beaches, and warm weather. I just can’t explain it, it’s like spring is the perfect moment to live in, when everything is new and exciting and there are only good vibes.

Anyway, please excuse my geeking out over spring.

Now that I’m not in high school and spring, unfortunately, does not mean a new $800 prom dress, a league title in softball, and the school year is already over, I find myself reflecting on “the good old days”, specifically the friendships I had in high school.

Ever since I left high school, I became completely and utterly friendless.

Yeah I’m gonna be that dramatic.

And I really hate when people say:

“Oh Cerena now that can’t be true. You have friends.”

Because as hard as it is to believe that anyone can have absolutely no one to talk to, hang out with, or do friendship activities with, I am one of those people.

WE DO EXIST.

I guess my boyfriend hangs out with me but he doesn’t count because he has to be friends with me 😉

I’m a really shy person so it is, I guess, extra hard for me to make friends. I don’t talk to strangers and it has since come to my attention that to make friends, you have to talk to strangers.

Who knew?

And side note: I also love when people who have 100 close friends say that they have no friends just because they don’t have plans for a Saturday or whatever.

The struggle is real for some people.

I think this drastic shift from having friends in high school to having zero friends now comes from the fact that I wasn’t as shy around people in high school because it was Berne Union and everyone knew everyone. And their mother. And their cousin. And their great-aunt Linda.

And I remember thinking the other day that I missed high school.

(I’ve noticed that people either really miss high school or try to pretend that those four years never happened)

I don’t miss high school in general but I do miss having friends.

And then I started thinking (because this is how my mind works) of how friendships grow and change as you get older. People change so why wouldn’t the relationships they keep change?

High school, for me, was okay. I don’t want to say it was wonderful or even good because, like most angsty teenagers, high school is guaranteed to have just as many ups as it does downs. I had good friends, I had my boyfriend (I still have him 🙂 ), and I had sports to keep me busy and overbooked with things to do.

Some of my favorite memories to this day were made during my four years of high school. However, some of the worst were also made in that same time frame (but that’s a whole nother blog post in itself). All in all, I can’t complain about my time in high school. Those halls treated me well.

But like all good things, this time had to eventually come to an end. Shocker.

But back to high school friends.

I’m not going to write about all the friends I made in high school because if we’re being honest, I considered every person that I knew at my school to be my friend (even when they didn’t consider me to be their’s). No, this is aimed towards specific people who were my very best friends throughout high school and even throughout most of my life.

As I previously mentioned, these people were the source of some unforgettable moments. I remember having some of the best times of my life with these people. We laughed together, cried together, and got into some very stupid stuff together. We loved each other and we cared about one another. Of course we fought, we fought with each other more than we fought with anyone else (and over the dumbest reasons) but we were family and best friends forever.

Except we weren’t And here’s where my life advice comes in:

You’re not going to be best friends with these people forever. That’s just part of life.

And I also wanna say real quick that this isn’t true for everyone. I’ve seen high school bffs remain close through college and well into their adult lives, but for me this wasn’t the case.

When you and your high school days part ways, you start to really change. It’s not just you who is changing, it’s everything. You’re about to start this new and exciting chapter in your life (LOL cliché much) and your whole life is about to change. You don’t wake up every morning at 6 am and drive to good old Berne Union anymore, you pack up your car and drive to a new place where you are forced to start over. (Unless you’re me and college is still a ten minute drive away 🙂 ).

Your senior year of high school through your first year of college is a period of tremendous personal growth. So much has changed so drastically and so quickly that you are forced to also change to adapt and grow into your new life. When a person goes through this period of personal growth, the people around them either grow with them or unfortunately, they grow away from them.

Sadly, it was my friends and I who grew apart. Like way apart.

Again, I want to stress that this is a very natural part of life and part of really growing up. Some friendships you outgrow and that’s okay.

And I’m okay.

I don’t wanna say that I’m not sad because I was. For a long time, I was really sad. I was angry that my friends didn’t seem to want to be friends anymore. I was sad that my friendships that were once effortless now required an awful lot of work to maintain. I was heartbroken when I came to the realization that it was over. These people who knew me better than anyone, didn’t know who I was anymore. And they didn’t want to know. There comes a point where texting your “best friend” over and over and over again with no response means that they have moved on, or that they are trying to.

And I don’t want to play the blame game with this story at all. Do I wish that I had tried harder to reach out after high school? Yes. Do I regret not trying hard enough to keep these friendships alive? Absolutely. But we can’t go back.

I am in no way saying I don’t like these people anymore, that’s not true and not the point of this. I love every single one of my high school friends to this day. I want nothing but the best for them and I will always be rooting them on from afar, we just aren’t in each other’s lives anymore. We’ve grown apart and that bears no ill will, it just happened.

Sometimes, you are simply only friends with someone because it is easy. It’s easy to keep a friendship with someone you see for seven hours a day, five days a week. It’s easy to get close to someone that you see for more hours of the day than your own mother. High school friendships are exactly that: easy. I even, at one point, asked myself: are these the people you would pick out of a crowd to be close friends with? Or are they simply your closest friends because circumstances outside of your control just happened to throw you all together?

And its thoughts like this that really bring on the waterworks because I don’t know if I can say that I didn’t bond with these people just because it was easy.

In all, life happens. It’s completely natural for best friends to grow apart after high school. I still love them, I still care about them, but things will just never be the same again. We will never laugh like we did, never bond over the hot math teacher or the crappy boyfriends like we did. We’ll never eat lunch together, or have Friday night sleepovers together. We’ll never play on the same sports team and hang out after practice together.

Do I miss my friends? All the time. And when they hit me up on imessage or snapchat, I respond. But things have changed so much and I’m just learning to roll with it.

Part of growing up is figuring out who you are and figuring out who you are means losing part of your old self along the way. Even when losing that part of you is heartbreaking and painful, it leaves room for so much growth.

In the words of C.S. Lewis (imma huge Narnia fan)

“There are far, far better things ahead than any we leave behind.”

Even if you find yourself in my shoes right now with no friends well……

number one:  I am your friend (you’re reading this blog so therefore you’re choosing to be my friend 🙂 )

number two:

It’s been my personal experience that we make the best of friends when we are least expecting it. Keep your hearts and minds open to meet new people.

Number three: pray about it!

Does anyone remember that scene from Lilo and Stitch where Lilo sees a shooting star and she wishes by praying to God to send her a friend?

Yeah that’s me.

But seriously, the Lord will take care of you. He will put people in your life who are truly meant to be there. He’ll send those who encourage you, inspire you, and help shape you into the very best version of yourself.

My Bible school teacher told me this way back when and I still remember it to this day,

“You will always have at least one friend. Jesus is your friend and he will always be your friend, no matter what.”

And I guess four year old Cerena was smart because she kept reminding herself of this and I still think about it all the time

We lose friends in an attempt to find ourselves but we will never lose God. He will be there with us every step of the way. Remember that.

We outgrow things like old friendships to make room for new people, new beginnings, new life within us. And if you find yourself where I am when starting a new beginning in your life, don’t stress. If they are meant to be in your life, they will be. If not, they will remain a pleasant memory and a lesson learned.

So so so sorry this turned out to be so long! If you’ve read all the way down to this point, thank you so much for sticking around! Thanks for reading and stay tuned for more posts! 🙂

Love and hugs from your friend,

Cerena

Why I Quit Using The “U” Word

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Hey hey hey beautiful readers!

Thank you so much to everyone who came to this page and read my first blog post and thank you now for visiting my second one!  I have this little button on here that says how many people have read my page and it was way more than just my mom so, thank you!

Today I just wanted to share with you guys something that has been weighing heavily on my mind and heart lately.

And that is calling someone the U word for no reason. Why do we do it?

I would like to think I’ve grown as a person through my experiences thus far in life (and yes I know I still have a long way to go and a lot to learn) but I catch myself casually throwing this word around in conversation and thinking why do I say these things? Is this something that is going to lift someone up or bring them down?

And because of this growing as a person that I am trying to do, I have cut the word Ugly out of my vocabulary entirely.

ZERO. ZILCH. EL ZIPPO.

(Yes that was from Hannah Montana)

But from this day forward, I won’t use this word at all anymore when talking about a human being. Ugly should not be used to describe a person. It should not be an adjective that’s thrown at people just because I am mad at them.

And I caught myself doing this just the other day.

“Oh don’t worry about her, she’s ugly”

And it didn’t matter that I wasn’t saying this mean word to her face because, I may as well have. She may not have heard me call her the U word but someone far more important did: God. Now this petty argument seemingly between me and this person was now between my heart and the Lord’s.

And I’d wager that He was incredibly hurt by this comment. Hurt that I said something so rude about a brother or sister in Christ and hurt that I was acting through my words and actions, so incredibly ugly.

Girls are already so mean to one another, why add fuel to that fire? Not me. Not anymore.

Now let’s throw it back to high school for a moment because yes, all of the stupidest things I have ever done did happen in high school (and is where this habit started in the first place).

There was a girl, let’s just call her Suzy (obviously not her real name). Suzy was, as far as I could tell, out to get me. I genuinely thought that this girl’s sole purpose in life was to make my life miserable. Suzy did a few things to me that were, well, not so good. And like any rational teenage girl, I was angry with her.

And what do us females do when we are mad at other females?

We talk badly about them behind their backs and to our friends. DUH.

To my friends, I said that Suzy was ugly (among other things).

And it’s incredibly sad looking back now but my friends encouraged this behavior. My friends were excited to hear new drama; they were ready to call Suzy ugly as well.

And I hope that you can see now what I didn’t see then: that one thing had nothing to do with the other. It made no sense to call her ugly because I was angry with her. It made no sense that I didn’t mention said thing she did to make me mad at her in the first place.

And Suzy for the record is not ugly. She’s actually a very pretty girl.

But why did I choose to call her ugly? Because for a split second after calling her this, I felt better about myself. I felt that because I called her this nasty word I had somehow won.

But I didn’t win.

And afterward it hurt my heart to call her that name, to say out loud to another person that Suzy was ugly.

I truly believe that ugliness is only found underneath the skin where no one can see it; no one is ugly on the surface.  I know it’s very overused and cliché of me to say this, but everyone is beautiful in their own way.

And I didn’t know Suzy well enough to call her ugly. I didn’t know the parts of her that made her beautiful or deemed her ugly. I didn’t know what was inside of her heart.

Even though, I kept doing it, kept calling the people who did me wrong ugly, kept feeling for a nanosecond a little better, I knew it was wrong.  I knew it wasn’t true. I knew it was stupid. And I knew it was something that God was looking down on me in disappointment because in truth, calling someone else ugly made me ugly.

I remember immediately after calling someone this, I would feel horrible. I felt like I didn’t deserve the right to call someone else that. And I was right in feeling that way.

Subconsciously, I always thought that God would make me ugly because he heard me calling someone else this word.

And I’m not talking metaphorically as in I’m ugly because I’m the one calling people names but as in God will use his lightning bolt  powers to strike me and rearrange my face so it looks like I used one of those snapchat filters that squeezes your face and gives you a major five-head.

I know, I’ve seen Beauty and the Beast one too many times.

But if this didn’t scare me into not using the U word, then what will?

Who am I to call someone ugly? When you really think about it, I’m not Blake Lively or a Victoria’s Secret model, so how do I even get to call other people ugly?

Truth is, I don’t.

And it was a few days ago when I caught myself doing this that I really took a step back to say:

I’m only saying these hurtful words because I am angry with this person. It’s not true and saying it out loud certainly doesn’t make it true.

I’m the one who is ugly. My heart is ugly for thinking such things about another person and that’s when I said enough is enough.

Enough with this word, I am getting rid of it. I don’t need it in my life; I don’t need to use it.

And if you are still with me (and I hope that most of you are), I want to encourage you to do the same. Ugly is a word that none of us need to use. Not about ourselves and not about other people. I’m not ugly, you are not ugly, your neighbor isn’t ugly, your enemies aren’t ugly, Suzy isn’t ugly, your friends aren’t ugly….

Words that hurt people are ugly. And people who set out to hurt others are ugly.

Calling someone ugly doesn’t make you any prettier. It doesn’t make you any better than that person. It doesn’t make you any happier.

IT DOESN’T DO ANYTHING FOR YOU.

This word won’t affect them at all as long as they remember that they are beautiful.

We are all.

And just to throw in a passage from everyone’s favorite book:

“But the Lord said to Samuel, ‘Do not look on his appearance or on the height of his stature, because I have rejected him. For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.'”

1 Samuel 16:7

God created you. You are made beautifully and lovingly in His image. You are physically beautiful and being called ugly by another person will never take that away.

Do not ever forget that.

And all of this aside, where beauty really counts is within us. What lies in our hearts is far more important than what shows on the surface.

God spent time creating you, molding you into the very best version of yourself. He sees what lies in our hearts and I think, He would be proud to see the U word wiped from our tongues.

Anyway, because I had one of those rare moments where I thought to myself,

THIS IS SUCH A STUPID THING TO SAY

It has just been weighing pretty heavily on my heart and mind.  I thought in sharing it with you all, I can become more conscience of my words and actions as we all should be anyway.

And again I want to emphasize that this is a choice. We choose the words we bring into the world, that’s a gift God gave to all of us. It is a gift to be able to say to myself:

“I’m not going to say the word ugly anymore. Not about anyone or anything. I don’t need it.”

I hope in the future to choose my words more wisely and honor this gift by using words that breed positivity and inspire happiness.

I have come to realize: what’s important in life is not to bring others down but rather build them up. And when you are given the opportunity to do either or, I hope that you’ll follow me in choosing to lift them up!

Love and Hugs,

Cerena

About MEEE

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Does anyone remember the first day of school when your new teacher would say,

“Now Cerena, tell me three interesting things about yourself.”

And then you completely blank on what to say because really, we’re not supposed to talk about ourselves that much. Especially not long enough to say three whole things about us, that’s absurd!!

But because this isn’t school (thank GOD) and you’re not a teacher, I will try my best not to blank. So here’s a little about me:

HELLO BEAUTIFUL PEOPLE

I’m Cerena.

Yes Cerena like the awesome tennis player excpet with a C (and alot less athletic ability).

I am currently a twenty year old college student just trying to figure out what to do with my life. I’m in my fourth semester of college. I’ve already been to three different colleges in four semsters (if you want advice on enrolling as last-minute as possible, you’ve come to the right place).

I have a slight passion for writing. I’m very close friends with Jesus Christ. I used to be pretty okay at my favorite sport, softball. I am so in love with my boyfriend/ best friend that I have been dating for three and a half years. I love love love to read books. Give me anything with chocolate in it. I am a history geek and Harry Potter enthusiast. I am very highly opinionated. I started this blog as an online journal and well here we are.

To sum it all up, I’m a weirdo who loves to write, especially from my own experiences.

And what can you find on my blog?  Well that will just depend on the day  but you can expect to read about anything from my OOTD to advice to politically charged and very opinionated discussions on current events (have you seen what the president’s been up to lately?). Maybe even dinosaurs, who knows?

But all dinosaur jokes aside, I am all about celebrating yourself. With this blog, I want to emphasize the importance of simply being yourself. Self-worth, self-esteem, and individuality are concepts so lost on us today.  Of course we need to learn to love others but perhaps more importantly, we need to learn to love ourselves.

Be kind to yourself and be kind to others.

“Throw kindness around like confetti!”

(I don’t know who authored this quote but I love it).

I hope everyone stays exactly who they are because you’re awesome! But more on that later.

Stay tuned to see what I am up to 🙂

Love and hugs,

Cerena