Recently I had to give 2 speeches. One was to the members at my internship and the other was to the students at the Wesley Foundation at ETSU. If you know me then you probably know public speaking is not my forte, but I got a lot of practice in this semester during field. Since I had to give speeches I decided to nickname this week and last week “The Farewell Tour.” My good friends could not make it to the Wesley this week, so I decided to blog it for them instead. No worries… We said our goodbyes on Saturday. 😉
To the members:
Thanks for letting me be apart of your recovery journey.
To the Wesley:
Celina and I had a lot of classes together, so she keep asking me to come to the Wesley. I had previously been to other ministries on campus, but could not really find one where I felt totally secure. I was over it, and I was ready to give up.
Ends up I kept coming to the Wesley after the first night. It gave me a place to worship for about a year, and I always felt welcomed. I met my closest buds here. They’ve always had great advice, and helped me in so many ways. Shout out to Olivia who listened to my panic attacks about school. Also, Shauna you are the best friend a person could ask for. You can make me laugh no matter the situation, and you have a loving heart. Yes, I am outing you. Shana will do whatever is needed for her friends, and is a caring person. She has said “I only do one nice thing a year.” That is not the case at all. She helped take care of Gibbs when I was busy at my internship, and she did it for free. Now that is a bud.
I wouldn’t have these relationships without the Wesley foundation, and I truly am thankful for these relationships.
To the Wesley and the Members:
“Recovery is a Journey”
Recovery is a journey that I have been on too. At one time in my life I failed algebra, I missed graduating by honors in high school by a point, and I thought I was a failure. My senior year of high school I thought it would be silly to apply to college, because I was sure that “I would just fail out.” It was suggested to me in high school by staff that I just graduate with a certificate of completion instead of a high school diploma, because they weren’t sure if I could pass my foreign language classes since I was dyslexic.
Also, I remember being called out of class one day to come take a skills assessment and job assessment test. This random person giving the test was determined to get me out of the computer room having a path set before me. I took the test. It gave a list of things I could possibly get a certificate in or a trade in. I flatly told the guy that “I didn’t want to do a trade”. I stated I didn’t want to do any of this but thanks. He, being passionate job, asked me what I wanted to do. I responded that maybe I wanted to be a nurse and go to ETSU. He said, “Great, what about a being a nurses aid.” I said, “No, I don’t want to do that.” “Well it’s just maybe a university isn’t the right path of you”, He said. Then he proceeded to go through a list and name every trade he could think of (including roofing). None of those trades were strengths or skills that I had. After I wore him out with my stubbornness I left that day feeling defeated, and that poor guy who was “helping” probably did too.
My support system outside of the school encouraged me to go to a university if that is what I wanted to do. My mom was always my advocate. She always helped since she had her masters and Ed.S. in education. She printed out my application to apply to ETSU, and basically tied me to the chair next to her and made me fill it out. A couple of months later I got accepted, and like many things in my life I was the last one to know. At this point I was still sacred with the idea of attending ETSU. I still needed to get my ACT score up in order to test out of some developmental classes. I took my ACT again on the Saturday morning of my senior prom, and was still jet lagged from a spring break trip to China. I basically remember opening the booklet, and saying screw it. I tested out of developmental English at ETSU, because my score was high enough. However, math is another story.
My freshman year at ETSU was an emotional roller coaster. I had no earthly idea what I really wanted to major in deep inside. I remember thinking nursing, OT, and what the heck was a social work major? The only thing I excelled at my freshman year was my history classes. Also, I felt the need to overcompensate in every English class I took because of being diagnosed with dyslexia. I visited the tutoring center often, and I am pretty sure they dreaded seeing my face every time I walked in. It was hard to get my syntax and thoughts to flow, so the tutors didn’t even know what I was trying to write half the time. Obviously, this got better with time.
I cried a lot too during my time in college. My anxiety and depression were uncontrollable compared to now. It was often something I didn’t want to admit I had, because I though another diagnosis of something wasn’t going to help me but stigmatize me even more. One summer during college I worked at a pharmacy as a tech, and I took an online A&P course. I gave up! The anxiety and depression were too much. I finally got medication and a therapist, and that help tremendously.
When I went back to school after that summer I found myself wondering to Lyle House (social work building) on campus. I had an appointment with the dean to talk about social work and my possible future in it. She set me up so I could graduate on time. I declared my major in social work and a minor in psychology. I took intro to social work the following semester, and I never looked back. A couple semesters later I was officially accepted into the program, and finally declared a BSW student in the program.
Fast-forward and it is spring semester of my senior year. I’m an intern at a psychosocial recovery center, I am graduating cum laude, and got invited to the university’s Honors Convocation. Also, I got initiated into Phi Alpha and Phi Gamma Mu (two honors societies). As I write this it is weird to think and truly accept that I am graduating from ETSU this Saturday, but it is true and not just a dream. I’m currently finding myself applying for BSW jobs, and I can’t wait to finally have the title. I am finally happy and secure in what I doing in my life, and that has truly been a journey. In recovery I have found things I love like my dog Gibbs who I jog with, social work, and myself. I found out that failure isn’t fatal when you are on a journey of growth and recovery.
To the Wesley:
Summing it all up, friends, I’d say you’ll do best by filling your minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse. Put into practice what you learned from me, what you heard and saw and realized. Do that, and God, who makes everything work together, will work you into his most excellent harmonies.
2 Corinthians 12:7-10
Because of the extravagance of those revelations, and so I wouldn’t get a big head, I was given the gift of a handicap to keep me in constant touch with my limitations. Satan’s angel did his best to get me down; what he in fact did was push me to my knees. No danger then of walking around high and mighty! At first I didn’t think of it as a gift, and begged God to remove it. Three times I did that, and then he told me,
My grace is enough; it’s all you need.
My strength comes into its own in your weakness.
Once I heard that, I was glad to let it happen. I quit focusing on the handicap and began appreciating the gift. It was a case of Christ’s strength moving in on my weakness. Now I take limitations in stride, and with good cheer, these limitations that cut me down to size—abuse, accidents, opposition, bad breaks. I just let Christ take over! And so the weaker I get, the stronger I become.
1 Corinthians 13:1-7
If I speak with human eloquence and angelic ecstasy but don’t love, I’m nothing but the creaking of a rusty gate.
2 If I speak God’s Word with power, revealing all his mysteries and making everything plain as day, and if I have faith that says to a mountain, “Jump,” and it jumps, but I don’t love, I’m nothing.
3-7 If I give everything I own to the poor and even go to the stake to be burned as a martyr, but I don’t love, I’ve gotten nowhere. So, no matter what I say, what I believe, and what I do, I’m bankrupt without love.
Love never gives up.
Love cares more for others than for self.
Love doesn’t want what it doesn’t have.
Love doesn’t strut,
Doesn’t have a swelled head,
Doesn’t force itself on others,
Isn’t always “me first,”
Doesn’t fly off the handle,
Doesn’t keep score of the sins of others,
Doesn’t revel when others grovel,
Takes pleasure in the flowering of truth,
Puts up with anything,
Trusts God always,
Always looks for the best,
Never looks back,
But keeps going to the end.