Diploma’d & Degree’d

Happy Self-Love Sunday!

Yesterday as I approached my house’s front door, I noticed a package awaited me on the doorstep. The package was sent from the records office of the university I graduated from in May. I knew what was within the package so I set up a camera and prepared to document myself opening this long awaited package. 6 minutes later I was crying with my college diploma in my hand.

For weeks I’ve felt like a failure.

It’s been so difficult to stay encouraged while constantly being asked, “so are you working?”, “what’s next?”, and “wow, what are you going to do with that degree?”

I’m sick of saying “No”, “Grad School” and “I don’t know”

Holding the diploma in my hands reminded me of how difficult my four years in undergrad were.

I worked so hard that there were moments when I neglected myself.

While I held my diploma, these moments flooded my mind.

I had 3 jobs, sang in a “full-time” choir (I’m calling it this because we literally travelled nonstop every weekend for months) while maintaining a full-load in school.

There was a period in my life when my only focus was attaining external success. I was literally killing it (on the outside) but barely keeping my head above water (on the inside).

Right now, I’m mentally and physically healthier than I’ve been in years but I’m battling the feeling of inadequacy. I’ve rooted my ‘ruler of success’ in school and jobs for so many years that even in the midst of this season that looks and feels so amazing, I’m constantly asking myself if I am doing enough.

I read a post a few weeks ago that said “graduates need post-grad counseling” and I couldn’t agree more. I spent the majority of my life using good grades as markers for success. More recently I shifted to believing that my ability to juggle a million and one things while still producing favorable grades determined my success and failure. Now I’m at a point in my life where I’m questioning the things that I believed for so many years. With this questioning, comes the need to redefine myself. Who am I during this season when “a good student” is no longer an appropriate description.

I don’t have the answer but I’m beginning to figure it all out, slowly but surely.

This Self-Love Sunday I am grateful for the opportunity to check a box off on my vision board. I have a degree! Now, I have to figure out who I am in this new season. I have to learn and re-learn myself. I’m excited for this season even though I’ve witnessed how mentally taxing it can be and already has been.

Self-Love isn’t a journey of butterflies and face masks. It is exhausting and life-altering, but overall beautiful and worthy of the effort. I have to love myself during the seasons when I don’t even know what I’m doing or how to define who I am. I have to affirm myself before I expect anyone else to. I have to fill the spaces in my life where I feel there may be deficiencies. Yes, the butterflies may come during this journey and I’ve always loved a nice bi-weekly face mask but I know this Self-Love Journey is so much more than those two things. This journey has been hard but it’s been more rewarding than anything.

Happy Self-Love Sunday everyone, whatever this season looks and feels like, remember that you owe yourself honesty and growth no matter what. Identify the areas in your life that are holding you back from being your best self (sounds easy enough, right?). After you identify those areas, you owe it to yourself to determine and use the necessary tools to do what’s best for your overall health and your Self-Love Journey.

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