To My 22-Year-Old Self

July 18, 2013

Cousins celebrating my 21st

Dear 22 year-old self,
Last year was a fantastic year! You made new friends, figured out which career field you belong in, and ultimately grew as a young adult. You learned some lessons the hard way and discovered your strengths. Ultimately, you began to figure out just who “Skylar” is. To sum up the year, here are a few lessons that you should always carry with you:

1. Push Yourself. This is the time in your life where you can push yourself to go on new adventures and do things you would never have thought you could. You started doing Roller Derby, singing more than to your steering wheel, and barrel rolled like you were James Bond across a busy street. Push yourself, not only beyond your comfort zone, but through those tough times. It will make you stronger and you will likely level up in awesomeness.

2. You’re Not Awkward Unless You Decide You Are. Take a leaf out of the book of Zoey Deschanel’s character on “New Girl”. Jess doe not go around saying how awkward she is, instead she embraces her quirkiness and is comfortable in her own skin. You may be quirky and sometimes sing about what you are doing, but that is alright! Keep being goofy! With that being said, try not to make a habit of making loud goat noises in a Chinese restaurant with your roommates-that is taking it too far…

3. Never Take Yourself Too Seriously. Remember, we are all human and we make mistakes. Please, do not spend countless hours analyzing why things went wrong (or even how you did something right). Sometimes laughing at yourself is all you need to do to feel better. After all, sometimes we end up making rather silly errors. Laugh it off and learn from it, I promise it will be okay.

4. Never Quit Learning. Even if you are not in school, there is always an opportunity to learn. Whether it is from life experiences, unusual documentaries on Netflix, or through your workplace, take something away with you as you embark on the next adventure in your life.

5. Relax. Do not fill up your schedule with meetings, social gatherings, and other commitments. Remember, you cannot do everything and do it well. You have to practice self care and take time to refresh. If you don’t, you will end up burning out and turning into the Grinch.

Being 21 was great, but being 22 will be even better. Remember these lessons and you will go far.

Love

Skylar A.P. Gott

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I have never been that great at doing this whole “sick day” thing. Today, however, I sucked it up and made myself stay put on the futon with enough Sprite to probably fill a swimming pool and my laptop. Upon spending many hours baffled as to why I do not spend more time “surfing the interwebs”, I discovered several gems. One of these precious jewels comes from a website called the Thought Catalog. I saw that there is an “About” link on the site, but honestly I was not interested in clicking it. There were no foreseeable pictures and I was not reading anything word for word (thank you cold medicine). With that being said, I have no idea why this website exists or who the contributors are, but I found some pretty frank and fantastic reads. One was particularly fitting for my current situation of being all germy and such- 25 Ways to Feel Better When You Feel Sad by Steven Scott (Link can be found at the end of my post). Naturally, sick/fluish persons get sad and slightly stir crazy. I found this list very inspiring, although at times completely ridiculous. There are definitely elements of irreverence, which is probably why I find it so fascinating.

After analyzing these ways to feel better, I came to the conclusion that if you want to take the first step to feeling awesome, you better become the master of distraction. Some of these methods really stood out and made me think “Yup, that is probably something I could do”. I feel it is my duty to highlight some of these fantastically ridiculous catalysts for feeling better. Here are my top five:

1. “Write an awful one-act play. Then read it aloud. Make sure to distinguish between characters by changing the timbre of your voice. If still sad: drink.”
Why it is brilliant: I am a huge fan of making a fool of myself. What makes it even better is that there is no one around to laugh at you while you are doing it! And let’s face it, if you have ever heard any of the “off-the-wall” things I say frequently, you know any awful one-act play that I write will be one for the history books. If that fails, whiskey is the next best option.

2. “Make a list of things you fear. This should be both “trivial” things (e.g. mice, things that go *bump* in the night) and “big” things (e.g. death, failure, et cetera). Think long and hard about these things, and decide which would be most feasible to overcome. Then, overcome it.”
Why this is brilliant: I am good at being trivial. I am also good at being terrified of the “biggies” (failure, death, the sky falling…). Why not put it all out there on the table and think about them. And then move on. Maybe I will actually quit being a wimp whenever I see a spider?

3. “Rearrange your furniture. Position pieces with the end goal of creating more open space. If still sad, built a goddamn skylight.”
Why this is brilliant: I love to move things around. Depending on what you are moving, you can get a pretty nice workout. Also, sometimes you end up making a terrible mess. I do not know about you, but there are times I just want to make the biggest mess in the world (and then promptly clean it up). Destruction (constructively speaking) can be very therapeutic. Hence the true reason why I love this method so much: build a skylight. Just do not tell my roommate… or landlord.

4. “Go to the bank, but do not make a deposit. Walk up to the candy jar, take a sucker and leave. Don’t take no for an answer.”
Why this is brilliant: I am not usually a huge risk taker and the possibilities of someone thinking you are trying to rob the bank are higher than any other trip you might take to that place of business. With that being said, sometimes you need a little danger in your life. In the land of “Skylar”, this is dangerous enough. I also imagine it would be rather empowering to walk in, know why you are there, and make it happen. This is on my to-do list for May.

5. “Start a conversation with a stranger. Ask them how they lost their virginity, or where they grew up, or who they’re named after. If they return your question, lie — re-invent yourself for a moment.”
Why this is brilliant: This is a combination of two things I rather enjoy- being socially awkward and being ridiculous. I can think of a million mortifying questions to ask and I have the imagination to make up just as weird of answers. Who knows, maybe I will make some new friends (depending on just how creepy the conversation gets).

Either you found this post helpful, ridiculous, or grounds for committing me. Regardless, go check out the article for more crazy ways to make yourself feel better. Maybe once this cold medicine wears off, my posts will make more sense…. (do not get your hopes up).

http://thoughtcatalog.com/2013/25-ways-to-feel-better-when-you-feel-sad/

-Skylar, Master of Distraction (In Training)

New

October 11, 2012

There have been times I have wanted to delete this blog and start over from scratch. I would look back on previous post and be reminded of the many lessons I have learned the hard way over the last several years. I always seem to ‘forget’ that I was far from healthy at that time and it was amazing that I was doing as well as I was. When I have had friends confide in me about their struggles it has been easy for me to show them Grace, but as soon as it was me who was struggling or making mistakes there was no way that same Christ-given Grace could apply to me. I never truly felt worthy.

I have always felt a strong draw towards the sacrament of Holy Communion and having the opportunity to serve Communion throughout my life as a United Methodist gave me another perspective of it. When I was little, I experience a wide variety of traditions. Several times I had to “sit out” because I did not meet certain qualifications, was not a member of the denomination, was too young, etc. Even as an elementary schooler there was something magical and beautiful about Communion and I longed to be able to participate, sometimes even trying to recreate it at home or with my friends. Maybe others thought I was strange, but it was an experience that part of me craved (and not just because I thought bread and grape juice went well together).

Recently, I embarked on a journey to figure out who I am and what brings me peace. I found a church home that reminded me where I thrive. Last Sunday, I joined Susanna Wesley United Methodist Church on no other Sunday but World Communion Sunday. I could have chosen a different day, but this was an opportunity I could not pass up! I took it as an opportunity to examine what made the Last Supper so appealing to me. I thought about my experiences growing up and the times I got to serve Communion and what feelings I had at those times. I used to think that I was fond of Communion because of the experience I had with others, being able to share that symbol of the Grace of God. I tossed those thoughts back and forth inside my head and the feelings in my heart and as I was sitting in the pew on Sunday morning, eagerly waiting to join my new church home- it hit me. It was more personal than that.

Going back to the beginning of this post, I wrote about the pain I felt while looking back on the not so great parts of my history. I knew that God loved me no matter what, but I did not believe that His Grace could ever apply to me. At least, I did not let myself know that I believed it could. Last Sunday, I realized that every Communion experience I have ever had has reminded me of the hope we have in God and through His son, Jesus. To me, Communion is a reminder of God’s Grace and the sacrifice he made by giving us Jesus to save us from our sins, our flaws, our humanness. It does not matter what I have done in the past, the lessons I learned much later than most, the relationships I damaged. None of it matters. What matters is that through the beautiful, amazing, breathtaking Grace, we are being made new.

This is such an exciting thing to remember as I am going along this terrifying journey into adulthood. The changes that have occurred in my life in the last two-ish years are proof that I am being made new and my experiences are proof that God has had an overwhelming hand in my life.

We must remember that we are all being made new.

Rejoice

May 12, 2012

“Strength and honour are her clothing; and she shall rejoice in time to come.” Proverbs 31:25

I cannot begin to tell you how comforting and more true these words become each and every day. There was a time when I was not sure that I could find something to rejoice over. It is amazing how even little things call for celebration.

Strength is a funny thing. A lot of the time, one misses out on seeing their strength because of self doubt. I have certainly been guilty of this. Growing up in the environment I did was no easy task. Coming out of said environment with a desire to be different requires strength. I could have easily taken that path towards self-deceit and denial, refusing to take advantage of opportunities presented to me because I was scared or it would have been too hard. It has taken me a very long time to see my strength. With this newly realized strength, I have become unstoppable. The strides I have taken to do different and improve, in the last 5 months specifically, have been great. A strong person creates change. 

Realizing and accepting this strength has made it easier to take time and rejoice. I rejoice because:
-I can finally work 40 hour weeks
-I am comfortable (for the most part) in my own skin
-Making wiseminded decisions has become easier
-My relationships are healthier
-I am even better at advocating for myself
And SO much more.

Speaking of rejoicing, Monday is going to provide a lot of opportunity for that! On Monday I am blessed to be able to start a new assignment at Capstan Ag. The people there are amazing and encourage growth and communication. Needless to say, I am stoked! Also, I will be installed as a member of the Kaw Chapter of the International Association of Administrative Professionals (IAAP). 

I’m going to go do my happy dance. I challenge you to think of 3 things each day that make you rejoice, I know I sure am going to try to!

 

 

AND HAPPY MOTHER’S DAY!

Roaring Thunder

February 18, 2012

Imagine hearing a full tabernacle of young adults and their leaders praying. The first thing that I would picture/hear in my head is everyone saying the Lord’s Prayer. Let’s put a twist on it: everyone is saying something different. I know what you might be thinking… “What could they possibly be saying?” Everyone is saying their own personal prayers at the same time. When I heard the explanation of what we were going to do and I immediately said “this is going to be complete chaos”. What resulted was absolutely mesmerizing. The soundscape that was created was breathtaking. For a few moments everyone had become vulnerable, putting all of their spiritual needs and wants out there for everyone to hear. I couldn’t help it… I stopped praying and just listened. I heard joys, hurts, concerns, pleas, and rejoicing. It was truly amazing.

Prayer intimidates me, public prayer scares me. I never know what to say. So much goes through my brain. My palms sweat and my pulse races. It is one thing for me to sound like a babling idiot in my head, but to misspeak is mortifying. I have a fear of saying the wrong thing and turning someone off of Christianity. I keep forgetting that I need to let the Spirit move me and be mindful.

This weekend had a rough start. After a 7-8 hour drive, I really wasn’t up for worship. I heard one thing that struck me odd and stopped listening. Looking back, I think I might have missed the point of the message. Tonight’s worship was awesome and I am so glad I came back with an open heart and mind.

All in all, this retreat has been great. I cannot wait to go home tomorrow though and relax with my family!

Grace and peace.

Wow. The last few month have been absolutely insane! So much has happened and a lot of lessons have been learned. Now, I stand before you as a 20-something who has no clue what is in store and it is absolutely fine with me. I have been on a break from school for about 4 1/2 months and am exploring who I am, acknowledging where I have been, and striving for excellence. I have grown so much in the last 4 1/2 months and I am so excited to share this with you guys. First, I have 2 BIG announcements!

On December 17th, 2011, My family and I celebrated our 1 year as a legal family! Adoption has opened up doors for me and has given me the opportunity to be a part of a loving and caring family. With their help, I am becoming the girl I was meant to be!

 

Family Picture by Elizabeth Jackson Photography

And for the second announcement! I am super excited to tell you guys that I was misdiagnosed with Bipolar II Disorder! There is such freedom that comes with this. I have been taken off medication that has made me really foggy and also made me pass out regularly! I feel like a brand new person!

All of this is really exciting. I have also made a lot of changes in my life and have worked really hard to improve and become a better daughter, friend, and person. This growth has been painful at times and I have made some errors, but overall I am getting better and stronger each day.

Well, I know this is my first post in awhile but I hope you guys are as excited as I am and will keep checking back for more interesting posts!

 

Skylar

Jumping Out of the Nest

June 20, 2011

There is something about leaving your safety net behind and moving on to something great and new that is scary. Terrifying. You catch yourself thinking ‘Am I really ready for this?’ The truth is, I am so ready! I just have a hard time remembering it sometimes…

This Tuesday I will be graduating Dialectical Behavioral Therapy, which is something that has changed my life. I have been told by several people that they truly think I am ready and I believe them. Graduation is something that is scary. Moving on, changing your routine, doing something different is a challenge. A challenge I am ready to hop on out of the nest and fly into. I cannot wait to see where this challenge will take me, I know it will be great!

This June, I am very pleased and excited to announce that I am graduating from DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy). It is truly a gift that I have gotten to experience this kind of therapy and it has been amazing to see all of the progress I have made.

My plans for after graduation include:

DBT After Care Group-where I will learn how to use skills in different situations in my everyday life.

Working at Hastings-which I love LOVE LOVE!

And hopefully do a summer reading list. Books on this list include:
Author Nora Roberts’ The Bride Quartet-
Vision in White
Bed of Roses
Savor the Moment
Happy Ever After

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

Something Borrowed by Emily Griffin

The Wedding Girl by Madeleine Wickham

Don’t Let Your Emotions Run Your Life by Scott E. Spradlin, MA

Bipolar Disorder for Dummies by Candida Fink, MD and Joe Kraynak

The Happiness Trap by Russ Harris

The Best Four Years by Adam Shepard

Social Work and Social Welfare-An Introduction *Textbook by Ambrosino, Ambrosino, Heffernan, and Shuttlesworth

The Naked Roommate: and 107 Other Issues You Might Run Into in College by Harlan Cohen

The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Paying for College by Ken Clark, CFP

Lecture Notes: A Professor’s Inside Guide to College Success by Philip Freeman, PhD

That’s my list! If you have any suggestions, please let me know!

Grace and Peace

Skylar

Preparation. Do we really know how to do it? Is it something that comes naturally to us or is it something that we struggle to learn how to do? I believe that learning how to prepare for things in the future can be complicated and I often have no clue where to start.

I have started preparing for Graduate School for Clinical Social Work. While the school I am looking at (Washburn University) does not require the GRE, I have started to prepare for it anyway. As I started taking practice exams, I flashed back to my ACT days where I felt like I had no clue how to prepare. I did not know what equations to learn for the mathematics section or what vocabulary I needed to know for the reading sections. Blind preparation was frustrating at best and I often wanted to throw my books out of the window.

Preparing for the GRE is a lot like preparing for other things in life. We think we know where we are supposed to be going, but we really do not know what exactly to expect. This goes for college plans, housing, faith decisions, and the list goes on and on. If there is anything that I have learned about preparation, it is that I need to focus on one specific area at a time. I get overwhelmed with all of the things that I need to prepare for, it all piles up and I end up barely keeping my head above water.

Preparation is a tricky thing, but sometimes we need a little tricky in our lives to challenge us.

Growing

February 20, 2011

I have to admit, the last year and a half have not exactly been my best when it comes to being a disciple of Christ. There are so many things that I have let get in the way of serving Him to the fullest. The biggest thing that I have noticed that caused this was my lack of self-care and a conflict in priorities. I have a habit of over-committing myself to things and people and I do not realize that maybe my focus is not in the right place. This weekend, I went to the All-Wesley Retreat for UMC campus ministries and it really put things in perspective for me. You see, I have been placing all of my attention on things that are really not that important. I have been too busy trying to focus on finding things to fill the holes in my life that I should have been filling with God. In order to be a better disciple of Christ, I realized that I have to do a few things to get back on track.

One of the biggest things that I need to do is make time. I definitely have lacked time for myself, let alone God. I have a habit of being really busy. All of the time. It often feels like something terrible would happen if I were to hit the pause button for even a second. This weekend I learned that it really is necessary to hit that pause button. Every single day. You can fill your life with anything, but if you do not also fill it with what really matters and take care of yourself at the same time, what kind of life are you really living? I have not truly been living at all. I have been going through the motions, doing things that fill the time. I have gotten so distracted by everything that has come my way and I have even gone searching for more to distract myself with. It seems I do not know where to cut myself off. This weekend, I deliberately took time to focus on God and to worship him to the fullest. I have not worshiped this hard in a VERY long time. Taking this time for God really helped me realize who I needed to be and what was really important.

The other big thing that I need to do is care for myself. I let myself get rundown on a daily basis. I do not sleep regularly, eat regularly, or relax regularly. When I do not do these things, I cannot function normally and I become even less able to handle the hectic lifestyle that I have made for myself. I have always been told about the importance of self-care, especially by some dear pastor friends, but I have yet to figure out how to do it. I cannot be what God needs me to be if I cannot perform daily tasks that a healthy person should be able to do.

So, coming back from this retreat I am challenging myself to grow. My spirituality has always been a key part of my life, but I let myself become stagnant. It is time for me to grow in my relationship with God and with myself. Anything else will work itself out. I do not need to do everything.