the accident

roots

I’ve had a couple people ask me why I took my blog down so shortly after declaring its existence to the world over Facebook.  The answer is simple: that was a big, fat accident.  I created this blog a few weeks ago to be a place for me to collect my thoughts and ideas and to encourage me to get some writing practice.  

I did want to share this blog one day, but I wasn’t quite ready to yet.  That’s why I had it linked to my social media in the first place.  I just forgot that WordPress likes to post to Facebook automatically once you’ve done so.  I’m kinda stupid.

There was some irony in everyone thanking me for sharing my story and being so vulnerable online when I hadn’t tried to share anything.  Not that I regret opening up about my struggles with mental health.  I have always believed that I should be open about my anxiety and depression and my attempts to get better through counseling.  I want to help others struggling with similar issues realize that they are not alone, and that there is nothing wrong with getting help.  I just wasn’t ready to do it so publicly over the internet.

But now that I have, I don’t think I should keep this thing on private anymore.  And not just because my amazing little brother paid for the URL, and I’d be wasting his money if I did.  I was overwhelmed by the support I received.  I really wasn’t proud of anything I’ve written on here so far.  I don’t really proofread these posts.  When it was just me reading them it didn’t matter, so I’d type them up and hit the publish button.  

Only time will tell if I actually start putting more effort into them now that I know that someone might be reading them.  But having people compliment my writing in spite of that was really encouraging.  Those of you who reached out to me are freaking awesome.

So back up goes my blog.  I want to be real here.  I want to be sassy and opinionated and straightforward and sarcastic as all hell.  I just want to be me, Delaney Pollard, pure and simple.  Mental health will probably be a major topic, as will the college experience as a whole, and my journey to find myself along the way.  

As I was graduating from high school, filled with fear of the unknown as I prepared to head off to Baylor, I listened to the song “Roots Before Branches” by Room For Two over and over.  (Okay so maybe I only know about the song because of Glee.  And maybe I listen to the Glee version about three times as much as the original.  Stop judging me Lea Michele is my queen.)  I really identified with the song’s theme of not knowing what you’re going to do or be.  This song helped me realize at the time that it was okay to not have any clue what my branches were going to be.  It was just time to start finding my roots.

I gotta have roots
Before branches
To know who I am
Before I know who I’m gonna be

So I guess now a year later I’m finally starting to find my roots, and that’s why I started this whole darn blog in the first place.  If you have any interest, this is your official invitation to read along as I continue to grow.

 

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freshman with depression

Going off to college is really hard when you’re depressed.  My freshman year was just a constant fluctuation of mental health that made the transition from home to Waco way harder than it should have been, and that transition is already so hard as is.  

During the first few weeks, my French class became my safe haven.  It was the only class I had every day, it was the one I most excelled at, and it was definitely my favorite.  And for that fifty minutes I could stop my brain from panicking over some anxiety or another and stop worrying about how I was sure that no one liked me and just speak poor first-semester-level French.  

Looking back I hate that there was no other place or person that made me as happy as one of my classes.  Classes are still one of my favorite parts about being in college, but no student should have so little fun outside the classroom that it becomes the most enjoyable part of their college experience.  Now my happiest moments are rarely in class, they’re the times I spend with friends making midnight runs to our local Czech bakery or with my roommate making fun of Corrine as we watch The Bachelor together.

Fortunately all of the Title IX drama at Baylor last year resulted in a complete revamp of the counseling center. They hired more counselors, expanded, eventually moved to a different building, and–mostly importantly–made all of their services free.  I’m always reluctant to see a new counselor, and I’m always reluctant to try to put my anxieties into words, but I knew that I needed help.  I went in for my initial screening and was assigned a hilarious older woman with bright red hair named Lauri.

So I started the healing process.  I told Lauri my problems, I found a boyfriend that I thought helped me deal with everything, and I grew more confident in myself little by little.  Of course said relationship ended up doing more harm than good, but more on that later.  I distanced myself from the friends back home that made me worse, and I surrounded myself with new amazing friends who made me better.  

Capture

By the end of the fall semester I was doing so much better.  I was finally starting to feel really happy, and I hated the thought of leaving campus for winter break.  Baylor finally felt like it was where I belong.  Then I went home, and reconnected with a few old friends that really weren’t good for me, and I started to get worse again.  Returning for the spring semester, my relationship grew more toxic and some drama unfolded that affected my friend group, all adding to my anxiety, and my mental health just kept getting worse.

I really don’t know at what point I started to get better again.  It honestly might not have been until a few weeks into the summer, but I like to think it was somewhere toward the end of the semester.  I do know that all of the spring semester, even as my depression worsened, Baylor never stopped feeling like home, and never again did I question the fact that God placed me there.  

Now I’m in a better place.  I know that dark times will come again, because they always do.  But I learned so much in the past year that I think I’m more prepared for it.  Going off to college is really hard when you’re depressed, but it’s so worth it.  

stories

There’s two sides to every story.  

That is, if there’s only two characters and no onlookers.  Your usual story has dozens, if not hundreds, of sides.  No two people can have the same perspective on something.  No two people can watch a situation unfold and come away from it with the exact same perspective.  This is what creates so much conflict, confusion, and gossip.

I’m going to tell you lots of stories, but I can only see one side of them.  I’ve talked to people who see other sides and I try to understand them and let that understanding contribute to my side of the story, but I can only see so much, and I’m biased towards my own side.  My side isn’t always the right one.  My side can’t tell every part of the whole story.  My side can only contain some of the truth.  I’ll change names, I’ll keep things vague.  But still you must keep in mind that every other person in my stories has their own side.  

People have intentions that others can’t see.  People make mistakes for all kinds of reasons no one else can understand.  People have hurt me, but they still have their own side, their own version of what happened.  Maybe I hurt them too.  Maybe they really thought they were doing the right thing.  Maybe they didn’t notice I was even there and I just got caught in the crossfire.

The point is, don’t judge anyone in my stories too harshly.  Except me of course.  You know me better than you know the other characters.  You’re welcome to form any opinion of me.  I tell these stories not to bring shame upon the people I haven’t agreed with or have been hurt by, but to share what I’ve learned from them.  Every heartbreak is a learning opportunity.  Every broken friendship is a chance to grow.  

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I want this blog to be and look like and everything.  I’m only almost-nineteen.  I don’t have a lot of life experience.  There’s only so much wisdom you can accumulate in that many years.  But there’s still a lot that I’ve learned from my experiences with people, myself, and mental health.  

I want to share what I can through stories from my own life, and I want a place to write down what’s going through my head as I continue to learn.  It’s really just going to be a place for me to document my journey through life.  I hope you can learn something from my journey too.

america day

Photo Jul 04, 5 28 32 PM

It’s almost a week late (wow I’m the actual worst lol), but happy Independance Day everyone.  In the midst of all the festivities I couldn’t help but remember the time that we asked my little brother, probably twelve or thirteen-years-old at the time, what the other name for the Fourth of July is, and what we celebrate on that day every year.  He sat there for a couple of minutes thinking and couldn’t come up with an answer.  A quality homeschool education at work, folks.  We were finally able to jog his memory with references to the books he’d read in school and probably a couple to National Treasure as well, but I think that this situation pinpoints the issue we Americans all too frequently have when we celebrate the Fourth of July each year.

This year was my first Fourth of July both spent away from home and spent in Texas.  And my do those Texans pull out all the stops to show their patriotism for that one day.  I lost track of how many American flags I passed on the three-minute drive to my friend’s house last night.  But the next day, all of those flags have been put away in boxes to be saved for next year’s decorations.  I just think it’s funny that we can call ourselves patriotic by stringing up a few decorations, grilling hot dogs, and firing explosives into the sky, all without mention of what we’re actually supposed to be celebrating.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m a part of the problem.  I wore a crop top with an American flag on the breast pocket with a red, white, and blue flannel tied around my waist.  My best friend grabbed her camera and took fun, patriotic-themed pictures.  We bought Roman candles, we roasted marshmallows, we lit sparklers and took cute aesthetic pictures together, and we cheered as we watched the fireworks explode in pinks and greens across the sky.  

Photo Jul 04, 5 28 18 PM

Not once did we talk about the reason we were doing all of these things.  Not once did the men who risked their lives to secure our liberty, or the founding fathers who dedicated their lives to forming a nation built to protect freedom and basic human rights.  Not once did we express how grateful we are that we were born into this country where we’re allowed to do, say, wear, and read what we want.  

Not once did we mention what my brother forgot–that moment 241 years ago when fifty-six men picked up a pen and signed their names on the document that guaranteed their death if they did not win the war.  Of course it’s not just about the founding fathers.  It’s about every person, regardless of when they lived and what gender or race they were and which political party they aligned themselves with, who has fought to secure the liberties that we continue to have as Americans.

Political beliefs aside, I really hated the campaign slogan “Make America Great Again.” America never stopped being great.  We’re such a young country, and yet we’re the world’s greatest superpower.  We were founded on previously unheard-of ideas while being laughed at across the pond, and yet it worked.  We established a huge, beautiful, powerful country that protected justice and freedom for each one of its citizens. Sure our politics can get real messy.  Sure there’s a thousand other issues we and the rest of the world like to make fun of “Murica” for.  But none of that changes what America is at its core, what it was when it was founded all those years ago, and what it forever will be.

There was a brief moment there as I was walking out to my car before all of the festivities began that I said a quick prayer of thanks that God decided to place me in this country.  I played the Hamilton soundtrack and marvelled over everything He did to help our founding fathers sculpt the United States into this beautiful and revolutionary nation.  God has done some incredible things through you, America, and I believe He’ll continue to do so.

The Fourth of July should be the one day a year that we can all gather together, ignoring our party alignments and controversial political views, and just be thankful for the fact that we get to live in this incredible country.  And of course shoot off fireworks and crack open a cold one with the boys, too.

hello world

girlboss

I’ve been binge-watching the Netflix Original series Girlboss, and it’s gotten me thinking.  I’m not sure what draws me to the show.  It’s certainly not its far from likable main character Sophia who selfishly takes advantage of those around her, shoplifts, swears, and doesn’t listen to anyone who cares about her.  Her personality is awful, and while the supporting roles of her ditzy but sweet friend Annie, her love interest Shane, and her adorable gay friend Nathan and his mom do make up for it in part, it’s still hard to cheer on this girl who doesn’t seem to care about anything except how she can succeed in her eBay business as lazily as possible.

And yet somehow the show inspires me.  In spite of every character flaw, Sophia still manages to start a successful online business by shopping in thrift stores for vintage clothing and selling them on eBay for hundreds of dollars.  The fact that it’s a relatively true story only adds to this effect on me.  She’s just a girl with a laptop and a fashion sense and a desire to be a success, who now owns and run a multi-million dollar online company.  I’m just a girl with a laptop and a knack for writing with a desire to be published.

So I’m finally giving in.  I’m finally starting the blog I’ve been fantasizing about for years.  I’m finally putting my ridiculous and emotional streams of consciousness into words in the hopes that they might make sense to someone else as crazy as me on this ridiculous planet.

I don’t know what I’m doing.  I can’t afford a nice blogging platform.  I don’t know how to get this thing out there so that people will actually start reading my work.  I just know that I’m tired of hiding it.  That I’m tired of telling myself that what I have to say isn’t actually worth reading.  That I’m tired of not letting myself write down the ideas that pop into my head on a regular basis because I don’t think I can put them into words or that no one would read it even if I could.

It’s going to be a process, I have a lot to learn.  I’m just a sophomore professional writing student for crying out loud.  I don’t know anything yet.  I just know that I’m finally starting to figure out who the hell Delaney Kate Pollard is, and I’m ready to share her with the online world.

So look out world.  Del’s blogging now.