On the first full day of the Leadership Conference, I could be found sitting at the bottom of a slide crying. Now, yes, I am very aware that I spend lots of time talking about how I hate crying in front of people and in general but that I still tend to do it a lot. This weekend was definitely no exception, as I cried quite a bit. During one of my RVP meetings, one of the people leading the meeting said they knew that being the Religious Vice can sometimes mean you become almost a therapist to the people around you, and that it's easy to forget about yourself and only focus on those around you. She told us to find a quiet place away from everyone else, and to simply sit and be for about 45 minutes. I walked out of the room and found an empty slide. I sat down at the bottom and immediately felt the tears trickle down my face.
Here's the thing: The week leading up to the conference had been emotionally draining. I spent hours with my friends as they cried on bathroom floors, against outside walls, and in empty hallways. I stayed up late texting with people who didn't know what they were doing in so many different areas of life. I pushed aside my stuff that I deemed petty and trivial and only focused on them. I spent a little bit with my mom debriefing what I was going through, but for the most part I kept it inside. So when I was given the chance to put all of that aside, I gladly jumped at it.
I sat in the slide and thought about how I don't know how to choose which college to go to. Where I go determines my major, where I'll be living, and whether or not I decide to study abroad. I thought about how I'm heartbroken about stupid stuff and don't know what to do about it, and how my classes are stressing me out to no end. And then, of course, I thought about my friends. I don't know how to help them. I don't know what to say or what to do, and I have no idea how to be the kind of friend they deserve to have.
Finally, the tears stopped. I took a deep breath and looked around at the trees and felt the cool air surround me. I closed my eyes and kept breathing. I still don't know where I'm going for college. I don't have it all together, and although it seems petty, I am heartbroken about stuff because relationships are complicated and I don't know how to go back to being friends with people when I'm not convinced we were even friends in the first place. I'm still not sure how to be there for my friends, but I do know that I'm doing my best, and that's all I can do with all of this.
I continued to take deep breaths as the 45 minutes came to a close and I walked back to the meeting room. Since leaving the conference, the feeling I had as I left the slide has stayed with me. Through all this confusion and lack of answers, I've tried to find peace. I'm still working on learning how to take a step back and breath, but I think I'm getting better. I can tell that this year is going to be rough in many ways, but I can also tell that it's going to be good. Learning how to simply be is so important, and I have a feeling that's something I'm going to be working on all year. I hope all of you find time to take a step back sometime soon. I know firsthand that we can sometimes get so bogged down with what's going on around us that we forget to stop. This week, stop for a moment and look around. Take a deep breath, and then just keep breathing.