Today is the first Monday in which I haven’t had places to be, responsibilities to uphold, assignments to turn in, stress to manage, and non-family members to be sociable with; in other words, today was the first Monday of Christmas break.

I have been long-awaiting this break ever since fall break ended and the multitude of assignments, tests, papers, and all other school related things flew directly into my unexpecting face. Honestly, especially towards the close of the semester, the thought of this upcoming break was the only light on my very dim horizon. Being home these past few days has been ecstasy, and I have enjoyed every unscheduled moment. I missed my family, I missed my room, I missed my Christmas tree and my fridge. I missed waking up and having nowhere to be until 2pm. My, Christmas break is a dream.

And yet, today was one of the hardest, most taxing days I’ve had in months; today I felt so worn out emotionally, spiritually, and mentally for no legitimate reasons I could understand. Part of me knows that I’m fighting off sickness, that I’m still recovering from “dead week” and finals, that I need time to adjust mentally as well as physically. But the other part of me, the intuitive part of myself (INFP for the win), realizes that this depressed state I was in goes far deeper than just those reasons.

Freshman year is a learning curve, so everyone says. And they say so rightly; everything changes in the duration of this time in your life: your friends, your sleeping habits, your stress levels, your mental focuses, your spiritual life, your financial (and emotional) stability. This year is a year to define yourself as an individual through all the decisions you make, no matter how large or minute. For me the first semester of Freshman year meant countless wonderful events: beautiful new friends, random adventures, countless coffee dates, far too much homework, a deeper understanding of what I plan to pursue with my life and my career, and so many other things. Yet regardless of how much this year challenged me, grew me, and gave me a deeper adoration for the world, this semester was one of the most emotionally difficult and artistically stifling times for me.

Throughout these past few months I’ve come to realize just how difficult it is to feed yourself as an artist while attending college. Countless priorities are constantly vying for your time, attention, and investment, and deciding which are most important is a constant weight which must be balanced. Finding time to allow the artist in me to grow, to see light, is too easily pushed aside in favor of other (“more important”) goals. And yet this lack of artistic and emotional stimulation left me feeling constantly stifled and dry throughout much of the semester. So much of what I partook in throughout the past few months was unfulfilling, and so many nights found me in my dorm feeling somewhat purposeless because such a vital part of me was suffocating.

Nonetheless, the people I surrounded myself with during these months are the most filling humans I’ve encountered, and the aspects of myself I discovered have changed who I am as an individual. But in retrospect, these social interactions and these personal revelations would be enhanced on a much deeper level had I found a way to grow myself, to feed the human being inside me. I think the real reason that today consisted of such a bad case of the “Mondays” is because I lost a bit of myself in the course of trying to do and be too many things these months. So much has been learned and grown and found and understood since school started, but retaining those core pieces of yourself, of your humanity, of your individuality is essential to healthy growth. Today’s mental fog was a result of too many months of clouded individuality and artistic exploration.

Finding anything or anyone in life is not worth losing yourself in the process. Build you, strengthen your foundation, and as you do so you will find that you don’t have to go find life, but that life comes to you, wrapped in breezes, hot coffee, and the laughter of your best friend. I’m going to try better next month to let myself live a little more, to seek Jesus and his Love for me, and to let life wash over me instead of chasing each passing wave.

Plant yourself, grow yourself.

– allison nicole –

Published by Allison Nicole Art

artist and photographer

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