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for a minute there, I thought I had COVID-19

Yeah, you read that right. I thought I might have had COVID-19. Here’s the story & how I feel today:

So here’s the deal: May is roommate transition time for many college/grad students. It comes with the territory of living in a house with up to four roommates. There’s jobs to do and life to live even in this crazy global pandemic. 

When my first new roommate needed to move in, it happened. Her parents came and helped and she moved in, no biggie. 

Until a couple days later when her dad started to experience COVID-19 symptoms. 

And a couple days after that when he tested positive. 

Here’s how I felt after receiving the news, in chronological order —

  • optimistic
  • nervous
  • angry
  • guilty
  • terrified
  • anxious
  • impatient
  • guilty
  • bored
  • sad
  • lonely
  • guilty
  • angry
  • frustrated 

repeat, repeat, repeat. 

I wasn’t scared for myself. I’m relatively healthy. I was scared that unknowingly I could have HURT (yes, hurt is the word) others. If I had been a part of spreading this virus throughout my community — knowing I probably could have been more careful. 

After her dad’s positive result, my roommate got tested. Even though she stayed in her room and wore a mask if she ever ventured to fill her water bottle (honestly, she’s a trouper!) — I stayed home, missing work and workouts, to avoid being in places with people until we knew if my new roommate also had covid (and therefore, the rest of us probably did as well) and let me tell you — it sucked. 

Due to Memorial Day Weekend, (and ridiculously slow communication between lab and clinic) we waited over 5 DAYS to get the result. My stomach was in knots. I was angry and lonely and scared (repeat, repeat, repeat). I went on long walks and blasted music to forget the looming feeling. I read a book all day to avoid consuming more media that made me nervous. I cried a lot. I tried to find tasks to fill the time. I watched the entire season of Sweet Magnolias in one day, leaving my bed maybe three times. I watched in frustration that down the block as there were people having a darty on the lawn. I saw stories of other people taking shots at the bars & I thought to myself… I was so careful and yet this is happening to me, when there’s people out there doing that?! It’s not fair. 

And that’s true — none of this is fair. A virus doesn’t care if it’s fair. It’s not fair to people who are being careful. It’s not fair to those who are working on the frontlines and helping to keep us safe. It’s not fair to those who need to return to work. It’s not fair to the people who have lost their jobs. It’s not fair to the seniors. It’s not fair to those who have lost loved ones or can’t be with their loved ones. It’s honestly just not fair… any of it.

But today, after a negative test result and a billion pounds off my shoulders — I can tell you that it would have sucked a whole lot more if I had unintentionally put other people at risk. 

This scare has really set my heart and mind on what I believe is right — wear your mask, wash your hands, and stay 6 feet apart. When able, stay home. When you can’t (for livelihood or sanity) be careful. 

Trust me — you don’t want to feel how I felt. 

And I didn’t even have covid. 


**I’d like to note that my roommate’s dad is feeling better every day and should make a full recovery, thank goodness.

new roomie #2 that moves in next week! she moved things in (with mask and gloves) while we all stayed in our rooms (after disinfecting every inch of our house) and we grabbed this picture through the window haha 🙂
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how I got here: a journey to self love

Sometimes I post little question boxes on Instagram asking for prompts from my followers/friends about what I should write or share about. Then, sometimes, I forget to follow through and write about those things. Oops.

I was scrolling through my archive and found a reply from my friend Alicia nearly a year ago saying “tell us about your journey to self love.”

And today, I’m feeling inspired. Here’s my journey and some key pieces along the way that have helped me evolve into the woman I’m becoming — a woman that’s better than I was yesterday, each and every day.


I want to start by saying I am just like you. I am sitting in my bed in my sweatpants on a rainy Saturday. I have days where I cry in the mirror and I have days where I dance through my neighborhood. I “jump to put jeans on” if you will (such a great lyric by Beyonce, amiright?).

You do not have to take my advice or believe that everything meant for me is meant for you. That’s one thing that I fully acknowledge — we are all on different paths. I’m just telling you a little bit of my journey. (When I use the word ‘journey’ too much I feel like I’m on the Bachelor, ope.)

Your journey may have already started, or maybe you’re at a crossroads and learning how to love yourself is top-of-mind. Whatever your scenario (if it’s like mine or totally different) I want you to know that there is always more love and light and grace to grant ourselves.

*** I also want to be sure to say that I have never hated myself. I know that is a privilege in itself. Even on my darkest days, there has never been hatred in my heart directed at myself. If you are feeling self-hatred, I highly recommend you discuss this with trusted people in your life and/or consult a mental health professional.

The song that just came on my shuffle is so fitting for how I feel right now. If you want to listen along as you read, here it is: Girls Like Me: Martina McBride.

My journey, for all intents and purposes of this blog post, will begin with getting my heart broken.

When I was in my relationship, I think I spent too much time giving love and not nearly enough time loving me. I neglected it. When my relationship ‘ended’, it ended a couple times, off and on, and threw me for a new loop each time… until I finally called it quits for good.

I can look back now and laugh because the breakups got easier each time. By the final time, when I decided to stand my ground, I was slowly beginning to realize that I was deserving of so much more — in every facet of my life. I needed to learn who I was without anyone else. I needed to learn how to just love ME and MY LIFE as is. I was already on the up-and-up (following these steps) and I wasn’t about to be dragged back down.

However, it still hurt. I cried and cried and cried. My car became my sacred place to go when I needed to be alone and no one could hear me sob.

I was grieving the life I thought I was going to build.

And that’s where it started. I grieved. I grieved some more. I continued to work through my process and my eyes began to open to the life I got to build for myself. Just me. Myself. However the hell I wanted to.

things that helped me love myself (and my life) more

  1. Share your grief/sadness/trauma/loneliness with someone or some people who love you.

My friends, and (probably most importantly) my mom, were and are instrumental in my life. My mom offers the perfect mix of listening and advice, but never letting me get away with too much of my own bullshit. In the moment, I hate it (“Just let me vent!”) but afterwards I realize that she’s usually right. She always offers a listening ear and is my biggest supporter in everything that I do. She proofreads nearly all of my blogs for me and sends me a text “I’m watching your IGTV!”

2. Re-evaluate your circle.

This goes hand-in-hand with my previous note, but I have to acknowledge that my friendships have ebbed and flowed over the last couple of years. I am a person who recognizes that friendships have seasons. Some seasons are just a shifting (schedules, priorities, etc.) and some seasons come to a close because they no longer provide you with the necessities of friendship. It’s okay to release friendships that no longer elevate your life.

3. Learn your natural tendencies.

Like I said — when I was healing, the process was long and hard. I sat with my feelings. I learned their names and sorted through the memories that were associated. I became familiar with the times when I needed mental rest, emotional rest, physical rest… I learned how to begin to balance my life again — and to give time to the things that deserved my time rather than what demanded my time.

Learn how you recharge — some days, I want to hole up in my room and not see a soul. Other days, being by myself makes me feel like I’m going insane. Honor that recharge time, and seek the experiences that will fill your cup.

4. Don’t be pressured into a timeline.

I’ve written about this before and I probably will again. Do not feel rushed in your own life — not about healing, or ‘moving on’, or dating, or marriage, or a career, or a degree, or anything in between. You’re on your own journey and it’s meant JUST FOR YOU.

5. Talk vulnerably — often.

While I’ve gained more and more confidence about what I share online in the past months, I wish I had opened up earlier (and when it hurt more) but I hid a lot of it due to shame. Even if these vulnerable conversations don’t happen with strangers on the internet (like me!) you can share them with that trusted circle or your momma.

6. Absorb content that feels good.

Unfollow the accounts that make you feel anything less than fabulous. If you feel weird about unfollowing — hit that mute button, baby! Follow accounts that encourage you to think differently, love yourself, see yourself represented, or that make you laugh!

7. BIG, AUDACIOUS DREAMING.

I LOVE THIS STEP. I’ve been doing better at this as of lately — speaking my dreams into reality! I have a vision board in my room and I see it every day — manifesting the dreams that I have for myself. I am trying to encourage myself to dream big and continue to work hard for the life I’m trying to build.

8. I joined a gym.

I didn’t join this gym to get a revenge bod. I don’t work out for aesthetics. I work out because it makes me feel good and gives me an amazing community of women. That’s how you achieve self-love — by doing things for how they make your soul feel. I’ve written about it before – this gym has changed my life. I can schedule that me-time into my days and devote that time to clearing my mind and honoring my body.

9. I made some awesome playlists.

For a long time, I could only listen to worship music. It soothed my soul. Then I transitioned and created my ‘lady jams’ and ‘breakup and glowup’ playlists. Listen to music (again, absorbing content) that makes you feel good, dance around the room, and remember your worth. You deserve dance parties and bad bitch bops.

10. Travel.

While I know this isn’t possible right now (thanks, COVID) I do think it’s an important piece of the puzzle. I hope that when COVID is in the rearview mirror we can all hop on a plane to celebrate. Traveling opens your mind, your eyes, your heart, and just allows you to be present. I am a better version of myself during and after my travels. Book the flight.

11. Last but not least: have fun.

Self love is a journey and you’re allowed to have fun along the way. You might cry one day and laugh endlessly the next. Don’t take life too seriously. You are worthy and amazing just as you are. Life is fun — don’t be afraid to join in.


Remember: I don’t have it all together. Somedays, I totally fall apart.

That’s okay.

Life isn’t meant to be perfect — but it is meant to be whatever the hell you want it to be.

Your way. Your timeline. Your pieces to the puzzle. Your growth. Your journey.

Mine’s been a little funky — but I like where I’m headed. I’m proud of me.

And of course: I love me.

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I’m proud of me.

I haven’t written a blog in over a year. I kept thinking to myself, “I don’t have anything worth saying.”

Now, I think I do. Maybe it won’t be worth it for you to read (sorry, folks) but it’s worth it for me to say.


This year has really sucked.

It’s also been totally great.

I am not usually one to brag. In fact, when people post about all their wonderful successes, I tend to think “but what about the crappy stuff?” We live in an age of social media, where everyone posts the highlight reel. While I’m happy to see the people in my life succeed and excel in their passions and love and travel and learn, I tend to get comparative. We all do it.

So here we are.

This is my highlight reel for junior year. And also the rest of the story, because it’s not always great. And sometimes, we need a pal that can share in our brokenness and say, “me too.” If this is you, welcome. Sometimes, life sucks. It’s okay. We’re all in this together (cue HSM soundtrack.)

I’m writing this to celebrate me, because I am proud of myself. I am more proud of my accomplishments BECAUSE of the struggles I have been through this year.

Junior Year 

I have 111 credits at a 4.0 GPA.

I presented social media research in my first National Collegiate Honors Conference in Atlanta, GA this fall, alongside my friends and mentor within the Honors College.

I gave blood for the first time. While it may seem small feat, I was absolutely terrified. The only other time my blood had been drawn was the night of my car accident, strapped to a stretcher. So this year, I did it and checked something small off the bucket list. Getting a text message saying “Your blood saved a life!” was a good feeling.

Thanks to a faculty member who put faith in me and my ability, I was hired as a research assistant for the South Dakota Department of Health. This became my third campus job this semester.  At the University Undergraduate Scholarly & Creative Activity Day, I won an award for it. I also got accepted to the National Collegiate Honors Conference, and will have the opportunity to continue this research and share results in Boston, MA in the fall.

I struggled with my mental health. I never really thought I had any mental health issues, and I know mine are on a much more manageable level than others, but it’s a struggle. Nearly all college students feel consumed by it at one point or another. It’s not fun, it’s not easy, but it happens… the stress and anxiety and sadness get the best of us.

I received the Honors College “Campus Champion” award based on my campus involvement. I have spent hours and hours and hours on the campus of SDSU, dedicating myself to amazing groups of inspiring college students. This was truly an honor to be recognized by my peers and professors for my work outside of the classroom.

I grew in my faith, surrounding myself with people who God put in my life for a reason. I have always been a woman of faith, but in the times when I have needed God this semester he has always been there to say “your brokenness is welcome here” and has placed other amazing women of faith in my life to pick me up and tell me to pray about it. I have to give up my plan for God’s plan. (Also, a shout out to my amazing pastor who always can give me the words or verses I need to hear and for being absolutely instrumental in my journey in faith.)

I performed on stage in multiple capacities, working hard for months to prepare dances. This is part of that ‘involvement’ piece of the puzzle of college. It wasn’t always easy, nights were late and sweaty and tired, but I was proud of my performances.

I booked flights to Europe. Again. My original plans fell through due to unforeseen and sad circumstances… I was terrified that the trip I have been dreaming of for 5 years would slip through my fingers. However, the tides turned and Jenna stepped up to say “yes” to a crazy month-long adventure through Europe. I will finally see Alona and Nata again, and eat a large amount of gelato.

I got kicked off a team that I cared about, shockingly and seemingly without care for my feelings after years of commitment. This was a hard setback. In the end, my time on the team was a blessing and I learned a lot. It’s okay to say goodbye.

I hung out with my roommates, the dimes @ 629. These ladies were such a blessing. It was such a good feeling to be excited to come home. From venting about classes with Alex, wondering about the next time Amanda would return from Daktronics, dad-like advice and jokes from Jen, and the smell of Abi’s microwavable vegetables, it was a year full of laughter & great memories in a house that continues to test us in new ways and a garbage can that we always forget to take to the alley come Tuesday morning.

I finished my second year-long term with the SDSU Students’ Association, alongside some amazing individuals. I was selected to maintain my role as the Communications Chair on the executive board for the upcoming year. I look forward to serving in this capacity again. This organization has taught me so much about service and friendship and love for South Dakota State.

I got my heart broken. Twice.

I received and accepted the largest scholarship in my department. That ‘academic’ piece of the puzzle… the true reason I came to SDSU was to pursue my education. I am proud to say that education becomes far more obtainable through the gifts of scholarships I’ve received. Hard work pays off.

I drove more, continuing to conquer demons from my past. My friends support me in this and cheer me on, and every drive with the windows down and the radio on feels like a big leap in the right direction.

I cried in bathroom stalls, my car, and almost every place in between. I’ll admit it, and I’m not ashamed of it. I feel my feelings. I can’t hide them or shove them in a deep dark part of myself. I face them head on and I choose to validate my feelings. It’s okay to feel and feel deeply.

I was a teaching assistant with the best mentor and an amazing co-TA. This was definitely a positive experience for me this year, and I gained so much.

I traveled to Arizona for spring break for the second year with good friends, and am ready to continue planning flights, roadtrips, and adventures. We always say, “you can’t take it with you when you go.” $$

I made new friends. If you’re one of them, you rock. I am so thankful that our paths crossed.

I kept old friends. If you’re one of them, thanks for sticking with me… you’re a blessing.

I let some people go. In the words of a wise friend, “Some people are only meant to be temporary.” If you’re one of them, thank you for the lessons.

I learned to take time for myself, go to movies, pray, read a book, and relax. This is the puzzle piece in college that had been missing for awhile. Self-care is real, folks. I needed to remind myself that I can do anything, but I can’t do everything. That’s okay. I learned to say no to opportunities that didn’t feel right and trust God’s plan over my own.

I made a lot of mistakes.

Regardless, I’m proud of me.

Despite everything, despite the bad, I made it through. I excelled. I worked hard. I am more than just my highlight reel… I am every bump/curve/detour in the road. (Okay, maybe now I’m just combining metaphors.) I am proud of me.

In today’s society, sometimes it’s seen as taboo to truly celebrate yourself. It might be seen as selfish or conceited… but today I’m writing not because of either of those things. I am writing this because it is me declaring it to the world that it’s okay to be broken and bruised and still kick ass and take names. It’s okay to struggle, cry in bathroom stalls, and pray to the Lord for strength. I wouldn’t be who I am without all the struggles I have faced. I think we all know that no one else’s life is as perfect as we can make it seem on social media.

So that’s me.

Authentic.

Broken.

Strong.

Proud.

…and a senior.

Junior year is over, and it’s one for the books… the real story, that is.


always,

Alex