The future… A reflection. 

Hi everyone, and happy Wednesday. 


Today, I am going to talk about the future, and how much it absolutely terrifies me.
This is something I truly don’t like to talk about. I delay every conversation about it, avoiding even the thought like the plague.
It’s not healthy that I’m so afraid of something. It’s a fear that, if you asked me, I wouldn’t even know I had. My two biggest fears have always been loss and needles- and if prompted, those are the fears I have always shared.


But my fear of the future runs far deeper than that of needles or loss. I am terrified of what the future holds. This future? It could be as close as tomorrow. Yet I’m still terrified of it. Why? Well, the answer is simple.
It is completely unknown. 

No one knows what the future holds, or what kind of future they will have. That’s what terrifies me, shakes me to the very core.

The future is a little easier when you are a child. Responsibilities are slim.

The summer ends simply with just the next grade in school.

Transitioning from learning addition/subtraction to learning multiplication/division.

From kindergarten to elementary school to middle school.

Your parents can still hold your hand,  catch you when you fall. You can still escape to your room, believe in fairytales, and wake up the next day with minimal worries.

The biggest monsters are those under your bed. The biggest task is making said bed, getting good marks in school, and being kind.

You aren’t fending for yourself. Bills, a job, and long-term commitment is not only far away, it is also irrelevant.

I am not a child anymore. I am a 20 year old young woman, who will be graduating college in two years.

A job? That’s pretty relevant to me. Long-term commitment? Not so far away anymore. It doesn’t help that I’m not the biggest “college person”, that it’s just not my thing. I am not counting down the days excited to go back… I’m counting down the days, in a sense, dreading going back. I’m a homebody, who loves being close to my family. Some kids can’t wait to get out the door every August- I could wait forever. Once this year is over, I’ll only have one year left. Then, I’ll be in the real world. A world of 9-5, bills, commitment.  Commitment is a scary thing- especially for a 20-something who barely knows the meaning of the word. I used to think I knew everything. But the truth? I know nothing at all when it comes down to what it takes to be an adult. That’s what scares me so much- the unknown, the mystery, the chance that I may just not measure up to the expectations that I have for myself. But again, fears aside, summer doesn’t last forever. And in a little more than 2 weeks I have to go and face reality. And with a faithful heart, I will move forward into the future… Try and look past all negative emotions and look to the goal of success, happiness and love. 
-Olivia 

 

Sometimes, the most unexpected things change your life… A reflection on last week.

Hi everyone, and happy Thursday.

I know this is not a normal, scheduled blog post (let’s be honest though, what is scheduled anymore), but I feel as it is essential to share with you my experience this week and how it changed my life for the better.

 


 

This week, I volunteered at Camp Jinka for the second year in a row- a camp founded by my father’s good friend Judy for children who have been impacted in any way, shape, or form by brain cancer. The camp provides a safe, supportive environment for the children to heal through art and the bonds that they form. I for one can say that I never expected that Camp Jinka would change my life the way that it has.

But, that’s what is so great about life, isn’t it? The things that we don’t expect have the potential to alter our lives, forever.

You may be wondering how one week could completely alter my life. Well, let’s start with the main thing.

The people at Camp Jinka are by far the most genuine people I have ever met. 


From the minute you walk into the doors the first day to the minute you leave the last day, all you feel is support and love. The volunteers have become like family, and the campers are remarkable young men and women who have experienced hardships that I cannot even begin to fathom. Cancer is a terrible, terrible thing. It takes so much out of a person, a family, a community. When I look at these campers, all who have either lost someone close to cancer or who have had cancer themselves, I am in awe of them. They are smiling and laughing, despite all of their struggles. I can’t help but feel a bit selfish. I look at myself, with my, compared to theirs, minuscule problems. And I see my annoyance, my anger, the negative outlook I sometimes hold because, more often than not, life just isn’t fair. 

But these kids? Their lives have been more than just “not fair”. They have watched their loved ones deteriorate because of a vicious, vicious disease. They have spent more time in hospitals in their short lives, either with their loved ones because of their own situations, than I have in 20 years. They are tough. They are the definition of tough, resilient, kindhearted young men and women. They have taken hardships on with a smile… And that’s why I believe Camp Jinka was so life-changing for me. Camp Jinka showed me that even in the toughest of situations, healing is possible. Love is possible. 

Hope. Is. Possible. 

In this world, with all of the mass terrorism and injustice, we need a place like Camp Jinka. We need people like the people who go to Camp Jinka. There is something special about individuals who have gone through hardships. As one of the campers at Camp Jinka wrote on one of her art pieces, 

Cancer changes people. It sculpts us into someone who understands more deeply, hurts more often, appreciates more quickly, cries more easily, hopes more desperately, loves more openly, and lives more passionately” 


I would write a closing, but that sums it up perfectly. 

Hardships change people, and banding together with people who have experienced unimaginable hardships… It changes you . It makes you better. 

Let life change you. 
-Olivia 

On Faith.

Hi everyone, and happy Tuesday.

Again, I apologize for not blogging as often- life just gets in the way sometimes, especially in the summer. 

Today I want to talk about faith.

It doesn’t matter if you have a sense of spirituality or not… It doesn’t matter if you are Catholic, Christian, Presbyterian, Jewish, Lutheran, Muslim, etc… everyone has faith in something, whether it be a family member, friend, teacher… We have faith in things when we don’t believe someone/something will do any wrong by us- and if they do, that wrongdoing happened for a reason, to teach us… to enlighten us.

We have faith that somehow, that person or the situations surrounding them will not let us down.

Unfortunately, more often than not, we are mistaken.


 

I was baptized as a Roman Catholic. I went to a Catholic school through my middle and high school years. Throughout those years, I gained a strong sense of my religion and continued to strengthen my faith, willingly, beyond my confirmation . I have found through observation that not many young adults consider it “cool” to openly profess their faith… Whatever it may be. I have always been taught to express what I believe in, and express it proudly. I am very spiritual. I may not go to church every Sunday, but I believe there is a Lord up there I am supposed to be serving and I aim to do so through my character and the example that I set for the young people in my life. However, in my darkest days, I lost my faith in the Lord and stopped believing. 
Why. That’s probably what you would ask if we were talking about this in person . 

Let me explain. 
In my darkest days, when my depression and anxiety was constant and hard-hitting, I truly felt defeated. 

I couldn’t help but think, through all my pain, 

If there was a God up there who really really loved me, why is he putting me through so much? There can’t be a Lord because no Lord would put his people through such anguish. 


I became bitter. I became someone who expected the worst. I stopped praying. I stopped looking for the light. Because before the light was God, and I just wasn’t believing anymore. 
When things go wrong and dark feelings plague you, you do lose faith. You don’t always have to lose faith in a Lord. You can lose faith in the people in your life- as much as they can tell you one thing, circumstances may make you believe differently. You can lose faith in the world, you can lose faith that things will get better … I didn’t think things ever would get better .  I was in a deep depression for six years and after a while I really didn’t think God was going to help me – I didn’t think God was on my side and I thought I was going to be crippled by sadness forever. But then I came to a revelation : 

If I stop believing in happiness, in things getting better, how are they going to? They aren’t -nothing can get better if I don’t believe they will.


That’s when I realized how important my faith is to me- I let go of something extremely important to me because life wasn’t going my way and that was one of my biggest mistakes . 
Keep faith when life isn’t going your way- it could be in the Lord, in a person … Just keep it. Don’t let circumstances cloud your beliefs- let them strengthen them instead. 

Olivia 

Experiences 

I hope everyone had a great Fourth of July with family and friends and had experiences and memories to last a lifetime. 

Today I wanted to talk about experiences. And how they can make or break us. 

I went on Facebook this morning and saw two college roommates posting about how much they were looking forward  to their freshman year of college together. When I saw this picture, I can admit I got a knot in my stomach I couldn’t seem to shake. I think back to two years ago, when I was in their spot. The excitement was undeniable… The anxiety was pushed to the back of my brain for a moment, and I was okay with going to college, with the next stage of my life. If I knew then what I knew now I might not have the same idea. 

Me and my roommate had a falling out in the middle of our freshman year- a pretty brutal one at that. And it taught me so much about standing up for myself and how deep my strength went. My experiences have never been “typical”. I’ve never just done something and have had it been easy. Many times, it has made me angry. I can’t help but wonder, 

“Why is everything so hard for me? Why can’t I just catch a break and have something go smoothly?” 

However, with maturity, the answer to that has come. If everything came easy for me, would I be as strong? Would I have as much drive? I don’t think I would. I pride myself on being what people would consider strong. I have so many people who look up to me, who watch me with light in their eyes and expect me to be strong, and my experiences, as hard as they may have been at the time, have allowed me to become that person, a strong person in all adversity, someone who is able to dodge life’s punches. And if I’m not able to dodge them- I am able to get up after being knocked down from them and have the strength to start again. 

When I was younger, even only two years younger, I thought my experiences were breaking me. I thought that the hardships I was enduring were meant to knock me flat on my face and to give me an ok to give up. But now I know better. I know that  my experiences have given me an ok to keep going. And that’s what experiences are meant to do- they aren’t meant to break you, they are meant to teach you. Instead of wallowing in self-pity, wipe the tears and let the lesson come. 
-Olivia 

Different URL, Same Blog!

Hi everyone!

I just wanted to let everyone know that I changed my blog URL from

justsomethinglikeolivia.wordpress.com

to

oliviabonevento.wordpress.com


 

The only reason I am changing my URL is that it is more accessible to readers. The blog will be easier for you to find, and that it is extremely important to me.

My readers make my blog what it is, you are the ones who keep me writing. Therefore, giving you an easier way to get to my blog is crucial.

If you click on any of my old posts, I have made sure that you will be redirected to the new URL. Everything about my blog is exactly the same, besides the domain name.

Thank you so much for remaining loyal to my blog, and I look forward to hearing more of your feedback in the future at oliviabonevento.wordpress.com!

 

Olivia 

An Open Letter To The People Who Falsely Misinterpret Depression and Anxiety

Hi there,

Depression and anxiety is a foreign concept to you… I know. For anyone who hasn’t experienced it, it’s as mysterious as a Criminal Minds episode where you just can’t figure out who the unsub is… no matter how much you wrack your brain. It doesn’t make any sense. That is how it is so similar to depression and anxiety- for someone who hasn’t felt the impacts firsthand… it can be a source of annoyance. Don’t think we don’t know that. If you walk down the block, I guarantee you at least one other person you see has a loved one with depression or has experienced it themselves. It’s hard to wrap your head around. We know that. It’s okay. 

Most people who have loved ones with depression instantly assume that if we reach out on a bad day, we want you to fix all of our problems. That isn’t the case. We just want a listener… and honestly, we don’t think that’s too much to ask.

We are just like every other person. The only thing that is different about us- we tend to feel things more intensely. We make problems a little bit bigger than they actually are. We take things very personally. If someone doesn’t text us back right away, we don’t think “oh they must be busy”. We instantly think “Does *insert name here* hate me? What did I do wrong? I bother everyone, I should just stop texting people…” And that has the potential to damage the relationships we have, even our closest ones.

We know that. It scares us. Losing people scares us just as it scares you. It is especially scary for us because of this simple concept alone:

People run away from what they don’t understand. 

People don’t want to fight for other people anymore- more often than not, if something gets too hard, they duck out. Don’t duck out on us. We need you. Knowing that we have support is what makes every day for us just a bit easier. We don’t need 24/7 reassurance… but the occasional

“I love you”

“Have a good day” “I hope you are doing well today” “Hey, just checking in on you..” 

Personally, texts like this have the ability to turn my whole entire day around. 

There is nothing more reassuring in this world than knowing someone wanted to know how you were doing… that they were thinking of you. It is more meaningful than you would think.

We all have an universal need for love in this world.

When we struggle, or are having a bad day, we aren’t looking for attention. We are looking for support. There is a big difference. 


Let me also make something very clear- 


WE ARE NOT CRAZY.

Crazy should not even be ASSOCIATED with depression or anxiety, or any type of mental illness.  When we have panic attacks, have a sudden wave of sadness… We are not being crazy. This is what God gave us- and we are doing the best that we can with it. Do not laugh at us, scowl at us. We are trying to put together the journey that God has put us on… Your ignorance only makes us doubt ourselves and who we are more – which isn’t good for anyone, yet alone someone with a mental illness. Your judgement and petty comments can sometimes roll off of people’s backs, but sometimes these comments have the ability to severely damage the way someone looks at themselves. Don’t be a contributor to a problem- be a support system, be aware and considerate with what you say- compassion goes a long way. 
Last but certainly not least- do not treat us with disrespect. We are not abnormal , and are not to be excluded of the morals that you give to other people willingly. We are not superior to you- we are your equal, and have the ability to be anything you want/need us to be if you give us the chance. 

Don’t contribute to the stigma – don’t be blind. Learn to see, to consider, to think critically about what other people may be going through. 

Think before you speak. Listen with BOTH ears. Don’t be so quick to judge. Life happens to us all in different ways, and looking past the stigmatizations and stereotypes that life so willingly encourages prevents you from being your best self. 

Be your best self. Listen, Speak, Educate. 


-Olivia

A lot can change in a year… A reflection. 

Hi everyone, and happy Wednesday. 

After doing a lot of reflecting, and since many graduations are happening or have already happened, I thought I would write about the concept of change, and how much a year can truly change someone’s life- whether it be in a small or completely altering fashion. 

If someone was to tell me this time last year that I wouldn’t be friends with *insert name here* or that I would have changed my college major, I would have laughed. Or thought they were crazy. Probably both. But the reality is… Life goes on. We change. We grow. We fall short, we make mistakes.

People I thought I would never not be friends with? Those are the ones that this year, I don’t talk to anymore. Not because there’s any bad blood. Just because life goes on. 

And that’s totally okay. If there weren’t any changes in life, we wouldn’t be able to grow to our fullest potential. Being the best people we can be would be extremely difficult. 

How have I changed in a year? How have my life circumstances changed in a year? Well, I have changed far more than I ever thought. 

Happiness has come easier to me. Happiness is no longer a struggle. It’s not something I have to fight for every single day. I could be bitter and say it’s about time I felt something that wasn’t crippling depression, but I won’t be. The last year, I have found myself. 

Sure, I have bad days. But don’t we all? I still struggle, just like everyone else. However, my struggle doesn’t run as deep. Depression is no longer my defining word. As you can see from my new logo, strength is the quality I pride myself in now. 

The people in my life? Amazing. 

I used to pick the wrong people. I was naive. I didn’t do what was right for me, I did what everyone else needed or felt was essential. It broke my spirit because I felt as unappreciated  as I could get. But now, I have found people who value me… For my kindness, my strength, my selfless nature, my compassion. They love me for who I am and there is no ulterior motive. Just unconditional love and support. I thank them. I love them with all my heart. And I assure you, if you are having a hard time finding those people in your life, it took me a very very long time to find them myself. It will happen. Just ride it out. 

One thing I have truly learned this year is that it’s okay to let people go who aren’t right for you… Sometimes there is more strength in letting go than in holding on. You don’t need people who don’t need you. 

Your path is yours. Don’t let someone else define it for you. If someone does try, they aren’t the right person for your life journey. 

A year can change so much… Even if you find it negative, try to make it positive because every change has the potential to lift you up and make you a better person. This year has set me free from so much: from toxic people, from the stress of those people, from a major that just wasn’t for me, from feelings that I never thought I would be able to shake.  

Be open to change. It might pleasantly surprise you. 
-Olivia 

Personal Update: Finishing my second year of college, Highs/Lows, and becoming the best me. 

Hi everyone. Happy Friday. I haven’t blogged in a while, and I can definitely blame that partly on finals, my week-long vacation to Florida, and just the fact that life is so busy and time just escaped me.

Since I haven’t blogged in a while, I figured I would start up again with a personal update.
Right now, I gotta say, life is pretty good. 

Perfect? Absolutely not.  But definitely good. 



A lot has happened in the last few months… 

I have completed my second year of college.

Wow. How did that happen? 

To be honest,  I still don’t know how time has gone so fast.

My second year of college did show me a lot about who I am and what I am capable of. 

I ended my year off well with good grades and can say with confidence that I am much happier now than I was at the end of my freshman year. Which is progress… Right? 

I have found that the lows make the highs sweeter. 

It took a small breakdown to bring me to my senses and realize how I was feeling depression wise just wasn’t okay- it wasn’t okay for me nor was it okay for the people around me… And it wasn’t fair to them just as it wasn’t fair to myself. It took some tears, a push from my Aunt Amy (who I am sure is reading this so thank you) and the support of all of the other people I truly love to realize that I needed to get myself on track, physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually. 

Life is such a journey, one in which you sometimes have to get a glimpse of the worst you before you can obtain the strength to become the best you… And that is definitely what has happened to me. 

The worst me is someone I don’t like. 

The worst me is not someone I would show my 10 year old self proudly. And that was a big problem. 

That is why I am working on becoming the best me, and showing not only those around me but myself that I am stronger than of the any demons in front of me.

It’s summertime, but it’s also the time where I’m already taking all the steps to be someone that truly loves every piece of her life and who is happy, even when circumstances aren’t ideal. 

I am ready to let God show me what he has planned for me on every level- academic, physical, mental, emotional, spiritual. Sometimes, it is hard with everything going on in life to keep everything in perspective and to embrace every moment for what it is, but we must.

Please stay tuned for blog posts at least once a week this summer – I cannot wait to continue to share my life journey with you. 

Olivia 


Influence

Hi everyone, and happy Wednesday.

Today, I wanted to give some insight on influence. Who we influence… what we influence… what influences us.

Whether we like it or not, things influence us. People influence us. We influence people, and if it is to their benefit is not only up to them… it is up to us as well.

A few days ago, I was in somewhat (okay, maybe that’s an understatement) bad place. A wise woman (who is most likely reading this) said to me…

“If my son was in the room… how would you be acting right now? Would you pull yourself together… or would you let him watch you fall apart?” 

That question stopped me in my tracks. It made me think. It made me look deeper into who I am as a person, and tap into how strong my influence is on the people around me.

I love the child described in the above quote, and his little brother, with all of my heart. I would do anything for them. They make me smile, they make me laugh. They are intelligent, witty, and kind. They are pieces of the world that have not yet been damaged by selfish people, by intense negativity, by corruption. And if I had it my way, they would never have to learn anything about how terrible people can be and how life can sometimes kick you to the ground. But what kind of person would I be if I prevented them from growing up, from learning that life is what you make of it and that with the right people by your side and a healthy mindset, you can overcome anything? Life is hard, yes. But the hard times… the rough waters… they make you the best person you can be.

There is also another thing that has the potential to make you the best person- other people. Though a lot of people would encourage beating to your own drum (and so do I), I also believe that who you surround yourself with and the influence you let them have has a profound impact on your life.

 


 

I have always prided myself in being a role model. As a coach, I never strived for trophies (though they would be nice)… I strived for character. I wanted every child that I came across to leave the pool for the summer with some sort of lesson… whether it be about themselves, life in general, sportsmanship… I just wanted to make a difference.

One thing I do know is that I am not a perfect role model. I have not always said the right things, done the right things. But what human is perfect? For what it’s worth, I have strived for the closest thing to perfection. I have tried to be a solid support system for every young person I encounter, whether it be in the form of rides, advice, schoolwork help, or spiritual guidance, I have always tried to be the best person I can be for the ones I love. Sometimes, though, what you go through makes it hard to have the best influence on people.

I have fallen short sometimes, I know that. And sometimes, my influence isn’t what someone needs at the moment.

Every life circumstance shows us a little more about who we are… And more often than not, different people are there to help strengthen us. Life has a way of giving us what we need, even when it doesn’t seem like it. Admitting that you aren’t perfect is the first step of being a good influence on people. Perfection isn’t attainable, and that is something that we all seem to forget.

 

Long story short- I want to influence… for the greater good. But sometimes, I fall through the cracks. Sometimes, my actions reflect anything but the actions of a role model. And I hope that all of the people that look up to me know that I am doing my best… doing my best to do the best by them, and to do the best by myself.

 

-Olivia 

Personal Update: Fitness, Finding the “Real” People, Anxiety, and Putting it all in Perspective.

Hi everyone, and happy Tuesday.

I haven’t posted in a while- I could probably blame it on spring break, but the honest reason is my lack of ideas. I don’t know what people want to hear, what people want to read. And of course, I don’t want to bore anyone with my feelings. Now that would be pretty horrible.


 

Nevertheless, I have decided to provide you with a personal life update. I find, as a blogger, that it is important to update my readers on the events of my day-to-day life.

There’s a lot I could say, but I’m attempting to keep this relatively short.

1. I have taken my health and fitness to a new level. 

I decided that I wasn’t confident in myself, and the “did you lose weight” comments were finally getting to me. After I get to my goal (appearance wise for my body), I am determined to never hear those words directed at me again. I have completely cut out bread from my diet. As much as it’s hard, I’ve never felt better. On Easter, however, I did have some foods that people would consider “normal” that had bread in them, and I was physically sick to my stomach. It’s crazy what eating certain foods can do to you, especially when you aren’t used to them anymore.

I have also increased my daily cardio and have made working out an essential part of my day. It makes me feel better, and sometimes we have to do something for ourselves.

 

2. I have realized how truly difficult finding the “right people” in life is. 

People are, more often than not, out for themselves and no one else.  I have waited patiently for people to return my love, affection, and overall genuine care. I will most likely be waiting my entire life. It is difficult to be genuine and a giver in a world that only wants to take from you. Whenever I believe I have found the right people, I am undeniably proven wrong. Every. Single. Time.

It is frustrating. It gets tiring. It gets to the point that even having some contact with people is more of a chore than anything else. I have decided to stop trying, and if it happens, it happens. I’m not going to force people to care anymore. I have a select few people that aren’t my biological family that I know genuinely love/care about me and have my best interest at heart. Those are the only people I will be prioritizing.

 

3. Anxiety 

My anxiety is so life-consuming. I don’t think people understand how hard it is to be terrified to go anywhere because of recent events internationally. It’s hard to be someone with anxiety disorder when things aren’t happening. Imagine how it feels when they are. 

I have had people scold me for reading things on the media- but in some ways, it’s unavoidable. If you have some sort of social media, you understand that things are plastered all over it. At times, tragic events (whether they be in my town or elsewhere) are the only things that I see on my news feed. It isn’t like I search Google for “bad things that have happened today”. The world of media that we now live in has made it impossible not to know. I’m working on my anxiety, but it’s a process. It’s not an easy fix.

 

4. Putting it all into perspective 

Putting it all into perspective, I can say life is pretty good right now. Little things get me down, just like everyone else. But I am alive, I have people who love me, and I have my faith.

 

At the end of the day, that’s all that matters.

-Olivia