I had my eyes set on becoming an AmeriCorps team member. Nothing else seemed like it would give me the experience to become the person I want to become– a person that gives back towards a community mission with their career.
It felt unreal getting offered a full-year AmeriCorps “job” as technically I am serving with a stipend. I felt validated. I am good enough to carry professional responsibilities.
We reflected on what we expected the year to bring for us and the resounding theme of my thoughts was that I was going to meet a lot of people and do a lot of things I have never done before.
My humility and humbleness carried me through the beginning. I put my fear of looking stupid aside and asked questions. I made it a goal with myself to smile and say hi to people I did not know. Of course, we did plenty of ice breakers…
I brought a yoga mat to our “show & tell something about yourself” activity. My teammates were sharing really personal to not so personal pieces of their lives. I went for it and said something like “so I bought this yoga mat for a dollar and I don’t really do yoga but I like to come to it each day. It makes me feel good… I like to say I have no colon and I am still rollin’.”
It was pretty awkward putting myself out there– voice cracking, pausing, not sure the things I were saying made sense, but I chose to and my teammates were supportive. Vulnerability is scary, but I (and others) appreciate it when others are vulnerable. My boss taught me that day that opening up is how we get to know each other. We are all real people!
I shared my experience with IBD, because it has changed me. I lead a different lifestyle. I need my sleep, water, and foods that agree with me. I have learned to stand strong by what works for me!
A huge personal goal of mine with moving out on my own was to learn what type of foods make me feel good. This alone was a job, because it takes an effort to take care of yourself. But I have experienced that it gets easier with time! My (and your) well-being is important. I have learned to not make it an afterthought. Work-life balance friends! Amen.
Here’s to embracing the unknown and walking into it grounded with a heart full of love…