December Diary

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The month of December is a notorious time of year in the college realm. It simultaneously ushers in the end-of-semester-bliss and launches us into full fledged panic mode as Finals threaten to cramp our style.

My December went a little something like this:

December Journal

In the fight against human trafficking, as a woman, December is a great time to get involved to raise awareness. It is the host month of the “Dressember” campaign in which ladies all around the world pledge to wear a dress every day of the month of December in an effort to raise visibility of an often ignored issue.

 Dressember uses fashion to advocate for women who’ve been exploited for their femininity. As women take on the creative challenge of wearing a dress for the 31 days of December, they are advocating for the inherent dignity of all women.

I took the pledge and jumped into my dresses throughout the month – despite the freezing temperatures and abnormally massive amounts of snow. IMG_9360IMG_9361IMG_9362

If you would like more information check out http://www.dressember.org

The first weekend of December saw the Honors College Yule Ball come to fruition. In attempt to dance the wintery blues away, I stepped into my Senior Prom gown once more and danced the night away with some of my closest friends.

The second weekend ushered in the preparation for finals week and I found myself at numerous coffee shops working out the final details of projects and essays.

It was also the weekend that my good friend Garrett and I discovered that we had successfully completed Communication 300 – the notoriously hellish class that Comm majors are required to take the semester after certification. I have never been so excited to pass a class in my entire life.

And subsequently, finals week lent itself to more espresso evenings and scattered goodbyes amongst holiday parties. IMG_9116

The third weekend I found my way back to my family in Spokane. The Palouse was looking particularly breathtaking on the afternoon I left, blanketed in untouched snow and blue hues, it looked like a background ripped straight off of Pinterest.

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I made it back in time for my cousin’s tenth birthday and ushered in the break in the company of my family. In the next week I spent my time attempting to unwind from the semester. It was a long week…

Toward the end of Fall semester I had started getting headaches again and my vision was getting a little blurry, so while I was back in town I stopped by the optometrist. He gave me reading glasses but says that the symptoms were most likely the result of stress… so that’s not sketchy at all. (Read this post: Sophomore Slump Almost Did Me In)IMG_9190

And, finally, it was my favorite day of the year: Christmas!


Freibott Family Christmas, 2015 from AJ Freibott on Vimeo.

There’s a lot to be said about the Christmas holiday, even though Jesus most likely wasn’t actually born this time of year. It’s a holiday which seems shrouded in magic. And after the hellish semester that I had just survived, it was the magic of the Messiah that I needed to remember.

In the days following, my brother was on break from his high school and before welcoming in the new year we spent a day out in the snowy woods filming fun videos and taking pictures.

I roped my brother into letting me take pictures of him with  his banjo in exchange for being the subject of a music video he was itching to shoot.

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Full story here: Musical Adventures in the Snow

Promise from AJ Freibott on Vimeo.

And then we ushered in the new year! Happy 2016 to all!

December Favorites

Rimmel London Kate Lipstick #104

This is actually the first lipstick that my mom ever handed down to me. I sort of forgot about it until I got to college and then I blew through the whole tube so fast I had to replenish it just weeks later. It’s the best matte color that I have and its literally perfect for every look and every season. If you don’t have it, you need it. I’m a big fan of anything in the Kate line. I don’t have many favorites this month because i was too busy crushing on this lipstick to focus on anything else. (well that, and Christmas)

If you’re not convinced yet, just consider that  its a drugstore buy and as a college student you can grab one from any Walmart or Target cosmetic section.

Amber Run

You know when you find a band so good that you don’t want to tell anyone about it because you are sort of afraid that once you vocalize your love for them then it won’t be so special? That’s Amber Run for me. amber run

They’re a British band that has been making music for a few years but saw a resurgence in 2015. Do yourself a favor and check them out:

Until next time, wonder on!

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My Parents Are Actually Children

artymamaartymama2It’s been snowing a lot in Eastern Washington lately, and with that has come two overly-enthused parents. They’ve been bugging me to take some snapshots of the massive icicles growing around the border of our house, so after much pestering I braved the cold and took the rig out for a spin. Here are a few of the pictures I gathered.

I have always been a big fan of the black and white photograph, and since most of the landscape is white these days I figured that it could be good practice. IMG_8742IMG_8751IMG_8754IMG_8758IMG_8763IMG_8764IMG_8777IMG_8778IMG_8792

They were more than a little excited about the prospect of making snow angels, especially when they get to make them side by side. IMG_8797IMG_8799snow-angel

Sophomore Slump Almost Did Me In

I survived the first semester of my sophomore year… barely.

Its been over a week since break began, officially leading to the close of the first semester of my sophomore year of college, and in the time that I’ve been back home with my family I’ve already had two hysterical crying episodes and lost sleep over the horror of the semester that unfolded much to my chagrin.

Between a twenty credit workload, a failed quest for a profitable job, living off campus and paying bills for the first time, medical failings, fractured relationships, professors without my best interest in mind, a university system which failed to advocate for me, a GPA on a steady decline and the weed out classes for my major it’s safe to say that this semester traumatized me.

I failed a lot this semester – academically, in my friendships, in my own faith, in basic humanity. I have very seriously considered calling it quits — pulling the blanket over my head, holing myself in, and hiding from the world.

I think that my brain is actually broken. I have been trying to write this post for almost two weeks now, but the simple function of formulating sentences has become a luxury which my brain rarely affords. What little sleep I get is permeated by nightmares of the past semester and the horror of returning to do it all over in the Spring. My family has more than once commented on my state of disarray, but I feel powerless to change it. Sophomore Slump has become my kryptonite.

This semester feels like a season of life that is never-ending.  I am in a constant state of longing to be anywhere and everywhere else in the world, and somehow recognize amidst that that God has placed me uniquely where I am at, now. I would be lying if I said I wasn’t bitter.

Bitter is actually an understatement. I think that I am pissed at God.

This past semester he called me to a new church, pulled me out of relationships that I loved, and has continuously confronted me with the nastiness in my own heart.In the pressure and nonstop mundane of college, I’ve been able to push Him out. To tell Him I’ll deal with my heart when I have the time, that I’ll spend time seeking Him after I get my life in line. But I never got my life in line. It continued to crumble, and I continued to run from it, at a price.

 

When I am put under extreme amounts of stress, just like I believe most normal people also do, my body starts to shut itself down. Subsequently my body goes into panic survival mode, and this semester I wound up having almost three or four panic attacks per day until I completely blocked it all out. The anxiety attacks mostly manifest themselves in shaking fits, muscle spasms and an accelerated heart rate, sometimes accompanied by a flare up of my asthma. Naturally, when my body begins to panic I become anxious, further feeding the vicious cycle, and on and on it goes.

I am so tired from contracted muscles and the mental stress after an episode that the last thing that I want to do is get back to the school work which has piled so high its led to the physical decline of my health. I am so tired.

And I have never felt farther from God.

In trying to do the right thing I hurt the people that I cared about more times than I would prefer to recount. In striving to live right I refused to deal with my own crap and continuously hurt the people that I love, failed them over and over because I was terrified to be disappointed in their failures. I have realized so many things these past couple months – but the biggest thing that I’ve realized is my absolute terror of commitment.

I have sabotaged so many relationships because I thought I was doing the right thing. Not consciously, not out of spite, but something in me is convinced that I am not worthy of love from the people that I love and therefore I must sabotage the relationships I care about before I’m disappointed.

This semester I wanted nothing but to just completely shut down. The ultimate extrovert who is me was so terrified of spending time with others that I would rather spend my time bent over vomiting up my anxiety than trying to find the corner of a room where no one can see me.

I neglected to pray because I thought that I was too far away for God to hear. I neglected to dig into the Word because I lost my enthusiasm for it. I neglected my own well being because I was too tired to deal with it. I was stressed to the maximum and with that came second thoughts that sent me questioning everything.

Do I really want to keep going? Is the effect that school is having on my physical health enough to call it quits? Am I a quitter? Do I believe the promises that I have been speaking to others on God’s behalf? Do I genuinely believe that God will never leave me or forsake me? Do I believe that God cares about me?

I know the truth. But I am having a hard time believing it.

Without God what hope do I have to keep pushing?  With a lost hope in His plan I have no interest in foraging forward.

This semester broke me in so many ways, and as I have continued to lose sleep over it these past weeks I wonder what the future can hold. But there is one thing that I know to be true:

Its okay to doubt. Its okay to be scared. Its okay to be confused. Its okay to not feel great all the time.

But I don’t get to live in that.

This semester sucked, and theres no doubt about that, but perspective is a game changer. Away from Pullman I can think about things separate from the University, I can think about the long term, and with that in mind I can’t wait to get back to campus and kill Spring Semester.

Until next time, wonder on.