You Alone Are Enough

Hey guys!!

I find myself writing this post at 2am- a hour that I am not proud to be up at debating life’s biggest struggles- but yet, here I am.

The past few weeks have been some of the best of my college career but also the heaviest for me.  And by heavy I don’t necessarily mean “bad” but more that they have weighed a lot, I have felt a constant weight pressed on my chest to be the best, to make everyone happy, and to not crumble under pressure of that weight.

Today, I realized where this insecurity and weight has been originating from and I am sharing because I feel that a lot of people may also be wrestling with a similar struggle.

I consider myself incredibly fortunate to be surrounded by phenomenal people.  Whether it be my family, roommate, boyfriend, best friends, sisters, club members, fellow hokie lovers- they all constantly amaze me with their ability to be difference makers on our campus and in the world.  These folks push me every single hour to be better, to reach further, and dig deeper.

I have a crazy amount of appreciation for these people but I also have a constant, ongoing struggle with comparing myself to them.

At every turn, at every second, I am weighing myself up to the people that surround me on a daily basis.  I ask myself how will I ever be able to be as cool, as fun, as faithful, as dedicated, as smart, as pretty, as outgoing, as intentional, as involved, as genuine as these folks throughout every interaction.

Unfortunately, for those of us who struggle with this comparison monster, it is the result of by being surrounded by great people.  It is incredibly dumb, and every second these thoughts are swirling in my head I know that I am acting irrational, but I still feel that I am in no way “enough” in comparison.

So, here I am sitting on my suite couch at 2am, and I am ready to be done.  I am ready to stop comparing myself.  I am ready to stop measuring myself up to my best friends and peers.  I am ready to stop telling myself that I am defined what is or is not on my resume .  I am ready to stop presenting this “perfect” front and  I am ready be vulnerable and admit my glaring imperfections that really show through while writing a blog post while also feeling torn up by self- inflicted, unnecessary torture.

So if YOU, whoever you are, are also wrestling with this, I want you to know that you are not alone.  I also want you to know that you are so valuable as a human and so important to those that surround you. You bring something to every room you enter simple because you are you.

If you are anything like me, and have way too many doubtful thoughts rushing through your head at 2am, and you may even find yourself vigoriously typing on a computer about it, please know that you are not alone. You are so not alone in this.  

And although you are not be alone in this, you alone are enough. You alone are enough. We alone are enough and because of that simple fact we can let that heavy comparison weight go.

Duck Pond

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

 

“If I just get this ONE thing…”

Happy Monday, everyone!  

Just last night I was sitting in Starbucks with one of my best friends Lizzie.  She is one of those friends that you know every time you talk to each other it will be the best conversation you will have had in a long time.  We get deep in Starbucks, y’all.

Anyways, we started chatting about involvement at Virginia Tech.  Whether that involvement be in dorm life, working life, classes, Greek life, or Virginia Tech’s amazing Hokie organizations it seems like a lot of our friends find a lot of value in plugging in with this amazing community that we have found in Blacksburg, VA.

I started telling her about a small realization I had a few hours after I found out that I was going to be an Orientation Leader at Virginia Tech this summer.  For months I told myself “If I can just get this ONE thing, I will be happy, content, and won’t apply for anything else- if only I get this one thing.”  Does this sound familiar to anyone? I have told myself this at least a dozen times since coming to college.

“If I can be in this ONE organization, get to this ONE place, be friends with this ONE group of people, I will finally achieve all of my dreams and be happy” is a statement I find myself muttering all the time.  

So, after several weeks of the application period I found out that I will be in serving that position this summer- and to say that I am excited would be a massive understatement.  I truly am ecstatic about this opportunity to love future freshman Hokies but within one hour of getting this email I found myself walking around campus wondering why I didn’t feel inherently “happier.” I was incredibly excited and honored, but I didn’t feel any more content with my overall life than I did earlier that day.

You are probably catching on to the “things don’t make you happy” message, but right now I want to talk about how organizations and groups of people will not make you inherently happier or  more satisfied with your life either.

This has been on my heart a lot recently as my sorority sisters and I have been preparing for Spring Recruitment, which is actually starting in a matter of hours here at Virginia Tech.  Before going through Recruitment last year as a freshman I found myself saying the same old line that I have been saying my whole life, “If I can just be in _________, I will be finally be satisfied and happy.”  If you are going through Recruitment, there is a strong possibility that you have found yourself thinking that same thing and you can probably fill in that line above yourself.

We as humans buy into this lie that if we can just get to this ONE place we will finally be satisfied and all will be right in the world.  But if there is anything I can reflect on in this college journey it is that the statement above is completely false.

For the girls going through Recruitment- you will find some of the kindest, most generous and loving women in your future sorority.  You will find girls that make you incredibly proud to wear your letters, girls that you brag to your parents about being friends with because they are that awesome, and girls that push you to be your best and so much more.

But, that does not mean that one organization will make you intrinsically more content, or will make you genuinely happy for all the days to come.  We put an incredible amount of pressure on ourselves to get to the next step, to reach the next level, and surely THERE we will find that unknown “thing” we are looking for.  “Maybe in that organization or in that group of women I can find the happiness and acceptance that I desire- I just have to get there” was the thought in the back of my mind last year at this time.  

I am just now realizing how toxic this truly can be.  We set ourselves up for disappointment at every turn the more we stake our “future happiness” on the things that are so of this world.  So, if you are about to go through Recruitment, or just someone who struggles with the “I just want this ONE thing…” mindset I want you to remember one thing as you go into this week.

Your inherent happiness and fulfillment in life is going to come from inside of you.  It will never come from anything outside- no matter how beautiful, appealing, or fun it may look.  YOU are enough.  These groups are phenomenal, they help bring out the best sides of you, they help you achieve your dreams and goals, they push you to make a difference, but one organization, one job, one success, cannot make you happy in the end.  That has to come from inside because you never know how the “things” on the outside will change- you can never rest all of your hopes for future happiness in one single thing or you will end up disappointed.

So, as you enter this week I want you to remember that your inner satisfaction, confidence, beauty, and happiness has to be found in you before you enter in new and exciting things. You are enough to find this inherent happiness.  YOU are enough.

things

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

 

Settled Hearts

Happy New Year!

The past few weeks have quite possibly been the most refreshing weeks of the entire year of 2015.  It has been quite the crazy year- and I certainly wasn’t expecting ANY of the craziness January 1, 2015.  2015 was definitely the most transformative year of my life, some of the sweetest, most rewarding, memorable experiences happened this past year but it also held times where I sat outside of dorm/house and flat out cried because I felt trapped and confused.  

My hardest cry, I promise this post is not just about crying, happened right at this time last year when I arrived back to Blacksburg. I began 2015 with one of my greatest memories from this past year- Formal Recruitment! But that week began with me bawling in my third floor bathroom of PY because I was torn apart about having to leave home, a place that I love dearly, to go back to school, a place that I also love dearly.

Just writing out that last sentence reminded me of the life I am so blessed to lead.  But nonetheless- there I was, crying in my bathroom after my mom dropped me off in Blacksburg because I felt so incredibly unsettled.  This “unsettled” feeling is something that I have really wrestled with the past three semesters.  I find myself wondering before I go to sleep at night “How can I be so happy in both of my ‘homes’ but feel so disconcerted when I have to leave one to go to another?”.

I think as human beings we long to feel settled.  And I don’t necessarily mean that in the typical way we think of “settling down” and getting married/starting a family- but more that we long for a feeling of settledness in our hearts.  We long to have settled hearts when everything else around us is moving and shifting so quickly.  We want to have stability dwelling in us, we want to love where we are, we want to feel like we can BE somewhere, literally and figuratively, and not worry about leaving.  We want to BE at peace, regardless of how many times you drive up 81 to get to school and back home in a given semester.

As I gear up to leave Thursday morning for another season of Formal Recruitment and for my fourth semester at Virginia Tech (the fact that I have 2.5 years left before adulting makes me feel ill) I can say that the unsettled feeling still pops up in the pit of my stomach at times.  But, what I try to remember when this happens is that I, as Hadley Carter, should be “settled” in more than my just physical location.  

YOU, whoever you may be, have more to you and more invested in you than just where you are physically located or the people currently around you right now.  You, as person, are meant to founded in MORE than the things of this world that surround you at this moment.  

You are so much more than unsettled feelings in the pit of your stomach.

I hope 2016 puts you in situations that take you out of your comfort zone, situations that grow you more than you ever thought you could be grown (Hello 2015!), situations that make you laugh harder than you’ve laughed before, and situations that bring you to your knees in tears.  But I hope through all these situations you strive to possess a settled heart.  A heart that is based in more than what part of the state, country, or world you are currently located and a heart that knows regardless of the situations life throws at you, you are grounded in so much more.

Sunset

Here’s to no more “unsettled” tears in PY bathrooms! Happy New Year, y’all!

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {Happy HC}

The Christmas Bathroom

Merry Christmas!

I remember walking into my Grandma’s downstairs bathroom as a little kid and seeing an old wooden plaque that hung there year round.  When my Grandma was alive Christmas was her absolute favorite, so much so, that she kept one bathroom Christmas themed day in and day out, 24/7.

As a little kid, this confused me because Christmas was definitely not every day, but growing up I have started to see the bathroom as a larger metaphor.  The wooden plaque that served as part of the theme of the bathroom is written out below.

“Christmas is more than a day at the end of the year

More than a day of joy and good cheer

Christmas is really God’s pattern for living

To be followed each day by unselfish giving

Then Peace of Earth will come to stay

When we live Christmas every day.”

Although, this might be strange to talk about on a blog, using the bathroom is obviously a very daily thing for humans.  It’s something you do without thinking about it multiple times a day, it’s one of our many daily routines that doesn’t normally have a big impact of our lives.

But, every time I walked into that first floor bathroom at my Grandma’s house I was reminded of Christmas. I was reminded of that day that kids look forward, and with so much excitement they cannot sleep the night beforehand. I was reminded of what the Holiday brings out of this world- more than just their daily routines.  I was reminded of the Joy that Christmas elicits out of people because “Christmas” is truly how we are supposed to live all the time.

The pattern of life that will bring us true Joy is found by living Christmas every day.  On Christmas the harshness and anxiety of life seems to slip away a little, the world slows down for a half a second, and you spend the day with a little more Peace in your soul than you might normally feel.

At least for me, I feel this way about once a year- and that is on Christmas Day.  I imagine this is similar for most folks these days as well, but I think this Christmas Bathroom reminds us that we can do more, it calls more out of us.  The Bathroom pushes you to show true and unselfish Love every single day of the year- in the same way that we are given unconditional Love from the God that pours blessings all over us when we do not even realize it some days.

I believe my Grandma used this daily routine of a room to remind us that “Living Christmas” should be a purposeful routine.  Christmas should be more than just a day at the end of the year because this joyful day truly should serve as a pattern of living practiced on even the worst of days.

This Christmas lifestyle is what will bring us true Peace in one crazy world. I pray you find something this Christmas that you can hold near to remind you the Power and Peace that “Living Christmas” can bring into our lives.

The Christmas Bathroom

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

Be The Wind

Hey there!

Chances are if you are a Virginia Tech student you experienced being practically blown across the Drillfield the past few weeks because of the crazy wind.  I am going to try to relate the rest of this blog post to that wind- we’ll see how it goes.

The other day I was sitting in my room and my suitemate, Allison, played Ben Rector’s song “Forever Like That.” Some of the lyrics are below.

“I’ll carry your burdens and be the wind at your back.  I wanna spend my forever – forever like that”

If you have listened to this song before you know that this verse is referencing a more romantic relationship but I think the meaning can be stretched further than that.  Read that first sentence again- “I’ll carry your burdens and be the wind at your back.”

I have a distinct memory during elementary school when we had to run laps around the track and the wind was so strong it was propelling us forward, and we all pretended we were flying. As funny as the mental image of a bunch of fourth graders pretending to fly looks- so much of the burden of actually running was taken off because the wind was pushing us towards the final destination so quickly.  We felt like we were flying.

I believe that as people, we are called to be the wind at other’s backs.  We are called to be the push that can make other’s feel as if they are flying.  We are called to propel people forward, and simultaneously take some of their burdens away. We are called to be the wind, the constant encouragement, behind dreams and goals.

Be The Wind

If you think about it- “wind” is not something that can be seen. We see the impacts of wind, we see the difference it makes in the environment around us, we see it’s constant power through displacement of physical objects, but we never actually can SEE wind.

Feeling the need to receive recognition for being a “good person” is a fault that I struggle with on a daily basis- I forget that the most powerful acts of friendship and leadership happen when ZERO recognition is received.   Just like wind- we should rising up to be difference makers with no expectation for recognition, no expectation for applause, and no expectation for “likes.” Just like the wind, we should step up to be the difference makers, because that is what is going to change the world, but more importantly- that is what loving people is about.

So, in the coming weeks, as you get blown around your respective city or campus, remember what that wind is doing. The wind is pushing you forward, the wind is a constant reminder of what we should be striving to do every day. We should be the wind at other’s backs.

Happy (belated) Thanksgiving!

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

Patience Is A Virtue

Hey there!

Welp- the cold weather has officially hit us here in Blacksburg.  Send thoughts and well wishes please (I am only kidding a little).

Today, I am just going to jump right into what has been on my heart and mind for a few months now.

Is there anything that you feel like you have been waiting for, and waiting for, and then waiting a little bit more recently?

I was sitting in Bible Study with some of my sisters in ADPi and as we went around and said prayer requests and we noticed that everyone’s request centered on waiting.  Whether it was waiting for travel plans, waiting for people, waiting for future job opportunities, waiting for grad schools, waiting to make important decisions, etc. it all seemed like we were just “waiting.”

For as long as I can remember, I have struggled with waiting and patience.  

I have a distinct memory of my best friend, Julia, looking at me one day in middle school, and saying, “Hadley, patience is a virtue.  And it is one that you do not possess.” As much as we would laugh about that phrase back then, Julia was right about me, and her statement continues to be right today.

patience

I believe that the concept of “patience” and “waiting” is something that we as individuals struggle with immensely on a daily basis.  Once we figure out plans or goals that we consider the “right” path we work as hard as possible to make it happen as fast as possible. We move from thing to thing, goal to goal, in hopes of stepping on that next stone as fast as we can, as if we were chasing to some sort of finish line.

My roommate Maddie can attest to the fact that the topic of “patience”, and everything that comes along with it, has literally kept me up at night.  The college years are filled with lots of preparation- it is literally your last time to “prepare” for the “real world.”  But at times I think we forget that preparation and patience are both part of the journey.  There are so many things that college students are working towards, and often times I believe that we develop tunnel vision where we want to desperately get to the next step, desperately want to see our future, and desperately want to move on from our waiting stages.  We so desperately want to reach these goals, get to these places, achieve what we think is “right”, that we tend to lose sight of what is around us and how far we have come.

I fall into this “tunnel vision” trap all the time.  As soon as I think I have my future figured out in one area of life, I assume that is the only path for me, and get very frustrated when I have to practice patience. I forget that patience plays JUST as an important of a role as actually getting to that dream you have.

The growth you will experience while in this “patience stage” means that you are hardly waiting around for the next stone to jump on or the next door to open.  Through the patience you grow, you develop, you change, you work hard, and you learn.  You are not just “sitting around”, you are serving a purpose through your time of anticipation and work towards your future.

So if you are anything like me, and you have experienced a lot of frustration because you are playing the “waiting game”, remember that there IS a point to it.  This is a time when you are becoming a better version of yourself, this is a time when you can take a moment and realize how patience in the past has grown you to where you are right now, this is a time to dream about the future but stay grounded in what you have been blessed with right now, this is a time to grow, this is a hugely important time.  

Patience truly is a virtue because patience is what makes us into the people we are today. So, today as challenging as it may be, let’s celebrate patience because it has molded our past and will be sure to bless our future.

Have a wonderful week!

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}

Something Bigger

Happy Monday, everyone!!

THIS is one exciting week here in Blacksburg. I have two reasons for this:

  1. The sun is back.  People are practically skipping around.  Need I say more?
  2. Tomorrow is Virginia Tech’s Class of 2017 Ring Premiere.

Screen Shot 2015-10-05 at 1.22.02 PM-2

If I was being completely honest I would say that the concept of “tradition” was something I really struggled grasping until coming to college.  I have always had a huge respect for tradition, always admired it, but for some reason I never really took it to heart.  I loved bright, shiny, new events and programs, and until Virginia Tech, tradition confused me.  

Upon arriving my freshman year I started to notice that the things I loved the most about the university were the “traditions”, I loved Enter Sandman, I adored Hokie Stone, The Pylons literally bring me to tears now, and the list goes on and on.  But, I still don’t think the full concept of “tradition” truly hit me until about two weeks ago.

I was on the phone with a VT grad that I have come to look up to a lot in the past few weeks, Kelley English, asking her what she loved about Virginia Tech’s Ring Tradition, and what she loved about tradition in general.  She said that some days when she glances down at her class ring at work, she gets hit with a flood of emotions.  Her ring brings back strong memories of planning Ring Dance, jumping to Enter Sandman, and just being a college student in general.  Her ring reminds her of what she is apart of.

As I was sitting outside of my dorm talking to her it hit me what “tradition” really means.

Tradition is a physical representation for being apart of something bigger than yourself.

At the end of the day, people want to be apart of something bigger.  People want to be apart of a community that can achieve greater things than what individuals can do on their own. People want to stand for something larger than themselves.  People want to represent something that can change the world. At the end of the day- we want our defined purpose in life to be bigger than what we as individual humans can bring to the table.

That is what tradition is all about.  

Virginia Tech’s Class Ring tradition is exactly that- it is bringing the community together to produce something that represents so much more than what we each represent as individuals.  So, tomorrow night that tradition, that “bigger thing”, will be unveiled for the very first time for the Class of 2017.  I am fortunate enough to have seen a small portion of the planning process due to my role in Class of 2018 Leadership Team and even watching from the sidelines has already inspired me an incredible amount.  

If you are a Virginia Tech student I am crossing my fingers I get to see you tomorrow at Ring Premiere.  I promise you will not regret getting to see how tradition is the glue that ties our community together.  

And if you won’t be in Blacksburg tomorrow night, I still hope this post reminded you of what you stand for on a larger scale.  I hope you are apart of a community that constantly pushes you to stand for something bigger than just yourself.

Much Love,

Hadley Carter {happy hc}