Little Big Life Changes

Hi cuties!

 Photo by Sharon Wu Photography

Photo by Sharon Wu Photography

Summer is treating me well, how’s it treating you? I’ve been home in Atlanta all summer, really getting to soak up time with my "home" friends and my family and it has been perfect and really feels like it was everything I needed.

I've been very open on the blog about how college ran me into the ground (I really should write a post on what I regret from college, including running myself into the ground), and being home all summer and just relaxing as much as I can has been really restorative for me. I’m someone who feels a need to always be going somewhere or doing something, so being home with the chance to just relax with no big responsibilities has been a wonderful break from four years of constantly going, going, going.

However, it’s been weird since graduating college. You know how sometimes you have a super exciting event or day planned in your life and as you get closer to the event and then it happens, you suddenly don’t know what to do with yourself after all the build-up? That’s how it felt after graduating college. (I was lucky enough to come from a community where going to college is a given. It’s not a question of if or when you go to college, but where you choose to go. I realize this isn’t the case for a lot of people, so I recognize this is a special chance for me.) So, it sort of felt like after I graduated college, I had done everything that was expected of me in my life and had been laid out for me, and now it was finally up to me to choose what was next. And after finishing twenty-ish years of education, I just wanted to sleep for three years.

Unfortunately, that wasn’t the case. I got home from college, and definitely spent the first bit of summer relaxing partially, but also panicking for approximately a month and a half over not having a job yet. While not everyone that graduated with me had a job when they graduated, it sure felt like everyone did. I felt like I was behind in life by not walking out of school with both a college diploma and a job offer in hand, and I felt like I had been working so hard for nothing. I had a college degree, sure, but where was my impressive NYC big shot job that got me excited for every day in the office and paid me like a superstar? I felt like everyone around me was really kicking ass and taking names in the job hunt and like I was sitting on my butt looking dumb and doing nothing. This got to me and I spent most waking hours during late May and June and early July looking for jobs obsessively. It definitely sucked the energy out of me and I really felt like I was a failure when I would go weeks without hearing anything back from places I applied to, and it ate away at me.

And then, about 6 pm the night before my birthday, I got a job offer! It was a public health-related two-year fellowship that I had applied for back in January and had some follow up with during the spring. But, after months of crickets and no response, I had assumed I would never hear back from. I had a few days to give them my answer, and I ended up accepting less than 24 hours later. The biggest downside? It was back in New York.

When I graduated college, I was dead set on moving home to Atlanta. Like ready to burn bridges and set down permanent roots in Atlanta. So when I got this dream offer and found out it was in New York, I was pretty crushed at first. However, after talking to people who work at the office I was hired and talking to my close friends that lived both in New York and Atlanta, and of course my family, I felt like I would immensely regret not taking the position, and I knew that of all the places I could go to (other than Atlanta), New York was the best option for me. Many of my friends from college are still there, and all of my extended family is there. I have a support system unlike any other, and I know the city like the back of my hand.

So all this to say, I was expecting to graduate college with a job offer in hand and to move back to Atlanta for a few years to figure out my shit before grad school. Turns out, I graduated college with a little less excitement and a whole lot more anxiety than I expected, but...  I got my dream job within two months of graduating, and I’ll be back in New York for two years living my public health dream! I’m pretty excited for the next adventure of living in New York as a “real adult” and getting to experience life as a post-grad in and around the city.

Can’t wait to bring you along on my adventures!

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Honesty is the best policy

Hey y’all!

Hope your summers have been absolutely fantastic! I’m currently sitting on my best friend’s bed listening to Maren Morris, and it’s basically what I’ve been doing all summer. Well… not completely. This has been a summer full of transition, as to be expected after graduating college.

I wanted to jump on here and be honest about why I’ve been gone from the blog. After the past couple posts, school and graduation requirements got the best of me, and I let the blog fall to the wayside. I wanted to focus on graduating and getting that big hurdle out of the way.

Once graduation came and went (approximately three months ago… whoops!), I decided to sit down and think a little harder about where I wanted Molly Em to go. I’ve felt like this blog has been a little bit honest, but mostly frilly and filled with pretty fluff content, which frustrates me. I created this blog as a place to be honest, and I didn’t really stick to that. Not that it was a sense of lying on the blog, but more leaving out conversations that are important and interesting! I didn’t write posts that were interesting to me, that filled me with a passion or made me excited, because those posts frankly take a lot of energy. I stuck to easy posts because it’s what I could manage on top of school and everything else going on in college. Now that college is done and behind me, and I finally have a semblance of free time (and plenty of it this summer), I’m back. I put off writing this posts and starting to write again for months because of a fear of failure and disappointing y’all. But the truth is, I miss writing and I enjoy writing, so I just decided to jump back into the blog and start writing what’s on my heart.

I have plenty of good ideas for the blog, so here’s to implementing them for you to enjoy! As always, please send any and all suggestions you have to my email, or comment them below.

Lots of hugs and love to y’all.

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What March Taught Me

Hi friends!

Hope this week finds you happy and filled with sunlight (either from good weather or good feelings). I had a ridiculously productive week (with three essays, hence no posts until today), and it was nice to have a good rhythm this week. I feel like I’ve had my head in a fog the past two weeks and it was really refreshing to feel like I finally had my life together.

As we start a new month, I wanted to share some of the things I learned in the last month, a series that I’m trying to start (and hopefully keep up) on here.

The importance of traveling

This month was one of constant traveling, even within New York. I went from New York to Atlanta, down to North Florida, back up to Atlanta, back up to New York, then to Queens, back to Manhattan, up to Woodstock, back to the city, and then out to Queens and back to the city. I’m currently in Atlanta and then heading back to New York, before going on my last big trip of the spring to Toronto next weekend! (I can’t wait!! I’m going with one of my best friends and I’m so excited to travel with her to a new place and to SEE HER!!!)

In all this crazy traveling and back and forth between New York and Atlanta and Manhattan and Queens, and upstate, it brought me a sense of peace. I got to see spaces that weren’t my usual places, and I was able to feel a sense of freedom in just getting out of the usual rut. My favorite trip so far was going upstate to Woodstock and really spend time away from solid wifi and cell service- I got to spend some great quality time with family and out in fresh air, and it was the perfect reset button.

Keep family close

In the past month, I feel like I’ve bonded more with my family than I have in recent times. My maternal grandfather passed away in mid-March, so we really banded together to support our family, and it was very touching to see how far people were willing to go to lend a hand and to lend a heart. I got to spend a lot of time with my parents and grandma and younger sister, and see a lot of family that I haven’t seen in months or years, and it reaffirmed for me the support system that my family provides me (especially my immediate family!!).

Prioritize yourself – put yourself first, do what you need, and cut out bad people

In my last few weeks of therapy, one thing that’s come up continually is my tendencies within relationships- I tend to be with people who aren’t always the best for me, or maybe who aren’t as giving as I am (and that’s putting it pretty nicely). In March, I came to a tipping point in one particularly “situation-ship” where I really had to put my foot down in a harsh way to stand up for myself, and even though I was upset in the moment, the frustration in that moment came less from losing this person in my life, and more towards myself for letting the behavior go on so long. However, right after I ended things and stood up for myself, I felt cleansed, as though I had taken a really deep, hot, cathartic shower and rid myself of some sort of bad energy holding me back. Sometimes, cutting people out is painful, and in some situations it’s not always possible, but sometimes it’s for the best.

There is always a solution (or alternatively: it'll all be okay) – sometimes your own thoughts cloud you from realizing it.

I’m going to be honest- personally, and health-wise, I’ve had a pretty rough semester so far, and while it hasn’t necessarily reflected directly in my grades, it has influenced my academics. I had a little freak-out in mid-/late March that I wasn’t going to graduate come May, and I decided I needed to meet with the dean to figure out my shit and get my life in order. Turns out, in reality, the chance of me graduating is at about … 100%, save a DISASTER, (which I knew all along, but my anxiety led me to believe wasn’t true). Obviously, I have to work a little harder towards this end of the semester to get my head screwed on right and have the razor thin focus I need to get things done, but in reality I’m okay, and I’m all good to be a college graduate in May (Also, WHAT THE HELL).

Sometimes you have to just DO it

This kind of goes hand in hand with prioritizing yourself, but I had a few moments in March where I was debating back and forth on doing something; whether it was getting out of bed to go do something with friends when I felt lazy, or biting the bullet on booking a trip out of town, or sending in a request that put me outside of my comfort zone, where I realized, I just needed to stop hemming and hawing and just do it. That’s how I made the decision to book my trip to Toronto, and my trip to Atlanta this weekend. Sometimes you need to stop listening to your inner debate and just go for it, and sometimes you need to tune other people out to just make a decision of your own volition.


I hope y'all enjoyed a little bit of insight into my life and into what March has given me in terms of personal development and a lil' bit of self awareness. What did March teach you? 

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Lessons I've Learned in Therapy

Hi friends! Happy Thursday!

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Here's a little something about me: for those who don't know, I'm a huge fan of talk therapy. Within 24 hours of meeting anyone, I usually tell them to go to therapy. Every single one of my friends can attest to my love of therapy and my firm belief that even if "you don't have any problems" or "you have nothing to talk to a therapist about", therapy will benefit you. 

Now I'll put this disclaimer out there, therapy is RIDICULOUSLY expensive. Especially if a therapist doesn't take your insurance. So, if you're a student, work with your counseling center to find something that works. I'll say that I've been extremely disappointed with Barnard's counseling center, save for my final therapist there, and that I've had greater success with the referrals the center has given me. However, the referrals are certainly not cheap, but there are so many options to find therapy outside of just giving up. While I'm not a huge fan of Buzzfeed, this is a pretty decent list of ways to work around the expensive options of therapy. 

To continue, I have to say that therapy is probably one of the biggest factors in how my personality has shifted and calmed over time. I've been in therapy for over 10 years (I started going when I was 8 or 9), and to this day, I believe that my parents introducing me to therapy at such a young age is probably one of the best investments they made in me (aside from sending me to Barnard). Allowing a child to have opinions and feelings that are validated by a third party that is completely objective outside the family unit works magic to helping that child believe in themselves and their own thoughts and feelings. Now, I saw the same therapist for probably over 5 years before coming to college and starting therapy here. I've seen two therapists within the college counseling center and I am on my third referred therapist of college. I will say, it takes a helluva long time to build up a relationship with a therapist where you can gain the sort of trust to be honest with them, and sometimes college really doesn't allow for a lot of time to get to know someone well. However, for the most part, I've had a really wonderful experience with my therapists here in the city- especially my current therapist and the one before my current one. 

Being in therapy for such a long time and during such transformative years has taught me a lot about processing emotions, about dealing with other people, about sitting with discomfort, and about myself. I figured that I'd share some of the top things I've learned over the past decade of therapy! 

  1. Your feelings are valid. 

    One thing I have struggled with for as long as I can remember is my constant need to invalidate my own feelings because "someone else has it worse" or because "I'm not really going through trauma". Yes, while both of those statements are true, one thing I have learned over time is that I'm still allowed to have feelings and be upset about whatever has me tied up in a knot. 
  2. You are not perfect, you are flawed, and that's perfectly fine. / Mental illness is not something that can be cured- it's something you will have to learn to live with over time. 

    One thing I strongly believed when I started going to therapy more regularly in college was that there would come a point where I didn't need therapy anymore. I thought that by graduation, I'd be some perfect flouncing senior ready to take on the world and that any mental struggles I had by then would be taken care of and under my belt. Turns out that's pretty far from the truth, and as I described in therapy yesterday, "graduation feels like a precipe and afterward, I'm going to fall head first off the face of the earth". I really don't have my shit together by now, and that's not for lack of trying. I've been committed to tackling larger issues in my life and putting out fires as they come up, and I still don't feel like I have cured my anxiety. I feel like I've gotten a handle on it where it's not controlling my mind or life half as much as it used to, but it's not gone, nor do I think it ever will be gone. It's something I'm going to learn to live with over time and learn to cope with over time, and that it is just a feeling I feel like any other emotion. 
  3. You need to prioritize your relationship with yourself over any other relationship you have, because you're going to be stuck with yourself longer than anyone else. / Putting yourself first isn't always selfish. Sometimes it's self-preservation. 

    One thing that's been true of me my entire life is that I'm a people pleaser ( a sassy, cynical, anti-social one, but a people pleaser still). I go out of my way to make sure others are happy and the worst feeling in the world to me is one of disappointing someone else, especially someone I care a lot about. However, throughout therapy, I realized that a lot of my people pleasing tendencies were coming at a cost to my own mental health. I was putting other people constantly ahead of myself and not giving my own feelings enough weight. I've learned through a hell of a lot of arguments with others and through inner frustrations that sometimes it's okay to be a little selfish and say no to helping someone or that it's okay to cancel and spend a night in, or that sometimes you have to just advocate for yourself maybe simply because no one else will. I know I'll be spending the rest of my life with myself, so I'd like to have my relationship with myself be as positive as I can make it. 
  4. It is completely rational and okay to have two completely opposing thoughts or feelings in your head. 

    This is something that I've been focusing on a lot with my current therapist, as I have a lot of feelings that directly oppose one another (like I'm a kickass woman filled with confidence....who also struggles with insecurity. or I totally have control over my post-grad plans...and I genuinely have no clue what I'm doing after May 17th). She introduced me to something called DBT (Dialectical Behavioral Therapy), which was created to treat people with bipolar disorder but is used now to help patients deal with two opposing ideas. I've bought a little DBT workbook to use in my spare time, and it's helping me to find a balance between two concepts I know are true but feel mutually exclusive. 
  5. You have a right to keep your thoughts and feelings private. 

    This is something I've struggled with a lot. I'm an open person, and I'm really open with everyone about the fact that I'm in therapy. However, sometimes I feel like I am expected to share my personal journey with people close to me, even before I feel ready to. This expectation comes in part from myself, so I'm really working currently to tell myself that it's okay and totally not rude to keep some things to myself. 
  6. Some things really don't deserve the mental energy you allow them to take. 

    This is basically every relationship I've been in. It's been me talking at length to a therapist about analyzing every detail or even just explaining how the relationship came to be at this point, and coming to realize, either through gentle prodding, or through just word-vomiting everything out, that I give way too much mental space to ideas and people that don't help me grow in the same way I help them. 
  7. Go a little easier on yourself. 

    I put a lot of pressure on myself. It comes from being in constantly rigorous and competitive academic environments and from being around people that are so impressive it makes me feel deeply inadequate. Because of this, I'm pretty hard on myself and rip myself apart for things like getting a B on a paper, or sleeping in too late, or not committing enough energy to my blog or my writing. One thing I've learned through therapy is that I'm just as impressive as anyone around me (except maybe literal rocket scientists) without berating myself for little mistakes. As I've gotten to be easier on myself, I've noticed my anxiety getting less intense and paralyzing.
  8. Journaling can do wonders for yourself. 

    I love writing. That's half the reason I started this blog! But, I love writing without a filter most importantly. Opening a journal or a blank document on my computer and just writing everything that's on my mind (between sessions or after sessions) always helps me process my feelings and thoughts in a healthy way where I can come back to my feelings later. 
  9. Therapy isn't always your therapist telling you that you're right. Sometimes (and often times), it will involve your therapist challenging your thoughts and ideas so you can grow. 

    Going back to my first point- I thought that therapy was going to be a lot of validating my feelings and telling me that I have every right in the world to feel that way. And it has been, but it has also been my therapists pushing me to challenge my own ideas, or asking me if I'm really feeling a certain way, or if I'm falling into a rut/lull out of laziness (sounds harsh writing it out, but honestly it helps in the moment). My therapists over time have challenged my responses and my thought processes time and time again, and even when it's been emotional or painful or plain annoying, it's helped me grow more than when they just validated me. 
  10. Therapy works best when you invest a lot of time and energy into it

    Therapy is a lot of work. It's a lot of working through hard feelings and hard ideas and it's something that takes a lot of mental energy. I currently go to therapy about once a week and that's honestly fine for me, but I would rather go 2-3 times a week. I've found that the weeks where I've had two sessions, I felt more productive, more honed in on my needs and thoughts, and generally felt better. But, I don't have the schedule to prioritize therapy twice a week right now, and more than that, it's too expensive for me to justify doubling my sessions EVERY week. I can see myself doubling up on sessions some weeks and sticking to one session every week otherwise, but for right now, once a week is pretty perfect for me. I've been going to therapy for almost 3.5 years straight once a week every week, and I still have plenty of progress to be made. I do work in between sessions of journaling and working in workbooks, and I feel like only when I take time to prioritize my therapy sessions and my "homework" between sessions do I really make progress. 

These are just a few of the lessons I've learned from being in therapy for so long- if you want to hear more about my experience or get more insight from me, get in touch! I'm happy to write longer posts about it or to talk to you privately about it. Hope you enjoyed my thoughts! 

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Back at 'em!

Hi, hello, friends! 

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So... turns out life gets the best of you sometimes, and that things get cast to the wayside. 

That's what happened with this little corner of my life- school piled up, personal things hit the fan, and I just simply didn't prioritize writing for the blog. 

However, now I'm at a point, about six months later where I have a hell of a lot more free time on my hands, and I miss writing and constantly being in a state of creating. So hi friends! MollyEm is back up and at 'em! 

Now that I'm also under less pressure to represent others and their opinions and I'm sinking in more into my own desires and passions, get ready for some ~*spicy*~ things on the blog! 

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