I gave up.
I know. Those words are kryptonite, but I did.
I noticed that portions of my life were tottering outside of my control. One bad decision set off a domino effect for the beginning of my sophomore year. For the rest of the semester I was late to classes, failing assignments, and turning work in late. This downward spiral crashed through other areas of my life as well. I felt my window of hope close a little.
Exhibit A of ‘last minute living’. I was given an extension on a project over the summer. I waited until the last minute. Then I rushed and tried to finish it the day before it was due. It was so bad that I pulled an all nighter the day before the first day of classes. The closer I reached sunrise the more guilty and broken I felt. When my alarm went off the next morning, I decided that it was too late and I would just have to turn in what I had completed.
By the time winter break arrived, I was beat down by so many horror stories that I cannot type them all. My GPA had dropped, my stress level had increased, and my physical and mental health were suffering because of it. But I hadn’t completely let go of my hope.
Instead of accepting the new disorderly sections of my life with a defeated mindset, I accepted them with a hopeful mindset. I acknowledged that I was in a bad position, and then thought of a single moment where I could maybe, just maybe rise above my adversity. By thinking of this one moment, I had opened my mind and heart to a better future. Throughout that semester I made sure to tell myself that this wasn’t my ending, and that I would be better soon. During the break, I immediately began brainstorming ways to avoid a ‘last minute living’ lifestyle. I entered a new realm in which I desperately craved efficiency and productivity. I knew that the only way that I could remain in this realm was by improving myself and my surroundings. I improved these two things by first assessing them, and then taking action.
Reactive- Acting in response to a situation.
During my self-assessment I learned that my 2017 had been a reactive year up until winter break. Being proactive is where I needed to be.
Proactive- Creating or controlling a situation by causing something to happen rather than responding to it after it has happened.
For my academics, I created a custom planner that would allow me enough space to keep everything organized. Including a study plan that gave me room to rest my brain in between assignments. For my personal health, I allowed myself to spend more time with God, I set up a bedtime (Yes, as ridiculous as it sounds, I’m a college student with a decent bedtime. I have no shame.), I began meal planning, and I set aside a self-care day for at least once a month. While assessing my surroundings, I realized that they were overcrowded and unorganized. I began getting rid of things that I didn’t need, use, or want. I organized the things that I kept making sure that everything had its own place. Now let me be clear, all of this didn’t magically come together in a day. It took time for some things to get into place and it is still in progress.
This is the beginning of my proactive path. If you feel that you may be losing control or reacting to situations in your life, I encourage you to join me. I hope that my experiences motivate you to stay hopeful and eventually find your own path to a better future.
Sending out positive vibes for the first time in 2018, I wish you all an amazing year!
Just In Case I'm Not Alone
You know what day it is! Happy Valentine’s Day! Today is a day of love, so do something special for your loved ones or yourself. This day isn’t restricted to just couple's love. It includes all love from family love, agape love, to loving a friend, and so on. As we celebrate each other today, I want to share a secret with you. Specifically, a secret for the single positive vibers, but everyone is welcome to read. This is my journey beyond self-love and into loving others.
As a kid, Valentine’s Day was just another day to eat as much candy as I wanted. When I got older, I realized that there was more to it than chocolate and “You’re Great” cards. In high school, I watched as people carried around giant teddy bears and roses from their boyfriends and girlfriends. However, none of these holiday traditions phased me. It was every other day of the year that this thought would burn in the back of my mind:
“You’ve been single….for like a long time….no I mean, like since birth.”
I was pained by the thought. It’s not that I knew the values of being in a relationship, I was simply convinced that singleness meant loneliness. Today, to all of my beautiful singles please know that the latter is untrue. From middle school to high school, cupid ran rampant marking every target he saw. When these targets were marked and matched, they appeared happy, perfect, and ideal. That’s where I grew confused. I thought happiness was only found in relationships and since I wasn’t bold enough to attempt one I automatically assumed that I was alone. This placed me in a world of stressed singleness. My mind jumped from crush to crush creating a dangerous emotional pain. Once I caught on to this pattern, I tried to cut it off immediately by accepting “loneliness”. It’s a route I suggest none of you take. My newly acquired knowledge of self-love wouldn’t allow me to remain in that state. I surrounded myself with spiritual advice and uplifting sisterhood videos until the message rang loud and clear right through to my heart: “You can be happy and single!” So I tried this happy singleness. It was a fight at first, but the results included the ability to persevere through lonely times, increasing knowledge on true love, and a heart that could effectively and genuinely love others.
For my specific journey, I gave my singleness to God. I had a bold and honest conversation with Him about my thoughts, wants, and fears. I sealed “stressed singleness” away with a declaration to trust the Lord and not try to make things happen for myself. While I’ve been resting in “happy singleness” I’ve had time to truly get to know God and HIs love for me. In that time of being content, still, and seeking God’s face, He blessed me with a friendship. I am now passing through the threshold into loving strangers, family, friends, and more.
Sending out positive vibes, I encourage those who may be single to try out living happily single. Practice patience and self-growth, so that you may be ready when your gift arrives.
Let’s Toast To Peace and Victory
2016 was a long year that required much determination. Honestly, it was the heaviest year of my life. Wholeheartedly, it was my first time being present and facing my fears. In honor of an amazing 2017, here is a Free-verse poem reflection.
January through May,
my brain had the power of a scholar.
Non-stop school work, essays, and thoughts of college.
May twentyfirst. Graduation Day!
I’d made it! I was free.
June through August, my focus had changed.
Acting, Scripts, and California placed me on my first plane.
The Celebrity Experience, a competition?
No, a chance for amazing talent to enter fame.
Surrounded by people who shared my dream, I met worthy Kings and Queens.
We all stayed connected, knitted with support.
Yet even still, in my mind, I felt rejected.
But that wasn’t my heart. I wasn’t created to give up after one “No.”
Besides, I had conquered my two biggest fears right before turning eighteen.
I was facing adulthood in one day. I’m not going to lie.
I was afraid.
September through December, I shattered like glass,
But God reconstructed me, this time steadfast.
Now, in college and living away from home, I have responsibilities.
My grades were great, and priorities straight,
But there was no balance.
I felt so alone.
I distanced myself from the awesome people I’d met, and stayed in my dorm.
Trapped in my head,
I lost hours of sleep to awful nightmares.
Stressed of myself, I looked at the world around me:
The election, continued oppression, death.
I was scared.
I fell to my knees, in my roommate's kindness and care.
Towards November’s end, I reached out to a friend. Her arms were open, like always.
Her faith strong in God, our souls held hands.
One morning in a Chick-Fil-A, I told her my pains,
And she prayed.
“Write to God.” She offered with total sincerity and unconditional love.
So I did.
Confessing to Him my sins.
But He listened, He cared, and He forgave.
Like a child’s story, one stormy night,
I felt God’s presence. His love holding me tight.
Overwhelmed by this new experience, I cried and cried,
Realizing that this was why Christ died.
So we could feel this beautiful love firsthand.
For weeks, I couldn’t put it into words, nor did I know who to tell.
As the holidays drew near, I went home to my family.
Wrapped in their arms, God kept his promise strong.
Now, in the last days of 2016, I’ve reflected
On how my trust thinned out to almost nothing.
But I never gave up.
To kick off the new year early,
I want to declare peace and victory.
Sending out Positive Vibes, I want to wish everyone a happy and prosperous new year. Great things are before you. Spread love and positivity into 2017.
OUT OF PLACE
Dear Person Who May Feel Out Of Place,
Hi, I'm Kaci Hollingsworth, and for most of my childhood, I felt out of place. I never really fit into a specific clique. My interests varied so much that I wasn't sure where I belonged. I spent a lot of time worrying about the latter and wondering why I was so different. I didn't realize that my uniqueness was an attribute to my greatness, so today I want you to know this and hold it to your heart:
Your uniqueness is an attribute to your greatness.
This past week, I found my place. I passed by it a couple of times on my way to the Union not really thinking much of it. I was given an invitation and I gave it consideration, but nothing was set in stone. When the date had arrived and I met in my place I realized something amazing. My place wasn't a “place” at all. It was my company. I met a young woman who welcomed me. We shared our stories and noticed a divine connection. Within this connection there was respect, acceptance, and a willingness to gain an understanding for each other. I learned that my place didn't have a label. It wasn't with a specific group of people, but with those who accepted and truly valued me.
I want to encourage you all and let you know that you have a place. It's with the people who truly love and value you. Even if it doesn't feel like you've made it there yet, I promise, you will make it. Continue to get to know and understand yourself before you reach your place, and the journey will be 100% worth it. I believe in you!
Sincerely, A Person Now In Place
Sending out positive vibes, I encourage you to take a close look at your surroundings. Evaluate yourself and those around you. Find where you feel most valued and happy, and hold on to that place whatever it may be. I love you all so much! Have a great week!
A few weeks ago, I traveled to Los Angeles and performed in a Showcase in front of 35 agents and a crowd of people. Here's what I learned:
Airplanes-- Not seeing what's ahead.
I used to have a horrendous fear of airplanes. When I was five, I watched a video about a mother and daughter whom had lost each other to a plane crash. I then decided that my feet needed to be as close to the earth as possible from then on out. After realizing that I would have to travel by air to reach the next level of my dreams, I was nervous. It was time. The plane was rolling down the runway and here I was physically, spiritually, mentally, and emotionally shaking hands with my first biggest fear. We ascended, I nervously chewed my gum, and the pressure of the world tried to hold me down. Peering out the window, I saw the earth get smaller and smaller. I cried. Tears of pure happiness. Watching God's creation, flying, and conquering fears placed me in a peace I hadn't experienced before. As we climbed above the clouds, the sun rose. After staring out the window for twenty minutes, I realized I could only see the inside of the plane in front of me. My nerves twitched a little at the sudden uncertainty. After 14+ years of staring out the windshield, knowing exactly what's ahead of me, this first plane ride showed me something new. I couldn't see the way, yet I trusted that the pilot knew the way. I sat back, enjoyed the view I did have, and worked when I was supposed to. I'm starting a new chapter in my life, I don't know exactly what's ahead, but I trust God to lead me the right way. In your life, you may not see what's in your future, but trust that it will be great, enjoy and make the most of the view that you have, and work your hardest when you're supposed to!
Subway-- Riding in reverse.
After a few days of meeting incredible people and working hard, my family and I took a trip to the beach. We rode the Metro train...my first Metro. This time I sat in a different section than my family. My seat was in the opposite direction of the train's path, so I was moving backward. Sometimes we ride in reverse, so that we see how far we've come. While riding in reverse, I thought about the great moments, people, and turnarounds that lead up to who I am now. Even though I was sitting backwards underground in the dark, I still made it to my sunny destination. Riding in reverse is your time to reflect and be grateful!
Celebrities-- Realizing what you really want.
I met people that I grew up watching on tv, and I somehow kept my cool. In those few days, they taught me important tips and techniques on acting. However my real lesson came outside of the classroom. I was sitting outside before the audition with beautiful new friends and Geno Segers. He told us stories about his life and his experience in the industry. As he shared honest word after honest word, I felt my vision align. The future was more clearer than the first time I actually verbalized that I wanted to be an actress. I realized what I need to do, who I want to be, and what I truly want. I titled this section celebrities, but that can mean anything to you. It can be family, a book, or even the sky. It's whatever speaks to your soul. Listen closely, realize what you want, and work unforgettably hard to achieve it!
Sending out positive vibes, I hope that August is the month of your ascent into success. I challenge you to rise above, and succeed! Have a great month!
Love is the Key
I began writing this article on June 26th. It had the title, “Daydreamer.” It was a recount of my 4th grade teacher’s remarks on how I was “A bit of a daydreamer.” I'd written about how this comment meant for my bad, turned out for my good. As the week went on, I had an emotional relapse preventing me from actually sending the work. I came face to face with many of my past phobias and negativity. After a while, I calmed down long enough to realize that this wasn't the way. This wasn't my life. I used my writing to climb out and started a journal. As I came to terms with what I was fighting within me, I watched the world. I didn't know what to say. I watched as we lost beautiful souls. I watched as we mourned. I watched as people were praised for saying words and I watched as people were shamed for saying words. I watched as shame and praise were taken to extents beyond their users own comprehension. People were sharing information, correct and incorrect. I didn't know what or where to speak. Are my words needed? Am I emotionally strong enough to contribute to this world? Is it worth saying something if I can't do anything? CAN I DO SOMETHING?
So I'll speak now.
To warn those who know, may not know, and refuse to know, hate is real. Hate is dressed in fear. It is the lack of understanding and willingness of ignorance. It consumes all aspects of a person and leaves a trail of ruin. Hate doesn't care what you look like or whether or not you fit “set standards”. It has no interest in your position or income. Hate wants destruction. It doesn't care what it causes, who it victimized, or who it kills. It is unjust, unrighteous, and unwanted. Now that you know, declare love.
Rest in glory to the lives lost in the recent past and each year before. Rest in peace of mind to their families. Rest in love to each individual with breath in their body. Once you are rejuvenated in love, declare it. Every second that you inhale and exhale, declare love. Every time you feel your heart beating, declare love. Every time you open your eyes, hear a sound, or feel something, declare love.
Choose love. Declare love. Win.
Love is the only sustaining, beneficial, and effective defense against hate. Love is the only thing that will last. It is everything that it's written to be in 1Corinthians 13:4-8. It is a promise against evil. Focus on love because it gives you strength, peace, and actual power. Love is aware that we are suffering and it is here for us to take up and share. Take a moment to remember the times that love pulled you through your struggle. Then step outside of your struggle, into someone else's, and give them love! On a personal level of witnessing love, it has been an inspiration. To feel and understand what love has done within me is incredible: bringing me into this world, covering me through times of torment, and allowing me to share with you. Choose to love because we all need it. We need it in our loss, our gain, and especially in our battle. Thank you to the protesters and others who are taking a stand to ensure that every life truly matters. Love is the necessity. Let it root in your heart, mind, and actions. Make it a point to do something kind every day. Take a moment to gain understanding before speaking. If you feel yourself responding in an angry manner, stop and think: “How can I say this in a way that helps someone understand and makes a difference?” Right now, the inhabitants of this earth are suffering and we need love. People make posts and share photos that talk about how we need love. Now that we've written it and posted it, we need to show it. “Write the vision and make it plain!” Take action in love and spread it like air.
Sending out positive vibes, I encourage you as an individual to find love in your heart and then come together to give love. If we are ALL giving love, we are ALL in the position of receiving it. It begins with you!
104 Days of Summer
Positive Vibers, I know what we’re going to do today! Did you catch that Phineas and Ferb reference? That's right! It's summer!!! This is my first summer after high school, so I took a moment to reflect. In the earlier summers of my life, I spent a great deal of my time in Florida at Disney theme parks and resorts. Once I reached high school, my summers were very forgettable. Mostly because I laid in bed all day. Not to sound like a tv grandpa, but during the summer of 2015, everything changed. I realized that I had a purpose, and the potential to fulfill my purpose. I began working toward my dream, and my dream began working toward me! Now, I've gotten so far with my goals that I can't even imagine where I'd be if I had slept another summer away. Here are a few things you can do, so you don't hibernate through the summer.
PEOPLE, IT-IS-SUMMER!!! The Earth wants you to leave your blanket cocoon, step outside, and feast your eyes upon the beauty beyond an electronic screen. Exposure is powerful, whether you be exposed to a blade of grass in your backyard or a pebble in another country. Leave your house and enjoy the world. Ride a bike, take a walk, or even lay in the grass and admire God’s creation. The latter has resulted in many positive vibes! If you aren't one for outdoors, here are a few things you can do near a window.
Fuel Your Creative Flame
Set it ablaze!!! Or spark it if need be and then let it glow. Now that you aren't buried under homework, you can get creative. Acquire some inspiration from a song, book, or movie, and create! Write something that can positively change a life. Paint or draw the next Mona Lisa. Make your own film! Whatever it is you do, make sure that you enjoy it and give it your all.
Work Towards Your Future
Focusing a lot of your time on your future is incredibly beneficial! If you know your purpose, get to it. The things you need to achieve will gravitate your way the second you start putting in effort. Find out what you need in order to fulfill your specific purpose and work on it. This could include getting a summer job, volunteering, or taking some classes. Make sure you’re having fun contributing to your future and making memories. If you don't know your purpose or what you want to do, search. Try out different hobbies, explore, and pray. You will know one day and you can fulfill it!
Summer relaxation is totally fine until it becomes laziness, so relax in moderation. Haha! I hope you partake in some of the activities above and enjoy your summer break. Most importantly, always remember to stay positive, spread love, and have a great time!
Sending out positive vibes, I challenge you to have a safe and unforgettable summer!
What Does It Take?
“Darkness cannot drive out darkness. Only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate. Only love can do that.” -Martin Luther King Jr.
Hello everyone. These past few months have been heavy. Rest in peace to the many lives lost this past weekend, to the well-known lives lost this year, and to the individuals whose departure was not known worldwide. To the families, friends, and loved ones, God bless you, and peace to you as well.
From all of the losses, I have noticed one thing. Unity. Monuments and landmarks are glowing to show their respects, communities are coming together to remember, and families are holding homegoings. The support net thickened and “Love Wins” has been plastered on many hearts.
On June 7th at 8:33 PM, I made a post asking the question: “What does it take?” It was a question soft as clay. It was general and free. It was ready to cater to any individual’s mind and heart. As the week went on, the answer to my question fell on us at a vicious rate. Just like many things in life, this answer was unwanted and painful. I watched as the media delivered sickening news with consistency. I also watched as people gave their love and support all the while standing in sorrow.
Is this what it took for us to come together? Hate? Loss? I wouldn't accept it. We were created for greater and these horrible things couldn't be the “what it takes” for us to unite. So just as life changes, answers to questions can change. We do not have to wait for hate and tragedy to hit us before unifying and spreading love. What does it take?
Let's take a moment to think about unconditional love. It was a gift given to all of us. A gift that is meant to be shared. It is our choice whether or not we do this. Unconditional love can't be taken away. Walking in unconditional love is also a matter of self control. If you allow something to bother you enough that you respond with violence and hate, then you need a control check. Furthermore, producing and reproducing hate gets you nowhere. It should be common sense.
As you continue through life, choose unconditional love. When you come upon a situation, ask yourself, “Am I walking in a love that does not judge or place me in a restrictive mindset? Are my responses, actions, and intentions unconditional and understanding?”
Sending out positive vibes, I encourage you to embrace your loved ones, hold on to this unity, and radiate with unconditional love.
During our last talk, we discussed being lost. As I shared analogies of oceans, storms, and skirts, I expressed some of the beauty in finding yourself from the inside out. At some point, I may have mentioned something along the lines of, “As I am still learning, I will share with you the logistics of finding yourself from the inside out.” I fully intended to figure out those logistics and have them to you within that next week! No, seriously, I was taking notes and everything. Every opportunity, activity, and class was a lesson. It was my time to find something to give to you about finding yourself from the inside. As the next week rolled around, I thought I was fully prepared. I had an article written with steps and it felt right. However, God told me to wait. There was more to learn and things needed to be corrected, so I waited. As my patience bled into the last weeks of school and right down to graduation, I took a moment to be grateful. I had learned so much more than that rough draft article from before.
So here’s the first thing you need to know about the logistics: THERE ARE NO SET IN STONE LOGISTICS! Believe me, I was shocked too! As individualistic and specific as it sounds, the logistics are created according to you. Finding yourself from the inside out is an incredibly personal journey. At first you are alone and you aren’t entirely sure where to start, or if you really want to start for that matter. As a witness, I definitely recommend you begin! This journey starts out like a game of “Spot The Difference”. There are clusters of junk everywhere and you can’t find what you need. Right before you question why you ever decided to play this game, and give up, there is a tiny sparkle near the thing you need. You search through that section dissecting each little object and then bingo! There it is! Don’t worry, you won’t always have to dig through piles of clutter to find pieces of yourself. As you get to know the real you better, you grow stronger. Situations in life are easier to understand and handle. Things will be more clear and specific to you. You will learn exactly what you need in order to be a better you and help others in the process.
I’m still on my journey. I’ve swam through ‘Nowhere Pacific Ocean’, made it to Kaci’s Island, and now I am exploring the land little by little. Being completely attentive to my search for myself, I took some mental notes of my actions, responses, and thoughts. I learned that spending relaxing time outside once a week helps me react differently to situations that would normally stress or anger me. Communicating with loved ones opened my eyes to the beauty of a strong support system. I also realized that there are some rough parts of myself that I need to work on. I am currently learning to be more considerate of other people.
Since there are no universal logistics to finding yourself, I can give you one tip that will make this journey easier for you. Pay attention to yourself - not in a vain way, but as a way to gain understanding. Take mental or physical notes of things you regularly do. If something upsets you, figure out how to fix it. If it isn’t in your control to fix it, move on. Hold on to the things that make you happy and save them for the tough times. While you are learning on this search from the inside out, I encourage you to share your stories in the comments section.
Sending out positive vibes, I challenge you to be more perceptive of yourself, write down your personal logistics, and improve! Have a wonderful week!
Inside Out: Part 1
Hey guys! Have any of you ever been lost? Of course you have! Or what about being lost in a storm…or lost in a daze and not quite feeling like yourself? Think back to that time, whether it was as a child in the grocery store or while driving to a new destination. Recall the heart pounding feeling while in a crowd of unfamiliar faces. The instant panic of not recognizing your surroundings on the road, followed by a playback of every horror movie you've ever watched. How did you feel? What did you do? Let's not dwell on the negative for too long. Now, think about the first five minutes after you were found or after you got back on the right track to your destination. What steps did you take to get there? It's been a little over a month since our last chat and I apologize. During our time apart, I was lost. I had a difficult time understanding myself resulting in an intensely frustrating period of writer's block. However, instead of harping on and on about how materialistic things threw me smack dab into the middle of "Nowhere Pacific Ocean", I'll share with you my process of swimming back to shore.
Once upon a dark and stormy night! Nah, just kidding! Well, I mean… kind of. It was nighttime and it just so happened to be storming. About five minutes before it started storming, I awoke from my slumber and looked out the window. Strange, right? I thought so too. I don't know about you, but I'm not one to spring up and stare out the window. However sleepwalking is a WHOLE other story for a different article - haha! While gazing out over my well-lit neighborhood, blue flashes illuminated the clouds in the background. Since it was so far away, I thought nothing of it and continued to watch. I still was not sure what I was watching exactly. Probably because I was lost! Well, within two of the five minutes prior to the storm, lightning managed to jump from the clouds on the horizon to the space right outside of my window. A shock of lightning accompanied with a roar of thunder set off the mighty tempest sending me safely away from the window. Guys, I was as freakishly calm as it sounded. With the storm outside, I sat on the inside; just me and God. In that moment I realized exactly what was happening. On the outside, I was lost in the storm, and on the inside, I was sheltered safe with God. The storm couldn't physically reach me in my room, however if need be, I could get to it. With the right preparation, I could walk out into it and be fine, just as I was inside.
So for us who are lost in the middle of "Nowhere Pacific Ocean", calm down from the inside out. Do not think about the waves and chaos around you, but focus on yourself. Take a deep breath, get in a positive mindset, and swim. For those of us who do not swim, think about the clothes you wear. Hopefully, we all wear clothes. If you look closely you will notice that all of the stitchwork is done from the inside. As I am currently learning more about this craft from a sewing class I am taking, I've noticed that this technique creates smooth edges and near perfect seams.
If you are physically, emotionally, or spiritually lost, find your way from the inside out. Once you are connected with who you are on the inside, you can conquer what you face on the outside. As I am still learning, I will share with you the logistics of finding yourself from the inside out. If we ever feel lost, the first step to finding yourself is working inwardly.
Sending out positive vibes, I challenge you to search for yourself from the inside out. Have an amazing week!