Toxic Friendships

About 2 years ago, I found out that I was part of some toxic friendships. People that I thought loved me, appreciated me and understood me, sat me down in my own home and told me that they not only didn’t enjoy my company anymore, but they also didn’t know why. People who I had trusted and loved decided that I wasn’t good enough for them.

I’m not kidding. They literally sat me down in my own living room, and proceeded to tell me why they didn’t want to hang out anymore, and didn’t want me to “waste my time” asking them to. One of them then said we can ‘try’ to hang out so she could see if she could come up with a reason she didn’t enjoy it, so we could ‘work on it’. Clearly, I did not take her up on that.

Now, it’s taken me awhile to come to terms with this fact, but I am so thankful that this happened. At the time I reacted as any normal human being would, with complete anger and confusion. I couldn’t understand how these people who I had been so close with could betray me like they did. These people thought that it would be best to sit me down, by myself, and tell me I was not worthy of their friendship. So naturally, I called Chris (my boyfriend) and my sister. They fought for me like I had no idea they would, and kicked these individuals out of my house. I will always love them even more for that moment.

I had a lot of inner turmoil after this. Why had I not been good enough for them? Was there something wrong with me? It never occurred to me that this was their mistake until I texted my best friends, Jess, Tamara and my girls from IU. They all reassured me that 1) these individuals were idiots and if my friends saw them they better run and 2) I am an awesome person and it was their loss. I am forever grateful for their encouragement, and continued support throughout my life. Thanks for being the best humans imaginable.

Though this experience is not one many people can relate to, we can all relate to having toxic relationships. My situation was exacerbated by the blindside nature, but I am grateful that I now understand who my true allies are. Without this incident, I would be wasting my time on insignificant people, and not as truly appreciative of my best friends as I am now. So, if you find yourself in a toxic relationship, start to drift. I promise this is better on everyone, because sitting someone down and telling them why you think they’re not worth your time is CRUEL. I’m glad I rid myself of these people, but it was definitely a tough experience.

Sometimes, friendships just drift apart. And that’s ok, but if they do for meaningless reasons like space and time- reach out. If they do because they’re toxic, let that one slide.

So, here’s a special shout out to all the people who love me; thanks for being the best, supportive group of weirdos I am lucky to call my friends. If we haven’t been in touch for awhile, but you want to reconnect, now is as good a time as any to try. If it doesn’t work out, it doesn’t, but we have all grown and changed and I now pride myself on having positive relationships. Here’s to ridding myself of the bad, and always promoting the good.

M

“The Moth” Storytelling Program

So last week, I participated in “The Moth” Storytelling workshop here at IU. The National Public Radio program came in for three days and work shopped stories with 60 students on campus. We had three resident storytellers work with our stories, and provide feedback on the story line, emotion, arch. Our 3 storytellers were vastly different but so talented in their areas. The man who work shopped my story told us of his experience of losing his job in New York, having his boyfriend push him to succeed and how a small, stray cat changed the course of his life. The lead woman, a gorgeous brunette from England, seemed to know the answer to any question imaginable. The last storyteller was a dominating presence. Standing at least 6’4″, the large African American man had a booming laugh that was the highest praise received throughout. When you elicited that laugh, you couldn’t help but smile yourself.

Overall, I was blown away by the experience. I had no idea how liberating it would be to tell my story in front of 25 strangers. The third night we had a story slam, where story tellers can put their names in a hat and have the chance to tell their story on stage in front of an audience. Though I was not picked out of the hat, I learned so much about myself through the experience.

During the workshop, each storyteller brought in one story themed on “choices”. This format allowed each story teller to find their own niche, but for the night to be cohesive in theme. Our stories had a drastic range of additional themes and emotion, from a woman’s first time streaking to a man’s coming out story.

The best part about the event was the support. Each time someone told a story, you received a round of applause before your story, after your story, and after everyone gave feedback. This was a reassurance that even though you sometimes fudge a line or forget to add detail, this story is worth telling.

I would highly recommend this program to anyone interested. I plan on seeking out the Moth in Chicago when I return home, and telling my story to anyone who will listen!

Why IU

So what seems like many years ago, I began my journey at Indiana University. I walked through the doors of Foster- Harper like a scared puppy looking to find some comfort. I was lucky enough to happen upon Katie, a down to earth Midwestern girl from a very small town in Indiana. Katie welcomed me into her life with open arms, and I have no doubt that we will be lifelong friends. She had a baby this summer, and I am extremely obsessed with him.

In January of my freshman year, I went through Panhellenic formal recruitment. What seemed like a whirlwind of a few weekends turned into one of the most overwhelming nights of my life.When I stepped off the bus on bid night, I had no idea I would meet such inspiring and beautiful women. Alpha Gamma Delta has brought me so much more then the cliche notions that follow sorority life. It led me to the women I will always call my roommates, even if we don’t life together. Without Ali, Shelby, Heather and Katie I would have undoubtedly dropped out and be living under a bush. These women consistently remind me that I am a human, and I cannot be perfect. I will make mistakes, but I have the support I need to get through them. The last two years living in the Gam house flew by, and I cannot believe I will never wake up to someone snoring in the cold dorm again.

This year I kind of had another random roommate situation. Alaina, a woman in my sorority, said she needed someone to fill a room for the fall semester in her house with women on the lacrosse team. I decided to take her up on it, since I didn’t have any other options and we got along well in the sorority. I have once again been so lucky in finding friends in the most random places. Kristen and Burke are genuine, honest, and wonderful women and I look forward to the rest of the semester together.

IU has offered me so many opportunities. Whether it be circumstantial like my various roommate situations, or through direct intent, I have found pleasure in all my endeavors here. Though it may take some searching at times, IU offers so many personal development programs that I have had a hard time narrowing them down over the years. My most rewarding involvement so far has undoubtedly been my presidency of the Panhellenic Association here. This past week we slated the next executive council. We are flawed in our structure and we have many areas to improve on, but it is so inspiring to see women from many chapters come together and realize their true power.

IU has inspired me, pushed me, and motivated me to be better. I am forever in debt (both figuratively and realistically for awhile).

What I have learned from Hannah Wilson

As many of you know, both Indiana University and our Panhellenic Community have suffered a tragic loss this past weekend. A senior Psychology major, and member of Gamma Phi Beta sorority was taken from us. Her name was Hannah Wilson. Though I did not have the privilege of knowing Hannah during her 22 years of life, I have been immersed in her legacy this past week. The executive council of Panhellenic has managed reporters, countless interview requests, and trying to support her sisters in any way possible.

Hannah’s family and friends speak of her like I hope mine will eventually. They speak of her joy, her passion, her dedication to her friendships, and her infectious laugh. They attest to her positive outlook on life, and the constant joy she spread to those around her. The greatest thing I have heard about Hannah Wilson is her incredible friendship she has left with so many. I have heard from people all over campus that were affected by Hannah’s loss. Just some of these include: her teacher from last semester that said she was a positive presence in his classroom, her mentor at Cupcakes and Condoms (an organization she was a part of) who shared the huge impact Hannah had on her life, Hannah’s roommate from freshman year who was able to reminisce on the abundant ways Hannah made college a happy place for her, and many more. Individuals who met Hannah one time reached out to express condolences to Panhellenic, and said that they could tell how special she was just from a brief interaction.

These are the ways I want to be remembered, and this is what everyone should learn from Hannah.

Despite the horrific nature of how Hannah was taken from us, we need to reflect on her as an individual. She was an integral part of the community she created. She positively affected all those around her, and had a radiant personality.

So as we grieve this beautiful woman’s loss, and from the direct advice of a sorority sister of Hannah’s; “Hold the one’s you love close”. Life is precious, and this world is not filled with people as kind and loving as Hannah. Cherish the friendships you have, and remind them of their significance as often as possible.

I have been overwhelmed with support both from within our IU community and outside of it. Thank you to everyone who has reached out to our council, the women of Gamma Phi, and anyone who loved Hannah. Thank you to anyone who has donated to Haley’s college fund, I know how grateful the Wilson family is for this gift.

If you find yourself struggling with this situation, please don’t hesitate to reach out to me or any member of exec. We can connect you with someone on campus to talk to, and figure it out.

neuroscience and CHAARG- my opposites for the semester

hello again, yes I know I suck for not writing anything in awhile. My life has been screaming girls, thousands of lists and a whiteboard filled with Instagram accounts to follow, better known as recruitment.

I am sitting in neuroscience today struggling to motivate myself to pay attention to this subject I hate so much. Maybe it’s my professors dense Russian accent, or her attitude against questions, but I just hate it. Let me talk about Freud, or cognitive behavioral therapy and I’ll be pumped for an hour, but this is just not my thing.

i have been trying to figure out why I hate the hard sciences so much. It’s not that I never liked them, I loved Anatomy in high school and thought that was what I wanted to pursue in college. I think this ingrained hatred has come from a continued doubt of my ability. In high school, a biology teacher told me “You just aren’t good enough for AP” two weeks into my freshman year. In my second semester of college, my anatomy professor told me I was “too stupid” to pass his class. These individuals contributed this attitude throughout my time in their class, making me hate the subject even more

So when I critically think about it, I understand this ingrained mistrust of my own abilities. I have my first test in two week, so I guess it’s time to prove myself wrong.

There ismy little rant for today.

On to happier things.

I am just starting up CHAARG again this for the semester. It has been my scheduled me time, and I coud not be more grateful. One of my roommates- Shelby- is on the exec team and its so fun to watch her do her thing.

i look forward to what it brings me this semester!

A Happy Hensley Holiday

So I know I completely dropped the ball for not writing in a VERY long time, but my life has been one hectic mess of blessings recently.

I have been in the lengthy process of taking over the presidential position of IU’s Panhellenic Association, and truly had no idea what that meant until I totally immersed myself in it. It entails endless emails, many business lunches, and abound opportunities to grow. It has been a wonderful journey so far.

For the first time in three years, my family has been lucky enough to have a truly happy holiday season. For those of you who know us all personally, you know how difficult these last three years have been. All four of us went to see a movie last night, and were marveling at the intense speed these last three weeks have flown by with. We realized it’s seemed like only a few hours because it’s finally the first time we are all incredibly happy.

We had a picture perfect first evening decorating the house for Christmas with lights, bells and many candles. We had a lovely trip to Kentucky to visit my extended family, and a perfect Christmas eve with my adorable and very grown up cousins. My grandpa built the youngest one a four foot tall dollhouse, filled with furniture and dolls to play with. She emitted a loud gasp and an astonished, “He BUILT this?” when we explained her present. We had a lot of fun watching her discover the joys of your own dollhouse, and eating a ton of great food.

So in this first, amazing holiday season for the Hensley’s, we wish you the best in the new year.

M

The joys of Bloomington

So.. just realized I haven’t posted anything in over a month. Every time I’ve thought of a good thing to write about, I just get overwhelmed with the amount of legitimate school work I have to do. SO, sorry about that.

The topic on my mind right now is graduation. I am just finalizing my classes for next semester, and had to discuss the fact that I will be graduating in just over a year. How scary is that? Why did I ever think it was a good idea to graduate a semester early?

There are certain moments where I just want to get out of here, to start my “real life” and create my future. And then I realize that I will lose those naps at 10am on a Tuesday, the late night impromptu drives around Bloomington, and the never ending trips to Panera with my roommates. I cannot imagine what the real world is like, but currently I am wanting it to stay away forever.

So for all of those people that are just beginning college, it flies by. I still have a year left, and I am dreading the day I have to walk across the stage and officially leave this place. Treasure those stupid moments when your roommates distract you from the hours of studying you have left to make you get ice cream, take advantage of the proximity of your dearest friends, and don’t forget to take a ton of pictures.

I know that the friends I have made here are lifelong ones, that the women I live with are going to be my bridesmaids, and that we will always find ways to see each other; but I don’t want real life to come.

I have a steady idea of what I want my future to look like, and who is going to be in it, but I have always been terrified of transitions.

So for now, I will sit in biology and cherish how easy it is. I will take advantage of all the naps I can get, and all the little moments with my friends that will mean the most in the future.

Love,

M