Just the Beginning | The Fall Internship

Hello, friends! Part of what I’ll be writing about for the next few months, along with my usual content on this blog, will be discussing my fall semester internship. I’m super excited to be back on campus in school this semester and am equally happy to be doing an internship. I did an internship with the Disney College Program last semester with merchandise, but am excited to intern in a new capacity with a company back at home.

So, what will I be doing? I was approached by the owner of Trinity Arts Center in Johnson City (I am actually an alum of their dance program) and asked if I’d be interested in working with them on some social media and photography. This is a company that I considered my second home for many years, so I immediately said yes at the option to be around again.

It’s weird going back to somewhere you haven’t been in a long time, especially where you spent the majority of your teenage free time. However, I think it will make me even more passionate about what I’m doing. It’s easy for me to feel really connected with a company and want to share their story. Trinity Arts Center is a music, dance, and visual arts school. It is “a community of Christian artists using their talents to teach, perform, and connect.”

I met with the owner and we came up with some goals that he wanted to reach with their social media and ideas I had on increasing their reach and engagement. Some of the main goals were:

  1. Celebrate our people. Highlighting teachers, students, and alumni of Trinity Arts Center.
  2. Build credibility in what we do. Show the community that everyone at Trinity is super knowledgable about their art forms.
  3. Advertise events & provide good information. There are annual shows, recitals, and other community events that we want to make people more aware of and sharing with their friends.
  4. Overall, build a community presence online.

Right now, the goal is posting three times a week on Facebook and Instagram. I’ll be tracking engagement and analytics to see what’s working and determine what can be done differently. If things are going well, maybe branching out into Twitter and other social media platforms could be in the mix. I will be taking pictures for posts, writing captions, and tracking interaction with every post. There is a really big Disney Instagram community that I loved getting involved with last semester, so I’m excited to be taking a deeper social media dive from a company standpoint.

Here’s to this semester and all that will be learned! Oh, and follow @trinityartscenter on Instagram!!

❤ / Bailey

Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome & Me

It’s Septemeber and you know what that means? FALL. Sweaters, Halloween decorations, leaves, cozy candles, and boots are creeping their way in. Along with fall, September also rings in Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) Awareness Month, as well as Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month. Something I didn’t even realize had a month of its own until not too long ago. Some of you may then be thinking, what is PCOS and why should it have its own awareness month? That’s why. Not that many people know about it yet it affects 1 in 10 women…including me! So, what is it?

The exact cause is unknown, but it is considered a hormonal problem. Genetics and environmental factors are believed to be involved in the development of PCOS. It is a leading cause of female infertility and is responsible for a number of symptoms that can affect the body physically and emotionally.

Still confused? Don’t worry, so am I! Basically, PCOS is a hormonal disorder that is linked to a wide variety of symptoms from irregular periods and weight gain to infertility and severe anxiety and depression. The symptoms appear differently and in various severities in everyone affected. For me, it started with my period going MIA for no reason. When I went to the doctor and they asked when my last period was and I said “six months ago” they immediately raised a concern and said I needed to visit an OBGYN.

So, off to the OBGYN, I went. We discussed the fact that I hadn’t had a period for quite some time, talked about some other symptoms, and without even having test results, my OBGYN said she was 99% sure that I had PCOS. We did some blood work to check hormone and insulin levels and I was prescribed birth control to hopefully bring my period out of hiding. Turns out, my insulin resistance levels were sky high, so they also started me on Metformin (a typical medicine used for diabetes) to help those numbers get down. There also had to be some real discussions about fertility. At 18 years old, I was told that I likely won’t be able to have children passed the age of 30 and will likely need medical assistance in order to conceive. Fertility wasn’t really a concern in my life at that point, but now it has to be and is always on my mind. I know there are many other options and that God will give me the gift of children when/if I am meant to have it, but it’s still something that is always in the back of my mind.

I think what bothers me the most about PCOS is the fact that even though it affects 1 in 10 women, hardly anyone knows about it. There also is no for sure known cause or cure. Is it manageable, yes? I’m thankful for that. I do hope that there comes a day where there is a cure. That can’t be achieved with more awareness, funding, and research. If you feel so inclined, you can visit https://www.pcosaa.org/ for more info or donate.

I am a part of the 1 in 10 with PCOS.

❤ / Bailey

The Concert That Saved Me This Summer | Judah & the Lion: Pep Talks World Tour

If you know me, you’ll likely know that I love concerts. I always have! It was something that my family & I would do together, go to Charlotte and see a concert together. Even when I was running a fever & going through a stretch os non-stop sinus infections, I still went to a Twenty One Pilots concert because I love them so much, even in a fever-induced delusional state. But the concert I went to this summer meant the most to me. Judah & the Lion’s album Pep Talks saved me this summer.

If you’ve read some of my previous posts, you’ll know that my transition home from the Disney College Program has been far less than magical. I’ve struggled daily with missing my friends, feeling overwhelmingly lonely back at home, and fitting back into the places I left behind. Coupled with continuous health problems (thanks, IBS) and increased anxiety, it made for a less than happy summer. The one thing I was looking forward to was this concert.

The moment I found out Judah & the Lion was bringing their tour to Charlotte, I pestered my dad about getting tickets on the daily. I would text him about it, send him articles about the band, and whisper their name through the vents in our house like a creepy reminder. You’d think this may make him less likely to want to get them, but boy did he pull through! As a 21st birthday present, he got us amazing seats to the show. We were 10 rows back and smack in the middle. THANKS AGAIN, DAD!

Now, why was this concert so important to me? You may be thinking, it’s just a band! Well, their album literally saved my summer. Pep Talks is a raw and real album written by lead singer, Judah Akers, about the time in his life where he felt the loneliness. He talks about the real struggles he had growing up and how it has effected in adulthood to put him in the lonely place that he was, despite being surrounded by friends and family. I’ve never connected with an album more than I did with this season of life I’m in and Pep Talks. Judah comes across as this happy, goofy, fun-loving guy but on the inside is filled with a sense of overwhelming loneliness and dwelling on his past troubles. And that’s how I feel I’ve been this summer. In Disney, I was filled with so much joy that I wanted to keep that facade (it became a facade and not real when I left) up when on the inside I feel lonelier than I’ve ever felt. I’ve never had something so perfectly describe who I am, especially when dealing with negative emotions.

Well finally, some honesty
I’m not that great transparently
It’s been a few years since I’ve felt OK
But I’m just like a pro not showing it on my face yeah
I’m an ocean now, peaceful on the out
But the deeper I go down, I’m discovering all the things
My brain has let sink below
Eventually coming up up like a cyclone
So my first step to recovery, a couple deep breaths
And then hear me speak
I’m not OK, I’m not OK
Come get my pain, come get my pain

– from the song i’m ok. featured on Judah & the Lion’s album Pep Talks.

As soon as the show started, I immediately began to tear up. I’ve loved this band for years, but this album, in particular, was just really special to me. To hear it being performed live is just an experience that I will never forget. Hearing such honest and real words being performed that match how I’m feeling and am never really able to get it is honestly transformative.

Throughout the whole show, Judah kept talking about the meaning behind the album. He referred to the audience as a family and spread a message of hope like I’ve never heard before. Singing and dancing along, even in the pouring rain, to the lyrics “No matter how bad all this gets / I can’t stop this voice in my head / This voice in my head says / We’re gonna be alright / We’re gonna be alright” there were definitely tears mixing with the rain on my face.

If you’ve ever questioned the importance of music, let this prove it to you. Thank you, Judah & the Lion for the album that continuously pulls me through this lonely season. And, thank you, dad, for the best birthday present!

❤ / Bail

P.S. – If you’ve never been to the Metro Credit Union Amphitheater in Charlotte, HIGHLY recommend. My all-time favorite venue.

My honest thoughts on Summer ’19.

Craft stores have their fall decor for sale, pumpkin spice is returning to our coffees, and the air is getting crisper. That’s right, fall is approaching! Honestly, I am really glad it is. Not only is it probably my favorite season, but I also kind of hated this summer. I’m ready to see it leaf (pun intended).

So, what happened this summer? For me, it was a rough one. I moved back home to Johnson City, started back at my old job, and settled back into Tennessee life. But something was different. Johnson City felt foreign and I missed the hustle & bustle of life in Orlando. I suddenly went from having a readily available group of friends and places to do stuff to not having many friends close by and finding myself not knowing what to do for fun. When you go from being able to got to the most magical place on earth to small town Tenneessee, it’s a weird transition. So that led to a lot of weird emotions this summer.

By weird, I mean sad. Sadness is weird to me because I often try to avoid it at all costs and shove it deep down within myself & not show it when it is there (is my enneagram 7-ness showing?). This summer though I couldn’t help but feel surrounded by it. I hated it. I just spent four months being the happiest I’d ever been, I shouldn’t be feeling sad after such an incredible opportunity. There’s so much worse stuff people are going through, what gives me to right to feel so down in the dumps? Can you see how this internal dialogue could be a bit of a bear to deal with? Yeah, me too.

I had high expectations for the summer! It’s my last one before graduating college and joining the “real world.” I was supposed to be having fun. Instead, I worked a lot and stayed home a lot wishing I was back at Disney and missing my friends. Part of me was stuck on the memories and wouldn’t let me move on with my life. I know that even if i had stayed at Disney it wouldn’t be the same. A lot of my friends went back home and would have not been there. That doesn’t mean I still didn’t get a wicked case of FOMO every now & then while seeing posts from the people who are still there.

In comparison to life right before, summer ’19 seemed like a dud. That doesn’t mean there weren’t good days and fun times, they were just fewer and farther between than they used to be. It did cause me to learn a lot.

I learned to pay attention to the little moments and not downplay their signifigance. Trips walking to Starbuck’s with friends from work, getting to snuggle with my cat, not having to buy my own groceries (thanks, mom), and all the little things in between. These are the moments now that can mean so much more than they seem. They’re not getting hugs from Mickey Mouse or taking a trip to Mt. Everest in search of a yeti, but they matter.

In all honesty, I’m pretty glad summer ’19 is coming to an end. I’m excited to get back on campus for my senior year and graduate in May. I love the department I’m in and I’m excited for all that I’ll learn and be able to do throughout this last year! It’ll bring some more regularity back into my life that I’m hoping will help my mental state.

Plus, who knows, by this time next year I may be back working at Disney. I’m excidetly looking at different opportunities for post-graduation and really am pumped to see the aazing things God has in store. Whether that’s grad school, moving somewhere new, or staying where I am, I know good things will happen.

I hope summer ’19 has treated everyone well! If you’re in the same boat as me, here’s hoping fall will bring not only a new weather season, but a new & joyous season of life.

❤ / Bailey

When you can’t seem to get the right diagnosis.

SURPRISE, a post that isn’t about Disney. While I have a lot more Disney related content floating around in my head, waiting to be typed out, I figured I’d break it up and think about something else. Let’s talk about health.

As I’ve written about before, the last couple of years have been a whirlwind for me and my health. I’ve had the flu, eight sinus infections, countless ear infections, tonsilitis, and more. It hasn’t been the best. In December of last year, I had a new part of my body giving me problems…my digestive tract.

It started two weeks before Christmas. I thought I’d had a stomach bug with a lot of the typical symptoms (I’ll leave that up to you imagination, but I think you’ll get what I’m poking at). Unfortunately, it manifested into something else. I had intense abdominal pain that would hit me randomly. The type and location of pain changed, but it led to me not wanting to get out of bed and losing 10 lbs in 7 days. Something was very wrong.

I went to several doctors about it. The walk-in clinic doctor thought I had food poisoning and gave me anti-nausea medication. No help. Then I went to see my primary care doctor who told me to take an OTC heartburn & ulcer medication. No help. So, I went back to primary care who then decided to do a full food allergy panel & scheduled a gallbladder ultrasound at 7 am on Christmas Eve. Merry Christmas, to me. Despite all this testing and trying different medications, I was still in pain. Not to mention all of this was happening right as I was about to begin my Disney College Program and move 10 hours away from all of my family and medical providers.

TWO DAYS before I was supposed to be moving to Florida I finally went and saw a Gastroenterologist. They did a lot of blood work, talked through my symptoms, and ended up diagnosing me with “probably IBS.” I got some medication prescribed and was on my way to Florida with a slight pain still lingering.

Luckily for me, I seemed to be fine in Florida. In fact, I only got sick once the whole four months I lived there and that was a sinus infection I likely caught from my roommate, thanks, Sam. I worked around THOUSANDS of people every day cleaning disgusting strollers and managed to not get sick. Then I came home and it all changed.

I was fine for a while. I maybe made it two weeks before the pain came back. BOY HOWDY did it return with a vengeance. I won’t get into the gory details, but you can imagine the pain. I was near constantly feeling pain whether I ate or didn’t. The pain was sometimes tingly, sometimes stabby, and sometimes felt like something inside me was trying to break out. It honestly made me wonder if I should have not left Florida. I was fine the whole time I was there, whar’s with Johnson City that makes me so sick? Maybe it was the sunshine or just the fact that I was constantly busy and didn’t have time to be in pain.

Regardless, I knew I couldn’t take the pain anymore, so back to the Gastroenterologist I went. After talking through the symptoms, they decided it still sounded like IBS but decided to just up my medication and run some more blood tests. My tests came back with my inflammation levels (something to do with the colon, but I’m honestly not too sure) were a “high-normal” so in three months I have to go back for a re-check to see if I’ll need a colonoscopy. I also have a non-alcoholic fatty liver and will have to see my Gastroenterologist every six months to keep an eye on that. It will be a lot of diet management and constantly thinking about what I’m putting in my body in order to keep myself as pain-free as possible.

For now, I’m doing okay. I’m taking four pills (called Dicyclomine if anyone was wondering) a day just to make the calm my colon spasms enough to make pain manageable. Some days it’s worse, some days I’m pain-free. It’s random and I never know when the pain is going to hit. Despite the struggle in getting a diagnosis that I think is fitting to my symptoms and not being able to be completely pain-free, I am trusting that God is working through this journey. It’s strengthening me and God is going to help me get the help I need in the perfect timing.

I wanted to write this post to hopefully shine a light on a chronic illness that is common but can sometimes seem invisible. If I seem flaky or off, just know that there’s a reason. It’s not always visible on my face that I’m in pain or sick. I’m hoping for a cure or clear diagnosis, but I know God is working through all things.

❤ / Bailey

How to deal with post-Disney depression.

If you haven’t heard, there is a widely known phenomenon know as post-Disney (or in my case, post-DCP) depression. It’s that horrible feeling that smacks you in the emotions when you leave the magical Disney bubble and head back to reality. It sucks when you leave vacation, but imagine having to leave all that behind when you’ve spent months there making a home, friends, and magic of your own. Yeah, it’s rough.

Trust me, I know that there is MUCH worse going on in the world. There are people battling cancer, living in poverty, being separated from their families due to injustice, and so much more. I’m aware of this and that’s why I feel so bad for being such a debby downer lately. It’s the type seven within me beating myself up for feeling such negative emotions. Regardless, I think it’s healthy for me to acknowledge the fact that I’m not happy.

It hits me somewhat randomly now. That overarching feeling of loneliness. I left a place where I had so many accessible and readily available friends to do things with, and if they were busy I could easily make some new ones. Back to small town Tennessee where most of my friends have left, have things going on to keep them busy, or are always on the go traveling. By no means am I blaming any of this on them, just stating the fact that they aren’t around as much.

I also had more things to do. There is always something going on in Orlando from going to Disney parks, visiting a different theme park, driving 2 hours to the beach, going to a huge mall, or just exploring cute towns like Celebration. Not that Johnson City is an empty wasteland with nothing to do, but it’s definitely no Disney World. Now when I’m bored, I got to Target or Founder’s Park. They’re nice things to do, but I miss being able to go ride roller coasters, meet characters, or just take in the visuals that are Disney World. Which I’m aware, that was a very priviliged lifestyle, but one I also worked really hard for.

I don’t know that I’ll be fully able to feel the joy I had during my Disney College Program. It does get better over time. I can finally look back at all my pictures without physically crying (just on the inside now). I don’t think I’ll be able to listen to the Animal Kingdom park arrival music that I found on Spotify for a little while longer, but I’m making progress.

I’m holding onto hope that school starting back will help me feel better. I’ll have more friends around, more to do with homework and joining clubs, and overall more regulairty. I also get to start thinking about the future more as I plan for graduation. Thinking about it has me really excited about what comes next. Maybe a return to working for Disney will be in the cards.

Even if I don’t end up working for Disney again, Walt Disney World will always be a place I call home. So many happy memories were made there and I cannot wait to go back to Orlando. I don’t know when my bext visit may be, but I know I will love every second of it.

So, what are some ways to help cope with post-Disney depression?

Video chats and phone calls are key. Yeah, I’m walking the old fashioned stuff. When all of your friends are dispersed across the country video chats and phone calls can make a world of difference. Texting is nice and a good way to more constantly stay in touch, but there’s nothing quite like seeing someone’s face or hearing their laugh.

Don’t watch Disney videos for a while. This may not be for everyone, but whenever I first came back it was really hard for me to look at content from the parks. Especially my home park! It’s weird seeing it on screen when you aren’t there in person anymore. You’ll work your way back to being able to watch them. As my sister told me, “maybe don’t consume the media that makes you sad.”

Get your pictures printed. I know you took a TON of pictures while you were at Disney. Instead of just letting them sit on your phone, go get them printed. Plaster them along your walls, desk spaces, planner, notebooks, etc. to bring a sense of Disney wherever you go.

Remember how lucky you were to be there. Disney is a magical experience, and one not everyone gets to take part in during their lifetime. To go to Disney, especially to be chose to participate in the Disney College Program, is a huge honor. Don’t take that lighlty and count your lucky stars. Be thankful for the time you had.

Start planning those reunions. This will give you something to look forward. My DCP twin is coming to visit me in my hometown and I know I want to plan several more visits with the amazing people I met during my time at Disney. Also, plan those trips to return to the parks.

Stay busy. If your busy there’s no time to be sad, right? Okay that might not be the healthiest way to desribe. Being busy definitely helps though because it gives you less time to dwell on the past.

Hopefully some of these can help any others who are also experiencing post-Disney or post-DCP depression. It sucks, I know, but we’ll get through it. Walt wouldn’t want us being sad when there’s a great, big beautiful tomorrow to look forward to.

❤ / Bailey

 

 

 

 

Did I make the right decision in coming home?

It’s been almost two months since I’ve been back in Johnson City. I’m settled back into my parent’s house, started back at work at First Christian diving straight into a project, watched several pets, and have been spending time catching up with friends. It’s overall been good. One question keeps coming up from most of the people I meet.

Are you happy to be home?

This is not the easiest question to answer. Most of the time, I just say “yeah, definitely,” and move on. Truthfully, it hasn’t all been a happy transition. I had to say goodbye to so many people and a job I loved in Florida. It was way harder than anything I could have ever imagined. From the first second of being back in Johnson City, things felt weird being back. I actually had an anxiety attack and couldn’t be alone for the first night. It was a struggle.

What’s known as “post-DCP depression” is very true, and something that I’ve struggled with since being back. I couldn’t even watch videos of Animal Kingdom without tearing up for a couple of weeks. Seeing all my friends who stayed posting things made me miss them and long to be back, working in the jungle. As the post-DCP depression has gone down a lot, it does still hit me at random moments. Without the readily available amount of friends that I had in Florida near me anymore, I can often feel an overwhelming sense of loneliness. Certain Disney songs or pictures set me off and some days I just can’t shake a sad feeling and end up crying it out.

All this struggle within the transition has me wondering: Did I make the right decision in coming home?

For now, I am sticking by my decision that coming home to Johnson City was the right thing to do. I am excited to finish my last year of school at ETSU with the amazing friends that I have made along the way. I do love the program I’m in and am excited to see the what school has in store for my last two semesters. I am thankful to be closer to my friends here and family and be able to see them whenever I want. Tennessee is a beautiful place, and I’m glad to not be in the killer summer heat in Florida.

There are a lot of things I miss though. From the moment I’ve been back, I have felt an overwhelming sense that going back to Disney is in my future. I’m not done working at one of the most magical places on earth. I’m excited to see what will come after graduation and am hopeful Orlando and Disney will be where that path takes me!

It also makes me happy to know I have people supporting me in this decision. While talking to someone recently, my mom mentioned that felt like Orlando was where I was meant to be. It was a place where I flourished and was filled with joy. It made me smile hearing her say that and also knowing she will always be in my corner, even if I end up moving away.

Johnson City, TN will always be home. Now, so is Disney. I plan on going back to visit at least once this year and then *hopefully,* make it home again when I graduate in May. Wherever I go, I know the people I love will remain in my life and be with me. God has a plan for my life and will lead me just where I need to be.

❤ / Bail