Questions by Mei-Mei Mijares
M: Hi Kaitlyn! First things first, thank you so much for choosing to write with us! I absolutely loved this take on Refresh. When you found out the theme, how did you come to this topic? Has it been on your mind for a while?
K: Honestly, when I found out about the theme, I kind of didn’t process it until about a month later. When I first was told the theme I was going through some minor life difficulties, so trying to think of something “refreshing” was difficult. I then had to take a step back from everything and figure out if I wanted to speak about my journey of refreshing or if I wanted to speak about a hobby or something else. I really didn’t start drafting until 5 days before it was due, I was just so flabbergasted on the topic.
M: I think sometimes we think of “refresh” as getting rid of things permanently and starting anew, but in your blog, you explained that you actually had to take a step back to get to a good place. What do you think was your biggest challenge with that process?
K: Being alone was no doubt the hardest part. I come from a single-parent household with two older siblings, so growing up there was always someone home with me. I moved out right before quarantine started, so being on my own and now in isolation was really tricky. I had to learn it was okay to be alone and I didn’t have to bash myself all the time.
M: Similarly, what was the easiest part of the process? Was there something you let go of that made breathing SO much easier?
K: As horrible as it might sound, letting go of all my “friends” was so easy. In the end, I found out there were never really true friends, to begin with. For some I ghosted, I couldn’t bear to tell them I didn’t want to be friends so it was easier for me to just disappear and for them to take the hint.
M: Affirmations are definitely huge right now! We love to see it! When picking out which seven affirmations to settle on, how did you know one of them was “the one?” Like, “oh I absolutely have to include that one.”
K: I chose the ones that counterclaimed all of the negative thoughts I had about myself. I am enough. I used to tell myself I wasn’t able to complete something or I wasn’t good enough to act in some way. I would tell myself this all the time to encourage myself to do better, but the only thing it did was make me even sadder. I create my own happiness. As I stated earlier, I was not used to being alone so for me, my happiness was being with other or watching other people smile and have fun. Don’t get me wrong, I would still have my own fun but my true happiness was never caused by me being me.
M: Thinking about life as a circuit was really eye-opening for me—it forces us to acknowledge that everything about us absolutely connects! What’s the origin of this metaphor? Have you had this idea for a long time?
K: I’m not sure how I came down to the metaphor. I knew for a while we were all connected and a lot of history, unfortunately, repeats itself. As I was writing, I wanted to turn the life aspect into something everyone will realize never ends. Granted circuits do mess up and stop for a little, but so does our world. I’m sure there are other things that could have described life better but a circuit has many components and sections it needs in order to properly operate and continue. When you think about it, life has a lot of components and sections we need in order for us to be present here. If the hard drive in a circuit crashes (just like our government) everything around it becomes incapable of doing anything.
M: “Love yourself so you are able to love others harder” is such a good way of putting it! What do you think when people say you “have to love yourself before you love anyone else?”
K: At first I never really understood when people would say that. I always thought two people could grow and love each other and themselves at the same time. As I went through a few relationships, I realized I directed a lot of my self-hate onto the other person, causing them to do the same thing back to me. It’s really important to love yourself completely. Next thing you know, you’re slowly changing the person you’re with to accommodate for all of the not-so-great parts of yourself.
M: What do you hope your audience takes away from this piece?
K: I hope the audience understands that self-love is a hard journey but it’s definitely worth it. It’s also a continuous practice, life is always throwing fastballs at us, and being able to pick ourselves off is really important. I think everyone should find the opportunity to step away from the world and everything stressful for a moment to reevaluate themselves and to truly ask themselves if they were happy. That’s how I began my journey, I asked myself if I was genuinely happy with where I am In life and who I was as a person and I instantly started to get watery eyes max
M: What are you up to these days and where can our audience find you?
K: I currently spend my days working at Charles River Labs- Reno as a medicine research technician. I mostly spend my days inside doing homework or binge-watching television shows. Nothing too fun at the moment. I normally would be outside in nature but I decided to take a step back from outside travel for a little and work on finishing off my degree quickly. My goal is to be in the Hall of Fame for making a huge medical difference, we’ll see how that goes. You can find me on Instagram @kait_kate_k8