We are already a little over two months into the LEVN program. I feel like each day flies by so much faster than the day before. Our first retreat, which this year took place in Tahoe instead of Berkeley, came and went in the blink of an eye. In a little under two months, another year will end, and we’ll be starting 2018. It was just yesterday when Alexander, Allyson, and I went to Café Bernardo on December 31, 2016 to celebrate our last brunch of the year.  I feel like the pace of this year was a little erratic for me.  The summer days were eternal while the fall season has been too fast for me to catch up to.

I’ve been trying to do different things throughout the day so that I can slow down and hopefully feel like the days are longer and that I’m not in some sort of race. One thing that I did differently over the summer which I know can help me be present today was putting down my phone and fighting the feeling of having to instantly reply to text messages especially if it’s not urgent.  If you really know me, you know that I have trouble sitting still or doing things that require me to slow down (like laundry, watching a movie, or commuting on the bus). Rarely do I do these things without listening to music or without having my phone on me so that I can constantly be checking for updates. I know I haven’t been too successful at spending less time on my phone, but I do notice the difference when I set it aside. When I have my phone and music on me, my eyes are glued to the screen and my ears can’t hear past the song. I am not being part of the community and the people around me.

I am learning to not block out feelings that I normally would not know how to process. Life will present happy moments, sad moments, moments when I feel hurt and moments of remorse. Dealing with the feelings instead of pushing them down has been a new and overwhelming practice. I’m reminding myself that the reason it is difficult to manage my own emotions is because I have grown up thinking that the only way to deal with feelings is by ignoring them. I chose to ignore mainly the “negative” feelings such as anger, sadness, jealousy, and fear but eventually the “positive” feelings such as joy and love also became uncomfortable to feel. It quickly became easier to rely on material objects and other distractions in order to not feel.

I’m learning that instead of looking for the distractions, I need to slow down, take deep breaths, and allow myself to feel whatever is going on but to also use this time to communicate with God. When I slow down, and I’m not stuck in my head, I remember that God is guiding me and will help me process the feelings that are overwhelming. Even though there’s been a great deal of uncertainty in the last three months, God has given me a lot of love and is slowly but surely helping me see and experience the world so differently from how it has been for the past 26 years. I’m accepting that there are struggles that I cannot overcome alone and must give up control over to God. It feels as if God has given me a pair of glasses so that life doesn’t look so shadowy and they are slowly starting to work.

Three years ago, I was getting ready to begin a new chapter in my life that had always appeared impossible. I was getting ready to let go of the person that I had been trained and expected to be for 24 years. Making this decision did not happen overnight, in fact it was over a decade of self-acceptance. Making the choice to take the necessary steps to live my life more authentically and following through with it in November 2014 was the difficult part. I’m surprised how right it felt to start becoming me and I was eager for changes, new experiences, and friendships.  Back then I thought I knew who I was going to be today, and I was wrong. I’ll be 27 years old in January and I am still transforming into a different person which I didn’t think was possible.

Next year will present even more change and I cannot deny that part of me is feeling anxious about it. I have developed a connection to the city of Davis and both the LEVN house and program have truly been home for me since August of last year. Next year I’ll be leaving this home and starting a new chapter in my life. My plans for next year may not be set in stone so I’m trying to find the balance between planning ahead and experiencing each second of this program to the fullest.

Change is inevitable and all I can do is trust God’s plan for me.


– Leo

Computers 4 Kids