Book Excerpt, General, Life Talk

Remember the Good-Book Excerpt

The following is an excerpt from Love Letters to a Warr;or: A Journey of Self-Love. Publishing date TBA.

Dear You

Remember the friends who were there when it seemed like no one else would be, the ones who picked you up and made sure that you didn’t fall, even though falling was the only thing that you felt like doing.

Remember the joy of late nights spent laughing, being silly and making no sense to those on the outside, throwing absurdities around like confetti, making memories that glow warm even in the cold and dark.

Remember the nighttime trips to nowhere, filled with stories and junk food, just driving to drive and enjoying the view as young hopefuls who have the whole world ahead of you, starting with that night.

Remember the times spent rooming together at summer camp, staying up late, pulling pranks, making jokes and growing closer than ever before, cementing a bond that will become lifelong.  Even if the camp was hard, at least you had each other.

Remember the love of choosing a sister, a fellow warrior who will ride into battle with you, who will stick by your side through everything and will always be there to love and support you as fiercely as family.

Remember how to have and be a cheerleader, cheering each other on through all the crazies of life, no matter what you conquer, big or small, celebrating each other’s accomplishments or attempts, no matter what size.

Remember when a simple cup of coffee could be a religious experience, sitting together and laughing, talking about the complexities of life and all the things that you love making forever memories over something so humble.

Remember the phone calls or visits that happen when the rest of the world was long asleep, the ones who were there to welcome you with open arms when you felt like you would succumb to the darkness, ready to give in to the demons.

Remember the strength you get from being a friend, the intimacy and the closeness that it creates.  There are very few people you will have in this life who love you like friends, and the love, the relationship, is special.

Remember to thank those friends every now and again, for all the things they do for you.  You will never again find people like them in your life, and those are the relationships you’ll cherish in even the darkest times.
Remember the gift of friendship in the times of great stress and struggle, and all the people for whom you hold on to this world, even when you are in the deepest darkest hole.

Remember all the journals that you could fill with the love and strength and empowerment and laughter that you have collected from your friends over the years, and all the smiles that you get from the memories.

Remember to, every once in a while, reach out your hand and be a friend to someone else, someone new.  You never know, you might end up with a whole new set of laughs.

Love,

Me

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Affirmations, Faith, General, Life Talk, Real Talk

You’re Right Where You’re Meant to Be

My most recent therapy session was the first one in a while where I felt that I had only positive things to say and it was going really well. I was in a good place, and feeling pretty solid about where I’m at in life; I was at one of those ups in depression where you feel really awesome about the world and where your life is, and all parts of my life were falling into place. Finally, the subject of my love life came up, since there’s a new guy in the picture and I wanted to get her opinion of him before I stressed too much about whether he was going to be worth my time or not (by the way, he is).

Anyway, I was sitting and talking to her about how I was finally casting off the social media goggles that I am always wearing, the ones where I look at the people that I graduated from high school or college with who are in different, seemingly more advanced, places in their lives and think that I’m somehow behind because I’m not engaged yet or in a long term relationship or running a company at almost 24 years old. I was talking about all the people in my life who constantly remind me that I’m “only 23 years old,” and shouldn’t be in such a rush, and that I was finally coming to terms with that and accepting it as a truth in my life. And that’s when she said something that I’d heard before, but at this time in my life really struck me: “You’re exactly where you’re supposed to be.”

Those words have stuck with me this time, all the way to today when I am (finally) writing this post. They are so simple, yet so powerful, and cannot be any more true than they are right now. Here are some of my reasons that it’s true:

  1. I’m working only one job and finding my niche in the industry
  2. I’ve been writing more and developing my craft, while also looking to build a portfolio and look for freelancing positions
  3. Despite my young age, I have been able to hold down a job for almost 2 years, the first years out of college
  4. At just 23 years old, I am (almost, with a couple married roommates) living out on my own
  5. God has my plan in place, and He’s constantly sending me signs that I am on the path that He wants me to be on in this life

Despite all the feelings that I don’t belong, that I don’t know what I’m doing in this world, because of my age, my degree, and sometimes I even feel like my depression throws up walls that I can’t climb, I am exactly where I’m meant to be. The only timeline that I need to be following is my own, the only standards I need to live up to are the ones that I set for myself and the only expectations that I need to satisfy are mine, designed by me alone. No one else can dictate what I should live up to, and no one else should. The only person who can make my life rules is me, and I am in charge of how I feel. If I don’t like it, I can change it.

Every person, place and thing that I have encountered on this journey has led me to this moment, to typing these words, to my finger hitting each key as I sit in front of my MacBook Pro on a Monday night. I am exactly where I am meant to be, writing these words for you all to read. The people that I have come across that have hurt me, broken me, pushed me down, those are the people that I have the most to thank. They are the ones that showed me where I was going wasn’t where I was meant to be, and sent me off in another direction. God puts those reminders in your life and in your heart, as His way of talking to you and telling you that He has a plan for you that’s bigger than what you’re going through, and right where you are, is where He wants you to be.

Remember this: If it feels right in your heart, it’s what you’re meant to be doing. If it makes you feel strong and powerful, right and belonging, then you’re right where you’re supposed to be. If you can wake up in the morning and breathe deeply because you are ready for the day ahead, then you’re doing okay in the world. Society might have set some timelines for how people are supposed to act and when things are supposed to be done, but it really doesn’t matter. Your heart is the timeline, your soul is the clock and your path is your path. The people who are there along the way are all meant to be there, for some reason or another, and the challenges that you face will make you a stronger person. Every time you veer off the path you think you’re heading down, you’ll stumble into a place where you’re truly meant to be, and before you panic, take some time to enjoy the ride.

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The only person who can decide your life and your timeline is you. Even if you feel like you’re moving slower or faster than other people in your life, if it feels right and comfortable for you, then it’s exactly right, no matter what society says. To paraphrase William Ernest Henley “[you are] the master of [your] fate, [you are] the captain of [your] soul.” It’s all right for you, and it’s all right in the grand scheme of things.

Daily mantra: I’m exactly where I’m meant to be.

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Blog Talk, General, Life Talk

The Liebster Award!

 

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The beautiful @moodsreflective and Michele from Mindful Wellness tagged me in this blogging tradition, The Liebster Award. So, I’m answering both their questions and will follow the rest of the rules of the Liebster Award!

Rules:

This tag is meant to help bring more awareness to your blog, as well as be able to help others grow in the process by passing it along to other bloggers that you nominate. We’re here to make connections amongst each other in the blogging community, you guys, so this is a perfect way to make those connections to get your blog goin’. So, here are the ground rules, as I’ve seen them:

  1. You recognize the person who tagged you in the first place in your Liebster Award post.
  2. You answer the questions they included in their post for you to answer (they’ll normally insert the new questions they want you to answer towards the end of their blog post. I almost got confused and thought I was supposed to answer the questions that were already answered, lol).
  3. You create 11 new questions for the people you nominated to answer.
  4. You’ll tag the bloggers you feel you’d want to see do this tag, preferably if they have around 200 followers or less (help their follower count jump the fuck uupp).

Here are the questions from the wonderful moodsreflective!

Who are you writing for: the people, or yourself?

I’m writing for me, mostly, as a way to express myself and get in the regular practice of writing more. I also wanted to join a community of people who were similar-minded and dedicated to blogging and sharing and would help me make my writing better 🙂

Where do you normally draw inspiration for your blog posts?

Things that happen in my life, things I witness, and sometimes a thought that I want to write about and want to explore further

Who are you the most inspired by right now?

All of my fellow bloggers, warr;ors and mental health warr;ors, as well as my coworkers

If blogging is mainly your side hobby, where does your true passion lie?

Being a voice for those who feel like they’re in a dark tunnel, helping people in crisis and giving a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, and a support in times of turmoil. I am a social worker by trade, and I wouldn’t trade it for the world

Do you feel that your current level of confidence is where you want/need it to be?

When I’m standing in front of a bunch of impressionable kids, I’m the most confident person ever and I love it! In real life, my confidence could use a little work

Do you feel like you have enough “me” time?

I take so much “me” time that it’s crazy. I just wish that sometimes I had some more productive “me” time and actually accomplished some goals once in a while (Exhibit A: it’s taken me 3 days to write this blog post)

Are you most comfortable in a crowd, or hiding out in your room?

My room, all the way. It has my books, my laptop and my Gilmore Girls ❤

In times when you feel overwhelmed by life, what do you do to re-center yourself?

Reading, writing, going for long drives, falling asleep at random times in a comfy bed, listening to empowering music

How do you stay motivated to keep writing blog posts if you don’t get the amount of feedback you’re aiming for?

Knowing that this blog is for me, as a way to write out my feelings, practice my skills and express myself. If I reach one person with at least one of my posts, then I’ve done my best

Does your family know that you blog? If not, why?

Right now, no. This blog is for me, and my personal thoughts and feelings. While some people would argue that putting them on the Internet isn’t really all that personal and private, it still feels like mine and my project and a great way to grow my feminism and faith without too much pressure from too many people I know all too personally

What is a lesson you wish you would have learned earlier on in life?

Your parents are there to help you, not hurt you, and they want you to succeed. There is no shame in asking them for help when you’re struggling, because they are there to help you learn how to live life and be independent

Here are Michelle’s questions:

How long have you been blogging and what inspired you to start writing?

I’ve been on and off blogging for about 4-5 years. I started in college, and was just looking for ways to express myself and my thoughts on the world around me. This is probably my 3rd or 4th attempt at a blog, and I have been so inspired this time by myself and my journey and all the other strong people in this world and the blogging community

What is your experience/journey with mental health?

I was diagnosed with depression in high school, and have been fighting it ever since. It’s been a long road of finding the self-care that works for me and the coping skills that get me down from the ledge that I’m on. See this post for the full story on my mental health journey

What are you favorite self-care tips/routines/rituals?

Painting and art have been really healing for me, as well as writing. There’s something about creating something from nothing or blank space that’s so wonderful and exciting. Reading is also a wonderful part of my self-care, being able to appreciate the work of fellow artists and writers.

What else do you enjoy, aside from blogging?

Reading, writing, journaling, watching Netflix, going for long drives with the music blaring

What is your favorite food?

Any comfort food, really 🙂 I’m a picky eater when it comes to some things, but I also know what I like and what makes me happy

Any book recommendations? Mental health related or just for fun?

I just finished This is Just My Face, Try Not to Stare by Gabourey Sidibe, and it was AMAZING! I also love reliving classic childhood books like the Little House series by Laura Ingalls Wilder and more. If I had to write them all down, it would be a blog post in itself. Stay tuned for that post!

What are your long term goals for your blog?

Keep up with it for at least 6 months, be a part of the community and write some stuff

What’s your favorite song when you are feeling down?

Fight Song by Rachel Platten, Brave by Sara Bareilles, Fight Like a Girl by Kali Shorr, I Am Invincible by Cassadee Pope, I Will Survive by Gloria Gaynor, Make My Own Sunshine by Olivia Lane, Own It by Bailey Bryan, Road Less Traveled by Alyssa Bonagura, Road Less Traveled by Lauren Alaina, Roar by Katy Perry and pretty much anything country 🙂

What keeps you positive?

I’ve made it through every bad day so far; I can make it through these. God sometimes has a plan different than my ideas and trusting Him is the fastest way that I’ll be happy

What have you found to be the most difficult about blogging so far?

Sticking to a schedule and sometimes remembering to post

How has blogging or being a part of the blogging community helped you?

I have learned more about myself, my writing style and learned how to be more open with my mental health and personal journey. I have met some wonderfully strong and inspiring bloggers, and I am so grateful to be learning from them and working with them and building a group of warr;ors that I can lean on and be a part of and it’s so empowering!

 

And now…. it’s my turn. Here are some awesome bloggers that I admire:

Here are my questions for you all!

  1. Is this your first blog? If not, how have your blog efforts changed over the years?
  2. How has blogging made an impact on your life?
  3. What is your favorite thing about blogging?
  4. If you could travel any place in the world, where would it be?
  5. Favorite TV show to watch on a rainy day?
  6. If you could do one year in your life over again, what would it be and why?
  7. Name your 3 favorite things about yourself
  8. If you were going to run for president, how would you convince people to vote for you?
  9. Do you have any pets?
  10. What inspires you to blog, write or post?
  11. What is one thing that you wish everyone knew about you?

Thank you to moodsreflective and Michele for tagging me in this and allowing me to take part in it! I had a lot of fun, no matter how long it took me to write it!

Stay fearless, friends (3)

Faith, Life Talk, Real Talk

I Wore My Illness: A Note on Mental Health

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I was honored to participate in The Heart Project, a project intended to end the stigma surrounding mental health. I decided to wear my illness and show it to the world, because I wanted to show what I am fighting each day, and come out from behind my mask of fineness and share my struggles, being honest with all of you beautiful people out there.

Depression: I was diagnosed with depression when I was in high school. It was my senior year, and I was struggling in so many different ways. Moods were constantly changing and I was more down than up, friends were worried about me, and scheduling meetings with school counselors to try and figure out what was wrong with me. I couldn’t pull myself out of the deep hole of sadness and uncontrollable moods that were constantly swirling around me. There was nowhere to run, nowhere to hide, and I could barely stay in school some days. It was hell, and I had no relief.

The diagnosis was the first hint of relief for me, the first sign that I had a light at the end of the tunnel of unknowing. The thing that I was fighting had a name, had a face, and had a community of people that fought to combat it every day. I had a support system, and a place to turn when I needed an ear, none of which would have been possible without that first trip to a therapist and a psychiatrist and trying to find a name for the beast.

Now, I have been on Lexapro for 7 years, been in therapy on and off, and am constantly working on my coping skills. By talking about my mental health, and the struggle I face every day, I am normalizing it, giving it a name and showing depression that it can’t beat me. Some days are better than others, as it is with all struggles, but I know that I can face each day confident that I am going to beat it because I have beat every day before it. The monster in the closet has a name: Depression, and I have a plan to defeat it.

Self-Harm: It was my number 1 coping skill for a long time, my way to escape from the world, and to give something physical to the pain that I felt inside. Too long I felt the pressure building up inside me, and taking a knife to my wrist was the only way that I could let it out. Hurting myself was how I expressed my pain; being mean to my body was how I felt better about the life I was living and the choices I made.

You don’t have to have a knife or a razor to self-harm. Even when I wasn’t cutting, I was calling myself stupid and worthless, wondering why I even deserved to live. Putting my body down, putting my choices down, and putting my life down every day, when I feel like I didn’t belong somewhere or my work hasn’t been up to snuff lately. Hurting myself took many shapes and forms, no matter if I had a sharp object in my hand or not.

March 13, 2015. The last day that I cut myself, put a knife to my wrist and opened it up. Not the last day I told myself something hateful (that was more like the night before last), but the healing journey is not a straight one. It has lumps and bumps like any other road. Every day I don’t cut myself is a victory for me.

PTSD: Was the diagnosis I got after leaving an abusive relationship. I was constantly having flashbacks of the torment I experienced, and once even thought I saw his car on the road, even though I now live 2 states away from him. He still haunts my nightmares occasionally, usually kidnapping me or looking for me no matter where I am. But I have moved on from him and his insanity, his putdowns and his insecurities. Sure, I am not perfect, but the flashbacks and nightmares have calmed down now, and I have learned new ways to combat them when they do arise. Of all the demons I’m fighting, his is the one I am best able to keep at bay.

Support: Here’s to all the people that are out there, struggling just like me. The people who feel they have no one else to turn to, who feel encased by the darkness, desperately looking for the light at the end of the tunnel. Here’s to the people who have monsters in the closet and inside of them, and who are seeking a way to fight them. Here’s to the people who get through just one more day, take life one day at a time, who hold the blade to their wrist and wish that they had the courage to open it up and let the blood flow freely, but make the decision to try to make it through just one more hour. Here’s to the people who hit a bump on the healing journey, who got off at a detour, or are just taking a pause while they recollect and try to see what happens next.

The semicolon that I have tattooed on my wrist demonstrates a reminder that a pause is not the end, only an invitation to keep going in a new direction. Just because there is a bump in the road, doesn’t mean the journey is over. There is no shame in taking a breather when you need to figure out what step to take next. The road is rocky, the journey is long, but it’s flanked with love and support along the way.

I’m here for you… You are not alone… I love you… You are strong… You are a warr;or, darling. Things will get better, just take it one day at a time. ♥

Stay fearless, friends (3)

 

P.S. I have joined a group of bloggers looking to put together a mental health awareness collaborative project. Have something you want to see? Have ideas? Fill out this survey and tell us! https://www.surveymonkey.com/r/HQ826JK

Book Excerpt, General, Life Talk

Love is Louder

The following is an excerpt from my book Love Letters to a Warr;or: A Journey of Self Love publish date TBA.  Just sharing thi

Dear

Love is louder than self-harm, than hate, than racism,

Than bigotry, than war and all the ugly redness that

Covers our society today and causes

Good people, educated, God-fearing, well-raised people

To throw around word grenades as simply as if they were

Balls of paper tossed around at lunchtime under a teacher’s eagle eye.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the disregard for that person that you pass on the street,

Begging for something, anything from the cars that pass by,

Just another way to get them through that day,

Stay alive for another 24 hours, even though they have to do it all again in the morning.

They look grungy, undesirable, lonely, pitiful, ignored, forgotten,

Blending into the background, in desperate need of someone to ask them their story.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the bullies on the bus, and, when we get older, the bullies that we live with.

All the people that try to cut you down and tell you that you’re worth nothing more

Than the dirt under their fingernails, tear you down just so that they can

Rise up themselves and take everything from everyone because they need to feel powerful.

The hurtful words that tear through you like a knife, the punches and slaps that take the

Shine away from you because they never learned what love is and means and looks like.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the little voice inside you that says “you can’t”

The one that creeps into your nightmares and your daydreams

Curling around your wrists and ankles, ensnaring you in its trap

Of paralysis and fear and self-doubt.

That little voice might be loud at times, and berating while you strain

Against the shackles, but it can always be droned out because:

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the mistakes you’ve made along the way, the little slip-ups and messes and Downright disasters that you’ve sometimes caused in your journey.

Those reasons that sometimes you feel people look at you and think that you’re no good,

No good for the job, no good for the boy or no good for more than what you have now.

Think of all the times you look at your life and feel like there is nothing more for you to try

Because you’ll just mess it up anyway.  Always remember:

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than the disgust that you feel when you look in the mirror,

The criticism that you always have for your figure,

And the neon lights you add to the parts of you that you deem ugly.

You’re convinced that everyone you pass on the street is pointing out your flaws

For their friends to notice and laugh about since they have never seen someone that gross,

Even though, in reality, you’re the only one who knows what you hate about yourself.

 

Love is louder.

 

Love is louder than your fears, your doubts, and your stresses.

Love will be there to drown out your objections, your questions and your misdirections

Until you stop looking down on yourself and find a way to show yourself kindness.

Love is there when no one else is, self-love, and by loving yourself,

You can overwhelm the haters and prove to them that you’re strong, you’re powerful,

You’re a fighter and that you know, you will always know:
Love is louder.

 

Love,

Me

Stay fearless, friends (3)