Song of the week 

New Attitude by Patti LaBelle.

 

New Attitude was released in 1985 and it is still a hit song, to me. What can I say I’m a sucker for the oldies. It’s one of those songs that makes you realize that music really does transcend time. It is the perfect get up and go song. It keeps me on my feet and is great when I’m working out. The energy that comes from this song is intoxicating and every time I listen to it, it makes me feel like I’m ready to take on the world!

What about you, what’s your get up and go song?

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Closer to the Sky

Today at 8AM I got dressed and went out for a walk. It wasn’t planned and I had no real reason to do so except that I felt compelled to do it. Taking random walks infrequently isn’t new to me but for some reason today felt different.

 

Nature

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It was beautiful. The trees, the flowers, the quiet. Not the deafening kind, the beautiful kind, the forgiving kind. Birds and crickets chirped, the wind howled. The tranquility of it all was pretty euphoric.

 

Being Alone

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I haven’t been really alone in a while. Like really left to myself without any distractions or hindrances from anyone. I forgot how awesome it can be. For a while now I’ve been scared of being alone. Being alone in a relationship or a friendship or something as simple as being alone when running an errand. I forgot that being alone doesn’t mean you’re lonely. I had felt lonely when I was in a crowd of people and also when I was left alone so I guess I began to equate loneliness to being alone at some point. But that’s not true. Being alone is wonderful! It lets you clear your head and really get to know yourself better, it provides peace and space. I guess what I’m trying to say is don’t be afraid to have a moment when you feel alone in the world.

 

The creative adult

 

Ursula K. Le Guin, the author of one of my favorite short stories, The Ones Who Walk Away from Omelas said something that really rang true to me this morning. She said,

“The creative adult is the child who survived.”

I reached the point in my walk where I got to a playground and the first thing I hopped on was the swing. Now it may look weird seeing a 19year old swinging in a playground alone but I don’t care, and you shouldn’t either. I can’t remember the last time I even saw kids at a playground but this was my haven when I was younger. The inspiration leaking out of it was phenomenal and it was the thing that pushed me to write this post in the first place. There’s something about having that inner child in you that just makes everything that much more alive and bubbly! Not all my inspirations come from playgrounds or cartoons but where they come from isn’t what really matters, that child-like wonder is. The ability to see things from a standpoint of honesty, innocence, childish delight and applying that to your current reality as an adult. It has a way of keeping your creative juices flowing in many different, unexpected directions.

 

If life was a movie…

I’ve never been one to fantasize about living in a movie but if life was a movie I would be the heroine and the score playing would be Aint it fun by Paramore.

I was swinging higher and higher, enjoying the breeze and fresh air and singing along to ain’t it fun and completely at peace with myself and my reality at that moment. This would be the part of the story where I get my big epiphany and then miraculously all my problems would go away, all will be right with the world and I’d have a tidy happy ending. But life isn’t a movie, problems don’t just solve themselves and speaking subjectively, there are no happy endings. There are happy moments, for example, getting married but the story never ends there. It’s not an ending, it’s a beginning. Life is continuous which means that it’s not really over till your heart stops beating and in some cases not even then. So instead of wishing your life was a movie, create your own scenes, score your own story and make your own sequels.

REPRESSION

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There are many definitions for repression and my trusty pal, Google defines repression as “the restraint, prevention, or inhibition of a feeling, quality, etc.,” and this is the definition we’re going to be using.

Repression is an art form that I have mastered perfectly and I am desperately trying to unlearn. It is kind of the next step after avoiding your feelings, trying to pretend they’re not there. There are many reasons people repress their feelings. Sometimes feelings are too heavy and dealing with it all at once seems suffocating.  Sometimes you’d rather not feel at all, rather stay numb. Sometimes you know your feelings can hurt someone you love and keeping them to yourself seems like the best way to handle things. Sometimes you’re ashamed of your feelings so you hide them, pretend they’re not there so you don’t get judged or worse, realize that you are judging yourself 10 times more. Sometimes you know that the person you desperately want to share your feelings with wouldn’t understand them and so you never show it or speak about it. Sometimes you’re too afraid to reach out to someone because you don’t want your feelings to be trivialized.

It is because of these reasons and more that feelings are repressed. Although these reasons are understandable and very human, they are also very unhealthy. Repressing your feelings whether it is for your own sake or for the sake of another, is basically the creation of a ticking time bomb. Feelings are meant to be expressed, they are meant to be dealt with, putting it aside till a later date rarely ever works. Feelings build up and form things that are literally the stuff of nightmares. Repression is not the answer.

I know this is going to sound cliche as hell but honesty really is the best policy. It’s going to be difficult and it’s going to take a lot of effort on your part but being honest with others and most importantly yourself can really save you a lot of unnecessary drama and problems. It can also be the cause of a lot of problems, but that’s the point! You’re going to have it hard anyways so instead of prolonging your torture and potentially making it worse, rip the band aid right off and face your feelings head on. It’s harder than it sounds, I know, but trust me, you can do it! Xx

 

 

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“Fake It Til You Make It”?

It’s been a while but, hey guys! “Fake it til you make it.” Have you heard this phrase before? Well I have, countless times on so many different platforms it almost seems like the universal answer for everything. The most asked question that receives this answer is, “how do I gain confidence?” Along with that major question stems others such as “how do I get more comfortable in my own skin?” “how do I start to feel beautiful?” “how do I become good at public speaking?” and other questions that relate to a lack of self-confidence. Let me give you an example of how this works in a Q&A format:

Q: You’re always trying new things and aren’t afraid to be yourself, how do I start to feel beautiful too?

A*: Fake it til you make it that’s my motto. I wasn’t always like this but this is what I did, I would look at myself in the mirror every day and tell myself that I was beautiful even if I didn’t believe it and then one day I noticed I really, truly believed I was beautiful.

*Okay, maybe not as corny as this but this is a very similar sample to such a reply.

Now I’ve heard this answer given to many different people including myself and I am sick of it!

The idea of faking it till you make it has its merits and demerits but I hardly ever hear people talking about the demerits of it. Sure it’s cool if you can pretend every day until one day you start believing in your pretense but what about those of us who can’t operate that way and who don’t see the same results as you do?

For some people faking it until they make it just doesn’t work for them.  I’m not one to knock something before I try it so I will confirm that I did try out this suggestion and it didn’t work for me at all. Personally, it just felt like I was lying to myself and that didn’t sit well with me. For example, looking at myself in the mirror and telling myself “you are beautiful” knowing very well that I didn’t believe that just made me feel like a fraud and made me uncomfortable the whole day.

Don’t get me wrong though, in certain cases or situations and for certain people, faking it til they make it could very well work and that is great for them but it seems like there aren’t enough alternatives to it. Sometimes it only works for a little while and then you have to start faking it all over again and that’s not healthy. The reason why that happens is because you aren’t dealing with the main problem which is, why you are lacking that self-confidence. You could have just started to notice that you’re not as confident as you used to be or you may be looking at another person’s level of confidence or how they show it and be comparing it to your own. There are numerous reasons why you may be having a lack of self-confidence and there are many factors that can deteriorate your self-confidence, so for some people faking it til they make it is not an option.

Here are some alternatives to “faking it til you make it”:

  1. Find out why. This is the first and most important step. Why don’t you feel beautiful? Why do you find it hard to speak in public? Why don’t you feel comfortable in your own skin? Opening up to yourself and discovering why you are where you are today can really help you in your journey to self-confidence.

2. Separate logic and emotions. Logic and emotions rarely ever work together and that is the problem for a lot of people. For example, it’s easy to know that logically you are not fat but if you feel fat in that dress or you look in the mirror and all you see is “fat,” that is your first indicator that you are dealing with something much deeper than a lack of self-confidence. It is also a great opportunity for you to start paying more attention to the logical side of yourself although that can be very difficult.

3. Stop comparing yourself to others. Your friends may be loud and bubbly and seemingly filled to the brim with self-confidence and admiring those traits in them is good but trying so hard to be them is not. You may just be a naturally shy person and that does not mean that you lack self-confidence. The way you show your self-confidence may be different from theirs and that is okay. You don’t need to be them to fit in with them and they should understand that as well. You could be weak at public speaking and very strong when it comes to putting yourself and your work out there. Find what works for you, find your own truth and you’ll be fine.

4. Challenge yourself daily. Pretending may not get you anywhere but actually doing something that pushes you outside your comfort zone could make a world of difference. If you don’t feel comfortable singing in public, do it. You feel self-conscious wearing a crop top but you always wanted to wear one, wear one today! Whether you’re worried about what everybody else will think or scared of how you will feel when you do it, just do it because you could be very surprised with the outcome. At least try it once. Start small then keep going.

5. Ask around. When all hope is lost and you can’t see the beauty or the confidence in yourself, look for it through someone else! Sometimes it takes seeing yourself through someone else’s eyes to truly appreciate yourself. My friends have shown me parts of myself that I didn’t know existed or sometimes they make me see something I saw in myself as a problem, as something to be appreciated. These moments are infrequent but each and every one of them allowed me to change my perspective on myself.

The road to self-love and self-confidence is continuous and full of many bumps. It does not go in a straight line and you definitely have to fight hard for it, not all the time, but sometimes it not as easy as faking it til you make it.

I generalized this a lot and I just gave some basic ways for you to start on your journey but if you have a specific question to ask me regarding confidence-building or the journey to self-love, send your question(s) here and I’ll be sure to answer you as soon as possible. I may not have all the answers but I will definitely try my hardest to help you out.

 


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Where do you find your home?

Hey, guys! I missed last weeks posts because I was in a major mood decline (basically, I felt low the whole week and couldn’t get anything done). Anyways I’m back again and today we’re going to talk about the concept of a home and what that means to me.

Home means different things to different people. Some people think of home and see a  house. A building with walls and windows and rooms. A building that holds memories be it good or not so good. The wall that bears your children’s height as they grew from toddlers to teenagers, the room you wept in when you lost your first love, the wine stain on the carpet from that party you had years ago that just wouldn’t wash out no matter how hard you scrub, the scent of freshly brewed coffee that you love and has become a part of what gives your house character. All these memories are important but it’s not exactly what I’m talking about today.

Other people see a home as the people they surround themselves with. The people they trust and who care for them. Family, friends, lovers. Also likely to be a representation of home for some is their faith, what they believe in and what they model their lives towards. Both are very significant, but I’m not talking about that either. I’m not talking about anything else but you.

My home is not constant. It is not as tangible as a building or as sure as people and faith. My home is abstract and it is always changing.

You can call something or someone home and still be unsure, and still feel insecure, and never be at peace but I don’t agree with that.

To me, your home is your peace, and ultimately, the place you can truly be yourself.

The idea of being yourself is hard as you are shaped and made through so many external factors and life experiences and that’s beautiful. But it’s hard to be yourself really and truly. I struggle with being myself every day and this is mostly because I’ve lost ‘myself’ along the way in the trenches of depression and isolation. It’s hard for me to say I’m being myself when I’m not sure who “myself” is anymore but every now and then I get a glimpse of the real me and that is where I call my home.

My home can be in my writing or my music or my efforts towards mental health awareness or even in me sitting at home and watching anime. My home is in the places I can be free to express myself; my passions, my dreams, my woes, without the fear of being judged and unnecessarily questioned or having to be politically correct all the time. Where I can be a 100% myself without having to answer to anyone but me and where it is okay to not have things all figured out and keep trying to grow as an individual.

My home is me. Uncensored, unbothered, and unapologetic.

 


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Feeding the Darkness

It’s 10 PM on a Wednesday night and I’m lost.

It’s 10 PM on a Wednesday night and I’m frustrated.

it’s 10 PM on a Wednesday night and I can’t think straight.

It’s 10 PM on a Wednesday night and … I’m wondering how I got so attached to something so bad for me.

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In my last post, I  talked about starting a diary and I also mentioned that a particular section of my diary titled, “1 thing I ❀ about myself” was made to kind of counteract a list I had made a while ago called “Reasons why I hate myself.”

I never expected to talk about this on here, ever because although I am pretty open about a lot of things, there are still a few things that I believe are too personal to talk about. This is one of those things. I realized a few minutes before now that my mind was doing that thing where it couldn’t focus on anything, it was all jumbled and the only sure fire way to help myself was to write about it. So that’s what I’m doing.

When I wrote “reasons why I hate myself,” I was in a really dark place. Honestly the darkest place I’ve ever been in my life till date. It was a night just like this one; a bit chilly, lonely, isolated. The funny thing to me is that I don’t even remember the exact things that transpired that night to get me so low but I remember how it felt. I remember how it felt as if it were happening right now, replaying before my eyes. Without going into too much detail I’ll just suffice to say it was a very empty feeling. It was a long list. Let me give you an image to work with here. Imagine a page from one of those lined spiral binder books. The list filled front and back of that paper, leaving no space to spare. The last reason on my list? “The fact that I can even write this.”

Now, thank God I made it through the night and got to my counselor as soon as possible because we made a list of ways to combat the list together and I felt a lot better after our session, like I always do. Although, I can admit that I have only followed a select few things on our little list that we made, for reasons best known to me. She was going to throw away the “reasons why I hate myself” list but I stopped her and told her that I wanted to keep it, and she let me. I didn’t know at the time why I wanted to keep it so badly but now I think I have a good idea.

Ever since then that list has followed me everywhere I go. I’ve only read it about 3 times since April and I was just about to read it for the 4th time tonight. Before I did go to read it though, I thought to myself, “I should really throw this list away.” But almost immediately in defense, I replied back, “I can’t. I need it.” Now that had me thinking, So I needed it now? Every time I read that list it was because I was in a dark place and I felt depressed. Every time I was really low I’d read it and of course, it’d make me feel worse and then I’d cry harder. So why do I need it? It’s clearly not doing me any good. And yet, with the knowledge of that firmly in my mind I can’t bring myself to throw it away. I’ve had many things have a hold over me in my life but now, a piece of paper that I wrote to myself? Why?

I don’t want to forget. For some reason, I don’t want to forget all the reasons I hate myself even though day in and day out I’m working really hard to repair myself. After thinking about it for a while I realize that I’m feeding my depression, my insecurities, I’m feeding the darkness. I’ve gotten so comfortable being hurt and down that, I feel almost relief from inflicting pain on myself. I know I would never physically hurt myself intentionally but I’ve never thought of the idea of hurting myself emotionally but that’s exactly what I’m doing. It’s easier for me to see now why all my self-care efforts seem futile and like I keep hitting a wall. I’m still holding on to all this pain and anger and hurt. I still haven’t let go of how much I’ve hurt myself, I still haven’t forgiven myself.

~

Woah! After that, I think Y’all need to take a breather cause I know I did. Writing is so therapeutic for me it’s really no wonder why I love it so much. It is now 10:53 and I just worked out this huge problem though writing and I owe it all to God for giving me such a good medium to express myself and my thoughts.

Throughout this whole writing process, I had one thing in the back of my mind and that was “after this I’m going to throw that paper away.” That was a done deal but one thing I was still thinking about was if I should go ahead and read the paper again one last time. Trust me, I was very tempted, but no, I refuse to give myself the twisted satisfaction. Besides, I’m sure that if I look deep enough every single word is branded into my memory. Below is proof of the destroyed list:

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And no, I’m not going to wake up tomorrow searching through the trash for the little pieces to glue them back together like some lady that’s in really bad need of her daily fix. At least I hope not.

It is now 11:09 and I just came back from throwing the shreds into the trash. So how do I feel you ask? I don’t feel anything. I definitely don’t feel better and I didn’t expect to. Actually forgiving myself is not going to just magically happen because I threw a piece of paper away and I get that, but I  must say that it doesn’t hurt. It really doesn’t. I may not feel awesome about throwing away the list but I definitely don’t feel worse so I guess that’s ok for right now. 

Every day I learn and I grow in my pursuit of self-love. There are good days, there are bad days and there are days where I really feel like giving up is the only option but because of moments like these where I can still push through, even when things are bleak, and find hope glistening in the darkness. Because of times like this where I’m able to receive blow after blow after blow and still keep standing, and be hopeful for a better tomorrow, because of this, I don’t think I’ll ever stop fighting to see that silver lining.

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Well, thank you guys for sticking around and reading this and basically going through this short journey with me. See you in another post soon Xx.

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Why can’t you take a compliment?

Hey y’all! Today we’re going to talk about compliments. Can you take them? Why can’t you take them? And how can you start learning to accept a compliment?

I am very terrible at taking compliments. Anytime someone compliments me I thank the person but in my head I dismiss it completely. There’s always an excuse; “She’s just saying that because she’s related to me,” “He’s just saying that because we’re friends,” “Oh I don’t know this person but I’m pretty sure they’re just trying to be nice.” Anytime anyone tries to compliment me I just brush it off as insincerity.

Now let’s just get this out of the way first, you’re the problem. It’s not the person that’s complimenting you that has a problem, it’s you. It’s hard to believe someone thinks you’re worth something if you don’t. If you can’t see the beauty in yourself, how do you expect to see it through anyone else’s eyes. It’s difficult to take someone else’s compliment not because they’re not being honest, but because you can’t see the truth in their words.

There are a lot of reasons why you may not be able to take a compliment. One reason is your upbringing. You may have been taught that it’s immodest to compliment yourself and that can very easily spill over into letting other people compliment you. You’ve suppressed that part of you that is supposed to show self love and now when people compliment you it just sounds wrong.

Your behavior might also be due to new events taking place in your life. I’ve beaten myself down so much in the last few months that all I’ve heard are negative hurtful words about myself, I’ve also had other people close to me contribute to my self bashing and so because it’s been so hard to compliment myself and believe it, it’s even harder to believe anyone else when they try to compliment me. But I’m learning to do better for myself, to want better for myself. I feel like I do things everyday that are either going to shatter my confidence or build it up and as hard as it may be, or seem to be, it’s my job and my responsibility to myself to want to be happy, to want to be social, and to want to push past my insecurities.

So I’m doing something new that may not work for you but I’ve found that in a little bit of time has done wonders for my confidence building. I have a diary now, which is completely bizarre because I’ve never been that “dear diary” girl before but I guess that’s just where I am in my life right now. In each diary entry, along with a bunch of other stuff i’d rather not detail, I have two segments at the end I titled, “feelings & sh*t” and “one thing I ❀ about myself.”

Feelings & sh*t are my pros and cons for the day. What I achieved, what I want to do better, where I think I failed and so on. The rule for that segment is to always have pros and if I had a con, to always look for a redeeming quality and a solution, instead of just pointing out a problem.

One thing I ❀ about myself is exactly what the name implies and I made it to kind of counteract a long list I wrote a couple months back called “reasons why I hate myself.” the segment follows the same theme that my whole diary follows, which is to be kind to myself. This was hard to do at first but with time it got easier and writing this is honestly the proudest part of my day.

So, I may have pointed out your problem or maybe I didn’t, either way, take some time to yourself and think, why can’t I accept someone else’s compliment? But don’t stop there. Come up with a solution, try harder, don’t give up and maybe the next time someone calls you beautiful you’ll believe it with all your heart.

 


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