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Current Events mental health

The Truth about Us and COVID-19

It’s no secret that we’ve all, collectively, have been going through something within this pandemic. We have all been affected by this time. Curfews, grocery restrictions, changed plans, stay-at-home orders, to say the least. Everyone has been grieving the loss of their normal routines in different ways. Some people are acting as Facebook News Reporter, sharing every article and “researching” every statistic. There are other people who are cleaning everything all day. Others are binge watching TV. Others are just ignoring all the rules and still having friends over. Others are complaining about not being able to go to concerts, watch sports, go out to eat dinner, etc.

Can we all agree on one thing, perhaps? That the way things were before all this started, was not working? That the way we handled our lives – was not working for us?

I don’t know why you’d say that! I think things were just fine before”.

Really? Then why can’t you sit still? Why are you so uncomfortable with silence? What are you ignoring that you should face? What trauma have you been pushing down that you need the distraction from? Why are you so damn eager to go back to the rat race and the hustle-and-bustle and the diversions from you having a relationship with your mind?

So many of us never process our feelings. We push down our wants, our dreams, our desires, and follow a path that doesn’t feel right. We follow something that’s expected, or that doesn’t match our ideals anymore. We choose divorce over working on something that isn’t even broken. We push our kids into any and all activities to get them away from us and out of the house. We ignore our neighbors. We disregard our friends and family. We choose drugs, alcohol, gambling, sex, food, video games, absolutely anything possible to numb our feelings because it’s easier to ignore it than to face it. We go through our days on autopilot and our nights numbed or altered. Now that we finally have the free time to just relax, we can’t handle it.

What are you running from?

(I’ve said this before and I’ll say it as many times as I need to. I don’t have my psychology degree (yet!). I’m not a psychologist, therapist, shaman, guru of any kind… but I research as much as I possibly can and I love to learn. And just because I may not have any accreditation does not mean I can’t still be right.)

“So what do you do? Just stare at the wall all day? I need to be DOING something”

No, I don’t stare at the wall all day, silly. I write. I journal my thoughts. I do yoga and meditate and move my body. I read. I also work from home. I pray. I research places to visit, things to do, recipes to try, etc.

But, I get that. I used to not be able to sit still for a full minute. (I’m serious, my boyfriend made me try. Multiples times, and I would fidget after 15 seconds). Because my anxiety, my learned trauma, made me feel as though if I wasn’t productive, if I wasn’t actively doing something at all times, something terrible would happen. I would be wasting time. I’d be wasting the whole day if I didn’t get every single thing done. And that’s how most of us live. Constantly on the go, “the rat race”. Chasing productivity with a blind eye to everything else. And now, things are still. We are still. We have food, shelter, technology, etc, but we’re worried about football? We’re worried about not having new seasons of TV shows?

I gotta say it. That’s bullshit. These are clearly first world problems, but we cannot think outside of ourselves to see the big picture.

Well, I can help with the big picture.

Think of Every. Single. Thing. you could possibly be grateful for. And if you think you have nothing to be grateful for, try to imagine yourself from 10 years ago. What do you have in your life now that you used to dream about? Imagine yourself at 10 years old. What lessons have you learned since then?

I have my list below. It’s not everything (that would be way too long and boring for y’all. You’re welcome), but it at least should help a little bit with gaining some perspective.

This took me not even 10 minutes. And I feel happier thinking of all the good things I have around me. Like breeds like. If you focus on the negative, negativity will surround you. If you force yourself to think of the positives, you’ll be open to seeing more good things. (This thought process is Law of Attraction 101 that has been said many times in The Secret, The Four Agreements, and most religions).

I know this feels hard right now. But if all you are asked to do is stay home, then this isn’t difficult, this is inconvenient.

Of course, those of us with depression, anxiety, or any other mental health afflictions may be feeling this harder. And to these people, I say that you are not alone. Not only is the entire world going through the same situation, but I understand the struggle. I have had anxiety for my whole life and depression for most; I understand the sneaky, sly ways they warp your brain. Which is why it’s especially important for us to surround ourselves with positivity. To take away the strength of our mental demons and build of walls of good in our minds.

Emotions, any/all of them, are meant to be felt. So if you’re feeling depressed, then sit with that. If you’re feeling anything, sit with that feeling. Talk through it (even if to yourself, I’m talking out loud to myself all the time). Write about it. But remember that all emotions pass. Don’t hold onto the negative ones, let them pass.

(I’m not sure if any of y’all are into poetry, but I Am Not My Sadness by Janne Robinson is something I think about every single day. https://thoughtcatalog.com/janne-robinson/2017/04/i-am-not-my-sadness/ and is the best advice you’ll ever get when dealing with uncomfortable emotions).

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So I’m going to assume that you’re in a better head space now. You’re feeling grateful, you’re feeling grounded and less stressed. What’s next?

Being a sports fan or a reality TV show fan or an anime fan or a fan of any show (or anything, really) is nothing to be faulted for. You should have interests and you’re allowed to be passionate about things that make you happy. We all should have hobbies and things that bring us joy. But, in all reality, we can live without most of the things we have in our life. We CAN live without sports. We CAN live without TV. We CAN live without Netflix, festivals, etc. Granted, it may not be as fun or as enjoyable of an experience, but life can still be done without the extras. And realizing just how little we need to live is important.

Well if I’m not watching baseball during baseball season, then I’m not living.”

Yes you are. You are breathing, and your heart is beating. You are living.

I think an issue society faces is all we see is what is shown to us, rather than thinking for ourselves. And we tend to fall into routines and habits, which is a natural thing to do. But we usually forget to make time for being outside. For mindfully eating. For calling our parents or our kids. We forget to be intentional. Why do we do what we do? What is it even that we do? How does that make us feel?

Maybe self awareness isn’t something you’re interested in, and that’s fine. I support whatever makes you happy. (I mean if you don’t even know yourself then you can’t really be happy…)



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So you said that the way things were before wasn’t working. How do you think they should be, then?

I think we should prioritize happiness. And love. I think that we should stop complaining about bullshit, petty crap and be grateful for another day. Be grateful you have xyz to complain about.

(Another poem that has changed my perspective, Rudy Francisco’s Complainers https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p8NVLq2fGLc. Relevant to my point here and SO powerful).

I’m not going to get into much about politics, but I do think we need to start prioritizing the human beings and living things on this planet. I don’t think money should be more important than health. I don’t think greed should be more prevalent than nature. I think we need to take a step back and realize that we won’t be able to argue about politics if we don’t even have a sustainable environment to live in because we took everything we could from Mother Earth.

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Everyone is struggling right now. And everyone is allowed to feel sad during this time. 99% of the world’s population has never lived through, or even seen, a pandemic. It’s scary. But instead of getting angry about not being able to watch sports, check your priorities and remember why you like them. Think about the traditions, the fun, etc., and find a way to incorporate that into your life now. Play catch with your kids, watch old games on YouTube, etc.

To sum up, I kind of can’t stand what this time has brought out in people. It’s replaced common sense with stupidity, it’s replaced logic with fear, and it’s scary to see how many people cannot think for themselves. How their only thoughts are what they’ve read online, and how asinine of an idea it is to challenge what they’ve read instead of just accepting that as truth.

So accept this as your truth: I am reading this on something that is internet-enabled. I am able to access the internet. I am grateful for all the internet can show me – all the good, all the lessons, all the history and miracles and wonders of the world. I am grateful to have electricity, to be breathing, and to have <fill in the blank here>.

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Challenge yourself to go past the walls you’ve built to keep everyone else out. Read books. Go for a walk. Sit out on your front step. Meditate. Write in a journal. Have some damn perspective. This is not going to last forever, and the way you handle this is going to be how you handle every obstacle you’ll face from this point out. So do you want to be negative, be scared, and complain? Or do you want to learn why you think the way you do and how you want to start thinking? Do you want to accept life as it is, or pursue more? Do you want to push yourself to the best of your ability, push yourself to reach your highest potential? Do you want to stop running from yourself and finally find some peace?

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I want to thank all of the healthcare workers (EMTs, Paramedics, Nurses, Doctors, Techs, CNAs, LPNs, Transporters, etc). I want to thank the teachers. I want to thank the delivery drivers and grocery store workers and those in the food industry. I want to thank the artists and musicians and small businesses for doing things a bit differently. I want to thank all the essential workers and those of us switching things up ans do I want to let the parents know who are now home school teachers that y’all are killing it. I want to acknowledge all the sense of community we’ve been extending to one another. May we find peace during the chaos. May we find love in ourselves, and may we treat our minds as well as we treat our possessions. Wishing you all peace, love, strength, and perspective during this time.

Categories
Current Events mental health

It’s Okay to Not Be Okay

Happy Saturday.

Something that has been weighing heavy on my heart is something I think maybe other people could benefit from right now.

It’s no secret that we are living through history right now. The COVID19 pandemic has affected every single human alive in one way or another.

There have been many good things about this time: ecosystems in nature gaining strength, polluted areas seeing cleaner air, a sense of community with the entire planet, etc.

There has also been many stories shared online of people with anxiety who are handling this time well, because they live with a sense of panic all the time.

I want to check in and make sure you know that if your anxiety is worse right now, or if it has regressed to stages you thought you were not worried about anymore (🙋‍♀️), or if you have never had anxiety but you’re developing it now, or anything other than being “okay”…that’s okay. It is truly okay to not be okay.

I’m serious…It’s truly okay to not be okay.

As long as you’re safe, let yourself feel anxious. Let yourself feel whatever physical symptoms are being manifested in your body. Allow yourself to feel scared, nervous, angry, tired, whatever it is. This time is unprecedented for anyone alive right now. Acknowledge the difficulty in right now, and use this time of heightened sensitivity to check in to your needs.

Remember, we are literally all in this together. And I am here for you, sending all the good energy your way 💛

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General

Where? When? How?

Welcome back!

So far in my introduction posts, I have answered what this blog is, who I am, and my why. The other questions we all learned in English Class are the title of this post: Where, When and How.

Image result for who what where when how and sometimes why

The answers to these questions as it relates to this blog and my aspiring writing career are pretty straightforward, but I don’t like to leave things unfinished if I can help it.

Where

Q: “Where would I like my writing to take me? Where can you find my writings?”

A: For now, my writing can be found right on this blog! I also have a Facebook page, Instagram, and Twitter with the same name.
For the future, I hope to grow to have a website for my business. I will write books in multiple genres: personal development, young adult, children’s, thriller, etc. I hope to study psychology and become a psychologist and work virtually (an aspiring BetterHelp/TalkSpace therapist). I hope to heal people with my words.

When

Q: “That all sounds great! When will that happen? Also, when can we expect content on this blog?”

A: Simply, I don’t know.
With my last blog, I tried to write something weekly, but the quality suffered the more time went on. I don’t think you can schedule inspiration. While discipline is necessary for success, at this point I’m mostly focused on quality.
I also don’t know when I’ll write my books. I have a solid six ideas, and right now I’m letting the plots marinate in my subconscious while I go through my day-to-day.
But in the meantime, I’ll be doing work on myself and sharing my story along the way!

How

Q: “How will you be writing? How do you know if these things will happen? HOW?”

A: As someone with anxiety, preparedness is something that I struggle with. My anxiety wants me to prepared for all things, and unfortunately that’s just unrealistic (almost like wearing the perfect outfit in the spring! You always need layers). So while I can answer that I do my blogging on a laptop or my phone, I cannot answer much else.

~

Sometimes I like to imagine I’m being interviewed. Is that weird? Probably. But I wanted to finish up the little “segment” of introductions. I hope you all are having a great day so far!

Categories
Current Events

My Hopes for Society After the COVID19 Storm Passes

Happy Wednesday, everyone!

I promised myself I’d keep my typing fingers still when it came to the coronavirus/COVID19 craziness, but I have some thoughts that I haven’t seen shared much that I think are super important in a time like this.

Side note: I am a spiritual person. I study teachings from the major religions and have been studying more of spiritual teachings, witchcraft traditions, etc. I don’t really identify as any one particular school of thought, as I find that the themes of most of these ideologies are the same. Love your neighbor, love yourself, treat others how you want to be treated, etc.

Also, I’ve been working from home for almost a week now. It somehow feels like months and also like a shorter amount of time than a week at the same time. Time has always been something that hasn’t been the easiest on my anxiety, but I have been making an effort to keep myself at peace during this crazy time. Limiting my time on social media, only following uplifting accounts when I do go on, spending more time doing hobbies (reading and playing Animal Crossing: New Horizons, in case you were wondering!), and keeping a routine as best I can.

With that being said, I’ve also been pushing myself to really determine what is important to me. My priorities, my goals, my intentions, my dreams. What do I want my life to look like after this storm passes? And that has been a tad overwhelming, because my perspective has been zoomed out to a global scale (which is not helpful, as I cannot do anything about what the world does. I can only control myself and my actions, but anxiety seeps in to everything. Perspective is key!). However, below I have some lessons that I hope, as a international community, we can take with us when life returns back to normal.

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I hope we remember to take care of ourselves. Eating well, drinking water, washing our hands, being mindful of personal space, etc. I hope we remember that our bodies deserve to be taken care of always and not only in a pandemic.

I hope we remember to value those in the medical fields. EMTs, paramedics, doctors, nurses, CNAs, techs, etc. May we remember to respect them, to treat them well, and to compensate them fairly. These are the people with kind, selfless hearts and smart minds who take care of us during emergencies and during illness, and they should be revered as such.

I hope we remember to value our teachers. May we remember that not only do they teach our kid, but they teach probably 25 more kids every day. Middle school and high school teachers educate dozens of students a day. These people are the ones who inspire our children, who teach them, who lead them. May we treat them with respect, may we trust their judgement, and may we compensate them fairly as well.

May we not put so much emphasis on our neighbor’s race, religion, political views; may we care more about their well being.

May we learn more about ourselves – unpack our traumas, learn about things we’ve always wondered about, get back in touch with ourselves and our interests.

May we value our relationships. May we learn about our partner’s needs, their “tells” for when they’re stressed, their interests and priorities and goals. May we continue to fall in love with them every day. (For those in abusive relationships, may this time of isolation be the needed enlightenment to leave a toxic situation).

May we continue to support small and/or local businesses. Spending an extra dollar or two to support the corner store is nothing compared to a family losing their business to competition with chain corporate stores.

May we continue to come together as a community, to check in on the elderly, to support one another through hard times.

May we continue to appreciate nature. May we continue to take care of Mother Earth. The decrease in human activity lately on the planet has done great things for so many ecosystems, may we start to be mindful of the impact we have on our home.

May we remember the strength within us, within our communities. Illnesses are scary, but we have come a very long way as a global society. May we continue to choose peace, love, and light with all things. May we remember to prioritize our mental health. May we continue to not be wasteful with toiletries or food.

Most importantly, may we remember that we have all been through difficult times and have persevered. May we continue to look at the positives, to live with hope in the forefront of our minds, and be grateful for all things big and small.

I am sending every single person who reads this good, healthy, peaceful energy 💛

~🌼~

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General

Why?

If you’re ever seen anything from the personal development world, “finding your why” is something you’re most likely already familiar with.

If you’re not, allow me to explain. Your “why” is your motivation, your inspiration, your passion – why you get up every morning, the thing that drives the passion in your soul.

It’s taken me a long time to find my why. I’ve shared a lot about my personal life in my previous blog My Soul Told Me To. To summarize, it’s taken me a long time to get back to my roots and find myself, to remember my dreams from when I was a kid and acknowledge that my 7-year-old self was smart enough to know my “why”, and it just got lost along the way.

I have always wanted to help people. Ever since I was young, helping people was the main drive behind any career ambition – writer, lawyer, nurse, and now we’re back to writer. I love the feeling of helping someone, but a little extrinsic motivation with good intentions never hurt anyone!

I also love to write (clearly). I have half a dozen ideas for books, and getting back into blogging is something that’s been keeping me up at night.

So my why: I want to help people through words, through my writing. I want to write books that help people heal. I want to be a resource for wellness and mental health. I want to eventually serve as a virtual therapist. I want to be the light for someone who feels surrounded by darkness.

This is my intention with this blog. As I’ve said, anything I post here won’t be necessarily revolving around what’s #trending, because there’s enough of that already. And it won’t be every week, because I want my posts and my writing to be authentic and not curated just to meet a weekly deadline. But I hope to help heal, help educate, and help in any way I can.

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General

What's this?

Hello! I’m Jenna and I’m an aspiring writer. Thank you for stumbling upon my blog!

This is not the first blog I’ve had. I used to run My Soul Told Me To, but decided to take a break from that page. In my few month hiatus from MSTMT, I’ve been able to really narrow down my focus and find my passion.

Previously, I was inspired/distracted by the #bloggers who had millions of followers, blogged on a schedule, made a lot of money from ads…you know, that same story we’ve all heard time and time again. Aside from the fact that I was comparing myself to others (a No-No), I was missing one great big juicy piece of that secret life – the INSPIRATION. The PASSION. The fact that these woman I aspired to be like had worked for years to get to where they are now, and my half-assed blog posts about whatever was trending was not going to get me where I wanted to be.

So that brings me here. Finally embracing writing with my own name. Jenna. For years I had written as Bella Larsen, or just coyly didn’t write my name. A pseudonym was the best way to stay anonymous while still bearing my soul…but it also gave me an excuse to not bare down all the way. While I wanted my writing to show all of my vulnerability, I was still wearing underwear and a bra (if not more). To really grip readers, whether it be in a blog post or a novel, I need to get naked (not necessarily literally, per say). I need to be honest with myself, get comfortable in the discomfort, and then find a way to convey my soul to you through words that are raw and honest.

So that’s what this will be. I’m not going to post every week, because you cannot schedule inspiration. I’m not going to ask a question at the end of every post to try and boost comments, and I’m not going to do any of the things I was doing before. Because in 5, 10, 15 years, when I have gotten to where I want to be in my career, it will not be by doing what everyone else has done. It will be by being myself, that writer Jenna.

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General

Who Are You?

Hi! Welcome back to my blog. 

Fun fact, I created a new email and all new social media accounts for thatwriterjenna on February 15th, and it just so happens that today I felt like kicking my butt in gear to start writing blog posts exactly one month to the day later! I’m super excited about this. 

So, as the great Absolem once said…

Who am I? I am Jenna!

I’m an aspiring writer and poet who currently lives near Easton, PA. I live with my boyfriend of almost 5 years and his brother (his brother bought a house, and we moved in to help him get acclimated into home-owning life and so we can have a cheap option to get back into living in the state we love). I work in a call center. The company as a whole is a referral service for people who are looking for attorneys, but I work in the department that acts as an answering service for law firms. We currently answer for over 100 law firms across the country! I also handle tracking the minute usage and reaching out if anyone goes over their plan. It’s not my passion, but it pays the bills and is not mentally draining. 

I am 24 years old and am a Pisces. I am a believer in spirituality: I wear crystals, I whisper to the trees when I go on hikes, I track the moon phases, I believe in astrology and tarot cards and witchy things, and I also believe in higher powers. I am a sucker for a good sunset/sunrise and I’ll probably take my time walking inside on a clear starry night, and I LOVE to stand outside on the porch and watch the sky during a thunderstorm. Being outside is one of my favorite things, and I’m making my way to being as eco-friendly as possible. I’ve been also making a change with my health – listening to my body with what foods make me feel good, moving my body, and loving my body in the process of getting to where I want to be. 

I love all music, specifically mid-2000s pop punk, softer country (like not ALL twang, but calm twang, if that makes sense), and I love listening to piano while I write. I love to read, and am currently in the middle of a few books. I like movies and TV shows as well, pretty much anything. 

I also live with anxiety, depression, trauma, and past eating disorders. Most of my posts are going to be wellness based, which I’ll explore in my “Why?” post later today. I’m so very excited to get to know anyone who follows me and likes what they read, and to hopefully impact at least one person!

Xoxo, 

That Writer Jenna