Categories
Current Events writing

Welcome 2021!

Hello, all! Happy 2021! I feel like the end of 2020 has been a long time coming and yet also kinda feels like a weird prank. In any case, I hope you had a safe and fun New Years and overall holiday season!

In the spirit of new beginnings, I thought I’d use this blog post to reintroduce myself. There are actually some new people who are following my blog and social media accounts. Which is super cool…and also super weird. Don’t get me wrong, I’m glad and grateful. I want you guys here and I want to reach more people, but it’s been kind of humbling/Imposter-Syndrome-inducing/another feeling I can’t quite place.

So I started my first blog (the one I had before this one) because of The Perfect Man. Think back to 2005 when Hilary Duff was in all the movies, sang all the music, and did all the things (or at least that’s how it felt for me). In the movie, she sets her mom up on an elaborate blind date and also has a blog. I immediately fell in love with the whole ~writing a blog from my laptop on a fire escape~ vibe, and knew that at some point, I’d want to write one too.

In 3rd grade, around the same time this movie came out, I won a Young Authors competition. Went to a big conference hall, won an award. Needless to say, I have loved writing and reading since I learned to read and write. I am a writer by nature. I say affirmations and a decent amount of them surround my writing career.

I started That Writer Jenna last year as a “rebranding” of myself. This time, owning the fact that me, Jenna, is writing this blog. That Writer Jenna (TWJ) will eventually evolve to be a part of big things I accomplish in my life. I keep up with this blog and I have a little corner of the internet for my writing because I want my words to reach people. I want to help heal people with my words.

And I realize that sounds like a big deal. But I mean it to be. I have big dreams for my career. Some of which I haven’t even admitted to myself yet. And part of that is my drive to help people feel better.

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Within the past few months, some of the people that have been reading my posts are people that I know. Which is so cool. But also a little shocking and outside my comfort zone.

I tend to imagine myself writing into the abyss of the Internet. I write these posts and a few people read them and maybe someone comments, but all interaction is with people I don’t know. So I am writing into the abyss and strangers are reading it.
But now the abyss is meeting my real life and it’s….weird. It’s weird because it’s REAL. This isn’t just something that I do in secret that no one knows about, so it’s not the same as before where it felt like it didn’t matter if what I was writing was good. It’s kind of like a wake up call, ya know? If I’m going to actually carpe meae (seize my life), then I need to do the work. I can’t keep being timid. And this “weird” is the best feeling – because it means that as my space grows, my work is making an impact. Already I have had people I know in real life tell me what I’ve written about has helped them, which is absolutely incredible.

(But fair warning that I will probably still blush and get awkward talking about this in personπŸ€·πŸ»β€β™€οΈ)

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In any case, my space over here in the abyss is an open space to talk all things relating to mental health, spirituality, philosophy, personal development, general wellness, and whatever other topics I think are interesting. I speak about things from my experience, and I hold space for ALL experiences.

I’m an ally of the LGBTQIA+ community (aka alphabet mafia for my fellow TikTok fanatics) and the BLM movement. I’m an ally of any and all religions, bodies, abilities, neurodivergencies, gender identities, sexual orientations, etc. I am a feminist and think boys shouldn’t be taught to not cry. I support the Second Amendment. And honestly, it doesn’t even matter. Quite frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn about any of that. Let’s get past all of the superficial shit and the divisiveness and just speak soul to soul, okay? That’s more my jam.

I welcome discussion. Just because you’re reading something online doesn’t mean it’s true and that you have to agree. Because you don’t. But just like I have the right and freedom to have my little corner of the internet over here, you also have the same right and freedom to tell me you don’t like what I say. Or that you love what I say (what I’d prefer, in all honesty). Or you don’t have to interact at all. Just like I don’t have to answer a comment that is rooted in ignorance or rage.
All too often, I see people say “I don’t tolerate hate on my page”, and I’m not saying I tolerate or welcome hate, but also who am I to tell you what you can and can’t say just because you’re here in my section of the internet?

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So what does all of this have to do with TWJ?

I have meditated on, and thought about, how I wanted to handle my corner of the interwebs this year. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll keep my same schedule that I’ve been following the past few months. Two blog posts a month (on the 5th and the 20th), and social media posts on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays. My goal is to build a company and work for myself under TWJ, but I have to start somewhere. This feels like a good fit for now. I work a full-time job and have other obligations. I can’t schedule inspiration and I don’t want this to feel obligatory or overwhelming at all, but I also need to have a little discipline. I need to build a solid foundation, and this feels pretty solid to me for right now.

That’s my plan for That Writer Jenna in 2021. Build a foundation, create a routine that is consistent and of good-quality, and see what the universe/the future has in store.

I hope all of you had an amazing holiday season and I’m wishing you a safe, happy, healthy, fun, amazing new year! 🍾

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Uncategorized

Welcoming Winter

Happy December!

This time of year can be hard for some people, especially for people who find themselves experiencing SADD. Seasonal Affective Depression Disorder affects a lot of people! Essentially, it is when people experience depression during the winter months. Part of this is caused by the decreased Vitamin D accompanying the lack of sunlight, and sometimes also the holidays are hard for people.

2020 has already been an intense year, to say the least. And if you are finding yourself feeling depressed (or more depressed than your usual amount) during this, you’re not alone.

So what can you do about it? Especially during this time of stay-at-home orders?

Give yourself a fucking break.

Seriously. Put off for tomorrow what does not need to get done today. Let yourself have an extra 30 minutes of laying in bed. Eat what you feel like having. We are literally living through a pandemic, y’all. Our normalcy is being rearranged – and depression (seasonal or not) has a metaphysical reason for demanding rest.

Something I’ve read about briefly is ayurvedic medicine. Within this medicine is the idea of your body being closely aligned with the sun, that our bodies naturally need less sleep in the summer and more in the winter. Our eating habits change seasonally as well.

This is not me saying “depression during the winter is natural, just deal with it”. BUT I am saying that one of the healthiest things we can do is listen to our body. Give yourself the grace and give yourself the space to do your best every day, no matter what that looks like.

Sometimes my best is waking up early and doing yoga and exercising before the sun rises. Other times it’s waking up at 9:30am and eating cookies for breakfast. Life is all about balance, and it’s important that we hold space for ourselves.

So what are some winter activities to do during this time?

❄ Drive around and look at Christmas lights

❄ Make hot chocolate at home and have a game night

❄ Sit in front of a fireplace (in real life or on YouTube) and cozy up under a bunch of blankets

❄ Watch Christmas movies

❄ See if there’s any local Christmas light “events” (In New Jersey, the PNC Bank Arts Center has a drive-thru Christmas light show and they charge a small entry fee per car)

❄ Read one of your favorite chapter books from when you were a kid. (The Inkheart trilogy is my go-to)

❄ Have a movie night (Harry Potter is my go-to!)

❄ Do your favorite winter activities safely!

Remember, you are entitled to your feelings. Right now does suck. But this stork will pass. It might pass like a fucking kidney stone, but this too shall pass.

Categories
mental health

Mental Health Awareness

Happy November!

In case you don’t already know – mental health is one of the most important things in my life. I consider myself to be a mental health advocate, and when I’m able to make enough money through my writing to support me (i.e. I don’t have to work for anyone else) I’ll have the time and ability to advocate more.

Early November is the time where I reflect on my experience with my mental health. In November of 2014, I was hospitalized for 8 days in a psychiatric facility because my family was concerned for my safety. After leaving the facility, I went through an outpatient program for about three months, and I graduated from that program in about March of 2015. In July of 2015, I started dating my now-fiancΓ©.

Depression and anxiety plagued me for years, not to mention misdiagnoses that occurred, generational trauma, and PTSD.

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It has been six years since I’ve self-harmed. It has been six years since my stay in the psych ward, and over five and a half years since I graduated from the outpatient program. I don’t have anxiety attacks every day, or even every week. I don’t feel disgusting in my own skin with every breath.

But that’s not to say that I’m “cured”. I still live with anxiety, and depression, and my trauma. I am unlearning so much every day – beliefs and values that aren’t actually mine, coping mechanisms that don’t serve me, and negativity. I still get anxious and deal with depression. And I’m working on my growth. I am in therapy, and I read a lot of personal development books.

I also am realistic and know that I’ll never not be living with anxiety or depression. Even the best version of myself will feel anxious or depressed, but the work that I am doing now is helping me build a strong foundation of self-love, discipline, positive coping skills, and confidence.

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I don’t think I have all the answers for you. There is a solid chance that I don’t have any answers. But I do know that if I can work through my crippling depression, my vivid suicidal ideations, and my debilitating anxiety so it’s all more manageable, then it is possible for anyone to do so too.

November is not Mental Health Awareness Month. And honestly, I don’t care. I don’t care if it’s not #trending to talk about the courage it takes to go to therapy, or to speak up to someone when you think you might need help, or to speak up when you’re worried about someone else. I don’t care of it’s on the Explore Page/For You Page about the different resources available for those who are living with mental illnesses. For me, on my platform, Mental Health Matters 24/7 365 days a year (and 366 days on a Leap Year).

I know that for some people this might feel kinda liberal, or hippie, or any other label with a negative connotation but the reality is, is that we as humans cannot be truly healthy if we’re neglecting our emotions and mental state. Your mental health matters. You are not alone. People care about your mental health, but unfortunately, there aren’t many mind-readers among us who are able to know how you’re feeling unless you say something.

I also don’t think that there’s only one answer for someone who is dealing with mental health issues. If you want to go to a therapist who specializes in traditional psychology, you go for it! There are also therapists who specialize in religious or spiritual approaches. There are counselors and coaches and therapists and so many people who do energy work.
I also know that this can be expensive. Not everyone has access to insurance, or can afford it. And it’s so easy to get into a mindset of “If I was in a country with universal healthcare I could have access to therapy but I don’t so I guess I’ll just suffer” – and I’m sorry you’re struggling. But that is bullshit. You have access to the internet! It is 2020, my dude – YouTube is a free resource. There are so many videos on different topics – give yourself an hour a week to watch videos about whatever it is that’s troubling you! Or check out your local library.

There is strength in asking for help. And if you aren’t at that point yet, you are strong too.

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Your mental health matters. Your health matters. You matter.

It can feel lonesome. There are still so many stigmas surrounding all things mental health, and if you’re in an unsupportive environment you might think that the stigmas are truth. And while I can’t debunk every stigma you ever heard (since I don’t know what you’ve heard!), I can offer the following truths.

✨ You are worthy of happiness. You know yourself best. You are smart and kind and important.

✨ You cannot just not be depressed or anxious. It’s not that easy, BUT not being under depression’s grip or under anxiety’s wrath is possible.

✨ Not everyone will be understanding. Usually the people who have never experienced mental health issues don’t have the best understanding of how to help you with yours. You will find your support system. You are worthy of support and this pain will not last forever.

Categories
mental health spirituality writing

Coming Back Home to Myself

So, things have changed since I last wrote here. My funk has transformed into inspiration, but not after me going through a low.

Whether you want to call it depression, or part of the spiritual awakening, or an existential crisis – for what felt like an eternity, I was feeling like my life wasn’t my own. Not in a dissociation sense, because I know what that feels like and this wasn’t it. But I felt like my life didn’t feel like my life. That if I were given the ability to choose the aspects of my life, the life I am living would not match that. Does that make sense? I was feeling unsatisfied, overwhelmed, lost, and hopeless. This was beyond me feeling like I was in a rut – I truly felt like I didn’t fit in to my own life.

Last Saturday, I decided to do some autumn-cleaning. I wasn’t feeling relaxed in my bedroom, and this is the only space we have in our current living situation that’s ours, which makes it of more importance to me for it to feel like home.
Spiritually, I felt like I had too many crystals out. I had the intuitive thought that all of the energies of the 40+ crystals I had throughout our room was getting to be overwhelming, and as I am a spiritual person I’m more in tune to these energies. I made sure my Google Slides presentation was up to date (this is how I keep track of the names of all of my crystals), and I put the crystals I wasn’t feeling drawn to in a box. I cleansed that box with Palo Santo incense, and put the box in the attic. I then went through my books that I have in the room, and decided to only keep the books in the room that I actually intend on reading in the next few months. The rest of the books – most of my books – are in the attic and are easily accessible should I need them. I then reorganized my other things – my pictures, elephant figurines, dresser, etc.- and anything that didn’t feel necessary, I put in a box. I went through my clothes and organized them too, and anything that I haven’t worn in a long time I put in a garbage bag. I put the box and the bag in the attic. Essentially, I redecorated the room and did a variation of Marie Kondo’s cleaning. Instead of asking myself if each item brings me joy, I asked myself if it resonated with me. They say (I can’t remember who “they” is) that your home is an extension of your mind, so if you’re feeling cluttered/scatter-brained, it may help to clean your room, etc. This did help me feel better, to have my bedroom feel like a reflection of myself.

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I went for a long walk the next day. As I was walking, I whispered out loud all the things that were bothering me and told the trees the things on my mind and on my heart. I had the intuitive thought that the reason my life doesn’t feel like mine is because I am not holding space for myself. I am dimming myself down to be the version of me that I used to be, the version of me I think others are expecting me to be. So if I don’t feel comfortable within myself, how the hell am I going to feel comfortable with anything in my external world?

So I talked to the trees. I said that if a friend was telling me everything that I just said, I need to do for myself what I would advise my friend. Below are a few bullet-points of that conversation.

Me: I don’t feel satisfied with my job. It doesn’t feel like something I want to do, and it doesn’t make me happy.
What I would tell my friend: Your job does not define you. It is a way for you to make money, but if it doesn’t resonate with you it does not have to be apart of your identity. Write out a list of pros/cons of working there, and see how you feel after seeing it all on paper.
Also: My job does not make me happy in the sense of me feeling excited to start the day, but I don’t dread logging in. Apathy isn’t the goal emotion for your career, but sometimes a job is just a job. It’s not forever and it doesn’t have to be my passion, especially if I remind myself that this is a stepping stone.

Me: I don’t know where I want to move to after our current living situation, but I know that I don’t want to stay here forever and I’d like to get our own place soon. I don’t know what to do.
What I would tell my friend: The good thing about where you are living now is also that it’s a stepping stone. You’re not stuck there. But it is where you are now, so I think it’d be beneficial to make the most of it while you’re there. The time is going to go by either way, so if you can help it, don’t be miserable.
Also: If we’re not moving for, at the very least, 15 months, why should I worry about it now? Why should I spend so much energy planning for something that’s so far away and has so many variables? I can think about it, and plan the best I can, but realistically – there is not much I can or should do until it gets closer. So just check βœ… it off the mental list and move on.

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Also, after this conversation, I felt HUGELY inspired with regards to my writing. If I want to be this successful writer and reach the goals that I dream about, then I need to put in the work. I need to do the best I can now, because putting it off until later isn’t going to help me. Would I rather watch seven hours of Parks & Rec or work on writing blog posts and Instagram captions? Some days I’d rather just relax and watch Netflix, and there is nothing wrong with that. But if I ask myself that question every time I go to the app, chances are I’ll be binge-watching shows a lot less.

I’m a spiritual person. Most likely, if you’ve read anything else I’ve written on here you are already know that. A lesson I’ve been struggling to learn lately is finding a balance between surrendering my earthly need for control to the universe but also taking control of my life. While this has been a dilemma and something that’s weighed me down for awhile, today I’m starting to understand it a little better.

I surrender my need for my life to look a certain way, while understanding that I have the power to change my life. I surrender the idea that I need to achieve xyz by the age of 30, but I claim the power to create my own reality and achieve my goals.

For example – I want to be earn a living by being a writer. I say affirmations every morning after my yoga, and I see visions of my future working from home in my gorgeous home office, but I won’t get to that point without doing work. I release the need for the path to getting there to happen a certain way, but I know that I need to actually put in the work to get there.

And so…an announcement. πŸ₯ Last Sunday, Sept. 27th, I printed the very first draft of my first book. It’s 16,000 words and needs a lot of editing, and I know that it’s nowhere near done, but it’s still an awesome feeling to be holding my words. I sat down to write today and I started to repeat myself from what I’ve said already, so I decided it was time to edit what I have so far, and organize it into chapters so it’s also easier for me to navigate. In one month of writing for one hour every week, I have 16,000 words. It feels uncomfortable to say because of my low self-esteem that I’m working on but – I am proud of myself and of this accomplishment. I hold space for this achievement, and I am passionate about the work that needs to happen to get this book anywhere close to being ready for publishers.

I also am inspired for this blog and my social media presence. I can’t have the audience of my dreams and reach people without consistent content. I can’t schedule inspiration, but I can take advantage of inspiration when it happens and put a plan in motion to be worked on afterwards.

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It’s okay to not feel inspired all the time. It’s okay to feel lost, and it’s okay to feel shitty. There is strength in feeling your emotions, and there is strength in taking back your power.

Categories
General

I had a dream I was in my high school. A friend of mine, Jessica, was getting harassed and bullied because of an aspect about herself that she recently changed. It was getting to be so hard for her to be in the school building that I told her I would go back to her locker and get what she needed for her homework. I was writing down her assignments when I woke up.

I realized how unknowingly ignorant I was in high school. I was ignorant because I was sheltered, and frankly just didn’t know better. I didn’t have anyone to correct me in my mistakes because we were all kids and THEY didn’t know better.

But sitting here today, 24 years old, I realize just how damaging my ignorance may have been to those around me.

We only know as much as we learn, so if we don’t immerse ourselves in cultures different from our own – we never learn the errors (even the ones we didn’t intend to make) in our ways. This practice is typically more common with younger people because of toxicity and ego – “i made it this far without worrying about blahblahblah, I’m not about to start now”. But everyone could stand to lose

For the record, Jessica in my dream was a newly-transitioned trans woman.

Also, I feel like if people need a way to understand “why someone would want to do that”, I would liken it to this: let’s say your entire family is blond. You grow up being blond, but it’s just never really felt right to you. You get old enough to be exposed to more life and you see that people have different hair colors. You decide that as soon as you’re able to, you’re going to dye your hair brown.

Once you do, you finally feel like you are being true to your TRUE self.

Now this is obviously a stretch, but the principle of changing your physical body to match what your identity is on the inside is true. <Unless that was offensive to the trans community, then please let me know!>.

I woke up today feeling like I needed to share this. I’m literally writing this from my yoga mat before doing my morning yoga because this felt like something I needed to share. I needed to apologize to the trans people in my life that I was not initially supportive to and wasn’t the nicest to. Yes, in high school we’re all going through things. My social anxiety and my deep depression made interacting with people difficult, but as an adult I’ve learned to hold space for my own struggles while holding space and respecting someone else’s.

Also, for the record – I am a feminist. I am pro-choice. I believe all lives matter, so I am also a supporter of Black Lives Matter. I support the trans community. I support the LGBTQIA+ community. I support all minorities and communities of people. I also think society needs to place more of a priority on addressing mental health awareness and support, and not stress on gun control. (People are going to abuse laws and act erratically either way and can still get firearms illegally, but the restrictions only hurt the safe gunowners). I don’t believe political labels matter, and I don’t identify as a liberal. I also don’t identify as a conservative. But even if I did identify as either, it shouldn’t make you any less invested in the message of “Love, Support, and Respect All Human Beings”, which is what matters most to me.

Part of the need to share about my dream was also for me to share my beliefs, for anyone who was wondering. I’m not as active as I should be in any of these movements, as I’m trying to build the foundation of myself. These causes are important but something is calling me to focus inward during this pandemic, and I’m following my intuition.

So today, the first full day of autumn, remember to love, support, and respect all human beings. Reflect a little and see if you are holding onto any beliefs that aren’t actually yours.

Categories
Current Events mental health spirituality

New Moon Post: Planetary Happenings, Stepping into Myself, Doing the Hard Things (oh my!)

Happy Tuesday! Happy New Moon in Leo! This is also the second full day into Uranus Retrograde, so let me know if this is hitting y’all as hard as it’s hitting me πŸ˜…

In case you’re not into astrology stuff (moon energy, planetary alignments, etc.), I’ll briefly discuss what both of these things mean and link articles to read that explain it more eloquently. Also, just follow @truly.intuitive on Instagram! She’s the best.

New Moons are the beginning of the moon’s energy cycle. It’s typically when witches do their work for manifestation, among other things. New Moons signify beginnings, and there have also been studies to show that a majority of women menstruate around the new moon and ovulate around the full moon. So, new moons are pretty powerful. If you do any sort of Law of Attraction practice (writing letters, vision boards, etc.), I recommend paying attention to when the next New Moon is to help boost the manifesting.

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Most of us are aware of our sun signs. This is the answer we would give if anybody were to actually use the “So what’s your sign?” pick-up line on us. This is the “most popular” knowledge people have of their birth chart, but y’all there is actually so much more to know. It’s on my mental list of things to do to study astrology and eventually be able to read birth charts, but for now I’m still in the “collecting general knowledge” phase. We all have the planet Uranus in our chart, and typically, this planet is a symbol of progress, science, and disruption of the status quo. It’s the planet that is linked to surprises, innovation, revolution, and liberation. Uranus is demonstrative of all that is unique, wild, unpredictable, and unusual in our lives.

So what does this mean for this planet going in retrograde? It means our comfort zone will be tested. We are given a choice: change or die. (Die in the figurative sense). Without the influence of Uranus, many of us would nestle deep in our most familiar ruts and never look back. Uranus pushes us past the edge of our comfort.

Y’all, I am feeling all of this energy.

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Recently (like, Sunday night recently), I initiated a difficult conversation that I’ve been avoiding having with someone. And while we actually made progress, kinda, I was in my feels yesterday (as the kids say). I was feeling down, almost depressed. Very sad, insecure.

(Context: This wasn’t a bad conversation! No break-ups or any life changes, just a sensitive topic that is something not openly discussed. A lot of emotions were had).

And the reason I think that all of these feelings have to do with my spiritual awakening, is because I know that I need to go through this. So after yesterday morning of feeling super low, I was sitting outside cuddling with our pupper and had the thought that growth comes after change, and this season is all about shaking things up and teaches us what is really important.

It’s hard to determine if what I’m feeling is a “normal” part of growing, spiritually. It’s hard to tell if I cried for an hour that night because I was depressed af or if I’m understanding that everything in this world is grey – there is no black or white answer. I am right in my mind and you are right in your mind, so how can we say either of us is wrong? If my upset was because of the realization that I need to learn how prioritize my own needs while simultaneously prioritizing the needs of others. That’s a difficult balance, but it’s so important to have. If my upset was just overwhelm. Or if it was something else entirely, or a combination of all of the above.

And don’t get me wrong, crying is necessary. And I’m not ashamed of the fact that I cry easily. I have grown a lot and am proud of being able to feel my feelings. Holding space for my emotions is hard, honestly. It’s easier to numb or ignore, but at the end of the day, it is so beneficial to feel them and release them so you have more room for happiness.

However, I am ashamed of the fact that I feel shame surrounding my interests and the things that mean a lot to me. A good friend started following me on Instagram (@thatwriterjenna) and dude, I almost dry-heaved. My stomach dropped to my knees and I was about to stop doing this. And she’s a great friend, so it’s not like I don’t want her to see anything. I post this and am working on baring my soul to the interwebs because I want my words to be seen. But the more people in my life who comes across my writing, the more real it becomes. “It” being stepping up to the plate and actually pursuing my dream of being a writer. So yeah, I’m not ashamed that I love to write. I’m not ashamed of my spirituality. I know that writing and spirituality is not for everyone, and that while these things are a part of me, they do not define me. But I feel shame around the guilt I feel for being so…me. And if I’m honest, I guess part of me is a little (or a lot) ashamed of who/what “me” is.

Y’all how the fuck am I supposed to live my damn life and choose happiness if I’m ashamed of myself? How am I supposed to become the person I am in my dreams, my dream version of me, by playing small?

I’ve read in so many memoirs that once they fully stepped into themselves, they felt so much better and accomplished so much more than they ever thought possible. That’s a bit daunting to me, because I’m manifesting a pretty successful writing career. And like, I want that. But all of this work before hand – the unlearning and the healing and the shadow work and all that, is daunting. And it’d be easier to not deal with it.

But I’m already here! I’m already shedding the layers of the past versions of me. I feel like these layers are like a onesie pajama set and I’m standing here with the pajamas to my hips. I can’t just live life halfway out, and I can’t put myself back in. So, the only way out is through.

I need to push through the discomfort and grow into myself anyway. Do the thing even if I’m scared…if not because I’m scared. I am living this life once, so I need to stop waiting for xyz and just jump into the deep end.

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So how does the New Moon and Uranus Retrograde and hard talks and embracing being myself all tie together? Because it’s my life! It’s exactly what I’m going through right now. And being open about what’s going on as it’s going on, before I have any hindsight, is on the edge of my comfort zone. That’s what Uranus Retrograde is all about.
And I’ve had this feeling that’s been persistent for a few days now: that with the platform I’ll eventually build, I am meant to open the door for other people to have difficult conversations. Authenticity is one of the most important things to me, and I think part of my purpose is to show people how to find their truth.

But I have a lot of living and learning to do before I can get there. I can’t pour from an empty cup, and the teeny tiny drop I sometimes have in my cup I gotta save for myself. And all of these realizations are a part of the process.

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We are living through a pandemic. This isn’t exactly the part of the “Roaring 20’s” we wanted, but it’s the part that we got. Some days are going to feel great, and some days will not. It’s not about comparison of pain or comparison of success, of what Jane Doe is doing today and how Joe Shmo can get all that work done. Your best today will look different than your best tomorrow, and that’s okay.

Take some extra time to take care of yourself, there’s a lot going on energetically right now. I wish you peace and happiness. ✨

Categories
Uncategorized

Let’s Talk About Toxic Positivity

Welcome, August! 2020 is f l y i n g by, and I am here for it. This has been a year that I think no one was quite ready for, and in the midst of all the negative things that have happened – it’s actually been a quite beautiful year.

For one thing, Mother Nature has had time to heal. Countless species of animals returned to their old neighborhoods within mere weeks of less humans walking around, less carbon emissions during quarantine, etc. People have become more focused on small businesses, taking care of themselves holistically, etc. Communities have banded together in times of the COVID-19 crisis, in protest with the #BlackLivesMatter movement. There has been a lot of good that has happened this year.

However, there has also been a lot of negative things too. Division, hate, exclusion, violence, death.

So what does all of this have to do with toxic positivity?

By definition, “toxic positivity” is a phrase typically used when someone portrays themselves as happy no matter what.

I have found myself to fall into the trap of being toxically positive.

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Growing up, I was raised Catholic and had to go to mass every Sunday. Church was boring most of the time, but I had to go. My father, the lovely man he is, started a game with me where I tried to come up with one good thing about being there. And it was from this practice that we eventually applied this to life in general.

Looking for the positives in less-than-stellar situations is a great tool! This has been something that has become almost second nature.

The problem lies when someone only sees the positive in any/all situations, and does not hold space for the negativity.

Real life example. You hear from a friend that their elderly and ill relative has passed away. Telling them “At least they’re not suffering anymore” is a toxic-positive thing to say. Because yeah, it’s true, they aren’t suffering anymore, but a statement like that doesn’t leave room for their grief.

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Toxic positivity has been on my mind lately because it’s something I’m working on un-learning. Being taught to look for the silver lining is important but for some of us (πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ), this became only holding space for the silver lining.

This is something that is super prevalent in the spiritual community. Those of us who ONLY accept #loveandlight and don’t allow for anything else, is where the issues come. Because while we should not wallow in the negative side of things, we can’t ignore it either. We cannot accept the good without the bad.

Yin and yang : im14andthisisdeep

This above concept is something a lot of people forget about. I think they get so focused on positivity only because they know that what they focus on is what they’ll attract (Law of Attraction 101)…but this mindset is similar to when kids throw all their toys under their bed or in their closet when they clean their rooms. Yeah, it looks pretty, but it’s not actually clean.

A friend recently has been going through a bit of a rough patch with their depression. And I kept finding myself not knowing what to say, because my first thought was to list out every good quality about her. I was going to say every positive thing I could think of, until I realized that that actually is not as helpful as I want it to be.

Because in this moment, I am making her struggle about me. What I want to do is make her feel better, so I’m going to say what I think she needs to hear. But who am “I” to decide what she needs? She knows what she needs. So all I should do in that instance, is hold space for her. Allow her the time to be as she is. Let her know that I am here for her, and that’s it.

And this, folks, is important. It’s important to be honest about the “why” behind our actions. It’s important to have the self-awareness, and the accountability, to question ourselves of our intent. Most times, concerning people who are unknowingly being toxically positive, it can be a reflection of their own trauma. Maybe, as a child, they were not allowed to show negative emotions. Maybe you’re saying something triggering to them and they process things by deflecting. And these scenarios are on them, but still.

In summary – everyone is doing the best they can with all things and we should not push them to feel differently than they do. And looking for the silver lining is just one of many things that can be done to process and deal with a kinda-shitty-situation

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Categories
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 (πŸ™‹β€β™€οΈ), 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 πŸ’›

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 πŸ’›

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