An unpredictable, wild ride, baby.

Hello all my lovely humans. I am so glad to be back this week. Of course, I missed last weeks post due to the holiday. And by holiday I mean the day where we recognize, discuss, and find ways to take action for the injustices done to Native folks on their stolen land while we eat a strange amount of turkey (or in my case tofurkey) and potatoes. I assume you all did the same and if for some reason you were struggling to think of ways to take action I might recommend starting with shopping from Native shops this holiday season. [I’ll tag a few here: Ink Stitcher Studios, ArXotica, Sister Sky, Indigenous Cosmetics, and Beyond Bucksin. (**If you have any others please feel free to comment on this post with a link.)]

As for this week we are on to the next holiday and it just happens to be my favorite one of all: Sarah’s 30th Birthday. I know you all thought I was about to say Christmas. I laugh in the face of Christmas. *hahahaha* My Birthday TM is obviously much more important. In all seriousness though, on Friday December 4th, I will be another year AND another decade older. One of the reasons I love my bday so much is because it gives me a chance to reflect on the year behind and the year ahead. Shocking, I love to reflect. It’s not like my entire blog is based around this idea or anything.

So, let’s start with the year behind. On December 4th, 2019 I was on a date. It was actually a very sweet date that ended quite nicely. He ghosted me two weeks later. As the great Fall Out Boy once played on repeat in my little teen ear “thanks for the memories, even though they weren’t so great.” That seemed to be a theme for the beginning of my 29th year. Date, they ghost, date, I ghost, date, I break up, date, they break up. And so on and so forth. Also, a big theme of my 29th year was the GLOBAL PANDEMIC. I.e. crisis, depression, anxiety, unhealthy coping skills, all the good stuff. I did also move which was exciting. Still in Brooklyn, but a spot that is much more me and much more affordable. I get along well with my roommates and the loneliness that was brought on by the pandemic simply disappeared. My supervisor/friend/advocate passed away in July after my move. I think about you every day, Vilma. We all experienced a lot of loss this year; painful, heartbreaking loss. It’s made me hold my loved ones closer. Speaking of loved ones, in August my original theme of dating was flipped on its head when I met my current partner. The real shocker of my 29th year- he didn’t ghost me! There’s still a chance, it’s only been like 4 months and even though he is currently quarantining with me he could leave at any moment. Men ain’t sh*t, amiright? Just kidding, he’s great. I also started anti-depressants… that’s the true win of my 29th year. My mood has been the most stable it has ever been AND I think about dying wayyyy less. Woah, truly an incredible year I had. Oh, and I got a soda stream. That was cool.

All of this is to say that while 2020 objectively was a real sh*tshow, I had a lot of really wildly unexpected good things happen to me this past year. I don’t think I ever could’ve predicted that the year we go into lockdown is the year I would get it together. Kinda cool. Which then begs the question where do I go from here? In a recent conversation someone asked me where I see myself in 5 years… I hate this question with a burning, fiery passion. At 25 if you asked me where I saw myself in 5 years I can tell you I did not see myself wearing a mask to work everyday, or only riding my bike to get there, or having to primarily communicate with my friends and family via FaceTime. I don’t know where I will be in 5 years, that’s the beauty of living. It is an unpredictable, wild ride baby and I am here for it.

Honestly, I sort of blanked when the question was first tossed out. Then, with a deep breath I said “probably still doing this”. “What is this?” you may be asking. Well, it’s me loving harder than I have ever loved before- both myself and others; it is doing work that makes me feel good; it is knowing that I am worthy, with or without work; it is breathing and moving and thinking and writing and learning. In five years I will, with all the luck in the world, be alive.

I can’t just end the post there though. See, I also like to dream about things, things that may or may not happen for me; like being a billionaire and having kids and owning my own business and writing a book. While some of these things may seem outlandish, some of these things are totally obtainable. By some of these things, I particularly mean one of these things, which is why I am so excited for the next chapter in my life, pun intended. I am finally going to start writing a book. This is a dream that I sat on in my 20’s and with the new decade approaching, I am ready to dive in. I came to this conclusion, when over the weekend my best friend gifted me a present for my 30th birthday (image below). She had compiled all of my blog poems into a hard cover book. I can’t even explain the feeling I got when I saw it. It reminded me of this dream and woke me up to how much I really want to accomplish this goal. And not to sound like an overbearing mother towards myself, but “it ain’t gonna write itself, honey.”

Of course writing a book will definitely cut into my blog time, so my plan is to write a post *hopefully* once a month. I still want to explore the ups and downs of life with you all, so don’t you worry about that. As for the book… I don’t know where it will go, but I do know I am going to have fun doing it. Perhaps, in another 10 years, I’ll still be trying to write it or maybe I’ll be onto my second or third. What was that thing I said about wild and unpredictable? Oh right, that’s life baby.

So, with that all being said, I’m going to work hard and type to you in January, cuties. I hope your holidays and New Year are, if nothing else, another day you get to be alive.

A[wo]men

each decade

return to yourself

as the waves

return to the sea

-turning 30

Finding the Purpose of Anger

It’s a new day friends and if you’re like me you have an emotional hangover from what some call a presidential debate. I personally like to call it the ‘old white man say/yell things show’™ and you are welcome to use that if you’d like. I had so many emotions just from that hour and a half that I could probably write several blog posts on this viewing alone, but I’ll try to make it brief.

The biggest emotion I felt last night was anger. Anger, for those who have not been following this blog for a long time, is one of the most difficult emotions for me to process, accept, and display. I avoid it all costs and it typically results in me crying (which I did last night) and wanting to run away, trying to do whatever I can to make it stop. So, as someone who is constantly trying to improve and be better, I made it a point to stay; stay in my anger and feel the ways in which this anger is helping me. I was angry for a lot of reasons, and I am not going to sit here and try to explain why it hurts to hear people debate human lives or attack someone who overcame a drug addiction. What I will discuss is how such anger is helping me grow.

Last nights anger was felt in the pit of my stomach. My therapist has taught me to visualize where I feel my emotions so that I can really sit with it and work through it. It been a real game changer with the emotions I find more difficult. In my stomach there was a burning sensation and when I closed my eyes I could see yellows, reds, and oranges- there was a fire burning. My first instinct was to put the fire out, which I attempted to do with ice cream (Ben and Jerry’s half baked, obviously). That sort of worked as a short term solution, but as soon as I stopped the fire grew again. I thought to myself ‘how do I make I stop’ and then I realized I was asking the wrong question. I didn’t need it to stop I needed to listen to it and that is what I did.

I sat in my room after getting ready for bed and reflected for a minute on the heat. I unpacked some of the emotional abuse that occurred on the stage as it brought up memories of my own experiences. I validated the feelings of anger as right and fair, instead of a burden that needed to go away. I put my hand on my stomach and thought about the anger others must be feeling in this moment and what pain people who were literal topics of debate might be feeling. I thought about the kids that were and/or are bullied and how it would feel to watch that debate with the harsh words used. I thought of all of these people as my clients that have and will sit with. Then, with each thought and validation the anger dwindled, not to be mistaken with the anger going away.

Feelings don’t disappear until the job they were created to do is done. There is a good reason for that- we need them to create change. For example, if I got sad and never dealt with the sadness and pretended not be sad, that doesn’t mean that sadness is gone, it just means it’s hanging out somewhere else. Typically, this is a place where we tried to lock it up in, but instead it comes out in anxiety, alcohol use, cutting, unexplained anger, etc.. However, if we keep it where it’s supposed to be and we work with it and do what needs to be done, we get a healthy goodbye. Like when I was really depressed and went to therapy and started medication and sat with my sadness for a long time, not letting it go until I was ready. I want a healthy goodbye like that with this anger, so I am keeping the embers burning to help me remember why it is I do what I do.

What I do as a social worker, involves advocating for people and I care about people a lot. I’m a cancer moon, ya know? Advocacy work is political in nature and this fire is a direct result of who and what I care about. These embers will burn until I see people are given justice, fairness, kindness, and the right to live regardless of health, the color of their skin, their differing abilities, their gender, their sexual orientation, and the list could go on. I’m not sure the embers will ever truly go away, but I am going to keep them with me as a reminder that there is work to do, nitty gritty hard work.

I am currently in a space to do the hard work. I have gone to therapy and processed a lot of my own trauma’s and experiences. I feel safe to do this work right now and that could change. If you are not in that place, please know it is okay to lock those feelings up if that is what feels best for you right now. I am not here to tell you how to process your own reactions/feelings. Do whatever you need to do to make yourself feel safe. Perhaps it’s holding space for it and perhaps it’s watching 6 hours of Real Housewives of New York. I’ve been both people (sometimes in the same day) and that’s okay.

If you’re reading this and angered (or any other emotions) by any of the words I have said here, perhaps reflect on where in your body you’re feeling it and why these emotions are coming up for you. And please, please, please use the contact link to chat with me further about this or any other post.

I love you all, including my anger.

A[wo]men

flames dance

across the lining of my stomach

and i pray for rain

that only comes when

the embers are ready for it

-finding the purpose of anger

Indecisions, Indecisions

Hi friends, I am writing to you from Philadelphia. I’ve decided to run away and live here now. JUST KIDDING. I am here for a conference and I am excited to be spending the day here exploring— and by that I mean sitting at this one coffee shop, not buying anything, and using their internet for the day. And what a day it is-not too hot, not too cold, partly cloudy with a chance of fun.

I’ve been getting many inquiries and desires for the deets of my dating life. I know the deets you are all looking for and honestly the name of my show would be sexless and the city. I must’ve shaken the magic eight ball and received ‘outlook not good’ because the people that I have met are, well, underwhelming, to say the least. There was one guy I dated for a hot second, but it was just that—a second. And the rest were nice enough, but not my cup of tea. *I would like to note that I feel very lucky that I have not met anyone that is cruel*

What I am finding is that there seems to be a lack of passion in the world. I am not just talking about romantic passion, but passion for life. When I ask people why they do what they do, most don’t have a real answer. Often responded with ‘I make good money’ or ‘what else would I do’? I’m fairly certain they don’t even enjoy their work. And these aren’t the people that are making money to get by. I get those people. I’ve been that person. We gotta do what we gotta do. These are people that have spent years of their lives in school, pursuing something that they aren’t even sure of. Then when I ask what they do outside of work I tend to get the generic ‘hang out with friends, work out, *cough* do you even lift bro?’ It’s like someone is playing a joke on me. I mean if it is a joke, that’s pretty good. But like, Ashton, you can come out now. 

Really though, in this frame I feel lucky- and not just because I don’t call people bro. In my undergraduate studies I changed my major several times. I wanted to be a kindergarten teacher, work in media, learn spanish, teach spanish, teach math, go into politics … and more. Often the response I get to this is of shock and confusion. Personally, I am more shocked and awed that this isn’t the standard. I often get down on myself about being indecisive. At times it makes me feel like I have this burdensome weakness. “Just pick a cereal, Sarah, it’s not that hard”. Sure, Reese’s Puffs vs Cinnamon Toast Crunch doesn’t seem that important, but to me it’s a couple weeks of breakfast. What do I want to wake up to every morning? Will it bring me joy. My mornings are my favorite part of the day. This decision is crucial. And you know, I typically go with the choice that I hadn’t even been considering, i.e oatmeal. Might bring this up to my therapist later, idk.

These dates with people that seem ‘just okay’ with their lives have been a friendly reminder to me; I am indecisive because I care about myself. This is not a weakness, this is a strength. When I meet people that just do things because that’s what they are supposed to do and they don’t question that, alarm bells ring in my head. Every choice we make should mean something to us. For this reason, I am taking a new approach with my dating life. Previously, I was going on dates just to go on dates. It didn’t matter the person, I just needed to get used to dating again. Both my quest and therapy have helped me get over that fear. Now, I have a new goal. I want to meet people with intention. I want to be surrounded by thoughts I haven’t had yet and feelings I didn’t know I could feel. I want to leap back out of my comfort zone, not into a fearful zone, but of excitement. I want passion in all aspects of my life. 

Jumping back into dating with intention means that there has to be a critical look at my past relationships. Looking back, my most recent relationship began without intention. One minute we were friends and the next minute we were more than that. Then the next minute we weren’t either of those things. Then we were again. Then we weren’t. Then my friends started calling us Rachel and Ross. Not really, but they could’ve. My emotions followed suit—Happy, mad, sad, happy, sad. Yet, I never assessed those feelings. I took them at face value. I thought I was sad because I was letting go of something I shouldn’t; I thought I was mad because I wish I didn’t know what I knew; I thought I was happy because there was still a chance of us being together. Now I know I was all those things because I was supposed to be, because break-ups are hard. But there was that emotional stigma again, telling me that sadness/madness are bad and all I should want is happy. I just kept reaching for happy, not understanding that all my emotions were trying to tell me something. Up and down, up and down my feelings went. I got so seasick I had to jump ship and landed all the way in New York. 

But see, leaving Alaska was done with intention. That was a decision that I mulled over and feared of making the wrong choice. As I sit here thinking back to how hard that choice was for me, I am wondering why I have never put the same energy into picking the right partner. My indecisiveness does not translate to my relationships. I often find myself dating people simply because they want to date me. I don’t think about why I want to be with that person or what makes me passionate about building a life with them in it. 

What is it about finding a partner that I don’t think it warrants the same attention? If there is anything I should be indecisive about, it is finding a person that I let into my life in more intimate ways than any other person. With pillow talk, I pass out deep secrets like candies. I am consumed with the vulnerability displayed by nakedness. For me and the things I have been through, I tend to let my guard down as a way to protect myself. If I say yes, if I tell them my secrets, even if I don’t necessarily want to, then I am safe. They can’t hold anything against me. I think this is why I have been so hesitant to give my attention to this. Because it means I have to take myself off of autopilot and really check myself every step of the way. These connections, though, deserve more of my attention, more of my indecisiveness, more of me caring about myself. I want to find people that have passion and that make me feel safe to let my guard down, not as a way to protect myself, but because I feel safe to do so.

I, with the help of a dear friend, have come up with a plan to do just that. I am going to start meeting people with more intention. First off, I am going to start talking to people in public. [I know… it’s so un-millennial of me. Talking to strangers just out in public like some kind of wild animal.] Secondly, I am going to be observant and reach out to those that seem to have a spark in them. Thirdly, I am going to try new things. Join groups, lean new skills, leap into new passions! This process is not just for romantic relationships, but for connection with all humans. 

Isn’t that all any of us are really looking for anyways— Connection. 

A[wo]men

It’s radiant – the black and the white
The good and the bad
The sharp contrast.

I, however, am gray. 

It’s subtle- black and white
No good, no bad 
The blurry mixture.

-Just stories. 

Good GERD

Hi, friends. Last week I thought I was dying. And I don’t mean the normal ‘I have the flu and I feel like death’ dying. All of the sudden while I was writing my blog I started to get this pain in my chest. It felt like I couldn’t breathe and I was having trouble swallowing. Turns out it was severe gastric reflux or GERD as some people call it. I also had severe back pain which was being impacted by the reflux. It was uncomfortable and I was sure WebMd was right, it had to be cancer. Of course, it wasn’t and I am doing much better as I sit here and write this, but it brought up a lot of feelings for me. Feelings about my body, my misunderstanding of health, and trying to find a balance of self-love and self-care.

If you are an avid reader, you know we have been here before. (Also thank you, you da real MVP.) The battle with my body is repetitive and important. Prior to my move to Alaska I was in the best shape of my life. I was running 6 miles, eating well, and felt good. Then I moved, and moving is scary, and I was told to be easy on myself, do things that make me feel good. Following my break-up, I was also told to be easy on myself, do things that make me feel good. In fact, if I look back at all the things I’ve struggled through in my life, these words are often uttered to me in some way. It is a kind message, but a message I took quite literally. Carbs make me feel good… Carbs and cheese and chips and well you get the idea. I did what everyone was telling me to do, I made myself feel good. I ate and I ate and when I would eat, even if just for the moment, I would forget how I was feeling.

After my break-up I was in a low place. I thought that there was something wrong with me, and more specifically I thought I was physically gross. I thought I deserved what happened because I was a monster, with thicc thighs and hairy skin. I thought that, that feeling would never pass and I would die alone, a monster. Trust me, I know how dramatic this sounds. I can now recognize how truly absurd I was being; thinking that the weight I was at or the growth of my hair somehow impacted the respect I deserve. This was partly baby Sarah making an appearance and it was also the years of media telling me that only the skinny girl finds love and the fat girl gets to be the sidekick on her journey. When I started dating my ex, I believe a part of me thought I had broken the mold. A fat girl found love and I couldn’t lose it because it was an anomaly that it happened in the first place.

Fast forward to New York City. Through my millions (or what felt like millions) of dates and ghosting and texts and calls, I started to realize that I wasn’t in a film where I was the side kick. I am the star, baby. Even better, I realized that I get to choose who I fall in love with and I don’t have to settle for someone because *SPOILER ALERT* fat girls fall in love too. Then, last week, when my body started to revolt against me, all those thoughts came flooding back. Not only will I not find love, but I am going to die early because I mistook binge eating for self-care. I was a failure and I deserved this, because I am a monster.

I was mad at my body and my brain for failing me. I wanted a new body and a new brain, an all too familiar thought. For a long time, I thought that self-love was about denying that part of me that doesn’t like myself. Every time a negative thought would surface, I felt like I was failing my message. It begged the question: Can I preach self-love if I, in fact, don’t love myself? The simple answer is, of course, yes. I am human, with human flesh and human faults. At the core of me, I love who I am and I think that is what is important. I strive for self-love everyday, while honoring the part of me that wants a flatter tummy, a thinner face, more toned arms, etc. That part of me is what started this blog and pushes me towards constant self-reflection.

Because I am in therapy and being much more proactive about my health (both physical and mental) these recent thoughts did not last long; I honored them and let them go. However, these thoughts really made me reflect on what messages I still cling onto and what core ideas I am finding hard to let go of? I mentioned media earlier. When I say media, I predominantly mean romcoms, because let’s be honest I am basic AF, a fact I am v. proud of. These romcoms though have become extremely problematic in my way of thinking. [And I would like to point out the multitudes of other ways romcoms are problematic, but that’s a whole other post… or research essay really]. Not only did they make me believe I wouldn’t find love, but I think I excuse a lot of behaviors in the name of love, as is seen in romcoms. I let my boundaries become irrelevant in order to please others, because the most important goal in any romcom is to find the one… *pukes in mouth* ..even if that one is completely wrong for you and treats you like trash, but he apologized and told you the 3 most basic compliments to make you forgot the horrible things he did, so like oh, well! Marriage is on the horizon, ya know?

Really, I am just trying to rewrite these automatic thoughts I get about my worth and how I attach that to the need for love from others. Life isn’t a romcom and and I am not a monster and things are never perfect. If I am being honest, I am up and down on the whole loving myself thing and I think that is healthy and normal. The thing I embrace about the self-love movement is that it centers on honoring oneself, all the parts of oneself. There is a scene in one of my favorite romcoms, ’10 Things I Hate About You’ (told you I was basic) where she is reading this poem about all the things she hates about her love interest, Heath Ledger: heartthrob, sexual awakening, RIP. BUT the poem ends with how she doesn’t even hate him at all. Honestly, it is one of the cheesiest things in a film I have ever witnessed, but her poem resonates with the way I feel about myself. Let me show you what I mean:

Me to me: I hate the way you talk to me, and the way you [wear] your hair. I hate the way you [sweat and chafe when you walk]. I hate it when you stare. I hate your big dumb [stomach], and the way you get [caught in your own mind]. I hate you so much it makes me sick; it even makes me [write]. I hate the way you’re always [comparing]. I hate it when you [over-eat]. I hate it when you make me [angry], even worse when you make me cry. I hate it when you’re not around, and the fact that you didn’t [rest]. But mostly I hate the way I don’t hate you. Not even close, not even a little bit, not even at all.

Okay, I made some small edits, and it no longer rhymes, but you can see what I mean. There are parts of me that I will struggle with throughout my life, but the good news is it will be me the whole way through and I am here for it.

*Also to circle back on the GERD diagnosis, I basically have to avoid acidic foods. Meaning it has now been 7 days since my last coffee. I am surviving, but would appreciate your #thoughtsandprays in this trying time. Honestly though, my stomach is healing just fine and the back pain has subsided. Thank female yeezy. 

**Also, also dating is still going really well [as you might have guessed from my rant about the lies media has told me], thank you for asking!

 

Featured image found on https://www.mooreaseal.com/products/self-love-club-sticker where you can purchase the sticker for $4.50

Life Updates

Okay, folksies, I want to first and foremost apologize for my missing post last Sunday. I was travelling and honestly the thought of writing a blog post while on a ferry sounded like it would hurt my head, so I left my laptop behind in hopes that you would all forgive me. I feel like you do because my readers are kind, loving, gracious humans, right? Great now that that is out of the way I have some v. important life updates.

Number 1: My posts may become more irregular. I know this is not very convenient and I apologize for this. I am hoping to post at least once every couple of weeks, but I also don’t want to make any false promises. You’re welcome. Why is my writing going to become more irregular? I have some super exciting news! I am teaming up with my good friend and co-worker as we start work on WRITING A SHOW! This project is something my friend Beth has held onto for a very long time and one of my greatest passions is watching TV, so it just seemed like a good partnership. We started writing last night and honestly y’all, I think it could really be something. I am not going to give the deets away, but I will keep you updated on progress and such.

This project is something I have desperately needed because life has been a tad stressful these last couple of weeks. I have had two days that I just couldn’t function. I felt as though I was in a haze. I am usually pretty good at checking in with myself and figuring out what I need and that has not been happening in the last few weeks. My sister is going through some pretty tough things right now and the hardest part is knowing that I can’t be there for her. Living away from family is tough. Living away from them on an island is tougher. It is strange that as a child I used to dream of living far away, changing my name to Mia, and falling in love with a British boy. (Way to many Mary Kate and Ashley movies encouraged this). Now, as a 27 year old, I find myself calling my parents daily and crying because I am homesick. 13 year-old me wouldn’t even recognize this B. I do feel lucky though, in the sense that technology (as much as I bemoan it) gives me the ability to transport home. I can video chat, text, and call to get pieces of home that tide me over before I get to go visit again. And for those of you wondering, my sister is doing as best she can for now, she was having a tougher time than usual over the past couple of weeks. She is a tough cookie though, so I know she will make out of this battle. #fuckcancer

I also feel lucky because I have people here that are beyond supportive. The great part about working for a mental health organization is that they understand that mental health is important! (Not always though and those orgs need to get their shit together.) My supervisor encourages me to take the time I need and that makes a world of difference. I also have really solid friendships that I am forming and feel comfortable talking about the things I am going through. It feels like only a short while ago I was writing about being friendless and struggling to fit in. Now, this little/big island feels more and more like a place I could stay as each day passes. This may also be due to my other life update… I’ve started seeing someone! See, I told you life has been a little crazy. He has been incredibly supportive and helpful as I struggle with being away from my family and the work/life balance we all work to achieve. I am not going to say much more than this because as much as I am an open book, he is not, and I would like to respect that. I will say though, he makes me very happy.

Which brings me to my last life update: Work. Work is busy and fun and sad and exciting and tough and every other emotion I could think of. I am still loving it, but I am not going to lie, it is a little overwhelming. I have nightmares about my kiddos and their families constantly. I try to disengage after work, but some days are harder than others. When I was sitting in school and my teachers constantly talked about self-care and burnout in the field of Social Work I thought I was hearing what they were saying. I clearly did not. Self-care is sort of a trigger word for me now. Feeling stressed about not doing self-care, I’m pretty sure, is the opposite goal the word is looking to achieve. I’ve begun to replace it with self-compassion and that has helped. Compassion allows me to see myself as I see my clients: human. I think that is where the haze came from the last two weeks. I was avoiding the feelings I was supposed to be feeling all under the guise of self-care. I didn’t want to accept that I make mistakes or that I can have bad days or that I can’t help everyone. I am trying to be better at looking at myself as I do my clients. What strategies will help me get through today? Today I choose to do 1 minute of deep breathing, leave space for me to cry, and call my mom.

Oh and in case y’all forgot, it is Mother’s Day (quick go call your moms too!). I feel obliged to tell you all… I am not a mom, I am not pregnant, and I don’t own any pets. However, most of the mom’s I know are the mitochondria of life. (The powerhouse of the cell, for those of you forgetting your high school bio class.) I have the absolute pleasure of getting one of the best mom’s known to womankind. She does what needs to be done, sometime in sacrifice of herself. She has shown me kindness, love, and compassion. She has taught me the power in vulnerability, the strength in weakness, and how to multitask like a badass. So, I conclude this post with a poem by Nayyirah Waheed:

my

mother

was

my first country.

the first place i ever lived.

–lands

Complicating the Simple

STRESS

noun.
1. pressure or tension exerted on a material object.
2. a state of mental or emotional strain or tension resulting from adverse or very demanding circumstances.
verb.
1. give particular emphasis or importance to (a point, statement, or idea) made in speech or writing.
2. subject to pressure or tension.
Aka, me this week.
I have felt stress in the past, but I have not felt it like I did this week in a very long time. As a teen I would often get stomach aches from stress. I learned how to manage that stress… by moving out of my house (sorry mom)… and have not had somatic symptoms from stress since that time. Until now, that is. This week I had the heartburn from hell, I felt tired, and ill. I picked at my skin which is my little nasty habit when the stress is really bad. I ate junk food… A lot of junk food. I stayed up late because I couldn’t sleep and even when I did sleep my nightmares from the stress woke me up. This week was not my week.
There were many reasons I was stressed this week, but what caused the stress is irrelevant. The piece I would like to focus on is how I allowed the stress to takeover. Writing this blog about being stressed is stressful. Help me, I’ve fallen and I can’t get up. I somehow entered a nightmare loop. The one where you scream, but no sound comes out. As it has been mentioned in my previous posts, I am a big fan of self-care. It is important to take time for ourselves to just sit with everything.
I did not do that this week. It isn’t because I didn’t have the time to. I had plenty of free time to take deep breathes, to meditate, to literally do anything other than stress. Instead though, I perpetuated the stress. I drank too much coffee. I didn’t go for a walk or a run, even though we had some of the nicest weather to date since me being on the island. I Insta stalked models to ensure self-loathing. The only form of self-care I have participated in is this blog and right now it feels more like a chore than something helpful.
I guess my point is that we burnout as humans when we let certain emotions overtake us. We are creatures of balance and when I get out of balance, I forget that I can level the playing field. I think one of my biggest faults is that I have the tendency to let life guide me instead of me guiding my own life. I perpetuate my own stress. I was going to go into work this weekend to catch up on notes. I’ve been stressed out at work all week and I was going to go into the place that was stressing me out… on my day off, so that maybe next week when I am at work all week I won’t feel so stressed about work? That logic is ridiculous.
I don’t want to be the person that says ‘do as I say, not as I do.’ So, I am making a promise to myself and to my readers: I will not go into work because it is my day off. I  will be present and lead my life the way I want it to go. In fact, in this exact moment I am going to take 5 minutes to breathe. Feel free to participate with me.
That felt fantastic. How beautiful it is that I can change the way I feel just by simply breathing. We humans, aren’t as complicated as we sometimes believe. If you are feeling stressed right now, remember that you are more important than any stress that comes along. Say it with me: “I am more important than stress. I am more important. I am important. I am. I am. I am.”
PS I know I said this blog feels like a chore, but by the end it always makes me feel better about where I am in life. Which is really like doing the dishes, if you think about it.

Invite the Negatives

This week was hard. That is the best way I know how to describe it. If you know me at all, you know that I feel with all of my being, and I took a beating this week. Not only did I have personal issues, but I had hard work decisions, family messiness, and (as we all had to experience) the slaughtering of children in a school… again. This week was just hard.

So, I sit here trying to decide what I want to write about. What piece of life will bring the happiest ending to a not so happy week. I don’t think I have processed any of them enough to find some powerful wisdom to end my blog with. All of them still hurt. And maybe that is the point for today; sometimes life is just hard and there are no magic words that make it better. That is okay.

I feel that in our society we are apt to think that the only thing we should want to feel is joy and if we don’t feel joy we have somehow failed. As Emma Gonzalez so gracefully proclaimed, “We call BS!” It is okay to feel upset and angry and sad. In fact, it is 100% natural. It took me a very long time to accept that. We need to care for ourselves by fully accepting all parts of ourselves.

People often think of self-care as the equivalent to treat yo’ self and that misses the mark completely.  Don’t get me wrong, I also think it is important to treat oneself every once in awhile… I have the Dooney and Bourke purse to prove it. However, to me self-care is sitting with yourself, everyday, for at least a moment, and checking-in on your feelings and allowing yourself to wholly embrace those feelings. You can also do this in the bathtub if you so prefer. I encourage all of you to take 5 minutes out of your day today and just feel everything you are meant to feel, without telling any emotions to go away. You can’t have positives without negatives. THAT’S SCIENCE.

I would like to end this post with a poem I wrote when I sat with all of my emotions, after hearing about the Parkland School Shooting.

Hurt me again.

Not because I like the pain,

But because pain is all I know.

When the gun shots sound like melodies,

The man’s force is a gentle hug.

I am taught that violence is not the answer

And yet pain is all I know.