Today’s Gratitude

I have been reading “The Magic” by Rhonda Byrne. You are suppose to read this book for 28 days (a chapter a day) and everyday you write 10 things you are grateful for. Since the last couple of posts have been about my relationship with myself, today’s chapter in “The Magic” was to focus was on being grateful for yourself. I am on day 26 of this book and I have kept with the writing of 10 things I am grateful for everyday. Some days I write, think, and feel grateful for things as simple as our chairs at the dining room table and other days I feel blessed for a certain heartache because it has made me the woman I am today. This alone has changed my life. I feel calmer and feel that I can handle things better than before. It has turned misunderstandings, frustrations, and hate into gratitude, wonder, and love.

These are 10 things I am grateful for.

  1. I am happy and grateful for my body because it is strong and beautiful. My body is able to do the things that I want and need all day. I am able to walk, breathe, smell, taste, listen, read, sing, sleep, and eat. My body can do anything and everything, how amazing is that?! Thank you, God!
  2. I am deeply blessed to be lost because it is giving me the opportunity to explore my life. I am building a relationship with myself (and with God). I’m a little all over the place right now and that is okay because I am more me today than I have ever been. Thank you, God.
  3. I am truly grateful for my ambition and passion because it has helped to get me where I am today. My ambition helped me to accomplish all my dreams so far (going to school, losing weight, learning to love myself, joining the Peace Corps, etc) and my passion has allowed me to do all of my dreams with authenticity and love. Thank you, God.
  4. I am truly grateful for my lungs because it allows me to breathe. Breathing gives me life and makes me FEEL alive. When I sit outside and take a deep breathe, I breathe in energy and life. It is these moments that I feel like I am soaring, I feel like myself, untamed, and it is all because of my lungs! Thank you, God.
  5. I am deeply blessed to be me because I am unique. I am brave, kind, and resilient. I know that I can help people and do. I have changed people’s lives for the better by being compassionate and genuine. I have so much that I can, want, and will give to the world. Thank you, God.
  6. I am happy and truly grateful that I feel everything because it has made my life so meaningful and beautiful. My feelings have allowed me to appreciate the little things in life and experience so many wonderful people, places, and things. I have been able to feel what others feel (good and bad) and that is a gift. By feeling, I have been able to walk along side others. Every feeling has made me a better person. Thank you, God.
  7. I am truly grateful that I love to dance because dancing gives me life. I am blessed that I can dance like no one is watching. I dance anywhere and everywhere- my living room or at the grocery store. Dancing brings me to life and makes me smile. Thank you, God.
  8. I am deeply blessed that I don’t care what other people think of me because it has allowed me to live my life as me. I always stay true to myself and do the things that bring me joy and I put myself out there. It is because of this that I do not live my life with regret. I LIVE. Thank you, God.
  9. I am happy and truly grateful for my smile because when life gets rough, I always know how to smile and see the light. When I smile, I feel the rest of my body relax. I know that when I smile that it is real because I see and feel the positive in every situation. There is something beautiful in everything and when I see it, I can’t help but to smile. That beauty that is seen, is a gift. Thank you, God.
  10. I am truly blessed to have curly hair because it is me! My curly hair is crazy, messy, wild, and all over the place just like my personality. It fits me perfectly and I wouldn’t want it (or to be) any other way! It is beautiful and the best part- I don’t have to do anything with it in the mornings. My mornings are made simple! Thank you, God.

 

 

Quote:

“Happiness cannot be traveled to, owned, earned, worn or consumed. Happiness is the spiritual experience of living every minute with love, grace, and gratitude.” -Denis Waitley

 

Song:

“Man in the Mirror” -Michael Jackson

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My Truth

*Since my last post was about hate, I made myself write about the things that I know that I am, my truth. I wrote the piece “Self Hate” back in May and to change my thoughts and how I see myself, I felt that it was important to take a different look at myself. This is what I am and this is my strength. I knew that hating myself wasn’t getting me anywhere but I didn’t know how to stop hating myself. This piece “My Truth” was the start of changing my thoughts into something other than hate. 

 

 

 

I am a 25 year old woman. I am a daughter, sister, friend, and person. I am a college graduate. Actually, a graduate from grad school. I am a runner, a marathon finisher. I have been emotionally abused and neglected and I survived. I was sexually assaulted not once but twice and I survived. I am a fighter. I am a social worker, a Peace Corps Volunteer. I am a lover of life. I lover of people. A lover of life. I am a dancer that dances to the beat of her own drum. I am my own person. I am me. I am a good listener and understanding person. I feel compassion from the depths of my soul and every last inch of me is full of passion. I am an encourager and supporter of all dreams. I am a believer of people and all things. I have faith in me and I am faith. I am love, every little tiny piece of me. I am a big smile and constant laugh. I am as crazy as the curls on the top of my head, flying all over and sticking out in every direction. I am all over the place like a storm. Nothing about me is small and I am going to make my mark on this world. I am a lover of nature- the sun moon, stars, and the whole damn sky. I am a dreamer even when all is hidden and there is nothing that seems possible to dream about. I see the light in the dark because I am a light. Even when I am not shining so bright, I am always a light because I am strong, resilient, and brave. I am the face of courage and always pushing myself to be more beautiful on the inside. I go out of my comfort zone and into the shitting my pants zone. I am risky and playful. I am clumsy and forgetful so clumsy and forgetful I will make you laugh at my ways and you will shake your head at me because everything I do is sweet and genuine. I am sensitive and a badass in one. I am not afraid to tell you what’s on my mind… if you ask. I am a soul-shaker and life changer I’ll wake you the fuck up…. in the most gentle and loving way you’ve ever experienced. I am love and gentle and I’ll show you what that is and what it looks like. I am full of questions and answers and you’ll hear all of it. I am curious.. so curious that I can’t let shit go. I am stubborn- the kind that will never, ever give up on anyone even when I see their whole truth. It doesn’t scare me. I am an observer and forgiver. I am a believer in the good in people even when it’s hard to see. I am a giver and receiver of positive energy. I am a thriver and over-thinker in tough times. I am creative and imaginative. I am a child at heart and holds that tight. I am my very own person. I have been me everyday that I have been on this earth. I am authentic. I am a woman, strong, independent, loving, passionate, silly, crazy, and brave. No one can or will take that away from me especially not me.

 

 

 

Quote:

“That inner voice has both gentleness and clarity. So to get to authenticity, you really keep going down to the bone, to the honesty, and the inevitability of something.” -Meredith Monk

 

Song:

“Love Myself” by Hailee Steinfeld

 

 

Self HATE

*Disclaimer- these are all the irrational thoughts I had told myself and truly believed. This was what was at my core. They “whys” as to why I felt and thought this way will come out later. 
My obsession with achieving things started when I was 11 years old. We had to write a piece for D.A.R.E. telling why we were pledging against drugs and alcohol use. The winner would read their story at our graduation and get a prize. I won and I loved that feeling of achieving and writing something meaningful. It was a slow progression towards this obsession but I started it because I realized that it was one of the few things in my life that made me feel good about myself. I started to crave it more and more as I got older and it helped to push away from my demons but in the process I also lost myself. I was burying those demons deep inside and stacking all these wonderful things on top of them. But those demons were still making their way out. How? With every little negative thing that came my way, those demons would grab it and hold on to it and be stirring inside me saying, “See! You are worthless! You are stupid! You are unloveable! You aren’t enough!” They were there hurting me and only me and on the inside. So I kept pushing myself and finding more things to conquer. I took care of myself and never asked anyone for help. I’m strong, independent, accomplished, and driven………… that’s what all of these accomplishments should make me feel and think, right?
Oh, no. You are none of these things. You didn’t have a boyfriend in high school. You weren’t even close to the top of your class. You didn’t have a lot of friends. You were fat and ugly. You had nothing going for you. You dated that guy that was 11 years older than you for 5 years and he brought you down!! You weren’t attracted to him and you were embarrassed by him all the time but you still stayed with him. You did everything for him. Cooking, cleaning, listening, and TRYING to make yourself love him. WHO DOES THAT?! You can’t make yourself love someone. You felt gross with him and he was gross, everything about him. You put him before yourself through some years that should have been about you. You neglected yourself for someone that wasn’t even worth neglecting yourself for and for someone that you really didn’t love and honestly, he really didn’t love you. He would love when you would tell him that he probably wouldn’t care if you called him and told him that you had cancer because he didn’t care about anything. In college, you didn’t make a lot of friends. You didn’t push yourself hard enough, you should have gotten a higher GPA. In your Master’s, you should have finished it in one year…. NOT two. You fucked that up real good. Maybe if you would have known what to do this wouldn’t have happened. You are stupid. What are you good at? You moved in with your aunt, uncle, and cousin that you knew were toxic. You let them fuck with your head. Made you second guess yourself and influence what you did and how you thought about people and treat them. You let them steal your happiness and made you feel like you were the crazy one. You let them walk all over you and never said anything. You wouldn’t stick up for yourself or others when they you were talking shit. You changed yourself so much so you wouldn’t make them upset. You never said anything, ever.  You are so weak and meek and timid. People treat you like this because you are worthless that’s why they are doing it. They see you, they see how weak you are and how easy you are to push around. If you were better or good enough, they wouldn’t do this. This guy you are in love with doesn’t love you because you aren’t more loving and physically attractive. You are scared and nervous to do everything in your life because you are weak. You like talking to people and being around them because you are needy and dependent. You couldn’t live with that alcoholic in Ukraine because you aren’t strong enough and can’t really handle people like you think. What kind of social worker and loving person are you? You aren’t actually forgiving and accepting. You were sexually assaulted multiple times because you just let it happen because you are weak. You numbed up because you are weak and everyone wouldn’t side with you anyways because you aren’t believable and aren’t good enough. You aren’t going back to Ukraine because you aren’t strong enough. You are a liar. A fake. How could you not finish this dream. You are letting children down. You are letting some asshole win and take over you. You aren’t beautiful physically because your one eye has a little yellow tint to it instead of being pure white. Your eyebrows are always uneven. You have psoriasis on your face. Sometimes your nose looks big. You have hair on your lip. Your cheeks are HUGE and those dimples take up a lot of room on your face. Your hair, its really thin and if it weren’t for those curls you wold look like a cancer patient. Your skin is just terrible looking in general. Even your ears have psoriasis on them. Your shoulders are broad and make you look like man. Your boobs are big and make you slouch which is unattractive… you aren’t strong enough. Your arms are flabby and have psoriasis on them. Let’s talk about that terribly disgusting stomach of yours. You’ve always had it. You dream of it not being there. You can see it in every shirt, top, dress, whatever… its unattractive. There is absolutely nothing good about it. Your ass? That small thing sucks. It’s shapeless. Your legs are long and it’s hard to find pants that fit right. It makes you look a little unproportionate. Your feet are boney and weird looking. You’ve got stretch marks all over and really, that tattoo on your side and lower hip shouldn’t be there because you aren’t skinny enough for that. Overall, you have nothing going for you. You are worthless and unloveable. I mean, look at yourself on the outside and inside. Those accomplishments and who you are are nothing because you are all these terrible things. Oh, and you are clumsy. You aren’t good at anything. You trip over yourself and words all the time. You make people feel uncomfortable. People are intimidated by you because you are too deep and don’t know what to do with someone like you. You aren’t good at sports. You can’t understand anything to do with science, business, language etc. No one is ever going to truly love you because there is nothing worth loving. You aren’t good enough for anything or anyone, not someone like you. And if you ever love yourself you are a selfish person, don’t you even think about it.
Today’s quote:
“As I began the love myself I recognized that my mind can disturb me and it can make me sick. But as I connected it to my heart, my mind became a valuable ally. Today I call this connection “WISDOM OF THE HEART.” -Charlie Chaplin 
Today’s song:
“Shots” by Imagine Dragons 

Conflict at 25

Written: May 1, 2017
When I was 6 years old, my mom had a stroke. She was emotionally abusive and neglectful. I have an older sister and two younger brothers. We grew up as a family. My dad was taking care of my mom, trying to make her happy which was staying away from us and using drugs. I was the main nurturer to my brothers growing up. When I was 12, my mom starting drinking too and when I was 14 years old she cheated on my dad and left us. I saw her on and off for the next couple of years, none of which were positive interactions. Shortly after she had left I was raped, had my own problems with drugs and alcohol, issues with my weight, and was doing poorly in school. Thankfully this was a short phase in my life, 8 months. I woke up one day and started pushing myself. I had dreams and big ones. I started taking extra classes, got involved in after school activities, working, and taking care of my family. This is where I started moving at a million miles an hour. When I was 17 I started dating a guy who was 27.
I graduated high school and headed to college and found if I pushed myself that I could complete my bachelor’s in 3 years instead of 4, while working and doing internships so I did. Then it was time to graduate and I went on to grad school. I graduated with my Master’s in School Social Work right before my 23rd birthday. I was the first person to go to college on either side of the family.
Since graduating two years ago I broke up with my creepy/older/terrible boyfriend of 5 years, lost a friend to cancer, traveled a lot, lost weight, was a bridesmaid in many weddings, held and loved on many beautiful babies of my wonderful friends, fell in love and met the guy of my dreams (he doesn’t know it yet), found my faith, tried kickboxing, pole dancing, ran a marathon, got a few tattoos, bought a car- sang and dance my heart out in that car, met some truly amazing people, told people how I felt about them, and even reached out to my mom who I hadn’t seen or talked to in 7 years for some closure (that is a whole other can of worms). Even with the craziness, I feel that I have lived and I have been blessed in so many ways. I wouldn’t change a fucking thing in my life. Good and bad. All of it. It has made me, me!
My love and passion is life, people, and love. I love, love!  I have this love for people and I just want to share it, spread it! I want others to feel love and feel all the beautiful things in life because it’s there even when things get shitty and hard and messy and sticky and gross… it’s always there, we just have to open our eyes and find it.
So what did I do after I graduated with my Master’s? I applied for the Peace Corps, got in, and left for Ukraine in September 2016. My friends and family couldn’t be more proud (my dad being my number one) and we all knew this was the perfect fit for me. I was prepared for many challenges but the ones I was not prepared to face were the demons from my past again, not there at least.
I got to Ukraine and the first 3 months were training. Life was great, I had the most amazing host family. In December it was time to move to my permanent site which was in a village. I lived with a woman who was an alcoholic and reminded me of my mom. She ignored me and when she did speak to me was very condescending. I was determined to push through but after one month I gave up. I was depressed, miserable, and starting to fall into that big dark hole. I moved in with a new host family and they are wonderful but then other little things started to happen. My dad had surgery, I had little support from my school, felt like I was losing connections back home, and I was sick 7 times in the 7 months I had been there. I was fading in a lot of ways and didn’t even know it.
I was very into my village. I loved being at the school teaching English, holding English clubs, and dance clubs for the kids. I didn’t see any other volunteers or my friends because my focus was on the kids. I did decide in March to take a weekend for myself and meet up with some of my friends. I was sexually assaulted that weekend by one of my “friends”. I did what I always do which is push it away and focus it on something else, something positive. But this pain was different than anything I’d ever experienced. I was empty. Hollow. Gone. Tired. I was now in that big dark hole… again. Not only was I assaulted but my best friend from Peace Corps, she too was sexually assaulted by the same guy and that weekend too. I didn’t want to come home on “leave” but after two weeks of trying to handle it on my own, I decided that I couldn’t do this by myself so I came back home to Wisconsin. The Peace Corps has been supportive and will allow me to go back at any time. I have been diagnosed with PTSD and am in therapy and slowly climbing back out of the hole.
So, what’s the big question or problem… Do I go back and if I don’t, will I regret this for the rest of my life? I’ve always told myself that if I think I will regret not doing something then I HAVE to do it but this time, this feels different. I am 25 years old and I’ve moved at full speed my entire life. I want to help these kids and teach them to be silly, laugh, and love life. I want to be someone to believe in them. What a disappointment I would be to them. They are waiting and counting on me. They all love me and I love them so much. I feel like a liar and a fake if I don’t go back, a let down……but I’m tired. I want someone to just wrap me up and take care of me… is that bad? I know I can go on and I will go on but to where.. where do I go?
Song of the day:
“Give Me Love” by Ed Sheeran
Quote of the day:
“There is only one happiness in this life, to love and be loved.” -George Sand