Letter to a struggling soul

Dear Self,

The struggle is real.

It really doesn’t matter what others might say or think about what you’re going through, what matters is what you say and think. And truth be told, they’re not you so expecting them to understand what is happening is, in itself, a bit of a lost cause.

Remember that age old wisdom that says ‘Don’t fix a temporary problem with rash decisions’? Listen to that. You know it’s right. You know that quick thinking, or perhaps even no thinking, isn’t going to fix this for you.

The universe is testing you. And let me tell you IT SUCKS. I know it sucks. Every second of it. But, how you react, here and now, to what is happening, this will have a ripple effect throughout the rest of your life. Act wisely. Accept help where you can, give help where you can and keep going, always.

The hardest part of being in this time and place is that you don’t know when this test will end, when things will fix themselves, when things will be normal. Will they ever be normal? There’s no crystal ball to tell you for certain, all you can use for a guide is hard work and hope. Hope for a better world for you and everyone else who lives in it.

When you really stop to think about it, it’s important to be thankful for the things that you do have. You’re not starving. You’re not on the street somewhere, struggling to stay warm. You have a lot of blessings in your life that are very easy to overlook if you allow yourself to. So just remember, as bad as it might seem, you are one of the lucky ones. Because you are.

Remember how far you’ve come. Remember that this is all for a purpose. And, when it’s over, remember that you’re going to be stronger because of it. Scratch that, you already are stronger because of it. Silver linings, self, you need to remember them more often. Struggle teaches us just how strong we are. Struggle teaches us just how far we can bend without breaking. And last time I checked you were still standing, in one piece and all.

Hold on, self. I promise you better is coming. I don’t have a crystal ball, but I can feel it. Better is coming. I need you to believe that. This struggle won’t last forever. It can’t. You’re stronger than it.

Sincerely,
Me

Real thoughts

I’m scared.
I’m sad.
I’m anxious.
I don’t know how to fix any of it.

Winter is weighing on me. The darkness is weighing on me. The cold, making it hard to be outside for any length of time, is weighing on me. Looking after sick people is weighing on me. Rejection is weighing on me. Not having a plan for life is weighing on me. Feeling lonely is weighing on me. Lack of steady income is weighing on me. People telling me ‘just do it, it’s easy’ is weighing on me. People saying ‘stop worrying so much’ is weighing on me. Feeling like a disappointment is weighing on me. Feeling like my problems aren’t real problems is weighing on me. Everything is weighing on me.

These thoughts, while I invariably avoid them day-to-day, every once in a while tend to pop up all at once and consume my brain to the point where I can’t do anything but worry.

And so I sit here, trying to distract myself, but inevitably, worrying more than anything else.

Things that happened in 2019

A lot has happened this year. But, since most of it isn’t really worthy of recollecting, I’ve picked an event from each month as a memory of a year that I’ll be happy to say goodbye to.

In January I sent a lawyer after my former employer for wrongful termination and, in him working his magic, I was able to get four times the amount that was initially offered in severance. January also marked my mom’s third surgery in less than a 30 days. January was also the month I started this blog. Its inception was with purpose to give me a place to vent about the stress I was going through.

In February I went to the Ice Magic Festival at Lake Louise, fulfilling a dream that I’ve had for more than ten years. It might have just been the coldest day of the year, but nothing (ABSOLUTELY NOTHING) was going to keep me from that lake.

In March I got extremely sick. I went to the hospital multiple times, spent most of the month on different forms of antibiotics and sleeping. It was a long, very cold, very dark month. Knight looked after me and listened to my cry the whole time. This man would get up and out of his pjamas to go to the store in the middle of the night and get me a smoothie, because I wanted one.

In April I went to the Cancer Clinic with my mom, five days a week for many weeks. I watched as she got her treatments, cleaned up after her when she got sick and threw up, made her feel better when she was feeling depressed. I saw the people around her, each with different forms of cancer, each in varying stages of the disease, many with smiles on their face because they were thankful for the life-saving treatments they were receiving. Cancer is an extremely scary illness that affects so many people in our world and I am so thankful that my mom’s was caught early enough that she is now happy and healthy.

To everyone affected by cancer this year, I see you, I feel you and I understand you. Whether you went through it yourself, or you helped a family member or friend through it, you’re amazing. Remember that.

In May I went to Niagara Falls/Toronto. It was a quick trip, jam packed with ensuring I hit all the tourist spots and, all the local spots that were recommended to me before I went. I stayed in a room that had the most stunning view of the falls, took a few turns on the Skywheel, walked the falls at night to see the light show… it was a magical weekend for me. May also marked the birth of my niece, Aya.

In June I got a job offer around the end of the month. It was a digital marketing job, working in publishing. The employer hit me with a lot of paperwork – asking me to sign away my intellectual property rights and several other things. After some amendments were made to the contracts, I signed them and was given a start date of July 15th.

In July my job offer was rescinded. On July 13th, to be exact, precisely two days prior to when I was supposed to start. I was mad, pissed, unhappy and felt like I’d been cheated. The only explanation I got was ‘corporate restructuring’. Wowee. July also marked the birth of my nephew Phillip.

In August I went to Calgary to see an allergist and have a breathing assessment test done. I reckon being trapped in a 2×2 box on a hot summer’s day with no air, being forced to showcase who well, or poorly, your lungs are functioning feels quite similar to what summer in Arizona feels like. IT WAS HOTTTTTTTT.

In September I took a few solo road trips through British Columbia. The Gold Rush Trail was stunning and the Highway Thru-Hell was filled with A LOT of road construction. My mom, finally being healthy enough to travel, went with my dad to Denmark to visit their new granddaughter, so I had a month filled with peace and quiet and was reminded how much I appreciated living alone for ten years. I also saw my best friend, her beautiful family and spent a short amount of time in Vancouver. Twas a good month for me. Even if I was still jobless.

In October I worked the Federal Election. It was long, arduous and awful. The supervisors were idiots and the other clerks were extremely rude. But hey, we won. And, much like I predicted in October, Andrew Scheer did lose and has since resigned his post. I’m extremely glad we don’t have a pathological liar in charge of our country.

In November I turned 31. I had a bit of an existential crisis, lost my marbles for a wee bit and god, my birthday, the actual day itself, is not something I want to remember.

In December I made a commitment to purchasing gifts from Thrift Stores for my family. The way we do things in my family is, because there are so many of us, each of us gets one sibling or parent to purchase a gift for. That gift we’re supposed to spend between $75-100 on. After that, we usually gift each other small, minor things that we think would bring smiles to each other’s face. IE My brother Tyler really loves Starburst candy, so my brother Aaron bought him a bunch of Starbust for Christmas. Me, I spent the month searching thrift stores, and wound up purchasing some new, or almost new gifts for each member of my family for between $5-10 each.

2019, I won’t miss you. You’ve been a long, shitty, disappointing, difficult, heartbreaking, gut-wrenchingly awful year. To the good that did happen, I am grateful and I will always remember it. To the rest, it will serve as a reminder of things I never want to experience ever, ever again. This has been, without a doubt, the hardest year of my life. This has been the most difficult of all 30 years and two months I’ve spent on this planet.

I have resolutions. I plan to, hope to, desire to stick to them. Most of all, though, I hope that 2020 is whole lot fucking better than 2019 was.

Out with the old, in with the new.

Least popular posts of 2019

I’m not going to lie, these were hard for me to go through because a lot of them come from the beginning of this year, when I first started this blog and was in a horrible place mentally and emotionally.

Thinking back to where I was at the beginning of this year, thinking how sad I was, how ready to give up I was, how I thought the world had crumbled around me… I really don’t think I smiled the first two months of this year at all.

I’m still not in the best place in life, but I at least can see these and see how far I’ve come in the past year.

FEBRUARY AIR.
A moment in February when I was feeling hopeful about what was ahead.

FOOD FOR THOUGHT
The importance of being selective with the people you let into your life.

DAY 28: THAT INEXPLICABLE LUMP IN YOUR THROAT RIGHT BEFORE YOU’RE ABOUT TO CRY
I was sad, lost and talking about why I was sad and lost. (Ironically, 11 months later and I still, to an extent, feel the same)

HONESTLY, REMEMBER
A reminder that we are all simply human and we all have our struggles.

TIPS & TRICKS FOR SMOOTH TRANSITIONS THROUGH THE AIRPORT
Much like the title says, this post is tips and tricks to make the airport as painless as possible.

DAY 29: A RANT
Ranting about some serious topics.

Most popular posts of 2019

It’s crazy to me to go through analytic and see what became the most popular of my posts made this year. Some hurt, some heartbreak, some happiness, some thoughtfulness. The biggest thing I’m taking from this year is growth. I may not be where I want to be yet, but damn, I’ve come a long way. I’m choosing to believe the progress is for something.

MILLENNIAL MENTAL HEALTH
I think this turned into a bit of a reminder that we’re all going through something and that we shouldn’t judge a book by it’s cover, but rather, seek to understand. Mental health is hard to talk about, but that doesn’t mean we should void it.

“THERE’S NO MONEY IN WRITING”
This was more of a collaborative discussion than a post of mine. I just wanted to hear from other writers what they thought of the writing process and what it brings to their lives.

LIFE WITH SOCIAL ANXIETY
What it’s like to live with self consciousness on steroids. What it’s like to overthink, the worry and to not be able to turn it off.

SO… THIS SUCKS.
This was my response to learning that people were ripping off my posts to post on their own blog.

TIPS FOR COPING WITH ANXIETY FROM A PSYCHIATRIST
I went to therapy in 2019, which was exceptionally helpful to me in some very dark times. From time to time, I shared some tips my therapist shared with me.

ON MAKING YOUR BLOG STAND OUT
Much like the title suggests, this was just a few mentions of how to make your blog stand out from the crowd, how to grab attention, how to make your layout, content and photos all align…

LETTERS TO ANYONE
Things I write, things I think, things I worry about late at night/early in the morning that I have a hard time putting into words.

BLOGGING 103: BLOG MONETIZATION
A warning, from a personal perspective about thinking before you jump into buying the WordPress account that allows you to put ads you on your blog. Ad revenue, without a steady stream of traffic, might not be all you think it is.