Be a good person.

You can be vulnerable and still be powerful. You can have a gentle heart and still be rock-solid to your core. You can be as calm as a cool breeze, but as fierce as a tiger. The measure of true strength is to embody the characteristics of the full spectrum.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, life is the messy bits. Speak your truth, love your family, care for your friends and be yourself. Your social media platforms, your blogs, your conversations with people, they don’t need to be a perfectly curated collection of beautiful and noteworthy. Be real. Be truthful. Be you. If someone’s not willing to listen to the truth, find someone else to talk to.

Being real about how the world actually works, about how life really is, that’s what I appreciate in people.

Don’t internalize the bad. Nobody needs to be walking around with that weight on their shoulders. Always speak your truth. You’ll feel sooooooo much better about life when you do.

Also, be a good person. It doesn’t take a lot. Just be a good fucking person.

Stay away from negative people. They have a problem for every solution.

The time, 11:49 pm. The mood, content. The setting: perched at the edge of the couch, watching the sun dip behind the trees, saying goodnight to another peaceful day.

I’m reaching the end of the week that I dubbed my week of positivity. It was my goal to, for the week, all week, stay positive. And let me tell you, it wasn’t easy. It definitely wasn’t. I consider myself a realist by nature, so staring down the barrel of some particularly crappy situations and choosing to not let it get the better of you, it’s tough. But, I’m here to say that it is do-able.

As mentioned in a post earlier on this week, my mom’s healthy. Which that, that is reason enough to be eternally thankful.

Other positive things that happened this week? I’ve been babysitting my brother’s dog for the past couple of days. He’s actually done a lot for brightening my mood. I was trying to pin point why this dog was making me so happy and it was really my brother that hit the nail on the head with why Jaxon (the dog) is so nice to have around.

“Jaxon is really growing on me!” I texted him.

“Yeah, he’s a pretty great dog to have around. He listens well and he just always seems to be in a good mood.” He texted back.

That’s it. That’s it right there. This dog is always in a good mood. He’s always got a ‘dog smile’ on his face. He wags his tail like he’s excited to be everywhere and involved in anything. He loves attention but he also loves when we leave him alone. He prances around like he doesn’t weigh 100 pounds and he’s totally unaware that there’s anything bad in this world. I realize that I sound crazy as I’m talking about a dog in this way, but it’s just… so heartwarming to be around him. I truly believe that pets make us better. And this dog, he definitely has made me better this week.

One thing that has been an extremely important mood booster to me this week was all of the introductions that I got to read on my blog. Making a post asking for introductions, I wasn’t really sure what I was going to get. Honestly, I was expecting maybe five-to-ten people to respond, tops. The responses that I got were really overwhelming. It was so special to me to be able to read about so many of you, and to learn more. Thank you, thank you, thank you. This space, this wordpress world, has been such a safe space for me over the past six months. My mind is truly blown with how many wonderful people I’ve crossed paths with on wordpress. Honestly, if I could go back in time, I would tell myself to make a wordpress account a lot sooner than I did.

Another moment that was extremely important during my week was taking my niece and nephew out for slurpees. B and V (she’s V too as she’s named after me) went to get slurpees/screamers, and as we were walking to the till with their cups full of sugar, B patted me on the arm and said ‘Auntie, thank you so much!’ Naturally, I asked him why he was thanking me. His response: ‘Because you just make things so much better. You make me feel better and you make everything better. It’s so nice to have you around. And I’m not just saying that because you’re buying me ice cream’. I nearly teared up there in the store. I didn’t, because he’s 10 and would totally make fun of me for that. But I wanted to. Such a nice compliment from a ten year old kid. If he get understand that now, at 10, imagine what he’s going to be like when he grows up!

There’s definitely been some negative things happening. There’s definitely been some things that made me anxious and scared. But, overall, I would say that I made some serious headway in being able to deal with those things, cope with those things or completely see past those things.

The power of positivity is real.

I’ve decided that I’m going to start leaving notes about things that I like about myself on the end of my blog posts. Why? I’m trying to boos my own self-esteem, so I want to think of more positives. I also think that it’ll be nice, when I look back on these posts one day in the future, to be able to see that I ended each post with a positive note. So, here goes:

I really like my eyes. They’re a really nice ocean-blue colour and I get complimented on them a lot. I don’t mean that in a cocky way, I just mean that of all the things people can be complimented on, I’m frequently complimented as having beautiful eyes. They definitely are attention grabbing when you see me.

Eric Church – Kill a Word

I’ve got this theory. The theory is that there are two types of people in this world: music people and lyric people.

The lyric people, they tend to be more analytical in nature, pouring over every line to determine the true meaning behind a song, behind a moment and behind life. They interpret the hell out of everything that they do and all that happens to them.

Then there’s the music people. These are the people in this world who couldn’t care less about the lyrics, they simply like the song if it’s got a good beat to it, or if it’s music that matches their mood. They ‘go-with-the-flow’ and are more easily able to let things go when they need to.

Sometimes I think it might be easier to be a music person rather than a lyric person. But, since I’m obviously not, I’ll just say this… sometimes things have a way of finding you exactly when they need to. And for me, this often happens through song lyrics.

Here’s a song that’s meant a lot to me over the past couple of years, especially so on a day like today.

If I could kill a word and watch it die
I’d poison never, shoot goodbye
Beat regret when I felt I had the nerve
Yeah, I’d pound fear to a pile of sand
Choke lonely out with my bare hands
I’d hang hate so that it can’t be heard
If I could only kill a word

I’d take brokenness out back
And break heartbreak, stand there and laugh
Right in its face while shootin’ it the bird
I’d put upset down in its place
I’d squeeze the life out of disgrace
Lay over under six cold feet of dirt
If I could only kill a word

Give me sticks, give stones
Bend my body, break my bones
Use staff and rod to turn me black and blue
‘Cause you can’t unhear, you can’t unsay
But if were up to me to change
I’d turn lies and hate to love and truth
If I could only kill a word

I’d knock out temptation’s teeth
I’d sever evil, let it bleed
Then light up wicked, stand and watch it burn
I’d take vice and I’d take vile
And tie ’em up there with hostile
Hang ’em high and leave ’em for the birds
If I could only kill a word

So give me sticks, give stones
Bend my body, break my bones
Use staff and rod to turn me black and blue
‘Cause you can’t unhear, you can’t unsay
But if were up to me to change
I’d turn lies and hate to love and truth
If I could only kill a word
If I could only kill a word

Words are hard.

I’ve been staring at this screen for the past thirty minutes. I’ve written, deleted, rewritten and re-deleted all of my thoughts this evening. Why? The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting change.

My thoughts don’t even seem worthy of putting into words tonight. I’m not anxious, I’m just in a mood. Things are annoying me. I can’t seem to wrap my head around what I want. I have so many ideas and none of them ever seem to come to fruition.

Lately I’ve been thinking it might be nice to just go into business for myself. You know… start a consulting firm and charge people oodles of money for my services. Wow, I can’t believe I said that out loud (so to speak). The entire concept sounds so stupid, yet so exhilarating. I know my worth. I possess such a unique skill set that I know I could bring immense value to any company that I worked for, yet for one reason or another they just don’t seem to hire me. Perhaps I should flip the coin, take control of the situation and charge the heck out of them for my services. I’m not sure that I’ll tell anyone this. At least not now. More than anything it’s a pipe dream at the moment. Perhaps one day.

Until then, I think I’ll just stay hopeful. Hopeful for success, hopeful for a future, hopeful for a day when cell phones aren’t twice as much as laptops, hopeful for happiness.

Hey Knight, if you’re reading this, I think that we should go to Vegas for my birthday. I’m saying this now so that you can take days off.

Should I be impulsive or should I be responsible?

Do I get on a plane, or do I stay home and not spend money when I don’t have a ton of it to go around? Do I accept the money from someone for the plane ticket, if I know I can’t pay it back, even though I know they’d never ask for me to pay it back? Do I follow my heart, or listen to my head?

I have a hard time accepting money, or anything, from people. I always have. Regardless of the person, regardless of the value of what they’re trying to give. It’s something I struggle with, greatly. There are people in my life that I know are genuine when they want to give me things, yet I refuse to allow them. I just feel as though if the no gifts rule has to apply to one, that rule has to apply to all. As much as I try to make exceptions and try to accept the love and generosity someone is trying to give me, old habits are hard to change.

It seems like such a simple answer. ‘Girl, go… get on a plane… do what makes you happiest, chase what you love most. Life is short. Helping someone through cancer treatments teaches you that like a slap to the face on a cold winter’s day.’ That’s my inner-voice speaking. But, if there’s one thing life has taught me this year, life doesn’t get to be so simple. I’ve been feeling the need to be cautious with my decisions lately. I want to set myself up for the future. I want a future, a good future, an important future. I’m capable of so much and truthfully, part of me worries I am one bad decision away from ruining that potential.

The Psychiatrist that I’ve been seeing says that I’m a chronic over-thinker with compulsive tendencies. Translation: I spend a long time thinking about things and then just do it anyway. While I won’t deny, that has allowed me some pretty incredible experiences in life, I don’t want to feel as though I’m sponging off those that I love for the rest of my life.

Okay, so, in all likelihood, I’m going to continue thinking about this all night long. There’s a very real possibility that I resort to online shopping in hopes to distract myself. Does anyone else put things in your online shopping cart for ten different websites at once and never actually buy anything? Or, is that just me? That’s likely just me.

My fitbit is beeping at me to go to bed. Really quick though, before I peel off my socks and curly up in bed, I’ve got something totally unrelated to this to say. I’ve been really disappointed with the news coming to light of all (in the past few weeks) of the trash Canada has shipped overseas under the misquoted manifest of ‘recyclables’. While we’re one of the most developed nations on earth, we’re only actually recycling as little as 9% of materials that are able to be recycled. And if it’s happening here, it’s happening in more than just Canada. We need to be better. As a human race, we need to be better. We need to make the effort. The very state of our planet depends on it. Reduce. Reuse. Recycle.

Sweet dreams, beautiful world.

Tips for coping with anxiety from a Psychiatrist, part two.

In working with a Psychiatrist to help cope with the massive amounts of anxiety I’ve been dealing with this year, I’ve been learning a lot about myself. I’ve also been learning a lot of how deal with the anxiety that I have. It’s an invaluable lesson and I’m passing along the things that my psychiatrist is teaching me in hopes that it may resonate with others.

One of the things that she’s teaching me is that, when you’re anxious, it’s really easy to believe things that aren’t necessarily true.

When I get anxious, everything pisses me off. Things that would normally roll-off-my-back seem like insurmountable feats and, it really doesn’t matter what people do, it’s just going to make me angry. As a result, I tend to alienate myself from people. And, when I alienate myself from people, my head is filled with even more anxious thoughts and beliefs that I don’t belong around people and that the people in my life don’t like me. It’s a vicious cycle that I’ve been spinning in for months now. Spending some time sitting down with my psychiatrist and talking about this cycle, she’s provided me some tips to help keep myself calm when I get anxious.

So here are the tips:

  1. When you’re anxious and your spinning, thinking negative thoughts that you cannot control,ask yourself “Is this really true?” Really stop and think about it. Don’t just allow yourself to say ‘Yes it’s true’. How do you know it’s true? Are you thinking inside of said person’s brain? Do you know their thoughts? Do you have hard and fast evidence of what said person is thinking? Because if you cannot prove with 100% certainty that the thoughts/feelings that are making you anxious are, in fact, 100% truth, you need to reflect that on yourself, not on them. Learning to take those situations and put it on yourself, saying “Why am I thinking this? Why is my brain doing this?” will allow you to be more cognizant of your negative thoughts and how to see past them when you do get annoyed/anxious/frustrated.
  2. Self-care is so integral. Looking after yourself on the outside will help you to feel better on the inside. Exercise. Wash your face. Put your feet up when you get the opportunity. Take the little moments that you get during the day to treat yourself, or enjoy yourself. Go to a yoga class, if you can. Or, if you can’t go to Yoga, practice some at-home meditation. When your body is at peace, it will help your mind to be at peace, so don’t just do these things when you feel anxious, do them always.
  3. Don’t own anyone’s bullshit but your own. This one is a big problem for me, and it’s something that I bet a lot of people who struggle with mental illness struggle with. I think that, largely, when you’re anxious and struggling, it can be very easy for you to take on the burden of someone’s lies, bullshit or nonsense without even thinking twice about it. This is something that you need to recognize when it’s happening and put a stop to. If someone lies to you, don’t just accept the lie, call them out on it. Say ‘Thank you, but I do not deserve your lies’. If someone treats you unfairly, remind them that it’s a reflection of them and not yourself. Actually say it out loud… not just inside of your head. Speaking our truth, saying the words in a manner which they can hear will do more for your psyche than anything else in that moment. Feel free to leave the burden of their bullshit with them.
  4. Don’t let negativity people rent space in your head. This one ties back to my previous post (Tips for coping with anxiety from a Psychiatrist). When people in your life are being particularly negative, it’s really easy to let them eat away at you. What my psychiatrist recommends doing is keeping a happy memory, one happy memory, in your mind and regurgitating that memory in your head or out loud when someone’s negativity is tearing you down. Forcing yourself to think of happy thoughts in the moments when someone is being particularly shitty, it will force much needed serotonin into your brain and provide you the extra ‘umph’ you need in order to end the situation. Whether that be walking away from it, telling them to shut up, asking them kindly to move on, or however you end up doing it, when you’re thinking happy thoughts in your mind, it’ll be easier for you to kick their negativity to the curb.
  5. Find your strength. One of the things that my Psychiatrist tells me is that I’m really good at standing up for other people and for coming to the rescue of someone I love or someone that I care about, but when it comes to myself, I tend to lay down and die (so to speak). I have a feeling I am not the only one. One of the best ways to cope with your anxiety is to find your strength, she says. Knowing that you have the power to stand up for yourself is so integral to switching off the negative parts to your brain.
  6. Clean your space. This one should go without saying, but it can also often be a struggle for people. If you’re living in a space that is dirty, cluttered or dusty, it can contribute vastly to your mental health. Much like how SAD(Seasonal Affected Disorder) is a real thing, (Space Affected Disorder) is also very much a real thing. If your indoor space is the equivalent of dark, grey, rainy and gross days, it’s going to to affect the way in which you view the world. Pick up where you can. Dust when you have a few spare moments. Throw away or recycle clutter that you don’t need. It will help you long term.

Most of all, she says, is to go easy on yourself. Your issues are valid and you need time to properly grieve in order to move past them. This is a life-long commitment that you need to make to yourself in order to feel better. You owe it to yourself.

Stop wasting time, start getting things done.

It can be exceptionally easy to plop yourself down on the couch and kiss a few hours of a day goodbye, if you allow yourself.

I have an exceptionally easy time putting off tasks. I can waste the day away, I can waste a week away without even thinking twice about it. And lately I am realizing that I can’t be like that anymore.

For a lot of people, wasting time is not even about laziness. There isn’t so much a desire to just lay on the couch and waste the day away. For a lot of people, deep down, there’s an anxious mind propagating fears. The fears of messing up that keep us from even starting a task in the process, this is what contributes greatly to wasting time. I have a lot of those fears, and I have them often.

Note to self: stop wasting time, start getting things done.

  • Ask yourself ‘why?’ Why am I procrastinating? Do I know how to start? Do I know where to start? D I have the courage to do this, to get things done and to not stop until it’s complete? Don’t be afraid to ask yourself the hard questions.

Too many people live with the notion that if it can’t be done perfectly then it shouldn’t be done at all. This is wrong.

  • Don’t aim for perfection. Aim to get things done. Once progress has already begun, or a task has already been completed, it is much easier to edit or reorganize your work after the fact.
  • Clear distractions from your life. If having the tv on is going to cause you to lose focus, put the remote away. If having your laptop on is going to distract you, put your laptop under your bed. Don’t allow yourself the opportunity to get distracted.
  • Write shit down. Write it all down. Write down what you need to get done, and hey, if you can, write down some things you’ve already done. There’s a certain catharsis that comes from being able to cross something off your to do list. Just seeing something crossed off will provide you added motivation to cross more off.
  • Give yourself a window of time. Be it ten minutes, be it an hour, be it a day or a week or whatever time frame you give yourself, set a time limit. If you have a limit of time in which you can get things done, you will be more inclined to finish things before your deadline.
  • Celebrate your accomplishments. It’s important to note that when you get something done you need to celebrate the accomplishment. Celebrating finishing a task will help you with motivation for future tasks, and, if you are one of those people who gets anxious about things, or has fear of the future, celebrating the small victories can be really helpful for your confidence level.