Sitting with yourself

I haven’t sat down to write in what feels like an eternity. I have been so busy with working two jobs, trying to keep myself going and we are trying to figure out our living situation for the next year. I realize now that I haven’t stopped, I haven’t sat down and disconnected myself from everything going on externally to see how i am actually feeling. This is something we can all relate to… we are too busy all the time. Even if you don’t realize it… you are always watching TV, working, on social media, listening to music, playing video games, eating, talking to people and just being on our phones… there’s never a moment of silence as we fill our lives down to the second… even typing all of that out made me tired.

When was the last time you sat alone, in silence , with your own mind? Maybe you are someone who journals or can separate yourself from everything else and just exist for 5 minutes… but for most of us, that’s impossible. Our brains are filled with so much shit that we constantly feel over whelmed and stressed about everything. This is what I believe has pushed anxiety and depression levels through the roof.

For me, when I am writing… I am alone (maybe with my wonderful pup by my side), sitting in a quiet room and I have my phone turned to airplane mode so that I can have zero distractions. But over the past few months I feel like I have lost my voice, I have been too busy to hear it… too busy to sit with myself and ask “how am I doing today?”. Something that I am trying my best to do now on a daily basis.

Another challenge I have been struggling with is negative self talk, I have put weight on because of stress and working too much and just generally lacking self care. This has caused me to beat myself down when I look in the mirror… but this isn’t healthy.

When you talk down about yourself that’s what you hear, that’s what you feel… that you aren’t good enough… but you are good enough. You do matter. The only person who can validate you is you. Stop talking negatively about yourself and be proud of the person you are, what you feel is legitimate, if you need to cry… do it. If you need to laugh… so it. Holding in your feelings is bad for you… No husband, wife, significant other or friend needs to validate you… you are perfect. You are your own kind of normal and it’s beautiful.

I need you to sit down in silence away from all your distractions at the end of your day and tell yourself-“I am smart, I am enough, I am beautiful”

Who are you living for?

I am now in my 30s and I have always put the world before myself, it has lead me to become the completely indecisive person I am today. But I am starting to realize, 20 years of sacrificing myself for others is catching up. I don’t have a clear direction in my life. I work hard because that is what I expect of myself, am I in the career that 10 year old me dreamt about-nope. Now I am not blaming the world for where I am, i am not complaining that I have a terrible life, because I don’t. My life is wonderful. Minus some health issues here and there.

If you are someone like me, you will always put others before yourself, whether it’s family, friends or even someone you don’t know. Being a kind and caring individual is a wonderful thing… but it gets to the point that you sacrifice yourself for others, you lose the person you are and become the person the world creates for you… or rather the person you let the world tell you that you are.

My point is, being happy with yourself, with your choices and with your life is what makes you a well rounded individual, being decisive about your career, what you do every day and the direction you want to go will lead to you being happy. Hopefully causing less stress, less high blood pressure and meaning that you can wake up every morning with a smile on your face.

The interesting part about all of this is that it starts with you. No one else. It starts with that voice inside your head… you have to turn down the noise, turn off the overthinking and make a choice. Who are you living for? The answer should be… wait scratch that the answer IS “I am living for me”.

A self deprecating mindset

The world around us influences our thoughts and actions… but we control how we respond.

The problems we are running into nowadays is that some of us have a self deprecating mindset. We focus on the negative and our weaknesses and insecurities.

The world of social media can poison your thoughts about the world, poison your opinions about yourself and create a feeling of not being good enough.

When you look at the notorious “Instagram influencers” most are what society would consider the “perfect body/face/skin/hair/personality”… if you follow any one of them you see the glorious life they are paid to lead where they travel the world, staying in gorgeous locations most of the time for free. It’s easy to find yourself feeling down.

On average we spend a few hours a day on social media scrolling through these images, we are basically brainwashing ourselves into comparing the lives we lead and how we look verses the influencer cookie cutter. That’s really not healthy… it makes you notice what you perceive as the “imperfections” that don’t make you good enough to “get those followers”.

The thing with social media… it’s a great platform to meet people with similar interests, share photos of your vacation/kids/family/pets/food… but it’s not supposed to be used to compare your lifestyle. It’s not a competition… you create your own image on social media and with that let me tell you… even the influencers have bad days, they get pimples (no matter what product they are advertising).

I wish we didn’t live in a world where we were so focused on comparisons, if you feel beautiful-own it, if you don’t feel beautiful… know that you are beautiful to your family and friends.

You are the only one of you in the world, you are an individual, you are beautiful and you are incredible.

When ever I have too many stressful things going on in my life I find myself falling down a hole of self deprecation… I beat myself down worse than the world around me and it takes more and more time to climb back out.

When you find yourself doing this you need to remember all the great things that people love about you, remember the great things that YOU love about you. Insecurities hold us back from living the life we want to lead… when we should be owning who we are, owning where we are, owning the moment because it’s the only life you get to live.

Stop the self deprecation, love yourself. It goes a long way to changing your world.

Escaping the ordinary-a post about change

When we think of an ordinary life… it goes according to the routine and plans we set in place, never pushing our selves outside of our comfort zone. The ordinary life to some is a perfect routine of days coming and going with mile markers you pass, checking each item off of the list. Keeping track of your accomplishments and then one day you lay down peacefully and pass on to the next life. Well.. that’s the hope anyway.

The thing with an ordinary life… it might not be filled with extraordinary things all the time, it might not be an exciting novel of twists and turns and the adventures that are beyond your wildest dreams. There is nothing wrong with an ordinary life with extraordinary moments in every chapter. Those extraordinary moments remind us that life is worth living for every second… and every mundane ordinary day doesn’t have to repeat itself into the next, turning into a monotonous cycle.

As long as you are aware of the control you have over your life, the paths you take sometimes are not the easiest, but if you tread purposefully on your way down your chosen path, it will lead you to who you are and where you want to go.

Sometimes the path you have ignored in the past, because of how difficult it appears to be, can lead you way out of your comfort zone. Hanging from the edge of a cliff inching your way to the destination… when we have those moments where we are so scared of living and we are looking down, we forget that there is a sunrise coming up in front of us, all we need to do is look up.. hold on tight and keep inching but we need to stop looking down and stop looking back. Your comfort zone is a wonderful place in an ordinary life… but make sure you push yourself out of your comfort zone every now and then. Find those extraordinary moments to look back on and say “wow did I really do that”.

Living an extraordinary life all the time would be exhausting… but finding a balance between those safe ordinary moments and those breath taking extraordinary moments, that’s really the purpose of your life. If you find the adventure in your life the ordinary moments won’t feel mundane but safe and comforting, then you hold onto the ordinary and the extraordinary.

I recently changed work locations, far outside of my comfort zone, it has been 3 days and every day I have learnt more about myself, I have learnt more about what I look for in a work environment and I have realized that change is scary for a lot of people… not just the person finding themselves in a new location but the existing people in the area.

Change is an inevitable part of life, you can either fight it and refuse to accept it or you can learn and compromise, work as a team and develop.

Sometimes we don’t realize the ordinary life and routine we have put ourselves in until we escape it.

Going home…a two way trip

Late last week i boarded an 8 hour night flight from Orlando to Manchester… it has been 3 years since I had been back to England and a lot of things in my life have changed.

My dad met me at the airport, I haven’t seen my parents in almost 2 years. I was stressing my self out the entire flight… my excitement/anxiety levels were all over the place and I couldn’t settle down enough to sleep. So needless to say when I walked out of the airport at 8:30am… I was exhausted.

Walking into my parents house and getting a hug was like a miracle cure for any illness. The comfort that lies in a simple family embrace is incredible. Now I didn’t grow up in this part of England, I didn’t visit it when I was a child… but it still felt like home. I have spent the week with my parents for every second of the day and it has been wonderful.

I almost cried in sainsburys (a super market) because the price of the food was so cheap and the quality was great… all the food that I grew up taking for granted was sitting there waiting for me to consume. All the chocolate, the fresh pastries, the sandwiches and biscuits and crips. My mum told me she did the same thing when they first arrived back.

I have eaten every stereotypical English food you could imagine… fish and chips, kebab, pasties, sausage rolls, pork pies, a carvery, an Indian and many other random treats. My diet doesn’t count this week because I am basically eating happiness.

I have two days left here with my parents and that makes me sadder than I realized it would. I don’t know when they will be back in the US, or when I will be back in England… my dad and I had a conversation where he asked me if I would move back to England… I told him yes, but it would be an adjustment. I explained how every trip back to England tells me that I am home both here in England and back in Florida. It’s like two different versions of my life…. both places have good things and bad. I finally settled on telling him, I have two homes but don’t feel i belong in either… and that’s not a bad thing.

I cannot wait to get home to my loving partner and my adorable pup. It will be the only thing keeping me sane through the 9 hour flight back. But there are things that I learnt that I missed on this trip that I do want to try and bring into my lifestyle back in the US to maybe feel a bit more “at home”.

There are traditions and things from our childhood that we forget as we grow up… those things we look back at now and smile… those are the parts of ourselves that we need to hold on to. Because home isn’t really a physical place but a feeling inside us… a feeling of being safe and loved. Home can be more than one place. It just means home is sometimes a two way trip.

To live a selfless life…

I have been thinking about this post since a tragedy happened yesterday at Orlando International Airport and my shift following in. I interacted with many families who were stranded or held up by the repercussions of that incident. Most of whom felt the need to complain about their own loss of time and the inconvenience it caused.

For those of you who don’t know, a TSA agent jumped from a balcony high above the atrium at MCO. A terrible loss of life in a horrendous way. So many people witnessed it… of every age and background. Including some of the agents coworkers. Obviously this is traumatizing for anyone who witnessed it and that’s not OK.

There was one family I spoke with that was impacted with a delayed flight going home. The husband and I spoke briefly but he mentioned how sad he felt for the family of that agent. One person.

Suicide is considered a selfish act by many people… but what those people forget is what could be going through that Individuals mind, what put them in the position they are in where they feel that they have no way out and no one to turn to.

Suicide is a mental illness… but it gets ignored… it’s the elephant in the room that people suffer with and they are afraid to talk about. Afraid of what others will think and afraid of the judgment that follows… when you admit “I have had suicidal thoughts” people automatically think you are being over dramatic of that you are looking for attention.

So here I am today admitting that through my teenage years the thought of suicide crossed my mind. Trying to figure out who I was as a young gay man, on top of the society norms of being a teenager…was terrifying, the fear of not knowing if I would be accepted or loved… what would society think, what would my grandparents think? Would I be disowned? At one point in my life I slightly ashamed to admit, but self harm was the route I took… I am lucky to have a wonderful accepting family, but when you are 13 years old… you don’t know what to think.

I am in no way justifying self harm or suicide… I am telling you that even the people who smile the most have their secrets in their closet. I am 30 years old and am trying to adult the best way I possibly can, I am proud of myself for pushing back the thoughts of “maybe the world is better off with me not in it” and making it to the point in my life I am at. I figured out that I had people who needed me, I had a life I wanted to lead and all the bullshit I was overthinking through my teenage years was not going to be the end of my story.

The world today is so self centered, some people only think about themselves and they don’t think about the things that could have pushed someone over the edge… 13 years in hospitality has taught me that most people are about the I, We, Me… living a selfish life in their bubble…

There is something about selfless acts, when you think of others, when you open your heart and care… that makes you a better human, it makes the world a better place…. and that could bring someone down from a ledge.

If you are someone struggling with the thought of suicide… talk to someone, a loved one or a support line. Please… the world needs you here.

https://suicidepreventionlifeline.org

Home.

That four letter word has so many meanings tied to it. Is it a physical house? A town? A country? Or just that feeling of knowing you are where you are supposed to be… knowing that you are loved and supported for being you.

People often wish to go back home… but what does that really mean? Can you ever really go back? Or are you trying to go back to that feeling of “home”, the memories of “home”.

For me personally home is where I feel loved, safe and valued. My family is spread across the world but home is the word I use to describe where I live but also where my parents live…. I have never actually spent a night in the house with them but because that is where they live that is my home.

I know for some, Home is just a memory… something they can’t touch anymore but those memories still count, that smell of fresh baked bread, your mums perfume or that smell of engine dirt that your dad’s jacket smelt like, no matter how often it was washed. I have had many houses that we lived in that I considered home, but really home shouldn’t be attached to a physical building, it should be something you can carry with you, because what ever your age is, what ever you have been through… you still need that feeling of coming home.

If you can close your eyes and imagine a family dinner, cooking in the kitchen with loved ones or just movie nights with friends on the sofa… that feeling is home.

Home is where you matter, where your voice matters and where you are welcome with a hug. Home doesn’t have to be something tied to blood relatives, home is what you make it. Never forget that.