Pride.

June is pride month. For the LGBTQ+ community it’s a month where we celebrate how far we have come and continue to strive towards acceptance and equality.

It’s the month when most companies come out with rainbow colored merchandise, adjust their logos to rainbows and just generally show their support. It’s a beautiful time, where I spend too much money on rainbow pins, tumblrs, clothes and rainbow food (because why not!)

This pride month for me is a bit different though… with the stress of work and some other things going on… I seem to be struggling to find my inner rainbow as it were. Over the last few months I seem to be going on a rollercoaster of ups and downs emotionally where I can be fine and happy for short periods of time and then feel drained, exhausted and sad for longer periods. I lost the desire to write… something that I was truly enjoying…My anxiety is on high alert and I feel the desire to eat everything in sight.

Yesterday while reading a blog post about losing yourself to work… made me realize that I really have dived in head first into my new job, leaving everything else to the wayside, if I am honest my work location is probably the least health environment you could imagine… especially if you are not in the right mind set.

I started to think, have I lost who I am? Who am I? Most of my working life I have always thrown myself at my job, to work the hardest I can to grow and learn, but by doing so I think I may have lost part of who I was… I truly believe this is when we turn into that dreaded “grown up” we heard so much about as kids.

When your stress to happiness ratio is sitting about 10 to 1, It’s hard to balance everything out… that’s when you hit the “burnt-out” phase and your body shuts down.

Yes there are so many factors that cause stress-bills, work, yard work, HOA’s, rats and everything else. It’s the moments that everything piles up so much it feels completely overwhelming, that’s when you have to push through… and that’s what I’m dealing with.

June isn’t over, I am trying to find the person I buried under the pile of work, bills and broken things… somewhere under that’s mess is 21 year old, (rainbow clad), laughing and dancing Shane.

Happiness is worth more to your mental stability than anything else, if you can’t be happy leading the life you want, are you really living or just surviving.

Sivako-rise to the challenge

With every single day we face challenges and up hill climbs that make it difficult for us to go on… some of us feel the weight of everything on us every single day and it holds us back from doing what we need to… or what needs to be done.

With every step you take in the direction of your dreams, of the life you want to live… you are challenging every single negative thought, challenging the nay sayers and proving them wrong. Sometimes one step is all you need to remember that you are strong, you are worth it and that you deserve to be an active participant in your own destiny.

I have not been writing as much as I should… I have been distancing myself from doing the things I want to do and burying myself under work. Because of stress, mostly. I have gained the weight I worked so hard to lose, I have been eating everything and anything I shouldn’t and started letting that be another reason to hold me back.

I am thankful for the positive people I have in my life, the guiding lights they provide… the support I receive from them every day is what keeps me going.

Currently I am focusing so much on the negatives of work that I know the rest of me is suffering. But I still give work my all, because that’s who I am. What is sad about that sentence is what could I accomplish if I was giving my all to a job I actually loved and enjoyed?

How much of our lives do we spend trying to impress the bosses and corporations that we are not invested in… but we do it because that’s what’s expected. If you could put all your effort into something you love… I am sure you would succeed beyond your wildest dreams. Fear holds us back, fear of failure, fear of the unknown… so we continue to go to the place that makes us Mediocrely happy…

At what point in our lives is it too late to change?

At what point do we just accept that this is where we were heading?

Sometimes you need to realize that rising to the challenge doesn’t mean quitting your job, it means standing up and focusing on every day things you can do to bring the joy into your life. What can you do to step in the direction you need to go, without letting everything else fall to the wayside.

The challenge in life for most of us, is the balancing act where we try to keep everything running smoothly and finding our happiness. The work life balance in the US is terrible, we spend our work days focusing on getting home to spend our time at home focusing on work. Losing the time with family and friends, draining ourselves.

I challenge you to live in the moment. Live for your happiness and work hard to move towards the life you want to lead. Don’t quit when it gets tough, keep pushing. Because if you don’t rise to the challenge you might never know where your climb will take you. The top of every mountain ends with a breath taking view… find yours.

(Not my image but courtesy of a friend)

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.

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.

I love you…No Matter what

Recently I stumbled upon a song “No Matter what” By Calum Scott, I recognized his name from somewhere and after a google search I found that he was a contestant on “Britain’s got Talent” a few years ago, his audition went vial with his rendition of “Dancing on my own”.

To break down the song, its about a young boy who struggles with his sexuality growing up and being accepted by his family and friends. I highly recommend listening to it! On so many levels the song is relatable to me, except that I was lucky enough to have both of my parents accept me and tell me that they love me no matter what.

Now I have started, deleted and edited this post so many times, I kept hitting a mental block. The main verse is really what I focus on in the song and where I found the title of this post.

“I love you no matter what
I just want you to be happy and always be who you are”
She wrapped her arms around me
Said, “Don’t try to be what you’re not
‘Cause I love you no matter what”
She loves me no matter what

There are some people that no matter what happens we love them and most of the time it is beautiful and supportive… but how many of us look in the mirror every day and say “I love you, no matter what”? I know that I never do this… But how much of our time do we spend doubting ourselves and invalidating our feelings/thoughts and emotions? when we really should be kinder to ourselves and supportive of ourselves.

Too many times in life we are the ones holding ourselves back, thinking that we are not good enough, when we spend so much energy telling others that they are worth it, that they need to follow their dream, that they can do anything… but when it comes to applying that same message to yourself… you shut it down. Why do we do that?

I am sure most of it comes down to self esteem and comparing our lives to others therefore highlighting our own insecurities. I recently started a course that talked about how self esteem and self confidence are related to holding yourself back and the need for constant approval is part of having low self esteem. If you look at the people who are just oozing confidence everywhere, they don’t ask for validation, they don’t ask for reassurance and they don’t doubt themselves.

There have been so many projects I have started in my life that I have stopped because “someone else does it better” or because someone told me I wasn’t doing it well enough…or just because I didn’t believe in myself enough to follow through, I was forgetting that practice makes perfect, that perfect is really a continuation of growth and how you never stop learning and growing.

This blog is one of the projects that for awhile… I gave up on. Not because someone else was doing it better, but just that I lost focus in why I started it. I didn’t start this blog to make money or change the world, I started it for me, to tell my stories, to log my life and hopefully get to a point where others can read it and find comfort within the words. To a certain degree I started it with the hopes of holding myself accountable and forcing myself to take a few minutes out of my week where I can just sit and reflect and write down whats going through my mind.

Maybe that is why recently I have felt a bit overwhelmed with everything, its the holidays and finding time for anything seems near impossible. But even now, just sitting in silence listening to my dog snoring on the sofa next to me, this moment is perfect. I feel a weight lifted off my chest, just rambling away here.

I think we all need to remember that the love we give to others needs to be the same love we give ourselves, hold yourself up and if you fail at something, it was just a practice shot, every step in the right direction is an improvement from where you came from. When you feel yourself, or anyone else for that matter, telling you that you can’t do something… ignore them! Think about the great things, remind yourself “What would i tell a friend who was doubting themselves”. Love yourself and support yourself, grow and develop your skills and spread that love to everyone.

I am always reminded of the incredibly cheesy quote “In a world where you can be anything, be kind”… this is true to how you treat yourself, because if you can’t be kind to yourself how will you know how to treat others.

 

 

The beauty of nothing

“Blessed are they who see beautiful things in humble places where others see nothing”- Camille Pissaro

What does that quote mean to you?

To me, it means seeing and appreciating the beauty that can be found everywhere in everything… there is beauty in nothing, there is beauty in everything.

Sometimes climbing to the top of a mountain leads you to some mind blowing beautiful sunrise, other times sitting by a fire pit surrounded by close friends is beautiful and it costs nothing.

Life moves too fast, time runs too quick and emotions can be a whirlwind but we have to appreciate the moments of nothing, the moments where we can be still… the days where I sat on the sofa reading a book listening to the sound of my beautiful dog snoring. Those moments are what makes life worth it.

Sure you can judge a life by what you see on social media, how many “likes” it gets… but the true beauty of life is the moments that might not get liked on instagram, shared on Facebook or blasted on twitter.

The amount of work that goes into finding the perfect light, the perfect outfit, the perfect spot for the beautiful photo is mind blowing and I am guilty of spending that effort too… but I am choosing to remember the beauty in those moments that cost nothing, with no preplanning. Those moments where I get to be me, no judgment, no fear, where I can let myself rest.

Every moment can only be relived in our memories, we can’t change it, we can’t take it back… hindsight is 20:20 they say, and it’s true. You can’t change what happened you just have to live with it and learn. But remember in every day there is beauty and in every dark moment there is light. I encourage you to keep your eye open and find a beautiful thing in every day.

Where have you been?

This is a question we always ask someone when we haven’t seen them in awhile, or when we haven’t seen any social media activity from them. The answer to the question sometimes is exciting filled with adventure and laughter, other times its filled with illness and sadness. But we still ask.

Recently someone asked me, “Where have you been? i haven’t seen any blog posts in awhile”, honestly i didn’t know how to answer. I responded with the “oh you know i have just been busy with work”… Was that the truth? to a certain degree yes, but internally no.

The last month i haven’t had much energy to write, not because i didn’t want to but i didn’t feel inspired to do so. I didn’t really feel much of anything, i have had some great adventures but i didn’t write about them. Why? because my brain wouldn’t shut off about the things i can’t change, because i was worrying and over working my mind until i felt overwhelmed just waking up in the morning… Did i talk to anyone about this? of course not…  The words depression and anxiety have been swirling inside my head now for a few months, when i don’t have the energy to do anything, i don’t have the motivation to clean up, just feeling worn out and hopeless. I found myself focusing on what i was missing in my life, my family, friends that i don’t seem to have time to see, fulfillment at my jobs. It was like a deep abyss that i found myself diving headfirst into its center.

But today is a new day, a friend posted a quote today from a travel book i am sure we have all read “Eat, Pray, Love”… (if you have not read it, i highly recommend it).

“There’s a wonderful old Italian joke about a poor man who goes to church every day and prays before the statue of a great saint, begging, “Dear saint-please, please, please…give me the grace to win the lottery.” This lament goes on for months. Finally the exasperated staue comes to life, looks down at the begging man and says in weary disgust, “My son-please, please, please…buy a ticket.”

This sparked the fire inside me that over the last few months had been burning down to embers, I got out of bed, looked in the mirror and thought “Buy a ticket….” now of course i am wishing it was an actual ticket to go on some miraculous adventure globe hopping and seeing every single wonder of the world… and then finding the ones that may not be so wonderful. But in todays case… i mean buying a ticket to participate in my life again, writing again. Why do we pray and pray for something to be handed to us, is that really what we believe life is? The easy street handed to some but not to others? i think about it like baking a pie, the dough should be made the day before and left to rest, then rolled out, you can’t just throw everything together and expect the perfect pie. you have to take time and  put effort into it.

The last month my eating habits have been terrible (i blame the pies), i have not been taking care of myself, i haven’t been giving my all at work, i haven’t really given my all in building/maintaining friendships. I really settled for just existing but still dreaming. Maybe thats one of the keys to life, dreaming gets you through the dark, but to create your own path out… you have to participate in its creation.

Now September did hold some amazing memories. We finally made it out to Clearwater Marine Aquarium, we managed to see their celebrity dolphin’s, Hope and Winter from Dolphin-tale and Dolphin-tale 2. They were incredible and watching them up close really made my day.

We also assisted someone in need when they had an accident and no one else was willing to take any quick action to help them. Word to the wise, when a car is in a pond, don’t just take photos and don’t try and open the car door, the water pressure will hold it closed. Open the trunk or the windows if you can. Luckily the driver was just in shock.

My advice to all of you, no matter what you are going through… buy the ticket, you have no idea where it could take you.