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)

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.

“All of us invent ourselves. Some of us just have more imagination than others.”

Last week I got to see one of the most AMAZING people in the world perform on stage-Cher. She was amazing, sassy and everything you could ever expect… at 72 years old… 72! She was dancing, singing, skipping… I don’t care how much money you have or how many surgeries you have had, none of that would help a 72 year old Keep their energy level so high for the entire show!

I stumbled upon the quote for this post… and it reminded me that we really do forget how much of our lives we can control, how often we get down and beat ourselves up.

Hate and fear are two powerful forces of darkness, Hate for situations that you find yourself in, hate for your body, hate for others,fear of persecution, fear of letting others down… fear of standing out and being disliked. Fear for standing up for what you believe in. Hating someone else doesn’t make you a better person, hating someone for what they believe in doesn’t make you right or make them wrong, vocalizing your hate doesn’t make you any stronger or a bigger person.

Hate and fear are not only external factors that play with your emotions but also internal factors that we do to ourselves…i for one know that fear of letting people down makes me worry and stress so much, I hate things about my appearance… and I let these negative feelings control my day. But really… by doing this I am just creating a negative opinion of myself that I am turning into… negative breeding negative, I find myself thinking more negative thoughts on the days that I feel down… but am I just “inventing” myself.

Every day when you get up, remember you are lucky to be alive, you have air in your lungs and blood in your veins. For every cliche saying, they have some truth behind them. You never know what day could be your last, you never know when you could lose someone you love. Love is a wonderful feeling to share, Love makes the world turn… If we all loved a bit more, we would all probably be in a better place.

I love the fact I laugh a lot, I love my family and friends… I love that I noticed my first few wrinkles at thirty years old and they are from smiling and laughing so much. I love that so far 2019 is proving to be filled with adventures and I love that I started this blog.

If we spend more time thinking positive things that we love about ourselves maybe that’s who we will create, maybe we will push the hate in this messed up world to one side… and show that Love really can win. But it takes all of us doing that. Stopping the negative… stopping beating ourselves up and start loving yourself. No matter your age, have the imagination you had when you were a child and be the adult you wanted to grow into.

Cher is 72 years old… at 72 I hope that I can look back at my life and say “wow, that was one hell of a ride, let’s see where the next mountain leads”

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.