I’m sorry…I’m sorry…

We all seem to have a “go too phrase” that we use most often. For awhile growing up mine was “it’s not my fault”… but shortly after my teen years that turned into “I’m sorry”. Interesting how I went from pushing the blame from me to sounding like i am accepting blame and apologizing for something. I am not even sure really where or why the transition happened… if i has to guess it would probably be around the time I developed an inner fear of letting my parents down or disappointing them. “I’m sorry” was a saving grace for bad grades, being late home, getting stuck in traffic.

When I say “I’m sorry” I am not always admitting fault, I might be apologizing that something happened. At least that is what I am telling myself. Internally though, I still feel responsible, guilty or concerned for the outcome. Even if the situation is complexity out of my control I will apologize. Today for example i apologized for the behavior of someone i don’t know, i have never met, who was 3500 miles away from me…It’s a boundary that I need to work on. I will start sentences with “I’m sorry to say this but…” or “I’m sorry but my opinion is…” but why? Why am I sorry for having an opinion? Isn’t that part of being an adult… being allowed to unapologetically be ourselves?

I had this conversation last night with my partner. I apologized for something that was no ones fault… but then I stopped and said “no I’m not sorry, because I didn’t do it”. Within 5 minutes I said “I’m sorry but I don’t agree”. I stopped myself and said “I’m not sorry. I just disagree with you and that’s ok”. It was like I had hit myself over the head. I am not sorry.

Now of course there are times that apologizing is the correct thing to do. When you do something wrong, apologize: that’s another part of being an adult. Admit when you are wrong and know that being wrong is ok.

There is a power in owning your opinion, your actions, your voice. When you stand tall and speak true there is no reason for “I’m sorry”.

Into the unknown…

So it’s quarantine day… who knows? is it Tuesday? Maybe?

That is the world we are currently living in, where we don’t know the date, we don’t know the day of the week… all we know is that we have to stay home… for how long we don’t know? The rest is unknown.

It’s a scary place to be… we are really living the same day in and out… it takes it toll on your mental health, physical health and your relationships. My dog for example is fed up of us being home… she’s ready for her 6 hour daily naps. But even human relationships can struggle at this time. To be honest my main issue has been more the mental struggle.

Recently I have found myself lacking the motivation to even get up out of bed and keep moving every day, I want to be productive but lack the energy… I found myself initially saying “I don’t have time”… but I have nothing but time right now. That was when I really had to sit down and think about what was going on… not COVID-19 related, not money related or work related but internally.

What I figured out is that the “unknown” makes me unsettled because I can’t control it… as for someone who is longing to travel everywhere and see everything the world has to offer, there will be so many unknowns in that… how can being told “stay at home” cause me to develop this new struggle. But really if you think back to your childhood, there was always someone who had the answer, a teacher, parent, friend… then as you grow up you still have those guiding lights, those people who will point you where you want to go… but right now, at this time we are all in the same boat…. facing the same direction… without a map, no control… drifting.

The unknown is scary and a in itself is a challenge to face. The nice thing is we are all facing this unknown together… yes with our own individual issues and concerns but over all… we all have this joint feeling of not knowing. There should be comfort in that right? We shouldn’t be spending this time putting others down, comparing whose life is worse off. We should be holding each other up and saying “we can steer this ship together” by focusing on what IS in our control, what really matters… and that has never changed… LOVE.

With more time on our hands, we seem to get bogged down with filling it with stress and worry and comparison… but we need to see the love in the world…

There are kids at home celebrating spending time with both their parents… they aren’t going to remember why, they will remember love. Significant others who have spent maybe a week on vacation together are now spending a month seeing each other every day… getting to love on each other. Our loyal pets that spend so much time alone, are experiencing true companionship and love because we are home… and exercising more.

For those that we can’t physically see, we are communicating through other measures, FaceTime, zoom, video calling. We need to keep those connections open when ever this pandemic is over. Sadly I don’t think we will ever return to normal… but we will find a new normal. We are already starting to… but let that new normal be based off of Love… maybe we let love lead us into the unknown… embrace is and control what we can control, what matters. Being a decent loving human being.

Food Addiction, negative self talk and the insecurities that follow.

Addiction is a scary word…and most think addiction is only for drugs and alcohol but in reality you can be addicted to So many things.

What I have recently realized is that i have an addiction to food. I overeat when I am sad, when I am happy, when I am stressed or lonely. Food has always offered me comfort, it has always been there and it was always available twenty four seven.

I have never said these words out loud or typed them out, but this is it…. this is my addiction. I know some will say it’s not as severe as alcohol or drugs… but weight fluctuation and terrible food intake can lead to so many other long term issues.

After some reflection on my childhood years I pin pointed where a lot of my self esteem issues spawned from and it was food related… whether it was my grandmother commenting on my second helping of dessert, my grandfather pointing out I had put weight on… or closer to home, my brother calling me fatso for most of my preteen-teenage years. Or more recently in a past romantic relationship being told “oh if you lost weight you would be hot”.

I was always… shall we say…well rounded physically than my brother was. Looking back those memories of him name calling still hurt me now which is Insane as they are at least 22 years old. I truly believe this created my downward spiral Into weight issues as an adult. When you are a kid there are parents monitoring your food… when you are an adult… there is no one to tell you to stop eating the entire pizza… followed by some French fries. So naturally I find myself some nights gorging on food and picking at snacks. Everyone tells me “you don’t look big, you are tall so you can carry it well”… I really appreciate the support but I know how I look and how that makes me feel.

Why oh why do we talk so badly about yourselves… why do we look in the mirror to point out imperfections…. when there will always be a grandparents, friend or sibling who will be happy bring us down without even asking for it. My insecurities spawn from those family dinners where my brother made comments, those dates when I was told “are you sure you want to eat that?”.

I started weight watchers a year ago, for a solid six months I stuck to it, I felt great and it was teaching me to have a healthy relationship with food. But with a job change and stress I slipped right off the band wagon and my weight sky rocketed back to where it was. This was a kick in the crotch… it knocked my self esteem, it knocked my confidence and it made me feel like a failure… which is not a nice feeling.

I discovered a podcast that tells you that you have to make changes to yourself in a positive way. No negative talk. You want to lose weight to better yourself, to improve your energy level and so on. But here’s the thing… of you start a lifestyle change focusing on the negative, your body is conditioned to not follow through… start with the positive and go from there.

Every body of every size is beautiful… you just have to listen to what you are telling yourself and make sure it is positive… encourage yourself to try harder, improvement not weight loss.

With that being said, I will be working on improving my well being, cutting my food I take down and focusing on feeling better within my skin.

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”

Forgiveness.

I try and choose to not regret things that have happened in my life. At least that’s what I tell myself. Of course there are many nights I have regretted drinking that drink, eating that terribly greasy and delicious burger, or even sending that text that shouldn’t have been sent. But the big things in life, those moments where you make a choice that changes the very direction you are heading… never regret those. You never know how beautiful things can turn out… and if you are just looking backwards you will never look up. You will never see the stars motioning for you to join them.

In a world if technology we spend so much time looking down, physically and metaphorically. We look down at our smart phones, rolling our eyes at a text message, liking those Instagram posts or judging a Facebook update. We look down on ourselves for not living our life to the “full potential”, or because we aren’t skinny enough, smart enough or rich enough. That’s the key right there… what is enough?? You ask someone who has nothing but is perfectly happy they will tell you that they have enough. It’s because we look down that we miss the beauty, we miss the wonders and we miss the moments that change our lives.

Forgiveness is something that is taught to us as a child, you aren’t allowed to hold a grudge, you are told to forgive and move on. Some people struggle with forgiving people who do them wrong. I am not here to tell you to forgive everyone and you will be happy. I am telling you to forgive yourself… forgive your mind for over thinking, forgive your metabolism for not burning off those extra cheese fries and most importantly… forgive yourself for loving even when it hurts. This is something i struggle with. I don’t regret much… but i don’t forgive myself for making mistakes. Whether big or small mistakes… I beat myself up internally and smile through the overthinking.

The point in forgiveness isn’t letting the other person get away with something, it’s about saying “i choose to not let this consume me”… that’s so important. But when it’s all internal… there’s no escape from the negative. You have to find your positives, those people who guide you away from the negative.

I have realized that I struggle when people say they are proud of me, proud of what I am doing, proud of how far I have come. I couldn’t place a finger on why I didn’t want to accept their praise… then it hit me. I haven’t forgiven myself for the times i have let myself down, I haven’t looked in the mirror and said “I forgive you.” Forgiving yourself is a step in a positive direction where you can move forward. But it’s the hardest step to take. It’s the first step to looking up.

Walking alone through the dark with someone

Everyone has their own darkness, their own story… their own cross to bare as it were. But everyone’s darkness is different, some are darker than you could ever imagine… but to us all… our period of darkness felt never ending… it felt like a trap.

That feeling is kind of like it’s own fear blanket that gets tied in a knot around you that you can’t shake.

Darkness is a lonely place to be and you need someone to be your light. No matter how dim it is. There’s a level of support that you won’t accept but that you really need.

When someone is tucking at your blanket trying to find their way under to help you… but you keep pulling the blanket back around you. That’s the true meaning on helplessness. When you become your own worst enemy. When the over thinking is so loud that you almost crave that quiet time alone in the dark where it’s just you and the doubt filled voice in your head.

I am here to tell you that it’s ok to acknowledge you need help… it’s ok to talk about what you have been through. Everyone has a story that made them who they are… and every day is another page in that story. If you hide the chapter from the ones closest to you… do they really know your whole story?

But that being said I would never force you to tell anyone something that you aren’t ready to share.

If you need me to sit in the dark with a dimly lite candle, I am here.

I have known darkness but I found light in the fact that the darkness I was crushing under… well it made me who I am… it made me tolerant of pain, compassionate for others who are lost and gave me the power to try and lead their way.

If you are dealing with your own darkness, don’t walk alone, find a friend, a loved one… someone who won’t judge you, someone who will just be there… you might not need them to guide you, lecture you or hug you. But knowing that you aren’t alone in the dark. That’s a feeling that can start helping you find your way out.

There will always be pockets of darkness that come through the cracks, but look inside yourself and find your light, find your reason to shine and NEVER let that spark extinguish.

If you open your eyes and pull back the blanket, you will find that you are not alone.

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”.

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.

Is there a lost and found department for personality sparks?

The quote of the day… Don’t lose the spark that makes you… you!

When you think of your own personality… you are super biased and don’t always see the good… you don’t see the spark that others see in you. But you feel the loss of that spark when it dims or when it disappears. You notice your mentality changes… how you handle things, how you address situations and people. But it’s not until you take a hard look in the mirror that you realize. The spark you lost was what made you the person you are.

Everyone has days that they feel down, exhausted, worn out and hopeless… the spark is what moves you forward, the little voice that says “chin up, keep going”. But after a lot of beating down… that spark isn’t so willing to say chin up… it says “you know it’s ok… let’s just rest for a bit”.

The key to addressing this is actually acknowledging it… accepting that you are worth everything you want, you are worth more. More than what anyone’s opinion says. More than what any company tells you that you are worth.

I don’t know how to find your lost spark… Mine is currently playing hide and seek too. But all I can do is keep telling myself, in one of my subconscious filling cabinets, hiding in a drawer, is my spark.

I just need to find a way to bring him out… whether it’s bribing him with bacon, taking a walk outside… or just cuddling under the covers with my pup.

There’s so many external factors in life that try to kill you spark… people who are just trying to knock you down. We all need to focus on the good… the loved ones who, no matter how down we feel, no matter how isolated we become… they push themselves in and stay with you. We all have those people, those family members, best friends and co workers who give us a bit of love and support throughout the darkness, they shine their spark on you trying to keep you going… in cone of light beams saying “chin up, we got you”.

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)