Tag Archives: love

anxiety, insecurities, and sunshine

Thank you, sweet universe, for giving us hope in the form of such a beautifully sweet spring day! Ahhhh, I’m so grateful that it’s nice out and jeez louise, how powerful a change in weather can be to our psyche.

flowers are a'bloomin', there's hope, y'all!

flowering bush is a’ bloomin! there’s hope, y’all!

That past few weeks have been really hard. I feel like I’ve been tirelessly running the final stretch, for like a whileeee now, and I thought that the finish line might have evaporated…but, …hey! today the sun shined! What a good, glorious thing! I don’t want to get too personal, but I’ve been really stressed lately (hello final semester of grad school! hello not knowing what the future will bring!), and I allowed myself to get tired. I stopped trying to proactively find good things in my life. Everything bad and cold and stressful seemed to be snowballing in my life, but maybe, if it gets warmer, these things will melt away; that life can be good. I know this much: the future will not be better, if I am not better. If I am better, the future will be better. Better said then done, am aright,? 😉

When I worry about things, I sometimes let these worries (see: self-hatred, negative thoughts) get the best of me. I get anxious and I bring that anxiety-fear with me and it can make me really uncomfortable, especially in social situations, (sometimes I’ll apt to duck out of social things because of this anxiety, whatcha know ’bout dat?). But you know what helps me to feel better, what helps me to experience life in a more loving way? When I don’t worry about things in the first place. I’m not saying to suddenly stop worrying about your life, but I urge you to try to worry less about things. It’s hard to be totally fearless, but life is way better when you at least try to inch away from the fear-end on the life continuum. And I know, I know, who am I to say “worry less, your life will be better!”. I don’t know your struggles, I don’t know how heavy your heart is. My experience in life is different than your’s, so there’s no way that we’ll ever be able to comprehend exactly what it is like to be in someone else’s shoes. I’ll never be able to see out of your eyes, to know what it feels like to hug your mom, to experience your life. Our own experience of life is totally subjective. So, I don’t know. But I promise, just try to not be so mean to yourself about the things you don’t like about yourself and you’ll feel better, a little better, at least.  I mean, it doesn’t hurt to try.

So where does anxiety come from? I think it comes from our insecurities… and insecurities are ugh, so painful, right? It sucks to think about them, they make us feel sad, especially when we dwell and ruminate on them.  So how can we shed the things we don’t like about ourselves? How can we rid ourselves from the things that we can’t think positively about in ourselves? First, we need to recognize their existence. I know what mine are and where they have come from (hello, being called ugly in freaking elementary school; hello, not getting into my first choice college), but figuring this out for yourself might take a little bit of time. (And if you have trauma in your life or childhood, you should process your feelings with a counselor or therapist or even a trusting friend, if that’s at all a possibility. Just ‘cause trauma can really fuck up cognitive development and processing. Dealing with deep deep sludge takes time to really deal with- to really accept. It’s not easy, no matter how far removed you may be from your past.)

So once you recognize what your insecurities are, you can start to change your perception. Once you get rid of those insecurities, you start to let go of your ego. Ego is hard to define. I don’t mean ego as in confidence or over-confidence, I mean it more as like the onion layer analogy. I like to think about ego as a shell made of fear which surrounds us, and the more you grow in this shell, the harder it is to believe that it can be shed. It can become like a second skin, and won’t let any good things in or negative feelings and anxieties out, unless we consciously work to chip away at it.

Dude, none of this is easy. It’s really hard. I’m just figuring out this shit. And I’m so used to not dealing with feelings and letting my ego overpower me. I’ve spent so much of my life constantly worried about what other people think about me, but once I started to understand that life is life, and my insecurities aren’t making my time on this earth any more enjoyable, I was able to become a little more fearless and a little more loving. I still think about what other people think about me, but not nearly as much as I have for almost my entire life. And that’s progress, and that’s good. So I urge you to try and be a little tiny bit more loving toward yourself today so you can break off a little bit of that ego shell and let some sunshine in.

 

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My 2017 Goals

After meditating on the subject, I decided to share my goals for 2017 in order to be held accountable throughout the year. So, if you read this, please do not hesitate to call me out on my bullshit this year.

2017 Goals and Intentions

I will be the best version of myself. I hope to do this by being mindful of each situation, each interaction, and each thought I have. I know this is impossible, but this is the overarching goal of the whole year.

I hope to rid myself of toxic people and spend time with the small, but close, kind, and loving people I have in my life. I don’t need to waste my time on people who make me feel bad.

say-no

I just found this pic online, and boy, what a good way to think about saying “no”

I’m going to try to say “no” more. I say yes to so many things, which then stresses me out when my schedule is crammed. I become miserable and hold resentments towards the people WHO ASKED ME whether or not I could help with such and such. When I do say no to different thing, I often experience so much guilt and self-hatred for not being the best helper person in the world that I’ll beat myself up for days/weeks.

I will mediate everyday in some way.

I will have my two research papers published. I am the author of one research study that I’ve been tirelessly working on for the past 5 months (I’m currently taking a break of analyzing data to write this blog post), and am the sole research assistant for a professor at my university- we’re working on a quantitative study which is really exciting. My dream is to get these published, and I will. I’ve never had anything published, let alone a scientific research paper (who would’ve thought?) and I really hope I can make this happen.

I want to write more. Write more music, write more blogs, write more research papers, write more personal stories, journal more, write poems, write lyrics to songs that yet have to be born. I also will write these in a way that is most pure, and for the sole audience to be me when I’m writing. If I want to share them with others, I will, but the real reason is to strengthen creativity in this therapeutic process.

I am going to take advantage of as many moments as I can to be happy. I don’t want to get too personal, but my whole life has been a struggle with this subject, and I vowed in 2016 to try and experience as much happiness as possible, and I did a pretty good job. So I plan to keep this up this year.

I want to be the best friend/fiancé (or wife?!)/daughter/sister/daughter-in-law/dog-mom etc. I want the closest people to me know that I can be depended upon. That I will do what I can to make sure they have the same amount of happiness I have.

I want to be happy and feel fulfilled at whatever job I get after I graduate. I will not be scared away by the idea of relocating or being inadequate or whatever.

I will practice yoga, I will go running, and exercise on a regular basis. My goal for January is to complete Yoga with Adriene’s Yoga Revolution videos on YouTube. I have done each day so far. If you see me this month, please ask whether or not I did a yoga practice today.

no-pizza

This will be the hardest.

I want to eat healthier. Everyone who knows me and Ed know how much we love pizza. I really really want to limit myself with food like this and start eating balanced meals. I expect this to be one of the most difficult goals because I love sugar, cheese, and bread so much it brings tears to my eyes. This also means that I’ll probably have to, like, meal plan, and shit that sounds awful to me. BUT I WILL PREVAIL AND FREEZE FOODS AND THEN REHEAT THEM LATER AND EAT THEM AND NOT JUST LET THEM SIT IN MY FREEZER.

I also want to help the world more. I want to donate the things I don’t need and volunteer. I am really busy all the time, but somehow I can find myself sitting on my phone for 2 hours on a Sunday afternoon when I could easily be doing something beneficial for the greater good.

lackawanna-county-green-party

Green Party of Lackawanna County, I will do as much as I can to help you grow!

I want to be as politically capable as possible. I want to be as educated as I can about the issues that matter most, and really do all that I can to help promote the Lackawanna County Green Party and our efforts. This includes writing more political blog posts, and continuing to do so in a way that allows others to question and challenge my beliefs. I also want to write political posts in such a way that does not come across as intimidating to read, nor pretentious. I think so many people get overwhelmed by politics, and I hope to use this blog to show that it’s not as complicated as it seems.

I also am going to try to love myself. This sounds stupid, but its so hard! One way that I will do this is by not wasting so much of my life on social media (especially Instagram). I like social media to stay up to date with friends, but I often find myself going down these rabbit holes which result in total self hatred because I don’t look like the girls who post pictures of their beautiful faces, beautiful bodies, and beautiful lives. I know its all fake, but that doesn’t take away the feeling of shittiness that accompanies an Instagram binge.

Okay. I think this is a good start. If you read this, what are some of your goals for the year? Do you feel confident in your goals? If you see me out, please feel free to ask about how I’m doing accomplishing these things. One reason why I just confided all these personal junk is to be held accountable! Honestly, next time you see me eating Doritos ask me wtf am I doing

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Narrative Theory in our Political Context

Ok, shit,  guys, we need a plan. I have let myself sit the past few weeks in this sad, heavy, cold, quiet panic of our encroaching doom (T-minus 30 days until inauguration), and I need to jump the fuck out of this thinking. Okay, okay, here’s a quick breakdown of how I think about life: I think there are only two emotions: fear and love, and love > fear. Everything boils down to these two things. And because of the internet, because of widespread and easy communication, it’s much easier to let our thoughts be influenced by others. So, I have let myself become fearful, because the collective feels fearful, the news I read, the people I surround myself with, also have a type of fear- which is completely understandable. I’ve been living with fear the past two years. But now I realize that I need to shift my heart and brain towards love. That is the answer.

I need to look to the future with a  sense of belief that the future will be AMAZING. That 2017 will be a great year. Because here’s the deal, we have one life, so I better believe that this life is going to be the best life possible. It’s work for me to think like this, and I need to practice thinking about everything this way.  I don’t know if there’s “God”, and I doubt that any religious version of a deity exists, but I think there’s something, even if it’s just little tiny balls of energy sperming around the universe for eternity.

So, the future is coming no matter what we do. We can’t go back in time. This is what we have: A really crazy person with only interests of corporate greed has guided his entire life, who has been filling his cabinet with the worst of the worst, what’s proving to be a hard brick-red Congress, and likely having a conservative supreme court. So, the opposition is in charge of everything and the hand hasn’t been this heavy in decades. This is not how our democracy is supposed to work out. We are supposed to have checks and balances.

So, narrative theory, or “narratology” as fancy scholars like to refer to it. I wasn’t familiar with narrative theory until this past semester in school, where my practice class was about using different theoretical perspectives and figuring out what my own personal lens is (feminist and narrative). Ok, so narrative theory asserts that people have an understanding of their life based on their own personal experiences. How they understand these experiences is what creates the “life story” of the person, and thus influences their thinking and understanding of life and future events.

We get so stuck in these narratives that we believe that it’s all true. For instance, and I hope he doesn’t get mad at me for using this example, but my father recently retired. This has been difficult for him, as it is for most people who have spent their life working and now have that huge part of their life missing. He was talking to me the other day and said that he felt bad because he knew he always imagined fly fishing after he retired, but the river levels have been too low for him to go fly fishing. So I brought up the idea of, “what if you never thought about fly fishing? What if that wasn’t what you had planned your whole life to do after you retire? What would you do then?” and this was a WHOLE brand new thought. He was so caught up in his self-prescribed understanding of what his life would be, that it was like a door opening when he was able to think about the possibility of opening his mind to doing something else- to changing his narrative.

Ok, so narratives are powerful. I have seen the word “narrative” used a billion times during the past year to describe political events. What someone’s narrative is, influences how others to think about them. We love underdogs. So, we think about Bernie Sander’s narrative, and how he worked so hard to become a Senator and spark up this political revolution that is gathering kinetic energy, waiting to explode. This narrative helped people connect with him, because we often judge people by their narrative.

We love good stories. We love a good movie with a great plot, with great character development, that we can relate to, even if it’s just relating on the surface value and of being empathetic. We can’t really relate to Trump’s narrative because it hasn’t been set out for us. But Trump used his voter base’s narratives. He listened to what they had going on and used it to reinforce their thinking. In many places, including towns in Northeastern PA, the consensus is that jobs have been shipped overseas, and that “true” American’s aren’t gaining in life because of illegal immigrants. Trump helped reinforce this narrative by running a campaign that promised to fix these things. He didn’t help these people understand a different narrative, one that is more honest towards the situation. He didn’t come out and say that companies are moving overseas because of trade deals and that illegal immigrants either work for wages that most people wouldn’t get out of bed for and that illegals don’t have any rights (ie to welfare, etc) in America. It is much easier for Trump to reinforce a false narrative than try to expose an honest one. So in this lack of truth, it is easier to appeal to heartstrings than the brain.

Another good example of narrative theory is the Joe Biden-Barack Obama-BFF memes. I love these memes so much. I love that it seems like Biden and Obama are legit best friends forever and that Joe is a hapless dude who acts as the protector little miniature watchdog for Obama. I love thinking about Biden and Obama like this. But you know what, it’s probably not true. And this narrative only allows us to think about Biden and Obama as good pals, and that’s honorable, and thus their candidacy must be honorable too. It leaves little room for doubt or for exploring what an alternative narrative might be. Although I think it is a form of propaganda, I do love a good Biden-Obama meme.

biden-obama-great

love it

Alright, I’m not sure if this makes much sense, but it’s something that’s been on my mind the past few months, and I figured I’d try my best to explain how I have been noticing narrative theory used in a way to influence people’s understanding of politics, current affairs, and past actions done by our government.  Narratives are formed in the mind, but can be reinforced by using both love or fear. It just depends on how we want to view them.

bidenobama

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Cheesy personal reflection of 2015

IMG_0470 (2)

awww, i fucking love this picture

2015 was the year of emotions that don’t have words. I guess I could say it was a meaningful year? Maybe it was a life-defining year? Whatever it was, it was good.

2015 was, dare I say, the best and weirdest year of my life. I don’t feel guilty for saying or recognizing that either, which is a testament to how genuine I feel about 2015. For the first time since I can remember I can say that things are good in my crazy mind and heart. I think this feeling is what happiness is.

I feel wholeheartedly that I am right where I am supposed to be. And what an amazing feeling this is! I’ve never felt this before, and if you haven’t yet, please wait for it. This year I’ve experienced really crazy shit, and it all wound up being wound up in love.

Things that I did in 2015:

  • Got the most perfect dog in the world
  • Quit my job without having a plan for the sake of my mental health
  • Gained 15 pounds
  • Put out two EPs that I’m proud of
  • Went on a real vacation
  • Read the most I think I’ve ever read
  • Quit Smoking after 12 years
  • Started Grad School
  • Broke up with my boyfriend, the love of my life
  • Realized and relied on the beautiful friendships I’ve developed
  • Got engaged to the love of my life

 

And the major lesson of all of this was LOVE. So here’s what I learned about love:

I am so fucking lucky. I am so. fucking. lucky. I am so grateful. And I am so grateful for love. I’m grateful to experience love. I’m grateful that I was able to test love blindly and have the whole experience take me back to love. Phew. Because it could’ve been a close one if I kept my heart closed shut tight.

Oh, and gratitude IS love. I really learned that this year. Really feeling like where I am in life, studying and learning and really doing all I can to experience the whole wide world, well it’s easy to feel gratitude.

My fiancé is my best friend. He’s been my biggest supporter for the past 7 years (and that’s a hard job, because I’m really a crazy person in disguise) . We had a really shitty three months there, but we came out alive. And we came together in love. This heavy heavy metaphysical love. There’s no other way to describe it. And if you haven’t felt love like this yet, please wait for it and don’t give up. Because it’s the most important thing in life. And if you have it, keep it and cherish it, and feel the gratitude that you are lucky enough to experience this feeling that the word love can’t even justly define.

And I can’t wait for 2016! I can’t wait to learn as much as I can this year, I can’t wait to read as much as possible, I can’t wait to GO TO INDIA, I can’t wait to figure out how to plan a wedding, I can’t wait to plant my garden and explore beautiful NEPA with my dog. And I can’t wait to do it all with love and a grateful heart.

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