It’s been a while, I know. I never abandoned this blog, but I’ll admit that it has been on the back burner for months now.
Isn’t it funny how the things that you love and the things that are most fulfilling for you are the first things to go when you’re not in a good place? The past few months have been challenging for me, and I haven’t treated myself the best. Under stress, I become very aware of others’ expectations, and the best way I can protect myself is to just shut down. I close myself off from the world, even the people I’m closest to.
I feel that I have made a lot of missteps since the spring, and I want to forgive myself. But here’s the thing: not a single one of my mistakes was because I didn’t follow what others expected of me.
I like sharing how I’m feeling with others. I know some people are uncomfortable even sharing their feelings with themselves, but I’m all about being open. As far as I’m concerned, the better you can understand what’s going on for me internally, the better we can get along. And that includes the tough stuff.
Hiding my depression, I feel, doesn’t help you or me. If I start acting “weird” or not like my “usual self,” I want you to have the tools to understand why that might be. Not to mention, I’d tear down the mental illness stigma single-handedly if I could. And I think that if every person who struggled with their mental health could be more comfortable being open about it, we’d be able to bring that wall down brick by brick.
I know it’s been a while since I last posted. Six months ago, I would’ve been livid at myself for waiting this long and sabotaging the blog’s growth like this. But it’s today. And I’m here. And I’m writing again. I’ve spent the last few weeks spending time with loved ones and accomplishing some great self-discovery by way of therapy and some inspirational reading. So I have no regrets for how I’ve spent my time. That’s all. Let’s get back into it, shall we?
“Where do you see yourself in five years?”
I’ve grown to dislike this question. As someone who is always interested in planning and being prepared for, well, life, I don’t dislike it because it asks me to look forward. I dislike it because I think it expects a certain kind of answer.
Tina Fey’s Mean Girls was (is) perhaps so wildly successful because most women have personally experienced or witnessed woman-on-woman bullying like what is represented in the movie. And for most of us, this experience was probably not a one-time thing. We grow up seeing girls tearing down other girls, even in the smallest of ways. From insincere compliments to outright assault (verbal or physical), we’re familiar with images of women targeting other women.
It was not until a few years ago that this issue really started to get a lot of my attention. When I entered the working world, I saw a whole new level of this bullying happening between women in the workplace. My experiences have shaped the way I interact with women at work and in general. As a result, I want to share what I’ve seen and how I think women need to consider the impact their behavior has on other women as well as themselves.
In a previous blog, I talked about how creative inspiration comes and goes whenever it pleases. I gave some tips on how to coerce it out of hiding and into your life, but what happens when you have the opposite problem?
Sometimes, I have too many ideas all at once. There are so many things I want to tackle right then and there, but I don’t have the time or the materials to do it. I feel creatively overwhelmed.
It’s feast or famine, folks, and I can’t decide which is worse.
Goals are pretty universally seen as a good thing. They help you be mindful of what you’d like to achieve, they keep you on track, and they’re a great way of measuring your accomplishments.
In my experience, though, goals have sometimes caused undue stress. In fact, some past goals of mine have actually been harmful to me. Especially for people with perfectionistic tendencies, goals may not be the best way to work towards improvement. So I’d like to share my experience and offer some suggestions for alternative ways of tracking your aspirations.
I’m a cat person in a dog person’s world. If you’re not a cat lover, you probably aren’t bothered by the amount of hate that cats get from, well, everywhere. But let me tell you, there are few things that get me fired up faster than someone saying that all cats are mean jerks who couldn’t care less about the humans around them.
(Picture steam coming from my nostrils and ears even as I’m just thinking about this).
Why don’t cat haters realize how reductionist they are when they say these things? Sure, it’s a stereotype that cats can be aloof or aggressive. And there are two reasons for those stereotypes that I will explain later. But what about the stereotype that certain dogs are dangerous? Or the idea that some dogs make you look prissy? Why don’t dogs get as much general hate as cats?
The world is afraid to love cats because cats are less likely to universally love the world back.
If you’re reading this on its publish date, my 26th birthday is tomorrow. My birthday last year was exciting because so many people consider 25 to be the prime of your life. But what about 26? I think the only thing that most of us associate with turning 26 (in the US at least) is that it’s the age when you get kicked off your parents’ insurance.
Truly exciting. So what else can we say about 26? I’m now closer to 30 than to 20. Honestly, I get little waves of nervousness thinking about 30, but then I remember that a lot can change in 4 years. I mean, 4 years ago I was 22. I’m certainly very different than I was in my last semester of college, so I’m sure I’ll be ready for 30 when I get there (fingers crossed).
Maybe it’s because I feel like I’m really starting to settle into my life, but I’ve been reflecting on my identity a lot. I want to make this year about self-care, self-empowerment, and self-formation. I think I’ve gotten the hang of self-care and self-empowerment, but how do I know where to start for self-formation? I think back to when I was a kid.
To start the year off, I made it my goal to practice positive self-talk in the month of January. I wanted to begin 2019 with the mindset that I am beautiful, I can be who I want to, and I choose faith over fear. I aimed to pay more attention to what I was saying about myself to myself and replace any negativity with these positive phrases I had chosen.
To be perfectly honest, it was hard for me to stay mindful of that. While January was a wonderful month of Jake and I staying home and just enjoying life together in our house and our city, this quiet somehow muffled my self-talk.
I believe that everyone has creativity, whether you consider yourself a creative person or not. And one thing I think we can all agree on is that creativity comes and goes. It’s like this blessing of a mood that gets bestowed upon you. Sometimes, you can call and call and call for it and it won’t show up. But what’s one way that you can bring it upon yourself? You can make sure that you show up every day. If you’re ready to be creative every day, you’ll never miss creativity’s surprise appearance. But if you don’t allow yourself the time to welcome it, it’s going to find that your door is locked and move on without a visit.
When I was in high school, I had tons of creative energy. I used to write prose poetry nearly every day, and I’d write short stories that I don’t know how I’d ever come up with today. In the past 6 months or so, I’ve been trying to reclaim the imagination I had when I was younger. If you’re in a bit of a creative rut, here’s what has helped me.