My Word of the Year: 2015

wordoftheyear

This time last year I picked out the word FLOW.

I had been suffering with clinical anxiety for at least a year (probably more, I just didn’t have a diagnosis) and was exhausted with the effort it takes to try and control everything.

Instead of desperately grabbing for every rock to hold me steady, I wanted to learn to go where the flow of the river took me. I wanted to release my grip and enjoy the surprises of life.

This was easier said than done.

And the funny thing about anxiety and depression is that you fight change with every ounce of your being, but to get better, change is inevitable.

So, I went to counselling, I saw my doctor every month, I started taking medicine, and I dropped out of school.

Learning to FLOW was necessary in 2014.

And I did learn. And I’m still learning.

This year my word didn’t come to me immediately.

I knew how I wanted to FEEL in 2015 – financially savvy and secure, motivated, cozy and relaxed.

I knew what I wanted to DO in 2015 – see this blog blossom, get back into school, start working again, keep a regular yoga practice, balance, and enjoy myself.

But I couldn’t quite put a word to the lists.

Until I read through Vivienne McMaster’s 100 Word of the Year Ideas and saw THRIVE.

THRIVE

Ahh.

I want to THRIVE financially, in my education, with this blog, in my self-love journey, and with my mental health.

Yes.

I want to THRIVE by living authentically and sharing my truth.

I want to THRIVE despite the days where depression gets its hold or anxiety fights for control.

I want to THRIVE in 2015.

Tell me below what you want for 2015 in the comments.

What I am craving…

Early mornings involving coffee and meditation.

Printing out pictures to scrapbook, and scrapbooking them lovingly while watching a favorite show.

Making our bedroom a sanctuary filled with twinkling lights, crystals, and candles. A room that inspires me.

Walking my dog regularly.

Sitting down with my partner and creating a budget that makes us feel secure and free.

Trimming down the list of who I really want in my life – the people that make me feel wrapped in warmth, love, and acceptance.

Taking care of those people. Showering them with gifts and love.

What are you craving right now?

This is my only job

My only job is to love myself.

To be there in a way no one else can.

Hand over heart.

Knowing.

Understanding.

My job is not to be there for the world.

To spray compliments and encouragements to you

without ever giving them to myself.

My job is to shine –

My beauty. My worth.

My excellence. My edges.

I will not dull myself to

bring you Happiness.

My job is to cultivate my own

Happiness.

Not yours.

I will shine.

Shine.

Shine.

I will hydrate myself.

I will lay out the mat for yoga.

I will curl up in my favorite blanket

and sweatpants and

pour the coffee.

I will

Say Yes,

Yes,

Yes.

I will allow myself everything

I want.

This is my only job.

To say yes to myself, and

no to you,

if I must.

I will love myself, and

let you depart,

if I must.

Hand over heart.

This is my only job.

No one decision is right OR wrong

The past few months I have been tossing around a thought about decisions. Specifically, decisions being either right or wrong.

Decisions are often portrayed as two options: the true path, the one that shall lead us towards the light at the end of our tunnel, or the ugly path, the one that will only bring trouble and discomfort.

With this outline, it should be easy to make decisions! Just pick the GOOD one – the RIGHT one – and all will be well. Right?

Uh, no.

Right and wrong are not that simple.

This past summer I found myself consoling my mom with the statement, “It’s not right or wrong; it just is.”

I shocked myself in saying this. It came without thought, but how true it rang!

Decisions (for the most part) are not good OR bad, right OR wrong, they just ARE.

Each one has consequences, both good and bad, and some decisions will make us happier than others.

That’s it.

The choice between staying or moving: Staying could mean a stable job you’ve had for years, friendly neighbors you trust your kids to speak with, or just close proximity to loved ones. Moving could mean seeing a part of the country or world you never have, an exciting job opportunity you might never get again, or getting away from a toxic environment.

The choice between laying a mortgage down on a new house or taking yourself on a trip to Europe. A mortgage means a place to start a family, a stable place to call home, or just plain independence. Taking that trip could mean crossing off items on your bucket-list, seeing the world before starting a family, or just allowing yourself to do something crazy for once.

No matter which choice you go with, the choice is not WRONG unless it FEELS wrong to YOU.

Your gut knows best. It knows what you REALLY want, even if you can’t decipher it immediately.

So, listen to your gut and choose whatever path makes you feel happiest and freest.

Note: Topics like murder, racism, sexism, or just plain cruelty are different. Your choices in how you speak + act towards other people, cultures, etc. should be made sensitively and CAN be wrong, even if YOU don’t feel it is.  

Anger + love, my authenticity

Being honest but reacting less.

Staying Authentic means having opinions that you don’t agree with,

but being told I’m rude makes me question –

What is Authentic?

I don’t want to hurt you, me…

I want to fight without anger, but anger is all I feel when

I’m passionate.

Too big for one room; too small at home.

How much of my personality is perfect? Enough?

Where do I find that peaceful balance and

how?

Sometimes I am perfect, enough…

With values for humanity, kindness, and love; with

fierce loyalty that bares sharp teeth in the best ways.

Movement of my body that is fed and watered well.

Edgy haircuts, nose rings, and a style exuding comfort and confidence.

A girlfriend I kiss every night. Warmth when I hold her hand. Steadiness in our relationship.

Sometimes I am empty, lonely…

Guilt-ridden for things I’ve said, fierce with anger; for irritability every period

with cravings that bring tears.

Feelings of doubt and hopelessness. Unworthiness –

followed by anger at the lies spinning round my head.

Anger.

So much anger.

Thrown at her. Blamed on the world; on my depression; on too much caffeinated coffee.

Yet so much love.

Love for life – my life – for this world, for her, for days spent in the rain under a blanket.

How do I find balance?

To live with both so strong…

I struggle to find balance.

To find my authenticity.

A secret about self-love: we NEED it

Allow me to let you in on a little secret: SELF-LOVE IS ESSENTIAL FOR SURVIVAL.

Self-love isn’t just something you decide that you want, like a new dress. Self-love is something that you need, just like your fruits and veggies. You can decide not to eat them, but you won’t be feeling as hot as you would otherwise.

You really want to love yourself? Then you need to change your thoughts, change your actions, and change your perceptions on yourself and life.

You need to bare loose the internalized thought patterns, beliefs, and standards that are so entwined within you.

You need to do read books, blogs, whatever you can get your hands on about:  what self-love means (for YOU + for EVERYTHING ELSE), what these “things” are that you’ve internalized; why you’ve internalized them; how you are NOT ALONE; things you have never ever fathomed that come in the package of self-love.

You need to act, because this is survival we are talking about, not just something to do when you “get the chance.”

And when you start this, you keep going.

When you doubt yourself, this journey, and the things you read: you be there for yourself, you remember why you are here, and you keep going.

Be easy on yourself, be strong for yourself, and just be there for you, because that’s what you need the most right away. You need YOU.

YOU are the weapon of mass destruction against all of those crappy lies you have been spoon-fed until this day of claiming your want to live.

Your soul is waiting for you to nurture it, your body is waiting for you to listen to it, and all of your hopes and dreams are dependent on this.

We need self-love like we need water.

We need it right away in the morning before we eat, before and after every meal.

We need it when we don’t feel thirsty for it (especially then).

We need it with things that are hard to digest.

We. Need. It.

Get it?

Shedding the SHOULD-DO’S + doing what I WANT

Yesterday I stumbled upon a spectacular website, Hello Month.  It combines photography and loving notes to create a calendar-like set up with a beautiful reminder each day to care for yourself. (I seriously encourage you to follow the link and take a peek.)

Today’s message struck me on a personal level… Sarah writes:

Dear Me,
A day without shoulds…is it even possible?

Today, we’re going to try. Continue noticing your shoulds, and *then* practice replacing them with what you really want. Instead of “I should make dinner right now”, think about what you actually *want* to do. Maybe you want to make dinner, or maybe you just want to order pizza. Maybe you don’t want to make a boring dinner, but you *do* want to be creative in the kitchen.

Find a way to do what you want to do, rather than what you *should* be doing. Of course, if even *this* feels like a should, that’s a perfect place to start.

Love,

the You whose desires are good and noble

I primarily live my life by what I *should* be doing. Especially since I returned to college and have struggled to manage my time and efficiency with homework, work, and personal pleasures. My *wants* are only thought after (and if) I get all of that done.

I SHOULD be writing that paper.

I SHOULD layout what needs to get done for the week.

I SHOULD have read that chapter in a lot less time than I took to read it.

Even events I look forward to! Take last night. My college town celebrates Oktoberfest, so the campus puts on a weekend-long event where underage-safe activities such as craft nights, laser tag, Harry Potter-themed nights, etc. are put on.

Katelin and I thought we would brave the tie-dye event in our hall, but the day just didn’t call for it. You know, life happens: I was in a sour mood, the homework wasn’t done, and ya-ta-ya-ta. It all boiled down to: I just wasn’t feelin’ the tie-dye.

But I thought I SHOULD do it. Something fun became an obligation instead of an option.

These Should Do’s of our life come from the idea that we need to have “this, this, and this” crossed off our lists before we can be satisfied. It’s a process dependent on shame and guilt and totally sucks the enjoyment out of everything.

There’s this idea that, if I get all of this homework done in this amount of time… if I get outside and take a walk today…if I do yoga three times a week… I can feel good about myself. I can be content. I can breathe.

Today I shook that off, and let go of the Should Do’s, and focused on what I wanted to do. And no! This didn’t mean I skipped all of my homework, because that actually negates a deeper want (learning, growing, graduating).

But I did my homework – when I wanted to, not when I thought I should do it. I took my time with it and actually, GASP, enjoyed the process.

I stayed in bed, in my sweats, with fresh air blowing in the window, and just gave myself as long as I needed. I took breaks, got up and stretched, and even played some video games when I wanted.

I didn’t do yoga. I did get outside. I did have a donut.

But none of these did’s or didn’t(s) bared the burdens I so often feel. And I found I could breathe much easier.

Shedding the Should Dos gives us more freedom to do what we want, and that often correlates with the things we need to do.

Inspired by Hello Month, the changing of seasons, and the welcome of a new month, this is going to be my focus of October: to continue shedding these Should Dos and embracing the Wants.

Will you join me?