Forgiving Others… and Yourself

Lately when I make a mistake and feel the need to forgive myself, I give myself a huge bear hug.

Monday night, I dragged my space heater from the office to home, silently cursing in my head. For the last seven months, I hated going home. My roommate and I didn’t get along and I holed myself up in my bedroom, trying to avoid her at all cost. My home didn’t feel like my home and I hopped on Craigslist every day, looking for an escape in the form of a cheap apartment. I stopped on my porch for a moment and took a deep breath before entering in. I pulled my roommate aside and asked her if we could talk. We sat on our living room couch and talked about why we hated living with each other and what could we do to fix it. Like real adults, we came up with solutions and promised to stick by them. We didn’t exactly apologize to each other for being a bitch and acting like a child towards one another but I knew that we forgave each other. We finally saw eye-to-eye with each other- and that’s how we forgave.

Admit you’re wrong is one thing and asking for forgiveness is one thing but why is it difficult to do the one forgiving? I never understood the people who say forgiveness is easy. How do these people not hold a grudge? Aren’t they still hurt?

What about forgiving yourself- forgiving yourself for hurting loved ones; for making really stupid mistakes, both big and small? In this year where I want to especially kind to myself, forgiving myself is not easy. I’m pretty terrible at it. I like to hold grudges. I like to be angry. As much as I think I’m a person who doesn’t give a fuck, I care and am passionate about things, especially my emotions. When I made a mistake, I treat myself poorly and become really mean to myself. I start to think I don’t deserve the things that I’ve been blessed with. It’s not being humble- it’s the worst form of hatred. So, how does one fix that?

I think it’s all about remembering that you’re human. But one must also understand that others are human too and don’t hold certain people on a pedestal. We all make mistakes; it’s inevitable. So, when we do, it’s time to be the bigger person, accept their faults and move on.

Dear reader, how do you forgive? And how do you forgive yourself?

 

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My Resolutions for 2015

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What are your resolutions for 2015, dear reader? Mine are:

  • Graduate (!!!)
  • Host more brunches and themed dinner parties
  • Go to Burning Man
  • Fix credit score and save money for traveling
  • Spend less time online and more time reading novels and practicing skating (both skateboarding and roller skating)
  • Stop backing out of plans made with friends (and write more letters to them)
  • Teach myself how to dance!
  • Get driver’s license
  • Stop being afraid of expressing my creativity
  • Write! Write! Write! Your idea notebook is filled with good stuff

Ten different resolutions is a lot, I know. I also know that I won’t accomplish them all- it’s only human. You can’t do everything you want to do. That leads to my number one resolution- being okay with the life I choose to live. I don’t want to live filled with sadness and regret. I want to think long and hard before I make that choice and stop beating myself if I make the poor decisions. I want to embrace the suck– the loneliness and sadness I feel and let that motivate me to be better; minimize that expectations I have about everything and surrender to what my life actually reveals. Instead of waiting to be inspired by someone else and being jealous that they’re living a life I wish I had, I want to start being the person I want to be by living the life I’d be envious of if I saw someone else living it. 

Everyone has the power to change and be something incredible- you can be an amazing friend, actress, employee, mother, surfer, whatever. The key word is try. Trying to make the best choices for yourself (and for you alone). Trying not to let everything get you down. Trying to live the best you can. We just need to put in that effort- and I believe that in the upcoming year, we will all become our best and do our best.

Whether or now you make resolutions, dear reader, I hope that 2015 is your year and that you make it a great one.

Thank you, Captain Picard. I will make it great!

Thank you, Captain Picard. I will make it great!

Flip the Switch

It’s been a rough week. I had my final on Monday, found out that an overly jealous ex is spreading nasty rumors and I’m beyond stressed with all the Christmas gifting I still need to complete. After heading back into the office Monday afternoon, I wanted to throw the biggest pity party for myself and invite everyone to join in my misery. Fortunately before I sent out the invitations, my educative director, Beth, called me into her office and asked me what was wrong. I explained to her my troubles and how I really disliked my life at the moment. Beth, with her soft South African accent, sat me down and shared some maternal wisdom, telling me that I needed to flip my switch.

Flipping the switch- what does that mean? It means, turning that frown upside. Turning a negative into a positive. Making the best out of any situation. I will admit that I’m terrible at doing that as I like to bathe in my own misery. But what happens when you make that shift and start looking up? You realize that things are not so bad and that you can fix things. You can make positive change happen. It may take a while to fix but in the meantime, you know that things are good and that life is pretty great!

So, how did I make that switch? I may have not done well on that final but hey! The tough school semester is finally over (!!!) and in next semester- my final semester- I will study harder and get that A+. I blocked and finally deleted my Reddit account where I read those rumors- it was about time I got off that site anyway. There are more important things to do than waste precious time on scandalous websites (and after deleting, my entire body felt lighter!). I may have missed out on decorating the Christmas tree but the presents that I’m giving my loved ones this year are amazing! I’m excited to share them- this is going to be one hell of a Christmas.

When life gets tough, dear reader, how do you flip the switch?

Unplugged

I did it. I deactivated my Facebook page for three days. Yes, it is a small feat but I’m still incredibly proud of myself.  I am a child of social media. Sad to say, it’s one of my best friends. I visit Facebook more than my friends. I’m more involved in the conversations found on Reddit than I am with the ones people around me are having. It was about time that I quit, if even just for a moment. After a particular rough Monday, I unplugged from Facebook, deleted my Tumblr account, put a block on Reddit and fell asleep, not reading status updates but a book. My week consisted of lots of reading, especially when it came to homework. I worked on my Christmas cards, went running out in the rain and took proper care of my (still, unfortunately) infected eye. At work, I seemed more focused, getting more tasks done. In all seriousness, I can get use to not having social media in my life.

But at the same time, social media is great and I won’t lie- I missed Facebook a little bit. I wasn’t able to connect with different groups and people who I don’t have phone numbers for. I get more readers to this blog by posting on social media. I love Facebook for the event invites and the trending topics (it was from Facebook where I learned about all the Ferguson protesting). I know that my mom loves seeing photos of me on FB. It’s beneficial to have, yet I felt such joy being away from it for a bit.

I know that parting with social media won’t end all the problems in the world nor all the ones in my life. I have to admit that not looking at Facebook made me a bit happier-I didn’t feel the need to one up on everything nor compare myself to any other person (yes, I am that person who suffers from social media jealous despite knowing that most people post their highlight reel and hide their severe drama). Plus, I so was productive! Now, my dilemma: to keep Facebook or delete it for good?

I think the thing to do is limit yourself. It’s like ice cream- you maybe want the entire carton but you only dish yourself out a small serving- it’s healthier for you that way. I can be on Facebook/Reddit/whatever site during my breaks at work but once I get home and on the weekends, it’s all about my world and what I’m experiencing in the present. I don’t like to ruin key, beautiful moments by stopping to take a picture- I need to treat my social media the same way. I don’t need to disturb me time (especially since I get so little of it) by checking a status update.

So, dear reader, what are your thought on social media (Facebook, to be exact)? How do you balance your use of social media?

This and That

Who had a good Thanksgiving? After all the eating, playing nurse for my ailing boyfriend and watching the latest release in “The Hunger Games” series (go see it!), I am ready for Christmas. But first comes finals, the dreaded eye infection due to stress (it’s already formed), dinners and drinks with friends, holiday shopping, volunteering, card writing, watching film favorites to prepare for next year’s Oscars (and “Peter Pan!“), cookie baking, working out to battle all the cookie eating… As I brace myself for my new round of hectic/crazy schedule, I have some things floating around in head that I need to write down and reflect on before they escape…

There are so many causes and charities in the world to focus on- there is so much in daily life to focus on. But each year, I try to pick a different charity or four to donate to. Each year, I donate to ONE which focuses on ending extreme poverty and fighting the AIDS pandemic all over the global, especially in Africa. I’ve been supporting the cause since my teenage years, buying ONE clothes at my local Gap store (today is also World AIDS Day- hop on the ONE site to give $1. That buck will help a little girl in sub-Saharan Africa get much needed drugs to help ease the effects of HIV). If you’re looking to support a US based charity, I suggest the American Red Cross. I like the Red Cross because they’re there in the community after a major disaster like a hurricane or a tornado and there after a personal disaster like a house fire. I also like the Red Cross because it’s easy to make a donation to program in someone’s name. When I’m fresh out of ideas on what to give a friend, I make a donation in their name- its a win-win for everyone. On the local level, the Nevada Humane Society is always looking for monetary donations and volunteers. Spend sometime with cute kittens and puppies!

Earlier last week (before I got outraged by the Ferguson verdict), I made two videos about the things I was thankful for. Of course, there are more things that I’m thankful for other than my dancing, music, my body and my job. I don’t write about my family much but I’m thankful for them. I’m especially thankful for my friends- there are some days I can’t live without their silliness. I’m obsessed with my boyfriend (in the best way possible). When all is lost in my world, I can count on him to find me. Yes, he grinds my gears every once in a while (and I’m sure that I grind his) but I’m still head over heels in love with him. He is my best friend and I can’t wait to spend the rest of the holiday season with him.

Who is going to be more daring with fashion next year- ME!

Who is going to be more daring with fashion next year- ME!

I’m already thinking about 2015 resolutions. I don’t like making them (I’ll write more about that later) but my mind still wanders to all the things I want to accomplish next year: finish school; go to Burning Man with Steve; spend less time online and more time skating; wear more full, poufy skirts… I’m excited about the many possibilites that willl could present themselves and my last year as a twenty-something.

What’s on your mind this week, dear reader? Happy December!

A Balancing Act

Over this last year, there has been a lot of change in my life- going back to school, my new job at Artown, my new-ish boyfriend (we’ve been together for an amazing nine months), more social invites. With my new job, I’m determined to be the best I can be, pouring out most of my energy into my work. By the time I get home, I’m exhausted. All I want to do is sleep. I haven’t worked a full-time, 9-to-5 job in a couple years so I’m not used to this schedule- sometimes I feel like I will never get used to it. Add to the mix my social circles, the freelance writing I do and school. Lately, I’ve been having a hard time balancing everything. Friends call to ask if I want to hang out and I cancel- all I want to do it fall asleep to an old episode of “Friends” and not wake up until the next week, but I decide to keep myself up until three in the morning to finish my Spanish homework.

I do so much because I want to be the best that I can be. People tell me that I stress out too much; that I need to be easier on myself. Although, I understand and agree with that they’re saying, my philosophy is that you only have this one life to live and it’s up to you to make it great- be a doer, not a dream. If you’re lazy in bed all day, you have stamped  yourself “lazy” – it’s right there in big, bright letters on your forehead. If you work hard, you are labeled a “hark worker.” I believe those with incredible goals have to work especially hard to make those dreams come true- AND they will come true if you put in the time and effort. This is why I’m always busy- I’m making my dreams come true.

In this process of making those dreams come true, I found myself so buried with things to accomplish (see what was listed above). I know that I need to look through my list and pick out the things that aren’t essential to my life- but I have tried and I can’t choose. I need my job because I need my paycheck in order to survive. I’m a class away from finishing school- I need to finish. Plus, having my degree will allow me to purse bigger and bright career opportunities, especially since I want to move to a bigger city in the near future (hello, 2015!). I love my boyfriend- and even though I know that I shouldn’t rely on him for my happiness- he is that one thing that makes me constantly happy and I want to build a future with him. I need my friends for obvious reasons. I already sacrificed my personal time (which is fine). I read that if you need to de-stress your life, you need to cut the non-essential out. So, what do I cut: my job, school, my boyfriend or my friends?

During this time of busy-ness, I want to stress the fact of taking care of yourself. Sleep and food may be the last things on your mind but they are essential (this is coming from a person who hasn’t eaten in the last couple of days). No one can rule the world on an empty stomach and an hour’s worth of sleep. Remember that your body can only do so much. Your mind may be pressing you on but if your frame is telling you to go to bed, go to sleep!

Dear reader, I ask you for your advice– how do you balance everything? How do you go about the craziness of your day and manage to eat a proper dinner and sleep at the end of the day?

Being Good To Yourself

With yesterday being a holiday, I stayed home from work and did absolutely nothing: I laid in bed all day, reading Veteran’s Day memorial posts and watching Tom Hardy movies (it’s all about his lips- sorry, boyfriend). Five o’clock rolled around and I began to feel bad that I let my day “go to waste.” I only put on clothes to grab lunch and feed the neighborhood feline. I recently started typing out my to-do lists (since I’m always losing post-it notes) and all the things I told myself on Monday that I would accomplish on Tuesday… well, they didn’t happen. The mental fists sprung up and I began beating myself up.

I used to think that being good to yourself meant that you were lazy, letting yourself slide all the time. I realize now it simply means giving yourself a break. That’s what I did yesterday- I was giving myself a day long break. You can still work hard but you can also still have fun. You can still relax and take it easy. We work eight hours a day, with hectic lives outside our place of employment-we have school, children, dreams to look after and sometimes, we just need that physical and mental break in order to clear our heads and keep our sanity in check. It’s in times like that where we need to remind ourselves to stop being so hard and give ourselves more credit… Give yourself the time to enjoy the day and the comfort of your bed and blanket and your snuggle buddy- and stop the stress with trying to be perfect. As much as I want to do and have everything (the career, the social life, the grades, a decent sleeping schedule, etc.), I realize that I will never have it all- no one does. There is always so sort of sacrifice to be made. Being good to yourself is realizing that- you can never have it all so take what you can get (especially if it’s an extra four hours of sleep).

At the same time, though, I think about being good to yourself is deeper than giving yourself that occasional break. It’s about treating yourself well. Time off to mediate. Not feeling awful for canceling plans with friends (just don’t do it all the time). When I think about treating myself well, I think about going to the gym and the rush of endorphins I feel. Or how I feel after finishing up a homework assignment. Or my feelings while making the effort to bike across town for a therapy session. Or simply brushing my teeth- because having a squeaky clean mouth feels GOOD. I focus on the good feelings. I believe that is what we need to look at- the good, positive feelings that stimulate our bodies and minds. Being good to ourselves is about the good vibes we create for ourselves- vibes without all the stress and pressure from the outside world, just what feels good to us. Only we can decide what feels good and what works for us, I say, as long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else, do what makes you happy and feels good.

So, dear reader… Take it easy. Stop being so hard on yourself. Give yourself more credit.

You deserve it.

This is me telling you to BE GOOD TO YOURSELF!

This is me telling you to BE GOOD TO YOURSELF!

The Wonderful World of ASMR

I have trouble sleeping, both falling asleep and staying asleep. With my anxiety and the recent influx of nightmares I’ve been having (zombies are not real, Andi. Zombies are NOT real), bedtime is not longer my favorite time of the day. Until a couple months ago, I would lie in bed and let my head race. I’d try listening to music or watch an old episode of “Will and Grace” but both never seemed to help. I don’t know what I was doing on YouTube that I discovered my first ASMR video- it was of a young Russian woman, whispering gently about her jewelry. I watched the video for five minutes before failing asleep.

Autonomous sensory meridian response (ASMR) is a little hard to describe. It is a positive reaction one experiences in response to a certain sound you hear. Think about a cat’s purr and how relaxing it sounds. You dive deeper into its melody and vibration and makes you feel warm and comforted- that is ASMR. The sole purpose of ASMR is to relax people. Ideally, ASMR videos are meant to give the viewer a relaxing tingle at the back of their head or spine (not everyone experiences that sensation, though). ASMR videos usually involve whispering, relaxing hand movements, smacking of the lips, nail tapping, scratching on hard surfaces such as tables or books and brushing sounds.

Everyone’s tingles vary and their reactions are different. For me, the sounds of tapping and paper shuffling are the most comforting (maybe it’s because I’m a writer). I love the sound of a sweet whisper and am especially fond of role-play videos (ASMR artists make up different scenarios from cutting hair to pretending to be a witch). I don’t necessarily get tingles- the feeling I get is this warm almost-blanket feeling. I experience this big bear hug that covers me, clearing the bees buzzing in my head and letting me feel relaxation for the first time all day. Then I can finally sleep.

ASMR is bit controversial as it has not been researched much. Honestly, I rather admit to watching porn than ASMR videos. I try to explain the power of watching someone fold towels but I think they look at me like I have a weird fetish. I tell people to think of hearing your favorite sounds over and over again and how relaxing it can be. People love hearing James Earl Jones’ voice- that deep calmness- or Bob Ross exclaim how happy his little tree is. That’s what ASMR is to me- a piece of audible heaven.

I don’t mean to sound like a crazy sales person trying to sell you a used car at the auto dealer but ASMR works. It has done wonders for me. If you are like me, dear reader, heavy with anxiety and sleeping problems, I recommend checking out some ASMR videos and find a content creator who works for you. They can only help. Happy sleeping and relaxation!

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SpringBok is one of the many great ASMR content creators- she’s amazing!

Nobody is Coming

I hate it when people tell me to snap out of it. When deep in a depression cavity, it’s the last thing I want to do. It feels like the hardest thing to do. But lately, I’ve been thinking that snapping out of it is the best thing to do.
 
Nobody is coming. This thought has snapped at me.
 
Young girls grow up on fairy tales of beautiful princesses waiting for their prince charmings as they clean houses and chat up with dwarves. Life isn’t like that. You can look for the next big thing that will fix you. A person with severely good looks and a shoulder to cry on. Books and blogs posts (including my own). Money and wealth. A job. A new city. Yes, some articles, books, products and people will give you support and insights that resonate deeply with you and that you can put into practice. But in the end, you are it.
 
No one is coming. No one is coming to save you. Nothing will save you but YOURSELF. You have to take responsibility for your own life and what happens in it. Other things and people can certainly aid you quite a bit. But you are responsible.
 
You can go around blaming society or certain people for your problems in your social life. Or your finances. Or your health. You can always find scapegoats to judge to feel better about yourself. You can look for people that will “fix you.” You can do this for the rest of your life if you like. It won’t change much and life will continue to suck. The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting the same result. Are you a insane- mostly likely you’re not. Whatever has to be done, it’s you who have to take responsibility and do it.
 
Things might always not go your way. You’ll fall and stumble and you will probably have bad luck from time to time (perhaps all the time- that does happen). You will see that life is easier for some other people- and you will hate that it is. You just have to focus on yourself and keep that focus on doing what you can do with what you have in whatever situation you’re in. Life is about living; enduring stressful times and appreciating the great times is all a part of it. It’s about the ups and downs. Otherwise, it’d be flat and you’d be dead.
 
At the end of the day, you are the only person in charge of you and your happiness– not your parents nor your family; not your friends; not your boyfriend (no matter how adorable he may be). Snap back and try to live your life each day the best that you can.
 
Make today great, dear reader. Make life great.

October is National Depression Awareness Month

Gonna keep this one short: Depression is awful and many people around the world suffer from it (including me). I’m a big mental health advocate and it still surprises me how little our world talks about disorders like depression, anxiety and mania. I believe the only way you can learn is to dive deep and ask the big questions. The more we learn, the better we understand- especially when it comes to treatment and how to help friends.

If you don’t know about depression (how it affects the brain and the body, long-term effects, etc.), do your research. To those who are suffering, hang in there. We’re battling this war together- and I do believe we will win.

And if you rather advocate for another cause this month, October is also National Poetry Month (why don’t you read some Shel Silverstein to an elementary school class?) and Breast Cancer Awareness Month (support the cause and wear pink!).