here we go…!

These past 48 hours have found me feeling so sick and so dead– there is something wrong with my tonsils or lymph nodes I’m sure of it, and it’s creeping up into my ear making it hard to swallow.

The fun part? All of this is hitting at a time when I’m supposed to be getting “in it” again, re-energizing for school, re-aligning my goals, and getting back on track towards plans I can live with, plans that are ultimately my desire paths and will lead me in the directions I want to go.

I don’t like being sick partially because it means I have to kind of force myself to do nothing [if my body hasn’t already forced me to stop doing things, anyways], which is aggravating to me.

It also puts into perspective just how much I take my body for granted sometimes– this whole winter break I was around children and germs and wow my body has done nothing but fight that stuff off.

The highlight of my day yesterday was taking a shower– there’s something so great about taking a hot shower to temporarily relieve the pain. And it was in that moment where I stopped and I thought about the year ahead of me– the semester ahead of me– how beautifully full it was going to be and I just couldn’t return to moping around in bed after that.

It was meds and gargling and doing all I could to get my Google calendar in order. Sure, being sick you should rest and I *did* rest– plenty– but there’s a point where it’s like really? I sleep at night too. I don’t want to spend today a zombie– I already kind of did that a lot in 2018. Without being sick, though. Ha. Fun. 

So.

Tomorrow, all things considered, is a pretty easy day. I’m probably gonna be able to squeeze in a trip to the health center to figure out what’s actually wrong with me. (-:

It’s just funny because I think I put 2019 on a bit of a pedestal, something I’d reach for, something that was all shiny and new, and this sickness is bringing me a really interesting perspective on some things:

  1. our bodies are fragile, fricking BEAUTiful temples. We should love them for all they do for us.
  2. Just because 2019 has started out with sickness is humbling. It’s not how we end up with the sickness, it’s how we react to it. Me? I just scheduled a health appointment, I’m gargling on some saltwater, and chugging warm tea with *loads* of honey, and then– my school day starts!!

So onward and upward– and Happy Monday!

xx

the courageous task of saying “no”.

Ahahah so it’s crazy. This post [rather the thought of writing on it] has been taking up a lot of headspace recently. So here we go.

I am an ENFP [“the campaigner”], my Enneagram puts me as a “Helper” as my paramount personality trait. [If you’ve never heard of this or tried it for yourself, I highly encourage it! It’s very cool to see the results.]

I love challenges, I love helping people, I love being busy.

I don’t like inconveniencing others, I don’t like living up to expectations, and I definitely don’t like confrontation, and things like saying no. 

Oof.

If there’s anything that 2018 taught me, it was that it was busy.  It was packed. Why?

Because I consistently didn’t say “no” to things. 

I like feeling like I can do and give for everyone but WOW that’s so mentally taxing, and emotionally exhausting. I think I only realized this in the past 3 months. Taking time for myself was still a foreign concept, and I couldn’t fathom “letting people down”.

What I’m learning, however, is that part of the time it’s like being on an airplane. When shit’s going south and things are nosediving, you do have to put the mask on yourself first in order to help others.

I don’t like thinking about this, partially because it feels like I’m neglecting others by doing so. But it’s true. Sometimes, you just have to barge forth and make that call to take the time for yourself that you need.

Chris Bailey [YES I KnOw I reference him so much he’s my idol sue me] suggests this pretty golden rule for determining whether something is worthy of your “yes”. You can think about how every “no” you throw out is actually a “yes” for something later on, or you can think about how every “yes” you commit yourself to is a “no” to something else later on.

It is this train of thoughts that makes me think about all I’ve said yes and no to. Some things are an obvious yes– visiting with family I haven’t seen in 5 months or more over the holidays when I could be working? For me, this is an obvious “yes.”

Following up on flaky plans when the other person has no real interest in making time for aforementioned plans? Tough. As badly as I’ve tried to make this work in the past, it just doesn’t. It also has led me to start thinking about the fact that I actually may be someone’s “back-up plan”. Yikes. That’s gonna be a “no” from me, dawg.

[I’m still in the works of trying to release some big things in the next weeks related to this specific topic of money and stufffff buuuut….!] Spending money on impulse for the instant gratification and to feel “one of the group”? So so tough. But it’s gotta be a no, because I have to think about the “yes”s I want later. Like paying tuition. And my rent. And being able to afford food and gas.

And it’s crazy! I kind of stretched out writing this post across two days– the second day I’ve spent on this post has actually found me feverish, throat sore, and chilled to the bone even with masses of sweaters, coats and blankets [greetings from my blanket cave, as I do my best to balance under all this weight on my chair and just get thoughts out].

After the trials of today, I get a text. One of my friends asked to hang out.

My brain immediately said yes. Yes! I leave to go back to school in less than 48 hours of *course*! But my body put the brakes on that. It was all I could do to get up this morning, sit like a potato at the DMV, and then drive to my nanny gig. When I got home I was *robbed* of energy.

I revisited my brain’s talk. Come on, it’ll just be for a bit, you need to see her before you leave, you can sleep and finish work later! Enticing, right?

But alas. I’ve been *super* super harsh on my body in the past month [one of my 2019 #DoThings I’m working on yike] and it was screaming at me to stop. And also not to get my friend sick *sob*

So I listened. And promptly made some mac n cheese and green tea and headed for the blanket cave to embrace the minimal arm movements I use for work and for writing here.

And this handy-dandy “no” thing doesn’t just apply to seeing friends! My goodness– these “no”s apply to *EVERYTHING!*

It’s 2019, I’m trying to start new, and make micro improvements to my lifestyle.

I picked 3 to concentrate on this morning [bold, I know!] and they were, essentially, 3 little “no’s”:

No to coffee, yes to water. The first of those micro-improvements was waking up and immediately downing a glass of water. Sometimes my desire path is quite literally down the stairs and to the coffee, without the notion that maybe, just maybe, that’s not what I actually *need* right now.

No to notifications, yes to waking up more mindfully. The second of those micro-improvements happened the night before, actually, and I honestly *need* to keep doing this– I set my phone to airplane mode **NOTE: NOT “DO-NOT-DISTURB”, I repeat, not that little moon setting that’s so handy when you want to ignore people lol]  The reason why is because I use my phone as my alarm… [I’m actually thinking of going back to my old-school alarm clock with actual buttons and dust on the unnecessary sound ridges atop the faux wood casing] …and I wake up and I shut it off and I am immediately aware and flooded with notifications.

Like ugh it’s like rush-hour just seized my brain and I can’t enjoy those blissful moments of removing myself from sleep. I also have this really bad habit of scrolling, mindlessly and like the wind through Instagram [*addict right here, raises hand*], and lingering for *far* too long, and then proceeding to do that Social Media bounce between apps to catch up on what pretty much is non-existent because most of my pals were sleeping.

No to “checking in” and working right away, yes to observing my breathing and bringing back my wandering thoughts. The third micro-improvement I tried today included a brief bout of mediation. Last night, I woke up randomly at 3am because I had crested over into being feverish and then decided to take medicine and then I think the medicine was doing weird things…..so I decided to read. [Can you guess my book of choice? LOLOL] In said book *coughTheProductivityProject* , Chris writes about how focusing on your breathing for a certain period of time can do *wonders* for strengthening your “attention-muscle”.

So I woke up [to no new notifications! #orgasm], drank a whole thing of water, stretched, and sat on my bed to breathe for 5 mins. [I think I may revise this to doing it in the middle of my working hours, cuz I realized at the end it seemed kind of silly to go from a really relaxed state [sleep] to another. Noted for tomorrow, I guess. [; ]

Being disconnected, away from the urges to check and reply […and check and reply again] and wakening my metabolism with the water was such a radical thing in my morning routine, that I remembered it. Lol maybe my memory is just bad but this is yuuuge for me guyyyss okay

But seriously. How often can you not remember your morning before you start your commute and the routine of the day?

For me, it’s definitely something I just hurry through, and then scramble late away from, and forget for the rest of the day.

So this? This feels nice.

Until after airplane mode,

xx

 

 

begin.

I’ve been staring at the cover of my notebook since October of 2017 but only now am I starting to realize the implications, the depth, the truth of the message emblazoned on the front of the binding.

I’ve been sitting on ideas for a post like this for about a week now, and I thought I’d take the cover’s advice, right now, while I have the time to make this post.

“The best way to get something done is to begin.

God, I wrote earlier in my relaxed stupor that was last night, has a strange way of teaching us things. And I stand by that. A few weeks ago, I was pointed to an online community full of like-minded self-starting personalities like my own. This introduction led me to take a personality test, which reinforced my knowledge that I am an ENFP-T, through and through. I don’t like mundane routines, I try too hard to please, I’m fiercely ambitious, I hate asking for help, and I’m also a bit scatterbrained. This started a chain reaction of mini-discoveries, mostly ones about myself, some about other people.

And then just this weekend, I was gifted with a conversation from a local mom, who I would not have run into otherwise had I not taken my sister to her all-star [and final] baseball game. I’m not sure how the conversation got started, but we got to talking about life and health and then it clicked– we found that we both despised small talk, we were both in the ENF[J/P] range, and she touched on her experiences living with anxiety and bipolar disorder. All of the sudden I found myself relating.

A few days earlier, I had essentially stepped outside of myself. Things were not going well, I could feel things falling apart, my monthly episode of trains running off their rails and being paralyzed by indecision had come at a really inconvenient time for me, so I had to step back from a lot of things and just take a weekend to rest and re-charge.

I have yet to get multiple opinions [and I plan on doing so] but I came to the conclusion that I’d been avoiding and ignoring something for a bit too long, and a 15 minute exchange of ideas and experiences transformed into the first step of realization. I shared with this baseball mom my concerns, I told her about my research, my screening, my findings, and the helpful and supportive information that followed was absolutely incredible. This mother has since conquered her identity, and has a website and LLC completely devoted to helping others do the same.

But it was that moment. The moment I began. The moment I reached out, the moment I started to sit down with myself internally and do that deeper inventory.

And looking at the words on this notebook today I realize I’ve had so many beginnings in the past two weeks.

I began, again here, in this space, having sorted out the old posts and the old angst and the old everything, and tried to tidy it up for more, for growth.

I began a new habit of letting go, of not obsessing or returning to things [people, rather] that would only be a form of destructive restraint going forward. 

I began investing myself in the research of my passion projects, re-designing my craft blog and doing my best to create new work every week.

I began the process [which, as it turns out, I started months ago but never finished??] of setting up an Etsy shop for said craft blog, and I put my first product into production yesterday. 

During the period of heavy doubt, peak uneasiness and discomfort, deadened optimism and flat out de-motivation… it was so hard to begin. Beginning seemed like a crazy afterthought, something so distant from the comforting idea that I was fine where I was, that I was fine shrinking back. I was confronted with these words:

“There is a saying, ‘the obstacle is the way.’ Sometimes we have to change our expectations and way of thinking to go head first towards the obstacle or difficult path instead of trying to avoid it or get rid of it.”

When I heard this I had to stop for a minute because it was so true. So often I think we find ourselves running, so much of our culture and habits are escapist, “buy this, be happier,” “go here, be happier, find yourself”, “do this instead of that”…when sometimes the best remedy is to stand your ground and fight right where we are.

And I’m trying to do just that, fight right where I am, make a “to-do” list of the problems and watch myself tackle them head on, crossing them off mentally, knowing I can win, knowing that I’ll be stronger and more fulfilled on the other side.

Some beginnings, like the ones above, are small.

Some beginnings like the ones above, were deceptively hard.

But they make room for new ones that will flourish.

xx

 

 

 

Blogvember Day 2: There’s Me, then… Me 2.0

How have you changed in the past two years?

Wow.

What a loaded question.

So much has changed.

Two years ago today I was a sophomore in high school, still under the deceptive fog that every grade matters and that the biggest goal in life is getting into college.

Two years ago today I was super self conscious about what I wore and how I fit in with people.

Two years ago today I was focused on pleasing those around me.

Two years ago today… I may have smiled more.

Two years ago today… I couldn’t see myself applying to schools and taking almost exclusively AP classes.

Two years ago today my procrastination skills were weak.

Two years ago today I didn’t have short hair.

Two years ago today I was in the awkward stages of a relationship with J.

~

Here and now, I’m a senior. And it feels friggin weird. (Responsibility?! Money?! What is this) …And every grade doesn’t matter. I’ve learned to prioritize. Taking everything as the same importance will kill you. I know now where I can cut corners to save my sanity.

Here and now, I’ve settled into a group of people who are all crazy– like me. And I love them to death. But the best part is? I don’t care what people think. Those weird looks as we scootered around outside the senior patio in the pouring rain on senior spirit day? Yeah. Priceless. Keep those -weird- jealous looks coming (;

Here and now, I’ve learned to make time for myself. I can’t be everything for everybody. No one can. When I need to put myself first, I will.

Here and now, I smile less. I try, but sometimes life is too much. I’m currently in the process of changing that, though.

Here and now, I’ve applied to one school already and am working on my second for a November 15 deadline– go me!! (It’s not that bad and ominous as I originally thought).

Here and now, procrastination is my specialty. I do it often, but I do it well. I can make bullshit look like it came from a cat (;

Here and now I rock shorter locks. And I love it.

Here and now I have settled into a groove with J– and though I do not know what the coming year has in store for us… I’m focused on living in the moment and enjoying everything I can and dealing with things as they come.

So much can happen in two years. And while sometimes I don’t recognize myself… some parts of me I’ve had since forever ago are resurfacing, to blend and merge with the new parts of me. They’re bubbling together to form who I am now. It’s an ever-changing process that is totally unpredictable.

And I’m becoming okay with that.

 

[deteriorating]

Ever feel like your head is about to explode?

That’s me as of late.

I don’t know why everything decides to crash in all at once, but it does.

I haven’t written since August… that makes me sad ): I just wish I had time. Well, I do have time.  I just… spend it elsewhere. It’s always elsewhere. When I wish I could spend it here. Sometimes I wish I could just take a breather from all the deadlines and the grades and the activity and just come here, and pour a bit of my tension and soul here on the screen.

Right now, it seems like a conflict of interest. College applications (early action, anyways) are due at the end of this week, rehearsals won’t stop, homework won’t either… I’m plagued with social issues that I wish I could get over, I feel like I barely talk to J, and my mother seems to be guilting me every chance she gets. (typical teen girl thing to say, right?)

And it feels like one more sleepless night, one more breakdown of the outer shell, one more person criticizing my every move may do it in for me.

As much as I try to stay afloat, my life preserver drifts away from me. She says I never smile any more. I’ve noticed, and it’s like I’m losing touch with all I used to love. This year is bear, and as I write this I dread waking up tomorrow.

I should sleep, I need to be places early.

But I can’t.

I feel like going on a rampage through my assignments, completing them with little care and throwing them aside in a massive DONE pile. But when the TO-DO pile is larger than I am…

And re-reading this I feel like a messed-up, angsty teenager. Rebellious and nervous and angry and jealous and sad and unworthy and reckless.

I just got home from a night out with friends. On a Tuesday. *insert mother criticism here*. I should be happy. I was happy.

What happened?

Since when do I spend more time in solemn silence than in laughter?

I just want to know that this numbness isn’t permanent, that it’ll go away, that I’ll be able to leap over it and turn around and laugh at it later.

Is that too much to ask?

~

Honesty Hour: Free of Filter

Hi guys. So I’m thinking I may do this feature… just because let’s be real, the world does need more honesty.  I’m… feeling that more than ever.
A few minutes ago I watched this video of a makeup tutorial… but it was so much more than that.  I personally am not much for makeup tutorials, mostly because I don’t have time for such extensive makeup in my daily life… nor do I find it that interesting to watch other people do it… but this one was different.  (I’ll give a shout-out to VICKYLOGAN, you can check out her YouTube channel here) The vlogger, Vicky, touched on a ton of topics during a “get ready with me” vid, (which you can watch here) But I just got to thinking about some of the things she said about confidence, society’s expectations, loving yourself, and imperfections. She starts the video tutorial with no make up on at all and I have to say… I appreciated that so much.  To see someone in their natural beauty, to see that not all people are somehow china dolls all the time, to see that someone is comfortable in their skin and that they only pop into another one out of personal preference and not pressure or obligation….. It was inspiring.
And she’s totally right about the fact that our imperfections make us…well, us. And that “perfect” isn’t, and should never be, a standard.
So where am I going with this?
To be honest (ha, get it? Cuz it’s honesty hour) I don’t really know. All I can say is that I have felt myself… get caught up in all of it.  It’s so easy to just hop on Snapchat, or Instagram or Twitter or Facebook, see the filtered snapshots of the seemingly perfect lives of others and just feel really, really down about yourself. Or, to just go out there and make you want to be like someone else, or someone you’re not. And, once you do feel that push to go out and completely change yourself… once you have, maybe, what you feel like has been “for the better”.. You can’t help but blast it out there for others to see.  The pictures flow, freely, leaking out to all the platforms screaming “hey! I’m normal!” or “hey! I’m cool!” or “hey I look good!” “wow I’m stylish” “wow I’m this” “I’m healthy” “I’m happy” “I’m in love”…
It all builds up.  To the point where it’s a bit much.  It’s hard to know what any followers think… They’re judging only on pictures.  Your analysis becomes geared towards likes, follows, and favorites. And your perceptions of reality are, well, filtered.
Why is social media such a monster sometimes? Does anyone else feel like it has robbed their soul in one way or another?
I do.
I have to admit, I love Instagram.  The pictures are so pretty and I like how they’re perfect squares and how the feed can be so colorful sometimes… But what I don’t like is that it’s so unrealistic at times. There’s a level of superficiality that comes out and just takes hold and makes it reaaaally easy to compare yourself to other people…

I used to hate “selfies” with a passion… (Just the word makes me cringe…still..) My first reaction is that it was kind of a vain thing to do.  But what do I say now when I post them myself? And even more, when the filters are just piled on?

I compare my older pictures with some from now… they’re different.

And somehow, in one way or another, they’re tailored to other people.  Which shouldn’t be the case.
Why do people seek perfection? Call it artsy or whatever with all the filters (though I can’t judge because I love filters because they can twist a photo so many different ways) but life isn’t… filtered.
And I think you can eventually become addicted. Not just to the platforms, but the content and the content posted to said platform.

I say this, because I think I am.

As much as I don’t wanna be like “oh, I’m addicted I need to stop…” When it gets in the way of my productivity or when it just starts to change your views on things just a bit… it’s a bit much.

That being said… while I don’t wanna take a hard-core hiatus (though that’d probably be a good idea with all of my unproductive-ness as of late) I do want to try something.
Similar to my waaaaaaay long ago post about going “Unmasked” for 3 weeks or so, I’m gonna go unfiltered.  All posts, no matter where, will be free of a filter  Just to gain an appreciation those things that do not need a filter.  Friends, family, nature, and importantly, yourself.
Like Vicky says, everyone has something or some things they don’t like about themselves.  But the crucial part is learning to live with them, embracing them and being aware of them. Because like she says

“…All of that [makeup, clothes hair, imperfections etc.]… at the end of the day, it don’t matter because we all go to sleep in the dark. …Well, most of us– some of us use night-lights…. But when it’s dark and no body sees you… Do you love you?” ~Vicky

She’s very funny and down to earth, I highly recommend her channel.

So, my friends! Head out into this filtered world and just rip the filter off.  Love you, what is raw, what is real, what is most important to you… And I shall do the same. Again, I’m not hating on filters or anything, I just… sometimes I wanna view the world without one for a while.  To keep it in check.

And you’re invited, too! Feel absolutely free to follow me on my unfiltered journey and join me in my #freeoffilter endeavors: @stephaniesaysxo on Instagram & Twitter.

Love always,
Steph xoxo