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The Friend That Doesn’t Go Away: Dealing With Depression

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For years I fought it, I tried so hard, yet I had lost numerous times, more than I count actually. But then, I began to become friends with it, became friends with her. Well, we are more than an acquaintance but less than friends, so we are somewhere in the middle when it comes to our unhealthy relationship. Who is this friend, you ask, her name is Depression.

Depression has been with me since I can remember, she was first introduced to my mind at the age of 10 years old when I was constantly being bullied by classmates and feeling like a tiny little microorganism under a microscope that didn’t matter to the rest of the world. She was basically my monster, at least at that time she was a monster to me.

As I got older, she stuck around and somehow maneuvered herself into the position as an acquaintance. And we began a turmoil of a relationship that I would never want to put on my worst enemy (don’t have any enemies, but you see my point) through the gut-wrenching relationship I had gone through with my depression. And at times it was extremely bad that I found myself on the other end of things, and it was not pretty. I can honestly that I feel sorry for my mom, for my therapist, and for the friends who witnessed the scars and the aftermath of the crap I had done; but I am truly grateful that they were there for everything that I was enduring.

Although most of my life, depression was that monster that hid in my mind and tied me to my bed most mornings, made me scared and anxious to go to school the next day, or to even speak to another person; somehow, I had managed to become friends with the monster in my head. And to be honest, it was a scary thing to commit to, but I knew that I wanted to be friends with her instead of having her as an enemy. Trust me it was the right thing to do.

Coming to the conclusion of being friends with depression, it is still a rather awkward situation. Why? Because she is not like most people’s depression. She doesn’t come in episodes, she is actually there every day, every moment of every day. Some days she is heightened, other days she just chills out in the back of my mind making paper mache masks for some masquerade ball that she will never attend due to my social anxiety keeping her company. Nevertheless, she is there. And as I write this post, she is more heightened this time, and all I can think of doing is just lay in bed with Sherlock on Netflix, drowning out my horrid thoughts until she decides to calm down once more.  And that is perfectly fine because I know that my depression is trying to cope with certain things, trying to compartmentalize every aspect of my mind and the scene around me.

Having a friend like depression there with me every day of my life is something that I feel like would never have happened if I hadn’t gotten the help I needed with a therapist and having the support from family and friends, but I am glad to have my friend, depression, there with me, because she has brought so many creative poems, stories, and songs, even if she didn’t mean to bring any harm.

**If you are dealing with depression, or know anyone who is dealing with depression, please see a therapist, or call the national suicide hotline: 1.800.273.8255

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Drenching Yourself in Colors: Telling Society to Back off

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We live in a society where it seems that to be your true self is the worst thing a person can do. That if we were to pursue our passions, we could be considered an outcast, that if we wanted to dress the way we want or do whatever we wish to our hair, we would be ostracized. Why? Why should someone feel as though they are an outcast for following their passions and dreams, why should someone be labeled freak, odd, eccentric, for being true to themselves? Why should society dictate how someone thinks, feels, and looks? In all honesty, it shouldn’t.

For thousands and thousands of years, people have constantly felt ostracized for being themselves, for not fitting into the mold that society has created. It seems as though society just wants every man, woman, and child to be the same lifeless robotic shape with no mind of its own and just rely on the opinion of others. However, once someone has stepped away from the social norms that has been dictated all hell breaks loose. Families disown that member of the family for not being “normal”, society shuns that person just as the family did, labels get placed on an individual, leaving an individual all alone and feeling as though they are worthless and at that point they begin to feel the pressure of fitting into the mold that has been created by society.

Not fitting into the mold that has been placed before us by society is invigorating, breathtaking, and it gives us a chance to feel and be free from the social norms. Who wouldn’t want to be free? Free to make your own decisions, to go off and study whatever you want in college or not even go to college at all and just travel the world, or to dye your hair an outrageous color, have a tattoo or piercing that you’ve always wanted.

Let me tell you, to step away from society and do your own thing is the best thing that you could ever do. Saying “screw you” to society will be the best thing you will ever do in your life, for you will finally be in control of yourself and of your life, for you are no mindless robot, you are a human being with a mind, a heart, and a soul that yearns for freedom to be yourself. Isn’t that what you wanted?

 

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The Personal Growth we go Through

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This year I will be turning 26, and while I am off exploring my new home state (Alaska) for the next couple of years, I will be learning more about myself as I go. About two years ago, I wrote a post about knowing yourself, and knowing that you are ever growing, and that couldn’t be even more true. Because every day, every month, and every year we are learning more about ourselves as we continue on in this life. Think back, are you the same person you were three or ten years ago, no, you were not. You have changed in many ways, and some of those ways may be subtle, nevertheless, you’ve changed. Now, the changes you’ve gone through don’t affect your overall personality, quirks, or who you are in general, it just means that you’ve matured in the sense of your personality. I know that I’ve changed in the past ten years, and that doesn’t scare me at all, in fact, it helps me embrace who I am as a person.

Growing up, I ‘ve always been known as the hippie child or granola child amongst my friends and family, because I would refuse to eat meat, bring stray animals home (tried to bring a snake home once, my mom was not having that), talked about utopia and love, put flowers in my messy curls; my personality was all about love, peace, and equality, and it still is. My personality is still like that, however it has matured on another level, and I embrace it. Because it is who I am. I don’t eat red meat or poultry at all now, and I get my source of protein from fish, eggs, and various nuts (except peanuts – I’m allergic), and vegetables. I still hug the trees, rescue animals from horrible living conditions, don’t follow any religion – however I am spiritual, and live a nomadic/hygge life of moving around to different places to continue my writing and helping others.

Personal growth, spiritual growth, mental growth, emotional growth, are all very important in our lives, for they are part of our own path’s and purposes in this life. We must allow for the growth to occur, let ourselves mature, and take us on these detours throughout our life. That is what makes it so fun.

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Why I’m a Feminist

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I am a feminist because I want to end unrealistic expectations for both men and women, there should not be some expectation to look like someone else to feel appreciated, to feel loved, to feel like we belong in some sort of “group”, this is not high school where they are focused on cliques, this is the real world that we live in, no two people look alike.

I am a feminist because I am tired of hearing, “Cool story, now go make me a sandwich” or “Real men don’t cry”, because these stereotypes are harmful to everyone around the world. Real men do cry, they have emotions just like the rest of us. And no one is your personal maid or slave, they are not obligated to make you a ‘sandwich’, you can go make it yourself.

I am a feminist because I want to end this horrible rape culture that we live in. Both men and women get raped, it is a proven fact. The problem is that not everyone realizes that men are also the victims to such abuse just like any other woman out there who gets raped and abused, they are terrified just like everyone else who endures physical, emotional, and mental abuse. To say that they don’t, is just down right ignorant.

I am a feminist because I want to end gender roles. In the past, roles to each gender were assigned, for men, they had to play with trucks, play in the dirt, get “manly” jobs, for women, they were told to play with dolls and have an easy bake oven, while dressing up in dresses and looking pretty. Young girls are allowed to play with toy trucks, and young boys are allowed to play with dolls that they find fun. There should be no roles assigned to anyone. If you like something, then by all means, do that hobby or get that outfit, just be you. I know several women who are welders, and they are badasses at their jobs, proving that they can do anything. I know a man who is a manicurist and he is phenomenal at his job, he chose that job because he loves it, he isn’t at a job that doesn’t love.

I am a feminist because I am sick and tired of people judging women based on their clothing, yet they gawk at a woman who wears a mini skirt and tank top, then catcall her. One, women are not objects to stare at, they are hardworking, intelligent, compassionate people, just like you. They are not meant to be stared down and made to feel inferior. Second, you have no say over what a woman wears, she wears what she wants to wear. It is her body, and you have no say over what she wears on her body. If she wants to wear a hijab, don’t you dare try to take it off to offend her. If she wants to wear a mini skirt, then let her wear that mini skirt. She wears articles of clothing because she is drawn to them and likes them. Same goes for men as well, if a man wants to wear a pink shirt, then don’t criticize him for it. If a man wears his pants saggy, let him, it is his body and he can wear whatever he wants just like women can.

I am a feminist because I am sick and tired of people comparing everyone to others and degrading others. Stop with the signs and memes that roam around Pinterest, Google, and other parts of the internet that say, “In a World of Kardashians, be a …..”.  Honestly, I don’t know much about the Kardashians, but to degrade them like that is wrong on many levels, you may not agree with their lifestyle, fashion sense, or moral compass, however you shouldn’t be degrading them and trying to raise another person up. Degrading others to feel better about yourself is just plain wrong and it shouldn’t be happening whatsoever. Comparing one person to another also needs to be put to an end, due to the fact that no two people are alike, it is nearly impossible, even twins are not alike on many levels.

I am a feminist because I believe in equal pay between men and women, based on education and experience, not based on what is between your legs. It shouldn’t matter if you are a man or a woman, it should matter on your education and experience. If a man and a woman both have a bachelor’s degree and also have ten years of experience, then they should get paid equally. Currently, women get paid $.75 to a man who gets paid $1.00.

I am a feminist because my feminine needs are not a luxury. Every woman since the dawn of time has had their premenstrual cycles, and they bleed for 5 to 7 days every 28 days. Tampons, pads, cups, whatever else is used out there, is viewed as a luxury. It is not a luxury. Stop hiking the percentage price to %40 tax.

I am a feminist because I want to protect all of those who are being forced to become child’s brides as 10 years old. I don’t believe in becoming a bride at such a young age. Back in the 1500’s men and women were betrothed at the age of birth, and were made to get married at once they were to be perceived as a man or woman. We live in the 21st century, and things need to change today.

This is just the icing on the cake as to why I am a feminist. This is extremely important to me, and should be important to everyone around the world. Why are you a feminist?

 

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Standing With Mother Earth

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Here we are, in 2017, with a brand new president and vice president to run the United States, while also bringing new presidents around the world to their first terms as presidents (congratulations to Tsai Ing-wen for becoming the first female president of Taiwan!). While here in America, a good majority of us (including myself) are preparing for things to even get worse (it already hit the fan with the temporary ban on Muslims from entering our country), our new elected president Donald Trump has recently signed a document letting the Dakota Access Pipeline to go ahead and destroy the earth with its pipeline that is running through the Dakota’s.

Seeing our precious earth becoming more and more of a landfill, than what it is supposed to be (an ecological, sustainable, graced with hills of luscious green grass, trees, and wildlife). Turning this planet into a waste dump is not what it is meant for. It is not used for greedy corporations to make their “mark” on this land, it is not for chemical induced products to be placed into the grounds, the very grounds that we walk on, grow food, and raise our own families on, is for us to have a healthy and long living life; all the while following our passions and dreams.

More and more pipelines being produced and being forced into the ground, we will see the earth dwindle away to nothing but a concrete jungle of skyscrapers and mansions. All the trees that provide us with warmth, shelter, and oxygen are being taken down and thrown away as if they were garbage, the food that we tend to grow into the soil of the earth is being contaminated by the chemicals that everyone is dumping into the lands below our feet, and the wild animals that roam the planes and mountains are disappearing due to greedy poachers who only care about making a quick dollar. We are living in a time where we are giving the future generations absolutely nothing, we are living in a time where we are allowing corporations destroy the earth and its inhabitants one day at a time.

So, instead of giving them a concrete jungle and no world to play in, we need to be making this place we call home healthier, more sustainable, and capable of having humans and the entire animal kingdom living on it for thousands of years to come.

 

Photo Credit: Unknown

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What ‘Anne of Green Gables’ Taught me about Love and Relationships

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Ever since I was a little child I always had a book in my hand, I would take that book with me everywhere I went and read it while other kids were socializing with one another, don’t get me wrong, I would jump in mud puddles and play in the dirt just like any other child, I just preferred books more. The books I read as a child helped shape me to become the woman that I am today, and I am grateful for it. Most of the books were of romance, you know the old fashioned romance novels that still grace the bookshelves around the world, but are now in the back due to the recent BDSM novels 5o Shades of Grey taking the limelight.

Anne of Green Gables series is a perfect example of one of the romance-coming of age novels that I grew up reading as a child, and during the time that I had discovered about love, friendships, relationships, and learning about myself as well by reading these novels. And oh what a ride it was at such a young age to learn about that. And now, as a woman in my mid-20’s, I can look back on those novels when I need some reminding about what it is that I learned about love and relationships.

                                          Find someone who challenges you:

When it comes to academics, and some sports, I can get pretty competitive, that is just who I am by nature. However, I, just like everyone else, feel like I have to dumb myself down to just stroke a guys ego, but just like Anne Shirley, I will have none of that. At first Anne tries to best Gilbert, who is also very competitive, but in reality this whole competitive streak in the both of them, it just makes them both better, not only for themselves, but for each other.

Forget about your ideal suitor/dream person:

Just like everyone else out there, we all are attracted to specific types of people. For Anne, her ideal person was “tall and distinguished looking, with melancholy, inscrutable eyes and a melting, sympathetic voice”. That description is nowhere near Gilbert Blythe, even though he is her soul mate and one true love. For myself, my ideal person was, tall, rugged, tattooed, with soulful eyes and a deep, penetrating voice. I’m not saying you should settle, by heavens, no. Just remember, that your soul mate will look different from your ideal suitor, and that is okay. In the words of Anne Shirley, “I don’t want sunbursts or marble halls, I just want you.” Keep that in mind when you have finally met your soulmate/twinflame.

Relationship with your own bosom friend (best friend):

Everyone has a best friend (s), the one that we can go to for anything, and know that they will be your support system, while at the same time, make you stay grounded. Anne Shirley’s best friend is Diana Barry, whom she refers to “bosom friend”, they are inseparable and their friendships stays strong throughout the remainder of their lives. Having your very own best friend is one of the best feelings in the world, because you have found someone who understands your quirks, and loves spending time with you.

Letting Yourself Be Rescued:

For many modern women, they do not want to be rescued by a prince/princess on a shining horse, it is basically against everything that the modern woman stands for. But if you are like Anne Shirley, holding onto the bottom of the bridge in The Lake of Shining Waters, and your rival comes along wanting to help you get out….take it. There is nothing wrong with being saved once in a while.

Don’t be afraid to feel all of the emotions:

Being an emotional person is nothing to be afraid of, in fact, I am highly emotional, and perfectly okay with that. Because I feel for everything around me and in me. Anne’s emotions are well read between the lines, and to see the things she finds joy in and see how much Gilbert had hurt her, is truly remarkable. Because she is a human, she is allowed to feel these emotions.

Never take shit from boys:

When Anne arrives to the school on her first day, Gilbert is taken by her and wants to get her attention, so what does he do? He calls her “carrots” and pulls on her braids. And Anne’s response, she got up, cursed him, took a slate and smashed it over Gilbert’s head. It is humorous when you first read it, and still hilarious when you read it again, or even when you watch it happen when Megan Follows (as Anne Shirley) busts the slate over Jonathan Crombie’s (as Gilbert Blythe) head.

The first meeting:

The moment Gilbert Blythe lays eyes on Anne Shirley, he is smitten, as if it were truly love at first sight. But then his obnoxious behavior turns Anne away for some time, and he tries to get her attention again. Love at first sight is something that pretty much everyone dreams of, and I will admit that I have always been fascinated with the thought of love at first sight. For myself, I have never actually experienced it, but I don’t let that get me down. The first meeting can be over the top like Anne’s and Gilbert’s, or it can be something that you have only read or seen in movies, or even just by a chance encounter.

Sometimes it’s best to apologize:

Anne realizes that her actions against Gilbert were uncalled for, and that is when she gives him the sweetest and dearest apology ever to be written: “What a stubborn little goose I was…”, finally opening up that door that led to a beautiful friendship and romance.

 

Lucy Maud Montgomery, the author of the Anne of Green Gables series, created the characters of Anne and Gilbert to show the entire world about true romance and show that even Anne goes through the entire cycle of emotions as she learns her place in the world, in herself, and as a wonderful yet spunky daughter, friend, wife, and mother. Not only that, but Lucy Maud Montgomery created a man (Gilbert) that millions of women (and some men) had fallen for, and I was one of those women who had fallen for Gilbert Blythe. And if Mrs. Montgomery were here, I would give her a hug and thank her for creating such beautiful novels that I could relate to.

 

 

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Those we Admire

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Some months ago I wrote about everyone having role models, those that we look up to in our everyday lives. And yes, it is true, we all have role models, those are the ones that we admire, the ones we wish to be like, and the ones who shape us to be who we are meant to be in our later years in life.

For the most part, one person might say that their mom or dad are their role models, another might point out a teacher or colleague, it doesn’t matter who it might be, it is just a well known fact that we all have role models.

Months ago, I had pointed out that my mother and my granny were my biggest role models, they are type of women that are strong, kind hearted, intelligent, and just two of the most amazing women in the world. Sadly though, my granny passed away when I was about to be 8 years old, however, she influenced me greatly in my early years, and I am honored by that. Another person I had mentioned was Laki Penan, a man who has been gone for nearly seventeen years after he disappeared while helping out a local tribe in Malaysia. He instilled the sense of humanity in me, his selflessness that he portrayed showed me that there are others out there that need help and need us all to help them.

One person that I failed to mention was a man by the name of  Ryōkan, a Zen Buddhist monk who lived most of his life as a hermit. He was known for his beautiful poetry and also for his calligraphy. Ryōkan, in many ways, instilled the lifestyle of Zen into my life, influenced my own sense of style of writing poetry, and showed me that being a bit of a hermit is not a bad thing. This man has influenced me greatly, with his quirky, eccentric way of life and poetry, and because of him, I’ve been molded in such a way.

Those we admire, are the ones we hold up with such high regards, the ones that we look to for guidance and are slowly molded in such a manner to which they’ve helped shaped us to be. Look at those who you admire, you will start to see the likeness between you and them, and then you see that you are molded in the ways of your role models.