Do You Say What You Mean?

I’m 28!

In short it was an incredible birthday, it’s fair to say I have an incredibly thoughtful and romantic husband. #blessed

Additionally, I had an amazing 1 year wedding anniversary, we reigned it in at home. Our anniversary landed on a Sunday and we avoid going out to restaurants and spending money for religious reasons, so we enjoyed it together in our apartment. Overall, it was a great day and I consider it to have been absolutely perfect.

Also on another note relating to my anniversary – my husband is by far more than I could have ever asked for. He indulged me and agreed to write a letter the day before our wedding. This letter for all intent and purposes was to be opened and read on our first wedding anniversary. So folks, that is exactly what we did, we exchanged letters and it was beautiful. We decided to carry on the tradition and both wrote letters to open on our second anniversary… corny BUT oh how I love our corniness.

Back to my birthday. The past few years I’ve generally liked to have a goal specifically focused around my birthday. My birthday goal for this year is to be more intentional. Yadda yadda yadda.

I keep saying it, but I am really trying to implement intetional-ism in my life (we are allowed to make up words, right?). I want to live more fully, be more in tune with myself with respects to my entire being; my mind soul and body. I want to delve deeper. Be more present in my life and in my relationships.

I have always tried to be intentional, particularly with my speech – what I write and say is the real deal my friends. I don’t say things just to elicit a reaction, whether that is positive or negative. Words are powerful tools and should not be tossed around without consideration of their impact.

I try to avoid putting myself in a position where I have to retract something I said out of anger. People generally do not forget hurtful words spoken in haste or the heat of the moment. This being the case, I have committed myself from a young age to speak only what I mean and not spit fiery hurtful words when I am on the verge of turning into the Hulk. Has this been challenging? Definitely. Am I perfect at living this principal? Not at all, but I know I’ve saved a lot of hurt by putting a sock in my mouth so to speak when needed.

This type of intentional lifestyle with my words is what I want to apply as passionately towards all manners of my life. This is my goal and what I am striving for in my 28th year of life.

I feel it in my bones – some big things are coming my way, and I am very excited to think of the possibilities ahead of me. I want to be prepared for what my life has in store and the best way I feel like I can be prepared is by really knowing myself; being vividly aware of how I function – for better or for worse.

I know everyone is not religious and not everyone believes in God and I don’t think I’ve ever posted with respects to my religious beliefs – BUT for the record I do believe in God and my mind has been shook recently with how aware He is of me and my loved ones. When I take the time to look for the ways that God has touched my life and blessed me, it is unbelievable. This blog is documenting my journey and this simple paragraph is part of that journey. I don’t think I need to delve deeper or expand on this topic but I am grateful for my blessings.

Take the time to look at the good in your life with a grateful heart my friends. The results of this activity will never disappoint you. You don’t need to be religious to practice gratitude – but I assure you the more gratitude in your heart, the happier you’ll be and you will be more adept to see even more good in your life.

This simple practice of seeking out the good has really transformed my life. When you challenge the way you think, when you challenge yourself to be positive, when you look for opportunities to add to your character – this is the way to overcome life’s hardships. Do the hardships go away? Not a chance, BUT they do become more bearable AND you become more confident in your abilities to face them. You become more confident in your capacity to rise above the turmoil.

Positivity does not solve life’s problems, lets be clear on that. But as a wise man once said it is important to find “joy in the journey”, find joy as you face your obstacles (which is something I struggled with for years).

Something small can bring insurmountable joy – you just need to look for the good and believe me you will find it. At times in my mental health journey, it was the smallest glimmer of good that kept me holding on to life. Not the grand spectaculars of life. Small and simple things are the foundational building blocks to finding more good in your life. When you appreciate the small things I guarantee you’ll feel more satisfied with what you have.

It’s so easy to find the bad with ourselves or our lives. Afterall, that is what society has conditioned us to do. Never be satisfied with who we are or what we have, always trying to sell a product or procedure to “fix” us. The toxicity of social media in this day and age is overwhelming. So much fakery it at times seems unbearable. Younger and younger generations even older generations are becoming obsessed with altering themselves or buying things of no value all in a plea to keep up and make themselves feel valued by society and all the while feeling worse about themselves. Anxiety and depression are running rampant and I believe a lot of it has to do with the constant comparisons of what we don’t have to what we think other people have. Filters on photos and lives – please, please, please caution how much attention you give to other people’s lives and start paying attention to how much you give to your own.

Flaws with our lives are inevitable. Tip** When you focuse on all the opportunities you do have – all the good that you do havenot the good that you don’t have, your perspective will shift and your priorities will follow. Thereafter my friends, I hope you will be able to join me on this journey of gratitude and intentional living.

Here is to a week of being 28 and feeling like I can accomplish anything I put my mind to.

– Steph

Decisions, Decisions 

Decisions, decisions. Sometimes I’m a bit impulsive and I don’t make the best ones. Gratefully one decision doesn’t have to spiral into another and another and another. It can by all means BUT it doesn’t have to.

You choose who you want to be. Some choices are easier than others but at the end of the day you have to live with yourself so choose to be someone that you can like *correction love.

And what happens if you make a decision that is contrary to your very nature? Do you roll over and die wallowing in the error of your ways? No. You acknowledge the poor choice and remind yourself that it isn’t who you are nor who you want to become.

Decisions are what make or break us. But there is no reason that you can’t take a different path once you’ve already started on one. Perhaps you are going to have to literally back track or go off terrain forging a new path, struggling along the way. But struggling is better than willfully accepting defeat in life – becoming someone who you can’t face in the mirror.

Impulse comes with the territory of being bipolar, but it’s not an excuse to throw all reason out of the window! Although I’ve definitely been guilty of that… We need to set up safety precautions when we are fully aware; road blocks that will slow us down when we start to slip out of a reality that faces any consequences. Becuase in that particular moment it’s hard to think of the repercussions.

 If you have a weakness that you are more inclined to when you are either really high or really low, acknowledge it and look for ways to hinder it’s immediate progress. If you have to stop along the way it may give you enough time consider the consequences of your actions.

I’m not saying it’s a full proof plan, but it’s definitely something that may help you prevent some oopsies otherwise

If you fall off the horse you get back on. But always acknowledge and own what you did, don’t stuff it in a closet that’s going to burst open on you. You’ll feel much better about yourself if you take back control. And if you acknowledge it, your giving yourself the opportunity to prevent it from happening again.

I made an impulsive decision recently and it wasn’t the best one. But it’s not going to define me or erase all the hard work I’ve been putting in to be the best version of me – unless I let it, and I’m not. I know what led up to me being in a position to make that decision and I’m consciously making a plan that will not put me at risk of repeating history.

Live life and love life. Love yourself and don’t let a few poor choices define who you are. You are so much more. 

– Steph  

It’s a New Dawn

It’s the start of a new school year, but this isn’t just any school year this is my last year! I entered into a 2 year program and I’m actually going to finish it completely! This may not seem like much to most people but I graduated high school in 2009 and I have been all over the maps with my post secondary since 2010 bouncing from one thing to the next because they seemed like a great idea… first it was a fashion designer, then it was a speech pathologist, then it was a teacher, a dental hygienist… HR business personnel and finally I’ve committed and I’m completing a diploma to be a legal assistant. My health was a huge contributing factor for my prolonged post secondary experience but you live and you learn and you meet people along the way. 

I finished last year with a 3.8 GPA. I’m not saying this to boast but to point out that having bipolar with all of it’s ups and downs … switching medication… upping my doses of medication didn’t prevent me from succeeding. If you put your mind to it anything is possible, we are our only limit.

I’m excited and nervous for this year, there is a lot to learn and a lot of work ahead of me. I’m excited for my practicum and to experience working in a law firm (I’m pretty confident I’d like to go for law and become a lawyer … but slow and steady wins the race, I want one stable career under my belt first) 

I’m not going to lie I’m worried about entering the real life adult work force, sure I’m an adult but working summer jobs and having the luxury of calling in sick if I was really feeling like I couldn’t function is very different than a stable 9-5 Monday thru Friday. In the legal field there are deadlines and as the legal assistant to the lawyers I’m expected to meet them otherwise what is my value to the firm. I’ll face that hurdle when I get there. This year is preparatory for that, I’m working with my doctors and I’m trying to better myself and that’s all I can do.

I’m so proud to say I will be graduating this year, it’s been a long time coming. But if it takes you longer than most people, so be it. Never let go of a dream and goal just because you have to work differently than most people to achieve it. 

 I hope everyone has an exciting year and challenges themselves to dream big and work hard to make it happen. 
– Steph 

Surprise Yourself

Sometimes you need to step out of your comfort zone and challenge yourself. Reminding your self how capable you really are.

I applied for the posting on of Vice president for my schools club. And to my surprise I was voted in. So I am officially  the Vice President of the Legal Assistant Society. I’m excited to fulfill the role, to work with my peers hopefully make some friendships along the way. 

I wasn’t sure if I was even going to apply but I bit the bullet and told myself I could do it. I was qualified and the only thing standing in my way was me. 

Take a step out of your ordinary. Make a change to be the change in your life that you’re looking for.

I wanted more depth in my life; to be more engaged and I think this is a step in the right direction.

– Steph 

To Tell or Not to Tell

I recently shared that I was bipolar with a close friend of mine, she’s quite a few years older than me so perhaps in a way I was counting on her maturity. 
It’s not to say telling her was a complete fail, however if I could go back in time I’d keep it to myself regardless to the opportunity to open up. 

When I tell someone I’m bipolar I brace myself for their judging eyes. Not that they are trying to judge in a harsh way, it’s just everything instantly turns into “oh you must act that way because you have bipolar” … for example I was at this friends house and I was visiting with multiple people when I decided it was time to go home because I was tired … my friend brought this up after I told her I had bipolar and she told me that she noticed my whole personna changed and it all makes sense because I’m bipolar. First off NO. My whole personna did not change – I was tired just like any normal human being gets, I didn’t change before her eyes into my crazy bipolar mode I simply said I was “going home now and have a good night”. 

To tell or not to tell?  That is the question. For now my opinion has been re-established and my answer is Not to Tell. I want people to see me as me not as bipolar and honestly as soon as that word comes out they put a big sign over your head with flashing lights that says “BIPOLAR” every action becomes branded with “because she’s bipolar” I’ve worked so hard to distance myself from that concept within my own family and my dearest closest friends. I don’t want to experience it all over again – I’m not ready for that just yet. I’m alive I react to things just like any normal person would react … sure there are times I may react with a little more zeal BUT I guarantee the average Joe is not going to see that happen.

One day I’ll be okay with people finding out … but for now it’s a no. And if I ever tell again it will be a life altering situation which has always been the case with my friends who do know and that has worked our pretty good so far. 

-Steph

It’s Not the End

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This quote is a little reminder to myself and anyone else out there to keep going. Pardon the tone/mood of this blog post. This blog is about my journey and this post demonstrates that my path is not always a bucket full of sunshine….

Sometimes I hit lows that seem to suck the life right out of me, everything seems wrong. Every attempt seems futile. All the positive thinking in the world and coping exercises seem pointless, because my very soul has turned into a black hole. I avoid contact with those around me because I have no desire to drag them down in this state.

Life right now appears hopeless. However, there is a miniscule fragmant of hope. There is a tiny whisper telling me it’s not the end; that this state of dire despair will not last – it is not the end.

Friday night, I went out with friends (I figured it would lift my spirits, I was already on the verge of losing my “happy”) I had a wonderful time, but near the end of my night any resiliency I had left regarding life was lost. The personal battle I was fighting inside trying to fend off the feeling of death was lost it.

I arrived home Friday sobbing in my car and cried for a solid 3 hours working myself up to a point where I couldn’t breathe. When I finally went to bed … I had no desire to wake up. I had no desire to be alive; life and all of it’s difficulties seemed endless. Everything I thought I had a grip on slipped out of my grasp. Saturday I woke up at 7pm, I ate a bowl of cereal and I went back to sleep until Sunday at 10:30 am.

Sleep is an escape. And I admit I use it whenever I hit this particular low. Nothing anyone says seems to appease my lost mind and heart. Disconnecting is my best chance of coming out of this scenario with the least collateral damage possible. Talking or crying over what seems like “not a big deal” is the last thing to bring me comfort. Or rather laying emotionless as someone tries to offer you advice that doesn’t even begin to scratch the surface of your broken soul. Alone. It’s safer for both parties.

Yes, there’s logic screaming in the back of my mind saying sleep and avoidance aren’t the answer; I should know better. But sometimes it’s exhausting “knowing better”. It’s exhausting continually self evaluating, self checking, reporting my emotions to doctors, it’s exhausting following a routine, it’s exhausting containing explosive feelings because they would overwhelm the average Joe.

It’s exhausting… so I sleep until I feel like it’s not so exhausting. I isolate myself until I feel like I can get a grip, I keep to myself until I feel like the world is not going to explode.

These bad days are not the end. They are just a few days that make it seem like the end. The bad days that try to undermine and destroy all the good ones. But the magic pill for these malicious self harm and condemning thoughts is I write things down. I have hard evidence that reminds me I was happy I am a happy person. I know what it’s like to love life. To love the progress and work I’ve put into having a happy life…. it’s just right now for this period of time that I feel a prisoner within the walls of my own body. But I’ll escape and the journey will continue.

– Steph

Are Your Priorities Straight?

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I saw this quote and it hit a little too close to home as of lately. When I go for something or someone I go whole heartedly. I put in my best effort so that if it doesn’t work out I can say to myself “I gave it my all, I have no regrets” Yes, I may be disappointed BUT I always have at least a small peace of mind knowing it wasn’t because of my lack of effort things didn’t pan out.

When it comes to people there is a fine line between putting in extra effort; making an individual your priority whilst you still appear as their option. Sometimes I blaze in a fear that if I don’t make the extra effort, the individual I’m interested in won’t stick around to dedicate time to get to know me and I’ll miss their boat of opportunity. Does that sound familiar? Now, that my dear friends is STUPID talk!!!

If they can’t bother to make you feel like a priority once you’ve clearly indicated  they are to you, why should you even want to get on their boat?! Most likely you’d be the one who ends up paddling all on your own while they sit back and lounge. Enjoying how much effort your willing to put in just to be around them. Not cool. If they can pick up a paddle, don’t get on their boat!

I offer a lot whether in a friendship or a relationship. I know I’m worth effort just as much as I know someone I’m interested in deserves effort. BUT putting in all the effort AND then trying to convince yourself that your not…. now that’s getting a little twisted and needs to be straightened out. It’s one thing for a person to be shy, but it’s another to go out with that person multiple times and still find or question where you even stand on their priority list, if at all! If they can talk to you on the dates all hunky doory I’m sure they can find a minute or two to talk to you during the week.

As I mentioned in a previous post “I know what I bring to the table, so I’m not afraid to eat alone” I plead with you to take a minute and shake your head if your in this predicament. As charming and good looking or funny as the person may be in your presence (potentially because your the one who drove out to see them instead of them coming to pick you up) remember how they make you feel in their absence.

Do you feel like an afterthought while they are a constant thought? Guilty as charged, and it’s getting old really fast.
Its in my family’s nature to be straight foward when we want something. I definitely inherited this trait, so I will definitely take action to initiate contact BUT just like it’s not my duty it’s not your duty to upkeep that interaction all on your own… no matter how smitten you may be.

Ease up and let the person put in some work. And if they don’t just as you’ve feared… owwww it hurts the ego BUT it remember that more importantly it  saves the heart.

Don’t settle. Don’t allow yourself to feel less than. Be bold. Be honest and if they don’t make the cut, it’s their loss not yours.

This week I will be putting this post into action. I am scared senseless. But what I fear is wasting my precious time on someone who thinks of me as an option. I’ve been there done that AND I promised myself I’d never do it again, I’ve caught myself in the act and I’m gonna do something about it. If I caught you in the act as well…. think about what I said. You deserve as much as your willing to give. Remember that. Don’t row the bought for the both of you.

– Steph