A Little Piece of Paradise 

I’m writing this post as I listen to the heavenly sound of a waterfall. I am in an oasis, a heaven on earth. 

Nicaragua is many things. More than I could have ever imagined. And I’ve imagined it a lot since I was a little girl.

It both brings joy and sorrow to my heart. It is a beautiful country- but it is painted in poverty. I am not niave to think everyone lives as comfortably as I do, but to think of  all the loss these people have endured and continue to endure breaks my heart. Yet, their resiliency is comforting. They are strong.

Let’s see – 

Since landing in Nicaragua I’ve learned my palate is more selective than I thought; my parents told me I am on a “nica diet”. It’s not that I don’t like the food … It’s just that some flavours require an acquired taste. And I’ve yet to have aquired that taste. 

Coming to Nicaragua and not being able to speak the language has hurt more than I realized it would. It’s one thing to not be able speak spanish in Canada but to be surrounded by people of my heritage and to not understand them – it all seems too much. In my own way I’ve deemed it a tragedy. I cried to be honest. My parents had no idea why I was crying in the middle of the day but I couldn’t help the anguish my heart felt for missing that part of my culture.

That being said my resolve to learn the language has never been stronger. Dedication is the key.

I am very grateful to be on this trip, I’ve learned and experienced so much. I’ve a new found appreciation for the opportunities I was born into because of the family I have and the country I live.

It truly is beautiful and I truly feel blessed.

– Steph

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Think About It

I’ve been thinking a lot lately about thinking.

I don’t think I’m doing enough of it. That’s not to say I’m an airhead, I have thoughts BUT they just aren’t as profound as I would like them to be.

My conclusion is I haven’t been feeding myself enough mentally.

So, what am I going to do – or what do I need to do? I need to start reading, watching documentaries and making things.

I haven’t made the time to read, it’s on my list of things I want to start doing. I want to read at least 1 book a month (this is a realistic goal, because I can generally finish a book in a day or two) any genre, fiction or non-fiction. I just need to start. I used to read quite often, and then school happened and my reading consisted of text books and lecture notes. School has been over since May and I have yet to pick up a book. It’s a tragedy. I feel like my vocabulary is digressing.

Reading opens the mind to so much perspective (and broadens your vocabulary), regardless to whether its fiction or non-fiction. I went thru a phase where I would only read non-fiction (I take notes while I read) it was great, BUT one day I decided to change things up and I read a novel called “These Is My Words”, it was life changing. It moved me in a way that none of my non-fiction books could have ever done and it inspired me to start journaling again. It was incredible. I highly recommend reading it.

Reading is so enjoyable and I’ve learned that you should not set limits on what you read, sure I want to learn more so non-fiction seems like the logical choice, but fiction can be just as enlightening – and it’s fun to escape – to laugh and cry and become invested in characters. I’ve learned it’s important to let your brain take a break from structure.

I don’t have a library card BUT once I move, it is the first thing on my list to get and then the world will be my oyster.

That’s actually some exciting news I can share – I AM MOVING OUT! I am taking my final step of independence. I am finally at a place where I feel stable enough in my life (especially mentally) to make the move. I am nervous to be on my own BUT I will have my trusty sidekick Nutmeg to keep me company. I have a plan of action – I plan to keep myself busy and engaged. I will be maintaining my doctor appointments and checking in with my family, so I am not being tossed out to sea with no lifeline.

I am very excited, and I can’t wait to share my new adventure with you. I anticipate my life is going to get a lot more interesting since I won’t be spending 3 hrs a day in my car and on a train commuting. There will be so much more to do, especially since I will be in the big city.

I’ve lived on my own before, but it was always a struggle as I was not mentally in a good place. This time I will be standing on a firm foundation and I feel like I have a strong grip on my life

One thing in particular that I am incredibly excited about is decorating. I love decorating and my apartment is a blank canvas – my reality check is it will take me a while to furnish my apartment ($$$) BUT when I do I know it will be just the way I want it.

I anticipate that I will be fueling my brain with new thoughts, and finding new inspiration. I am not saying that you should wait till tomorrow to make things happen for you BUT by moving out my circumstances will enhance my ability to fuel my brain a lot more.

Getting back on subject and touching on what I said earlier, I would like to start watching documentaries, or at least Ted Talks. Something to inspire my thoughts and to help me learn more. Movies are fine, sure, but there is something so rewarding about watching a documentary.

I also want to start making things. I want to get my creative juices flowing. Creativity inspires new thoughts and ideas and like I mentioned I am lacking in that department. I’ve found that I am not as creative as I used to be. And I partially think that is my own doing (part of me thinks my medication may have contributed to numbing down my creative flair BUT this is just speculation), I haven’t put myself out there. I haven’t intentionally acted to create lately, I have had a hard time feeling inspired BUT again I just need to start. If my creations are terrible, they are a starting point and they will get better.

I just need to step outside of my box – I have no doubt there is a way out if I apply myself. I’ve made myself aware of the situation, I’ve recorded my feelings and thoughts on it. Now the next step is to apply my plan of action and make a change.

Thinking is something I do a lot of, I don’t want to be on a re-run thinking the same thoughts and ideas over and over again. I don’t want to be a hamster on a wheel getting no where. I want more – there is so much more out there beyond my present scope.

Challenge yourself to think more profoundly. Don’t just “think” but think.

I’ll write an update down the road, hopefully I will have more thoughts to share on the matter.

– Steph

It’s A Balancing Act


One thing that has been made crystal clear over the past few years since being formally diagnosed with bipolar is that bipolar is a balancing act. It’s ironic I know, since we are generally classified as “unbalanced people”.
Little does the world know that to live with bipolar and function on the daily, we out balance anyone. Can I get an AMEN!?

I recently over stimulated myself. I went out too many days in a row, I had too many late nights, and met up with too many people. This might sound like a normal social life, but with bipolar there needs to be “a balance”. Too much of anything is asking for trouble. 

When I’m over-stimulated I get super anxious, I feel like I’m a ticking bomb waiting to go off. I feel exhausted to the point that I’m shaking and I’m super reactive. So at the height of my over-stimulation I did the only thing I could think of – I napped. I crashed hard and long. I slept and when I woke up I felt manageable. 

Balance – you can’t just do what everyone else is doing. You can’t have late night after late night without repercussion, you can skip out on your medication. I take sleeping pills and if I don’t plan accordingly, taking them and waking up the next day can be lethal. There has to be a plan of action. 

As much as people go with the flow, it’s not like that with bipolar. You have to plan and check off the boxes for living your balanced functional life. You don’t just “wing it”. Sure in some aspects of life you can but others not so much. Sometimes I feel frustrated and I feel  like my life is being restricted BUT in reality by me sacrificing having “late nights” I’m gaining so much more. 

Are you eating right, excercising, sleeping enough hours, taking your medication, going to doctors appointments? These are some of the boxes on our checklist that to some may seem optional BUT are not. Everything I listed allows me to live a balanced life. I make a conscientious effort and when I falter in any of those departments my quality of life is hindered. 

Sure people with bipolar have their checklists of things they do and I’m not taking away from that, I’m merely stating that to function or rather to thrive someone with bipolar has to put in a heck of a lot of effort compared to the average person. And by living their daily life they are slapping the stigma that people with bipolar are unbalanced. We are not unbalanced and if you step into our shoes you’ll see that to go day to day we are more resilient and balanced than most. 

– Steph

Farewell My Little Love


On Tuesday I said goodbye to one of my hearts most cherished treasures. I said goodbye to our family dog, Canela. She lived a life filled with love, both in giving and receiving. 

She would have turned 17 in December and I have no doubt that she would have lived past that, but it was her time. She was no longer having good days, and her body just wasn’t coping with her aged body. My family and I are certain without doubt that she held on to life as long as she did because of our love for her. 

I remember the day we brought her home, I was in grade 4 and I had convinced my mom I was sick. I was so excited to be getting a puppy and she was adorable – absolutely adorable. Over the course of Canela’s life I trained her to do numerous tricks such as, play dead, army crawl, roll over, shake a paw, dance and a few others. She was one smart cookie. 

Canela was a family dog, but it was clear who her mom was – my mom. If my mom got up Canela was up, if my mom moved Canela moved. It was like this to the end. This isn’t to say the rest of us were chopped liver, but Canela adored my mom. It saddens me to know how sad my mom is over the loss of her. It has hit my entire family hard but for my mom it especially breaks my heart.

My youngest sister was in grade 1 when we got Canela and now she is married with a 1 year old and plans for another. Canela has been thru so much, she will be missed. It’s crazy to think of how much time she’s experienced with our family. 

“Pets” are more than just pets, they are extensions of your beating heart. Filling your life with so much more meaning than you would otherwise have. Canela was practically 17 and my little Nutmeg will be 7 in November. Time is precious and so are their lives.

I have no doubt my life has been enriched because of Canela’s place in it, she will be missed more than words can express. 

My hope is that you all can experience such fulfilling love in your lifetime.

– Steph

Just Live A Little


Life.

My oh my. 

I’m currently working on making the most of my life. Recently I had someone walk into my life, mind you I showed them the exit… BUT for the brief time they were in my life they caused me to re-evaluate how I was living it. I am the most stable I’ve ever been – this is a fact. But there is more than just being stable. More than just holding the status quo.

I’ve done things in my life, but I haven’t all at the same time. Living was such a struggle for so many years I feel like my life was a bit of a write-off. Perhaps I haven’t completely escaped the mentality of just surviving. 

But I’m here. I’m alive and I want my life to reflect that.

I was asked about my bucket list and I only had 2 things to list off. On top of that the two ideas weren’t even that creative! 

That just won’t do.

Over the course of two weeks I developed a bucket list. Or rather “lists”. One list outlines things I would like to do over the course of 2017/2018, and the other lists things I’d like to do in a lifetime. I’m trying to step outside of my box, escape the mundane routine I’ve created. Add a little bedazzle. Spice things up. You get the idea.

I’m really proud of my list, it took quite a bit of effort to create it. 

It’s so easy to get into a routine, routine is good don’t get me wrong BUT there should be more. More to life. Where did my exploratory nature go? Where is my sense of adventure?

I was going thru a bit of depression the past while, feeling trapped. But I realized I was the one putting myself in the cage or like I referred to it earlier – a box. I was the one restricting myself, no one else.

When you feel trapped you are the only one who can free yourself, whatever that situation may be.

Escaping our box is a choice, and most often it requires that we put in effort and feel a bit uncomfortable. And why must we feel uncomfortable? Because my dear friends, we are stepping outside of our norm and its the price we must pay.

And when I say I want to live life I don’t mean I need to climb Mount Everest or backpack thru Europe, not saying I’d turn down the opportunity.  What I’m talking about is reading books, going to museums and art galleries, taking guitar lessons, joining a choir, going to a paint night (which I just did … my painting was terrible! But I had fun making it, and that’s what it’s all about), simple yet impactful things that will add dimension to my life. 

Dimension that’s my objective. I want to have something to talk about, things to look forward to. I want to meet people, enrich my life with perspective. Expand my way of looking at life and take advantage of the life I’ve been blessed with.

I want to be an actively engaged in my life rather than passively letting it pass me by.

I feel so passionately about this new outlook on life, I feel alive and excited for what is to going to happen because of me making it happen. 

Ask yourself if you are trapped in routine, feeling like life is escaping you – then make a list. Make a list of things outside of your box and start doing them.

It’s been a big year for me. Lots of new chapters with school ending, me getting my dream job, a couple of toads crossing my path. I feel like in my life’s story is picking up its pace and it’s only going to get better! 

Stop thinking about all the things you’d like to do. Take action and do them. Liberate yourself from the box you live in and add dimension to your life. Stay stable but add a little bedazzle. 

– Steph

Just Another Toad

Unfortunately, I’ve done exactly what this quote says. 

There is no going back.

I’ve gone and done it again. I picked a toad who I mistook as my prince.

I don’t even know why – 

There were plenty of red flags. I should have left sooner than later BUT I kept justifying his behaviour, telling myself it would change.

It’s all just been a sick twisted game to him. And I obliged and played along. Crazy. 

There is no changing men like my newly titled EX. They live for control, they are so good at making you feel like you’re the problem. Making you feel guilty for deserving more. 

I saw it. I watched it unfold. 

I broke up with him and apologized for it! Who does that?!

I’ve been so caught up in making him happy at all costs that I let myself down in the process. 

He painted the perfect picture of what our life would be and look like BUT the reality is it was no where near it and it was never going to get there.

I just clung onto the dream. 

This wasn’t my first rodeo with abuse. But he sure did a number in a short amount of time. 

It’s unreal what love or what you think is love can do to you. 

I was losing my mind –

I was at war with myself trying to walk away, I tried numerous times and failed. He wasn’t all bad and I would go back to his pleas and empty promises. He needed me. 

All he needed was to abuse me. There’s a big difference.

How disappointing. I’ve done so much to better myself and I let this fool into my life. I have a standard I’ve worked hard to build up and I let him creep in. He was so cunning.

But it’s over. He’s gone. I didn’t even walk away, I think a more accurate dipiction is me army crawling out of a battlefield. But I made it out. 

Don’t ignore the signs. 

My doctors asked if I think I deserve to be treated so poorly. 

I don’t. 

I know I don’t deserve to be treated like that. No one deserves to be treated like that.

Lesson learned … again. 

Never again. 

There is no room in my life for the likes of him. No room for toxicity. I’ve worked so hard to rid my life of it. He isn’t the exception. 

Does it hurt? Yes.

But when you care it’s always going to hurt BUT that’s not a reason to stay. It will hurt you far worse if you do.

I didn’t lose anything by breaking up with him. I gained everything.

I’m sorry if this post is disappointing and is doom and gloom, but I’m putting it out there because maybe someone else is stuck in the cycle (like I was) and needs to know they can get out AND they will be better off for it. It’s a chapter of my life that is gratefully over. I’m human and I am flawed but I’m trying my best. 

I have so many things to be grateful for. So many positive things happening in my life and now I can focus on them without being dragged down.

Focus on the good and let the bad go. He had to go.

I have goals in my life and being happy is one of them. Being happy is a constant goal that shouldn’t be dismissed by anyone. 

Be strong. 

Even though I look back and shake my head for letting myself be in a relationship with a psycho – I am looking back. It’s in the past, I am moving forward because I am strong and resilient. 

I’m single again, not ideal BUT far better than being in a toxic relationship. It’s better to be alone than in bad company.

There is a prince out there for me and we’ll meet soon enough. I don’t doubt that.  

– Steph 

Protect Yourself 


I really needed this quote. 

It’s so easy to get caught up in someone – in their behaviour. 

We work so hard to find peace in ourselves to create peace in ourselves. Don’t let the behaviour of someone else destroy it. 

I have.

There have been times in my life where I’ve tried to normalize destructive behaviour. I’d make excuses for the individual because I wanted them to be in my life. 

But at what cost?

At the cost of me. And truth be told, it has never been worth it. 

I deserve more. You deserve more. 

We should never have to justify someone treating us poorly. It just shouldn’t happen. It’s so easy to tell yourself that things will be different. That they didn’t really mean it. 

But they did. 

Otherwise they wouldn’t have to apologize a hundred times for the same hurt they’ve caused you. That’s if they even apologize.

Reality is you can’t change someone. Sure you can identify that you want to help them be better – be happier. You can see their potential. And there is nothing wrong with that. It’s good. But, you can’t change someone and their behaviour, they can only do that for themselves. 

However, let them be in your life long enough and they can change you. They can destroy your inner peace. Hack away at your confidence. Get in your head. Make you the problem when you’re not. Things can get ugly when we allow someone toxic into our life.

Save yourself the suffering and walk away. 

Sure, give them the opportunity to change BUT know your limit. When you have a time frame it makes walking away so much more attainable. And when you walk away try your darndest to not look back (something I’m working on). They had their chance. And now it’s time that you got yours. 

You deserve a chance to be happy. A chance to have peace in your life.  A chance to be treated properly by someone else. 

There are billions of people in this world. You don’t need to let a single person ruin your happy. There are so many more that could add to your life instead of taking away from it.

Don’t justify destructive behaviour. Call it what it is. Identify the problem so you can solve it. 

Protect yourself. Protect everything you’ve worked for and don’t let anyone tear you down.

– Steph