Let’s Celebrate

It’s about time I did a Happily Now post. There has certainly been no shortage of reasons to be happy. In particular I want to talk about Friday, October 4th. This day in general will forever be one of my absolute favourite days as it is my husbands birthday!

This birthday was particularly special as it was the first birthday we got to spend together for him. The previous year distance separated us. However, this year not only were we close in proximity which was amazing BUT it was a milestone year for him.

Clearly, I couldn’t let this day pass by without doing my part to make it as memorable as possible, and to be honest planning his birthday was BEYOND fun! I started a month and a half before the big day and it was well worth it!

You gotta love Pinterest, this is the site where I found the idea that sparked and ignited my own interpretation of a gift… or rather gifts.

Allow me to share the end result with you in case you are looking for birthday gift ideas for someone special in your life. May I say, for the record that giving brings unimaginable joy and I am not referring to expensive gifts, rather, thoughtful gifts. The type of joy I felt on his birthday was priceless. Throughout his entire day I felt full to the brim with love and joy as I watched his sincere excitement throughout the day.

So the gifts…. I am not sure if you’ve ever come across the idea of 12 gifts for 12 hours. Each hour for 12 hours from when they wake up to the evening when they are ready to go to bed essentially. What makes it more special is that you open the gift on the minute that they are turning in age. For example my husband turned 35, so we opened his gifts at 9:35 am, 10:35 am 11:35 am and so forth for a solid 12 hrs. This is the idea the pinterest gave me and I ran with it and added my own touch.

My own touch:

For each gift I wrote a clue as to what might be wrapped. Something unique and fun. For example, one of his gifts was a car flag to hang from the rear view mirror, this particular flag is special because it is the flag of his home country Zimbabwe. Generally a Nicaraguan flag has hung in our car, because that country represents a part of my heritage and the car we drive was mine prior to marriage. Thus the flag remained the same when the car became ours jointly. So my clue was as follows “Time to change things up…. REPRESENT!”, not a clue that one can guess the answer to right away BUT as soon as he opened the gift it made sense and we had a good laugh over it.

Another gift was a touque for his favourite soccer/football club; Liverpool. The clue attached to this gift was, “I never met such a committed man”. My husband will literally wake up at 4 am to watch a game. Commitment my friends – that is some serious commitment.

Essentially, the clues went a long with each gift. The gifts varied in prices from a package of $2.50 shotbloks, to a deck of cards with 52 reasons why I love him, a photo album filled with pictures from our past year together, a bag of his favourite chips (that I introduced him to when we started dating) up to a nice pair of Nike trainers. The fiscal value of the gift does not matter, what matters is the thought behind the gift and ideally being as creative as possible.

He opened his birthday card at 9:35ish with his first gift to kick off the day. I made us a glorious batch of pancakes to enjoy. Let’s just say we are definently pancake people. Waffles are lovely, BUT pancakes are life.

We both took the day off, which helped with the fact that I had wanted to record him opening his gifts. He had no idea there would be a gift for each hour, so the fact he had the day off was perfect.

I gratefully recorded each hour when he opened his gifts and at the end of the day made a movie compilation. I love making movie compilations so that we have it to look back on and share with family who couldn’t be with us. I’ve always wanted a reason to use my video camera and I can definitely say that since my husband entered my life it has been used LOTS. Side note: That was another gift for him – a movie compilation from the beginning of our relationship.

For his cake I baked him a cheesecake. A Reese’s Pieces peanutbutter and chocolate cheesecake with an Oreo cookie crust. It was my first time baking a cheesecake BUT I think it was a major success. My husband loves cheesecake, peanutbutter and reese’s pieces chocolate. Thus the cake was inspired and brought to life for those reasons.

It was a memorable day in my books, and I’m pretty confident my husband felt loved at the end of it all which is all that matters. 1 gift or 12 gifts I know he would have been happy, I just l wanted to make it EXTRA special, which is fitting because I’m sure if you follow my blog you can tell I’m a little EXTRA as is.

Definitely a win in my books; I would highly reccomend this gift idea for your loved ones birthday if you are looking to shake things up. And if you can, I would favour doing the clues as well, a little extra work BUT it is so fun to listen to the guesses and see the reactions as the open the gifts.

Not my usual day to post, but I wanted to share this part of my life because my husband and marriage bring me happiness. There was a time where I thought being in a healthy, happy relationship wasnt attainable. It was a fairy tale – fictional. But my friends, my relationship is real and it is the happiest story I’ve ever encountered. I’ll probably right another post about my first year of marriage because the big 1 year anniversary is on the 13th of this month! Crazy!

I think I’ll try to still keep to a Friday post this week if I can manage, Friday will be the day of my 28th birthday – so we shall see if I can find the time.

If not, it has been a blast being 27!

– Steph

Prince Charming

Alright, so the big news that I’ve been wanting to let the world in on BUT I’ve been waiting to make sure it was the right moment.

I am in a relationship. BOOM.

That just happened.

Well, it’s been a while now but the twist about our relationship has been its long distance.

My dearly beloved came to see me and just left on Wednesday. He spent 13 days with me and they honestly couldn’t have been any better.

Where to begin.

My past relationships have all been pretty rocky, whether by my own doing because of my mental health or because the men I’ve dated were toads … clearly the latter is the more dominant reason. However, my health has never been better and I have felt ready to be in a healthy committed relationship for a while now, alas I needed to meet the right person.

Boy oh boy, have I met him.

I think the distance has been a blessing in disguise, it really ensured that he was talking to me, for me, and that there were no physical ulterior motives (which is so often the case) – I want to be wanted for more than my body and he has made it clear that he loves me for more than that.

Anywho, we have texted everyday since we made contact and our initial texting has turned into phone calls and skyping nearly everyday – lots of communication. For those wondering long distance relationships and bipolar are totally doable.

He came when I was in the eye of a storm of a severe low. I was in a downward spiral trying ever so hard to hold on to what progress I’ve made (as you can read from previous blog posts) and then there he was – my prince charming in knights armour riding a white horse; the grounding anchor that was missing. I’ve never felt so peaceful before. That’s not to say I am dependent on him (this was a big discussion with my doctor), however I appreciate him for who he is and the calm that he brings into my life.

Would my storm have settled had he not come into my life? Yes, because I am independently responsible for my health and the lows inevitably come and go, BUT did my storm settle faster because he entered my life? It sure did, and for that I am grateful.

He knows that I have bipolar now and it hasn’t deterred him from pursuing a relationship with me.

I waited until we had spent adequate time together in person before I told him I have bipolar and let him in on the past baggage like my bankruptcy that came as a result of it. (I’m not sure if I’ve mentioned that I claimed bankruptcy before, it’s been 3 years past BUT that is something that happened – the joys of bipolar and its symptoms… perhaps I will write another post with my perspective on building up to that moment and life after claiming bankruptcy) I wanted him to see me for me before he saw me as a stigma. I am not crazy because I have bipolar. I choose recovery everyday and my life reflects that – yes it can be a wee bit chaotic sometimes BUT I am not damaged goods and he sees me beyond my mental illness, he sees me as priceless. He told me he would have never known I had bipolar if I hadn’t told him, and YES, he unfortunately thought people with bipolar were crazy due to stigma and people he’s met, so I proved him wrong. I take the fact that he was clueless to my diagnosis as a big compliment, not that I am saying there is anything wrong with having bipolar BUT the fact I am able to live a stable life to the point that my mental illness isn’t apparent to people around me and doesn’t cripple me (as much as it used to) – that is something beautiful.

For those of you who don’t know, I have chosen not to disclose my diagnosis to anyone beyond my immediate family a few close friends and a few aunts. Please do not think that I am ashamed of my diagnoses, I am not ashamed of having bipolar. I am just not ready to face that battle yet. My life was not stable in previous years and I was in chaos, I don’t want people to dwell on those years and dismiss all the progress I have made in the past couple years, I feel like I need to make a dent with my stable life and illustrate to the world that I am successful in spite of my mental illness, and that it hasn’t diminished my quality of life.

Will I eventually disclose that I have bipolar? I actually believe that I will. Like I said I am not ashamed. I am proud of who I am in my entirety. I live a productive life with a mental illness that most people cannot even begin to comprehend. Do I want the world and those around me to see that being bipolar doesn’t ruin your life? I sure do. It’s just about the timing. I want to really make an impact in the world of mental health, it’s something I think a lot about, but it’s all about timing and acting in my best interest and not taking on Goliath without a sling BUT I feel like later in the year or even next year that time will come. Don’t hold me to that BUT it’s a feeling I have and its been brewing for a while. Good things are going to happen this year, and I feel like I am just about ready to tell the world I have bipolar and I am living the good life regardless to that fact.

A bit of a random post, but I hope it conveys that I am happy because I am truly and sincerely happy and I am going to enjoy every moment while I can. Each day I can feel happy is a gift that I try not to take for granted and there is so much to be happy about.

– 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 

Empty Promises


Last week was a whirlwind of emotions. So pardon my lack of posting.

Just when you think you’ve got it all figured out. Lo and behold you don’t. 

When is enough, enough? 

When is someone’s behaviour no longer acceptable? At what point do you reach the end of the line where their excuses aren’t good enough any more, and you aren’t going to take them.

When do we check out? 

I honestly don’t know. I’d like to say as soon as we know we are being treated wrong. 

But that’s the thing – 

We stand up for ourselves when we know we are being treated wrong. We go thru that motion, that expression of self. But then what? 

We give them another chance and they hurt and disappoint us. We stand up for ourselves again demanding a change – to be treated better and then we accept their apology and BAM we go right back into that cycle. And for what? Love? But can it really be love when its one sided?

Sadly, yes it can be. For you it can be. For you it can be a pure love felt for the other person BUT the reality is they arent loving you back the same – if at all. It’s not healthy. Not for you. You give and give and give and you get nothing in return except emotional torment.

Yet, here we are trying to convince ourselves that we aren’t allowing ourselves to be suckered into some sort of toxic relationship – because how could we be when the other person knows that we know we should be treated better. That can’t be toxic, everyone is aware of what’s going on. 

But guess what?! 

They don’t care! It doesn’t matter that they know you know your worth. As long as you let them into your life. Time and time again nothing is going to change. 

Why should it? 

They can do as they please, apologize and everything will go on like it did before.

But when is enough, enough?

How do you let them go?

How do you choose pain? Because that’s what it is. Letting go of the person you love, turning away from them as they beg you not to go. Turning away from them as they profess their love for you, that you so desperately want them to give you. How do you turn away when they are telling you that they know they are in the wrong – acknowledging everything that you’ve been trying to have them see. Doing all of these things. Talking about change. Begging you to not leave them. How do you walk away? 

You just do. You cry most of the time. But the pain is part of the process. That’s why it’s called a broken heart.

All of those things they say are just words. Words at the end of the day that mean nothing. Words that are never applied to action.

And you can’t live a life waiting on words.

It gets you no where. No where other than hurt and disappointed.

When is enough, enough?

How do we stop ourselves from going back? How do we break out of the cycle?

We try. That’s all we can do is try. Try and try again. 

It’s not easy. I’m terrible at it. 

When your heart is set on something it’s hard to let it go. 

But like my sister said. You either choose to be hurt by them over and over again, or you choose to leave and temporarily hurt knowing the pain will eventually go away.

It’s just so hard. 

– Steph

 

What Matters Most

There is nothing quite as satisfying as having your dog curl up next to you – in my case my dog often curls up in my arms or by my neck.

There is just something about the love of a dog. 

Nutmeg  (my dog) is 6 years old. It’s been an amazing 6 years and I hope to have many more. Life would not be the same without her. 

She calms me down and has given me purpose. To care for her and in turn care for myself. Having her in my life has been one of my greatest blessings. 

If you have a dog I’m sure you know what I’m talking about. And if you don’t have a dog but are thinking about one I encourage you to take that step BUT only if you are going to commit. Dogs aren’t disposable – when you buy one it should be with a lifetime in mind.

When I bought Nutmeg I knew in my heart she was non-negotiable. When I moved around (which I’ve done a lot) I always picked dog friendly buildings. Even if that meant spending more money. I made a commitment to Nutmeg the day I bought her. She’s a loyal little soul and deserves the same in return. 

Even if you’re not thinking about getting a dog, but another animal instead I encourage you to look into it. I researched for 2 years before I bought Nutmeg. It may not take you that long BUT know what you are getting into. 

Through the good and the bad she’s remained constant. Through all the changes she’s been there, and that my dear friends is priceless. The kind of love a pet (in my case a fur baby) can give you and you can give in return is truly amazing and is one of the simple ways our hearts can remind us that we know what it is to feel.

– Steph

Boiling Point

  
We all have a boiling point and truth be told it’s okay to be angry. That’s something I’m working on it.

Perhaps the notions sounds silly BUT without a word of a lie, that was the task delegated to me today from my doctor.

My problem with anger is that I always turn it inwards. I never just let myself be angry at the person or situation. I don’t know how to just be angry without harping on myself. Which ultimately turns into me getting down on myself and getting depressed – not angry.

 Stupid is usually the word that comes to mind once I get “angry”.But I’m not stupid – I have every right to feel angry whether it’s actually a valid reason in the eyes of the world or not. If I’ve felt wronged I can be angry about it – simple as that.

The key is to let the anger in so that you can let it out. That way it’s not festering within you. Anger is one of the steps to grieving. True story.

I thought I grieved and got past my anger but the truth is I didn’t and how my doctor (and I) can tell is, it’s like a boomerang I’m angry at myself over and over again for the same reason- 

Key word angry at me not the person who wronged me … Somehow he alway seems to be off the hook and I’m left with mess all on my own even though I didn’t make it.

Nothing about that cycle tells me that I’ve directed the real anger where it needs to go; otherwise I would be able to let it go. And so far I can’t. It’s been futile.

And let me clarify that feeling anger is VERY different then acting on it. Don’t do that, acting in anger is a recipe for disaster. 

So with this all being said, what I’m trying to do is encourage you to reflect and ask yourself if you’re sincerely letting yourself feel angry (which is healthy) or if your doing what I do – turning the anger inwards (you don’t deserve that) boomeranging and come back over and over for the same reason.

Think on it and make the conscious decision to let it come so it can go. The sooner we learn how to do this the happier we’ll be… so I’m told. But who am I kidding that theory makes perfect sense.

– Steph

On the Outside

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I’ve never “fit in” this is a fact of my life. I’ve never had a group of friends that I can call on or go out with because “we’ve got each other’s back” I’ve never been the popular one at school (haha  definitely not one of the popular girls) at work or within my religious group. I’ve just never fit in.

I’ve always been and I continue to find myself on the outside. I do have a few close friends and I cherish them immensely (unfortunately they all basically live in different cities than the one I currently live in)

I’m coming to terms with being a lone wolf. Sure there has been a part of me that would like have that tv perfect group of friends BUT the reality is that’s not my life’s reality. Never has been and I highly doubt it ever will be. 

At the beginning of this school year I met some girls in my program of study, we got along but ultimately I was vetoed out of the group ever so effortlessly – and it’s okay with me. Why? Because I didn’t really fit in with the rest of the girls to begin with. And that’s okay. Sure – initially I felt like a social failure BUT when I thought it over it I figured “so what?”

I don’t want to be in the company of people who don’t want to be in my company.

I don’t think I’m socially awkward but ige questioned it lately. I’ve been told I’m an enigma (haha) A contradictory specimen… for instance I am quite the social butterfly in the eyes of my peers when at a social events; holding conversations, laughing flitting around to whomever however, but when it comes to me actually going out with these people – I’ve got jack.  How is this possible? Meh I don’t know … but it no longer matters. One of my closest dearest friends said it’s because I have an unrealistic pure & kind heart and people don’t know how to handle my goodness in large doses… hahaha let’s go with that!

One consistency in my life is that people often open up and unload their emotional baggage on me – I’m always ready to listen to a troubled soul and I try my best to offer even a shred of comfort (I don’t like seeing people sad because I know sadness all too well) I just so happen to be quite relatable or well adept to the ways or experiences of the world (I’m not saying this to boast) it’s just I figure that’s my calling in life being a shoulder to cry on while trying to bring back their smile. And that’s okay I like helping, it’s just I’ve resigned the idea that I might have “friends” beyond the comforting shoulder and I’m letting that notion go while simultaneously letting the disappointment go with it as well.

I guess I would be lying if i said I don’t  have atleast one group of friends that I can always count on – and this group is composed of my sisters – we are close knit and I would consider each of them my best friend… sureeeee they are all married (with kids and one on the way) leaving me in a different stage of life …and sureee  that eats me up sometimes. BUT eventually I will meet Mr.Right, for goodness sake, there couldn’t possibly be that many more toads in my path! (If there are I think I’ve beaten a record )

Anyways the purpose of this post was to get some thoughts off my chest and reaffirm that worth is not based on the number of friends we have. And that standing alone can ultimately be when we stand the happiest and truest to ourselves. And that is one of my goals –  to stand happy as I stand on the outside. Everytime I think about how I don’t fit in I remind myself that I am being true to myself and eventually if someone(s) want to be friends with me it will be because I’m me and not pretending to be someone I’m not. Fakery is not my Forte. There is too much stress and anxiety wrapped up in people pleasing.

– Steph