A Letter To Self

You are so imperfect, its perfection. Don’t doubt who you are or what you’re becoming. Simply live every day getting yourself to the highest level of good feeling frequency that you can. Living positively is the force that will take you where you need to be. Believe in your intuition and if something gives off a negative frequency, steer clear. Take steps with love and kindness in mind, with no regard to race, gender, religion, or any other sort of diversity, and understand that that path will never lead you in the wrong direction. 

Life isn’t a race. You’ll get to accomplish the things you want and need to accomplish at its own time. Don’t compare where you are in life with those around you. See them as their own individual example of how others live their life. Contemplate the lessons you may take away by admiring their situation but don’t compare, for you are on your own journey.

Be mindful and stay present. The best way to live your life is to live right here, right now. Feel the breeze that just brushed across your cheek. Touch the petal of the flower that just caught your eye, give it a “thank you” for blessing you with its natural beauty. Listen to the laughter that erupts from children playing as you walk by your neighborhood playground. Let their giggles uplift you and ride its innocence to the depths of inner joy. Have no thought to the past for why reminisce and long after what no longer is. Don’t live in the future for there is no real future. You’re not promised the next 60 seconds let alone an entire lifetime.

Waste not your energy or time on things, people, or situations that bring you no joy. Forcing yourself to do things won’t strengthen anything other than the bond others will have a hold on you. Don’t allow the social chains to hold you back from taking advantage of this journey you’re on.

Laugh as much as possible and if you cry, cry from deep within your soul and let your tears nurture the ground below your feet. Allow its nutrients to strengthen the foundation for your rebuild. Don’t simply get over your problems, work through them, and move on.

Happiness is a choice and you have an abundance of it at your disposal, but only if you make the choice to seize it. Have faith in yourself because you are worth more than you know.

XOXO

Me.

Discovering YOUR Purpose

Even before being able to form a sentence we are discussed about to family and to outsiders as to what we are to later become professionally in life. Straight out the womb it’s, “Maybe she will become a lawyer like her father? Maybe he will become a doctor like his grandmother?” As we become older the question is always hovering above us, “What’s your life purpose? What do you think you’re meant to be or do here?” Because we are asked these questions from such a young age and then grow into asking our selves these very same questions on almost a daily basis, we are conditioned to give these thoughts way too much importance. We begin to believe that in this life we are meant to do something major or significant in order to have given our life meaning, and how do we even define for ourselves what is “major and significant”? If we don’t succeed in becoming that doctor or that lawyer then we are just a waste of a life. We begin to compare ourselves to those around us, who also don’t really know what they’re doing. Those who are also following this weirdly imposed set of social norms that in reality limit our potential to do the things in life that we actually want to do for ourselves and maybe need to do for our soul.

Graduate highschool the top of your class, attend college, meet your life partner, get married, buy a house, have kids, work, raise your family, maybe travel once they fly the coop, and then you die. 

Now let’s say your life up until now hasn’t followed these set of social standards. Maybe you have done things “out of order” or maybe you totally missed a couple “key steps” in making something out of yourself. You begin to feel lost and the little voice inside your head begins to tell you that maybe you just weren’t good enough for certain things. Maybe you didn’t try hard enough…

But what if…

…certain things in life weren’t meant for you. Maybe you’re actually better than that in other ways and it’s in those ways that you’re supposed to be shining. What if our life’s purpose is actually as simple as being here to shift energies within other people. In reality, such a purpose isn’t “simple”. To shift energies around you is a gift you are born with and its importance is grander than any job title you could study for. Maybe you are that person that walks into a room and immediately people are drawn to you. They lean to you for advice no matter how small, no matter how personal. A light follows you, casting positivity and radiating joy wherever you go. Such a person is a ripple effect, touching and reshaping lives on a daily basis. There is no small feat in that.

Sometimes we need to take a step back and question ourselves why it is that we are so hard on ourselves especially when it comes to things we pursue solely to appease others. Is it so hard to believe that maybe that’s why it isn’t working for you? It could be that while you felt like you were going with the flow of life in attempting to pursue something that would make a loved one happy, you in turn were actually going against the grain and disrupting your true journey.

I feel as though when speaking to many around me, this is a constant internal battle, the fight we have within ourselves about our purpose. So many of us feel so lost but it’s because we are focusing on all the wrong things. We aren’t really listening to our true selves. We are also looking towards others for answers that in all reality they don’t have. What you should count on are the signs from the Universe. Count on the fact that if you start believing in yourself and set aside the negative self talk, the hints and guidance from the Universe will shout to you what it is that you should be doing; what you should be doing for yourself and your genuine happiness.

Welcome Back

Death always has a way of stirring up thoughts and emotions that one sometimes ignores.

My grandmother almost died last week. The little firecracker put a real scare into everyone. All seven of her kids flew to Colombia to be by her side. A couple days later she made almost a full recovery. As full of a recovery that an 86 year old lady who just happened to catch a bad case of pneumonia could. She also had blood clots forming in her lungs which is what made the doctors question how much longer the little lady had to live.

The scare reunited the family together. For a week they all stayed by her side, laughing, crying, reminiscing over the good and bad times they have shared together. For me, my grandmother’s close to death experience made me think long and hard about all of the sacrifices this woman had to make in life raising 8 children, losing one of them, all while married to a husband who hadn’t loved her as much as he should have. It made me think about my life and how I never wanted to sacrifice my entire existence to please others instead of pleasing myself.

I hadn’t realized how unhappy I had recently become until a few things happened that triggered a shut down. When I say I shut down I mean I shut down. Other than getting up for work and robotically moving throughout my workday, I couldn’t muster up any energy to do anything else. No writing. No painting. No socializing. All I wanted was to come home, crawl into my bed and get lost in a world of Netflix and YouTube videos. The night would end and the next day would start, the same routine all over again. I was depressed and I hadn’t even realized it until an argument was had with the guy I was seeing which really placed things into perspective for me,  which was then followed by the news of my grandmother’s declining health.

I decided to take certain matters of mine into my own hands. I made a firm decision to walk away from a situation that wasn’t working for me. It’s been a few days and I can’t say I regret doing so. I hadn’t realized how stressed out I was before, and now that changes have been made it is like my days are a little brighter and I go about my life like a summer breeze, cool and calm. I feel like I am almost back to being me again. Even as I sit here and write this I wonder how I could let such outside forces really determine whether or not I have time to do the things I love to do. I blame myself for giving so much of me that I had no energy to then give to myself. It is a lesson I learned before but I guess I had forgotten about. I will not forget again. I will not lose myself or lose the energy to do for myself to simply make others happy.

Hi Me.

Welcome Back!

 

Bottoms Up. Lights Out

It was like I had suddenly woken up from a century long slumber. When I say suddenly, I mean suddenly. It was like a loud mental crack back into reality. My eyes took a while to open for they felt to me as if they were swollen shut and to be quite honest my body felt like a sack of cement. My eyes roamed around but nothing to me looked at all familiar. My surroundings seemed and felt odd. I simply felt completely out of place. I slowly tried to sit up but could only prop myself up onto my elbows, I was feeling extremely groggy. I looked around the room,  a pale blue color covered the walls surrounding me. I was in some sort of hotel room it felt like. The area of the room that I was in was covered in very tacky beach decor with shells and flamingos dancing all over the place. I was on a hard couch and directly in front of me stood a balcony with its doors completely open. The white sheer curtains danced in the breeze and if it wasn’t for the fact that fear was slowly gripping me around my throat, it all would have seemed almost peaceful. I was definitely in a hotel room but who’s? I could faintly hear the ocean roaring in the distance, seagulls adding to nature’s acoustics. The sudden voices coming from behind me made me jerk around to see who and where it was coming from. 

This was my initial reaction to waking up in an unknown place with absolutely no memory of how I got there. Although I had tried to forget about this, it all came rushing back when I was watching the news today.

A good looking couple from California have made headlines after being caught drugging and raping unsuspecting women. The pair would hit the streets in search of victims, charming them, drugging them, and then leading them back to their private office to have their way with them. Over 1,000 videos were found on both of the suspect’s phones allowing authorities to believe that there are many more victims than just the two that have come forward.  The two suspects deny any such allegations and are currently out on bail.

These two were not the couple that drugged and raped me, but they might as well be.

I will never forget the duo who charmed me into inviting them to hang out with my co-workers and I one evening after work. It was about 10 pm and I had just finished my night shift at the restaurant. I had decided to wait for my co-workers at a local bar right in between our place of employment and where I lived. I sat alone at a table for six. The bar was busy with tourists. By this time most seemed drunk and those that weren’t yet would be soon getting there. The live band playing had a crowd on the dance floor and I was soaking up the good vibes while I waited. It wasn’t long before I was approached by a pretty girl and her boyfriend. They were visiting from Ohio, a quick getaway for the couple who wanted a break from their hectic family life. They were both beautiful people. She had shoulder length  shiny, black hair and ice blue eyes. He reminded me of a golden boy, with a gorgeous sun kissed tan, light brown eyes, and short golden locks that framed his face. When she approached me initially she asked if I mined if the two  could sit down at the table with me until my friends arrived and of course, me not wanting to be rude, said yes.

From that point on the entire night was anything but normal. Looking back on it, I should have suspected that something was about to go terribly wrong because of the fact that things weren’t panning out as they normally would have. Back then though, a switch of scene and people added a much needed excitement to my life. I, however, was not prepared for, nor wanted, the kind of excitement that was getting ready to present itself.

As we waited for my friends to get out of work, this girl and I were chatting away. She asked me what it was like living in a touristy spot and about my tattoos. I asked her what sort of hectic life her and her boyfriend were trying to vacation away from. We chatted and it seemed natural. I was pleased to have found company while I waited. Her boyfriend offered to buy us a round of beers. I ordered a Miller Light but for some reason I was not in the mood for too much drinking, so I babysat that bottle until my co-worker’s arrival. Introductions were barely made when the couple asked if there was a strip club in the area. They were looking to spice up their last night out on the beach,

“What a more perfect way to end our vacation than with some ass and titties!” He shouted, overly excited. She seemed a bit embarrassed by his question but there was a slight flicker in her eyes that gave way to her also wanting in on this type of fun. One of my co-workers mentioned the low quality strip joint located right before the bridge before heading out on the island and offered to drive us all if the couple paid for his beers, and just like that, we all ended up piling into his SUV driving out to Fantasy’s.

At this point, I was only one beer in and not really wanting to head to the strip joint. I had been there a coupe times with friends before and it wasn’t anything to write home about. It was small and dingy. The girls are a reminder of sadness and instead of enticing a good time all they stir up in you in an overwhelming feeling of loneliness and pity. I wasn’t motivated but I also didn’t want to go home. I wanted a night out with friends and if that meant heading to Fantasy’s for  bit then I would suck it up and go.  It wasn’t more than 15 mins after arriving at the strip joint that things took a turn, which would then land me in this couple’s hotel room, naked, vulnerable, and with no sense of what had happened to me.

We arrived and immediately everyone headed towards the bar to get their first drink, everyone but me that is. I still wasn’t in the mood to have a drink, which for everyone who knows me that’s not in my normal character. I am not sure why I wasn’t in the mood to drink that night. I’d like to think that maybe my subconscious knew that there was something dangerous lurking right around the corner. No matter the reason, I didn’t heed the warning. My friends questioned why I wasn’t drinking and I remember telling them, “Not yet. In a bit I’ll order something..” I felt like I just wanted to be alert for a little longer. I really wish I would have stood my ground when the couple approached me with a shot.

“Cheers! To the three of us! Here’s is to unexpected new friends and a wild night!” That was his speech and although I found it a bit out there, I took my glass and clinked it with theirs.

“Bottoms up!” She said and from that point on, my night a blur, then ended with lights out.

The rest of the evening I can only recall in small bits and pieces. I do not remember leaving the strip club although I was told that we stayed there for about 45 mins. A co-worker informed me that I didn’t want to leave and had even given a wad of cash to one of the dancing girls after she told me a story about her and her kid “just trying to survive.” My memory only holds a picture of the club and then all of the sudden, we are back at the same bar we had all previously met up at. I vaguely remember feeling extremely tired and wanting to go home. I was told that at this point I had told the others that I was going to the bathroom and that I had gotten up to leave stumbling on my way out and never returning. For my friends, it was not unusual for me to disappear like that. I have always hated good-byes and so when I am ready to go home I make my way out using one excuse or another and simply disappearing. What was unusual for them was the fact that I seemed overly intoxicated even though I had only had a beer and a shot. That was not normal for me. I’ve always been known to handle my alcohol so that did raise  few eyebrows, but not enough for anyone to assume that something was wrong.

A couple minuets after me leaving for the “bathroom” the new couple said their good-byes and disappeared into the night.

I have no idea how things transpired from here on out. Considering I have no memory of even leaving my friends behind at the bar, I for sure have no clue how it was that I ran into this couple while on my journey home. My next snapshot of the night is of me in their hotel room standing out on the balcony but barely able to hold myself up. The next snapshot is of me sitting on the bed and the girl playing with my hair. After that? Nothing.

I woke up the next morning feeling like I had been hit by a semi-truck. It took me a few seconds to muster up the energy to sit up and look around and that’s when I discovered the severity of my situation. I was completely naked  barely wrapped up in only a thin bed sheet. I was laying on the couch and when I looked around the room that’s when I saw the couple, each laying on the bed sprawled out and also naked. At that very moment I was overwhelmed with many emotions, embarrassment, violated, bewilderment, sadness, guilt. But before being able to fully ingest all that I was feeling, all I wanted to do was to get out.  I quickly got up and quietly gathered my things. I grabbed my purse, my clothes, my phone and snuck into their bathroom to get dressed. It wasn’t until I put  my shoes on that I felt dread. My work shoes were severely scuffed, the soles of both shoes peeling away  the tops as if I had been dragged.

I left their bathroom and headed towards the door not once looking back. It was as if I just couldn’t bring myself to see the reality of my situation. I exited the room and soon realized I was only two blocks away from my home. I walked the two blocks in a fog. I felt bruised all over. My arms had bruises running from underneath my armpits all the way down to my wrists. My legs felt like lead. I felt soreness on both sides of my rib cage.

Once I arrived at my apartment, completely drained, I collapsed on my bed and slept for hours. It wasn’t until I woke up at almost 5 pm that I really was able to dissect the situation and try to understand what had happened to me. My body felt like a sack of bruised potatoes and that immediately brought tears to my eyes because with how I felt, how could I not remember what had happened to me? I immediately headed to my local walk-in clinic and after explaining what I had gone through got tested on any possible STD out there. The sorrow in the physician’s eyes should have been comforting but instead it made me feel ten times worse. It was at this point, when sitting on the medical table getting swabbed and blood work done, that I looked down and saw on my left wrist a beaded pink bracelet. It was the same bracelet that the girl had on the night before and here I was wearing it, undeniable proof as to what transpired the night before. I still have the bracelet to this day. I’m not sure why I kept it but it is put away in a jewelry box, a small reminder to always stay on alert.

Once I arrived back home from the clinic I messaged my sister and told her somewhat of what happened. I kept out the part of me waking up naked and seeing the couple sprawled out on the bed, also bare. My mother still doesn’t know. I’m sure that soon she will read this and her heart will be broken into a billion little pieces. I was also seriously dating someone at the time and although I did tell him what happened, I also left out the details of how I woke up and what I believed really happened. Do I think they would have negatively judged me? Not really, but I do believe that in their mind I maybe asked for it by putting myself in the situation when befriending the strange couple.

Now that this incident is over a year old, I am ready to talk honestly about the situation and what happened to me where as before I had no strength to do so. The level of guilt and embarrassment one feels when something like this happens to you is something no one is really prepared to talk about. It is almost as if one would rather sew up the lips than to ever utter a detail, and the feeling of reliving it all over again through speech is terrifying.

When I came across the news headline of the couple in California who were going around doing what was done to me to others, ice ran through my veins. All of the emotions I had bottled up and stored away came rushing back and my heart truly went out to the women affected by such trauma.

Sadly, our cases aren’t unique or seldom. What happened to us happens everyday to countless women and men alike. I feel as though one of the biggest mistakes we commit as a society is to cover up any situation that doesn’t seem ideal. We don’t really talk about the dangers that lurk around every corner and if we do, we speak of it as though it could never happen to us, making it that much more difficult to speak about when it does. One shouldn’t feel embarrassed or guilty after going through something like this and it is society that makes us feel this way. Being honest and speaking up over such monumental occurrences is what will allow for healing as well as encouraging awareness. We as a society need to become more aware. We need to start standing up for one another in being protective not only of ourselves but of those around you. Together we are a single unit. When will we start to realize that if one of us hurts, society as a whole hurts? It’s time we become more available to those who need a shoulder to cry on, an ear to listen, without the judgment and give only support needed to overcome the unpleasantries that life sometimes has in store for us.

 

 

Have You Ever? Yes, We Have.

“Have you ever been so angry or frustrated at life that all you want to do is tell everyone how angry and frustrated you are?

Shit.

What am I even talking about? It’s not even being angry at life. It’s more like angry at how fucking annoying situations and people can be. Drama oozing out of people as if it were their natural aroma. It’s fucking annoying. People who act all stressed out because something minor in their lives is going somewhat unexpectedly shitty meanwhile your whole god damn fucking life is unraveling and you barely say a word. Sometimes all you want to do is rattle the shit out of people…. rattle them so hard that their confused little heads spin off and fly away into a distant direction never to be seen or heard of again..”

Yes, even happy and positive people can feel this way. Even spiritualist will come across this feeling once in a blue moon. No human on this planet is perfect. Jesus Christ himself flipped over a table or two in frustration.

I recently went through a period that called for such emotions. It was difficult for me to restrain myself from flipping out unnecessarily on an unsuspecting victim. How did I do it?

Over the years I believe that I have been really fine tuning my mental dexterity, meaning that I have been able to condition my mind to think creatively and through that have been able to understand, express, and process situations quickly and easily. Does that mean that I am perfect? Hell no. Does it mean that I never have a moment in which I get enraged and freak out? Nope. All that means is that I am able to handle these situations a bit better than before. I’ve learned over the years that we are our biggest project. You will always be a work in progress and how you handle life and its dips is one aspect of your learning lesson. Instead of bad moments lasting me days, it may only last a day. Instead of me taking my rage out on someone, I take it out on something. Be it paper, canvas, the gym, pavement, I choose to take my negative energy out on something else other than myself or others.

What is the point of dwelling on outwardly situations that you may not be able to change? All you end up doing is punishing yourself over external conditions. Instead, reward yourself with a little peace of mind. Stay in the moment of now. Do not dread about your work shift tomorrow, or that court date you’re facing in a week. Let it go. Enjoy the present and do so by  enjoying a moment that is beneficial for you. Meditate. Take a long bubble bath and accompany that with a nice book and a glass of your favorite wine. Play that vinyl record that you love so much. Go for a nice quiet walk on the beach or around your neighborhood. Go work out at your local gym or maybe take a few minuets to jot down exactly how you feel. Writing I find to be very freeing. I even go a step further and burn that pretty paper, words and all, and imagine that as it goes up in flames, so does all my negative emotions about the given issue. There are so many ways to free yourself from the negativity that the world can sometimes drape you in. It is up to you to not let it get you to a point where it all seems bad. Don’t ignore how you’re feeling. Work through it and move on and never forget, that your mental strength means everything. Stop the negative self talk and instead have yourself an uplifting inner dialogue because, you are enough.

You are stronger than what you give yourself credit for.

Taking Responsibility

Today’s horoscope suggested that I take responsibility for some of the not so good parts of my life. It’s right. I mean how often do we actually sit down and take responsibility for the things we mistakenly bring into our lives? Not often. I know that I preach my advice for others to really take a deep look into themselves and acknowledge the wrongs they’ve done to really overcome whatever it is they may be going through. It’s time for me to take my own advice, no?

Today I take responsibility for something as small as signing up to a random website and then getting upset at receiving the junk mail that goes with it. I go through the hassle of signing up for things to then find myself unsubscribing. I mean, as soon as I plug in my email should’t I already know what I’m in for? Of course… Yet I still do it anyways.

I take responsibility for conditioning people to treat me the way they do. Not setting boundaries from the start allows people to get a different perception as to how to carry themselves within the friendship. The fact that I bend over backwards at all times for people allows them to believe that I will be okay with anything. How can I get mad at someone for treating me the way that I have put myself out there to be treated? From the beginning I should be outspoken and assertive in the things that matter most to me instead of trying to constantly people please. This alone has set me up for many failures in friendships as well as romantic relationships.

I take responsibility in not writing as much as I should for the kind of goals I would like to achieve. I procrastinate or worse, I allow for laziness to completely take over. I allow for others to talk me into wasting time with them (because typically that is all we do) instead of taking reigns of my own personal time and dedicating it to something that will benefit me and what it is I want for my future.

I take responsibility for not speaking up when I should or shutting up when I shouldn’t say a word.  There is a time and a place for both and there are times I wish I knew when they were. I tend to blurt out my opinion, at times without thought, when all people may need is an ear to listen. So I admit, I should keep my advice to myself unless I am particularly asked.

I take full responsibility for not staying connected with those truly who love me, even though I really just don’t know how to. I allow for my introverted self to shine through most times instead of finding balance with the teenie bit of extrovertedness I do have. I could just chalk it up to my childhood and blaming the fact that I don’t know how to really bond with those closest to me, since detachment has always been a coping mechanism. But seriously, now that I have learned this aspect of myself, why not work on it instead of excusing it, right?

I responsibly admit to not knowing how to always handle difficult situations which in turn leads me to letting people down. I have quite the list going, although I will say that in the last two years I haven’t really had to add new people onto that list so maybe I am making improvements to this area of my life?

I admit to making mistakes, to having skeletons in my closet, and to not being perfect, even if my close friends poke fun at me being “little miss perfect”.

I take responsibility for not eating as healthy as I should and sometimes half-assing my workouts. I will be better, I promise!

I take responsibility for sometimes being way too hard on myself and for not only setting too high of standards for myself, but also holding the bar high for others. Why set these social bars? If I can’t be perfect, why should I expect for others to be? I mean, in all honesty, it is  good thing to set standards but one also has to look at each individual as a case by case scenario. The same standards I hold for person A may not be the best standards to hold person B or C to. So I take responsibility for not always taking into consideration a person’s individuality when it comes to this.

I take responsibility for not always eliminating negative influences out of my life as soon as I pick up on the fact that they’re in fact a negative influence. Whether it be people, places, or things, once I figure that their impact in my life isn’t a positive one, I should say “Adios!” and keep it moving without guilt or second guessing.

With that said, I will take responsibility for not listening to my intuition as often as I should. I could have already avoided a bad romantic relationship (or two), wasting time on counter productive friendships, food poisoning (I knew I shouldn’t have kept eating that), worthless jobs, ect…

Lastly, I take responsibility for not having more faith and confidence in myself.  I know me and I do know what I’m capable of. I know that I can achieve all of my dreams and those that I haven’t even thought of yet. I need to strive harder and I am more than willing to work on myself so that I can be the person I know I can be.

Acknowledging responsibility, it is one hell of much needed kick in the ass. Are you strong enough to acknowledge yours?

 

 

Surviving The Game

Before you ever think about quitting something give yourself an extra week or two, because in a matter of 14 days, things could actually turn around for you. Two weeks can seem like a long time when you’re struggling but the rewards you could possibly benefit from are really worth the sacrifice.

The week before the busiest weekend of the year for us at my new job was honestly one of the most annoying work weeks I had had at any job ever. So much so that I had started sending out resumes to places that I knew I could quickly get hired. I had immediately gotten two interviews for doing what I’ve always done, serving. Was I thrilled about a possible new job change? Nope, not one bit. I mean I had wanted to take a dip out of the restaurant world for a while so going back to serving wasn’t something I was particularly thrilled about. It was however comfortable for me. I knew the server world and so it wouldn’t have been such a struggle like the challenges the floral business was presenting me. Not only was the comfortability there but so was the insta-cash. There was no waiting two weeks for a paycheck. After every shift, there it was, a wad of cash for you to bring home and do whatever you wanted (or needed) to do.

I went on one interview. The other I set up for after Mother’s Day weekend. No matter what I decided to do, all I knew was that I would not like to leave the floral job before or during their busiest time of year. The owners had always treated me well. To be honest they all had treated me well. Minus a couple hiccups between the manager and I (two strong, like minded woman can at times bump heads) I could say that I enjoyed the people that I worked with so screwing them over right before Mother’s Day was out of the question. I did however struggle with communicating the fact the after the holiday I was planning on leaving. Should I give them a letter of resignation? Or should I keep it to myself and deal with it afterwards? I decided to stay quiet about my plan until I had something legit materialize. I’m so glad I did.

Mother’s Day craziness started that Thursday. The amount of orders that were coming in was something I hadn’t expected. Yes my coworker’s had tried to warn me about what to expect but I have come to realize that in life most people often exaggerate even the tiniest of things. They were not exaggerating. I had been put in charge of phones so that meant dealing with customer inquiries, taking their orders, completing orders, as well as any random miscellaneous things that needed to be done around the shop to help expedite the work of others. My headset had stayed on me the entire time I was working with only bathroom breaks giving my ear a small moment of freedom from the constrictive device. I noticed that much of what I was doing was using many of my server qualities. I shined when it came to dealing with the customers. I was able to quickly guide them through our ordering process, sometimes even guiding them in certain directions. If there was a particular piece that the owner wanted to push out and get rid of I could easily talk a customer into purchasing it. The organizational skills that were needed in order to keep everything moving smoothly was something I excelled at. Compliments from my coworkers and the owners were given to me since they hadn’t seen anyone handle the chaos as well as I had. To be fair, I have always excelled when work is at its busiest. To keep my mind and body moving from one task to another is what has always worked best for me. Working under pressure is when I shine.

The weekend came and went in blur. We all were pulling 16 hours shifts and by Sunday it was like a new wave of emotions towards my job came over me. During the four days we had all bonded. Working so hard together as a single unit gave it a more family feel. We executed what needed to be done and we had done it harmoniously. Even though we had been slammed with work for hours on end barely able to take breaks in between, there ended up being no fussing and no fighting. Had we walked out of there exhausted? Of course, but we had gotten through it, and we had done it well.

I had quickly started rethinking my moves. I started feeling as though I had also proven myself to not only my coworkers but also the owners of the shop. The vibe between them and me had changed. I felt as though I was a part of this close knit family and I liked it. I no longer felt the pressure of wanting to get out of this place. If anything, I wanted to stay. I had an interview scheduled for that Monday after Mother’s Day weekend and I decided not to go. I thought to myself that I would instead stick this out and see how it went for me. That Tuesday I was called randomly into the office by one of the owners. Fuck… “Am I about to get fired? Should I had just gone on that interview and then I wouldn’t be so worried about being fired right now?… I should have gone on that stupid interview..” were my thoughts as I was walking towards the back office.

I sat down in the chair directly across from him. I never get nervous. I don’t get nervous on job interviews. I don’t get nervous on dates. Yet, here I am sitting eye to eye with one of the shop’s owners knowing that I’m about to get fired from a job that just a week before I was already contemplating leaving, and I was nervous. I couldn’t stop fidgeting with my fingers. I picked at my nails, I played with my rings, none of which made me feel any better for what was about to come.

“Natalia, I want to start off by saying that you did  great job working for us over the holiday weekend…” Here it goes. The compliment before the let go. Why do business owners do this? To soften the blow? Jesus…let’s just get this shit over with shall we? “..I wanted to let you know that I was really impressed by your work…” Impressed? Do you fire people that impress you? I never fired anyone so I wouldn’t really know. “The way you handled the workload for someone who has only been here a little less than two month’s is something that genuinely shocked me and I don’t get shocked often.” Great.. I shocked him into firing me. Good going Natalia. “Before I continue on with where I’m going with this, I do want to ask you something?” I just stare at him. I may have blinked, I don’t think I did. “How long do you plan on staying with this company?” His cold blue eyes bore into my soul. Now was the moment of truth. I either fight for my job or easily walk away from it.

“Well..” my voice sounded weird. We sat in a small office but it felt like my voice was echoing down a long hall to reach where he was sitting. “…I would like to stay with the company for as long as you all want me here. I have always been one to like a challenge and that’s why I applied to work here initially. It hasn’t been easy but because of that I feel as though a good day here super exceeds a good day anywhere else I’ve worked, because I’ve excelled at something I had no prior knowledge or experience doing before. I know that at the moment your company may be small but I also know that it’s growing and I would like to see myself grow along with it.” He stared at me for a little bit. Maybe for one more second too long. I was about to fidget in my seat when he started talking again.

“Natalia, I foresee a lot of things happening with this company, and you are right, it is growing and it’s happening rapidly. I would like for you to to stay with us and because of all the hard work and effort you have shown I am going to do something that I do not typically do for people that have been here for as short of a time such as you have been. I’m giving you a raise.” What the fu….. Did I just here this correctly? “I’m increasing your pay by a dollar. The manager has also brought to my attention what an asset it has been having you here and so I do want you to know that although there are times in which you two may bump heads, she is in your corner. There is something that she will be giving you at the end of the day before you leave so make sure you see her on your way out.” The smile in the corners of his eyes were like a soft warm blanket on a cold winter day. I don’t know how many times I thanked him. I can’t even tell you exactly what I said before leaving his office. I was overwhelmed with shock because it had not been something I was expecting. Not in the least bit.

For the rest of my day I felt like I was walking on clouds. It had been rainy and ugly out but sunshine was brightly beaming from inside of me. Before I left at the end of my shift I met up with my manager in which she thanked me for all my hard work and handed me an envelope. “This is for you. Just a little extra something so you know that you are appreciated.” Was this a bonus? I wasn’t sure but even the simple compliment and “thank yous” was enough to inspire a hug out of me. It wasn’t until I got to my car that I opened the envelope. Inside was a check addressed to me for $300, I shit you not. I was ecstatic. Not only would this allow me to catch up on certain important bills I had left unattended due to lack of funds, but there were people I wanted to pay back for helping me here and there with the little everyday things of life. I was so happy.

Since that day, my moment’s at work are always positive. The entire vibe between the other girls and I has changed for the better. I no longer feel like an outsider. I am now creating arrangements and even surprising myself at how well I’ve been doing at it. There have been moments of guilt though that I still live with. Throughout the time that I was getting a raise and praise, I lost two of my fellow coworkers. They had gotten let go due to one reason or another. Sadness and guilt engulfed me because it was of course the two girls I had gotten along with the most. Both had been there slightly longer than I had. Both had placed a lot of time, dedication, and frustration into this job. I felt as though maybe the decision to keep me had maybe played in the decision to fire them. In an odd way if feels like a sort of survivor’s guilt. Do they feel the same? I know one in particular does. She did mention in a moment of anger that I “beat her” in the race. They were cold words that hit my heart, especially coming from someone I had thought I had befriended in a time in which I felt so out of place. I do understand the roller coaster of emotions  when unexpected displacement happens and I know she probably didn’t mean to hurt my feelings, so I try not to really think about it. Maybe she was right though, in the end I had survived a game I hadn’t known I was playing.

For now, I continue each work day doing the best I can. I still struggle a bit here and there but they are challenges I welcome for challenges are what keeps my mind and soul strong. My advice for people out there that are maybe struggling with something new, keep at it. Keep trying and give yourself time. Remember that no one is born knowing and that to even have set out in trying something out of your comfort zone keeps you one step ahead. Don’t be so hard on yourself for we are our own worst critic and most times our inner voices are what keeps us from feeling good about what we are doing for ourselves. Remember that by trying something new you are opening up doors for yourself that you would have never come across if you would have stayed in the comforting monotony of what once was. Keep at it with a positive mind and heart and life will reward you with much more than you ever thought possible.

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I Can Assure You This Much

In my 31 years of observing life , one of the many things I have noticed with human beings is that no matter how kind or good-hearted you may be, you will always have at least one hater among the friendly faces.

People will hate you for your honesty.

People will hate you for pursuing a better life for yourself.

People will hate you for going after your dreams and not settling for less.

People will hate you for your happiness, especially if it outweighs their own.

They will hate if you chose to walk the unbeaten path.

They will hate you for putting your feelings and goals above their own.

Maybe you weren’t there for them the one time out of the 80, and because you weren’t a help that ONE TIME, they now hate you for it; stating that you were never there for them when they needed you.

Maybe your priorities are set a little different, different from their own. Don’t worry. They will hate you for that too.

Have you been sharing your stories, lets say, for constructive purposes? Have you been sharing in order to help a greater good? Yep, they will hate you for that too.

Let us take a look at some of the greats: Buddha, Jesus Christ, Princess Diana, Bono, Mother Teresa, all of which are some of the greatest humanitarians that this planet has ever seen. Yet even they have people with a list a mile long stating the things they hate about them.

I am no Mother Teresa I can assure you that much, but I can relate as I am sure you all can (yea, I’ll have a hater for this statement too) . We all have a hater or two (or 20) hanging around reminding us why we are “terrible” people. For many of you out there the need to please everyone you come in contact with is great, but I can assure you that you will drive yourself crazy trying to satisfy the many personalities that roam this planet. No one entity can make every human being happy, not even God, so how could you?

This life is your only life to live so live it to your truth without concern and without regret. You can still be a good person and selfishly live your life. Our time here is limited so the worst thing you could do is worry about what others around you make think of you. Most times they are lost as to what they should be doing with themselves, with their lives. Live your truth. Go after your own happiness. Do not resent those who hate you for what you are doing. Instead show them that they too can achieve the things they want out of life if they decide to one day tune out negativity. Be that example and show the world that no matter what, no matter how tainted and imperfect you are, you are still able to dance among the stars.

 

 

Being Alone

Alone Time. Honestly, it’s one of my favorites.

In a world where people no longer cherish a moment of “alone time”, I am a BIG advocate on voluntary alone time. Society today is constantly connected and alone time is what refuels our tank when it runs empty. The mind and the soul need a moment of solitude. We internally need the peace of quiet, the calm of nothingness.  There is an art to being alone and within that art there is a thin line that if crossed can lead to more of a problem than a solution. I find that by never crossing that line there are so many pluses to having a bit of alone time that it makes you question how there are people who avoid it like the plague.

One of my favorite things to be is to be alone. I find solace in it. Not because I am anti-social but more so because I am pro-sanity. For me, being alone feels like peace entangled with thrill. Peace for its obvious reasons, thrill because it’s such a rarity. Life today constantly feels so busy that I try to steal moments for myself any way I can find it, like an addict needing a fix. I hardly get any “me” time and so when I can run off by myself for a bit, I make sure I do.

For instance, I am constantly surrounded by people. I work in the restaurant industry so most of my days are wrapped up in customers of all different styles, temperament, and culture. I also live with my significant other whom I love dearly. With that, said he does like to spend any minuet I have off, together. If I’m not working or with the boyfriend, I am with friends either advice giving or just hanging out and having a couple cocktails. I want to make clear that I am not complaining by any means. I love my life and those in it. Yet, I must admit that it does not leave me much room for “me” time. Recently was when I noticed that I was spreading myself thin and it was taking a toll on my mood completely. One of the ways I took control towards a more positive lifestyle change was incorporating more time for myself into my day. Whether it was an extra 30 mins in the morning or an extra 30 mins at night, or maybe I got out of work a little earlier than normal, I made sure I found myself some time to clear my mind. I quickly began to notice all the good that it was doing for me.

I noticed a heightened sense of creativity. I began to pump out more ideas for my writing, motivating to me to utilize my time in a manner where I would spend more time writing versus doing something unproductive such as watching t.v. or scrolling through my Facebook. I noticed that my problem solving skills dramatically improved. The quality of advice that I was now giving friends was much clearer and easier to obtain than once before. At work, I was able to focus better and so I was able to remember things off the top of my head, even the most minuscule of detail. I found that I was beginning to feel an inner strength that I hadn’t quite felt before. In my alone time, I had discovered time for self-reflection and in doing so is when I began to find strength from within.

I am sure that most of you reading this will think,

“Well, I already barely have any time for the things in my life that I must tend to. I will never have time for any “alone time.” I mean seriously, who’s got time for that?”

I say unto you, for everything that you place before you, before your needs, you are telling yourself that you mean nothing while the world means everything. But what you don’t see is that without you there is no world, for your world truly exists only within you. If you do not begin to place yourself first, in a healthy manner of course, then how will you have enough of yourself to give to others? How will you have enough life within yourself to live? The mind will eventually implode and your soul will darken and die, and to be dead while living is the most terrible death one could ever suffer. Finding yourself some alone time would be one of the greatest gifts you can give to yourself. It isn’t being selfish. It would be selfish not to because then you wouldn’t be allowing for others to have the best version of you that you could possibly be. So remember even if it’s an extra five minuets a day, give yourself that much needed “You” time.

You deserve it.

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A Mental “Feel Better”

When you’re having a hard time in life, boy does it fucking suck.

It did for me anyways. Big time.

I was looking at unemployment, residential displacement, feeling lonely, and ridiculous amounts of internal conflict over external bullshit. The gears in my mind, lubricated in anxiety, were continuously winding and that’s never any help. I am a thinker, it’s what I do. My overthinking at times is beneficial but most times it hinders my journey towards a more peaceful state of mind. During a depressed phase, over thinking can easily creep in and before you know it you’re caught up in a web of misery and the less you talk about it the greater that misery becomes. You drown in these dark feelings and for just a split second, if you allow it to happen, you give into the drowning, letting yourself sink just a little bit. That was me. For a split second, or more like an entire morning, I allowed myself to sink. I felt myself exhausted and quickly began to question even my very existence.

For may people, reaching this moment is almost like washing up onto the shores of the island of No Return. They lose hope and cling onto the sadness for so long that they only feel comfortable there. But that is only because most people do not know of the tools life has supplied us with in order to survive periods such as these. I am one of the fortunate few to have learned of these internal tools that we were given. I am one of the few who believes in these tools and that is the difference between some of those people and myself.

So how did I snap out of this depression that I was experiencing? I didn’t. One doesn’t just “snap” out of these emotions. You don’t just snap your fingers and wala you’re out of the darkness, nor is it a like a light switch you can just flick on and off. No. It’s a process and for everyone it is a slightly different one considering we are all so unique. Our healing process should be customized to our individual needs as well as to every given situation.

On this particular day my process began with a little rage cleaning. It was early in the morning when I woke up to feces all over my living room floor. My dog had apparently gotten a horrible case of diarrhea during the night and had shitted all over the place. I found the smears within minuets of me waking up and it quickly sent me into a tizzy. I frantically began cleaning like a mad woman (I was a mad woman) swearing under my breath as if releasing the “f” bomb was somehow helping me scrub just that much harder. Before I knew it, the living room, the dining room, and kitchen were pristine and once I was satisfied off I went for a deep cleaning of my own.

My shower is my safe haven. I imagine the water rinsing away my worries even though deep inside I know that it’ll only be for the time being. The steam relaxes my tense muscles and I float away..

It’s only once I’m finished and in the mirror getting ready that I begin to remember all my troubles and at this point is when I actually let myself fall away into the depths of my despair. I wail like a child, sobbing from the center of my soul, cries pouring out of me and invading the silent air. Within my normal life, I hardly ever cry, so as I do now, I stare at myself in the mirror. I stare fiercely into my water eyes. I allow to see myself like this. I allow myself to feel all the emotions that run through me, vibrant and strong like an electrical current and shocking my senses. I’m  allowing myself to feel everything that I had been clearly feeling for quite some time but was always trying to hide.

Instinctively I turn and reach for a notebook and begin writing. I do what is called a “Brain Dump” and write everything that comes to mind. Whether it made sense or not in the notebook it went. All my feelings, thoughts, concerns, everything was written down in the pages of my journal, some of it gibberish, most of it not. I purged everything that I was feeling and by the end of it, five pages later to be exact, my soul was feeling lighter. I wanted to keep this going. I wanted (needed) this mental feel better and so taking advantage of the fact that I was home alone I decided to then get myself into total zen mode.

I lay out my yoga mat strategically in front of my bedroom window so I get some of that natural sunlight hitting my skin. The only electronic device that is powered at this moment is my phone which plays nature meditation music, specifically downloaded for moments such as these. I sit Indian style, facing the sun, eyes closed, and focus deeply on my breathing. I sit there like this for whats seems several mins and then slowly begin to stretch my body. Section by section I stretch and while doing so, I speak to each body part, showing love and gratitude. I connect with this vessel my soul is encapsulated in and not only thank it, but also reiterate to it how it is enough. I begin my affirmations and soon all negative thoughts that once thrived, circling around in my mind, dispersed. They became nothing. In its place stood me and all the good that I had temporarily forgotten.

“I am healthy. I am loved. I am in love with everything around me. Money flows freely into my life which helps promote spiritual growth. I am happy. I radiate positivity. I am enough. I am exactly where I need to be. The universe is conspiring in my favor.”

I recite these and more within in my mind letting it penetrate every cell within my body and it does. I begin to feel strong once again. I begin to feel empowered. Before I knew it I was running on a natural high. No, all of my problems hadn’t just disappeared, but I had the strength and the courage to face them without any self doubt. I had replenished my internal oil lamp and it was radiating so much light, no darkness could invade. Suddenly, there was no problem without a solution.

After my mini mental break down and rebuild, it took me a couple days to really feel 100% me again. I made sure to get good sleep and to actually eat at least somewhat healthier. I also spent a lot of time listening to motivational videos and webinars whenever I could. I would play them as I did my cleaning around the house or as I went for my runs. I’d let them play as background noise, trying to soak it as much as I could and it worked.

To many, this all may seem like a lot of hippy hoopla  but in actuality it takes work to be happy and if happy is what we want to be then effort is what we have to put in. To really feel the pain that you’re going through builds your inner strength. It gives what you’re feeling a voice and it helps you to move on. Merely hiding your issues may get you over it for a second but doesn’t allow for you to get through it permanently. Addressing your inner dialogue is highly important as well. It is true when they say, “You become what you think.” Our minds hold much more power than most of us know and it is imperative to our well being to keep our thoughts positive and motivating. We can be our own worst enemy and it begins with our minds so be mindful of your inner dialogue with yourself and stop being so darn hard on yourself! Meditation can help with this. Silencing your mind for just a couple mins a day can help tremendously and allows for you to regain control of your mind when it does begin to wander off into darker territories.

As I previously stated, everyone is uniquely different and so the process of getting back to feeling like oneself after a moment of gloom will be equally as different. I know that this time, this is what worked for me. In sharing this, I hope to help others who are maybe having a rough day find a way to replenish their internal oil lamp and stop them from being overcome by the darkness that threatens their happiness. Whether it’s meditation, writing, dancing around your apartment like a goober, whatever the method may be, find what works for you. Life is too short to be stranded on the island of No Return for any given amount of time, and remember happiness is a choice.

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Photo Credit: Natal Galvan